Posts for: December, 2017

By Smart Family Dental Care
December 29, 2017
Category: Dental Procedures
StephenColbertSharesThrowbackBracesPhotoforaGoodCause

When we look at those glamorous faces on TV, it’s easy to forget that celebrities—like the rest of us—often went through an awkward stage in adolescence.  But once in a while, something comes along to remind us that flawless Hollywood smiles didn’t always start out that way. Right now, that something is the hashtag #PuberMe: an invitation from late-night TV host Stephen Colbert for fellow celebs to post awkward photos from their youth.

In exchange for posting the embarrassing images, Colbert’s charity is donating to the hurricane relief effort for Puerto Rico; so far about $1 million has been raised. Also raised: many eyebrows, by the adorably dorky pictures—such as the one of Colbert himself, with a smile full of metal braces!

Like many kids, Colbert had teeth that didn’t align properly in his bite. The picture shows that several of his top teeth are in less-than-perfect positions, with noticeable gaps in between. Yet to look at that same smile today, you’d never suspect there had been a problem. That’s the magic of orthodontics.

Time-tested and effective, metal braces like the ones in Colbert’s picture remain among the most widely used appliances today. But orthodontics has come a long way since the late 1970’s, and now there are several other methods for correcting misaligned teeth, including ceramic braces, clear plastic aligners, and invisible lingual braces. The main advantage of the newer methods is that are they are harder to notice (and maybe a bit less awkward).

Ceramic braces, for example, have brackets that match the color of the teeth; with only the thin archwire visible, they’re much more unobtrusive. Clear aligners are transparent plastic trays that completely cover the teeth. Almost impossible to spot, they are worn 22 hours per day, but may be removed for eating or important events. Lingual braces are literally invisible, since they are placed on the tongue side of teeth rather than the lip side. In many situations, they are at least as effective as traditional braces.

Which appliance is best for you? It depends on each person’s individual situation—but many orthodontic patients now have choices that weren’t available in the past. And that goes for both kids and adults, who often appreciate a more “grown-up” image while improving their smiles with orthodontic treatment.

If you have questions about orthodontic treatment, please contact our office or schedule a consultation. You can learn more in the Dear Doctor magazine articles “Clear Aligners for Teenagers” and “Orthodontics for the Older Adult.”


By Smart Family Dental Care
December 21, 2017
Category: Dental Procedures
Tags: Gum Surgery  

Could you benefit from gum surgery? Our Norcross, GA, dentist, Dr. Orson Baek of Smart Family Dental Care, explains how the surgery gum diseasecan enhance your appearance or improve the health of your gums.

Cosmetic gum surgery is the ideal treatment for a gummy smile

Are your gums in full view when you smile? Gummy smiles can occur for a variety of reasons. The condition often runs in families, but may also occur if your teeth haven't erupted normally or if you've worn away your tooth enamel by grinding your teeth while you sleep. If the upper portions of your teeth are covered by gum tissue or your gums are uneven, you may want to consider gum surgery to remove the excess tissue. The surgery not only eliminates extra gum tissue, but also contours and reshapes it to improve the appearance of your smile.

Gum grafts offer a solution for receding gums

Receding gums make your teeth look longer and expose the sensitive roots. Luckily, gum graft surgery can restore your natural gum line and protect your roots. During gum graft surgery, a small amount of tissue is removed from the roof of your mouth or obtained from a tissue bank, then sewn in place over your gums. If gum disease is the cause of your receding gums, the disease must be successfully treated in our Norcross office before you can receive gum grafts.

Gum surgery restores the health of gums damaged by gum disease

Removing the bacteria, tartar and plaque below your gum line is crucial to treating gum disease. Although gum disease treatment used to involve cutting the gums with a scalpel, today it's often possible to perform the surgery with lasers. Laser light not only removes diseased gum tissue, but also attacks the bacteria responsible for the disease. You won't need any stitches after laser gum surgery and will enjoy a shorter recovery period. In fact, most people return to their normal activities just 24 hours after the procedure.

Gum surgery offers an effective way to treat both cosmetic issues and gum disease. Call our Norcross, GA, dentist, Dr. Baek of Smart Family Dental Care, at (770) 446-5700 to schedule an appointment to discuss the best treatment for your gums.


By Smart Family Dental Care
December 14, 2017
Category: Dental Procedures
Tags: dental treatment  
TreatingaYoungPermanentToothRequiresaDifferentApproach

Soon after the primary (baby) teeth begin to give way, the teeth a child will have the rest of their lives start erupting into the mouth. But while they’re permanent, they’re not as strong and developed as they will be in adulthood.

That’s why we treat young permanent teeth differently from older adult teeth. For example, a decayed adult tooth may need a root canal treatment; but this standard treatment would often be the wrong choice for a child’s tooth.

The reason why involves the pulp, the innermost layer of a tooth, which plays a critical role in early development. Young permanent teeth continue to grow in sync with the jaws and facial structure. Most of this growth is in the dentin, the layer between the enamel and pulp, which increases proportionally to the other layers as the tooth matures. The pulp generates this new dentin.

A root canal treatment completely removes the diseased tissue of the pulp. This isn’t a major issue for a mature tooth because it no longer needs to generate more dentin. But it can have long-term consequences for an immature tooth whose growth may become stunted and the roots not fully formed. The tooth may thus become brittle and darkened, and might eventually require removal.

Because of these potential consequences, a root canal treatment is a last resort for a young permanent tooth. But there are modified alternatives, depending on the degree of pulp exposure or infection. For example, if the pulp is intact, we may be able to remove as much soft decayed dentin as we can, place an antibacterial agent and then fill the tooth to seal it without disturbing the pulp. If the pulp is partially affected, we can remove that part and place substances that encourage dentin growth and repair.

Our main goal is to treat a young tooth with as little contact with the pulp as possible, so as not to diminish its capacity to generate new dentin. Avoiding a full root canal treatment if at all possible by using these and other techniques will help ensure the tooth continues to develop to full maturity.

If you would like more information on dental care for children, 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 “Saving New Permanent Teeth after Injury.”