Posts for category: Dental Procedures
Tooth loss is a problem that affects many seniors—and since May is Older Americans Month, this is a good time to talk about it. Did you know that more than a quarter of adults over age 75 have lost all of their natural teeth? This not only affects their quality of life but poses a significant health risk.
According to a study in The Journal of Prosthodontics, significant tooth loss is associated with increased risk for malnutrition—and also for obesity. If this seems like a contradiction, consider that when you have few or no teeth, it’s much easier to eat soft, starchy foods of little nutritional value than it is to eat nutritious fresh fruits and vegetables. If all of your teeth are missing, it’s especially critical to replace them as soon as possible.
There are several ways to replace a full set of missing teeth, including removable dentures, overdentures, and fixed dentures:
Removable dentures are the classic replacement teeth that you put in during the day and take out at night. (However, if you suffer from sleep apnea, research has found that keeping dentures in at night may help keep the airway open, so if you have this condition, be sure to mention it to your doctor and dentist it). Dentures have come a long way in terms of how convincing they look, but they still have some disadvantages: For one thing, they take some getting used to—particularly while eating. Also, wearing removable dentures can slowly wear away the bone that they rest on. As that bone gradually shrinks over time, the dentures cease to fit well and require periodic adjustment (re-lining) or a remake.
Overdentures are removable dentures that attach onto a few strategically placed dental implants, which are small titanium posts placed in the bone beneath your gums. Strong and secure, implants prevent the denture from slipping when you wear it. Implants also slow the rate of bone loss mentioned above, which should allow the denture to fit better over a longer period of time. The ability to maintain hygiene is easier because you can remove them for cleaning.
Fixed implant-supported dentures are designed to stay in your mouth all the time, and are the closest thing to having your natural teeth back. An entire row of fixed (non-removable) replacement teeth can usually be held in place by 4-6 dental implants. Dental implant surgery is an in-office procedure performed with the type of anesthesia that’s right for you. After implants have been placed and have integrated with your jaw bone—generally after a few months—you can enjoy all of your favorite foods again without worry or embarrassment.
If you would like more information about tooth-replacement options, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can also learn more by reading the Dear Doctor magazine articles “Overdentures & Fixed Dentures” and “Removable Full Dentures.”
Whether she’s singing, dancing or acting, Jennifer Lopez is a performer who is known for giving it all she’s got. But during one show, Lopez recently admitted, she gave a bit more then she had planned.
“I chipped my tooth on stage,” she told interviewers from Entertainment Tonight, “and had to finish the show….I went back thinking ‘Can I finish the show like this?’”
With that unlucky break, J-Lo joins a growing list of superstar singers—including Taylor Swift and Michael Buble—who have something in common: All have chipped their teeth on microphones while giving a performance.
But it’s not just celebs who have accidental dental trouble. Chips are among the most common dental injuries—and the front teeth, due to their position, are particularly susceptible. Unfortunately, they are also the most visible. But there are also a number of good ways to repair chipped, cracked or broken teeth short of replacing them.
For minor to moderate chips, cosmetic bonding might be recommended. In this method, special high-tech resins, in shades that match your natural teeth, are applied to the tooth’s surface. Layers of resin, cured with a special light, will often restore the tooth to good appearance. Best of all, the whole process can often be done in just one visit to the dental office, and the results can last for several years.
For a more permanent repair—or if the damage is more extensive—dental veneers may be another option. Veneers are wafer-thin shells that cover the entire front surface of one or more teeth. Strong, durable and natural-looking, they can be used to repair moderate chips, cracks or irregularities. They can also help you get a “red-carpet” smile: brilliant white teeth with perfectly even spacing. That’s why veneers are so popular among Hollywood celebs—even those who haven’t chipped their teeth!
Fortunately, even if the tooth is extensively damaged, it’s usually possible to restore it with a crown (cap), a bridge—or a dental implant, today’s gold standard for whole-tooth replacement. But in many cases, a less complex type of restoration will do the trick.
Which tooth restoration method did J-Lo choose? She didn’t say—but luckily for her adoring fans, after the microphone mishap she went right back up on stage and finished the show.
If you have a chipped tooth but you need to make the show go on, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can also learn more by reading the Dear Doctor magazine articles “Artistic Repair of Chipped Teeth With Composite Resin” and “Porcelain Veneers.”
What's the best way to straighten a crooked smile? For some teens and adults in the Waunakee, WI, area it's through clear braces. These acrylic aligners gently re-position teeth without the long treatment times, diet restrictions and oral discomforts conventional brackets and bands pose. At Karls Family Dentistry in Waunakee, Dr. Stanley Karls and Dr. Matthew Karls offer Invisalign clear braces. Here are answers to some questions they receive about this state-of-the-art orthodontic system.
FAQs about clear braces
What is Invisalign?
Invisalign was FDA-cleared back in the late nineties. Since then, these custom-designed and individually crafted aligners have improved the health and appearance of countless smiles across the globe. Instead of metal arch wires, brackets and ligatures, Invisalign uses thin, clear aligners to reposition teeth and balance bites.
Who can use clear braces?
Older teens and adults can. Your Waunakee dentist uses a complete oral examination and special three dimensional scans to determine the right course of treatment. If that's Invisalign, you'll wear 18 to 30 aligner pairs throughout your treatment and a retainer when it's over.
How long does treatment take?
