Posts for category: Dental Procedures
At what age should you begin treating a poor bite? Many might say with braces around late childhood or early adolescence. But some bite problems could be addressed earlier—with the possibility of avoiding future orthodontic treatment.
A crossbite is a good example. In a normal bite, all of the upper teeth slightly cover the lower when the jaws are shut. But a crossbite occurs when some of the lower teeth, particularly in back, overlap the upper teeth. This situation often happens when the upper jaw develops too narrowly.
But one feature of a child's mouth structure provides an opportunity to intervene and alter jaw development. During a child's early years, the palate (roof of the mouth) consists of two bones next to each other with an open seam running between them. This seam, which runs through the center of the mouth from front to back, will fuse during puberty to form one continuous palatal bone.
An orthodontist can take advantage of this separation if the jaw isn't growing wide enough with a unique device called a palatal expander. This particular oral appliance consists of four, thin metal legs connected to a central mechanism. The orthodontist places the expander against the palate and then uses the mechanism to extend the legs firmly against the back of the teeth on both sides of the jaw.
The outward pressure exerted by the legs also widens the seam between the two palatal bones. The body will respond to this by adding new bone to the existing palatal bones to fill in the widened gap. At regular intervals, the patient or a caregiver will operate the mechanism with a key that will continue to widen the gap between the bones, causing more expansion of the palatal bones until the jaw has grown to a normal width.
The palatal expander is most effective when it's applied early enough to develop more bone before the seam closes. That's why it's important for children to undergo bite evaluation with an orthodontist around age 6. If it appears a bite problem is developing, early interventions like a palatal expander could slow or stop it before it gets worse.
If you would like more information on interceptive orthodontics, 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 “Palatal Expanders.”
Advanced decay doesn't necessarily mean it's curtains for an infected tooth. Millions of teeth in that condition have been saved by a tried and true procedure called root canal therapy.
Although they may vary according to the complexity of a case, all root canal procedures share some similarities. After numbing the tooth and gum areas with local anesthesia, the procedure begins with a small hole drilled into the tooth to access the infected pulp and root canals, tiny passageways inside the root.
The dentist then uses special instruments to clear out infected tissue from the pulp and canals, followed by thoroughly sanitizing the resulting empty spaces. This is followed with filling the pulp chamber and root canals with a rubber-like substance (gutta percha) to seal the interior of the tooth from further infection. Later, the dentist typically crowns the tooth for further protection and support.
Root canals have become the standard treatment for teeth with advanced decay. There are, however, some circumstances where performing a root canal isn't a good idea. For example, a previously root-canaled tooth with a crown and supporting post. A dentist would need to fully disassemble the restoration to gain access into the tooth, which could significantly weaken it.
But there may be another option if a standard root canal is out of the picture: a surgical procedure performed by an endodontist (a specialist in interior tooth treatment) called an apicoectomy. Instead of drilling through the tooth crown, the endodontist accesses the tooth root through the adjacent gum tissue.
Like a traditional root canal, the procedure begins by anesthetizing the tooth and surrounding gums. The endodontist then makes a small incision through the gums to expose the diseased tissues at the tooth's root. After removing the infected tissue and a few millimeters of the root tip, they place a small filling to seal the end of the root canal against infection and suture the gum incision.
This is a specialized procedure that requires the state-of-the-art equipment and advanced techniques of an endodontist. But it does provide another possible option for saving a diseased tooth that might otherwise be lost.
If you would like more information on treatments for 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 “Apicoectomy: A surgical Option When Root Canal Treatment Fails.”
Like any other part of your body, sometimes your teeth and gums may need emergency care. If you have a dental issue that must be handled immediately, don't hesitate to contact your local emergency dentist in Shelton, CT. Dr. Michael Caserta and Dr. Adrian Basu are your experienced dentists at the Dental Associates of Shelton. Visit us for your ongoing and emergency dental needs.
What Is A Dental Emergency?
A dental emergency can happen for a number of reasons. It may be caused by a chronic disease or by a sudden accident. An emergency can affect your teeth and gums. Let's look at some typical types of dental emergencies you may need your emergency dentist in Shelton, CT, to treat.
Traumatic Dental Injuries
Do you or your children play sports? While sports may be fun and great for the body, sometimes they can cause a tooth to get knocked out. This is why it is helpful to use a mouthguard when you can. When a tooth is knocked out or chipped an accidental fall, there are a few ways we can save it with quick thinking.
