Dentist - Towson
8600 LaSalle Rd. Suite 406 Severn Bldg.
Towson, MD 21286
410-321-0551

Posts for: September, 2013

RestoringHealthandAppearanceThroughPeriodontalPlasticSurgery

The “wear and tear” nature of gingival (gum) tissue enables it to readily handle the chewing and biting actions of eating and still perform its most important function: protecting the roots of your teeth from decay and environmental exposure. But while they're resilient, they're not invincible: it's quite possible for them to lose their attachment to a tooth and begin to recede, leaving the root surfaces exposed.

Gum recession can occur for a number of reasons: poor oral hygiene; over brushing and flossing; malocclusion (a poor bite); personal habits, like biting down on hard foreign objects; or poorly fitted dentures or other appliances. From a genetic point of view, people with thinner gingival tissues are more prone to gum recession than those with thicker tissues. Whatever the cause, the result is the same — the exposed tooth becomes more sensitive to environmental factors (such as heat, cold, abrasion or erosion). More importantly, it now has a higher susceptibility to decay and disease, leading to its possible demise.

But there may be a solution. Although the original tissue may be lost, periodontal plastic surgery can restore a protective layer of tissue to the tooth, and at the same time give you back the smile you once had.

From the Greek word “plastik” for sculpting or modeling clay, plastic surgery procedures restore both form and function to a bodily structure. While the term “plastic surgery” can apply to other procedures in medicine such as rhinoplasty or face lifts, the periodontal procedure particularly involves grafting similar tissue to an area of recession, and then “shaping” it into a natural, life-like form.

To graft means to remove tissue from a donor site and attach it to a recipient site. In the case of periodontal tissue, the recipient patient can also be the donor with the tissue coming from some other area of the same mouth (the graft can also come from another human or an animal). Using advanced techniques and a touch of artistry, the surgeon positions and sutures the graft in place.

The result: not only a new protective covering for your tooth, but a more pleasing appearance when you smile.

If you would like more information on periodontal plastic surgery, 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 “Periodontal Plastic Surgery.”


By Dr. Mark Shulman
September 17, 2013
Category: Dental Procedures
Tags: dental implants  
Mini-ImplantsFiveThingsYouShouldKnow

Dental implants are now the gold standard for tooth replacement. Why? Because not only do they offer the longest-lasting method of restoring missing teeth, but they also help mitigate one of the greatest problems associated with tooth loss — the loss of underlying bone structure. While standard dental implants have been around since the 1970s, mini-implants are a smaller version of the same technology that have recently come into their own. Here are a few things you should know about them.

Mini-implants rely on the same structure and principles as their larger relatives.
Like standard implants, mini-implants are screw-shaped devices made of titanium which are set into the bone of the jaw. Put in place permanently, they become fixed to the bone itself, which grows around and fuses to the implant. Or, they can be used as temporary anchors for the attachment of other dental work.

Mini-implants are a great option for attaching lower overdentures.
Overdentures (implant-retained dentures) are now considered the standard of care for people who have lost all of their teeth in one or both jaws. But the undesired movement of lower dentures has been a perennial problem for many denture wearers. One key use of mini-implants is to anchor overdentures to the lower jaw. Just two mini-implants provide the stability needed to attach a set of lower dentures sturdily, giving the denture wearer increased dental function — and a restored sense of confidence.

Mini-implants offer some real benefits in orthodontics.
TADS (Temporary Anchorage Devices), another type of mini-implants, are finding increasing use alongside of orthodontic appliances (braces). Braces move teeth by placing small forces on them, which are transmitted by a wire. The wire must be anchored at a “fixed” point: usually, other teeth; but it may cause these teeth to move as well! TADS offer an anchorage point that's truly immovable. They help to speed up orthodontic treatment, and give more accurate control as well.

Placing mini-implants is a relatively simple process.
It's an office procedure done by an experienced clinician, normally under local anesthesia. Most patients tolerate the procedure very well, experiencing only minor discomfort. In some cases, a single two-hour visit is all that's needed for implant placement, and the patient can go home and eat a steak afterward!

Mini-implants may be more economical than you think.
These smaller cousins of standard implants are often easier to place. They save treatment time, and, if you're a denture wearer, they may be compatible with your existing dentures. If your dental situation could benefit from using mini-implants, you should give them serious consideration.

If you would like more information about mini-implants, 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 “Implant Overdentures for the Lower Jaw,” “The Great Mini-Implant,” and “What are TADS?”


