Boston Bruins defenseman Zdeno Chara had a rough Stanley Cup final against the St. Louis Blues this past June. Not only did the Bruins ultimately lose the championship, but Chara took a deflected puck shot to the face in Game Four that broke his jaw.
With the NHL season now over, the 42-year-old Bruins captain continues to mend from his injury that required extensive treatment. His experience highlights how jaw fractures and related dental damage are an unfortunate hazard in hockey—not only for pros like Chara, but also for an estimated half million U.S. amateurs, many in youth leagues.
Ice hockey isn't the only sport with this injury potential: Basketball, football (now gearing up with summer training) and even baseball players are also at risk. That's why appropriate protective gear like helmets and face shields are key to preventing injury.
For any contact sport, that protection should also include a mouthguard to absorb hard contact forces that could damage the mouth, teeth and gums. The best guards (and the most comfortable fit) are custom-made by a dentist based on impressions made of the individual's mouth.
But even with adequate protection, an injury can still happen. Here's what you should do if your child has an injury to their jaw, mouth or teeth.
Recognize signs of a broken jaw. A broken jaw can result in severe pain, swelling, difficulty speaking, numbness in the chin or lower lip or the teeth not seeming to fit together properly. You may also notice bleeding in the mouth, as well as bruising under the tongue or a cut in the ear canal resulting from jawbone movement during the fracture. Get immediate medical attention if you notice any of these signs.
Take quick action for a knocked-out tooth. A tooth knocked completely out of its socket is a severe dental injury. But you may be able to ultimately save the tooth by promptly taking the following steps: (1) find the tooth and pick it up without touching the root end, (2) rinse it off, (3) place it back in its socket with firm pressure, and (4) see a dentist as soon as possible.
Seek dental care. Besides the injuries already mentioned, you should also see a dentist for any moderate to severe trauma to the mouth, teeth and gums. Leading the list: any injury that results in tooth chipping, looseness or movement out of alignment.
Even a top athlete like Zdeno Chara isn't immune to injury. Take steps then to protect your amateur athlete from a dental or facial injury.
If you would like more information about dealing with sports-related dental injuries, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. To learn more, read the Dear Doctor magazine articles “Athletic Mouthguards” and “The Field-Side Guide to Dental Injuries.”
What makes a beautiful smile? Beautiful teeth, for sure. But there's also another component that can make or break your smile, regardless of your teeth's condition: your gums. Although their primary function is to protect and stabilize the teeth, your gums also enhance them aesthetically by providing an attractive frame.
But just as a painting displayed in an oversized frame can lose some of its appeal, so can your smile if the size of your gums appears out of proportion with your teeth. Normally, a smile that displays more than four millimeters of gum tissue is considered “gummy.”
There are some things we can do to improve your gum to teeth ratios. What we do will depend on which of the following is the actual cause for your gummy smile.
Excess gum tissue. We'll start with the obvious: you have excess gum tissue that obscures some of the visible tooth crown. We can often correct this with a surgical procedure called “crown lengthening,” which removes some of the excess tissue and then reshapes the gums and bone to expose more teeth length.
Teeth that appear too short. The problem may not be your gums — it could be your teeth appear too short. This can happen if the teeth didn't erupt fully, or if they've worn down due to aging or a grinding habit. One option here is to “lengthen” the tooth cosmetically with veneers, crowns or other bonding techniques.
Higher lip movement. Rather than your teeth and gums being out of size proportion, your upper lip may be rising too high when you smile, a condition known as hypermobility. One temporary fix is through Botox injections that paralyze the lip muscles and prevent their movement from overextending. We could also use periodontal surgery to perform a lip stabilization procedure that permanently corrects the upper lip movement.
Overextended jaw. Your gums may seem more prominent if your upper jaw extends too far down and forward. In this case, orthognathic (jaw straightening) surgery might be used to reposition the jaw relative to its connection with the skull. Setting the jaw up and back in this way would reduce the prominence of the gums when you smile.
As you can see, treatments range from cosmetic techniques to moderate surgical procedures. A full dental exam will help determine which if any of these measures could reduce gumminess and improve your smile.
If you would like more information on correcting gummy smiles, 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 “Gummy Smiles.”
The benefits that Invisalign treatment offers go far beyond just a radiant and straight smile. With this orthodontic system, the improvements in your smile also come with excellent health benefits, which include reduced risk of developing tooth decay and gum disease among others. Here at Dentistry by Design at Andover, MA, our dentists utilize Invisalign for correcting bite problems and restoring confidence in people’s smiles.
Developed for Convenience and Comfort
Invisalign aligners shit teeth into their appropriate position gently and gradually as well as horizontally and vertically without metal parts that are common in traditional orthodontic treatments. Instead, it uses a soft, very comfortable, medical-grade, practically invisible thermoplastic material.
