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April is National Facial Protection Month

April 20th, 2018

This month we're spreading the word to remind both children and adults: as you suit up for outdoor activities this spring, don't forget to protect your face and head. Spring often brings a flood of patients suffering with head, mouth and facial injuries resulting from sports-related accidents to doctors' offices and emergency rooms. Many oral and facial injuries can be easily prevented with the use of sports safety equipment like helmets and mouth guards.

National Facial Protection Month is sponsored by the Academy for Sports Dentistry, the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, the American Dental Association, the American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons, and the American Association of Orthodontists. Together we encourage children and adults to enjoy the pleasures of the season by using common sense and taking the necessary precautions to prevent sports injuries.

For more information about the prevention and treatment of facial injury, visit MyOMS.org.

April is Oral Cancer Awareness Month

April 4th, 2018

 

April is #OralCancerAwarenessMonth. Early detection is critical, and dental hygienists are the prevention experts who have the ability to have a positive impact in their patients lives. Raise awareness!

Do I Need to Replace a Missing Tooth?

March 23rd, 2018

If you’ve lost a tooth, especially one that’s not visible to others when you speak or smile, you may be thinking that you can slide by without replacing it. Sure, it will feel weird for a while, but you’ll get used it — or will you? Not replacing a missing tooth can have serious physical and mental consequences. The replacement process is not as difficult as you might think and will pay off in the long run.

Physical Consequences of Not Replacing a Missing Tooth

Having a missing tooth can lead to long-term problems inside and outside your mouth.

Over time, the teeth next to the missing tooth will shift toward each other in an attempt to fill in the gap. This leads to a condition called malocclusion, which means the teeth are not aligned properly.

Malocclusion can cause serious problems like an overbite or crossbite that result in extra strain on the jaw, difficulty chewing, and even an increased risk for tooth decay. The treatment for this larger issue is braces or even surgery, which will likely end up being more expensive than a single tooth replacement would be.

The increase in tooth decay will also lead to problems with other teeth.

Missing teeth can result in not chewing your food properly (consciously or unconsciously). Not chewing your food properly can lead to digestive issues like acid reflux and malnutrition from nutrients not being absorbed properly in the digestive tract. While it may seem like a back molar hidden from view that does not need to be replaced, remember that those teeth are essential for proper chewing and digestion.

Missing teeth can also cause bone loss along the jawline, which leads to a sagging appearance around the mouth. The bone tissue no longer receives support from the tooth, so it weakens over time. Sagging faces are common among people who wear dentures. While it may be inevitable for some, you can do something about it before the sagging begins.

Mental Consequences of Not Replacing a Missing Tooth

Beyond the physical effects, having a missing tooth can have negative mental consequences in the short and long term.

For better or worse, society casts a negative light on people with missing teeth. Look closely at characters on TV or in movies who are supposed to be poor and/or unintelligent — chances are they have at least one missing tooth.

Those perceptions from pop culture spill over into reality, especially in an age when just about anything can be said on social media. Even the toughest skin will weaken over time, just like the spot in your mouth where your tooth is missing.

As life expectancies continue to rise, you could be living with the stigma and difficulty speaking or eating for decades, even if you lose a tooth at age 50 or 60.

Don’t open yourself up to that type of criticism and self-doubt if you have the power to change your appearance.

Restoring Your Smile

Replacing a missing tooth is no longer the ordeal it was in your parents’ generation.

The most common treatment is a dental implant. Implants consist of a titanium screw covered by a crown or denture.

The process typically takes about three months from start to finish, which includes plenty of time for your mouth to adjust to the implant and heal before the crown or denture is applied. The implant and temporary crown can be applied on the same day, allowing you to return to normal activities while the permanent crown is made.

Your Options for a Better Smile

March 9th, 2018

Do your teeth need a tune-up? Are your teeth chipped, broken, cracked, or stained? If so, we can use bonding, veneers, and crowns to fix a range of dental problems.

Bonding

With dental bonding, tooth-colored material (composite resin) is attached, or bonded, with an adhesive to your teeth to repair defects and reshape them. The procedure can be done in a single visit. Aside from fixing chipped, cracked, or stained teeth, bonding can also be used to close spaces in teeth and cover the surface of teeth to change their color or shape. Bonding lasts for several years, but it’s more vulnerable to chipping or staining.

Veneers

Veneers are thin, custom-made shells designed to cover the front of your teeth. They are used to fix spaces between teeth and teeth that are chipped or worn, permanently stained, poorly shaped, or slightly crooked. Made of porcelain or plastic, they are usually used for the front teeth—particularly the upper front teeth—that are most visible when you smile. If you have a wide smile, some of the posterior teeth may be covered as well.

Crowns

If one of your teeth has a large amount of decay, number of fillings, or is cracked, we might recommend a crown. This restores your entire tooth, not just its front surface. To prepare your tooth for a crown, we will reduce the tooth to a stable foundation so that the crown can fit over it.

Crowns are made of materials such as ceramics (porcelain being one type); or metal (alloys of gold, copper, or other so-called noble metals or base metal alloys with a silver appearance) or a combination of ceramics and metal.