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Posts for: July, 2015


For decades, traditional braces were the only orthodontic choice for moving misaligned teeth. Although they’re quite effective, they can cause discomfort and, for teens especially, embarrassment due to their noticeable metallic appearance.

In recent years, though, technology has produced an alternative to braces that’s proven effective for many types of patients. Besides being less cumbersome and disruptive to everyday life than braces, clear aligners have another advantage that appeals to teens — they’re much less visible.

Introduced in the late 1990s, clear aligners are a system of individual trays made of nearly invisible polyurethane plastic worn over the upper teeth. The trays are computer-generated based on the patient’s individual mouth structure captured in photographs and x-rays. Each tray in the sequence is incrementally smaller in size; the patient begins wearing the first aligner in the series for about two weeks, 20 to 22 hours a day. They then switch to the next tray in the series for about the same amount of time, and continue in this fashion until they’ve worn each aligner in the series.

Besides their improvement in appearance, aligners also have another advantage: unlike traditional braces, aligners can be removed from the mouth for eating or on a limited basis for rare important social occasions. Brushing and flossing are also much easier with aligners, which don’t pose the same access problems as traditional braces.

Clear aligners were once only effective with select types of orthodontic patients, which didn’t always include teens. Over the last decade, however, significant changes to design and additional implements have widened their application to more patients, especially teens. For example, we can now add tiny “power ridges” to the aligner design that give greater precision over desired tooth movement to create a more controlled and efficient force on the teeth. More recent aligners are also being produced with a thinner, more comfortable material.

A thorough orthodontic exam will tell whether your teen is a good candidate for clear aligners. If so, they’ll benefit from a more comfortable and less embarrassing experience while gaining a new smile for life.

If you would like more information on clear aligners, 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 “Clear Aligners for Teens.”

By Advanced Dental Concepts
July 22, 2015
Category: Oral Health
Tags: chipped tooth  

Chipped ToothFind out how to properly care for a chipped tooth to protect your smile from further damage.

You couldn’t wait for lunchtime to roll around. Unfortunately, during your satisfying lunch break you heard a loud crunch, and that sound wasn’t coming from those pretzels. A chipped tooth can happen for a number of reasons and not just from chomping down on hard foods. If you are suffering from a chipped tooth your Andover dentist knows what to do to treat it.

What can cause a tooth to chip?

Enamel at the edges of your tooth is a bit more fragile than the rest of the tooth and can chip off when a certain amount of impact is involved. This is usually the case with front teeth since they are more prominent and are usually in the direct line of impact. When back teeth chip this is typically the result of eating hard foods like candy or meat that contains bones.

Sometimes only a bit of enamel chips off and while it doesn’t look appealing it won’t cause discomfort. But if a chipped tooth also becomes sensitive to extreme temperatures or air then the inner layer of the tooth may be exposed. This requires prompt medical attention.

When should I see my Andover dentist?

Whenever you experience a chipped tooth you should always see your Andover dentist Dr. Richard Hopgood for medical attention. Even if the crack isn’t causing any issues now we will still want to be aware of your situation so we can monitor it carefully. We may also want to perform X-rays to determine whether there has been damage sustained to the roots of the tooth.

However, if you aren’t experiencing discomfort or other symptoms then there is no need to stress out. This isn’t a medical emergency. Schedule an appointment with us and in the meantime monitor your mouth to check for signs that an infection has formed, such as the presence of an abscess.

What should I do for my chipped tooth before seeing the dentist?

If a chipped tooth is sharp or uncomfortable than apply a piece of sugar-free gum over it. We don’t recommend trying to file down the tooth on your own. Your Andover dentist can do it when you come in for treatment. In the meantime, stay away from hard or crunchy foods and opt for softer foods to protect your tooth from further damage.

If a large piece of your tooth has been chipped off, place it either in a glass of milk or hold it under your tongue and then come into our office right away. We can typically bond the chipped piece back on your tooth and make it look good as new.

If you are experiencing a chipped tooth then it’s time to call your Andover dentist to schedule an appointment. Call Advanced Dental Concepts today.

By Advanced Dental Concepts
July 10, 2015
Category: Dental Procedures

Let’s say you’re traveling to Italy to surprise your girlfriend, who is competing in an alpine ski race… and when you lower the scarf that’s covering your face, you reveal to the assembled paparazzi that one of your front teeth is missing. What will you do about this dental dilemma?

Sound far-fetched? It recently happened to one of the most recognized figures in sports — Tiger Woods. There’s still some uncertainty about exactly how this tooth was taken out: Was it a collision with a cameraman, as Woods’ agent reported… or did Woods already have some problems with the tooth, as others have speculated? We still don’t know for sure, but the big question is: What happens next?

Fortunately, contemporary dentistry offers several good solutions for the problem of missing teeth. Which one is best? It depends on each individual’s particular situation.

Let’s say that the visible part of the tooth (the crown) has been damaged by a dental trauma (such as a collision or a blow to the face), but the tooth still has healthy roots. In this case, it’s often possible to keep the roots and replace the tooth above the gum line with a crown restoration (also called a cap). Crowns are generally made to order in a dental lab, and are placed on a prepared tooth in a procedure that requires two office visits: one to prepare the tooth for restoration and to make a model of the mouth and the second to place the custom-manufactured crown and complete the restoration. However, in some cases, crowns can be made on special machinery right in the dental office, and placed during the same visit.

But what happens if the root isn’t viable — for example, if the tooth is deeply fractured, or completely knocked out and unable to be successfully re-implanted?

In that case, a dental implant is probably the best option for tooth replacement. An implant consists of a screw-like post of titanium metal that is inserted into the jawbone during a minor surgical procedure. Titanium has a unique property: It can fuse with living bone tissue, allowing it to act as a secure anchor for the replacement tooth system. The crown of the implant is similar to the one mentioned above, except that it’s made to attach to the titanium implant instead of the natural tooth.

Dental implants look, function and “feel” just like natural teeth — and with proper care, they can last a lifetime. Although they may be initially expensive, their quality and longevity makes them a good value over the long term. A less-costly alternative is traditional bridgework — but this method requires some dental work on the adjacent, healthy teeth; plus, it isn’t expected to last as long as an implant, and it may make the teeth more prone to problems down the road.

What will the acclaimed golfer do? No doubt Tiger’s dentist will help him make the right tooth-replacement decision.

If you have a gap in your grin — whatever the cause — contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation, and find out which tooth-replacement system is right for you. You can learn more in the Dear Doctor magazine articles “Dental Implant Surgery” and “Crowns & Bridgework.”