My Blog
By Kerr Dental Associates, PC
December 11, 2018
Category: Dental Procedures
ADifferentKindofChipShotforProGolferDanielleKang

While the sport of golf may not look too dangerous from the sidelines, players know it can sometimes lead to mishaps. There are accidents involving golf carts and clubs, painful muscle and back injuries, and even the threat of lightning strikes on the greens. Yet it wasn’t any of these things that caused professional golfer Danielle Kang’s broken tooth on the opening day of the LPGA Singapore tournament.

“I was eating and it broke,” explained Kang. “My dentist told me, I've chipped another one before, and he said, you don't break it at that moment. It's been broken and it just chips off.” Fortunately, the winner of the 2017 Women’s PGA championship got immediate dental treatment, and went right back on the course to play a solid round, shooting 68.

Kang’s unlucky “chip shot” is far from a rare occurrence. In fact, chipped, fractured and broken teeth are among the most common dental injuries. The cause can be crunching too hard on a piece of ice or hard candy, a sudden accident or a blow to the face, or a tooth that’s weakened by decay or repetitive stress from a habit like nail biting. Feeling a broken tooth in your mouth can cause surprise and worry—but luckily, dentists have many ways of restoring the tooth’s appearance and function.

Exactly how a broken tooth is treated depends on how much of its structure is missing, and whether the soft tissue deep inside of it has been compromised. When a fracture exposes the tooth’s soft pulp it can easily become infected, which may lead to serious problems. In this situation, a root canal or extraction will likely be needed. This involves carefully removing the infected pulp tissue and disinfecting and sealing the “canals” (hollow spaces inside the tooth) to prevent further infection. The tooth can then be restored, often with a crown (cap) to replace the entire visible part. A timely root canal procedure can often save a tooth that would otherwise need to be extracted (removed).

For less serious chips, dental veneers may be an option. Made of durable and lifelike porcelain, veneers are translucent shells that go over the front surfaces of teeth. They can cover minor to moderate chips and cracks, and even correct size and spacing irregularities and discoloration. Veneers can be custom-made in a dental laboratory from a model of your teeth, and are cemented to teeth for a long-lasting and natural-looking restoration.

Minor chips can often be remedied via dental bonding. Here, layers of tooth-colored resin are applied to the surfaces being restored. The resin is shaped to fill in the missing structure and hardened by a special light. While not as long-lasting as other restoration methods, bonding is a relatively simple and inexpensive technique that can often be completed in just one office visit.

If you have questions about restoring chipped teeth, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can learn more by reading the Dear Doctor magazine articles “Porcelain Veneers” and “Artistic Repair of Chipped Teeth With Composite Resin.”

By Kerr Dental Associates, PC
December 01, 2018
Category: Dental Procedures
Tags: dental implants  
AvoidImplantFailurebyWatchingOutforTheseMouthProblems

There are several reasons why dental implants are so popular. Perhaps the most important, though, is their longevity: if maintained properly implants can last for decades. However, they’re not indestructible—certain mouth conditions could put them at risk for early failure. But if you address emerging problems early, you may be able to prevent that unfortunate outcome.

Your implants may be in danger, for example, if you have a teeth grinding or clenching habit. This occurs when a person involuntarily and repeatedly bites down on their teeth when not chewing or speaking. Usually triggered in adults by high stress, teeth grinding can subject both natural teeth and implants to damaging levels of force. Over time this can cause bone loss around an implant and weaken their support. It could also cause a direct break in an implant.

But there are ways to stop or at least reduce the effects of teeth grinding. One effective way is a custom-made bite guard you wear while you sleep. Made of hard plastic, the guard prevents the teeth from making solid contact with each other, reducing the amount of force generated.

A more prominent problem is periodontal (gum) disease, a bacterial infection caused by built-up dental plaque on tooth surfaces. This can trigger inflammation, a normal defensive response that when it persists for an extended period of time can damage tissues and supporting bone. It can also cause a specific form of gum disease related to implants called peri-implantitis, in which the tissues that support an implant become infected and weaken, leading eventually to possible implant failure.

If you have implants, then, you should brush and floss daily to prevent gum disease, as well as see your dentist at least every six months for cleanings and checkups. And if you notice anything like reddened, swollen or bleeding gums, see your dentist immediately. The sooner you undergo treatment, the better the outcome for your implants as well as your overall health.

Dental implants can give you years of great service and can prove to be well worth the cost. But you’ll have to stay on your guard against gum disease and other mouth conditions that could endanger them down the road.

If you would like more information on dental 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 article “Dental Implants: A Tooth-Replacement Method that Rarely Fails.”

By Kerr Dental Associates, PC
November 30, 2018
Category: Dental Procedures

Dental ImplantsConsidering dental implants? One of the most revolutionary developments in modern dentistry is the development of dental implants. Implants are small anchors that are inserted into the jawbone to replace missing teeth. Implants have made such a difference in the lives of many patients. Kerr Dental, which is located in Plymouth, MA, offers dental implants to its patients.

What are the effects of tooth loss?

One or more missing teeth can have many negative effects on your oral health including shifting of teeth and changes in the jaw joint. Missing teeth can change the shape of your face, causing you to look prematurely aged. After you lose a tooth, your jawbone will also begin to shrink from lack of stimulation. In addition, missing teeth can keep you from enjoying the foods you love. It's difficult to chew properly when you have missing teeth. 

