My Blog

Posts for: May, 2017

By Charles L. Sours, Jr. D.D.S.
May 26, 2017
Category: Dental Procedures
DontBreakItLikeBeckham

During his former career as a professional footballer (that's a soccer star to U.S. sports fans) David Beckham was known for his skill at “bending” a soccer ball. His ability to make the ball curve in mid-flight — to avoid a defender or score a goal — led scores of kids to try to “bend it like Beckham.” But just recently, while enjoying a vacation in Canada with his family, “Becks” tried snowboarding for the first time — and in the process, broke one of his front teeth.

Some fans worried that the missing tooth could be a “red card” for Beckham's current modeling career… but fortunately, he headed straight to the dental office as soon as he arrived back in England. Exactly what kind of treatment is needed for a broken tooth? It all depends where the break is and how badly the tooth is damaged.

For a minor crack or chip, cosmetic bonding may offer a quick and effective solution. In this procedure, a composite resin, in a color custom-made to match the tooth, is applied in liquid form and cured (hardened) with a special light. Several layers of bonding material can be applied to re-construct a larger area of missing tooth, and chips that have been saved can sometimes be reattached as well.

When more tooth structure is missing, dental veneers may be the preferred restorative option. Veneers are wafer-thin shells that are bonded to the front surface of the teeth. They can not only correct small chips or cracks, but can also improve the color, spacing, and shape of your teeth.

But if the damage exposes the soft inner pulp of the tooth, root canal treatment will be needed to save the tooth. In this procedure, the inflamed or infected pulp tissue is removed and the tooth sealed against re-infection; if a root canal is not done when needed, the tooth will have an increased risk for extraction in the future. Following a root canal, a tooth is often restored with a crown (cap), which can look good and function well for many years.

Sometimes, a tooth may be knocked completely out of its socket; or, a severely damaged tooth may need to be extracted (removed). In either situation, the best option for restoration is a dental implant. Here, a tiny screw-like device made of titanium metal is inserted into the jaw bone in a minor surgical procedure. Over time, it fuses with the living bone to form a solid anchorage. A lifelike crown is attached, which provides aesthetic appeal and full function for the replacement tooth.

So how's Beckham holding up? According to sources, “David is a trooper and didn't make a fuss. He took it all in his stride." Maybe next time he hits the slopes, he'll heed the advice of dental experts and wear a custom-made mouthguard…

If you have questions about restoring damaged teeth, please contact our office to schedule a consultation. You can read more in the Dear Doctor magazine articles “Trauma and Nerve Damage to Teeth” and “Children's Dental Concerns and Injuries.”


By Charles L. Sours, Jr. D.D.S.
May 24, 2017
Category: Dental Procedures
Tags: tooth extractions  

What your dentist in Woodbridge wants you to knowtooth extraction

Did you know that a decayed or infected tooth can affect the health of teeth around it? That’s because there are millions of harmful bacteria causing the decay and infection, and the bacteria can easily spread to adjacent tissue and teeth.

Sometimes a tooth can be saved through restoration or root canal therapy. In other instances, it’s best to have a tooth extracted to protect your smile. Severe decay or infection are just some of the reasons for extracting a tooth. Dr. Charles Sours Jr. in Woodbridge, VA, wants to share why you may need a tooth extracted.

There are many reasons you may need to have a tooth removed. If you are having orthodontic treatment, your orthodontist may recommend removing teeth that are crowding other teeth. You may not have room for all of your teeth, even with braces.

Other reasons for tooth extraction include teeth that are:

  • Severely decayed and cannot be restored with a conventional filling or crown
  • Severely painful even after root canal treatment
  • Crowding or pushing on other teeth, causing pain, disease and hygiene problems

Third molars, commonly known as wisdom teeth, are the most common tooth extraction procedure. Wisdom teeth are removed because:

  • They are erupting out of position, making them nonfunctional
  • You don’t have room for them and they are crowding your jaw
  • They are pushing on adjacent teeth, causing discomfort and swelling
  • They are surrounded by bone and won’t erupt

You may also need teeth extracted if you have periodontal disease. That’s because during the course of the disease, much of your supporting bone can be destroyed. Your teeth can become loose, making them nonfunctional. Extraction may also be recommended to limit the spread of bacteria and disease to your remaining teeth, bone and soft tissue.

If you’ve been told you may need to have teeth removed, don’t worry. Dental extractions have become state-of-the-art and there are many ways to replace extracted teeth including implants, bridges and dental appliances. You can achieve a healthy smile by removing disease. For more information about tooth extraction and how it can help your smile, call Dr. Sours Jr. in Woodbridge, VA. Call today!


TechniquesforKeepingImpactedCanineTeethfromSpoilingYourSmile

Although usually an orderly process, some permanent teeth don't come in as they should. In fact, they may not come in at all and remain hidden in the gum — a situation called impaction. This creates multiple problems for function, health and, in the case of front canines, appearance.

Canines are the longer and more pointed teeth on each side of the front-most incisors. They help tear and cut food during chewing, a function impaction eliminates. Besides a higher risk for developing abscesses (isolated areas of infection) and cysts, they can also put pressure on neighboring teeth and damage their roots or cause them to erupt abnormally.

Dentists often remove impacted wisdom and other back teeth to lessen these potential problems. Removing canines, though, has additional considerations: besides compromising ideal chewing function, missing canines often create an unattractive smile.

But before considering removal, there's another technique we might be able to use to save the canines and actually draw them down through the gums to their correct position. It's usually part of an overall orthodontic plan to correct a poor bite (malocclusion).

After pinpointing their exact position with x-rays or CT scanning, a surgeon surgically exposes the impacted canines' crowns through the gums. They then bond small brackets to the crowns and attach a small gold chain to each bracket. They fasten the other end of the chains to orthodontic hardware that exerts downward pressure on the impacted teeth. Over several months this pressure can help move the teeth into their normal positions.

Unfortunately, this technique isn't always advisable: one or more of the impacted teeth may be in a difficult position to attempt it. It's usually best in these situations to remove the teeth, usually sooner rather than later for the sake of neighboring teeth.

Fortunately, with today's advanced restorative techniques, we can eventually replace the canines with dental implants, although that's best undertaken after the patient enters adulthood. In the meantime, we can utilize orthodontic means to preserve the open space and provide a temporary restorative solution.

Whatever route taken, these teeth don't have to become a source of problems, especially for your appearance. Whether through orthodontics or restorative dentistry, impacted canines don't have to ruin your smile.

If you would like more information on various orthodontic procedures, 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.”