Is it Better to Repair a Broken Tooth or to Have it Completely Replaced?

Our teeth are extremely delicate structures ad unfortunately, unintentional damage can occur from time to time. Whether resulting from an accidental fall or playing contact sports, experiencing a broken tooth is not entirely uncommon. 

Of course, treating this situation as soon as possible is critical if you hope to avoid further complications. This brings us to an important point. Is it better to repair a cracked tooth or should it be replaced? Let us answer this question by looking at three situations and what is the best course of action for each.

Minor Chips and Cracks

If a dentist determines that the damage is not too severe, a dental crown might be able to solve the problem. Crowns are intended to prevent further damage and to restore the initial appearance of the tooth. These are essentially non-invasive procedures and they can work wonders for smaller issues. 

Severe Damage

If the tooth has been severely cracked or if a large portion is missing, it could be better to opt for a complete extraction. This is normally required if a tooth happens to break below the gum line. 

During such a situation, a crown cannot be attached and root canals will often prove ineffective. There can even be times when a fracture has occurred and it is not visible to the naked eye. This is why it is important to consult with a dentist. You will also be able to discuss the options for a tooth replacement. 

Instances When a Root Canal is Needed

Assuming that a major crack has occurred or the top of the tooth is missing, it may be possible to perform a root canal. This procedure will remove the entire nerve; preventing the possibility of a subsequent infection. 

Additional restoration work such as the installation of a crown can then take place. The good news is that modern root canals are essentially the equivalent of having a cavity filled, so there is no reason to fear such an option. 

See Your Dentist Right Away

Breaking a tooth is certainly not a pleasant experience. Still, always remember that there are numerous options to consider. If you suspect that one of your teeth has been recently damaged, it is critical to schedule an appointment with a dentist as soon as possible. Taking a proactive approach is one of the best ways to be presented with the greatest number of options. 

Invisalign vs Metal Braces

Invisalign offers both teens and adults a discreet alternative to traditional metal braces for orthodontic corrective treatment. The removable clear plastic aligners used in Invisalign can straighten your teeth while being almost undetectable to those you meet. 

While these custom-made clear aligners may not be suitable for some complex issues, they can help correct most irregular bites and cracked, chipped or crowded teeth.

People who use Invisalign to straighten their teeth will tend to find it a more comfortable process than metal braces. The clear aligners used in Invisalign are plastic and are custom-made to fit the individual. They straighten the teeth using subtle pressure. 

The aligners can also be removed at any time, whereas fixed metal braces can feel quite relentless from the off. The brackets and wires on braces can also catch and irritate the gums, leading to discomfort.

This is a main advantage of Invisalign, as this makes maintaining a regular oral health routine far easier compared to having metal braces. Food particles can get stuck between metal braces and teeth and can require interdental cleaners or water flossers to ensure a thorough clean — or plaque can start to build up. 

With Invisalign, you can remove the aligners to brush and floss your teeth as normal. This makes it easier to clean and reduces the risk of bacteria and plaque building up. This is why many Invisalign users show improved gum health compared to using braces.

Also, having removable aligners means you are not denied your favourite foods. Metal braces make eating certain foods difficult, if not impossible

Invisalign generally needs wearing for 20 to 22 hours a day, which means you could also remove them for activities such as sports.

Orthodontic treatment to straighten teeth can help restore your smile and confidence in your smile tends to boost self-confidence overall. Anyone who has considered teeth straightening should consult with their dentist to see what orthodontic treatment suits their situation best — and it might just be Invisalign.

How TMJ disorder Can Cause Migraines

Migraines are severe painful headaches that often render the sufferer sensitive to sounds, light and/or smell as well as causing a throbbing pain on one or both sides of the head. People who experience migraines are often incapacitated by them and can still feel unwell for a day or so after the migraine has passed. 

There are many causes of migraines, however not many people are aware that a common dental condition called temperomandibular joint (TMJ) disorder, can sometimes be the cause of them. If the doctor has ruled out common medical reasons as the cause of your migraines, it might be worth speaking to your dentist about them instead. 

