Posts for: August, 2018

By Smart Family Dental Care
August 27, 2018
Category: Dental Procedures

ToothacheTooth pain and sensitivity, though common enough, is not normal. It frequently signals infection or decay and requires investigation by your dentist, Dr. Orson Baek. At Smart Family Dental Care in Norcross, Dr. Baek salvages many failing teeth and relieves those abnormal symptoms with precise and painless root canal therapy. This predictable service could help you keep a beautiful, healthy smile for life.

What is root canal therapy?

It's a dental procedure named for the pulp-filled chambers inside each tooth root. Front teeth typically have one or two roots and associated canals. Large molars at the back of the mouth may have three or four.

In any case, your dentist restores an infected, heavily decayed or traumatized tooth by removing this vascularized and innervated pulp, medicating the infection, and sealing and capping the tooth. This tissue, because of the infection, typically is dead or dying and is no longer useful to the adult tooth, says the National Institutes of Health.

A root canal only takes two one-hour appointments at Smart Family Dental Care. Performed with local anesthetic for maximum comfort, the treatment renders the canals clean, smooth and disinfected. Also, the dentist uses gutta-percha, an inert putty, to fill and support the canals, and a temporary crown covers the tooth as it heals.

Finally, at the last appointment, Dr. Baek replaces the temporary restoration with a porcelain crown which faithfully mimics natural oral function and realistic smile aesthetics. In other words, your tooth will look and act as Nature intended. The American Association of Endodontists says research documents exceptional longevity for most teeth restored with root canal therapy.

What about you?

Your dentist in Norcross can tell you for sure if you need a root canal. Some signs that your tooth is in trouble include:

  • Weakened tooth structure due to oral trauma, congenital defect or multiple fillings
  • Pain with biting, chewing, or application of heat and cold
  • Throbbing toothache
  • Bad breath unrelieved with brushing or mouth wash
  • Sore, red gums, sometimes with bumps or pimples near the affected tooth
  • Foul-tasting drainage
  • Pus at the gum line

However, some patients have teeth that are in danger of extraction but have no symptoms at all. That's why your routine, six-month check-ups and cleanings at Smart Family Dental Care are so important. Dr. Baek and his professional team can detect dangerous signs of oral health problems that you may not be aware of.

Keep all your teeth

You can with good preventive dentistry and precise restorative care from your friends at Smart Family Dental Care. Root canal therapy is just one of their many state-of-the-art treatments. Call the office in Norcross, GA, today if you have a concern about a particular tooth or if it's time for your semi-annual visit at (770) 446-5700.


By Smart Family Dental Care
August 22, 2018
Category: Dental Procedures
HowtoTreattheProblemofTeeththatNeverDeveloped

About one-quarter of people have teeth that never developed. While most of these congenitally missing teeth are wisdom teeth, they can also include premolars or lateral incisors (the teeth right next to the two front teeth, the central incisors).

Missing teeth can have an adverse effect on smile appearance. But that’s not all: because each type of tooth performs a specific function, one or more missing teeth can lead to bite problems and disruption of dental function. In the case of missing lateral incisors, the canines (eye teeth) normally positioned beside and toward the back of the mouth from them may begin to drift into the empty space and grow next to the central incisors. This can result in greater difficulty chewing and a smile that “doesn’t look right.”

To correct this situation, we must often first attempt to orthodontically move any out of place teeth to their normal positions. This re-establishes the space needed for the missing teeth to be replaced, which we can then restore with prosthetic (artificial) teeth. If the permanent restoration of choice involves dental implants, we’ll usually need to wait until the completion of jaw development around early adulthood. In the mean time, we can use a retainer appliance to hold the teeth in their new positions with prosthetic teeth attached to fill the empty space for a better smile appearance in the interim.

The real issue is timing—beginning orthodontic treatment when appropriate to a person’s oral development, as well as completing the implant restoration when the mouth has matured sufficiently. There are other considerations such as bone volume, which may have diminished due to the missing teeth. At some point we may need to consider grafting to build up the bone sufficiently to support dental implants.

This all may entail a team approach by various specialties like orthodontics, periodontics and implantology. Working together and coordinating within a timely schedule, a mouth and smile marred by undeveloped teeth can be transformed.

If you would like more information on treating smiles with underdeveloped permanent teeth, 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 “When Permanent Teeth Don’t Grow.”


