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Posts for: July, 2016

AmericasDentistsGotTalent-forFixingDamagedorMissingTeeth

A recent episode of “America’s Got Talent” featured an engaging 93-year-old strongman called The Mighty Atom Jr. The mature muscleman’s stunt: moving a full-sized car (laden with his octogenarian “kid brother,” his brother’s wife, plus Atom’s “lady friend”) using just his teeth. Grinning for host Howie Mandel, Atom proudly told the TV audience that his teeth were all his own; then he grasped a leather strap in his mouth, and successfully pulled the car from a standstill.

We’re pleased to see that the Atom has kept his natural teeth in good shape: He must have found time for brushing and flossing in between stunts. Needless to say, his “talent” isn’t one we’d recommend trying at home. But aside from pulling vehicles, teeth can also be chipped or fractured by more mundane (yet still risky) activities — playing sports, nibbling on pencils, or biting too hard on ice. What can you do if that happens to your teeth?

Fortunately, we have a number of ways to repair cracked or chipped teeth. One of the easiest and fastest is cosmetic bonding with tooth-colored resins. Bonding can be used to fill in small chips, cracks and discolorations in the teeth. The bonding material is a high-tech mixture of plastic and glass components that’s extremely lifelike, and can last for several years. Plus, it’s a procedure that can be done right in the office, with minimal preparation or discomfort. However, it may not be suitable for larger chips, and it isn’t the longest-lasting type of restoration.

When more of the tooth structure is missing, a crown (or cap) might be needed to restore the tooth’s appearance and function. This involves creating a replacement for the entire visible part of the tooth in a dental lab — or in some cases, right in the office. It typically involves making a model of the damaged tooth and its neighbors, then fabricating a replica, which will fit perfectly into the bite. Finally, the replacement crown is permanently cemented to the damaged tooth. A crown replacement can last for many years if the tooth’s roots are in good shape. But what if the roots have been dislodged?

In some cases it’s possible to re-implant a tooth that has been knocked out — especially if it has been carefully preserved, and receives immediate professional attention. But if a tooth can’t be saved (due to a deeply fractured root, for example) a dental implant offers today’s best option for tooth replacement. This procedure has a success rate of over 95 percent, and gives you a natural looking replacement tooth that can last for the rest of your life.

So what have we learned? If you take care of your teeth, like strongman Atom, they can last a long time — but if you need to move your car, go get the keys.

If you would like more information about tooth restoration, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can learn more by reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “Crowns & Bridgework.”


By Healthwest Dental Associates
July 18, 2016
Category: Dental Procedures
Tags: veneers  

Do your smile’s imperfections take a toll on your self-esteem? Do you wish you could simply snap your fingers and overhaul your veneerssmile? With dental veneers, you can get the smile you want in only a few dental appointments. But how do these effective and permanent dental restorations work? Find out with your dentist at Healthwest Dental Associates in Dothan, AL.

What are veneers? 
Veneers are a cosmetic dentistry procedure which repairs imperfections in the teeth. Made by carving thin shells from a ceramic block, a dental laboratory technician carefully customizes each porcelain veneer for your teeth. This includes color-matching the veneer to the surrounding natural teeth to ensure it blends in seamlessly with your existing smile. Before placing veneers, your dentist prepares the tooth by removing a small amount of enamel from its surface. This makes the procedure permanent and irreversible.

The Science Behind Veneers
The materials which make up dental veneers have been carefully selected to emulate a natural tooth. Porcelain’s translucency and light-reflecting qualities allow the veneers to blend in with your existing teeth, ensuring an even appearance. The methods with which dentists place veneers produce a solid bond with the natural tooth to make sure the veneer stays in place and holds up to daily use for many years to come. Additionally, color-matching techniques match the color of the veneer to the natural teeth, subtly repairing the imperfections in your smile.

Dental Veneers in Dothan
Veneers repair many imperfections with your teeth, including:

  • chips
  • cracks
  • discolorations
  • stains
  • slightly misaligned teeth
  • slightly gapped teeth
  • slightly crowded teeth

Veneers last many years with the proper care. Brush twice daily for at least two minutes and floss at least once a day. See your dentist for regular dental examinations and cleanings at least twice a year.

For more information on dental veneers, please contact Dr. Paul Hufham and Dr. Bayne Heersink at Healthwest Dental Associates in Dothan, AL. Call (334) 702-1101 to schedule your appointment for a consultation for veneers today!


By Healthwest Dental Associates
July 15, 2016
Category: Oral Health
Tags: oral hygiene  
ProperBrushingandFlossingRemovesDisease-CausingPlaque

You've been brushing your teeth since you were big enough to look over the bathroom sink: now you brush and floss every day. You do it because you know it's important — but do you know why?

It's because your teeth and gums have enemies: oral bacteria in particular, the major cause for tooth decay and periodontal (gum) disease. The vehicle for these infections is a thin-film of food particles on tooth surfaces called plaque.

Daily brushing removes plaque from broad tooth surfaces, while flossing removes it from between teeth. If you don't brush or floss every day — or you aren't effective enough — then plaque becomes a haven for bacteria which then produce high levels of acid that soften and erode enamel. Bacterial plaque can also trigger gum disease: gingivitis (inflamed gum tissues) can begin in just a few days of not brushing and flossing.

You could avoid these diseases and their high treatment costs with an effective, daily hygiene regimen. There are things you can start doing right now to improve your efforts: be sure to hold your toothbrush (soft, multi-tufted is best for most people) at a 45-degree angle to the gum line and gently scrub or wiggle the bristles across the teeth; cover all tooth surfaces on both sides of the teeth — about two minutes of brushing. Be sure to use a fluoride toothpaste to boost enamel strength and don't apply too much pressure when you brush to avoid damaging your gums.

With flossing it's best to hold a small amount of string between fingers from each hand and work it gently between the gaps of each tooth. You then wrap the floss around each tooth in the form of a “C” and gently move up and down three or four times.

You can check to see if you're performing these tasks adequately by running your tongue across your teeth — they should feel smooth and a little squeaky. The real test, though, is during your next checkup. Hopefully we'll find the hygiene habits you've been practicing your whole life are helping you keep your teeth healthy and disease-free.

If you would like more information on best oral hygiene practices, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation.