Posts for: June, 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.”
If you aren’t quite sure where to start when it comes to flossing then it’s time you crafted your technique.
Flossing. It might not be the most fun part of your day, but it’s a habit everyone has to adopt if they want to keep teeth and gums healthy and free from decay and gum disease. Brushing alone just isn’t enough. Of course, our Cohasset, MA, dentists, Dr. Kevin Thomas and Dr. Aaron Chenette, often notice that so many people don’t know how to properly floss. Here are some of the techniques you should be using to ensure that you are flossing correctly:
Step 1: You’ll want to start with a generous amount of floss. We’re talking about anywhere from 18 to 24 inches. Why so much? You want to use a clean section of floss for each tooth so you don’t displace the plaque you removed onto another surface of your teeth or gums. You’ll want to leave about 1-2 inches of clean floss per tooth.
Step 2: Wind the floss around your middle fingers (sometimes people prefer to use their pointer fingers. Whatever is most comfortable for you and helps you maneuver the floss better). Pull it taut.
Step 3: While holding the floss between your index and thumb, slowly move the floss in between the first tooth. Make sure to hug the side of the tooth with the floss, moving it in an up-and-down motion. Also, make sure to go all the way to the gumline. Once you have flossed both sides of each tooth, slowly remove the floss. Be gentle when removing floss, as pulling or forcing the floss out could cut the gums.
Step 4: Start with a new, clean section of floss and follow Step 3 until you have cleaned in between each tooth.
There are many kinds of floss out there from which to choose. It’s completely up to you which kind is easier to use and makes flossing a bit simpler. If you haven’t flossed in a while, then you may notice that your gums may bleed the first couple of times. This is typically normal and will go away the more you floss. If you still notice bleeding gums after flossing every day for a week it’s time to call our Cohasset general dentist.
Do you have questions about flossing? Need to schedule your six-month dental cleaning in Cohasset, MA? No problem! Here at Cohasset Dental, we are dedicated to making sure you get the preventive dental care you need to protect yourself from decay and other issues down the road.
Sure, it’s big news when celebs tweet selfies from the dental office… if you’re still living in the 20th century. But in Hollywood today, it’s harder to say who hasn’t posted snaps of themselves in the dentist’s chair than who has. Yet the pictures recently uploaded to Twitter by Mark Salling, the actor and singer who regularly appears as Noah “Puck” Puckerman on the popular TV series Glee, made us sit up and take notice.
“Getting my chipped tooth fixed. Also, apparently, I’m a big grinder,” read the caption. The photo showed a set of upper front teeth with visible chips on the biting surface. What’s so special about this seemingly mundane tweet? It’s a great way of bringing attention to a relatively common, but often overlooked problem: teeth clenching and grinding, also called bruxism.
Although bruxism is a habit that affects scores of people, many don’t even realize they have it. That’s because the condition may only become active at night. When the teeth are unconsciously ground together, the forces they produce can wear down the enamel, cause chipping or damage to teeth or dental work (such as veneers or fillings), or even loosen a tooth! While it’s common in children under 11 years old, in adults it can be a cause for concern.
Sometimes, mouth pain, soreness and visible damage alert individuals to their grinding habits; other times, a dental professional will notice the evidence of bruxism during an exam or cleaning: tooth sensitivity and telltale wear and tear on the chewing surfaces. Either way, it’s time to act.
Bruxism is most often caused by stress, which can negatively impact the body in many ways. It may also result from bite problems, the overuse of stimulating substances (caffeine, alcohol, tobacco, and illegal drugs), and as a side effect of certain medications. Sometimes, simply becoming aware of the habit can help a person get it under control. Common methods of stress reduction include exercise, meditation, a warm bath or a quiet period before bedtime; these can be tried while we monitor the situation to see if the problem is going away.
If stress reduction alone doesn’t do the trick, several other methods can be effective. When bruxism is caused by a minor bite problem, we can sometimes do a minor “bite adjustment” in the office. This involves removing a tiny bit of enamel from an individual tooth that is out of position, bringing it in line with the others. If it’s a more serious malocclusion, orthodontic appliances or other procedures may be recommended.
When grinding is severe enough to damage teeth or dental work, we may also recommend a custom-made night guard (occlusal guard), which you put in your mouth at bedtime. Comfortable and secure, this appliance prevents your teeth from being damaged by contacting each other, and protects your jaw joints from stresses due to excessive grinding forces.
Whether or not you have to smile for a living, teeth grinding can be a big problem. If you would like more information about this condition, call our office to schedule a consultation for a consultation.