Oral Surgery: Removing Impacted Wisdom Teeth

Wisdom teeth are the third set of molars and the last adult teeth to erupt into the mouth. Most people have four wisdom teeth, two on the bottom and two on top. Many people do not have enough room for these molars to emerge completely, causing them to become impacted in the gum. Impacted wisdom teeth are difficult to clean, making them more susceptible to decay and disease. Other dental problems caused by impacted wisdom teeth include pain, damage to surrounding teeth, and bite alignment issues. For these reasons, your dentist may recommend having the impacted teeth removed to prevent future problems.

Surgery to extract an impacted wisdom tooth or set of wisdom teeth is usually an outpatient procedure done in your dentist or oral surgeon’s office. If the tooth or surrounding area are deemed to have an infection prior to the procedure, surgery will be delayed, and your dental professional will likely prescribe antibiotics to help heal the area.

On the day of surgery, local anesthesia will be administered to numb the area where the extracted tooth will be removed. Depending on the severity of your case, your dentist or oral surgeon may also utilize a general anesthetic.

Once the anesthesia has taken effect, an incision will be made to open up the gum and any bone blocking the tooth will be removed. Your dentist or surgeon will then separate the tissue connecting the bone to the tooth and extract the tooth. Some teeth are too large to remove in one piece, in which case your surgeon will cut the tooth into smaller pieces to make it easier to remove. Finally, the incision is closed with stitches and packed with gauze to help alleviate bleeding.

Long-term complications from impacted wisdom tooth surgery are rare. To ensure a successful recovery from this or any oral surgery, be sure to follow all aftercare instructions provided by your dentist or oral surgeon.

Schedule your appointment at our Louisville dental office

Veneers: The Secret is Out!

For people who don’t feel confident about showing their teeth when smiling, dental veneers provide a great way to restore self-esteem and quickly create beautiful smiles. No longer only for the rich and famous, the secret of transforming smiles with veneers is out for everyone to enjoy the benefits.

Veneers are thin shells that go over the front surfaces of your teeth to hide imperfections. They are customized just for you so that they look very natural and appealing. Veneers cover problems like stained, chipped, crooked, or misshapen teeth. The most common materials that veneers are made from are composite or porcelain. Here are the details about each of these types of veneers.

Composite

  • Has an opaque finish, but it’s difficult to match the color of your existing tooth enamel color
  • Lifespan is usually two years or less
  • Susceptible to staining because of its porous characteristics
  • Requires careful and consistent maintenance to keep them looking good as long as possible
  • Typically lower in cost than other types of veneers

Porcelain

  • Has an opaque finish that appears natural and coordinates well with the color and texture of existing teeth
  • Lifespan is usually from five to ten years
  • Does not stain
  • Requires good dental hygiene for the best results

Whichever type of dental veneers you might select, chances are good that you will be glad you chose to restore your smile in this way. People won’t even realize that underneath the veneers you have crooked, discolored, uneven, or chipped teeth. Your secret will be safe, thanks to the technology of dental veneers.

We treat patients from Louisville and the surrounding area

Why You Should Replace Missing Teeth with Dental Implants

Most people will eventually lose one or more teeth. Even with vigilant oral care, accident or injury can cause the loss of a tooth. As we age, simple daily wear can cause damage to your teeth resulting in tooth loss. More commonly, periodontal disease or tooth decay will cause you to lose one or more teeth.

While you may think one missing tooth, especially one that does not actually show, is not a problem, most dentists recommend immediately replacing a missing tooth. Missing teeth are not only unappealing aesthetically, but also cause problems with your bite and speech. More critically, missing teeth can cause a chain reaction that results in more missing teeth. Because teeth shift to fill the space created by the missing tooth, those teeth become loose and may eventually fall out.

Another problem caused by missing teeth is jaw bone loss. The pressure of tooth roots into the bone cells keeps them from dissolving. If the root is missing, the bone cells die and the bone disintegrates. The loss of jaw bone results in facial collapse, giving you a caved in and much older appearance. Bone loss also causes remaining teeth to become loose and fall out.

One of the best options for replacing lost teeth are dental implants. The placement of dental implants and tooth restorations can prevent the bone loss that results from missing teeth. Not only do dental implants restore the look of your natural teeth, they also provide the function and feel of your original teeth. Dental implants allow you to return to eating and speaking normally, and return your smile to its natural glory. To find out if dental implants are a viable solution to your missing teeth, contact your dentist for an examination and evaluation. With dental implants you can restore the look, feel and function of your natural smile.

We treat patients from Louisville and the surrounding area

Dental implants dentist

Improving Your Smile with Dental Implants

Losing teeth for one reason or another is not as uncommon as you might think. Injuries and severe tooth decay are only a couple of the causes for smiles to have holes in them from missing teeth. The good news is that you don’t have to go through life with an incomplete smile. Dental implants provide one solution for replacing lost teeth.

