Posts for: June, 2015
While braces are a tried and true method for achieving a more attractive smile, they may also give rise to problems with dental disease. This is because their hardware — the brackets and bands that serve as tracks for the tensioning wires — make it more difficult to access the tooth and gum surfaces to clean away plaque. This thin film of food remnant may then become a haven for bacteria that cause gum disease or tooth decay.
One of the more common conditions to occur while wearing braces is gingivitis. This is an initial inflammation of the gum tissues caused by bacterial plaque that hasn’t been removed by brushing or flossing. As the inflammation grows unchecked, the infection could advance deeper into the tissues to become a more serious form of gum disease that threatens the survival of affected teeth.
Difficult as it may be for those wearing braces, the best way to avoid gingivitis is through more thorough oral hygiene practices. Fortunately, there are many hygiene products that can help you get around many of the access difficulties posed by braces. Smaller toothbrushes known as interproximal brushes and floss threaders, small aids that thread dental floss under braces wires, can access the spaces between teeth more readily than conventional brushes or floss. Water flossers (which use water under pressure to remove plaque between teeth) and motorized toothbrushes can further increase efficiency. We can also reduce bacterial growth in the mouth if need be with prescription-strength antibacterial mouthrinses.
If, however, gingivitis or gum overgrowth (another common occurrence during orthodontic treatment) continues to be a problem, we may need to take other actions including surgery. In extreme cases, the braces may need to be removed to adequately treat the gums and allow them time to heal before proceeding with orthodontics.
Extra care with daily hygiene and regular dental checkups and cleanings in addition to your orthodontic visits will help keep gum problems at bay while you’re wearing braces. Taking this extra care will stop or minimize the effect of disease as you continue on to the ultimate goal of your orthodontic treatment — a more beautiful smile.
A recent episode of “America’s Got Talent” featured an engaging 93-year-old strongman called The Mighty Atom Jr. The mature muscleman’s stunt: moving a full-sized car (laden with his octogenarian “kid brother,” his brother’s wife, plus Atom’s “lady friend”) using just his teeth. Grinning for host Howie Mandel, Atom proudly told the TV audience that his teeth were all his own; then he grasped a leather strap in his mouth, and successfully pulled the car from a standstill.
We’re pleased to see that the Atom has kept his natural teeth in good shape: He must have found time for brushing and flossing in between stunts. Needless to say, his “talent” isn’t one we’d recommend trying at home. But aside from pulling vehicles, teeth can also be chipped or fractured by more mundane (yet still risky) activities — playing sports, nibbling on pencils, or biting too hard on ice. What can you do if that happens to your teeth?
Fortunately, we have a number of ways to repair cracked or chipped teeth. One of the easiest and fastest is cosmetic bonding with tooth-colored resins. Bonding can be used to fill in small chips, cracks and discolorations in the teeth. The bonding material is a high-tech mixture of plastic and glass components that’s extremely lifelike, and can last for several years. Plus, it’s a procedure that can be done right in the office, with minimal preparation or discomfort. However, it may not be suitable for larger chips, and it isn’t the longest-lasting type of restoration.
When more of the tooth structure is missing, a crown (or cap) might be needed to restore the tooth’s appearance and function. This involves creating a replacement for the entire visible part of the tooth in a dental lab — or in some cases, right in the office. It typically involves making a model of the damaged tooth and its neighbors, then fabricating a replica, which will fit perfectly into the bite. Finally, the replacement crown is permanently cemented to the damaged tooth. A crown replacement can last for many years if the tooth’s roots are in good shape. But what if the roots have been dislodged?
In some cases it’s possible to re-implant a tooth that has been knocked out — especially if it has been carefully preserved, and receives immediate professional attention. But if a tooth can’t be saved (due to a deeply fractured root, for example) a dental implant offers today’s best option for tooth replacement. This procedure has a success rate of over 95 percent, and gives you a natural looking replacement tooth that can last for the rest of your life.
So what have we learned? If you take care of your teeth, like strongman Atom, they can last a long time — but if you need to move your car, go get the keys.
If you would like more information about tooth restoration, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can learn more by reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “Crowns & Bridgework.”
Your dental health is good, and you feel confident your teeth and gums will continue to serve you well. Yet, your smile has some gaps, and your 2 front teeth overlap a bit. Your self-image suffers.
Other people worry about their smiles, too. A recent American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry survey shows that many adults believe a better-looking smile would improve their business and personal relationships and also boost their self-confidence. Dentists Steven Christensen and Chad Coombs at 4 Dental Health in Layton, Utah agree. When teeth look good, people feel great, and excellent cosmetic dentistry presents many ways to transform smiles.
Consider Porcelain Veneers
Porcelain veneers are a popular and effective way to transform a chipped, dull or stained smile. Also addressing minor bite problems, gaps, crowding and overlapping, veneers create a nice, even row of natural-looking teeth that feel and function in the way Nature intended. Bonded to one or more teeth, this cosmetic improvement is considered permanent and irreversible.
Many older teens and adults are candidates for veneers. In general, teeth should be free of extensive decay and infection and gums, pink and healthy. When a tooth has large or multiple fillings, the dentist may choose a crown rather than a veneer.
Often used in addition to cosmetic bonding and teeth whitening, porcelain veneers are customized shells of durable, bright porcelain securely glued to the front side of one or more teeth. With the removal of a small slice of enamel (about 1/2 mm), your Layton, Utah dentist takes impressions and sends them to a professional lab. In a subsequent appointment, he bonds the new veneers to the teeth, adjusting for fit, bite and shape. Veneers produce smiles that are durable and look just like the real thing - only straighter, brighter and better!
Caring for Veneers
Patients who practice diligent home hygiene do well with veneers, and the aesthetics last for years. Individuals brush twice daily with a quality toothpaste and floss each day to remove plaque from between teeth. Dental exams and cleanings are twice a year or as Dr. Christensen or Coombs recommend. Of course, patients shouldn't chew ice or peanut brittle with their improved smiles. While veneers resist staining, cigarette smoking is also not a good idea.
4 Dental Health in Layton, Utah
Steven Christensen DDS and his associate, Chad Coombs DDS, want their patients to enjoy a mouth full of healthy, strong teeth that also look naturally beautiful. Would porcelain veneers straighten and correct your smile? Why not find out by contacting 4 Dental Health? A cosmetic consultation can be the first step toward a dazzling smile. Call (801) 889-1044 for an appointment.