Posts for: January, 2018
If we could go back in time, we all probably have a few things we wish we could change. Recently, Dr. Travis Stork, emergency room physician and host of the syndicated TV show The Doctors, shared one of his do-over dreams with Dear Doctor magazine: “If I [could have] gone back and told myself as a teenager what to do, I would have worn a mouthguard, not only to protect my teeth but also to help potentially reduce risk of concussion.”
What prompted this wish? The fact that as a teenage basketball player, Stork received an elbow to the mouth that caused his two front teeth to be knocked out of place. The teeth were put back in position, but they soon became darker and began to hurt. Eventually, both were successfully restored with dental crowns. Still, it was a painful (and costly) injury — and one that could have been avoided.
You might not realize it, but when it comes to dental injuries, basketball ranks among the riskier sports. Yet it’s far from the only one. In fact, according to the American Dental Association (ADA), there are some two dozen others — including baseball, hockey, surfing and bicycling — that carry a heightened risk of dental injury. Whenever you’re playing those sports, the ADA recommends you wear a high-quality mouth guard.
Mouthguards have come a long way since they were introduced as protective equipment for boxers in the early 1900’s. Today, three different types are widely available: stock “off-the-shelf” types that come in just a few sizes; mouth-formed “boil-and-bite” types that you adapt to the general contours of your mouth; and custom-made high-quality mouthguards that are made just for you at the dental office.
Of all three types, the dentist-made mouthguards are consistently found to be the most comfortable and best-fitting, and the ones that offer your teeth the greatest protection. What’s more, recent studies suggest that custom-fabricated mouthguards can provide an additional defense against concussion — in fact, they are twice as effective as the other types. That’s why you’ll see more and more professional athletes (and plenty of amateurs as well) sporting custom-made mouthguards at games and practices.
“I would have saved myself a lot of dental heartache if I had worn a mouthguard,” noted Dr. Stork. So take his advice: Wear a mouthguard whenever you play sports — unless you’d like to meet him (or one of his medical colleagues) in a professional capacity…
What your dentists in Madisonville, Kentucky want you to know
Nature doesn’t always make perfect smiles, but fortunately, you can create a smile you will love, thanks to cosmetic dentistry. With the wide variety of cosmetic dental services available, there is a procedure to correct every dental issue, large or small. Drs. Ben and Stuart Baldwin at Baldwin Dental Group in Madisonville, Kentucky want to introduce you to just a few of the most common cosmetic dental procedures.
If you have a smile that is showing the years, it’s time to whiten and brighten it with a professional teeth whitening treatment. Teeth whitening methods can whiten away the stains and yellowing, giving you a smile that is up to 8 shades whiter. The results are impressive, and your results can last up to 5 years! You can choose an in-office treatment which takes about an hour, or a convenient take-home kit.
If you have unsightly chips, cracks or defects in your teeth, you can hide them with cosmetic bonding. Cosmetic bonding uses a liquid resin material known as composite, which allows you to change the shape and color of your teeth. You can even close up small gaps between teeth and cosmetically change the alignment of rotated teeth.
If you have an uninteresting smile and want your smile to get noticed, you might think about porcelain veneers. Veneers are thin laminates of light-reflective porcelain which look completely natural. They are cemented onto the front surfaces of teeth, hiding cracks, chips, and other imperfections. Veneers usually require between two and three appointments.
If you have tooth or jaw alignment problems but you don’t want to wear a smile full of metal brackets and wires, consider Invisalign, the virtually invisible way to achieve a straight smile. Invisalign appliances, called aligners, are made of smooth plastic, making them very comfortable. They are also convenient because you can remove the aligners when you eat and to brush and floss. Invisalign treatment typically takes nine to fifteen months.
These are just a few of the many cosmetic dental services available at Baldwin Dental Group. To find out more about cosmetic and restorative dental services call Drs. Ben and Stuart Baldwin at Baldwin Dental Group in Madisonville, Kentucky today!
Periodontal (gum) disease can cause a number of devastating effects that could eventually lead to tooth loss. However, you may be more prone to a particular effect depending on the individual characteristics of your gums.
There are two basic types of gum tissues or “periodontal biotypes” that we inherit from our parents: thick or thin. These can often be identified by sight — thinner gum tissues present a more pronounced arch around the teeth and appear more scalloped; thicker tissues present a flatter arch appearance. While there are size variations within each biotype, one or the other tends to predominate within certain populations: those of European or African descent typically possess the thick biotype, while Asians tend to possess the thin biotype.
In relation to gum disease, those with thin gum tissues are more prone to gum recession. The diseased tissues pull up and away (recede) from a tooth, eventually exposing the tooth’s root surface. Receding gums thus cause higher sensitivity to temperature changes or pressure, and can accelerate tooth decay. It’s also unattractive as the normal pink triangles of gum tissue between teeth (papillae) may be lost, leaving only a dark spot between the teeth or making the more yellow-colored root surface visible.
While thicker gum tissues are more resilient to gum recession, they’re more prone to the development of periodontal pockets. In this case, the slight gap between teeth and gums grows longer as the infected tissues pull away from the teeth as the underlying bone tissue is lost. The resulting void becomes deeper and more prone to infection and will ultimately result in further bone loss and decreased survivability for the tooth.
Either of these conditions will require extensive treatment beyond basic plaque control. Severe gum recession, for example, may require grafting techniques to cover exposed teeth and encourage new tissue growth. Periodontal pockets, in turn, must be accessed and cleaned of infection: the deeper the pocket the more invasive the treatment, including surgery.
Regardless of what type of gum tissue you have, it’s important for you to take steps to lower your risk of gum disease. First and foremost, practice effective daily hygiene with brushing and flossing to remove bacterial plaque, the main cause of gum disease. You should also visit us at least twice a year (or more, if you’ve developed gum disease) for those all important cleanings and checkups.
If you would like more information on hereditary factors for gum disease, 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 “Genetics & Gum Tissue Types.”