My Blog

Posts for: October, 2015

By Ashley Harrison, DDS
October 21, 2015
Category: Dental Procedures

A few days before the Oscars, Vanity Fair magazine asked Academy Awards host Neil Patrick Harris to name his most treasured possession. Was it his Tony award statuette for best leading actor in a musical? His star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame? The stethoscope he wore while playing teenaged doctor Doogie Howser on TV? No, as it turns out, the 41-year-old actor’s most treasured possession is… his wisdom teeth. Yes, you read that correctly. “Oddly, I still have my four wisdom teeth,” Harris said. “I refuse to let them go or I’ll lose my wise parts.”

How odd is it for a 41-year-old to have wisdom teeth? Actually, not that odd at all. While it is true that wisdom teeth are often removed, there’s no one-size-fits-all approach to this. It all depends on whether they are causing problems now, or are likely to cause problems in the future.

The trouble wisdom teeth cause is related to the fact that they are the last molars to come in, and that molars are large in size. By the time wisdom teeth appear between the ages of 17 and 21, there often is not enough room for them in the jaw. Sometimes it’s because you may have inherited a jaw size that’s too small for your tooth size; and generally speaking, the size of the human jaw has evolved to become smaller over time.

If room is lacking, the adjacent molar (that came in earlier) can interfere with the path of eruption — causing the wisdom tooth to come in at an odd angle. The wisdom tooth can hit up against that other tooth, possibly causing pain or damaging the adjacent tooth. This is known as “impaction.” Sometimes the wisdom tooth breaks only partway through the gum tissue, leaving a space beneath the gum line that’s almost impossible to clean, causing infection. A serious oral infection can jeopardize the survival of teeth, and even spread to other parts of the body.

If a wisdom tooth is impacted, will you know it? Not necessarily. A tooth can be impacted without causing pain. But we can see the position of your wisdom teeth on a dental x-ray and help you make an informed decision as to whether they should stay or go. If removal is the best course of action, rest assured that this procedure is completely routine and that your comfort and safety is our highest priority. If there is no great risk to keeping them, as Neil Patrick Harris has done, we can simply continue to monitor their condition at your regular dental checkups. It will be particularly important to make sure you are reaching those teeth with your brush and floss, and that you keep to your schedule of regular professional cleanings at the dental office. All healthy teeth are indeed worth treasuring.

If you would like more information about wisdom teeth, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can learn more by reading the Dear Doctor magazine articles “Wisdom Teeth” and “Removing Wisdom Teeth.”


You’ve been concerned for some time about your child’s bite, so you’ve visited an orthodontist for an evaluation. Even though your child is quite young and still with primary teeth, the orthodontist recommends they begin wearing a retainer device, with the possibility of braces in a few years.

That may at first sound like an overly extensive treatment plan. For certain bite problems, however, undergoing an early stage of orthodontic treatment could reduce or even eliminate the need for more advanced and costly treatment later.

An example of such a problem is a crossbite, also known as an underbite. With this type of malocclusion (bad bite) the lower front teeth bite in front of the upper front teeth rather than behind them as in a normal bite relationship. Because the teeth and jaws are still in development (including the primary teeth, which are preparing the path for the permanent teeth erupting later), wearing a retainer device could exert just enough pressure to influence the teeth toward a better alignment.

In essence, the goal of early orthodontic treatment is to intercept a bite problem ahead of time and prevent it from becoming a more serious one later. If early treatment isn’t undertaken or delayed until after the eruption of the permanent teeth, it will be much more difficult, if not impossible, to correct the malocclusion. Even if the initial treatment doesn’t correct the problem it could at least lessen its severity so that future treatment like braces or clear aligners can correct it with less difficulty and cost.

By getting an early start on bite problems, you’ll increase the chances your child will achieve an optimum bite when they reach adulthood. Not only will this enhance their appearance, it will greatly benefit their overall health and mouth function. In these cases, early orthodontic treatment could make all the difference in the world.

If you would like more information on orthodontic treatment for children, please contact us to schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can also learn more about this topic by reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “Preventative & Cost Saving Orthodontics.”

By Ashley Harrison, DDS
October 05, 2015
Category: Dental Procedures
Tags: Veneers  

Find out how this cosmetic approach to making over your smile might be better suited for your needs.

Who doesn’t want to have the perfect smile? Even if you aren’t born with it, you can still achieve it. Find out more about “esthetic zone” Dentistryveneers and how your Chico dentist Dr. Ashley Harrison can give you the smile you want with this popular dental treatment.

About Dental Veneers

Porcelain veneers are a great way to improve the look and shape of your smile while requiring only minimal tooth reduction. If you are looking to fix any of these dental issues then dental veneers may be the answer you’ve been looking for:

  • Stains or discolorations
  • Chips or cracks
  • Oddly shaped or crooked teeth
  • Spaces between teeth or minor overcrowding

Dental veneers can help to elongate smiles, straighten them or make them appear whiter. Veneers are thin shells that are adhered to the front surface of your teeth to mask these common dental issues. Of course, you can get dental veneers on all your teeth but some patients opt for only getting veneers in the esthetic zone.

What is the Esthetic Zone?

Simply put, these are the teeth that are visible when you smile. Some people opt to only get dental veneers on the teeth that others can see so they can still have a more attractive smile but without the same expense as getting a full set of veneers.

Furthermore, for those who choose prefabricated composite veneers, they can easily improve esthetic zone teeth with minimal tooth preparation. Other benefits including fewer office visits and often no lab fees. For those looking to stay on budget but who also want to boost the look of their smile, esthetic zone veneers are often the best approach.

Want to find out if getting esthetic zone veneers is the right cosmetic dentistry for your dental needs? Then schedule a consultation with your Chico, CA dentist today.