Popularity
These restorations that involve a titanium root with an artificial tooth on top have become increasingly popular. Instead of using bridges or dentures that are known to have some hassles with them, implants are a permanent and secure solution. Once the area has healed, you can go back to your normal habits without any concerns related to the implant. They look very natural, preserve neighboring teeth, improve speech, restore the mouth’s function, and help maintain your facial features.

Candidates
Good candidates for implants have strong enough jaw bones to be able to support the implant. Patients with significant bone loss may not be able to successfully maintain implants. Good oral health is helpful, as is good general health since surgery is required. Smokers and those with certain health conditions may not be recommended for dental implants.

Procedure
Once you’ve been identified as a good candidate, the first step is having the titanium rod inserted into your jaw bone. It can take up to three months for it to completely fuse with your bones. Then your dentist will make an abutment to hold the implant, and a mold will be taken of your mouth so that the crown can be created. Until it is ready, a temporary crown will be placed. Finally, your crown will be placed and adjustments will be made if needed.

Maintenance
After you implant is complete, you can resume your regular lifestyle. Your normal dental hygiene routine of brushing, flossing, and checkups should be maintained for the best results.

 

Dental implants dentist in Louisville

dental implants dentist in Louisville

Dental Implants: The Modern Replacement Option

When you don’t have a full smile, your self-esteem and oral health decline. Implant restorations offer a solid solution for patients who have lost teeth. Designed to look and feel like your natural teeth, dental implants will rejuvenate an incomplete smile. Dental implants allow you to eat the foods you love, speak clearly, and laugh with confidence.

Constructed from biocompatible titanium, a dental implant is a small metal post surgically inserted into your jaw bone. The implant creates an artificial tooth root. Eventually, a permanent crown is placed on the post, restoring the function and appearance of your smile.

Although you can replace missing teeth with dentures or crown and bridgework, dental implants offer several advantages, including:

• Durability
• Longevity
• Natural Appearance
• Stability

Before suggesting dental implants, your dentist will evaluate your mouth and oral health to make sure you are a good candidate for implants. If you don’t have sufficient bone structure to support the implants, your dentist may suggest a bone graft. In most cases, dental implants have a 95 to 98 percent success rate.

With implant therapy, an oral surgeon or prosthodontist will position one metal post in each empty socket. Implants can replace one or more missing teeth. Once your mouth heals and bone fuses with the biocompatible post, your dentist will attach a lifelike prosthetic crown. Care for the implants as you would your natural teeth, brushing twice daily, flossing frequently, and visiting the dentist for routine checkups.

Dental implants dentist in Louisville

cosmetic dentistry

Many Ways to Improve your Smile

Regardless of what aspect you dislike about your smile, there are cosmetic dentistry procedures to treat them. Smile makeovers are possible to give you the look you’ve been wanting. Not only do they enhance your smile, but they also boost your confidence. You may not know all the options and the problems they address. So here’s a list that can help you decide which of them is relevant to you.

Tooth discoloration
Teeth can easily become discolored from poor hygiene due to consuming foods and drinks such as coffee, red wine, berries, and tea. Smoking is a big culprit for tooth discoloration. Teeth whitening is the most common way to brighten your smile, and various methods are available either at home or professionally.

Misalignment
Teeth that are crowded or malaligned are not only unappealing; they can also make oral hygiene management more difficult and cause added stress on your jaw. Traditional braces, clear methods like Invisalign, crowns, and porcelain veneers are various ways misalignment might be treated. Discuss with your dentist that of those options is best for you.

Gaps
Spaces between your teeth can be embarrassing socially, as well as detrimental to the function of your teeth. Braces or Invisalign are excellent ways to correct gaps. Veneers are another option depending on how large your gaps are. Those are alternatives to cater for your budget.

Gummy smile
Excessive amounts of your gums show when you smile can create what is known as a gummy smile. Treatments may include gum sculpting, veneers, crowns, braces, or surgery.

Missing teeth
Smile restoration can be done with dental implants, bridges, or dentures. Each of these solutions has their good and bad aspects. Therefore, consult your dentist for advice before deciding on it.

Worn-down teeth
If untreated, worn teeth can cause tooth loss or dental health problems. Teeth that are damaged can often be restored with either veneers or crowns.

Schedule your appointment at our Louisville dental office

Treating Sleep Apnea With Oral Surgery

Obstructive sleep apnea is a condition created when a portion of the upper airway is blocked, causing breathing interruptions during sleep and low blood oxygen levels. As many as 20% of adults are affected by mild obstructive sleep apnea, while one in fifteen suffers from more severe apnea.

Symptoms of obstructive sleep apnea include snoring, extreme daytime drowsiness, restless sleep, high blood pressure, depression, problems with mental function, as well as a host of other mental and physical concerns. Left untreated, obstructive sleep apnea can lead to a long list of serious medical conditions, including hypertension, heart attack and stroke.

