Posts for: November, 2016

By Wilmington Dental Associates
November 26, 2016
Category: Oral Health
Tags: teeth grinding  

There are a lot of reasons (including a blow to the mouth) why one of your permanent teeth might become loose. The most common: advanced periodontal (gum) disease that has weakened the gum attachment to the tooth.

There's also another, less common reason: you have a grinding habit that's producing higher than normal biting forces. Besides accelerating tooth wear, the constant jaw movement and teeth clenching can stretch periodontal ligaments and loosen their attachment to a tooth.

If the gums are disease-free, teeth grinding is most likely the main culprit for the damage, what we call primary occlusal trauma. Our treatment goal here is to reduce the effect of the grinding habit and, if necessary, secure the teeth with splinting while the ligaments heal. We can often reduce the grinding effect with a custom bite guard worn while you sleep. We may also prescribe minor muscle relaxants and mild pain medication like aspirin or ibuprofen.

Sometimes we may need to perform other measures like re-shaping your teeth's biting surfaces so they don't generate as much biting force. You may also benefit from counseling or other psychological treatment to help you address and cope with stress, a prime driver for teeth grinding.

Even if you don't have a grinding habit, biting forces may still contribute to tooth looseness if you have advanced gum disease. Advanced disease results in excessive bone loss, which in turn reduces the remaining amount of ligaments attached to the tooth. This type of damage, known as secondary occlusal trauma, and ensuing tooth looseness can occur even when your biting forces are normal.

It's necessary in these cases to treat the gum disease, primarily by manually removing plaque and calculus (hardened plaque deposits), which causes and sustains the infection. Once removed, the gums can begin to heal and strengthen their attachment. We may also need to apply splinting or perform surgical procedures to encourage gum and bone reattachment.

Whatever has caused your loose tooth, our goal is to remove the cause or lessen its effects. With your tooth secure and the gums regaining their healthy attachment, we have a good chance of saving it.

If you would like more information on teeth grinding and other potentially damaging oral habits, 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 “Loose Teeth: Biting Forces can Loosen Teeth.”

By Wilmington Dental Associates
November 11, 2016
Category: Dental Procedures
Tags: celebrity smiles   crowns  

You might think David Copperfield leads a charmed life:  He can escape from ropes, chains, and prison cells, make a Learjet or a railroad car disappear, and even appear to fly above the stage. But the illustrious illusionist will be the first to admit that making all that magic takes a lot of hard work. And he recently told Dear Doctor magazine that his brilliant smile has benefitted from plenty of behind-the-scenes dental work as well.

“When I was a kid, I had every kind of [treatment]. I had braces, I had headgear, I had rubber bands, and a retainer afterward,” Copperfield said. And then, just when his orthodontic treatment was finally complete, disaster struck. “I was at a mall, running down this concrete alleyway, and there was a little ledge… and I went BOOM!”

Copperfield’s two front teeth were badly injured by the impact. “My front teeth became nice little points,” he said. Yet, although they had lost a great deal of their structure, his dentist was able to restore those damaged teeth in a very natural-looking way. What kind of “magic” did the dentist use?

In Copperfield’s case, the teeth were repaired using crown restorations. Crowns (also called caps) are suitable when a tooth has lost part of its visible structure, but still has healthy roots beneath the gum line. To perform a crown restoration, the first step is to make a precise model of your teeth, often called an impression. This allows a replacement for the visible part of the tooth to be fabricated, and ensures it will fit precisely into your smile. In its exact shape and shade, a well-made crown matches your natural teeth so well that it’s virtually impossible to tell them apart. Subsequently, the crown restoration is permanently attached to the damaged tooth.

There’s a blend of technology and art in making high quality crowns — just as there is in some stage-crafted illusions. But the difference is that the replacement tooth is not just an illusion: It looks, functions and “feels” like your natural teeth… and with proper care it can last for many years to come.  Besides crowns, there are several other types of tooth restorations that are suitable in different situations. We can recommend the right kind of “magic” for you.

If you would like more information about crowns, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can also learn more about this topic by reading the Dear Doctor magazine articles “Crowns & Bridgework” and “Porcelain Crowns & Veneers.”

By Wilmington Dental Associates
November 02, 2016
Category: Oral Health
Tags: Oral Hygiene   toothbrush   brushing  

Taking great care of your teeth benefits not only your dental health but your general health as well. However, adopting the best oral care toothbrushhabits for you begins with choosing the right toothbrush. Learn which brush is best for you and more with Wilmington Dental Associates in Wilmington, DE.

Choosing the Right Toothbrush for You
First, decide whether you want an electric or manual toothbrush. Some people like the ease of a manual toothbrush, with no need to charge it or switch any batteries. However, others feel an electric brush is better for them. Either choice is a good one as long as you brush correctly. Additionally, find a soft-bristled brush with a long enough handle to easily grip. Hard-bristled brushes can hurt your gums and tissues and do more harm than good.

What is the proper way to use my new toothbrush? 
Using your new toothbrush correctly involves brushing for at least two minutes not just once, but twice a day. Be sure to brush every area of your teeth and oral tissues, including the fronts and backs of your teeth, tongue and the back side of your last molar. However, brushing is not enough to complete your oral routine; you need to floss at least once a day. Use a strand of floss to clean between each tooth. This will remove any bacteria, plaque or particles of food trapped between your teeth where your toothbrush cannot reach.

Dental Examinations and Cleanings in Wilmington, DE 
Keeping your mouth healthy may begin with at-home care, but seeing your dentist for regular bi-annual appointments will help ensure your teeth have no underlying issues. These issues could turn into painful conditions, like advanced tooth decay, which, if left untreated, can damage or break your teeth and lead to gum disease. Your dental exams will also include a dental cleaning to keep a clean slate between visits.

For more information on choosing the right toothbrush for you and your smile, please contact Dr. Michael Lenz and Dr. John Lenz at Wilmington Dental Associates in Wilmington, DE. Call (302) 654-6915 to schedule your appointment with your dentist today!

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