Friday, December 30, 2011

I just broke my front tooth. Now what?

Okay so you, your child, your mom, your brother, etc. etc. just fell face first into something, over something, under something, etc. etc. and broke the corner of your/their front tooth off.

What do you do now?

Well, that depends. Lets break this down into 3 simplified categories.
The nerve of a tooth is in the middle of the tooth.

#1 If you just broke off a small corner of the tooth and it didn't reach the nerve then a simple filling is probably all you would need.

#2 If you broke off a larger corner but still didn't reach the nerve then you more then likely would need a crown.

#3 If you broke your tooth so severely that you got down into the nerve then you will need a root canal AND a crown.
And although all of this may be a traumatic experience don't worry. Your cracked and broken smile can be completely repaired and have you back to being the model you know you were born to be.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Do Root Canals have to be painful?

If the conditions are right a root canal absolutely does NOT need to be
any more uncomfortable then any other dental procedure.

There are a ton of stories out there about root canals that were so terrible
that the people didn't ever want to go back to the dentist.

Most of the stories about painful root canals comes from root canals that
were done many many years ago.
Technology has changed and root canal procedures
today are much better then they once were.

A root canal is simply cleaning out the inside of the tooth.
Teeth are hollow. The inside is filled with nerves and blood vessels.
A root canal is a procedure where we clean out the inside of the tooth.
Since the tooth then no longer has any nerves it can no longer
send painful impulses to your brain and you are back to your old happy self.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Oh the dreaded New Years Resolutions. 
We all make them and then by February we have all broken them.
My opinion is that we set our goals to high. 
Start small, get that nailed down then up the goal throughout the year.
So what awesome goal could I be suggesting as your dentist.
Well its not awesome but it is a goal that most of us need to set.

Its flossing.
I know, boring.
But the number one cause of cavities in my office is due to a lack of flossing.
You can brush 5 times a day and still have a mouth full of cavities.
The reason for this is because no matter how hard you push the 
bristles on your toothbrush will NEVER get in between your teeth.
Flossing is the only way.

Now remember not to set the goal to high.
If you don't floss everyday lets start at 3 times a week. 
That will be enough to fight off most of the cavities.
After you get that down then we can move on to loftier goals.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

How do I know if I need a Root Canal?

Teeth are like any other part of your body.
Sometimes they may have a funny little pain here and there. 
Sometimes these pains come one minute and are gone the next
and sometimes they come and stick around for a while longer.

So how do you know if your tooth is in real trouble and not
just having some fleeting little discomfort?

These are the 3 questions that we ask folks to determine if 
they are having a serious problem and may need a root canal.

#1 Does your tooth hurt to chew on?

#2 Is your tooth sensitive to hot and cold temperature changes?

#3 Does your tooth ever start hurting for no reason (while watching tv etc.)?

If you answer yes to only 1 of these questions then the fix may fairly simple.

If you answer yes to all three, then the chances are that something 
much more involved may be needed.

No matter the case it is best to see your dentist if any discomfort 
lasts longer then a day.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Tooth Replacement in a Day?

"Painless tooth replacement"
"Teeth in a day"

We have all heard these claims and typically they are accompanied by promises that the doctor can,
almost magically, take out all of your teeth, put implants in, and place crowns on the teeth
with little to no pain, in just one day.
They may even show the patient biting into an apple right after the procedure.

In very rare and unique circumstances this MAY be the case. But for the other 99.7% of us, its not.
Anytime you have surgery of ANY kind you need to heal.
The picture below shows a site where a tooth was recently extracted.
This site will be very tender for several days while the body heals.
That's just the way it works. Blood will rush to the site of any injury thus
creating inflammation (swelling) and moderate discomfort.

If implants are placed that too will cause some type of discomfort.

To say that teeth can be extracted and implants placed and that you can begin
eating right away with no pain whatsoever is just not true. What is typically
happening is that these people are trying to suck you in and then sell you on something else.

Simply do lots and lots of homework before letting these places touch your mouth.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Free I-Pod with Brain Surgery

Would you get your brain surgery from a surgeon who advertised that
you would get a free I-Pod if you got your surgery from him?

Would you get a knee replacement from a guy who offered a free
DVD player with every knee replacement?
Of course not!

