Posts for: January, 2018
Want to know the exact wrong way to pry open a stubborn lid? Just ask Jimmy Fallon, host of NBC-TV’s popular “Tonight Show.” When the 40-year-old funnyman had trouble opening a tube of scar tissue repair gel with his hands, he decided to try using his teeth.
What happened next wasn’t funny: Attempting to remove the cap, Fallon chipped his front tooth, adding another medical problem to the serious finger injury he suffered a few weeks before (the same wound he was trying to take care of with the gel). If there’s a moral to this story, it might be this: Use the right tool for the job… and that tool isn’t your teeth!
Yet Fallon is hardly alone in his dilemma. According to the American Association of Endodontists, chipped teeth account for the majority of dental injuries. Fortunately, modern dentistry offers a number of great ways to restore damaged teeth.
If the chip is relatively small, it’s often possible to fix it with cosmetic bonding. In this procedure, tough, natural-looking resin is used to fill in the part of the tooth that has been lost. Built up layer by layer, the composite resin is cured with a special light until it’s hard, shiny… and difficult to tell from your natural teeth. Best of all, cosmetic bonding can often be done in one office visit, with little or no discomfort. It can last for up to ten years, so it’s great for kids who may be getting more permanent repairs later.
For larger chips or cracks, veneers or crowns may be suggested. Veneers are wafer-thin porcelain coverings that go over the entire front surface of one or more teeth. They can be used to repair minor to moderate defects, such as chips, discolorations, or spacing irregularities. They can also give you the “Hollywood white” smile you’ve seen on many celebrities.
Veneers are generally custom-made in a lab, and require more than one office visit. Because a small amount of tooth structure must be removed in order to put them in place, veneers are considered an irreversible treatment. But durable and long-lasting veneers are the restorations of choice for many people.
Crowns (also called caps) are used when even more of the tooth structure is missing. They can replace the entire visible part of the tooth, as long as the tooth’s roots remain viable. Crowns, like veneers, are custom-fabricated to match your teeth in size, shape and color; they are generally made in a dental lab and require more than one office visit. However, teeth restored with crowns function well, look natural, and can last for many years.
So what happened to Jimmy Fallon? We aren’t sure which restoration he received… but we do know that he was back on TV the same night, flashing a big smile.
If you would like more information about tooth restorations, please contact us or schedule a consultation. You can learn more in the Dear Doctor magazine articles “Porcelain Crowns & Veneers” and “Artistic Repair Of Front Teeth With Composite Resin.”
Could a tooth extraction actually benefit your child’s growing smile for the long run?
We know that as parents you are working hard to make sure that your child gets the health care they need to grow up healthy and strong. Part of keeping them healthy also means visiting our Lake Havasu, AZ, pediatric dentists for regular dental cleanings and exams. Of course, in some instances, we may recommend that your child get a tooth extraction. Find out more about this procedure and why it’s necessary.
If our Lake Havasu, AZ, children’s dentists decide that a tooth extraction is something your little one could benefit from then it could be for several reasons. In most cases, a tooth extraction is performed if,
- There is such extensive decay that a tooth can’t be saved
- A tooth has a fracture that goes below the gumline
- There is severe crowding (a tooth extraction can be beneficial before orthodontic treatment to free up space)
How is a tooth extraction performed?
The type of extraction will really depend on your child’s specific needs. If the tooth has fully erupted then it can often be removed with a simple extraction, in which we will numb the area with local anesthesia before removing the whole tooth with forceps.
Of course, if the tooth hasn’t fully erupted from the gums (also known as an impaction) then we will need to perform a more advanced extraction in which your child will be given not just local anesthesia but also sedation dentistry so they don’t feel discomfort during their treatment. In this case, we will need to open up the gums to reveal the tooth. From there the tooth is broken into multiple pieces before being removed.
How do you care for your little one’s smile post-extraction?
The recovery process will be different depending on the type of extraction your child received. Of course, we will always place a sterile piece of gauze over the area to make sure that a blood clot forms. The blood clot is crucial for healing.
We may also prescribe a painkiller for your child to take to reduce pain during the recovery process. You may also apply a wrapped ice pack to the face where the extraction is to ease pain and swelling.
You will need to alter their diet to make sure they are only eating soft foods. Do not let your little one drink from a straw, as the sucking motion could loosen the blood clot. We will also provide tips on how to properly brush and floss after a tooth extraction.
Cosmic Kids Dentistry in Lake Havasu, AZ, boasts compassionate, gentle care to child of all ages. We know that the dentist isn’t the most fun part about being a kid but we certainly make sure to provide customized pediatric dentistry so that your child feels comfortable and happy coming into our office.
There’s a lot to like about dental implants for replacing missing teeth. Not only are they life-like, but because they replace the root they also function much like a natural tooth. They also have another unique benefit: a track record for long-lasting durability. It’s estimated more than 95% of implants survive at least ten years, with a potential longevity of more than 40 years.
But even with this impressive record, we should still look at the few that didn’t and determine the reasons why they failed. We’ll soon find that a great number of those reasons will have to do with both oral and general health.
For example, implants rely on adequate bone structure for support. Over time bone cells grow and adhere to the implant’s titanium surface to create the durable hold responsible for their longevity. But if conditions like periodontal (gum) disease have damaged the bone, there might not be enough to support an implant.
We may be able to address this inadequacy at the outset with a bone graft to encourage growth, gaining enough perhaps to eventually support an implant. But if bone loss is too extensive, it may be necessary to opt for a different type of restoration.
Slower healing conditions caused by diseases like diabetes, osteoporosis or compromised immune systems can also impact implant success. If healing is impeded after placement surgery the implant may not integrate well with the bone. An infection that existed before surgery or resulted afterward could also have much the same effect.
Oral diseases, especially gum disease, can contribute to later implant failures. Although the implant’s materials won’t be affected by the infection, the surrounding gum tissues and bone can. An infection can quickly develop into a condition known as peri-implantitis that can weaken these supporting structures and cause the implant to loosen and give way. That’s why prompt treatment of gum disease is vital for an affected implant.
The bottom line: maintaining good oral and general health, or improving it, can help keep your implant out of the failure column. Perform daily brushing and flossing (even after you receive your implant) and see your dentist regularly to help stop dental disease. Don’t delay treatment for gum disease or other dental conditions. And seek medical care to bring any systemic diseases like diabetes under control.
If you would like more information on dental implants, 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 “Dental Implants: A Tooth-Replacement Method that Rarely Fails.”