My Blog

Posts for: March, 2019

By Brenna Hamrick-Stotts, DDS, Inc.
March 21, 2019
Category: Oral Health
NBAPlayersInjuryPointsOutNeedforMouthguards

Basketball isn't a contact sport—right? Maybe once upon a time that was true… but today, not so much. Just ask New York Knicks point guard Dennis Smith Jr. While scrambling for a loose ball in a recent game, Smith's mouth took a hit from an opposing player's elbow—and he came up missing a big part of his front tooth. It's a type of injury that has become common in this fast-paced game.

Research shows that when it comes to dental damage, basketball is a leader in the field. In fact, one study published in the Journal of the American Dental Association (JADA) found that intercollegiate athletes who play basketball suffered a rate of dental injuries several times higher than those who played baseball, volleyball or track—even football!

Part of the problem is the nature of the game: With ten fast-moving players competing for space on a small court, collisions are bound to occur. Yet football requires even closer and more aggressive contact. Why don't football players suffer as many orofacial (mouth and face) injuries?

The answer is protective gear. While football players are generally required to wear helmets and mouth guards, hoopsters are not. And, with a few notable exceptions (like Golden State Warriors player Stephen Curry), most don't—which is an unfortunate choice.

Yes, modern dentistry offers many different options for a great-looking, long lasting tooth restoration or replacement. Based on each individual's situation, it's certainly possible to restore a damaged tooth via cosmetic bonding, veneers, bridgework, crowns, or dental implants. But depending on what's needed, these treatments may involve considerable time and expense. It's better to prevent dental injuries before they happen—and the best way to do that is with a custom-made mouthguard.

Here at the dental office we can provide a high-quality mouthguard that's fabricated from an exact model of your mouth, so it fits perfectly. Custom-made mouthguards offer effective protection against injury and are the most comfortable to wear; that's vital, because if you don't wear a mouthguard, it's not helping. Those "off-the-rack" or "boil-and-bite" mouthguards just can't offer the same level of comfort and protection as one that's designed and made just for you.

Do mouthguards really work? The same JADA study mentioned above found that when basketball players were required to wear mouthguards, the injury rate was cut by more than half! So if you (or your children) love to play basketball—or baseball—or any sport where there's a danger of orofacial injury—a custom-made mouthguard is a good investment in your smile's future.

If you would like more information about custom-made athletic mouthguards, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can learn more by reading the Dear Doctor magazine articles “Athletic Mouthguards” and “An Introduction to Sports Injuries & Dentistry.”


By Brenna Hamrick-Stotts, DDS, Inc.
March 15, 2019
Category: Dental Procedures

Dental Implants DiagramIf you're facing tooth replacement, you have a premier option available to you. It's the dental implant from your dentist in Redlands, Dr. Brenna Hamrick-Stotts. Her sharp diagnostic skills and caring attitude have helped scores of patients enjoy the benefits of these state-of-the-art prosthetics. Read answers to some frequently asked questions about dental implants and how they can help you.

What is a dental implant? A dental implant is a titanium cylinder or screw surgically inserted into the jaw bone where a tooth previously resided. This device replaces a natural tooth root and forms the foundation for a metal extension post and porcelain crown above the gum line.

What qualifies me for dental implants? Your Redlands dentist carefully examines a patient's mouth and jaw bone before recommending a dental implant. You should have good systemic health and possess enough bone in your jaw to accept and stabilize the implant device. You will have special three-dimensional scans to evaluate the bone. The European Federation of Periodontology states that patients should be over 18 years old so that their jaw bones have finished growing to sufficient size and density.

Is the surgery complex? No, it's really not. The entire procedure happens at Dr. Hamrick-Stotts' office, usually with simple local anesthetic. Even insertion of multiple implants to support dentures or bridgework involves a few steps and limited suturing.

Why do dental implants last so long? The Institute for Dental Implant Awareness says that dental implants last four or five decades--a lifetime, really. Behind their longevity is osseointegration, whereby bone cells in the jaw bond to the titanium implant device. This bond creates a firm foundation for the implant, and in fact, as you use the implant, the jaw bone actually gets stronger and denser.

My friend received two dental implants, and she said healing took weeks. Why is healing such a long process? Osseointegration does not happen over night. However, the results are excellent if you do not try to rush the process.

