Complete Family Dentistry Blog - Waukesha , WI
Posts for: July, 2015
Ah, the baby teeth: those cute little pearl buttons that start to appear in a child’s mouth at around 6 to 9 months of age. Like pacifiers and bedtime stories, they’ll be gone before you know it — the last usually disappear by age 10-13. So if the dentist tells you that your young child needs a root canal, you might wonder why — isn’t that tooth going to be lost anyway?
The answer is yes, it is — but while it’s here, it has some important roles to play in your child’s development. For one thing, baby teeth perform the same functions in kids as they do in adults: Namely, they enable us to chew, bite, and speak properly. The primary teeth also have a valuable social purpose: they allow us to smile properly. If a baby tooth is lost prematurely at age 6, the child may suffer detrimental effects for five years or more — and that’s a long time for someone so young!
Even more important, baby teeth have a critical function in the developing mouth and jaw: Each one holds a space open for the permanent tooth that will eventually replace it — and it doesn’t “let go” until the new tooth is ready to come in. If a primary (baby) tooth is lost too soon, other teeth adjacent to the opening may drift into the empty space. This often means that the permanent teeth may erupt (emerge above the gum line) in the wrong place — or sometimes, not at all.
The condition that occurs when teeth aren’t in their proper positions is called malocclusion (“mal” – bad; “occlusion” – bite). It can cause problems with eating and speaking, and often results in a less-than-perfect-looking smile. It’s the primary reason why kids get orthodontic treatment — which can be expensive and time-consuming. So it makes sense to try and save baby teeth whenever possible.
Procedures like a root canal — or the similar but less-invasive pulpotomy — are often effective at preserving a baby tooth that would otherwise be lost. But if it isn’t possible to save the tooth, an appliance called a space maintainer may help. This is a small metal appliance that is attached to one tooth; its purpose is to keep a space open where the permanent tooth can come in.
If your child is facing the premature loss of a primary tooth, we will be sure to discuss all the options with you. It may turn out that preserving the tooth is the most cost-effective alternative in the long run. If you have questions about your child’s baby teeth, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation.
Restoring missing or unattractive teeth can often be a lengthy process. Months may elapse between initial teeth preparation and final placement to allow time for tissue healing and permanent crown manufacturing. During that period you will likely wear temporary (provisional) crowns to protect the teeth while improving function and appearance.
In the past, provisional crowns were fairly uniform. Today, though, there are provisional crowns available that conform exactly to a patient’s individual mouth. These crowns not only enhance function and appearance, they’re an excellent way to “try out” your new smile before the permanent restoration.
Customized provisional crowns are part of a concept known as “smile analysis.” A new smile involves more than restoring affected teeth: we also consider the overall health of your mouth, the shape of your face, and your own desires and expectations. Your final smile design is a joint collaboration between you, our office and the dental laboratory that will fashion the final restoration.
There are a number of techniques for creating customized provisional crowns. Some techniques involve bonding tooth-colored materials like composite resin directly to the teeth. Others use impression models of your teeth to create an outline or shell that’s filled with an acrylic material and then affixed to your teeth. The aim with any of these techniques is to produce a provisional crown that accurately reflects the final crown’s appearance.
With these types of provisional crowns, we can see how the new teeth will look (their color, shading, shapes and proportions) against the gums, and if they appear to be in balance and harmony with the entire face, including your lips, jaws and facial contour. We can also evaluate how well the new teeth function as you chew, speak or smile.
It takes some extra effort to prepare customized provisional crowns rather than the more uniform version. But this effort is well worth it: by helping us anticipate more accurately how your new restorations will appear and function, customized crowns help ensure your new smile is an attractive and satisfying one.
If you would like more information on temporary restorations, 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 “Concepts of Temporary Restorations.”
Do you have one or more missing teeth? If so, you likely have a few options for replacing them. You could visit Complete Family Dentistry in Waukesha for dental implants, dentures or a bridge, for example. Of these three options, however, one stands far above the rest: dental implants. Learn all about the benefits of dental implants here.
Dental Implants Restore Your Smile
The main goal for tooth replacement is always going to be to replace your teeth with new ones. Dental implants, dentures and bridges all accomplish this task. Dental implants from Complete Family Dentistry in Waukesha, however, perform the best of the three.
Not only are dental implants aesthetically pleasing and completely natural looking, but they are also incredibly strong and sturdy as well. Furthermore, unlike dentures and bridges, which eventually have to be replaced, dental implants are designed to last a lifetime. With dental implants, you have a smile you can always count on to keep you looking and feeling your best.
Dental Implants Can Save Your Jaw
Tooth replacement may be the best reason to choose dental implants, but it isn't the only one. Did you know that dental implants can preserve the health of your jawbone as well? Because dental implants screw securely in your jaw bone, they strengthen your bone and protect it from shrinking and warping. Dentures and bridges can't make this same promise.
You may not give your jawbone much thought, but it is far more important than you know. Not only does a strong, healthy jawbone hold your teeth in place, but it helps preserve your facial shape, prevents wrinkles, and keeps your face looking young and vibrant. Dental implants help make this happen.
If you're tired of your missing, incomplete or damaged smile, make today the day you finally do something about it. Call Complete Family Dentistry in Waukesha and ask how dental implants can help you restore your smile and save your jaw, starting today.