Posts for: September, 2017
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.”
While crooked teeth are usually responsible for a malocclusion (poor bite), the root cause could go deeper: a malformed maxilla, a composite structure composed of the upper jaw and palate. If that’s the case, it will take more than braces to correct the bite.
The maxilla actually begins as two bones that fit together along a center line in the roof of the mouth called the midline suture, running back to front in the mouth. The suture remains open in young children to allow for jaw growth, but eventually fuses during adolescence.
Problems arise, though, when these bones don’t fully develop. This can cause the jaw to become too narrow and lead to crowding among the erupting teeth and a compromised airway that can lead to obstructive sleep apnea. This can create a cross-bite where the upper back teeth bite inside their lower counterparts, the opposite of normal.
We can remedy this by stimulating more bone growth along the midline suture before it fuses, resulting in a wider maxilla. We do this by installing a palatal expander, an appliance that incrementally widens the suture to encourage bone formation in the gap, which over time will widen the jaw.
An expander is a metal device with “legs” extending out on both sides and whose ends fit along the inside of the teeth. A gear mechanism in the center extends the legs to push against the teeth on both sides of the jaw. Each day the patient or caregiver uses a key to give the gear a quarter turn to extend the legs a little more and widen the suture gap. We remove the expander once the jaw widens to the appropriate distance.
A palatal expander is an effective, cost-efficient way to improve a bite caused by a narrow jaw, but only if attempted before the bones fuse. Widening the jaw after fusion requires surgery to separate the bones — a much more involved and expensive process.
To make sure your child is on the right track with their bite be sure to see an orthodontist for an evaluation around age 6. Doing so will make it easier to intervene at the proper time with treatments like a palatal expander, and perhaps correct bite problems before they become more expensive to treat.
If you would like more information on treating malocclusions, 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: Orthodontics is more than just Moving Teeth.”
Digital X-rays allow dentists to spot tooth decay and other issues that can affect your oral health. Our San Jose, CA, dentists, Dr. Nidhi Sikka and Dr. Mona Chattha, discuss digital X Rays and explain how you can benefit from them.
What are digital X-rays?
Digital X-rays offer immediate results, unlike traditional X-rays that can't be viewed until the X-ray film is processed. Thanks to advancements in digital technology, there's no longer a need for film. The digital X-ray process involves placing small sensors against your teeth, which transmit X-ray images to a digital screen.
What types of dental problems can be detected with digital X-rays?
- Digital X-rays reveal:
- Tooth decay between teeth and under fillings and crowns
- Impacted wisdom teeth
- Bone infections and bone loss
- Cysts, abscesses and tumors
- Gum disease
- Injuries to tooth roots
- Developmental abnormalities
What are the benefits of digital X-rays?
In addition to decreasing the time it takes to obtain results, digital dental X-rays offer several other important advantages, including:
Improved Image Quality: X-ray images can be enlarged and contrast settings can be modified to allow dentists to clearly see the structures in your mouth and identify changes that could signal a problem.
Reduction in Radiation Exposure: Although traditional dental X-rays don't produce high levels of radiation, it's important to keep your overall radiation exposure level from medical and dental tests as low as possible. Digital X-rays significantly reduce radiation exposure when compared to traditional X-rays.
Comfort and Convenience: Because you don't have to wait for your films to be developed, you'll spend less time at our San Jose office. Should you need to a visit a dental specialist, such as a periodontist or endodontist, you'll no longer need to stop by the dental office to pick up a copy of your X-rays. Digital X-rays can be sent electronically to other providers in seconds. Some patients also find digital sensors much more comfortable.
Environmental Benefits: Since digital X-rays aren't developed like traditional X-rays, there's no longer a need for processing chemicals.
Protect your smile with regular examinations and digital dental X-rays. Is it time for your next check up? Call our San Jose, CA, dentists, Dr. Sikka and Dr. Chattha, at (408) 259-1280 to schedule an appointment.