My Blog

Posts for: March, 2019

By JC Duncan DDS, PA
March 18, 2019
Category: Oral Health
JamieFoxxChipsaTooth-ThisTimebyAccident

Some people are lucky — they never seem to have a mishap, dental or otherwise. But for the rest of us, accidents just happen sometimes. Take actor Jamie Foxx, for example. A few years ago, he actually had a dentist intentionally chip one of his teeth so he could portray a homeless man more realistically. But recently, he got a chipped tooth in the more conventional way… well, conventional in Hollywood, anyway. It happened while he was shooting the movie Sleepless with co-star Michelle Monaghan.

“Yeah, we were doing a scene and somehow the action cue got thrown off or I wasn't looking,” he told an interviewer. “But boom! She comes down the pike. And I could tell because all this right here [my teeth] are fake. So as soon as that hit, I could taste the little chalkiness, but we kept rolling.” Ouch! So what's the best way to repair a chipped tooth? The answer it: it all depends…

For natural teeth that have only a small chip or minor crack, cosmetic bonding is a quick and relatively easy solution. In this procedure, a tooth-colored composite resin, made of a plastic matrix with inorganic glass fillers, is applied directly to the tooth's surface and then hardened or “cured” by a special light. Bonding offers a good color match, but isn't recommended if a large portion of the tooth structure is missing. It's also less permanent than other types of restoration, but may last up to 10 years.

When more of the tooth is missing, a crown or dental veneer may be a better answer. Veneers are super strong, wafer-thin coverings that are placed over the entire front surface of the tooth. They are made in a lab from a model of your teeth, and applied in a separate procedure that may involve removal of some natural tooth material. They can cover moderate chips or cracks, and even correct problems with tooth color or spacing.

A crown is the next step up: It's a replacement for the entire visible portion of the tooth, and may be needed when there's extensive damage. Like veneers, crowns (or caps) are made from models of your bite, and require more than one office visit to place; sometimes a root canal may also be needed to save the natural tooth. However, crowns are strong, natural looking, and can last many years.

But what about teeth like Jamie's, which have already been restored? That's a little more complicated than repairing a natural tooth. If the chip is small, it may be possible to smooth it off with standard dental tools. Sometimes, bonding material can be applied, but it may not bond as well with a restoration as it will with a natural tooth; plus, the repaired restoration may not last as long as it should. That's why, in many cases, we will advise that the entire restoration be replaced — it's often the most predictable and long-lasting solution.

Oh, and one more piece of advice: Get a custom-made mouthguard — and use it! This relatively inexpensive device, made in our office from a model of your own teeth, can save you from a serious mishap… whether you're doing Hollywood action scenes, playing sports or just riding a bike. It's the best way to protect your smile from whatever's coming at it!

If you have questions about repairing chipped teeth, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can also learn more by reading the Dear Doctor magazine articles “Artistic Repair of Chipped Teeth With Composite Resin” and “Porcelain Veneers.”


By JC DUNCAN DDS, PA
March 11, 2019
Category: Orthodontics
Tags: invisalign  

Do you want to straighten your smile, but are afraid of wearing metal brackets and wires for years? If so, it’s time to rethink orthodontic Invisalign treatment. There is a new way to straighten your smile without uncomfortable, unsightly brackets and wires. It’s called Invisalign! Dr. JC Duncan in Huntersville, North Carolina offers state-of-the-art Invisalign treatment to get you smiling again.

Invisalign can fix the same flaws and alignment problems as conventional brackets and wires. It’s the perfect option if you have:

  • An underbite or overbite
  • A crossbite or open bite
  • Rotated, twisted teeth
  • Crowded or overlapped teeth
  • Poorly-aligned or gapped teeth

So, why should you choose Invisalign instead of conventional orthodontics? Invisalign offers:

  • Quick treatment, because Invisalign treatment is completed in an average of 9 to 15 months
  • Comfortable treatment, because there are no sharp metal parts to irritate your gums, cheeks, or tongue
  • Discreet treatment, because Invisalign appliances are virtually invisible to people around you
  • Healthy treatment, because you remove the appliances to brush and floss your teeth easily
  • Convenient treatment, because you can remove the appliances to eat and enjoy the foods you love

Your Invisalign treatment begins with your first set of clear, smooth plastic trays called aligners. You wear the first set for 2 weeks, and then progress to your next set of aligners which you wear for another 2 weeks. You move on to another set of aligners every 2 weeks as your teeth gradually and comfortably move into proper position. To read more detailed information about Invisalign, please visit the Invisalign section on Dr. Duncan’s website at http://www.lakenormandental.com/invisalign.html

If you want a straight smile, don’t settle for old-school, uncomfortable metal brackets and wires when you can have the comfort and convenience of Invisalign. Call (704) 948-1300 to speak with Dr. Duncan in Huntersville, North Carolina, and look forward to your straight, beautiful smile with Invisalign!


By JC Duncan DDS, PA
March 08, 2019
Category: Oral Health
Tags: marijuana   oral-health  
LegalorNotMarijuanaPosesaHealthRisktoYourGums

Proponents of legalized marijuana have won phenomenal gains over the last decade. Despite the federal government's continuing criminalization of the drug, several states including California, Colorado and Massachusetts, have voted to legalize its recreational use.

Most people are aware of the social and political controversies the marijuana legalization movement stirs. But there's another side to this roiling issue: the health effects of marijuana, particularly for your teeth and gums. What may be lost beneath the more exciting headlines about ballot initiatives is the growing evidence that habitual marijuana use may increase the risk and severity of periodontal (gum) disease.

Gum disease is a bacterial infection caused by dental plaque, a thin film of bacteria and food particles that accumulates on teeth. The spreading infection triggers inflammation, a normal bodily response to disease that's ordinarily beneficial. But if the inflammation becomes chronic it weakens the gums' attachment to the teeth. This can create voids or periodontal pockets of infection around the teeth. The disease can eventually damage the underlying bone, which could accelerate tooth loss.

Poor oral hygiene is the biggest factor for an increased risk of gum disease; thinner gum tissue (an inherited condition or related to poor tooth position) is another factor, as well as lifestyle habits like tobacco use or excessive alcohol consumption. Add marijuana to the list: there's now some evidence that its use increases the risk for more severe periodontal pockets if the disease occurs.

In a recent study, researchers with the Columbia University College of Dental Medicine reviewed statistics on the care for nearly 2,000 adult patients; a quarter of those in the study were frequent marijuana users. The marijuana users proportionately had deeper periodontal pocket occurrences than the rest of the patients in the study that didn't use the drug.

The study doesn't say that marijuana causes periodontal (gum) disease. But it does suggest that marijuana use might increase its severity. As with other substances and practices in our society, marijuana use comes with a caveat: it may be legal where you live, but it may not necessarily be good for your health.

If you would like more information on the effects of marijuana use on your oral health, 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 “As More States Legalize Marijuana, Link to Gum Disease is a Concern.”