Twice this year we have found oral cancer in our office during routine exams. This is scary. When I was in dental school, we were told that we would find one or two cancerous areas in a thirty year career. Part of our job is to examine your mouth to rule out oral cancer. It most often shows up on the side of the tongue and looks like a harmless white or red patch. It is not harmless. Fifty percent of people diagnosed with oral cancer are dead within five years. Over 40,000 people in the U.S. are diagnosed yearly. This is mostly because by the time it is diagnosed, it has already spread and is difficult to treat. Of course, tobacco, alcohol and HPV are some know causes of oral cancer but you can also have cancer in the mouth that has spread from other areas. The xray above shows a cancer that spread from the patient's kidney. Dr. Shelton took this xray after the patient complained of pain and numbness of the lip on the left side of his face. Notice the size of the cancer and how it has destroyed the bone of the jaw. Luckily, this patient can be treated with radiation and chemo. Others are not so lucky. Go to your dentist and ask if they do a cancer screening. Insist on it. Or, come to Norwood Dental Care and let us take care of it. Stop smoking and dipping. Drink alcohol in moderation. Take care of yourself. You are the only YOU you have.
Emotional stress is ubiquitous. We manage it the best we know how with lifestyle changes, medications, etc. One of the subconscious outcomes of stress and endongenous cortisol release is bruxism. Bruxism is when you grind or clench your teeth. This can be voluntary, but often it can happen at night without your knowing it. Unfortunately, the damage done to tooth structure is permanent. It can also result in damage to bone, muscles, the TMJ and cause headaches.
After reducing the cause of the stress, the primary prevention and treatment is a bite guard. This is made of plastic and customized to fit your bite. It reminds you not to grind your teeth and protects you when you do. The tooth structure which is lost can be quite excessive as in this case. You can see that most of the enamel has been worn away exposing on the second layer called dentin which is yellow and not very pretty. Even worse, dentin is very soft and is extremely vulnerable to cavities and wear.
I decided to restore this case using porcelain fused to metal crowns.
PFM crowns are strong because they have a alloy metal base to which the porcelain is fused at high temperature. This reduces the incidence of porcelain fracture. We decided to prepare the lower 6 anterior teeth from canine to canine to improve function and cosmetic outcome. The total work time from start to finish was 4 weeks. I will be making a bite guard for the patient as soon as possible. What do you think? Do you grind your teeth? Let me know if I can help. Dr. Mark Lassiter
A New Smile For A New Year
This patient has not smiled in a while according to his girlfriend. When I asked him about what his biggest concerns were he said the dark color and uneven appearance of his teeth.
After 45 minutes we were able to correct those problems and get a natural smile line. He was extremely happy with the result and his girlfriend says he has been smiling ever since!
We can do this kind of procedure quickly and relatively inexpensively. Please let us know if we can help you achieve the smile you have always wanted. Call 704-474-3152 or request an appointment on our website www.norwooddentalclinic.com.
Dr. Jon Allen in our Wingate Office has made quite an impression (intended pun) on the town. With 5 star ratings from his patients it's easy to understand why this patient left with tears of joy.
This young lady came to Dr. Allen and Crystal with a sad story about a facial injury that made it impossible to smile. In every picture or social interaction she had to hold her face at a certain angle to feel confident enough to try to smile even slightly.
Throughout this blog you have seen some transformative cases. It's amazing to me how a small amount of manipulated plastic can change a personality. Crystal, the dental assistant, told me this patient could not believe how much she loved the outcome and shed tears of joy at her new smile.
Dentistry by Dr. Jonathan Allen at Wingate Dental Care.
I work with some incredibly talented specialists. Almost all of the implants that I have placed are done by Dr. Matt Ficca of Metrolina Perio. They have two locations. One is in Charlotte and the other in Albemarle. He and his team do an amazing job at healing and improving the quality of lives of our patients.
This patient is a case in point. She was missing 4 teeth for several years and was ready to rid herself of the removable partial blues. Partials are ok but they are less than functional and very inconvenient. They can fall out of the patient's mouth while they are eating and can easily be lost. Of course, they serve a purpose and are very common but this patient was over it and ready to move into a more convenient solution.
I recommended implants. Dr. Ficca and I decided on placing implants in the central incisor location and bridging the laterals off of these abutments. It solved an esthetic option but also minimized cost to the patient. Implants are getting better and better in terms of long-term success and great esthetics. The four pictures show a before photo, one with the healing abutments, a blurry (sorry) one with the custom abutments, and a final after pic. The final delivery took me less than an hour and included a verification xray. The patient was very excited about the way it looked but I think once she sees how much better her quality of life is, she will be ecstatic. The lab work including abutments was done by Carroll Dental Lab in Kinston.
Before - This patient is missing 4 top teeth and has been wearing a partial denture for years
Dr. Ficca created these custom healing abutments to guide the healing of the tissue after he placed the implants in the bone under the gums. This helped make the bridge look more natural because of the contour of the gingiva.
Carroll Dental Lab fabricates beautiful custom Lava abutments. These are strong, tooth-colored foundations for the bridge to sit on. They are held in place by hex screws that are torqued to a predetermined force.
Below is the final result after the bridge is cemented. This is a fixed prosthesis which means it doesn't need to be removed. It allows the patient to smile, speak, sing, and chew with confidence.
In 1988 I decided I wanted to make a difference in the world using my interest in Biology and my dexterity. I loved wood carving. I never got into it as much as I'd have liked because dental school, marriage, and kids doesn't leave a whole lot of extra time but knowing that I wanted to work with my hands and create was an amazing realization. It allowed me a career that I absolutely love and gives me the ability to improve lives. Dentistry can make some incredible changes to the human face.
This case was one of those before and after situations that actually surprised ME. I am aware that there are some essential differences in photography and that the after picture is hazy. There are no modifications to the images but they came from two different phones and two different photogs. But still, even considering the differences, the esthetic improvement is profound. I think this looks like two different people! Even her smile looks more "sincere." And it probably is.
I have seen what cosmetic changes can do for a person's self-image and confidence. A little bit of properly placed white porcelain can literally CHANGE a person. I hope this improves this patient's quality of life. My dental lab techs are here in North Carolina. Carroll Dental Lab does all of my cosmetic dentistry. We have worked together for years and I have never been disappointed. We are blessed to be able to make this kind of positive change in someone's life.
Dr. Mark Lassiter
Norwood Dental Care
We have recently purchased a new x-ray system called "The Nomad Pro 2." It is a great new way to take
x-rays. It makes your appointment more fast and convenient. We purchased this to improve the patient experience by speeding up the x-ray process and reduce scatter radiation. It is safer for our staff and our patients. We have also recently added new chairs, lights, and other equipment to increase comfort and make it a better office. Our goal has always been to improve care and our patient's experience by staying up-to-date with the state-of-the-art in dentistry. Keep an eye open for more new and cool technology.
Norwood Dental Clinic is located in Norwood, NC.
*all images are used with permission of our patients. names have been changed to maintain our patient's privacy.*