Crooked teeth (also called malocclusion) can affect almost 75% of all American adults. Malocclusion can significantly affect oral health over the course of a lifetime, leaving you with increased chances of developing periodontal disease and increased wear and trauma to teeth.
Types Of Malocclusion
-Crossbite – A crossbite is when the lower teeth overlap or come out even with the upper teeth. In a normal occlusion the upper teeth overlap the lower ones but when a crossbite (can occur on either side or both) is present, the opposite is true. This can lead to premature wear, increased risk of chipping or fracturing your teeth, development of abfraction (small notch in tooth at the gumline), and periodontal disease.
-Excessive Overjet – This occurs when the upper front teeth are too far out in front of the lower teeth. This can lead to increased trauma as well as an increase to chipping or fracturing of teeth (especially the front ones).
-Edge To Edge Bite – This occurs when the teeth touch one another edge to edge (or cusp to cusp). The teeth do not fit together propely allowing the biting surfaces to touch. This will lead to increased risk of chipping and fracturing, Temperomandibular Joint (TMJ) pain, as well as short, worn down teeth.
-Open Bite – This is a common occurence from thumb sucking or can be genetic. It is when there is a space between the front upper teeth and the front lower teeth upon closing. Not only is this an unesthetic option but it can lead to abfraction, is difficult to bite and tear food ,and causes excessive, premature wear of the back teeth.
-Over Bite- This is when the upper front teeth completely cover the lower front teeth. Often, the lower teeth hit into the backs of the upper teeth and sometimes into the roof of the mouth.
-Under Bite- This occurs when the lower jaw has grown more quickly than the upper jaw. The lower front teeth and jaw have grown in front of the upper teeth.
-Tooth Size Arch Length Discrepency- When your teeth are too large for your jaw space and cause extreme crowding or when your teeth are too small for your mouth. Crowding can lead to decay, fracture, and periodontal disease. Small teeth are generally a major cosmetic issue.
The General Health Danger
Gum disease is commonly found along with malocclusion, due to difficulty in maintaining good oral hygiene when teeth are not in proper position.
Periodontal disease has been linked to many systemic diseases through various studies. Some of these diseases include heart disease, diabetes, and alzheimer’s. Periodontal disease generally takes years of neglect to develop. There are various stages of periodontal disease progression, they include:
-Gingivitis – The earliest stage. The only stage that is reversible with proper dental care. This stage is characterized by swollen, red gum tissues, bleeding upon brushing, as well as bad breath (halitosis). If treated before it progresses, it can be reversed back to a normal, healthy, gingival state.
-Periodontitis – This is the stage that develops following ginigvitis. It is not reversible but can be controlled. Damage to teeth, bone, and gums can be limited with proper dental care. During this stage, the supporting tissues around the teeth may break down leading to gum recession and bone loss around the teeth.
-Advanced Periodontitis – This stage increases the bone loss and gum recession leading to loosening of teeth with the real possibility of losing one or more teeth.
How Do Crooked Teeth Affect Our Mouths?
When teeth are crowded and not aligned properly, the plaque and bacteria that forms on our teeth during everyday food consumption becomes much more difficult to remove. This makes it difficult to maintain a good state of health. Many times, flossing and brushing areas of overcrowded teeth will become very difficult. These areas are generally called a “plaque trap” for their ability to constantly trap food and debris. As mentioned earlier, without proper care, plaque traps can lead to bone loss, gum recession, and even tooth loss.
Another cause for concern is wear and trauma to the teeth. Poorly aligned teeth can create unnatural stresses on the teeth and the jaws. Teeth subjected to excessive pressures can develop chipping, fracturing, and abfractions. Premature wear can also lead to lost teeth, loose teeth and even root canal therapy.
Finally, crowded teeth affect your systemic health by allowing bacteria to grow and flourish unabated in these crowded areas. Over time, this can lead to devastating life threatening effects like heart disease and stroke.
What Can Be Done To Combat Crooked Teeth?
Fortunately, in many cases the simple solution is increased visits to the dentist for professional cleanings as well as diligent home care. When there is undue stress placed on the teeth that can cause trauma and wear over time, Orthodontics is the answer in most cases. Orthodontics is a type of dentistry dealing with crowded or misaligned teeth. Proper orthodontic treatment can, in many cases, restore your smile and make it easier to maintain it.
Orthodontics is not just for cosmetic reasons. We are not all born with perfectly straight teeth and sometimes we need a little help to get there. The bottom line is to have beautiful teeth and gums that make you feel confident and healthy. Your smile should last you a lifetime!
For many people, eating disorders are part of every day life. These abnormal eating habits may involve either insufficient or excessive food intake to the detriment of an individual’s physical and psychological health. The resulting effects of the dietary issues involved directly and indirectly relate to oral health problems.
