Posts for: June, 2016
Fans of the primetime TV show The Middle were delighted to see that high school senior Sue, played by Eden Sher, finally got her braces off at the start of Season 6. But since this popular sitcom wouldn’t be complete without some slapstick comedy, this happy event is not without its trials and tribulations: The episode ends with Sue’s whole family diving into a dumpster in search of the teen’s lost retainer. Sue finds it in the garbage and immediately pops it in her mouth. But wait — it doesn’t fit, it’s not even hers!
If you think this scenario is far-fetched, guess again. OK, maybe the part about Sue not washing the retainer upon reclaiming it was just a gag (literally and figuratively), but lost retainers are all too common. Unfortunately, they’re also expensive to replace — so they need to be handled with care. What’s the best way to do that? Retainers should be brushed daily with a soft toothbrush and liquid soap (dish soap works well), and then placed immediately back in your mouth or into the case that came with the retainer. When you are eating a meal at a restaurant, do not wrap your retainer in a napkin and leave it on the table — this is a great way to lose it! Instead, take the case with you, and keep the retainer in it while you’re eating. When you get home, brush your teeth and then put the retainer back in your mouth.
If you do lose your retainer though, let us know right away. Retention is the last step of your orthodontic treatment, and it’s extremely important. You’ve worked hard to get a beautiful smile, and no one wants to see that effort wasted. Yet if you neglect to wear your retainer as instructed, your teeth are likely to shift out of position. Why does this happen?
As you’ve seen firsthand, teeth aren’t rigidly fixed in the jaw — they can be moved in response to light and continuous force. That’s what orthodontic appliances do: apply the right amount of force in a carefully controlled manner. But there are other forces at work on your teeth that can move them in less predictable ways. For example, normal biting and chewing can, over time, cause your teeth to shift position. To get teeth to stay where they’ve been moved orthodontically, new bone needs to form around them and anchor them where they are. That will happen over time, but only if they are held in place with a retainer. That’s why it is so important to wear yours as directed — and notify us immediately if it gets lost.
And if ever you do have to dig your retainer out of a dumpster… be sure to wash it before putting in in your mouth!
If you would like more information on retainers, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can learn more in the Dear Doctor magazine articles “The Importance of Orthodontic Retainers” and “Why Orthodontic Retainers?”
Dental anxiety, or phobia, is a serious, and often debilitating, problem. Some individuals are so fearful of going to the dentist that they don't go at all--much to the detriment of their oral and overall health.
Your Yorktown Heights dentist, Dr. Joseph Zaky, and his staff at Dental Implant & Cosmetic PC totally understand, and they specialize in helping anxious patients relax in the dental chair and get the services they need. Dr. Zaky has advanced training in sedation dentistry--methods of administering medications that relieve anxiety.
Deciding on Sedation
When considering sedation dentistry, Dr. Zaky first reviews the individual's medical and surgical history and list of current medications. After an oral examination to determine what preventive and restorative services the patient needs, Dr. Zaky outlines sedation options, explaining how he delivers them, how they work and what to expect from them. Your Yorktown Heights dentist wishes his sedation patients be fully informed about their treatments, including sedation.
Sedation Offered by Dental Implant & Cosmetic, PC
One of the most common, safe and reliable sedation options is nitrous oxide, or "laughing gas." The American Dental Association states that for generations, laughing gas has helped patients feel at ease while getting their teeth cleaned, fillings placed and undergoing a whole host of dental treatments.
Given via a comfortable mask which fits over the nose, nitrous oxide gives people a very relaxed, even giddy feeling, to the point where they may be a bit giggly. That's where the name "laughing gas" comes from. Dr. Zaky may increase or decrease the flow of the gas as necessary, and its sedative effects wear off almost immediately when he stops the medication. The patient may drive home after this procedure.
Another choice is oral conscious sedation. Dr. Zaky prescribes medication such as Valium or Ativan to be taken just before the dental appointment or in the treatment room. Under the influence of this medication, most individuals feel very sleepy or even drop off to sleep during their treatments. Dr. Zaky and his team monitor the patient's blood pressure, heart rate, and respirations. The patient is easily awakened and often has no memory of his dental work. He must get a ride home from a friend or loved one.
Lastly, IV (intravenous) sedation confers deep relaxation. Administered through a needle in the arm, this medication is fully adjustable and allows the dentist to perform multiple, complex treatments. The patient may sleep and experience some amnesia afterwards. Vital signs are fully monitored, and the patient must be driven home.
Is Sedation for You?
If you face multiple procedures or simply dread going to the dentist, sedation dentistry could be your lifesaver. Contact the office staff at Dental Implant & Cosmetic PC in Yorktown Heights, NY to arrange a consult with Dr. Zaky.
A traditional root canal procedure can be a “life-saver” for a decayed or injured tooth. But while it’s usually the best course for a damaged adult tooth, variations of the procedure are advisable for a new permanent tooth in a child or young adolescent.
This is because the inner pulp, the focus of the treatment, plays an important role in a young tooth’s development. When it first erupts a tooth’s dentin layer, the living tissue that makes up most of the body and roots of the tooth, hasn’t fully formed. The pulp increases the dentin layer over time in conjunction with jaw development.
Because a full root canal treatment removes all of the pulp tissue, it could interrupt any remaining dentin development in a young tooth. This could lead to poorly-formed roots and a less healthy tooth. For an immature permanent tooth, then, we would use variations of a root canal treatment depending on the nature and extent of the injury, the patient’s overall health and medications they may be taking.
Our main objective is to expose or remove as little of the pulp tissue as possible when treating the tooth. If the pulp hasn’t been exposed by the decay or injury, we may only need to remove the softened decayed or injured dentin while leaving harder dentin nearer the pulp intact. If, however, the pulp has become partially exposed by disease or injury, we would then perform a pulpotomy in which we remove only the exposed tissue and then place calcium hydroxide or mineral trioxide aggregate (MTA) to stimulate dentin growth that will eventually patch the exposure site.
In cases where decay or injury has rendered an immature tooth’s pulp tissue unsalvageable, we may use a procedure known as apexification that seals off the open, cylindrical root end of the tooth. This will allow bone-like tissue to grow around the root to serve as added support for the tooth. Although it can save a tooth in the short run, the tooth’s long-term survival chances may be lower.
By using these and other techniques we may be able to save your child’s immature tooth. At the very least, such a technique could postpone replacing the tooth until a more opportune time in adulthood.
If you would like more information on treating damaged teeth in children, 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 “Saving New Permanent Teeth after Injury.”