While anyone can lose a permanent tooth, the cause often varies by age group. Adults usually lose their teeth to disease, while those under twenty lose a tooth to accidents.
For adults, a dental implant is usually the best way to replace a missing tooth. Teenagers and younger, on the other hand, must wait to get implants until their jaws fully develop. An implant placed on an immature jaw will eventually look and feel out of place.
For most, their jaws won't reach full maturity until their early twenties. Even so, they still have a couple of good options for restoring their smiles in the meantime, albeit temporarily.
One is a removable partial denture or RPD, a device with the replacement prosthetic (false) tooth or teeth set in a gum-colored acrylic base. Of the various types of RPDs, most teenagers do well with a rigid but lightweight version called a “flipper,” called so because it can be flipped in and out of place with the tongue.
These RPDs are affordable, their fit easily adjusted, and they make cleaning the rest of the teeth easier. But they can break while biting down hard and—because they're dentures—aren't always well accepted among teenagers.
The other option is a bonded bridge. Unlike a traditional bridge secured with crowns cemented to natural teeth, a bonded bridge uses a strip of dental material affixed to the back of the prosthetic tooth with the ends of the strip extending outward horizontally. With the prosthetic tooth inserted into the empty space, these extended ends are bonded to the backs of the natural teeth on either side.
Though not as secure as a traditional bridge, a bonded bridge is more aesthetic and comfortable than an RPG. On the other hand, patients who have a deep bite or a teeth-grinding habit, both of which can generate abnormally high biting forces, run a higher risk of damaging the bridge. A bridge can also make hygiene tasks difficult and time-consuming, requiring a high degree of self-discipline from the patient.
Whichever you choose, both options can effectively replace a teenager's missing tooth while waiting for dental implants. Although temporary, they can make the long wait time for a teenager more bearable.
Fluoride is an important part of your child's dental development. But if children take in too much of this important mineral, they could experience enamel fluorosis, a condition in which teeth become discolored with dark streaking or mottling.
That's why it's important to keep fluoride levels within safe bounds, especially for children under the age of 9. To do that, here's a look at the most common sources for fluoride your child may take in and how you can moderate them.
Toothpaste. Fluoridated toothpaste is an effective way for your child to receive the benefits of fluoride. But to make sure they're not getting too much, apply only a smear of toothpaste to the brush for infants. When they get a little older you can increase that to a pea-sized amount on the end of the brush. You should also train your child not to swallow toothpaste.
Drinking water. Most water systems add tiny amounts of fluoride to drinking water. To find out how much your water provider adds visit “My Water's Fluoride” online. If it's more than the government's recommendation of 0.70 parts of fluoride per million parts of water, you may want ask your dentist if you should limit your child's consumption of fluoridated drinking water.
Infant formula. Many parents choose bottle-feeding their baby with infant formula rather than breastfeed. If you use the powdered form and mix it with tap water that's fluoridated, your baby could be ingesting more of the mineral. If breastfeeding isn't an option, try using the premixed formula, which normally contains lower levels of fluoride. If you use powdered formula, mix it with bottled water labeled “de-ionized,” “purified,” “demineralized” or “distilled.”
It might seem like the better strategy for preventing fluorosis is to avoid fluoride altogether. But that can increase the risk of tooth decay, a far more destructive outcome for your child's teeth than the appearance problems caused by fluorosis. The better way is to consult with your dentist on keeping your child's intake within recognized limits to safely receive fluoride's benefits of stronger, healthier teeth.
If you would like more information on fluoride and your baby's 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 “Tooth Development and Infant Formula.”
Are you dealing with symptoms of an infected tooth?
If you are dealing with a toothache, sudden and increased tooth sensitivity, or pus coming from the gums around the tooth, it’s important that the next trip you make is to see our Madisonville, KY, dentists Drs. Ben and Stuart Baldwin for immediate root canal treatment. The sooner a dental infection is treated the better.
No, a root canal shouldn’t hurt
Many people cringe at hearing the words “root canal” because this common dental procedure has gotten a bad rap over the years. We’re not really sure why, but our dental team can assure you that when you get root canal treatment here at our Madisonville, KY, practice you won’t have to worry about pain.
A root canal is performed under local anesthesia, which means that your mouth will be fully numb before we even start. You won’t feel a thing throughout your procedure, but if you do notice any discomfort all you have to do is let us know. How the goal is to make any treatment you receive as comfortable as possible for you.
Root canals actually get rid of the pain
When you have an infected tooth, you’ll certainly know it. While the outside of the tooth doesn’t contain any nerves, the inside of the tooth (known as the dental pulp) does. This means that when you suddenly notice a throbbing or aching pain within the tooth this is often a sign that the tooth is infected or inflamed. This can cause some pretty horrible pain. The good news is that this procedure can remove the infected parts of the tooth, disinfect the tooth, and get rid of pain almost instantly.
