Learn More About Your Dental Treatment
Patient education is an essential part of becoming an active participant in your oral health. Whether your Smile Design dentist has recommended a specific treatment plan or you’re just curious about common dental procedures, we encourage you to visit our patient resource links. Many of the resources link to the American Dental Association’s consumer education website, www.MouthHealthy.org.
You and your dentist – how to get the most from your partnership
Think of the relationship between you and your dentist as a partnership, your dentist can offer a range of dental treatment options for many oral health problems. Theses option will vary in complexity, durability and cost but working together, you can choose the treatment options that best suit your needs and budget.
A good dentist will explain each treatment option, including it’s benefits and drawbacks. It is important that you tell your dentist about yourself and your needs and you shouldn’t be afraid to ask the dental team questions if necessary in order to help you understand their oral treatment recommendations. The key to all good relationships is trust and understanding as it should be between you and your dentist, you should therefore try to build a relationships based on open and honest communication. A good dental team will be more than happy to explain the oral care program they are proposing for you but if you don’t understand any aspect you may want to ask some or all of the following questions. Can you give me a step by step breakdown as you make your oral examinations? What are the treatment options in respect of my specific needs? Are there any alternative treatments I should consider? Which of these options would give me the best outcome? What needs to be treated now and what can wait to be treated later? What can I do in future to avoid similar problems reoccurring?
Confidence and trust are key factors when visiting your dental team, a dental expert said, “Dentists are trained to understand their patients worries and cam empathize with them. Your dentist should be an expert, not just in technical dentistry but in communication, empathy, understanding and be able to deliver care in a professional manner”. He also stated “that cost was actually quite low on their list of concerns, a hygienic, friendly environment is more important for most people”.
Many people have a level of anxiety when visiting their dentist, probably based on a bad experience from their childhood when dental techniques were not as good as they are today. Things are somewhat different today as modern dental care and new techniques and advances mean that the discomfort you may remember from your childhood is considerably less today.
Don’t wait for your dentist to sort out your problems, our expert stated “Avoid problems by sticking to a good mouth care routine in the first place, healthy teeth are within everyone’s reach”.
Remember you and your dentist are a team and good oral health is your goal. How to relax in the dentists chair
Be cool in the chair!!! If you’re anything like me you’ll feel varying degrees of anxiety when you find yourself sitting in the dentists chair, perhaps you can remember a specific incident from your childhood that brings back painful memories or maybe you don’t like the sounds and smells involved. Being afraid of the dentist is nothing to be ashamed of and is something most of us experience at sometime in our lives.
The good news however is that modern dentistry is is now a different experience, modern dentists have a greater understanding of their patients fears and concerns and have undergone additional training to meet these concerns. Dental practices have also greatly improved with less painful treatments, more efficient practices and quicker dental treatments along with your dentists empathy make for a much nicer experience.
Lie back and think of something nice… 5 things you can do to make the experience more enjoyable… Arrive relaxed, calm and on time – Plan your visit with care, be sure to allow plenty of time to arrive and park your car if driving. If you are running late or have difficulty getting there on time you will naturally be more stressed. A high level of stress can make you irritable and that makes it more difficult to control your level of anxiety. Try exercising your brain – Don’t just sit in the dentists chair thinking about nothing or worse still imagining what might happen but use the time effectively by thinking about something that will tax your brain. Why not have brain puzzle already prepared or perhaps you’d prefer to think about planning your next holiday or a home improvement. Whatever you do make sure you have something to occupy your mind other than what is going on… You are in control – It is important that you let your dentists know how you will signal that you want them to stop now because you need a break before the dental treatment can start again. The mere fact that you can now control the situation often helps reduce anxiety and makes the treatment more bearable. Music can help – A personal stereo that allows you to play your own choice of music or a talking book can help distract your mind and hide the sound of treatment. Hypnosis and relaxation – Perhaps your dentists offer these techniques which are a little like day dreaming, these techniques allow you to gain control over your feelings of distress, panic or fear, if your dentist doesn’t offer these services they will most likely be able to suggest somebody suitable. Most importantly speak to your dentist and explain any fears and concerns you may have about your treatment, a good dentist will be able to empathize with your feelings and by carefully explaining what they are about to do and how, it will go a long way to resolving your issues without the need for any other technique, you may even find yourself looking forward to next visit??? About the author Tony Forster has a keen interest in dental care and bad breath treatment and has compiled many useful resources atwww.eliminate-bad-breath.info The content of this article is for information purposes only, it is advisable to consult your medical or dental practitioner before implementing any program or change to your current regime.
