Posts for: March, 2019
The movie Bohemian Rhapsody celebrates the iconic rock band Queen and its legendary lead vocalist, Freddie Mercury. But when we see pictures of the flamboyant singer, many fans both old and new may wonder—what made Freddie’s toothy smile look the way it did? Here’s the answer: The singer was born with four extra teeth at the back of his mouth, which caused his front teeth to be pushed forward, giving him a noticeable overbite.
The presence of extra teeth—more than 20 primary (baby) teeth or 32 adult teeth—is a relatively rare condition called hyperdontia. Sometimes this condition causes no trouble, and an extra tooth (or two) isn’t even recognized until the person has an oral examination. In other situations, hyperdontia can create problems in the mouth such as crowding, malocclusion (bad bite) and periodontal disease. That’s when treatment may be recommended.
Exactly what kind of treatment is needed? There’s a different answer for each individual, but in many cases the problem can be successfully resolved with tooth extraction (removal) and orthodontic treatment (such as braces). Some people may be concerned about having teeth removed, whether it’s for this problem or another issue. But in skilled hands, this procedure is routine and relatively painless.
Teeth aren’t set rigidly in the jawbone like posts in cement—they are actually held in place dynamically by a fibrous membrane called the periodontal ligament. With careful manipulation of the tooth, these fibers can be dislodged and the tooth can be easily extracted. Of course, you won’t feel this happening because extraction is done under anesthesia (often via a numbing shot). In addition, you may be given a sedative or anti-anxiety medication to help you relax during the procedure.
After extraction, some bone grafting material may be placed in the tooth socket and gauze may be applied to control bleeding; sutures (stitches) are sometimes used as well. You’ll receive instructions on medication and post-extraction care before you go home. While you will probably feel discomfort in the area right after the procedure, in a week or so the healing process will be well underway.
Sometimes, dental problems like hyperdontia need immediate treatment because they can negatively affect your overall health; at other times, the issue may be mainly cosmetic. Freddie Mercury declined treatment because he was afraid dental work might interfere with his vocal range. But the decision to change the way your smile looks is up to you; after an examination, we can help you determine what treatment options are appropriate for your own situation.
If you have questions about tooth extraction or orthodontics, please contact our office or schedule a consultation. You can read more in the Dear Doctor magazine articles “Simple Tooth Extraction” and “The Magic of Orthodontics.”
When bacteria invades a tooth, trouble soon follows. Maybe a tooth decays, or if conditions are right, the interior pulp becomes infected and inflamed, resulting in horrible toothache. At Baldwin Dental Group in Madisonville, KY, your family dentists, Dr. Stuart Baldwin and Dr. Ben Baldwin, save severely compromised teeth with root canal therapy. A straightforward, two-visit procedure, a root can heal and protect a tooth so you can keep it for life.
What is a root canal treatment?
Performed in its entirety at Baldwin Dental Group, a root canal treatment removes the soft pulp which resides in tooth's interior chamber and slender canals which occupy each root. Your Madisonville, KY, family dentist will review your symptoms and examine and X-ray your tooth to determine if this restorative service is your best option.
Common symptoms which indicate you need a root canal are:
- An obvious and large chip or crack
- Darkened tooth enamel
- A pimple at the gum line
- Throbbing pain
- Jaw and/or gum swelling
- Extensive decay
- Several fillings, or fillings which are in poor condition
- Extreme dental sensitivity to heat, cold, pressure, or sugar
When possible, Dr. Baldwin prefers root canal treatment to tooth extraction to avoid the problems associated with tooth loss (a smile gap, degraded gum and bone, poor biting and chewing and weakening of adjoining teeth). Plus, research from the American Association of Endodontists indicates that root canal therapy preserves teeth for years--even for the rest of the patient's life.
How it all works
Your family dentist will numb your tooth and place a rubber dam around it to protect the rest of your mouth from debris and infection. This device also keeps the area dry as he works.
Then, Dr. Baldwin uses a high-speed drill to create an opening into the first root canal. (Larger teeth have up to four root canals.) Through the hole, he introduces small files or a rotary endodontic tool to remove the damaged pulp. Also, he cleans and disinfects the canals, filling each with putty called gutta-percha.
After restoring each canal, the family dentist places a protective temporary cap over the tooth. You'll heal for a week or so and then return to the office for placement of a beautiful and realistic porcelain crown.
Your renewed tooth needs no special care. Just brush twice daily, and floss every day. See Dr. Baldwin for your usual semi-annual examination and hygienic cleaning.
Concerned about a tooth?
Don't hesitate to contact Baldwin Dental Group for an appointment. Dr. Stuart Baldwin, Dr. Ben Baldwin and their caring team will work hard to help you and that tooth feel better fast. Phone (270) 245-1547 for an appointment in Madisonville, KY.
Bite problems are quite common—as many as 75% of adults may have some form of orthodontic issue. Unfortunately, there's also something else just as common: that many people believe they're too old to correct it.
This belief is a myth—while there are factors that could prevent orthodontic treatment, age isn't necessarily one of them. If your teeth, gums and bone are sound and you're in reasonably good general health, you most likely can have a bite problem corrected even beyond middle age.
Why worry about it, though, if you've lived this long with misaligned teeth? For one thing, straightening teeth with braces or clear aligners can boost your dental health. Teeth that are in normal alignment are easier to keep clean of disease-causing bacterial plaque. You'll also find it easier to chew than if your bite is out of line.
A more attractive, straighter smile can also impact your social and professional life. Having a smile you're not embarrassed to show can boost your self-confidence and image. Research on people who've undergone orthodontic treatment in adulthood have found improvements in social connection and even expanded career opportunities.
Orthodontic treatment can make a difference with your health and life, no matter your age. But while the number of years you've lived won't necessarily make a difference, what those years have brought could rule it out.
If, for example, you've lost significant bone structure due to diseases like periodontal (gum) disease, your teeth may not be able to sustain the new position created by braces or aligners without a form of permanent fixation. If you have systemic conditions like severe cardiovascular disease, bleeding problems, leukemia or uncontrolled diabetes, orthodontic treatment could worsen those conditions. And certain prescription drugs may pose similar problems as well.
That's why you'll need to undergo a thorough dental exam, as well as provide a complete medical history to your orthodontist. If nothing prevents you from treatment, though, you may be able to regain a new smile, better health and a new confidence in life.
If you would like more information on adult orthodontics, 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 “Orthodontics for the Older Adult.”