Posts for: October, 2017
Children losing their primary (“baby”) teeth is both natural and necessary. So, is it really that much of a concern if they lose one early?
The answer is yes — premature primary tooth loss could have long-term consequences for the permanent teeth as they develop within the jaw before eruption. Primary teeth play a crucial role in this development: as the permanent teeth form and grow the primary teeth serve as placeholders until they’re ready to erupt. A natural process then takes place in which the primary tooth’s roots dissolve (resorb) to allow them to fall out. Once they’re out of the way, the permanent teeth can then erupt.
If, however, they’re lost before the permanent teeth are ready, it leaves a space in the child’s bite. The dynamic mechanism between teeth and the periodontal ligament causes adjacent teeth to move or “drift” into the space. This can crowd out the permanent tooth intended for the space, causing it to come in improperly forming a malocclusion (bad bite), or it may become impacted and remain partially or fully below the surface of the gums.
This poor dental development could lead to extensive orthodontic treatment later in life, which is why we seek to preserve even decayed primary teeth for their entire natural lifespan. If the tooth is lost, however, we need to take action to preserve the space for the permanent tooth and avoid costly treatment later.
This usually calls for a “space maintenance” appliance — a type of orthodontic “retainer” — worn by the child to prevent other teeth from drifting into the space. Designed by your orthodontist, the appliance can also perform a cosmetic and social function by causing the space to appear unnoticeable.
Maintaining that space requires monitoring — especially by an orthodontist — and continued dental hygiene and care both at home and at the dentist’s office. The extra care preserving the space caused by premature tooth loss will help to ensure your child’s dental structure develops properly and their future smile will be an attractive one.
If you would like more information on the care and treatment of primary 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 articles “Early Loss of Baby Teeth” and “Losing a Baby Tooth.”
Your temporomandibular joints (TMJ), located where your lower jaw meets the skull, play an essential role in nearly every mouth function. It’s nearly impossible to eat or speak without them.
Likewise, jaw joint disorders (temporomandibular joint disorders or TMD) can make your life miserable. Not only can you experience extreme discomfort or pain, your ability to eat certain foods or speak clearly could be impaired.
But don’t assume you have TMD if you have these and other symptoms — there are other conditions with similar symptoms. You’ll need a definitive diagnosis of TMD from a qualified physician or dentist, particularly one who’s completed post-graduate programs in Oral Medicine or Orofacial Pain, before considering treatment.
If you are diagnosed with TMD, you may then face treatment choices that emanate from one of two models: one is an older dental model based on theories that the joint and muscle dysfunction is mainly caused by poor bites or other dental problems. This model encourages treatments like orthodontically moving teeth, crowning problem teeth or adjusting bites by grinding down tooth surfaces.
A newer treatment model, though, has supplanted this older one and is now practiced by the majority of dentists. This is a medical model that views TMJs like any other joint in the body, and thus subject to the same sort of orthopedic problems found elsewhere: sore muscles, inflamed joints, strained tendons and ligaments, and disk problems. Treatments tend to be less invasive or irreversible than those from the dental model.
The newer model encourages treatments like physical therapy, medication, occlusive guards or stress management. The American Association of Dental Research (AADR) in fact recommends that TMD patients begin their treatment from the medical model rather than the dental one, unless there are indications to the contrary. Many studies have concluded that a majority of patients gain significant relief with these types of therapies.
If a physician or dentist recommends more invasive treatment, particularly surgery, consider seeking a second opinion. Unlike the therapies mentioned above, surgical treatments have a spotty record when it comes to effectiveness — some patients even report their conditions worsening afterward. Try the less-invasive approach first — you may find improvement in your symptoms and quality of life.
If you would like more information on treating TMD, 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 “Seeking Relief from TMD.”
A whiter smile can be yours even if you delve into your coffee cup every once in a while.
Nothing is better than that morning cup o’ Joe, right? Of course, your smile may not feel quite the same way about your morning routine; fortunately, our Salisbury, MD, dentist Dr. Kathleen Geipe has a simple and effective way to remove those stubborn and unsightly dental stains caused by foods and drinks: teeth whitening.
The good news is that most people can benefit from professional teeth whitening if they are looking to brighten their smiles. Before you get whitening treatment our Salisbury, MD, general dentist will need to check the health of your smile to make sure that the stains you have can be treated with teeth whitening and that teeth are healthy enough for cosmetic dentistry.
Once we determine that you are an ideal candidate for teeth whitening there are two proper ways to get your teeth significantly whiter: in-office whitening and at-home whitening. The option you choose is a personal one and will depend on what you are looking to achieve through teeth whitening.
In-Office Teeth Whitening
If you want to get a smile that’s several shades whiter in just an hour then professional whitening is the only way to go about it. Yes, you will spend a little more than you would for at-home whitening but the results are well worth it. Whether you have an important job interview or your wedding is coming up, if you are looking for fast results then this is your best option. You’ll walk out of our office with teeth multiple shades whiter.
At-Home Teeth Whitening
If you are looking to get a whiter smile but you’re on a budget this doesn’t mean that you can’t get professional teeth whitening. Just take our whitening system home! The whitening gel that’s used is professional grade and much stronger than anything you’ll get in your drugstore whitening kits. Instead of sitting in our dentist’s chair you can whiten from the convenience of your own home. With continued daily use, you could get your smile several shades in a couple of weeks.
If you are ready to find out how teeth whitening can improve your smile’s radiance then it’s time you called our Salisbury, MD, dental office today and scheduled your no-risk consultation with Dr. Geipe. Let’s find out if whitening treatment is the best option for you.