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Posts for: August, 2016

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Removing a problem tooth (extraction) is a common dental procedure. But not all extractions are alike — depending on the type of tooth, its location and extenuating circumstances, you may need an oral surgeon to perform it.

Fortunately, that's not always the case. Teeth with straight or cone-shaped roots, like an upper front tooth, have a fairly straight removal path. A general dentist first carefully manipulates the tooth loose from the periodontal ligament fibers that help hold it in place (experienced dentists, in fact, develop a “feel” for this process). Once it's loosened from the fibers it's a simple motion to remove the tooth.

But as mentioned before, a “simple extraction” won't work with every tooth or situation. To find out if it can we'll first need to determine the true shape of the tooth and roots, as well as the condition of the supporting bone. We might find any number of issues during this examination that make a simple extraction problematic.

For example, teeth with multiple roots (especially in back) may have complicated removal paths. If the roots themselves are unhealthy and brittle from previous injury or a root canal treatment, they can fracture into smaller pieces during removal. A tooth could also be impacted — it hasn't fully erupted but remains below the gum surface. It's these types of situations that require surgery to remove the tooth.

During a surgical extraction, the oral surgeon will first numb the area with a local anesthetic, as well as a sedative if you have issues with anxiety. They then perform a surgical procedure appropriate for the situation to remove the tooth. More than likely they'll insert bone grafts before closing the site with stitches to deter bone loss (a common occurrence after losing a tooth).

Afterward, your provider may prescribe antibiotics and an antibacterial mouthrinse to ward off infection. You'll also be given care instructions for the extraction site to keep it clean. Any discomfort should subside in a few days and can be managed effectively with a mild anti-inflammatory drug like ibuprofen or aspirin.

It can be overwhelming having a tooth removed. In your dentist's capable hands, however, the experience will be uneventful.

If you would like more information on tooth extraction, 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 “Simple Tooth Extraction?


August 08, 2016
Category: Dental Procedures
AToothlessTiger

Let’s say you’re traveling to Italy to surprise your girlfriend, who is competing in an alpine ski race… and when you lower the scarf that’s covering your face, you reveal to the assembled paparazzi that one of your front teeth is missing. What will you do about this dental dilemma?

Sound far-fetched? It recently happened to one of the most recognized figures in sports — Tiger Woods. There’s still some uncertainty about exactly how this tooth was taken out: Was it a collision with a cameraman, as Woods’ agent reported… or did Woods already have some problems with the tooth, as others have speculated? We still don’t know for sure, but the big question is: What happens next?

Fortunately, contemporary dentistry offers several good solutions for the problem of missing teeth. Which one is best? It depends on each individual’s particular situation.

Let’s say that the visible part of the tooth (the crown) has been damaged by a dental trauma (such as a collision or a blow to the face), but the tooth still has healthy roots. In this case, it’s often possible to keep the roots and replace the tooth above the gum line with a crown restoration (also called a cap). Crowns are generally made to order in a dental lab, and are placed on a prepared tooth in a procedure that requires two office visits: one to prepare the tooth for restoration and to make a model of the mouth and the second to place the custom-manufactured crown and complete the restoration. However, in some cases, crowns can be made on special machinery right in the dental office, and placed during the same visit.

But what happens if the root isn’t viable — for example, if the tooth is deeply fractured, or completely knocked out and unable to be successfully re-implanted?

In that case, a dental implant is probably the best option for tooth replacement. An implant consists of a screw-like post of titanium metal that is inserted into the jawbone during a minor surgical procedure. Titanium has a unique property: It can fuse with living bone tissue, allowing it to act as a secure anchor for the replacement tooth system. The crown of the implant is similar to the one mentioned above, except that it’s made to attach to the titanium implant instead of the natural tooth.

Dental implants look, function and “feel” just like natural teeth — and with proper care, they can last a lifetime. Although they may be initially expensive, their quality and longevity makes them a good value over the long term. A less-costly alternative is traditional bridgework — but this method requires some dental work on the adjacent, healthy teeth; plus, it isn’t expected to last as long as an implant, and it may make the teeth more prone to problems down the road.

What will the acclaimed golfer do? No doubt Tiger’s dentist will help him make the right tooth-replacement decision.

If you have a gap in your grin — whatever the cause — contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation, and find out which tooth-replacement system is right for you. You can learn more in the Dear Doctor magazine articles “Dental Implant Surgery” and “Crowns & Bridgework.”


By Stiles Family Dentistry
August 05, 2016
Category: Dental Procedures
Tags: dental crowns  

Dental crowns can both improve the appearance and the functionality of your smile. With such a variety of uses, understanding dental dental crownscrowns may seem confusing. Luckily, your dentist can help you understand these versatile dental restorations. Learn more about dental crowns and how they benefit you with your dentist at Stiles Family Dentistry in Salem, NH.

What is a dental crown? 
A dental crown is a tooth-shaped dental restoration which fits on top of a tooth, covering it on all sides. A dental laboratory creates the dental crown, customizing it specifically for your mouth based on an impression taken by your dentist. Your dentist and the laboratory work together to color-match the crown to your natural teeth, ensuring it blends into your smile. Made from porcelain, dental crowns have similar light-reflecting qualities as natural teeth and are strong and durable.

What can dental crowns do for me? 
Dental crowns have many uses, including for both aesthetic and functional improvements. Dentists usually use dental crowns in the following situations:

  • to strengthen a weakened or broken tooth
  • to stabilize a tooth with a large filling
  • to improve the appearance of a yellowed, discolored or misshapen tooth
  • to complete a dental implant and replace a missing tooth
  • to restore the biting surface and functionality of a worn down tooth

Dental Crowns in Salem, NH
Dental crowns usually require two appointments. At your first appointment, your dentist prepares the tooth to receive the crown. This process involves removing parts of the tooth’s enamel from the sides and top of the tooth and shaping it into the correct form to fit inside of the dental crown. With the tooth prepared, your dentist takes an impression of your mouth which is then sent to the dental laboratory responsible for creating the crown. A temporary crown protects your tooth during the duration of time the laboratory requires to create the crown, usually about two weeks. At your second appointment, which occurs after the finished crown returns to your dentist’s office, the final restoration permanently replaces the temporary crown.

For more information on dental crowns, please contact Dr. Nicholas Papapetros, Dr. Jhon Giraldo and Dr. Paul Masterson at Stiles Family Dentistry in Salem, NH. Call (603) 893-4538 to schedule your consultation for dental crowns today!