Posts for: May, 2017
Most children's permanent teeth erupt on a fairly predictable schedule. Sometimes, though, one or more teeth might not develop as they should — or at all.
These absent teeth pose functional problems for chewing and hygiene, which can affect long-term dental health. But they can also have a disruptive effect on an otherwise attractive smile if the missing teeth are the upper lateral incisors in the most visible part of the smile.
You normally find this pair of teeth on either side of the upper central incisors (the two front-most teeth). On the other side of the lateral incisors are the canine or eye teeth, known for their pointed appearance. Without the lateral incisors, the canines tend to drift into the space next to the central incisors. This can produce an odd appearance even a layperson will notice: only four teeth where there should be six!
It's possible to correct this abnormality, but it will take time and expense. The first step is usually to move the teeth in the upper jaw with braces to their correct position. This puts teeth where they should be and also opens space between the canines and central incisors so we can eventually replace the missing teeth with dental implants.
But the key to all this is timing. It's usually appropriate to undertake tooth movement with braces during late childhood or adolescence. But implants shouldn't be installed until the person's jaw fully matures, usually in early adulthood. An implant placed before then could eventually become misaligned.
To accommodate the time between bite correction and implant placement, the patient can wear a retainer appliance that will keep the newly created space open. We can also attach artificial teeth to the retainer to camouflage the empty space.
It usually takes a team of a family dentist, an orthodontist and a surgeon to see this kind of “smile makeover” project through, possibly over several years. But the gains in better aesthetics and health are well worth the time and expense.
If you would like more information on replacing non-developing teeth, 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 “When Permanent Teeth Don't Grow.”
Are you ready to learn more about this long-term replacement for your missing teeth?
Did you just lose a permanent tooth? If so, more than likely you are looking for a restoration that will be able to replace your tooth for the long-term. If so, our Woodbridge, VA, family dentists have the answer you’ve been looking for. Dental implants have replaced millions of teeth and could give you back the smile you want.
What are dental implants?
Perhaps you’ve heard about them or know someone who has them. Dental implants are the closest thing you can get to a real tooth. While nothing is as great as maintaining healthy natural teeth, if you are faced with tooth loss then the best option for getting a long-term replacement is dental implants. These small metal posts are designed to function like tooth roots. When the implant is surgically placed into the jawbone it naturally fuses together with bone and tissue to become a permanent part of your mouth.
How does the dental implant fuse together with the jawbone?
While it will take several months for this to occur, this process is what makes implants so successful and long lasting. This naturally occurring phenomenon in which the implant fuses together with the jawbone is known as osseointegration.
Implants are made from biocompatible metals like titanium. Since the implant is made from this unique metal it means that the body won’t reject it as a foreign object. In fact, it will treat it like it’s just like any other part of the mouth and begin to bond with it. Once the implant has fused together with the bone and tissue, you could just have an implant for the rest of your life.
How do I get dental implants?
If you want to get dental implants to replace your missing tooth or teeth, the first step is to visit our Woodbridge dentists for a consultation. By examining your mouth and talking about your treatment goals we can determine whether or not this is the right option for you. From there, we will need to place the implant.
Once the implant has been placed and the gums have been stitched back up we will allow the implant time to bond with the bone and tissue. Once this is complete, we will place an abutment over the top of the implant.
An abutment is used to connect the implant and the false tooth, which will sit above the gums. If we only need to replace one tooth, then a dental crown will be cemented or attached to the implant. If you are replacing multiple teeth then we will determine whether a dental bridge or other option is better fitted to your needs.
Mapledale Family Dentistry in Woodbridge, VA, prides itself on offering the very best in restorative dentistry. If you have questions about dental implants or want to find out if you are a good candidate, then call us today!
A woman as gorgeous and funny as Sofia Vergara surely planned to be a model and actress from the get-go, right? Wrong! Sofia’s first career choice actually was to be… a dentist! That’s right, the sexy star of TV’s Modern Family actually was only two semesters shy of finishing a dental degree in her native Columbia when she traded dental school for the small screen. Still, dental health remains a top priority for the actress and her son, Manolo.
“I’m obsessed,” she recently told People magazine. “My son thinks I’m crazy because I make him do a cleaning every three months. I try to bribe the dentist to make him to do it sooner!”
That’s what we call a healthy obsession (teeth-cleaning, not bribery). And while coming in for a professional cleaning every three months may not be necessary for everyone, some people — especially those who are particularly susceptible to gum disease — may benefit from professional cleanings on a three-month schedule. In fact, there is no one-size-fits-all approach to having professional teeth cleanings — but everyone needs this beneficial procedure on a regular basis.
Even if you are meticulous about your daily oral hygiene routine at home, there are plenty of reasons for regular checkups. They include:
- Dental exam. Oral health problems such as tooth decay and gum disease are much easier — and less expensive — to treat in the earliest stages. You may not have symptoms of either disease early on, but we can spot the warning signs and take appropriate preventive or restorative measures.
- Oral cancer screening. Oral cancer is not just a concern of the middle aged and elderly — young adults can be affected as well (even those who do not smoke). The survival rate for this deadly disease goes up tremendously if it is detected quickly, and an oral cancer screening is part of every routine dental visit.
- Professional teeth cleaning. Calcified (hardened) dental plaque (tartar or calculus) can build up near the gum line over time — even if you brush and floss every day. These deposits can irritate your gums and create favorable conditions for tooth decay. You can’t remove tartar by flossing or brushing, but we can clear it away — and leave you with a bright, fresh-feeling smile!
So take a tip from Sofia Vergara, and don’t skimp on professional cleanings and checkups. If you want to know how often you should come in for routine dental checkups, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can learn more in the Dear Doctor articles “Dental Hygiene Visit” and “Dental Cleanings Using Ultrasonic Scalers.”