April 14th, 2021
10 Things You Didn’t Know About Your Teeth
You use your teeth to bite, chew and talk countless times throughout your day. Unless something is bothersome, you probably don’t give your grill a second thought. So, with our compliments, gnaw on this enlightening list of ten things you didn’t know about your teeth – but guess what – your American Association of Orthodontists member orthodontist did!
- A tooth can come into the mouth with a cavity.
- A cavity is one of the few things the body cannot heal. It just gets larger with time, unless a dentist removes the decay and places a filling.
- A tooth can grow in upside down, sideways or backwards.
- Baby teeth hold space for the permanent teeth that follow – it’s important to hang onto them until they’re ready to come out on their own.
- While we’re on the subject of baby teeth, they’re also called “deciduous” teeth – from the Latin word “decidere,” which means to fall off or be shed (like leaves from a deciduous tree).
- Teeth by the numbers: we get two sets of teeth – 20 baby teeth and 32 (usually) permanent teeth – unless you get extra teeth (supernumerary teeth), or some teeth never develop (congenitally missing teeth). Thank your genes for extra or missing teeth.
- Research suggests that some sweet flavors in e-cigarette liquids may increase the risk of getting cavities. (As if nicotine addiction wasn’t enough already.)
- Back teeth are called “molars.” They are used for grinding food when you chew.
- Diet soda and sports drinks can be just as tough on teeth as regular soda. Both contain acid. Acid attacks the enamel surface of your teeth and can lead to cavities. Some bottled waters and flavored bubbly waters can be acidic enough to cause cavities too!
- The part of the tooth you see, the crown, is only about a quarter to a third of the entire tooth. The rest of the tooth is under the gums.
Now that you have mastered these tidbits about teeth, you can amaze your friends and family with your trivial knowledge. But your teeth are anything but trivial. Healthy teeth and gums are critical contributors to your overall good health.
March 23rd, 2021
Closing Space for Missing Front Teeth
Missing an upper front tooth (or teeth) is difficult for anyone but especially a teen. They have to have a temporary fix ( i.e. Maryland bridge or removable “flipper” with a false tooth on it) until they stop growing. Then an implant (post placed in the bone) can be placed upon which a crown is attached. This can occur in females around 18 years and males 22 yrs. Over the years the crown and implant will have to be replaced (every 15-25 years).
So you can see the process for replacing a missing tooth is long and never ending, not to mention the many times when the cosmetics are just not that good.
Dr. Michael Sebastian has spent countless hours developing strategies to avoid this potential nightmare by closing the space for a missing tooth. As the following example demonstrates. This 12 year old boy was missing teeth on both sides adjacent to the front teeth (lateral incisors). The strategy for closure is outlined below:
1) Encourage upper eye teeth to come in by the front teeth by selective removal of baby teeth over a 2 to 3 year period. (no braces involved) 4 office visits are needed.
2) Orthodontically manipulate the eye teeth and first bicuspids into a position which simulates the tooth and gum positioning of the teeth they are replacing (lateral incisors and eye teeth).
3) Cosmetically contour these teeth to develop the shape of the missing teeth.
If these strategies are followed then very nice cosmetic results through Orthodontics can be attained. The best of which is they can enjoy their smile when they are teens and don’t have a lifetime of implants and crowns!
Let us know how we can help!
March 9th, 2021
Do you know which electric toothbrush to choose?
There are 2 basic types of electric toothbrushes depending on how the toothbrush bristles rotate.
- Side to Side
- Oscillating (moves in a circular pattern)
Well, the American Dental Association recently published an extensive study of these 2 types. Which one was best?
Neither! They both were equally as effective in removing plague thereby improving gum and tooth health (Look Ma, no cavities!)
So, if you are in the market for an electric toothbrush, either of these types will do a great job. Just remember to brush 2 times a day for 2 minutes each time. Focus on brushing the area where the teeth and gums meet. Floss once per day.
February 11th, 2021
Do you clench your teeth when you are feeling stressed? Do you wake up with a headache? Do your jaw muscles hurt? Call our office for an appointment. You may have a habit called bruxism.
WHAT IS BRUXISM?
Bruxism is a habit during which you grind your teeth or clench or thrust your jaw forward over and over again. This habit can affect you’re your oral health. It can cause teeth to break or crack, and increase the chance of gum problems. Adults are not the only ones affected. Studies have found that this can be a problem in children as young as preschool aged.
WHAT CAUSES IT?
Researchers do not know for sure what causes people to do this. Some think stress could be a factor. In preschoolers, studies find an association between grinding their teeth or clenching their jaws and signs of stress such as anxiety or social withdrawal.
Children also can develop this habit when they are losing their baby teeth and their permanent teeth are coming in. Nail biting also may lead to grinding of teeth or jaw clenching. Some children outgrow this, but often adults who grind their teeth or clench their jaws did so as children.
Like many habits, you may be unaware that you do this. You may even do it in your sleep. Tobacco and alcohol use may increase your chances of doing this when you are sleeping. Large amounts of caffeine--for example, 8 or more cups of coffee a day—also can increase this risk. Some medications or illegal drugs may cause users to grind their teeth or clench or thrust their jaws as well.
WHAT CAN YOU DO?
You should contact our office if you notice any of the following:
- Jaw pain
- Headaches when you wake up
- Teeth sensitivity to hot or cold drinks or food
- Chipped teeth or fillings
A number of things can contribute to the problem of bruxism, and there has not been a lot of research on how best to treat it. We may suggest some options, such as:
- Decreasing or quitting tobacco use
- Limiting how much caffeine you eat or drink
- Seeking counseling to help you identify when you are doing it while you are awake to develop ways to relax
- Looking at the medications you take and talking to your physician about other options
We also may talk to you about using an oral appliance, which is a plastic tray that fits over either your top or bottom teeth. Use of an appliance may help reduce grinding, clenching, thrusting and may protect your gums and teeth.