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Posts for category: Dental Procedures

By Ashley Harrison, DDS
May 18, 2017
Category: Dental Procedures

Many patients want to know if dentures are a good option for replacing missing teeth. The answer depends on a number of factors. For denturesinstance, your age, dental health and goals for your smile are considerations. Schedule time to discuss these various factors with Dr. Ashley Harrison, a general and cosmetic dentist practicing in Chico, CA.

What Are Dentures?
Dentures are dental appliances that allow patients to restore their full smiles. They are made of plastic material that’s designed to mimic the appearance of your natural teeth and gums. There are two main types—full and partial. Full (also called complete) dentures are the solution when the patient is missing an entire row of teeth—they suction over the gumline. Partial dentures only have one or a few teeth and snap onto the remaining teeth. They can be removed when needed.

Are They a Good Option?
Dentures are a good option for some patients—particularly those who have advanced bone loss in addition to their tooth loss, and need replacement teeth to eat and talk normally. Generally, if you’ve gone a long time with a missing tooth, there’s a good chance that your Chico dentist will recommend dentures. They are most commonly prescribed to seniors, but young adults can sometimes benefit from partial devices.

Getting Fitted for Dentures
If your dentist determines that you are a good candidate for dentures at your initial exam, you will go through a two or three-step process:

1) A dental mold will be taken of your mouth so that custom dentures can be designed.
2) You’ll return to your Chico dentist a few weeks later to have your dentures fitted and adjusted (if needed).
3) In some cases, complete dentures will be modified again to ensure the perfect, most comfortable fit.

A Full Smile Again
If you’ve been living with missing or weak and decayed teeth that will need to be extracted, talk to Dr. Harrison at her Chico, CA, dentist office. Call (530) 894-5454 today to find out if dentures are a good choice for you.

By Ashley Harrison, DDS
May 08, 2017
Category: Dental Procedures
ArianaGrandeBreaksFree-ofHerWisdomTeeth

Via a recent Instagram post, pop diva Ariana Grande became the latest young celebrity to publicly acknowledge a dental milestone: having her wisdom teeth removed. The singer of hits such as “Break Free” and “Problem” posted an after-surgery picture of herself (wearing her signature cat-eye eyeliner), with a caption addressed to her teeth: “Peace out, final three wisdom teeth. It’s been real.”

With the post, Grande joined several other celebs (including Lily Allen, Paris Hilton and Emile Hirsch) who have shared their dental surgery experience with fans. Will "wisdom teeth removal" become a new trending topic on social media? We aren’t sure — but we can explain a bit about the procedure, and why many younger adults may need it.

Technically called the “third molars,” wisdom teeth usually begin to emerge from the gums between the ages of 17 and 25 — presumably, around the same time that a certain amount of wisdom emerges. Most people have four of these big molars, which are located all the way in the back of the mouth, on the left and right sides of the upper and lower jaws.

But when wisdom teeth begin to appear, there’s often a problem: Many people don’t have enough space in their jaws to accommodate them. When these molars lack sufficient space to fully erupt (emerge), they are said to be “impacted.” Impacted teeth can cause a number of serious problems: These may include pain, an increased potential for bacterial infections, periodontal disease, and even the formation of cysts (pockets of infection below the gum line), which can eventually lead to tooth and bone loss.

In most cases, the best treatment for impacted wisdom teeth is extraction (removal) of the problem teeth. Wisdom tooth extraction is a routine, in-office procedure that is usually performed under local anesthesia or “conscious sedation,” a type of anesthesia where the patient remains conscious (able to breathe normally and respond to stimuli), but is free from any pain or distress. Anti-anxiety medications may also be given, especially for those who are apprehensive about dental procedures.

So if you find you need your wisdom teeth extracted, don’t be afraid to “Break Free” like Ariana Grande did; whether you post the results on social media is entirely up to you. If you would like more information about wisdom tooth extraction, please call our office to schedule a consultation. You can learn more in the Dear Doctor magazine articles “Wisdom Teeth” and “Removing Wisdom Teeth.”

By Ashley Harrison, DDS
April 15, 2017
Category: Dental Procedures
DontBreakItLikeBeckham

During his former career as a professional footballer (that's a soccer star to U.S. sports fans) David Beckham was known for his skill at “bending” a soccer ball. His ability to make the ball curve in mid-flight — to avoid a defender or score a goal — led scores of kids to try to “bend it like Beckham.” But just recently, while enjoying a vacation in Canada with his family, “Becks” tried snowboarding for the first time — and in the process, broke one of his front teeth.

Some fans worried that the missing tooth could be a “red card” for Beckham's current modeling career… but fortunately, he headed straight to the dental office as soon as he arrived back in England. Exactly what kind of treatment is needed for a broken tooth? It all depends where the break is and how badly the tooth is damaged.

For a minor crack or chip, cosmetic bonding may offer a quick and effective solution. In this procedure, a composite resin, in a color custom-made to match the tooth, is applied in liquid form and cured (hardened) with a special light. Several layers of bonding material can be applied to re-construct a larger area of missing tooth, and chips that have been saved can sometimes be reattached as well.