Most patients are done in about a year, but every smile is different. Your treatment plan may be a bit shorter or longer. In general, clear braces straighten smiles in about half the time of conventional braces.
I hear Invisalign aligners are removable. Is that true?
Yes, they are fully removable. Patients take them out to clean them with toothpaste and water and to eat or for special events. However, because the appliances are so thin and discreet, many people leave them in even when getting their pictures taken or when speaking in public. Note: to keep treatment on track, patients wear their aligners 20 to 22 hours a day.
My teen may have difficulty complying with the treatment plan. How can I help?
Special compliance tabs maybe added to Invisalign aligners to tell patients, parents and dentists if treatment is on track or not.
Do clear braces restrict my diet?
No, they do not. Just remove them for meals and replace them afterwards. There are no bands or brackets to dislodge or wires to break.
What kind of problems can clear braces fix?
The possibilities are endless: bite issues, spacing (both gaps and crowding), and more. Of course, metal braces may be the best choice for complex problems. Dr. Karls will inform you fully on the particulars of your case so you make the best possible decision for your smile.
Find out more
If you're thinking about correcting your smile alignment issues, please call Karls Family Dentistry in Waunakee, WI, for an appointment. Your dentist will tell you all about clear braces and answer any other questions you may have. Phone us at (608) 849-4100.
There are good reasons, for both health and appearance, to replace a missing tooth with a dental implant or similar restoration as soon as is practical. The bone around a tooth socket diminishes the longer it remains empty, up to 25% the first year. And, of course, your smile is less attractive, especially with a highly visible tooth.
If it’s your teenager, though, you may need to wait on a permanent restoration because their jaws are still developing. An implant placed before completion of jaw development could eventually appear out of alignment with neighboring teeth.
Our biggest concern is protecting bone health at the site of the missing tooth. We can do this and encourage growth by placing bone grafts (processed minerals from another donor) that serve as scaffolds on which surrounding bone can grow. Grafts usually dissolve (resorb) over time, but the rate of resorption can be slowed for a younger patient in need of long-term bone growth.
Planned orthodontic treatment can usually go on as scheduled. The orthodontist may accommodate the tooth loss by adding a temporary tooth within the braces or other device that matches the color and shape of the patient’s natural teeth. The orthodontist will also take care to maintain the empty space for a future implant or other restoration.
A dental implant is considered the best option for a missing tooth, not only for its life-like appearance and durability, but also its ability to encourage bone maintenance. Timing, though, is essential for teenagers. As it grows, the upper jaw will tend to move forward and down. Natural teeth move with this growth; implants, though, are attached differently and won’t move with the jawbone. While the other teeth around them move, the implants can appear to shrink back resulting in an unattractive smile appearance. So waiting until the jaw has finished growing is important.
For most people, jaw growth finishes by age twenty-one for men, women usually faster, but each person is different. The dentist’s expertise and experience, coupled with comparisons of adult family members’ facial appearances, will help determine the right time to undertake a permanent restoration for the best outcome both for health and a permanent, attractive smile.
If you would like more information on treating teenagers with missing teeth, please contact us to schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can also learn more about this topic by reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “Dental Implants for Teenagers.”
It’s not always realistic for an older teen or adult to decide to wear thick, highly visible metal braces for up to three years. They will have to smile and talk with them on and eat while tolerating periodic discomfort. For some patients, the inconveniences involved aren’t worth having a straighter smile. In these cases, Invisalign invisible braces, an orthodontic treatment that a dentist at Karls Family Dentistry in Waunakee, WI can offer you, may be an alternative solution. Read on to find out what Invisalign from our dentists, Drs. Matthew and Stanley Karls, can do for you!
How Invisalign Works
The purpose of orthodontic treatment is to move the teeth so that they have a better pattern, giving you a straighter smile and a more comfortable bite. If you look closely at an Invisalign tray, you will see that the plastic has grooves that are shaped just like your teeth. When you wear them, your teeth will eventually settle into the molds of the tray. Best of all, the trays are see-through, so they’re barely noticeable when you have them on. Your Waunakee, WI dentist will provide you with a new set of trays every few weeks.
What Invisalign Can Do for You
Invisalign is one of the best and most convenient ways to achieve a more attractive smile, though having a crooked or gapped smile has more than just cosmetic consequences. It can also affect the way that you chew your food and how your teeth fit together when you have your mouth closed. Some patients who have orthodontic problems also struggle with bruxism (clenching or grinding that damages the enamel). Invisalign will finally give you the assurance and security of knowing that your smile fits you in every way possible.
Invisalign Treatment Steps
Before you can start Invisalign, your Waunakee, WI dentist must evaluate the magnitude of your orthodontic concern. If you have a small gap between your teeth, a tooth that protrudes slightly, or a bit of crowding in one area, there’s a good chance you’ll be deemed a good candidate for this procedure. The next step is having impressions made of your teeth so that your dentist can plan out your treatment and have the trays created. The step after that is up to you—wear your trays with consistency and see your dentist regularly for checkups.
A Straighter Smile without Metal Braces
Does the idea of having a straighter smile without having to commit to wearing metal braces appeal to you? If so, you must attend a consultation with a dentist at Karls Family Dentistry in Waunakee, WI! Call (608) 849-4100 today to set a time to visit Dr. Matthew Karls or Dr. Stanley Karls!