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Posts for: April, 2015


Nolan Gould, who plays Luke on the popular TV comedy Modern Family, has beautiful, straight teeth. But in an exclusive interview with Dear Doctor magazine, the young actor said it wasn't always that way.

“My teeth used to be pretty messed up,” Nolan said. “I had two extra teeth when I was born. They hadn't come out (erupted) yet. And all the other teeth that were already there were starting to point backwards because it was getting so crowded in my mouth. At about the age of 7, I started going to the orthodontist to get my teeth checked.”

Age 7 may sound early for a visit to the orthodontist, but in fact that's exactly the age we recommend for a first orthodontic evaluation. Malocclusions (bad bites) often become noticeable around this time, as the child's permanent (adult) teeth erupt. We might already be able to see evidence of the following problems: crowding, too much space between teeth, protruding teeth, extra or missing teeth, and sometimes problems with jaw growth. So even if your child is too young for braces, it is not necessarily too early for an orthodontic evaluation.

This type of exam can spot subtle problems with jaw growth and emerging teeth while some baby teeth are still present. Early detection of orthodontic problems makes it easier to correct those problems in the long run. Waiting until all of the permanent teeth are in, or until facial growth is nearly complete, may make correction more difficult or even impossible. That's why the American Association of Orthodontists recommends that all children get a check-up with an orthodontist no later than age 7.

Orthodontic treatment itself usually begins between ages 7 and 14. Therapy that begins while a child is still growing, often referred to as “interceptive orthodontics,” helps produce optimal results. In Nolan's case, an early orthodontic evaluation allowed his orthodontist enough time to plan the most effective treatment. Nolan's two extra teeth were removed before they had a chance to push his other teeth even further out of alignment, and he was given orthodontic appliances which fit behind the teeth.

“You can remove them, which is really good for acting, especially because you can't see them. I can wear them 24/7 and nobody will ever notice.”

One thing that is noticeable, however, is Nolan's perfectly aligned smile!

If you would like to learn more about improving tooth alignment with orthodontics, please contact us to schedule an appointment for a consultation. To read Dear Doctor's entire interview with Nolan Gould, please see “Nolan Gould.” Dear Doctor also has more on an “Early Orthodontic Evaluation.”

By Birkdale Dental
April 17, 2015
Category: Dental Procedures
Tags: dental implants  

Dentures Dental implants are a long-term investment that pays off very well.

With their convenience and realistic appearance, dental implants have become the preferred way to restore your smile, for both dentists and recipients alike. However, they are still relatively new and many patients still have questions for Dr. Michael Wing about their advantages.

The Denture Dilemma

For hundreds of years, removable dentures and partials were the only option for people who wanted to replace one or more missing teeth. In that time, dentures gained a well-deserved reputation for being uncomfortable and unnatural-looking, living up to the moniker of "false teeth." Today, many people compare the costs of dental implants versus dentures and question the difference in price.

It's true: dentures and partials are generally cheaper. However, you tend to get what you pay for. With all the removal, cleaning, soaking, and repositioning, dentures are high-maintenance restorations. They are also restrictive on certain foods both in and out of your mouth. Made of porcelain, dentures are very fragile. One false move at the sink and the entire appliance could need costly repairs. They also require extra visits to your Huntersville dentist's office for resizing as the jawbone beneath them deteriorates from a lack of stability.

Illuminating Implants

While the initial cost of dental implants is more than that of dentures, their convenience, durability and contribution to your oral health is invaluable. Once the post of the implant is integrated within your jawbone, it will provide much-needed support in the pockets previously occupied by the roots of your teeth. The top of the implant, called the crown, also provides reinforcement for the teeth on either side of it by preventing shifting into the empty spaces. Best of all, the implant looks and functions like a natural tooth, allowing you to eat, talk, and smile effortlessly. Regular dental checkups and good oral hygiene are the only instructions that your Huntersville dentist will prescribe.

Your dental implant can last decades, even a lifetime with proper care. Starting the journey to beautiful, comfortable, low-maintenance restorations is as easy as calling Birkdale Dental today.


Although dental implants are best known as single tooth replacements, they can actually play a role in multiple or complete tooth loss (edentulism) restorations. While replacing multiple teeth with individual implants is quite expensive, there’s another way to incorporate them in a restoration at much less cost — as supports for bridges.

In this case, only a few strategically placed implants are needed to support restorations of multiple crowns fused together into a single unit. Implant-based bridges consist of two main types: the first type is a fixed bridge, which is permanently attached to the implants and can’t be removed by the patient. It’s often the preferred treatment for patients who’ve lost most or all of their teeth but have not yet experienced significant bone loss in the jaw.

This choice, however, may not be the best option for patients with significant bone loss. In these cases, there’s a second type of fixed bridge: an implant-supported fixed denture. This type of fixed denture provides support for the lost bone support of the lips and cheeks. If a fixed bridge is not possible due to finances or inadequate bone support to place 4 to 6 implants, a removable denture (also known as an overdenture) that’s supported and held in place by implants is the next best alternative. Unlike a fixed bridge, an overdenture can be removed by the patient for cleaning purposes, and will require less investment than a fixed bridge.

For people with bone loss, the overdenture does more than restore chewing and speech function. Because bone loss can diminish support of the facial structures — actually shorten the distance between the chin and the tip of the nose — an overdenture provides additional bulk to support these structures to improve appearance. Depending on what the patient needs for facial support, overdentures for the upper jaw can be designed as “full palates,” meaning the denture plastic completely covers the upper jaw palate, or open in which the plastic doesn’t completely cover the palate.

Besides the condition of your teeth, gums and bone, your own personal preferences and financial ability will also play a role in which option is best for you. After considering all these factors, we can recommend which of these types of implant-based restorations will fit your needs. With either bridge, fixed or removable, you’ll certainly benefit from the improvement to both your mouth function and your smile.

If you would like more information on implant-supported bridges, 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 “Fixed vs. Removable.”