There are lots of “do it yourself” projects you can complete successfully with just a little time and effort. However, “do it yourself” braces is not one of them. Despite that, there are a rising number of videos on YouTube instructing on how to fix your teeth at home, and even more online sites selling braces kits for those who want straighter teeth but want to avoid the orthodontist.
“There’s a common misconception in the general public that braces are simple — you push on the tooth and it moves where you want it,” says Jeffery Iverson, D.D.S., M.S., an assistant professor at the University of Utah School of Dentistry. “Orthodontics is very complex. Human physiology, occlusion, biomechanics, craniofacial growth and development, tooth size, shape and morphology, as well as the patient’s overall lifelong dental health, must be taken into consideration.”
The most basic method of DIY braces is placing a rubber band around teeth in an attempt to move them together. While this may cause teeth to move, it can also cause a number of complications like tooth fracture, gum damage, root damage, tooth loss, or serious medical complications.
“Blood circulates just below the surface of the oral mucosa, and the placement of toxic, non-sterile items in the oral cavity can injure it and is a good recipe for infection,” says Iverson. “These infections can spread through the blood or through facial spaces, and these infections could become life threatening.”
He has seen the damage a simple rubber band can do firsthand. “I saw a 12-year old patient during my residency that tried to close some spaces in her lower mandibular incisors using a rubber band,” Iverson says. “X-ray evaluation revealed severe bone loss on the distal roots of the mandibular lateral incisors.”
The child ended up needing surgery to remove the rubber band, which had done lasting damage to her teeth.
Another option gaining popularity involves companies that will send consumers kits to take impressions of their teeth, and then will send them clear alignment devices. They claim the process is overseen by a qualified orthodontist and that the kits should only be used by those with a “mild” alignment problem. However, Iverson has his doubts.
“If overseen means a doctor looks at some pictures and impressions over the internet and the patient is never seen in the beginning, throughout treatment nor has the final result evaluated at completion, I could see multiple problems with that type of treatment,” he says.
Iverson also says treating even a mild alignment problem is more complex than simply taking teeth impressions and fitting a device. “In an orthodontic office every patient receives a set of orthodontic records, which include orthodontic x-rays,” he says. “I don’t see where these companies are providing an x-ray evaluation on their patients, so many potential problems could possibly be missed.”
There are also “black market” braces options available, which can cause even greater damage. The materials being used may not be sterile or may even be toxic. There is a chance they could come loose or be swallowed. Then there is the issue of removing them. “Removal of DIY braces can fracture the teeth or extract the teeth depending on the method of cementation,” says Iverson.
The bottom line? If you want straighter teeth, see an orthodontist — face to face.
“It takes a trained orthodontist to position the teeth in their correct positions so detrimental damage doesn’t occur,” says Iverson.
Patients can spot trouble with new dental implants
Patients with new dental implants may be able to detect signs of trouble early enough to help prevent complications that can damage gums and bone, a British study suggests.
When researchers asked 75 people who received dental implants in the past year if they had complications such as bleeding, pus or loose replacement-tooth “roots,” they expected clinicians to routinely catch problems that the patients missed.
But that didn’t happen.
Because the mouth is a very sensitive part of the body, it’s not surprising that patients and clinicians had a similar opinion about post-implant oral health, said Bruno Chrcanovic, a researcher in odontology at Malmo University in Sweden who wasn’t involved in the study.
That doesn’t mean patients are forever in the clear, however, or that all problems can be easily detected without regular dental checkups, he said.
“Some patients have the feeling that they understand the problem and can properly deal with it by themselves,” Chrcanovic said by email. “It is not always true.”
About 3 million people in the U.S. have dental implants, and another 500,000 implants are placed each year, according to the American Academy of Implant Dentistry.
Implants are artificial tooth roots – typically titanium posts – inserted into the bone of the jaw to replace missing teeth. An implant with an attached crown, functions like a normal tooth and can help preserve the jaw structure and prevent bone loss, unlike bridgework or dentures.
While generally safe, dental implant procedures, like any surgery, are not risk-free. Patients can develop damage to blood vessels, nerves, sinuses or other teeth. They can also get a serious condition known as peri-implantitis, a bacterial infection that can lead to inflammation around the post and bone loss.
The study, co-authored by Dr. Simon Wright of the Implant Centers of Excellence in the U.K., tested a hypothesis that patients can’t perceive the difference between successful and unsuccessful implants. Wright didn’t respond to emails seeking comment.
Patients who received implants from one of two dentists at the practice within the previous one to 11 months were asked to complete questionnaires and have an exam to see if their responses lined up with what clinicians saw in their mouth.
The patients ranged in age from 23 to 92 years old, and none of them was treated as part of the National Health Service, the U.K.’s publicly funded health system.
Researchers focused on five areas of post-implant health: aesthetics, loose restorations, bleeding or pus, fractured implants and what’s known as occlusion, when the upper and lower teeth collide when the mouth is closed.
On all five of these variables, there wasn’t a significant difference of opinion between the patients and the dentists, according to the results published in the British Dental Journal.
