Posts for: January, 2015
As the Boy Scouts say, it's best to be prepared. You may never have a traumatic injury to your teeth. But what if you do? Here are four questions and answers about such injuries and their treatment that may be helpful some day.
What are traumatic injuries?
We are talking about physical damage caused by a fall, an accident, or a blow to the face. The word trauma comes from the Greek root meaning “wound.”
A traumatic injury can also cause broken, cracked, or split teeth, or a fracture to the root of the tooth. A tooth may be dislodged from its proper position, pushed sideways, out of or deeper into its socket. It may even be completely knocked out of your mouth.
What should you do if your tooth is knocked out?
With proper treatment, the tooth can be restored to its original place. You must handle the tooth gently and seek professional help as soon as possible. Rinse the tooth in cold water if it is dirty, but do not use any cleaning agent. Avoid touching the root. While hurrying to your dentist, keep the tooth from drying out by keeping it in a container of milk or of your saliva, or by holding it in your mouth between gum and cheek. It is vital to keep the tooth's living tissues moist until it can be professionally assessed and replanted in its socket. If a tooth has been dislodged but not knocked out, it must be repositioned in its socket and may be stabilized with a splint.
Who can treat a tooth that is damaged by a traumatic injury?
A general dentist, an oral surgeon or an endodontist is trained to treat such injuries. An endodontist is trained to treat the root canal(s) inside a tooth. The word comes from “endo” the Greek word for “inside,” and “odont,” the word for “tooth.” After a tooth is replaced in its socket and stabilized, root canal treatment is often needed.
What is root canal treatment?
A tooth is composed mostly of dentin, a living tissue. The top part or crown is covered by hard mineralized enamel. The soft tissue inside the tooth, the pulp, contains blood vessels, nerves and connective tissues. It extends from the crown to the tip of the roots. Treatment of dental pulp injuries is called root canal or endodontic treatment and is usually needed to treat teeth that have been dislodged or fractured.
Contact us today to schedule an appointment to discuss your questions about injuries to teeth and related nerve damage. You can also learn more by reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “Trauma & Nerve Damage to Teeth.”
As a member of the best-selling pop group Spice Girls, Mel C (AKA Sporty Spice) enjoyed her share of musical superstardom. At the band’s peak in the Nineties, the young singer’s signature look featured baggy sweatpants, an assortment of tattoos, a nose stud and a gold-capped incisor, front and center in her mouth. Today, Melanie Chisholm is still singing — but now she’s a mom, an amateur triathlete… and that gold tooth is just a memory. Not only that, her smile looks more evenly spaced and whiter than it did when she was referred to as the “tomboy” of the group.
What happened? In our view, it all boils down to changing tastes — plus a little bit of help from dental professionals. As the “wannabe” singer proves, there’s no single standard when it comes to making your teeth look their best. Your own look is unique to you — and your smile can reflect that individuality.
For example, crowns (caps) are substantial coverings that may be placed on teeth when they are being restored. They are available in three types: gold, all-porcelain, or porcelain-fused-to-metal. The latter two are tooth-colored, while the gold is — well, shiny like gold bling. Which one is right for you? In many cases, it’s your choice.
Likewise, dental veneers — wafer-thin shells that can correct cosmetic issues by covering the surface of your teeth — can be made in a variety of shades. Their hues may range from natural ivory to Hollywood white, and everything in between. What’s the best color for you? Only you can say.
Some people opt for a “smile makeover” that uses small irregularities in the spacing and color of teeth to create a more “natural” look. Other folks want a perfectly even, brilliant white smile that dazzles the eye. Still others are looking to match or restore the smile they once had — perhaps even re-creating a signature gap between the teeth. As long as there are no other dental issues involved, the choice is yours.
So if you’re unhappy with your smile — or if you feel it doesn’t reflect the person you “wannabe” — why not talk to us about a smile makeover? Just call our office to schedule a consultation. You can learn more about this topic in the Dear Doctor magazine articles “Beautiful Smiles by Design” and “The Impact of a Smile Makeover.”
When you're at a dentist appointment, you often find that you've bitten off more than you can chew once your primary oral hygienist has taken care of you. They frequently will uncover cavities caused from poor oral hygiene, discolored teeth instigated by an unhealthy diet, or even rotting gums led on by gingivitis.
Though most of these dental disasters are largely self-inflicted and caused by a lack of oral self-discipline, some others occur not because of our own lack of hygienic will-power but because of our quirky stress-related habits. One of the most common examples of such teeth-deteriorating habits is known as bruxing, or persistent teeth grinding and clenching, often caused by one's own subconscious response to certain stressors.
Check out a few interesting facts you should be aware of if you're a big bad bruxer below:
Why You Do It
Most of those who brux do so out of a subconscious habit caused by stress. That being said, others end up bruxing because they have misaligned teeth, or some other prevalent dental dilemma.
What The Dentist Can Do
If your bruxing is caused by stress, try being more aware of the repetitive habit so you can begin to manifest that stress outlet in a more healthy manner-- such as through exercise, meditation, or even listening to your favorite tunes!
If your bruxing has caused significant damage to your enamel, the natural protective covering on your teeth, your dentist might suggest a custom-made nightguard that's similar to an athletic mouthguard. This great tool will help keep you from grinding away at night, while also maintaining your jaw joints' strength.
Bruxing Bite Adjustment
If some of your teeth stick out further than others, your dentist may request to remove a small amount of enamel from the problematic teeth so that it's back on the same horizontal field as the rest. Otherwise called a bite adjustment, this technique can be quite successful in uneven bruxers.
Furthermore, if you're missing any teeth, then it might be beneficial to get them replaced so that no unwanted problems arise from the shifting of teeth that inevitably occurs when extra space is left vacant in your mouth because of already-missing ones.
If you're ready to get rid of your bruxing once and for all, then come check out North Creek Dental Care of Naperville, one of the leading dentistries in all of Illinois! The dental experts on site employ careful hands and gentle techniques for full bruxing relief all the time, so give them a call at (630) 983-9877 today!