If you have been diagnosed with obstructive sleep apnea, your doctor may initially treat the condition with a CPAP device that you wear while sleeping. While a CPAP machine will reduce the obstruction to the airway, it is not a cure and will only be effective during use. Other non-surgical treatment recommendations may include the wearing of mouthguards to reposition the jaw, sleep position changes, or weight loss.

Tongue muscle advancement involves moving the bony attachment of the tongue muscles, and can be combined with palatal surgery to reduce excess tissues. This therapy may also include removing enlarged tonsils and nasal surgery. These treatments are most often used for milder cases of obstructive sleep apnea.

However, if these treatments do not work or for more severe cases of obstructive sleep apnea, oral surgery offers solutions to correct apnea. Maxillomandibular Advancement is a procedure that repositions the upper and lower jaw and chin to open the airway. This treatment is highly successful and offers the greatest chance of permanent correction in moderate to severe cases of obstructive sleep apnea.

For more information about how surgical therapies and treatments can be utilized to address your obstructive sleep apnea, consult with a qualified oral and maxillofacial surgeon.


We treat patients from Louisville and the surrounding area

Cosmetic dentist makeovers

Are You a Candidate for a Smile Makeover?

Are you unhappy with the appearance of your smile? Will the improvements you desire need multiple dentistry treatments to achieve the results you are seeking? You may be an ideal candidate for a smile makeover. A smile makeover is a process in which a number of cosmetic dentistry treatments are combined to perfect your smile. Usually, a smile makeover will include options like teeth whitening, dental bonding, porcelain veneers, invisible braces, composite fillings or gum contouring.

Broadly, anyone who has problems with their teeth is a candidate for a smile makeover. However, the best candidate for a smile makeover will be in good general and oral health. You should be free from gum disease and any other ailments or health problems that would preclude undergoing cosmetic dentistry procedures. An ideal candidate will also have grown in all permanent teeth and completed their jaw growth, making a smile makeover inappropriate for young children.

You may be an ideal candidate for a smile makeover if your smile is marred by a number of imperfections including:

  • Discolored or stained teeth
  • Chipped or cracked teeth
  • Crooked, twisted, or incorrectly placed teeth
  • Decayed teeth
  • Gapped or widely-spaced teeth
  • Gummy smile
  • Unhealthy gums
  • Bite conditions such as overbite or underbite

The appearance and health of your smile are vital to your self-confidence and overall happiness. Smile makeovers are safe and effective for most candidates, with little to no side effects. To determine if a smile makeover is right for you, contact an experienced, qualified cosmetic dentist for a one-on-one consultation.

Our dental office is located in Louisville

 

When to Choose Mini Dental Implants

Dental implants are used to replace individual or missing teeth or to anchor loose dentures. For many patients with these issues, traditional dental implants may not a viable option. For example, a patient who does not possess adequate bone levels to anchor the implants would not be a good candidate for traditional dental implants. With mini dental implants, the bone required to anchor the implant successfully is much less.

Thanks to advances in implant dentistry, these patients have other options. Mini dental implants have emerged as an attractive choice for cases that are not conducive to the placement of traditional implants. For the patient who has inadequate bone, the bone required to successfully anchor mini dental implants is much less. Unlike traditional implants, the placement procedure for mini dental implants is a minimally invasive procedure that can be completed in one appointment by a specially trained general or family dentist. Because the procedure is less involved, the pain and length of recovery is greatly diminished.

Patients who have existing health conditions that would preclude them from more invasive surgery may find mini dental implants an extremely appealing option. Mini implants are also a perfect choice for restoring one missing or damaged tooth. Should implant failure occur, grafting procedures would not be necessary because of the small size with mini dental implants.

Most importantly, mini dental implants maintain the look, feel and function of your natural teeth. While you have to wait months for traditional implants to fuse with the bone, mini dental implants are ready for immediate use. Talk to your dentist to determine if mini dental implants would be a good option for your dental restorations and get ready to face the world with a confident new smile.

Schedule your appointment at our Louisville dental office

Cosmetic dentist in Louisville

Top Reasons to see a Cosmetic Dentist

A special area of dentistry has been formed that focuses on making your smile as flawless and appealing as possible. Cosmetic dentistry corrects imperfections that cause people to feel insecure and unhappy with their smiles. If you are one of those people, maybe it’s time to see a cosmetic dentist to give you back your smile and confidence. Here are some of the most common reasons for visiting a cosmetic dentist.

One of the biggest complaints that people have about their smile is the color of their teeth. Stains can cause your teeth to become yellow or brown with time, making your smile unattractive and embarrassing. Cosmetic dentists offer teeth whitening techniques that brighten your teeth, and can restore your pearly whites in just one appointment.

