My Blog

Posts for: November, 2014

By Ashley Harrison, DDS
November 26, 2014
Category: Oral Health

At no other time in a person’s life will their teeth and mouth change as rapidly as it will between infancy and adolescence. In this short span an entire set of teeth will emerge and then gradually disappear as a second permanent set takes its place.

While the process may seem chaotic, there is a natural order to it. Knowing what to expect will help ease any undue concerns you may have about your child's experience.

The first primary teeth begin to appear (erupt) in sequence depending on their type. The first are usually the lower central incisors in the very front that erupt around 6-10 months, followed then by the rest of the incisors, first molars and canines (the “eye” teeth). The last to erupt are the primary second molars in the very back of the mouth just before age 3. A similar sequence occurs when they’re lost — the central incisors loosen and fall out around 6-7 years; the second molars are the last to go at 10-12 years.

A little “chaos” is normal — but only a little. Because of the tremendous changes in the mouth, primary teeth may appear to be going in every direction with noticeable spaces between front teeth. While this is usually not a great concern, it’s still possible future malocclusions (bad bites) may be developing. To monitor this effectively you should begin regular checkups around the child’s first birthday — our trained professional eye can determine if an issue has arisen that should be treated.

Protecting primary teeth from tooth decay is another high priority. There’s a temptation to discount the damage decay may do to these teeth because “they’re going to be lost anyway.” But besides their functional role, primary teeth also help guide the developing permanent teeth to erupt in the right position. Losing a primary tooth prematurely might then cause the permanent one to come in misaligned. Preventing tooth decay with daily oral hygiene and regular office visits and cleanings (with possible sealant protection) is a priority. And should decay occur, it’s equally important to preserve the tooth for as long as possible for the sake of the succeeding tooth.

Your child’s rapid dental development is part of their journey into adulthood. Keeping a watchful eye on the process and practicing good dental care will ensure this part of the journey is uneventful.

If you would like more information on the process of dental development in children, 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 “Dentistry & Oral Health for Children.”

By Ashley Harrison, DDS
November 24, 2014
Category: Dental Procedures
Tags: Dental Bridges  
Dental Bridges ImageIf you’re dealing with tooth loss your number-one goal is to replace that missing tooth fast. However, before you opt for dental bridges in Chico, find out a little bit more about what the treatment process will entail.

What are dental bridges?

Simply put, a dental bridge actually “bridges” the gap left behind by the missing tooth. On both ends of the dental bridge are two dental crowns that go over the teeth that are adjacent to the missing tooth gap. In between these two crowns is a false tooth. While these false teeth can be created from a variety of different materials including gold, most bridges use porcelain to offer a more natural look.

When are dental bridges used?

Dental bridges replace missing teeth and help to restore and improve your smile. Since the bridges employ the use of dental crowns, you’ll notice that chewing and speaking a significantly easier than before.
Also, tooth loss can eventually lead to facial changes that can make someone look older than they actually are. Dental bridges actually help your face maintain its shape so you don’t have to worry about the physical effects tooth loss will have on your face.

What is the procedure like?

The first visit will require preparing your neighboring teeth for the dental crowns, or anchoring teeth. This means removing portions of your tooth’s enamel to make room for the dental crown. We will then make impressions of your smile to send to the dental lab for fabricating your bridge. While your permanent bridge is being made, we will fit you with a temporary one.
During your second visit we will remove the temporary bridge and replace it with the new one. We will also spend time adjusting and fixing the bridge to make sure it fits your smile properly. If you are getting a fixed bridge then we will cement it a few weeks later once we know that it fits just right.

How long will my dental bridges last?

Most dental bridges can last anywhere from five to 15 years depending on how well you care for them. If you maintain good oral health and attend your routine dental checkups then you will be sure to increase the life of your bridge.
If you have any questions about dental bridges in Chico or you’re interested in a dental consultation we would be happy to assist you. Call our office today so we can schedule you for an appointment. Nothing is more important than the health of your smile.


One’s a singer who made her name playing New York clubs in the 1980’s before catapulting to international pop stardom; the other’s an actress from New Zealand who, in 1994, at the age of 11, became the second-youngest person ever to win an Academy Award. Both remain at the top of the A-list today. What other feature do Madonna and Anna Paquin have in common?

You guessed it — it’s their teeth. Both have a small but noticeable gap between their two front teeth, known as a diastema. This condition is relatively common, and it’s normally easy to treat — if that’s something you’d like to do. But wait a moment… In certain African countries, this kind of smile is considered a sign of fertility; in France, they call it “dents du bonheur” (lucky teeth); some other cultures consider the gap a predictor of future wealth. So if you’ve already made this look work for you, there’s no need to change it — even if you might need other cosmetic dental work.

The “perfectly imperfect” smile has become an increasingly popular option for people having veneers, cosmetic bonding, or even dental implants. Some trend-watchers have even noted a pushback against the ideal of a completely even, flawless, Hollywood-white smile. Does that create a problem at the dentist’s office?

Absolutely not! We call the process of figuring out how your teeth should look “smile design” — and it’s as much an art as a science. When we’re just beginning to design your smile, we look at a number of features — including the size, shape, color and alignment of your teeth, the position of your lips, the amount of gums exposed, and the relationship between your smile and your other facial features. We’re also listening carefully to you: what you like and don’t like about your smile, how you think it could be improved… and what should stay just the way it is.

Of course, before doing any cosmetic work, we will always perform a complete dental exam to detect any underlying condition and determine what treatments are best. Then, we will work with you to help you get the smile you’ve always wanted. Not sure exactly how it will look when it’s all done? Ask us for a preview — from computer-generated pictures to actual 3-D models, we can show you how your new smile will enhance your appearance.

So if your smile needs a little help to look its best — but you still want it to be uniquely yours — maybe now is the time to come in and see us. If you would like more information on smile design, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can learn more in the Dear Doctor articles “The Impact of a Smile Makeover” and “Beautiful Smiles by Design.”