Has a missing tooth completely changed your smile? It's hard to feel confident about your appearance when there's a gap in your teeth. Luckily, dental implants offered by your Bartlett, TN, dentist, Dr. Phil Hart, provide an excellent restoration option.
Why filling gaps is important
Missing teeth aren't just a cosmetic problem. The loss of one tooth can increase your cavity risk and affect the health of your jawbone. Your chance of developing tooth decay rises if your teeth begin to shift after the loss of a tooth. As they shift, they may overlap. Overlapping areas tend to harbor cavity-causing plaque, which can be difficult to remove no matter how thoroughly you brush. Adding a dental implant prevents your teeth from shifting and helps you avoid cavities.
Your tooth roots constantly press on your jawbone and help keep it strong. When you lose one or more teeth, jawbone resorption (shrinking) may become a problem. Resorption can lead to tooth loss and sagging facial muscles in the lower part of your face. Dental implants prevent resorption by constantly stimulating the bone.
How dental implants can help
A dental implant serves as the root for your brand new tooth. Just like your natural roots, implants are firmly attached to your jawbone, thanks to a process called osseointegration. The tiny titanium implants begin to osseointegrate, or bond, to the bone shortly after they're added to your jawbone during minor oral surgery.
Osseointegration usually takes about three to six months. After it's complete, your Bartlett, TN, dentist adds a connector called an abutment and makes an impression of your mouth. The impression will be used to create a crown, an artificial tooth that replaces your missing tooth above the gum line. When your crown is ready, it will be attached to the implant with the abutment.
Dental implants offer several important benefits, including:
- Longevity: Your implant will probably last your entire life.
- Comfort: Dental implants feel very much like natural teeth and don't move or slip when you chew.
- Versatility: Replace one tooth, three teeth, or all of them with dental implants. If you're replacing multiple teeth, you'll need an implant-supported bridge or dentures.
- Biting Power: Decreased biting power is an issue if you wear traditional dentures. Because your implant-supported dentures are firmly rooted to your mouth, you'll enjoy excellent biting power.
Are you ready to find out if you're a good candidate for dental implants? Call your Bartlett, TN, dentist at (901) 386-9299 to schedule an appointment with Dr. Hart.
How your dentist in Bartlett, Tennessee can brighten your smile
Do you want your smile to make a big impact, and to better reflect who you are? If so, it’s time for you to discover the benefits of professional teeth whitening. Your smile can look fantastic. Dr. Phillip Hart in Bartlett, Tennessee can help you achieve a dramatically beautiful smile that is still uniquely yours.
When you choose professional teeth whitening, you will enjoy these important benefits:
- A high level of effectiveness, because you can whiten your smile up to 8 shades whiter
- Long-lasting beauty, because your results can last up to an amazing 5 years
- Convenient treatment, because with the at-home whitening kit, you can whiten your teeth at your own pace, in the privacy of your home
- Safe whitening, because professional whitening methods have been rigorously tested for safety and approved by the American Dental Association
Dr. Hart offers at home whitening treatments with in-office monitoring:
At-home whitening, for when you want to whiten your smile whenever the time is right for you. Impressions are taken of your mouth to provide custom fit whitening trays. This method comes in the form of a kit containing prescription-strength whitening gel and custom trays, everything you need to whiten safely at home.
There are many reasons why your smile may have lost its sparkle. If you use tobacco products or smoke, or you drink coffee, tea or red wine, these can all wreak havoc on your smile. Normal aging also plays a part in why your smile can become dull and uninteresting.
No matter why your smile has lost its brightness, professional teeth whitening can help. To find out more or to get started on brightening your smile, call Dr. Phillip Hart in Bartlett, Tennessee today!
As permanent teeth gradually replace primary (“baby”) teeth, most will come in by early adolescence. But the back third molars—the wisdom teeth—are often the last to the party, usually erupting between ages 18 and 24, and the source of possible problems.
This is because the wisdom teeth often erupt on an already crowded jaw populated by other teeth. As a result, they can be impacted, meaning they may erupt partially or not at all and remain largely below the gum surface.
An impacted tooth can impinge on its neighboring teeth and damage their roots or disrupt their protective gum attachment, all of which makes them more susceptible to tooth decay or periodontal (gum) disease. Impacted teeth can also foster the formation of infected cysts that create areas of bone loss or painful infections in the gums of other teeth.
Even when symptoms like these aren’t present, many dentists recommend removing the wisdom teeth as a preemptive measure against future problems or disease. This often requires a surgical extraction: in fact, wisdom teeth removal is the most common oral surgical procedure.
But now there’s a growing consensus among dentists that removing or not removing wisdom teeth should depend on an individual’s unique circumstances. Patients who are having adverse oral health effects from impacted wisdom teeth should consider removing them, especially if they’ve already encountered dental disease. But the extraction decision isn’t as easy for patients with no current signs of either impaction or disease. That doesn’t mean their situation won’t change in the future.
