You can't correct a poor bite with braces or clear aligners overnight: Even the most cut-and-dried case can still require a few years to move teeth where they should be. It's a welcome relief, then, when you're finally done with braces or aligner trays.
That doesn't mean, however, that you're finished with orthodontic treatment. You now move into the next phase—protecting your new smile that took so much to gain. At least for a couple of more years you'll need to regularly wear an orthodontic retainer.
The name of this custom-made device explains its purpose: to keep or “retain” your teeth in their new, modified positions. This is necessary because the same mechanism that allows us to move teeth in the first place can work in reverse.
That mechanism centers around a tough but elastic tissue called the periodontal ligament. Although it primarily holds teeth in place, the ligament also allows for tiny, gradual tooth movement in response to mouth changes. Braces or aligner trays take advantage of this ability by exerting pressure on the teeth in the direction of intended movement. The periodontal ligament and nature do the rest.
But once we relieve the pressure when we remove the braces or aligners, a kind of “muscle memory” in the ligament can come into play, causing the teeth to move back to where they originally were. If we don't inhibit this reaction, all the time and effort put into orthodontic treatment can be lost.
Retainers, either the removable type or one fixed in place behind the teeth, gently “push” or “pull” against the teeth (depending on which type) just enough to halt any reversing movement. Initially, a patient will need to wear their retainer around the clock. After a while, wear time can be reduced to just a few hours a day, usually during sleep-time.
Most younger patients will only need to wear a retainer for a few years. Adults who undergo teeth-straightening later in life, however, may need to wear a retainer indefinitely. Even so, a few hours of wear every day is a small price to pay to protect your beautiful straightened smile.
If you would like more information on orthodontic retainers, 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 “The Importance of Orthodontic Retainers.”
You don't have to choose between a smile that is beautiful and one that is healthy. A cosmetic dentist bridges the gap between preventive care and a smile you're proud to show off. To find out how it can help your specific case contact Dr. Robert Hoffmaster of Hoffmaster Dental in York, PA.
Perhaps what's most commonly associated with cosmetic dentistry is professional tooth whitening. Your dentist will achieve better faster results in an office visit than you can with over the counter products.
Chips, Cracks, and Cavities
Your cosmetic dentist may employ a composite resin bonding to sculpt your teeth back to their natural look. This is also useful in fillings for the same reason, avoiding that traditional silver appearance.
Deeper cavities can also be repaired through the use of inlays and onlays, a treatment for restoring the tooth with lab-made materials. They fill in the gap between regular fillings and complete crowns.
Full Smile Makeovers
Full smile makeovers can be achieved with cosmetic dentistry through the use of veneers. These bonded onto your teeth in a similar way to crowns, but these are thinner caps that don't require as much of your tooth to be reshaped.
But the result is a complete smile makeover. Perfect if you have a smile with a few imperfections.
Dental implants can replace an entire tooth, or a full denture, in a very permanent way. By fusing titanium posts onto the bone of your jaw, your dentist can attach a crown that will act and look, and feel, just like your natural teeth.
Your cosmetic dentist can help you with all those smile imperfections through a variety of treatments. Call today to find out which is best for you. Contact Dr. Hoffmaster of Hoffmaster Dental in York, PA, by dialing (717) 846-9428.
For over half a century now, community water systems have been adding fluoride to drinking water to help reduce the risk of tooth decay. Numerous long-term studies have demonstrated the soundness of this practice, prompting the U.S. Centers for Disease Control to call water fluoridation one of the ten most effective public health measures of the 20th Century.
In the 1960s, after years of study into the teeth-strengthening effects of fluoride, the U.S. Public Health Service recommended that drinking water utilities add fluoride at a rate of between 0.7 and 1.20 milligrams per liter (mg/L) or parts per million (ppm) of water. This recommendation held fast until 2015 when the service changed the recommendation to no more than 0.7 mg/L.
Why the change to guidelines that had been in place for over fifty years? The revision was in response to an increasing occurrence of dental fluorosis. This condition happens when the teeth absorb more fluoride than necessary, leading to discoloration of the surface enamel, creating effects like small white spots or brownish “mottling.”
Dental fluorosis is the only known health condition caused by fluoride. As such, it doesn't damage the tooth itself, and is mainly a cosmetic problem. But it can still be avoided if fluoride intake is kept at moderate levels.
