Posts for: December, 2017

By Wilmington Dental Associates
December 23, 2017
Category: Dental Procedures

You don’t have to be a dental professional to appreciate a beautiful smile. Likewise, you’ll also know when something’s not quite right with one.

Such can be the case when a tooth fails to erupt properly, causing most or all of the crown to remain below the gum line, a condition known as impaction. Upper canines (or “eyeteeth,” for their location in the arch under the eyes) are especially susceptible to impaction: located on either side of the lateral incisors, which are on either side of the central incisors (the two center front teeth).

The upper canines are important both for function and appearance. Working with their lower counterparts they help cut through food as we chew, so you lose some of that efficiency when they don’t erupt properly. Impacted teeth are susceptible to abscesses and cysts, and can impinge upon and damage the roots of other teeth. And just as importantly, their absence also disrupts the smile as nearby teeth tend to move or “drift” toward the open space.

Rather than remove the impacted canines as is often done with back teeth, it may be more advantageous for both function and appearance to “coax” them into full eruption. This requires first pinpointing their exact location below the gums using x-rays or cone beam 3-D imaging.

If the teeth are in reasonably good position we must first prepare them for orthodontic treatment by surgically exposing the crown from the gums and bonding a small bracket to it. We then attach a small gold chain to the bracket that extends outside of the gums when we suture them back into place. The chain is attached to orthodontic hardware that exerts pressure on the impacted tooth for several months to “pull” it out into the arch.

This procedure has the best chance of success if undertaken before the end of jaw development in early adulthood. Otherwise, it may be better to remove the impacted canines and replace them with dental implants, followed by orthodontic treatment of other teeth to restore their proper position and bite relationships. In either case, your impacted upper canines don’t have to be a problem — we can restore both your mouth function and your smile.

If you would like more information on impacted teeth and treatment options, 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 “Exposing Impacted Canines.”

By Wilmington Dental Associates
December 19, 2017
Category: Dental Procedures
Tags: cosmetic dentistry  

Perfecting your smile by repairing its flaws with cosmetic dentistry is a worthwhile and confidence-boosting decision to make. Though it cosmetic dentistrymay seem like a purely aesthetic decision, rejuvenating your smile can have a positive psychological effect as well by increasing your confidence and allowing you to feel good about the way you look. Find out about some popular and effective cosmetic dentistry treatments with Dr. Michael Lenz, Dr. Anthony Vattilana, and Dr. John Lenz at Wilmington Dental Care in Wilmington, DE.

Cosmetic Dentistry Procedures in Wilmington, DE

  • Teeth Whitening: Teeth whitening brightens and whitens the appearance of your smile in a fast and powerful procedure. During the hour-long treatment, your dentist applies a whitening gel to the teeth and directs a specialized light toward the mouth to aid in the whitening process. Afterward, your teeth will be noticeably lighter and brighter, with results varying from subtle to dramatic based on your preferences.
  • Crowns and Bridgework: Dental crowns cover a damaged, repaired, or otherwise weakened tooth to help protect it from future damage. Bridgework replaces missing teeth by bridging the gap between two healthy teeth. The bridge, held in place by dental crowns on either end, replaces the tooth above the gum line.
  • Invisalign: Invisalign is a revolutionary orthodontic treatment that allows you to subtly and dramatically correct your smile to straighten the teeth and correct bite issues. Rather than using the traditional metal brackets and wires, Invisalign’s clear plastic trays will slowly move the teeth into their new positions using carefully applied yet gentle pressure.
  • Dental Implants: Dental implants revive your missing teeth by replacing the tooth itself and its root. The implant lies directly in the bone beneath your missing tooth, staying in place permanently.
  • Cosmetic Fillings: Cosmetic fillings restore a decayed tooth by removing the decayed portion of the tooth’s enamel and replacing it with tooth-colored composite resin materials.
  • Veneers: Dental veneers fit over the tooth’s surface to cover its blemishes and revive its appearance. Veneers can change the shape, length, width, and color of a tooth, allowing for a truly versatile result.

For more information on cosmetic dentistry, please contact Dr. Lenz, Dr. Vattilana, and Dr. Lenz at Wilmington Dental Care in Wilmington, DE. Call (302) 654-6915 to speak with an associate about scheduling your appointment with your dentist today!

By Wilmington Dental Associates
December 08, 2017
Category: Dental Procedures
Tags: topical fluoride  

A lot happens in your child’s mouth from infancy to early adulthood. Not surprisingly, it’s the most active period for development of teeth, gums and jaw structure. Our primary goal as care providers is to keep that development on track.

One of our main concerns, therefore, is to protect their teeth as much as possible from tooth decay. This includes their primary (“baby”) teeth: although your child will eventually lose them, a premature loss of a primary tooth to decay could cause the incoming permanent tooth to erupt out of proper position. And we of course want to protect permanent teeth from decay during these developmental years as well.

That’s why we may recommend applying topical fluoride to your child’s teeth. A naturally occurring chemical, fluoride helps strengthen the mineral content of enamel. While fluoride can help prevent tooth decay all through life, it’s especially important to enamel during this growth period.

Although your child may be receiving fluoride through toothpaste or drinking water, in that form it first passes through the digestive system into the bloodstream and then to the teeth. A topical application is more direct and allows greater absorption into the enamel.

We’ll typically apply fluoride in a gel, foam or varnish form right after a professional cleaning. The fluoride is a much higher dose than what your child may encounter in toothpaste and although not dangerous it can cause temporary vomiting, headache or stomach pain if accidentally swallowed. That’s why we take extra precautions such as a mouth tray (similar to a mouth guard) to catch excess solution.

The benefits, though, outweigh this risk of unpleasant side effects, especially for children six years or older. Several studies over the years with thousands of young patients have shown an average 28% reduction in decayed, missing or filled teeth in children who received a fluoride application.

Topical fluoride, along with a comprehensive dental care program, can make a big difference in your child’s dental care. Not only is it possible for them to enjoy healthier teeth and gums now, but it could also help ensure their future dental health.

If you would like more information on topical fluoride and other dental disease prevention measures, 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 “Fluoride Gels Reduce Decay.”

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