McKinney Dentist Blog

Posts for category: Dental Procedures

By Stonebridge Ranch Smiles
December 04, 2018
Category: Dental Procedures
Tags: teeth whitening  

Unlike other types of cosmetic damage, dental stains and discolorations tend to develop gradually, making them difficult to detect in the short term. Your teeth may not necessarily look any different in the mirror or in pictures, but over time you may notice that your smile is not only as white and bright as it once was, but it may actually look several shades darker, or duller than you remember. Unfortunately, following a good oral hygiene routine and even going to the dentist regularly may not be enough to protect your teeth from the stains and discolorations that develop from common lifestyle factors and practices like diet, smoking, genetics, and even the aging process itself. Dr. Kenneth Sharp, a dentist in McKinney, TX, recommends professional teeth whitening treatments for the most effective and long-lasting results.

Professional Teeth Whitening in McKinney, TX

Over the counter products like whitening strips and toothpastes can help to counteract the effects of a daily coffee or tea habit to some degree, but they are not as strong or as effective as the professional grade whitening agents used by a dentist. Not only can a professional whitening treatment potentially whiten your teeth by several shades in a single appointment, they are also safer than some products which be abrasive and damage the enamel layer.

Benefits of Professional Tooth Whitening Treatments

Sometimes a simple whitening procedure is all it takes to transform a dull and discolored smile. In many cases, whiter teeth can make people look younger, more confident and competent in their interactions at work and in social settings, and improve personal confidence and self-esteem in the process.

Find a Dentist in McKinney, TX

Ready to invest in a new and improved smile? Contact Stonebridge Ranch Smiles today by calling (972) 984-1882 to schedule an appointment with Dr. Sharp.

RegardlessofWhatYouveSeenOnlineDontFearaRootCanalTreatment

With smart phone in hand, you can instantaneously find out just about anything. Unfortunately, online search results aren’t always accurate. Case in point: there’s an idea floating on the World Wide Web that root canal treatments cause cancer.

Sounds ludicrous? Yes, but like other strange ideas this one has historical roots (pardon the pun). In the early 20th Century, a dentist named Weston Price propagated the idea that leaving a “dead” organ in the body caused health problems. By his view, a root canal-treated tooth fell into this category and could potentially cause, among other things, cancer.

But concern over root canal treatment safety is on shaky ground: dentistry examined Dr. Price’s ideas over sixty years ago and found them wanting. But first, let’s look at what a root canal treatment can actually do for your health.

Tooth decay is an infection that first attacks the outer tooth enamel and then continues to advance until it infects the inner pulp. It can then travel through the root canals to the roots and bone. Without intervention, the infection will result in tooth loss.

We use a root canal treatment to save the tooth from this fate. During the procedure we remove and disinfect all of the diseased or dead tissue within the pulp and root canals. We then fill the empty chamber and canals with a special filling and seal the tooth to prevent any further infection. And while technically the procedure renders a tooth unable to respond to thermal sensitivity or tooth decay, the tooth is still alive as it is attached to the periodontal ligament and its blood supply and nerve tissue. The tooth can still “feel” if you bite on something too hard and it doesn’t affect the tooth’s function or health, or a patient’s overall health for that matter.

As to Dr. Price’s theory, extensive studies beginning in the 1950s have examined the potential health risk of root canal treatments. The latest, a 2013 patient survey study published in a journal of the American Medical Association, not only found no evidence linking root canal treatment to cancer, but a lower risk of oral cancer in 45% of patients who had undergone multiple root canal treatments.

While root canal treatments do have potential side effects, none are remotely as serious as this online “factoid” about cancer. It’s far more likely to benefit your health by saving your tooth.

If you would like more information on root canal treatment, 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 Safety.”

By Stonebridge Ranch Smiles
November 09, 2018
Category: Dental Procedures
ADifferentKindofChipShotforProGolferDanielleKang

While the sport of golf may not look too dangerous from the sidelines, players know it can sometimes lead to mishaps. There are accidents involving golf carts and clubs, painful muscle and back injuries, and even the threat of lightning strikes on the greens. Yet it wasn’t any of these things that caused professional golfer Danielle Kang’s broken tooth on the opening day of the LPGA Singapore tournament.

“I was eating and it broke,” explained Kang. “My dentist told me, I've chipped another one before, and he said, you don't break it at that moment. It's been broken and it just chips off.” Fortunately, the winner of the 2017 Women’s PGA championship got immediate dental treatment, and went right back on the course to play a solid round, shooting 68.

Kang’s unlucky “chip shot” is far from a rare occurrence. In fact, chipped, fractured and broken teeth are among the most common dental injuries. The cause can be crunching too hard on a piece of ice or hard candy, a sudden accident or a blow to the face, or a tooth that’s weakened by decay or repetitive stress from a habit like nail biting. Feeling a broken tooth in your mouth can cause surprise and worry—but luckily, dentists have many ways of restoring the tooth’s appearance and function.