The TMJ is the joint that connects the lower jaw to the skull and is responsible for your ability to talk, eat and yawn. This joint undergoes a lot of movement and pressure so it is understandable that problems can arise with it. The TMJ can easily become inflamed, stressed or misaligned resulting in tenderness and pain in the area. Other signs of a TMJ disorder include difficulty chewing food or speaking without pain.

When a TMJ disorder arises, this affects the nearby supporting muscles, causing them to become tense. For instance, if the TMJ is misaligned causing an improper bite (upper and lower teeth not meeting when the mouth is closed), the jaw attempts to correct it, straining the surrounding muscles in the jaw and cheeks. 

This tension can spread to nearby areas of the body such as the neck, shoulders, ears or head. If the tension radiates to the head it can cause a migraine. A TMJ disorder can also result in teeth grinding, a condition which also causes headaches, particularly when waking up in the morning.

If your dentist thinks that you may have a disorder of the TMJ then this could be the cause of your migraines. Treating the underlying cause of the TMJ problem could prevent these migraines from occurring. For misaligned bites, an oral appliance can be worn to reduce pressure on the joint or orthodontic treatment such as braces can provide a permanent solution by moving teeth to correct the under or overbite. 

Pressure on the TMJ can also be minimised by avoiding chewing gum and foods that require a lot of chewing or are particularly difficult to eat. Gently massaging the jaw muscles can also help relieve the pressure surrounding the joint.

Teenage Oral Health

E-cigarettes May Pose A Threat to Teenage Oral Health

Adolescence is a time when there are already strains being placed on oral health, yet the rapid rise of e-cigarette use among teenagers could be adding to potential issues such as gum disease. The teen years can see many wearing braces to correct teeth alignment issues, helping their oral care as they go forward, with straighter teeth being easier to clean and keep healthy. 

Besides braces and the possibility of professional teeth whitening to further enhance their smile, they will also have their wisdom teeth come through. If there is not enough room for these third molars to develop then they will need specialised dental care.

Now a sharp rise in vaping sees another potential threat to oral care according to recent studies. Instead of being less harmful than regular cigarettes, the nicotine in e-cigarettes may still pose the same threat of gum disease. Also, as the vapours within the device are burned cells release inflammatory proteins. These proteins can aggravate the cells in the mouth which could lead to oral health problems. Studies also point to the flavouring chemicals within e-cigarettes compounding cell damage.

However, recent cases in the US have suggested further serious health problems may be linked to vaping. In a two-month period during 2019 there were 153 cases across 16 states of respiratory illness recorded which may be linked to e-cigarette use. Inflammation appears to be the cause of illness, resulting in fluid in the lungs. Tests showed the inflammation was not due to infection and so the possibility of it being connected to e-cigarette use is being explored. With 1 in 5 high school students in the US using e-cigarettes more research is required to evaluate the potential harm they may cause.

Researchers have stressed that these respiratory problems have not been linked to any specific device or flavoring chemical. Indeed, many of those who have been ill also admitted to recently using a marijuana containing product. Yet e-cigarettes do contain ultra-fine particles and oils which can be an irritant to the lungs, plus flavored vapor can contain diacetyl which has previously been linked to lung ailments in factory workers. 

The teenagers who have been treated for respiratory problems have generally recovered, yet the concern is what the possible long-term effects might be. At present, until further research is carried out, the possibility of a link between vaping and health, including oral health, remains. 

Do You Have Jaw Pain? Headaches? Could Be TMJ

If you have jaw pain and wake up with headaches, you may have a problem referred to as TMJ (temporomandibular joint) disorder. Let’s break this down so you can get to the treatments (which are highly effective).

The TMJ is a joint that connects the lower jaw to the skull, acting as a hinge to allow you to move your jaw in order to chew and talk. Temporomandibular disorders (TMD) occur when there are issues affecting this joint and the muscles surrounding it. 

TMD can be a temporary issue or it can last for years and requires diagnosis to apply the relevant treatment. Although it can be hard to pinpoint the cause of TMD, some of the main reasons for someone to suffer with this are thought to be:

  • Whiplash or a physical blow
  • Teeth grinding
  • Uneven bite
  • Stress
  • Arthritis
  • Wear and tear

Symptoms of TMD

There are numerous signs you may be suffering with TMD, some of which could also be caused by another factor. A major symptom of TMD is severe pain in the jaw area, which could extend up around the ear and temple. This pain can sometimes be worse when chewing. 

