My Blog

Posts for: November, 2015

By Elite Smiles
November 22, 2015
Category: Dental Procedures

Let’s say you’re traveling to Italy to surprise your girlfriend, who is competing in an alpine ski race… and when you lower the scarf that’s covering your face, you reveal to the assembled paparazzi that one of your front teeth is missing. What will you do about this dental dilemma?

Sound far-fetched? It recently happened to one of the most recognized figures in sports — Tiger Woods. There’s still some uncertainty about exactly how this tooth was taken out: Was it a collision with a cameraman, as Woods’ agent reported… or did Woods already have some problems with the tooth, as others have speculated? We still don’t know for sure, but the big question is: What happens next?

Fortunately, contemporary dentistry offers several good solutions for the problem of missing teeth. Which one is best? It depends on each individual’s particular situation.

Let’s say that the visible part of the tooth (the crown) has been damaged by a dental trauma (such as a collision or a blow to the face), but the tooth still has healthy roots. In this case, it’s often possible to keep the roots and replace the tooth above the gum line with a crown restoration (also called a cap). Crowns are generally made to order in a dental lab, and are placed on a prepared tooth in a procedure that requires two office visits: one to prepare the tooth for restoration and to make a model of the mouth and the second to place the custom-manufactured crown and complete the restoration. However, in some cases, crowns can be made on special machinery right in the dental office, and placed during the same visit.

But what happens if the root isn’t viable — for example, if the tooth is deeply fractured, or completely knocked out and unable to be successfully re-implanted?

In that case, a dental implant is probably the best option for tooth replacement. An implant consists of a screw-like post of titanium metal that is inserted into the jawbone during a minor surgical procedure. Titanium has a unique property: It can fuse with living bone tissue, allowing it to act as a secure anchor for the replacement tooth system. The crown of the implant is similar to the one mentioned above, except that it’s made to attach to the titanium implant instead of the natural tooth.

Dental implants look, function and “feel” just like natural teeth — and with proper care, they can last a lifetime. Although they may be initially expensive, their quality and longevity makes them a good value over the long term. A less-costly alternative is traditional bridgework — but this method requires some dental work on the adjacent, healthy teeth; plus, it isn’t expected to last as long as an implant, and it may make the teeth more prone to problems down the road.

What will the acclaimed golfer do? No doubt Tiger’s dentist will help him make the right tooth-replacement decision.

If you have a gap in your grin — whatever the cause — contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation, and find out which tooth-replacement system is right for you. You can learn more in the Dear Doctor magazine articles “Dental Implant Surgery” and “Crowns & Bridgework.”

Are you embarrassed by dull, yellow teeth? No matter how often you brush, brushing alone doesn't remove stains. Don't give up on a whiter, brighter smile until you try teeth whitening services offered by your dentist. Geetha L. Sripathi, DMD, PLLC, your Morrisville teeth whiteningdentist, explains how whitening can improve your smile.

Whitening offers noticeable improvement

Whether you choose in-office dental whitening or take-home trays, your teeth will be noticeably whiter after treatment. In fact, your teeth may be three to eight shades lighter after an hour-long, in-office tooth whitening treatment. Although over-the-counter teeth whitening kits can offer some improvement, they aren't strong enough to provide the same results you'll get when you visit your dentist.

Whitening effects are long lasting

The whitening kits and gels you buy at the drugstore may make your teeth look a little whiter, but depending on the type, the effects may only last a few weeks to one year. When you undergo teeth whitening in your dentist's office, you can expect your teeth to stay white for six months to two years.

Whitening removes stubborn stains

Over the years, tea, coffee, cola, red wine, tomato sauce and other foods and beverages can stain your teeth. In a short period of time, teeth whitening removes stains that took years to develop. Your bright smile will last longer after whitening if you avoid foods and beverages that can stain your teeth.

Whitening helps improve confidence

It's hard to feel confident if you're self-conscious about the way your teeth look. When your teeth are whiter, you may notice that your self-esteem has improved and you feel ready to face the world. Whitening can also help you look a little younger, since your teeth tend to become duller with age.

Are you tired of living with yellow, dull or discolored teeth? Geetha L. Sripathi, DMD, PLLC of Elite Smiles, your Morrisville dentist, can help you turn back time and enjoy a whiter, brighter smile. Call us today at (919) 388-0137 to make an appointment.

By Elite Smiles
November 07, 2015
Category: Oral Health
Tags: tmd   tmj   jaw pain  

As many as 36 million adults in the U.S. suffer from some form of chronic jaw pain. What’s more, many of these may also experience other painful conditions like arthritis or chronic fatigue in other parts of their body.

Chronic jaw pain is actually a group of difficult to define disorders collectively referred to as temporomandibular joint disorders (TMJD or also TMD). TMD not only refers to pain symptoms of the temporomandibular (jaw) joints but also of the jaw muscles and surrounding connective tissue. Most physicians and dentists agree TMD arises from a complex range of conditions involving inheritable factors, gender (many sufferers are women of childbearing age), environment and behavior.

A recent survey of approximately 1,500 TMD patients found that nearly two-thirds of them also suffered from three or more related health problems like fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue syndrome, rheumatoid arthritis, headaches, depression and problems sleeping. The understanding of TMD’s connection with these other conditions is in its early stages of research, but there’s avid interest among healthcare providers to learn more and possibly devise new treatments for TMD in coordination with these other related conditions.

In the meantime, TMD patients continue to respond best with the traditional approach to treatment, including physical therapy, thermal (hot or cold) compresses to the area of pain, medication and modifying the diet with more easier to chew foods. In extreme cases, jaw surgery may be recommended; however, success with this approach has been mixed, so it’s advisable to get a second opinion before choosing to undergo a surgical procedure.

Hopefully, further study about TMD and its connection with other conditions may yield newer treatments to ease the pain and discomfort of all these conditions, including TMD. You can stay up to date on these and other developments for coping with the discomfort of TMD at and through your healthcare provider team.

If you would like more information on TMD, 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 “Chronic Jaw Pain and Associated Conditions.”