Exactly how a broken tooth is treated depends on how much of its structure is missing, and whether the soft tissue deep inside of it has been compromised. When a fracture exposes the tooth’s soft pulp it can easily become infected, which may lead to serious problems. In this situation, a root canal or extraction will likely be needed. This involves carefully removing the infected pulp tissue and disinfecting and sealing the “canals” (hollow spaces inside the tooth) to prevent further infection. The tooth can then be restored, often with a crown (cap) to replace the entire visible part. A timely root canal procedure can often save a tooth that would otherwise need to be extracted (removed).

For less serious chips, dental veneers may be an option. Made of durable and lifelike porcelain, veneers are translucent shells that go over the front surfaces of teeth. They can cover minor to moderate chips and cracks, and even correct size and spacing irregularities and discoloration. Veneers can be custom-made in a dental laboratory from a model of your teeth, and are cemented to teeth for a long-lasting and natural-looking restoration.

Minor chips can often be remedied via dental bonding. Here, layers of tooth-colored resin are applied to the surfaces being restored. The resin is shaped to fill in the missing structure and hardened by a special light. While not as long-lasting as other restoration methods, bonding is a relatively simple and inexpensive technique that can often be completed in just one office visit.

If you have questions about restoring chipped teeth, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can learn more by reading the Dear Doctor magazine articles “Porcelain Veneers” and “Artistic Repair of Chipped Teeth With Composite Resin.”

By Stonebridge Ranch Smiles
September 11, 2018
Category: Dental Procedures

Emergency Tooth PainWhat your dentist in McKinney, Texas wants you to know

If you or someone you know has ever experienced a dental emergency, you know how scary it can be. What should you do? That’s an important question because the first response can mean the difference between a good outcome or a difficult one. Dr. Kenneth Sharp at StoneBridge Ranch Smiles in McKinney, Texas wants to share what you should know about dental emergencies.

A dental emergency can happen when you least expect it, but you can protect yourself and others by having your dentist’s office phone numbers handy where you can find them easily.

You should also keep a few items in a dental first aid kit:

  • Tylenol or other over-the-counter pain medication
  • Sterile saline solution for rinsing
  • Sterile gauze or tissue for bleeding
  • A small container with a lid

Trauma to the face and jaws can result in soft tissue injuries to your mouth, fractured or broken teeth, and other problems. If you or someone you know experiences these injuries, there are a few simple steps you should take.

First, gently clean away any debris and rinse with saline solution. Next, press the sterile gauze to the area to stop any bleeding. Apply ice to the area to prevent any swelling and seek out the services of your dentist.

For a loose tooth, try to gently move the tooth into the correct position. If the tooth has been knocked completely out, rinse the tooth with the sterile saline solution. Keep the tooth moist by placing it in the container with saline solution or place it between the gums and cheek. Don’t touch the roots of the tooth because it can cause bacterial contamination.

Seek out the help of your dentist as soon as possible. For more information about dental emergencies and other dental topics call Dr. Kenneth Sharp at StoneBridge Ranch Smiles in McKinney, Texas. Call today!

By Stonebridge Ranch Smiles
August 31, 2018
Category: Dental Procedures
HowtoTreattheProblemofTeeththatNeverDeveloped

About one-quarter of people have teeth that never developed. While most of these congenitally missing teeth are wisdom teeth, they can also include premolars or lateral incisors (the teeth right next to the two front teeth, the central incisors).

Missing teeth can have an adverse effect on smile appearance. But that’s not all: because each type of tooth performs a specific function, one or more missing teeth can lead to bite problems and disruption of dental function. In the case of missing lateral incisors, the canines (eye teeth) normally positioned beside and toward the back of the mouth from them may begin to drift into the empty space and grow next to the central incisors. This can result in greater difficulty chewing and a smile that “doesn’t look right.”

To correct this situation, we must often first attempt to orthodontically move any out of place teeth to their normal positions. This re-establishes the space needed for the missing teeth to be replaced, which we can then restore with prosthetic (artificial) teeth. If the permanent restoration of choice involves dental implants, we’ll usually need to wait until the completion of jaw development around early adulthood. In the mean time, we can use a retainer appliance to hold the teeth in their new positions with prosthetic teeth attached to fill the empty space for a better smile appearance in the interim.

The real issue is timing—beginning orthodontic treatment when appropriate to a person’s oral development, as well as completing the implant restoration when the mouth has matured sufficiently. There are other considerations such as bone volume, which may have diminished due to the missing teeth. At some point we may need to consider grafting to build up the bone sufficiently to support dental implants.

This all may entail a team approach by various specialties like orthodontics, periodontics and implantology. Working together and coordinating within a timely schedule, a mouth and smile marred by undeveloped teeth can be transformed.

If you would like more information on treating smiles with underdeveloped permanent 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 “When Permanent Teeth Don’t Grow.”