Gaps in your smile from missing teeth not only look awkward, they also make chewing and speaking more difficult. A cosmetic dentist can replace your missing teeth with dental implants, bridges, or dentures. Implants have become increasingly popular because they provide a permanent, comfortable, and natural-looking solution for missing teeth.

Cosmetic dentists can solve a variety of other imperfections that make you unhappy with your smile. Veneers improve the shape and color of your teeth by covering the fronts of your teeth with thin shells. Dental fillings and root canals resolve problems often linked to tooth decay. Crowns are used to cover an unhealthy tooth and restore its strength, shape, size, and appearance. They also may be used in conjunction with dental bridges to correct gaps in your smile.

There is no reason to go through life ashamed of your teeth. Make an appointment with a cosmetic dentist to see how your smile can be improved to get the bright, beautiful smile you desire.

Contact us today to schedule your cosmetic dentistry consultation in our Louisville dental office.

Treating Gum Disease with Oral Surgery

Gum disease is a serious problem. You should treat it as soon as possible following the recommendations of your dentist. Also known as periodontal disease, it has several treatments, depending on the severity of the issue.

Your first course of action is to completely revamp your oral hygiene habits. Daily flossing and brushing following meals are essential habits to develop. You must have a clean mouth before you go to bed. If you smoke, you should stop. Your mouth’s health depends on it.

If you haven’t been keeping up with your professional checkups and cleanings, you need to start again. Long-term gum health is greatly impacted by the plaque, tartar, food debris and bacteria left on teeth. Hardened calculus, or calcified plaque, can be removed using a process called scaling. This process may require local anesthesia.

Your progress will be evaluated by your dentist to see if your gum tissue is recovering. With enough progress and response to treatment, your gum disease treatment may not progress beyond these initial steps; however, for more severe cases of gum disease, you may require oral surgery.

Surgical procedures are available that can regenerate and repair the soft gum tissue in the mouth, as well as hard tissues such as bone or teeth. Your oral surgeon will want to reduce or completely eliminate gum pockets, or open areas beneath the gum line, improving and renewing gum to tooth attachment. Normal oral functions and aesthetic appearances are aimed to be restored.

There are many sedation dentistry options available to patients treating their gum disease with oral surgery. These include local anesthesia and IV or conscious oral sedation. Talk to your oral surgeon to see what’s appropriate for your specific needs.

Don’t wait to treat your gum disease. Do what you need to do to ensure a lifetime of better oral hygiene and gum health.

Schedule your appointment at our Louisville dental office

kids dentist

Baby Teeth Basics

Babies obviously can’t take care of themselves, so parents have to handle all aspects of their care. Don’t forget their oral health! Parents need to lay the groundwork for lifelong good dental habits and healthy smiles for their children. Here are some answers to common questions about baby teeth.

Do baby teeth matter?
Primary, or baby, teeth are important. They help children chew naturally and speak clearly. They provide the place for adult teeth to grown in properly later.

Should I brush my baby’s teeth?
You should brush your baby’s teeth without toothpaste, using a small amount of water instead. Use a small, soft-bristled toothbrush at bedtime to remove plaque and bacteria from your baby’s teeth and gums.

When can I start using toothpaste?
Fluoride toothpaste can be implemented after age two, when a child can be trusted not to swallow the toothpaste. Only use a small amount of toothpaste, and watch the child carefully to ensure proper brushing and spitting out the toothpaste.

When should I take my child to the dentist?
Experts recommend taking your child to the dentist when their first tooth appears, or by their first birthday. Your child should be taken for dental visits every six months, or more often if your dentist has concerns.

Do I need a certain type of dentist for my child?
You may choose a pediatric dentist who has been trained specifically to treat children. Their goal is to teach children about oral hygiene and the importance of taking care of their teeth, as well as provide a comfortable experience in visiting the dentist. However, you may also choose a regular dentist to take care of your child’s oral health. It is up to you to decide which kind of dentist is right for your family.

Our dental office is located in Louisville

Dental health and pregnancy

Caring for Your Dental Health during Pregnancy

When you are having a baby, you have a lot of your mind. Most expectant moms have to worry about doctor’s appointments, prenatal vitamins, morning sickness, and picking out names. It’s important to take good care of yourself during this special time. One area that may fall by the wayside is oral health.

Though you may not think it’s a priority, your dental health can impact your pregnancy. Because hormone levels are so high during pregnancy, you may be more susceptible to problems with gum disease. Studies have shown that untreated gum disease can contribute to pre-term births and low-birth weight babies.

Protect your wellbeing and your unborn child by:

  • Eat a balanced diet. Include foods that are rich in calcium, which will keep your dentition strong and help with your baby’s developing teeth.
  • Take time to brush and floss teeth daily. This kind of home routine may help prevent bleeding gums, which often flare up during pregnancy.
  • Watch the snacks. You may need to eat more frequently, but try to choose healthy options like fruits, veggies, and whole grains so that you are less likely to develop cavities.
  • See your dentist for a checkup. After the first trimester, make an appointment for a cleaning and exam. Though you won’t want to schedule X-rays or repairs during pregnancy, routine dental care is important and shouldn’t be avoided.
  • If an emergency situation does occur, contact your dentist right away. Remind the office that you are pregnant so that they can take precautions to ensure the safety of you and your baby.

