Posts for: April, 2018
Some people are lucky — they never seem to have a mishap, dental or otherwise. But for the rest of us, accidents just happen sometimes. Take actor Jamie Foxx, for example. A few years ago, he actually had a dentist intentionally chip one of his teeth so he could portray a homeless man more realistically. But recently, he got a chipped tooth in the more conventional way… well, conventional in Hollywood, anyway. It happened while he was shooting the movie Sleepless with co-star Michelle Monaghan.
“Yeah, we were doing a scene and somehow the action cue got thrown off or I wasn't looking,” he told an interviewer. “But boom! She comes down the pike. And I could tell because all this right here [my teeth] are fake. So as soon as that hit, I could taste the little chalkiness, but we kept rolling.” Ouch! So what's the best way to repair a chipped tooth? The answer it: it all depends…
For natural teeth that have only a small chip or minor crack, cosmetic bonding is a quick and relatively easy solution. In this procedure, a tooth-colored composite resin, made of a plastic matrix with inorganic glass fillers, is applied directly to the tooth's surface and then hardened or “cured” by a special light. Bonding offers a good color match, but isn't recommended if a large portion of the tooth structure is missing. It's also less permanent than other types of restoration, but may last up to 10 years.
When more of the tooth is missing, a crown or dental veneer may be a better answer. Veneers are super strong, wafer-thin coverings that are placed over the entire front surface of the tooth. They are made in a lab from a model of your teeth, and applied in a separate procedure that may involve removal of some natural tooth material. They can cover moderate chips or cracks, and even correct problems with tooth color or spacing.
A crown is the next step up: It's a replacement for the entire visible portion of the tooth, and may be needed when there's extensive damage. Like veneers, crowns (or caps) are made from models of your bite, and require more than one office visit to place; sometimes a root canal may also be needed to save the natural tooth. However, crowns are strong, natural looking, and can last many years.
But what about teeth like Jamie's, which have already been restored? That's a little more complicated than repairing a natural tooth. If the chip is small, it may be possible to smooth it off with standard dental tools. Sometimes, bonding material can be applied, but it may not bond as well with a restoration as it will with a natural tooth; plus, the repaired restoration may not last as long as it should. That's why, in many cases, we will advise that the entire restoration be replaced — it's often the most predictable and long-lasting solution.
Oh, and one more piece of advice: Get a custom-made mouthguard — and use it! This relatively inexpensive device, made in our office from a model of your own teeth, can save you from a serious mishap… whether you're doing Hollywood action scenes, playing sports or just riding a bike. It's the best way to protect your smile from whatever's coming at it!
If you have questions about repairing chipped teeth, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can also learn more by reading the Dear Doctor magazine articles “Artistic Repair of Chipped Teeth With Composite Resin” and “Porcelain Veneers.”
When a tooth experiences decay--a cavity--your family dentist in Fort Worth, TX, will treat it so you have good oral health once again. Dr. Brad McConnell offers natural-looking and durable tooth-colored fillings which literally make decay disappear. If you suspect you have a cavity, look forward to expert and lifelike restoration from Harris Parkway Dental Care.
The story of tooth decay
It happens to almost all of us at some time in our lives. How does it happen? Well, the American Dental Association (ADA) says that bacteria-filled plaque forms on and between teeth all the time. Oral bacteria called Streptococcus mutans is active in your mouth, feeding on food residues and giving off acids that destroy tooth enamel. This microbe is responsible for your cavity.
Unfortunately, if undetected, a cavity can invade the interior of a tooth, causing infection, fracture, and eventual tooth loss. However, the good news is that with routine check-ups and cleanings at Harris Parkway Dental Care, your teeth can stay healthy and plaque-free. Plus, your Fort Worth dentist will see those spots of decay at their earliest stages and treat them quickly.
The material of choice
Today's dental fillings are more lifelike and durable than ever. While in years past amalgam, or metal, fillings were the only material dentists had at hand, now Dr. McConnell may choose from porcelain inlays and onlays (partial crowns), composite resin (a blend of glass and acrylic), and glass ionomer (which features sustained release fluoride). Each tooth-colored material has specific applications, but the most frequently used is composite resin.
Composite resin is the same natural-looking material used to repair cosmetic flaws such as chips, cracks, pits, and small gaps. Also, it keeps permanently bonded retainers in place after orthodontic correction or when the dentist wishes to strengthen mobile or weak teeth. Lasting ten years or more with good oral hygiene at home and with routine exams and cleanings at Harris Parkway Dental Care, composite resin fills a tooth and recreates its chewing surfaces and other areas as needed.
To place a tooth-colored filling, your Fort Worth family dentist will use locally-injected medication to numb your tooth and the area surrounding it. Then, he'll remove the damaged portions and apply a mild etching liquid. With composite resin fillings, the doctor removes only the decayed portions and leaves the healthy parts intact.
Next, Dr. McConnell will apply the color-matched resin to create layers, curing each one with a blue LED light. Finally, the dentist checks the bite to ensure a comfortable fit with the opposite arch of teeth.
At your next routine check-up with Dr. McConnell, ask him about today's innovative filling materials and procedures. Dentists love to educate their patients so they make good decisions about their dental care. If it's time to book your appointment, call Harris Parkway Dental Care in Fort Worth, TX, at (817) 423-2223.
If you’re committed to providing your family nutritional, low-sugar snacks, you’re not only helping their physical well-being but their dental health too. If you have school-age children, though, you might be concerned about other snacks available to them while away from home.
To begin with, any potential problems at school with available snack items might not be as bad as you think. A few years ago the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) established new snacking guidelines for public schools. Known as the Smart Snacks in Schools initiative, the new guidelines require schools to only allow snacks sold on school grounds that meet minimum nutritional standards. In addition, these guidelines promote whole grains, fruits, vegetables and low-fat dairy products.
Still, the guideline standards are only a minimum, which could leave plenty of room for snacks that don’t meet your nutritional expectations. And school-offered snacks aren’t the only ones available on campus: there are also those brought by other students, which often get swapped around. The latter represent tempting opportunities for your child to consume snacks that aren’t the best for dental health.
But there are things you can do to minimize the lure of these poor snacking opportunities at school. First and foremost is to educate your child on why some snacks are better for them than others. In other words, make nutrition an instilled family value—and, of course, practice what you preach.
You can also send them with snacks you deem better for them than what’s available at school. Of course, you’ll be competing with a lot of exciting and enticing snacks, so try to inject a little “pizzazz” into yours like a dusting of cinnamon or a little parmesan cheese on popcorn. And use a little creativity (even getting your kids involved) to make snack choices fun, like using cookie-cutters to shape whole-grain bread and cheese into shapes.
And consider getting involved with other parents to encourage school administrators to adopt stricter snack standards over and above the Smart Snacks in Schools initiative. This not only may improve the nutritional content of available snacks, but also transform a “family value” into a community-wide appreciation for snacks that promote healthy teeth and gums.
If you would like more information on dental-friendly snacking, 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 “Snacking at School.”