Posts for: January, 2019
While tooth decay is a potential problem at any age, the risk increases as you grow older. Not only are senior adults more susceptible, decay is often more difficult to treat. That’s because cavities can occur at or below the gum line, often due to gum recession.
If that’s the case, we won’t be able to fill the cavity in the usual way because the gum tissue is in the way. To make it possible to treat, we may need to perform a minor surgical procedure known as crown lengthening.
As the name implies, the procedure helps expose more of the crown, the tooth’s visible part, from the surrounding gum tissue. In basic terms, we’re repositioning the gum tissue away from the biting surface of a tooth to make room for a filling. It’s also useful for improving a tooth’s appearance by making it look longer, or creating room for a crown or other dental restoration.
After applying a local anesthesia, the dentist (or periodontist, a specialist in the gums) creates a tiny flap of gum tissue with a series of incisions. This allows the dentist to move the affected gums out of the way to access the underlying bone. The dentist then reshapes the bone to adequately support the gum tissue when it’s finally repositioned to expose the crown. In its new and improved position, the dentist sutures the gum tissue in place.
For a few days afterward, the patient will need to restrict their diet to soft foods, avoid strenuous activities and apply an ice pack to help reduce swelling the day of surgery. They will also prescribe a pain reliever and possibly an antibiotic to reduce the chances of infection.
While most people return to normal activities a few days later, you’ll usually have to wait a few weeks for the gums to heal before undergoing any further treatments for the affected teeth. But even with the wait, crown lengthening could make it possible to not only save your tooth but improve your smile as well.
If you would like more information on treating tooth decay, 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 “Crown Lengthening: This Common Surgical Procedure Restores Function and Improves Appearance.”
Find out how this tooth replacement could benefit your oral health for the long term.
Has tooth loss got you down? Are you ready to take charge and do something about it? If so, our West Columbia, SC, dentists, Drs. Peter and Brooke Stoltz, can most certainly help. While there are several ways in which to replace missing teeth, many patients choose dental implants because they offer unique benefits from that other tooth replacement options do not. Some of these benefits include:
Natural Tooth Functionality
Dental implants are artificial tooth roots that are placed within the jawbone to support a false tooth. Implants are the only tooth replacement that is surgically placed into the jawbone, and therefore carries the distinct benefit of creating a stable, permanent bond between the new tooth and the bone. Once the implant becomes part of the jawbone, it can remain there the rest of your life. It’s the closest you’ll come to having a natural tooth again!
Prevent Teeth From Shifting Around
Another issue that can occur when tooth loss is left untreated is that the rest of your natural teeth will begin to move into the open gap or gaps in your smile. As you might imagine, this can lead to crookedness, unevenness, and even crowding. Once this happens, the only way to realign your smile is with braces. Luckily, by placing a dental implant not long after tooth loss, our West Columbia, SC, dentists can prevent the rest of your smile from being affected.
Prevent Jawbone Loss
A serious complication of tooth loss is jawbone loss. This occurs when the missing tooth is no longer providing the jawbone with the stimulation it needs to stay healthy, and as a result, the jawbone begins to break down and change shape, which also negatively impacts the shape of your face. The only way to prevent jawbone deterioration is to place a dental implant, which functions just like a real tooth root to provide the stimulation your jawbone needs to remain intact and healthy.
Restore Chewing and Speech
Trying to chew certain foods when you have one or more missing teeth can be quite a hassle. Fortunately, dental implants function just like real teeth, meaning that once it’s permanently in place, the implant will make it significantly easier to eat any and all foods that you love.
Speech is also affected by tooth loss, as issues such as lisps can develop for those with missing teeth. Fortunately, placing this dental implant into the gap in your smile can also make it much easier to speak.
Contact Us Today!
Here at Three Fountains Family Dental in West Columbia, SC, we believe that everyone should get the smiles they know they deserve. If you want to replace one or more missing teeth, call us today at (803) 755-0039 to find out how dental implants can help you!
We’re all familiar with tried and true traditional braces and perhaps with newer clear aligners for realigning teeth. But there’s an even more novel way that’s quickly becoming popular: lingual braces.
This type of braces performs the same function as the traditional but in an opposite way. Rather than bonded to the front of the teeth like labial (“lip-side”) braces, these are bonded to the back of the teeth on the tongue (or “lingual”) side. While labial braces move teeth by applying pressure through “pushing,” lingual braces “pull” the teeth to where they need to be.
Although lingual braces are no better or worse than other orthodontic methods, they do have some advantages if you’re involved in sports or similar physical activities where mouth contact with traditional braces could cause lip or gum damage, or if your work or lifestyle includes frequent snacking or eating, which requires continually removing clear aligners. And like aligners, lingual braces aren’t noticeable to the outside world.
But lingual braces typically cost more: as much as 15-35% more than traditional braces. They can initially be uncomfortable for patients as the tongue makes contact with the hardware. While most patients acclimate to this, some don’t. And like traditional braces, it’s hard to effectively brush and floss your teeth while wearing them. This can be overcome, though, by using a water flosser and scheduling more frequent dental cleanings while you’re wearing them.
For the most part, lingual braces can correct any poor bite (malocclusion) correctable with labial braces. The treatment time is also comparable, ranging from several weeks to a couple of years depending on the malocclusion. And, as with any other orthodontic method, you’ll need to wear a retainer once they’re removed.
Lingual braces have only been available in a limited fashion for a few years, but their availability is growing as more orthodontists train in the new method. If you’re interested in the lingual braces approach, talk to your orthodontist or visit www.lingualbraces.org to learn more.
If you would like more information on lingual braces, 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 “Lingual Braces: A Truly Invisible Way to Straighten Teeth.”