Posts for: January, 2015
What Are My Orthodontic Treatment Options?
Your dentist has recommended that you consider dental realignment for you or your child. You likely have some questions, particularly what kind of treatment is needed. There are several orthodontic options that your Macon dentist provides. Here is a brief overview:
Used to straighten teeth since the time of Ancient Greece, braces are the quintessential orthodontic treatment. Brackets are affixed to the surface of the teeth using a bonding material, then wires are threaded through the brackets and attached to bands on the back molars. The pressure works to slightly loosen the teeth and gradually move them in the desired direction. As the teeth move, the wires must be adjusted by Dr. Watson. Traditional metal braces are made from stainless steel or titanium, while "clear" braces are typically ceramic or plastic.
Clear aligner trays
These appliances are the preferred method for those who have mild crowding or spacing problems. Removable plastic trays designed to fit directly over the teeth are worn for up to 20 hours a day and refitted at various intervals. They are less noticeable than braces, but their success relies largely on the patient's cooperation and maintenance.
If overcrowding is a major concern, removing teeth may help to create the extra space needed in the mouth. This practice was much more common for children in years past, but because extracting teeth while the facial bones are still developing can create further problems, it is now primarily used on adults. Visit our extractions page to learn more!
These devices are typically utilized for children and younger teens, as they are designed to help modify the continuing growth of facial bones that support teeth. In cases of overbites, metal twin block appliances are used to bring the lower jaw forward to meet the protruding upper jaw. These are also used to widen both the upper and lower jaws in order to accommodate incoming adult teeth.
For more severe bite problems, headgear attachments for braces is sometimes recommended. It works by applying pressure to the upper jaw to slow or completely stop its growth. Retainers are also used to maintain alignment after the teeth have been straightened. Although these appliances are removable, it is important to wear them exactly as prescribed by Dr. Watson to ensure the best outcome.
Although most orthodontic procedures are done to improve the aesthetic appearance of a person's teeth, some problems may be so severe that eating and talking are afflicted. Thorough consultation at Northside Family Dentistry will help you determine which orthodontic procedure is best for your unique situation.
Lots of people collect Beatles memorabilia, but one Canadian dentist took this hobby to new heights recently when he paid $31,200 for John Lennon's molar at auction. According to published reports, Lennon had given the extracted tooth to his housekeeper as a souvenir in the 1960s after coming home from the dentist's office. The molar was discolored and had a cavity, according to the dentist who purchased it after the housekeeper's family put it up for bids. “For the cavity to be this large he probably wasn't seeing a dentist that regularly,” the dentist said. His brushing and flossing routine may not have been that conscientious either!
For healthy teeth, it's important to have a good daily oral hygiene routine at home and regular professional cleanings here at the office. Our hygienist will scale your teeth to remove hard deposits (tartar), and polish them to remove stains for a wonderful, extra-clean feeling.
Dental hygienists are trained to do lots of other things to promote your oral health besides cleaning your teeth. They can check the skin in and around your mouth looking for any suspicious bumps, sores, etc., that may need further evaluation. They will also evaluate your periodontal health (“peri” – around; “odont” – tooth), checking for signs of gum inflammation and bleeding (gingivitis). And they monitor teeth for signs of decay, which is actually the world's most widespread disease.
Cavities, or dental caries as it is also known, are the most notable consequences of tooth decay. Left untreated, caries can lead to pain and tooth loss. John Lennon's dentist must have believed there was nothing more to be done for the badly decayed molar that later went on to fetch such a high price.
Unless you're a rock star, your teeth are worth a lot more in a healthy and functioning state — inside your mouth! So if it's been a while since your last appointment, please come in and see us. Remember: Good dental health is priceless.
If you would like more information on tooth decay, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can also learn more by reading the Dear Doctor magazine article, “Tooth Decay.” Dear Doctor also has more on the “Dental Hygiene Visit.”
If you've recently had a dental implant placed, congratulations! You have made a good investment in your smile that should last for a lifetime — if you take proper care of it. This is easy to do with a good oral hygiene routine and regular professional cleanings. Here are some important things to keep in mind about implant care:
- Implants can last as long as teeth. A dental implant made of titanium will fuse to the bone surrounding it and function just like a natural tooth. It is a highly successful method of tooth replacement that succeeds more than 95% of the time.
- Implants and natural teeth attach to surrounding bone and gums very differently. A natural tooth does not actually fuse to the bone that surrounds it. Instead, it is held in place by a periodontal ligament (“peri” – around; “odont” – tooth) made up of tiny fibers that insert into the bone on one side and into the tooth on the other. Farther up, these collagen fibers attach the tooth to the gum tissue. Implants and the crowns that go on top of them are not anchored to the gum in this way. An understanding of this biology is important for maintaining good periodontal health when implants are present. We will go over this with you so can care for your implants correctly.
- Infection is the enemy. Bacterial infection is a concern with both natural teeth and implant-supported teeth. A bacterial biofilm (plaque) builds up daily on implant teeth, just as it does on natural teeth. If it is not regularly cleared away, various oral infections can develop. In the case of natural teeth, this might result in tooth decay, gum disease, and the loss of tooth-supporting bone. Implants can't decay, but they can be threatened by a rapidly progressing infection known as peri-implantits (“peri” – around; implant “itis” – inflammation), which can lead to a well-like or dish-shaped loss of bone around the implant. The implant can become loose as greater amounts of bone is lost.
- Good oral hygiene is as important as ever. Daily removal of bacterial biofilm is key to preventing peri-implantitis. You'll want to make sure you brush your teeth twice daily with a soft brush and fluoride toothpaste, and floss gently at least once per day.
- Your dental hygienist has an important role to play. Professional cleanings here at our dental office are also still as necessary as ever, if not more so. Dental hygienists have special instruments they use to clean areas around your implant that can't be reached by your brush or floss — without scratching the surfaces of your implant components.