Common Types Of Eating Disorders
-Anorexia Nervosa (commonly called, ”anorexia”) - This eating disorder is characterized by a refusal to maintain a healthy body weight, an obsessive fear of weight gain, and an unrealistic perception of current body weight. Anorexia can cause menstruation to stop, and often leads to bone loss, loss of skin integrity. It is a big stressor on the heart, there is an increase in the risk of heart attacks and related heart problems. This disorder also presents with an increased risk of death. Peer pressures play a role in an individuals’ obsession with their outer appearances. Recent research suggests it is not only about a person’s outward perception but genetics may play a role in the disease process.
-Bulimia Nervosa (commonly called, “bulimia”) – This eating disorder is characterized by recurrent binge eating followed by purging. The purging can include self induced vomiting, excessive use of laxatives/diuretics, or excessive exercise. Fasting may also be used as a method of purging (self inflicted vomiting) following a binge.
-Compulsive over-eating- This eating disorder is characterized by eating large quantities of food even when not feeling hunger. The food is generally consumed quickly and often with little to no regard for proper nutrition.
Dental Issues That Arise From An Eating Disorder
Tooth Enamel Erosion and Tooth Decay – It is quite common to see an increased incidence of tooth decay in all forms of eating disorder. It is also not unusual to see very extensive decay that leads to tooth loss. For bulimic and over-eaters, high calorie, high carbohydrate foods put the enamel at risk due to increased sugar levels in the mouth. Vomiting (either self inflicted or from eating an enormous amount of food) exacerbates the problem by incorporating stomach acid into the oral environment. Anorexics are also prone to regurgitation of stomach acid due to lack of food in the stomach.
It is quite common in patients with an eating disorder to need extensive dental work over and over again. This is especially true to the backs of the teeth, (facing the tongue) since these surfaces would be exposed the most to the stomach acids released from vomiting. The gum lines of teeth are also prone to decay when habits of snacking through the night and not brushing occur frequently.
Soft Tissue Damage – The force of repeated vomiting also takes a toll on the soft tissues in the mouth. This can result in swelling of the tonsils and the uvula in the back of the throat. Another indicator of an eating disorder may be a red and swollen tongue or a lacerated palate caused by vomiting induced by placing a finger into the back of your throat (fingernails and other implements will damage the palate).
Other Eating Disorder Dental Issues Include:
-Chronic sore throat
-Decreased saliva production - leading to dry mouth (xerostomia)
-Enlarged Parotid glands
-Jaw alignment abnormalities
Dental Treatment Options
An eating disorder is a major health issue and create all kinds of problems both to our dental health and systemic health. Communication is important to not only get help to overcome the disease but also to get proper dental treatment.
Dental hygiene becomes extra important in patients with an eating disorder because some of the damage from stomach acids in the mouth can be minimized if patients brush, floss, and rinse following vomiting. This can lessen the effect of the acids on the teeth. Damage will still be done if the habits remain for long or short periods of time.
Standard dental treatment for an eating disorder can include:
Eating Disorder Conclusion
An eating disorder is a very difficult disease to diagnose and treat. Dentists need to know the warning signs to be able to get patients in need to seek proper help. Eating disorders can ultimately kill and should not be taken lightly. The dentist should be able to speak openly about oral symptoms of eating disorders if signs are present. This is a difficult topic to discuss for most but is nevertheless important. The patient must feel comfortable enough with their dentist to tell them they think they have an eating disorder. The dentist should be clear about everything, portray empathy and care at every opportunity. Body language is very important. Trust between the dentist and patient is very important to establish before moving on.
Once habits are addressed, treatment and restoration of healthy teeth and smile go hand in hand.. The power of a beautiful, healthy smile can do wonders do our emotional well being. A positive self-image and self-esteem are critical for recovery from bulimia and a restored, healthy smile is evidence of those feelings. Does having a new smile help that process? Absolutely. It has been shown time and again to be life changing. Even more important is restoration of the teeth to a healthy state so that the patient can eat without pain and regain health.
Choosing the right dentist or doctor is always a difficult thing to do. Some of us rely on friends and family for a referral, while many turn to internet reviews. There are over 150,000 dentists nationally, with new graduates added every year. Many of these dentists are not trained beyond general dental school knowledge to perform more complex dental procedures.
A recent survey revealed that this year about 10% of Americans (and the number grows every year) received at least one cosmetic dental procedure to transform their smiles. Receiving cosmetic dentistry from an experienced, skilled cosmetic dentist can transform your appearance, but poorly executed dentistry can prove to be a disaster.
A sobering statistic, well over 25%, (that is 1 out 4 procedures done) of all the money spent by Americans on cosmetic dentistry is spent re-doing and correcting poor dental work from previous visits.
Things That Can Go Wrong During Cosmetic Dentistry
-Restoration Failure - When any dentistry is done, there can never be decay from cavities left behind. Fillings must be properly shaped and hardened so that they do not cause new problems to arise. Improper technique will not only mean your new fillings, porcelain veneers or dental crowns will eventually fail, it could also mean the possible need for root canal therapy or even potentially the loss of the tooth if left untreated.
