Posts for: August, 2017

By Wilmington Dental Associates
August 22, 2017
Category: Dental Procedures
Tags: tooth extractions  

What your dentists in Wilmington want you to knowtooth extraction

You may need a tooth extracted for a number of reasons; some of the more common ones include wisdom teeth removal, or removal due to periodontal disease, orthodontics, extensive decay, or a failed root canal. Whatever the reason is, it’s important to know what to expect after you have a tooth removed. Your dentists at Wilmington Dental Associates in Wilmington, DE Dr. Michael Lenz, Dr. John Lenz and Dr. Vattilana want to share the facts about tooth extractions and oral care.

Before your tooth is removed, the area will be thoroughly numbed using a local anesthetic.

Your dentists begin by using specifically designed tools to rock the tooth back and forth. This rocking motion loosens the ligaments which hold your tooth in place, making it easy to remove the tooth. After the tooth is removed, gauze is placed over the surgical area to stop bleeding and enable a blood clot to form. You may or may not need stitches depending on the extraction.

As you are healing, remember to:

  • Take your medications as prescribed
  • Apply ice to the area to help reduce swelling and pain
  • Don’t smoke
  • Don’t use a straw to drink beverages
  • Eat soft foods or liquids

One of the most common complications from tooth extraction is a dry socket. A dry socket happens when the blood clot breaks, exposing bone. You will know you have a dry socket if you experience:

  • Severe pain a few days after having a tooth removed
  • An empty tooth socket where you should see a blood clot
  • Exposed bone within the tooth socket
  • Pain into your eye, ear or neck on the same side as the extraction
  • A bad taste or bad breath

You can begin your regular regimen of brushing and flossing within a few days; avoid brushing the extraction site. You can brush the teeth around it, but be gentle. For more information about tooth extractions, please visit the extractions page on the website at

If you need a tooth extracted, don’t worry! The dentists at Wilmington Dental Associates in Wilmington, Delaware are the experts to see! To find out more about tooth extractions and other dental services, call your dentists at Wilmington Dental Associates in Wilmington, DE today!

By Wilmington Dental Associates
August 17, 2017
Category: Dental Procedures

As a member of the best-selling pop group Spice Girls, Mel C (AKA Sporty Spice) enjoyed her share of musical superstardom. At the band’s peak in the Nineties, the young singer’s signature look featured baggy sweatpants, an assortment of tattoos, a nose stud and a gold-capped incisor, front and center in her mouth. Today, Melanie Chisholm is still singing — but now she’s a mom, an amateur triathlete… and that gold tooth is just a memory. Not only that, her smile looks more evenly spaced and whiter than it did when she was referred to as the “tomboy” of the group.

What happened? In our view, it all boils down to changing tastes — plus a little bit of help from dental professionals. As the “wannabe” singer proves, there’s no single standard when it comes to making your teeth look their best. Your own look is unique to you — and your smile can reflect that individuality.

For example, crowns (caps) are substantial coverings that may be placed on teeth when they are being restored. They are available in three types: gold, all-porcelain, or porcelain-fused-to-metal. The latter two are tooth-colored, while the gold is — well, shiny like gold bling. Which one is right for you? In many cases, it’s your choice.

Likewise, dental veneers — wafer-thin shells that can correct cosmetic issues by covering the surface of your teeth — can be made in a variety of shades. Their hues may range from natural ivory to Hollywood white, and everything in between. What’s the best color for you? Only you can say.

Some people opt for a “smile makeover” that uses small irregularities in the spacing and color of teeth to create a more “natural” look. Other folks want a perfectly even, brilliant white smile that dazzles the eye. Still others are looking to match or restore the smile they once had — perhaps even re-creating a signature gap between the teeth. As long as there are no other dental issues involved, the choice is yours.

So if you’re unhappy with your smile — or if you feel it doesn’t reflect the person you “wannabe” — why not talk to us about a smile makeover? Just call our office to schedule a consultation. You can learn more about this topic in the Dear Doctor magazine articles “Beautiful Smiles by Design” and “The Impact of a Smile Makeover.”


If you've known anyone who has worn braces, you know what comes after — wearing a retainer. This can be kind of a letdown after all those months with braces, but it's absolutely necessary.

That's because teeth have a tendency to “rebound” to their pre-orthodontic positions once the force to move them stops after the braces are removed. Retainers help keep or “retain” moved teeth in their new positions and prevent them from reverting to the old.

When you think “retainer,” you probably picture a removable appliance with a wire that fits over the front of the teeth. While that may be the most common type, it isn't the only one. There's another called a bonded retainer, a thin piece of wire bonded to the back of the teeth that need to be retained. Unlike the other type, a dentist must remove a bonded retainer when it's no longer needed.

The biggest advantage of a bonded retainer is its invisibility — the wire is behind the teeth so no one can see it as with a removable retainer. The wire is bonded to the teeth with a dental composite material and then light-cured to create a strong attachment.

Another advantage is especially pertinent to younger patients. Because it's permanently attached and can't be taken out, there's no constant reminding of the patient to wear it — and no more worries about replacing a lost one.

They can, though, be difficult to floss around leading to potential plaque buildup that increases disease risk. It's very important you receive proper hygiene instruction for cleaning under the bonded retainer. Another concern is that they can break under excessive chewing pressure. And as with the more common retainer, we wouldn't want to remove it as that will result in the teeth's relapse to their old positions.

To learn which retainer is best for your situation, you should discuss the options with your orthodontist. Regardless of which type you choose, though, a retainer is a must for protecting your investment in that new smile.

If you would like more information on orthodontics and retainers, 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 “Bonded Retainers.”

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