What are dental implants?

Dental implants are small posts made of titanium that are inserted into the jawbone to take the place of your missing tooth roots. After the jawbone has bonded to the dental implants, replacement teeth are secured to the top of the implants. Dental implants are used in the upper and lower jaws. They're made of materials that are well-suited to the human body. 

Why do people choose implants?

The decision to replace your missing teeth with implants is an excellent investment in your appearance and the quality of your life. An implant is the closest thing to a real tooth. Dental implants will make your smile whole again. They will help restore your ability to chew food and improve your clarity of speech.

Will I need bone grafting? 

You may require a bone graft if your bone is too thin and unable to support a dental implant. The bone graft materials can come from a variety of sources—sometimes it comes from the patient's body. Synthetic bone graft materials and laboratory-processed bone from an animal or human donor can also be used.

How do I care for dental implants? 

Good dental hygiene must take place before, during, and after the placement of implants to keep them healthy. Dental implants are like real teeth and will require regular dental visits and conscientious at-home oral care. In order to keep your new implants plaque-free, brushing and flossing still apply. 

Want a better life? Start with your smile. Say yes to dental implants! Call Kerr Dental at 508-747-5400 right now to schedule a dental consultation in Plymouth, MA. Dental implants have helped millions of people from all over the world transform their smiles, boosting their self-confidence and changing their lives. And they can do the same for you!

By Kerr Dental Associates, PC
November 21, 2018
Category: Oral Health
Tags: oral hygiene   toothpaste  
SimplifyYourToothpastePurchasebyLookingforTheseIngredients

The American marketplace usually offers us plenty of buying choices — sometimes it seems too many. A case in point: the toothpaste aisle at your local supermarket.

It can be a bit overwhelming with all the razzle-dazzle packaging and exciting claims of “Whiter Teeth!” or “Fresher Breath!” But toothpaste really isn't that complicated, if you keep in mind its primary goal: to help you with your toothbrush remove disease-causing plaque from teeth surfaces.

And the vast majority can, thanks to ingredients you'll find in just about every brand. All toothpastes, for example, contain some form of abrasive material that boosts the mechanical action of brushing to remove plaque. This isn't new: the ancient Egyptians used ox-hoof ashes, burnt eggshells and pumice as abrasives. Today you'll find hydrated silica (originating from sand), hydrated alumina or calcium carbonate as abrasives on the ingredient list.

You also need some form of detergent to help loosen and break down substances that won't dissolve in water. Toothpaste detergent is much milder than that which you use on your dishes. The most common is sodium lauryl sulfate, a foaming agent found in shampoo and other beauty products. It's been used safely for half a century in toothpaste, although it can irritate the inner linings of some people's mouths. If this is a problem for you, you should look for toothpaste with a different detergent.

There is also a myriad of other ingredients, including binders, humectants (which help the toothpaste retain moisture) and flavorings. You may also find bleaching agents that help brighten your teeth, although they may not be strong enough to remove deep staining, something we would need to help you with.

And let's not forget one other frequent ingredient: fluoride. This natural chemical strengthens enamel and helps fight tooth decay as part of a disease prevention strategy. It's perhaps the most valuable ingredient you'll find in toothpaste, so make sure it's in your chosen brand.

If you want to simplify your decision, choose toothpaste with the seal of acceptance from the American Dental Association. The seal indicates the claims of the toothpaste manufacturer have been independently verified. You can trust those brands to help keep your teeth clean and free from disease. In the end, that's really what you want from your toothpaste.

If you would like more information on the right toothpaste for you, 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 “Toothpaste: What's in it?

 

Here's a tip that most dental insurance companies don't tell you: Your insurance benefits reset at the end of the calendar year, so you should take advantage of them before December 31st.

Most dental insurance plans offer standard annual benefits which are completely covered under your premium. Here are two common benefits you may want to take advantage of before the end of the year, since you're already paying for them:

  • Bi-annual Cleanings. Most policies cover "preventive maintenance", or cleanings, twice a year to take care of the buildup of plaque, tartar and stains on the teeth. These appointments are also an opportunity for your dentist to ensure your oral health is overall looking good. Call us at 508-747-5400 to book a cleaning today.
  • Meet your maximum. Find out what your maximum is, and if you've already hit your deductible, you can utilize the difference to pay for larger treatments you may have been putting off. For example, if your annual maximum is $1,800 and your deductible is $1,000, you have $800 that your insurance company can use to cover additional treatments before the end of the year. This amount resets, so you'll want to use it before you lose it on December 31st.

What larger treatments can you use your benefits towards? Most insurance companies will cover the following treatments:

  • Oral Examinations 
  • X-rays
  • Tooth cleanings 
  • Application of Fluoride
  • Sealants (usually limited to children) 
  • Fillings
  • Crowns
  • Root Canals 
  • Treatments for gum disease
  • Extractions 
  • Emergency relief of pain 
  • Anesthesia 
  • Consultations

Call us at 508-747-5400 to schedule an appointment today, or request an appointment online.

And remember, use them or lose them!

(Sources: National Association of Dental Plans)





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