These things are too important to trust to someone who may be doing
a terrible job on people and is simply trying lure people in with free stuff.

Please use this same logic when you choose your dentist.

Your teeth mean more to you then you will ever know.
Good looking teeth will help in your self confidence, relationships, getting a job,
respect of co-workers, neighbors, etc.

What do you think of when you see someone with no teeth, missing teeth,
badly stained teeth, etc?

You may place labels on them that are not all that flattering.
These labels may not be true but someone that has a horrible looking
smile may be overlooked for someone, less qualified, but with a better looking smile.

Getting freebies is cool.
But get the freebies from Old Navy or some place like that.

DO NOT get your freebies from someone that will be providing medical or
dental care to you that may effect you the rest of your life.

Ask around.
Get referrals.
Ask to see before and after pictures.
Know before you go.

If you really want the free I-Pod that is great.
Just don't be shocked if the teeth you end up with don't match your expectations.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Cosmetic Bonding Mindy Anderton Wright

This is a cosmetic case for Mindy Anderton Wright.
She is a part time hygienist for our office and the shortest sister in law I have.
She has always hated a gap she had in front of one of her teeth.
She finally decided to do something about it.
(She decided to wait and see what to do with the gap in back of the tooth.)

This procedure took 20 minutes.
No shots. No pain.
She is ecstatic with the results!!


Tuesday, December 13, 2011

How did I get a cavity?

Happens everyday.
I tell people they have cavities and they look at me
with this questioning and confused look and say,
"How do I have cavities? I brush my teeth."
This is probably just an eternal battle for me as a dentist.

For a person to say...
"How can I have cavities? I brush"

Is like saying...
"How did my engine overheat? I put water in the radiator."

Good job on the water.
That is a very necessary part of helping keep your engine cool.
However, so is adding oil to the engine itself.
Adding the water is nice but its not enough.
Just as brushing is nice but it is not enough, on its own, to prevent tooth decay.

Moral to the story.
Brush AND Floss
Brush AND Floss
Brush AND Floss
Brush AND Floss

Got it?
Now have a wonderful day.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Which Electric Toothbrush is Better?

Okay, because you asked.
When the topic of electric toothbrushes comes up there are two big questions that I always get asked.


#1 Do I need one.

#2 Which one is the best.

#1 No. You do not need an electric tooth brush. If you are a diligent brusher then it does not really matter if your tooth brush uses batteries for power or uses you for power. The results can be the same. This is not to say that the results will be the same in the same amount of time. Because they wont. The manual tooth brush will take a little longer but it is capable of doing the same thing.

# 2 This question is like asking which car is the best. Well, a Ferrari is the fastest and looks the best, but a Toyota Camry will do you just fine. The same is true for tooth brushes. There are tooth brushes out there that can run you over $300. They have timers to tell you when to stop. they will talk to you and tell you to switch sides of the mouth. They have pressure sensors to tell you if you are brushing too hard. And they look really cool. However, the electric toothbrushes that cost $10 can do just as much for cleaning your teeth. The whole idea behind cleaning your teeth is just to get the bristles to remove the plaque. Little timers are nice but if you are capable of getting your teeth clean without a timer then what is the point.

So what do I use?

I use an Oral B electric. I like the way it feels when it cleans and it seems to work well for me. My wife uses a Sonicare, and can't stand my Oral B. Conversely I have used her Sonicare and that thing drives me up the wall. So there is a lot to be said here about personal preference.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Can anything be done about my teeth grinding?

Teeth grinding is a tough thing to deal with.
The problem here is that most teeth grinding is done while you sleep.
Thus, you are doing it subconsciously.
Well, unless you can control your subconscious then you might be out
of luck in making yourself stop grinding all together.

So what can be done?

The only thing that can be done is an attempt to stop the damage being
done from the grinding.

Serious damage can occur as you grind your teeth.
Chipped teeth is one of the biggest things.

To help avoid chipping, and even completely breaking, your
teeth we recommend a night guard.
Its not complicated.
Its just a piece of plastic that is made to fit your teeth.
The fit needs to be fairly tight so that it does not fall off into your mouth at night.

