Posts for: February, 2016
After months of wearing braces, the big day has arrived — they’re finally off! Your teeth have been realigned and your smile is dazzling. You’re finished with orthodontic treatment, right?
Not quite — because if you want to keep your new smile you have one more treatment phase to go — wearing a retainer. Without this phase there’s a distinct possibility you could lose all the time, effort and expense of braces because your teeth could revert to their previous position.
To understand why, we have to consider how teeth can move in the first place. Although it may seem like your teeth are rigidly fastened to the jawbone, they’re actually held in place by the periodontal ligament, a strong, elastic gum tissue that lies between the teeth and the bone. Tiny fibers from the ligament attach to the teeth on one side and to the bone in a similar manner on the other side.
When pressure is applied to the tooth as happens with braces, the bone around the side of the tooth in the direction of the force will begin to dissolve (resorb), allowing the tooth to move in that direction. New bone will then build up on the other side to stabilize the tooth. Once the pressure is removed (when we take the braces off), there’s a tendency for the teeth, bone and gums to “remember” the old position and try to revert back.
The answer is a removable mouth appliance known as a retainer. Custom-designed to fit the teeth’s new position, the retainer helps hold the teeth in place until the bone completely sets around them. In the beginning, you may need to wear the retainer around the clock and then later only at night while you sleep. While you may only need to wear it for a few months (especially if you’re an adolescent or young adult) some patients may need to wear some form of retainer indefinitely. Your orthodontist will advise you how long depending on your individual situation.
While retainers may seem like an inconvenience, they’re extremely important for keeping or “retaining” the teeth in their new and better position. Following through on this important phase of treatment will help ensure you’ll keep your new smile for a long time to come.
If you would like more information on retainers, 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 “Why Orthodontic Retainers?”
For anyone else, having a tooth accidentally knocked out while practicing a dance routine would be a very big deal. But not for Dancing With The Stars contestant Noah Galloway. Galloway, an Iraq War veteran and a double amputee, took a kick to the face from his partner during a recent practice session, which knocked out a front tooth. As his horrified partner looked on, Galloway picked the missing tooth up from the floor, rinsed out his mouth, and quickly assessed his injury. “No big deal,” he told a cameraman capturing the scene.
Of course, not everyone would have the training — or the presence of mind — to do what Galloway did in that situation. But if you’re facing a serious dental trauma, such as a knocked out tooth, minutes count. Would you know what to do under those circumstances? Here’s a basic guide.
If a permanent tooth is completely knocked out of its socket, you need to act quickly. Once the injured person is stable, recover the tooth and gently clean it with water — but avoid grasping it by its roots! Next, if possible, place the tooth back in its socket in the jaw, making sure it is facing the correct way. Hold it in place with a damp cloth or gauze, and rush to the dental office, or to the emergency room if it’s after hours or if there appear to be other injuries.
If it isn’t possible to put the tooth back, you can place it between the cheek and gum, or in a plastic bag with the patient’s saliva, or in the special tooth-preserving liquid found in some first-aid kits. Either way, the sooner medical attention is received, the better the chances that the tooth can be saved.
When a tooth is loosened or displaced but not knocked out, you should receive dental attention within six hours of the accident. In the meantime, you can rinse the mouth with water and take over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medication (such as ibuprofen) to ease pain. A cold pack temporarily applied to the outside of the face can also help relieve discomfort.
When teeth are broken or chipped, you have up to 12 hours to get dental treatment.Â Follow the guidelines above for pain relief, but don’t forget to come in to the office even if the pain isn’t severe. Of course, if you experience bleeding that can’t be controlled after five minutes, dizziness, loss of consciousness or intense pain, seek emergency medical help right away.
And as for Noah Galloway:Â In an interview a few days later, he showed off his new smile, with the temporary bridge his dentist provided… and he even continued to dance with the same partner!
If you would like more information about dental trauma, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can learn more in the Dear Doctor magazine articles “Trauma & Nerve Damage to Teeth” and “The Field-Side Guide to Dental Injuries.”
Before you get any dental work it’s important that you understand everything you can about your procedure so you know whether it’s the best option for you and your smile. While your dentist can certainly determine whether you are an ideal candidate for certain treatments the sole decision-maker for what treatment is best lies with you. So isn’t it time you found out more about dental crowns and bridges from Myers Family Dental in Augusta, GA?
What is a dental crown?
This cap-like dental restoration looks just like the crown of a natural tooth and is fitted over a tooth that has been damaged. Crowns are most often recommended for teeth that have cracks, fractures, or severe discolorations and decay. When you get a dental crown from your restorative dentist Dr. Alan Myers in Augusta, GA, we will first need to buff out any cracks or fractures beforehand. This usually means removing a certain amount of enamel to prevent the tooth from further damage and to make room for the new restoration, which will be fitted over the tooth and cemented into place.
What is a bridge?
A dental bridge also uses dental crowns to restore your smile, the only difference is that a bridge is also designed to replace missing teeth. The bridge contains one crown on either end with an artificial tooth or teeth in the middle. These crowns are placed over healthy, neighboring teeth to hold the bridge in place.
Who should get crowns and bridges?
Anyone who has a damaged tooth and is looking to restore full function or appearance back into their smile can benefit from a dental crown. Also, those who are undergoing root canal treatment will most likely need a crown afterwards to protect the tooth from further problems.
Most patients who have good oral hygiene but are missing teeth can opt for dental bridges. Of course, you’ll need to have healthy teeth from which to secure the bridge. Your cosmetic dentist Dr. Myers will be able to examine your smile and determine if crowns and bridges are right for you.
What is the procedure like?
If you are just getting a dental crown then we will need to prepare the tooth ahead of time by removing some enamel. This will ensure that there is enough room for the crown to fit comfortably. With dental bridges, we will need to prepare the two surrounding teeth the same way we would for a regular crown.
In order to get either a crown or bridge, we will need to take impressions of your smile so that you can get a restoration that is customized to fit your smile perfectly. During your second visit, we will place the restoration and make any necessary adjustments before cementing it into place.