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Chipped Teeth Choices

If you have a chipped tooth, you’re not alone! In fact, chipped teeth are the most common dental injury today. But don’t let that little-known fact fool you into ignoring a chipped tooth; any type of dental trauma deserves immediate attention. A small chip may not cause you pain, but there could be damage underneath the surface of the tooth. Our dentist can rule out cracks or internal tooth problems that aren’t visible to the naked eye. And in many cases, your chipped tooth can be repaired in just one visit.

Options

Chipped tooth treatments vary according to the amount of damage. Depending on your situation, any one of these chipped tooth treatments may be an option for you:

Dental Bonding — Most chips can be corrected with dental bonding. Dental bonding is an efficient, durable and cost-effective way to correct minor chips.

Enamel Shaping — Often used in conjunction with dental bonding, enamel shaping can also correct small chips or surface flaws. During enamel shaping, a small portion of the tooth’s surface is removed or recontoured to smooth out imperfections.

Dental Veneers – If the chip is significant and dental bonding or enamel shaping can’t be used, you may need a veneer. These thin, porcelain wafers completely cover the surface of the tooth and are often used for front teeth.

Root Canal – Pain in the location of the chip can be a sign that the nerve is exposed. If that’s the case, a root canal may be necessary to save the tooth.

Dental Crown — A dental crown is used to completely cover larger teeth or to cap a tooth after a root canal.

Tooth Extraction — If the tooth can’t be saved, a tooth extraction may be necessary. The good news is a dental bridge or dental implants can replace missing teeth.

What Is Cementum?

What Is Cementum?

Cementum is a hard layer of tissue that helps the periodontal ligament attach firmly to a tooth. Made of cementoblasts, cementum slowly forms over a lifetime.

Cementum is a hard, calcified layer of tissue that covers the root of the tooth. On its outer side, cementum is attached to the periodontal ligament; on its inner side, the dentin. Along with the periodontal ligament, alveolar bone and gingiva, cementum helps a tooth stay in its place. In fact, if it weren’t for cementum, the periodontal ligament wouldn’t be able to attach firmly to a tooth.

Slowly formed throughout life, cementum is created when the root of the tooth excretes cementoblasts. Though cementoblasts are somewhat of a mystery, it is known that cementum is yellow in color and softer than dentin. Its chemical makeup is similar to that of bone — but unlike bone, cementum is avascular (not supported by blood vessels).

Types of Cementum

There are three types of cementum: acellular cementum, cellular cementum and afibrillar cementum. Acellular cementum covers about 1/3-1/2 of the root and has little to no cellular components. Cellular cementum covers about 1/3-1/2 of the apex and is permeable. Afibrillar cementum sometimes extends onto the enamel of the tooth.

If you have periodontal disease, your acellular cementum, cellular cementum or afibrillar cementum may also be diseased. A gum disease treatment called scaling and root planing can be performed to remove the diseased cementum, as well as dental tartar and diseased dentin.

If it has been awhile since your last dental visit, make an appointment today.

Prevention: Let It Shine

While lasers were at one time just material for science fiction writers, they’ve become a common part of our everyday life. They zap through your groceries, they open garage doors … and now they can detect wear and tear on your tooth’s surface before it becomes a cavity.

Is it caries [cavity]? Or is it a healthy tooth? Dentists often experience anxiety when attempting to diagnose the phenomenon known as hidden caries. A suspicious-looking tooth presents a treatment dilemma for dentists. Should the tooth be opened up? What if no cavity is found? Should the tooth just be watched? Or does that give caries more time to destroy the tooth’s structure? In the case of hidden caries, traditional diagnostic methods all too frequently yield indeterminate results. If you can’t detect a sub-surface lesion, how can you treat it?

Diagnodent is a revolutionary new dental laser tool that safely and effectively detects changes on your tooth’s surface that might not be visible on a traditional x-ray. When this light source is directed at your tooth, anything unusual about the tooth’s surface, such as the beginnings of a surface breakdown, or the start of a cavity, causes a different type of light to be bounced back to the instrument. This light is transferred into an acoustic signal and the wavelength is then evaluated by the control unit. This lets us know what type of preventive treatment you might need. Diagnodent can even detect decay occurring under a crown, allowing us to quickly catch what could later become a problem.

Treatment decisions require a higher degree of certainty. The Diagnodent laser caries detection aid removes the doubt from treatment decisions regarding hidden caries or questionable stained grooves. The device’s ability to see into a tooth’s biting surface pits and fissures enables dentists to treat sub-surface caries lesions with confidence.

We want to ensure that every tooth remains yours for life, and that your visit to our office is comfortable and pleasant. Diagnodent is a unique development that will not only reduce your need for x-rays, it will catch problems before they even get started.

Regular Dental Check-ups

One of the most common reasons that people avoid the dentist is that they think that everything is ok. Their logic is simple; no pain means no problems. Unfortunately, most dental conditions including cavities, gum disease and oral cancer give little or no warning, because they may remain painless for months or even many years. By the time a person is in pain, the dental problem is usually so advanced that the treatment required may be much more involved, costly and may require more down time after the procedure.

