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Posts for: May, 2017

By Kuhn Family Dentistry
May 26, 2017
Category: Dental Procedures

In her decades-long career, renowned actress Kathy Bates has won Golden Globes, Emmys, and many other honors. Bates began acting in her twenties, but didn't achieve national recognition until she won the best actress Oscar for Misery — when she was 42 years old! “I was told early on that because of my physique and my look, I'd probably blossom more in my middle age,” she recently told Dear Doctor magazine. “[That] has certainly been true.” So if there's one lesson we can take from her success, it might be that persistence pays off.

When it comes to her smile, Kathy also recognizes the value of persistence. Now 67, the veteran actress had orthodontic treatment in her 50's to straighten her teeth. Yet she is still conscientious about wearing her retainer. “I wear a retainer every night,” she said. “I got lazy about it once, and then it was very difficult to put the retainer back in. So I was aware that the teeth really do move.”

Indeed they do. In fact, the ability to move teeth is what makes orthodontic treatment work. By applying consistent and gentle forces, the teeth can be shifted into better positions in the smile. That's called the active stage of orthodontic treatment. Once that stage is over, another begins: the retention stage. The purpose of retention is to keep that straightened smile looking as good as it did when the braces came off. And that's where the retainer comes in.

There are several different kinds of retainers, but all have the same purpose: To hold the teeth in their new positions and keep them from shifting back to where they were. We sometimes say teeth have a “memory” — not literally, but in the sense that if left alone, teeth tend to migrate back to their former locations. And if you've worn orthodontic appliances, like braces or aligners, that means right back where you started before treatment.

By holding the teeth in place, retainers help stabilize them in their new positions. They allow new bone and ligaments to re-form and mature around them, and give the gums time to remodel themselves. This process can take months to years to be complete. But you may not need to wear a retainer all the time: Often, removable retainers are worn 24 hours a day at first; later they are worn only at night. We will let you know what's best in your individual situation.

So take a tip from Kathy Bates, star of the hit TV series American Horror Story, and wear your retainer as instructed. That's the best way to keep your straight new smile from changing back to the way it was — and to keep a bad dream from coming true.

If you would like more information about orthodontic retainers, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can learn more about this topic in the Dear Doctor magazine articles “Why Orthodontic Retainers?” and “The Importance of Orthodontic Retainers.” The interview with Kathy Bates appears in the latest issue of Dear Doctor.

May 17, 2017
Category: Dental Procedures

Want to know if either of these dental restorations is right for your smile?restorative dentistry

There are so many restorative dentistry options out there that it can often feel daunting when doing your own online research. When you come in for care at Kuhn Family Dentistry, our Reno, NV, dentist, Dr. Melinda Kuhn, prides herself on offering the right restorations when you need it. Find out more about crowns and bridges and how they could improve your oral health.

What is a dental crown?

A crown is a hollow, tooth-shaped cap that is tailor-made to fit over your tooth. “Why would it go over a tooth?” you might ask. There are many reasons our Reno general dentist may recommend getting a dental crown. In essence, a crown is meant to take over the outer structure of a tooth to protect it from further damage. This isn’t necessary for all teeth, only teeth that are already cracked or damaged by decay. Teeth that also require root canal therapy will often need a crown after treatment. Plus, those who hate discolorations or malformed areas in a tooth can also improve its appearance with this restoration.

What is a dental bridge?

Are you missing one or more teeth in a row? If you said “yes”, then a dental bridge may be able to solve all of your problems. A bridge is a restoration that is also custom-made to fit your mouth. It will fill the gap left over by the missing teeth and replace them with false teeth. The false teeth are supported by dental crowns, which are placed over natural, neighboring teeth. Once the crowns are placed, then the false tooth, or "pontic", can be attached in between the two crowns to restore your smile.

What are the benefits of getting dental crowns and bridges?

There are many reasons why someone should get a crown or a dental bridge. When you get one of these restorations you’ll also enjoy,

  • Getting a full smile back
  • A boost to your self-confidence
  • An enhanced appearance
  • A restoration that lasts up to a decade or more with the proper care
  • Protection against further tooth-related damage
  • Preventing other teeth from shifting into the open space left by your missing tooth or teeth

Do you have questions about getting dental crowns or bridges? Do you want to find out if you are an ideal candidate? If so, call Kuhn Family Dentistry in Reno, NV today to schedule your cosmetic consultation.

By Kuhn Family Dentistry
May 11, 2017
Category: Dental Procedures

Primary (baby) teeth might not last long, but their impact can last a lifetime. Their first set of teeth not only allows young children to eat solid foods, but also guide permanent teeth to form and erupt in the proper position.

Unfortunately, primary teeth aren't immune to tooth decay. If the decay is extensive, the tooth may not last as long as it should. Its absence will increase the chances the permanent teeth won't come in correctly, which could create a poor bite (malocclusion) that's costly to correct.

If a primary tooth is already missing, we can try to prevent a malocclusion by installing a “space appliance.” This keeps nearby teeth from drifting into the empty space intended for the permanent tooth. The best approach, though, is to try to save a primary tooth from premature loss.

We can often do this in much the same way as we would with a permanent tooth — by removing decayed material and filling the prepared space. We can also perform preventive applications like topical fluoride or sealants that strengthen or protect the tooth.

It becomes more complicated, though, if the pulp, the interior of the tooth, becomes decayed. The preferred treatment for this in a permanent adult tooth is a root canal treatment. But with a primary tooth we must also consider the permanent tooth forming below it in the jaw and its proximity to the primary tooth. We need to adapt our treatment for the least likely damage to the permanent tooth.

For example, it may be best to remove as much decayed structure as possible without entering the pulp and then apply an antibacterial agent to the area, a procedure known as an indirect pulp treatment. We might also remove only parts of the pulp, if we determine the rest of the pulp tissue appears healthy. We would then dress the wound and seal the tooth from further infection.

Whatever procedure we use will depend on the extent of decay. As we said before, our number one concern is the permanent tooth beneath the primary. By focusing on the health of both we can help make sure the permanent one comes in the right way.

If you would like more information on caring for children's primary teeth, 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 “Root Canal Treatment for Children's Teeth.”