Posts for: November, 2013
Let’s Take a Look at Take-Home Teeth Whitening for Jackson Patients
Supermodel Christie Brinkley has a one-in-a-million smile, but she is just one of millions who have benefited from today's preferred tooth-replacement technique: the dental implant. In a wide-ranging interview, Brinkley told Dear Doctor magazine about a helicopter accident she suffered while back-country skiing.
“I fractured two molars in the back of my mouth and I had to get two dental implants,” Brinkley told the magazine. “I am grateful for the dental implant technology that feels and looks so natural.”
You might think it serves little purpose to replace a missing back tooth that was barely visible in your smile to begin with — especially if you don't spend a lot of time posing for magazine covers. But this is actually not the case. Your molars are extremely important for chewing and even for maintaining a more youthful appearance.
Dentists generally agree that losing posterior (back) teeth can have many consequences for the remaining teeth and their surrounding structures, i.e., bone and gums. If back teeth are missing, the front teeth end up bearing more stress than they were built for. And there are certain things that happen when any tooth is lost, whether front or back, that can affect function and appearance.
For one thing, when a tooth is lost the adjacent teeth tend to drift into the empty space or tip towards it. This can adversely affect your bite. Too much shifting can render a tooth basically useless and also leave it more vulnerable to gum disease.
Another complication is the loss of tooth-supporting bone that inevitably occurs when teeth are lost. When a tooth comes out, the bone under it actually begins to melt away. Since back teeth support the vertical dimension of the face, their loss can cause what's known as “bite collapse” — a reduction in facial height that becomes increasingly noticeable over time and can make you look older.
A dental implant can prevent all of these things, while providing you with a replacement that looks and feels just like the tooth you lost.
If you are interested in learning more about implants, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. If you would like to read Dear Doctor's entire interview with Christie Brinkley, please see “The Secret Behind Christie Brinkley's Supermodel Smile.” Dear Doctor magazine also has more on “Replacing Back Teeth.”
From its development and first use over a century ago, radiography — the use of x-rays to view internal images in the body — has revolutionized how dentists diagnose and treat patients. Now, a new technology known as Cone Beam Computing Tomography (CBCT) promises to take us “light years” beyond even today's most modern conventional x-ray devices.
X-rays expose images on special film after passing through a mass, like the human body. Because they pass more easily through soft tissues than through hard structures like teeth or bone, the softer tissues will appear darker. This property can reveal even subtle distinctions in density such as might be the case with a fracture or a tooth cavity.
Standard radiography, though, has its limitations. It takes extensive training and experience for a dentist to interpret exactly what they're seeing in an x-ray. Their two-dimensionality (like a photograph) limits the amount of information we can derive from the physical structures being examined. And due to radiation exposure to patients, we must limit the amount of their use for each individual patient.
CBCT improves on those limitations. The device projects a cone-shaped beam of x-rays as it rotates around a patient's head. During this rotation it records hundreds of images that a computer can later digitally format in a variety of ways. The result: instead of a two-dimensional flat view, we can now three-dimensionally view the mouth from a variety of different angles and in greater detail. Best of all, one scan can provide enough imagery data to view in detail the entire skull or a jaw, or something as minute as a single root canal within a tooth.
CBCT is already improving the accuracy of diagnostics and treatment in a variety of dental specialties, including orthodontics, implantation and oral surgery. And properly set, the radiation exposure is no more or less than a full-mouth series of x-rays, and up to ten times less than CT scanning.
Advances like CBCT increase the range and accuracy of diagnostics and improve treatment for a variety of conditions. As they grow in use, the result will be more successful dental outcomes for you and your family.
If you would like more information on CBCT diagnostics, 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 “Getting the Full Picture With Cone Beam Dental Scans.”
Preventing and Treating Cavities
Your lifestyle heavily influences the health of your teeth. What you eat, how well you take care of your teeth and many more choices are what can affect your teeth the most. Heredity can also play a role in how susceptible your teeth may be to decay.
While cavities are generally more common among children, adults are also at risk. With proper dental hygiene and prevention, you can lower your risk of getting a cavity or tooth decay. Cavities are very serious and if left untreated, can destroy your tooth and kill the delicate nerves at its center. By visiting Horton Rd Jackson, MI you can take charge of your smile and protect your teeth from cavities.
By following a number of tips from your dentist in Jackson you can prevent cavities from forming. Brush at least twice a day and floss daily to remove plaque from between your teeth and below the gum line. Regular dental checkups are vital in maintaining proper dental hygiene as well because it is only your dentist who can diagnose a cavity. Preventative care from your dentist can help stop problems from occurring and keep minor problems from becoming major ones.
Additionally, eat a well- balanced diet by limiting starchy or sugary foods. When you do eat sugary or starchy foods, try to eat them with your meal and not as a snack. This will minimize the number of times your teeth are exposed to acid.
Treatment for a Cavity
If you get a cavity, treatment from your Jackson dentist can help to prevent tooth damage from worsening. Treatment for a cavity may involve fillings, crowns or root canals. Dentists fill teeth by removing the decayed tooth material with a drill and replace it with material such as porcelain or composite resin. Porcelain and composite resin match the natural tooth appearance better and may be preferred for your front teeth.
Crowns or caps are used if the decay is extensive and there is limited tooth structure. A root canal is recommended if the nerve in a tooth dies from decay or injury. Only your dentist can tell for sure if you do have a cavity because cavities develop below the tooth’s surface where you can’t see them.
Visit Horton Rd Jackson, MI twice a year for regular checkups to ensure the health of your teeth, and to prevent and treat cavities.