Sometimes when you lose one or more teeth, you can get an indention in your gums and jawbone where the tooth used to be. This happens because the jawbone recedes when it no longer is holding a tooth in place.
Not only is this indentation unnatural looking, it also causes the replacement tooth to look too long compared to the adjacent teeth.
A periodontist can fill in this “defect” with a procedure called ridge augmentation, recapturing the natural contour of your gums and jaw. A new tooth can then be created that is natural looking, easy-to-clean and beautiful.
A dental crown is a tooth-shaped “cap” that is placed over atooth — coveringthe tooth to restore its shape and size, strength, and/or to improve its appearance.
The crowns, when cemented into place, fully encase the entire visible portion of a tooth that lies at and above the gum line.
Why Is a Dental Crown Needed?
A dental crown may be needed in the following situations:
- To protect a weak tooth (for instance, from decay) from breaking or to hold together parts of a cracked tooth
- To restore an already broken tooth or a tooth that has been severely worn down
- To cover and support a tooth with a large filling when there isn’t a lot of tooth left
- To hold a dental bridge in place
- To cover misshapened or severely discolored teeth
- To cover a dental implant
What Types of Crowns Are Available?
Permanent crowns can be made from all metal, porcelain-fused-to-metal, all resin, or all ceramic.
- Metals used in crowns include gold alloy, other alloys (for example, palladium) or a base-metal alloy (for example, nickel or chromium). Compared with other crown types, less tooth structure needs to be removed with metal crowns, and tooth wear to opposing teeth is kept to a minimum. Metal crowns withstand biting and chewing forces well and probably last the longest in terms of wear down. Also, metal crowns rarely chip or break. The metallic color is the main drawback. Metal crowns are a good choice for out-of-sight molars.
- Porcelain-fused-to-metal dental crowns can be color matched to your adjacent teeth (unlike the metallic crowns). However, more wearing to the opposing teeth occurs with this crown type compared with metal or resin crowns. The crown’s porcelain portion can also chip or break off. Next to all-ceramic crowns, porcelain-fused-to-metal crowns look most like normal teeth. However, sometimes the metal underlying the crown’s porcelain can show through as a dark line, especially at the gum line and even more so if your gums recede. These crowns can be a good choice for front or back teeth.
- All-resin dental crowns are less expensive than other crown types. However, they wear down over time and are more prone to fractures than porcelain-fused-to-metal crowns.
- All-ceramic or all-porcelain dental crowns provide the best natural color match than any other crown type and may be more suitable for people with metal allergies. However, they are not as strong as porcelain-fused-to-metal crowns and they wear down opposing teeth a little more than metal or resin crowns. All-ceramic crowns are a good choice for front teeth.
- Temporary versus permanent. Temporary crowns can be made in your dentist’s office whereas permanent crowns are made in a dental laboratory. Temporary crowns are made of acrylic or stainless steel and can be used as a temporary restoration until a permanent crown is constructed by the dental laboratory.
Tooth whitening is the leading dental procedure requested by people under the age of 20 and between the ages of 30 and 50. In the last 10 years alone, this procedure has exploded by 300 percent, according to The American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry.
Perhaps one reason for the explosion has to do with the vast numbers of people having their teeth whitened, which then sets a new standard for how “normal” teeth are supposed to look. Even if your teeth are a healthy shade, they may look yellow when compared to the pearly whites of celebrities and, now, the average person walking down the street.
The problem with most current tooth-whitening products, both over-the-counter versions and those performed in your dentist’s office, is that they use hydrogen peroxide to whiten your teeth.
This is not your best choice because peroxide can cause your teeth to become sensitive. Additionally, hydrogen peroxide forms radical intermediates that can damage and destroy your gums and nerves.
What causes your teeth to become discolored in the first place? Tooth discoloration is caused by colored molecules such as tannins and polyphenols — found in red wine, coffee, and tea — which become absorbed by your tooth enamel’s surface.
Cigarettes, blueberries, and other foods that contain dark pigments can also discolor your tooth enamel, as can certain medications. Some of the staining can be removed by brushing, but over time the compounds can seep into your enamel.
If you’re looking for a safer alternative to brighten your teeth, you can try this simple trick:
- Crush one ripe strawberry and mix it with 1/2 teaspoon of baking soda.
