Posts for category: Dental Procedures
Tooth decay is as relentless as it is destructive, and it makes little distinction between age, gender, ethnicity or social status. Although risk levels vary from person to person, we’re all potentially in the crossfire for this harmful disease. Getting ahead of it early could save your teeth.
Tooth decay begins with oral bacteria. While feeding on dental plaque that accumulates on the teeth, bacteria multiply and produce acid as a by-product. Too much acid softens and erodes tooth enamel, which enables decay to advance deeper into the tooth.
If it isn’t stopped, decay can eventually infect and weaken the roots and bone, and ultimately lead to a lost tooth. By stopping it as early as possible before it reaches the inner pulp and root canals, we can greatly limit the damage.
Regular dental care is crucial for early detection. Here’s how we can stay ahead of developing decay during dental visits.
Visible inspection. There are visible signs a trained dentist may notice that point to tooth decay. Besides an already formed hole or cavity, we might also pick up on other unusual appearances like white spot lesions: these slight blemishes often occur in the areas of contact with other teeth, which we can treat with topical fluoride.
X-rays. This tried and true diagnostic tool has been a mainstay of dental care for nearly a century. The images they produce can indicate decay as darker spots or areas on or within the tooth that may not yet be visible to the eye. And with advances in digital processing and more streamlined equipment, we can effectively do this with a very low dosage of radiation exposure.
Advanced technology. We’ve developed other means for better disease detection that complement x-rays and visual inspections. Specialized microscopes and lasers are now important tools for analyzing suspected areas of early decay.
Even if decay gets a foothold we can effectively stop it and restore a tooth with a root canal treatment or a similar procedure. The best outcome, though, is to not allow this destructive disease to get that far. With dedicated oral hygiene and regular dental visits that uncover early decay, chances are good your teeth can remain healthy for a lifetime.
If you would like more information on fighting tooth decay, 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 Decay: How to Assess Your Risk.”
Once upon a time, celebrities tried hard to maintain the appearance of red-carpet glamour at all times. That meant keeping the more mundane aspects of their lives out of the spotlight: things like shopping, walking the dog and having oral surgery, for example.
That was then. Today, you can find plenty of celebs posting pictures from the dentist on social media. Take Julianne Hough, for example: In 2011 and 2013, she tweeted from the dental office. Then, not long ago, she shared a video taken after her wisdom teeth were removed in December 2016. In it, the 28-year-old actress and dancer cracked jokes and sang a loopy rendition of a Christmas carol, her mouth filled with gauze. Clearly, she was feeling relaxed and comfortable!
Lots of us enjoy seeing the human side of celebrities. But as dentists, we’re also glad when posts such as these help demystify a procedure that could be scary for some people.
Like having a root canal, the thought of extracting wisdom teeth (also called third molars) makes some folks shudder. Yet this routine procedure is performed more often than any other type of oral surgery. Why? Because wisdom teeth, which usually begin to erupt (emerge from beneath the gums) around age 17-25, have the potential to cause serious problems in the mouth. When these molars lack enough space to fully erupt in their normal positions, they are said to be “impacted.”
One potential problem with impacted wisdom teeth is crowding. Many people don’t have enough space in the jaw to accommodate another set of molars; when their wisdom teeth come in, other teeth can be damaged. Impacted wisdom teeth may also have an increased potential to cause periodontal disease, bacterial infection, and other issues.
Not all wisdom teeth need to be removed; after a complete examination, including x-rays and/or other diagnostic imaging, a recommendation will be made based on each individual’s situation. It may involve continued monitoring of the situation, orthodontics or extraction.
Wisdom tooth extraction is usually done right in the office, often with a type of anesthesia called “conscious sedation.”Â Here, the patient is able to breathe normally and respond to stimuli (such as verbal directions), but remains free from pain. For people who are especially apprehensive about dental procedures, anti-anxiety mediation may also be given. After the procedure, prescription or over-the-counter pain medication may be used for a few days. If you feel like singing a few bars, as Julianne did, it’s up to you.
If you would like more information about wisdom tooth extraction, please call our office to arrange a consultation. You can learn more in the Dear Doctor magazine articles “Wisdom Teeth” and “Removing Wisdom Teeth.”
Have you experienced tooth loss?
One of the consequences of losing a tooth is jawbone deterioration. To offset this destructive effect, dental experts have long been using dental implants as a reinforcement, and your dentists in Madisonville, KY, Drs. Ben and Stuart Baldwin, know firsthand how beneficial this procedure can be and how to perform it.
Here's The Process:
The dental implant procedure consists of several simple steps. A local anesthetic is applied to the area that will undergo the procedure. Your dentist will then remove any decayed tooth that may be remaining and insert a titanium post into the jawbone. The titanium post acts as the new tooth root and is biocompatible, so there is no worry of tissue rejection. The doctor will then surgically close the area and allow it to heal for a period of 3 to 6 months while osseointegration takes its full course (this is the process where titanium fuses to the jawbone to provide reinforcement). When you return, your Madisonville dentist will re-open the area, insert an abutment, and place a crown over the abutment that matches the rest of your teeth.
