Posts for: November, 2017
Some people are lucky — they never seem to have a mishap, dental or otherwise. But for the rest of us, accidents just happen sometimes. Take actor Jamie Foxx, for example. A few years ago, he actually had a dentist intentionally chip one of his teeth so he could portray a homeless man more realistically. But recently, he got a chipped tooth in the more conventional way… well, conventional in Hollywood, anyway. It happened while he was shooting the movie Sleepless with co-star Michelle Monaghan.
“Yeah, we were doing a scene and somehow the action cue got thrown off or I wasn't looking,” he told an interviewer. “But boom! She comes down the pike. And I could tell because all this right here [my teeth] are fake. So as soon as that hit, I could taste the little chalkiness, but we kept rolling.” Ouch! So what's the best way to repair a chipped tooth? The answer it: it all depends…
For natural teeth that have only a small chip or minor crack, cosmetic bonding is a quick and relatively easy solution. In this procedure, a tooth-colored composite resin, made of a plastic matrix with inorganic glass fillers, is applied directly to the tooth's surface and then hardened or “cured” by a special light. Bonding offers a good color match, but isn't recommended if a large portion of the tooth structure is missing. It's also less permanent than other types of restoration, but may last up to 10 years.
When more of the tooth is missing, a crown or dental veneer may be a better answer. Veneers are super strong, wafer-thin coverings that are placed over the entire front surface of the tooth. They are made in a lab from a model of your teeth, and applied in a separate procedure that may involve removal of some natural tooth material. They can cover moderate chips or cracks, and even correct problems with tooth color or spacing.
A crown is the next step up: It's a replacement for the entire visible portion of the tooth, and may be needed when there's extensive damage. Like veneers, crowns (or caps) are made from models of your bite, and require more than one office visit to place; sometimes a root canal may also be needed to save the natural tooth. However, crowns are strong, natural looking, and can last many years.
But what about teeth like Jamie's, which have already been restored? That's a little more complicated than repairing a natural tooth. If the chip is small, it may be possible to smooth it off with standard dental tools. Sometimes, bonding material can be applied, but it may not bond as well with a restoration as it will with a natural tooth; plus, the repaired restoration may not last as long as it should. That's why, in many cases, we will advise that the entire restoration be replaced — it's often the most predictable and long-lasting solution.
Oh, and one more piece of advice: Get a custom-made mouthguard — and use it! This relatively inexpensive device, made in our office from a model of your own teeth, can save you from a serious mishap… whether you're doing Hollywood action scenes, playing sports or just riding a bike. It's the best way to protect your smile from whatever's coming at it!
If you have questions about repairing chipped teeth, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can also learn more by reading the Dear Doctor magazine articles “Artistic Repair of Chipped Teeth With Composite Resin” and “Porcelain Veneers.”
Periodontal (gum) disease is a serious infection that can damage more than periodontal tissues — supporting bone structure is also at risk. Any bone loss could eventually lead to tooth loss.
To stop it from causing this kind of damage, we must match this disease's aggressiveness with equally aggressive treatment. The various treatment techniques all have the same goal: to remove bacterial plaque, the source of the infection, from all oral surfaces, including below the gum line. Buildup of plaque, a thin film of food particles, after only a few days without adequate brushing and flossing is enough time to trigger gum disease.
The basic removal technique is called scaling, using hand instruments called scalers to manually remove plaque and calculus (hardened plaque deposits) above or just below the gum line. If the disease or infection has advanced to the roots, we may use another technique called root planing in which we shave or “plane” plaque and tartar from the root surfaces.
Advancing gum disease also causes a number of complex problems like abscesses (localized infections in certain areas of gum tissue) or periodontal pockets. In the latter circumstance the slight normal gap between tooth and gums becomes deeper as the tissues weaken and pull away. This forms a void or pocket that fills with inflammation or infection that must be removed. Plaque buildup can also occur around furcations, the places where a tooth's roots divide off from one another.
It may be necessary in these more complex situations to perform a procedure known as flap surgery to gain access to these infected areas. As the name implies, we create an opening in the gums with a hinge, much like the flap of a paper envelope. Once the accessed area has been cleansed of plaque and infected tissues (and often treated with antibiotics to stop further infection), the flapped tissue is closed back in place and sutured.
To avoid these advanced stages it's important for you to see us at the first sign of problems: swollen, red or bleeding gums. Even more important is to reduce your risk for gum disease in the first place with dedicated daily brushing and flossing to remove plaque and regular dental visits for more thorough cleaning.
Gum disease can be devastating to your long-term dental health. But with diligent hygiene and early aggressive treatment you can stop this destructive disease in its tracks.
If you would like more information on treating gum disease, 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 “Treating Difficult Areas of Periodontal Disease.”
Preventive dentistry is a branch of dentistry that emphasizes the importance of ongoing hygiene procedures and daily practices to prevent oral health problems. Effective preventive dentistry combines at-home oral care by patients with counseling and chairside treatments by dental practitioners. Atwal Dental Care, which is located in North Syracuse, NY, offers a full range of dental services. Dr. Inderpreet Atwal is one of the finest dentists in North Syracuse, NY. Here are five reasons why preventive care is so important.
1. Keep Your Smile Healthy
By practicing good oral hygiene every day and seeing your dentist regularly, you can help keep your smile healthy for years to come. To keep your smile healthy, visit your dentist every six months for professional dental cleanings and oral examinations. Some people may need to see their dentist more frequently. Spend some quality time with your dentist and you will catch any issues early when they are treatable.
2. Prevent Dental Cavities
Dental plaque is a fact of life -- everyone gets it. Plaque is a sticky, colorless film that builds up on your teeth and contains bacteria. It is commonly found on the front of teeth, between the teeth, on chewing surfaces, behind teeth, along the gumline, or below the gumline. The bacteria in dental plaque cause dental cavities and gingivitis if it is not removed regularly through flossing, brushing, and professional dental cleanings.
3. Prevent Dental Diseases
During your checkup, your dentist will check for cavities and examine your mouth for signs of gum disease and other health problems. Your dentist can detect oral health problems easily by examining your teeth, probing your teeth with dental instruments, and looking at x-rays. Your dentist may also conduct an oral cancer screening during your checkup. Early diagnosis of oral cancer can help save your life.
4. Prevent Tooth Loss
Tooth loss is a process in which one or more teeth come loose and fall out. Some of the biggest causes of tooth loss include poor oral hygiene, diseases, poor nutrition, smoking, or injury to your teeth. Preventing tooth loss requires a long-term commitment to smart, healthy dental choices. Good dental hygiene and regular dental visits can help you keep your teeth as you get older.
5. Maintain Overall Health
You may be risking your health if you don’t see your dentist regularly. Research shows that poor dental care can affect your overall health. Taking good care of your gums, teeth, and mouth is a worthy goal in and of itself.
Maintaining your oral health is important – and a focus on preventive care and the advice of your dentist, can help you stay healthy. To keep your oral health on track, call Atwal Dental Care at 315-452-1020 now to schedule a dental appointment in North Syracuse, NY. We believe that everyone deserves a healthy smile!