Posts for: August, 2015
In real life he was a hard-charging basketball player through high school and college. In TV and the movies, he has gone head-to-head with serial killers, assorted bad guys… even mysterious paranormal forces. So would you believe that David Duchovny, who played Agent Fox Mulder in The X-Files and starred in countless other large and small-screen productions, lost his front teeth… in an elevator accident?
“I was running for the elevator at my high school when the door shut on my arm,” he explained. “The next thing I knew, I was waking up in the hospital. I had fainted, fallen on my face, and knocked out my two front teeth.” Looking at Duchovny now, you’d never know his front teeth weren’t natural. But that’s not “movie magic” — it’s the art and science of modern dentistry.
How do dentists go about replacing lost teeth with natural-looking prosthetics? Today, there are two widely used tooth replacement procedures: dental implants and bridgework. When a natural tooth can’t be saved — due to advanced decay, periodontal disease, or an accident like Duchovny’s — these methods offer good looking, fully functional replacements. So what’s the difference between the two? Essentially, it’s a matter of how the replacement teeth are supported.
With state-of-the-art dental implants, support for the replacement tooth (or teeth) comes from small titanium inserts, which are implanted directly into the bone of the jaw. In time these become fused with the bone itself, providing a solid anchorage. What’s more, they actually help prevent the bone loss that naturally occurs after tooth loss. The crowns — lifelike replacements for the visible part of the tooth — are securely attached to the implants via special connectors called abutments.
In traditional bridgework, the existing natural teeth on either side of a gap are used to support the replacement crowns that “bridge” the gap. Here’s how it works: A one-piece unit is custom-fabricated, consisting of prosthetic crowns to replace missing teeth, plus caps to cover the adjacent (abutment) teeth on each side. Those abutment teeth must be shaped so the caps can fit over them; this is done by carefully removing some of the outer tooth material. Then the whole bridge unit is securely cemented in place.
While both systems have been used successfully for decades, bridgework is now being gradually supplanted by implants. That’s because dental implants don’t have any negative impact on nearby healthy teeth, while bridgework requires that abutment teeth be shaped for crowns, and puts additional stresses on them. Dental implants also generally last far longer than bridges — the rest of your life, if given proper care. However, they are initially more expensive (though they may prove more economical in the long run), and not everyone is a candidate for the minor surgery they require.
Which method is best for you? Don’t try using paranormal powers to find out: Come in and talk to us. If you would like more information about tooth replacement, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can learn more in the Dear Doctor magazine articles “Crowns & Bridgework,” and “Dental Implants.”
Porcelain veneers are excellent for restoring otherwise sound teeth that are stained, chipped or slightly misaligned. But the question for many is, are they long-lasting?
Just as the term is used in building construction, a dental veneer is a thin covering of material that’s bonded to the outside of a tooth to conceal blemishes. Very thin layers of dental porcelain (a form of hardened glass colored to match a patient’s natural teeth) are created by a dental lab technician to achieve the preferred shape and size of the patient’s tooth. Unlike crowns or other restorations, veneers require very little tooth preparation to accommodate them.
As to their longevity: if cared for properly, a veneer could last for twenty years or more. While the veneer itself isn’t subject to the effects of dental disease, the tooth and the gums that support it are. Shrinking gum tissues as a result of periodontal (gum) disease, for example, could have a negative effect on the veneered tooth and subsequently the veneer. It’s important, then, that you properly practice daily brushing and flossing, along with keeping up regular office cleanings and checkups.
There’s one other important consideration: while porcelain veneers can withstand normal biting forces, if they’re subjected beyond their tolerance they could shatter. You should be careful not to subject your veneered teeth to an abnormal biting force, such as biting down on an extremely hard object. If you tend to grind your teeth at night, wearing a night guard can minimize the force created from the grinding.
It’s possible to repair and re-bond a loose or slightly chipped veneer. In some cases, though, severe damage may require a replacement. Still, by using common sense about what you bite down on and taking proper care of your teeth and gums, you can minimize the chances of damage and enjoy many years of a more attractive smile.
If you would like more information on porcelain veneers, 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 “Porcelain Veneers: How Long will Your Porcelain Veneers Last?.”
Find out how to handle all of your dental emergencies and when to see your Novi dentist.
We can’t always be prepared for everything in life. So it might come as a complete surprise when you suffer from a dental injury. The most important rule you can follow is to remain calm and to call your Novi dentist Dr. Neil Blavin to find out if it’s necessary to come in for treatment. If it’s a true dental emergency then you will need proper medical attention in order to preserve your smile.
Handling Dental Emergencies
No true dental emergency can be fully treated at home. Leave your dental care to the professionals like your Novi dentist Dr. Blavin. The most common dental emergencies include,
- Tooth pain
- Fractured tooth
- Dislodged or knocked out tooth
- Bitten tongue or cheek
- Damaged or broken braces
- Broken dental work (e.g. dental crown; dentures)
If you are dealing with any of these problems then you need to call your Novi dentist Dr. Blavin right away. Particularly in the case of a knocked-out tooth, time is of the essence. More times than not, a knocked-out tooth can be saved if treated within the hour. In the meantime, you may be dealing with some rather unpleasant side effects of you dental emergency. Find out what you can do to ease your symptoms before coming into our office.
Are you experiencing swelling?
Has your face started to swell as a result of your infection or injury? This can be both alarming and uncomfortable. Luckily, anti-inflammatory medications like ibuprofen can reduce inflammation until you are able to get in to see your Novi dentist Dr. Blavin. If you are looking to go for the more natural route to easing your symptoms then apply an ice pack wrapped in a towel over the swollen areas for a few minutes.
Are you in pain?
Just as anti-inflammatories can be a great way to reduce swelling, it can also help eliminate pain. Also, pain relievers like Advil can kill your discomfort until you can get proper medical attention. Again, for those looking to avoid medications, rinsing your mouth out with warm salt water several times a day can also help ease painful symptoms.
Don’t let a dental emergency get the better of your smile. Contact your Novi dentist Dr. Blavin at Briar Pointe Dentistry now and we will be sure to get you in to see us right away. Nothing is more important then your dental health, and we strive to treat all of your problems, whether they require immediate care or not.