General dentist in Louisville

sleep apnea dentist

What’s Keeping You Up at Night?

More than 12 million Americans suffer from sleep apnea, a serious condition that compromises your rest and can impact your health. Some symptoms of sleep apnea include snoring, extreme daytime tiredness, mouth breathing, and irritability. Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is the most common type of sleep apnea. Central sleep apnea, much less common, happens when the brain fails to signal your breathing muscles.

Characterized by short episodes of not breathing, which can occur from five to 50 times a night, obstructive sleep apnea is caused when the muscles in your throat relax and your airways become blocked as you sleep. Your brain senses the lack of breathing and wakes you briefly to restore airflow. These episodes disrupt sleep and keep you from feeling rested.

Not only does sleep apnea keep you from getting a good night’s rest, but it can also put your health at risk. Untreated sleep apnea has been linked to high blood pressure, risk of stroke, memory impairment, and weight gain. As well, your sleep partner may not get enough sleep because of your snoring and/or waking episodes.

If you suspect sleep apnea, talk with your dentist, who may recommend a sleep evaluation. Through overnight monitoring, a sleep specialist can determine if you suffer from sleep apnea. Treatment for sleep apnea may include lifestyle modifications such as weight loss, a continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) mask, or an oral appliance. Your dentist can fit you for night guard that will hold your jaw in the correct position to keep your airways open.

We treat patients from Louisville and the surrounding area

Dental implant

How Dental Implants Can Preserve Bone

Preserving the bone in your jaw and face is of utmost importance to your cosmetic dentist, and as such, treatments that preserve bone are preferred over those that lead to bone shrinkage, known as resorption.

Dental implants preserve bone by mimicking the tooth’s natural roots, stimulating and preserving the bone. As part of the healing process following surgical placement, the jawbone fuses directly to the implant. Most often made of titanium, dental implants provide a very stable foundation for a replacement tooth. This foundation is so stable that it can serve as an anchor point for dental bridgework and will feel, look, and function as your natural tooth would.

The process of implant to bone fusion is known as “osseointegration.” Fusion is primarily dependent upon the quality of bone surrounding the implant, and can be achieved in three to nine months following dental implant treatment. Excessive smoking or drinking can stunt the healing process and lead to complications.

Because bone resorption is prevented with dental implants, your facial structure will not collapse and your facial shape will not change. Missing teeth that are replaced by implants avoid other problems commonly associated with tooth loss, including other teeth shifting into the open spaces created by the missing teeth, and functional problems with the jaw joints and bite alignment.

Once a tooth is extracted or falls out, a great deal of the bone in the area will shrink, or resorb over the coming year. Shrinkage occurs in a horizontal as well as vertical dimension. Most resorption occurs within the first two to three months following tooth loss. When a cosmetic dentist replaces that tooth immediately with a titanium dental implant, the bone fuses around the implant, significantly reducing bone shrinkage.

Dental implants are the only restorative treatment that preserves and maintains bone. Dentures and partial dentures can accelerate the process of bone shrinkage as a result of pressure on the underlying mouth structures as you talk or eat.

We look forward to seeing you in our Louisville dental office

Dentures dentist in Louisville

Questions and Answers about Dentures

An estimated 50 million Americans have lost all their teeth, and 69 percent of adults are missing at least one tooth. Without a full set of teeth, you may deal with alignment problems, dietary restrictions, and self-esteem issues. With modern dentures, your dentist can renew your appearance and improve oral health.

Dentures are prosthetic appliances created to replace missing teeth. Full dentures are rows of false teeth that cover the upper, lower, or both arches. If you still have some of your natural teeth, your dentist may suggest a partial denture, which fits into the empty space in your smile like a puzzle piece.

How do dentures feel?
At first, your prosthesis may take some getting used to, so give your mouth time to adjust. You may have some difficulty with pronunciation, but that will pass.

Will my dentures need to be replaced?
As we age, our mouth tissues change. Over time, your dentures may need to be repositioned, realigned, or entirely remade. Never make changes to your appliance; contact your dentist if something doesn’t seem right.

How do I care for my dentures?
To protect your dental appliance, handle the denture with care. When you take the device out, always store it safely in its case. Gently clean your dentures with mild soap and water to remove bacteria. Make sure to put the denture out of reach from small children or pets.

Do I still need to brush if I have dentures?
Absolutely. Your gums still need proper oral care, so brush them twice daily to keep the tissue healthy.

