Posts for: February, 2016

By Thompson Lee & Chalothorn
February 20, 2016
Category: Dental Procedures
Tags: celebrity smiles   crowns  

You might think David Copperfield leads a charmed life:  He can escape from ropes, chains, and prison cells, make a Learjet or a railroad car disappear, and even appear to fly above the stage. But the illustrious illusionist will be the first to admit that making all that magic takes a lot of hard work. And he recently told Dear Doctor magazine that his brilliant smile has benefitted from plenty of behind-the-scenes dental work as well.

“When I was a kid, I had every kind of [treatment]. I had braces, I had headgear, I had rubber bands, and a retainer afterward,” Copperfield said. And then, just when his orthodontic treatment was finally complete, disaster struck. “I was at a mall, running down this concrete alleyway, and there was a little ledge… and I went BOOM!”

Copperfield’s two front teeth were badly injured by the impact. “My front teeth became nice little points,” he said. Yet, although they had lost a great deal of their structure, his dentist was able to restore those damaged teeth in a very natural-looking way. What kind of “magic” did the dentist use?

In Copperfield’s case, the teeth were repaired using crown restorations. Crowns (also called caps) are suitable when a tooth has lost part of its visible structure, but still has healthy roots beneath the gum line. To perform a crown restoration, the first step is to make a precise model of your teeth, often called an impression. This allows a replacement for the visible part of the tooth to be fabricated, and ensures it will fit precisely into your smile. In its exact shape and shade, a well-made crown matches your natural teeth so well that it’s virtually impossible to tell them apart. Subsequently, the crown restoration is permanently attached to the damaged tooth.

There’s a blend of technology and art in making high quality crowns — just as there is in some stage-crafted illusions. But the difference is that the replacement tooth is not just an illusion: It looks, functions and “feels” like your natural teeth… and with proper care it can last for many years to come.  Besides crowns, there are several other types of tooth restorations that are suitable in different situations. We can recommend the right kind of “magic” for you.

If you would like more information about crowns, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can also learn more about this topic by reading the Dear Doctor magazine articles “Crowns & Bridgework” and “Porcelain Crowns & Veneers.”

By Thompson Lee & Chalothorn
February 19, 2016
Category: Dental Procedures
Tags: sealants  

Use sealants to protect your children’s teeth.

You’ve probably heard about dental sealants, but you’re not sure if they are really necessary for your children. After all, your kids are brushing three times a day and even starting to floss. Isn’t that enough? Your family dentists Drs.Thompson, Lee & Chalothorn at TLC sealantsDentistry in Lexington, Kentucky want you to know about a simple procedure that can protect your children’s teeth even more; it’s called dental sealants. Dental sealants can help ensure cavity-free teeth for your children.

Dental sealants are a liquid resin material that is placed into the deep grooves and crevices of the chewing surfaces on your children’s teeth. The liquid material is then hardened or “cured” with a special ultraviolet curing light. After the sealant treatment, your children’s chewing surfaces will have a hard plastic coating covering and protecting them from decay.

Your dentists at TLC Dentistry want you to know that the deep grooves and crevices of normal tooth anatomy are the perfect place for bacteria and food to hide. Often brushing and flossing can’t get into deeper dental anatomy, where cavities sometimes start. Dental sealants keep bacteria and food from entering the deeper grooves and crevices, shielding your children’s teeth from damage.

Your children don’t have to experience the pain of dental decay, thanks to dental sealants. Your children can be protected from needing more extensive and expensive fillings as they get older, and you will have peace of mind knowing you’ve done the best for your children.

Your dentists at TLC Dentistry recommend your children’s first permanent molars be sealed as soon as they erupt, usually between the ages of 5 and 7. Second molars should be sealed between the ages of 11 and 14.

When you decide to protect your children’s teeth with dental sealants, you owe it to yourself and your children to have the best experience possible. That’s why you shouldn’t go to just anyone. Call Drs. Thompson, Lee & Chalothorn, your family dentists in the neighborhood at TLC Dentistry in Lexington, Kentucky. They are experts at protecting your children’s smiles, so call today!

By Thompson Lee & Chalothorn
February 05, 2016
Category: Dental Procedures
Tags: orthodontics   extractions  

Teeth crowding is a difficult bite problem (malocclusion) that often involves the entire jaw structure to be evaluated. Normally occurring when the jaw doesn’t have adequate space for normal tooth eruption, teeth coming in later put pressure on other teeth, causing them to develop improperly.

Crowding also makes it difficult to realign teeth with braces because there’s simply not enough room for sufficient movement to take place. The solution may then be to consider the removal of some of the teeth to create enough space for orthodontic treatment.

Not just any tooth can be removed, however — we must first conduct a careful analysis to determine which can be removed to facilitate optimum movement of the remaining teeth without disrupting normal mouth function or affecting appearance. The teeth most frequently removed for this purpose are the bicuspids, located between the cuspids or eyeteeth (which are positioned directly under the eyes) and the molars, the largest teeth in the back of the mouth. Sometimes one premolar tooth on each side of the jaw can be removed without sacrificing future form or function.

There are a few important considerations we must keep in mind when extracting teeth for orthodontic reasons; perhaps the most important is preserving bone at the extraction site. Because continuing bone growth depends on the forces generated by teeth when we bite or chew, bone near a missing tooth socket will tend to diminish over time. If there’s insufficient bone during orthodontic treatment, it may result in gum recession and root exposure — not only damaging to the teeth themselves but also to a person’s smile appearance. To avoid this, we sometimes will consider inserting a bone graft, which will stimulate bone growth, into the empty socket immediately after extraction. While this isn’t commonly done, it’s being considered if the patient’s bone is thin and a concern during healing.

We must also consider how to accommodate other, unrelated tooth loss to assure the final result is visually appealing. It may be necessary in these cases to maintain the space at the missing tooth site for a future restoration once the orthodontics is completed. This takes planning as well as the use of restorations like dental implants, bridges or partial dentures.

Regardless of your bite issues, the field of orthodontics has the appliances and techniques to overcome even the most complicated condition. When necessary, using procedures like tooth extraction can help turn an unappealing, dysfunctional bite problem into a beautiful smile.

If you would like more information on orthodontic teeth extractions, 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 “Tooth Removal for Orthodontic Reasons.”

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