- Spread the mixture onto your teeth and leave on for five minutes.
- Brush your teeth with a little toothpaste (non-fluoride, of course) and rinse.
This natural mixture works because of the malic acid it contains, which acts as an astringent to remove some of the surface discoloration on your teeth. Though this method is perfectly safe to use on occasion, don’t use it too often (no more than once a week) because the acid could potentially damage your tooth enamel.
Toothaches always start on Friday night right before the weekend when the Dental Office will be closed.
A patient sits in the dental chair with severely fractured front teeth. After discussing how they will be restored and what the fee would be the patient says,” Before we begin, Doc, I gotta know: Will I be able to play the trumpet when you are finished? ” The dentist replies ” Sure you will!” The patient replies ” Great, I couldn’t play a note before!”
•A little boy was taken to the dentist. It was discovered that he had a cavity that had to be filled. ” Now, young man,” asked the dentist, ” what kind of filling would you like for that tooth?” ” Chocolate, please,” replied the youngster.
Owners are typically getting the devices to ease their pets’ pain, discomfort from an abnormal bite.
THURSDAY, Dec. 23 (HealthDay News) — Cynthia Duggan was so surprised to learn her Australian shepherd puppy, Molly, needed dental braces that she hesitated to give her veterinarian the OK.
But after mulling over the $1,000 orthodontic procedure with her husband, the couple finally decided it would be money well spent.
“She’s an incredible dog,” said Duggan of the 9-month-old puppy, already showing potential as a herding champion. “We felt like she deserved it.”
The braces weren’t for appearances, though. Unlike braces for humans, who often endure an ugly mouth full of metal in pursuit of a perfect smile, canine braces aren’t applied for cosmetic reasons. Instead these “oral appliances” alleviate pain or discomfort from an abnormal bite, usually caused by a few crooked teeth.
In Molly’s case, a large upper tooth protruded like an elephant’s tusk, preventing the pup from comfortably closing her tiny mouth, said Dr. Larry Baker, of Northgate Veterinary Dentistry and Oral Surgery in Decatur, Ill.
To correct the problem, Baker attached a rubber band, called a power chain, to the wayward tooth, successfully pulling it back into place in just three weeks.
“She tolerated it well,” said Duggan. “We were pretty thrilled with the way it turned out.”
Baker has used metal braces on dogs, like the ones teenagers wear, but instead prefers to create his own from the material used to fill cavities in people.
“My dog braces do not typically look like human braces,” explained Baker, one of only about 125 board-certified veterinary dentists in the world. “Yet, they accomplish the same result: moving teeth.”
Dr. Daniel Carmichael, a board-certified veterinary dentist at the Animal Medical Center in New York City, said the critical ages for detecting orthodontic problems — only some of which are corrected by braces — are during the first several months of a dog’s life. A veterinarian should check the “baby teeth” at around eight to 10 weeks of age, he said, and then again around six to eight months of age when the permanent adult teeth are present.
Most orthodontic problems that crop up in dogs are hereditary, he said. Breeds predisposed to such dental issues include Irish Setters, Standard Poodles, Shelties and Labrador Retrievers.
“Not all dogs are entitled to the perfect bite, but all dogs are entitled to a healthy, functional bite,” said Carmichael.
Braces realign an abnormal bite to prevent problems, he said, such as difficulty eating, closing the mouth, or trauma to the teeth and gums.
Invisible braces — a transparent, removable alignment originally developed for people — are the latest tool in veterinary orthodontics. The primary benefit is that dogs only need to be sedated one time to create a mold of the teeth. Once the clear acrylic aligners are worn by the dog for as many hours a day as possible, he said, correction occurs in about four to six weeks, which is much faster than in human patients.
He said the condition most responsive to invisible braces is base narrow canines, or “linguoversion,” where the lower teeth point inward, injuring the roof of the mouth.
Carmichael only sees one or two orthodontic cases a month that require some form of treatment. However, Baker of Northgate Veterinary Dentistry sees much more, about one dog a week (and occasionally cats) at his Midwest practice. Not all orthodontic cases, though, require braces to correct a bad bite. Other treatment options include extraction, surgery and tooth extensions.
