There are many different dental procedures for enhancing your smile and improving tooth functioning. For instance, root canals can preserve damaged or decaying teeth and restore normal functioning, while dental implants replace missing teeth and fill out your smile. At Cox Family & Cosmetic Dentistry, Dr. James Cox and Dr. Adam Cox are your Jasper, AL family dentists for root canals, dental implants and other dental procedures.
Root canals provide a means of preserving teeth that might otherwise require extraction. Such teeth include those with damage to the dental nerve and those with severe decay resulting in the formation of an abscess below the tooth root. In either case, the root canal procedure involves cleaning out decayed or dead tissue inside the tooth, then sealing the tooth with a filling. Cleaning out the tooth and filling it in strengthens the tooth and restores normal functioning. The benefits of root canal treatment include:
- Preserving the natural teeth and avoiding extraction.
- Improving oral health by removing infected tissue.
- Strengthening teeth weakened by decay or damage to the dental nerve.
- Restoring normal tooth functions, such as eating, chewing and biting.
- Minimizing the strain on surrounding teeth previously compensating for weaker ones.
Dental implants restore your smile by replacing teeth that are missing. There are three parts to a dental implant: the metal implant, an abutment and a crown. The metal implant is installed below the gum line, like a tooth root, and is drilled into the jaw bone. The implant anchors everything in place. The crown, often made from porcelain, sits above the gum line and serves as the replacement tooth. The abutment joins the crown to the implant.
The benefits of dental implants include replacement of missing teeth and restoration of normal biting and chewing functions. Dental implants can also improve speech by correcting tongue placement when speaking once the gaps from missing teeth are filled in. Additionally, once installed, dental implants are permanent and will not slip out of place, as can happen with dentures or some other tooth replacement alternatives. Your Jasper family dentist can help you decide if dental implants are the right tooth replacement option for you.
Root canals and dental implants are excellent options for preserving and enhancing your smile, as well as restoring normal tooth functioning. To find out if a root canal or dental implants can benefit you, schedule an appointment with either Drs. James and Adam Cox, your Jasper, AL family dentists, by calling (205) 384-4000.
Want to know the exact wrong way to pry open a stubborn lid? Just ask Jimmy Fallon, host of NBC-TV’s popular “Tonight Show.” When the 40-year-old funnyman had trouble opening a tube of scar tissue repair gel with his hands, he decided to try using his teeth.
What happened next wasn’t funny: Attempting to remove the cap, Fallon chipped his front tooth, adding another medical problem to the serious finger injury he suffered a few weeks before (the same wound he was trying to take care of with the gel). If there’s a moral to this story, it might be this: Use the right tool for the job… and that tool isn’t your teeth!
Yet Fallon is hardly alone in his dilemma. According to the American Association of Endodontists, chipped teeth account for the majority of dental injuries. Fortunately, modern dentistry offers a number of great ways to restore damaged teeth.
If the chip is relatively small, it’s often possible to fix it with cosmetic bonding. In this procedure, tough, natural-looking resin is used to fill in the part of the tooth that has been lost. Built up layer by layer, the composite resin is cured with a special light until it’s hard, shiny… and difficult to tell from your natural teeth. Best of all, cosmetic bonding can often be done in one office visit, with little or no discomfort. It can last for up to ten years, so it’s great for kids who may be getting more permanent repairs later.
For larger chips or cracks, veneers or crowns may be suggested. Veneers are wafer-thin porcelain coverings that go over the entire front surface of one or more teeth. They can be used to repair minor to moderate defects, such as chips, discolorations, or spacing irregularities. They can also give you the “Hollywood white” smile you’ve seen on many celebrities.
Veneers are generally custom-made in a lab, and require more than one office visit. Because a small amount of tooth structure must be removed in order to put them in place, veneers are considered an irreversible treatment. But durable and long-lasting veneers are the restorations of choice for many people.
Crowns (also called caps) are used when even more of the tooth structure is missing. They can replace the entire visible part of the tooth, as long as the tooth’s roots remain viable. Crowns, like veneers, are custom-fabricated to match your teeth in size, shape and color; they are generally made in a dental lab and require more than one office visit. However, teeth restored with crowns function well, look natural, and can last for many years.
So what happened to Jimmy Fallon? We aren’t sure which restoration he received… but we do know that he was back on TV the same night, flashing a big smile.
If you would like more information about tooth restorations, please contact us or schedule a consultation. You can learn more in the Dear Doctor magazine articles “Porcelain Crowns & Veneers” and “Artistic Repair Of Front Teeth With Composite Resin.”
Do-it-yourself (DIY) whitening kits are a popular option for restoring a healthy shine to stained and dulled teeth. They're relatively safe and generally live up to their packaging claims.
But a home kit might not always be your best option. Here are 4 reasons why DIY whitening might not be right for you.
You're on the early side of your teen years. Tooth whitening at home is quite popular with teenagers. For older teens it doesn't really pose a dental risk as long as you use the product appropriately (more on that in a moment). However, the immature enamel of younger teens' permanent teeth is still developing and can be vulnerable to damage by whitening processes.
You don't follow instructions well. Not to say you have this particular character quirk — but if you do you may run into trouble with DIY whitening. Home kits are safe if you follow their instructions carefully. If you use them to excess as one 13-year old boy was reported to have done, you could severely (and permanently) erode your teeth's protective enamel.
