My Blog

Posts for category: Dental Procedures

By David G. Feeney, DDS
April 09, 2019
Category: Dental Procedures
BobbyBonesDancesHisWaytoDentalDamage

The long-running hit show Dancing with the Stars has had its share of memorable moments, including a wedding proposal, a wardrobe malfunction, and lots of sharp dance moves. But just recently, one DWTS contestant had the bad luck of taking an elbow to the mouth on two separate occasions—one of which resulted in some serious dental damage.

Nationally syndicated radio personality Bobby Bones received the accidental blows while practicing with his partner, professional dancer Sharna Burgess. “I got hit really hard,” he said. “There was blood and a tooth. [My partner] was doing what she was supposed to do, and my face was not doing what it was supposed to do.”

Accidents like this can happen at any time—especially when people take part in activities where there’s a risk of dental trauma. Fortunately, dentists have many ways to treat oral injuries and restore damaged teeth. How do we do it?

It all depends on how much of the tooth is missing, whether the damage extends to the soft tissue in the tooth’s pulp, and whether the tooth’s roots are intact. If the roots are broken or seriously damaged, the tooth may need to be extracted (removed). It can then generally be replaced with a dental bridge or a state-of-the-art dental implant.

If the roots are healthy but the pulp is exposed, the tooth may become infected—a painful and potentially serious condition. A root canal is needed. In this procedure, the infected pulp tissue is removed and the “canals” (hollow spaces deep inside the tooth) are disinfected and sealed up. The tooth is then restored: A crown (cap) is generally used to replace the visible part above the gum line. A timely root canal procedure can often save a tooth that would otherwise be lost.

For moderate cracks and chips, dental veneers may be an option. Veneers are wafer-thin shells made of translucent material that go over the front surfaces of teeth. Custom-made from a model of your smile, veneers are securely cemented on to give you a restoration that looks natural and lasts for a long time.

It’s often possible to fix minor chips with dental bonding—and this type of restoration can frequently be done in just one office visit. In this procedure, layers of tooth-colored resin are applied to fill in the parts of the tooth that are missing, and then hardened by a special light. While it may not be as long-lasting as some other restoration methods, bonding is a relatively simple and inexpensive technique that can produce good results.

If you would like more information about emergency dental treatment, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can learn more by reading the Dear Doctor articles “The Field-Side Guide to Dental Injuries” and “Knocked Out Tooth.”

YouDontHavetoLivewithaGummySmileHeresHowWeCanChangeit

A beautiful smile is a balanced smile, especially in regard to your gums. A normal smile usually shows 4 mm or less of gum tissue along with about 10 mm of tooth length. But if your gums show more than that, your smile may seem too gummy. In terms of perceived balance, this could detract from your smile's attractiveness.

Fortunately, you don't have to live with a gummy smile—there are various ways to correct or minimize its effect. First, though, we'll need to determine the underlying cause before deciding on the best treatment. And, there are several possible causes, the obvious being too much gum tissue present. Teeth that appear shorter due to wear or incomplete eruption could also make the gums appear larger.

We may be able to correct these size problems by surgically removing and reshaping excess gum tissues and possibly the underlying bone to reveal more of the teeth. We can also bond composite resins or porcelain veneers to shorter teeth to make them appear larger.

But not all gummy smile problems pertain directly to the teeth and gums; instead, it could be your upper lip moves too far up as you smile (hypermobility). Or, your upper jaw may be too long for your face, which can also cause too much of the gums to show during smiling.

With upper lip hypermobility, we may be able to inhibit the lip muscles' movement temporarily with Botox injections that partially paralyze the muscles (the effect eventually wears off, so this treatment will need to be repeated). A periodontist, an oral surgeon, or a plastic surgeon could also permanently alter the upper lip movement through a surgical procedure. Surgery may also be necessary for an abnormally long upper jaw: orthognathic surgery re-positions the jaw to the skull, which can lessen the amount of gums showing.

If your smile is too gummy, we can transform it. But first, let's find out what the real cause is with a comprehensive dental examination. Once we know, we can better advise you on the best way to bring beautiful balance to your smile.

If you would like more information on improving a gummy smile, 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 “Gummy Smiles.”

By David G. Feeney, DDS
March 11, 2019
Category: Dental Procedures

Dental ImplantsFind out how dental implants are able to replace missing teeth for life.

Are you missing one or more teeth? Are you looking for a restoration that will not just look like the rest of your teeth but also function similarly? If you said “yes” then it’s time to talk to our Matthews, NC, dentist Dr. David Feeney about how dental implants could improve the health and appearance of your smile.

What is a dental implant?

An implant is a very small metal restoration that is placed into the jawbone below the gum line. While the implant isn’t visible when you smile, it will provide a long-term and stable foundation from which to support a false tooth. Implants can be a lifelong restoration because they actually fuse together naturally with the bone and tissue in a process known as osseointegration. Once osseointegration is complete, the implant will now function in the same way as natural tooth roots.

How long does it take to get dental implants?

