Posts for category: Dental Procedures
A baby’s teeth begin coming in just a few months after birth—first one or two in the front, and then gradually the rest of them over the next couple of years. We often refer to these primary teeth as deciduous—just like trees of the same description that shed their leaves, a child’s primary teeth will all be gone by around puberty.
It’s easy to think of them as “minor league,” while permanent teeth are the real superstars. But although they don’t last long, primary teeth play a big role in a person’s dental health well into their adult years.
Primary teeth serve two needs for a child: enabling them to eat, speak and smile in the present; but more importantly, helping to guide the developing permanent teeth to erupt properly in the future. Without them, permanent teeth can come in misaligned, affecting dental function and appearance and increasing future treatment costs.
That’s why we consider protecting primary teeth from decay a necessity for the sake of future dental health. Decay poses a real threat for children, especially an aggressive form known as early childhood caries (ECC). ECC can quickly decimate primary teeth because of their thinner enamel.
There are ways you can help reduce the chances of ECC in your child’s teeth. Don’t allow them to drink throughout the day or to go to sleep at night with a bottle or “Sippy” cup filled with milk, formula, or even juice. These liquids can contain sugars and acids that erode enamel and accelerate decay. You should also avoid sharing eating utensils with a baby or even kissing them on the mouth to avoid the transfer of disease-causing bacteria.
And even before teeth appear, start cleaning their gums with a clean, wet cloth right after feeding. After teeth appear, begin brushing and flossing to reduce plaque, the main trigger for tooth decay. And you should also begin regular dental visits no later than their first birthday. Besides teeth cleanings and checkups for decay, your dentist has a number of measures like sealants or topical fluoride to protect at-risk teeth from disease.
Helping primary teeth survive to their full lifespan is an important goal in pediatric dentistry. It’s the best strategy for having healthy permanent teeth and a bright dental health future.
If you would like more information on tooth decay 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 “Do Babies Get Tooth Decay?”
Want to know more about cosmetic dentistry from your Easley, SC, dentist?
Advanced procedures make it easier for people to get the beautiful smile they want. From our Easley, SC, office, we here at Southern Oaks Family Dentistry tweak major and minor issues to provide individuals with the oral health they need.
Here are a few procedures:
- Teeth Whitening: Tooth enamel wears down with time, causing dentin, the yellow layer beneath enamel, to become more visible. This, along with a poor dental regimen, drinking too much tea/coffee, chewing tobacco, and aging lead to stained, dull, or discolored teeth that need repair. Teeth whitening restores your smile back to its previous brightness.
- Porcelain Veneers: Veneers are thin porcelain restorative appliances that are cemented to the surfaces of natural teeth to conceal stained, shaped, or crooked teeth. Your Easley dentist doesn't need to use much anesthesia for this treatment and the effects are long-lasting.
- Dental Implants: Implants replace lost tooth roots. The synthetic structures are anchored to the jawbone and a crown is placed over them to fill dental gaps. They protect the structural integrity of your jaw and provide a beautiful smile.
Advantages of Cosmetic Dentistry
Cosmetic dentistry fixes numerous issues and includes even more procedures than the ones mentioned above. The goal of cosmetic dentistry is to hide minor imperfections, such as:
- Tooth shape
- Tooth size
Before any procedure, your doctor needs to examine your teeth to ensure there aren't any major issues such as cavities or gum disease that need immediate care. If there are any present, we must treat them before performing any cosmetic procedure.
If you are interested in improving the health and appearance of your smile with cosmetic dentistry, call Southern Oaks Family Dentistry in Easley, SC, at (864) 850-9100. We are more than happy to schedule an appointment with you as soon as possible!
Magician Michel Grandinetti can levitate a 500-pound motorcycle, melt into a 7-foot-tall wall of solid steel, and make borrowed rings vanish and reappear baked inside bread. Yet the master illusionist admits to being in awe of the magic that dentists perform when it comes to transforming smiles. In fact, he told an interviewer that it’s “way more important magic than walking through a steel wall because you’re affecting people’s health… people’s confidence, and you’re really allowing people to… feel good about themselves.”
Michael speaks from experience. As a teenager, his own smile was enhanced through orthodontic treatment. Considering the career path he chose for himself — performing for multitudes both live and on TV — he calls wearing an orthodontic device (braces) to align his crooked teeth “life-changing.” He relies on his welcoming, slightly mischievous smile to welcome audiences and make the initial human connection.
A beautiful smile is definitely an asset regardless of whether you’re performing for thousands, passing another individual on a sidewalk or even, research suggests, interviewing for a job. Like Michael, however, some of us need a little help creating ours. If something about your teeth or gums is making you self-conscious and preventing you from smiling as broadly as you could be, we have plenty of solutions up our sleeve. Some of the most popular include:
- Tooth Whitening. Professional whitening in the dental office achieves faster results than doing it yourself at home, but either approach can noticeably brighten your smile.
