Dental Procedures

Use Partial Dentures Wisely to Protect Your Future Oral Health

partial-denture-300Dentures, 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.”


How Does Invisalign Work?

So you want to do something about that overbite. 

It’s not just about cosmetics; it’s about your overall dental health. You know that — but you also know you don’t want to have to spend the next 1-3 years with the classic metal “railroad tracks” on your teeth if you don’t have to. Maybe you have heard about this thing called Invisalign, But how does it really work and is it right for you? Find out from the staff at DeLaura Dental in Romeo how Invisalign can help you!

How Invisalign worksinvisible-braces
According to Invisalign and the American Association of Orthodontists, the Invisalign system is an alignment therapy treatment system which utilizes a series of clear, virtually invisible plastic trays rather than metal brackets, bands, and/or wires the patient wears on their teeth. The trays are manufactured individually based on the patient’s particular case specifics. Each set of trays applies a gentle pressure to the patient’s teeth to move them into proper alignment a fraction of a millimeter at a time. Typically, the trays are worn for 2-3 weeks at a time, up to 20 hours a day, then changed out for the next set of trays in the therapy process.

Here are a few points to consider before deciding on Invisalign from your dentist in Romeo.

Pros

  • Invisalign trays are virtually invisible, so no one knows the patient is actually wearing them.
  • Invisalign trays are made to the individual patient’s case and desired outcome goal needs
  • Invisalign trays can be removed to eat, brush and floss, and other such moments that occur in everyday life
  • Invisalign trays are comfortable to use

Cons

  • Invisalign will have the best results in patients who wear them as directed. Therefore, the patient must have the self-discipline to complete the treatment plan as directed for optimal results.
  • Because Invisalign trays are removable, they can be misplaced or lost, unlike traditional braces, which are permanently affixed
  • Invisalign is not as effective for more severe or complex alignment/bite issues

Is Invisalign the right choice for you? Ultimately, that’s a decision that should be carefully considered. Your dentist or orthodontist can help you make the best decision for you. Call DeLaura Dental in Romeo today to schedule a consultation!


3 Tips for Denture Care to Help Them Last and Keep Your Mouth Healthy

dentures2-300For people with edentulism (total loss of teeth), removable dentures is a viable option for regaining both lost function and an attractive appearance. From the moment they begin wearing them, denture wearers can chew food, speak and smile with confidence.

But there are downsides to dentures, especially if they’re not cared for properly. Dentures put pressure on the gums and bony ridges of the jaw, which can cause bone to dissolve (resorb) and decrease its volume over time. Without proper maintenance they can also become a breeding ground for bacteria and fungi that not only lead to bad breath but, in cases of partial dentures, can increase the risk of dental disease. They could also contribute to serious systemic diseases.

You can reduce some of these risks by following these 3 important denture maintenance tips. Doing so will help extend the life of your dentures, as well as keep your mouth healthy.

Clean your dentures at least once a day. In addition to taking your dentures out and rinsing them with water after eating, you should also brush them daily with dish detergent, antibacterial soap or denture cleaner — but not toothpaste, which is too abrasive. Effervescent (fizzing) cleaning tablets also aren’t a viable substitute for manual brushing in removing disease-causing plaque from denture surfaces.

Take your dentures out at night while you sleep. Wearing dentures 24/7 can hasten bone loss, as well as increase your chances of dental disease or even more serious illnesses. A recent study, for example, found nursing home patients who left their dentures in at night were twice as likely to experience serious complications from pneumonia as those who didn’t. While you sleep, store your dentures in water or in a solution of alkaline peroxide made for this purpose.

Brush your gums and tongue every day. Keeping your gum surfaces clean will help reduce the levels of bacteria and other microbes that can cause disease. You can either use an extra-soft tooth brush (not the one you use to clean your dentures) or a damp washcloth.

If you would like more information on caring for dentures, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation.


