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Posts for: November, 2011

By Dr. Jeffrey R. Wert & Associates - Family Dentistry
November 27, 2011
Category: Oral Health

We have learned that an important part of oral health is education — but more importantly, making it fun to learn so that you retain (and apply) what you learn! For this reason, we have put together the following self-test so that you can quickly access your knowledge on the subject of mouthguards.

  1. The first sport to use (and require) protective mouthguards was:
    1. football
    2. boxing
    3. baseball
    4. ice hockey
  2. Research conducted by the American Dental Association (ADA) found that individuals are ___ times more likely to damage their teeth when not wearing a mouthguard while engaged in contact sports or rigorous physical exercise.
    1. 10
    2. 20
    3. 40
    4. 60
  3. As a rule of thumb, females do not require mouthguards because they are not as physically active as their male counterparts.
    1. True
    2. False
  4. The American Academy of General Dentistry (AAGD) reports that mouthguards prevent more than ______ injuries to the mouth and/or teeth each year.
    1. 200,000
    2. 300,000
    3. 400,000
    4. 500,000
  5. Which of the following sports or activities does the ADA recommend that participants wear protective mouthguards:
    1. acrobatics
    2. bicycling
    3. handball
    4. all of the above
  6. The US Centers for Disease Control (CDC) reports that more than ______ sports-related injuries end-up in the emergency room each year with injury or damage to the teeth and mouth.
    1. 275,000
    2. 425,000
    3. 600,000
    4. 735,000
  7. Over-the-counter mouthguards are just as effective as professionally made mouthguards.
    1. True
    2. False
  8. In addition to the trauma of having a tooth (or teeth) knocked out, individuals who have suffered from this type of injury may end up spending ______ per tooth over a lifetime for teeth that are not properly preserved and replanted according to the National Youth Sports Foundation for Safety.
    1. $10,000 to $20,000
    2. $15,000 to $25,000
    3. $25,000 to $35,000
    4. Less than $10,000

Answers: 1) b, 2) d, 3) b, 4) a, 5) d, 6) c, 7) b, 8) a

You can learn more about the importance of mouthguards when you continue reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “Athletic Mouthguards.” And if you have already experienced a dental injury, it may not be too late. However, we need to evaluate the damage so that we can establish a plan for restoring optimal oral health. Contact us today to learn more about protecting your mouth and teeth or to schedule an appointment.


By Dr. Jeffrey R. Wert & Associates - Family Dentistry
November 20, 2011
Category: Oral Health

Tooth sensitivity is an issue that can range from a slight twinge at times to downright excruciating pain. However, before we continue, understanding the cause of tooth sensitivity is helpful to both relieving and treating it.

Tooth enamel is inert in that it has no nerve supply and thus it protects the teeth from temperature and pressure changes — the main cause of sensitivity. Once it is compromised, worn thin, or exposed due to gum recession, it leaves the delicate nerve fibers within the dentin vulnerable to touch, acid, and temperature change. These nerve fibers most often grab your attention when they come in contact with heat, cold, or a “double whammy” combination of both cold and sweet. They also become sensitive to touch — even the bristles of a soft toothbrush can irritate exposed dentin.

As for the causes of tooth sensitivity, one common cause we see is aggressive brushing. Yes, too much brushing can be bad for you! To be more specific, excessive, improper brushing with a sawing back and forth motion can erode the gum tissues, expose, wear, and even groove the dentin. Another cause for sensitivity can be from the destructive process of tooth decay that eats through the enamel and into the dentin.

If you are experiencing tooth sensitivity or have questions about this condition, please contact us to schedule an appointment. Or you can learn more about this topic by reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “Sensitive Teeth.”


By Dr. Jeffrey R. Wert & Associates - Family Dentistry
November 13, 2011
Category: Dental Procedures

What does the term “two-implant overdentures” mean?
For more than a century, complete dentures were the only care option for edentulous (toothless) people. As a solution, these left a lot to be desired, particularly for the lower jaw. Now dental technology has developed a better alternative that combines two strategically placed dental implants and a traditional lower denture that has been modified to fit over the two implants — thus the term.

