While tooth decay seems to get most of the “media attention,” there’s another oral infection just as common and destructive: periodontal (gum) disease. In fact, nearly half of adults over 30 have some form of it.
And like tooth decay, it begins with bacteria: while most are benign or even beneficial, a few strains of these micro-organisms can cause gum disease. They thrive and multiply in a thin, sticky film of food particles on tooth surfaces called plaque. Though not always apparent early on, you may notice symptoms like swollen, reddened or bleeding gums.
The real threat, though, is that untreated gum disease will advance deeper below the gum line, infecting the connective gum tissues, tooth roots and supporting bone. If it’s not stopped, affected teeth can lose support from these structures and become loose or out of position. Ultimately, you could lose them.
We can stop this disease by removing accumulated plaque and calculus (calcified plaque, also known as tartar) from the teeth, which continues to feed the infection. To reach plaque deposits deep below the gum line, we may need to surgically access them through the gums. Even without surgery, it may still take several cleaning sessions to remove all of the plaque and calculus found.
These treatments are effective for stopping gum disease and allowing the gums to heal. But there’s a better way: preventing gum disease before it begins through daily oral hygiene. In most cases, plaque builds up due to a lack of brushing and flossing. It takes only a few days without practicing these important hygiene tasks for early gingivitis to set in.
You should also visit the dentist at least twice a year for professional cleanings and checkups. A dental cleaning removes plaque and calculus from difficult to reach places. Your dentist also uses the visit to evaluate how well you’re doing with your hygiene efforts, and offer advice on how you can improve.
Like tooth decay, gum disease can rob you of your dental health. But it can be stopped—both you and your dentist can keep this infection from ruining your smile.
Find out how this clear set of aligners could fix your crooked smile.
More and more adults are realizing the importance of having a straighter smile. Not only does it enhance and improve your appearance it also provides benefits for your oral health for the long term. After all, a crooked smile can increase your risk for cavities. Our Midtown Manhattan dentist Dr. Brandon Huang understands that getting braces a little later in life isn’t always ideal, but with Invisalign, we can make the orthodontic process a whole lot easier.
Most teens and adults looking to get a straighter smile are often interested in whether Invisalign could be right for them. After all, it sounds pretty amazing that a clear orthodontic system exists that can move and shift teeth around to fix common misalignments and malocclusions (“bad bites”).
Of course, some people will say that Invisalign works better than other braces, but that’s not entirely accurate. Don’t get us wrong; Invisalign has and can benefit a whole lot of people with crooked smiles, but it’s important to understand that Invisalign is just different from other orthodontic options.
So, how is it different? Well, the most obvious difference is that instead of wearing metal brackets and wires across the front of your smile, our Midtown Manhattan, NY, general dentist will have a special Invisalign dental lab create a set of clear, plastic aligners. These aligners look like whitening trays and are designed to apply pressure in certain areas of your smile to shift teeth around. These transparent aligners should be worn about 22 hours out of the day, only removing them to eat, drink, brush and floss. You’ll also change out the aligners about every two weeks.
Each aligner is custom-made based on the measurements we take of your smile, as well as your treatment goals. From there, our computer software helps us determine which teeth need to move around, and exactly how much, in order to get the results you want. From this information, your aligners are created.
Invisalign is a great option for healthy older teens and adults who are dealing with:
- Minor crookedness
- Gaps between teeth
- Overbite, underbites and open bites
Are you ready to talk to the experts at New York Dental Studio to find out if Invisalign is the best approach for getting your dream smile? If so, then there has never been a better time to call our Midtown Manhattan, NY, dental office for a consultation.
The basics for treating tooth decay have changed little since the father of modern dentistry Dr. G.V. Black developed them in the early 20th Century. Even though technical advances have streamlined treatment, our objectives are the same: remove any decayed material, prepare the cavity and then fill it.
This approach has endured because it works—dentists practicing it have preserved billions of teeth. But it has had one principle drawback: we often lose healthy tooth structure while removing decay. Although we preserve the tooth, its overall structure may be weaker.
But thanks to recent diagnostic and treatment advances we’re now preserving more of the tooth structure during treatment than ever before. On the diagnostic front enhanced x-ray technology and new magnification techniques are helping us find decay earlier when there’s less damaged material to remove and less risk to healthy structure.
Treating cavities has likewise improved with the increased use of air abrasion, an alternative to drilling. Emitting a concentrated stream of fine abrasive particles, air abrasion is mostly limited to treating small cavities. Even so, dentists using it say they’re removing less healthy tooth structure than with drilling.