You will still be doing the grinding but instead of grinding teeth on
teeth you are now grinding teeth on plastic.
Over time the plastic will wear out and you will need a new one.
It is however, much cheaper to replace a piece of plastic then it is to replace your teeth.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Are Clear Plastic Braces for You?

Everyone calls these types of braces Invisalign.

However, another product is out on the market that
does the exact same thing except less expensive.
This product is called Clear Correct.
The trays are still clear.
Your teeth still move.
You can still take them out.
If you have orthodontic insurance you are still covered.

So are there any differences?

You pay less.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Your Child and Getting a Mouth Guard.

As the winter months are upon us my kids, and perhaps yours,
are starting up things like indoor soccer, wrestling, or basketball.

No doubt that these activities will lead to a few bumps and bruises.
In time these bumps, bruises, and even broken bones will heal.

Something that would not heal however, is a broken tooth.
Teeth, unlike bones, will not grow back.
To save teeth requires root canals, crowns, and any number of other things.

Please Please Please.......
get your child a mouth guard to wear during their sporting events.

The ones that you can buy from the store and mold to your
child's teeth will do, but a custom made mouth guard from
a dentist is always the best way to assure the best way to go.

I don't care if you get one from me or the other guy.
That is not the point.
The point is to protect your child's teeth.
They will have them for a very long time.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Are pacifiers bad for your kids?

Well, like most things, the answer is ............ it depends.

Sucking is a very natural and calming thing for a baby to do.

I have given each and every one of my 5 kids a pacifier.
None of them are delayed in their teeth coming in, have any speech problems, or had any thumb sucking problems due to using a pacifier.

There are some obvious things you should be concerned with.

If you use a clip and a cord to keep the pacifier attached to your child's clothes make sure the cord is short enough that can't choke the baby.

Once your child gets to kindergarten make sure that they only use the pacifier at home. Being known as the only kid that had a pacifier in kindergarten could seriously damage your child's chances at getting asked to junior prom.

Seriously though, allowing your child to have a pacifier for the first few years of life is, in my opinion, not a problem.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

What kind of teeth bleaching is right for me?

Teeth whitening is a very hot topic these days.
It seems as though everybody and their dog is offering to have your
teeth whitened for life, by tomorrow.

So what is real and what is hype?
As a disclaimer let me just say that tooth whitening can be accomplished successfully with ANY of these methods and that the following is based on fact with my opinion thrown in for flavor.

There are basically 3 ways to whiten your teeth.

#1 With the whiteners you buy in the stores.
This includes strips, trays, paint on stuff, etc.
Couple of things to consider here. The strength of the bleach has to be over the counter strength which is going to be less then bleach you can get form your dentist. Its like buying Tylenol from the store vs getting Lortab from the dentist. Next is the way the bleach is delivered. Below is a picture of a bleaching strip. Since this strip is sold to everyone, it then by nature, fits no one. Administering bleach to the masses can be a very inexact science that could lead to burned gums or uneven bleaching of the teeth.

#2 Is custom trays made by your dentist and you do the bleaching at home.
This way of bleaching has a lot of up side.
First the strength of bleach is prescription strength which will allow you to bleach faster. Second while bleaching faster it is still slow enough to stop when you begin feeling too much sensitivity. Lastly the trays are made specifically for you. They will fit no one else and thus deliver the bleach right to where it is needed.
#3 In office light whitening.
This option is nice because it is the fastest. But there are some draw backs. The machines to do the bleaching are expensive so the cost must be passed on the the patient. Next, you can't stop bleaching when you begin to feel sensitive. You will lay back being one shade and be several shades lighter when you sit up. If you happen to have lightened up too much and your teeth are very sensitive to even breath you are kind of out of luck.
So again, there are probably many of you reading this that have gotten your teeth whitened by any of the ways just mentioned and it has worked well for you. And that is great. I personally have chosen to offer only the 2nd option in my office as I feel it is the best bang for the buck and offers the least chance of complications for my patients.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Implant case

Here is an implant case that we did several months ago.
The patient came in with a broken lower molar.
She decided that instead of trying the heroic measures necessary to save her own tooth that she would get an implant placed.
The extraction and immediate implant placement went very well.
The healing took place over an 8 week period.
The abutment was in for an additional 2 weeks.
The crown was then placed this morning.
Wonderful alternative to root canals, posts, core buildups, etc.