Posts for: March, 2017
Want to know the exact wrong way to pry open a stubborn lid? Just ask Jimmy Fallon, host of NBC-TV’s popular “Tonight Show.” When the 40-year-old funnyman had trouble opening a tube of scar tissue repair gel with his hands, he decided to try using his teeth.
What happened next wasn’t funny: Attempting to remove the cap, Fallon chipped his front tooth, adding another medical problem to the serious finger injury he suffered a few weeks before (the same wound he was trying to take care of with the gel). If there’s a moral to this story, it might be this: Use the right tool for the job… and that tool isn’t your teeth!
Yet Fallon is hardly alone in his dilemma. According to the American Association of Endodontists, chipped teeth account for the majority of dental injuries. Fortunately, modern dentistry offers a number of great ways to restore damaged teeth.
If the chip is relatively small, it’s often possible to fix it with cosmetic bonding. In this procedure, tough, natural-looking resin is used to fill in the part of the tooth that has been lost. Built up layer by layer, the composite resin is cured with a special light until it’s hard, shiny… and difficult to tell from your natural teeth. Best of all, cosmetic bonding can often be done in one office visit, with little or no discomfort. It can last for up to ten years, so it’s great for kids who may be getting more permanent repairs later.
For larger chips or cracks, veneers or crowns may be suggested. Veneers are wafer-thin porcelain coverings that go over the entire front surface of one or more teeth. They can be used to repair minor to moderate defects, such as chips, discolorations, or spacing irregularities. They can also give you the “Hollywood white” smile you’ve seen on many celebrities.
Veneers are generally custom-made in a lab, and require more than one office visit. Because a small amount of tooth structure must be removed in order to put them in place, veneers are considered an irreversible treatment. But durable and long-lasting veneers are the restorations of choice for many people.
Crowns (also called caps) are used when even more of the tooth structure is missing. They can replace the entire visible part of the tooth, as long as the tooth’s roots remain viable. Crowns, like veneers, are custom-fabricated to match your teeth in size, shape and color; they are generally made in a dental lab and require more than one office visit. However, teeth restored with crowns function well, look natural, and can last for many years.
So what happened to Jimmy Fallon? We aren’t sure which restoration he received… but we do know that he was back on TV the same night, flashing a big smile.
If you would like more information about tooth restorations, please contact us or schedule a consultation. You can learn more in the Dear Doctor magazine articles “Porcelain Crowns & Veneers” and “Artistic Repair Of Front Teeth With Composite Resin.”
Discovering a loose tooth can be exciting — if you're six, that is, and anticipating a windfall from the tooth fairy. If you're an adult, a loose tooth is a different story. You're in real danger of it becoming a lost tooth, and there won't be another one coming in to replace it.
Fortunately, that result isn't inevitable, but we have to take quick action if we're going to save your tooth. The first step is to find out why it's loose.
Tooth looseness occurs primarily because the gum and bone structures that hold teeth in place have been damaged in some way. Otherwise healthy teeth and gums can be injured in an accident or with dental habits like teeth grinding or clenching that increase the biting forces against teeth. The latter could require some intervention like a night guard to prevent teeth from grinding to reduce the abnormal biting force.
But disease is often the root cause for tooth looseness. Periodontal (gum) disease, a bacterial infection triggered by bacterial plaque, can inflame and weaken gum tissues, eventually causing bone loss followed by the gum tissue detaching from the teeth. In this weakened condition even normal biting forces could loosen a tooth.
If gum disease is the primary culprit, our treatment starts there. By aggressively removing plaque and calculus (tartar) from the tooth surfaces, including deep below the gum line around the root, the gum tissues become less inflamed and begin to heal. This in turn can strengthen their attachment to a loose tooth. In more advanced cases, we may need to surgically graft lost bone and gum tissue to rebuild the attachment.
We may also need to stabilize a loose tooth while we're performing these other treatments. The most common way is to join or splint a loose tooth to nearby stable teeth. There are varieties of splints: one type involves rigid dental material bonded across the enamel of the loose tooth and its neighbors. In another, we cut a small channel in the involved teeth, and then insert a metal splint, bonding it within the channel.
Whatever needs to be done, we need to do it promptly — if you notice a loose tooth, contact us as soon as possible. The earlier we begin treatment the more likely we'll save your loose tooth.
If you would like more information on treating loose teeth, 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 “Treatment for Loose Teeth.”
Learn about dental crowns from your Alexandria dentists.
Whether you have a damaged tooth or a dental imperfection that affects your smile, you can benefit from dental crowns. Dr. Paul Gibberman, Dr. Lauren Gibberman and Dr. Maria Hodas, your Alexandria, VA, dentists, discuss the many benefits of this versatile dentistry treatment.
What are crowns?
Dental crowns, commonly called caps, are tooth-shaped restorations that fit over teeth. Because biting exerts considerable pressure on your teeth, crowns must be made of very tough materials, such as porcelain, resin, ceramic or porcelain fused to metal. Crowns are designed to fit your mouth perfectly and look just like your natural teeth.
How can a crown help me?
Crowns may be recommended if you have:
- Chips or Cracks: Chip and cracks aren't just unsightly. They can also weaken teeth and make it easier for bacteria to enter your teeth. Crowns cover chips and cracks, preventing your teeth from further damage.
- Broken Teeth: Broken teeth can be restored with dental crowns. In some cases, you may need a root canal first before you receive the crown.
- Weak or Fragile Teeth: Your teeth tend to become more brittle as you age, putting them at risk of breaking. Dental procedures, such as large fillings and root canal treatment can also weaken teeth. Adding a crown to a fragile tooth reduces the risk of a fracture.
- Unusually Shaped Teeth: When one or two teeth just don't blend in with the rest of your smile, crowns can be a good option. They're a good choice if your tooth is pitted, bumpy, pointed, crooked or twisted.
- Short Teeth: Short teeth aren't just a cosmetic issue, but can also affect your bite. Crowns restore the full length of teeth that are naturally short or have grown shorter due to your nighttime grinding habit.
- A Missing Tooth: A bridge is an excellent tooth replacement option if you've lost a tooth or two. Two crowns support one or more artificial teeth in a dental bridge.
Could you benefit from dental crowns? Call Dr. Paul Gibberman, Dr. Lauren Gibberman and Dr. Hodas, your Alexandria, VA, dentists, at (703) 823-6616 to schedule an appointment.