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Posts for: January, 2018

January 24, 2018
Category: Dental Procedures

Find out more about how implants actually do look and function like real implant restoration

Are you thinking that dental implants might just be the best way to replace your missing teeth? If so, then chances are good that you want to know as much about this restoration as possible to make an informed decision about your tooth replacement options. Let our Salisbury, MD, dentist, Dr. Kathleen Geipe, answer some of the most popular questions we have about dental implants.

Q. What is a dental implant?

A. An implant is a small metal post or screw that is embedded in the jawbone to replace the roots of a missing tooth. While most people don’t realize it, the roots are an important component not only to the health of a tooth but also the strength of your jawbone.

When one or more teeth fall out, the bone doesn’t receive the stimulation it needs and will begin to deteriorate unless our Salisbury general dentist is able to replace the missing tooth roots with an implant, which will halt further bone loss.

Q. What kind of artificial tooth is used with implants?

A. Of course, a metal post doesn’t look anything like a real tooth so many people are a bit confused as to how this metal restoration could actually be the closest thing you could get to a real tooth.

An implant provides a long-term and durable foundation from which to support the false tooth. If you are only replacing a single tooth then a dental crown will be placed over the implant to complete your smile.

Q. How is a dental crown made?

A. The dental crown we use is the same hollow restoration used to cover a tooth that is damaged or has severe cosmetic flaws. The only difference is that instead of placing it over an existing tooth it will cover your implant.

Your crown will be custom-made to fit your mouth, so we will need to take impressions of your smile to ensure that the crown fits in the space where your missing tooth used to be. In the meantime, we may decide to place a temporary crown over the implant until your permanent crown is complete.

Q. What happens if the crown gets damaged?

A. While an implant is designed to last a lifetime with the proper care, the same can’t be said for a crown. While maintaining good oral hygiene will certainly ensure that your crown lasts as long as possible, at some point it may crack, break or fall off. When this happens, you will need to come into our office so that we can check the extent of the damage.

If the damage is minor we may be able to buff out the problem areas, but if the damage has affected the strength of the crown then we will need to replace it. You will go through the exact same process to get your replacement crown as you did your original crown.

Do you have questions about dental implants? Are you ready to schedule an appointment with our Salisbury, MD, restorative dentist to determine your candidacy for this treatment? Then let’s schedule your consultation. Call us today!

By Kathleen M. Geipe, DDS, PA
January 20, 2018
Category: Dental Procedures

We often associate orthodontics with moving several teeth on the upper or lower arches (or both) with braces or clear aligners. But not all patients require a major endeavor — sometimes only one or a few teeth need to be moved, and not very far.

A slight gap between the two upper front teeth is one type of situation that only requires minor tooth movement: just a few teeth need to be moved and usually just a millimeter or two. The appliances needed to achieve this are also relatively simple in design: removable retainers or small scale fixed braces with small springs or elastics that place pressure against the teeth. The process may also only take a few months rather than two years as with major tooth movement.

Preparing for the procedure, though, must be undertaken with great care. We need to first determine if moving the teeth even slightly could affect the bite with the opposite teeth. We must also ensure the roots of the teeth intended for movement are in good position for allowing the space to be closed.

We must then consider the other supporting structures for the teeth. It’s important for gums and bone to be healthy — if not, treating any found disease may be necessary first before beginning orthodontics. And, if the gap between the two upper teeth was created by an abnormally large frenum, the small strip of tissue connecting the lip to the upper gum, it may be necessary to remove it before tooth movement can begin to ensure the closed gap stays closed.

Like any other orthodontic treatment, minor tooth movement first requires a thorough examination with x-ray imaging to determine the exact tooth position, bite issues and the surrounding gum and bone health. We can then be reasonably certain if this straightforward procedure is right for you, and could help you obtain a more attractive smile.

If you would like more information on different orthodontic treatment choices, 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 “Minor Tooth Movement.”

By Kathleen M. Geipe, DDS, PA
January 05, 2018
Category: Oral Health

When you’re among the top players in your field, you need every advantage to help you stay competitive: Not just the best equipment, but anything else that relieves pain and stress, and allows you to play better. For top-seeded Canadian tennis player Milos Raonic, that extra help came in a somewhat unexpected form: a custom made mouthguard that he wears on the court and off. “[It helps] to not grind my teeth while I play,” said the 25-year-old up-and-coming ace. “It just causes stress and headaches sometimes.”

Mouthguards are often worn by athletes engaged in sports that carry the risk of dental injury — such as basketball, football, hockey, and some two dozen others; wearing one is a great way to keep your teeth from being seriously injured. But Raonic’s mouthguard isn’t primarily for safety; it’s actually designed to help him solve the problem of teeth grinding, or bruxism. This habitual behavior causes him to unconsciously tense up his jaw, potentially leading to problems with muscles and teeth.

Bruxism is a common issue that’s often caused or aggravated by stress. You don’t have to be a world-class athlete to suffer from this condition: Everyday anxieties can have the same effect. The behavior is often worsened when you consume stimulating substances, such as alcohol, tobacco, caffeine, and other drugs.

While bruxism affects thousands of people, some don’t even suspect they have it. That’s because it may occur at any time — even while you’re asleep! The powerful jaw muscles that clench and grind teeth together can wear down tooth enamel, and damage both natural teeth and dental work. They can even cause loose teeth! What’s more, a clenching and grinding habit can result in pain, headaches and muscle soreness… which can really put you off your game.

There are several ways to relieve the problem of bruxism. Stress reduction is one approach that works in some cases. When it’s not enough, a custom made occlusal guard (also called a night guard or mouthguard) provided by our office can make a big difference. “When I don’t sleep with it for a night,” Raonic said “I can feel my jaw muscles just tense up the next day. I don’t sense myself grinding but I can sort of feel that difference the next day.”

 An occlusal guard is made from an exact model of your own mouth. It helps to keep your teeth in better alignment and prevent them from coming into contact, so they can’t damage each other. It also protects your jaw joints from being stressed by excessive force. Plus, it’s secure and comfortable to wear. “I wear it all the time other than when I’m eating, so I got used to it pretty quickly,” said Raonic.

Teeth grinding can be a big problem — whether you put on your game face on the court… or at home. If you would like more information about bruxism, contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can learn more in the Dear Doctor magazine articles “Stress & Tooth Habits” and “When Children Grind Their Teeth.”