Growing Teeth: A New Dental Frontier

 
Kids reach many milestones as they grow, including frequent visits from the tooth fairy. A series of developmental steps cause baby teeth to fall out and adult teeth to replace them. But sometimes adults lose permanent teeth from disease or trauma. Modern dentistry presents options for every unfortunate scenario, restoring full function and appearance. We enjoy techniques and materials today for tooth replacement not available in previous generations. Yet dental scientists continue their reach for new horizons and innovative possibilities.

Tufts School of Dental Medicine researchers are harvesting stem cells that grow new teeth and jaw bone. These “universal cells,” taken from inside healthy adult teeth, differentiate into tooth buds. But this intricate process of cellular differentiation only takes place under conditions that replicate an embryonic jaw. Growth hormones and nutrients must stimulate development at exactly the right times. As a result, new teeth won’t grow in a petri dish. They need a precise framework, one which the Tufts researchers continue to design.

Progress Continues

The Tuft’s team recently constructed a cellular matrix that allows successful implantation of a tooth bud into a pig’s jaw. Under their design, early adult-stage teeth develop within five months. But the transfer from pigs to humans requires significant advancements yet to come. Researchers project that humans won’t profit from these developments for another ten years. The exciting progress hints at options once believed to be impossible.

In the meantime, dental implants offer the closest alternative to growing new teeth. Titanium pieces placed into the jawbone mimic tooth roots that support life-like porcelain crowns. And research has brought major benefits to implant technology as well. Specialized coatings and modified designs help produce outstanding integration success, while 3D imaging technology allows precise planning of every case.

A Cavity Disappearing Act

Another intriguing frontier in dental research involves dental fillings that stimulate teeth to repair their own damage. Decayed parts of teeth usually are drilled out and restored with various materials. But researchers at Nottingham and Harvard University recently earned recognition from the Royal Society of Chemistry for their innovative approach.

These teams created a filling material that stimulates stem cells to grow dentin, the firm inner layer of every tooth. They’ve also demonstrated the ability to regenerate the internal nerve and blood vessel center of teeth, the pulp. This part of the tooth usually undergoes root canal treatment when it’s infected. Widespread regenerative procedures are a few years off. But these materials could revolutionize the treatment of some common dental problems.

We are excited about the promise of therapeutic biomaterials for bringing regenerative medicine to restorative dentistry.
– Kyle Vining. Fellow, Harvard University
 

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Stay Tuned

Research keeps moving dentistry into fascinating new frontiers with solutions once considered impossible. Dental stem cells open doors to future procedures that will someday be commonplace. But you don’t have to wait for life-changing dentistry: Implants and bio-compatible restorative materials now offer modern options for full function and beauty. The Kirkland Dentistry team constantly monitors our profession for developments that enhance your experience.

 


We look forward to discussing the fascinating world of biomedical research in dentistry with you at future visits!

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Teeth Whitening: A Quick Smile Fix

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In 1992, author John Gray wrote a book declaring Men Are From Mars, Women Are From Venus. Selling 50 million copies, the publication spent 121 weeks on the bestseller list and became a key theme in American pop culture. Researchers have since shown that the catchy metaphor applies to smiles, too. When women see a nice smile, they’re inclined to believe it indicates a warm personality. Men look at the same smile and perceive success.

woman-smiling-in-parkRegardless of the measure or those measuring it, your smile matters.  A gorgeous smile connects with those around us and facilitates social and career success in our lives. But sometimes a pleasant smile starts to lose its shine.  Teeth begin to dull, yellowing slowly from exposure to intense food pigments called chromogens.  Commonly found in coffee, tea, and wine, chromogens attach to the white outer enamel of your teeth.
Tar and nicotine are two of the many chemicals found in tobacco that discolor teeth.  While tar is dark, colorless nicotine changes to a yellow stain once it mixes with oxygen.  A potent discoloring mix forms with other food and beverage compounds and embeds into the enamel.  Along with natural aging that thins out enamel or a history of exposure to certain medications, a smile may lose its influence for many reasons.

A Bright Return

But returning brilliance to a smile is simple, fast, and safe. Professional whitening methods may remove years of unpleasant color and release the many benefits of a terrific smile. In-office and take-home tray systems offer the most efficient ways to break down color compounds.  But choosing the right approach and proper formulation for your teeth should be determined with the teeth whitening experts at Kirkland Dentistry.  Guidance through a whitening program makes the all the difference in the outcome.

Various factors need a little consideration before starting a whitening program.  And you may be surprised to find some teeth respond to whitening and others prove more resistant. For example, porcelain teeth won’t respond to traditional whitening and should be evaluated to consider their role in your smile. That doesn’t mean we can’t find a solution that works for your teeth.  We specialize in bringing everyone’s smile to another level!

The Professional Advantage

woman-on-park-benchAlthough teeth whitening gels are based on one of two general formulas, you’ll find significant differences in quality and strength.  We only use professional gels from reputable manufacturers, designed to be safe and non-toxic.  In addition, all gels are extremely sensitive to temperature and must be transported and stored correctly. If mishandled, even the best products will deteriorate rapidly and lose their ability to whiten your teeth. If they do, you end up wasting time and money.  We only use products from established companies with proven quality control measures in place.

Teeth whitening lifts years of unpleasant stain from your teeth and brings out the best of your natural beauty.  Or maybe you’ll find an underlying brilliance that you never knew existed!  We’d love to chat with you about your options for bringing your smile to life. Give us a call at Kirkland Dentistry to discover the magic of professional teeth whitening.

