Six Month Smiles: Short Term Orthodontics for a Beautiful Smile

Six Month Smiles is a type of bracket and wire orthodontic correction for straightening the front upper and lower teeth in approximately six months; although treatment times vary depending on individual misalignment problems.

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The Real Dangers of Snoring

While snoring maybe something we laugh about in the movies or on TV, in real life it can literally be life threatening.

For some people, snoring can develop into Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA), a condition in which moments are experienced during sleep when breathing completely stops. When you consider that this may happen more than 50 times an hour during sleep, you can clearly see how destructive this can be to overall health. In fact, the risks of undiagnosed OSA include heart attacks, strokes, impotence, irregular heartbeat, high blood pressure, and heart disease. On a positive note, there are treatment options that can help. In addition to exercising and losing weight if you are over the normal range, there is more that can be done quite simply.

Did you know that a dentist trained in sleep disorders can play a key role in your treatment? One way is by making an oral appliance, a custom device that is similar to a retainer or sports mouthpiece, that is worn during sleep. To learn more about sleep apnea and your treatment options, discuss them with your dentist during your next routine exam.

 

Treatment for Loose Teeth

Explaining the treatment of loose teeth is actually much more complicated than this brief review will allow. For this reason, it is important for you to see your dentist or a periodontist for a detailed assessment and correct diagnosis of what is causing your teeth to be loose. However, what you are experiencing sounds like the end result of periodontal (gum) disease, in which bone that normally supports the teeth (together with the periodontal ligament that attaches bone to the teeth) is progressively lost.

Looseness of teeth is the result of occlusal trauma (“occlusal” – bite; “trauma” – injury) that can literally damage the remaining periodontal structures of the teeth. Occlusal trauma comes in two varieties:

  • Primary occlusal trauma — an excess force applied to normal periodontal structures that is usually caused by parafunctional forces (“para” – beyond; “function” – normal range) such as clenching or grinding habits.
  • Secondary occlusal trauma — normal biting forces applied to a tooth that has lost significant bone support or periodontal attachment.
  • A combination of both, in which excessive biting forces are applied to weakened or reduced periodontal structures (teeth that have lost bone due to periodontal disease).

Looseness of teeth is mostly caused by secondary trauma, as a result of bacterial plaque-induced periodontal disease. The approach to treatment of loose teeth is both biologic and mechanical. The biological approach involves treatment of the gum disease that must be addressed first to provide an environment in which the periodontal attachment can heal.

The mechanical approach involves modifying forces applied to the teeth, treating the effects of the force on the periodontal ligament (the attachment mechanism of the teeth to the bone) and also by modifying the amount of biting force generated by the jaw muscles and received by the teeth during biting. This can be achieved in a number of ways, depending upon the degree of looseness of the teeth. Here is a summary of current methods:

  • Occlusal (Bite) Adjustment: First, the bite or occlusion (how the teeth meet together), can be adjusted by minor reshaping of the biting surfaces of the teeth so that they receive less force. This procedure is known as occlusal adjustment by selective grinding and requires knowledge and skill of how bites work and function.
  • Splinting: If the teeth are very loose, they can be splinted or joined together like pickets in a fence so that any biting force is distributed among groups of teeth rather than individual loosened teeth.
    • Temporary Splinting can be achieved by joining the teeth together with:
      • Extra-coronal Splints (“extra” – outside; “coronal” – crown): With this approach, splinting materials are attached to a group of teeth generally by bonding to the enamel, thus making them more rigid.
      • Intra-coronal Splints (“intra” – inside): These splints involve cutting a small channel into the teeth, inserting a rigid custom formed metal splint and bonding or cementing it in place to stabilize the teeth.
    • Permanent Or Fixed Splinting: This method literally (and permanently) “fixes” loose teeth together by crowning the affected teeth and fabricating a splint in which the crowns are joined or fused together.
    • Occlusal Splints Or Guards: If parafunctional clenching or grinding habits are evident, then a removable occlusal splint or bite guard may further protect the teeth from the consequences of too much biting force. Since parafunctional forces and habits tend to be stress related, these removable guards can be used during times of tension, stress or when these bad habits are evident.

Another approach that is sometimes used to treat loose teeth is by orthodontic treatment — to reposition teeth so that they receive forces more evenly and appropriately. However, it can be a complicated process — especially if there is underlying periodontal disease that must be controlled before orthodontic treatment can be successful. When applied correctly, the controlled forces used in orthodontics to move the teeth can actually be used to regenerate lost bone and create new periodontal attachment.

The long term outlook or prognosis of the teeth must be considered before deciding upon treatment options. While temporary splinting options may buy you some time, the teeth themselves may need to be replaced if the damage to the periodontal structures is severe. See your dentist or a periodontist for a complete examination and consultation to learn all your options.

 

Smile That Dazzles, Think Veneers

Professional models, actors, and politicians do it. They’re changing their smiles—and they have influenced a growing number of people to take the same step by asking dentists to give them veneers.

Simply put, a veneer is a covering, something like the thin layer on a piece of furniture that gives it the look of natural wood. When it comes to your teeth, a veneer refers to a thin covering made of porcelain or composite resin material. It can mask discolorations, brighten teeth, and generally improve your smile.

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Dental Alerts for Heart Patients and Smokers

Test your knowledge of these facts about sound dental care.

Questions

1. Everyone with a heart condition should take an antibiotic before dental treatment. True or False?

2. Smoking increases your risk for, and the progress of, gum disease. True or False?

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Recovering from oral surgery

Oral surgery may be required for a variety of reasons. You may have an impacted tooth trapped in the jawbone or a tooth that is poorly positioned and damaging neighboring teeth. It is especially common to have these types of problems with growing wisdom teeth. Oral surgery is also necessary for the placement of dental implants and for a few types of gum treatments.

After surgery, it is normal for the area to be tender for the first few days but, in most cases, over-the-counter pain relief is enough to ease any discomfort. You should avoid aspirin because it thins the blood and can make your mouth bleed. In some cases your doctor may suggest prescription painkillers. Whatever your method of pain relief, be sure to start taking it immediately after surgery – don’t wait until pain sets in. It’s far easier to prevent pain than to make it go away.

Here are some steps you can take following surgery to promote the healing process:

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If your child needs anesthesia

If your child needs a difficult or complex dental procedure, your dentist may recommend options for sedation to help control your child’s anxiety. It’s important to be informed about the benefits and risks of any dental treatment for your child.

Before any type of procedure, give the dental office your child’s most up-to-date health history – including allergies and any medications that your child is currently taking. Here are some questions you may want to ask your dentist about sedation procedures:

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Anxious About Seeing the Dentist? Sedation Dentistry will Ease Your Fears!

If you’re anxious about seeing the dentist for treatment, scared about feeling pain or hate needles.

Fortunately, with sedation dentistry  you’ll feel completely relaxed, and totally comfortable throughout your dental treatment. Your dental work will be completed when you “wake up.”

 

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