18Apr

Las Vegas Dentist

If you suffer from crooked teeth, either one of two things may be true. Either you (1) would like to get them fixed but don't know how or (2) know that they are crooked but just don't think it matters. However, there may be another angle to consider: the effect of crooked teeth on your physical health. Teeth that overlap or sit too far apart can be hard to clean and are likely wear at an uneven rate. Decay, gum disease, headaches, jaw pain and difficulty in chewing are just a few of the problems that can result, to say nothing of the embarrassment crooked teeth can cause.

The good news is that all is not lost. There are things you can do to correct the problem. If your tooth misalignment is not too severe, you may achieve the desired result through:

  • Cosmetic contouring. This fast and reasonably priced solution works well for people whose teeth are worn, chipped or slightly crooked. The success of this treatment rests heavily on the thickness of the existing tooth enamel and the characteristics of the bite. It may not be the answer for everyone, but if you should prove to be a viable candidate, cosmetic contouring can reward you with an improved appearance and teeth that are far easier to clean.
  • Tooth bonding. The application of plastic resin can improve the appearance and function of crooked teeth in as little as one dental visit. This material, once in place, is easily sculpted and trimmed into an attractive shape. Bonding is often performed in conjunction with cosmetic contouring to fill in empty gaps and correct overlaps. This cost-effective technique also works well to improve the appearance of teeth that happen to be stained or chipped.
  • Porcelain veneers. These undetectable, stain-resistant ceramic shells bond invisibly to the existing teeth, making them look straighter.
  • Crowns. Second in cost only to orthodontia, crowns can dramatically correct the appearance of crooked or crowded teeth. However, the success of this treatment depends on the ability to align the crowned teeth properly with their next-door neighbors.

Although any one of these cosmetic techniques can serve as a lower-cost alternative to traditional braces for straightening teeth, they unfortunately won't do the trick for everyone. There are times that only braces will help you achieve the desired result. There are several types of braces available today. Depending on your situation, your dentist may recommend:

  • Metal braces. This traditional type of dental brace consists of brackets that attach to the teeth and metal wires that thread through these brackets to apply the pressure that moves the teeth into position. This is the least expensive type of brace and may work the fastest, but they are impossible to hide, and not everyone finds them comfortable.
  • Ceramic braces. Less widely used and somewhat more expensive than the metal variety, ceramic braces are harder to notice when in place. Although they achieve results at about the same rate as metal braces, they do tend to stain and can also be uncomfortable to wear.
  • Lingual braces. These are very similar to traditional metal braces except that instead of attaching to the front of the teeth, the metal brackets attach to the back. In this position, they are hard to notice unless the wearer opens his mouth. They are also more comfortable to wear. However, they are somewhat more difficult to keep clean and may cause problems with speech. In addition, lingual braces are more expensive and slower to work.
  • Self-ligating braces. Although similar in style to traditional metal braces, the self-ligating variety secure the wire with doors or clips rather than the rubber bands employed by the older type. Self-ligating braces are also less painful to wear, easier to clean and available in either metal or ceramic. However, they may not be right for every patient.
  • Invisible braces. More expensive than other types of dental braces, the invisible variety is virtually undetectable when in place. They remove completely to allow for cleaning and afford more comfort than do traditional metal braces. While they are not likely to work well in severe cases, their inconspicuous nature has attracted many users.

When it comes to straightening your teeth, there are many methods out there. Regardless of the one on which you and your dental professional finally decide, having straighter teeth will:

  • Improve your appearance.
  • Increase your self-confidence.
  • Make your teeth easier to clean and less likely to decay.

Straighter teeth can also help you live longer. That's because they are easier to floss, and studies have shown that people who floss daily can add up to seven years to their lifespans.

If you live in Las Vegas and are interested in straightening your teeth, Dr. James White can help. Contact our office today. We will evaluate your situation and help you choose the tooth-straightening method that best suits your circumstances.

14Mar

Girl brushing teeth

Everyone grows older. Your teeth do too, but that doesn't mean they can't last as long as you do. The right dental attitude makes a difference. Some would call it dental aptitude, and that would be more to the point.

Do intelligent people have a better chance of keeping their teeth for life? You don't have to be a bona fide genius, but the answer is yes for anyone who knows that holding on to your teeth for life means:

  • Intelligent brushing. This is one of the most important parts of your daily dental routine, and it's one that needs to take place twice a day at the very least. For the best results, however, try to brush after every meal if possible, using a fluoride toothpaste and a soft-bristled brush that fits comfortably inside your mouth. To do this the smart way, hold your brush at a 45 degree angle and use short strokes. Pay special attention to the gumline, and keep the action going for two minutes at least.
  • Intelligent flossing. The American Dental Association considers daily flossing to be an essential tool for anyone interested in hanging on to natural teeth life. However, if you have a problem with flossing, interdental brushes will also do a credible job of removing plaque from in between the teeth.
  • Intelligent life choices. The decisions you make on a daily basis are bound to affect your well-being, but there's even more to it than that. The truth is that anything that harms your body is going to harm your teeth as well. If you smoke, chew tobacco, drink to excess or indulge in drugs, your chances of keeping your teeth for life are certainly slim to none.

