Posts for: December, 2016

By Midtown Dental Studio, L.L.C.
December 30, 2016
Category: Dental Procedures

If we could go back in time, we all probably have a few things we wish we could change. Recently, Dr. Travis Stork, emergency room physician and host of the syndicated TV show The Doctors, shared one of his do-over dreams with Dear Doctor magazine: “If I [could have] gone back and told myself as a teenager what to do, I would have worn a mouthguard, not only to protect my teeth but also to help potentially reduce risk of concussion.”

What prompted this wish? The fact that as a teenage basketball player, Stork received an elbow to the mouth that caused his two front teeth to be knocked out of place. The teeth were put back in position, but they soon became darker and began to hurt. Eventually, both were successfully restored with dental crowns. Still, it was a painful (and costly) injury — and one that could have been avoided.

You might not realize it, but when it comes to dental injuries, basketball ranks among the riskier sports. Yet it’s far from the only one. In fact, according to the American Dental Association (ADA), there are some two dozen others — including baseball, hockey, surfing and bicycling — that carry a heightened risk of dental injury. Whenever you’re playing those sports, the ADA recommends you wear a high-quality mouth guard.

Mouthguards have come a long way since they were introduced as protective equipment for boxers in the early 1900’s. Today, three different types are widely available: stock “off-the-shelf” types that come in just a few sizes; mouth-formed “boil-and-bite” types that you adapt to the general contours of your mouth; and custom-made high-quality mouthguards that are made just for you at the dental office.

Of all three types, the dentist-made mouthguards are consistently found to be the most comfortable and best-fitting, and the ones that offer your teeth the greatest protection. What’s more, recent studies suggest that custom-fabricated mouthguards can provide an additional defense against concussion — in fact, they are twice as effective as the other types. That’s why you’ll see more and more professional athletes (and plenty of amateurs as well) sporting custom-made mouthguards at games and practices.

“I would have saved myself a lot of dental heartache if I had worn a mouthguard,” noted Dr. Stork. So take his advice: Wear a mouthguard whenever you play sports — unless you’d like to meet him (or one of his medical colleagues) in a professional capacity…

If you would like more information about mouthguards, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can read more in the Dear Doctor magazine article “Athletic Mouthguards.”

By Midtown Dental Studio, L.L.C.
December 15, 2016
Category: Dental Procedures
Tags: palatal expander  

A poor bite (malocclusion) could be more than simply teeth out of alignment. There could be complex causes for the malocclusion, possibly involving the facial bone structure.

An example of this is the development of a cross-bite due to problems with the upper jaw and palate (the roof of the mouth), jointly called the maxilla. The maxilla is in fact formed by two bones fused together in the center of the palate in what's called the midline suture. The suture doesn't completely fuse until after puberty.

Sometimes a maxilla's development doesn't follow a normal track. The upper jaw doesn't widen as it should, which leads to the cross-bite where the upper back teeth abnormally bite inside the lower teeth. The upper front teeth continue to bite normally in front of the lower front teeth. This also can have profound influence on breathing, causing sleep apnea.

We can correct this by using an orthodontic appliance called a palatal expander before the midline suture fuses. The expander gradually widens the upper jaw to its normal width and thus eliminates the cross-bite.

Positioned at the roof of the mouth, the expander has metal arms that extend from a central hinge to exert pressure on the inside of the upper teeth. The patient or a caregiver uses a small key to turn a mechanism that extends the arms toward the teeth a tiny amount each day. This gradually widens the jaw, while at the same time stimulating bone growth at the midline suture. Eventually the gap fills with bone to solidify the new width as the suture fuses.

It's important to undertake this treatment before fusion. If you wait until after puberty, you will need to separate the bones first to attempt it. The overall impact and cost is much less if you act promptly in the early years.

Palatal expansion may not be the right treatment in every case, so we'll need to perform a thorough orthodontic exam first. If, however, we do determine it can help, using an expander can improve function, correct future breathing problems and make possible a more attractive future smile.

If you would like more information on orthodontic treatment options, 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 “Palatal Expanders: Orthodontics is more than just Moving Teeth.”

By Midtown Dental Studio, L.L.C.
December 13, 2016
Category: Dental Procedures

Do your dull teeth keep you from smiling? It's easy to refresh your smile with a professional teeth whitening treatment. Dr. Travon Holt, teeth whiteningyour Midtown Atlanta, GA dentist at Midtown Dental Studio explains how you can benefit from teeth whitening.

Teeth whitening removes stubborn stains

Years of eating and drinking darkly colored foods and beverages can turn your teeth dull or yellow. Pigments in dark foods penetrate your tooth enamel, where they become trapped. Eating and drinking acidic foods and beverages, such as citrus fruit, soda and candy, makes the problem worse. Acids soften the enamel and make it easier for stains to develop.

No matter how often you brush, you won't be able to remove these stubborn stains. Fortunately, you don't have to live with dull, stained teeth, thanks to teeth whitening. Hydrogen peroxide, the active ingredient in teeth whitening preparations, easily penetrates your enamel and removes those old stains.

Whitening doesn't have to take weeks or months

Have you ever tried to whiten your teeth at home only to give up because the process took too long? When you visit the dentist's office for a professional teeth whitening treatment, your teeth will be whiter after just one one-hour appointment. The whitening gel dentists use is stronger than the whitening agents found in drugstore kits, which greatly reduces the time needed to whiten your teeth. Most people don't need more than one treatment, but occasionally, another session may be recommended.

After your whitening appointment, you can expect your teeth to be up to eight shades lighter. Take-home whitening kits can be used to touch up your teeth occasionally or can be used to brighten your smile if you prefer to whiten your teeth at home.

Teeth whitening offers long-lasting results

Your new and improved smile may remain whiter for a few years or longer. How long your results last depends on the foods and beverages you consume. Avoiding darkly colored and acidic foods and beverages as much as possible may help you prolong your results.

Brighten your smile with teeth whitening! Call Dr. Travon Holt, your Midtown Atlanta, GA dentist at Midtown Dental Studio at (404) 937-6940 to schedule your whitening appointment.