-Pain and Discomfort - A skilled, experienced, dentist knows that dentistry is about more than just appearances. If you do not plan to address bite issues, periodontal issues, and sensitivity problems, restorations will fail and cause pain and discomfort for the patient. If the bite is off, even slightly, the dental work and tooth will be prone to cracking, wearing, and pain. Root canals can be incomplete and cause reinfection, extractions of teeth can be improperly performed causing severe bone infection, fractures, and pain.
-Lost Time - Cosmetic dentistry is usually lengthy, necessitating multiple visits to the dentist. A typical cosmetic treatment takes at least 2-3 appointments, and can take 1 hour to more than 5-10 hours in the dentist’s chair. The work is an investment of your time and money. If this work is performed poorly and needs to be redone, patients will need to take off more time from work to have it repaired or redone elsewhere.
-Increased Cost - In addition to losing time, the original cost budgeted could explode to fix poor dental work. There is an old saying “You Get What You Pay For”. The same is true in cosmetic and traditional dentistry. It is smart to be cost conscious but many dentists who call themselves cosmetic dentists will offer inferior materials in order to cut costs and lower the price to the consumer. Using a poor dental lab or lower quality materials will cut into the longevity as well as the final appearance of any dental work. When dentistry goes bad, it usually needs to be redone from the beginning. This means losing what you initially invested and paying again for the re-do work. It is not unusual to have a patient spend money initially only to have to spend a much higher amount to re-do all the work just a short time later.
Choosing a dentist is never an easy decision so do your best to get information from friends, family, and internet. Request a free consultation to tour the office and meet not only the doctor but the staff. Dentistry tends to be an intimate experience and you need to feel confident and comfortable in the dental chair. Choosing the right dentist will make all your dental work a breeze. Most importantly, good dentistry will keep you healthy and end up saving you money in the long run.
When people think of cosmetic dentistry they might think of Hollywood style makeovers. These makeovers, while great, do not work for every individual’s needs. The beauty
of cosmetic dentistry is that it can oftentimes show major results with minimum work. It takes an experienced cosmetic dentist to be able to see that a small change may be all that is necessary for a patient to fulfill their needs and wants.
What Is Minimum Dentistry?
Minimum dentistry encompasses all the possible treatment options available in cosmetic dentistry but just on a smaller scale. It means, to be as efficient and conservative as possible with time, treatment,tooth strcuture, and money to gain maximum results with the resources we have available.
Which cosmetic dentistry procedures are available for minimum dentistry?
-Tooth Reshaping (also called tooth re-contouring, or enameloplasty) – This simple, effective minimum dentistry procedure allows your cosmetic dentist to reshape your teeth very minimally to change length, width, or thickness. This is very effective for teeth with varying lengths or ones that are slightly out of line with each other. This will not work in cases of more severe misalignments as you run the risk of removing too much tooth structure causing sensitivity teeth.
-Teeth Whitening – A minimum dentistry procedure, that can whiten your teeth in as little as an hour. There are various types of teeth whitening available. These include in office teeth whitening (done in as little as an hour), at home teeth whitening (completed over a period of 2 weeks or so). There are also over the counter methods of teeth whitening available. Each technique has its advantages and disadvantages. The most efficient method is in office whitening but it is also the most expensive.
-Dental Bonding – Another minimum dentistry procedure that can be completed in under an hour that can dramatically change a smile. A chipped tooth or a gap can make your smile look less attractive. Dental bonding can close that gap and restore a chipped tooth to its natural appearance.
-Inlays and Onlays – Inlays and onlays require minimal removal of healthy tooth structure when compared to dental crowns. These are usually made of porcelain to make the final restoration as cosmetic as possible. Removal of healthy tooth structure increases the risks of both tooth fracture and the possible need for root canal therapy after the crown is completed. The inlay or onlay can serve a wonderful purpose, by preserving tooth structure, as well as being a more cost effective option to a full porcelain crown.
-Lumineers – This is truly a minimum dentistry procedure. This requires little to no tooth preparation. The trade off is, that the final product can often look bulky and out of place. For that reason most skilled cosmetic dentists reject this procedure.
-Snap On Smile – Another cosmetic minimum dentistry procedure that requires no tooth preparation. It is literally as the name suggests…a new smile you snap on over your existing teeth. For many patients this is the answer for special events like a wedding, job interviews, etc. Snap on smile is especially useful when major dental work would be required to alter the smile properly.
-Ginival recontouring - Also called a gum lift or gingivoplasty. This procedure removes a bit of gum tissue to allow short teeth to appear longer, to decrease a gummy smile, and to even out the gum line.
Minimum Dentistry Conclusion
Cosmetic dentistry procedures do not have to cost a fortune and require a lot of time in the dentist’s office. Minor changes to a smile can bring dramatic results. The ultimate goal of any cosmetic dentistry procedure is to meet the patients goals and to create a functional final result. Minimum dentistry allows for everyone to be able to enjoy the benefits of cosmetic dentistry especially with a limited budget of time and money.