Some people are lucky — they never seem to have a mishap, dental or otherwise. But for the rest of us, accidents just happen sometimes. Take actor Jamie Foxx, for example. A few years ago, he actually had a dentist intentionally chip one of his teeth so he could portray a homeless man more realistically. But recently, he got a chipped tooth in the more conventional way… well, conventional in Hollywood, anyway. It happened while he was shooting the movie Sleepless with co-star Michelle Monaghan.
“Yeah, we were doing a scene and somehow the action cue got thrown off or I wasn't looking,” he told an interviewer. “But boom! She comes down the pike. And I could tell because all this right here [my teeth] are fake. So as soon as that hit, I could taste the little chalkiness, but we kept rolling.” Ouch! So what's the best way to repair a chipped tooth? The answer it: it all depends…
For natural teeth that have only a small chip or minor crack, cosmetic bonding is a quick and relatively easy solution. In this procedure, a tooth-colored composite resin, made of a plastic matrix with inorganic glass fillers, is applied directly to the tooth's surface and then hardened or “cured” by a special light. Bonding offers a good color match, but isn't recommended if a large portion of the tooth structure is missing. It's also less permanent than other types of restoration, but may last up to 10 years.
When more of the tooth is missing, a crown or dental veneer may be a better answer. Veneers are super strong, wafer-thin coverings that are placed over the entire front surface of the tooth. They are made in a lab from a model of your teeth, and applied in a separate procedure that may involve removal of some natural tooth material. They can cover moderate chips or cracks, and even correct problems with tooth color or spacing.
A crown is the next step up: It's a replacement for the entire visible portion of the tooth, and may be needed when there's extensive damage. Like veneers, crowns (or caps) are made from models of your bite, and require more than one office visit to place; sometimes a root canal may also be needed to save the natural tooth. However, crowns are strong, natural looking, and can last many years.
But what about teeth like Jamie's, which have already been restored? That's a little more complicated than repairing a natural tooth. If the chip is small, it may be possible to smooth it off with standard dental tools. Sometimes, bonding material can be applied, but it may not bond as well with a restoration as it will with a natural tooth; plus, the repaired restoration may not last as long as it should. That's why, in many cases, we will advise that the entire restoration be replaced — it's often the most predictable and long-lasting solution.
Oh, and one more piece of advice: Get a custom-made mouthguard — and use it! This relatively inexpensive device, made in our office from a model of your own teeth, can save you from a serious mishap… whether you're doing Hollywood action scenes, playing sports or just riding a bike. It's the best way to protect your smile from whatever's coming at it!
If you have questions about repairing chipped teeth, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can also learn more by reading the Dear Doctor magazine articles “Artistic Repair of Chipped Teeth With Composite Resin” and “Porcelain Veneers.”
If cracks, decay, or damage are keeping you from smiling, Dr. Cecilia Gyllenhoff and Dr. Samuel D. Cappiello of McLean Dental Care can get you grinning again with dental crowns. A strong and attractive solution to flawed teeth, crowns are a popular option for achieving your best smile—read on to learn more!
What is a crown?
A crown is a resin, ceramic, or metal cap that is permanently adhered to a damaged tooth, thus encasing any cracks or decay. The procedure restores the tooth's full functionality, as well as its original shape, size, and appearance.
Why might I need a crown?
Your McLean dentist may suggest a crown if you have any of the following issues:
- You have a cracked, chipped or worn down tooth
- You have a cavity which can't be properly filled
- You have undergone a root canal
- Your tooth is damaged or misshapen
- Your tooth is severely discolored
- You have a large filling that protrudes
What are the advantages of crowns?
- Improved appearance of your tooth
- A stronger, more functional tooth
- Easier chewing and brushing
- Better oral structure
How will my McLean dentist apply a crown?
Your dentist will first numb the tooth and its surrounding gum area in order to to reduce any pain that you may experience during your procedure. Using a specialized tool, they will then reduce the surface area of the tooth to accommodate the crown.
Next, your dentist will make an impression of your tooth (either manually with putty or digitally with a scanner) so as to make a true-to-size crown. A temporary crown will then be installed while the permanent piece is being constructed.
At your next visit, the new crown will be affixed to your tooth with a permanent adhesive. Additionally, your dentist will make sure that the crown is perfectly aligned and shaped properly for full comfort and functionality.
How I care for a crown?
With a crown, you can brush and floss like normal. Crowns are strong but not indestructible, so you will need to take care when biting particularly hard foods. As always, you should also see your McLean dentist for regular examinations and cleanings.
If your teeth could use a touch-up, call McLean Dental Care today at 703-734-0100.
Bite problems aren't limited to teeth simply out of position. The problem could be some teeth aren't there—visibly, that is. They still exist below the gums and bone, but they've been crowded out and blocked from erupting. We call this condition impaction.
Any tooth can become impacted and affect the bite, but a person's smile suffers more if it involves visible front teeth. This is especially so if the teeth in question are upper canines or "eye teeth"—the smile doesn't look normal without these pointed teeth on either side of the central and lateral incisors.