Everyday, your dentist sees patients with untreated cavities that eventually cause infection to the nerves and blood supply within the tooth. A tooth that may have only needed a simple and inexpensive filling a few months ago will now require a root canal or surgical removal of the tooth.

The same is true for patients with gum disease. Gum disease can progress quietly for many years before it becomes advanced and teeth become loose or cause pain. While early gum disease can usually be treated with a deep cleaning under the gum, advanced gum disease may require gum surgery and antibiotics.

Oral cancer is also something that your dentist looks for on every dental examination. Tragically, those who avoid dental care are often the victims of aggressive forms of oral cancer that are difficult to treat. Those who wait for an unusual growth in the mouth to become painful may be taking a gamble. Oral cancer has a 50%, five-year fatality rate.

The moral of the story is very simple; visit your dentist at least twice a year for dental cleanings and check-up examinations. You will save time and money by treating all dental problems as soon as they occur and greatly improve your oral health. In fact, some research suggests that those in good dental health will actually live longer than people who do not take care of their teeth. It is also important for people without teeth to see their dentist at least once a year. The dentist will need to check the fit of removable dentures and also look for any signs of oral cancer.

Tough Brushing Tortures Teeth

Most dentists don’t go a day without seeing patients who are damaging their teeth and gums by brushing too hard. Some report that as many as two out of three patients brush their teeth too hard. This is a problem. A stiff-bristled toothbrush combined with overzealous brushing teeth can cause serious dental problems over time, including gum disease and tooth sensitivity.
People think that if they brush twice as hard, they will do twice as much good, In fact, overzealous brushing can cause significant damage to the periodontal tissues and bones that support the teeth. If you used the same amount of force and brush the side of your arm, you could take your skin off.
One way to avoid damaging your teeth and gums is to purchase a “soft” toothbrush featuring rounded bristles which are less abrasive to teeth. You should hold the brush between the thumb and forefinger, not with the fist. When brushing, do not `scrub’ the teeth with a horizontal, back-and-forth motion.
Instead, start at the gum line and angle the brush at a 45-degree angle. Brush both the teeth and the gums at the same time. Push hard enough to get the bristles under the gumline but not so hard that the bristles flare out. It’s also a wise move to limit the amount of toothpaste because it is abrasive.
The irony is that dentists want people to brush longer, not harder. Children and adults tend to spend less than one minute at a time brushing their teeth, even though removing plaque from the mouth requires at least two to five minutes of brushing at least twice a day. Remember: brush longer, not harder.

Can Teenagers get Gum Disease?

Can Teenagers Get Gum Disease?
Gum disease might seem like something only adults get, but the truth is it affects people of all ages. In fact, TeenHealth.com reports that 60 percent of 15-year-olds have gingivitis, the early stage of gum disease. Other studies show that teenage girls may be even more vulnerable to gum disease because of hormonal changes.

This is bad news for teenagers, who may have bad breath or sore gums as the result of gingivitis. But there’s also good news: Gum disease can easily be treated and prevented.

Treatment of gingivitis usually involves a scaling and root planing treatment (SRP) to remove plaque and tartar buildup below the gum line. Just one SRP treatment can reverse the signs of gingivitis and prevent gum disease from progressing.

But how do you keep gum disease from coming back? Pretty much the same way you can prevent it from developing in the first place: brush, floss, get dental cleanings AND eat healthy foods. Healthy eating is where teens often get tripped up – sweets, sodas, energy drinks and sports drinks are heavily marked to and consumed by teenagers.

You can make it easy for your teen to choose healthier options for their teeth and body by making sure the fridge is always stocked with things like fresh fruit, vegetables, cheese and water.

Is Oral Piercings Safe?

Oral piercing is a form of body art and self-expression that’s all the rage among teenagers and young adults. While piercings of the tongue, lip or cheek might seem safe because “everyone has them,” that’s not entirely true. The mouth is a moist place, which means it’s a breeding ground for bacteria and infection. And the primary danger of oral piercing is increased risk of infection. There are other risks, too. Oral piercings can also chip or crack teeth, cause nerve damage and produce an allergic reaction to metal. Some people also notice that it’s more difficult to speak, chew and swallow after piercings.
Do the smart thing and have your teenager see a dentist before piercing. Learning about the potential risks will make for a happier, healthier loved one.
And if your teen decides to go ahead with a piercing, make sure he or she keeps it clean! This is the single most effective way to fight off infection. And if your teen notices any of the following symptoms, schedule a dentist appointment right away:
·        Pain, soreness or swelling
·        Chipped or cracked teeth
·        Damage to fillings
·        Sensitivity to metals
·        Numbness