Such dental problems, of course, are not something the average dog owner has to contend with. “The chances are, they won’t be faced with the prospect of having to get their dog braces,” said Carmichael.
Coffee, cola, and cigarettes are the usual suspects responsible for discolored teeth. Many people find that their teeth become discolored over the years. Luckily there are several options for returning the gleam to your smile, but you will need to talk with your dentist to see if you are a good candidate for any of these whitening procedures.
Teeth Whitening Success
The success of teeth whitening procedures depends on your teeth. Bleaching procedures may not change the color of bonding or tooth-colored fillings. If you have any of these items in your front teeth, they may stand out as a different color from your newly whitened smile. Porcelain veneers and dental bonding are other options for people with bonding or tooth-colored fillings, but they can be much more expensive.
Your dentist can bleach your teeth in his office in about one hour, but you may need several visits. The bleaching solution a dentist may use for in-office procedures contains between 15%-35% hydrogen peroxide.
First, the dentist applies a protective gel or rubber shield to protect your gums and other mouth tissues from the bleaching agent. Next, he applies the bleaching agent to your teeth. He may also direct a special light or lasers on your teeth to enhance the action of the bleaching agent.
You can buy your own home-bleaching kit at the drug store or you can get a custom kit from your dentist. These bleaching solutions are typically gels containing 10% carbamide peroxide. The gel is in a flexible tray that you wear in your mouth. The benefit of getting a kit from your dentist is that he can custom fit the tray to your mouth, maximizing contact of the solution to your teeth. Another delivery method is a coating of gel on flexible strips.
Solutions provided by your dentist generally are applied for a few hours a day for one to two weeks. Drugstore products may be applied twice a day for two weeks, or even overnight for 1-2 weeks.
All toothpastes act as mild abrasives to remove some stains on the surface of teeth, but they do not actually alter the color of tooth enamel.
Common side effects of bleaching procedures include:
- Tooth sensitivity, which is usually temporary and subsides once you have stopped the treatments
- Gum irritation due to an ill-fitting tray or contact with the bleaching solution, which also tends to subside after treatments have ended
Contact your dentist if you have any side effects.
The down economy’s done little to darken the tooth-bleaching market. Americans spend $1.4 billion a year on at-home kits to brighten stained and yellowed chompers and request whitening more than any other procedure in the dentist’s office. (Then again, who’s begging for a root canal?) But, like anything that combines the potential of looking better (a twinkly white smile) with possible risks (sticking chemicals in your mouth), this one has attracted its share of controversy.
Before you run out for a lunchtime tooth-lightening session or apply your umpteenth — or your first — set of whitening strips to your bicuspids at home, here are four things you should know about chemical spiff-ups for your smile:
1. Give it a rest. There’s a reason some products should be used only four times a year: worries about overuse. If lightening becomes as regular as a monthly haircut in your grooming routine, you may damage tooth enamel and take your teeth to the point of ghostly translucence. That’s not pretty.
2. It’s not always ouchless. The most common side effects of tooth-whitening, whether it’s DIY in your bathroom or a professional job, are sensitive teeth and irritated gums. From 10% to 65% of people who give tooth bleaching a try have some pain, experts say. Usually, it’s short lived, but to avoid it in the first place, try using a toothpaste that reduces sensitivity for several days before your procedure (and for a few days or weeks afterward). Taking an ordinary painkiller (like ibuprofen) before a bleaching session helps, too.
3. Think twice about bleaching at the mall. One recent CBS-TV investigation of “whiten while you shop” kiosks and storefronts in malls found that while employees may wear lab coats, they usually aren’t dental-care professionals. And they aren’t equipped to evaluate dental problems — so underlying dental issues, like cavities, could be made worse by bleaching. One place used bleaching agents that were dentist-office strength, which can be two to three times stronger than the carbamide peroxide gel found in some home whitening kits approved by the American Dental Association.
4. Ask your dentist what’s possible. Bleaching can make your pearly whites several shades whiter — especially if coffee, tea, tobacco, or plain old aging are to blame for that gray-yellow grin. But the results are less reliable if your teeth were stained by the use of the antibiotic tetracycline or by too much fluoride in childhood. Also, if you have tooth-colored fillings or crowns, bleaching can cause a color mismatch. Talk to your dentist about whether a possible variation in “whites” in your mouth will be noticeable.