Ed Helms is best known for his role as the self-absorbed, Ivy League sales rep, Andy Bernard, on television's The Office. But to millions of fans he's also Stu, a member of a bachelor trip to Las Vegas in the 2009 movie The Hangover. In it, Stu and his friends wake up from a wild night on the Strip to find some things missing: the groom-to-be, their memories and, for Stu, a front tooth.
In reality, the missing tooth gag wasn't a Hollywood makeup or CGI (computer-generated imagery) trick—it was Ed Helm's actual missing tooth. According to Helms, the front tooth in question never developed and he had obtained a dental implant to replace it. He had the implant crown removed for the Hangover movie and then replaced after filming.
Helms' dental situation isn't that unusual. Although most of the 170 million-plus teeth missing from Americans' mouths are due to disease or trauma, a few happened because the teeth never formed. While most of these congenitally missing teeth are in the back of the mouth, a few, as in Helms' case, involve front teeth in the “smile zone,” which can profoundly affect appearance.
Fortunately, people missing undeveloped teeth have several good options to restore their smiles and dental function. The kind of tooth missing could help determine which option to use. For example, a bridge supported by the teeth on either side of the gap might work well if the teeth on either side are in need of crowns.
If the missing tooth happens to be one or both of the lateral incisors (on either side of the centermost teeth), it could be possible to move the canine teeth (the pointy ones, also called eye teeth) to fill the gap. This technique, known as canine substitution, may also require further modification—either by softening the canines' pointed tips, crowning them or applying veneers—to help the repositioned teeth look more natural.
The optimal solution, though, is to replace a missing tooth with a dental implant which then has a lifelike crown attached to it, as Ed Helms did to get his winning smile. Implant-supported replacement teeth are closest to natural teeth in terms of both appearance and function. Implants, though, shouldn't be placed until the jaw has fully developed, usually in early adulthood. A younger person may need a temporary restoration like a bonded bridge or a partial denture until they're ready for an implant.
Whatever the method, there's an effective way to restore missing teeth. Seeing us for an initial exam is the first step toward your own winning smile.
In case you missed it, September is Self-Improvement Month. Don't fret if you weren't aware—we're not sure how the ninth month acquired this celebration of positive human development either. But as long as we're celebrating, do something good for yourself—like improving your smile.
If this doesn't seem like a lofty enough self-improvement goal, remember this: There's much more to a smile than its looks. Smiles “speak” a social language, allowing us to wordlessly communicate acceptance, happiness, or even sympathy. A smile is a valuable part of beginning and maintaining relationships, be they familial, social or professional.
So why not go all out and enhance your smile during Self-Improvement Month? To that end, here are a few options:
Teeth whitening. Maybe your teeth are a little yellowed. If you have mild to moderate enamel staining, consider undergoing a professional whitening procedure. We use a safe but effective solution to give you just the level of brightness you want. And with proper maintenance and occasional touch-ups, you can have a brighter smile for years.
Bonding, veneers or crowns. If your teeth have chips, heavy discolorations or other mild to moderate defects, we can offer a variety of solutions. We can bond special dental materials to repair slight defects that make a tooth look good as new. For moderate flaws, heavy staining or slight gaps, we can bond a custom-made veneer to the front of teeth to hide these imperfections. We can also cap teeth with natural-looking crowns to cover larger disfigurements.
Orthodontics. Misaligned teeth can detract from an otherwise attractive smile. Orthodontics can help—and as long as you're in good oral and general health, you can undergo bite correction at any age. Braces aren't your only option: Removable clear aligners are nearly invisible to others, and because they're removable, they make it easier to keep your teeth clean.
Dental implants. Missing teeth can definitely dim a smile. And while there are a number of restoration options, dental implants are one of the top choices. Implants not only look and feel lifelike, they're exceedingly durable. Although they may be more expensive up-front, they have been shown to last longer and tend to require less maintenance than other restorations. Dental implants are a worthwhile investment in a long-term smile.
Cosmetic enhancements like teeth whitening or bonding may require only one or two visits, while other options like orthodontics or implants can take much longer. But you can still get the ball rolling now. Make an appointment this month for a full dental exam and consultation to start your journey toward improving your smile.
If you would like more information about enhancing your smile, please contact us or schedule a consultation. To learn more, read the Dear Doctor magazine article “Cosmetic Dentistry: A Time for Change.”
Here's the bad news on the overall state of dental health in the United States: Over 120 million people have one or more missing teeth—roughly one American in three. But there's also good news: We can replace missing teeth with a number of effective restorative methods. At the top of the list are dental implants, highly regarded by dentists and patients alike as the most lifelike and functional tooth replacement system available.
Dental implants have been growing in popularity since their introduction in the 1980s. Their structural design and construction have continued to improve, giving patients even more options for implant-based tooth replacement.
To bring greater attention to the benefits of this popular restoration, the American Academy of Implant Dentistry (AAID) designated August as Dental Implant Month in 2016. In recognition, here are 3 of those benefits you might gain from choosing dental implants to replace your missing teeth.
