Posts for: April, 2018
Some people are lucky — they never seem to have a mishap, dental or otherwise. But for the rest of us, accidents just happen sometimes. Take actor Jamie Foxx, for example. A few years ago, he actually had a dentist intentionally chip one of his teeth so he could portray a homeless man more realistically. But recently, he got a chipped tooth in the more conventional way… well, conventional in Hollywood, anyway. It happened while he was shooting the movie Sleepless with co-star Michelle Monaghan.
“Yeah, we were doing a scene and somehow the action cue got thrown off or I wasn't looking,” he told an interviewer. “But boom! She comes down the pike. And I could tell because all this right here [my teeth] are fake. So as soon as that hit, I could taste the little chalkiness, but we kept rolling.” Ouch! So what's the best way to repair a chipped tooth? The answer it: it all depends…
For natural teeth that have only a small chip or minor crack, cosmetic bonding is a quick and relatively easy solution. In this procedure, a tooth-colored composite resin, made of a plastic matrix with inorganic glass fillers, is applied directly to the tooth's surface and then hardened or “cured” by a special light. Bonding offers a good color match, but isn't recommended if a large portion of the tooth structure is missing. It's also less permanent than other types of restoration, but may last up to 10 years.
When more of the tooth is missing, a crown or dental veneer may be a better answer. Veneers are super strong, wafer-thin coverings that are placed over the entire front surface of the tooth. They are made in a lab from a model of your teeth, and applied in a separate procedure that may involve removal of some natural tooth material. They can cover moderate chips or cracks, and even correct problems with tooth color or spacing.
A crown is the next step up: It's a replacement for the entire visible portion of the tooth, and may be needed when there's extensive damage. Like veneers, crowns (or caps) are made from models of your bite, and require more than one office visit to place; sometimes a root canal may also be needed to save the natural tooth. However, crowns are strong, natural looking, and can last many years.
But what about teeth like Jamie's, which have already been restored? That's a little more complicated than repairing a natural tooth. If the chip is small, it may be possible to smooth it off with standard dental tools. Sometimes, bonding material can be applied, but it may not bond as well with a restoration as it will with a natural tooth; plus, the repaired restoration may not last as long as it should. That's why, in many cases, we will advise that the entire restoration be replaced — it's often the most predictable and long-lasting solution.
Oh, and one more piece of advice: Get a custom-made mouthguard — and use it! This relatively inexpensive device, made in our office from a model of your own teeth, can save you from a serious mishap… whether you're doing Hollywood action scenes, playing sports or just riding a bike. It's the best way to protect your smile from whatever's coming at it!
If you have questions about repairing chipped teeth, 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.”
Metal braces aren't the only option when you want to straighten your teeth. Waunakee, WI, dentists Dr. Matthew Karls and Dr. Stanley Karls explain how clear braces can transform your smile without affecting your appearance.
What are clear braces?
Clear braces are the newest way to straighten crooked teeth, correct spacing issues or improve bite problems. Although traditional braces rely on a system of wires and brackets to realign your teeth, clear braces offer the same results with clear, removable aligner trays.
Trays are designed using innovative CAD/CAM technology that combines digital images, impressions and X-rays to create a 3D image of your mouth. The 3D image is used to design a series of aligner trays that will re-position your teeth and correct your orthodontic issues.
Are clear braces a good choice for me?
Clear braces are an excellent option if:
- You don't like the appearance of metal or ceramic braces. Your clear plastic trays are designed to blend in with your teeth, not draw attention to them.
- You have a mild to moderate bite problem. Clear braces are a great choice if you have an underbite, overbite, crossbite or open bite. (Severe or complicated bite problems may still require treatment with metal or ceramic braces.)
- You have spacing issues. Whether your teeth are spaced too far apart or there's just not enough room in your mouth for all of your them, clear braces can improve your smile.
- Your teeth have shifted. Shifting teeth aren't uncommon as you grow older. The problem can even occur if you've had perfectly straight teeth your entire life or once wore braces. Clear braces offer a simple way to turn back time.
What are the advantages of wearing clear braces?
Clear braces offer several important benefits, including:
- No Food Restrictions: Food restrictions aren't needed with clear braces. You'll take out your aligner trays when you eat and drink and replace them at the end of your meal.
- Simple Oral Hygiene: Keeping your teeth clean when metal or ceramic braces are attached to your teeth can be a little challenging. Fortunately, oral hygiene isn't a problem when you wear clear braces. You'll simply remove your aligners to brush and floss.
- Convenience: Although you'll usually wear your clear braces for 20 to 22 hours per day, you can take them out for short periods of time. When you play your favorite sport or attend a special event, wearing your trays might not be convenient. Luckily, you can leave them at home for a few hours and place them back in your mouth as soon as you return.
Are you ready to improve your smile with clear braces? Call Waunakee, WI, dentists Dr. Matthew Karls and Dr. Stanley Karls at (608) 849-4100 to schedule your appointment.
Because the mouth is one of the most sensitive areas of the body, we go to great lengths to eliminate pain and discomfort associated with dental work. Anesthesia, both local and general, can achieve this during the actual procedure—but what about afterward while you’re recuperating?
While a few procedures may require prescription opioids or steroids to manage discomfort after a procedure, most patients need only a mild over-the-counter (OTC) pain reliever. There are several brands available from a group of medicines called non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). NSAIDs like aspirin or ibuprofen work by blocking the release of prostaglandins into the body, which cause inflammation in tissues that have been damaged or injured.
Unlike their stronger counterparts, NSAIDs have fewer side-effects, cost less and aren’t addictive. And unlike opioids NSAIDs don’t impair consciousness, meaning patients can usually resume normal activities more quickly.
But although they’re less dangerous than opioids or steroids, NSAIDs can cause problems if taken at too strong a dose for too long. Its major side effect is interference with the blood’s clotting mechanism, known as “thinning the blood.” If a NSAID is used over a period of weeks, this effect could trigger excessive external and internal bleeding, as well as damage the stomach lining leading to ulcers. Ibuprofen in particular can damage the kidneys over a period of time.
To minimize this risk, adults should take no more than 2400 milligrams of a NSAID daily (less for children) and only for a short period of time unless directed otherwise by a physician. For most patients, a single, 400 milligram dose of ibuprofen can safely and effectively relieve moderate to severe discomfort for about 5 hours.
Some patients should avoid taking a NSAID: pregnant women, those with a history of stomach or intestinal bleeding, or heart disease (especially if following a daily low dose aspirin regimen). If you have any of these conditions or similar concerns, be sure you discuss this with your dentist before your procedure for an alternative method for pain management.
If you would like more information on managing discomfort after dental procedures, 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 “Treating Pain with Ibuprofen.”