Posts for: March, 2018
Did you see the move Cast Away starring Tom Hanks? If so, you probably remember the scene where Hanks, stranded on a remote island, knocks out his own abscessed tooth — with an ice skate, no less — to stop the pain. Recently, Dear Doctor TV interviewed Gary Archer, the dental technician who created that special effect and many others.
“They wanted to have an abscess above the tooth with all sorts of gunk and pus and stuff coming out of it,” Archer explained. “I met with Tom and I took impressions [of his mouth] and we came up with this wonderful little piece. It just slipped over his own natural teeth.” The actor could flick it out with his lower tooth when the time was right during the scene. It ended up looking so real that, as Archer said, “it was not for the easily squeamish!”
That’s for sure. But neither is a real abscess, which is an infection that becomes sealed off beneath the gum line. An abscess may result from a trapped piece of food, uncontrolled periodontal (gum) disease, or even an infection deep inside a tooth that has spread to adjacent periodontal tissues. In any case, the condition can cause intense pain due to the pressure that builds up in the pus-filled sac. Prompt treatment is required to relieve the pain, keep the infection from spreading to other areas of the face (or even elsewhere in the body), and prevent tooth loss.
Treatment involves draining the abscess, which usually stops the pain immediately, and then controlling the infection and removing its cause. This may require antibiotics and any of several in-office dental procedures, including gum surgery, a root canal, or a tooth extraction. But if you do have a tooth that can’t be saved, we promise we won’t remove it with an ice skate!
The best way to prevent an abscess from forming in the first place is to practice conscientious oral hygiene. By brushing your teeth twice each day for two minutes, and flossing at least once a day, you will go a long way towards keeping harmful oral bacteria from thriving in your mouth.
If you have any questions about gum disease or abscesses, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can learn more by reading the Dear Doctor magazine articles “Periodontal (Gum) Abscesses” and “Confusing Tooth Pain.”
The team at Comprehensive Dental Group in Stamford, CT is happy to offer patients Invisalign, a technologically advanced cosmetic treatment that puts your teeth in perfect alignment. It is a preferred alternative to metal braces because clear plastic trays are used instead of metal hardware. Get familiar with the advantages of Invisalign over braces to decide if this is the orthodontic solution you would like to discuss with your dentist.
Invisible Aligners Instead of Visible Metal Parts
When kids get braces, in most cases they have no choice but to wear metal and wire appliances—sometimes even headgear. Some older teens and adults have the option to choose Invisalign braces, which use removable clear trays instead. When you smile while wearing an Invisalign tray, it's not as conspicuous as the appearance of metal on your white teeth.
Invisalign Doesn't Require Years
Metal braces take two to three years to completely change the position of your teeth. At each checkup appointment, the dentist will have to make uncomfortable adjustments to the brackets and change wires to tighten the braces. Invisalign often takes six months to a year to work. The teeth gently conform to the shape of each tray over the treatment period, and you'll visit your Stamford dentist every few weeks to retrieve a new tray. To keep your smile aligned, you'll wear the last tray each night while sleeping.
You Can Take Invisalign Trays Off
One of the complaints dentists hear from their patients who wear braces is that they are painful and uncomfortable to wear. The brackets and wires can cause damage to the inner soft tissue of the mouth, and it is difficult to enjoy certain solid foods. Invisalign trays are gentler on the soft tissues of the mouth and they can be removed for eating, brushing, and engaging in conversation. You must make a commitment to wearing your trays at least 20 to 22 hours each day for fast results.
Invisalign--The Right Choice
Consult a dentist at Comprehensive Dental Group in Stamford, CT to find out if you're a candidate for Invisalign. Call (203) 359-3296 today to schedule time with Dr. Irina Pogosian or Dr. Thomas Ohlson.
So, you're about to have a tooth capped with a crown. Do you know what you need to know before you undergo this common dental procedure?
Here's a short true or false quiz to test your knowledge of dental crowns.
All crowns are the same. False — while all crowns have the same basic design — a life-like prosthetic tooth fitted over and bonded or cemented to a natural tooth — their compositions can vary greatly. Early metal crowns consisted mainly of gold or silver and are still used today. Porcelain-fused-to-metal (PFM) crowns — a metal interior for strength overlaid by a porcelain exterior for appearance — became popular in the latter 20th Century. Although still widely used, PFMs have been largely surpassed by newer all-ceramic materials that are stronger than past versions.
Crowns can differ in their artistic quality. True — all crowns are designed to replicate a natural tooth's function — in other words, enable the tooth to effectively chew again. But a crown's appearance can be a different story, depending on how much attention to detail and artistry goes into it. The higher the individual craftsmanship, the more lifelike it will appear — and the more expensive it can be.
With digital milling equipment, dental labs are obsolete. False — although technology exists that allows dentists to produce their own crowns, the equipment is not yet in widespread use. Â The vast majority of crowns are still produced by a trained technician in a dental laboratory. And just as you base your choice of a dentist on your confidence in and respect for them, dentists look for the same thing in a dental lab — good, reliable and consistent results.
Your insurance may not cover what your dentist recommends. True — dental insurance will typically pay for a basic, functional crown. Aesthetics — how it will look — is a secondary consideration. As a result, your policy may not cover the crown your dentist recommends to function properly and look attractive. A new crown, however, is a long-term investment in both your dental function and your smile. It may be well worth supplementing out of pocket your insurance benefit to get the crown that suits you on both counts.