Posts for: June, 2017
So you’re tearing up the dance floor at a friend’s wedding, when all of a sudden one of your pals lands an accidental blow to your face — chipping out part of your front tooth, which lands right on the floorboards! Meanwhile, your wife (who is nine months pregnant) is expecting you home in one piece, and you may have to pose for a picture with the baby at any moment. What will you do now?
Take a tip from Prince William of England. According to the British tabloid The Daily Mail, the future king found himself in just this situation in 2013. His solution: Pay a late-night visit to a discreet dentist and get it fixed up — then stay calm and carry on!
Actually, dental emergencies of this type are fairly common. While nobody at the palace is saying exactly what was done for the damaged tooth, there are several ways to remedy this dental dilemma.
If the broken part is relatively small, chances are the tooth can be repaired by bonding with composite resin. In this process, tooth-colored material is used to replace the damaged, chipped or discolored region. Composite resin is a super-strong mixture of plastic and glass components that not only looks quite natural, but bonds tightly to the natural tooth structure. Best of all, the bonding procedure can usually be accomplished in just one visit to the dental office — there’s no lab work involved. And while it won’t last forever, a bonded tooth should hold up well for at least several years with only routine dental care.
If a larger piece of the tooth is broken off and recovered, it is sometimes possible to reattach it via bonding. However, for more serious damage — like a severely fractured or broken tooth — a crown (cap) may be required. In this restoration process, the entire visible portion of the tooth may be capped with a sturdy covering made of porcelain, gold, or porcelain fused to a gold metal alloy.
A crown restoration is more involved than bonding. It begins with making a 3-D model of the damaged tooth and its neighbors. From this model, a tooth replica will be fabricated by a skilled technician; it will match the existing teeth closely and fit into the bite perfectly. Next, the damaged tooth will be prepared, and the crown will be securely attached to it. Crown restorations are strong, lifelike and permanent.
Was the future king “crowned” — or was his tooth bonded? We may never know for sure. But it’s good to know that even if we’ll never be royals, we still have several options for fixing a damaged tooth. If you would like more information, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can learn more by reading the Dear Doctor magazine articles “Repairing Chipped Teeth” and “Crowns and Bridgework.”
Dental implants are widely considered by both dentists and patients as the premier choice for replacing missing teeth. Unfortunately, implants aren’t the appropriate choice for teenagers with missing teeth.
That’s because their jaws won’t fully finish most of their growth and development until early adulthood. An implant placed too early could become misaligned as the jaw matures. The best approach for a teenager is a temporary restoration until they’re old enough for an implant.
There are a couple of good options. One is a removable partial denture (RPD), prosthetic (false) teeth set in an acrylic base that mimics gum tissue at the locations of the missing teeth. RPDs, which stay in place by way of metal clips that fit over other teeth, are easy to wear and maintain.
On the downside, an RPD can break if you bite into something too hard. They can lose their fit and may need to be replaced with a new one. And, some teens aren’t quite keen on wearing a “denture.”
Another option is a bonded or Maryland bridge, a kind of fixed bridge. We bond dental material to the back of a prosthetic tooth with portions of the material extending out from either side of it.Â We then bond these extending tabs to the back of the teeth on either side of the prosthetic tooth to hold it in place. Unlike traditional bridges, we can eventually remove it without any permanent alterations to the teeth it’s attached to.
Before we undertake a bonded bridge, though, we must make sure the gums and bone of the surrounding teeth are free from periodontal (gum) disease and are healthy and strong enough to support the bridge. We also need to be sure the patient doesn’t have a deep bite or a teeth grinding habit, which could cause the teeth to make contact with the tabs and break them.
The patient also needs the maturity to responsibly perform diligent oral hygiene: this type of bridge has a tendency to build up disease-causing plaque, so brushing twice and flossing once every day is critical. Not doing so increases the risk of tooth decay or periodontal (gum) disease, which could complicate a future implant.
We can discuss these options after a thorough dental examination of your teenager. Either way, we’ll be able to restore your teen’s smile until we can undertake a more permanent restoration.
Wearing metal braces isn't the only way to get straighter teeth. Our Homer, AK, dentist, Dr. James Bourne, explains a few advantages of Invisalign, a popular orthodontic option.
Aligners instead of wires
Do you dislike the idea of wearing metal wires and brackets in your mouth? When you choose the Invisalign system, you can straighten your teeth without the metal. Aligner trays are worn over your upper and lower teeth and are made of soft, clear plastic. Each set of aligners is designed to be worn for two weeks at a time. After the two weeks is up, you'll put the trays away and begin wearing a new set. The aligner trays re-position your teeth by exerting constant, gentle pressure on them.
No need to hide your braces
Some people don't mind wearing metal braces, but others keep their teeth hidden as much as possible when they have them. Because Invisalign aligner trays are clear, they offer a much more attractive alternative to traditional braces. Aligners are designed to fit your teeth snugly, which makes them almost invisible.
Invisalign corrects a range of orthodontic problems
Have you been told you have an overbite, underbite, crossbite or open bite? Invisalign can correct all of these bite problems, in addition to crowding and spacing issues. The system is just as effective as traditional braces in correcting mild to moderate orthodontic issues. If your issues are severe, you may still need to wear metal or ceramic braces.
Invisalign offers a special benefit for adults
You many only need to wear your aligner trays for approximately one year if you're an adult. If you're a teenager, you'll probably wear braces for about two years or longer, regardless of the type.
Invisalign fits your lifestyle
One of the most popular Invisalign benefits is the ability to remove the trays for a few hours from time to time. If you play soccer, basketball or another sport in Homer, you can take your aligner trays out during your games or practices. Some people also prefer to go without their aligners if they'll be attending special events.
Are you ready to find out if Invisalign is the perfect orthodontic option for you? Call Homer, AK, dentist, Dr. Bourne, at (907) 235-8574 to schedule an appointment.