My Blog

Posts for: February, 2016


A recent episode of “America’s Got Talent” featured an engaging 93-year-old strongman called The Mighty Atom Jr. The mature muscleman’s stunt: moving a full-sized car (laden with his octogenarian “kid brother,” his brother’s wife, plus Atom’s “lady friend”) using just his teeth. Grinning for host Howie Mandel, Atom proudly told the TV audience that his teeth were all his own; then he grasped a leather strap in his mouth, and successfully pulled the car from a standstill.

We’re pleased to see that the Atom has kept his natural teeth in good shape: He must have found time for brushing and flossing in between stunts. Needless to say, his “talent” isn’t one we’d recommend trying at home. But aside from pulling vehicles, teeth can also be chipped or fractured by more mundane (yet still risky) activities — playing sports, nibbling on pencils, or biting too hard on ice. What can you do if that happens to your teeth?

Fortunately, we have a number of ways to repair cracked or chipped teeth. One of the easiest and fastest is cosmetic bonding with tooth-colored resins. Bonding can be used to fill in small chips, cracks and discolorations in the teeth. The bonding material is a high-tech mixture of plastic and glass components that’s extremely lifelike, and can last for several years. Plus, it’s a procedure that can be done right in the office, with minimal preparation or discomfort. However, it may not be suitable for larger chips, and it isn’t the longest-lasting type of restoration.

When more of the tooth structure is missing, a crown (or cap) might be needed to restore the tooth’s appearance and function. This involves creating a replacement for the entire visible part of the tooth in a dental lab — or in some cases, right in the office. It typically involves making a model of the damaged tooth and its neighbors, then fabricating a replica, which will fit perfectly into the bite. Finally, the replacement crown is permanently cemented to the damaged tooth. A crown replacement can last for many years if the tooth’s roots are in good shape. But what if the roots have been dislodged?

In some cases it’s possible to re-implant a tooth that has been knocked out — especially if it has been carefully preserved, and receives immediate professional attention. But if a tooth can’t be saved (due to a deeply fractured root, for example) a dental implant offers today’s best option for tooth replacement. This procedure has a success rate of over 95 percent, and gives you a natural looking replacement tooth that can last for the rest of your life.

So what have we learned? If you take care of your teeth, like strongman Atom, they can last a long time — but if you need to move your car, go get the keys.

If you would like more information about tooth restoration, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can learn more by reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “Crowns & Bridgework.”

By Ashley Harrison, DDS
February 10, 2016
Category: Oral Health
Tags: teeth grinding  

It can be alarming to be awakened in the middle of the night by a screeching, gritting sound coming from your child’s bedroom. No, it’s not a scene from a horror movie: it’s your child grinding their teeth as they sleep — a behavior so prevalent in children under eleven it’s considered normal.

That doesn’t mean, however, you should completely ignore it. While it isn’t harmful for most children, a few can encounter tooth wear, pain or trouble sleeping that calls for some form of intervention.

The causes for tooth grinding and similar habits known collectively as bruxism aren’t thoroughly understood, but in children it’s believed linked to the immaturity of the neuromuscular system that controls chewing. Some point to shifts from one stage of sleep to another — more than 80% of grinding episodes occur in lighter stages of sleep and only 5% to 10% during the deeper Rapid-Eye-Movement (REM) stage. It also seems prevalent in children who snore or have other symptoms of sleep apnea.

One primary concern is how the behavior can affect teeth, particularly through abnormal wear. The teeth, of course, make hundreds of contacts with each other every day during eating, speaking or jaw movement. If, however, the forces generated during these contacts chronically exceed normal parameters, as with bruxism, it can cause accelerated tooth wear. This can result in a higher susceptibility to tooth decay and appearance changes later in life.

If your child is exhibiting problems associated with teeth grinding, there are ways to address it. We may recommend a thin, plastic mouthguard they wear while sleeping that prevents the teeth from making solid contact with each other. We may also refer you to an ear, nose and throat specialist if we suspect signs of sleep apnea. And, children under severe psychological stress, which can also trigger teeth grinding, could benefit from behavioral therapy.

The good news is most grinding habits fade as children enter their teens. In the meantime, keep a watchful eye and see us if you notice any indications this common habit is affecting their health and well-being.

If you would like more information on teeth grinding habits, 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 “When Children Grind Their Teeth.”

By Ashley Harrison, DDS
February 08, 2016
Category: Dental Procedures

Discover how dentures could give you a complete and beautiful smile again.

It’s amazing how many millions of Americans are suffering from tooth loss. Maybe you are one of them. But what if your Chico, CA denturesdentist, Dr. Ashley Harrison, told you that this isn’t a problem you just have to put up with? That’s right! Dental prosthetics is one way countless people are getting their smiles back. Find out more about dentures and whether they are right for you.

About Dentures

Dentures are removable dental prosthetics that are designed to replace some or all of your missing teeth. If you’ve been looking for a way to replace your missing teeth, then dentures could be the treatment you’ve been looking for. Dentures can renew your appearance and improve the look of your smile. A denture will also make it easier to speak and chew than it ever was with missing teeth.

There are two types of dentures: full or partial. Partial dentures are recommended if a patient still has some natural teeth remaining while complete dentures are recommended for patients that don’t have any healthy teeth left.

Things to Consider Before Choosing Dentures

It’s important to know more about what it’s like to have dentures so you can decide if it’s right for you. Here are some factors to think about before you talk to your Chico cosmetic dentist Dr. Harrison about dentures:

  • It may take a couple weeks to adjust to your new teeth. You may also notice some minor soreness while wearing them in the beginning until your mouth becomes accustomed to them.
  • You will need to see us for follow-up visits to check the fit of your dentures and to perform any necessary adjustments so they fit more comfortably.
  • Even though dentures are artificial restorations, you will still need to practice good oral hygiene. This means brushing your gums, tongue, and other soft tissue every morning before placing your dentures. You’ll also need to brush and clean your dentures each day using a soft-bristled toothbrush and a gentle cleanser.
  • Dentures may slip around a bit while eating or speaking. Just like anything else, it will take some getting use to. Talk to us if you are having an issues or concerns about your new dentures.
  • Dentures provide a fast, simple, painless and inexpensive way to replace all of your missing teeth. While they may not offer all the benefits that other treatments, like implants can, not everyone is a candidate for implants. Many people can be good candidates for dentures.

Have questions about dentures? Want to know if this is the right treatment option for you? Then it’s time you talked to your cosmetic dentist in Chico, CA. Call our office today to schedule an appointment.