Posts for: April, 2018
Some people are lucky — they never seem to have a mishap, dental or otherwise. But for the rest of us, accidents just happen sometimes. Take actor Jamie Foxx, for example. A few years ago, he actually had a dentist intentionally chip one of his teeth so he could portray a homeless man more realistically. But recently, he got a chipped tooth in the more conventional way… well, conventional in Hollywood, anyway. It happened while he was shooting the movie Sleepless with co-star Michelle Monaghan.
“Yeah, we were doing a scene and somehow the action cue got thrown off or I wasn't looking,” he told an interviewer. “But boom! She comes down the pike. And I could tell because all this right here [my teeth] are fake. So as soon as that hit, I could taste the little chalkiness, but we kept rolling.” Ouch! So what's the best way to repair a chipped tooth? The answer it: it all depends…
For natural teeth that have only a small chip or minor crack, cosmetic bonding is a quick and relatively easy solution. In this procedure, a tooth-colored composite resin, made of a plastic matrix with inorganic glass fillers, is applied directly to the tooth's surface and then hardened or “cured” by a special light. Bonding offers a good color match, but isn't recommended if a large portion of the tooth structure is missing. It's also less permanent than other types of restoration, but may last up to 10 years.
When more of the tooth is missing, a crown or dental veneer may be a better answer. Veneers are super strong, wafer-thin coverings that are placed over the entire front surface of the tooth. They are made in a lab from a model of your teeth, and applied in a separate procedure that may involve removal of some natural tooth material. They can cover moderate chips or cracks, and even correct problems with tooth color or spacing.
A crown is the next step up: It's a replacement for the entire visible portion of the tooth, and may be needed when there's extensive damage. Like veneers, crowns (or caps) are made from models of your bite, and require more than one office visit to place; sometimes a root canal may also be needed to save the natural tooth. However, crowns are strong, natural looking, and can last many years.
But what about teeth like Jamie's, which have already been restored? That's a little more complicated than repairing a natural tooth. If the chip is small, it may be possible to smooth it off with standard dental tools. Sometimes, bonding material can be applied, but it may not bond as well with a restoration as it will with a natural tooth; plus, the repaired restoration may not last as long as it should. That's why, in many cases, we will advise that the entire restoration be replaced — it's often the most predictable and long-lasting solution.
Oh, and one more piece of advice: Get a custom-made mouthguard — and use it! This relatively inexpensive device, made in our office from a model of your own teeth, can save you from a serious mishap… whether you're doing Hollywood action scenes, playing sports or just riding a bike. It's the best way to protect your smile from whatever's coming at it!
If you have questions about repairing chipped teeth, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can also learn more by reading the Dear Doctor magazine articles “Artistic Repair of Chipped Teeth With Composite Resin” and “Porcelain Veneers.”
Make sure you are giving your teeth and gums the proper attention and care they need.
We know that most people understand that brushing their teeth is an essential part of keeping a healthy smile. Of course, just the act of brushing doesn’t necessarily mean that you are doing everything you could for your oral health. Our Novi, MI, dentist Dr. David Salah is here to provide helpful tips for maintaining good oral hygiene habits.
We know that brushing is an obvious habit but are you actually doing it right? Some brushing tips include:
- Angling your toothbrush head at a 45-degree angle toward your gums and brushing in circular motions
- Brushing at least twice a day, preferably in the morning and again at night
- Remembering to brush for a minimum of two minutes each time you brush
- Replacing your toothbrush head every 3-4 months or after an illness
While brushing is the best thing you can do to keep front, back and chewing surfaces of teeth clean, flossing is crucial if you want to remove plaque from between teeth and prevent decay in these areas. If you aren’t flossing once a day then you aren’t getting your smile as clean as it needs to be. Ideally, you should floss right before bedtime and prior to brushing, to dislodge and remove plaque and food from between teeth before brushing your teeth.
While maintaining a beautiful, healthy smile starts at home, you will still want to visit your Novi, MI, general dentist twice a year if you want to ensure that you are keeping teeth and gums healthy. These visits are pretty simple and besides giving you a cleaner, brighter smile, these exams are also instrumental in the early detection of decay, gum disease, an infection or other dental problems.
What you eat can also greatly impact your oral health. If you have a diet that is high in processed foods, sugars or starches then you’ll be at a much greater risk for developing cavities. Your teeth, gums and jawbone all need certain nutrients to thrive. Follow a healthy, balanced diet that offers a variety of vegetables, fruits, lean proteins, whole grains and low-fat dairy. Drink lots of water and avoid sugar, sports drinks, most fruit juices (unless they don’t have added sugar) and alcohol.
Do you have questions about your oral hygiene? Is it time for your next routine cleaning? Whatever the case might be, the dental team at Progressive Dental Group is here to help. Call us today.
In an instant, an accident could leave you or a loved one with a missing tooth. Thankfully, we can restore it with a dental implant that looks and functions like a real tooth—and the sooner the better.
But if the patient is a teenager or younger, sooner may have to be later. Because their jaws are still developing, an implant placed now could eventually look as if it's sinking into the gums as the jaw continues to grow and the implant doesn't move. It's best to wait until full jaw maturity around early adulthood and in the meantime use a temporary replacement.
But that wait could pose a problem with bone health. As living tissue, bone cells have a life cycle where they form, function and then dissolve (resorption) with new cells taking their place. This cycle continues at a healthy rate thanks to stimulation from forces generated by the teeth during chewing that travel through the roots to the bone.
When a tooth goes missing, however, so does this stimulation. Without it the bone's growth cycle can slow to an unhealthy rate, ultimately reducing bone volume. Because implants require a certain amount of bone for proper placement and support, this could make it difficult if not impossible to install one.
We can help prevent this by placing a bone graft immediately after the removal of a tooth within the tooth's "socket." The graft serves as a scaffold for new bone cells to form and grow upon. The graft will eventually resorb leaving the newly formed bone in its place.
We can also fine-tune and slow the graft's resorption rate. This may be preferable for a younger patient with years to go before their permanent restoration. In the meantime, you can still proceed with other dental treatments including orthodontics.
By carefully monitoring a young patient's bone health and other aspects of their dental care, we can keep on course for an eventual permanent restoration. With the advances in implantology, the final smile result will be worth the wait.
If you would like more information on dental care for trauma injuries, 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 for Teenagers: Factors Influencing Treatment Planning in Adolescents.”