Posts for: November, 2019
The change from primary teeth to permanent is an announcement to the world that a boy or girl is "growing up." "Growing up," though, is still not "grown"—the new teeth are still in a period of development that can affect how we treat them if they're injured or diseased.
While a new tooth erupts with all its anatomical layers, the middle dentin is somewhat thinner than it will be after it matures. The pulp, the tooth's innermost layer, produces new dentin and gradually increases the dentin layer during this early development period. While the pulp continues to produce dentin over a tooth's lifetime, most of it occurs in these early years.
To prevent or stop any infection, we would normally perform a root canal treatment in which we remove the pulp tissue and fill the empty pulp chamber and root canals. This poses no real issue in an older tooth with mature dentin. Removing the pulp from an immature tooth, though, could interrupt dentin development and interfere with the tooth's root growth. Besides a higher risk of discoloration, the tooth could become more brittle and prone to fracture.
That's why we place a high priority on preserving a younger tooth's pulp. Rather than a root canal treatment, we may treat it instead with one of a number of modified techniques that interact less with the pulp. Which of these we use will depend on the extent of the pulp's involvement with the injury or disease.
If it's unexposed, we may use a procedure called indirect pulp therapy, where we remove most of the tooth's damaged dentin but leave some of the harder portion intact next to the pulp to avoid exposure. If, though, some but not all of the pulp is damaged, we may perform a pulpotomy: here we remove the damaged pulp tissue while leaving the healthier portion intact. We may then apply a stimulant substance to encourage more dentin production to seal the exposure.
These and other techniques can help repair an injured young tooth while preserving most or all of its vital pulp. Although we can't always use them, when we can they could give the tooth its best chance for a full life.
If you would like more information on caring for your child's teeth, 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 “Saving New Permanent Teeth after Injury.”
Periodontal disease can have a devastating effect on your oral health. The disease damages gum tissue and may even loosen your teeth if it's not treated promptly. Your Clarks Summit, PA, dentists at Abington Dental Arts, PC diagnose and treat gum disease and help you keep your smile healthy.
How can I tell if I have periodontal disease?
Periodontal disease usually starts slowly. Gingivitis, the earliest phase of the disease, has several signs and symptoms that are easy to overlook. Bleeding when brushing or flossing is a common gingivitis symptom. Unfortunately, many people don't realize that bleeding isn't normal. If you notice a coppery taste in your mouth after brushing or flossing, or your toothbrush looks pink, you may have gingivitis.
Gingivitis can also cause gum inflammation. Your gums may be red, swollen and tender. Constant bad breath may also be an issue. Fortunately, periodontal disease is very easy to reverse at this stage. A thorough dental cleaning in your Clarks Summit dentist's office and improved oral hygiene habits can improve the health of your gums. Cleanings remove plaque and tartar, two substances that play a role in gum disease.
If the disease progresses, you may continue to experience bad breath and inflamed gums, but may also notice a few other signs and symptoms, including:
- Receding Gums: Do your teeth look a little longer? The change in appearance can occur if your gums begin to recede due to gum disease.
- Pain: Pain may become more constant and may worsen when you bite or chew. You may also notice pain when eating hot, cold or sugary foods and drinks. The problem occurs when receding gums expose your sensitive tooth roots.
- Pockets: As the infection in your gums worsens, the gum tissue will start to pull away from the teeth, forming pockets around them. It's impossible to ignore periodontal disease at this point. Pockets are not only unsightly but painful.
- Loose Teeth or Dentures: The bacteria in your pockets damages the bones and ligaments that keep your teeth firmly. As a result, your teeth may become loose, or you may notice that your dentures don't fit well.
Visiting your dentist every six months can reduce your risk of periodontal disease and ensure that you receive treatment if you do happen to develop the disease.
Protect your gums with regular visits to your Clarks Summit, PA, dentists at Abington Dental Arts, PC. Call (570) 586-1411 to schedule an appointment.
It's no secret that many of Hollywood's brightest stars didn't start out with perfectly aligned, pearly-white teeth. And these days, plenty of celebs are willing to share their stories, showing how dentists help those megawatt smiles shine. In a recent interview with W magazine, Emma Stone, the stunning 28-year-old star of critically-acclaimed films like La La Land and Birdman, explained how orthodontic appliances helped her overcome problems caused by a harmful habit: persistent thumb sucking in childhood.
“I sucked my thumb until I was 11 years old,” she admitted, mischievously adding “It's still so soothing to do it.” Although it may have been comforting, the habit spelled trouble for her bite. “The roof of my mouth is so high-pitched that I had this huge overbite,” she said. “I got this gate when I was in second grade… I had braces, and then they put a gate.”
While her technical terminology isn't quite accurate, Stone is referring to a type of appliance worn in the mouth which dentists call a “tongue crib” or “thumb/finger appliance.” The purpose of these devices is to stop children from engaging in “parafunctional habits” — that is, behaviors like thumb sucking or tongue thrusting, which are unrelated to the normal function of the mouth and can cause serious bite problems. (Other parafunctional habits include nail biting, pencil chewing and teeth grinding.)
When kids develop the habit of regularly pushing the tongue against the front teeth (tongue thrusting) or sucking on an object placed inside the mouth (thumb sucking), the behavior can cause the front teeth to be pushed out of alignment. When the top teeth move forward, the condition is commonly referred to as an overbite. In some cases a more serious situation called an “open bite” may develop, which can be difficult to correct. Here, the top and bottom front teeth do not meet or overlap when the mouth is closed; instead, a vertical gap is left in between.
Orthodontic appliances are often recommended to stop harmful oral habits from causing further misalignment. Most appliances are designed with a block (or gate) that prevents the tongue or finger from pushing on the teeth; this is what the actress mentioned. Normally, when the appliance is worn for a period of months it can be expected to modify the child's behavior. Once the habit has been broken, other appliances like traditional braces or clear aligners can be used to bring the teeth into better alignment.
But in Stone's case, things didn't go so smoothly. “I'd take the gate down and suck my thumb underneath the mouth appliance,” she admitted, “because I was totally ignoring the rule to not suck your thumb while you're trying to straighten out your teeth.” That rule-breaking ended up costing the aspiring star lots of time: she spent a total of 7 years wearing braces.
Fortunately, things worked out for the best for Emma Stone: She now has a brilliant smile and a stellar career — plus a shiny new Golden Globe award! Does your child have a thumb sucking problem or another harmful oral habit? For more information about how to correct it, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can learn more in the Dear Doctor magazine article “How Thumb Sucking Affects the Bite.”