Posts for: April, 2020
Invisalign treatment can give you the brand new, perfectly straight smile you’ve always wanted.
Are you tired of hiding your smile in pictures or around others? Are crooked teeth, crowding or gaps between teeth keeping you from the smile you deserve? If you are a teen or adult who is fed up with feeling self-conscious about their teeth, our New Hope, PA, dentist Dr. Dawn Rickert offers Invisalign, a discreet way for older patients to get a straighter smile.
What is Invisalign?
For many of our older teen and adult patients, the major issue they are concerned about is people seeing their braces. They don’t want braces in their senior photos or wedding pictures and our New Hope, PA, family dentist understands these concerns, which is why Invisalign is a great option.
Invisalign is a metal-free orthodontic alternative that uses clear aligners that are customized to fit over your teeth. Each aligner is made from a medical-grade thermoplastic that is completely transparent.
What makes Invisalign different from other types of braces?
Invisalign has become popular because the aligners are nearly invisible when they are worn over teeth. This means that you can easily take photos with your aligners in and you won’t even notice them. Since each set of aligners is custom-made to fit your smile, they are also comfortable and easy to wear.
Another benefit is that aligners are removable and should be removed prior to eating and caring for your teeth. Removable braces mean that you won’t have to alter your current oral care routine or change your diet to accommodate your braces. Most people find that Invisalign fits right into their lifestyle.
Getting Invisalign and Dental Care Right Now
We want our patients to know that during this COVID-19 pandemic that we are taking all the necessary precautions to ensure that our patients are safe and healthy when they come into our office. This includes following the CDC’s cleaning and sterilization guidelines and using disposal, one-time-use products when necessary.
To schedule an appointment with our New Hope, PA, dentist Dr. Dawn Rickert call New Hope Cosmetic & Family Dentistry today at (215) 862-2525.
Each year doctors treat about 150,000 new cases of severe facial pain. If you're one of those people, you don't have to suffer—there are ways to gain relief from these painful episodes.
Those recurring episodes are known as trigeminal neuralgia (TN). As the name implies, the source of the pain are the trigeminal nerves, which originate in the brain stem and extend on either side of the face. Each is divided into three branches (hence the "tri" in trigeminal) that serve the upper, middle and lower parts of the face and jaw.
TN can involve one or more of these branches, resulting in mild to severe pain that can last for several seconds. Jaw movements like chewing or speaking can trigger an episode, as well as a light touch to the face.
There are various proposed causes for TN, including links with inflammatory disorders like multiple sclerosis, which damages the insulating sheathing around nerve cells. The most common cause, though, appears to be a blood vessel pressing against the nerve. The compression causes hypersensitivity in that area of the nerve so that it transmits pain at the slightest sensation.
Other conditions like jaw joint pain disorders (TMD) or a dental abscess can cause similar pain symptoms, so it's important to get an accurate diagnosis. If your doctor does identify your condition as TN, you may then need a comprehensive approach to treatment involving a team of care providers, including your dentist.
For the most part, TN can be managed, beginning with the most conservative approach to gain relief, often with medications to block the nerve's pain signals to the brain or decrease abnormal nerve firings. If that proves insufficient, though, more intensive treatments are available.
One possible treatment for an impinging blood vessel is a microsurgical procedure to expose the affected nerve and relocate the vessel. While this can be effective, the surgery does carry some risk of facial numbness or decreased hearing. If the risks are too high for conventional surgery, an alternative procedure uses a precise beam of high-dose radiation to relieve the pressure from the vessel.
The most important thing to know about TN, though, is that it is possible to control it and relieve future pain episodes. If you're experiencing these symptoms, see your dentist or doctor for an exam and accurate diagnosis.
If you would like more information on trigeminal neuralgia, 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 “Trigeminal Neuralgia: A Nerve Disorder that Causes Facial Pain.”
Is a “teeth crush” a thing? According to a recent confession by Lucy Hale, it is. Hale, who has played Aria Montgomery for seven seasons on the hit TV show Pretty Little Liars, admitted her fascination with other people's smiles to Kelly Clarkson during a recent episode of the latter's talk show (Clarkson seems to share her obsession).
Among Hale's favorite “grills”: rappers Cardi B and Post Malone, Julia Roberts, Drake and Madonna. Although some of their smiles aren't picture-perfect, Hale admires how the person makes it work for them: “I love when you embrace what makes you quirky.”
So, how can you make your smile more attractive, but uniquely you? Here are a few ways to gain a smile that other people just might “crush” over.
Keep it clean. Actually, one of the best things you can do to maintain an attractive smile is to brush and floss daily to remove bacterial plaque. Consistent oral hygiene offers a “twofer”: It removes the plaque that can dull your teeth, and it lowers your risk of dental disease that could also foul up your smile. In addition to your daily oral hygiene routine at home, professional teeth cleanings are necessary to get at those hard-to-reach spots you miss with your toothbrush and floss and to remove tartar (calculus) that requires the use of special tools.
Brighten things up. Even with dedicated hygiene, teeth may still yellow from staining and aging. But teeth-whitening techniques can put the dazzle back in your smile. In just one visit to the dental office, it's possible to lighten teeth by up to ten shades for a difference you can see right away. It's also possible to do teeth whitening at home over several weeks using custom-made trays that fit over your teeth and safe whitening solutions that we provide.
