Posts for: June, 2017
Everyone wants a good-looking, healthy and full smile, but problems can develop over time. The teeth can become discolored from eating certain foods, sports injuries can cause damage and dental infections can lead to tooth loss. So sometimes you and your family dentist must take proactive steps to restore parts of your smile that aren’t as strong as they used to be. Crowns and bridges are two ways to get your teeth back to 100 percent—both are offered at White Flint Dental Associates in Rockville, MD.
Your dentist will offer you a number of options to restore weak points in your smile. Crowns and bridges are two very common restorative treatments. In fact, it's estimated that over 15 million Americans have crowns or crown-supported dental devices, and in most cases, only the patient and his or her dentist know about it. Modern crowns and bridges are designed to look very natural.
Crowns Strengthen Teeth
When a tooth has weakened over the years or the enamel has lost its luster, sometimes it just needs a new outer covering. That’s where a crown comes in—it replaces the outer layer of the tooth and protects the inner layers from future damage. The crown is custom-made by your Rockville family dentist to fit the tooth and bonds securely for up to 15 years. Crowns are usually made of porcelain, which is a durable and resilient material that can be color-matched to your smile.
Bridges Fill in Gaps
A dental bridge is designed to cover the open space created by a missing tooth. Two crowns are positioned on either side of a false tooth in the center. The crowns keep it firmly anchored in the gap, making it easier to chew and restoring the appearance of your teeth when you smile. Unlike a partial denture, the bridge device isn’t removable (except by a dentist) so there’s no need to worry about embarrassing situations while eating or communicating with others.
Which Restoration Is Right for You?
Visit a family dentist at White Flint Dental Associates to find out if you can benefit from getting a crown or bridge. Call the Rockville, MD, office at (301) 881-6666 today to schedule an appointment with Dr. H. David Allick.
Most people associate bacteria with disease and ill health. But the real story about the trillions of microscopic organisms now living in and on your body is a bit more complicated. With recent advances in genetic code research scientists are learning that many of these microorganisms you’re hosting are actually beneficial for you — including your teeth and gums.
Beginning at birth and throughout your lifetime you are continually developing a distinct microbiome — actual communities of bacteria and other microorganisms that inhabit your body. As your microbiome develops it helps train your immune system to distinguish between “good” bacteria that help with digestion and other bodily processes and “bad” bacteria that cause disease.Â And it continually adapts to changes in what we eat, the pets we acquire or the drugs we take.
But lifestyle choices like diet can also have a detrimental effect, causing harmful bacteria to become dominant. This seems to be the case with Streptococcus mutans, the bacterial strain most associated with tooth decay. Scientists have analyzed biofilm (plaque deposits on teeth) from the pre-industrial era before 1900 and compared it with modern biofilm samples. They’ve found Streptococcus mutans levels to be much higher in modern biofilm, which they directly attribute to the modern Western diet.
As we gain a better understanding of these findings and of the role of bacteria in our lives, it could change many health recommendations not only about diet but about medications too. In the fight against disease, for example, we’ve used antibiotics to eradicate infection-causing microorganisms, but with a broad destructive ability that can also kill many beneficial strains of bacteria. It’s hoped as our knowledge grows we’ll be able to create newer drugs that more narrowly target harmful microorganisms while not affecting beneficial ones.
There’s a new appreciation emerging for bacteria’s role in our lives. As a result efforts to rebalance a person’s microbiome when they become sick may eventually become a critical element in healthcare treatment strategies. The benefits of this strategy for health, including for our teeth and gums, could be quite impressive.
If you would like more information on the role of bacteria in oral health, 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 “New Research Shows Bacteria Essential to Health.”
Everyone loves a concert where there's plenty of audience participation… until it starts to get out of hand.Â Recently, the platinum-selling band Fifth Harmony was playing to a packed house in Atlanta when things went awry for vocalist Camila Cabello. Fans were batting around a big plastic ball, and one unfortunate swing sent the ball hurtling toward the stage — and directly into Cabello's face. Pushing the microphone into her mouth, it left the “Worth It” singer with a chipped front tooth.
Ouch! Cabello finished the show nevertheless, and didn't seem too upset. “Atlanta… u wild… love u,” she tweeted later that night. “Gotta get it fixed now tho lol.” Fortunately, dentistry offers a number of ways to make that chipped tooth look as good as new.
A small chip at the edge of the tooth can sometimes be polished with dental instruments to remove the sharp edges. If it's a little bigger, a procedure called dental bonding may be recommended. Here, the missing part is filled in with a mixture of plastic resin and glass fillers, which are then cured (hardened) with a special light. The tooth-colored bonding material provides a tough, lifelike restoration that's hard to tell apart from your natural teeth. While bonding can be performed in just one office visit, the material can stain over time and may eventually need to be replaced.
Porcelain veneers are a more long-lasting solution. These wafer-thin coverings go over the entire front surface of the tooth, and can resolve a number of defects — including chips, discoloration, and even minor size or spacing irregularities. You can get a single veneer or have your whole smile redone, in shades ranging from a pearly luster to an ultra-bright white; that's why veneers are a favorite of Hollywood stars. Getting veneers is a procedure that takes several office visits, but the beautiful results can last for many years.
If a chip or crack extends into the inner part of a tooth, you'll probably need a crown (or cap) to restore the tooth's function and appearance. As long as the roots are healthy, the entire part of the tooth above the gum line can be replaced with a natural-looking restoration. You may also need a root canal to remove the damaged pulp material and prevent infection if the fracture went too far. While small chips or cracks aren't usually an emergency (unless accompanied by pain), damage to the tooth's pulp requires prompt attention.
If you have questions about smile restoration, please contact us and schedule an appointment. You can read more in the Dear Doctor magazine articles “Porcelain Veneers: Strength & Beauty As Never Before” and “Porcelain Crowns & Veneers.”