Posts for category: Dental Procedures
What is tooth wear?
“Tooth wear” refers to a loss of tooth structure that can make your teeth appear shorter or less even than they used to be. Wear starts with loss of outer covering of the teeth, known as enamel. Although enamel is the hardest structure in the human body — even harder than bone — it can wear away over time. If enough enamel is lost, the softer inner tooth structure known as dentin can become exposed, and dentin wears away much faster.
What causes tooth wear?
Tooth wear can be caused by any of the following:
- Abrasion: This is caused by a rubbing or scraping of the teeth. The most common source of abrasion is brushing too hard or using a toothbrush that is not soft enough. A removable dental appliance, such as a partial dentures or retainer, can also abrade teeth. Abrasion can also result from habits such as nail-biting and pen-chewing.
- Attrition: This is caused by teeth contacting each other. Habits that you might not even be aware of — such as grinding or clenching your teeth — can be quite destructive over time. That’s because they can subject teeth to 10 times the normal forces of biting and chewing.
- Erosion: Acid in your diet can actually erode (dissolve) the enamel on your teeth. Many sodas, sports drinks and so-called energy drinks are highly acidic; so are certain fruit juices. Eating sugary snacks also raises the acidity level in your mouth. If you can’t give up these snacks and drinks entirely, it’s best to confine them to mealtimes so your mouth doesn’t stay acidic throughout the day. Swishing water in your mouth after eating or drinking acidic or sugary substances can also help prevent erosion.
- Abfraction: This refers to the loss of tooth enamel at the “necks” of the teeth (the part right at the gum line). This type of wear is not thoroughly understood, though it is believed to result from excessive biting forces. Abrasion and erosion can contribute to this problem.
How is it treated?
The first step in treating any type of tooth wear is to determine the cause during a simple oral examination right here at the dental office. Once the cause has been identified, we can work together to reduce the stresses on your teeth. For example, you may need a refresher course on gentle, effective brushing techniques; or you might benefit from some changes to your diet. If you have a clenching or grinding habit, we can make you a nightguard that will protect your teeth during sleep or periods of high stress. Once we have dealt with the underlying cause, we can make your teeth look beautiful again by replacing lost tooth structure with bonding, veneers, or crowns. This will also allow your bite to function properly again.
One of the most commonly feared dental procedures, root canals are often one of the least understood. Root canals are not dangerous or painful. Instead, a root canal from Total Dental Care in Pekin is a safe, effective and relatively pain-free dental procedure that is commonly used to repair or save a badly infected or decayed tooth.
Teeth can become badly damaged or decayed in a variety of ways. For example, repeated dental procedures, faulty crowns, deep decay, tooth trauma and cracks and chips can all cause a tooth to become internally infected or decayed. Once this happens, the infected material must be cleaned out in order to prevent further problems, such as bone loss, swelling and draining problems. This is done through a root canal.
How Do Root Canals Work?
During a root canal at Total Dental Care in Pekin, a dentist will use a special instrument to go in through the top (crown) of the tooth to clean out the tooth root and to remove any damaged, decayed or inflamed tissue. Once the infection is gone, the dentist will then fill in the area to help prevent further infection. The tooth is then covered with a filling or crown.
While the pulp of a tooth is important in helping the tooth grow, once the tooth has reached maturity, it is not necessary anymore. This is why your Pekin dentist at Total Dental Care can remove it without further damaging the tooth. Once the tooth has matured, it is nourished by the surrounding tissues instead of the pulp.
While many people are fearful of root canals, there really is no reason to be. The procedure is quite simple, and the doctors at Total Dental Care in Pekin have done the procedure several times. Furthermore, the process isn't painful. With today's modern anesthesia options, root canals are no more painful than having a filling placed. Root canals don't cause pain; they relieve the pain you already have.
If your tooth is damaged or decayed, a root canal will fix that. Call Total Dental Care in Pekin and set up your appointment for a root canal today.
So you’re tearing up the dance floor at a friend’s wedding, when all of a sudden one of your pals lands an accidental blow to your face — chipping out part of your front tooth, which lands right on the floorboards! Meanwhile, your wife (who is nine months pregnant) is expecting you home in one piece, and you may have to pose for a picture with the baby at any moment. What will you do now?
Take a tip from Prince William of England. According to the British tabloid The Daily Mail, the future king found himself in just this situation in 2013. His solution: Pay a late-night visit to a discreet dentist and get it fixed up — then stay calm and carry on!
Actually, dental emergencies of this type are fairly common. While nobody at the palace is saying exactly what was done for the damaged tooth, there are several ways to remedy this dental dilemma.
