Posts for: March, 2021
Dentists remove millions of teeth each year, often because of tooth decay or gum disease. But disease isn't the only reason—a tooth extraction might make it easier to straighten a crooked smile.
Realigning teeth for therapeutic or cosmetic reasons is a regular undertaking in dentistry, but the process itself often differs from person to person. Each individual patient requires their own treatment plan taking into account factors like the kind of bite problem involved, the size of the jaw and the space available to move teeth.
This plan could indeed involve removing teeth. For example, an abnormally small jaw could cause crowding. Not only can crowding move teeth out of position, it may also leave little to no room for moving teeth. Although dentists can minimize crowding by influencing jaw development in early childhood, removing teeth for more space is usually the only option available to older adolescents and adults.
Similarly, teeth can fail to erupt properly and remain partially or fully submerged beneath the gums (known as impaction). There is an orthodontic method for pulling an impacted tooth fully onto the jaw, but only if the tooth isn't too far out of alignment. Otherwise, it may be better to remove the impacted tooth and then correct any gaps with braces or a dental implant.
There's also a situation on the opposite side of the spectrum that could benefit from teeth removal—when one or more permanent teeth fail to form, known as congenitally missing teeth. This can cause gaps in the smile or a “lopsided” appearance where a tooth on one side of the jaw is present while its counterpart on the opposite side of the jaw is missing.
The missing tooth can be replaced by an implant, bridge or other restoration. But another option may be to remove the existing counterpart tooth, and then close the gaps. This can result in a much more attractive smile that might be simpler and less costly than replacing the missing tooth.
Again, the decision to remove teeth to improve smile appearance depends on the patient and their particular dental condition. But in the right situation, it could make straightening a smile easier and more effective.
If you would like more information on orthodontic treatments, 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 “Removing Teeth for Orthodontic Treatment.”
When dental implants hit the scene in the 1980s, they revolutionized the field of dental restorations. But as groundbreaking as they were then, they're even more advanced now.
Some of the advancements have to do with improvements in implant design and manufacturing. Implant sizes and shapes were once quite limited, but today they come in a variety of forms to better match the types of teeth they replace.
But there has also been important progress in complementary technologies that help us realize better outcomes. Many of these other advances have had a positive impact on the planning and surgical stages of implant installation.
CT/CBCT scanning. For the best outcome, it's critical to install an implant at the most appropriate location on the jaw. This can be difficult to determine, however, because of the location of oral and facial structures like nerves or sinuses that might interfere with implant placement. But using a type of computer tomography (CT) scanning called cone beam CT, we can produce a 3-D computer graphic image that helps us navigate possible obstructions as we pinpoint the ideal location for an implant.
Digital smile displays. We're now able to produce digital models of the mouth, which can assist with more than implant placement—we can also use them to visualize what a new smile with implants will look like before we install them. This is especially helpful in situations where only a few teeth need to be replaced: We want to ensure that the new implant crowns blend seamlessly with the remaining teeth for the most natural appearance.
Custom-made surgical guides. We've been using surgical guides to mark the exact drilling locations during implant surgery for many years. But 3-D printing technology can now help us produce surgical guides that are even more useful and precise. Using a 3-D printer, we can produce oral devices based on the patient's individual dental dimensions captured through digital scanning. That produces a better fit for the guide on the teeth and more accurate implant placement.
Together, these and other technological advances are helping us achieve even more successful results. Not only can they help us produce implant outcomes that can last for years or even decades, but also the most beautiful smiles possible.
If you would like more information on dental implant restorations, 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 Technology Aids Dental Implant Therapy.”
Could a simple dental device help you get your sleep apnea symptoms under control?
Have you been diagnosed with Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA)? Does your partner complain of your uncontrollably loud snoring night after night? Sleep apnea impacts about 22 million Americans, and unfortunately, research suggests that as many as 24 million Americans have this problem but don’t even know it. As sleep apnea can have a serious impact on your health, you must talk with Montclair, NJ, award-winning dentist Dr. Paul Dionne about how dental sleep medicine may be able to manage your sleep apnea symptoms.
Why does sleep apnea require treatment?
Sleep apnea occurs when there are pauses in breathing throughout the night. These pauses can last anywhere from a few seconds to a couple of minutes. Having five or more apnea episodes per hour may be enough for an OSA diagnosis. A sleep study is the best way to diagnose whether a person may have sleep apnea.
