Posts for: October, 2019
Tooth decay is a destructive oral disease, which along with periodontal (gum) disease is most responsible for tooth loss. And as you age, your disease risk goes up.
One form of decay older people often experience is root cavities. Unlike those occurring in the visible crown, root cavities often occur below the gum line and are especially destructive to tooth structure.
That's because, unlike the crown protected by ultra-hard enamel, the roots are covered by a thin, mineralized material called cementum. Although cementum offers some protection, it can't compare with the decay-resistant capacity of enamel.
The roots also depend on gum coverage for protection. But unfortunately, the gums can shrink back or recede, usually due to gum disease or over-aggressive brushing, and expose some of the root surface. With only the cementum to protect them, the roots can become highly susceptible to decay. If a cavity forms here, it can rapidly advance into the tooth's interior, the pulp, weakening the tooth and increasing its risk of loss.
To stop the decay, we must treat root cavities much like we do with crown cavities: by removing any decayed structure and then filling the cavity. But root cavities are often more difficult to access depending on how far below the gum line they extend. We may need to perform minor gum surgery to expose the cavity to treat it.
But as with any form of tooth decay, the best strategy is to prevent root cavities in the first place. Your first line of defense is a daily hygiene habit of brushing and flossing to remove dental plaque, the main cause for tooth decay. You should also visit your dentist at least twice a year (or more, if recommended) for more thorough cleanings and checkups. Your dentist can also recommend or prescribe preventive rinses, or apply fluoride to at-risk tooth surfaces to strengthen them.
You should also be on the lookout for any signs of gum disease. If you see swollen, reddened or bleeding gums, see your dentist as soon as possible. Stopping possible gum recession will further reduce your risk of root cavities.
If you would like more information on the prevention and treatment of tooth decay, 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 “Root Cavities: Tooth Decay Near the Gum Line Affects Many Older Adults.”
Improving your smile can be as simple as taking advantage of one or more of the cosmetic dentistry procedures offered by Garner Family Dentistry. Your Mount Pleasant, SC, dentist, Dr. Cynthia Garner can help you brighten a dull smile, repair damage, conceal imperfections and even replace missing teeth with one of the procedures.
Is your smile dull or yellow?
Teeth whitening is a popular choice when teeth are stained or dull. During an in-office whitening session, your Mount Pleasant dentist applies hydrogen peroxide gel to your teeth. The gel safely destroys stain-causing pigments that dull your smile and offers immediate results. You also have the option of take-home whitening kits.
Dental veneers are another option if your smile is yellow, dull or stained. Wafer-thin porcelain veneers only cover the front surfaces of your teeth and don't require any changes to the structure of your teeth. Your dentist will only remove a tiny amount of enamel to ensure a perfect fit. Veneers are available in many shades of white, allowing you to select the ideal level of whiteness.
Are your teeth damaged, or do you have a few flaws?
Veneers are also a good choice if you have a small chip, shallow crack or another imperfection. The restorations can even change the shape and length of teeth and close small gaps.
Bonding repairs chips, hides discolorations, closes gaps and changes the appearance of oddly shaped teeth. Composite resin, a flexible, plastic-based material, is added to your teeth, shaped, then hardened with a curing light.
A dental crown is an excellent option if your tooth is broken or fragile. Hollow crowns slip over teeth once they've been prepared. Crowns are also used to conceal discolored teeth and change the shape and length of teeth.
Are you missing teeth?
Restoring missing teeth improves your appearance, but that's not the only benefit of restoration. After you lose a tooth, nearby teeth may drift toward the opening in your mouth. Shifting teeth affect the alignment of your bite and may make it more difficult to remove plaque, particularly if your teeth start to overlap.
Bridges, dentures or dental implants restore missing teeth and boost your self-confidence. Bridges consist of one or more artificial teeth attached to crowns on either end. Dental implants are synthetic root substitutes that bond to your jawbone and are topped with crowns. Removable dentures replace all of your upper or lower teeth and are also available as implant-supported dentures.
Are you ready to improve your smile with a cosmetic dentistry procedure? Call your Mount Pleasant, SC, dentist, Dr. Cynthia Garner at Garner Family Dentistry at (843) 884-6002 to schedule your appointment.
Some moviegoers have been known to crunch popcorn, bite their fingers or grab their neighbor’s hands during the intense scenes of a thriller. But for one fan, the on-screen action in the new superhero film Black Panther led to a different reaction.
Sophia Robb, an 18-year-old Californian, had to make an emergency visit to the orthodontic office because she snapped the steel wire on her retainer while watching a battle scene featuring her Hollywood crush, Michael B. Jordan. Her jaw-clenching mishap went viral and even prompted an unexpected reply from the actor himself!
Meanwhile, Sophia got her retainer fixed pronto—which was exactly the right thing to do. The retention phase is a very important part of orthodontic treatment: If you don’t wear a retainer, the beautiful new smile you’re enjoying could become crooked again. That’s because if the teeth are not held in their new positions, they will naturally begin to drift back into their former locations—and you may have to start treatment all over again…
While it’s much more common to lose a removable retainer than to damage one, it is possible for even sturdy retainers to wear out or break. This includes traditional plastic-and-wire types (also called Hawley retainers), clear plastic retainers that are molded to fit your teeth (sometimes called Essix retainers), and bonded retainers: the kind that consists of a wire that’s permanently attached to the back side of your teeth. So whichever kind you use, do what Sophia did if you feel that anything is amiss—have it looked at right away!
When Black Panther co-star Michael B. Jordan heard about the retainer mishap, he sent a message to the teen: “Since I feel partly responsible for breaking your retainers let me know if I can replace them.” His young fan was grateful for the offer—but even more thrilled to have a celebrity twitter follower.
If you have questions about orthodontic retainers, please contact our office or schedule a consultation. You can read more in the Dear Doctor magazine articles “The Importance of Orthodontic Retainers” and “Bonded Retainers.”