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Posts for category: Dental Procedures

UnlikeBradPittYouDidntMeanToChipYourToothWeCanStillFixIt

It's not unusual for serious actors to go above and beyond for their roles. They gain weight (or lose it, like Matthew McConaughey for True Detective). They grow hair—or they shave it off. But perhaps nothing tops what Brad Pitt did to assume the character of Tyler Durden in the movie Fight Club—he had his dentist chip his teeth.

While a testament to his dedication to the acting craft, Pitt's move definitely falls into the category of "Kids, don't do this at home." Fortunately, people deliberately chipping their teeth isn't a big problem. On the other hand, accidentally chipping a tooth is.

Chipping a tooth can happen in various ways, like a hard blow to the jaw or biting down on something too hard. Chipping won't necessarily endanger a tooth, but the missing dental structure can put a damper on your smile.

But here's the good news: you don't have to live with a chipped tooth. We have ways to cosmetically repair the damage and upgrade your smile.

One way is to fit a chipped or otherwise flawed tooth with a dental veneer, a thin wafer of dental porcelain bonded to the front of a tooth to mask chips, discolorations, gaps or other defects. They're custom-made by a dental lab to closely match an individual tooth's shape and color.

Gaining a new smile via dental veneers can take a few weeks, as well as two or more dental visits. But if you only have slight to moderate chipping, there's another way that might only take one session in the dentist's chair. Known as composite bonding, it utilizes plastic-based materials known as composite resins that are intermixed with a form of glass.

The initial mixture, color-matched for your tooth, has a putty-like consistency that can be easily applied to the tooth surface. We apply the composite resin to the tooth layer by layer, allowing a bonding agent in the mixture to cure each layer before beginning the next one. After sculpting the composite layers into a life-like appearance, the end result is a "perfect" tooth without visible flaws.

Unlike Brad Pitt, it's pretty unlikely you'll ever find yourself in a situation requiring you to purposely damage your teeth. But chips do happen—and if it happens to you, we have more than one way to make your teeth as good as new.

If you would like more information about repairing dental flaws with veneers or composite bonding, please contact us or schedule a consultation. To learn more, read the Dear Doctor magazine article “Artistic Repair of Front Teeth With Composite Resin.”

By Hockaday & Baucom, DDS
September 06, 2021
Category: Dental Procedures
Tags: teeth whitening  
SeeYourDentistFirstBeforeUsingaHomeTeethWhiteningKit

Are your stained teeth bumming you out? There's good news—you can transform that dull and dingy smile yourself with a tooth whitening product.

There are dozens of over-the-counter whitening kits that allow you to brighten your own smile. Although not as controlled and long-lasting as a dentist's professional whitening, these DIY kits can still give you effective results.

But since these products involve chemical solutions that bleach tooth enamel, there's a common concern about their safety. Could you be harming your teeth by using a home whitening kit?

The answer is no—as long as you follow the manufacturer's directions for using the product. These kits have been formulated with a lower percentage of bleaching agent (usually 10% carbamide peroxide) than whitening solutions used by dentists. They've also been subjected to several clinical studies gauging both their effectiveness and safety.

That said, though, exceeding a product's recommended directions and frequency of use could cause you problems. If not used properly, a bleaching solution can erode tooth enamel—and this protective tooth layer doesn't grow back! As long as you whiten "within the lines," so to speak, you shouldn't encounter this kind of situation.

With that said, though, there are good reasons to consult your dentist before using a whitening product, or have them perform the whitening for you.

For one thing, an over-the-counter whitening product won't work if the staining originates from inside a tooth. It's wise, then, to have a dental examination first before using a whitening product to uncover this or any other underlying dental problems that should be addressed first.

You may also find a professional whitening will give you a more desirable result. A stronger professional bleaching solution under a dentist's expert control can produce a brighter, longer lasting smile than a home use product. A dentist may also be able to control the level of brightness better to help you achieve the smile effect you desire, from subtle white to ultra-bright.

Whichever way you go, your dentist can advise you on your options and make sure your teeth are in good shape for whitening. The end result can be a brighter smile—and a brighter mood.

If you would like more information on teeth whitening, 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 “Tooth Whitening Safety Tips.”

By Hockaday & Baucom, DDS
July 29, 2021
Category: Dental Procedures
Tags: Night Guards  

Jaw pain or frequent headaches could be a result of grinding your teeth while you sleep. Luckily, nightguards offered by your dentists in Charlotte, NC, Dr. Susan Hockaday and Dr. Jim Baucom of Dr. Susan A. Hockaday Family Dental Practice, can help you protect your teeth and gums with nightguards.

How to tell if you might need a nightguard

Teeth grinding increases your risk of several types of oral health problems. A nightguard, a device worn over your teeth while you sleep, absorbs pressure generated by grinding, preventing damage to your teeth and gums.