The original recommendation was sound science when first introduced. Since then, though, the prevalence of fluoride in everyday life has grown, with the chemical commonly found in dental care products like toothpastes or mouthrinses, as well as many processed foods and beverages and even infant formula. Our society's overall intake of fluoride has been growing as a result.
The new recommendation came after several years of research to verify water fluoridation levels of 0.7 mg/L would still be effective in the fight against tooth decay while lowering the risk of dental fluorosis. With this adjustment, this important and safe measure for keeping your family's teeth protected against disease is safer than ever.
Are you ready to replace your missing teeth? Dental implants offered by your York, PA, dentist, Dr. Robert Hoffmaster, provide several benefits that make implants an excellent choice.
5 reasons to choose dental implants
Dental implants can:
- Improve Your Appearance: Do you feel as if there's nothing left to smile about since you've lost one or more teeth? Dental implants replace your lost teeth, restoring your sparkling smile. Implants consist of titanium posts implanted in your jawbone during minor oral surgery in York. Implants bond to your jawbone and replace your tooth roots. As soon as the implants bond to your bone, they're topped with dental crowns, synthetic restorations that replace the tops of teeth.
- Make Eating Easier: Tooth restoration options that only restore the visible parts of teeth may cause your biting power to decrease. Since dental replace the crowns and roots of your teeth, they provide the strength you need to bite, chew and grind soft, hard, tough and chewy foods easily.
- Keep Your Jaw Strong: Your jawbone may begin to shrink after tooth loss, particularly if you've lost multiple teeth. The problem occurs due to a loss of stimulation from the tooth roots. Eventually, the muscles in the lower half of your face may begin to sag or your teeth may become loose. Dental implants constantly stimulate your jawbone, preventing it from shrinking or weakening.
- Offer an Alternative to Traditional Dentures: Dental implants are a good option no matter how many teeth you've lost. They can even be used with dentures. As few as four implants can be used to attach an implant-supported upper or lower denture. Dentures may be attached directly to dental implants or to a metal framework that is attached to the implants.
- Provide a Comfortable Restoration Option: Strong roots not only make it possible to eat a variety of foods but also make dental implants a comfortable option. In fact, your new tooth will probably feel very much like your natural teeth. Since your crown is connected directly to the implant, you won't have to worry about uncomfortable gum irritation either.
Fill the gaps in your smile with dental implants. Call your dentist in York, PA, Dr. Robert Hoffmaster, at (717) 846-9428 to schedule your appointment.
Undergoing dental work is for the most part a pain-free affair. But once you're home and the anesthetic begins to wear off, you may have some discomfort.
Fortunately, most post-procedure pain can be managed with non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs or NSAIDs. And while stronger versions of these pain relievers can be prescribed, you may only need one sold over-the-counter.
NSAIDs like ibuprofen or acetaminophen work by inhibiting the release of prostaglandins, substances that stimulate inflammation in traumatized or injured tissues. It differs in this way from the two other primary pain medications: Steroids act like natural hormones that alleviate physical stress in the tissues; and narcotics like morphine or codeine suppress the brain's reaction to nerve firings.
While these stronger types are effective for stopping pain, they can have several serious side effects. Narcotics in particular can be addictive. Although they may be necessary in serious cases of acute pain, most dentists turn to non-addictive NSAIDs first, which are usually effective with the kind of discomfort associated with dental work and with fewer side effects.
That's not to say, however, that NSAIDs are risk-free—they must be taken properly or you could suffer serious health consequences. For one, NSAIDs have a blood-thinning effect that's even more pronounced when taken consistently over a period of weeks. This can lead to bleeding that is difficult to stop and erosion of the stomach lining leading to ulcers. Prolonged use can also damage the kidneys.
As a rule of thumb, adults shouldn't take more than 2400 milligrams of ibuprofen or other NSAIDs in a day, unless otherwise directed by their doctor. For most, a 400-milligram oral dose taken with food (to minimize stomach upset) is usually sufficient to relieve pain for around five hours.
You'll usually avoid unwanted health effects by keeping within your dentist's recommended doses and taking an NSAID for only a few days. Taking an NSAID properly can help keep your discomfort to a minimum after dental work without the need for stronger drugs.
If you would like more information on managing dental pain, 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 “Treating Pain With Ibuprofen.”
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