Posts for: October, 2021
Here's some good news: Teenagers are less likely than adults to lose teeth to dental disease. But there's also a flip side. Teens can still lose teeth, more likely from traumatic injury.
Fortunately, there are several options for replacing lost teeth like dentures or bridges. But the choice considered best by most dentists and patients is a dental implant. An implant tooth looks and functions like the real thing—and it's durable, capable of lasting for years, if not decades.
But there's a hitch with teens getting an implant: Even though they may have all their permanent teeth by adolescence, their jaws are still growing and developing. Natural teeth, with their attachment to the jaws by way of a periodontal ligament, can keep pace with this growth—but implants can't.
That's because an implant doesn't have this attachment to gum tissue like natural teeth, but to the jawbone alone. Hence, an implant tooth can't keep up with jaw development, and may eventually look like it's "sunk" into the gums in relation to the teeth around it.
It's best, then, to wait until a teen's jaws have fully developed before attempting an implant. In the meantime, though, they don't have to endure a smile marred by missing teeth, but can replace them with a temporary restoration. The two most common options are a partial denture or a modified bridge.
The partial denture is a lightweight version that's quite affordable. Although not as durable as other types of dentures, the appliance is only intended to last until the patient is old enough for a permanent implant.
The modified bridge is a prosthetic tooth with strips of dental material extending behind it that are bonded to the backs of the teeth on either side to hold it in place. It's likewise not as durable as a traditional bridge, but it can fill the bill until time to place an implant.
Although this adds an additional step in a teen's restorative journey after losing a tooth, it's necessary—waiting to place an implant after jaw maturity will help ensure a long-lasting result. In the meantime, a temporary tooth replacement will help them to enjoy a normal smile.
If you would like more information on dental restorations for teens, 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 “Dental Implants for Teenagers.”
Dr. Kevin Thomas and Dr. Aaron Chenette of Cohasset Dental are your cosmetic dentists in Cohasset, MA. We can help you get to your brightest, whitest smile with teeth whitening treatments, but you need to take great care of your mouth if you want your teeth to stay free of stains. Keep reading for tips on protecting your teeth from stains, and come see us if you're unhappy with the shade of your smile.
Daily hygiene routine
To keep your smile at its brightest, you need to take great care of your teeth every day. Your cosmetic dentist in Cohasset, MA, will recommend brushing for two minutes twice a day and flossing at least once a day. Daily brushing and flossing keep plaque from building up on your teeth, preventing tooth decay and gum disease, and keeping your teeth free from stains.
Making good choices
Certain drinks like coffee, tea, soda, and wine can lead to staining on the teeth. Enjoy these beverages occasionally, and with water so your teeth get rinsed at the same time. You can also use a straw, which limits your teeth's exposure to the liquid. Smoking can lead to heavy staining on your teeth, and your dentist will always recommend quitting smoking to prevent oral cancer. Most people can't quit on their own or on their first try, so don't get discouraged! Commit to quitting to give yourself a beautiful smile.
Regular professional cleanings
If you want to keep your teeth bright, it's important to keep up with regular teeth cleaning appointments from your cosmetic dentists in Cohasset, MA, twice a year. At a tooth cleaning appointment, all plaque and tartar are removed from the surfaces of the teeth. This helps prevent tooth decay and gum disease and keeps your teeth free of stains.
Dr. Thomas and Dr. Chenette of Cohasset Dental offer cosmetic dentistry in Cohasset, MA, to help keep your teeth their brightest! Call us for an appointment at (781) 383-9393.
While mouth pain can certainly get your attention, what exactly hurts may be difficult to identify. It might seem to emanate from a single tooth, or a group of teeth. Then again, it might not be clear whether it's coming from teeth or from the gums.
Still, it's important to pinpoint the cause as much as possible to treat it correctly. One of the main questions we often want to answer is whether the cause originates from within a tooth or without.
In the first case, tooth decay may have entered the pulp at the center of the tooth. The pulp contains nerve bundles that can come under attack from decay and transmit pain signals. Incidentally, if the pain suddenly goes away, it may simply mean the nerves have died and not the infection.
The decay can also spread into the root canals leading to the root and supporting bone, and then make the jump into the gum tissues. One possible sign of this is the one mentioned earlier—you can't quite tell if the pain is from the tooth or the surrounding gums.
The root canals could also serve as a transportation medium for infection in the other direction. In that case, gum disease has advanced into the bone tissues around a tooth near its roots. The infection can then cross into the tooth. Again, both a tooth and the gum tissue around it can become diseased.