Immediate Dentures Provide You With Teeth While Your Gums Heal

immediate-dentures-300You probably can’t remember a time without your teeth — and can’t imagine life without them. But now it’s a reality: one by one your teeth have become casualties in a long-standing war with dental disease until now they’re all lost.

Total tooth loss (edentulism) can be difficult in more ways than the loss of function — it can be psychologically traumatic as you must now transition from natural teeth to dentures or other restorations. To add to the stress, you probably won’t be able to obtain your permanent restoration immediately because the extraction sites must heal.

To help you with this transition and provide a means for you to have teeth during the healing period, we may fit you with an appliance known as an immediate denture. With these temporary teeth replacements, you can maintain your smile appearance, chew food and speak unimpaired.

Initially, immediate dentures should fit well, but over time your gums will tend to shrink as they heal. This can loosen the dentures’ fit and make them uncomfortable to wear. If the healing process is still ongoing and you still need to wear the immediate dentures, they can be relined with more denture material to fine-tune the fit.

At some point, though, we must consider creating a new, permanent set of dentures. When your mouth is fully healed, we can make a more accurate impression that we can then use to construct your new set. There are also other options, such as using dental implants to support a denture or a fixed bridge. This option will only be possible, however, if you have sufficient bone available to fully support it, which we might also be able to augment with grafting.

Immediate dentures serve a worthwhile purpose, but only for a temporary period. We’ll be happy to discuss all your options with you to help you find the right permanent solution that fits both your mouth’s condition and your financial ability.

If you would like more information on transitioning to teeth replacement, 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 “Immediate Dentures.”


The Laser Revolution is Changing the Dental Healthcare

laser-dentistry-300Lasers 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.


Avoid These Foods to Keep Braces Safe

Protect your braces against damage by staying away from these harmful foods.

braces(2)You just finally got your braces; however, the last thing you want to do is damage or break them. While there may seem like a lot of rules for how to care for your braces, it’s important to know the dos and don’ts of wearing orthodontics so you can protect your braces from harm. One of the most important things you can do is to eat an orthodontic-friendly diet that won’t damage your braces. Your Katy orthodontist recommends avoiding these foods to keep your braces safe.

Hard foods

It might seem rather obvious, but any kind of hard food could break or pull off a wire or bracket. Therefore, it’s best to stay away from hard breads like bagels and baguettes, nuts, pizza crusts, chips, hard taco shells and even raw veggies like carrots.

Sticky foods

There are a lot of candies that will need to be removed from your diet to protect the health of your braces. This means no gum, licorice, gummy bears, jelly beans, caramels or anything that could actually get stuck in your brackets or pull them off. Plus, these sticky, sugary treats can also just as easily get stuck to your teeth, making it hard to effectively brush away. This means that you may also deal with cavities on top of damaged braces.

Tough meats

Any kind of jerky or tough foods is also off limits, as the tearing motion needed to eat these types of foods can easily break wires and brackets.

Ice

Chewing ice is probably responsible for a large portion of damage to braces. Just avoid this altogether, no matter how refreshing it might seem at the time. To prevent yourself from accidentally chewing ice, either keep it out of beverages or limit how much ice you put in your glass.

While removing some of these foods can be hard, it will be worth it once you are able to finally remove your braces to reveal a straighter smile. In the meantime, you can enjoy these foods while wearing your braces:

  • Dairy
  • Soft breads (sure, hard taco shells and bagels aren’t good for your braces, but there is nothing wrong with soft taco shells or muffins!)
  • Grains
  • Soft, cooked meats
  • Seafood
  • Cooked vegetables
  • Soft fruits (e.g. bananas or applesauce)

Besides sticking to a diet that’s safe on your braces, you need to see your Katy dentist every couple of weeks to make sure your braces are performing as they should and that your smile looks healthy. If it’s time to schedule your upcoming orthodontic appointment contact Dr. Michael DeLaura at DeLaura Dental.


