Posts for: January, 2016
A recent episode of “America’s Got Talent” featured an engaging 93-year-old strongman called The Mighty Atom Jr. The mature muscleman’s stunt: moving a full-sized car (laden with his octogenarian “kid brother,” his brother’s wife, plus Atom’s “lady friend”) using just his teeth. Grinning for host Howie Mandel, Atom proudly told the TV audience that his teeth were all his own; then he grasped a leather strap in his mouth, and successfully pulled the car from a standstill.
We’re pleased to see that the Atom has kept his natural teeth in good shape: He must have found time for brushing and flossing in between stunts. Needless to say, his “talent” isn’t one we’d recommend trying at home. But aside from pulling vehicles, teeth can also be chipped or fractured by more mundane (yet still risky) activities — playing sports, nibbling on pencils, or biting too hard on ice. What can you do if that happens to your teeth?
Fortunately, we have a number of ways to repair cracked or chipped teeth. One of the easiest and fastest is cosmetic bonding with tooth-colored resins. Bonding can be used to fill in small chips, cracks and discolorations in the teeth. The bonding material is a high-tech mixture of plastic and glass components that’s extremely lifelike, and can last for several years. Plus, it’s a procedure that can be done right in the office, with minimal preparation or discomfort. However, it may not be suitable for larger chips, and it isn’t the longest-lasting type of restoration.
When more of the tooth structure is missing, a crown (or cap) might be needed to restore the tooth’s appearance and function. This involves creating a replacement for the entire visible part of the tooth in a dental lab — or in some cases, right in the office. It typically involves making a model of the damaged tooth and its neighbors, then fabricating a replica, which will fit perfectly into the bite. Finally, the replacement crown is permanently cemented to the damaged tooth. A crown replacement can last for many years if the tooth’s roots are in good shape. But what if the roots have been dislodged?
In some cases it’s possible to re-implant a tooth that has been knocked out — especially if it has been carefully preserved, and receives immediate professional attention. But if a tooth can’t be saved (due to a deeply fractured root, for example) a dental implant offers today’s best option for tooth replacement. This procedure has a success rate of over 95 percent, and gives you a natural looking replacement tooth that can last for the rest of your life.
So what have we learned? If you take care of your teeth, like strongman Atom, they can last a long time — but if you need to move your car, go get the keys.
If you would like more information about tooth restoration, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can learn more by reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “Crowns & Bridgework.”
As with most of everything in the modern world, the staggering amount of choices can make something as simple as buying toothpaste downright overwhelming. Need to whiten your teeth a little bit (who doesn't?) There's a toothpaste for that! Have sensitive gums? There's another ten choices for that. Wear dentures? Looking to fight gingivitis? Perhaps all of the above? How do you know what type of toothpaste to choose, and how much of a difference does your choice really make in keeping your teeth and gums healthy?
The Do's and Don'ts of Buying Toothpaste
Because your teeth and gums are as unique as your skin, a good rule of thumb when trying to narrow down your choices is to start with the type that addresses your particular dental needs. And while it may be tempting for some to select a quirky brand made on an organic rooftop urban farm in Brooklyn or Portland and sold on Etsy, the experts advise consumers to always look for the ADA (American Dental Association) seal of approval to ensure that the product is both safe and effective.
Factors like gel vs. paste or peppermint flavor vs. cinnamon boil down to personal preferences. The best place to start is to ask the person who knows your dental needs as well as - or perhaps even better than you do - your dentist. Teeth whitening toothpastes and gels for example can help to remove surface stains and somewhat help to redeem your smile from the daily coffee or smoking habit, but they do contain abrasives which can also lead to sensitivity for some people. If sensitivity is already an issue with your teeth and gums, or you need more fluoride, ask your dentist whether an over the counter brand is sufficient, or if a prescription for a more specialized brand is necessary.
While the choice of toothpaste can make a difference depending on the person, it is only one factor in a healthy and well rounded oral hygiene routine. Regular flossing, proper brushing technique, and a healthy diet are also essential in avoiding common dental problems like cavities, gum disease, and even tooth loss.
Contact you family dentists Dr. John Murhpy and Dr. Patrick Murphy in Milton
In addition to daily brushing and flossing at home, regular professional teeth cleanings and check-ups are an essential part of maintaining healthy teeth and gums well into old age. To learn more about the best oral hygiene practices and to schedule an appointment with your Milton dentists Dr. John Murhpy and Dr. Patrick Murphy, contact the Murphy Dental Group, PLLC today at (617) 696-3900.
People who’ve lost all their teeth (a condition known as edentulism) face a decision on how to restore their lost function and appearance. And there are a number of options to consider.
A fixed bridge supported by dental implants, for example, is a good choice for patients who still have sufficient bone structure in their jaw. It’s not a good choice, however, for those with the opposite situation — who’ve experienced significant bone loss which has also affected their facial structure. For them, there’s a better alternative that also uses implants for support — the overdenture.
An overdenture is similar to a traditional denture, in that it’s made of life-like crowns permanently set in denture plastic, and may either partially or fully cover the roof of the mouth. The main difference, though, is that unlike traditional dentures which rest for support on the gum ridges, an overdenture is supported by strategically placed implants that the denture fits over and connects to — hence the name “overdenture.”
There are a number of advantages for an overdenture, especially for patients with bone loss. A removable, implant-supported denture can be designed to replace lost tissues that have altered facial appearance — to “fill in” the face and restore aesthetic harmony. Patients who’ve previously worn dentures will also often find their speech better improved than with fixed bridgework.
Because it’s removable, an overdenture and the underlying gums are easier to clean, which helps inhibit disease and lessen further bone loss. It also allows you to properly care for the denture, which can extend its longevity and reduce future potential maintenance and replacement costs.
If you would like to consider removable overdentures as an option, you should begin first with a thorough oral exam that includes evaluating the status of your bone, jaw and facial structure. From there we can advise you if overdentures are the best choice for you.
If you would like more information on overdentures and other restoration options, 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 “Fixed vs. Removable.”