Posts for: July, 2016
Magician Michel Grandinetti can levitate a 500-pound motorcycle, melt into a 7-foot-tall wall of solid steel, and make borrowed rings vanish and reappear baked inside bread. Yet the master illusionist admits to being in awe of the magic that dentists perform when it comes to transforming smiles. In fact, he told an interviewer that it’s “way more important magic than walking through a steel wall because you’re affecting people’s health… people’s confidence, and you’re really allowing people to… feel good about themselves.”
Michael speaks from experience. As a teenager, his own smile was enhanced through orthodontic treatment. Considering the career path he chose for himself — performing for multitudes both live and on TV — he calls wearing an orthodontic device (braces) to align his crooked teeth “life-changing.” He relies on his welcoming, slightly mischievous smile to welcome audiences and make the initial human connection.
A beautiful smile is definitely an asset regardless of whether you’re performing for thousands, passing another individual on a sidewalk or even, research suggests, interviewing for a job. Like Michael, however, some of us need a little help creating ours. If something about your teeth or gums is making you self-conscious and preventing you from smiling as broadly as you could be, we have plenty of solutions up our sleeve. Some of the most popular include:
- Tooth Whitening. Professional whitening in the dental office achieves faster results than doing it yourself at home, but either approach can noticeably brighten your smile.
- Bonding. A tooth-colored composite resin can be bonded to a tooth to replace missing tooth structure, such a chip.
- Veneers. This is a hard, thin shell of tooth-colored material bonded to the front surface of a tooth to change its color, shape, size and/or length; mask dental imperfections like stains, cracks, or chips, and compensating for excessive gum tissue.
- Crowns. Sometimes too much of a tooth is lost due to decay or trauma to support a veneer. Instead, capping it with a natural-looking porcelain crown can achieve the same types of improvements. A crown covers the entire tooth replacing more of its natural structure than a veneer does.
If you would like more information about ways in which you can transform your smile, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can also learn more about the techniques mentioned above by reading the Dear Doctor magazine articles “Teeth Whitening,” “Repairing Chipped Teeth,” and “Porcelain Crowns & Veneers.”
Wondering why your jaw hurts? Dr. Nicholas Papapetros, Dr. Leo Kharin and Dr. Jessica Ristuccia, your Bedford, MA dentists at Great Meadows Dental Group, share information about several possible causes of jaw pain, including TMJ.
Grinding and Clenching
When you grind and clench your teeth all night long, you may wake up with a stiff, aching jaw. You might not be aware that you grind or clench until you crack a tooth, or your dentist points out tooth enamel erosion. Wearing a custom-made nightguard can stop the problem and end your jaw pain.
Jaw pain can occur if you have a bacterial infection in or around your tooth. Call your Bedford dentist as soon as possible if pain is accompanied by a fever, facial swelling or swollen lymph nodes. These symptoms are common if you have an abscess. If the infection isn't treated with antibiotics, it can spread throughout your body.
Antibiotics are also used to treat osteomyelitis, an infection that can affect the bone in your jaw joint. Prompt treatment of the infection can prevent death of the bone.
Temporomandibular joint dysfunction (TMJ) is a common cause of jaw pain. It can cause:
- Pain in the jaw that may extend to the neck or face
- Stiffness in the jaw
- Pain in your temples and ears
- Pain when biting, chewing or yawning
- Clicking sounds when you open or close your mouth
- Teeth that don't fit together properly any longer
- Locking of your jaw
TMJ can develop if you've injured your jaw or have a bite problem or arthritis. In some cases, you and your dentist won't be able to identify a cause. Home treatment, such as ice, heat and over-the-counter pain medication, can be helpful. If your pain persists, your dentist can prescribe stronger pain medications or muscle relaxants, or inject cortisone into your jaw joint to reduce the pain. Custom-made bite guards, worn while you sleep, reduce pressure on your jaw joints and relieve your symptoms. TMJ caused by bite issues can be improved by wearing braces to correct the misalignment.
Your dentist can provide treatments to relieve jaw pain caused by TMJ and other conditions. Call Dr. Papapetros, Dr. Kharin and Dr.Ristuccia, your Bedford, MA dentists at Great Meadows Dental Group in Bedford, MA, at (781) 275-7707 to schedule an appointment.
After several treatment sessions your periodontal (gum) disease is under control. But, while we may have won this battle, the war rages on. To keep an infection from re-occurring we'll have to remain on guard.
Gum disease begins and thrives on a thin film of bacteria and food particles on tooth surfaces called plaque. The infection usually begins as gingivitis, which causes the gums to become red and swollen (inflamed). Untreated it can develop into periodontitis, a more advanced form that progresses deeper into the gum tissues resulting in bone loss.
To treat the disease, we must remove all the plaque and calculus (hardened plaque deposits) we can find no matter how deeply they've penetrated below the gum line. Since the deeper it extends the more likely surgical techniques may be necessary to consider, it's better to catch the disease in its earliest stages when plaque can be removed with hand instruments or ultrasonic equipment.
The appropriate treatment technique can effectively stop and even reverse gum disease's effects — but it won't change your susceptibility. Constant vigilance is the best way to significantly reduce your risk of another episode. In this case, our prevention goal is the same as in treatment: remove plaque.
It begins with you learning and applying effective brushing and flossing techniques, and being consistent with these habits every day. As your dentist, we play a role too: we may need to see you as often as every few weeks or quarter to perform meticulous cleaning above and below the gum line. We may also perform procedures on your gums to make it easier to maintain them and your teeth, including correcting root surface irregularities that can accumulate plaque.
Our aim is to reduce the chances of another infection as much as possible. "Fighting the good fight" calls for attention, diligence and effort — but the reward is continuing good health for your teeth and gums.
If you would like more information on continuing dental care after gum disease, 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 “Periodontal Cleanings.”