Posts for: September, 2019
Although techniques and materials have changed, dentists still follow basic principles for treating tooth decay that date from the late 19th Century. And for good reason: They work. These principles first developed by Dr. G.V. Black—the "father of modern dentistry"—are widely credited with saving millions of teeth over the last century.
One of the most important of these treatment protocols is something known as "extension for prevention." In basic terms, it means a dentist removes not only decayed tooth structure but also healthy structure vulnerable to decay. But although effective in saving teeth, practicing this principle can result in loss of otherwise healthy tissue, which can weaken the tooth.
But with new advances in dentistry, decay treatment is getting an overhaul. While Dr. Black's time-tested protocols remain foundational, dentists are finding new ways to preserve more of the tooth structure in a concept known as minimally invasive dentistry (MID).
Better diagnostic tools. Because tooth decay can ultimately infect and damage the tooth's interior, roots and supporting bone, the best way to preserve more of the tooth structure is to treat it as early as possible. Now, new diagnostic tools like digital x-rays, microscopic magnification and optical scanning are helping dentists detect and treat decay earlier, thus reducing how much tissue is removed.
Better prevention methods. Oral hygiene and regular dental care are our basic weapons in the war with tooth decay. In addition, utilizing topical fluoride in combination with a milk-derived product called CPP-ACP dentists can get more of the cavity-fighting organic compound into the tooth enamel to strengthen it against acid attack.
Better treatment techniques. Using air abrasion (a fine particle spray that works like a miniature sandblaster) and lasers, dentists can now remove decayed structure with less harm to healthy tissue than with a traditional dental drill. And new, stronger dental fillings like those made with composite resins require less structural removal to accommodate them.
With these innovative approaches, dentists aren't just saving teeth, they're preserving more of their structure. And that can improve your overall dental health for the long-term.
If you would like more information on minimally invasive dentistry, 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 “Minimally Invasive Dentistry: When Less Care is More.”
If you had a dental emergency, would you know what to do? If you knocked out a tooth, lost a filling, or had a tooth which just didn't feel right, don't ignore the problem. Call Eagle Dental for the best emergency dentistry in Homer, AK. Dr. James Bourne and his caring team will stabilize your condition and restore your oral health.
What is a dental emergency?
It's any urgent oral health problem--something which needs professional attention right away. Perhaps it impacts your personal appearance, your speech, or oral functions such as biting and chewing. Or, you may be experiencing intense pain or profuse bleeding. Dental emergencies may include:
- An avulsed, or knocked out, tooth
- Fractured or laterally displaced tooth
- Cracked crown, denture or filling
- Dental sensitivity to heat, cold or sugar
- Swollen jaw or gums
- Broken orthodontic appliance
Things you can do
If you knock out a tooth, try to replant it roots-down into the empty socket. Alternately, save it between your cheek and gums, or place it in a covered container with water or milk. Be sure to rinse it with clear water first, but do not remove any remaining soft tissue. Your dentist may be able to save your tooth if you see him quickly.
If you cut your lips, tongue, gums or other soft tissues, apply direct pressure with a clean cloth or 4x4 gauze. Ice the area to reduce swelling, and go to the hospital emergency room if bleeding doesn't stop within 15 minutes.
A cracked crown, denture or tooth compromises appearance and function. Take the pieces to Dr. Bourne. Often, a cracked or chipped tooth repairs well with application of composite resin or placement of a new porcelain crown.
When a tooth throbs with pain, take over the counter acetaminophen or ibuprofen. Apply a warm compress to your jaw. Get an appointment at Eagle Dental as you may have a cavity or dental abscess.
Look good and feel good
Dr. James Bourne and his caring team take your dental emergency very seriously. Please contact the office right away, and get the help you need and deserve. Phone Eagle Dental at (907) 235-8574.
Once upon a time, braces were the way to straighten a smile. They were—and continue to be—an effective orthodontic treatment especially for younger patients. But braces do have a few drawbacks, one of the biggest being appearance: when you're wearing braces, everyone can see you're wearing them.
That changed a couple of decades ago with the introduction of clear aligners. Removable plastic trays that incrementally move teeth, aligners have quickly become popular for a number of reasons. Perhaps their biggest attraction is that they're barely noticeable.
There's now a third option for correcting crooked teeth: lingual braces. They're similar to the traditional version, but with one big difference: all of the hardware is on the back side of the teeth.
Ironically, two orthodontists an ocean apart developed the idea, and for different reasons. A Beverly Hills orthodontist was looking for an invisible tooth-moving method that would appeal to his image-conscious patients. The other in Japan wanted to offer his martial arts patients, who risked injury from facial blows with traditional braces, a safer alternative.
These two motivations illustrate the two biggest advantages to lingual braces. The brackets and other hardware are attached to the back of the teeth (on the tongue side, hence the term "lingual") and exert the tooth-moving force by pulling, in contrast to the pushing motion of labial ("lip-side") braces. They're thus invisible (even to the wearer) and they won't damage the soft tissues of the cheeks, lips and gums if a wearer encounters blunt force trauma to the mouth.
They do, however, have their disadvantages. For one, they're often 15-35 percent more expensive than traditional braces. They're also a little more difficult to get used to—they can affect speech and cause tongue discomfort. Most patients, though, get used to them within a week. And, being a relatively new approach, not all orthodontists offer them as a treatment option yet.
If you're interested in this approach to teeth straightening, speak with your orthodontist to see if they're right for you. But if you do take this route, you may have a more pleasing and safe experience.
If you would like more information on orthodontic treatment with lingual braces, 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 “Lingual Braces: A Truly Invisible Way to Straighten Teeth.”