Take Years off Your Smile with These Successful Treatments

By: Dr. Elizabeth Eggert

From consuming sugary foods and beverages to chewing on crunchy or tough foods, from lifestyle choices such as smoking to poor oral hygiene, year after year our teeth endure a tremendous amount of abuse. It’s not surprising then that they manifest signs of wear and tear. Here are some common issues aging teeth often encounter…and some effective solutions that Eggert Family Dentistry offers to help you regain that youthful smile.

Discoloration

People often feel self-conscious about their not-so-pearly whites and resort to closed-mouth smiles. Over time and on account of richly hued and acidic foods and beverages or smoking, white teeth often lose their luster. In most cases, teeth whitening is an effective solution, and while the results aren’t permanent, they’re easy to maintain. If your teeth are severely discolored, Dr. Elizabeth or Dr. Jeff may determine that porcelain veneers are the best option for you. In this case, a thin layer of porcelain is bonded to the front of the tooth for a bright, natural transformation.

Tooth wear

General tooth wear occurs over time. This can make teeth appear shorter and uneven. Two effective methods of reshaping and reforming teeth are porcelain veneers and crowns. In some situations, enamel shaping with a dental handpiece can help smooth out jagged edges.

Tooth decay

A lifetime of consuming sugary foods, frequent snacking and inconsistent brushing and flossing all lend themselves to tooth decay, a precursor to cavities. Good brushing and flossing habits as well as prescription strength fluoride products can ward off this decay. If cavities form, Dr. Elizabeth or Dr. Jeff will recommend fillings or crowns to prevent this decay from reaching the nerve and to restore the integrity of the tooth.

Missing teeth

Over time, bad habits such as smoking and excessive consumption of acidic or sugary foods can lead to rotten – and eventually missing – teeth. If you have missing teeth, there are a few common dental procedures that can be used to address the issue:

Bridges

Affixed to the adjacent teeth, bridges ‘bridge’ the gap created by the missing tooth with artificial, yet natural-looking, teeth.

Implants

Most similar in appearance to natural teeth, dental implants are anchored to the jawbone and provide a solid base for supporting artificial teeth, or crowns.

Dentures

In situations where you’ve lost most or all of your teeth, dentures may be your best treatment option.

Eggert Family Dentistry is experienced in caring for aging teeth. Trust us with yours! If you would like to arrange a consult, give us a call at 651.482.8412.

Options for a Traumatized Tooth – Kenton’s Story

By Dr. Elizabeth Eggert

How did this start?

When Kenton was 9 years old, he was hit in the mouth and his right front tooth fractured. At that time, Kenton needed a root canal on that tooth because the trauma exposed the nerve. A large bonded composite veneer was created on that tooth to help make it look as normal as possible. Usually a fractured and traumatized tooth will eventually need a crown to build it back together but Kenton still had a lot of growing to do. Dr. Elizabeth wanted to buy as much time as possible through his growing years. Fast forward 10 years: Kenton is now 19. The color of Kenton’s teeth changed over the years, the large veneer was no longer holding up and it was decaying around the edges. Kenton noticed how his teeth no longer matched and how dark the traumatized tooth appeared at the gum line. Dr. Elizabeth recommended full records for Kenton. Even if she is was replacing only one tooth, she wanted to help Kenton understand all the risks and benefits, especially in the case of past trauma.

What did he want?

Kenton said, “I would like to have a long-term solution to (fix) my front teeth.” He was concerned about how the differences between his two front teeth were visible and that made him self-conscious. He felt that the traumatized tooth didn’t fall in line with his other front teeth – that they didn’t look “normal.” Also, as a college student, Kenton wanted to keep the costs as low as possible for his tight budget!

What is involved?

Our team started Kenton’s case with the records process. We took models, x-rays and photos of his teeth to assess the needs and function of his entire mouth. This allowed Dr. Elizabeth to see how his teeth, muscles and jaw functioned together and helped her determine what kind of treatment would best help protect the previously traumatized tooth. At the same time, Dr. Elizabeth wanted to give Kenton the smile he desired. She presented her findings to Kenton and his father. Through the records analysis, it was apparent that the best thing Kenton could do to protect his traumatized front tooth was to correct his teeth in the back so they would bite more evenly. As a result, Kenton started with a procedure called equilibration to stabilize his bite. Kenton’s parents hoped to wait a little longer before completing a full crown for Kenton’s front tooth but his front tooth fractured again just a few months later, requiring completion of the crown.

What does he think?

Kenton is very happy with his new crown. Dr. Elizabeth sent Kenton to a dental lab – Certified Dental Ceramics – to have a custom shade selected, since it’s difficult to get a single front tooth crown to match a natural front tooth. Kenton reports that he is much more confident with his new smile now that the color of his front teeth match. He found the records process interesting and learned a lot about his options at the consult appointment. Kenton notices a major improvement in his bite and that his teeth fit together better after the equilibration. He didn’t know what to expect when the tooth broke, but in the end, Kenton thought the process was really easy and is very happy with his results!  Thanks for trusting us with your care, Kenton!