My Blog

Posts for category: Dental Procedures

RegardlessofWhatYouveSeenOnlineDontFearaRootCanalTreatment

With smart phone in hand, you can instantaneously find out just about anything. Unfortunately, online search results aren’t always accurate. Case in point: there’s an idea floating on the World Wide Web that root canal treatments cause cancer.

Sounds ludicrous? Yes, but like other strange ideas this one has historical roots (pardon the pun). In the early 20th Century, a dentist named Weston Price propagated the idea that leaving a “dead” organ in the body caused health problems. By his view, a root canal-treated tooth fell into this category and could potentially cause, among other things, cancer.

But concern over root canal treatment safety is on shaky ground: dentistry examined Dr. Price’s ideas over sixty years ago and found them wanting. But first, let’s look at what a root canal treatment can actually do for your health.

Tooth decay is an infection that first attacks the outer tooth enamel and then continues to advance until it infects the inner pulp. It can then travel through the root canals to the roots and bone. Without intervention, the infection will result in tooth loss.

We use a root canal treatment to save the tooth from this fate. During the procedure we remove and disinfect all of the diseased or dead tissue within the pulp and root canals. We then fill the empty chamber and canals with a special filling and seal the tooth to prevent any further infection. And while technically the procedure renders a tooth unable to respond to thermal sensitivity or tooth decay, the tooth is still alive as it is attached to the periodontal ligament and its blood supply and nerve tissue. The tooth can still “feel” if you bite on something too hard and it doesn’t affect the tooth’s function or health, or a patient’s overall health for that matter.

As to Dr. Price’s theory, extensive studies beginning in the 1950s have examined the potential health risk of root canal treatments. The latest, a 2013 patient survey study published in a journal of the American Medical Association, not only found no evidence linking root canal treatment to cancer, but a lower risk of oral cancer in 45% of patients who had undergone multiple root canal treatments.

While root canal treatments do have potential side effects, none are remotely as serious as this online “factoid” about cancer. It’s far more likely to benefit your health by saving your tooth.

If you would like more information on root canal treatment, 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 “Root Canal Safety.”

OrthodontistsAnticipateFutureFacialGrowthWhenTreatingPoorBites

Moving teeth to better positions through orthodontics not only improves dental function and health, it can vastly improve your appearance. But to achieve a result that continues to be attractive as you age requires thorough planning and forethought.

That’s because your body continues to change all during life. While the most accelerated growth happens in childhood and adolescence, even older adults continue to change, especially in their facial features. A good deal of research has helped identify and catalog these changes, which orthodontists now incorporate into their corrective treatments for poor bites (malocclusions).

For example, the lips grow until they reach their maximum thickness in girls usually around age 14 and boys age 16. But researchers have also found lip thickness gradually diminishes for most people beginning in their late teens until about age 80. In other words, the appearance of your lips in your elderly years will be vastly different than in your teens. The same holds true for other facial features: our facial profile flattens as the nose becomes longer and more pronounced while the lower part of the face shortens.

Using this knowledge of the effects of aging on the face, orthodontists now attempt to anticipate “where” the facial features will be decades down the road. This projection can help them design a treatment plan that takes advantage of these projected changes.

For example, orthodontists may begin treatment before a patient’s teenage years with techniques that serve to guide jaw growth. Keeping that development on track will help if or when braces may be needed a few years later. Guiding jaw growth will help shorten the distance of where a patient is in their orofacial development and where they should be later in life with normal development.

Orthodontists aren’t predictors of the future. But armed with an understanding of the aging process, they can help patients head in the right direction to produce a smile and facial appearance that will endure well into later life.

If you would like more information on moving teeth to achieve a more attractive appearance, 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 “Understanding Aging Makes Beauty Timeless.”

By Jennifer Robb, D.M.D.
October 31, 2018
Category: Dental Procedures
Tags: crowns   bridges  

Do you know what crowns and bridges can do for your smile? The restorations offer the ideal solution if you want to improve your crowns and bridgesappearance or protect fragile or damaged teeth. Lorain, OH, dentist Dr. Jennifer Robb helps her patients care for their smiles with both crowns and bridges.

What are crowns and bridges?

Crowns, often known as "caps," are designed to stabilize teeth or change their appearance. They slip over the part of the teeth visible above the gum line and completely cover teeth. Before you can receive your crown, your Lorain dentist must file the tooth on all sides to ensure a good fit. She'll also make an impression of your mouth and send it along to a dental laboratory that will craft your dental crown. Until the permanent crown is ready, you'll wear a temporary crown. Although temporary crowns are very durable, you'll need to avoid hard or sticky foods that can break or crack the restorations.

Permanent crowns are made of materials that look just like your tooth enamel but are strong enough to handle years of chewing and biting, such as ceramic, resin, porcelain, and porcelain-fused-to-metal. The crowns are cemented to your teeth and don't move or shift when you eat.

