Posts for: May, 2019
A few days before the Oscars, Vanity Fair magazine asked Academy Awards host Neil Patrick Harris to name his most treasured possession. Was it his Tony award statuette for best leading actor in a musical? His star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame? The stethoscope he wore while playing teenaged doctor Doogie Howser on TV? No, as it turns out, the 41-year-old actor’s most treasured possession is… his wisdom teeth. Yes, you read that correctly. “Oddly, I still have my four wisdom teeth,” Harris said. “I refuse to let them go or I’ll lose my wise parts.”
How odd is it for a 41-year-old to have wisdom teeth? Actually, not that odd at all. While it is true that wisdom teeth are often removed, there’s no one-size-fits-all approach to this. It all depends on whether they are causing problems now, or are likely to cause problems in the future.
The trouble wisdom teeth cause is related to the fact that they are the last molars to come in, and that molars are large in size. By the time wisdom teeth appear between the ages of 17 and 21, there often is not enough room for them in the jaw. Sometimes it’s because you may have inherited a jaw size that’s too small for your tooth size; and generally speaking, the size of the human jaw has evolved to become smaller over time.
If room is lacking, the adjacent molar (that came in earlier) can interfere with the path of eruption — causing the wisdom tooth to come in at an odd angle. The wisdom tooth can hit up against that other tooth, possibly causing pain or damaging the adjacent tooth. This is known as “impaction.” Sometimes the wisdom tooth breaks only partway through the gum tissue, leaving a space beneath the gum line that’s almost impossible to clean, causing infection. A serious oral infection can jeopardize the survival of teeth, and even spread to other parts of the body.
If a wisdom tooth is impacted, will you know it? Not necessarily. A tooth can be impacted without causing pain. But we can see the position of your wisdom teeth on a dental x-ray and help you make an informed decision as to whether they should stay or go. If removal is the best course of action, rest assured that this procedure is completely routine and that your comfort and safety is our highest priority. If there is no great risk to keeping them, as Neil Patrick Harris has done, we can simply continue to monitor their condition at your regular dental checkups. It will be particularly important to make sure you are reaching those teeth with your brush and floss, and that you keep to your schedule of regular professional cleanings at the dental office. All healthy teeth are indeed worth treasuring.
If you would like more information about wisdom teeth, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can learn more by reading the Dear Doctor magazine articles “Wisdom Teeth” and “Removing Wisdom Teeth.”
Discover the most popular cosmetic treatments available in Fort Worth, TX.
Can you imagine how great it would feel if you felt completely confident in your smile? Imagine smiling for photos and feeling comfortable talking to colleagues or even that dream date because you know you have a healthy, beautiful smile. Our dentist Dr. Brad McConnell can make this dream a reality thanks to a variety of cosmetic dentistry treatments he offers right here in Fort Worth, TX.
You Want a Whiter Smile
This is something that most people want when it comes to their smile. After all, as we get older teeth start to dull and yellow a bit from coffee, tea and dark foods. Luckily, our Fort Worth, TX, cosmetic dentist offers an effective and fast in-office whitening treatment that can get your smile several shades whiter in about one hour. If you have a special occasion or important event coming up and you want a more radiant smile then in-office whitening is the way to go.
You Have Small Chips or Gaps in Your Smile
Minor imperfections can be treated with simple and inexpensive cosmetic treatments. After all, we believe that you shouldn’t have to go through exhaustive and expensive treatments if the issues you are dealing with are so small. Dental bonding is one of the least expensive cosmetic treatments available that can easily fill small gaps and cover minor discolorations, chips, and cracks in your smile using a special tooth-colored resin. The resin is applied, shaped and then hardened to the tooth.
You Have More Widespread Cosmetic Imperfections
Are your front teeth overlapping a bit? Do you have discolorations, chips, malformed teeth or other imperfections that may be a bit too much for bonding to handle? If so, don’t worry; dental veneers can easily cover all of your aesthetic flaws. Veneers are very thin porcelain shells that are bonded to the front of your teeth to cover a myriad of problems. Veneers are usually applied to multiple teeth or even all teeth that are visible when you smile, to alter its overall shape, alignment, color, or size.
You Need to Replace a Missing Tooth
While replacing a tooth is usually more restorative than cosmetic, if you do choose to get dental implants they also offer some cosmetic benefits, as well. After all, an implant is an artificial tooth root that is placed into the jawbone where it fuses with bone and tissue to become a permanent foundation to support a false tooth or teeth. They offer unique benefits that other tooth replacements don’t and they are the closest thing to real teeth.
If you are considering making some cosmetic improvements to your smile then contact your cosmetic dentist at Harris Parkway Dental Care in Fort Worth, TX, today to learn more about the treatments we offer.
Every year U.S. dentists perform around 25 million root canal treatments and save countless teeth from the ravages of decay. But if you search "root canal" on the Internet, you might encounter an unsettling charge against this tooth-saving treatment—that it causes cancer.
Root canal treatments are routinely used when tooth decay has infected the pulp, the innermost layer of a tooth. During the procedure, we access the pulp and remove all the infected tissue. We then fill the empty pulp and root canals, seal the access hole and later crown the tooth to prevent further infection. Without this intervention, the decay can continue to advance toward the roots and supporting bone, putting the tooth in imminent danger of loss.
