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Posts for: March, 2017

By Advanced Dental Concepts
March 27, 2017
Category: Dental Procedures
Tags: laser dentistry  

Lasers have transformed our everyday lives, especially in healthcare. These intense beams of light of a single wavelength have revolutionized all manner of diagnostics and treatments, from general surgery to cosmetic therapy.

Dentistry has also been influenced by the laser revolution. Here are just a few of the areas where they’re growing in use and popularity.

Early disease detection. Laser instruments can take advantage of “fluorescence,” the tendency of bacteria to “glow” when exposed to certain wavelengths of light. This is proving more effective in detecting early tooth decay in pits and fissures (very tiny areas in a tooth’s biting surface) than traditional needle-like probing instruments called dental explorers. Newer lasers can now detect the same fluorescent qualities in soft tissues, which may reduce the detection time for oral cancer and make the difference between life and death.

Dental caries treatment. Lasers have become an alternative to the dental drill in treating teeth with dental caries (decay). Although with larger cavities lasers are somewhat slower than the conventional drill, they truly shine when it comes to early enamel caries and small cavities because they can be quite precise in the amount of tooth structure they remove. This feature allows them to be less invasive than a dental drill.

Periodontal treatment. Periodontal (gum) disease is an infection caused mainly by bacterial plaque and calculus (hardened plaque deposits) that have adhered to tooth surfaces. Lasers are emerging as an alternative to conventional periodontal (gum) surgery to treat voids or spaces below the gum line called periodontal pockets that have formed because of gum tissue detachment as supporting bone is lost. With their ability to target and destroy infected tissue without damaging nearby healthy tissue, lasers can achieve similar outcomes as traditional techniques but with less tissue damage and discomfort to patients afterward.

Research and development into laser technology continues to perfect these and other applications that promise to make dental procedures less invasive and more comfortable for patients.

If you would like more information on the use of lasers in dentistry, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation.

By Advanced Dental Concepts
March 19, 2017
Category: Dental Procedures
Tags: celebrity smiles   bonding  

So you’re tearing up the dance floor at a friend’s wedding, when all of a sudden one of your pals lands an accidental blow to your face — chipping out part of your front tooth, which lands right on the floorboards! Meanwhile, your wife (who is nine months pregnant) is expecting you home in one piece, and you may have to pose for a picture with the baby at any moment. What will you do now?

Take a tip from Prince William of England. According to the British tabloid The Daily Mail, the future king found himself in just this situation in 2013. His solution: Pay a late-night visit to a discreet dentist and get it fixed up — then stay calm and carry on!

Actually, dental emergencies of this type are fairly common. While nobody at the palace is saying exactly what was done for the damaged tooth, there are several ways to remedy this dental dilemma.

If the broken part is relatively small, chances are the tooth can be repaired by bonding with composite resin. In this process, tooth-colored material is used to replace the damaged, chipped or discolored region. Composite resin is a super-strong mixture of plastic and glass components that not only looks quite natural, but bonds tightly to the natural tooth structure. Best of all, the bonding procedure can usually be accomplished in just one visit to the dental office — there’s no lab work involved. And while it won’t last forever, a bonded tooth should hold up well for at least several years with only routine dental care.

If a larger piece of the tooth is broken off and recovered, it is sometimes possible to reattach it via bonding. However, for more serious damage — like a severely fractured or broken tooth — a crown (cap) may be required. In this restoration process, the entire visible portion of the tooth may be capped with a sturdy covering made of porcelain, gold, or porcelain fused to a gold metal alloy.

A crown restoration is more involved than bonding. It begins with making a 3-D model of the damaged tooth and its neighbors. From this model, a tooth replica will be fabricated by a skilled technician; it will match the existing teeth closely and fit into the bite perfectly. Next, the damaged tooth will be prepared, and the crown will be securely attached to it. Crown restorations are strong, lifelike and permanent.

Was the future king “crowned” — or was his tooth bonded? We may never know for sure. But it’s good to know that even if we’ll never be royals, we still have several options for fixing a damaged tooth. If you would like more information, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can learn more by reading the Dear Doctor magazine articles “Repairing Chipped Teeth” and “Crowns and Bridgework.”

By Advanced Dental Concepts
March 16, 2017
Category: Dental Procedures

If you have ever looked at your smile and wish it was different, you might benefit from a cosmetic dentistry procedure to improve its teeth whiteningappearance. These procedures can boost your confidence and give you a smile you love and feel proud of. One of the most popular cosmetic dentistry procedures, teeth whitening, takes only about an hour at a single appointment and can drastically change your smile. Find out more about teeth whitening with Dr. Richard Hopgood at Advanced Dental Concepts in Andover, MA.

How does teeth whitening keep my smile white?
Whitening treatments rely on the chemical reactions which occur between the whitening agents and the stains and discolorations on your teeth. The whitening agents break the bonds holding the molecules of the stain together, dissipating the stain and giving your teeth a whiter appearance.

