Teeth made new

This patient came to me with a nice big chip in both of his front teeth, but he also wanted whiter and brighter teeth at the same time.  Before we can re-shape his teeth permanently, we had to whiten the rest of his teeth. Temporarily, we put in a quick filling where his teeth were chipped and then gave him whitening trays.

After a little bleach and a nice cleaning, he came to the office to finish the restoration of his front teeth. This was him with his temporary fillings in the lower middles of his front top teeth (Class IV MI chips on #8 and 9)
The teeth cant upward towards the middle with the temporary fillings

Notice the shape of the teeth on the bottom before we fixed them
The teeth fixed in the middle, now looks more normal and follows the bottom
lip smile line.  The other discolored composites were also fixed, pictures to
come after my broken lens gets replaced.


Oh how cute, two little silver fillings

Mandibular 1st premolar with decay in the pits

 A lot of people have a lot of deep pits in their teeth that get lots of stain and are almost impossible to clean.  Eventually, these areas will trap enough stuff that bacteria will get in there and start eating away the tooth.  We did these as small as possible to keep the tooth strong as possible.

Tooth decay drilled out
Pits filled with amalgam and occlusion checked. So CUTE. 

Mock Board Exams

Every quarter we have to take a clinical exam that mimics the REAL exam we have to take in order to get a dental license.  You have to prove that you can do a hard filling, do a root canal treatment, and provide periodontal therapy to someone before you get licensed.  
Well, here is one of those exams I happened to have my camera out for:

Tooth to be restored, radiographic decay detected

This took sure looks great, wow.  You can't even tell it has a filling in it, BUT the radiograph (x-ray) sure could tell.  It was small, but we decided to re-do this one anyway.

Decay found under the filling after it is removed
The original tooth-colored filling was removed, and look at what is underneath: a BROWN SPOT.  That spot is actually where bacteria have gone underneath the filling and started to make acid and erode the tooth. Gross.

Decay removed and the tooth ready to fill

All of the decay has been removed, and the tooth has been shaped properly to hold in a silver filling in this particular tooth.

Tooth with the silver filling
The tooth was filled with the silver material. As it hardens, the filling is shaped to look like the original tooth and the bite is checked to make sure nothing changed from before they came in.

Case by Case

 A tooth can sure go through a lot of different treatments before a "FINAL" filling or crown is placed.
First, you have to start with a tooth that shows radiographic and clinical decay around an old filling:

We gave him an injection, and then started to remove the "old" filling.

         The old filling is removed  and LOOK, there is a huge crack down the middle of the pulp floor along with some decay.  This seems to happen more times than not lately, and in order to not SPLIT the crack more, we have to put in some sort of covering that won't the tooth break apart = gold crown.
And just so you know, a gold crown is THE LONGEST LASTING CROWN there is.  Seriously.  Nothing will be here longer in this guy's mouth than a gold crown.

Next, we have to fill the tooth with something so we have a nice strong base to put the crown onto.  One of the strongest we can use is another amalgam filling.
The tooth is filled up, shaped to look like a tooth, and then the patient is sent home.  We had to wait a couple of weeks to make sure the tooth did not flare up in pain because of the big crack and the fact that we were using a drill in the middle of his tooth.

 I shaped that tooth to fit a crown and then took an impression of the tooth.  Then, in the laboratory, I make a new crown out of wax on a stone model of the tooth.  The wax is turned into gold by a very long process, and then I cement that gold crown back into the patient's mouth.  Here is the crown on the model, and here is the crown in the mouth.
Gold crown in mouth after cementation


Surgery for Dummies...

Being a dental student means you get to try all sorts of things that you would probably never do in your own private practice. In order to graduate, you must be at least competent in a wide variety of tasks and procedures that go beyond the scope of a normal "day in the life of a dentist." Even though my degree will be D.D.S (Doctor of Dental Surgery), I didn't think it would actually mean I would perform surgery. Well, I was wrong...kinda.

I did my first surgery last week that didn't directly relate to fixing teeth. In fact, instead of fixing teeth at all, we are going to rip them out and make fake ones. But first, in order for the fakes ones to be put in, we need to get rid of stuff that would stop the denturesfrom sliding on - and by "stuff" I mean HUGE lumps of bone that might look a little something like this:

Those bulging bumps with big red arteries in them are just chunks of jaw bone. Lots of people have them, maybe YOU do. Look in the mirror and find out, and then you can gross people out with them.

Step 1: cut up the gums, pull them back to expose the bone.

Step 2: take a drill and grind a channel.

Step 3: crack it with a chisel or pry it off.

Step 4: do the same thing on the opposite side, and sew it up!

This guy's teeth are quite a testament to the old adage: don't do crack. Seriously, DON'T.

Mandibular torus surgery is complete, of course not to be confused with the elusive Slow Loris.

By the way, here is what his new smile looks like after we
took out all of his teeth and made dentures for him.