All the aligners that you’ll wear for the duration of the treatment will be customized for a comfortable and precise fit. Likewise, since the aligners are detachable, you can maintain your oral hygiene routine easily and eat anything you want. With Invisalign treatment, you also only need to go to your dentist in Andover, MA, every four or six weeks. Additionally, treatment can usually be completed in a year if you wear the aligners for the prescribed 22 hours daily.
Invisalign and Your Overall Dental Health
Failure to treat bite issues could eventually result in further oral health problems such as cavities, tooth enamel erosion, eating and/or speaking issues, gum infections, and tooth loss. The reason for this is that when the teeth are positioned correctly, the gums will fit more properly around the teeth and provide strong protection against gum disease.
A Boost in Self-Confidence
Put simply, Invisalign is immensely effective at correcting a host of orthodontic concerns such as protruding teeth, overbite, underbite, overbite, overcrowded teeth, crossbite, and gapped teeth. No matter your age, it can also help boost your self-esteem by enabling you to flash that charming smile, all while keeping your oral health in optimum condition.
Need More Details on Invisalign? Reach Out to Us
Call (978) 475-5333 to book a visit with your dentist here at Dentistry by Design in Andover, MA.
Did you know that your oral health and your general health are connected? Research indicates that poor oral hygiene not only leads to complications in your mouth, but can also lead to chronic diseases and infections elsewhere in the body. Therefore, establishing good oral health habits is central for overall health and well-being. This means brushing and flossing your teeth daily and visiting your dentist regularly.
Your dental health team consists of you and your dental health professionals at Dentistry by Design in Andover, MA. Together, we can prevent many dental issues and maintain you in good health.
The link between oral and overall health
Scientists found a link between chronic inflammation in your mouth and the development of chronic conditions such as lung, heart, and kidney diseases, diabetes, and pregnancy-related complications. Also, according to the Academy of General Dentistry, many systemic diseases produce oral signs and symptoms. For example, there is growing evidence that a condition like diabetes may first become apparent in oral problems. Interestingly, there is also strong evidence that treating one condition positively impacts the other, another reason why you should schedule regular visits at Dentistry by Design in Andover, MA.
What you can do
Prevention is an important step in maintaining good health. Practicing good oral hygiene daily includes:
- Brushing and flossing your teeth daily
- Replacing your toothbrush regularly
- Eating a healthy diet
- Limiting sugary foods
- Avoiding alcohol and tobacco
- Scheduling regular dental visits
- Starting your child’s dental visits around age 3
- Seeing your dentist right away if you notice sudden changes
Through regular dental visits and patient education, oral health issues can be either avoided or detected and treated early. This is also why it is important that children develop good oral health habits early on and maintain them into adulthood. If you practice good oral hygiene, you can keep your teeth for life.
Dental care in Andover, MA
From regular cleanings and exams to advanced restorative treatments, all of your routine dental needs can be met right here at Dentistry by Design in Andover, MA. We want to make sure your teeth stay healthy and strong, and you keep your beautiful smile! Contact us at (978) 475-5333.
Dental implants aren't simply prosthetic teeth, but rather an innovative system that restores both smile appearance and dental function. And while an implant can indeed replace a single tooth, they can do so much more. Integrated with removable dentures or a fixed bridge, they provide a secure solution to multiple missing teeth.
Implants essentially replace a missing tooth's root, the basis for their lifelikeness and functionality. As such, they're also the most sophisticated restoration used today, requiring a high degree of technical and aesthetic skill to place them properly. In reality, implantation is more a process than a procedure.
If you're considering implants, that process begins with a comprehensive dental exam. During the exam, we'll assess the exact condition of your oral and facial structures like the length of remaining teeth, your bite and jaw dimensions. We'll use this information to plan the type and placement of your implants. The exam may also reveal problems like bone loss that might postpone your implants or suggest another form of restoration.
Using digital technology, we then locate the exact positions for your implants on the jaw to ensure the best outcome. This often results in the creation of a surgical guide, a plastic template placed over the jaw that accurately pinpoints the locations for the drilling sequence during implant surgery.
In most cases once the implants are surgically installed, gum tissue may be sutured over the implant to protect it while it integrates with the bone. In some cases, though, a visible crown may be placed immediately, so the patient can enjoy a tooth-filled smile the same day. This immediate crown, though, is temporary and will be replaced with a more durable, permanent one in a few months.
During this interim, the titanium in the implant post will attract bone cell growth, which will build up on the implant surface. This increased bone contact will help secure the implant fully in the jaw, giving the implant its signature durability.
Once the integration is complete, the permanent crown is affixed to the implant (or implants in the case of a fixed or removable dental appliance). It may have been a long road, but you'll have the closest thing to real teeth.
If you would like more information on implant restorations, 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 “New Teeth in One Day.”
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