Posts for category: Oral Health
There are plenty of options today for replacing missing teeth, including dental implants. But if the teeth have been missing for some time, complications can arise that limit your restorative options.
The most consequential possibility is bone loss. Bone has a life cycle: old cells dissolve (resorb), and are then replaced by new cells, stimulated to grow by the forces applied to the teeth during chewing. But the bone won't receive this stimulation if a tooth is missing — so growth slows down, which causes the bone volume to diminish with time.
Another complication can occur involving other teeth around the open space. These teeth will naturally move or “drift” out of their normal position into the missing tooth space. As a result we may not have enough room to place a prosthetic (false) tooth.
If either or both of these complications occur, we'll need to address them before attempting a restoration. Bone loss itself could eliminate dental implants as an option because they require a certain amount of supporting bone for correct placement. Bone loss could also make correcting misaligned teeth difficult if not impossible.
It might be possible, though, to regenerate lost bone with a bone graft. The graft is placed, sometimes along with growth stimulating substances, within the diminished bone area. It then serves as a scaffold upon which new bone can form.
If the bone becomes healthy again, we can then attempt to move any drifted teeth back to where they belong. Besides braces, there's another treatment option especially popular with adults: clear aligners. These are a series of removable, clear plastic trays that, like braces, exert gradual pressure on the teeth to move them. Patients wear each individual tray for about two weeks, and then switch to the next tray in the series to continue the process.
Unlike their traditional counterparts, clear aligners can be removed for cleaning or for special occasions. More importantly, they're much less noticeable than traditional braces.
Once any problems with bone health or bite have been addressed and corrected, you'll have a fuller range of options for replacing your missing teeth. With a little extra time and effort, you'll soon be able to regain a smile you'll be proud to display.
What your dentist in Apple Valley, California wants you to know
Brushing and flossing are great ways to protect your smile, but is it enough? The fact is you don’t have to protect your smile all by yourself. Your dentist provides important preventive care services that can help ensure you enjoy a healthy smile that can last a lifetime.
Dr. Samuel Kim at Apple Valley Dental in Apple Valley, California wants to share why preventive care is important. He proudly serves the residents of Apple Valley and Lucerne Valley, California.
Many dental problems can only be diagnosed with a comprehensive dental examination and x-rays. That means you can have a major dental problem brewing, and you might not even know it.
Dr. Kim uses only state-of-the-art technology to diagnose and treat your dental problems. Preventive dental care can help you guard against tooth decay, a dental abscess, gum disease and periodontal disease. Early detection of a dental issue can lead to a better outcome, saving you money, time, and potential pain down the road. If you procrastinate with preventive care, it can lead to:
- A small cavity turning into the need for a large filling or crown
- A large cavity turning into the need for a root canal or extraction
- Tooth removal turning into the need for expensive tooth replacement
- Gum disease turning into periodontal disease and bone loss
- Periodontal disease and bone loss turning into tooth loss
Dr. Kim offers a full range of preventive services for both children and adults, including:
- Professional cleanings
- Fluoride treatments
- Oral hygiene instruction
- Preventive dental sealants
- Oral cancer screenings
- Athletic mouthguards
- Bruxism appliances and nightguards
For a complete listing of services, please visit the services page on the website at http://www.applevalleydental.net/services.html
Preventive care is important, so don’t wait. Take care of your smile by calling Dr. Samuel Kim at Apple Valley Dental, serving the residents of Apple Valley, and Lucerne Valley, California. Call today and protect your smile!
It's no secret that many of Hollywood's brightest stars didn't start out with perfectly aligned, pearly-white teeth. And these days, plenty of celebs are willing to share their stories, showing how dentists help those megawatt smiles shine. In a recent interview with W magazine, Emma Stone, the stunning 28-year-old star of critically-acclaimed films like La La Land and Birdman, explained how orthodontic appliances helped her overcome problems caused by a harmful habit: persistent thumb sucking in childhood.
“I sucked my thumb until I was 11 years old,” she admitted, mischievously adding “It's still so soothing to do it.” Although it may have been comforting, the habit spelled trouble for her bite. “The roof of my mouth is so high-pitched that I had this huge overbite,” she said. “I got this gate when I was in second grade… I had braces, and then they put a gate.”
While her technical terminology isn't quite accurate, Stone is referring to a type of appliance worn in the mouth which dentists call a “tongue crib” or “thumb/finger appliance.” The purpose of these devices is to stop children from engaging in “parafunctional habits” — that is, behaviors like thumb sucking or tongue thrusting, which are unrelated to the normal function of the mouth and can cause serious bite problems. (Other parafunctional habits include nail biting, pencil chewing and teeth grinding.)
When kids develop the habit of regularly pushing the tongue against the front teeth (tongue thrusting) or sucking on an object placed inside the mouth (thumb sucking), the behavior can cause the front teeth to be pushed out of alignment. When the top teeth move forward, the condition is commonly referred to as an overbite. In some cases a more serious situation called an “open bite” may develop, which can be difficult to correct. Here, the top and bottom front teeth do not meet or overlap when the mouth is closed; instead, a vertical gap is left in between.