Why Your Retainer is Important

General-SmileIt can feel like a very momentous occasion when you finally get your braces taken off. When you have been wearing them for multiple years it can feel so freeing to finally say goodbye to them and to say hello to a straighter smile; however, there are still some things you need to do to help maintain those beautiful new results. This is when your Romeo orthodontist will recommend wearing your retainer.

What is a retainer?

A retainer is a removable oral appliance that is made from either metal wires or a translucent plastic that helps your teeth maintain their new position after orthodontic treatment.

Why do I need to wear my retainer?

After you get your braces taken off your Romeo orthodontist will recommend wearing your retainer each day. This is to help maintain the new shape of your smile and to keep teeth from shifting back after wearing braces.

How long will I need to wear my retainer? How often should I wear it?

This will vary depending on the patient; however, because we need to give the bone and tissue time to adjust to the shift in your teeth, we need to use a retainer to help maintain your new bite. If you don’t wear your retainer your teeth will slowly return to their original position. If you used braces to close gaps between your teeth expect to wear your retainer regularly for a bit longer.

However, on average we tell our patients that you will wear your retainer for as long as you wore your braces. Some patients may need to wear their retainer all the time for about six months and then switch to only wearing them at night, and some will only need to wear their retainers full-time for a couple weeks before switching to only nightly usage. If patients want to truly keep their new smiles, however, they will most likely need to wear their retainers for the rest of their lives.

How do I care for my retainer?

You should always take out your retainer before eating and brushing and flossing. You can clean your retainer by using a soft-bristled toothbrush and water and gently scrubbing it. Then be sure to brush your teeth after cleaning your retainer. Also, when you aren’t wearing your retainer it should stay in its box to prevent damage.

If you have any questions about your retainer or braces, or you just need to schedule a routine appointment with your Romeo orthodontist, then call our office today to schedule an appointment. We are here to give you the smile you deserve!


Sedation Dentistry FAQs

sedation-dentistry2For some people, going to the dentist is just like any other routine healthcare visit that they manage without any qualms. For others, the experience can cause some trepidation or even anxiety. In fact, some people even contemplate canceling appointments and neglecting their oral healthcare. If the latter better describes how you or someone you know feels about going to the dentist — even for a routine exam and cleaning — then we have great news for you! We offer our patients oral sedation (sedation dentistry) that allows you to relax both your mind and body so that you can focus on feeling peaceful and at ease rather than anxious.

What is oral sedation?

Often referred to as “comfortable” or “relaxation” dentistry, sedation dentistry offers an approach to dentistry that includes gentle management of your anxiety by using an anti-anxiety prescription medication that simply dissolves away your anxiety. The medications are administered by mouth (orally) to help transition you from feeling nervous to a more comfortable state of being.

Is it easy to take?

Another reason oral sedation is so popular is because it does not require an injection (shot), so, if you are afraid of needles, you simply do not need to worry. Typically, a pill is first placed under your tongue (sub-lingually) where it dissolves and penetrates the skin going straight into your system and then the rest is simply swallowed. This method and the quick-acting sedation medication make relaxation both effective and safe.

Is it safe?

Pharmacists and health professionals measure medications’ effectiveness by measuring their “therapeutic index.” The larger the number is on this scale, the safer the drug. The oral sedation medications we use have the highest numbers possible on this scale and thus they are the least likely to cause any adverse (negative) reactions.

Want to learn more?

Contact us today to discuss your questions or to schedule an appointment. You can also learn more by reading the article “Oral Sedation Dentistry.”


The Gap Is No More

refrigerator-perrys-smileThis is the story of a well-known man, fearless in most respects, who was afraid of the dentist. Even though his fears had resulted in neglect and serious damage to his teeth, modern dentistry and a talented dental team were able to restore his smile to health. If you share this fear, his story may inspire you to take action.

