Posts for: February, 2015
Though it's been a while since Olivia Newton-John sang her way into our hearts in the movie Grease, her smile is as radiant as ever. Today, Olivia is still singing, acting and busy with new ventures such as authoring a cookbook and raising money for the cancer center that bears her name in Melbourne, Australia. Whichever part of the world Olivia finds herself in, she protects that beautiful smile with an oral appliance that many find beneficial.
“I wear a nightguard to prevent wear on my teeth, custom-made by my dentist,” Olivia recently told Dear Doctor magazine. “I love it!”
Olivia's device, also referred to as a bite (occlusal) guard, is designed for people who clench or grind their teeth at night, or during stressful periods. Made of thin, wear-resistant plastic, it is custom-made to fit exactly over your top teeth. This allows the bottom teeth to slide gently across the top teeth without biting into them. Not only does this prevent excessive tooth wear, it also helps relax the muscles of the jaw.
Grinding or “bruxing,” as it's also called, can affect virtually any part of the oral system: the jaw joints or muscles, resulting in spasm and pain; the teeth themselves, resulting in wear, fractures or looseness; it can even cause an aching in the ears, head, neck or back.
If you are a teeth-grinder, you might not even know it unless a sleeping partner hears it or your dentist notices signs of wear. These habits are called “parafunctional” (para – outside, function – normal), meaning the biting forces it generates are well outside the normal range — sometimes as much as 10 times normal. So it's no wonder that damage to teeth can occur if they are not protected.
If you have any questions about grinding habits or nightguards, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. If you would like to read Dear Doctor's entire interview with Olivia Newton-John, please see “Olivia Newton-John.” Dear Doctor also has more on “Stress & Tooth Habits.”
With their durability, versatility and life-likeness, there’s no doubt dental implants have revolutionized teeth replacement. If you’re considering dental implants, however, there are some issues that could impact how and when you receive implants, or if you should consider another type of restoration.
Cost. Dental implants are initially more expensive than other tooth restorations, especially for multiple tooth replacement. However, be sure you consider the projected cost over the long-term, not just installation costs. Because of their durability, implants can last decades with little maintenance cost. In the long run, you may actually pay more for dental care with other types of restorations.
Bone health. Dental implants depend on a certain amount of bone to properly situate them for the best crown placement. If you’ve experienced extensive bone loss, however, there may not be enough to support the implant. This can often be overcome with grafting — immediately after extraction, at the time of implantation or a few months before implantation — to encourage bone growth. In some cases, though, bone loss may be so extensive you may need to consider an alternative restoration.
Gum Health. While implants themselves are impervious to infection, they’re supported by gum and bone tissues that can be affected. Infected tissues around an implant could eventually detach and lead to implant failure. If you have periodontal (gum) disease, we must first bring it under control and render your gums infection-free before installing implants. It’s also important to maintain effective oral hygiene and regular dental cleanings and checkups for optimum implant health.
Complications from osteoporosis. People with osteoporosis — in which the bones lose bone density and are more prone to fracture — are often treated with drugs known as bisphosphonates. In less than 1% of cases of long-term use, a patient may develop osteonecrosis in which the bone in the jaw may lose its vitality and die. As with bone loss, this condition could make implant placement difficult or impractical. Most dentists recommend stopping treatment of bisphosphonates for about three months before implant surgery.
If you have any of these issues or other complications with your oral health, be sure to discuss those with us before considering dental implants. With proper planning and care, most of these difficulties can be overcome for a successful outcome.
If you would like more information on pre-existing conditions that may affect 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 articles “Osteoporosis & Dental Implants” and “Infections around Implants.”
Do you have broken, chipped, or discolored teeth? Maybe you have a front tooth that's slightly misshapen and you've always wished it matched the rest. If so, cosmetic bonding may be an option to consider.
What is Cosmetic Bonding?
Cosmetic bonding is a relatively inexpensive cosmetic dentistry process that uses a tooth colored composite resin applied to the natural tooth to change its shape. It can be used to add to a chipped tooth, reshape a tooth, or help restore a decayed tooth. The composite resin bonds to the tooth for a long-lasting, beautiful finish.
What is the Process?
Unlike dental veneers, which need to be constructed in a laboratory, dental bonding can be completed right in your dentist's office, often in as little as a half hour. The tooth that will be bonded needs to be cleaned and prepared for the bonding material. Once the tooth is ready, your dentist will paint the bonding material onto the tooth to create the desired shape and size. Then they will use a curing light to harden the layers and then shape the tooth to the desired form. Once it looks and feels right for your mouth, the tooth will be polished.
How Long Will it Last?
Cosmetic bonding can last for several years, though perhaps not as long as porcelain veneers. Bonding is subject to staining just the same as your normal teeth, so extra care should be taken to avoid red wine, coffee, smoking, and anything else that could stain your investment. You should always avoid using your teeth as a tool such as for opening packages or biting into hard objects. Chewing on your nails may even damage the bonding material. But with proper care, your bonded teeth could last a decade.
Cosmetic bonding can help mend the smile of adults, teenagers, and children alike. Hobble Creek Dental Care in Springville, Utah offers dental bonding in as little as one visit. To find out if dental bonding is right for you, schedule a consultation with your dentist today.