Posts for: December, 2015
We readily understand the physical costs of a decayed tooth or infected gums — pain, discomfort and loss of function. It’s much more difficult to understand the emotional and social costs of a lost smile. Without that understanding we may be tempted to view restorative solutions as a luxury we can’t afford.
But there is a definite cost to a smile that embarrasses or makes you unhappy. It can inhibit your friendships and family relations and cause you to become withdrawn from others. Your career may suffer, especially if your vocation involves networking or similar social outreach where you no longer feel free to be outgoing. Most of all, though, your own feelings about your look can keep you from pursuing the things you love or that matter the most to you.
Viewed in that light, a “smile makeover,” a comprehensive approach to transforming your appearance, is an investment in a better life, not a frivolity. Although the word “cosmetic” can mean “a superficial outer adornment,” in the dental profession the meaning is much deeper. Dentists who specialize in smile design are focused on the overall effect of their work — not only with your mouth but with your whole face.
The process begins with a complete examination of your mouth to identify your particular dental needs. We also want to know about your expectations and desires for a better smile. We use that, along with the realities of your physical condition and other factors, to develop a treatment plan. The plan may be as singular as whitening procedures or porcelain veneers applied to the outside of your teeth — or it may be comprehensive with a variety of procedures that could include other specialties like orthodontics or oral surgery. The overall aim is to develop a plan that’s right for you, and realistically satisfies your expectations.
The end result can be life-changing. Even subtle changes can alter your own image perceptions and free you to be yourself in your personal and professional relationships. In the end the positive impact of your new smile will more than offset the costs for achieving it.
If you would like more information on smile transformation, 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 “The Impact of a Smile Makeover.”
It is understandable that many people miss their biannual dental appointments. Life happens, and six months can come and go very quickly. However, when you do not give your dentist the chance to see your teeth, they cannot catch problems early. Luckily, your Sugar Land, TX dentist at Lukin Family Dentistry can keep your smile healthy and happy, regardless of how long it has been since your last dental examination.
Signs You Should Visit Your Dentist
Pain: Pain is the most obvious reason to schedule an appointment with your dentist. You should still see your dentist if your pain subsides eventually. This only means that your body has fought off the pain-causing infection. If left untreated, the underlying problem could cause further complications.
Swollen/painful gums: Inflamed gums are a symptom of gum disease. If your gums are painful, swollen, pulling away from your teeth or bleed when you brush or floss, you should see your dentist as soon as possible. Gum disease is treatable, but often needs the help of a periodontal cleaning.
Bad breath: Bad breath with seemingly no cause is an early symptom of the gum disease gingivitis. It is best to resolve gingivitis early before it leads to more serious health conditions.
Broken teeth: Teeth are incredibly strong and durable. When a tooth is broken, its protective walls come down, leaving the tooth’s root in danger. Broken teeth should be seen by your dentist as soon as possible.
Hot/cold sensitivity: This is a tell-tale sign of tooth decay. Sensitivity to temperature occurs as decay advances from the tooth’s surface to its inner layers. At this point, the cavity has the chance to infect your tooth’s roots. If left untreated, decay can cause tooth loss.
Discoloration: Discoloration of the gums or inside of the mouth could signify a more serious problem with your health. See your dentist immediately.
Canker sores: Canker sores which resolve themselves within several days are common. However, canker sores that will not heal or which last longer than a week could be the sign of a serious health condition. You should seek immediate dental care, especially if the canker sore is coupled with a fever or severe pain.
For more information, please contact Dr. Stephen P. Lukin, DDS and Dr. Mark Lukin, DDS at Lukin Family Dentistry in Sugar Land, TX. Call (281) 265-9000 to schedule your dental examination today!
Although dental disease prevention has made great strides over the last century, tooth decay and periodontal (gum) disease continue to pose a major health threat. People who’ve lost all of their teeth (edentulism) or most of them suffer the most with adverse effects on their overall health, function and appearance.
Removable dentures have been the traditional and most affordable means to treat edentulism. But even with material and construction advances in recent years, dentures can still lose their fit over time as the bone in the jaw shrinks. This happens because the bone no longer has the stimulus of natural teeth and older cells can’t be replenished at a healthy rate; the continuing compression of traditional dentures on the jaw’s bony ridges compounds the problem.
As the bone shrinks the dentures become loose and uncomfortable to wear. Among other results, this poor fit can drastically affect how you eat: studies of denture wearers have found a decrease in their diet’s nutritional value because they’re eating fewer vegetables or fibrous, “chewy” foods and more foods with refined carbohydrates and fats that are easier to eat but less nutritious.
There is an alternative, though, that might slow bone loss and provide a better long-term fit: an overdenture supported by dental implants. With this appliance, a few implants are strategically installed in the upper or lower jaw. Matched attachments securely fasten the denture to the implants. In this case, the implants not the jaw ridge and gums support the denture thereby preserving the bone.
If you’re healthy enough to undergo a tooth extraction, you should be able to handle implant surgery, a minor procedure usually performed with local anesthesia and with little to no discomfort afterward. It may even be possible to retrofit your current denture to work with the implants, but that will need to be determined during the planning stages.
Although more expensive than a traditional denture, overdentures are much more affordable than fixed restorations stabilized with implants. The difference, though, is the increase in your quality of life — for better nutrition, physical health and social confidence.
If you would like more information on treatment for teeth loss, 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 “Implant Overdentures for the Lower Jaw.”