Posts for: March, 2016
Poor bites, also known as “malocclusions,” can have a dramatic impact on mouth function and appearance. Moving teeth to better positions will solve most of these bite problems — but not all.
A case in point is a malformed maxilla, the skeletal structure formed by the union of the upper jaw and the roof of the mouth (the palate). If the rear portion of the maxilla develops too narrowly, the back teeth will bite abnormally inside the lower teeth while the front teeth bite normally, creating what’s known as a crossbite. People with this kind of malocclusion often shift their lower jaw to one side to bite down completely.
This can be corrected without too much intervention if the problem is diagnosed while the person is young. This is because the maxilla is actually formed from two bones that don’t completely fuse together in the center of the palate until just after puberty. An orthodontic appliance known as a palatal expander takes advantage of this slight gap. The metal appliance is placed along the narrowed portion of the palate in the rear of the mouth: four metal “arms,” two on each side, attach to the inside of the back teeth with a tension device between them that extends the arms outward to put pressure against the teeth.
Every day the patient or a parent uses a special key to turn the tension device and cause it to expand slightly, placing additional outward pressure on the jaw. This will widen the gap in the center of the palate and new bone will grow to fill in the increased space. Over time this will cause the rear portion of maxilla to widen.
While effective, a palatal expander may not work in every case, and it must be done before the two bones fuse permanently. When it can be used, though, it’s a proven treatment that can restore proper bite function, as well as improve your child’s smile.
If you would like more information on palatal expanders to correct certain bite problems, 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 “Palatal Expanders.”
What you need to know about dental crowns and bridges
You should consider dental crowns and bridgework if you are missing one or more teeth. You should also consider these options if your teeth are broken, damaged, or have unsightly metal fillings. You can have the smile you’ve always wanted thanks to new dental techniques and materials. You also need to seek out a highly skilled cosmetic dentist like Dr. Paul Herrera at Rockledge Dentistry in Lawrence, Kansas.
Dental bridgework can replace one missing tooth, or multiple missing teeth, to make your smile whole again. Bridges are much more natural looking than partials. and are also more convenient because you don’t have to take them out to clean them. They are a permanent part of your smile, anchored securely on your adjacent teeth.
Dental crowns are placed on teeth that are broken, damaged, decayed or have a large metal filling. Your Lawrence dentist, Dr. Herrera, wants you to know that dental crowns provide a protective armor-like cap over teeth, protecting your teeth from breakage or fracture. Dental crowns actually make your teeth stronger, unlike large metal fillings, which can weaken teeth.
Some of the materials available for your crowns include: Zirconia, Lithium Disilicate, Porcelain fused to metal, and metal. Zirconia is tooth colored and super strong, and is replacing metal crowns that were commonly done in the past. Lithium Disilicate mimics the natural tooth and is very strong. Porcelain fused to metal and metal restorations are being replaced by newer and stronger materials that mimic the natural dentition.
Dr. Herrera will provide you with a completely natural-looking smile by color-matching the crown to your existing teeth. Your smile will look seamless and beautiful.
Crowns and bridgework can provide you with the protection and beauty you need for your smile. You owe it to yourself to look your best, and your smile is what you show to the world. Don’t wait to have a great smile. Call Dr. Paul Herrera at Rockledge Dentistry in Lawrence, Kansas and find out more about the versatility of dental crowns and bridgework. Call today and get started on your strong and beautiful smile!
Magician Michel Grandinetti can levitate a 500-pound motorcycle, melt into a 7-foot-tall wall of solid steel, and make borrowed rings vanish and reappear baked inside bread. Yet the master illusionist admits to being in awe of the magic that dentists perform when it comes to transforming smiles. In fact, he told an interviewer that it’s “way more important magic than walking through a steel wall because you’re affecting people’s health… people’s confidence, and you’re really allowing people to… feel good about themselves.”
Michael speaks from experience. As a teenager, his own smile was enhanced through orthodontic treatment. Considering the career path he chose for himself — performing for multitudes both live and on TV — he calls wearing an orthodontic device (braces) to align his crooked teeth “life-changing.” He relies on his welcoming, slightly mischievous smile to welcome audiences and make the initial human connection.
A beautiful smile is definitely an asset regardless of whether you’re performing for thousands, passing another individual on a sidewalk or even, research suggests, interviewing for a job. Like Michael, however, some of us need a little help creating ours. If something about your teeth or gums is making you self-conscious and preventing you from smiling as broadly as you could be, we have plenty of solutions up our sleeve. Some of the most popular include:
- Tooth Whitening. Professional whitening in the dental office achieves faster results than doing it yourself at home, but either approach can noticeably brighten your smile.
- Bonding. A tooth-colored composite resin can be bonded to a tooth to replace missing tooth structure, such a chip.
- Veneers. This is a hard, thin shell of tooth-colored material bonded to the front surface of a tooth to change its color, shape, size and/or length; mask dental imperfections like stains, cracks, or chips, and compensating for excessive gum tissue.
- Crowns. Sometimes too much of a tooth is lost due to decay or trauma to support a veneer. Instead, capping it with a natural-looking porcelain crown can achieve the same types of improvements. A crown covers the entire tooth replacing more of its natural structure than a veneer does.
If you would like more information about ways in which you can transform your smile, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can also learn more about the techniques mentioned above by reading the Dear Doctor magazine articles “Teeth Whitening,” “Repairing Chipped Teeth,” and “Porcelain Crowns & Veneers.”