Posts for: July, 2017
There are many new and exciting ways now to transform an unattractive smile into one you'll be confident to display. But not all “smile makeover” techniques are new — one in particular has been around for generations: using braces to correct crooked teeth.
Braces have improved the smiles (and also dental health) for millions of people. But as commonplace this orthodontic treatment is, it wouldn't work at all if a natural mechanism for moving teeth didn't already exist. Braces “partner” with this mechanism to move teeth to better positions.
The jawbone doesn't actually hold teeth in place — that's the job of an elastic gum tissue between the teeth and bone called the periodontal ligament. Tiny fibers extending from the ligament attach to the teeth on one side and to the bone on the other. In addition to securing them, the dynamic, moldable nature of the ligament allows teeth to move incrementally in response to forces applied against them.
To us, the teeth feel quite stationary (if they don't, that's a problem!). That's because there's sufficient length of the tooth roots that are surrounded by bone, periodontal ligament and gum tissue. But when pressure is applied against the teeth, the periodontal ligament forms both osteoblasts (bone-forming cells) and osteoclasts (bone-resorbing cells) causing the bone to remodel. This allows the teeth to move to a new position.
Braces take advantage of this in a controlled manner. The orthodontist bonds brackets to the outside face of the teeth through which they pass a thin metal wire. They attach the ends of the wire to the brackets (braces), usually on the back teeth. By using the tension placed in the wire, the orthodontist can control the gradual movement of teeth to achieve proper function and aesthetics. The orthodontist continues to monitor the treatment progress, while making periodic adjustments to the tension.
It takes time, but through this marvelous interplay between nature and dental science you'll gain a more healthy and beautiful smile.
If you would like more information on improving your smile with orthodontics, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can also learn more about this topic by reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “Moving Teeth with Orthodontics.”
Have you ever wondered if it was really necessary to fill a baby tooth that would soon be lost? The family dentists at Cosmic Kids Dentistry in Lake Havasu City, AZ, explain how fillings and other restorative cosmetic dentistry treatments protect your child's smile.
Why are restorative cosmetic dentistry treatments needed?
Restorative treatments restore decayed areas of primary (baby) and secondary sets of teeth and are also used to strengthen and stabilize teeth and improve their appearance. The treatments are important even if tooth decay or damage occurs in a baby tooth. A baby tooth holds a space in your child's mouth for the secondary tooth that will replace it and also helps guide the newly erupted secondary tooth into place.
Teeth also play an important role in speech development. If your child is missing teeth, he or she may develop a lisp or may have difficulty pronouncing certain words. Restoring teeth also makes chewing easier. If your child finds it difficult to chew, he or she may not be able to eat the variety of foods needed to stay healthy.
What types of restorative treatments do children typically receive?
Treatments vary depending on the condition of the tooth, but may include:
- Fillings: After the decayed portion of the tooth is removed, fillings fill and seal the space in the tooth and restore the chewing surface. Either silver amalgam or tooth-colored composite resin fillings may be used to fill your child's teeth in our Lake Havasu City office. If decay affects front teeth or tooth roots, glass ionomer fillings may be used.
- Crowns: Crowns may be needed if tooth decay is extensive or if a tooth is broken or cracked. Crowns are hollow inside and slip over your child's teeth. Also called caps, these restorations not only restore broken teeth but prevent cracks from progressing to fractures.
- Root Canal Therapy: Root canal therapy is needed if tooth pulp becomes inflamed or infected. Without the therapy, your child will lose his or her tooth. After the pulp is removed, the tooth functions normally and can be used to chew and bite once again.
Restorative dentistry treatments help keep your child's teeth healthy. If your child complains of tooth pain or has injured a tooth, call the family dentists at Cosmic Kids Dentistry in Lake Havasu City, AZ, at (928) 855-7717 to schedule an appointment.
Can you have healthy teeth and still have gum disease? Absolutely! And if you don’t believe us, just ask actor David Ramsey. The cast member of TV hits such as Dexter and Arrow said in a recent interview that up to the present day, he has never had a single cavity. Yet at a routine dental visit during his college years, Ramsey’s dentist pointed out how easily his gums bled during the exam. This was an early sign of periodontal (gum) disease, the dentist told him.
“I learned that just because you don’t have cavities, doesn’t mean you don’t have periodontal disease,” Ramsey said.
Apparently, Ramsey had always been very conscientious about brushing his teeth but he never flossed them.
“This isn’t just some strange phenomenon that exists just in my house — a lot of people who brush don’t really floss,” he noted.
Unfortunately, that’s true — and we’d certainly like to change it. So why is flossing so important?
Oral diseases such as tooth decay and periodontal disease often start when dental plaque, a bacteria-laden film that collects on teeth, is allowed to build up. These sticky deposits can harden into a substance called tartar or calculus, which is irritating to the gums and must be removed during a professional teeth cleaning.
Brushing teeth is one way to remove soft plaque, but it is not effective at reaching bacteria or food debris between teeth. That’s where flossing comes in. Floss can fit into spaces that your toothbrush never reaches. In fact, if you don’t floss, you’re leaving about a thirdÂ to half of your tooth surfaces unclean — and, as David Ramsey found out, that’s a path to periodontal disease.
Since then, however, Ramsey has become a meticulous flosser, and he proudly notes that the long-ago dental appointment “was the last we heard of any type of gum disease.”
Let that be the same for you! Just remember to brush and floss, eat a good diet low in sugar, and come in to the dental office for regular professional cleanings.
If you would like more information on flossing or periodontal disease, please contact us today to schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can also learn more by reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “Understanding Gum (Periodontal) Disease.”