Another sign a dentist may look for when examining you is whether you experience clicking, popping or grinding noises when you move the jaw. Other symptoms include:

  • Trouble opening the mouth
  • Locking of the jaw
  • Sore neck
  • An uncomfortable bite
  • Swelling of the face

Self-help Treatments for TMD

Your dentist can test for TMD using a range of methods from a physical examination or a bite analysis, through to an X-ray or an MRI scan. Treatments depend on the severity of the TMD but there are a number of self-help treatments your dentist may suggest initially. These include:

  • Eating soft foods
  • Applying a cold pack, followed by a warm towel
  • Over-the-counter medications to relieve pain and reduce inflammation
  • Relaxation methods including massaging the jaw and muscles

Using a Splint

A splint can be applied to the lower jaw to help realign the joint. This can be beneficial in lessening the effects of teeth grinding or clenching. A splint is designed to take off the pressure from the jaw and to allow the muscles to relax. A night guard can be worn when sleeping to achieve similar results and your dentist will help decide which would be best for you. 

Further treatment options include:

  • Low level electrical currents to relax the joint and muscles
  • Ultrasound
  • Acupuncture
  • Trigger-point injections

As you can see, there are plenty of treatment options to relieve TMJ discomfort and pain. Talk to your dentist if you have symptoms, so you can get on the path to treatment — and experience real pain relief. Enjoy your life now, don’t wait for it to get better — because that won’t happen. 

Our commitment at Danny de Villiers Dentist Weybridge, is to personalised, holistic health care, which puts the individual needs of the patient at the centre of everything we do.

Have You Thought About Six Month Smile?

Six Month Smile braces will improve the appearance of your smile in approximately six months; think of it as a fast-track brace! Your front teeth will look beautiful, so your smile will be wonderful.

Danny the Dentist is happy to help you with Six Month Smiles to give you the smile you’ve always wanted — whether you’re a teen or adult.

What are the braces like & how do they work?

A Six Month Smile brace involves clear brackets adhered to your teeth and tooth-coloured wires to change the position of your teeth.

What types of problems do Six Month Smiles correct?

Six Month Smile braces correct any minor issues that can be seen when you smile, in your front teeth. This includes crowding, overlapping, misalignment, crooked teeth or gaps. They are suitable for both adults and teenagers, particularly those concerned about their appearance and with only minor imperfections with their smile.

How does it compare to traditional braces?

Compared with traditional braces, Six Month Smiles:

  • Produce quicker results: focusing on correcting only the teeth that can be seen when you smile allows for a much shorter treatment time than the typical 18 to 24 months needed for traditional braces.
  • Are more affordable: the shorter treatment time is very cost-effective.
  • Are more comfortable to wear: they are fairly unobtrusive so patients tend to get used to wearing them very quickly.
  • Are less noticeable: they are far less visible than traditional metal train track braces with their clear brackets and tooth-coloured wires.

Although traditional braces can treat other problems such as incorrect bites, most people only need their visible front teeth improving.

How can I get Six Month Smiles braces?

The first thing you need to do is book a consultation with an orthodontist, so your suitability for Six Month Smiles can be assessed. They will examine your smile by taking X-Rays, facial photos and impressions of your teeth. They will advise whether you are eligible for a Six Month Smile and indicate how long you will likely need to wear them for (most people do see results after six months, but some people need up to nine months).

At your next appointment, the brace will be bonded to your teeth and you will be on your way to your best smile!

You will need to attend follow-up appointments every four to five weeks so the brace can be adjusted. Although this involves tightening the wires, it is not painful, just a little uncomfortable.

Once your smile is where it should be, the brace will be removed and you will receive a retainer to wear at night to make sure your teeth don’t move back to their old positions.

Our commitment at Danny de Villiers Dentist Weybridge, is to personalised, holistic health care, which puts the individual needs of the patient at the centre of everything we do.

If you are interested in Six Month Smiles, we can help. Just contact us for a FREE consultation, and you’re on your way to a beautiful smile.