Demystifying root canal treatment
Many people have a deep-seated fear of root canal (endodontic) treatment. They will say ?not as bad as a root canal? ? as if it is one of the worst human experiences. Such fears are unfounded. In professional hands, root canal treatment is the best way to keep your natural teeth and preserve good dental health. By having better information about this treatment, you will understand why it is often called ?the tooth saver’, says endodontics specialist Dr. Tony Druttman www.londonendo.co.uk
Life doesn’t always play us a fair hand. Most of us try to keep our teeth in reasonable condition because we know that long-term neglect can be painful, both in the mouth and pocket. Yet there are occasions when unnoticed changes take place to our teeth. We only become aware of this when we have dental pain or our dentist discovers an underlying problem during a routine inspection. The following advice about root canal treatment will help to put your mind at ease.
A dental microscope allows precise inspection of the tooth root. Should anecdotal evidence influence you?
Very often patients describe their root canal experiences with terms like ?it was very painful? and ?I had to go back six times?. That’s unfortunate, but not the way things need to be. When carried out correctly, the endodontics procedure is no worse than having a normal filling, although it may take a little longer. People often agree to root canal treatment with reluctance, when there seems to be little other choice. In fact it is the best solution in cases of substantial dental damage or decay. Advice by a dentist will give you a clearer picture than advice by other patients.
Why do teeth need root treatment?
The nerve and blood vessels in the tooth (known as ?dental pulp’) are there to help the tooth grow to maturity. They protect against bacteria within the body. Bacteria play a defensive role in the general mouth area, but can become destructive when they attack the body via the dental pulp or through gum disease.
In fact, recent research has found a correlation between gum disease and coronary heart disease. Bacteria cause decay in teeth. When the decay is deep, it can allow bacteria to invade the dental pulp ? the living tissue inside your teeth. Your dentist removes the decay in the tooth to protect the pulp and to restore the function and appearance of the tooth. However repeated bacterial attacks can weaken the pulp to such an extent that the nerve can no longer recover, and so the pulp dies.
How do you know if something is wrong?
The point is ? you don’t always know. Different nerve systems within the pulp will cause the tooth to respond in different ways. The nerve may die quietly and never cause any symptoms. It may be a chance x-ray that alerts the dentist to a problem. Alternatively the dying nerve may cause a great deal of pain and be very difficult to locate. When the nerve becomes irreversibly damaged, then either the pulp or the tooth has to be removed.
Will a root-treated tooth feel different?
The treated tooth is referred to as being dead because it has lost its internal nerve and blood vessels. However there is still a nerve and blood supply to the outside surface of the tooth, so the successfully root-treated tooth should feel normal.
Is there an alternative to endodontic treatment?
If you choose not to have root treatment, your affected tooth will be extracted. Should you fill the space? That depends on functional and aesthetic grounds. People today are aware of their mouth and smile, so someone displaying unaesthetic black gaps between their teeth may feel self-conscious about speaking or smiling. Back teeth may not be immediately noticed in a smile, but they are very important in terms of chewing function. Every tooth stabilizes the teeth adjacent to it and those immediately above or below. If it is removed and not replaced, other teeth may well shift from their natural positions. This will stimulate problems with gum disease, food packing (leading to further decay) and bite problems.
If a tooth needs extracting, what next?
Teeth can be replaced with bridges, implants or removable dentures and the possibilities should be discussed with your own dentist. Implants have revolutionized restorative dentistry and can be an excellent substitute for the natural tooth. The dental root has often been described as nature’s implant, so wherever possible existing teeth should be kept in place. However there are situations when it is neither feasible nor cost-effective to keep the tooth. The options have to be considered carefully either by your general dental practitioner, or by an endodontics specialist.
How successful is endodontic treatment?
Nobody can guarantee success. However when the endodontic treatment and the restorative treatment that follows it are both carried out to a high standard, long-term success is very likely. Failure would be caused by the leakage of bacteria into the root canal system or by mechanical failure i.e. fracture of the remaining tooth. Should endodontic treatment fail, it may be possible to re-treat the tooth. If further treatment is impossible, the tooth may require extraction. Endodontic re-treatment may be carried by your own dentist or by an endodontist, depending on the particular problems and reasons for the failure.
General dentist or root canal specialist?