By Dr. Mark Shulman
September 09, 2013
Category: Dental Procedures
Tags: dental implants  
CleaningDentalImplantsHowtoProtectYourInvestment

If you have a dental implant, you have already discovered how lifelike and comfortable this type of tooth-replacement option can be. In fact, you may not even really be aware of your implant anymore; to you, it's simply a tooth like any other. Still, it's important to keep in mind a few things about implant care so the investment you have made in your smile will last as long as possible.

Once an implant is functioning properly in a person's mouth, the biggest enemy is infection — in particular a bacterial infection known as peri-implantitis (“peri” – around; implant “itis” – inflammation). This infection can cause the supporting bone around your implant to deteriorate, which will eventually cause loss of the implant. The good news is this infection is pretty easy to avoid.

Working as a team, you and our dental hygienist can make sure your mouth stays healthy and your implant retains its attachment to the bone for a lifetime. The key is to prevent biofilm (plaque) from building up in your mouth. Your job is to maintain a good oral hygiene routine at home with daily brushing and flossing, and to come in to our office regularly for professional cleanings. The hygienist's job is to remove any buildup of plaque and tartar (hardened deposits) beyond the reach of your brush and floss.

To do this, she will use special instruments that won't scratch the crown on top of the implant or the abutment (connector) between implant and crown. This is important because a scratched surface can harbor bacteria. The metal instruments used to clean natural teeth are not appropriate for the highly polished surfaces of the crown and abutment. Power instruments can be used on implants with nylon or plastic sheaths on the tip and lots of water irrigation to clean and flush debris.

In spite of these cleaning challenges, implants are highly successful and, in fact, the best option for replacing teeth today. Studies have shown the success rate of dental implants to be over 95% — far greater than any other tooth-replacement method.

If you would like more information about dental implants, please call us or schedule an appointment. You can also read more by reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “Dental Implant Maintenance.”


By Dr. Mark Shulman
September 06, 2013
Category: Dental Procedures
CosmeticDentalOptions-TimeForChange

Most dental treatment has a cosmetic aspect to it since in the act of “restoring” teeth they are made to look better. The word “cosmetic” comes from roots meaning, “to adorn, dress and embellish.” Here are some terms and cosmetic dental techniques that could change your smile.

  • The best and easiest way to remove stains on your teeth? Make an appointment to see a dental hygienist to remove unwanted stains from coffee, tea, red wine, that can discolor the outer surfaces of your teeth. Your teeth will look better and be healthier as a result.
  • Dental office or home whitening? Dull, dingy and discolored teeth can be whitened with over-the-counter products at home, or professionally in our office. If you use the home method, be sure to follow the manufacturers' instructions carefully to make sure you don't overdo it. In our office we can use stronger bleaching solutions with special precautions to protect your gums and other tissues and achieve whiter teeth more quickly.
  • Cosmetic change for back teeth? Tooth-colored composite resin filling materials are a relatively inexpensive way to replace tooth structure that has been damaged (by decay or otherwise) with non-metallic materials that bond to your natural teeth, match their color and make them stronger. (Sometimes metal restorations, like gold are advised for people who grind their teeth.)
  • Cosmetic change for front teeth? Tooth-colored composite resin restorative filling materials — can be bonded directly to natural tooth structure becoming “one” with it. Used to replace tooth structure damaged by decay or injury such as chipped teeth, they are especially useful for front teeth in the smile zone. And they actually strengthen the teeth as well as providing highly cosmetic tooth restorations. In artistic hands nobody will know your teeth have been changed, except you and your dentist.
  • Porcelain Veneers are thin layers of glass-like ceramic material that replaces the original tooth enamel. Veneering a tooth often involves some enamel reshaping or removal to accommodate the veneer. Veneers are bonded to the underlying tooth, but can be made brighter and whiter than your own enamel to cosmetically enhance your smile.
  • Porcelain Crowns are similar to veneers in their cosmetic appearance but they cover the entire surface of a tooth, replacing tooth structure that has been damaged, lost or has become very discolored.
  • Clear Aligners are a newer technique used in orthodontics (tooth movement) to move teeth into better position to enhance cosmetic change and improve biting function. A series of clear plastic trays is used to gradually move teeth to more attractive and functional positions.
  • Dental Implants replace the roots of missing teeth. They are placed into the jawbone and become fused with it. Once implants have integrated with the bone, crowns are attached that look, function and feel just like stand alone natural teeth.

Contact us today to schedule an appointment or to discuss your questions about cosmetic dentistry. You can also learn more by reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “Cosmetic Dentistry: A time for change.”




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