Unfortunately, many people who grind their teeth aren't aware that they have a problem. If you've noticed any of these signs or symptoms, you may be grinding or clenching your teeth while you sleep:

  • Cracks in Teeth or Restorations: Grinding places tremendous pressure on your teeth and can crack teeth, fillings, crowns and veneers. If you've experienced more than your share of cracks, grinding may be to blame.
  • Receding Gums: Grinding may also be a factor in receding gums and could increase your risk of gum disease.
  • Headaches: Do you wake up most mornings with a nagging headache? The muscles in your face and head tense when you grind, which can lead to headaches. Nightguards offered by the Charlotte, NC, dental office decrease pressure and stop headaches.
  • Facial Pain: Grinding may also inflame muscles and tissues in your face leading to facial pain or earaches.
  • Clicking and Popping: You may notice clicking or popping sounds when you open or close your mouth if you grind your teeth.
  • Toothaches: In addition to cracking teeth, grinding may wear away the protective enamel layer, exposing the sensitive dentin layer. When the dentin is exposed, eating hot or cold foods and drinks can lead to tooth pain.
  • Jaw Stiffness: Grinding can cause your jaw to stiffen painfully and may also trigger muscle spasms in your jaw muscles. If you don't begin wearing a mouthguard, you may be more likely to develop temporomandibular joint dysfunction (TMD). The painful disorder affects the hinge joints in your jaw.

Keep your smile healthy with nightguards! Call your Charlotte, NC, dentists, Dr. Hockaday and Dr. Baucom of Dr. Susan A. Hockaday Family Dental Practice, at (704) 553-2348 to schedule your appointment.

By Hockaday & Baucom, DDS
July 27, 2021
Category: Dental Procedures
Tags: dental crowns  

Dr. Susan A. Hockaday Family Dental Practice is here to offer you crowns that are built to protect your teeth for a lifetime. Dr. Susan Hockaday and Dr. Jim Baucom design dental crowns in Charlotte, NC, in just two to three easy visits.

Protecting vulnerable damaged teeth

Disease, decay, and injuries weaken your teeth on top of making them less attractive. If one of your teeth loses its shape or structure to any kind of damage, a durable dental crown can cover it and restore your ability to bite and chew.

Crowns can cover teeth with a variety of specific defects that put them at risk, including:

  • Decay
  • Cracks
  • Wear and tear from bruxism
  • Large fillings

You can also get a crown for cosmetic purposes if a veneer will not suffice. A color-matched crown can go over a tooth that is severely discolored or misshapen, even if it isn't weak or broken.

Options for crowns

Crowns come in a variety of different materials that are all strong enough to withstand normal bite forces. However, some of the materials are stronger or more durable than others. Some materials have more cosmetic value since they look much closer to the way your natural teeth look.

At your consultation, your dentist discusses each of these crown material options with you:

  • Porcelain
  • Porcelain fused to metal
  • Nickel
  • Gold
  • Ceramic
  • Resin

Metal crowns are generally tougher than porcelain, ceramic, and resin and are often the better choice for molars that need a lot of strength for your bite. If you go with a color-matchable option, your dentist takes note of the natural shade of your teeth and might recommend teeth whitening beforehand.

Durable dental crowns in Charlotte, NC.

A single dental crown can strengthen a damaged tooth for years or decades to come. To schedule a consultation with Dr. Susan Hockaday and Dr. Jim Baucom for dental crowns in Charlotte, NC, call Dr. Susan A. Hockaday Family Dental Practice at (704) 553-2348.

By Hockaday & Baucom, DDS
July 08, 2021
Category: Dental Procedures
Tags: retainer  
ABondedRetainer-AnotherOptionforKeepingYourNewStraightSmile

For some, the excitement over their braces coming off gets dampened a bit with the prospect of now having to wear a retainer. But it has to be—newly realigned teeth have a tendency to revert to their previous positions out of a kind of “muscle memory.” A retainer prevents that from happening.

But as essential as it is, the standard retainer is almost as noticeable as braces, a major reason why many patients are less than enthusiastic about wearing them. And, because it's common for them to become lost when out of the mouth, replacing one becomes an added expense.

But there's another option—the bonded retainer. This retainer consists of a metal wire bonded to the back of the teeth to prevent them from moving. Because it's fixed in place, only a dentist can remove it.

The bonded retainer addresses the previous two issues associated with a removable retainer. Because it's behind the teeth rather than in front, it's out of sight to others. And, because it's fixed in place, there's no danger of losing it.

But unlike its removable cousin, which can be taken out for oral hygiene, the bonded retainer can make flossing more difficult. And, by nature, a bonded retainer must be worn all the time; a removable retainer allows for a more flexible schedule later in the treatment of a few hours a day.

So, which retainer option is best for you or another family member? A bonded retainer may be more attractive for appearance's sake, if it must be worn indefinitely, or if there's a high probability of the teeth moving out of alignment. And, it might be the right choice where there's a concern about a patient's ability to keep up with a removable retainer.

If you do decide to go with a bonded retainer, ask your dental hygienist for training on using floss with the fixed appliance—this can help improve oral hygiene. Whatever you choose, bonded or removable, your retainer will help you keep that new, beautiful, straightened smile.

If you would like more information on orthodontic retainers, 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 “Bonded Retainers.”