We have effective treatments for individual occurrences of interior tooth decay or gum disease: The former usually requires a root canal treatment to remove infected tissue and fill and seal the tooth from future infection; we alleviate gum disease by removing the dental plaque causing it and helping the gum tissues to heal. But combined tooth and gum infection scenarios are more difficult to treat, have a poorer prognosis and may require specialists.
To reduce the risk of either tooth decay or gum disease developing into this greater problem, it's best to take action at the first sign of trouble. So, see your dentist as soon as possible when you encounter oral pain or if you notice swollen or bleeding gums. The earlier we treat the initial outbreak of disease, be it tooth decay or gum disease, the better your chances of a successful and happy outcome.
If you would like more information on tooth pain, 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 “Confusing Tooth Pain.”
Are you suffering from teeth grinding? You can manage this condition using a mouthguard from your Cohasset, MA, family dentists, Dr. Kevin Thomas and Dr. Aaron Chenette of Cohasset Dental.
What are mouthguards?
A mouthguard is a custom-made device that is used to protect your teeth. Your Cohasset, MA, family dentist may recommend using a mouthguard to protect your teeth from grinding while sleeping.
How is a mouthguard produced?
Your dentist will first evaluate your health condition and perform any needed examinations to see if the mouthguard can solve your problem. When they decide that you need a mouthguard, they will take your teeth impressions and send them to the dental laboratory to fabricate your mouthguard. When your mouthguard is ready, your dentist will check its fit before giving it to you. These custom-made mouthguards provide a perfect fit for your teeth and mouth, making them more comfortable and more stable than many other mouthguards that can be found in drugstores.
How can the device solve your health condition?
If you are suffering from teeth grinding while sleeping, the mouthguard will solve the problem by keeping your upper and lower teeth separated from each other. This will prevent your teeth from pressing on each other, avoiding teeth damage and dental pain.
Caring for your mouthguard
The following are some tips to keep your mouthguard healthy:
- Brush and floss your teeth carefully before putting your mouthguard
- Wash the mouthguard with water or mouthwash after each use
- Check for any holes or damage in the device regularly
Visit your Cohasset, MA, family dentists, Dr.Thomas and Dr. Chenette of Cohasset Dental, and get the best dental care. Call us at (781) 383-9393 to book your appointment.
October 20th is World Osteoporosis Day, putting the spotlight on this degenerative bone condition and the impact it has on millions of people. Not only does it significantly increase the risk of potentially life-threatening fractures, but it can also indirectly affect dental health.
This connection arises from the use of certain treatment drugs that ultimately could lead to complications following some forms of dental work. These particular drugs, mainly bisphosphonates like Fosamax™ and RANKL inhibitors like Prolia™, destroy bone cells called osteoclasts, whose function is to clear away worn out regular bone cells (osteoblasts). With fewer osteoclasts targeting them, more older osteoblast cells survive longer.
In the short-term, a longer life for these older cells helps bones afflicted by osteoporosis to retain volume and density, and are thus less likely to fracture. Long-term, however, the surviving osteoblasts are less elastic and more brittle than newly formed cells.
In the end, these longer living cells could eventually weaken the bone. In rare situations, this can result in parts of the bone actually dying—a condition known as osteonecrosis. The bones of the body with the highest occurrences of osteonecrosis are the femur (the upper leg bone) and, of specific concern to dental care, the jawbone.
The effect of these medications on the jawbone actually has a name—drug-induced osteonecrosis of the jaw (DIONJ). Fortunately, there's only a 1% risk of it occurring if you're taking these drugs to manage osteoporosis. It's also not a concern for routine procedures like cleanings, fillings or crown placements. But DIONJ could lead to complications with more invasive dental work like tooth extraction, implant placement or periodontal surgery.
It's important, then, that your dentist knows if you're being treated for osteoporosis and the specific drugs you're taking. Depending on the medication, they may suggest, in coordination with your physician, that you take a "drug holiday"—go off of the drug for a set period of time—before a scheduled dental procedure to ease the risk and effects of osteonecrosis.
Because infection after dental work is one possible consequence of osteonecrosis, it's important that you practice thorough oral hygiene every day. Your dentist may also prescribe an antiseptic mouth rinse to include with your hygiene, as well as antibiotics.
You may also want to talk to your doctor about alternative treatments for osteoporosis that pose a lower risk for osteonecrosis. These can range from traditional Vitamin D and calcium supplements to emerging treatments that utilize hormones.
Osteoporosis can complicate dental work, but it doesn't have to prevent you from getting the procedures you need. Working with both your dentist and your physician, you can have the procedures you need to maintain your dental health.
If you would like more information about osteoporosis and dental care, please contact us or schedule a consultation.