Posts for: December, 2017
It’s true — thumb sucking beyond age 4 can cause bite problems for permanent teeth. But prolonged thumb sucking is just one of a number of possible contributing factors for a bad bite (malocclusion). A dentist must identify all the factors involved when a bad bite is present — their involvement is essential for a successful treatment outcome.
A fairly benign habit for infants and toddlers, thumb sucking is related to an “infantile swallowing pattern” young children use by thrusting their tongues forward between the upper and lower teeth when they swallow. Around age 4, though, they usually transition to an adult swallowing pattern in which the tongue rests on the roof of the mouth just behind the front teeth. Thumb sucking stops for most children around the same time.
Thumb sucking beyond this age, though, can put increased pressure on incoming permanent teeth pushing them forward. This could lead to an “open bite” in which the upper and lower teeth don’t meet when the jaws are closed. The tongue may also continue to thrust forward when swallowing to seal the resulting gap, which further reinforces the open bite.
Before treating the bite with braces, we must first address the thumb sucking and improper tongue placement when swallowing — if either isn’t corrected the teeth could gradually revert to their previous positions after the braces come off. Besides behavioral incentives, we can also employ a thin metal appliance called a “tongue crib” placed behind the upper and lower incisors. A tongue crib discourages thumb sucking and makes it more difficult for the tongue to rest within the open bite gap when swallowing, which helps retrain it to a more normal position.
An open bite can also occur if the jaws develop with too much vertical growth. Like thumb sucking and improper tongue placement, abnormal jaw growth could ultimately cause orthodontic treatment to fail. In this case, though, surgery may be necessary to correct the jaw structure.
With all these possible variables, our first step needs to be a thorough orthodontic exam that identifies all the cause factors for your child’s specific malocclusion. Knowing if and how thumb sucking may have contributed to the poor bite will help us design a treatment strategy that’s successful.
If you would like more information on the causes of poor tooth position, 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 “How Thumb Sucking Affects the Bite.”
What can your cosmetic dentist in Fort Worth, TX, do for you? He can help you show off your best possible smile. Yes, aesthetic dental treatments with Dr. Brad McConnell can transform your healthy teeth into stunningly beautiful teeth. Improve your dental alignment, cover chips and cracks, whiten your enamel or repair detracting flaws, or do it all with a comprehensive smile makeover at Harris Parkway Dental Care.
What cosmetic dentists in Fort Worth look for
Dr. McConnell looks for healthy teeth and gums before proceeding with any cosmetic corrections. That means when you come to Harris Parkway Dental Care, you'll receive a comprehensive dental examination, including digital X-rays and any other modern imaging Dr. McConnell feels necessary to arrive at your optimal treatment plan.
With that healthy baseline established, you and your cosmetic dentist in Fort Worth will discuss honestly what changes you'd like and what changes are possible. You'll consider:
- Smile width and height
- Obvious aesthetic flaws such as hairline cracks and uneven tooth length
- Tooth color
- Amount of gum tissue which shows when you smile
- Gaps, overcrowding and dental bite
Then, Dr. McConnell will recommend possible changes and what treatments involve in terms of cost, number of appointments and other critical factors. At Harris Parkway Dental Care, Dr. McConnell and his team want you to make fully informed decisions about your oral health and personal appearance.
Offered cosmetic treatments
The American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry says that professional teeth whitening is one of the most requested aesthetic treatments offered in the modern dental office. Why is that? Well, Dr. McConnell finds his patients are thrilled with the dramatic results--up to 8 shades of color improvement, safely whitening smiles stained by tobacco, coffee, wine or just the aging process. At Harris Parkway Dental Care, you may choose either at-home or in-office whitening which uses concentrated hydrogen peroxide gel to power out stains without any resulting gum or tooth sensitivity.
To address flaws such as chips, gaps and cracks, Dr. McConnell offers composite resin bonding and porcelain veneers. Bonding is quicker, using a putty-like blend of glass and acrylic to reshape flaws in just one visit. Porcelain veneers correct more complex flaws, covering the front side of selected teeth with a thin layer of translucent ceramic. Veneers involve a couple of appointments, some enamel reduction and oral impressions for a custom-made result.
Finally, Invisalign clear aligners combine the best of cosmetic dentistry and orthodontics. Custom-fabricated in pairs, Invisalign appliances discreetly straighten a variety of smile problems, including overbite, tooth rotation, gaps and more. Plus, they are comfortable and removable for meals, oral hygiene and special occasions. With Invisalign, you can have the straight healthy smile you've always wanted without the obvious appearance and discomforts of traditional braces.
Changes you'd like to see
Your smile can improve for the better with a smile makeover from your cosmetic dentist in Fort Worth, TX, Dr. Brad McConnell. Won't you contact Harris Parkway Dental Care to book a consultation? Call (817) 423-2223.
If you’ve had a total joint replacement or similar procedure, you will want your surgeon to decide if you need to take an antibiotic before you undergo dental work. This is a precaution to prevent a serious infection known as bacteremia.
Bacteremia occurs when bacteria become too prevalent in the bloodstream and cause infection in other parts of the body, especially in joints and bone with prosthetic (replacement) substances. It’s believed that during invasive dental procedures bacteria in the mouth can enter the bloodstream through incisions and other soft tissue disruptions.
Joint infections are a serious matter and can require extensive therapy to bring it under control. Out of this concern, the use of antibiotics as a prophylactic (preventive measure) against bacteremia once included a wide range of patients for a variety of conditions and procedures. But after an in-depth study in 2007, the American Dental Association concluded that the risks for many of these patient groups for infection triggered by a dental procedure was extremely low and didn’t warrant the use of antibiotic premedication therapy.
As a result, recommendations for antibiotic therapy changed in 2009, eliminating many groups previously recommended for premedication. But because of the seriousness of joint infection, The American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons still recommends the therapy for joint replacement patients about to undergo any invasive procedure, including dental work. It’s especially needed for patients who also have some form of inflammatory arthritis, a weakened immune system, insulin-dependent diabetes, hemophilia, malnourishment or a previous infection in an artificial joint.
The guidelines for antibiotic premedication can be complex. It’s best, then, to speak with both your orthopedic surgeon and us about whether you should undergo antibiotic therapy before you undergo a dental procedure. The ultimate goal is to reduce the risks of any disease and to keep both your mouth and your body safe from infection.
If you would like more information on the use of antibiotics in dental care, 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 “Premedication for Dental Treatment.”