Getting implants requires multiple steps and several months. The length of your treatment will depend on factors such as your health, how quickly the implant bonds with the jawbone and how many implants you are getting. After all, several implants can be placed along the jawbone to support a complete set of dentures (this process will take longer than for those patients only receiving a single dental implant).

Theses multiple treatment steps include:

  • Consultation, physical exam and x-rays
  • Minor surgery to place the implant
  • 3-6 months to allow the mouth to heal and for the jawbone to fuse together with the implant
  • Another minor procedure to place the abutment, a connector that sits on top of the implant
  • Fitting and then permanently cementing the dental crown over the abutment to complete the implant

Am I a good candidate for dental implants?

If you are an adult dealing with tooth loss then chances are you could benefit from getting dental implants in Matthews, NC. Of course, our restorative dentist will need to perform a thorough examination complete with x-rays to make sure that your jawbone and the rest of your mouth is healthy enough to support an implant.

Do you have questions about getting dental implants in Matthews, NC? Do you want to find out if you are an ideal candidate for this restoration? If so, then call our dental office today to schedule your consultation with Dr. Feeney.

YourChildsImpactedFrontTeethcanbeSaved-butDontWaittooLong

Children's permanent teeth normally erupt over several years after first forming below the gum line. All their permanent teeth should come in by the time they reach early adolescence.

Unfortunately, this process doesn't always happen as it should. If the erupting teeth become crowded due to a poor bite (malocclusion), teeth still to come in may not have enough room to fully erupt. They become impacted, a condition in which the visible crown remains partially or completely submerged below the gum line.

Impacted teeth create consequences for other teeth and dental health overall. They more readily cause abscesses (a localized infection within the gum tissue) and can damage the roots of nearby teeth. Impacted front canine (eye) teeth can interfere with bite function and their visual absence mars an otherwise attractive smile.

If your child's canine teeth have failed to erupt properly, there is a way to help them fully come in if you act before their mouth structure fully matures. The first step is an orthodontic evaluation of their entire bite. This will determine if there's enough space to move other teeth to make room for the impacted canines.

If so, we would then find the exact position of the impacted teeth using x-rays and possibly cone beam CT scanning for a detailed three-dimensional image. The teeth could be in a variety of positions, such as angled toward the roof of the mouth or cheek or buried high in the jawbone. If the teeth are too far out of position the best course of action may be to remove them and replace them later with a dental implant.

If the impacted teeth, though, are in a feasible position for retrieval, we first expose each tooth through the gums with a minor surgical procedure and bond a small bracket to it. We then attach a small gold chain to the bracket that loops over an orthodontic appliance attached to other teeth. The appliance will exert pressure over several months to pull the tooth into proper position.

If successful, your child will gain the use of these important teeth and a more attractive appearance. But don't delay — this desired outcome will become much harder if not impossible to attain as their teeth and jaws continue to develop.

If you would like more information on treating impacted 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 “Exposing Impacted Canines.”

By DAVID G. FEENEY, DDS
February 01, 2019
Category: Dental Procedures
Tags: cosmetic dentistry  

How the dental team at our Matthews, NC, office can rejuvenate your look!

Have dull or misshapen teeth got you down? Here in Matthews, NC, our cosmetic dentist Dr. David Feeney wants to make sure that you have a smile that you feel proud of. Here are some of the ways we can enhance your smile through the wonders of cosmetic dentistry!

 

Tooth Reshaping

Do you have a tooth that is a little uneven or perhaps just a little too pointy? If so, the best way to even out the tooth and make it blend with the rest of your smile is to get tooth reshaping from Dr. Feeney. This non-invasive cosmetic technique involves shaving off very small amounts of enamel from the teeth to improve their overall shape and size.

 

Dental Bonding

If you want to hide a small imperfection such as a discoloration, chip, crack, or gap between your teeth, this simple cosmetic treatment could easily hide these issues and improve the look of your smile in just one visit. During bonding, our dentist will use a tooth-colored resin to cover up any imperfections on a tooth. Once the bonding resin has been shaped, we will then harden it into place using a dental laser.

 

Teeth Whitening

Are you dreaming of a brighter smile? Are you dealing with yellow stains that make you feel embarrassed of your appearance? Luckily, professional teeth whitening offers a quick treatment with visible results after just one session. Imagine getting your smile up to five shades whiter in just one hour! Teeth whitening is perfect for those dealing with dull, yellowing smiles who want to get a more radiant set of pearly whites before a special occasion or event.

 

Dental Veneers

Sometimes you are dealing with more widespread or serious cosmetic imperfections that have really taken a toll on the overall appearance of your smile. When this is the case, porcelain shells can save the day. By bonding these ultra thin tooth-colored caps to the front of your teeth, we can alter everything from the shape and size of multiple teeth to the brightness and straightness of your smile.

 

Interested? Give Us a Call!

If you want to get a fresh new look, then it’s time to contact our cosmetic dental office in Matthews, NC, today to schedule a consultation with Dr. Feeney. Dial (704) 847-1000 today, so that we can talk about the many ways we can help you get your dream smile!