General Emergency Dental Services in St John, IN

General Dentistry

Your first visit at our office is important in establishing your oral health baseline. We will perform a complete oral examination which includes an oral cancer screening, periodontal evaluation, an analysis of your occlusion (bite) and a thorough examination of your teeth, their supporting structures and of the oral anatomy.

Using the most advanced dental technology possible is just as important as staying up-to-date on the latest treatment techniques. Because our practice is dedicated to providing you with the safest and most convenient treatment options available, we utilize advanced digital X-ray technology in our office. Digital X-rays provide several advanced imaging options designed to save time, provide clearer dental photos, and expose patients to 90% less radiation than with traditional X-ray technology.

Both natural teeth and teeth with restorations survive best in an oral environment that is clean and healthy. We recommend that each patient be seen at least twice a year for a dental prophylaxis. Our dental hygiene program is designed to help prevent new cavities, preserve teeth that have been restored and manage periodontal disease. During this visit, our dental hygienists will remove plaque from your teeth, especially from places where your brush can’t reach. We will apply fluoride to help protect your teeth once you leave the office.

Fluoride is a relatively recent but important advancement in dental and oral health. Studies consistently show that a moderate but consistent exposure of teeth to fluoride helps strengthen and rebuild tooth structure, and helps prevent future decay.

Sometimes a “regular” cleaning isn’t enough to restore your oral health. Some people develop periodontal disease and need to be treated with a “deep” cleaning. We will evaluate the extent of your periodontal disease and come up with a specific periodontal treatment plan. Periodontal disease progresses as the sulcus (pocket or space) between the tooth and gums gets filled with bacteria, plaque and tartar, causing irritation to the surrounding tissues. When these irritants remain in the pocket space, they can cause damage to the gums and eventually, the bone that supports the teeth. If the disease is caught in the early stages of gingivitis, and no damage has been done, one to two regular cleanings will be recommended. You will also be given instructions on improving your daily oral hygiene habits and having regular dental cleanings. If the disease has progressed to more advanced stages, a special periodontal cleaning called scaling and root planing (deep cleaning) will be recommended. If the pockets do not heal after scaling and root planing, periodontal surgery may be needed to reduce pocket depths, making teeth easier to clean.

Fillings
Traditional dental fillings include gold, porcelain, and resin (composite). The strength and durability of traditional dental materials make them useful for situations where restored teeth must withstand extreme forces that result from chewing. Newer dental fillings may either be ceramic or composite resin which mimic the appearance of natural teeth. Resins are usually used on the front teeth where a natural appearance is important, but they can also be used on the back teeth depending on the location and extent of the tooth decay.

Cosmetic Dentistry
Aesthetic bonding or buffing/shaping teeth can give you the perfect smile that you’ve always wanted. Bonding is a tooth-colored composite resin that is applied to the tooth in order to fix a chip, crack, or gap. Dr. Shieh can buff and shape different teeth to smooth the edges of your tooth, creating a straight tooth line or correcting sharp chips.

Inlays and Onlays
Inlays and onlays are an excellent way to help solve a problem caused by moderate decay. An inlay covers only one to three surfaces of the tooth and is used to restore a small amount of tooth. An onlay, on the other hand, actually covers one or more cusps (the chewing surface of the tooth). Inlays and onlays require the removal of only decayed areas of the tooth, leaving more natural tooth structure intact.

Crowns/Caps
The terms dental crowns and caps are synonymous. Crowns are typically used to restore a tooth’s function and appearance following a restorative procedure such as a root canal. When decay in a tooth has become so advanced that large portions of the tooth must be removed, crowns are often used to restore the tooth. Crowns are also used to attach bridges, cover implants, prevent a cracked tooth from becoming worse, or an existing filling is in jeopardy of becoming loose or dislocated. Crowns also serve an aesthetic use, and are applied when a discolored or stained tooth needs to be restored to its natural appearance. Crowns are fabricated in a laboratory and are made either of porcelain baked onto a metal substrate, all-porcelain, or many of the new ceramic materials that have been developed.

Bridges
A bridge may be used to replace missing teeth, help maintain the shape of your face, and alleviate stress on your bite. A bridge replaces missing teeth with artificial teeth, looks great, and literally bridges the gap where one or more teeth may have been. Your bridge can be made from gold, alloys, porcelain, or a combination of these materials and is bonded onto surrounding teeth for support. A fixed bridge is a cemented bridge which remains in your mouth at all times and is supported by your natural teeth.

