Posts for: September, 2017
A new school year is right around the corner.Â Here's something to add to your back-to-school list: Schedule a dental visit for your child. There are several good reasons for this:
1. Hidden Problems
Nearly 1 of 5 school-age children has untreated tooth decay. If decay progresses, it can interfere with eating, speaking, sleeping and learning. A checkup at the dental office can uncover a small problem before it turns into a much bigger issue.
2. Oral Hygiene
A back-to-school appointment is the ideal opportunity to get a professional cleaning. In addition, we can check on whether your child's oral hygiene efforts are up to par — and give pointers where needed.
3. Mouth Protection
Will your children be playing sports? If so, ask us about a custom mouthguard to help protect their teeth. If your child already has a mouthguard, we can check that the condition and fit are still adequate, given that your child is still growing.
4. Preventive Treatment
Speaking of protecting your child's teeth, an end-of-summer appointment is a good time to ask about preventive measures like tooth-strengthening fluoride treatments or protective dental sealants.
Make sure your child starts the new school year with strong, healthy teeth that will sparkle in school pictures. Please contact us to schedule a back-to-school dental appointment today!
Some people are lucky — they never seem to have a mishap, dental or otherwise. But for the rest of us, accidents just happen sometimes. Take actor Jamie Foxx, for example. A few years ago, he actually had a dentist intentionally chip one of his teeth so he could portray a homeless man more realistically. But recently, he got a chipped tooth in the more conventional way… well, conventional in Hollywood, anyway. It happened while he was shooting the movie Sleepless with co-star Michelle Monaghan.
“Yeah, we were doing a scene and somehow the action cue got thrown off or I wasn't looking,” he told an interviewer. “But boom! She comes down the pike. And I could tell because all this right here [my teeth] are fake. So as soon as that hit, I could taste the little chalkiness, but we kept rolling.” Ouch! So what's the best way to repair a chipped tooth? The answer it: it all depends…
For natural teeth that have only a small chip or minor crack, cosmetic bonding is a quick and relatively easy solution. In this procedure, a tooth-colored composite resin, made of a plastic matrix with inorganic glass fillers, is applied directly to the tooth's surface and then hardened or “cured” by a special light. Bonding offers a good color match, but isn't recommended if a large portion of the tooth structure is missing. It's also less permanent than other types of restoration, but may last up to 10 years.
When more of the tooth is missing, a crown or dental veneer may be a better answer. Veneers are super strong, wafer-thin coverings that are placed over the entire front surface of the tooth. They are made in a lab from a model of your teeth, and applied in a separate procedure that may involve removal of some natural tooth material. They can cover moderate chips or cracks, and even correct problems with tooth color or spacing.
A crown is the next step up: It's a replacement for the entire visible portion of the tooth, and may be needed when there's extensive damage. Like veneers, crowns (or caps) are made from models of your bite, and require more than one office visit to place; sometimes a root canal may also be needed to save the natural tooth. However, crowns are strong, natural looking, and can last many years.
But what about teeth like Jamie's, which have already been restored? That's a little more complicated than repairing a natural tooth. If the chip is small, it may be possible to smooth it off with standard dental tools. Sometimes, bonding material can be applied, but it may not bond as well with a restoration as it will with a natural tooth; plus, the repaired restoration may not last as long as it should. That's why, in many cases, we will advise that the entire restoration be replaced — it's often the most predictable and long-lasting solution.
Oh, and one more piece of advice: Get a custom-made mouthguard — and use it! This relatively inexpensive device, made in our office from a model of your own teeth, can save you from a serious mishap… whether you're doing Hollywood action scenes, playing sports or just riding a bike. It's the best way to protect your smile from whatever's coming at it!
If you have questions about repairing chipped teeth, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can also learn more by reading the Dear Doctor magazine articles “Artistic Repair of Chipped Teeth With Composite Resin” and “Porcelain Veneers.”
Do you have a tooth with a very large filling? Are you concerned that the remaining tooth structure is weak? In the past, the only alternative for restoring a damaged tooth was a full dental crown. While the crown remains the treatment of choice in many cases, another type of restoration has gained popularity for certain applications. It's a bonded tooth-colored onlay, this partial crown strengthens and protects selected teeth. Placed by Dr. Joel Levy, your dentist in Larchmont and New York City, NY, a bonded tooth-colored onlay is less invasive and gives your tooth a new lease on life.
When a tooth is compromised...
Your dentist in Larchmont and New York City aims to preserve as much of your natural tooth structure as possible. So if you have a tooth injured by accident, decay or gum disease, Dr. Levy and his team do all they can to return it to full health and function.
To restore the appearance and chewing structures of a damaged tooth, your dentist may use a tooth-colored filling, a dental crown, even a veneer to normalize that tooth as much as possible. When a tooth has a large filling, especially if it involves the cusps, or corners of the tooth, Dr. Levy may recommend something called an onlay.
Tooth-colored and made from dental-grade ceramic or porcelain, an onlay basically replaces the top of a decayed or cracked tooth, including the cusps. However, it does not replace the sides of the tooth the way a dental crown does.
Onlays are a conservative way to support and beautify a tooth without all the enamel reduction involved in a crown. Plus, onlays are much more attractive than big, ugly metal fillings.
How onlays work
First, Dr. Levy will examine and X-ray your tooth. Then, if an onlay is appropriate, he will take oral impressions to accurately record the shape of your tooth. He may place a temporary onlay after removing the damaged enamel and filling material. Then, your dentist sends specific instructions, impressions, and imaging to a trusted dental lab in the area for your onlay to be fabricated from beautiful, life-like material.
On your return visit, Dr. Levy will remove the temporary restoration and bond on the new onlay. He uses a special conditioning liquid to prepare the surface of the tooth, and then, using a special adhesive, he bonds the onlay in place. After adjusting for bite and fit, the bonded tooth-colored onlay is complete.
Interestingly, onlays have smaller counterparts called inlays. Created and placed in the same way onlays are, tooth-colored inlays reside within the natural cusps of a tooth, replacing old filling material or fractured enamel.
Would an onlay help you?
Learn more by contacting Joel F. Levy D.D.S. Laser Assisted Cosmetic & Restorative Dentistry to arrange a consultation. Through minimally invasive dental techniques, your tooth can be strong and beautiful again. Call us today!