Posts for: November, 2016
Oral and facial clefts are among the most common and heartbreaking of birth defects. Clefts make feeding or even breathing difficult and can affect speech development.
But there's one other profound effect: an “abnormal” face caused by a cleft can have devastating consequences for a person's self-image and social relationships.
About 1 in 700 U.S. babies are born with some type of visible gap or “cleft.” It can occur in their upper lip, soft and hard palate, nose or occasionally extending to the cheek or eye region. We typically classify clefts as “unilateral” (affecting only one side of the face) or “bilateral” (affecting both sides).Â We're not completely sure on the root causes, but research so far has uncovered links with the mother's possible exposure to toxic substances, nutrient or vitamin deficiencies, or infections during fetal development.
Taking steps during pregnancy to minimize these exposures is certainly helpful. But what can be done for children born with a cleft?
A great deal, thanks to the development of surgical repair techniques over the last century. The surgical approach relies on the fact that the tissues required to repair the cleft already exist. They're simply distorted by the cleft break.
Even so, the road to restoration is a long and arduous one. Lip repairs usually take place at 3-6 months of age; palate (roof of the mouth) clefts are undertaken at 6-12 months. As the child's jaw and mouth structure develops, further surgeries may be needed to match earlier repairs with development.
Cleft repairs also require a team of specialists including a maxillofacial (oral) surgeon, orthodontist and general dentist. The latter plays an important role during the process, ensuring the child maintains good dental health through prevention and treatment of disease and dental work for at risk teeth.
The road to a normal life is difficult — but well worth it. A repaired cleft vastly improves a child's health and well-being. Moreover, it restores to them something the rest of us might take for granted — a normal face and smile.
Have you started orthodontic treatment recently? Are you having a little trouble getting used to your braces? If so, you are not alone: Everybody goes through an adjustment period during which they momentarily wonder if they’ll really ever get used to this. Don’t worry — you will! And we’ve never heard anyone say, on the day their braces come off and their new smile is revealed, that they aren’t glad they went the distance. Just ask Houston Rockets all-star center Dwight Howard, who discussed his own orthodontic treatment in a recent interview.
“I’m sure I was no different than anyone else who has ever had braces,” he told Mediaplanet. “At first I hated them so much… That changed once I got used to them and I actually grew to love them.” What’s Howard’s advice? “Do exactly what your orthodontist says and know that the outcome is well worth it in the end.” We couldn’t agree more! Here are some tips for wearing braces comfortably:
- Hard & Chewy Foods: If you love fresh fruits and vegetables, that’s great; there’s no reason to give them up, just the really hard ones. You don’t want to bite into an apple or carrot or any other hard foods like bagels and pizza that have any “size” to them. Small pieces may be ok as long as they can’t bend your wires. Chewy, sticky candy should really be avoided completely. Same with soda, sports drinks and so-called energy drinks because they contain acids that promote tooth decay and can cause a lot of damage around the braces.
- Effective Oral Hygiene: Keeping your teeth clean is more important than ever, but also more challenging than ever. It’s easy for food to get stuck under wires and around brackets, but failing to remove it can cause tooth decay, gum irritation and soreness. Therefore, the cleaner your teeth and your braces are, the healthier you will be. Use interdental cleaning brushes and/or a floss-threader to get behind your wires. A mouthrinse can also help strengthen teeth and keep bacteria in check. If you have any questions about how to clean between your teeth, please ask for a demonstration at your next visit.
- Pain Relief: Some soreness at the beginning of orthodontic treatment is normal. To relieve it, you can use an over-the-counter pain reliever and/or a warm washcloth or heating pad placed on the outside of the jaw. If brackets or wires are rubbing against the inside of your cheeks or lips, try applying wax to these areas of your braces. If this does not offer enough relief, we may be able to trim the end of a poking wire. Call us if you need help with this.
Our goal is to make your orthodontic treatment as comfortable as possible on the way to achieving your all-star smile. If you have questions about adjusting to braces, contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can learn more by reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “Caring for Teeth During Orthodontic Treatment.”
Missing or damaged teeth can make anyone feel as though their smile is not up to par with those around them. However, instead of replacing missing teeth with bridges or dentures, you can now fill in your gaps permanently with dental implants. But what can dental implants do for you? Find out with Dr. Edward Yates at Norwich Aesthetic Dentistry in Norwich, CT.
How do dental implants work?
Dental implants use your body’s natural healing abilities to hold a small post, called the fixture, in place. After your dentist implants the fixture, the bone begins growing around it, a process called osseointegration. After several months of healing, your bone will completely encompass the implant’s fixture, holding it securely and permanently in place. Successful integration allows the fixture to become an effective foundation for your replacement tooth.
The Benefits of Dental Implants in Norwich, CT
Dental implants don't just replace a missing tooth, but they also replace your tooth’s root. This keeps the jawbone stimulated to avoid bone atrophy. Atrophy, if left untreated, can result in some less than ideal side effects, such as drooping or sagging facial skin or healthy teeth drifting to compensate for the gap between them. Missing teeth also affect your mouth’s bite, which could create difficulties in eating or chewing. Replacing your teeth will give you a full smile you can feel proud of.
What can dental implants do for me?
Implants have several uses which can benefit you whether you are missing all or only one of your teeth. Dentists use implants to:
- …replace a single tooth: Replacing one tooth requires only a single implant fixture placed into the missing tooth’s socket. One dental crown sits on top of the fixture to complete the implant.
- …replace multiple teeth: If your gap spans several teeth in a row, a dental bridge can replace several teeth at once. One implant on either end of your gap holds the restoration in place.
- …replace all your teeth: An implant-supported denture uses four or more implants throughout your mouth’s top or bottom arch to hold a full denture in place. The denture can be removable or permanent, depending on what you and Dr. Yates decide is best for you.
For more information on dental implants, please contact Dr. Yates at Norwich Aesthetic Dentistry in Norwich, CT. Call (860) 889-6445 to schedule your appointment with Dr. Yates today!