Impacted teeth can also contribute to more than a cosmetic problem: they're more susceptible to abscesses (pockets of infection) or root damage both to themselves or neighboring teeth. To minimize these potential health issues, we'll often remove impacted teeth surgically (as is often done with wisdom teeth).
But because of their important role in not only appearance but also bite function, we may first try to assist impacted canines to fully erupt before considering extraction. It takes a bit of orthodontic "magic," but it can be done.
Before we can make that decision, though, we want to precisely locate the impacted teeth's positions and how it may affect other teeth. This initial evaluation, often with advanced diagnostics like CT scanning or digital x-rays, helps us determine if the impacted teeth are in a workable position to save. If they're not, we may then need to consider removing them and ultimately replacing them with a dental implant or similar restoration.
But if their position is workable and there are no other impediments, we can proceed with helping them erupt. To do this we'll have to first expose them by creating a small opening in the gums through minor surgery. We then bond a small bracket to the tooth, to which we'll attach a small chain that we then attach to orthodontic braces. This enables us to exert continuous pressure on the tooth.
Over time, the pressure coaxes the tooth to erupt. We may still need to apply other forms of orthodontics and cosmetic procedures, but using this procedure to rescue impacted canines can produce a healthier and more attractive smile.
If you would like more information on treating complex bite problems, 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 “Exposing Impacted Canines.”
Discover the many ways that veneers can give you the smile you’ve always wanted.
Here in McLean, VA, our dentists Dr. Cecilia Gyllenhoff and Dr. Samuel Cappiello pride themselves on providing the very best dental care to patients of all ages. If you are an adult who is dealing with cosmetic imperfections that leave you hiding your smile then it’s time to talk to us about how dental veneers could benefit you.
What is a dental veneer?
A veneer is a very thin piece of porcelain that mimics the look and translucency of real tooth enamel. This porcelain shell is permanently bonded to the front of each tooth to alter its appearance and improve the overall shape, size and color of your smile. Veneers are great if you are dealing with multiple or more widespread cosmetic flaws. For examine, porcelain veneers may be a great option if you are looking to cover,
- Chips and cracks
- Severe discolorations
- Gaps between teeth
- Slightly crooked or misaligned smiles
- Misshapen or malformed teeth
- Teeth that are worn down
As you can see, dental veneers can hide a wide range of aesthetic problems to give you a more beautiful smile. In fact, simply getting veneers from our McLean, VA, cosmetic dentists could actually give you a straighter smile in just a couple of visits without ever needing to get braces. We find that veneers are a great option for many adults dealing with small gaps between teeth or minor crowding.
What is involved in getting veneers?
In as little as two visits to our office, you could get a new and improved smile thanks to veneers. During your first visit, we will prep your teeth so they are ready to receive your veneers. To do this, we will need to remove a small amount of enamel from the front of your teeth. Don’t worry; you won’t feel a thing. From there, impressions of your teeth are taken and then a dental lab will receive the information necessary to create your veneers.
During your second visit, we will place the veneers. We will check the fit of your veneers and your bite before permanently bonding them to your teeth.
If you want to feel more confident with your smile and are looking to get cosmetic dentistry then call our office today at (703) 734-0100 to schedule a consultation with Dr. Gyllenhoff or Dr. Cappiello. McLean Dental Care in McLean, VA can help you get the smile you want.
Root canal therapy is the unsung "hero" of dentistry. Although often falsely maligned as an unpleasant experience, millions of decayed teeth have been saved thanks to this routine treatment.
But although root canal therapy can save your tooth, we can't guarantee it won't be affected by another infection. There are other factors to consider how long a treated tooth will remain healthy.
Root canal therapy stops and limits the damage from tooth decay that has infected the inner pulp and root canals. A dentist or endodontist (a root canal specialist) drills into the tooth to gain access to the pulp. They remove the diseased pulp tissue and then fill the empty pulp chamber and root canals with a specialized filling called gutta percha. The tooth is then sealed and later crowned to protect it against future fracture or infection.
The probability of that occurring may depend on when a dentist performs the root canal in the disease progression—and the earlier the better. If decay has already infected the underlying bone, the tooth's long-term prognosis even with root canal therapy could be dim. That's why you should see a dentist as soon as possible for any tooth pain, even if it goes away.
The type of tooth could impact long-term health. Teeth with single roots are usually easier to treat. But those with multiple roots and an intricate root canal network can be more difficult to treat, and require specialized equipment and techniques.
Age can also impact root canal therapy longevity. The older a root canal-treated tooth is, the more brittle and susceptible to fracture it can become, which can pose complications. That's why we typically place crowns on treated teeth to protect them from both future infection and undue stress created while biting and chewing.
To help mitigate these possible factors, you should see your dentist regularly for checkups and at the first sign of pain or other abnormalities for the earliest treatment possible. And for more complex tooth issues, your dentist may refer you to an endodontist to perform your root canal. With early intervention and attentive care, your root canaled tooth could enjoy many years of life.
If you would like more information on root canal treatment, 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 “Root Canal Treatment: How Long Will It Last?”
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