Posts for: January, 2015

By Today's Dental
January 28, 2015
Category: Dental Procedures
Tags: orthodontics   oral surgery  

The final emergence of permanent teeth in late adolescence marks the end of a long process beginning in the womb with the formation of our primary or “baby” teeth. Permanent teeth form in a similar way as buds high in the jaw, continuing to grow until the primary teeth ahead of them fall away. The crowns of the new adult teeth eventually break through the gum tissue and emerge (erupt) into view.

At least, that’s normally what should happen; sometimes, though, a tooth may only erupt partially or not at all, a condition known as impaction. The crown remains partially or fully submerged below the gum line, causing the tooth to press against other teeth, potentially damaging them. It can also make periodontal (gum) tissues adjacent to the area more susceptible to disease. Wisdom teeth are especially prone to this kind of impaction, to the extent they’re often surgically removed (extracted) to avoid future problems to adjacent teeth or the bite.

Upper canines (the “eye teeth” normally located directly below the eyes) are also subject to impaction. But because of their highly visible position, extracting them could have an adverse impact on the patient’s smile. In this case, we often attempt instead to expose and ultimately save the tooth.

Before taking any action, however, an orthodontic examination is conducted first to pinpoint the exact position of the impacted tooth and determine how that position might affect moving teeth into a more desired alignment. If we find the impacted canine is in a workable position, the next step is to surgically uncover the tooth from the gum tissue (a minor procedure usually performed by an oral surgeon or periodontist). Once exposed, an orthodontic bracket with a small attached gold chain is bonded to the tooth. The gums are then sutured back into place with the chain exposed and allowed to heal.

At some future point an orthodontist will attach the chain to orthodontic hardware that will pull the impacted tooth into proper position over several months. As a result, the upper canine becomes “un-impacted”; the dangers to surrounding teeth and tissues are also reduced. And, just as important, we can preserve the tooth and with orthodontics achieve an attractive, normal smile.

If you would like more information on the effects and treatment of impacted teeth, 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 “Exposing Impacted Canines.”

By Today's Dental
January 16, 2015
Category: Oral Health

Many parents use a pacifier for their newborns, but as their children get older, parents may not be aware of the effects a pacifier has on their child's teeth. Dr. Tiberiu Oancea of Today's Dental in Houston is here to help you navigate this important matter.

Starting a Pacifier

From birth to about six months old, parents are encouraged to use a pacifier as this has been found to actually decrease the incidence of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome. The continual sucking during sleep prevents the child from falling into a sleep from which they might have trouble waking up. Of course, the main reason most parents use a pacifier is that sucking on a pacifier provides comfort and soothes the child.

As a child gets older and continues to use a pacifier, parents need to be aware of the effects long-term pacifier use has on children's teeth.

Effects of Long-Term Pacifier Use

Prolonged pacifier use can effect teeth in the following ways:

  • Proper growth alignment of the jaw and bones that support the teeth can be affected. The front upper teeth can tip toward the lip or just not come in properly at all.
  • The alignment of teeth can be affected. The child's bite may not come together properly, causing an underbite, overbite, or a crossbite.
  • The roof of the mouth may not form properly.
  • Long-term pacifier use has been associated with an increased occurrence of ear infections.
What Age Should a Child Stop Pacifier Use?
As the child gets older, parents may begin to wonder when they should stop the use of a pacifier. The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommends that children should stop pacifier use between the ages of two and four years old. Some children will naturally stop using one on their own, while others may have a more difficult time giving up their pacifier.

If your child is having a difficult time giving up their pacifier, please contact Dr. Oancea to set up an appointment so he can evaluate your child's mouth and give you recommendations to help them stop. He can talk to your child about the importance of giving up the pacifier and in many cases, this all a child needs to help them stop.

Don't delay! Contact Dr. Oancea at Today's Dental at (281) 580-0770 today. He is here to help!

By Today's Dental
January 13, 2015
Category: Dental Procedures
Tags: celebrity smiles   bonding  

So you’re tearing up the dance floor at a friend’s wedding, when all of a sudden one of your pals lands an accidental blow to your face — chipping out part of your front tooth, which lands right on the floorboards! Meanwhile, your wife (who is nine months pregnant) is expecting you home in one piece, and you may have to pose for a picture with the baby at any moment. What will you do now?

Take a tip from Prince William of England. According to the British tabloid The Daily Mail, the future king found himself in just this situation in 2013. His solution: Pay a late-night visit to a discreet dentist and get it fixed up — then stay calm and carry on!

Actually, dental emergencies of this type are fairly common. While nobody at the palace is saying exactly what was done for the damaged tooth, there are several ways to remedy this dental dilemma.

If the broken part is relatively small, chances are the tooth can be repaired by bonding with composite resin. In this process, tooth-colored material is used to replace the damaged, chipped or discolored region. Composite resin is a super-strong mixture of plastic and glass components that not only looks quite natural, but bonds tightly to the natural tooth structure. Best of all, the bonding procedure can usually be accomplished in just one visit to the dental office — there’s no lab work involved. And while it won’t last forever, a bonded tooth should hold up well for at least several years with only routine dental care.

If a larger piece of the tooth is broken off and recovered, it is sometimes possible to reattach it via bonding. However, for more serious damage — like a severely fractured or broken tooth — a crown (cap) may be required. In this restoration process, the entire visible portion of the tooth may be capped with a sturdy covering made of porcelain, gold, or porcelain fused to a gold metal alloy.

A crown restoration is more involved than bonding. It begins with making a 3-D model of the damaged tooth and its neighbors. From this model, a tooth replica will be fabricated by a skilled technician; it will match the existing teeth closely and fit into the bite perfectly. Next, the damaged tooth will be prepared, and the crown will be securely attached to it. Crown restorations are strong, lifelike and permanent.

Was the future king “crowned” — or was his tooth bonded? We may never know for sure. But it’s good to know that even if we’ll never be royals, we still have several options for fixing a damaged tooth. If you would like more information, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can learn more by reading the Dear Doctor magazine articles “Repairing Chipped Teeth” and “Crowns and Bridgework.”