Posts for: September, 2016
An estimated 35 million people in the United States are missing all of their teeth on at least one jaw. Your situation may not be as serious — perhaps you've only lost one tooth. But even one missing tooth could eventually impact the health of underlying bone or other teeth — and it can certainly mar an otherwise attractive smile.
Depending on other health factors, you could be an ideal candidate for a dental implant to replace that missing tooth. Since their introduction in the 1980s, implants have rapidly become the popular choice for tooth replacement. They've gained this popularity for several reasons: they're a life-like replacement that also functions like a tooth; they're adaptable to a variety of situations; and they enjoy a 95%-plus success rate.
The key to their success lies in their unique construction: they replace the tooth root, not just the crown. They accomplish this through a metal titanium post imbedded directly into the bone. The titanium attracts bone cells, which eventually grow and adhere to the post to anchor the implant securely in the jaw. This growth also deters bone loss that occurs after tooth loss and continues after acquiring other forms of removable restorations like full or partial dentures.
If implants have one drawback, though, it's their cost, especially if you have multiple lost teeth. The good news if you're missing several teeth is that each tooth does not need an implant due to their inherent strength. As few as two implants could replace three to four missing teeth or play a role as supports for other restorations like removable dentures. Some of the implants' other benefits will also carry over, including enhanced bone health.
To determine if dental implants are a good choice for your missing teeth, you'll need to undergo an evaluation of your individual dental condition (including bone health). From there we can advise you on whether implants could change your dental health and your smile.
If you would like more information on dental implants, 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 “Dental Implants 101.”
Unlike other bathroom items like shampoo, a toothbrush does not simply run out when it requires replacement. In fact, knowing when to switch your toothbrush for a new one can be hard to determine. Find out more about the signs that you should replace your toothbrush with Dr. Kunio Chan at One Dental Care in Billerica, MA.
How often should I replace my toothbrush?
The general rule of thumb is that you should replace your toothbrush as it begins to show signs of wear. If the bristles of your brush become frayed and misshapen, it is probably time for a new toothbrush. For most people, this usually happens around the 3-month mark. Additionally, you should replace your toothbrush immediately after recovering from being sick. When storing your toothbrush, be sure it lies in a vertical position and give the bristles enough room to air dry thoroughly. Do not store your toothbrush inside of a container as this could cause bacteria to grow.
Dental Examinations and Cleanings in Billerica, MA
One of the biggest benefits of regular dental examinations and cleanings is the preventative care they provide. Cleanings remove tartar and plaque from the teeth, decreasing the risk of tooth decay or gum disease. Catching dental problems early during a regular examination allows for treatment before more complex issues arise. Be sure to see your dentist at least twice a year.
Keeping Your Teeth Healthy Between Bi-Annual Dental Visits
While electric toothbrushes make it easier to clean the teeth, manual toothbrushes work just fine as well. According to the American Dental Association, both kinds of brushes effectively clean the teeth if used correctly. Either way, you should brush your teeth for at least two minutes twice daily. Floss at least once daily. Be sure to brush and floss every tooth, including behind your back molars. Committing to a strong at-home oral care routine significantly lowers the risk of tooth decay and gum disease, the number one cause of tooth loss.
To learn more about healthy oral care habits or regular dental examinations and cleanings, please contact your Billerica, MA dentist at One Dental Care, Dr. Kunio Chan. Call (978) 667-0691 to schedule your dental examination or cleaning today!
Want to know the exact wrong way to pry open a stubborn lid? Just ask Jimmy Fallon, host of NBC-TV’s popular “Tonight Show.” When the 40-year-old funnyman had trouble opening a tube of scar tissue repair gel with his hands, he decided to try using his teeth.
What happened next wasn’t funny: Attempting to remove the cap, Fallon chipped his front tooth, adding another medical problem to the serious finger injury he suffered a few weeks before (the same wound he was trying to take care of with the gel). If there’s a moral to this story, it might be this: Use the right tool for the job… and that tool isn’t your teeth!
Yet Fallon is hardly alone in his dilemma. According to the American Association of Endodontists, chipped teeth account for the majority of dental injuries. Fortunately, modern dentistry offers a number of great ways to restore damaged teeth.
If the chip is relatively small, it’s often possible to fix it with cosmetic bonding. In this procedure, tough, natural-looking resin is used to fill in the part of the tooth that has been lost. Built up layer by layer, the composite resin is cured with a special light until it’s hard, shiny… and difficult to tell from your natural teeth. Best of all, cosmetic bonding can often be done in one office visit, with little or no discomfort. It can last for up to ten years, so it’s great for kids who may be getting more permanent repairs later.
For larger chips or cracks, veneers or crowns may be suggested. Veneers are wafer-thin porcelain coverings that go over the entire front surface of one or more teeth. They can be used to repair minor to moderate defects, such as chips, discolorations, or spacing irregularities. They can also give you the “Hollywood white” smile you’ve seen on many celebrities.
Veneers are generally custom-made in a lab, and require more than one office visit. Because a small amount of tooth structure must be removed in order to put them in place, veneers are considered an irreversible treatment. But durable and long-lasting veneers are the restorations of choice for many people.
Crowns (also called caps) are used when even more of the tooth structure is missing. They can replace the entire visible part of the tooth, as long as the tooth’s roots remain viable. Crowns, like veneers, are custom-fabricated to match your teeth in size, shape and color; they are generally made in a dental lab and require more than one office visit. However, teeth restored with crowns function well, look natural, and can last for many years.
So what happened to Jimmy Fallon? We aren’t sure which restoration he received… but we do know that he was back on TV the same night, flashing a big smile.
If you would like more information about tooth restorations, please contact us or schedule a consultation. You can learn more in the Dear Doctor magazine articles “Porcelain Crowns & Veneers” and “Artistic Repair Of Front Teeth With Composite Resin.”