Patients perceived fractures in 5.3 percent of restorations, whereas dentists detected fractures in 1.4 percent.
For loose restorations, patients thought this of 14.7 percent of implants, while dentists found 13.3 percent of restorations to be loose.
With occlusion, patients reported this 1.3 percent of the time, but dentists found it during 5.3 percent of exams.
Patients may have been fairly accurate in assessing their own oral health because they were educated on the potential risks before implant surgery and then taught proper implant care after the procedure, the researchers note. The study is also too small to draw conclusions about a broader patient population.
Patients who aren’t well educated may struggle to spot complications and also be less likely to continue with routine checkups, said Dr. Frank Strietzel, an oral health researcher at Charity Medical University Berlin.
“If the patient will not follow the advice of the dentist, there is a risk of undetected inflammation around the implants,” Strietzel, who wasn’t involved in the study, said by email. “A dental implant is a foreign body like a prosthesis, which requires regular observation.”
Source: Fox News
PITTSBURGH – Most people dread going to the dentist to get a crown on one of their teeth.
The procedure can be long, tedious and often uncomfortable. Once in the chair, patients must bite down on a putty-like material – which can trigger the gag reflex – to create an impression of their teeth. Patients must wear temporary crowns for a few weeks until their permanent crowns have been made from the impressions, sometimes returning to the office for corrections if one falls out or is uncomfortable.
Traditionally, crown fittings take three weeks and multiple visits to the dentist to complete. These permanent tooth-shaped “caps” – made of durable material such as steel, porcelain or ceramic – are put on to protect a weak tooth, restore a broken tooth, cover and support a tooth with a large filling or serve other uses.
Fortunately, this slow process may soon be history in most dental offices. New 3-D video imaging technology is speeding up the time it takes for dentists to create lab-quality dental restorations – from weeks to a couple of hours.
Computer-aided design and computer-aided manufacturing – known as CAD/CAM technology – consists of a scanning wand no bigger than a large toothbrush and an on-site milling machine.
The new system allows dentists to create and insert crowns, inlays, onlays and veneers in a single appointment. The scanning wand takes a 3-D image or video of a dental region in as little as 15 seconds.
A block of a durable material such as lithium disilicate is then milled into shape and baked before it is inserted into the patient’s mouth.
“There’s always the sense of amazement when patients experience (CAD/CAM technology) for the first time,” said Jeffery Verner, a dentist in Bethel Park. “I’ve even had some patients put the block in the machine themselves, and others call back afterward saying it was a cool experience.”
Christine Trice, office manager for dentist Rick Rivardo in Monroeville, Pennsylvania, said the shorter time makes it easier for working people to better care for their teeth. Finding time in patients’ schedules for several appointments is the main reason treatment is delayed or even avoided, she said.
Trice said because the new technology eliminates the need for putting in temporary crowns, there is also a reduced risk of irritation and increased tooth sensitivity.
Despite these advantages, use of the new technology is not the standard in most dental practices, said Charles Sfeir, director of the Center for Craniofacial Regeneration at the University of Pittsburgh School of Dental Medicine. While the cost to patients does not change compared with the traditional approach, dental practices must pay about $100,000 for the equipment.
Additional training is needed to operate the new devices, which may dissuade some older practitioners from adopting it, Trice said.
Harve Dailey, 63, a retired chemist who has a rare nickel allergy, said the technology has spared him the severe gum irritation and bleeding he had with his old crowns. “This new procedure is much better from a patient point of view,” he said.
Still, a growing number of dental practices in Allegheny County are making the investment.
Meredith Fennell, a dentist in Chicora, Pennsylvania, has had the equipment for nearly two years, and Rivardo, the Monroeville dentist, introduced it recently. Pitt dental students have been getting training on the new equipment over the past few years, Sfeir said.
“I don’t think a lot of people know about this,” he said. “We really are moving into the digital era and increasing convenience for patients.”
FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) —
There are lots of myths when it comes to your teeth. How much do you know? When it comes to teeth, there’s the good, the bad and the ugly.
Larry Lieberman, DDS, from General, Cosmetic, and Laser Dentistry in Palm Harbor, Florida says at one point or another, most of us will have a dental problem.
“Periodontal disease affects over 85 percent of the population. That’s a really big deal,” Lieberman told ABC30.
One way to avoid being part of that statistic: don’t believe teeth myths. The first, you should use a hard bristle brush.
“Leave the hard toothbrush for cleaning the jewelry, and the soft toothbrush for cleaning the teeth,” Lieberman told ABC30.
Another myth is that everyone should use a whitening toothpaste.
“We find that people that come in that use a lot of whitening toothpaste have more sensitivity,” Lieberman told ABC30.
Stick with a basic paste. Another fallacy is that chewing on ice is harmless.
Lieberman told ABC30, “We see a lot of people that you know bite down on things they shouldn’t. We see people who really do open up beer bottles with their teeth.”