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A Simple Beginner’s Guide to Teeth Whitening

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Your smile is the first thing others notice about you. According to the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry, 99.7% of Americans believe a smile is important for socializing, and 75% of people feel that an unattractive smile could potentially harm them in their career. So, it comes to no surprise that Americans spent about $1.4 billion on tooth whitening procedures ever year. Looking to whiten your teeth? Here is a beginner’s guide to teeth whitening.

Why are your teeth discolored?
There are many different causes of discolored teeth. This includes drinking dark liquids, taking antibiotics, genetics, and not cleaning our teeth regularly.

Internally, our teeth become discolored because of changes in the enamel and the dentin. This happens when there is an exposure to high levels of fluoride, root canal issues, developmental disorders, tooth decay and their restorations, and certain cases of trauma.

What can my family dentist do to help me?
A popular option is tooth whitening gel, which dentists apply to the front eight teeth. This is a controlled, pain free method and you will see results that same day. It’s not only the fastest method, but the safest, too. You can eliminate discoloration caused by aging, eating certain foods, and smoking through this method.

Additionally, if you have serious discoloration issues, a cosmetic dentist can apply porcelain dental veneers. These are paper thin wafers that are bonded to the teeth, and can change the size, color and shape of teeth. Additionally, they are particularly helpful if you suffer from broken, chipped, misaligned, or uneven teeth.

This is a permanent procedure as your teeth are filed down, and requires local anesthesia if you so choose. They are also stain resistant, and the color can be chosen so that your teeth appear whiter. As they bond to your teeth, they help to strengthen weaker teeth.

Dr. Dave is a family dentist that offers cosmetic dentistry along with implant dentistry. If you are looking for a dentist, call up Dr. Dave and his office will help you with any dental concerns you may have!

Porcelain Veneers: Behind-the-Scenes

porcelain veneersEveryone wants whiter teeth. In the United States, patients spend $1.4 million on whitening procedures alone, ranging from basic chemical whitening trays to laser-activated in-office procedures. In extreme cases, patients can even undergo full dental replacements on titanium implants. But if you fall somewhere in between (i.e. if your teeth show some visible decay that chemical whitening can’t hide, but are otherwise healthy and strong), then porcelain veneers may be the perfect solution.

Porcelain veneers are exactly what they sound like — false, porcelain fronts installed over your existing teeth. Picture the false store fronts on a movie set for an old Western. Veneers will not only cover decay spots or badly stained teeth, but they’ll also in effect seal off the tooth from further damage.

The process is fairly straightforward. A patient receives a series of dental exams, which gauge everything from enamel strength to root health. Dental molds are taken so the veneer (or veneers) can be created to exactly match the tooth it’s replacing, including shape, size, and shade. Then a thin layer of enamel (usually around a millimeter is removed from the existing tooth, so that the veneer doesn’t protrude farther out than the surrounding teeth.

The porcelain veneers are created and bonded to the tooth, and the patient’s smile is instantly restored to its former glory. For patients who might find cosmetic dentistry too expensive at first glance, veneers can also be made from a composite resin, which may make the procedure more affordable. Be advised, however, that porcelain veneers are inherently stronger than the plastic ones, and will therefore last longer.

Porcelain veneers are a great middle ground between general whitening and full implant-based replacement. If you’re self-conscious about your teeth because of unsightly decay spots, ask your dentist about veneers, so you can stop hiding your smile from the world.

Just What Is It That Cosmetic Dentistry Can Do for You?

Just What Is It That Cosmetic Dentistry Can Do for You?
Welcome back, patients one and all, to another edition of Ask Dr. Dave. As always, I am your host, Dr. Dave, and I am here to answer your medical and dental questions.

This week I have a fun topic. This is a topic that I get asked about fairly regularly, and I have decided that it is about time I address it. So, without further ado, read on and have your questions answered.

Dear Dr. Dave,
I have been seeing signs for all of these “top cosmetic dentists” around my city and even in my dentist’s office. I do not know who or what these top cosmetic dentists could be, much less what they do. Not only that, but if I wanted to go to one, how do I find a cosmetic dentist that I can trust? If there are so many out there advertising their services, I definitely want to make sure I am choosing the right one.

Could you perhaps provide a little bit of an explanation as to what services these mysterious top cosmetic dentists offer, and point me in the right direction for finding the right one for me?
Thank you so much for your time and services,
Edna Scott

Dear Ms. Scott,
Thanks so much for asking about this topic. As I mentioned earlier, you are certainly not the only one out there who is curious about cosmetic dentistry. Before we delve into cosmetics, let us quickly go over what it is that your standard dentist does.

Regular dentists are concerned with oral health and dental hygiene. Through procedures like dental cleanings, they focus on treatment, maintenance and prevention of your overall oral health. They know how important healthy teeth and gums are, because the state of your mouth can affect the health of your whole body.

Cosmetic dentists, while concerned about those things, do nothing to treat them. Instead, they are all about the aesthetics of your mouth. They can provide dental implants, and whitening solutions such as a peroxide solution or porcelain veneers. Their job is to give you that winning smile.

To find one amidst the sea of dozens, your best bet would be to consult your regular dentist. If he or she cannot provide you with the service that you desire, at least you can get a recommendation for someone who can. If you trust your dentist with your overall dental health, trust your dentist with the person to make it look good too.

I hope that answers your questions, Edna, and those of my other readers as well. Cosmetic dentistry continues to grow in popularity as the technology improves and the prices drop. So talk to your dentist, and see if you can benefit from these services too.