How do I care for my new teeth? Most implants require twice a day brushing and once a day flossing to keep plaque and tartar at bay. Also, see Dr. Hamrick-Stotts for six-month examinations and cleanings as usual. Your hygienist will instruct you in any special brushing or flossing techniques your particular case may require.

Can anything threaten the longevity of a dental implant? Dental implants cannot decay as natural teeth can, but implant sites may develop peri-implantitis which resembles advanced gum disease. Peri-implantitis endangers implant retention. Smoking also threatens implants as the toxins in cigarettes actually burn the soft tissues of the mouth and make bone and gums susceptible to infection and degradation.

More questions?

Get all of them answered at a dental implant consultation with dentist, Dr. Brenna Hamrick-Stotts. Call her office staff in Redlands, CA, today to arrange a convenient appointment. We look forward to helping you achieve a strong, beautiful smile. Phone (909) 793-9711.


By Brenna Hamrick-Stotts, DDS, Inc.
March 11, 2019
Category: Dental Procedures
Tags: dental sealants  
DentalSealantscanhelpPreventToothDecayinChildren

While children are less likely than adults to experience periodontal (gum) disease, the same can't be said for tooth decay. One aggressive form of decay called early childhood caries (ECC) can have a profound effect on a child's dental development and future health.

That's why dentists who treat young children often use a variety of preventive measures to reduce the risk of ECC and other dental diseases. One popular method is dental sealants, dental material coatings applied to the biting surfaces of teeth that fill in the naturally occurring pits and crevices. These areas are highly susceptible to plaque formation, a bacterial biofilm of food particles that tends to accumulate on teeth. It's the bacteria that live in plaque that are most responsible for the formation of tooth decay.

Roughly one third of children between the ages of 6 and 11 have received some form of dental sealant. It's a quick and painless procedure applied during a routine office visit. The dentist brushes the sealant in liquid form on the teeth, and then hardens it with a special curing light. It's common for children to begin obtaining sealant protection as their molars begin to come in.

With their increased popularity among dentists, researchers have conducted a number of studies to see whether dental sealants have a measurable effect reducing tooth decay. After reviewing the cases of thousands of children over several years, many of these studies seemed to show that children who didn't receive sealants were more than twice as likely to get cavities as children who did.

As evidence continues to mount for dental sealants' effectiveness protecting young children from decay, both the American Dental Association and the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry now recommend it for all children. Not only can sealants help preserve children's teeth now, but they can reduce future costs for dental treatment that results from tooth decay.

If you would like more information on children's dental sealants and other decay prevention measures, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation.


LingualBracesOfferaLessVisibleAlternativetoTraditionalBraces

We’re all familiar with tried and true traditional braces and perhaps with newer clear aligners for realigning teeth. But there’s an even more novel way that’s quickly becoming popular: lingual braces.

This type of braces performs the same function as the traditional but in an opposite way. Rather than bonded to the front of the teeth like labial (“lip-side”) braces, these are bonded to the back of the teeth on the tongue (or “lingual”) side. While labial braces move teeth by applying pressure through “pushing,” lingual braces “pull” the teeth to where they need to be.

Although lingual braces are no better or worse than other orthodontic methods, they do have some advantages if you’re involved in sports or similar physical activities where mouth contact with traditional braces could cause lip or gum damage, or if your work or lifestyle includes frequent snacking or eating, which requires continually removing clear aligners. And like aligners, lingual braces aren’t noticeable to the outside world.

But lingual braces typically cost more: as much as 15-35% more than traditional braces. They can initially be uncomfortable for patients as the tongue makes contact with the hardware. While most patients acclimate to this, some don’t. And like traditional braces, it’s hard to effectively brush and floss your teeth while wearing them. This can be overcome, though, by using a water flosser and scheduling more frequent dental cleanings while you’re wearing them.

For the most part, lingual braces can correct any poor bite (malocclusion) correctable with labial braces. The treatment time is also comparable, ranging from several weeks to a couple of years depending on the malocclusion. And, as with any other orthodontic method, you’ll need to wear a retainer once they’re removed.

Lingual braces have only been available in a limited fashion for a few years, but their availability is growing as more orthodontists train in the new method. If you’re interested in the lingual braces approach, talk to your orthodontist or visit www.lingualbraces.org to learn more.

If you would like more information on lingual braces, 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 “Lingual Braces: A Truly Invisible Way to Straighten Teeth.”