Posts for: January, 2015
Growing up with a dentist stepdad, Cheryl Burke of Dancing with the Stars heard a lot over the years about the importance of good oral hygiene — in particular, the benefits of using dental floss.
“My dad would say, ‘make sure you floss,’ but I never really listened to him. I was very, very stubborn,” Cheryl told Dear Doctor magazine recently in an exclusive interview. Cheryl admits this stubbornness took its toll, in the form of tooth decay. “I definitely had my share of cavities,” Cheryl recalled.
Cavities can form when food particles, particularly sugar and carbohydrates, are not effectively cleaned from the spaces between teeth. These particles are then broken down by bacteria naturally present in the mouth, resulting in the production of acids that attack the tooth enamel.
When she reached her twenties, Cheryl decided she really needed to step up her oral hygiene and cultivate an asset so important to a professional dancer: a beautiful smile. And once she did, cavities became a distant memory.
“I think when you do floss frequently, it helps to reduce the chances of getting cavities,” Cheryl said. “It took me a while to figure it out.” Now Cheryl flosses after every meal. “I carry floss with me wherever I go. I have no shame busting out my floss in the middle of a restaurant!” She declared.
Dental decay is actually a worldwide epidemic, especially among kids. Untreated, it can lead to pain, tooth loss, and, because it is an infectious disease, it may even have more serious systemic (whole body) health consequences. The good thing is that it is entirely preventable through good oral hygiene at home and regular professional cleanings here at the office.
If it has been a while since you or your children have seen us for a cleaning and check-up, or you just want to learn more about preventing tooth decay, please contact us to schedule an appointment for a consultation. If you would like to read Dear Doctor's entire interview with Cheryl Burke, please see “Cheryl Burke.” Dear Doctor also has more on “Tooth Decay: The World's Oldest & Most Widespread Disease.”
The final emergence of permanent teeth in late adolescence marks the end of a long process beginning in the womb with the formation of our primary or “baby” teeth. Permanent teeth form in a similar way as buds high in the jaw, continuing to grow until the primary teeth ahead of them fall away. The crowns of the new adult teeth eventually break through the gum tissue and emerge (erupt) into view.
At least, that’s normally what should happen; sometimes, though, a tooth may only erupt partially or not at all, a condition known as impaction. The crown remains partially or fully submerged below the gum line, causing the tooth to press against other teeth, potentially damaging them. It can also make periodontal (gum) tissues adjacent to the area more susceptible to disease. Wisdom teeth are especially prone to this kind of impaction, to the extent they’re often surgically removed (extracted) to avoid future problems to adjacent teeth or the bite.
Upper canines (the “eye teeth” normally located directly below the eyes) are also subject to impaction. But because of their highly visible position, extracting them could have an adverse impact on the patient’s smile. In this case, we often attempt instead to expose and ultimately save the tooth.
Before taking any action, however, an orthodontic examination is conducted first to pinpoint the exact position of the impacted tooth and determine how that position might affect moving teeth into a more desired alignment. If we find the impacted canine is in a workable position, the next step is to surgically uncover the tooth from the gum tissue (a minor procedure usually performed by an oral surgeon or periodontist). Once exposed, an orthodontic bracket with a small attached gold chain is bonded to the tooth. The gums are then sutured back into place with the chain exposed and allowed to heal.
At some future point an orthodontist will attach the chain to orthodontic hardware that will pull the impacted tooth into proper position over several months. As a result, the upper canine becomes “un-impacted”; the dangers to surrounding teeth and tissues are also reduced. And, just as important, we can preserve the tooth and with orthodontics achieve an attractive, normal smile.
If you would like more information on the effects and treatment of impacted 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 “Exposing Impacted Canines.”
While there are several methods for replacing a lost or missing tooth, only one replacement method mimics the natural look and feel of your tooth: a dental implant. At Cosmetic Dental and Implant Center in Sandy Springs, Dr. M. James Fagan offers implant dentistry services to restore a lost or missing tooth or teeth.
Dental implants are metal, often titanium implants which are embedded into the jaw, much like a tooth root. A dental crown is attached over the dental implant, creating a natural-looking tooth. Those are the basics, but let's delve a little deeper into dental implants with these fun facts!
Dental Implants Have a High Success Rate
At our Sandy Springs implant dentist’s office, we take great care in ensuring we carefully select the right patients for dental implants. Dental implants have a long-term success rate of 98 percent - that’s like making an A-plus in class. No other tooth replacement option has the same success rate, including dental bridges or partial dentures. While you may wish to eventually replace the crown that covers your dental implant, you should not need to replace the implant itself, providing you take excellent care of your gums and remaining teeth.
An Estimated Three Million Americans Have Dental Implants
Dental implants are increasing in popularity each year! More than 500,000 people in the United States get dental implants annually, according to the American Academy of Implant Dentistry. Sometimes patients receive more than one dental implant, as implants can be used to hold an entire upper or lower set of teeth.
Only One-Tenth of All Dentists in America Place Dental Implants
While dental implants are highly popular, only a select number of dentists have the skill set and knowledge to place dental implants. Dr. Fagan is one such dentist!
To learn more about implant dentistry services at our Sandy Springs office, please call (404) 255-5006 to schedule a consultation, and get on the path to a happier, healthier, and more attractive smile.