Posts for: January, 2018

By Sean Stannard, DDS
January 26, 2018
Category: Oral Health

Preventing a problem is often the easiest and least costliest option, whether you want to avoid cavities or protect your car's engine. Our preventative dentistryWaterford, MI, dentists, Dr. Sean Stannard and Dr. David Studt of Stannard & Studt & Wolf Dentistry, explains how preventive care can help you protect your smile.

Preventive care reduces your risk of cavities and gum disease

A good oral hygiene routine offers the simplest way to avoid tooth decay and gum disease. Removing plaque from your teeth before it can cause damage is essential. Luckily, brushing your teeth offers a very effective way to get rid of the sticky bacterial film. Although brushing eliminates plaque on the surface of teeth, your toothbrush can't reach the tight areas between teeth. Flossing once a day will keep plaque from accumulating in those areas.

Plaque undergoes a change if it remains on your teeth too long. After about a week, it turns into tartar, a hard deposit responsible for gum disease. Brushing in the morning and night helps you clean plaque from your teeth and reduces your gum disease risk. Regular brushing also helps rebuild weak areas of tooth enamel if you use toothpaste that contains fluoride.

Problems are easier to treat when they're small

Tiny cavities can be easily treated with small fillings. Unfortunately, if you don't know you have a cavity until it's very large, you might need more than a simple filling. If the decayed area is extensive, inlays, onlays or crowns might be required to restore your damaged tooth. A root canal may even be necessary if the pulp at the center of the tooth has become infected. When you visit our Waterford office every six months for a check-up, we can detect and treat small issues before they can cause big problems.

Your diet can help you keep your teeth strong

The foods you eat not only fuel your body but also protect your teeth. Foods high in calcium, such as dairy products, broccoli and spinach, help keep teeth strong, while raw carrots help wash away plaque by spurring an increase in the amount of saliva you produce. Do you enjoy munching on a stalk of celery? This snack is not only healthier than cookies or candy but also loosens stuck bacteria and helps scrub bacteria from your teeth.

Prevent dental problems with regular dental visits. Call our Waterford, MI, dentists, Dr. Stannard and Dr. Studt of Stannard & Studt & Wolf Dentistry, at (248) 673-7300 to schedule your appointment.

By Sean Stannard, DDS
January 18, 2018
Category: Dental Procedures

When they’re introducing a new movie, actors often take a moment to pay tribute to the people who helped make it happen — like, you know, their dentists. At least that’s what Charlize Theron did at the premiere of her new spy thriller, Atomic Blonde.

"I just want to take a quick moment to thank my dentists," she told a Los Angeles audience as they waited for the film to roll. "I don’t even know if they’re here, but I just want to say thank you."

Why did the starring actress/producer give a shout-out to her dental team? It seems she trained and fought so hard in the action sequences that she actually cracked two teeth!

“I had severe tooth pain, which I never had in my entire life,” Theron told an interviewer from Variety. At first, she thought it was a cavity — but later, she found out it was more serious: One tooth needed a root canal, and the other had to be extracted and replaced with a dental implant — but first, a bone grafting procedure was needed. “I had to put a donor bone in [the jaw] to heal,” she noted, “and then I had another surgery to put a metal screw in there.”

Although it might sound like the kind of treatment only an action hero would need, bone grafting is now a routine part of many dental implant procedures. The reason is that without a sufficient volume of good-quality bone, implant placement is difficult or impossible. That’s because the screw-like implant must be firmly joined with the jawbone, so it can support the replacement tooth.

Fortunately, dentists have a way to help your body build new bone: A relatively small amount of bone material can be placed in the missing tooth’s socket in a procedure called bone grafting. This may come from your own body or, more likely, it may be processed bone material from a laboratory. The donor material can be from a human, animal or synthetic source, but because of stringent processing techniques, the material is safe for human use. Once it is put in place your body takes over, using the grafted material as a scaffold on which to build new bone cells. If jawbone volume is insufficient for implants, it can often be restored to a viable point in a few months.

Better yet, when grafting material is placed in the tooth socket immediately after extraction, it can keep most of the bone loss from occurring in the first place, enabling an implant to be placed as soon as possible — even before the end of a movie’s shooting schedule.

Will Atomic Blonde prove to be an action-movie classic? Only time will tell. But one thing’s for sure: When Charlize Theron walks down the red carpet, she won’t have to worry about a gap in her smile.

If you have questions about bone grafting or dental implants, please contact our office or schedule a consultation. You can read more in the Dear Doctor magazine articles “Dental Implant Surgery” and “Immediate Dental Implant.”

By Sean Stannard, DDS
January 03, 2018
Category: Oral Health
Tags: baby teeth  

There are usually two moments when primary (“baby”) teeth generate excitement in your family: when you first notice them in your child’s mouth, and when they come out (and are headed for a rendezvous with the “tooth fairy”!).

Between these two moments, you might not give them much thought. But you should—although primary teeth don’t last long, they play a pivotal role in the replacing permanent teeth’s long-term health.

This is because a primary tooth is a kind of guide for the permanent one under development in the gums. It serves first as a “space saver,” preventing nearby teeth from drifting into where the permanent tooth would properly erupt; and, it provides a pathway for the permanent tooth to travel during eruption. If it’s lost prematurely (from injury or, more likely, disease) the permanent tooth may erupt out of position because the other teeth have crowded the space.

That’s why we try to make every reasonable effort to save a problem primary tooth. If decay, for example, has advanced deep within the tooth pulp, we may perform a modified root canal treatment to remove the diseased tissue and seal the remaining pulp from further infection. In some circumstances we may cap the tooth with a stainless steel crown (or possibly a white crown alternative) to protect the remaining structure of the tooth.

Of course, even the best efforts can fall short. If the tooth must be removed, we would then consider preserving the empty space with a space maintainer. This orthodontic device usually takes the form of a metal band that’s cemented to a tooth on one side of the empty space with a stiff wire loop soldered to it that crosses the space to rest against the tooth on the other side. The wire loop prevents other teeth from crowding in, effectively “maintaining” the space for the permanent tooth.

Regular dental visits, plus your child’s daily brushing and flossing, are also crucial in preventing primary teeth from an “early departure.” Keeping them for their full lifespan will help prevent problems that could impact your child’s dental health future.

If you would like more information on the right care approach for primary 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 “Importance of Baby Teeth.”

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