What are the problems with traditional dentures?
The problem is that when you lose teeth, the bone that supported the missing teeth begins to shrink away. This is known as resorption, and it is the reason that dentures fitted too soon after teeth are lost quickly become loose. Bone loss happens most rapidly during the first year and is four times greater in the lower jaw than in the upper.

Why not just use dental adhesives to hold dentures tightly to the lower jaw?
Zinc, a major ingredient in most dental adhesives, has been associated with neurological disorders and may be unsafe. In addition, dental adhesives are expensive and the cost of frequent usage adds up.

Besides dental adhesives, are other health problems associated with dentures?
Yes, edentulism has been related to poor nutrition. Many edentulous people switch to soft foods with high fat content because they find healthier foods like vegetables and proteins difficult to chew.

What are dental implants?
Dental implants are replacements for the roots of teeth, the parts that are below the gumline and anchored in bone. They are usually covered with a crown that shows above the line of the gums.

What are the benefits of implants?
Most importantly, implants reduce the amount of bone resorption. Studies have shown about 75% less resorption in parts of the jaw with implants compared to areas without them. Since most of the bone loss occurs within the first year after tooth loss, it is important to place implants within this time period.

Is a complete set of dental implants a good solution for edentulism?
Yes, it can be a good solution, but it is not for everyone. Some patients, who have lost a great deal of bone support, need another solution for cosmetic reasons that offer more facial support like an implant overdenture. In addition, depending on their resources and insurance, some people require a less expensive solution.

Why does the two-implant overdenture work better for the lower jaw?
Based on differences in bone volume, density and other factors, we think that four to six implants are needed to retain an upper implant overdenture. Thus a two-implant overdenture is a good solution to consider for a lower jaw, but other options might be preferred for an upper jaw.

Contact us today to schedule an appointment to discuss your questions about dentures and implants. You can also learn more by reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “Implant Overdentures for the Lower Jaw.”


By Dr. Jeffrey R. Wert & Associates - Family Dentistry
November 06, 2011
Category: Dental Procedures

Thanks to technological advances, today there are more than 40 types of traditional or standard implants. A traditional dental implant actually replaces the root of a tooth, upon which a crown is built — the part you see in the mouth. There are 2 others types that are quite similar to standard implants. Mini implants are most like traditional implants except they are smaller in diameter. Micro-mini implants are an even smaller variation with an even narrower, more screw-like appearance. Micro-mini implants are also designed to be used on a temporary basis, thus can easily be removed. Together all of these types of implants provide us with a wide variety of options for permanently replacing missing teeth.

The following list details the types of implant restorations:

  • Single tooth replacements: As the name suggests, these implants are used to replace single teeth.
  • Multiple tooth replacements: Implants can be used to replace multiple teeth in a variety of ways. This includes acting as bridge supports to permanently replace missing teeth.
  • Combinations of fixed and removable bridgework: Dental implants can be used to support permanently fixed in teeth, bridgework or removable bridges or dentures. Their biggest advantage over dentures alone is that they stabilize the dentures and preserve the jawbone to which they attach, thus preventing the jawbone from melting away under the pressure of dentures.
  • Over-dentures: These restorations are now considered the new gold standard. In this application two or more standard implants (or multiple mini-implants) are used to attach and stabilize full dentures. Over-dentures are especially useful for tooth replacement in the lower jaw, where denture stability is often problematic.
  • Temporary Anchorage Devices (TADS): These special implants are a tool that orthodontists can use to obtain a stable, non-movable anchor for moving teeth more quickly and easily. They are small, easy to place and easy to remove once their job is done.
  • Temporary bridgework: In this case, mini-implants are used to support temporary bridgework. They are placed between permanent implants and later removed when the permanent implants have healed and teeth are permanently placed on them. Mini-implants ensure that a person is never without teeth during the process of teeth replacement.

To learn more on this topic, read the Dear Doctor article, “Dental Implants, Your Third Set Of Teeth.” Or if you prefer, you can contact us to discuss your questions or to schedule an appointment.