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Posts for: December, 2017


Somewhere around age 6, your child’s primary (baby) teeth will begin to give way to their permanent set. If all goes well, you’ll notice all the front teeth erupting in the right position: the top teeth slightly overlapping the bottom and all coming in without crowding.

Sometimes, though, the process doesn’t occur as it should and a bad bite (malocclusion) may develop. You can get a head start on treatment if you know what to look for. Here are a few problems for which you should see a dentist — or more likely an orthodontist — for a thorough evaluation.

Spacing problems. Teeth should normally come in right next to each other without a noticeable gap. But if you notice excessive space between the permanent front teeth especially, this may be an indication there’s a discrepancy in size between the teeth and the jaws. At the other end of the spectrum, if teeth on the same arch appear to overlap each other, this indicates crowding in which there’s not enough space for the teeth to erupt properly.

Bad bites. Malocclusions can take different forms. In an underbite, the front bottom teeth bite in front of the upper teeth. If there’s a noticeable gap between the upper and lower teeth when the jaws are closed, this is known as an open bite. Front teeth biting too far down over the lower teeth is a deep bite and could even include biting into the soft tissue of the hard palate. Cross bites can occur in either the front or back teeth: if in the front, some of the lower teeth will bite in front of the upper; if in the back, some of the lower teeth bite outside the upper rather than normally on the inside.

Abnormal eruptions. You should also be alert for protusions, in which the upper teeth or the jaw appears to be too far forward, or retrusions, in which the lower teeth or jaw appears to be too far back. You should also be concerned if permanent teeth erupt far from their normal position — this is especially likely if the primary tooth was also out of position, or was lost prematurely or not in the right order.

If you would like more information on monitoring your child’s dental health, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation.

December 07, 2017
Category: Dental Procedures

Dental bonding has been proven to help reshape chipped, discolored or gapped teeth in patients of all ages. This Cosmetic Dentistry dental bonding, dental reshapingtreatment in Columbia, SC allows Dr. Kris O’Neill to help his patients get the smile that they are dreaming of. Bonding is a simple and cost-effective way to improve your smile in just one dental visit.

More about Dental Bonding

With the help of modern materials, the translucency, texture, and shade of the teeth can all be changed. The overall goal of dental bonding is for it to appear as if no treatment has been performed. Cosmetic dentistry in Columbia, SC, can repair any teeth to look like natural teeth. This helps patients to increase their self-confidence as their smile won’t be something they will want to hide any longer.

When it comes to small defects in the teeth, this is the best treatment option. For imperfections on the entire front of a tooth, a veneer or crown may be a better choice. Ultimately cosmetic bonding can repair damaged teeth easily and, depending on what you need, the repair can be achieved in just one dental visit.

During the bonding process, the tooth is cleaned and etched with a gel that opens up the pores of the surface of the tooth. The gel is then rinsed off before a composite resin material is painted onto the surface of the tooth. A curing light is used to harden the bonding material. After the procedure is finished, the tooth is then polished.

Ultimately, the bonded tooth must be cared for in the same way that the natural teeth are with a regular brushing and flossing routine. A bonded tooth can stay beautiful for years with proper hygiene. When you’re looking for successful cosmetic dentistry treatment options in Columbia, SC schedule an appointment with Dr. O’Neill today. Call (803) 988-1070 for your appointment.

By Dr. Kris O'Neill
December 04, 2017
Category: Oral Health
Tags: teeth grinding   stress  

Modern life can be demanding. The body helps us rise to the occasion through responses we collectively call stress.

But while stress can be a good thing, it can also overwhelm us and manifest in some harmful way: bouts of back pain, stomach ulcers or even acne. It could also trigger tooth grinding, often occurring as we sleep. And like other stress relievers, tooth grinding can be detrimental to your health long term.

Teeth-on-teeth contact occurs normally when we eat or speak, or simply as our jaws contact each other with glancing touches hundreds if not thousands of times a day. Such normal contact is beneficial because it stimulates healthy bone growth in the jaw. But if the forces created exceed the normal range as with tooth grinding (up to ten times), it can cause a bevy of problems to the teeth and jaws.

While excessive jaw motion during teeth grinding can cause inflammation and painful spasms in the muscles, the greater danger is to the teeth, which could even fracture from the high amount of force. The more common occurrence, though, is an increased rate of enamel erosion, which causes the tooth to lose vital structure and eventually appear shorter in appearance.

Fortunately, there are ways to reduce teeth grinding or its severity. The first order of business is to treat its effects by reducing its symptoms and ongoing damage. We can recommend some behavior modification techniques to alter the frequency of the habit or a night guard to protect the teeth from the intensity of the habit if you’re unable to change the behavior.

A custom-fitted night or occlusal guard, a retainer-like dental appliance made of smooth acrylic plastic is designed so that the lower teeth glide over the guard surface when grinding and can’t make solid contact with the upper teeth. This reduces the generated force and helps protect the teeth.

In the long term, though, you should address the root cause — how you’re handling daily stress. Treatment by a psychotherapist or counselor, for example, could help you develop ways to channel stress in more productive ways.

However your treatment strategy develops, it’s important to address stress and teeth grinding as soon as possible. Controlling it will have long-term benefits for your teeth and smile.

If you would like more information on dealing with stress that causes tooth grinding, 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 “Stress & Tooth Habits.”