We offer dentures at our Louisville dental office

dental tidbits

Interesting Dental Tidbits

You may know all about basic dental care. Most people can tell you about the importance of brushing twice a day and flossing regularly. If you asked friends and family, they could probably list the virtues of eating whole grains, lean meats, and green vegetables to keep teeth and gums healthy. The majority of individuals, though, probably don’t know these fun facts:

  • Approximately 33 percent of people squeeze their toothpaste from the middle.
  • As early as 700 BC, people carved false teeth out of animal bones.
  • During ancient times, the barber cut your hair, gave you a shave, and extracted injured teeth.
  • Each year, Americans fork out more money on hair care and lottery tickets than they do on their dental health.
  • In 1994, a West Virginia inmate scaled a wall and escaped prison using a rope made from dental floss.
  • Modern toothpaste was first manufacture by the Colgate Company.
  • People brushed their teeth with twigs or their fingers before toothbrushes were invented.
  • Poor individuals sold their teeth to the wealthy during the 18th century and these people used them as replacement teeth.
  • Surprisingly, cows don’t have upper teeth.
  • The Mexican version of the Tooth Fairy, called the Tooth Mouse, takes the lost tooth and leaves behind a small gift.
  • To win the 1986 National Spelling Bee, the top contestant correctly spelled odontalgia, another word for toothache.
  • When asked, 73 percent of Americans said they would rather grocery shop than floss their teeth.

We treat patients from Louisville and the surrounding area

 

Dental implants Louisville

Complete Your Smile with Dental Implants

Did you know that 69 percent of adults have lost at least one tooth? Missing teeth don’t just damage your smile. They can limit your diet, inhibit your speech, and compromise your oral health. Studies show that when one tooth is loss, 20 percent of adjacent teeth may be lost in the next several years if you don’t replace the missing tooth. Dental implants offer patients a solid, attractive way to restore their smiles.

Constructed from biocompatible titanium, dental implants are permanent replacements for lost teeth. With implants, you can replace one or more missing teeth. One implant is surgically positioned in the gum line for each empty socket. Usually, your mouth will need three to six month to recover. During this time, the bone will fuse to the posts, creating a solid foundation for the dental crowns your dentist will place on the implants.


Dental implants offer several benefits, including

Attractiveness
Designed to look and feel like natural teeth, dental implants are the closest prosthetic to nature. Your implants will blend in with remaining teeth, giving you a full, attractive smile.

Convenience
Because implants aren’t removable, you don’t have to hassle with the messy adhesives or worry about the embarrassing slippage associated with dentures. After implant therapy, patients can smile confidently and enjoy active lifestyles.

Reliability
With proper care, implants will last for years. Treat your dental implants like your original teeth. Brush twice daily, floss frequently, and schedule routine checkups so that your smile will stay healthy and strong.

Creating beautiful smiles with dental implants at Stephen P Smythe Dental Care in Louisville

Do You Need a Root Canal Procedure?

When a tooth is seriously decayed or has become infected, a root canal procedure can be done to repair the tooth and save it. During the procedure, the nerve and pulp are removed, while the remainder of the center of the tooth is thoroughly cleaned and then carefully sealed to prevent infection.

“Root canal” is the term for the natural space within the tooth’s center. The tooth’s nerve is in the root canal, as is the pulp (or pulp chamber), which is the soft area within the root canal. Because the tooth’s nerve isn’t vital to a tooth’s health, removing it doesn’t prevent the normal functioning of the tooth.

Removing the nerve and the pulp is necessary in some cases to address irritation, inflammation and infection stemming from severe decay, damaged or deep fillings, cracked or chipped teeth or facial trauma. When the nerve tissue and pulp become damaged, bacteria begin to form within the pulp chamber. This can lead to a serious infection or abscessed tooth. An abscess can form when the infection spreads past the ends of the tooth roots.

Additionally, severe infections can lead to bone loss around the tip of the root or holes in the tooth that drain the infection into the gums or through the cheek into the skin. It can cause swelling that spreads to the face, head, or neck.

Sometimes, the only signs you need a root canal procedure are more minor. They can include tooth pain when applying pressure or chewing, discoloration (darkening) of the tooth, tenderness and/or swelling of the gum tissue, or a pimple or blemish on the gums that is recurring. Acute sensitivity to cold or hot temperatures that does not abate with time can also be a sign.

Talk to your dentist or endodontist (a dentist whose specialty is the cause, diagnosis, prevention, and treatment of diseases and trauma to the dental pulp or nerve of the tooth) about your concerns. Your dentist will know what to do so you may make the best decisions for your long-term tooth health.

 

If you live in the Louisville area and you need a root canal, contact our dental office today.

 

Chewing gum and teeth

How Does Chewing Gum Affect my Teeth?