Untreated sleep apnea can increase your risk for serious health problems, which is why it’s important to seek proper treatment and medical care if you think you might have it. Along with the miserable exhaustion, decrease in work productivity, and increase in accidents and injuries that come along with having this condition, untreated sleep apnea can also increase your risk for:
- Heart attack
- Cardiovascular disease
- Heart arrhythmias
- High blood pressure
According to the American Sleep Apnea Association, people with sleep apnea are also 3 times more likely to die prematurely. So, if you have obstructive sleep apnea, or you’re experiencing symptoms, it’s important that you talk with your doctor and get evaluated by a medical professional immediately.
How can a dentist help with sleep apnea?
While CPAP therapy is one of the most common types of treatment options for patients living with sleep apnea, it isn’t the only option.
Dr. Dionne is a member of the American Academy of Dental Sleep Medicine (AADSM). He’s undergone specialized training and a residency program on the treatment of Obstructive Sleep Apnea and helps many patients living in and around Montclair, NJ, get their sleep apnea under control through dental sleep medicine. Dr. Dionne has helped many individuals manage mild to moderate sleep apnea through simple oral appliance therapy alone. This custom dental device fits over the upper and lower teeth like a mouthguard and is worn while sleeping, as it helps reposition the jaws to keep airways open throughout the night.
Oral appliance therapy can be used for mild, moderate, and severe sleep apnea symptoms. It can also be used in conjunction with current CPAP therapy with patients whose sleep apnea symptoms are so severe or unresponsive that CPAP alone isn’t enough. In this case, oral appliance therapy may help with significant improvements in sleep apnea symptoms and a drastic boost in restorative sleep.
Are you interested in sitting down with our Montclair, NJ, sleep apnea dentist Dr. Dionne at Glen Ridge Dental Arts to discuss oral appliance therapy? If you are interested in what dental sleep medicine can do for your health and wellbeing, call us at (973) 748-7790 to schedule an evaluation.
Mike Tyson made a splash when he faced off against sharks during the Discovery Channel's Shark Week 2020. But there's bigger news for fans of the former undisputed world heavyweight champion: After a 15-year absence, he will enter the ring again for two exhibition matches in the Fall. However, it's not just Tyson's boxing action that made news during his 20-year career. His teeth have also gotten their fair share of press.
Tyson used to be known for two distinctive gold-capped teeth in the front left side of his mouth. He made headlines when he lost one of the shiny caps—not from a blow by a fellow pugilist but from being headbutted by his pet tiger as Tyson leaned in for a kiss. Tyson's teeth again garnered attention when he had his recognizable gold caps replaced with tooth-colored restorations. But the world champion may be best known, dentally at least, for his trademark tooth gap, or “diastema” in dentist-speak. Several years ago, he had the gap closed in a dental makeover, but he soon regretted the move. After all, the gap was a signature look for him, so he had it put back in.
That's one thing about cosmetic dentistry: With today's advanced technology and techniques, you can choose a dental makeover to suit your individual taste and personality.
An obvious example is teeth whitening. This common cosmetic treatment is not a one-size-fits-all option. You can choose whether you want eye-catching Hollywood white or a more natural shade.
If your teeth have chips or other small imperfections, bonding may be the solution for you. In dental bonding, tooth-colored material is placed on your tooth in layers and then hardened with a special light. The material is matched to your other teeth so the repaired tooth fits right in. This procedure can usually be done in just one office visit.
For moderate flaws or severe discoloration, porcelain veneers can dramatically improve your appearance. These thin, tooth-colored shells cover the front surface of the tooth—the side that shows when you smile. Veneers are custom-crafted for the ideal individualized look.
Dental crowns can restore single teeth or replace missing teeth as part of a dental bridge. Again, they are manufactured to your specifications. With restorations like crowns and veneers, the smallest detail can be replicated to fit in with your natural teeth—even down to the ridges on the tooth's surface.
And if, like Mike Tyson, you have a gap between your teeth that makes your smile unique, there's no reason to give that up if you opt for a smile makeover. Whether you would like a small cosmetic enhancement or are looking for a more dramatic transformation, we can work with you to devise a treatment plan that is right for you.
If you would like more information about smile-enhancing dental treatments, please contact us or schedule a consultation. You can learn more in the Dear Doctor magazine article “Cosmetic Dentistry: A Time for Change.”