Is teeth whitening permanent?
Teeth stain on two levels, the extrinsic level (outer layer) or the intrinsic level (inner layer). Intrinsic staining comes from things like trauma to the tooth, using certain medications, or too much fluoride. Extrinsic staining occurs on the teeth’s enamel and occurs due to outside elements coming into contact with your tooth. These outside factors often include darkly-colored beverages like coffee or soda, tobacco use or eating darkly-pigmented foods like berries. The only way to avoid stained teeth is to avoid the stain-causing factors altogether. Since this is not always feasible, most teeth whitening patients get touch up whitening appointments once or twice a year to clear up any new staining which may have occurred since their last session.

Teeth Whitening Procedures in Andover, MA
Your whitening procedure occurs right in your dentist’s office and is a quick and easy visit which will last about an hour. Your dentist will place the whitening gel onto the teeth and aim a special light at the teeth to help in the whitening process. After your treatment, you will notice immediate results and have zero downtime, meaning you can get right back to your daily activities like school or work.

For more information on teeth whitening, please contact Dr. Hopgood at Advanced Dental Concepts in Andover, MA. Call (978) 475-2431 to schedule your appointment with Dr. Hopgood today!

By Advanced Dental Concepts
March 07, 2017
Category: Oral Health
Tags: oral hygiene  

While having regular dental exams and cleanings every six months is important, following a good oral hygiene routine at home is too. oral hygieneYour Andover, MD dentist Dr. Richard Hopgood can give you brushing and flossing tips that can help protect your teeth and gums. Harmful bacteria live in the mouth as a form of plaque that causes both cavities and gingivitis, and can lead to gum disease. In order to maintain a healthy oral regimen, regular brushing and daily flossing are needed.

What is Plaque?

Plaque is a sticky layer of material containing bacteria that accumulates on the teeth and gums. It is usually found in places where it is difficult to brush thoroughly. Acidic foods can cause this bacteria as well as sugar. Plaque can make the gums, red and prone to bleeding, leading to early signs of gum disease or gingivitis.

Getting Rid of Plaque

The best way to get rid of plaque is to brush and clean between the teeth at least twice a day. Brushing helps to remove plaque from the surface of the teeth. Flossing cleans between the teeth, and should be done at least once a day to remove plaque from between the teeth. It is also advisable that you floss before brushing.

Learn Proper Oral Hygiene From an Andover Dentist

Regular dental exams and cleanings are recommended every six months. After all, preventative dental care is the best approach to one’s oral health. At your six-month check-up you can speak to a dental hygienist to ensure your brushing and flossing routine is adequate. They will evaluate your gums and determine whether you are flossing adequately and suggest any tips for better care. Brushing and flossing is an integral part of your overall health.

To schedule a comprehensive dental exam and cleaning with your Andover dentist from Advanced Dental Concepts in Andover, MD today, call (978) 475-2431.

By Advanced Dental Concepts
March 04, 2017
Category: Oral Health
Tags: oral health  

Periodontal (gum) disease is the most likely cause of a loose, permanent tooth. This progressive infection causes damage to the gums and bone tissues that hold teeth in place, leading to looseness and ultimately tooth loss.

Gum disease, however, isn’t the only cause: although not as common, excessive biting forces over time may also lead to loose teeth. The excessive force stretches the periodontal ligaments that hold teeth in place, causing the teeth to become loose.

This condition is called occlusal trauma. In its primary form, the patient habitually grinds or clenches their teeth, or bites or chews on hard objects like pencils or nails. Generating 20-30 times the normal biting force, these habits can cause considerable damage. It can also be a factor when gum disease is present — supporting bone becomes so weakened by the disease, even normal biting forces can cause mobility.

If you recognize the early signs of grinding or clenching, particularly jaw soreness in the morning (since many instances of teeth grinding occur while we sleep), it’s important to seek treatment before teeth become loose. The symptoms are usually treated directly with muscle relaxants, an occlusal guard worn to soften the force when teeth bite down, or stress management, a major trigger for teeth grinding. The sooner you address the habit, the more likely you’ll avoid its consequences.

If, however, you’re already noticing a loose tooth, treatment must then focus on preserving the tooth. Initially, the tooth may need to be splinted, physically joined to adjacent teeth to hold it in place while damaged tissues heal. In some cases, minute amounts of enamel may need to be removed from the tooth’s biting surfaces to help the tooth better absorb biting forces. Other treatments, including orthodontics and gum disease treatment, may also be included in your treatment plan.

If you notice a loose tooth, it’s critical you contact us as soon as possible for an evaluation — if you delay you increase the chances of eventually losing it. The earlier you address it, the better your chances of preserving your tooth.

If you would like more information on loose teeth, 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 “Loose Teeth.”