When more tooth structure is missing, dental veneers may be the preferred restorative option. Veneers are wafer-thin shells that are bonded to the front surface of the teeth. They can not only correct small chips or cracks, but can also improve the color, spacing, and shape of your teeth.

But if the damage exposes the soft inner pulp of the tooth, root canal treatment will be needed to save the tooth. In this procedure, the inflamed or infected pulp tissue is removed and the tooth sealed against re-infection; if a root canal is not done when needed, the tooth will have an increased risk for extraction in the future. Following a root canal, a tooth is often restored with a crown (cap), which can look good and function well for many years.

Sometimes, a tooth may be knocked completely out of its socket; or, a severely damaged tooth may need to be extracted (removed). In either situation, the best option for restoration is a dental implant. Here, a tiny screw-like device made of titanium metal is inserted into the jaw bone in a minor surgical procedure. Over time, it fuses with the living bone to form a solid anchorage. A lifelike crown is attached, which provides aesthetic appeal and full function for the replacement tooth.

So how's Beckham holding up? According to sources, “David is a trooper and didn't make a fuss. He took it all in his stride." Maybe next time he hits the slopes, he'll heed the advice of dental experts and wear a custom-made mouthguard…

If you have questions about restoring damaged teeth, please contact our office to schedule a consultation. You can read more in the Dear Doctor magazine articles “Trauma and Nerve Damage to Teeth” and “Children's Dental Concerns and Injuries.”

By Ashley Harrison, DDS
February 02, 2017
Category: Dental Procedures

Even if you are careful with your teeth your entire life, there may come a time when your smile is just not what you want it to be. There are fillings\many reasons for teeth that are not up to par and you want to be sure you are showing off your best smile. Solutions to these problems can be found with the help of a dentist in Chico, CA, such as Dr. Ashley Harrison.

How Cosmetic Filings Can Help Restore Your Smile

Cosmetic fillings are often an effective way to strengthen damaged teeth and hide their appearance. If you have teeth that are cracked, chipped or broken, you may be able to utilize cosmetic fillings to keep the teeth strong and make them look brighter. When you first visit with the dentist in Chico, you will likely be asked to sit for x-rays. This gives the dentists a complete picture of the tooth or teeth and lets them decide whether cosmetic filings are an option for providing solidity for your teeth. They will likely show you some photographs of before and after so that you can determine if you are happy with the possibilities. If you decide to move forward, Dr. Harrison will perform the fillings procedure. In many cases, a specialized light is used in order to harden the fillings faster. This means that you will be able to use your teeth normally a short time after leaving the procedure.

Ultimately, you don’t have to live with the smile that you are ashamed of any longer. Getting a beautiful smile can be as simple as cosmetic fillings. If you want to explore the dental treatment options for improving your look, contact Dr. Harrison. Call her Chico, CA, dental office today at (530) 894-5454 to schedule a consultation to go over your options. Your best smile is just one dental visit away.

By Ashley Harrison, DDS
December 30, 2016
Category: Dental Procedures
HowKathyBatesRetainsHerMovie-StarSmile

In her decades-long career, renowned actress Kathy Bates has won Golden Globes, Emmys, and many other honors. Bates began acting in her twenties, but didn't achieve national recognition until she won the best actress Oscar for Misery — when she was 42 years old! “I was told early on that because of my physique and my look, I'd probably blossom more in my middle age,” she recently told Dear Doctor magazine. “[That] has certainly been true.” So if there's one lesson we can take from her success, it might be that persistence pays off.

When it comes to her smile, Kathy also recognizes the value of persistence. Now 67, the veteran actress had orthodontic treatment in her 50's to straighten her teeth. Yet she is still conscientious about wearing her retainer. “I wear a retainer every night,” she said. “I got lazy about it once, and then it was very difficult to put the retainer back in. So I was aware that the teeth really do move.”

Indeed they do. In fact, the ability to move teeth is what makes orthodontic treatment work. By applying consistent and gentle forces, the teeth can be shifted into better positions in the smile. That's called the active stage of orthodontic treatment. Once that stage is over, another begins: the retention stage. The purpose of retention is to keep that straightened smile looking as good as it did when the braces came off. And that's where the retainer comes in.

There are several different kinds of retainers, but all have the same purpose: To hold the teeth in their new positions and keep them from shifting back to where they were. We sometimes say teeth have a “memory” — not literally, but in the sense that if left alone, teeth tend to migrate back to their former locations. And if you've worn orthodontic appliances, like braces or aligners, that means right back where you started before treatment.

By holding the teeth in place, retainers help stabilize them in their new positions. They allow new bone and ligaments to re-form and mature around them, and give the gums time to remodel themselves. This process can take months to years to be complete. But you may not need to wear a retainer all the time: Often, removable retainers are worn 24 hours a day at first; later they are worn only at night. We will let you know what's best in your individual situation.

So take a tip from Kathy Bates, star of the hit TV series American Horror Story, and wear your retainer as instructed. That's the best way to keep your straight new smile from changing back to the way it was — and to keep a bad dream from coming true.

If you would like more information about orthodontic retainers, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can learn more about this topic in the Dear Doctor magazine articles “Why Orthodontic Retainers?” and “The Importance of Orthodontic Retainers.” The interview with Kathy Bates appears in the latest issue of Dear Doctor.