Posts for: March, 2017
If we could go back in time, we all probably have a few things we wish we could change. Recently, Dr. Travis Stork, emergency room physician and host of the syndicated TV show The Doctors, shared one of his do-over dreams with Dear Doctor magazine: “If I [could have] gone back and told myself as a teenager what to do, I would have worn a mouthguard, not only to protect my teeth but also to help potentially reduce risk of concussion.”
What prompted this wish? The fact that as a teenage basketball player, Stork received an elbow to the mouth that caused his two front teeth to be knocked out of place. The teeth were put back in position, but they soon became darker and began to hurt. Eventually, both were successfully restored with dental crowns. Still, it was a painful (and costly) injury — and one that could have been avoided.
You might not realize it, but when it comes to dental injuries, basketball ranks among the riskier sports. Yet it’s far from the only one. In fact, according to the American Dental Association (ADA), there are some two dozen others — including baseball, hockey, surfing and bicycling — that carry a heightened risk of dental injury. Whenever you’re playing those sports, the ADA recommends you wear a high-quality mouth guard.
Mouthguards have come a long way since they were introduced as protective equipment for boxers in the early 1900’s. Today, three different types are widely available: stock “off-the-shelf” types that come in just a few sizes; mouth-formed “boil-and-bite” types that you adapt to the general contours of your mouth; and custom-made high-quality mouthguards that are made just for you at the dental office.
Of all three types, the dentist-made mouthguards are consistently found to be the most comfortable and best-fitting, and the ones that offer your teeth the greatest protection. What’s more, recent studies suggest that custom-fabricated mouthguards can provide an additional defense against concussion — in fact, they are twice as effective as the other types. That’s why you’ll see more and more professional athletes (and plenty of amateurs as well) sporting custom-made mouthguards at games and practices.
“I would have saved myself a lot of dental heartache if I had worn a mouthguard,” noted Dr. Stork. So take his advice: Wear a mouthguard whenever you play sports — unless you’d like to meet him (or one of his medical colleagues) in a professional capacity…
What's so special about dental implants — and why should you consider one to replace a missing tooth?
Although they've only been widely available for thirty years, dental implants have climbed to the top of tooth replacement choices as the premier restorative option. Since their debut in the 1980s, dentists have placed over 3 million implants.
There's one overriding reason for this popularity: in structure and form, dental implants are the closest replacement we have to a natural tooth. In fact, more than anything else an implant is a root replacement, the part of the tooth you don't see.
The artificial root is a titanium post surgically imbedded into the jaw bone. Later we can attach a porcelain crown to it that looks just like a visible tooth. This breakthrough design enables implants to handle the normal biting forces generated in the mouth for many years.
There's also an advantage in using titanium dental implants. Because bone cells have a special affinity to the metal, they will grow and attach to the implant over time. Not only does this strengthen the implant's hold within the jaw, the added growth also helps deter bone loss, a common problem with missing teeth.
It's this blend of strength and durability that gives implants the highest success rate for any tooth replacement option. Over 95% of implants placed attain the 10-year mark, and most will last for decades.
Dental implant treatment, however, may not be possible in every situation, particularly where significant bone loss has occurred. They're also relatively expensive, although more cost-effective than other options over the long term.
Even so, implants can play an effective and varied role in a dental restoration. While single implants with attached crowns are the most common type of replacement, they can also play a supporting role with other restorative options. As few as two strategically placed implants can provide a more secure connection for removable dentures or fixed bridges.
You'll need to first undergo a thorough dental examination to see if implants could work for you. From there, we'll be happy to discuss your options for using this "best of the best" restoration to achieve a new, beautiful 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.”
Restorative dental procedures improve smiles affected by tooth decay or damage. Dr. Carl Horchos of Chestnut Dental Associates in Downington, PA, shares some information about a few common restorative techniques.
Improving the function and appearance of teeth
A variety of restorative treatments is used to repair damage and transform teeth marred by imperfections, including:
- Fillings: Fillings, one of the most important restorative procedures, protect teeth after decay has been removed. Silver amalgam or composite resin filling materials seal the hole in your tooth, which not only makes it possible to chew on the tooth but also prevents bacteria from invading it.
- Crowns: Crowns slip over teeth and provide superior protection and stability for damaged teeth. They're created using an impression of your mouth to ensure that your new restoration fits perfectly. Crowns are often recommended if your tooth breaks due to a blow to your mouth or a crack, or if your tooth has been weakened by a dental procedure. Although crowns provide the protection damaged teeth need, they can also conceal flaws, such as oddly shaped or pitted teeth or teeth that have become discolored due to side effects from antibiotics or other medications.
- Bridges: Would you like to replace a missing tooth? Bridges, an excellent tooth replacement option, feature artificial teeth suspended between two crowns. After Dr. Horchos checks the fit of your new bridge in his Downington office, he'll permanently attach your bridge to your teeth to ensure that it doesn't slip or move when you eat.
- Dental veneers: Dental imperfections don't always affect your entire tooth. If you're concerned about a chip in the front of your tooth or don't like the gaps between your teeth, you'll want to consider veneers. These tooth-shaped pieces of porcelain are bonded to the fronts of your teeth, providing excellent coverage for discolorations and minor flaws.
- Dentures: Removable dentures can help you regain your ability to eat your favorite foods if you've lost all of your teeth. Depending on the number of teeth you've lost, you may want to choose full or partial dentures.
Protect your smile with restorative dental procedures. Call your Downington, PA, general dentist, Dr. Horchos of Chestnut Dental Associates, at (484) 364-4292 to schedule your appointment.