We’re talking about William Perry, former defensive lineman and fullback for the Chicago Bears. Here is a man who could fearlessly face a football squad — but not a visit to the dentist. Nicknamed “The Refrigerator” for his 380-pound massive frame, Perry played for ten years in the NFL before retiring in 1994. Since retiring he founded and operated a construction company in South Carolina in addition to making celebrity appearances.

With his celebrity in mind, a team composed of a talented restorative dentist, implant surgeon, and lab technician agreed to give “The Fridge” a makeover. After discussing modern technology and virtually pain-free dentistry with him, they managed to overcome Perry’s fears. “I had been in constant pain for many years and I neglected myself, not having had any dental care for over 20 years, not even emergency care. Unfortunately, as I grew older my teeth started to get loose,” Perry told an interviewer. He had lost many teeth and became known for his gap-toothed smile.

Perry had severe gum disease and many of his remaining teeth were loose. In the past his only option would have been a full set of dentures. But his new dental team was able to place dental implants (permanent tooth replacements) supporting fixed bridges. In most cases dental bridges are attached to healthy teeth, but in Perry’s case the implants served as anchors for the bridges. They also stabilized his jawbone, which would otherwise “resorb” or melt away after his teeth were lost. This is important because it helps preserve the contours of his face.

After careful planning “The Fridge” had eight dental implants placed in his upper jaw and seven in his lower. The final bridgework was completed four months later. It turned out that even though the gap between his teeth had become his trademark, “the Fridge” never really liked it. He was thrilled with his new smile.

Even if you have some fears, don’t hesitate to follow Perry’s example and make an appointment with us for a consultation about dental implants, smile makeovers, or bridgework. For more information about William “The Refrigerator” Perry, see the Dear Doctor magazine article “How Immediate Implants Saved ‘Refrigerator’ Perry’s Smile.”


Why Bear a Chipped Tooth?

chipped-tooth-300Having a chipped tooth certainly can make life more difficult. It not only keeps you from wanting to smile, but it may also make it harder to eat your favorite foods. And that can be a major problem — especially if you need to eat up to 80 pounds of bamboo every day to stay healthy.

Just ask Bai Yun, the female giant panda at the San Diego Zoo. The 23-year-old animal recently chipped one of her lower canines, and her keepers were concerned that it might impair her ability to get good nutrition (pandas spend as many as 12 hours a day munching on the woody plants). So they decided it was time for a little dental work!

What followed was not unlike a regular visit to the dental office… except that, instead of sitting in a chair, the 227-pound panda reclined on a large table. After being anesthetized, the patient’s teeth were examined, and x-rays were taken. A composite resin was applied to the damaged tooth, and it was cured with a special light. After the repair work was done, her teeth were given a professional cleaning. When the anesthesia wore off, Bai Yun was released in good health — and ready to eat more bamboo.

Tooth bonding with composite resin is the restoration of choice in many situations. This method can be used to repair small chips or cracks in the teeth, and to clear up some spacing irregularities. The resin itself is a mixture of tough, translucent plastic and glass components that can be made in a number of different shades, which look remarkably like the tooth’s natural enamel coating. And the bonding material links up so well with the tooth structure that this treatment can be expected to last for years.

Another benefit of bonding is that it can be done right in the office — there’s no lab work involved (as there could be for veneers or crowns, for example). That makes it a relatively simple and economical treatment that can typically be completed in a single visit. It’s ideal for fixing minor flaws that don’t involve a great deal of tooth structure. It’s also a cost-effective solution for teenagers who need cosmetic dental work, but must wait until they have stopped growing to get more permanent restorations.

While it isn’t usually as long-lasting as restorations like crowns and veneers, cosmetic bonding is a minimally invasive, reversible treatment that can keep your smile healthy and bright for years to come. And that’s important — whether or not you spend most of your day eating bamboo and posing for snapshots at the zoo.

If you have questions about whether cosmetic bonding could help your smile look its best, 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 “Artistic Repair Of Front Teeth With Composite Resin.”