Other common myths, is that aspirin next to a tooth will help with a toothache. It can actually burn gum tissue! Another is that all fillings will need to be replaced. It depends on your oral hygiene. And babies can’t get cavities, well they sure can and the cavities can even spread!
One more myth is that kids get way more cavities than adults. Thanks to fluoride in tap water, decay in school-aged children has been cut in half in the last 20 years. However, dentists are seeing an increase in cavities in older adults because of medicines that dry out the mouth. They reduce saliva, which protects the teeth.
While most people aren’t happy to have to go to the dentist, that doesn’t mean dentists aren’t happy people.
The 107 newly-minted dentists to graduate from Rutgers School of Dental Medicine celebrated the completion of this portion of their studies with a six-minute video set to Pharrell Williams’ “Happy” and Bruno Mars’ “Uptown Funk.”
During their recent commencement ceremony, held at NJPAC in Newark, Kim Fenesy, senior associate dean for academic affairs, described the class:
• Sixty percent are their family’s first generation of doctors and 9 percent are the first generation in the family to go to college.
• For more than half, English is their family’s second language.
• Class members range in age from mid-twenties to mid-forties.
• Graduating students from the Internationally Trained DMD program came from twelve different nations: Egypt, India, Iraq, Israel, South Korea, Latvia, Lithuania, Pakistan, Peru, the Philippines, Russian Federation and the Ukraine.
Here they are looking slightly more conventional:
A Philadelphia dental school has formed a partnership with a global health products company to create a new training site for current and future dentists.
Temple University’s Maurice H. Kornberg School of Dentistry and Henry Schein Inc. are collaborating to create the Henry Schein Digital Center of Excellence.
The center, expected to open within the next 12 months, is being designed to serve as a digital dentistry training hub for educating students, faculty and alumni about digital dentistry.
The cost of the proposed center is being kept confidential at this time.
Digital dentistry, under the broadest of definitions, refers to any dental technology or device that incorporates digital or computer-controlled components into patient care.
The center planned for Temple will feature equipment and products such as digital radiography, intraoral cameras and practice management software from Henry Schein (NASDAQ: HSIC) and its supply partners.
Henry Schein, a supplier of medical, dental and veterinary care products, is based in Melville, N.Y., and has offices in Philadelphia.
Amid Ismail, dean of the Kornberg School of Dentistry, said the goal of the private-public collaboration to “advance the skills and knowledge of current and future dentists in the new and rapidly emerging era of digital dentistry.”
Ismail said starting this fall, the predoctoral and postdoctoral clinics at the dental school will be offering a digital dentistry alternative to traditional restorative care.
My son just had his wisdom teeth removed . Lots of pre-surgery angst (How long is the surgery? Will it hurt? How long will it take to heal?) and stress (What to eat? How much missed school?). No worries…I got through it.
As a parent, I’m done with my son’s dental braces (√) and wisdom teeth extraction (√). As an adolescent medicine physician, I’m not done. I often see teens who have unresolved orthodontic issues or who are experiencing mouth pain or headaches due to wisdom teeth impaction.
Dental braces. Orthodontists use dental braces to correct the position of teeth. Many people who need dental braces get them during their early teenage years. The goal of dental braces is to properly align the teeth and improve not only the appearance of the teeth, but also the way a person bites, chews and speaks.
Dental braces offer corrective treatment for:
- Overcrowded or crooked teeth
- Too much space between teeth
- Upper front teeth that overlap the lower teeth too much
- Upper front teeth that bite behind the lower ones
Dental braces usually remain on for six months to two years. After the braces are taken off, removable retainers are worn according to a prescribed schedule. Wearing braces is generally very safe. However, as with any procedure, there are potential risks including gum disease and cavities due to bacteria that gather in spaces caused by the braces.
Wisdom teeth extraction. Wisdom teeth , or third molars, are located in the back of the mouth and usually start to emerge between ages 17-25. They are the last adult teeth to erupt. Most people have four wisdom teeth — two on the top and two on the bottom. A panoramic X-ray done during adolescence assesses the presence, development and position of the wisdom teeth.
Wisdom teeth become impacted when they don’t have enough room to emerge or grow normally. The following signs or symptoms may develop with impaction:
- Painful, swollen or bleeding gums
- Swelling around the jaw
- Halitosis (bad breath)
- Unpleasant taste
Dentists recommend removing a teenager’s wisdom teeth if they are impacted . In addition, because the third molars are in the back of the mouth and may be difficult to clean, some dentists suggest removing them if they are at risk for tooth decay and gum disease. Most wisdom teeth extractions are uneventful. Rarely, however, problems may occur , such as:
- Dry socket, or exposure of bone when the post-surgical blood clot is dislodged from the site of the surgical wound (socket)
- Infection in the socket from bacteria or trapped food particles
Bottom line: Teenagers need to have regular dental check-ups not only to have their teeth cleaned and to be checked for cavities and gum disease but also to evaluate for orthodontic issues and wisdom teeth impaction. These common dental issues may be bumps in the road for teens (and their parents!) but it’s all good when you see their beautiful smiles.