Posts for: June, 2017
Dental implants are widely considered by both dentists and patients as the premier choice for replacing missing teeth. Unfortunately, implants aren’t the appropriate choice for teenagers with missing teeth.
That’s because their jaws won’t fully finish most of their growth and development until early adulthood. An implant placed too early could become misaligned as the jaw matures. The best approach for a teenager is a temporary restoration until they’re old enough for an implant.
There are a couple of good options. One is a removable partial denture (RPD), prosthetic (false) teeth set in an acrylic base that mimics gum tissue at the locations of the missing teeth. RPDs, which stay in place by way of metal clips that fit over other teeth, are easy to wear and maintain.
On the downside, an RPD can break if you bite into something too hard. They can lose their fit and may need to be replaced with a new one. And, some teens aren’t quite keen on wearing a “denture.”
Another option is a bonded or Maryland bridge, a kind of fixed bridge. We bond dental material to the back of a prosthetic tooth with portions of the material extending out from either side of it.Â We then bond these extending tabs to the back of the teeth on either side of the prosthetic tooth to hold it in place. Unlike traditional bridges, we can eventually remove it without any permanent alterations to the teeth it’s attached to.
Before we undertake a bonded bridge, though, we must make sure the gums and bone of the surrounding teeth are free from periodontal (gum) disease and are healthy and strong enough to support the bridge. We also need to be sure the patient doesn’t have a deep bite or a teeth grinding habit, which could cause the teeth to make contact with the tabs and break them.
The patient also needs the maturity to responsibly perform diligent oral hygiene: this type of bridge has a tendency to build up disease-causing plaque, so brushing twice and flossing once every day is critical. Not doing so increases the risk of tooth decay or periodontal (gum) disease, which could complicate a future implant.
We can discuss these options after a thorough dental examination of your teenager. Either way, we’ll be able to restore your teen’s smile until we can undertake a more permanent restoration.
Can you have healthy teeth and still have gum disease? Absolutely! And if you don’t believe us, just ask actor David Ramsey. The cast member of TV hits such as Dexter and Arrow said in a recent interview that up to the present day, he has never had a single cavity. Yet at a routine dental visit during his college years, Ramsey’s dentist pointed out how easily his gums bled during the exam. This was an early sign of periodontal (gum) disease, the dentist told him.
“I learned that just because you don’t have cavities, doesn’t mean you don’t have periodontal disease,” Ramsey said.
Apparently, Ramsey had always been very conscientious about brushing his teeth but he never flossed them.
“This isn’t just some strange phenomenon that exists just in my house — a lot of people who brush don’t really floss,” he noted.
Unfortunately, that’s true — and we’d certainly like to change it. So why is flossing so important?
Oral diseases such as tooth decay and periodontal disease often start when dental plaque, a bacteria-laden film that collects on teeth, is allowed to build up. These sticky deposits can harden into a substance called tartar or calculus, which is irritating to the gums and must be removed during a professional teeth cleaning.
Brushing teeth is one way to remove soft plaque, but it is not effective at reaching bacteria or food debris between teeth. That’s where flossing comes in. Floss can fit into spaces that your toothbrush never reaches. In fact, if you don’t floss, you’re leaving about a thirdÂ to half of your tooth surfaces unclean — and, as David Ramsey found out, that’s a path to periodontal disease.
Since then, however, Ramsey has become a meticulous flosser, and he proudly notes that the long-ago dental appointment “was the last we heard of any type of gum disease.”
Let that be the same for you! Just remember to brush and floss, eat a good diet low in sugar, and come in to the dental office for regular professional cleanings.
If you would like more information on flossing or periodontal disease, please contact us today to schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can also learn more by reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “Understanding Gum (Periodontal) Disease.”
How Invisalign from Salem, New Hampshire, can enhance your smile
If you are thinking about straightening your smile, you may envision a mouth full of metal brackets and wires. It’s time to think differently about orthodontic treatment. You need to discover Invisalign, the discreet way to straighten your smile. Your dentists at Stiles Family Dentistry in Salem, New Hampshire, want to introduce you to the revolutionary orthodontic treatment known as Invisalign.
Invisalign doesn’t use conventional brackets and wires; instead, the Invisalign system consists of clear, smooth plastic appliances called aligners.
Your treatment begins with the first set of aligners, which you wear for about one to two weeks. You then switch to a new set of aligners which you wear for another one to two weeks. This process is repeated over a course of approximately nine to fifteen months.
Invisalign treatment is virtually invisible to those around you because the appliances are completely clear, allowing you to discreetly straighten your smile. The discreet nature of Invisalign isn’t the only benefit. When you choose Invisalign you can count on:
- A comfortable experience because the appliance has no sharp metal parts to irritate your soft tissue
- A convenient experience because you can remove the aligners to eat the foods you love
- A healthy experience because you can remove the appliance to brush and floss normally
Invisalign is delicate and beautiful, but it is also strong and can correct the same issues as conventional brackets and wires. You can count on Invisalign to fix:
- Overlapping and unevenly spaced teeth
- Overbite and underbite
- Crossbite and open bite
Why settle for conventional brackets and wires which require uncomfortable, lengthy treatment? Now there is a new way to straighten your smile discreetly and comfortably, thanks to Invisalign. To find out more information about Invisalign and what treatment can do for you, call your dentists at Stiles Family Dentistry in Salem, New Hampshire. Don’t wait to improve your smile, call today!