Posts for category: Dental Procedures
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.”
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.”