Posts for: May, 2017
Did you know that untreated tooth loss can lead to bone deterioration, too?
If you have just lost a tooth you may be wondering if you can just leave it untreated or if this is something that requires immediate attention. Besides the embarrassing gap tooth loss leaves behind, it can also cause some other nasty complications if you aren’t careful. Our Appleton, WI, dentist Dr. Jolanta Pajek provides some insight into what happens if you don’t treat your tooth loss.
What happens if tooth loss goes untreated?
Losing a tooth has some rather unpleasant ramifications for your smile if you decide to just ignore the problem. Tooth roots are designed to stimulate and preserve the jawbone. When you lose one or more teeth, the jawbone is no longer getting the full stimulation it needs to stay healthy. As a result, it begins to breakdown.
As the jawbone changes shape and shrinks, you can only imagine the effect it will have on your face. Cheeks will begin to cave in, skin will sag and your jawline will start to recede. Teeth will also start to shift toward the open space left by your missing teeth, which can cause crookedness, crowding, and gaps in your smile.
How can I stop this from happening?
While there are restorations out there that can replace your missing teeth, the only one that will be able to prevent jawbone loss while also protecting the integrity of your facial structure is a dental implant. Implants are the next best thing to having real teeth. How? Essentially, implants are artificial tooth roots. When they are placed into the jawbone, they offer the support and stimulation the jawbone needs to produce new healthy cells and to prevent deterioration.
How do I get a dental implant?
To find out if a dental implant is the best way to replace one or more missing teeth, you’ll want to sit down with our Appleton, WI, general dentist to help determine your candidacy. We will need to examine your smile and make sure you are healthy enough for treatment. If you are an ideal candidate, the first order of business is to surgically place the implant into the jawbone.
Once the implant and jawbone fuse together over the course of several months, then we can continue to build the implant and place a dental crown over top to restore your smile and fill the gap for good.
Don’t let tooth loss ruin your oral health. Modern Touch Dentistry in Appleton, WI, makes it easy to restore your smile. Call us today to learn more about dental implants and other ways to replace your missing teeth.
“To gain something, sometimes you have to give up something else.”
No, that isn't the latest viral meme on the Internet. It's actually a practical consideration that could arise in orthodontics.
In this case, the “something” to gain is a straighter, more attractive smile; the “something” you may have to part with is a few teeth. This may be necessary if there are too many teeth on a dental arch for its capacity, a situation called crowding. A lack of space is the main reason teeth come in misaligned.
Before we can correct this, we'll need to free up space to allow for tooth movement by removing one or more of the existing teeth. The ideal candidates are those that are near to the teeth we wish to move but not highly visible. The first bicuspids are the most frequent choices for removal: they're located behind the cuspids or eyeteeth (the pointed teeth right under the eyes).
Ideally, we'll remove the target teeth some time before we apply braces to give the gums a chance to heal. At the same time we want to preserve the bone that once supported the teeth we've extracted. This is because when we chew the forces generated by the teeth stimulates bone replacement growth. When a tooth is no longer there the supporting bone doesn't receive this stimulation and may ultimately reduce in volume.
We may try to prevent this by placing a bone graft in the empty socket immediately after removing the tooth. The graft serves as a scaffold to encourage new bone to grow. Hopefully when we're ready to apply braces, the bone will be strong and healthy to handle the movement of the teeth.
As the teeth move under the influence of braces, they'll begin to fill up the space created by tooth removal. Once it's completed, the extracted teeth won't be missed — the other teeth now straightened will completely fill out the smile.
The different steps in this process must be carefully planned and executed precisely, and it will take months or even years to complete. In the end, though, this complicated bite problem can be corrected and replaced with an attractive, straight smile.
If you would like more information on correcting a poor bite, 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 “Tooth Removal for Orthodontic Reasons.”
Ever since childhood, when her career as a model and actress took off, Brooke Shields has enjoyed worldwide recognition — through advertisements for designer jeans, appearances on The Muppet Show, and starring roles in big-screen films. But not long ago, that familiar face was spotted in an unusual place: wearing a nasal anesthesia mask at the dentist's office. In fact, Shields posted the photo to her own Instagram account, with the caption “More dental surgery! I grind my teeth!” And judging by the number of comments the post received, she's far from alone.
In fact, researchers estimate that around one in ten adults have dental issues that stem from teeth grinding, which is also called bruxism. (Many children also grind their teeth, but it rarely causes serious problems, and is often outgrown.) About half of the people who are teeth grinders report problems like persistent headaches, jaw tenderness and sore teeth. Bruxism may also result in excessive tooth wear, and may damage dental work like crowns and bridges; in severe cases, loosened or fractured teeth have been reported.
Researchers have been studying teeth grinding for many years; their findings seem to indicate that it has no single cause. However, there are a number of factors that play a significant role in this condition. One is the anatomy of the jaw itself, and the effect of worn or misaligned teeth on the bite. Another factor relates to changes in brain activity that occur during the sleep cycle. In fact, nocturnal (nighttime) bruxism is now classified as a sleep-related movement disorder. Still other factors, such as the use of tobacco, alcohol and drugs, and a high level of stress or anxiety, can make an individual more likely to experience bruxism.
What can be done for people whose teeth grinding is causing problems? Since this condition may have many causes, a number of different treatments are available. Successful management of bruxism often begins by striving to eliminate the factors that may cause problems — for example, making lifestyle changes to improve your health, creating a soothing nighttime environment, and trying stress-reduction techniques; these may include anything from warm baths and soft music at bedtime, to meditation and mindfulness exercises.
Several dental treatments are also available, including a custom-made occlusal guard (night guard) that can keep your teeth from being damaged by grinding. In some cases, a bite adjustment may also be recommended: In this procedure, a small amount of enamel is removed from a tooth to change the way it contacts the opposite tooth, thereby lessening the biting force on it. More invasive techniques (such as surgery) are rarely needed.
A little tooth grinding once in a while can be a normal response to stress; in fact, becoming aware of the condition is often the first step to controlling it. But if you begin to notice issues that could stem from bruxism — or if the loud grinding sounds cause problems for your sleeping partner — it may be time to contact us or schedule an appointment. You can read more about bruxism in the Dear Doctor magazine article “Stress and Tooth Habits.”