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Posts for: May, 2017


Although usually an orderly process, some permanent teeth don't come in as they should. In fact, they may not come in at all and remain hidden in the gum — a situation called impaction. This creates multiple problems for function, health and, in the case of front canines, appearance.

Canines are the longer and more pointed teeth on each side of the front-most incisors. They help tear and cut food during chewing, a function impaction eliminates. Besides a higher risk for developing abscesses (isolated areas of infection) and cysts, they can also put pressure on neighboring teeth and damage their roots or cause them to erupt abnormally.

Dentists often remove impacted wisdom and other back teeth to lessen these potential problems. Removing canines, though, has additional considerations: besides compromising ideal chewing function, missing canines often create an unattractive smile.

But before considering removal, there's another technique we might be able to use to save the canines and actually draw them down through the gums to their correct position. It's usually part of an overall orthodontic plan to correct a poor bite (malocclusion).

After pinpointing their exact position with x-rays or CT scanning, a surgeon surgically exposes the impacted canines' crowns through the gums. They then bond small brackets to the crowns and attach a small gold chain to each bracket. They fasten the other end of the chains to orthodontic hardware that exerts downward pressure on the impacted teeth. Over several months this pressure can help move the teeth into their normal positions.

Unfortunately, this technique isn't always advisable: one or more of the impacted teeth may be in a difficult position to attempt it. It's usually best in these situations to remove the teeth, usually sooner rather than later for the sake of neighboring teeth.

Fortunately, with today's advanced restorative techniques, we can eventually replace the canines with dental implants, although that's best undertaken after the patient enters adulthood. In the meantime, we can utilize orthodontic means to preserve the open space and provide a temporary restorative solution.

Whatever route taken, these teeth don't have to become a source of problems, especially for your appearance. Whether through orthodontics or restorative dentistry, impacted canines don't have to ruin your smile.

If you would like more information on various orthodontic procedures, 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 “Exposing Impacted Canines.”


Cavities can happen even before a baby has his first piece of candy. This was the difficult lesson actor David Ramsey of the TV shows Arrow and Dexter learned when his son DJ’s teeth were first emerging.

“His first teeth came in weak,” Ramsey recalled in a recent interview. “They had brown spots on them and they were brittle.” Those brown spots, he said, quickly turned into cavities. How did this happen?

Ramsey said DJ’s dentist suspected it had to do with the child’s feedings — not what he was being fed but how. DJ was often nursed to sleep, “so there were pools of breast milk that he could go to sleep with in his mouth,” Ramsey explained.

While breastfeeding offers an infant many health benefits, problems can occur when the natural sugars in breast milk are left in contact with teeth for long periods.  Sugar feeds decay-causing oral bacteria, and these bacteria in turn release tooth-eroding acids. The softer teeth of a young child are particularly vulnerable to these acids; the end result can be tooth decay.

This condition, technically known as “early child caries,” is referred to in laymen’s terms as “baby bottle tooth decay.” However, it can result from nighttime feedings by bottle or breast. The best way to prevent this problem is to avoid nursing babies to sleep at night once they reach the teething stage; a bottle-fed baby should not be allowed to fall asleep with anything but water in their bottle or “sippy cup.”

Here are some other basics of infant dental care that every parent should know:

  • Wipe your baby’s newly emerging teeth with a clean, moist washcloth after feedings.
  • Brush teeth that have completely grown in with a soft-bristled, child-size toothbrush and a smear of fluoride toothpaste no bigger than a grain of rice.
  • Start regular dental checkups by the first birthday.

Fortunately, Ramsey reports that his son is doing very well after an extended period of professional dental treatments and parental vigilance.

“It took a number of months, but his teeth are much, much better,” he said. “Right now we’re still helping him and we’re still really on top of the teeth situation.”

If you would like more information on dental care for babies and toddlers, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can also learn more by reading the Dear Doctor magazine articles “The Age One Dental Visit” and “Dentistry & Oral Health for Children.”

May 11, 2017
Category: Dental Procedures

The goal of restorative dentistry is to fix up your smile using custom dental devices and treatments. When there’s a dental issue, the ideal dental crownssolution is to preserve your original teeth and make them stronger. Learn more crowns and bridges, two popular restorative dental treatments that are offered at JC Duncan DDS, PA in Huntersville, NC.

Dental Crowns
A crown is a tooth covering that’s bonded to the outer surface of your tooth to give it strength and protect it from damage. The inside of the crown is shaped perfectly to cover your natural tooth after some enamel has been removed. The outside of the crown is indistinguishable from the rest of your teeth in its shade, size, shape and contour. Whenever the enamel of the tooth is damaged but the root of the tooth is still healthy, there’s a good chance that a dental crown will be the ideal solution.

When your problem is one or two missing teeth, a dental bridge is one possible fix. A bridge is a device that is made with two crowns on either side and one or two whole replacement teeth positioned at the center. The crowns keep the new teeth anchored in place so that you can chew your food and smile without a second thought. As is the case with crowns, your Huntersville dentist can design bridges that look just like the rest of your teeth. 

Who Is a Candidate for Crowns or Bridges?
Remember that in order to get a crown or bridge, you must have one or more teeth that have healthy, strong roots. If the root isn’t strong, the appliance will only be a very temporary fix to a more complicated problem. It’s also important that your gums are free from disease—if you have a problem with gum disease, periodontal therapy or bone grafting may be recommended in advance of a crown or bridge installation.

Talk to Your Dentist
If you think that crowns or bridges may be right for you, get confirmation from Dr. JC Duncan at his Huntersville, NC dentist office. Call the office at (704) 948-1300 today to schedule an appointment.