Orthodontic appliances are often recommended to stop harmful oral habits from causing further misalignment. Most appliances are designed with a block (or gate) that prevents the tongue or finger from pushing on the teeth; this is what the actress mentioned. Normally, when the appliance is worn for a period of months it can be expected to modify the child's behavior. Once the habit has been broken, other appliances like traditional braces or clear aligners can be used to bring the teeth into better alignment.
But in Stone's case, things didn't go so smoothly. “I'd take the gate down and suck my thumb underneath the mouth appliance,” she admitted, “because I was totally ignoring the rule to not suck your thumb while you're trying to straighten out your teeth.” That rule-breaking ended up costing the aspiring star lots of time: she spent a total of 7 years wearing braces.
Fortunately, things worked out for the best for Emma Stone: She now has a brilliant smile and a stellar career — plus a shiny new Golden Globe award! Does your child have a thumb sucking problem or another harmful oral habit? For more information about how to correct it, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can learn more in the Dear Doctor magazine article “How Thumb Sucking Affects the Bite.”
If you have limited financial resources, learning what it will cost to restore your teeth and gums to good health could be a shock. Dental care can be expensive, especially for treating advanced dental disease.
Properly managing your ongoing dental care can greatly reduce the chances for higher expenses in the future. Here are 3 tips for staying ahead of problems that might cost you dearly tomorrow.
Practice prevention now. Dental disease doesn’t come out of nowhere — it’s the product of a bacteria-rich environment and neglect. You can help eliminate that environment by removing plaque — a thin film of bacteria and food particles built up on tooth surfaces — with daily brushing and flossing. Twice-a-year dental cleanings remove plaque and calculus (hardened plaque deposits) you can’t reach with daily brushing. Reducing sugar (which bacteria feed on) in your diet and treating low saliva flow (which can increase decay-causing acid in the mouth) will round out your prevention practices.
Take care of emerging problems as soon as possible. Dental disease typically doesn’t go away by itself: more likely, it will get worse — and more costly — with time. Don’t wait to see us if you encounter tooth pain or bleeding, tender or swollen gums. In some cases, we can take temporary measures like resin-based fillings in decayed areas that can buy a little time while you prepare for the expense of a more permanent restoration.
Adopt a long-term care strategy. Our goal is for you to have as healthy a mouth as possible.Â To that end, we’ll work with you on strategy and payment plans that address your individual needs. A good strategy puts a priority on treating emergencies or advanced disease first, followed by treating less affected teeth as you’re able to afford it. We may also be able to address your tooth and gum problems with fewer but longer sessions that can help ease pressure on your costs.
Adopting solid hygiene and dietary habits now, visiting us at least twice a year and following a plan to treat problems as they emerge is your best approach for keeping dental care from making a huge impact on your wallet.
If you would like more information on managing your dental health, 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 “Cost-Saving Treatment Alternatives.”
These are such simple habits but yet important ones for keeping your teeth and gums problem-free.
You’ve been brushing and flossing and caring for your smile for as long as you can remember. It seems pretty simple, right? Well, yes and no. Brushing and flossing doesn’t have to be rocket science but it’s important that you are doing everything you can to keep cavities and gum disease away. Our Apple Valley, CA, dentist, Dr. Samuel Kim, also serving patients in Lucerne Valley, is here to offer up some helpful tips for keeping your oral health in tip-top shape.
Maintain Clean Smiles
Here’s what you should know about keeping your teeth and gums clean:
- You should be brushing at least twice a day (better yet; brush after every meal)
- Floss your teeth daily (ideally, at the end of the evening before you brush)
- Make sure to replace your toothbrush head every three to four months, or once the bristles start to splay out. You should also replace your toothbrush head after an illness.
- When you do brush make sure you are doing it for at least two minutes. If you don’t have an electronic toothbrush with an automatic timer, set a timer yourself.
Don’t Forget About Your Dentist
No matter how busy you are you always need to find time to visit your dentist. If your smile is healthy you should only need to come in every six months. This is a great chance to not only remove plaque and tartar buildup but we can also pick up on subtle changes that could potentially lead to issues down the road if you aren’t careful. Visiting us regularly could mean the difference between a healthy smile and some serious dental problems.
Quit or Avoid Tobacco
If you don’t smoke then this is great news for your oral health, but if you are a smoker it’s time to ditch the habit as soon as possible. Smokers and tobacco users are more likely to develop gum disease, infections, implant failure, oral cancer and a host of other long-term issues. If you are having trouble quitting, talk to our Apple Valley and Lucerne Valley general dentist who can recommend programs and support groups to help.
Maintain a Healthy Diet
As you probably already know, foods that are sugary or starchy aren’t good for your teeth. While we won’t say never to have sugar again (everything is moderation, right?), just be aware of the foods you are eating on a regular basis. Make sure your teeth and gums are getting the nutrients they need and you are maintaining a healthy, balanced diet.
Whether you have questions about your at-home oral routine or you need to book your next professional dental cleaning, the friendly dental folks at Apple Valley Dental in Apple Valley, CA, also serving the Lucerne Valley area, are ready to help in any way they can. Call us today!