Nitrous Oxide: A Quick Fix for Dental Fear

Sometimes it’s not enough to have a great dentist, caring dental staff and soothing office environment – you or your children may still feel anxious about dental visits. That’s why many dentists use nitrous oxide; it helps calm patients of all ages – from timid tykes to anxious adults. Nitrous oxide (also known as “laughing gas”) has been used by U.S. dentists since the late 1800s. Its benefits are many, and the risks are few.
Nitrous oxide is safe for all ages. Nitrous oxide is considered one of the safest anesthetics available. It is well tolerated by patients of all ages, can be adjusted in various concentrations and is non-allergenic.
It reduces pain and anxiety. The effect of nitrous oxide is often remarkable, for both kids and adults. It’s typical for an adult or child to be relaxed and calm just minutes after receiving nitrous oxide. And when you’re calm, that means a faster, more comfortable dental visit.
You remain conscious. With nitrous oxide, you remain completely conscious and in control of your reflexes. You can talk and respond to your dentist. The point of nitrous oxide is to help you relax.
Comfort comes fast. Nitrous oxide takes effect within minutes and lasts for as long as you’re inhaling. After treatment, oxygen is used to flush the nitrous from your system just as quickly as it entered.

Xylitol: The Tooth Friendly Sweetener

Xylitol is a white crystalline substance that looks and taste like sugar. It is found naturally and can be extracted from birch, raspberries, plums, corn and mushrooms. Technically it is not a sugar but a sugar alcohol that is sometimes called wood sugar or birch sugar. Our bodies produce up to 15mg everyday as part of normal metabolism.

The great benefit of Xylitol in preventing tooth decay was “discovered” in Finland in the early 1970’s. Streptococcus Mutans, bacteria found in the mouth, produces toxins and acids that can dissolve teeth when foods with refined sugar [sucrose] are eaten.

Xylitol is not fermented by oral bacterial, so it cannot cause cavities [caries]. It works its magic on many levels.

 It inhibits the growth of cavity-producing bacteria S. Mutans and lactobacilli. The number of these acid-producing bacteria may fall as much as 90%

 It prevents the transmission of S. Mutans from mother to child

 It reduces the adhesion of plaque to your teeth

 It stimulates salivary flow creating a greater buffer capacity against acids and aiding remineralization of your teeth

 

Therapeutically, Xylitol is added to chewing gum or candy. The dosage is critical. To receive tooth decay prevention benefits, you must receive 6-10 grams of Xylitol per day. When reading the label of a Xylitol containing product, Xylitol should be the first sugar listed and, ideally, the only sugar component. To be effective, the Xylitol gum must be utilized several times a day over long periods – 6 months, 1 year and 2 years.

Xylitol is also to added to some oral hygiene products such as toothpastes, mouthwashes, floss, fluoride supplements.

Chewing Xylitol gum after meals is a great alternative when brushing or flossing is not an option. Anybody who is at high risk for dental decay such as people with dry mouths or those with exposed tooth root surfaces should consider this decay prevention therapy.

On a precautionary note – excessive chewing could lead to headaches and/or pain in the TMJ joint near your ear. Don’t over do it!

Call our office for product recommendations.

It’s No Laughing Matter Or Is It?

Dentists often hear, “Don’t take this personally, but I don’t want to be here.” Or, “I’d rather give birth than go to the dentist.” Dental visits are anxiety producing for some individuals and result in uncomfortable stressful situations. The good news is that we have the “cure.” It’s been used safely for over 100 years and goes by many names such as Nitrous Oxide, Tranquilizing Air and Laughing Gas. The bottom line is that this sweet smelling blend of nitrous oxide and oxygen reduces anxiety, minimizes an overactive gag reflex, raises your pain threshold and helps make your dental visit pleasant and comfortable with its calming effect.

Nitrous Oxide is non-addictive, predictable, and reliable and is, perhaps, the safest sedative in dentistry. During the treatment, you remain fully conscious and have all your natural reflexes. Both adults and children can use it. In fact, 85% off all pediatric dentists use “laughing gas” with their patients. You quickly recover in about 5 minutes after the nitrous oxide is turned off, and you are switched to pure oxygen to breathe. It is safe to drive and return to your normal activities after the visit.

The nitrous oxide is administered through a “mask” or nosepiece that fits snugly over your nose. The amount you receive can be individually adjusted to satisfy your personal needs. A euphoric effect is produced that may be accompanied by a tingling in the hands and feet. Some report feeling giddy – thus the name laughing gas. The most common response we hear is “I’m aware of what is happening, but it doesn’t bother me.”

Contraindications to the use of nitrous oxide are pregnancy, if you are uncomfortable with something around your nose or if your have a respiratory condition that makes breathing through the nose difficult. It is recommended to refrain from eating for about 2 hours before treatment. Nitrous oxide is excellent for patients with a history of heart problems because it reduces tension and provides 2-3 times more oxygen than breathing normal air.

Nitrous oxide does not numb teeth, so most patients use it in combination with a local dental anesthetic. However, after being placed on nitrous oxide for several minutes, many patients report, ” I hardly felt the injection.”

Call our office to find out how nitrous oxide can dramatically help you.