So, is there any credibility to this claim that root canal treatments cause cancer? In a word, no: there's no evidence of any connection between root canal treatments and cancer—or any other disease for that matter. On the contrary: root canals stop disease.
As with other types of urban legends and internet hype, the root canal-cancer connection may have arisen from another discredited idea from the early 20th Century. A dentist named Weston Price promoted the notion that leaving a "dead" organ in the body led to health problems. From his perspective, a root canaled tooth with its removed pulp tissue fit this criterion.
In the mid-1950s, dentistry thoroughly examined Dr. Weston's theory pertaining to treatments like root canals. The Journal of the American Dental Association devoted an entire issue to it and found after rigorous scientific inquiry that the theory had no validity in this regard. Another study in 2013 confirmed those findings. In fact, the later study instead found that patients who underwent a root canal treatment had a 45 percent reduction in oral cancer risk.
Given the freewheeling nature of the Internet, it's best to speak with a dental professional about your oral health before trusting a post or article you've found online. Not only are they more informed than an unverified online source, they would certainly not knowingly subject you to a procedure to save a tooth at the expense of your health.
If you would like more information on root canal treatment, 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 “Root Canal Safety.”
May is National Save Your Tooth Month, and tooth decay is a leading cause of lost teeth. It all begins with oral bacteria growing rapidly in built-up deposits of dental plaque, and in turn producing high levels of acid. At these levels, acid can erode the minerals in tooth enamel to create holes (“cavities”) that allow bacteria to enter the tooth and infect it.
If at all possible, we need to try to stop tooth decay early by disinfecting and filling these cavities. If not, decay can spread through the teeth to the underlying nerve (pulp) tissue, following passageways known as root canals. If this happens, the chances for saving the tooth are extremely low.
But if the decay does reach the tooth’s innermost layer—the pulp—filling the cavities won’t be enough. Decay this advanced requires a procedure known as root canal therapy, or a root canal for short.
If you winced a little, it’s understandable: Root canals have gained an unfair reputation as an unpleasant experience. In reality, a root canal performed by a skilled dentist or endodontist (a specialist in root canals) isn’t painful. In fact, if you come in with a painful tooth, you’re very likely to leave after the procedure without any pain.
Root canal procedures can vary depending on the type of tooth and the intricacy of its root canal network. Essentially, though, we remove the diseased pulp tissue, and then clean and fill the empty pulp chamber and root canals. This stops the infection and, along with sealing and crowning the tooth, helps prevent a future re-infection.
How do you know if you need a root canal? You may find out from us if we discover advanced decay during a checkup or cleaning appointment. But you may encounter signs yourself like a throbbing toothache, pain during and after eating and drinking, or gum tenderness around a tooth. These are all possible indications of tooth decay.
If you experience any of these signs, you should see us as soon as possible for an examination. And don’t cancel your appointment if the pain goes away—this could simply mean the nerves in the pulp have died and are no longer transmitting pain signals. The infection, though, could still be there and continuing its rampage beyond the tooth and into the surrounding bone tissue.
Root canal therapy may not seem glamorous, but it’s an excellent option for a diseased tooth that would otherwise have to be removed. A root canal could get rid of your pain and give your troubled tooth a new lease on life!
If you would like more information about treating advanced tooth decay, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. To learn more, read the Dear Doctor magazine articles “Common Concerns About Root Canal Treatment” and “Root Canal Treatment: What You Need to Know.”
Find out more about dental implants and whether they could replace your missing teeth.
Are you an adult living with tooth loss in Fort Worth, TX? If so, you may be wondering how our dentist Dr. Brad McConnell could help you get your smile back. Have you considered getting dental implants? Before deciding whether this is the best option for you find out more about these restorations and how they work.
What is a dental implant?
The implant itself is not the visible part of your artificial tooth. In fact, it won’t look anything like a real tooth. The implant is a metal prosthesis that is designed to replace the roots of your missing tooth. This post is placed into the jawbone during minor surgery to then support a false tooth or teeth. There are three main components to a dental implant:
- The metal implant
- The abutment (this connects the implant with the false tooth)
- The artificial tooth
Who is a good candidate for dental implants?
Most healthy adults who are missing at least one tooth can benefit from getting dental implants. There are several factors that help our Fort Worth, TX, restorative dentist determine whether implants are the best approach. Some of these factors include:
- Your oral health
- The health of your jawbone
- Habits and lifestyle (e.g. smoking)
How long do dental implants last?
One of the major advantages of choosing dental implants to replace missing teeth is that they are designed to last a long time. In fact, with the proper care, your new implant could last the rest of your life. This is because the implant itself is made out of titanium, which makes it extremely durable. Couple that with the fact that it naturally melds together with bone and tissue and you have a lifelong artificial tooth.
What are the benefits of dental implants?
Since dental implants both look and function just like real teeth it’s no surprise that they offer some pretty amazing benefits for your oral health. Some of the benefits include:
- Preserving the jawbone and preventing bone loss
- Supporting the natural facial structure
- Preventing teeth from shifting into open gaps in your smile
- Improving chewing and speaking
- Boosting self-confidence and your appearance
If you are interested in getting dental implants in Fort Worth then it’s time to call Harris Parkway Dental Care for a consultation. Let us help you feel confident again in your smile.