Posts for: May, 2016


A traditional root canal procedure can be a “life-saver” for a decayed or injured tooth. But while it’s usually the best course for a damaged adult tooth, variations of the procedure are advisable for a new permanent tooth in a child or young adolescent.

This is because the inner pulp, the focus of the treatment, plays an important role in a young tooth’s development. When it first erupts a tooth’s dentin layer, the living tissue that makes up most of the body and roots of the tooth, hasn’t fully formed. The pulp increases the dentin layer over time in conjunction with jaw development.

Because a full root canal treatment removes all of the pulp tissue, it could interrupt any remaining dentin development in a young tooth. This could lead to poorly-formed roots and a less healthy tooth. For an immature permanent tooth, then, we would use variations of a root canal treatment depending on the nature and extent of the injury, the patient’s overall health and medications they may be taking.

Our main objective is to expose or remove as little of the pulp tissue as possible when treating the tooth. If the pulp hasn’t been exposed by the decay or injury, we may only need to remove the softened decayed or injured dentin while leaving harder dentin nearer the pulp intact. If, however, the pulp has become partially exposed by disease or injury, we would then perform a pulpotomy in which we remove only the exposed tissue and then place calcium hydroxide or mineral trioxide aggregate (MTA) to stimulate dentin growth that will eventually patch the exposure site.

In cases where decay or injury has rendered an immature tooth’s pulp tissue unsalvageable, we may use a procedure known as apexification that seals off the open, cylindrical root end of the tooth. This will allow bone-like tissue to grow around the root to serve as added support for the tooth. Although it can save a tooth in the short run, the tooth’s long-term survival chances may be lower.

By using these and other techniques we may be able to save your child’s immature tooth. At the very least, such a technique could postpone replacing the tooth until a more opportune time in adulthood.

If you would like more information on treating damaged teeth in children, 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 “Saving New Permanent Teeth after Injury.”

By Ottawa Smiles Dental
May 16, 2016
Category: Dental Procedure
Tags: crown   bridge  

Learn how to care for your crowns and bridges from the office of your Holland dentist!

Crowns and bridges provide an excellent way to restore your smile. Although caring for these dental restorations isn't difficult, there are a few things you should keep in mind. Dr. Todd A Brower, your Holland, MI dentist at Ottawa Smiles Dental, shares several tips that will Crownshelp you keep your crowns and bridges in good shape.

Be gentle with temporary crowns

One of the first steps in the crown or bridge process involves making an impression of your teeth, which your dentist will send to the dental laboratory that will create your restoration. Since the process usually takes a week or two, you'll be fitted with a temporary crown or bridge in the meantime. You'll need to make a few changes when you eat because these crowns and bridges aren't quite as durable as the permanent ones. Avoid sticky or hard foods, such as taffy, gummy candies, caramels, bread with a hard crust, carrots, nuts or hard candy, as these foods can break or loosen temporary crowns and bridges. If possible, chew on the other side of your mouth to avoid these problems.

Don't neglect brushing and flossing

Brushing and flossing is a very important aspect of caring for crowns and bridges. Plaque builds up on the surfaces of your bridge or crown if you don't brush and floss them regularly. Eventually, plaque turns into a hard deposit called tartar. Since your bridge or crown is made of porcelain, porcelain-fused-to-metal, ceramic or another material, you might think that tartar build up wouldn't cause any problems, but when tartar develops at the gum line at the bottom of your crown or bridge, it can cause painful gum disease.

It's also possible to develop tooth decay at the margins of your crowns and bridges, the area where the bottom of your crowns or bridges meet your teeth. Regular brushing and flossing removes plaque and food debris from the margins.

Use a nightguard if you grind or clench your teeth

Grinding or clenching your teeth can wear down or damage crowns and bridges. Wearing a nightguard prevents teeth from touching each other as you sleep and reduces wear and tear on your restorations.

Stay away from the hard stuff

Ice and very hard foods, such as thick, hard pretzels, can damage crowns and bridges. Chewing ice should be avoided, as it can fracture both natural teeth and crowns and bridges.

Whether it's time for a new crowns and bridges, or you're due for a dental exam, Dr. Todd A Brower, your Holland, MI dentist at Ottawa Smiles Dental, will help you keep your smile bright and healthy. Call him at (616) 399-3600 to schedule an appointment. Improve your smile with crowns and bridges!

By Ottawa Smiles Dental
May 13, 2016
Category: Dental Procedures
Tags: celebrity smiles   crowns  

You might think David Copperfield leads a charmed life:  He can escape from ropes, chains, and prison cells, make a Learjet or a railroad car disappear, and even appear to fly above the stage. But the illustrious illusionist will be the first to admit that making all that magic takes a lot of hard work. And he recently told Dear Doctor magazine that his brilliant smile has benefitted from plenty of behind-the-scenes dental work as well.

“When I was a kid, I had every kind of [treatment]. I had braces, I had headgear, I had rubber bands, and a retainer afterward,” Copperfield said. And then, just when his orthodontic treatment was finally complete, disaster struck. “I was at a mall, running down this concrete alleyway, and there was a little ledge… and I went BOOM!”

Copperfield’s two front teeth were badly injured by the impact. “My front teeth became nice little points,” he said. Yet, although they had lost a great deal of their structure, his dentist was able to restore those damaged teeth in a very natural-looking way. What kind of “magic” did the dentist use?

In Copperfield’s case, the teeth were repaired using crown restorations. Crowns (also called caps) are suitable when a tooth has lost part of its visible structure, but still has healthy roots beneath the gum line. To perform a crown restoration, the first step is to make a precise model of your teeth, often called an impression. This allows a replacement for the visible part of the tooth to be fabricated, and ensures it will fit precisely into your smile. In its exact shape and shade, a well-made crown matches your natural teeth so well that it’s virtually impossible to tell them apart. Subsequently, the crown restoration is permanently attached to the damaged tooth.

There’s a blend of technology and art in making high quality crowns — just as there is in some stage-crafted illusions. But the difference is that the replacement tooth is not just an illusion: It looks, functions and “feels” like your natural teeth… and with proper care it can last for many years to come.  Besides crowns, there are several other types of tooth restorations that are suitable in different situations. We can recommend the right kind of “magic” for you.

If you would like more information about crowns, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can also learn more about this topic by reading the Dear Doctor magazine articles “Crowns & Bridgework” and “Porcelain Crowns & Veneers.”