If the broken part is relatively small, chances are the tooth can be repaired by bonding with composite resin. In this process, tooth-colored material is used to replace the damaged, chipped or discolored region. Composite resin is a super-strong mixture of plastic and glass components that not only looks quite natural, but bonds tightly to the natural tooth structure. Best of all, the bonding procedure can usually be accomplished in just one visit to the dental office — there’s no lab work involved. And while it won’t last forever, a bonded tooth should hold up well for at least several years with only routine dental care.
If a larger piece of the tooth is broken off and recovered, it is sometimes possible to reattach it via bonding. However, for more serious damage — like a severely fractured or broken tooth — a crown (cap) may be required. In this restoration process, the entire visible portion of the tooth may be capped with a sturdy covering made of porcelain, gold, or porcelain fused to a gold metal alloy.
A crown restoration is more involved than bonding. It begins with making a 3-D model of the damaged tooth and its neighbors. From this model, a tooth replica will be fabricated by a skilled technician; it will match the existing teeth closely and fit into the bite perfectly. Next, the damaged tooth will be prepared, and the crown will be securely attached to it. Crown restorations are strong, lifelike and permanent.
Was the future king “crowned” — or was his tooth bonded? We may never know for sure. But it’s good to know that even if we’ll never be royals, we still have several options for fixing a damaged tooth. If you would like more information, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can learn more by reading the Dear Doctor magazine articles “Repairing Chipped Teeth” and “Crowns and Bridgework.”
Christie Brinkley's world-famous smile has graced the covers of countless magazines for over 30 years. In fact, in her own words from an interview with Dear Doctor magazine, the supermodel said, “I think my smile was really my passport to success in the modeling industry.” And while most of her smile's appeal comes naturally, Christie does give it a boost with good oral hygiene, regular dental checkups and tooth whitening. As Christie says, “When it comes to teeth, keep it as natural as possible. Do not go overboard on whitening. You want your teeth to compliment your faceÃ¢Â€Â¦your friends should not be required to wear sunglasses when you smile!”
Aside from some potential minor side effects such as tooth sensitivity, whitening teeth through bleaching is a relatively inexpensive way to brighten your smile conservatively and successfully. There are three common methods, as described below:
- An external or vital approach where “vital” (living) teeth are bleached through direct contact to the tooth's surface.
- An internal or non-vital approach where the tooth is whitened from the inside during a root canal treatment.
- A combination approach in which both internal and external bleaching techniques are used.
But what causes teeth to become discolored?
Tooth discoloration can be caused by a traumatic blow to your teeth resulting in nerve tissue (pulp) death. However, there can be many other causes: consuming or using products that stain the teeth such as coffee, tea, cola, tobacco products and red wine, to name just a few. Aging is another factor, as it results in changes in the mineral structure of the tooth as the enamel, the outermost layer, loses its beautiful and youthful translucency. Other causes include exposure to high levels of fluoride; tetracycline, an antibiotic, administered during childhood; inherited developmental disorders and jaundice in childhood; and tooth decay.
The good news is that we routinely brighten smiles through tooth whitening. To learn more about brightening your smile, continue reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “Teeth Whitening.” Or if you are ready to have your teeth professionally whitened, contact us today to schedule an appointment so that we can conduct a thorough examination and discuss your whitening treatment options. And if you want to read the entire feature article on Christie Brinkley, continue reading “The Secret Behind Christie Brinkley's Supermodel Smile.”
When you have lost a significant amount of teeth, you have not only lost your smile, you have also lost your self-confidence. Lost or missing teeth may make you feel as if you no longer wish to smile as broadly or can make you feel self-conscious when speaking or eating. These are just some of the reasons why 90 percent of all patients who are missing all of their teeth in America choose dentures as a tooth replacement option. Our denture patients in Pekin are no different, and they have seen the benefits for themselves at how dentures can once again give them something to smile about.
Dentures are an artificial replacement option that recreates your teeth, including a re-creation of your gums to look as natural as possible. Dentures can replace an entire upper or lower set of teeth. Our office offers two types of dentures. Complete or conventional dentures are applied are fitted about six months after your teeth are extracted, if required. This gives your gums and jawbone time to heal, which ensures your dentures are the best fit possible.
Another option is immediate dentures. This denture type is applied immediate after any remaining teeth are pulled. While this option may require some additional adjustments at a later time as your jaw heals.
Dentures over a number of benefits -- one of the most noticeable being a full set of teeth to smile with. In addition to this benefit, dentures will help you speak more easily. Living without teeth can cause difficulty in pronouncing the letters "s" and "t." Also, with your new set of teeth, you can bite into and chew foods more easily, increasing your variety of food options. If you are curious about the benefits dentures can offer you, we encourage you to set up a consultation appointment at our Pekin office.
For more information on dentures at Total Dental Care, call our office at (309) 347-7055. A caring member of our staff will help you schedule an appointment with Dr. Stephen E. Dickey or Dr. Kevin Conroy.