General dentist are trained to carry out root canal treatment and many of them do this to a very high standard. Whether root canal treatment is carried out by your regular dentist or an endodontics specialist will depend on many factors. Is your dentist skilled, experienced and confident in performing these kinds of procedures? Is it a straightforward treatment or are there complications? The molar teeth have a more complicated root canal system than the front teeth (incisors and canines), are harder to access and may require more specialized equipment. While endodontics specialists are usually more expensive, their training and experience enable them to deal more easily with complications. In many cases, this involves re-treating teeth where the original root treatment has failed. Dr Anthony Druttman, Endodontics Specialist, www.londonendo.co.uk About the author: Dr Anthony Druttman is a specialist in Root Canal Treatment, operating from two practices in Central London UK. He offers Endodontics services to other dentists as well as directly to patients. Your teeth don’t have to show your age We can’t stop ageing ? but we can make the best of what we already have. Looking after your skin and general appearance is one step. But what about your teeth? They are a revealing sign of ageing ? yet surprising things can be done today to reverse this process, says Dr. George Druttman, of Cap600 London City Dental www.cap600.com
Teeth are one of the first features that people look at. Our teeth deteriorate over the years, gradually taking on more and more imperfections that betray our age ? or make us look even older than we really are. In Western society, where one in six people will soon be over 65, everybody wants to stay as young-looking as possible. So how can a 50-year old stay young-looking? Well, maybe she has fortunate genes, looks after her skin regularly (often in addition to great genes) and has had excellent cosmetic facial surgery. To look at her, you wouldn’t be able to guess her true age ? until she starts smiling. Then her mouth gives the game away. How? Because of the state of her teeth.
Signs of Aging
So how do your teeth betray your age? Their colour changes over time, losing brightness and luminosity, and becoming darker. Dental wear will shorten teeth, making them look ?stubby’. Years of food, nicotine and fluid stains can also stain teeth permanently. Tooth shape: The natural smile line is a gentle convex. But extensive wear on our front teeth can change this to a straight or even concave line (reversed curve). Tooth grinding (prompted by stress), accelerates this dental erosion. Chipped tooth edges are another sign, creating an unbalanced and disharmonious look.
The fine ridges on young teeth get smoothed away as we get older. While in early adulthood such smoothing can produce attractive teeth that reflect light more uniformly, too much smoothing will show age. Tooth crack lines: Over time, micro-fractures can appear on the enamel surface. While perhaps superficial, they can show up as little crack lines, which will downgrade the attractiveness of teeth. Filled front teeth: White fillings in front teeth need to be regularly replaced or they change colour and start to look obvious. They may even show dark lines between the edge of the filling and the natural tooth. Smile colour: White reflects light and dark absorbs it. A mouth with silver-mercury (amalgam) fillings in many of the teeth will present an overall dull grey colour that absorbs light and therefore looks dark. It’s another sign of ageing.
Over time the lips lose muscle tone and become thinner and narrower. The top lip can sag, covering more of the upper teeth. The lower lip may also drop, showing more of the lower teeth. If you had fairly thin lips when young, then they will become even more so. Also thin vertical lines appear in the lips, which are accentuated and hastened by smoking. Crease lines can also appear at the corners of the lips, often with a more significant, deeper crease line, angled downward, which can make you look permanently unhappy.
What can you do restore youthful looks?
Your smile is the key to your facial appearance. So you need to do something about any old, worn, chipped and discoloured teeth you have and remove these obvious clues to ageing. The essence in good cosmetic/ aesthetic dentistry is to combine modern techniques with artistic flair – so that nobody can guess what’s been done.
Ways of improving your teeth
Re-contouring: A little bleaching whitens the teeth and slight reshaping restores the edges of the teeth to what they were in youth. Replacing fillings: Using modern materials for the front and most prominent teeth can cause the dental restoration work to blend in with the general colour of the tooth.
A synthetic material that looks like natural tooth enamel is bonded to the enamel tooth surface. Because it can be shaped and polished, this material can alter the colour, texture, size, shape and even, to an extent, the position of the teeth. The treatment can be applied to the eight to twelve upper front teeth. It lasts from three to six years. Veneering: A technique similar to bonding ? only more permanent. A thin, hard porcelain veneer is individually made for each tooth to the correct colour, size and shape. Porcelain is as durable as the original tooth enamel so the restored tooth will last for decades rather than years. Veneering is often done on front incisor teeth that have been damaged.
Improving your lips
Thin lips can be treated by using fillers to accentuate the lip line (vermillion border) between the red part of the lips and the normal skin. These fillers are, for example, bovine collagen, or natural hyaluronic acid (Restylane). The effect lasts up to twelve months. The substance of the lip can also be increased by injecting Restylane or even fat from another part of the body into the lip itself. The result, of course, depends on how much and where it is placed.
So how can your smile make you look younger?
Look in the mirror for a few minutes. Decide what parts of your face, and particularly your smile, you would like to rejuvenate using the techniques mentioned above. Then consult with a cosmetic dental surgeon, who can show you an accurate simulation of how treatment would look on your face. It is advisable to do this before going ahead with any cosmetic surgery on your face.
Most cosmetic medical surgeons are still not orientated or even knowledgeable enough about what cosmetic dentists are able to achieve with teeth. A few short dental treatments can take years off your looks, helping you evaluate whether other surgery is necessary. Dr. George Druttman, Cap600 London City Dental www.cap600.com