Your Teeth, Smile and Thanksgiving
With Halloween now in our rear-view mirror and with the New Year approaching, it’s a good time to give thanks for what nature has given us. Thanksgiving is a time to reflect on the people and gifts we hold close.
So how do our teeth and smile fit into this?
It remains remarkable to me, even after practicing dentistry for 42 years, that our first set of teeth – our baby teeth – magically appear when we are quite young. With a tiny jaw and facial bones, 20 small teeth appear in a sequence that allows children to chew their food, breath and sleep normally.
As a child grows older, the permanent teeth begin to come in at age 6 or so, also sequentially, including the first permanent molars and lower and upper incisors. They erupt underneath the baby teeth, and as they erupt, they resorb the roots of these primary teeth, enough so that when there is little root left, the baby tooth falls out.
Eventually, 32 teeth, including four wisdom teeth, take the place of 20 baby teeth. With the growth of the bones of the face, including the lower and upper jaws, these larger adult teeth manage to fill the spaces adequately, so that the teenager and adult can eat well and smile confidently.
Unfortunately, there are occasions when this pattern is disrupted. Sometimes the upper lateral teeth are missing or malformed, and this can also apply to wisdom teeth (third molars) as well as other teeth. That’s when the skills of a restorative dentist and/or orthodontist come into play. (As seen in the video below!)
Watch: a patient born with missing lateral incisors gets a new smile!
When this happens, I will often use bonding or porcelain veneers, crowns, implants and bridges to restore a smile or replace missing teeth. With today’s materials and techniques, we try and duplicate nature’s abilities to make the restorations as lifelike and beautiful as possible. The experience, skill and artistry of the dentist and lab technician play a huge role in the success of this treatment.
Here at ClevelandSmiles, I am thankful to work with a team that averages over 30 years per person of dental skill and knowledge. Having witnessed those situations where the development of the oral cavity was slightly amiss, we are able to help nature out.
It’s our way of giving thanks and giving back.
This article originally appeared in the November/December edition of Northeast Ohio Boomer & Beyond.