Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Say no to crack.

Age, large fillings, and chewing on hard things can be hard on teeth.

This tooth has begun to crack.
The crack is the thin black line running from the metal 
filling down toward the gum tissue.

We removed the old metal filling and the cracked tooth structure.
We then placed a new white filling in both places.
The tooth is now in much less danger of splitting and the 
patient loves the look of the white replacing the gray.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Not much tooth left so it should be easy to pull. Right?

This happens all the time.
People, who neglect their teeth, will wait until they have a tooth that is
broken off at the gums to come to my office to get it extracted.

Thye laugh a little nervous laugh and say...
"well, not much left so it should be pretty easy yo pull out, huh?"

The answer to that is, NO.
Imagine getting a fence post out of the ground.
Not the easiest thing in the world, right?
Now, take a chain saw and cut the fence post off at the ground.
How easy is that going to be now?!

If you want a tooth out, please, please, please, do not wait until
it is so broken down that there is nothing to grab on to.
It is NOT easier.

Monday, June 25, 2012

What kind of 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.

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Cosmetic Bonding for Ms. E

We will call her Ms. E to protect her identity.
But we will say "Boomer Sooner!!"

Ms. E had a problem.
One of her adult teeth never came in.
So, she was stuck with the baby tooth.

Below is a picture of the baby tooth.
Ms. E always hated this tooth and would always turn to her
other side when anyone took a picture.
She hated it but assumed that extraction, bridgework,and
perhaps surgery for implants were her only options.

But she, like so many other people, just didn't know what was possible.
We did this procedure in about 40 minutes.
No shots.
No drilling into the tooth.
And one very happy patient.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

When will my child's adult teeth come in?

This is a follow up on yesterday's post about tooth eruption.
Yesterday we talked about when the baby teeth will come in.
Today we will talk about when the adult teeth will come in.

As I told you yesterday, these are averages.
So if one of your kids is slower then this chart then
that's  okay and if one of your kids is faster then that's okay too.
That's what makes an average.

Monday, June 18, 2012

When will my baby's teeth come in?

We get this question a lot from newer parents.
They want to make sure that their child is within a realm
of normalcy when it comes to their teeth.

So here is a chart that was put out by the 
American Dental Association.

You can find out exactly when the average age 
is for you child's teeth to come in.

Now notice that I said you can find the average.
The average means that half the kids are faster then
this chart and half the kids are slower then this chart.

So this chart may help give you an idea but your child could 
be very different from the norm. 

Friday, June 15, 2012

Its just a little spot.

We will call this young man Mr. K
Mr. K thought he saw a small discoloration on one of his teeth.
Here is what he saw.
Doesn't look too bad...... right?

This is Mr K's tooth after we dug out all of the cavity.
In some instances a little color is just a little cavity.
But in others a little color can lead to a big cavity.
That's just it. There is no way for you to tell. 
That is why at the soonest sign of any color change
in any of your teeth you need to get in to see your dentist.

Now lest you think all is lost for poor old Mr. K, do not fear.
Below is a picture of the finished product.
We got him all fixed up and he will be back to full speed in no time.

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Brand New Smile!!!

Here are some before and afters.
This is Mrs. B
When Mrs. B was young she got into some trouble with her two front teeth.
From that point on she has been dealing with on and off discomfort.
She finally decided it was time to do something.

She decided it was simply time to part ways with her 2 front teeth.
She also decided that while she was at it she would get a whole new smile.

Here is Mrs. B before.

Here is Mrs. B after.

Mrs. B now has plans to bleach her bottom teeth so that
everything will match up nicely.
She is very happy with her new smile.

If you have teeth that have been bothering you for a long time
and you just don't know what to do, maybe something like this
could be in your future.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Are metal fillings safe?

Fewer and fewer people are asking this question, but occasionally we still do get it.

Are metal fillings safe?

The answer to this is, yes.

There have been studies done by the American Dental Association
and the Centers for Disease Control that both state that metal fillings
are safe to use.
In fact in certain cases we still use this material.

It is rare however, do to the fact that most people do not want the metal look.

You can go on the internet and find sites that tell you the horrors of amalgam.
But you can find a lot of stuff on the internet that isn't necessarily true.

If you have questions ask your dentist.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012


A what?

Its called a frenulum.

It is the little piece of tissue that connects your lip to your gums (see below).

Its also the little piece of tissue that connects your 
tongue to the floor of your mouth (see below).

Why are these pictures important?
Because your dentist may tell you that your child, or you, needs a frenectomy.
That is where the doctor will cut the little piece of tissue in half.
This is done in cases where the frenulum is getting in the way.
Either it is in between the teeth causing a gap or
in is tying the tongue to the floor of the mouth and thus hampering speech. 
Its just good to educate yourself on what things are and why certain
procedures are going to be done before actually getting them done.

And there is always the option of piercing your frenulum.
But.... I'm not a big fan of that.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

How did I get a cavity? I brush every day.

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.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Step by step pictures of getting a filling.

Okay, her we go. 
Step one, the tooth below had a cavity that was in between it and 
the tooth that sits above it in the picture.
Please take a moment to note that you can not see the cavity with your eyes.
We found it on an x-ray. That is why waiting to come to the dentist till
after you can see the cavity is a bad idea. By then it is much bigger
then it otherwise needed to be. 

Step 2, cut away the portion of the tooth that is bad.

Step 3, separate the 2 teeth so that the filling material 
only sticks to the tooth we want it to.
The filling material will now be placed into the hole in the tooth.

Step 4, once the filling material is placed in the tooth we 
shape it and contour it so that it blends right in with the tooth.
The goal here is that the filling is not visible.
On a picture this big you can barely see the edges but just 
looking into someones mouth seeing this filling would be next to impossible.

Now next time you need to get a filling you will know what is happening.

Monday, June 4, 2012

When should my child see the dentist for the first time?

Had someone today ask me when their child's first dental appointment should be.

This is a common question and there is no right answer.

All I can say is that there are very few kids that we are able to
work on, with any degree of success, before the age of  about 3 1/2.
Sometimes earlier and sometimes later, but that is a good average age.

What I would do is bring your child into the dentist office around the age of 3 
to watch you get your teeth cleaned.
This will let the child see that the dentist is not a scary place to be.
(Now stop laughing and keep reading.)

After a couple of times of seeing that mommy or daddy can do it then
the child will feel more confidence in going to get their own teeth cleaned.

Then around the age of 3 1/2 we can give it a try for the first time.
The first cleaning may just be a simple polishing but that will open 
the door to allow us to do a full cleaning later.

Before this point just make sure you are keeping your child's teeth
as clean as possible at home. 
Brushing twice a day, warm wash cloth when they are too young to
tolerate a toothbrush.
No juice in the sippy cups.
You know the drill (pun intended)

Good luck with the little ones.