By Smart Family Dental Care
August 12, 2018
Category: Uncategorized
BaseballsFranciscoLindorShinesasMrSmile

At the first-ever Players Weekend in August 2017, Major League Baseball players wore jerseys with their nicknames on the back. One player — Cleveland Indians shortstop, Francisco Lindor — picked the perfect moniker to express his cheerful, fun-loving nature: “Mr. Smile.” And Lindor gave fans plenty to smile about when he belted a 2-run homer into the stands while wearing his new jersey!

Lindor has explained that he believes smiling is an important part of connecting with fans and teammates alike: “I’ve never been a fan of the guy that makes a great play and then acts like he’s done it 10,000 times — smile, man! We’ve got to enjoy the game.”

We think Lindor is right: Smiling is a great way to generate good will. And it feels great too… as long as you have a smile that’s healthy, and that looks as good as you want it to. But what if you don’t? Here are some things we can do at the dental office to help you enjoy smiling again:

Routine Professional Cleanings & Exams. This is a great place to start on the road toward a healthy, beautiful smile. Even if you are conscientious about brushing and flossing at home, you won’t be able to remove all of the disease-causing dental plaque that can hide beneath the gum line, especially if it has hardened into tartar, but we can do it easily in the office. Then, after a thorough dental exam, we can identify any problems that may be affecting your ability to smile freely, such as tooth decay, gum disease, or cosmetic dental issues.

Cosmetic Dental Treatments. If your oral health is good but your smile is not as bright as you’d like it to be, we can discuss a number of cosmetic dental treatments that can help. These range from conservative procedures such as professional teeth whitening and bonding to more dramatic procedures like porcelain veneers or crowns.

Tooth Replacement. Many people hide their smiles because they are embarrassed by a gap from a missing tooth. That’s a shame, because there are several excellent tooth-replacement options in a variety of price ranges. These include partial and full dentures, bridgework, and dental implants. So don’t let a missing tooth stop you from being Mr. (or Ms.) Smile!

If you’d like more information about oral health or cosmetic dentistry, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can also learn more by reading the Dear Doctor magazine articles “Beautiful Smiles by Design” and “The Impact of a Smile Makeover.”


By Smart Family Dental Care
August 02, 2018
Category: Oral Health
Tags: sleep apnea   snoring  
SleepApneaMightbeRobbingyouofMorethanaGoodNightsSleep

Fatigue, a “foggy” mind, and irritability are all signs you’re not getting enough sleep—and neither might your sleeping partner from your continuous snoring. You might have a common form of sleep-related breathing disorder (SRBD) known as obstructive sleep apnea.

Sleep apnea occurs when the airway becomes obstructed (usually by the tongue), resulting in a lack of oxygen. The body rouses from sleep just enough to correct the obstruction. This can occur and interrupt deep sleep several times a night, causing the aforementioned problems as well as personality changes, high blood pressure or increased stomach acid reflux. If the problem persists, sleep apnea could also become a long-term factor in the development of heart disease, diabetes or other serious conditions.

Fortunately, we can do something about it. While some may require more invasive intervention, most cases of sleep apnea can be alleviated through continuous positive airway pressure (CPAP) therapy. In this therapy, an electrical pump supplies pressurized air into a face mask worn while sleeping. The increased air pressure helps to keep the airway open.

For some patients, however, CPAP can cause discomfort like claustrophobia, nasal congestion and dryness. If that’s a concern for you, you might want to consider an oral appliance provided by your dentist.

Customized to your own individual mouth contours, this appliance is usually a two-part hinged device that draws the lower jaw and the tongue forward to open the airway. Easily adjustable, these appliances are usually more comfortable to wear than a CPAP and don’t require electricity or have the attendant noise of a CPAP pump.

They do, however, have a few drawbacks: they can disrupt saliva flow, causing either too much or too little; they may result in some morning soreness; and they can stimulate unnecessary tooth or jaw movements. For most, though, these side effects are minor compared to a better night’s sleep.

If you suspect you may have some form of SRBD, you’ll need to have it confirmed through a physical examination and possibly sleep lab testing. If it is sleep apnea, your physician and dentist can work together to help you find the right therapy to regain the benefits of a good night’s sleep.

If you would like more information on sleep apnea, 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 “Sleep Disorders & Dentistry.”