Hide tooth flaws. Chipped, stained or slightly gapped teeth can detract from your smile. But bonding or dental veneers, thin layers of porcelain custom-made for your teeth, mask those unsightly blemishes. Minimally invasive, these techniques can turn a lackluster smile into one that gets noticed.
Straighten out your smile. Although the main goal for orthodontically straightening teeth is to improve dental health and function, it can also give you a more attractive smile. And even if you're well past your teen years, it's not too late: As long as you're reasonably healthy, you can straighten a crooked smile with braces or clear aligners at any age.
Sometimes a simple technique or procedure can work wonders, but perhaps your smile could benefit more from a full makeover. If this is your situation, talk to us about a more comprehensive smile renovation. Treatments like dental implants for missing teeth combined with various tooth replacement options, crown lengthening for gummy smiles or tooth extractions to help orthodontics can be combined to completely transform your smile.
There's no need to put up with a smile that's less than you want it to be. Whether a simple cosmetic procedure or a multi-specialty makeover, you can have a smile that puts the “crush” in “teeth crush.”
If you would like more information about cosmetic measures for enhancing your smile, please contact us or schedule a consultation. To learn more, read the Dear Doctor magazine articles “Teeth Whitening” and “Porcelain Veneers.”
How Botox from your dentist in New Hope, PA, can help with jaw pain
If you clench your teeth because of stress, you are not alone. In fact, teeth clenching or night grinding is one of the main reasons why people seek out treatment for jaw pain. The good news is, your dentist can help with jaw or facial pain associated with clenching and grinding.
Dr. Dawn M. Rickert at New Hope Cosmetic & Family Dentistry in New Hope, PA, offers several effective treatments for clenching and grinding, including Botox, to help with jaw pain.
So how do you know if you have a clenching or grinding problem? You may experience:
- Jaw pain that can radiate into your face or head
- Chronic aching or throbbing pain in your teeth
- Increased tooth wear and cold sensitivity in your teeth
- Jaw stiffness and tightness, especially in the morning
Teeth clenching or grinding your teeth at night can be the result of increased stress. It can also be the result of a poorly-aligned bite, causing increased wear on your teeth. If you are experiencing any of the signs or symptoms listed above, you should speak with your dentist about treatments for jaw clenching. Grinding and clenching that goes untreated can result in permanent damage to your temporomandibular joint, or TMJ, which can lead to lifelong painful symptoms.
A common treatment for clenching and grinding is wearing a nightguard that is custom-made for your jaws. The nightguard helps prevent wear and damage to your teeth, but you may need more than just a nightguard. You may need relief from pain.
Botox can provide relief from the pain and stiffness associated with clenching or grinding your teeth. In fact, Botox is also highly recommended for the treatment of:
- TMJ pain
- Facial pain
Botox works by temporarily “freezing” the muscles and nerves at the injection site, providing superb pain relief. After Botox treatment, you will experience symptom relief for 3 to 4 months. Regular Botox treatments every few months can provide long-term pain control and may retrain muscles to relax for a longer period.
If you are clenching or grinding your teeth, you can’t stop on your own. Get some help and relief from your dentist. To find out more about Botox and other treatments for teeth clenching, call Dr. Dawn M. Rickert of New Hope Cosmetic & Family Dentistry in New Hope, PA, at (215) 862-2525. Call today!
Chronic jaw pain can be an unnerving experience that drains the joy out of life. And because of the difficulty in controlling it patients desperate for relief may tread into less-tested treatment waters.
Temporomandibular disorders (TMDs) are a group of conditions affecting the joints connecting the lower jaw to the skull and their associated muscles and tendons. The exact causes are difficult to pinpoint, but stress, hormones or teeth grinding habits all seem to be critical factors for TMD.
The most common way to treat TMD is with therapies used for other joint-related problems, like exercise, thermal (hot and cold) applications, physical therapy or medication. Patients can also make diet changes to ease jaw function or, if appropriate, wear a night guard to reduce teeth grinding.
These conservative, non-invasive therapies seem to provide the widest relief for the most people. But this approach may have limited success with some patients, causing them to consider a more radical treatment path like jaw surgery. Unfortunately, surgical results haven't been as impressive as the traditional approach.
In recent years, another treatment candidate has emerged outside of traditional physical therapy, but also not as invasive as surgery: Botox injections. Botox is a drug containing botulinum toxin type A, which can cause muscle paralysis. Mostly used in tiny doses to cosmetically soften wrinkles, Botox injections have been proposed to paralyze certain jaw muscles to ease TMD symptoms.
Although this sounds like a plausible approach, Botox injections have some issues that should give prospective patients pause. First, Botox can only relieve symptoms temporarily, requiring repeated injections with increasingly stronger doses. Injection sites can become painful, bruised or swollen, and patients can suffer headaches. At worst, muscles that are repeatedly paralyzed may atrophy, causing among other things facial deformity.
The most troubling issue, though, is a lack of strong evidence (outside of a few anecdotal accounts) that Botox injections can effectively relieve TMD symptoms. As such, the federal Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has yet to approve its use for TMD treatment.
The treatment route most promising for managing TMD remains traditional physical and drug therapies, coupled with diet and lifestyle changes. It can be a long process of trial and error, but your chances for true jaw pain relief are most likely down this well-attested road.
If you would like more information on treating jaw disorders, 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 “Botox Treatment for TMJ Pain.”