Gone are the days when chewing gum is considered poor etiquette. In today’s society, you can find people chewing gum in business meetings, church, and just about every other situation. With gum chewing so prevalent, you may have wondered what it’s doing to people’s teeth. You may be surprised to learn that research shows that chewing sugarless gum has a number of dental benefits. Let’s see how it can actually be a helpful addition to your oral care routine.

Saliva flow
Chewing sugarless gum increases the flow of saliva in your mouth, which rinses away food particles. Saliva also neutralizes acids that result from bacteria in your mouth that can lead to tooth decay. Known to carry with it calcium and phosphate, increased saliva flow also helps strengthen your tooth enamel.

ADA acceptance
Choose gum with the American Dental Association (ADA) Seal, indicating it as met the required safety and effectiveness criteria. This approval means that you can trust the gum’s packaging and labeling to be true.

Sugarless
The only gums carrying the ADA Seal are sugarless. They contain sweeteners that don’t cause cavities, like aspartame, mannitol, sorbitol, or xylitol. Chewing gum with xylitol is especially recommended, because it has been shown to combat tooth decay and cavities.

Dental hygiene
Even though chewing gum can be beneficial, remember that brushing and flossing are still the best ways to care for your teeth. Brush twice a day with fluoride toothpaste, and floss every day to remove plaque and debris between your teeth. Between these dental hygiene tasks, however, it is acceptable to chew sugarless gum to continue caring for your mouth during the day.

We treat patients from Louisville and the surrounding area

Teeth whitening dentist

Teeth Whitening and Teeth Bleaching: What’s the Difference?

Having a bright, beautiful, white smile is something we all desire. It signals health and prosperity and leaves the best possible first impression a person can make. There are a host of products at the drug store that label themselves “whitening.” Whitening toothpastes, whitening mouth rinses, whitening strips, gels and creams all line the shelves, promising a “new you!” Your dentist, however, offers something labeled as “bleaching.” So what’s the difference? Which should you choose?

Your natural tooth is made up of two specific layers: enamel and dentin. The enamel layer is on the outside of the tooth. It’s the white part we see when someone smiles. It’s hard and heavily mineralized and can appear like porcelain. The dentin is the inner layer. It’s yellow in color and supports the enamel on the outside. Over time, your enamel naturally wears away and the yellow dentin color can begin to show through.

The term “whitening” is applied to any product that helps restore teeth to a natural color by removing debris and stains from a natural tooth’s surface. Any substance that restores the surface of a tooth’s enamel is a whitening product. Many whitening products contain a mild abrasive that removes leftover discoloration and food particles, leaving the enamel of the tooth smooth and white. Teeth whitening products combat stains caused by ageing and the discoloration left by many foods, or by smoking.

The FDA permits the term “bleaching” only for products that can whiten a tooth beyond their initial, natural color. Bleaching products contain active ingredients such as carbamide peroxide or hydrogen peroxide. The peroxide is activated so that it releases oxygen molecules that enter the tooth enamel and break down stains in a way that whitening products cannot. This activation can occur immediately, in the case of some in-office bleaching products, like laser whitening, or it can take several hours, as it can with custom take-home bleaching trays.

If you are considering brightening your smile, talk to Louisville teeth whitening dentist Stephen P. Smythe DMD to see what product is best suited to your smile needs!

Schedule your appointment at our Louisville dental office

root canal treatment

Saving Your Tooth with Root Canal Treatment

Millions of root canal treatments are performed every year, and it is an effective and safe way to save a damaged tooth. Unlike its reputation over the years, modern dentistry allows this procedure to be practically painless and to provide relief from symptoms right away.

Anatomy
The first thing to understand is the anatomy of the tooth. Under the hard enamel on the outside of the tooth and the dentin below that, the interior of a tooth contains pulp. It houses the nerves, blood vessels, and connective tissues that all nourish the tooth. This allows it to grow properly and contributes to good oral health. After the tooth is fully developed, the tooth can get its nourishment from surrounding tissues and the pulp is not as necessary.

Necessity
The pulp can become infected, inflamed, or damaged by problems like decay, injury, repeated dental procedures, or a bad crown. If the damaged pulp is not treated, an abscess can develop or severe pain can result. Often, root canal treatment is the only way to save the tooth instead of having to extract it. Dentists advise that saving a tooth is almost always a better option, providing the most natural appearance, efficient function, and protection of oral health.

Procedure
Many patients report that root canal treatment is not much different for them than having a regular filling done. X-rays are taken and a local anesthetic is administered. Once numb, a dental dam is placed to protect the area during the procedure. Then the pulp is removed, the area is thoroughly cleaned, and then it is filled with special material for this purpose. The tooth is sealed for protection, and finally a crown is placed on top to protect the tooth. Most patients are able to return to normal activities immediately following treatment, and the procedure is permanent in most cases.

If you need a root canal dentist in Louisville, contact our office today.

Cosmetic dentistry procedures

What are Cosmetic Dental Procedures?

