My Blog

Posts for: January, 2015


Many adults these days are opting for clear aligners to correct orthodontic problems that have long bothered them. Katherine Heigl is a perfect example. She had one tooth that was out of alignment, and wanted to have it fixed before her wedding day.

“I got them [clear aligners] because of this wonky tooth,” Heigl told In Style magazine not long ago. “It's awesome because every two weeks you switch to a new retainer. Pretty much the perfect way to describe Invisalign is Netflix for your teeth.”

That's actually a pretty good way to describe this highly user-friendly form of orthodontic treatment. Clear aligners are transparent, plastic oral appliances that are changed every two weeks so that your teeth can be moved a little bit at a time, according to a carefully staged sequence. Though they cover your teeth completely, clear aligners are barely noticeable.

In fact, when Heigl excused herself before taking out her aligners to eat, her In Style interviewer said, “Who knew you wore them? I guess that's the point of Invisalign.”

Being able to remove the aligners for eating and, more importantly, teeth-cleaning, is another major advantage of this method of straightening teeth. Successful orthodontic treatment for adults depends on good periodontal health (“peri” – around; “odont” – tooth), and the best way to keep your gums and the underlying bone that supports your teeth healthy is to keep up an effective daily oral hygiene routine.

Clear aligners have been improved in recent years to correct more complicated malocclusions (“mal” – bad; “occlusion” – bite) than previously; they can even work well for teenagers. But there are still some cases that call for traditional braces. We would be happy to explore all the different options for orthodontic treatment with you, whether you have crowded teeth, an overbite or underbite, or just one “wonky tooth.”

If you would like more information about clear aligners, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can also learn more about clear aligners in general by reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “Clear Aligners For Teenagers.” Dear Doctor also has more on “Wedding Day Smiles.”

By Ashley Harrison, DDS
January 26, 2015
Category: Oral Health
Tags: Dentures  

Taking proper care of your dentures is vital to maintaining a healthy mouth and prolonging the life of your dentures. Ashley Harrison, DDS in Chico wants you to know the key aspects to caring for your dentures.

Handle your Dentures Very Carefully

Dentures can break easily so it is important to handle them with care. When you remove your dentures you should do so over a Denturessink filled with water or over a towel. This should help keep them from breaking if you drop them. Also be sure not to bend the fasteners while you are cleaning them.

Brush your Dentures Everyday

Brushing your dentures will remove food, plaque, and prevent staining. Gently brush using a soft-bristled brush designed for dentures. Be careful not to damage any part of your dentures as you brush them.

Rinse your Dentures after Meals

You should remove your dentures after each meal and rinse them under water in the sink. Filling the sink with some water first will help prevent damage if you accidentally drop them. Rinsing them will remove food particles, and keep your dentures and mouth fresh and clean.

Soak your Dentures Overnight

Dentures should be kept moist. If they are allowed to dry out, they may lose their shape. Soak them in water or in a denture soaking solution overnight. Dr. Harrison will recommend what is best for the type of dentures you have. If you use a denture soaking solution, be sure to rinse your dentures off with water in the morning before putting them back in your mouth.

Keep your Mouth Healthy

When you remove your dentures, you should use a soft-bristle brush to brush any natural teeth you may have. You should also clean your tongue, the roof of your mouth, and the inside of your cheeks with a toothbrush or gauze. Use gentle strokes; you don't want to damage the tissue in your mouth.

Schedule your Check-Ups

You should continue to have regular dental check-ups. Dr. Harrison will let you know how often you should come in. She will check to make sure your mouth is healthy and that your dentures are fitting properly.

If you are having any problems with your dentures, or have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact us at (530) 894-5454. In Chico, Dr. Harrison will help you care for your dentures. Call us today!

By Ashley Harrison, DDS
January 14, 2015
Category: Dental Procedures
Tags: fillings  

It takes a lot of skill, experience, talent and artistry to create tooth restorations that look so natural that no one can tell them apart from the originals. To do so requires understanding of the normal anatomy of a tooth as well as of the interactions of light and color.

How the anatomy of a tooth determines color

The color that we perceive when looking at a tooth results from the combined appearance of the tooth’s center core (dentin layer) and its covering enamel. Going from the outside in, the enamel is made of tightly packed crystals of calcium, which cause it to be one of the hardest substances naturally produced by animals. The crystals are also responsible for a tooth’s brilliance and translucence. The dentin is more like bone, a porous living tissue composed of microscopic tubes, interspersed with more calcium crystals. In the very center of the tooth is a central chamber containing the pulp and nerves.

Each of these layers has its own physical and optical properties. Since the enamel is translucent and the dentin is more opaque, most of the tooth’s color comes from the dentin and is transmitted through the enamel layer. Factors that affect this transmission include the thickness and age of the enamel as well as external tooth whitening.

If the enamel is more translucent, more of the color of the dentin shows through. If it is more opaque, the enamel absorbs and reflects light so that less color is visible and the enamel looks brighter.

The language of color composition and reflected light

Color means the whole spectrum in the rainbow. The spectrum is made up of the three primary colors — red, blue, and green. When all are combined, they create white light.

Hue refers to the brightest forms of the colors. The color we perceive depends on the dominant wavelength of light that is reflected by an object.

Value refers to a color’s lightness or darkness. A brighter color has a higher value.

Chroma is the amount of identifiable hue in a color. An achromatic color (without hue) appears gray.

Saturation is a measure of a color’s intensity.

This terminology of color is used not only by dentists and dental technicians, but also by a wide range of artists. It implies expertise and understanding of how colors work, how they vary and change and affect one another.

Contact us today to schedule an appointment or to discuss your questions about bonding to repair chipped teeth. You can also learn more by reading the Dear Doctor article, “Artistic Repair of Front Teeth with Composite Resin.”