To save a chipped or knocked-out tooth:
- Find the tooth or chipped pieces
- Gently clean knocked out tooth
- Place the tooth back in the socket or in a container of milk
- Hold the re-inserted tooth in place
- Go to a dental office immediately
Persistent tooth pain is often a sign of tooth decay or an infection. When an infection is left untreated, it can eventually spread to the gums. Your teeth may be sensitive or have a loose filling. If pain persists, especially if it is keeping you up at night, seek immediate care from your dentist.
People often associate dental emergencies only with tooth injuries or pain. The soft tissue around our teeth, such as the gums and cheek lining, are also subject to trauma and infection. A common emergency in this part of our mouth involves gum abscesses, also known as periodontal abscesses.
Dr. Caserta and Dr. Basu are your local emergency dentists in Shelton, CT, who can help with a range of dental concerns. Contact Dental Associates of Shelton by calling us at (203) 924-4115. We are here for you during a routine check-up or treatment for a traumatic dental injury.
Wearing braces can ultimately give you a healthier and more attractive smile. In the short-term, though, your gums in particular may be in for a rough ride.
While we're all susceptible to gum disease, braces wearers are more likely to encounter it. This stems from two related factors: the difficulty braces pose to oral hygiene; and the potential irritation of soft tissues by the braces themselves.
The main cause for any form of gum disease is dental plaque, a thin bacterial film that accumulates on teeth. Removing plaque through brushing and flossing greatly reduces the risk of any dental disease. But braces wires and brackets make it difficult to brush and floss—as a result, some plaque deposits may escape cleaning, which makes a gum infection more likely.
To exacerbate this, braces hardware can irritate the gums and cause swelling and tissue overgrowth, also known as hyperplasia. The one-two punch of ineffective hygiene with hyperplasia are why braces wearers have a higher incidence of gum problems compared to the general population.
To guard against this, patients with braces need to be extra vigilant about keeping their teeth and gums clean of plaque. It may be helpful in this regard to use specialized tools like interproximal brushes with narrower bristle heads that are easier to maneuver around braces.
And rather than using traditional flossing thread, orthodontic patients may find it easier and more effective to use pre-loaded flossing picks or an entirely different method called oral irrigation. The latter involves a handheld wand that directs a stream of pulsating water between teeth to loosen and flush away plaque.
It's also important for patients to see their dentist as soon as possible for any gum swelling, bleeding or pain. The dentist can determine if it relates to gum disease, hyperplasia or a combination of both, and recommend treatment. In extreme cases, it may be necessary to remove the braces until the gums heal, so catching and treating any gum problem early is a priority.
Regardless of the risk for gum disease, orthodontic treatment is still well worth the investment in your health and appearance. Practicing effective oral hygiene and keeping a watchful eye on your gums will help further lower that risk.
If you would like more information on oral care during orthodontic treatment, 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 “Gum Swelling During Orthodontics.”
Losing a tooth is a rite of passage when you're a child, but becomes a dental emergency once your permanent teeth come in. Fortunately, your emergency dentists, Dr. Michael Caserta and Dr. Adrian Basu of Dental Associates of Shelton in Shelton, CT, offer treatments that can help stabilize your loose tooth.
Why teeth loosen
Permanent teeth can loosen due to:
- Trauma: A fall or blow to the mouth may be the reason that your tooth is loose.
- Grinding or Clenching: Grinding or clenching your teeth at night could crack or loosen teeth.
- Gum Disease: A bacterial infection caused by gum disease can destroy bone, tissue, and ligaments that hold your teeth in place.
- Pregnancy: Hormone levels increase during pregnancy and may weaken or loosen the bones and ligaments around your teeth.
- Osteoporosis: Osteoporosis, a condition that weakens the bones, can loosen teeth if it affects the jawbone.
Loose teeth are a dental emergency and require an immediate call to the Shelton, CT, dental office. Unfortunately, loose teeth don't get better on their own. If you don't visit your emergency dentist right away, you may lose your tooth.
Treating loose teeth
Treatment for loose teeth depends on the cause and the severity of the problem. Your dentist may use a splint to stabilize your tooth by bonding it to the teeth on either side. Permanently or temporarily splinting the tooth decreases pressure on it when you chew and gives the tooth time to heal.
Your dentist may recommend bite adjustment if your tooth loosened due to grinding. Removing small amounts of tooth enamel in strategic locations decreases pressure on your tooth, allowing it to heal and become more stable.
You'll need to treat your gum disease if the disease is the cause of your problem. You may need a deep cleaning to remove plaque and bacteria above and below your gum line. Flap surgery to reattach your gums to your teeth or bone or tissue grafts to replace lost bone or gum tissue may also be needed.
Do you have a loose tooth? Call your emergency dentists in Shelton, CT, Dr. Caserta and Dr. Basu of Dental Associates of Shelton at (203) 924-4115 to schedule your appointment.