Your teeth are in need of dental work. Tooth whitening can't fix everything that may be contributing to an unattractive smile. It's always better to have issues like dental disease or chipped teeth addressed first before whitening. And, if your tooth discoloration originates from inside your tooth, a whitening kit won't help — they're only designed for staining on the enamel's outside surface. You'll need a special dental procedure to whiten internal (or intrinsic) tooth staining.
You want to control the amount of brightness. Home kits don't have the level of fine-tuning that a clinical procedure can achieve. While the bleaching agent in a professional whitening solution is much stronger than a home kit, your dentist is trained in techniques that can vary the amount of bleaching, from a softer white to dazzling “Hollywood” bright. And clinical whitening usually takes fewer sessions and may last longer than a home kit.
If you're interested in teeth whitening, see your dentist for a dental examination first before purchasing a DIY kit. Even if you decide to do it yourself, your dentist can give you buying advice for whitening kits, as well as how-to tips.
If you would like more information on tooth 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.”
It's no secret that many of Hollywood's brightest stars didn't start out with perfectly aligned, pearly-white teeth. And these days, plenty of celebs are willing to share their stories, showing how dentists help those megawatt smiles shine. In a recent interview with W magazine, Emma Stone, the stunning 28-year-old star of critically-acclaimed films like La La Land and Birdman, explained how orthodontic appliances helped her overcome problems caused by a harmful habit: persistent thumb sucking in childhood.
“I sucked my thumb until I was 11 years old,” she admitted, mischievously adding “It's still so soothing to do it.” Although it may have been comforting, the habit spelled trouble for her bite. “The roof of my mouth is so high-pitched that I had this huge overbite,” she said. “I got this gate when I was in second grade… I had braces, and then they put a gate.”
While her technical terminology isn't quite accurate, Stone is referring to a type of appliance worn in the mouth which dentists call a “tongue crib” or “thumb/finger appliance.” The purpose of these devices is to stop children from engaging in “parafunctional habits” — that is, behaviors like thumb sucking or tongue thrusting, which are unrelated to the normal function of the mouth and can cause serious bite problems. (Other parafunctional habits include nail biting, pencil chewing and teeth grinding.)
When kids develop the habit of regularly pushing the tongue against the front teeth (tongue thrusting) or sucking on an object placed inside the mouth (thumb sucking), the behavior can cause the front teeth to be pushed out of alignment. When the top teeth move forward, the condition is commonly referred to as an overbite. In some cases a more serious situation called an “open bite” may develop, which can be difficult to correct. Here, the top and bottom front teeth do not meet or overlap when the mouth is closed; instead, a vertical gap is left in between.
Orthodontic appliances are often recommended to stop harmful oral habits from causing further misalignment. Most appliances are designed with a block (or gate) that prevents the tongue or finger from pushing on the teeth; this is what the actress mentioned. Normally, when the appliance is worn for a period of months it can be expected to modify the child's behavior. Once the habit has been broken, other appliances like traditional braces or clear aligners can be used to bring the teeth into better alignment.
But in Stone's case, things didn't go so smoothly. “I'd take the gate down and suck my thumb underneath the mouth appliance,” she admitted, “because I was totally ignoring the rule to not suck your thumb while you're trying to straighten out your teeth.” That rule-breaking ended up costing the aspiring star lots of time: she spent a total of 7 years wearing braces.
Fortunately, things worked out for the best for Emma Stone: She now has a brilliant smile and a stellar career — plus a shiny new Golden Globe award! Does your child have a thumb sucking problem or another harmful oral habit? For more information about how to correct it, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can learn more in the Dear Doctor magazine article “How Thumb Sucking Affects the Bite.”
Dental crowns and bridgework have been around in some form since the earliest days of dentistry, and they remain one of the most common and versatile methods available to restore a damaged smile today. Crowns can repair everything from a cavity that is too large for a standard filling, to gaps in your smile from missing teeth. If you are looking for an affordable, effective, and minimally invasive way to fix and improve your smile, dental crowns are a great choice. The dentists at Cox Family & Cosmetic Dentistry offer cosmetic, general, and emergency dentistry services in Jasper, AL.
Get a New Smile with Crowns and Bridges in Jasper, AL
Crowns work so well for so many dental problems because they are essentially a cap that covers and strengthens a damaged tooth. Designed to closely match the color and texture of your natural teeth, they make subtle but significant improvements to your smile. Some of the most common uses for dental crowns include:
- Repair chipped and cracked teeth
- Replace missing teeth (bridgework)
- Protect a severely decayed tooth from extraction
Replacing Missing Teeth with Crowns and Bridgework
Losing one or more teeth either from a traumatic accident like a sports injury or from tooth decay or gum disease can be overwhelming, but replacing them with bridgework is simple and straightforward. A bridge is made up of three crowns: one to replace the missing tooth, and two additional crowns which are placed over the teeth on either side of the missing tooth (known as abutment teeth) to keep the crown in place.
Find a Family Dentist in Jasper, AL
It is never too late (or too early) to invest in a beautiful smile and your oral health. Whether you have been living with damaged teeth for years or just a few weeks or months, contact Cox Family & Cosmetic Dentistry by calling 205-384-4000 to schedule an appointment with Dr. James Cox or Dr. Adam Cox today.
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