One way to manage all these potentialities is a strategy called active surveillance. With this approach, patient and dentist keep a close eye on wisdom teeth development and possible signs of impaction or disease. Most dentists recommend carefully examining the wisdom teeth (including diagnostic x-rays and other imaging) every 24 months.
Following this strategy doesn’t mean the patient won’t eventually have their wisdom teeth removed, but not until there are clearer signs of trouble. But whatever the outcome might be, dealing properly with wisdom teeth is a high priority for preventing future oral health problems.
If you would like more information on wisdom teeth and their potential impact on dental health, 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 “Wisdom Teeth: Coming of Age May Come with a Dilemma.”
The long-running hit show Dancing with the Stars has had its share of memorable moments, including a wedding proposal, a wardrobe malfunction, and lots of sharp dance moves. But just recently, one DWTS contestant had the bad luck of taking an elbow to the mouth on two separate occasions—one of which resulted in some serious dental damage.
Nationally syndicated radio personality Bobby Bones received the accidental blows while practicing with his partner, professional dancer Sharna Burgess. “I got hit really hard,” he said. “There was blood and a tooth. [My partner] was doing what she was supposed to do, and my face was not doing what it was supposed to do.”
Accidents like this can happen at any time—especially when people take part in activities where there’s a risk of dental trauma. Fortunately, dentists have many ways to treat oral injuries and restore damaged teeth. How do we do it?
It all depends on how much of the tooth is missing, whether the damage extends to the soft tissue in the tooth’s pulp, and whether the tooth’s roots are intact. If the roots are broken or seriously damaged, the tooth may need to be extracted (removed). It can then generally be replaced with a dental bridge or a state-of-the-art dental implant.
If the roots are healthy but the pulp is exposed, the tooth may become infected—a painful and potentially serious condition. A root canal is needed. In this procedure, the infected pulp tissue is removed and the “canals” (hollow spaces deep inside the tooth) are disinfected and sealed up. The tooth is then restored: A crown (cap) is generally used to replace the visible part above the gum line. A timely root canal procedure can often save a tooth that would otherwise be lost.
For moderate cracks and chips, dental veneers may be an option. Veneers are wafer-thin shells made of translucent material that go over the front surfaces of teeth. Custom-made from a model of your smile, veneers are securely cemented on to give you a restoration that looks natural and lasts for a long time.
It’s often possible to fix minor chips with dental bonding—and this type of restoration can frequently be done in just one office visit. In this procedure, layers of tooth-colored resin are applied to fill in the parts of the tooth that are missing, and then hardened by a special light. While it may not be as long-lasting as some other restoration methods, bonding is a relatively simple and inexpensive technique that can produce good results.
If you would like more information about emergency dental treatment, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can learn more by reading the Dear Doctor articles “The Field-Side Guide to Dental Injuries” and “Knocked Out Tooth.”
Along with daily brushing and flossing, limiting your child’s sugar consumption is an important way to prevent tooth decay. We all know the usual suspects: candy, sugar-added snacks and sodas. But there’s one category you may not at first think fits the profile—juices. But even natural juices with no added sugar can raise your child’s risk of tooth decay if they’re drinking too much.
Tooth decay is caused by certain strains of bacteria in the mouth, which produce acid. Sugar in any form (sucrose, fructose, maltose, etc.) is a primary food source for these bacteria. When there’s a ready food source, bacteria consume it and produce abnormally high levels of acid. This can cause the mineral content of tooth enamel to dissolve faster than saliva, which neutralizes acid, can reverse the tide.
Juices without added sugar still contain the natural sugar of the fruit from which they originate. The American Academy of Pediatrics conducted a study of the effect of these natural juice sugars on dental health. Their conclusion: it can have an effect, so the amount of juice consumed daily by a child should be restricted according to age.
They’ve since published guidelines to that effect:
- Under age 1 (or any child with abnormal weight gain): no juice at all;
- Ages 1-3: no more than 4 ounces a day;
- Ages 4-6: no more than 6 ounces a day;
- Ages 7-18: no more than 8 ounces (1 cup) a day.
Again, these are guidelines—you should also discuss the right limits for your individual child with your dentist or pediatrician. And if you’re wondering what kind of beverages pose less risk of tooth decay, you can look to low or non-fat milk. And, of course, don’t forget water—besides containing no sugar, nature’s hydrator has a neutral pH, so it won’t increase acidity in the mouth.
Tooth decay is one of the biggest health problems many kids face. But with good teeth-friendly habits, including restricting sugar intake in any of its many forms (including juices) you can go a long way in reducing their risk of this destructive disease.
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