Posts for: January, 2015
Find out when it may be a good time to consider getting a tooth extraction.
No one likes to think about losing a natural tooth; however, there are certain situations in which the tooth just cannot be saved and the best course of action is to have it extracted. However, when should you consider a tooth extraction and when does it become the best treatment option? It’s important to know when getting a tooth extraction from your Anchorage, AK dentist is ideal so you don’t pull a tooth unless you truly need to.
Decay and Trauma: Sure, the main goal of permanent tooth is to last your entire life; however, situations often occur in which this just isn’t the case. The most common reason for an extraction is if a tooth is so severely damaged that it is beyond repair. Both direct trauma to the tooth and serious decay can be to blame for this.
Infections: An infection is another reason for a tooth extraction. When an infection reaches the inner parts of the tooth (e.g. the pulp), it can cause irreparable damage. While this can often be corrected with root canal treatment, if the infection is so severe that antibiotics or a root canal isn’t enough, then your Anchorage, AK dentist will recommend an extraction.
Overcrowded Smile: If you are dealing with a crowded smile then your Anchorage dentist may need to remove a tooth to make room. This sometimes happens before orthodontic treatment so that teeth actually have the ability to move and shift properly. Also, when wisdom teeth come in they can cause teeth to crowd together. When this happens the wisdom teeth need to be extracted. Impacted wisdom teeth (those that don’t fully erupt from the gums) can also cause infection and decay and need to be removed.
Gum Disease: Severe and untreated gum disease affects not only the soft tissue of the mouth but also the bones. This causes teeth to become loose. When this happens the one course of action is to extract the loose tooth and replace it.
If any of these situations sound familiar then you may benefit greatly from a tooth extraction. However, contact your Anchorage, AK dentist to schedule a consultation. Only with a thorough exam can we accurately determine the best treatment option for your smile.
Most people think of bone as rock-solid, but it's actually a living tissue that's constantly changing. This has significant implications for your oral health, general health, and appearance — if you are one of the 70% of Americans missing at least one tooth.
Throughout the day, your top and bottom teeth make hundreds of fleeting contacts with each other. These small stresses are transmitted though the periodontal ligament (“peri” – around; “odont” – tooth) that supports each tooth in its socket like a hammock. Think of it as a gentle push on the hammock, which causes the tooth to gently bump the underlying bone. The bone then builds up in the spot that's receiving stress to counteract it. This constant remodeling of bone is what allows bone to stay healthy and strong.
When a tooth is lost, the bone does not receive that gentle stress. It reacts by literally melting away. Sometimes this happens fairly quickly — in a matter of months. After the tooth-supporting bone is lost, the jawbone itself begins the same process of deterioration. This could eventually change the shape of the face, as the distance from nose to chin can decrease — even if only a few back teeth are missing. The results aren't pretty. But the good news is, there's a way to prevent all this.
Dental implants, which function as substitute tooth roots, actually save underlying bone when teeth are lost. They do this because they are made of titanium, which fuses to the bone in which it's set, stabilizing it. The implant is topped by a realistic-looking crown, which replaces the part of the missing tooth that was visible in the mouth. Together, they look and function just as your natural tooth did.
If you are missing a lot of teeth, implants can also be used to anchor bridges or even removable dentures while providing that same bone-saving benefit. And when you consider that they are so durable they should never need replacement, implants are a great investment.
You can read more about this topic in the Dear Doctor magazine article “The Hidden Consequences of Losing Teeth.”
It is not often that you find a celebrity who is willing to speak candidly about any cosmetic or restorative dentistry that he or she has had. Instead, most prefer that their fans just assume that their dazzling “Hollywood” smile is something that just happened naturally. However, that is not the case with Kathy Ireland, the former Sports Illustrated cover girl, current business mogul and founder of kathy ireland Worldwide, a billion dollar marketing and design firm. In a Dear Doctor magazine cover story she talks openly about her dental experiences, injuries and treatment so that people worldwide can understand what may be possible for them.
For Kathy, it happened several years ago when she was playing with her husband and children in their driveway. Kathy decided that she would stand in her children's wagon and surf across their driveway. Instead, she ended up “face-planting,” as she describes it, in a freak accident that left her with a broken nose, split forehead and several broken teeth. She recalls that it sounded like a watermelon had smashed. Luckily, her husband, an emergency room physician, was on hand to care for her. Kathy is just as thankful to her cosmetic and restorative dentist who restored her trademark smile with some veneers and a dental implant. Today, the only reminder she has from this accident is a small scar on her nose that she covers with a little makeup.
You would think that this accident would be enough trauma for one person; however, Kathy describes an earlier accident where she knocked out a tooth and then later knocked it loose again. Kathy also wanted to take the time to let readers know that her dental implant experiences were “pretty easy.” She did recall, “hearing all the sounds while all of it was going on” and then added, “but I have to tell you, that after being a mom and having kids, going to the dentist...is like going to the spa!” She said that she has even fallen asleep in the dental chair.
To learn more about Kathy Ireland, continue reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “Kathy Ireland.” Or if you think cosmetic or restorative dentistry is right for you, contact us today to schedule an appointment to discuss your specific goals.