Our Blog

Posts for: October, 2016

By Dentistry by Design
October 22, 2016
Category: Dental Procedures
Tags: braces   tooth extraction  
ExtractingCertainTeethcanBoostOrthodonticEffectiveness

We treat most malocclusions (bad bites) with braces or clear aligners. But not all malocclusions are alike — some can require extra procedures to achieve successful results.

One such example is when incoming teeth crowd other teeth and cause them to erupt abnormally. The crowding also reduces the space needed to move the misaligned teeth to better positions. To make more room we'll often remove some of the teeth before undertaking orthodontics.

The key is to extract the right teeth. The best candidates are those whose absence will have minimal effect on both appearance and dental function. That's commonly the bicuspids, located right on the edge of the “smile zone” (the teeth most visible when we smile) between the cuspid (eye) teeth and the back molars.

Once we choose and remove the teeth our next concern is to protect the bone at the extraction site. The bone in our jaws benefits from the pressure created when we bite or chew. This stimulates new bone cells to form and replace older cells. Without it, as when we have a missing tooth, the amount of bone can diminish over time and affect the success of any future orthodontics.

To prevent this, we take care not to damage the gums and bone removing the tooth. We may also install a graft under the empty socket to encourage bone growth.

If we've removed teeth outside the smile zone, the resulting orthodontics will move teeth into the opened space. In the end, you won't even notice they're gone. Teeth lost or congenitally missing in the smile zone, though, may eventually require a replacement tooth. A dental implant is the best choice, but it should be put on hold for a younger person until their jaw has fully developed.

In the meantime, we can install a spacer or a temporary restoration to hold the empty space and prevent other teeth from drifting into it. This can be incorporated into braces or aligners, or with a removable partial denture or a temporary modified bridge.

Extracting teeth to aid orthodontics first requires a well-laid plan that could encompass several years. The end result, though, can be well worth the time and effort — better function and a new, attractive smile.

If you would like more information on the process of straightening teeth, 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 Removal for Orthodontic Reasons.”


By Dentistry by Design
October 14, 2016
Category: Oral Health
Tags: oral cancer  

Oral cancer is fairly rare and accounts for approximately two percent of all cancer diagnoses each year. It is most common among older oral canceradults, but at least one in eight cases develop in people under the age of 50. As with all forms of cancer, oral malignancies are most treatable and have the best chance of successful treatment when diagnosed early. The dental staff at Dentistry by Design in Andover, MA recommends regular oral cancer screenings to monitor any changes or abnormal growths in the oral cavity.

Signs and Symptoms of Oral Cancer

Cancer can affect any part of the oral cavity including:

  • Tongue
  • Cheeks
  • Throat
  • Lips
  • Sinuses
  • Throat (Pharynx)
  • Hard and soft palette (roof and floor)

The most common sign of cancer is a sore or wound in the mouth that does not heal, or frequently returns. Although common oral problems like canker sores are usually not a sign of cancer, contact a dentist if you are experiencing any of the following symptoms:

  • Sores that bleed or do not heal within a few weeks
  • Unexplained difficulty and pain while chewing and swallowing
  • Chronic hoarseness and loss of voice
  • Pain and stiffness
  • Changes in bite, tooth alignment or denture fit

What are the Causes and Risk Factors for Mouth and Throat Cancer?

Cancer results from mutations to healthy cells. Several factors can increase the risk of developing oral cancer:

  • All forms of tobacco use
  • Excessive alcohol consumption
  • Sun damage and overexposure to UV rays (lips)
  • HPV (human papilloma virus)
  • Weak or diminished immune system

Oral Cancer Diagnosis and Treatment in Andover, MA

The dentists at Dentistry by Design in Andover perform a comprehensive visual and physical examination of the tongue and inside of the mouth for the presence of patches or growths that could be easy to miss without a thorough oral exam.

Find a Dentist in Andover, MA

In addition to helping prevent tooth decay and gum disease, regular dental exams can detect early signs of oral cancer. To learn more about your individual risk factors, contact Dentistry by Design by calling (978) 475-5333 to schedule an appointment today.


By Dentistry by Design
October 07, 2016
Category: Dental Procedures
Tags: celebrity smiles   crowns  
DentalCrownsfortheKingofMagic

You might think David Copperfield leads a charmed life:  He can escape from ropes, chains, and prison cells, make a Learjet or a railroad car disappear, and even appear to fly above the stage. But the illustrious illusionist will be the first to admit that making all that magic takes a lot of hard work. And he recently told Dear Doctor magazine that his brilliant smile has benefitted from plenty of behind-the-scenes dental work as well.

“When I was a kid, I had every kind of [treatment]. I had braces, I had headgear, I had rubber bands, and a retainer afterward,” Copperfield said. And then, just when his orthodontic treatment was finally complete, disaster struck. “I was at a mall, running down this concrete alleyway, and there was a little ledge… and I went BOOM!”

Copperfield’s two front teeth were badly injured by the impact. “My front teeth became nice little points,” he said. Yet, although they had lost a great deal of their structure, his dentist was able to restore those damaged teeth in a very natural-looking way. What kind of “magic” did the dentist use?

In Copperfield’s case, the teeth were repaired using crown restorations. Crowns (also called caps) are suitable when a tooth has lost part of its visible structure, but still has healthy roots beneath the gum line. To perform a crown restoration, the first step is to make a precise model of your teeth, often called an impression. This allows a replacement for the visible part of the tooth to be fabricated, and ensures it will fit precisely into your smile. In its exact shape and shade, a well-made crown matches your natural teeth so well that it’s virtually impossible to tell them apart. Subsequently, the crown restoration is permanently attached to the damaged tooth.

There’s a blend of technology and art in making high quality crowns — just as there is in some stage-crafted illusions. But the difference is that the replacement tooth is not just an illusion: It looks, functions and “feels” like your natural teeth… and with proper care it can last for many years to come.  Besides crowns, there are several other types of tooth restorations that are suitable in different situations. We can recommend the right kind of “magic” for you.

If you would like more information about crowns, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can also learn more about this topic by reading the Dear Doctor magazine articles “Crowns & Bridgework” and “Porcelain Crowns & Veneers.”