Age, bad habits, and food and drink choices can all add up to be hard on our teeth. If you are unhappy with your smile and wish you could improve it, consider cosmetic dental procedures. Cosmetic dentistry offers a variety of options for restoring your smile.

Teeth whitening
One of the most popular cosmetic dental procedures, teeth whitening can either be performed at your dentist’s office or at home. Methods used by your dentist work quickly and can provide dramatic results, but many patients are very pleased with home methods as well. Home treatments may be as simple as using products you purchase at your drugstore, or your dentist can provide customized bleaching trays for home use.

Bonding
Tooth-colored resin can be applied to your teeth to correct chipped, broken, stained, or decayed teeth in a single dental visit. The resin is molded onto the surface of your damaged tooth, shaped, and then polished to match your other teeth.

Veneers
If you’re looking for a long-lasting and stain resistant solution to damaged teeth, porcelain veneers are a good choice. These thin custom shells are adhered to your teeth to cover them so that they provide a beautiful smile.

Composite fillings
A material called composite resin is used to restore decayed teeth or to reshape your teeth to improve their appearance. Composite fillings can correct minor imperfections like a chipped tooth, or it can restore a whole tooth like a molar to a fully functional tooth.

Inlays and onlays
For large cavities or cracks in your back teeth, inlays and onlays may be used instead of fillings. These tooth-colored restorations are created in a laboratory, and then adhered to your teeth so they fit perfectly.

Cosmetic dentist in Louisville

Cosmetic dentist in Louisville

Reasons that Dental Veneers Are a Popular Choice

Broken, chipped, stained, or crooked teeth can ruin an otherwise nice smile. Minor flaws like these can be easily corrected with dental veneers. They are a popular way to whiten, straighten, and improve smiles to get long-lasting and natural-looking results. Here are some reasons that veneers are chosen by many people wanting to change their look.

Better smile
Veneers are thin porcelain shells customized to fit securely onto the front surfaces of your teeth. They hide problems and fit in beautifully with the rest of your features. Your smile will be made brand new.

No more stains
Yellow or stained teeth can really make a smile look unattractive. Some discolorations are very hard to get rid of, even with professional cleanings or whitening. Veneers instantly brighten your smile to the shade of your choice, and resist stains so that you no longer have to worry about the foods and drinks you consume.

Straighter teeth
If your teeth alignment problems aren’t major and you don’t want to go to the hassles or expense of braces, veneers may be a solution. They go right over crooked teeth to create a straight smile.

Quick results
Veneers can be provided in just a couple of office visits. You will have a short time between getting temporary and permanent veneers attached, but once they are in you’ll immediately have an improved smile.

Long lasting
Veneers can last a lifetime if you take proper care of them. Regular brushing, flossing, and checkups will help ensure a sparkling smile for many years to come.

Few risks
Side effects with veneers are nearly non-existent. There may be some initial discomfort, but it subsides quickly and can be treated with over-the-counter medications. The only thing to remember is that veneers are permanent. Since a small amount of tooth enamel is removed to accommodate the veneers, you’ll have them forever or will need to get replacements at some point.

Cosmetic dentist in Louisville

 

Soda and your teeth

Stop the Pop!!

Whether you call it pop, soda, soft drink, or something else, these terms all refer to a sugary, carbonated drink popular all over the country. It is estimated that Americans consume over 13 billion gallons of soft drinks each year. These beverages can cause serious health problems, including negative effects on your oral health.

Soft drinks are one of the most significant reasons for tooth decay, and it impacts all age groups. From babies drinking it out of bottles to teenagers drinking it all day long to older adults sipping it in retirement homes, it is deteriorating tooth enamel and eroding gums of everyone who consumes it.

Why are soft drinks harmful?
The high sugar content in the drinks is the root cause of trouble, and the high acid content adds to the threat. The sugar combines with bacteria in your mouth to create an acid, which adds to the acid from the drink itself. Then this mixture attacks your teeth. Each time you take a drink of the carbonated beverage, an acid attack begins in your mouth. During this time, your tooth enamel is weakened and cavities are just waiting to form. You may think that the risk goes away by drinking sugar-free soft drinks. Although these are less harmful, they are still acidic and can lead to decay.

How can I avoid harming my teeth?
The ideal way to rule out risks from soft drinks is to cut them out of your diet completely. If you think you just can’t live without them, here are some suggestions:

  • Drink more water.
  • Set a good example. Drink alternatives yourself and encourage your kids to do the same.
  • Sip with straws. This helps keep the sugar from direct contact with your teeth.
  • Rinse with water. After drinking a soda, rinse your mouth with water to reduce the amount of sugar and acid hanging onto your teeth and gums.
  • Use fluoride toothpaste and mouth rinse. Using fluoride in your daily dental routine helps to reduce decay and strengthen enamel. Also ask your dentist about the possible need for professional fluoride treatments.

General dentist in Louisville – Schedule your appointment today.