Posts for: March, 2018
If you’re facing cancer treatment, we wish you the best outcome possible. Treating this disease has advanced tremendously in recent decades, but the available options are still often challenging to endure. It will be your primary focus for the foreseeable future.
As a dental provider we also want you to be aware how the two main treatments, chemotherapy and radiation, could adversely affect your teeth and gums, especially if you’re receiving radiation therapy near the head and neck. The aim of cancer treatment is to attack and destroy cancer cells to prevent their growth. Unfortunately, it can also destroy neighboring healthy cells and lead to harmful consequences in different parts of the body, including the mouth.
Salivary glands, for example, are especially vulnerable to damage during cancer treatment. This could create a situation where the mouth no longer produces adequate saliva flow, leading to a condition called xerostomia or dry mouth. Besides a lot of discomfort, restricted saliva flow can also increase your risk of tooth decay and other dental diseases. This is because saliva is the body’s acid neutralizer (acid can erode tooth enamel) and its first line of defense against microbial infection.
To guard against this, it’s important to support salivary flow as much as possible if you experience dry mouth symptoms during treatment (as well as beyond—it’s possible the damage to these glands could be permanent). Since some medications also contribute to dry mouth, you should speak with your physician about the prescriptions you’re taking: if any have dry mouth side effects ask if there’s an alternative drug without these side effects. You should also drink more water during the day and especially when taking medications. And consider substances like xylitol gum that can help boost saliva flow.
Unfortunately, it may not be possible to fully avoid the effects of these treatments on your teeth and gums. So, be sure you keep up daily brushing and flossing and see your dentist regularly for cleanings and checkups. If necessary, there are a number of restoration options to restore your smile after you’ve completed your treatment.
At any given time some 4 million teens and pre-teens are wearing braces or other orthodontic appliances to correct a malocclusion (poor bite). While most cases are straightforward, some have difficulties that increase treatment time and cost.
But what if you could reduce some of these difficulties before they fully develop? We often can through interceptive orthodontics.
This growing concept involves early orthodontic treatment around 6 to 10 years of age with the goal of guiding the development of a child’s jaws and other mouth structures in the right direction. These early years are often the only time of life when many of these treatments will work.
For example, widening the roof of the mouth (the palate) in an abnormally narrow upper jaw takes advantage of a gap in the bone in the center of the palate that doesn’t fuse until later in adolescence. A device called a palatal expander exerts outward pressure on the back teeth to influence the jawbone to grow out. New bone fills in the gap to permanently expand the jaw.
In cases with a developing overbite (the upper front teeth extending too far over the lower teeth when closed), we can install a hinged device called a Herbst appliance to the jaws in the back of the mouth. The hinge mechanism coaxes the lower jaw to develop further forward, which may help avoid more extensive and expensive jaw surgery later.
Interceptive treatments can also be fairly simple in design like a space retainer, but still have a tremendous impact on bite development. A space maintainer is often used when a primary (“baby”) tooth is lost prematurely, which allows other teeth to drift into the empty space and crowd out the incoming permanent tooth. The wire loop device is placed within the open space to prevent drift and preserve the space for the permanent tooth.
To take advantage of these treatments, it’s best to have your child’s bite evaluated early. Professional organizations like the American Association of Orthodontists (AAO) recommend a screening by age 7. While it may reveal no abnormalities at all, it could also provide the first signs of an emerging problem. With interceptive orthodontics we may be able to correct them now or make them less of a problem for the future.
If you would like more information on orthodontic treatments, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can also learn more about this topic by reading the Dear Doctor article “Interceptive Orthodontics.”
Cosmetic dentistry, though largely optional and meant to improve the appearance of your smile, can also help improve the functionality of your teeth. With help from your cosmetic dentist, you can finally have the smile you have always wanted, whether that means repairing a small imperfection on an obvious tooth or completely overhauling your smile to make over your entire look. Find out more about cosmetic dentistry and what it can do for you with Dr. Peter Stoltz and Dr. Brooke Stoltz at Three Fountains Family Dentistry in West Columbia, SC.
What is cosmetic dentistry?
Cosmetic dentistry focuses on improving the appearance of your smile rather than repairing a broken tooth to make it function correctly. Cosmetic treatments are not necessary to chewing or eating and only serve to give you a look you love. However, many cosmetic treatments can also restore a tooth and, on the other hand, many restorative procedures also improve a tooth aesthetically.
Popular Cosmetic Dentistry Procedures
- Veneers: Dental veneers act as a facade, covering the surface of the tooth to completely renew its appearance. The veneer itself is a super-thin shell of porcelain which can change the shape, length, width, and color of the tooth.
- Dental Implants: Dental implants permanently replace a missing tooth with a natural-looking prosthetic tooth. Your dentist implants dental implants directly into the jawbone, where they remain for the rest of your life to form a sturdy foundation for your replacement tooth.
- Zoom Teeth Whitening: Zoom teeth whitening is a procedure which can take place in a single dental visit and provide big results. You can work with your dentist to determine the strength of the treatment and ensure that you get the look you want.
- Dentures: Patients missing all their teeth can benefit from dentures, which replace an arch of missing teeth to allow patients to eat, chew, speak, and smile once more. Dentures can be a traditional, full denture, a partial denture which incorporates any remaining healthy teeth into its design, or even an implant-supported denture which takes advantage of dental implant technology to stay permanently in the mouth.
Cosmetic Dentistry in West Columbia, SC
For more information on cosmetic dentistry, please contact Dr. Peter Stoltz and Dr. Brooke Stoltz at Three Fountains Family Dentistry in West Columbia, SC. Call (803)755-0039 to schedule your appointment with your dentist today!