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Posts for: November, 2016

By Hockaday & Baucom, DDS
November 25, 2016
Category: Dental Procedures
Tags: palatal expander  

A poor bite (malocclusion) could be more than simply teeth out of alignment. There could be complex causes for the malocclusion, possibly involving the facial bone structure.

An example of this is the development of a cross-bite due to problems with the upper jaw and palate (the roof of the mouth), jointly called the maxilla. The maxilla is in fact formed by two bones fused together in the center of the palate in what's called the midline suture. The suture doesn't completely fuse until after puberty.

Sometimes a maxilla's development doesn't follow a normal track. The upper jaw doesn't widen as it should, which leads to the cross-bite where the upper back teeth abnormally bite inside the lower teeth. The upper front teeth continue to bite normally in front of the lower front teeth. This also can have profound influence on breathing, causing sleep apnea.

We can correct this by using an orthodontic appliance called a palatal expander before the midline suture fuses. The expander gradually widens the upper jaw to its normal width and thus eliminates the cross-bite.

Positioned at the roof of the mouth, the expander has metal arms that extend from a central hinge to exert pressure on the inside of the upper teeth. The patient or a caregiver uses a small key to turn a mechanism that extends the arms toward the teeth a tiny amount each day. This gradually widens the jaw, while at the same time stimulating bone growth at the midline suture. Eventually the gap fills with bone to solidify the new width as the suture fuses.

It's important to undertake this treatment before fusion. If you wait until after puberty, you will need to separate the bones first to attempt it. The overall impact and cost is much less if you act promptly in the early years.

Palatal expansion may not be the right treatment in every case, so we'll need to perform a thorough orthodontic exam first. If, however, we do determine it can help, using an expander can improve function, correct future breathing problems and make possible a more attractive future smile.

If you would like more information on orthodontic treatment options, 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 “Palatal Expanders: Orthodontics is more than just Moving Teeth.”

By Hockaday & Baucom, DDS
November 10, 2016
Category: Dental Procedures

Everyone has to face the music at some time — even John Lydon, former lead singer of The Sex Pistols, arguably England’s best known punk rock band. The 59-year old musician was once better known by his stage name, Johnny Rotten — a brash reference to the visibly degraded state of his teeth. But in the decades since his band broke up, Lydon’s lifelong deficiency in dental hygiene had begun to cause him serious problems.

In recent years, Lydon has had several dental surgeries — including one to resolve two serious abscesses in his mouth, which left him with stitches in his gums and a temporary speech impediment. Photos show that he also had missing teeth, which, sources say, he opted to replace with dental implants.

For Lydon (and many others in the same situation) that’s likely to be an excellent choice. Dental implants are the gold standard for tooth replacement today, for some very good reasons. The most natural-looking of all tooth replacements, implants also have a higher success rate than any other method: over 95 percent. They can be used to replace one tooth, several teeth, or an entire arch (top or bottom row) of teeth. And with only routine care, they can last for the rest of your life.

Like natural teeth, dental implants get support from the bone in your jaw. The implant itself — a screw-like titanium post — is inserted into the jaw in a minor surgical operation. The lifelike, visible part of the tooth — the crown — is attached to the implant by a sturdy connector called an abutment. In time, the titanium metal of the implant actually becomes fused with the living bone tissue. This not only provides a solid anchorage for the prosthetic, but it also prevents bone loss at the site of the missing tooth — which is something neither bridgework nor dentures can do.

It’s true that implants may have a higher initial cost than other tooth replacement methods; in the long run, however, they may prove more economical. Over time, the cost of repeated dental treatments and periodic replacement of shorter-lived tooth restorations (not to mention lost time and discomfort) can easily exceed the expense of implants.

That’s a lesson John Lydon has learned. “A lot of ill health came from neglecting my teeth,” he told a newspaper reporter. “I felt sick all the time, and I decided to do something about it… I’ve had all kinds of abscesses, jaw surgery. It costs money and is very painful. So Johnny says: ‘Get your brush!’”

We couldn’t agree more. But if brushing isn’t enough, it may be time to consider dental implants. If you would like more information about dental implants, please call our office to schedule a consultation. You can read more in the Dear Doctor magazine articles “Dental Implants” and “Save a Tooth or Get an Implant?

By Hockaday & Baucom, DDS
November 04, 2016
Category: Dental Procedures

Learn more about dental bridges and who could benefit from this dental restoration.

Are you dealing with tooth loss? Do you want to restoration that you know will be able to replace your tooth for many years? Then it’s dental bridgetime you found out how our Charlotte, NC family dentists Dr. Susan Hockaday and Dr. Jim Baucom might be able to treat your tooth loss effectively with dental bridges.

What is a dental bridge?

A dental bridge may be a restoration that our Charlotte dentist recommends if you are looking to replace a missing tooth. A bridge consists of two dental crowns, which are placed over teeth that surround where the missing tooth once was.

A pontic, or false tooth, is sandwiched between the two crowns. A pontic can be made from different materials such as porcelain or a combination of different materials. The type of material used will depend on the type of tooth you need to replace, as well as other factors that we will discuss during your consultation.

What are the benefits of getting this restoration?

If you choose to get a dental bridge in Charlotte there are many smile advantages to enjoy:

  • You’ll have a full, healthy smile again
  • You’ll be able to eat your favorite foods again without difficulty
  • Speech will be restored
  • You’ll maintain your facial structure (tooth loss affects the shape of your face over time if left untreated)
  • Improve chewing pressure and forces so that it’s more even and not putting more wear and tear on other teeth
  • You’ll prevent the rest of your teeth from shifting out of position

How long do bridges last?

Dental bridges are pretty durable, but nothing lasts forever. With the proper oral care, you can maintain your bridge for up to 15 years (or possibly even longer). By coming in every six months for routine checkups and by keeping your teeth clean and free of cavities you may maintain your new restoration for many years before needing to have it replaced.

Do dental bridges sound like an amazing option for you and your needs? If so, the next step is to schedule a consultation with Hockaday & Baucom DDS in Charlotte, NC. Book an appointment with us today!