Durability. Unlike other restorations such as conventional dentures or bridges, implants replace the entire root structure of the tooth. To be more precise, implants are a tooth root replacement in the form of a post imbedded securely in the jawbone. As the bone grows around and attaches to the implant, it develops a durable and highly functional hold that can last for decades.
Adaptability. Many people assume dental implants are used only to replace individual teeth, but implants can also support multi-tooth restorations. A few strategically placed implants can securely attach a partial or total bridge to the jaw, or provide added support for a removable denture.
Affordability. At first glance, an implant's initial cost places it at the high end of the scale for tooth replacement options. But because of their long-term durability and high success rate (greater than 95% still in place after ten years), implants may cost less in the long run than lower-priced restorations that may require repair or replacement sooner.
Although they have a wide range of applications, implants aren't suited for some dental situations. Because implants require a minimum amount of bone present in the jaw, for example, extensive bone loss might nullify them as a current option. Even in this case, though, grafting therapy to rebuild the bone could make it possible to place dental implants at some point in the future.
If you've recently lost a tooth or you have an older restoration you'd like to replace, dental implants might be a great option for you. Your first step is an initial exam and consultation to find out if this premier dental restoration is right for you.
If you would like more information about dental implants, please contact us or schedule a consultation. To learn more, read the Dear Doctor magazine article “Dental Implants: Your Third Set of Teeth.”
Are your teeth dull or faded? Your Santa Rosa, CA, dentist Dr. Jeffrey Elliott can help you brighten your smile in a single teeth whitening session. Professional whitening offers several important benefits that you won't receive from over-the-counter whitening kits.
Professional whitening offers quick, impressive results
Do-it-yourself whitening can be frustrating and time-consuming. You may need to use the products for weeks or even months to see even a small improvement in your smile.
Professional whitening only takes about an hour and can lighten your teeth by three to eight shades. Both professional and over-the-counter whiteners contain hydrogen peroxide, a natural chemical that bleaches away stains. DIY products contain a much weaker formulation of hydrogen peroxide than the whitening agent your dentist uses. The stronger professional formulation breaks up stain-causing pigments in the tooth enamel much more effectively, dramatically lightening your teeth in 60 minutes or less.
Want uniform results? Professional whitening is the best option
Over-the-counter whitening tapes and trays aren't always easy to use. Tapes may not adhere to all of the contours of your teeth, while trays may be too big or small for your mouth. As a result, you may notice that your teeth look two-toned or mottled.
Luckily, consistency isn't an issue with professional whitening. Your dentist applies the whitening gel to your mouth with a small brush to ensure that every tooth surface is covered. You'll also receive a teeth cleaning prior to whitening if your teeth haven't been cleaned. Cleanings remove plaque and tartar, two substances that hydrogen peroxide can't penetrate.
Whitening in our Santa Rosa dental office is the safest way to transform your smile
Although hydrogen peroxide offers a safe way to get rid of dental stains, it can irritate your sensitive roots and gums. If you use an ill-fitting DIY product, you're much more likely to experience sensitivity.
Your dentist takes two important steps to reduce sensitivity. First, he places plastic retractors in your mouth. The retractors keep your cheeks and lips from coming in contact with the whitener. Then, he places a protective gel on your roots and gums. These steps help prevent sensitivity and ensure your comfort during the whitening process.
Brighten your smile with teeth whitening! Call your dentists in Santa Rosa, CA, Dr. Elliott, at (707) 921-1970 to schedule your appointment.
Your brand new tooth, or teeth, that complete your smile are permanently affixed to your jaw bone with state of the art titanium posts. They can last you a lifetime, but they still require proper care, including regular office visits, to maximize their longevity. So don't forget to get in contact with Dr. Jeffrey Elliott of Santa Rosa Dental Care from Santa Rosa, CA.
Smoking, as any tobacco products, can negatively affect your new implants. Specifically healing immediately after the surgery, but can also lead to infections, as well as staining your teeth.
Some swelling and bruising is normal immediately after the procedure. Including minor bleeding and pain. But if after a few days the symptoms persist it is time to call your dentist to prevent complications.
Avoid also biting hard candy, or ice, or any hard foods as these can crack your new crowns, just like your other teeth.
If you are grinding your teeth at night you should speak to your dentist as soon as possible. The excess of pressure may damage your implants if it is not addressed quickly enough.
Brushing and flossing are just as important now that you have your implants and crown in place. But it is recommended that you use a soft bristle brush and that you clean in and around your new crown. You can use floss to gently assist in this task. Ask your Santa Rosa dentist to find out what products they recommend. Don't forget to schedule a deep cleaning and regular checkups. They are as necessary as good hygiene and habits to keep your new smile.
Keep Your Smile
Maintaining your new smile requires only a touch of extra diligence, but not much more than you would for your natural teeth. Enjoy it and let Dr. Elliott, your Santa Rosa dentists keep you smiling. Reach them at (707) 921-1970.
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