Posts for: December, 2015
Like an old plaster cast or pair of crutches covered in the colorful signatures of former classmates, a mouth full of silver amalgam fillings used to be a symbol of childhood dental rights of passage, at least up until a decade or two ago. Advances in cosmetic dentistry have made it possible to fix one or many cavities with tooth colored fillings that can fool everyone into thinking that you and your family have the healthiest teeth and oral hygiene habits in town!
While it is possible to have older silver fillings replaced for cosmetic reasons, it may not be practical or necessary for every person. However, some metallic dental fillings can become damaged over time, and require removal or replacement to protect the health of the remaining tooth.
What are Dental Inlays and Onlays?
In addition to replacing old metal fillings, inlays and onlays are dental restorations used to repair mild to moderate chips, cracks, decay, or damage to the rear teeth. They are most often used when the damage to the tooth is too extensive for a traditional filling, but not severe enough to require a crown. Like fillings, inlays fit over the top edges of the tooth (cusp tips). Onlays are used for more extensive damage, and fit over the edges of the tooth. They are designed using a composite of the tooth, and are typically made of porcelain, gold, or composite resin.
Benefits of Tooth Repair with Inlays and Onlays
- Inlays and onlays allow the dentist to preserve the remaining healthy tooth, as they do not require shaving down a portion of the tooth to properly fit, like with crowns
- Durability - They are made to last up to 30 years
- Inlays and onlays can actually strengthen and preserve tooth health, unlike fillings which can actually degrade the tooth over time
- They can help to prevent the need for further dental work and treatment in the future
Dentist in San Jose
To learn if you are a candidate for dental inlays and onlays, contact Sikka Dental at (408) 259-1280 to schedule a consultation today!
Think you’re too old to have your teeth straightened? In reality, healthy teeth can be moved at any age to better positions. For the many adults who have some form of malocclusion (bad bite), orthodontics is still a viable option even in later years.
As important as it is to self-image and confidence, treating misaligned teeth can benefit you more than just improving your smile. Misaligned teeth may be harder to keep clean, setting up a mouth environment advantageous to the development of tooth decay or periodontal (gum) disease, the risks of both rising with age. And normally aligned teeth are easier to chew with than those misaligned.
Age isn’t the determining factor for whether you’re a good candidate for orthodontics — but your dental health is. Gum disease in particular can cause supporting bone loss, which can complicate orthodontic treatment. It’s important then that we first perform a complete oral examination and attempt to treat problems such as decay or gum disease first before attempting tooth movement.
What type of orthodontic treatment you’ll need will depend on the type of malocclusion you have and its relationship to the way your jaws fit together. Because your adult jaws have fully developed you may need orthognathic (“jaw straightening”) surgery to address certain advanced forms of malocclusion. If your bite problems aren’t that severe (the majority of situations) they can be treated with braces or, an increasingly popular alternative, clear aligners. These customized clear plastic trays are nearly invisible compared to metal braces and are effective for most patients.
Following the completion of tooth movement and other bite procedures, you will most likely need to wear a retainer to help prevent the teeth from reverting to their older positions. You may need to wear the retainer for a longer period than a younger patient, or perhaps indefinitely. Even with this mild inconvenience, though, you’ll still experience the positive effects of healthier and better functioning teeth and a great new smile.
If you would like more information on 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 “Orthodontics for the Older Adult.”
Via a recent Instagram post, pop diva Ariana Grande became the latest young celebrity to publicly acknowledge a dental milestone: having her wisdom teeth removed. The singer of hits such as “Break Free” and “Problem” posted an after-surgery picture of herself (wearing her signature cat-eye eyeliner), with a caption addressed to her teeth: “Peace out, final three wisdom teeth. It’s been real.”
With the post, Grande joined several other celebs (including Lily Allen, Paris Hilton and Emile Hirsch) who have shared their dental surgery experience with fans. Will "wisdom teeth removal" become a new trending topic on social media? We aren’t sure — but we can explain a bit about the procedure, and why many younger adults may need it.
Technically called the “third molars,” wisdom teeth usually begin to emerge from the gums between the ages of 17 and 25 — presumably, around the same time that a certain amount of wisdom emerges. Most people have four of these big molars, which are located all the way in the back of the mouth, on the left and right sides of the upper and lower jaws.
But when wisdom teeth begin to appear, there’s often a problem: Many people don’t have enough space in their jaws to accommodate them. When these molars lack sufficient space to fully erupt (emerge), they are said to be “impacted.” Impacted teeth can cause a number of serious problems: These may include pain, an increased potential for bacterial infections, periodontal disease, and even the formation of cysts (pockets of infection below the gum line), which can eventually lead to tooth and bone loss.
In most cases, the best treatment for impacted wisdom teeth is extraction (removal) of the problem teeth. Wisdom tooth extraction is a routine, in-office procedure that is usually performed under local anesthesia or “conscious sedation,” a type of anesthesia where the patient remains conscious (able to breathe normally and respond to stimuli), but is free from any pain or distress. Anti-anxiety medications may also be given, especially for those who are apprehensive about dental procedures.
So if you find you need your wisdom teeth extracted, don’t be afraid to “Break Free” like Ariana Grande did; whether you post the results on social media is entirely up to you. If you would like more information about wisdom tooth extraction, please call our office to schedule a consultation. You can learn more in the Dear Doctor magazine articles “Wisdom Teeth” and “Removing Wisdom Teeth.”