Everyone knows that George Washington wore false teeth. Quick, now, what were our first President’s dentures made of?
Did you say wood? Along with the cherry tree, that’s one of the most persistent myths about the father of our country. In fact, Washington had several sets of dentures — made of gold, hippopotamus tusk, and animal teeth, among other things — but none of them were made of wood.
Washington’s dental troubles were well documented, and likely caused some discomfort through much of his life. He began losing teeth at the age of 22, and had only one natural tooth remaining when he took office. (He lost that one before finishing his first term.) Portraits painted several years apart show scars on his cheeks and a decreasing distance between his nose and chin, indicating persistent dental problems.
Dentistry has come a long way in the two-and-a-half centuries since Washington began losing his teeth. Yet edentulism — the complete loss of all permanent teeth — remains a major public health issue. Did you know that 26% of U.S. adults between 65 and 74 years of age have no natural teeth remaining?
Tooth loss leads to loss of the underlying bone in the jaw, making a person seem older and more severe-looking (just look at those later portraits of Washington). But the problems associated with lost teeth aren’t limited to cosmetic flaws. Individuals lacking teeth sometimes have trouble getting adequate nutrition, and may be at increased risk for systemic health disorders.
Fortunately, modern dentistry offers a number of ways that the problem of tooth loss can be overcome. One of the most common is still — you guessed it — removable dentures. Prosthetic teeth that are well-designed and properly fitted offer an attractive and practical replacement when the natural teeth can’t be saved. Working together with you, our office can provide a set of dentures that feel, fit, and function normally — and look great too.
There are also some state-of-the art methods that can make wearing dentures an even better experience. For example, to increase stability and comfort, the whole lower denture can be supported with just two dental implants placed in the lower jaw. This is referred to as an implant supported overdenture. This approach eliminates the need for dental adhesives, and many people find it boosts their confidence as well.
If you have questions about dentures, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can learn more in the Dear Doctor magazine articles “Removable Full Dentures” and “Implant Overdentures for the Lower Jaw.”
The “wear and tear” nature of gingival (gum) tissue enables it to readily handle the chewing and biting actions of eating and still perform its most important function: protecting the roots of your teeth from decay and environmental exposure. But while they’re resilient, they’re not invincible: it’s quite possible for them to lose their attachment to a tooth and begin to recede, leaving the root surfaces exposed.
Gum recession can occur for a number of reasons: poor oral hygiene; over brushing and flossing; malocclusion (a poor bite); personal habits, like biting down on hard foreign objects; or poorly fitted dentures or other appliances. From a genetic point of view, people with thinner gingival tissues are more prone to gum recession than those with thicker tissues. Whatever the cause, the result is the same — the exposed tooth becomes more sensitive to environmental factors (such as heat, cold, abrasion or erosion). More importantly, it now has a higher susceptibility to decay and disease, leading to its possible demise.
But there may be a solution. Although the original tissue may be lost, periodontal plastic surgery can restore a protective layer of tissue to the tooth, and at the same time give you back the smile you once had.
From the Greek word “plastik” for sculpting or modeling clay, plastic surgery procedures restore both form and function to a bodily structure. While the term “plastic surgery” can apply to other procedures in medicine such as rhinoplasty or face lifts, the periodontal procedure particularly involves grafting similar tissue to an area of recession, and then “shaping” it into a natural, life-like form.
To graft means to remove tissue from a donor site and attach it to a recipient site. In the case of periodontal tissue, the recipient patient can also be the donor with the tissue coming from some other area of the same mouth (the graft can also come from another human or an animal). Using advanced techniques and a touch of artistry, the surgeon positions and sutures the graft in place.
The result: not only a new protective covering for your tooth, but a more pleasing appearance when you smile.
If you would like more information on periodontal plastic surgery, 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 “Periodontal Plastic Surgery.”
in this day and age where everyone has a camera on their phones and our faces are plastered on social networking sites, the pressure to look nice is higher than ever. But profile pictures and video chats aren’t always fun when you’re not thrilled with the look of your smile. Many people are turning to a Rochester Hills cosmetic dentist to correct their less than perfect teeth and the results are giving them confidence they never had before.
What is Cosmetic Dentistry?
Cosmetic dentistry encompasses all dental procedures done primarily to improve the appearance of the teeth. Advances in the field over the past few decades have created options that can correct virtually any and all dental flaws. Whether your teeth are crooked or chipped, stained or misshaped, or even if your gums are too prominent, a Rochester Hills cosmetic dentist can help improve your smile.
Who Can Perform Cosmetic Dentistry?
Most dentists perform cosmetic procedures in some capacity, but certain specialists focus more on cosmetic dentistry than others. When choosing a cosmetic dentist, Rochester Hills residents should remember that a picture paints a thousand words. Ask for before and after photos during the consultation and decide for yourself about the quality of the smiles he has created.
Your first visit with a Rochester Hills cosmetic dentist is the time to discuss the flaws you’d like to correct. X-rays may or may not be taken, depending on your particular case. Once all the information has been gathered the dentist should then be able to determine the best procedure to correct your particular problem, and explain it in detail.
Some of the most common cosmetic dental procedures done today are outlined below:
More and more adults who didn’t get their teeth straightened when they were younger are turning to cosmetic dentistry. Besides clear braces, the introduction of Invisalign several years ago has opened up a whole new world for adults wishing to correct misaligned teeth.
Between over the counter products, take home dental trays and in office laser tooth whitening, there is an option for everybody when it comes to tooth whitening. While over the counter products do whiten teeth, procedures done by a Rochester Hills cosmetic dentist tend to have much longer lasting results.
Veneers or Bonding:
Veneers and bonding are similar procedures in which a material—either porcelain or resin—is bonded on top of tooth surface. A good alternative to crowns, veneers can correct chipping, staining due to age or medication, gaps or misshaped teeth. Some enamel must be removed from the front of the teeth receiving the veneers which makes this an irreversible procedure, but an excellent option to improve unsightly teeth.
Contouring or Reshaping:
Contouring or reshaping is good choice for those whose teeth do not need full veneers but are uneven or oddly shaped. This procedure is fairly straightforward and painless and can be completed in one visit to the dentist. The results are a more even, balanced smile.
For those who have what’s known as a “gummy smile”—when the gum line is longer than average, making teeth appear very small—your Rochester Hills cosmetic dentist can help you. Gum and bone tissue are reduced to expose more of the teeth creating a new gum line. The results are a dramatically improved, pleasing smile.
Other cosmetic procedures can be done to correct damage from tooth lost to decay, such as crowns, bridges or replacement of metal fillings with tooth-colored porcelain. Your Rochester Hills cosmetic dentist can discuss all of your options and together you can devise a plan of action on your road to a better smile.
Who is the first person you’d like to smile for after getting your teeth beautified?
Dr. Joseph Matievich is a cosmetic dentist in Rochester Hills. Visit his website at: www.familysmilesdental.com