Monthly Archives: January 2017

Clearwater FL Periodontist Dr. Todd Britten Shares: What happens when a baby tooth does not erupt properly?

Most people have heard of wisdom teeth that become impacted, however the upper canines, or eye teeth are the second most common impacted adult teeth. If a canine tooth does not erupt spontaneously, your orthodontist and periodontist or oral surgeon will work together to get these unerupted canine to erupt. Each case must be evaluated on an individual basis but treatment will usually involve a combined effort. The most common scenario will call for the orthodontist to place braces on the teeth (at least the upper arch). A space will be opened to provide room for the impacted tooth to be moved into its proper position in the dental arch. If the baby canine has not fallen out already, it is usually left in place until the space for the adult canine is ready. Once the space is ready, the orthodontist will refer the patient to the oral surgeon to have the impacted canine exposed and bracketed.

In a simple surgical procedure performed in the surgeon’s office, the gum on top of the impacted tooth will be lifted up to expose the hidden tooth underneath. If there is a baby tooth present, it will be removed at the same time. Once the tooth is exposed, your oral surgeon or periodontist will bond an orthodontic bracket to the exposed tooth. The bracket will have a miniature gold chain attached to it. The surgeon will guide the chain back to the orthodontic arch wire where it will be temporarily attached. Sometimes the surgeon will leave the exposed impacted tooth completely uncovered by suturing the gum up high above the tooth or making a window in the gum covering the tooth (on selected cases located on the roof of the mouth). Most of the time, the gum will be returned to its original location and sutured back with only the chain remaining visible as it exits a small hole in the gum.

Shortly after surgery (1-14 days) the patient will return to the orthodontist. A rubber band will be attached to the chain to put a light eruptive pulling force on the impacted tooth. This will begin the process of moving the tooth into its proper place in the dental arch. This is a carefully controlled, slow process that may take up to a full year to complete. Remember, the goal is to erupt the impacted tooth and not to extract it! Once the tooth is moved into the arch in its final position, the gum around it will be evaluated to make sure it is sufficiently strong and healthy to last for a lifetime of chewing and tooth brushing. In some circumstances, especially those where the tooth had to be moved a long distance, there may be some minor gum surgery required to add bulk to the gum tissue over the relocated tooth so it remains healthy during normal function. Your dentist or orthodontist will explain this situation to you if it applies to your specific situation.

 

Dr. Britten works with excellent pediatric dentists, general dentists and orthodontists in our area to surgically intervene in case of an impacted tooth.  Call us today if you have any questions!  727-586-2681 or visit our website at http://www.brittenperio.com

Clearwater Periodontist Shares Information on Screening Patients for Obstructive Sleep Apnea

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Dentists are becoming more and more aware of the importance of screening patients for Obstructive Sleep Apnea.  

From the American Academy of Dental Sleep Medicine:

“Approximately 25 million adults in the U.S. have obstructive sleep apnea (OSA), which can cause them to stop breathing hundreds of times a night for anywhere from a few seconds to more than a minute.

Sleep apnea is a chronic condition that occurs when your muscles relax during sleep, allowing soft tissue to collapse and block the airway. As a result, repeated breathing pauses occur, which often reduce your oxygen levels. These breathing pauses are followed by brief awakenings that disturb your sleep.

Common signs of sleep apnea include snoring and gasping or choking sounds during sleep. Like snoring, sleep apnea is more common in men, but it can occur in women too, especially during and after menopause. Having excess body weight, a narrow airway or misaligned jaw all increase the risk of sleep apnea.”

The AADSM (The American Academy of Dental Sleep Medicine) recommends dentists evaluate patients for the following conditions as possible indicators of Sleep Apnea:

• A thick neck (greater than 16 inches in a woman or 17 inches in a man)

• A short neck

• Lower-face abnormalities, which may include:

        * A large tongue

• A crowded posterior airway (such as caused by an enlarged, floppy uvula or enlarged tonsils)

• An enlarged soft palate that rests on the base of the tongue

• Obesity

• Complaints of being overly tired during the day, low on energy, depressed, or moody

• Falling asleep in dental chair

• Trouble opening mouth wide during dental examination


The most successful treatment for Obstructive Sleep Apnea is a CPA appliance, however, 60% to 83% percent of users cannot tolerate this device.

With the high rejection rate of the CPAP, the American Academy of Sleep Medicine designated dental sleep oral appliances as the No. 1 nonsurgical alternative for the CPAP intolerant. Numerous sleep appliances are available to the public and distributed through dentists.

Your dental professional can help you identify if a sleep appliance may help you. If you have any questions about OSA or dental sleep medicine, contact our office today at 727-586-2681 or visit our website at http://www.brittenperio.com

 

Clearwater Periodontist Shares Information on Screening Patients for Obstructive Sleep Apnea

Clearwater FL Periodontist Dr. Todd Britten Shares “Does Sugar Cause Cavities?”

Does Sugar Cause Cavities?

A diet high in sugar certainly promotes the formation of cavities, but sugar itself isn’t the only culprit behind tooth decay.

Cavities are formed when bacteria living in the mouth digest carbohydrates left on the teeth after you eat. This includes refined sugars found in cookies, candy or other treats, however they may also come from healthy foods like whole grains, vegetables and fruits.

When digesting carbohydrates, bacteria in your mouth produce an acid that combines with food debris and saliva and forms plaque.

It’s the plaque — not sugar — that directly leads to tooth decay. Plaque starts building up after every meal, and if it isn’t brushed away frequently, it can erode the hard, outer enamel of a tooth, resulting in tiny holes in the tooth’s surface. These holes mark the first stage of cavities and can do a lot of damage to a tooth if left untreated.

Eventually, acid and bacteria in plaque can eat through the other layers of your teeth, as well — from the softer layer of teeth under the enamel, known as dentin, to the third layer (the pulp), which contains your teeth’s blood vessels and nerves. Cavities affecting the pulp of a tooth, as well as the bone supporting the tooth, can cause severe toothaches, sensitivity, pain when eating and even abscesses in the mouth.

It is important to know that the kinds of foods and drinks you consume, and how you are consuming them is also important to oral health.

Sticky foods — like hard candy, breath mints, raisins and dry cereal — can get stuck in the grooves and crevices of your teeth, where they could cause decay. Fruit and yogurt, on the other hand, wash away easily with saliva and are, therefore, less likely to cause plaque buildup.

QUickly finishing a can of soda does less damage to your teeth than sipping on it throughout the day, because the acid created by mouth bacteria stays in the mouth around 20 minutes after eating or drinking. Every time you eat carbohydrates, sugary food, or take a sip of soda, you restart the plaque-production clock and increase your risk of developing cavities.

In addition to a high sugar content, soft drinks and sports drinks also contain phosphoric and citric acids that erode tooth enamel. Eating or drinking highly acidic foods — even healthy foods, like citrus fruits — can lead to tooth decay if oral hygiene is not properly maintained.

None of us can totally avoid eating all carbohydrates, sugars, or acidic foods all of the time but we can limit the amount and more importantly the frequency of consumption. And we can also work on effective and regular plaque control by using oral hygiene aids to remove the plaque colonies which are forming constantly on the teeth.

Dr. Britten recommends brushing at least twice a day with a power toothbrush for two minutes as well as cleaning between the teeth at least once a day using floss or other interdental aids. For more information on effective oral hygiene and plaque control visit our website atwww.brittenperio.com or call the office at 727-586-2681.#wednesdaywellness