Posts for: September, 2018
About one-quarter of people have teeth that never developed. While most of these congenitally missing teeth are wisdom teeth, they can also include premolars or lateral incisors (the teeth right next to the two front teeth, the central incisors).
Missing teeth can have an adverse effect on smile appearance. But that’s not all: because each type of tooth performs a specific function, one or more missing teeth can lead to bite problems and disruption of dental function. In the case of missing lateral incisors, the canines (eye teeth) normally positioned beside and toward the back of the mouth from them may begin to drift into the empty space and grow next to the central incisors. This can result in greater difficulty chewing and a smile that “doesn’t look right.”
To correct this situation, we must often first attempt to orthodontically move any out of place teeth to their normal positions. This re-establishes the space needed for the missing teeth to be replaced, which we can then restore with prosthetic (artificial) teeth. If the permanent restoration of choice involves dental implants, we’ll usually need to wait until the completion of jaw development around early adulthood. In the mean time, we can use a retainer appliance to hold the teeth in their new positions with prosthetic teeth attached to fill the empty space for a better smile appearance in the interim.
The real issue is timing—beginning orthodontic treatment when appropriate to a person’s oral development, as well as completing the implant restoration when the mouth has matured sufficiently. There are other considerations such as bone volume, which may have diminished due to the missing teeth. At some point we may need to consider grafting to build up the bone sufficiently to support dental implants.
This all may entail a team approach by various specialties like orthodontics, periodontics and implantology. Working together and coordinating within a timely schedule, a mouth and smile marred by undeveloped teeth can be transformed.
If you would like more information on treating smiles with underdeveloped permanent teeth, 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 “When Permanent Teeth Don’t Grow.”
What your dentist in McDonough, GA, wants you to know about oral cancer screenings
Oral cancer is a serious diagnosis. The good news is there is a lot that can be done to prevent oral cancer, including oral cancer screenings. Dr. Robert Brooks at Brooks Cosmetic & Family Dentistry in McDonough, GA, wants to share how oral cancer screenings can save your smile. He proudly serves residents of McDonough, and Hampton, GA, and he can care for you and your smile too.
One of the most common causes of oral cancer is tobacco use, so if you are smoking or chewing tobacco, the first step in preventing oral cancer is to quit using tobacco in any form. Excessive alcohol use has also been linked to oral cancer, so lifestyle habits are something you can control, and eliminating or limiting the use of these harmful substances could prevent oral cancer and save your life.
It’s also important to do a self-check of your soft tissue around and inside your mouth. Be sure to look for:
- Red or white open sores that don’t heal
- Wrinkled, thickened, or whitish tissue
- Tenderness or numbness
- Swollen lymph nodes in your neck
You should also seek attention for a chronic sore throat, hoarseness, difficulty chewing, swallowing, or speaking.
Visiting your dentist regularly is the main way to diagnose oral cancer early, and early diagnosis and treatment are vital to your survival. In fact, early diagnosis and treatment can raise your chances of surviving by 75 percent! Without early diagnosis and treatment, oral cancer can spread resulting in a five-year survival rate of only 20 percent.
When you visit Dr. Brooks for your regular dental exam, he will also do a thorough oral cancer screening, checking your lips, cheeks, gums, tongue, and other areas for any abnormalities. He will also take x-rays, a main tool in detecting abnormalities which have affected the bone surrounding your teeth and your jaw.
Oral cancer screenings are a vital way to save your smile and keep you healthy. Your dentist can help. To find out more about oral cancer screenings and other dental services, call Dr. Robert Brooks at Brooks Cosmetic & Family Dentistry, serving residents of McDonough, and Hampton, GA. Call today and save your smile!
If your smile is, to put it mildly, “unattractive,” you may think only extensive and expensive dental work can change it. But depending on your teeth’s actual condition, you might be able to obtain a new smile with a less-invasive option: porcelain veneers.
As their name implies, veneers are thin layers of dental porcelain bonded to the front of teeth to cover imperfections. They’re custom designed and manufactured by a dental technician to match the natural color, shape and size of the teeth they’re covering and to blend with neighboring teeth.
Veneers are quite effective for heavily stained, chipped or moderately misaligned teeth that are otherwise healthy. They can even be used to address slight gaps between teeth and restore worn teeth to make them appear larger and more youthful.
Overall, they’re less invasive than other dental restorations. That said, though, most veneers will still require some alteration of the affected teeth. This is because although quite thin they can still appear bulky after they’re bonded to the teeth. We can minimize this by removing a small amount of a tooth’s outer enamel. While this alteration is modest compared to other restorations, it’s nonetheless permanent– your teeth will require some form of restoration from then on.
Veneers also require special consideration while biting. You’ll need to exercise care and avoid biting hard items like candies (or using your teeth as tools) or the veneer could break. Similarly if you have a teeth grinding habit, you may want to consider having a custom guard created that you wear at night to prevent solid contact between your teeth. The excessive force generated while grinding or clenching teeth could also shatter veneers.
Veneers may not be the answer in all cosmetic dental situations, such as extensive disfigurements or bite problems. To know for sure if your particular dental condition could benefit, see your dentist for a complete dental examination and discuss whether obtaining veneers is a viable option for you. If so, you may be able to gain a much more attractive smile from this less invasive but no less effective option.
If you would like more information on porcelain veneers and other dental 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 “Porcelain Veneers: Strength & Beauty as Never Before.”