Posts for: April, 2018

By Stephen R. Harris, DDS
April 23, 2018
Category: Oral Health
Tags: oral hygiene  

Keeping your teeth clean and free from teeth decay and gum disease is an important task which can prevent tooth loss and keep your oral hygienesmile beautiful. However, it requires a strong oral care routine and, often, help from your dentist. Find out more about keeping good oral hygiene habits with Dr. Stephen Harris at Advanced Dentistry in Farmington, MI.

What can I do to help my smile on a day-to-day basis?

The American Dental Association has a few guidelines to ensure that your smile stays in good condition from day to day. Those guidelines include:

  • Brushing: Brush your teeth for at least two minutes twice daily, making sure to include the last molar. Use a soft toothbrush and use gentle, back-and-forth motions to clean the backs, fronts, and sides of each tooth thoroughly.
  • Flossing: Floss between each tooth at least once a day. Use a strand of floss long enough to use a new piece for each tooth, slowly moving down the length, to prevent the spread of bacteria. Use a new piece of floss for each quadrant of the mouth. Make sure to stretch each flossing motion all the way up to the tooth and underneath the gum line to pull plaque from underneath the gums as well as from the teeth.
  • Dental Exams: Dental examinations with your dentist are a vital part of your oral health. The ADA recommends seeing your dentist at least twice a year, regardless of your risk for teeth-related issues like decay or gum disease, age, or dental condition.

How can my dentist help maintain my smile?

Seeing your dentist regularly allows them to find and treat dental problems in their earliest stages when they require the least invasive methods to repair. Letting teeth decay or gum disease get out of hand before visiting the dentist requires more complex, in-depth procedures. Regular cleanings remove all plaque and tartar from the teeth, providing a clean slate for your daily routine.

Regular Dental Examinations and Professional Cleanings in Farmington, MI

Your oral health is an important part of your general health and keeping your teeth clean and healthy can avoid potentially serious dental complications which could lead to tooth loss. Working together with your dentist to ensure that your teeth stay in great condition is as simple as scheduling a regular dental examination and professional cleaning.

For more information on good oral hygiene habits or to schedule your appointment for a regular dental examination and professional cleaning, please contact Dr. Stephen Harris at Advanced Dentistry in Farmington, MI. Call (248) 478-4755 to schedule your appointment with Dr. Harris today!

By Stephen R. Harris, DDS
April 22, 2018
Category: Dental Procedures

Let’s say you’re traveling to Italy to surprise your girlfriend, who is competing in an alpine ski race… and when you lower the scarf that’s covering your face, you reveal to the assembled paparazzi that one of your front teeth is missing. What will you do about this dental dilemma?

Sound far-fetched? It recently happened to one of the most recognized figures in sports — Tiger Woods. There’s still some uncertainty about exactly how this tooth was taken out: Was it a collision with a cameraman, as Woods’ agent reported… or did Woods already have some problems with the tooth, as others have speculated? We still don’t know for sure, but the big question is: What happens next?

Fortunately, contemporary dentistry offers several good solutions for the problem of missing teeth. Which one is best? It depends on each individual’s particular situation.

Let’s say that the visible part of the tooth (the crown) has been damaged by a dental trauma (such as a collision or a blow to the face), but the tooth still has healthy roots. In this case, it’s often possible to keep the roots and replace the tooth above the gum line with a crown restoration (also called a cap). Crowns are generally made to order in a dental lab, and are placed on a prepared tooth in a procedure that requires two office visits: one to prepare the tooth for restoration and to make a model of the mouth and the second to place the custom-manufactured crown and complete the restoration. However, in some cases, crowns can be made on special machinery right in the dental office, and placed during the same visit.

But what happens if the root isn’t viable — for example, if the tooth is deeply fractured, or completely knocked out and unable to be successfully re-implanted?

In that case, a dental implant is probably the best option for tooth replacement. An implant consists of a screw-like post of titanium metal that is inserted into the jawbone during a minor surgical procedure. Titanium has a unique property: It can fuse with living bone tissue, allowing it to act as a secure anchor for the replacement tooth system. The crown of the implant is similar to the one mentioned above, except that it’s made to attach to the titanium implant instead of the natural tooth.

Dental implants look, function and “feel” just like natural teeth — and with proper care, they can last a lifetime. Although they may be initially expensive, their quality and longevity makes them a good value over the long term. A less-costly alternative is traditional bridgework — but this method requires some dental work on the adjacent, healthy teeth; plus, it isn’t expected to last as long as an implant, and it may make the teeth more prone to problems down the road.

What will the acclaimed golfer do? No doubt Tiger’s dentist will help him make the right tooth-replacement decision.

If you have a gap in your grin — whatever the cause — contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation, and find out which tooth-replacement system is right for you. You can learn more in the Dear Doctor magazine articles “Dental Implant Surgery” and “Crowns & Bridgework.”

By Stephen R. Harris, DDS
April 12, 2018
Category: Dental Procedures
Tags: porcelain veneers  

Porcelain veneers are a great way to enhance an unattractive smile. But are they appropriate for teenagers? The answer usually depends on a patient’s current development stage and the type of veneer used.

Veneers are thin layers of porcelain bonded to the front of teeth. But even though quite thin, they can appear bulky if we don’t first remove some of the tooth’s enamel surface. This is irreversible, so the tooth may require a restoration from then on.

This could be a major issue for teens whose permanent teeth are still developing. During this period the tooth’s central pulp is relatively large and the dentin layer not fully developed. As a result, the pulp’s nerves are often closer to the surface than in an adult tooth. This increases risk of nerve damage during veneer preparation; if nerve damage occurs, the tooth could ultimately require a root canal treatment to save it.

On the other hand, some types of veneers don’t require tooth alteration (or only very little) beforehand. These “no-prep” or “minimal prep” veneers are best for certain situations like abnormally small teeth, so we must first determine if using such a veneer would be appropriate for your teen.

In effect, we’ll need to weigh these and other factors before determining if veneers are a safe choice for your teen. That being the case, it may be more advisable to consider more conservative cosmetic techniques first. For example, if enamel staining is the main issue, you could consider teeth whitening. Although the often amazing results eventually fade, whitening could still buy some time until the teeth have matured to safely apply veneers.

Slight deformities like chipping can often be corrected by bonding tooth-colored composite material to the tooth. In artistic hands it’s even possible to create a full veneer effect with very little if any tooth preparation. How much we can apply, though, depends on tooth size, and it won’t be as durable as a porcelain veneer.

With that said, veneers could be the right solution to enhance your teen’s smile. But, we’ll need to carefully consider their dental situation to ensure their new smile remains a healthy one.

If you would like more information on cosmetic solutions for smile appearance problems, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation.

Contact Us

Stephen R. Harris, DDS

Farmington Hills, MI Dentist
Stephen R. Harris DDS, PC
34024 W 8 Mile Rd., Ste. 106
Farmington Hills, MI 48335
(248) 478-4755
(248) 478-1139 fax
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