Posts for: April, 2016

By Thompson Lee & Chalothorn
April 28, 2016
Category: Dental Procedures
Tags: teeth whitening  

Home whitening kits are a popular way to turn a dull smile into a dazzling one. But these self-applied products only work for teeth with outer enamel stains — if the discoloration originates inside a tooth, you’ll need professional treatment.

Known as “intrinsic staining,” this type of discoloration most often occurs within a tooth’s pulp or dentin layers. There are a number of causes like tooth trauma or tetracycline use at an early age. A root canal treatment used to remove infection from deep within a tooth can also cause discoloration: sometimes blood pigments left after tissue removal or the filling materials themselves can stain a tooth’s interior.

Intrinsic staining can often be treated by placing a bleaching agent, usually sodium perborate, into the tooth’s pulp chamber. But before undertaking this procedure on a tooth that’s undergone a root canal treatment, we want to first ensure the filling is intact and still adequately sealing the tooth from infection. We also want to make sure the supporting bone is also healthy.

If all’s well, we access the pulp in the same way as the root canal treatment, and preferably through the same access hole. We then clean out the pulp chamber of any stained matter and then ensure the root canals remain filled and sealed off from the pulp chamber.

We can then place the bleaching agent into the pulp, a process that will need to be repeated every three or four days to achieve the desired level of brightness. After each session we place a cotton pellet over the opening and held in place with a temporary adhesive; we can easily remove and re-apply this covering during subsequent sessions. Once we’ve achieved the desired color change, we seal the tooth with a permanent filling and restore the access cavity with a tooth-colored composite resin material bonded to the enamel and dentin.

There are other options for an intrinsically stained tooth like veneers or crowns that outwardly cover the discoloration. Internal bleaching, however, is a more conservative approach that causes less alteration of the tooth. If successful, it can restore a stained tooth to a brighter, more attractive shade.

If you would like more information on internal bleaching, 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 “Whitening Traumatized Teeth.”

By TLC Dentistry
April 27, 2016
Category: Dental Procedures
Tags: Invisalign  

One of the most noticeable first impressions you can make is with a smile. If you wish your teeth were straighter or more even, you may have considered braces. However, along with braces comes metal wires and brackets which may not seem worth the hassle. Luckily, there is now another option to straighten your teeth without the metal in your mouth. Invisalign uses clear, discreet aligner trays to give Invisalignyou the perfect first impression, a beautiful smile.

How does Invisalign work? 
Similar to traditional braces, Invisalign uses pinpointed pressure placed onto the teeth to straighten them into their correct positions. Invisalign consists of a set of comfortable, clear aligner trays fabricated from soft and durable plastic. In some cases, your dentist may use small, tooth-colored bumps which affix to the teeth, called attachments, to further direct the pressure from the trays.

What is the process for Invisalign? 
The Invisalign process begins with your dentist taking a 3D, computerized mold of your mouth. Invisalign’s dental laboratory uses the mold to create a video showing exactly the route on which your teeth will move to their final positions. Your dentist will consult with you when the video is complete to be sure that you approve of your new smile. After approval, the laboratory creates your set of aligner trays which you will wear throughout treatment. A full set of aligner trays usually consists of anywhere from 10 to 30 trays and the amount of time the treatment lasts varies based on the individual and their teeth. The patient wears each tray for about two weeks, then switches the current tray for the next in the series. This pattern continues until there are no more trays, signaling the end of treatment.

The Benefits of Invisalign
Invisalign straightens your teeth discreetly, without the hassle of traditional braces’ metal wires and brackets. Additionally, the trays do not require dental cement, leaving your teeth completely intact while they move. Perhaps the most exciting feature of Invisalign is that it is completely removable. While patients must wear the trays for about 22 hours a day, they can be removed to eat and brush. The trays may also be removed for special occasions such as a prom or homecoming dance or a public speaking engagement.

For more information on Invisalign, please contact Dr. William E. Lee, DMD, and Dr. Pada Chalothorn, DMD at TLC Dentistry in Lexington, KY. Call (859) 223-8987 to speak with an associate about scheduling your consultation for Invisalign today!

By Thompson Lee & Chalothorn
April 13, 2016
Category: Dental Procedures

Fans of the primetime TV show The Middle were delighted to see that high school senior Sue, played by Eden Sher, finally got her braces off at the start of Season 6. But since this popular sitcom wouldn’t be complete without some slapstick comedy, this happy event is not without its trials and tribulations: The episode ends with Sue’s whole family diving into a dumpster in search of the teen’s lost retainer. Sue finds it in the garbage and immediately pops it in her mouth. But wait — it doesn’t fit, it’s not even hers!

If you think this scenario is far-fetched, guess again. OK, maybe the part about Sue not washing the retainer upon reclaiming it was just a gag (literally and figuratively), but lost retainers are all too common. Unfortunately, they’re also expensive to replace — so they need to be handled with care. What’s the best way to do that? Retainers should be brushed daily with a soft toothbrush and liquid soap (dish soap works well), and then placed immediately back in your mouth or into the case that came with the retainer. When you are eating a meal at a restaurant, do not wrap your retainer in a napkin and leave it on the table — this is a great way to lose it! Instead, take the case with you, and keep the retainer in it while you’re eating. When you get home, brush your teeth and then put the retainer back in your mouth.

If you do lose your retainer though, let us know right away. Retention is the last step of your orthodontic treatment, and it’s extremely important. You’ve worked hard to get a beautiful smile, and no one wants to see that effort wasted. Yet if you neglect to wear your retainer as instructed, your teeth are likely to shift out of position. Why does this happen?

As you’ve seen firsthand, teeth aren’t rigidly fixed in the jaw — they can be moved in response to light and continuous force. That’s what orthodontic appliances do: apply the right amount of force in a carefully controlled manner. But there are other forces at work on your teeth that can move them in less predictable ways. For example, normal biting and chewing can, over time, cause your teeth to shift position. To get teeth to stay where they’ve been moved orthodontically, new bone needs to form around them and anchor them where they are. That will happen over time, but only if they are held in place with a retainer. That’s why it is so important to wear yours as directed — and notify us immediately if it gets lost.

And if ever you do have to dig your retainer out of a dumpster… be sure to wash it before putting in in your mouth!

If you would like more information on retainers, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can learn more in the Dear Doctor magazine articles “The Importance of Orthodontic Retainers” and “Why Orthodontic Retainers?

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