Dental Implant Benefits
- They anchor dentures.
- They fill gaps in your teeth.
- They look natural and give you a beautiful smile.
- At 95 percent, implants have a higher success rate compared to other dental restorations.
- You won't have to worry about being able to bite into and chew your favorite foods.
- They don't slip out of place like dentures, which makes them comfortable and practical.
- They provide your jawbone with the support it needs so that it doesn't shrink.
Plus, caring for dental implants is easy. Here are a few tips on how to take care of your dental implants:
- Get professional dental cleanings and checkups every six months
- Use fluoride-containing products like toothpaste and mouthwash to prevent gum disease and tooth decay
- Brush your teeth for at least two minutes twice a day
- Floss at least once before bed
Contact Us Today!
If you have questions or concerns, Drs. Ben and Stuart Baldwin can help you out. Call (270) 245-1547 in Madisonville, KY, to make an appoint today!
We most often associate plastic surgery with cosmetic enhancements to our outer appearance. While this is their primary purpose, some forms of reconstructive surgery restore lost function and health as well as improve appearance. A classic example is cosmetic periodontal (gum) surgery that restores receded gum tissues that have exposed more of the tooth than is visually appealing.
Gum recession occurs primarily because of excessive brushing (too hard or for too long) or because of periodontal (gum) disease, a bacterial infection that ultimately causes gum tissue to detach and pull away from the teeth. Gum recession not only affects the appearance of the teeth, it can expose the tooth’s root surface to further infection and decay. Without treatment, the disease could progress causing further damage with the potential for the tooth to be eventually lost.
In conjunction with plaque removal to stop gum disease and possibly other treatments like orthodontics to correct misaligned teeth, cosmetic gum surgery is used to rejuvenate lost gum tissues around teeth through tissue grafting. In these procedures, a combination of surgical approaches and/or grafting materials are attached to the area of recession to stimulate the remaining tissue to grow upon the graft and eventually replace it.
Donor grafts can originate from three sources: from the patient (an autograft); another person (an allograft); or another animal species, usually a cow (a xenograft). Tissues from outside the patient are thoroughly treated to remove all cellular material and bacteria to eliminate any possibility of host rejection or disease transmission.
Depending on the nature of the gum recession and tooth condition, the procedure can take different forms. It could involve completely detaching the graft tissue from the host site and re-attaching it to the recipient site. But if more of the tooth root is exposed, the surgeon may cover the graft with tissue adjacent to the host site to supply blood to the graft, and affix the loosened pedicle to the graft site. While any technique requires advanced training and experience, the latter procedure involves microsurgical techniques that require the highest levels of technical skill and art.
Cosmetic gum surgery can result in healthier gum tissues and teeth that are less susceptible to infection and loss. No less important, though, these procedures can return a more natural look to your teeth and gums — and a more pleasing smile.
If you would like more information on gum tissue reconstruction, 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 “Periodontal Plastic Surgery.”
Could this durable restoration be exactly what you need to preserve an injured tooth?
There are many reasons our Madisonville, KY, family dentists Drs. Ben and Stuart Baldwin may recommend getting a dental crown. After all, they boast both restorative and cosmetic benefits that could significantly help someone who is dealing with dental issues. A crown is a great way to protect the natural structure of a tooth after it's been damaged while also restoring chewing and biting. In fact, crowns are also instrumental in being able to replace a missing tooth. So, let’s find out whether crowns are right for you.
Crowns are most often used for restorative purposes; however, the ways in which a crown can improve a smile are also endless. You may need a dental crown if you are dealing with:
- A severely weakened tooth due to decay or damage
- A cracked or fractured tooth
- A tooth that has undergone root canal therapy
- An infected tooth
- A missing tooth
In most cases, this hollow, tooth-shaped cap is placed over the crown of the tooth to become its new outer layer. This cap will encapsulate the natural structure and protect it from further harm. This is particularly important because a damaged tooth is weaker than a healthy one and is susceptible to further damage. Placing a crown will restore the tooth’s durability while maintaining its natural structure.
A crown can also be a great option for patients looking to cosmetically improve the shape, color or overall appearance of a tooth. While there are other cosmetic treatment options out there, if your tooth isn’t just damaged but is also malformed or severely discolored then a dental crown will also restore its appearance so that it looks just like the rest of your healthy teeth. Crowns are also made from resilient, tooth-colored materials such as porcelain, ceramic or composite resin, so the only person who will know that you have a crown is you.
Are you missing a permanent tooth? If so, then our Madisonville, KY, dentist will most likely use a dental crown to help fill the gap where your missing tooth used to be. No matter whether you choose to get a dental implant or a dental bridge, a crown will be used to either hold the dental bridge in place or to cover the implant.
If you want to learn more about dental crowns and whether your smile could benefit from restorative or cosmetic dentistry in Madisonville, KY, then call Baldwin Dental Group to find out the many ways in which we can get you a healthy smile.