Crowns are often used to restore teeth that have broken or fractured. Breaks not only look unsightly but can be very painful. Crowns cover exposed nerve endings and improve the appearance and function of your teeth. They can also be used to prevent breaks or fractures from occurring. If your tooth has been damaged or cracked, it's much more likely to weaken and break in the future. When your tooth is encased in a crown, the restoration will absorb biting forces and prevent further damage to the tooth.

The restorations are also used to enhance your appearance. They can be used to completely change the shape of a tooth, lengthen it or hide a discoloration that occurred due to the use of certain antibiotics or trauma to your tooth.

Bridges fill gaps in your smile and consist of one or more artificial teeth attached to a few crowns. The crowns hold the bridge firmly in place, allowing you to bite and chew normally.

Improve your smile with dental crowns. Call your Lorain, OH, dentist Dr. Jennifer Robb at (440) 960-1940 to schedule your appointment.

By Jennifer Robb, D.M.D.
September 17, 2018
Category: Dental Procedures

Crowns and BridgesNo smile is perfect, but smiles which have damaged or missing teeth need restoration to be fully functional and beautiful. Your Lorain, OH family dentist, Dr. Jennifer Robb, uses porcelain bridgework and crowns to fill gaps and bring damaged enamel back to life. Get the wonderful smile you deserve with quality restorative services from Dr. Robb and her team.

What is a dental crown?

Meticulously crafted from fine-grade dental porcelain, a crown is a tooth-shaped cap which covers the visible portion of a damaged tooth. Based on her findings from oral examination and X-rays, your family dentist in Lorain determines if a decayed, injured or misshapen tooth would benefit from this reliable and long-lasting restoration.

The crown process takes a couple of appointments to Dr. Robb's office:

  1. The first involves evaluation of the tooth, taking oral impressions and shaping the tooth to receive the crown.
  2. The second involves permanently bonding the porcelain crown over the prepared tooth and adapting the bite and fit with the opposite arch of teeth.

What is fixed bridgework?

Fixed bridgework replaces missing teeth--one, two or more which neighbor each other. The pontic, or artificial teeth, are naturally-colored and shaped. They attach to remaining real, or abutment, teeth via dental crowns.

Because the abutment teeth receive crowns and anchor the bridgework, they must be ground down and shaped to hold the bridgework in place. The wider the bridge is--in other words, the more pontic teeth there are--the more crowns Dr. Robb will install to hold the appliance securely in place. Your care plan and dental appliance will be custom-made to your specific preferences and oral health needs.

Advantages of crowns and bridgework

These restorations carry the following benefits:

  • Restored smile aesthetics
  • Youthful facial appearance
  • Improve self-confidence
  • Proper speech, biting and chewing
  • Stabilization of teeth adjoining the smile gap (no tooth drift)
  • Long lifespan

When well cared for, most crowns and bridges last for at least ten years.

Cleaning your crown and bridgework

While these restorations don't decay, they can collect harmful plaque and tartar at the gum line, a common place for periodontal problems to begin. So, when you go home with your crowns and bridgework in place, floss carefully at least once a day and brush twice a day just as the American Dental Association advises.

Follow any special instructions your hygienist may give you, and be sure to see Dr. Robb every six months for your route check-up and professional cleaning. Preventive measure such as these will keep your entire smile bright and healthy.

Ready for a change?

Come see Dr. Robb at her Lorain, OH office, and learn more about smile restoration through crowns and bridgework. Call for a consultation at (440) 960-1940.

By Jennifer Robb, D.M.D.
September 11, 2018
Category: Dental Procedures
Tags: retainer  
ABondedRetainerMightWorkforYouafterOrthodonticTreatment

If you want to keep that new smile after orthodontic treatment, you’ll need to wear a retainer for awhile. Teeth have a tendency to “rebound” to their old positions and a retainer prevents that from happening.

Most people are familiar with the standard removable retainer. But there’s another option: a bonded retainer. While performing the same function as a removable one, the bonded retainer differs in one important aspect—it’s fixed in place and can’t be removed except by a dentist. It’s especially useful for certain bite repairs like the closure of the gap between the front teeth.

If you’re thinking this retainer sounds a lot like the braces just removed, it’s not. The main part of a bonded retainer is a thin metal wire that we bond with a dental composite material across the back of the affected teeth. While you can definitely feel it with your tongue it can’t be seen by others, which is an advantage over many removable retainers.

The fixed nature of bonded retainers also creates a couple of advantages, especially for younger patients. There’s no compliance issue as with removable retainers—the patient doesn’t have the option of taking it out. That also means it can’t be lost, a frequent and costly occurrence with the removable variety.

But a bonded retainer does have some drawbacks. For one, the wire and composite material make it more difficult to floss. There’s also a possibility of breakage from high biting forces, which if that should occur must be immediately repaired to avoid the teeth rebounding. But while removable retainers have their downsides, it’s much easier with them to keep the teeth clean of plaque—you simply take the appliance out to brush and floss.

With your dentist’s help you can weigh the pros and cons of both types of retainers and decide which is best for you or your child. Whichever one you choose, wearing a retainer will help protect that hard-earned smile for years to come.

If you would like more information on protecting your bite after orthodontic treatment, 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 “Bonded Retainers: What are the Pros and Cons?