Root canals save teeth
Nothing is better than being able to preserve your own natural teeth and a root canal can help. After all, an infected tooth that isn’t treated right away can lead to irreparable damage. This is why it’s so important that you visit your dentist as soon as symptoms such as a toothache appear. We can remove the infected pulp and save the tooth, so you don’t need to have it extracted.
If you are ever concerned about the health of your teeth or suspect that you may need root canal treatment, don’t hesitate to call Baldwin Dental Group in Madisonville, KY, today at (270) 245-1547. We provide immediate care for those dealing with true dental emergencies.
We're all tempted occasionally to use our teeth in ways that might risk damage. Hopefully, though, you've never considered anything close to what singer, songwriter and now social media persona Jason Derulo recently tried in a TikTok video—attempting to eat corn on the cob spinning on a power drill. The end result seemed to be a couple of broken front teeth, although many of his followers suspected an elaborate prank.
Prank or not, subjecting your teeth to “motorized corn”—or a host of other less extreme actions or habits—is not a good thing, especially if you have veneers, crowns or other dental work. Although teeth can withstand a lot, they're not invincible.
Here, then, are four things you should do to help ensure your teeth stay healthy, functional and intact.
Clean your teeth daily. Strong teeth are healthy teeth, so you want to do all you can to prevent tooth decay or gum disease. Besides semi-annual dental cleanings, the most important thing you can do is to brush and floss your teeth daily. These hygiene tasks help remove dental plaque, a thin biofilm that is the biggest culprit in dental disease that could weaken teeth and make them more susceptible to injury.
Avoid biting on hard objects. Teeth's primary purpose is to break down food for digestion, not to break open nuts or perform similar tasks. You should also avoid habitual chewing on hard objects like pencils, nails or ice to relieve stress. And, you may need to be careful eating apples or other foods with hard surfaces if you have veneers or composite bonding on your teeth.
Wear a sports mouthguard. If you or a family member are regularly involved with sports like basketball, baseball/softball or football (even informally), you can protect your teeth from facial blows by wearing an athletic mouthguard. Although you can obtain a retail variety in most stores selling sporting goods, a custom-made guard by a dentist offers the best protection and comfort.
Visit your dentist regularly. As mentioned before, semi-annual dental cleanings help remove hidden plaque and tartar and further minimize your risk of disease. Regular dental visits also give us a chance to examine your mouth for any signs of decay or gum disease, and to check on your dental health overall. Optimizing your dental health plays a key part in preventing dental damage.
You should expect an unpleasant outcome involving your teeth with power tools. But a lot less could still damage them: To fully protect your dental health, be sure you practice daily oral care, avoid tooth contact with hard objects and wear a mouthguard for high-risk physical activities.
If you would like more information on caring for your cosmetic dental work, please contact us or schedule a consultation. To learn more, read the Dear Doctor magazine articles “Porcelain Veneers” and “An Introduction to Sports Injuries & Dentistry.”
Are you unhappy with the way your smile looks after tooth loss? Dental implants, one of the treatments and services provided by your dentists in Madisonville, KY, Drs. Ben and Stuart Baldwin of Baldwin Dental Group, can make your smile whole again.
How dental implants replace lost teeth
Just like buildings need strong foundations, teeth require strong roots to function optimally. Roots give your teeth the strength they need to bite, tear, grind and chew a variety of foods. Unlike other tooth restoration options, dental implants not only restore the crowns (tops) of teeth but also replace the roots.
The dental implant process starts when small titanium posts called implants are placed in your jawbone during minor oral surgery. In just three to six months, the implants bond to your jawbone, becoming just as strong as your natural tooth roots.
Dental crowns are added to the tops of implants once they're securely attached to your jawbone to complete the restoration of your missing teeth. Crowns are created from an impression of your mouth made during a visit to the Madisonville dental office.
Dental implants are an excellent option for most people
Your dentist may recommend dental implants if:
- You don't like the way your smile looks: Dental implants fill the gaps in your smile, helping you feel more confident.
- You're having trouble chewing: Biting and chewing can become difficult after tooth loss. Dental implants improve your appearance but also give you the biting power you need to eat hard, tough and sticky foods.
- You're in good oral and general health: If you're healthy, you're probably a good candidate for dental implants. If you have an immune system condition or take medications that suppress your immune system, implants may not be a good idea. Immune conditions and immune-suppressing medications interfere with healing.
- You don't smoke: Smoking also affects healing and makes it difficult for dental implants to bond to your jawbone.
- You practice good oral hygiene: Daily brushing and flossing will keep your implants in good condition and help you avoid infections.
Restore your lost teeth with dental implants. Call your Madisonville, KY, dentists, Drs. Ben and Stuart Baldwin of Baldwin Dental Group, at (270) 245-1547 to schedule your appointment.
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