Have a beautiful gathering with your loved ones!
Often time patients would present with a tooth that may feel unusual, uncomfortable, or slightly painful. However, traditional X-rays do not always show the exact problem due to the fact that bone morphology and root structures may overlap each other and create inaccurate images. Stitched together from precise individual slices of images, 3 Dimensional X-rays (Cone Beam Scans) provide very detailed images which can help clinicians see exactly what is going on with the questioned site.
The first X-ray below shows a tooth that may have something going on at the tip of the root, yet the information is limiting and non-diagnostic. The second X-ray below is an actual slice of a 3D Scan which shows definite lack of bone support on the front side of the tooth. The image also shows slow growing infection lesions that have been dissolving the bone around the roots of the tooth. The red arrows point to the problem area.
Based on the information from the 3D X-ray, this tooth cannot be saved because hanging on to it will allow further destruction of the jaw bone surrounding the tooth. Early detection of bone loss and infection can help make the treatments much more predictable, and 3D X-rays are now a very important part of our dental diagnostic tools.
In a previous blog post I showed a case of veneers done by solid Zirconia. Besides crowns and veneers, Zirconia is also used to make bridges to replace missing teeth. Due to the high density of the material from the sintering process, Zirconia is a great material used to make full arches of implant retained bridges. In the hands of the right ceramist who knows how to custom stain the material, Zirconia in its final product stage can be lifelike with exceptional strength.
This famous quote by Benjamin Franklin is engraved on the walk way of the University of Pennsylvania which he also founded in 1740. While the original intention applies to the issue of “safety”, the quote relates very well to the foundation of dental health. The key to the sustainability of the dentition is prevention.
Many people spend so much money on things like hair care, skin care, and other cosmetic care; yet they don’t pay attention to their teeth because they may not have dental insurance. The truth is that dental insurance companies could careless if you lose your teeth. Their objective is simply to minimize the amount of money that they have to pay out in order to maximize their profits. That is the reason why so many dental procedures are not covered by insurance companies. It is our job to take control of our own well being.
Neglecting the teeth can create complex issues that can be expensive and time consuming to fix. In some cases the damages can be irreversible. Just as important as our hair and our skin, our teeth deserve as much attention and care. Before we allow the dentition to break down, we must reevaluate our priorities and make dental preventive care a part of our daily lives.
This week I received a beautiful flower arrangement from a patient. It really marks over twenty five years that I have been taking care of her teeth. Our professional relationship goes back to the days when I was still a dental student in the early 90's. My patient is committed to the upkeep of her dental health, and I try hard to deliver my best dental care to her.
Indeed, dental care requires a commitment from both the patient and the dentist. It really does not matter how well we perform the dentistry at the office. If the patient is not committed to home care, then dental problems will continue to worsen. Home care is not just about flossing and brushing. For example: in cases where the patient's bite and joints are considered at risk, staying committed to wearing the night guards will help minimize problems of excess wear and fractures of teeth and restorations in the mouth.
When the patient and the dentist develop a mutual understanding of the patient's dental condition and what it takes to maintain optimum dental health, the result can be long lasting, manageable, and predictable.