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Posts for: March, 2016

By Healthwest Dental Associates
March 24, 2016
Category: Dental Procedures
Tags: dentures  

Dentures, removable restorations for missing teeth and gum tissue, can take a number of different forms, but are usually of two different types: complete and partial. A complete denture replaces all the teeth in a given arch. A removable partial denture (RPD), on the other hand, replaces several missing teeth while using the remaining teeth as support.

A common type of RPD formed of plastic is known as a “flipper” because it’s lightweight enough to be “flipped out” or moved around with the tongue. They serve an important purpose as a temporary appliance for use between periodontal treatment, implant placement and similar treatments before obtaining a more permanent restoration. In fact, they’re often referred to as “transitional” RPDs because they’re not designed for permanent tooth replacement.

Because of their low cost relative to other restorations, however, they often become the permanent choice for many people. While a well-constructed, properly fitting RPD in a healthy mouth can be an affordable alternative for people on modest budgets, their long-term use may increase the risk of dental disease and accelerated bone loss. Decades of research verify that people who permanently wear RPDs encounter more tooth decay and periodontal (gum) disease than non-wearers.

This is because the attachment points of a plastic RPD to remaining teeth increases bacterial growth, which can cause both tooth decay and gum disease. This doesn’t only endanger the survival of the remaining teeth, it can lead to bone loss that will affect the RPD’s fit.

While the better course is to consider RPDs as a stepping stone to dental implants or a fixed bridge, there’s an intermediary RPD constructed of cast vitallium or gold alloy that could be considered a permanent choice. These are even lighter weight than plastic and less obtrusive in their attachments in the mouth, which can reduce plaque stagnation and promote a better oral environment.

Regardless of your choice in dentures, it’s always important to maintain good consistent oral hygiene with daily brushing and flossing and semi-annual professional cleanings and checkups. Keeping a healthy mouth will help reduce your risk of dental disease and increase your satisfaction with your denture of choice.

If you would like more information on RPDs and other denture restorations, 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 “Removable Partial Dentures.”

By Healthwest Dental Associates
March 15, 2016
Category: Dental Procedures
Tags: veneers  

Make your smile more attractive with dental veneers.

Cosmetic dentistry is a wonderful option for many people looking to revamp their smile. With spring on its way, now is the perfect time to veneersimprove the look and feel of your smile. And if you are interested in what dental veneers can offer you, it’s time you talked to your Dothan, AL dentists, Dr. H. Paul Hufham and Dr. Bayne Heersink.

These wafer-thin shells are custom-made from porcelain to mimic the surface of a real tooth. Each veneer is adhered to the front of the tooth to change the color, shape or size. While dental veneers won’t be able to fix teeth that have more functional issues like fractures, they can cover aesthetic flaws like discolorations, chips and cracks, and oddly shaped teeth. They are even great for covering misaligned teeth or gaps between teeth so that a patient can also get a straighter, more even smile.

Getting dental veneers in Dothan is easy and anyone interested in this procedure can expect to go through this process:

Consultation: Everyone interested in dental veneers has to see their Dothan dentist to make sure that veneers are ideal for their smile and their goals. After we check the health of your teeth and gums we will determine if your smile is healthy enough for veneers.  If they are, we do a wax mock-up of the final veneers so you can see what your smile will look like before we start!

Preparation: The next step is to prepare your teeth for your veneers. This usually means that we will need to remove a small amount of enamel from the surface of your teeth in order to make room for your veneers. This process can sometimes be performed without needing anesthesia. Then, we will take impressions of your teeth, which will be used to custom design your very own veneers.  Finally, we make you a set of trial veneers in the office for you to wear home and have a preview of the permanent veneers.

Application: Once your permanent veneers are ready, we will have you come back in and temporarily place them over your teeth to check how they look and fit. We may need to trim the veneers in order to achieve the perfect fit. Once you are happy with your new smile, we will permanently apply each veneer to your teeth using a special dental resin, which will be bonded to the teeth.

Healthwest Dental Associates in Dothan, AL is here for all of your cosmetic, general and restorative needs. Call us today!

By Healthwest Dental Associates
March 09, 2016
Category: Oral Health

When Entertainment Tonight host Nancy O’Dell set out to teach her young daughter Ashby how to brush her teeth, she knew the surest path to success would be to make it fun for the toddler.

“The best thing with kids is you have to make everything a game,” Nancy recently said in an interview with Dear Doctor TV. She bought Ashby a timer in the shape of a tooth that ticks for two minutes — the recommended amount of time that should be spent on brushing — and the little girl loved it. “She thought that was super fun, that she would turn the timer on and she would brush her teeth for that long,” Nancy said.

Ashby was also treated to a shopping trip for oral-hygiene supplies with Mom. “She got to go with me and choose the toothpaste that she wanted,” Nancy recalled. “They had some SpongeBob toothpaste that she really liked, so we made it into a fun activity.”

Seems like this savvy mom is on to something! Just because good oral hygiene is a must for your child’s health and dental development, that doesn’t mean it has to feel like a chore. Equally important to making oral-hygiene instruction fun is that it start as early as possible. It’s best to begin cleaning your child’s teeth as soon as they start to appear in infancy. Use a small, soft-bristled, child-sized brush or a clean, damp washcloth and just a thin smear of fluoride toothpaste, about the size of a grain of rice.

Once your child is old enough to hold the toothbrush and understand what the goal is, you can let him or her have a turn at brushing; but make sure you also take your turn, so that every tooth gets brushed — front, back and all chewing surfaces. After your child turns 3 and is capable of spitting out the toothpaste, you can increase the toothpaste amount to the size of a pea. Kids can usually take over the task of brushing by themselves around age 6, but may still need help with flossing.

Another great way to teach your children the best oral-hygiene practices is to model them yourself. If you brush and floss every day, and have regular cleanings and exams at the dental office, your child will come to understand what a normal, healthy and important routine this is. Ashby will certainly get this message from her mom.

“I’m very adamant about seeing the dentist regularly,” Nancy O’Dell said in her Dear Doctor interview. “I make sure that I go when I’m supposed to go.”

It’s no wonder that Nancy has such a beautiful, healthy-looking smile. And from the looks of things, her daughter is on track to have one, too. We would like to see every child get off to an equally good start!

If you have questions about your child’s oral health, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can learn more by reading the Dear Doctor magazine articles “Taking the Stress Out of Dentistry for Kids” and “Top 10 Oral Health Tips for Children.”