Westfield's Dental Department

Posts for: August, 2016

By Kenneth Krause, DMD
August 24, 2016
Category: Dental Procedures
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Fans of the primetime TV show The Middle were delighted to see that high school senior Sue, played by Eden Sher, finally got her braces off at the start of Season 6. But since this popular sitcom wouldn’t be complete without some slapstick comedy, this happy event is not without its trials and tribulations: The episode ends with Sue’s whole family diving into a dumpster in search of the teen’s lost retainer. Sue finds it in the garbage and immediately pops it in her mouth. But wait — it doesn’t fit, it’s not even hers!

If you think this scenario is far-fetched, guess again. OK, maybe the part about Sue not washing the retainer upon reclaiming it was just a gag (literally and figuratively), but lost retainers are all too common. Unfortunately, they’re also expensive to replace — so they need to be handled with care. What’s the best way to do that? Retainers should be brushed daily with a soft toothbrush and liquid soap (dish soap works well), and then placed immediately back in your mouth or into the case that came with the retainer. When you are eating a meal at a restaurant, do not wrap your retainer in a napkin and leave it on the table — this is a great way to lose it! Instead, take the case with you, and keep the retainer in it while you’re eating. When you get home, brush your teeth and then put the retainer back in your mouth.

If you do lose your retainer though, let us know right away. Retention is the last step of your orthodontic treatment, and it’s extremely important. You’ve worked hard to get a beautiful smile, and no one wants to see that effort wasted. Yet if you neglect to wear your retainer as instructed, your teeth are likely to shift out of position. Why does this happen?

As you’ve seen firsthand, teeth aren’t rigidly fixed in the jaw — they can be moved in response to light and continuous force. That’s what orthodontic appliances do: apply the right amount of force in a carefully controlled manner. But there are other forces at work on your teeth that can move them in less predictable ways. For example, normal biting and chewing can, over time, cause your teeth to shift position. To get teeth to stay where they’ve been moved orthodontically, new bone needs to form around them and anchor them where they are. That will happen over time, but only if they are held in place with a retainer. That’s why it is so important to wear yours as directed — and notify us immediately if it gets lost.

And if ever you do have to dig your retainer out of a dumpster… be sure to wash it before putting in in your mouth!

If you would like more information on retainers, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can learn more in the Dear Doctor magazine articles “The Importance of Orthodontic Retainers” and “Why Orthodontic Retainers?


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Removing a problem tooth (extraction) is a common dental procedure. But not all extractions are alike — depending on the type of tooth, its location and extenuating circumstances, you may need an oral surgeon to perform it.

Fortunately, that's not always the case. Teeth with straight or cone-shaped roots, like an upper front tooth, have a fairly straight removal path. A general dentist first carefully manipulates the tooth loose from the periodontal ligament fibers that help hold it in place (experienced dentists, in fact, develop a “feel” for this process). Once it's loosened from the fibers it's a simple motion to remove the tooth.

But as mentioned before, a “simple extraction” won't work with every tooth or situation. To find out if it can we'll first need to determine the true shape of the tooth and roots, as well as the condition of the supporting bone. We might find any number of issues during this examination that make a simple extraction problematic.

For example, teeth with multiple roots (especially in back) may have complicated removal paths. If the roots themselves are unhealthy and brittle from previous injury or a root canal treatment, they can fracture into smaller pieces during removal. A tooth could also be impacted — it hasn't fully erupted but remains below the gum surface. It's these types of situations that require surgery to remove the tooth.

During a surgical extraction, the oral surgeon will first numb the area with a local anesthetic, as well as a sedative if you have issues with anxiety. They then perform a surgical procedure appropriate for the situation to remove the tooth. More than likely they'll insert bone grafts before closing the site with stitches to deter bone loss (a common occurrence after losing a tooth).

Afterward, your provider may prescribe antibiotics and an antibacterial mouthrinse to ward off infection. You'll also be given care instructions for the extraction site to keep it clean. Any discomfort should subside in a few days and can be managed effectively with a mild anti-inflammatory drug like ibuprofen or aspirin.

It can be overwhelming having a tooth removed. In your dentist's capable hands, however, the experience will be uneventful.

If you would like more information on tooth extraction, 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 “Simple Tooth Extraction?


By Kenneth Krause, DMD
August 03, 2016
Category: Dental Procedures
Tags: Dental Implants  

Dental implants don't just close the gap in your teeth after you've lost a tooth but also keep your smile healthy. Dr. Kenneth Krause and dental implantsDr. Katie Krause, your Westfield, IN, dentists, explain the many benefits of implants.

What are dental implants?

Dental implants are small posts that replace the roots of a missing tooth. During the first part of the implant process, your dentist places the post in your jawbone. Since the implants are made of titanium, a metal that bonds well to bone, they eventually become just as strong as your natural roots. Implants anchor a crown, an artificial tooth that you'll use to bite and chew.

Implants keep your jaw strong

Your roots don't just anchor your teeth, but also keep your jawbone strong. Roots constantly stimulate the bone by exerting pressure on it. Once you lose a tooth, your jawbone no longer receives that constant stimulation. Eventually, the bone underneath the missing tooth begins to recede and weaken. Facial sagging and further tooth loss can occur as the bone shrinks. The problem is more pronounced if you lose several teeth. Since dental implants replace your roots, they continue to provide the stimulation your jawbone needs to remain strong.

Implants reduce your cavity risk

Have you ever removed a pencil from a full box and noticed that the remaining pencils no long stay perfectly upright? The same thing can happen to your teeth if you lose a tooth. Your teeth help to support each other. When one is lost, nearby teeth may begin to drift toward the opening, overlapping as they shift. Because it's difficult to clean plaque from these overlapping areas, your risk of tooth decay may increase if your teeth move. Your surrounding teeth are unaffected when you choose a dental implant,

Dental implants make biting and chewing easy

Biting and chewing can become difficult after tooth loss. Dental implants restore your chewing and biting ability, making it easy to eat again.

Are you interested in learning if you're a good candidate for dental implants? Call Dr. Kenneth Krause and Dr. Katie Krause, your Westfield, IN, dentists, at (317) 399-9329 to schedule an appointment. Keep your smile healthy with dental implants!