- Bonding. A tooth-colored composite resin can be bonded to a tooth to replace missing tooth structure, such a chip.
- Veneers. This is a hard, thin shell of tooth-colored material bonded to the front surface of a tooth to change its color, shape, size and/or length; mask dental imperfections like stains, cracks, or chips, and compensating for excessive gum tissue.
- Crowns. Sometimes too much of a tooth is lost due to decay or trauma to support a veneer. Instead, capping it with a natural-looking porcelain crown can achieve the same types of improvements. A crown covers the entire tooth replacing more of its natural structure than a veneer does.
If you would like more information about ways in which you can transform your smile, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can also learn more about the techniques mentioned above by reading the Dear Doctor magazine articles “Teeth Whitening,” “Repairing Chipped Teeth,” and “Porcelain Crowns & Veneers.”
If your smile is, to put it mildly, “unattractive,” you may think only extensive and expensive dental work can change it. But depending on your teeth’s actual condition, you might be able to obtain a new smile with a less-invasive option: porcelain veneers.
As their name implies, veneers are thin layers of dental porcelain bonded to the front of teeth to cover imperfections. They’re custom designed and manufactured by a dental technician to match the natural color, shape and size of the teeth they’re covering and to blend with neighboring teeth.
Veneers are quite effective for heavily stained, chipped or moderately misaligned teeth that are otherwise healthy. They can even be used to address slight gaps between teeth and restore worn teeth to make them appear larger and more youthful.
Overall, they’re less invasive than other dental restorations. That said, though, most veneers will still require some alteration of the affected teeth. This is because although quite thin they can still appear bulky after they’re bonded to the teeth. We can minimize this by removing a small amount of a tooth’s outer enamel. While this alteration is modest compared to other restorations, it’s nonetheless permanent– your teeth will require some form of restoration from then on.
Veneers also require special consideration while biting. You’ll need to exercise care and avoid biting hard items like candies (or using your teeth as tools) or the veneer could break. Similarly if you have a teeth grinding habit, you may want to consider having a custom guard created that you wear at night to prevent solid contact between your teeth. The excessive force generated while grinding or clenching teeth could also shatter veneers.
Veneers may not be the answer in all cosmetic dental situations, such as extensive disfigurements or bite problems. To know for sure if your particular dental condition could benefit, see your dentist for a complete dental examination and discuss whether obtaining veneers is a viable option for you. If so, you may be able to gain a much more attractive smile from this less invasive but no less effective option.
If you would like more information on porcelain veneers and other dental restorations, 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 “Porcelain Veneers: Strength & Beauty as Never Before.”
Root canal therapy can literally save your smile. Without the therapy, you'll lose an infected or inflamed tooth. Although warning signs don't always occur, you may notice a few signs or symptoms if you need a root canal. Easley, SC, dentist Dr. David Phelps of Southern Oaks Family Dentistry helps your family keep their smiles strong and healthy with regular checkups and dental treatments.
How can I tell if I need a root canal?
Pain is a common symptom if your tooth pulp becomes inflamed or infected. In the beginning, pain may be mild or might even be intermittent. Although it may be tempting to ignore pain if it isn't constant, your infection or inflammation will eventually worsen if you overlook this warning sign.
Does your pain intensify if you chew or eat or drink hot or cold beverages? Pain that increases with pressure on your teeth or spikes when you enjoy an ice pop or a hot bowl of soup is common when you need a root canal. Other signs that may indicate you need a root canal include:
- Tooth Darkening: Your tooth may look darker due to disturbing changes in your tooth pulp. As with pain, it's never a good idea to ignore changes in the color of a tooth.
- Gum Symptoms: Does the gum surrounding your tooth hurt or look swollen or red? Gum symptoms may mean you need a root canal, but can also be signs of other conditions that warrant a visit to your Easley dentist, such as gum disease or a gum abscess.
- Abscess Symptoms: That bug you picked up may actually be related to the pain in your tooth. Dental abscesses, bacterial infections deep inside your pulp, can cause symptoms of illness, such as fever and swollen lymph glands. If you have a dental abscess, you may experience a sudden increase in pain or notice pus or a pimple on the gum surrounding your tooth. If abscesses aren't treated with antibiotics, the infection can spread and may even affect your heart or brain.
Root canal therapy eliminates your symptoms by removing the pulp and replacing it with a flexible rubber filling. Thanks to local anesthesia, the entire procedure is pain free.
Protect your smile with root canal therapy. Call Easley, SC, dentist Dr. David Phelps of Southern Oaks Family Dentistry at (864) 850-9100 to schedule an appointment.