On the other hand, there are some positive things you can do. These include:

  • Eating apples. The rough and crunchy texture of this particular fruit has a talent for scrubbing away plaque and lessening stains. There is just one caveat: Apples are sweet and mildly acidic, so a good after-brushing is always recommended.
  • Drinking milk. Everyone knows that calcium is vital for healthy bones. Your teeth need it just as much, and milk is one of the easiest ways of getting it. Nevertheless, if you don't like milk or cannot physically tolerate it, cheese, tofu, yogurt and even broccoli can serve as excellent alternative sources.
  • Throwing out an old, worn toothbrush. Nothing lasts forever, and every time you brush your teeth, the bristles on your toothbrush wear down a little more. The more they degrade, the less effective they become at removing plaque from your teeth and gums. Most dental professionals recommend replacing your toothbrush at least four times a year, although if you should catch a cold, have the flu or suffer from a mouth infection, the purchase of a new one when you start feeling well will guard against re-infection.
  • Using a fluoride toothpaste on a regular basis. Fluoride coats your teeth with a protective layer that not only puts the brakes on plaque buildup but also shields against sugar's damaging effects.
  • Just saying no to tobacco products. All forms of tobacco can damage your mouth, and this is true regardless of whether you smoke it or chew it. Tobacco does more than just stain your teeth. It also weakens their structure while leaving the gums vulnerable to disease and tissue damage. Studies have also implicated tobacco in as many as eight out of every 10 cases of oral cancer.

Most importantly of all, intelligent stewardship of your teeth will always call for regular visits to a dental professional. Regardless of how well you care for your teeth each day, only professional cleanings can remove the stains and plaque buildup that would otherwise send your teeth down the slippery slope toward an early grave. Regular dental visits with Dr. James White will also catch problems in the initial stages before things get so out of hand that your teeth no longer stand a chance.

Do you think you rate an A for dental aptitude? Take a cue from our list of guidelines above. Just these few intelligent moves could provide the help you need to hold on to your natural teeth for life.

 

Resorption

If you've never heard of tooth resorption, you're not alone. The condition is not a common one, and if you're lucky, it's not something that will ever happen to you. If it does, however, you might be the last one to know.

The condition is one in which your body attacks its own teeth, eroding them either from the inside out or from the outside in, and it often causes no symptoms whatsoever. In other words, your teeth could be eating themselves away without your ever being the wiser until your dentist discovers the problem or the affected tooth itself begins to wobble inside your mouth.

Internal Tooth Resorption

Internal resorption occurs when the tooth's pulpal walls and dentin resorb inside the root canal. The process sometimes causes the affected tooth to acquire a pinkish appearance. While the disorder can result from trauma, this is not always the case, and in many cases, the original cause never does make itself known. If your dentist discovers the condition early enough, however, there are things that he can do to save that tooth.

External Tooth Resorption

External tooth resorption is the same process by which a person loses his baby or primary teeth, at which time it exists as a perfectly natural process. When resorption affects your secondary teeth, however, there's nothing normal about it. Some have likened the condition to an autoimmune disease in which the body misguidedly attacks what it believes to be a threatening alien object. In this case, your body sees the affected teeth as some sort of foreign invaders.

Whereas internal tooth resorption takes place inside the root canal, the external variety concerns an attack by the body's living cells against the root of the target tooth. The damage often first appears as microscopic indentations on the root's surface. Without the proper treatment, this can progress to the point of destroying the root entirely.

The causes of external tooth resorption include:

  • Unnatural pressure on the surface of the root.
  • Trauma.
  • A chronic inflammatory condition.
  • The eruption of a misplaced tooth in the root's path.
  • Occlusal overload.
  • Fast-growing tumors or cysts.
  • Improper tooth reimplantation.

There have been times when the pressure of braces against the teeth have led to tooth resorption some years after the fact. In truth, anything that forces the teeth to submit to unnatural or unexpected stresses could be to blame. Habitual tooth grinding falls into this category, as do certain dental procedures and even bleaching methods.

Recently, some researchers have discovered a potential connection between tooth resorption and such conditions as asthma or various endocrine system disturbances, but the link is likely to be a weak one. However, many cases of tooth resorption do appear to have a genetic basis which some researchers propose to be as high as 70 percent. Therefore, if a close family member has suffered from the condition, your chances of developing it too would appear to be that much higher. Furthermore, if you have suffered from tooth resorption in the past, you could be far more likely to experience the problem again in the future.

Saving a Tooth from Resorption

Any success in treating tooth resorption depends in large part on how far the condition has progressed. Small lesions often respond well to the removal of any damage-causing tissue cells followed by repair with filling material. Orthodontia to move the tooth outward by degrees can also help by allowing the buildup of new bone behind the problem tooth prior to gum surgery. In the case of internal resorption, root canal treatment will often succeed in repairing the tooth.

It also helps to realize that many cases of tooth resorption progress in a leisurely manner. Some barely worsen at all, and in the earliest stages, they may require nothing more than close watching. Even in the later stages of this disorder, it is often possible to slow or reverse the damage. Of course, if the situation has become sufficiently severe, extraction may be your only option.

This is not always the case, particularly if the problem is discovered early and acted upon promptly. Nevertheless, early detection is critical to the successful treatment of tooth resorption, so if you suspect any problems in this regard, contact Dr. James White as soon as you can. He can diagnose the condition and treat it before it gets any worse. Don't delay. Call Dr. White today.