Posts for: May, 2015
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.”
Are your teeth badly damaged or missing altogether? If so, they may be affecting your quality of life more than you know. After all, beautiful, functional teeth don't just allow you to eat your favorite foods, they also improve your appearance, help you speak, and improve your self- esteem and self-confidence. This is why, if you don't have a beautiful smile already, you need to make visiting a Chico, CA dentist such as Ashley Harrison, DDS a priority.
Crowns and Bridges Improve Your Tooth Function
The most important job your teeth have is to help you eat. Without a mouth full of strong, healthy teeth, you simply won't be able to eat all of your favorite foods like you could. You will have to give up some of the hard or crunchy foods you used to enjoy due to the pain or due to the fact that you don't have the teeth you need to chew them with.
Another important job your teeth have is to allow you speak. This means that if you are missing some of your teeth, particularly your front ones, your speech may be affected. People will likely still be able to understand you, but eventually you'll find yourself talking less and less out of embarrassment.
Crowns and Bridges Improve Your Appearance
Have you found yourself smiling and laughing less or constantly hiding your face behind your hand to cover up your embarrassing smile? If so, you aren't alone. Many Chico, CA residents admit to their dentist that they do this all of the time. You deserve a beautiful smile that you want to show off, not one that you will hide every chance you get.
Plus, did you realize that even when your mouth is closed, the condition of your teeth still affects your appearance? If you are missing several teeth in the front, your mouth may begin to get a sunken in, wrinkled appearance that can age you dramatically. Your teeth are needed to keep you looking amazing.
If your smile is missing or incomplete, don't try to hide or ignore it. Call your favorite dentist in Chico, CA, Dr. Harrison to schedule an appointment for a crown or bridge today.
Installing dental implants involves more than the mechanics of placing them into the jawbone. Ultimate success — a natural and beautiful smile — requires painstaking attention to detail and artistry.
Here are a few of the factors we must consider to achieve a smile with dental implants you’ll be proud to display.
The amount of available bone. For the permanent crown to appear natural, it’s crucial to position the implant precisely. To achieve this precision requires an adequate amount of bone to be present. Unfortunately, bone loss is quite common after tooth loss; to minimize this we place bone grafts in the empty socket if at all possible after extraction to encourage bone growth. It’s also possible in some cases to perform bone grafting surgery before implants to build up bone volume.
Your genetic gum tissue type. There are basically two types of gum tissue people are born with: thin or thick. Thin tissues are more subject to wear, difficult to work with during surgery and can make it difficult to hide the metal components of an implant. Thicker tissues are easier to work with, but can have a tendency to overgrow.
Achieving a natural “emergence profile.” To look natural, the implant crown must appear to seamlessly emerge from the surrounding gum tissue. To achieve this, we must carefully plan and place the implant in the precise location in the bone, taking into account the implant shape and how far it should be placed within the bone to match the position and height of adjacent teeth and gum tissues.
Blending color shades with adjacent natural teeth. When it comes to color, everyone has subtle differences in tooth shades and hues. In fact, there are slight color variations within individual teeth, from the root to the tip of the crown. To make sure the implant blends in with adjacent teeth, it’s important to match the color incorporated into the porcelain crown with the natural crowns beside them.
These and other factors require both technical expertise and a sense of artistry. Carefully considering all of them will help ensure your dental implants result in the smile you want.
If you would like more information on smile transformations with dental implants, 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 “Matching Teeth & Implants.”