While these current advances have already had a noticeable impact on decay treatment, there’s more to come. One in particular could dwarf every other advance with its impact: a tooth repairing itself through dentin regeneration.
This futuristic idea stems from a discovery by researchers at King’s College, London experimenting with Tideglusib, a medication for treating Alzheimer’s disease. The researchers placed tiny sponges soaked with the drug into holes drilled into mouse teeth. After a few weeks the holes had filled with dentin, produced by the teeth themselves.
Dentin regeneration isn’t new, but methods to date haven’t been able to produce enough dentin to repair a typical cavity. Tideglusib has proven more promising, and it’s already being used in clinical trials. If its development continues to progress, patients’ teeth may one day repair their own cavities without a filling.
Dr. Black’s enduring concepts continue to define tooth decay treatment. But developments now and on the horizon are transforming how we treat this disease in ways the father of modern dentistry couldn’t imagine.
A crown is a tooth-shaped dental implement that helps over two million patients per year hold onto the beauty and resilience of their smiles according to the American College of Prosthodontists. Crown placement is key to restoring a tooth after a significant loss of dental enamel or an injury. At New York Dental Studio in Midtown Manhattan, NY, a dentist will check your smile and tell you if you could benefit from getting a custom porcelain crown.
Dental Crowns: What They Are and What They Do
Unlike bone tissue, dental enamel does not grow back if you improve your oral hygiene, so a damaged tooth has to be reinforced when it loses its strength. Crowns cover up the most vulnerable layers of your teeth, which are more susceptible to disease. They are smooth and polished on the outside, and hollow on the inside. Dentists use them after root canals to replace the dental material that has to be removed for this restorative procedure. Crowns are also commonly used in dental emergencies, such as when a tooth chips during a sports injury.
Placing a crown is a relatively easy procedure, but it will take some time to have a custom device created just for you. At your first appointment with your Midtown Manhattan dentist, the outer tooth matter must be removed to allow room for the hollowed-out crown. You’ll return to the office after a couple of weeks so that it can be permanently cemented to your treated tooth.
If you have been struggling with a soft, weak, or sensitive tooth for some time, you will immediately notice the benefit of your crown when chewing your food or biting into something that's a bit tough. Crowns help preserve your smile health and save teeth, but they are also chosen for cosmetic reasons. Soon after your appointment, you will likely forget that you ever had to have one installed. It will look very natural, feel comfortable, and match the rest of your teeth. You can return to eating your favorite foods and flashing your smile without feeling insecure about how your tooth looks.
Save Your Smile
Dr. Brandon Huang, a dentist at New York Dental Studio in Midtown Manhattan, NY, can save your smile with a dental crown and other beneficial treatments. Call (212) 588-1809 today to schedule a visit to his office.
Often as children grow older, their participation in sports or similar activities increases. While generally encouraged, this greater activity does increase injury risk, especially to the mouth.
In fact, the late childhood to early adulthood demographic is the most prone portion of the population to incur dental injuries. To complicate matters, their dental development is often incomplete, posing a number of treatment obstacles for an injured tooth.
For example, the primary means for preserving an injured adult tooth is a root canal treatment: damaged or diseased tissue within the pulp, the tooth’s innermost layer, is removed and the empty chamber and root canals filled and sealed to prevent infection. But while a fully matured tooth can function without the nerves and blood vessels of the pulp, a developing tooth needs these tissues for continued tooth formation. Otherwise, tooth development can stall and cause problems later on.
The most common solution for younger teeth is to remove any damaged tooth structure without disturbing the pulp if at all possible followed by a filling. That’s contingent, though, on whether we find the pulp unexposed or undamaged—if it is, we’ll try to remove only damaged or diseased pulp tissue and leave as much healthy tissue intact as possible. To aid with healing and tissue re-growth, we may also place medicinal stimulators between the pulp and the filling.
Jaw development may also pose a challenge if the injured tooth is too far gone and must be removed. Our best choice is to replace it with a dental implant; but if we install the implant while the jaw is still growing, it may eventually appear out of place with the rest of the teeth. It’s best to postpone an implant until full jaw maturity in early adulthood.
In the meantime we could provide a temporary solution like a removable partial denture or a modified bonded bridge that won’t permanently alter nearby teeth. These methods can adequately restore the function and appearance of missing teeth until the jaw is mature enough for an implant.
While injuries with young permanent teeth do pose extra challenges, we have effective ways to address them. With the right approach, the outcome can be just as successful as with a mature tooth.
If you would like more information on dental care in the formative years, 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 “Saving New Permanent Teeth after Injury.”
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