Root Canals
Root canal therapy is needed when the nerve of a tooth is affected by decay or infection. This simple treatment can save your natural teeth and prevent the need of dental implants or bridges. Symptoms of the infection are generally acute dental pain or sensitivity to hot, cold or percussion. If you experience any of these symptoms, your dentist will most likely recommend root canal therapy to eliminate the diseased pulp. This injured pulp is removed and the root canal system is thoroughly cleaned and sealed. This therapy usually involves local anesthesia and may be completed in one or more visits depending on the treatment required. Success for this type of treatment occurs in about 90% of cases.

Mouth Guards
Whether you are an athlete or casual sports participant, you should wear a mouth guard to protect your teeth. If you grind your teeth while you sleep, a bite guard will reduce symptoms of TMJ problems. We custom make mouth guards in both soft and hard materials.

Extractions
An extraction is the complete removal of a tooth. Extractions are sometimes necessary if a primary tooth is preventing the normal eruption of a permanent tooth, if the tooth has suffered extensive tooth decay or trauma that cannot be repaired, if the patient has gum disease, or if the tooth is impacted (usually the wisdom teeth). Depending on the complexity of the case, an extraction can be performed surgically or non-surgically.

Wisdom Teeth
Your third molars are more commonly called “wisdom teeth.” Usually appearing in the late teens or early twenties, third molars often lack the proper space in the jaw to erupt fully or even at all. This common condition is called impaction. When any tooth lacks the space to come through or simply develops in the wrong place of your jaw and becomes impacted, problems can arise. Primarily, damage to adjacent teeth and crowding occur.

In certain cases, the wisdom tooth that cannot come through becomes inflamed under the gums and in the jawbone, causing a sac to develop around the root of the tooth that then fills with liquid. This can cause a cyst or an abscess if it becomes infected. If either of these situations goes untreated, serious damage to the underlying bone and surrounding teeth and tissues can result. In order to prevent this from potentially happening, an extraction of one, several or all of the wisdom teeth may be advised. If that is the case, we have the equipment and training needed to perform such extractions, with an absolute minimum of discomfort. Ask our staff for more information regarding tooth extractions if you feel you may need one.

Bone/Socket Grafting
Socket bone grafting is done at the time a tooth is removed. The hole where tooth roots once occupied are filled in with the bone grafting to promote healing, minimize the risk of dry socket, maintain the structure of the bone, and provide a foundation for the future tooth replacement. Dr. Shieh obtains bone grafting material from a bone bank and it is packed tightly into the socket and held in place with dissolvable stiches.

Dental Implants
If a tooth is extracted or missing for some other reason, it is now possible to replace it using dental implants. An implant is a new tooth made of metal and porcelain that looks just like your natural tooth. It’s composed of two main parts: One part is the titanium implant body that takes the place of the missing root, and the second part is the tooth-colored crown that is cemented on top of the implant. In addition to tooth replacement, implants may be used to anchor dentures, especially lower dentures that tend to shift when you talk or chew. For patients with removable partial dentures, implants can replace missing teeth so that you have a more natural-looking smile.

Dr. Shieh has gone through extensive training to learn how to place implants. He completed a one-year residency through the American Academy of Implant Dentistry and is a credentialed Associate Fellow. He can evaluate your mouth to see which options work best for you.

Surgical Dentures
Surgical dentures are economical dentures that are fabricated prior to surgery so that patients have a beautiful smile the day of surgery. The healing of the gums and bone can typically take 3-6 months. Dr. Shieh will evaluate the healing process on a weekly basis and make any necessary adjustments for the surgical denture while your mouth is healing. When the healing is complete, Dr. Shieh will take impressions in order to transition over to a traditional denture.

Complete (Traditional) Dentures/Partial Dentures
Dentures and Partial Dentures are removable restorations that replace all or some missing teeth. Patients that are missing some or all of their teeth may have dentures or partials as either a temporary or final restoration. Dentures and partials are fabricated using all ADA accepted materials. We offer a variety of different shapes, sizes, and color that suits any smile on any budget.

When a patient has made a commitment to their treatment plan, impressions are taken. The selected teeth are first set in wax and the patient are able to see their new teeth before they are set in the hard acrylic. Following the appointment, our dentures are fabricated and then delivered to the patient at the next appointment.

Implant Snap On Dentures
Sometimes traditional dentures do not have the comfort and fit due to bone loss and other factors. Implant Snap-On Dentures provide confidence, security, and renewed self-esteem. Having an Implant Snap-On Denture means that you can eat and speak without worrying about your dentures moving or falling out. Patients that have Implant Snap On Dentures no longer need adhesive to secure their dentures.

Dr. Shieh has gone through extensive training to learn how to place implants. He completed a one-year residency through the American Academy of Implant Dentistry and is a credentialed Associate Fellow. He can evaluate your mouth to see if you are a candidate for implants and which options work best for you.

Nitrous Oxide
Commonly referred to as laughing gas, nitrous oxide is a safe and effective way to reduce anxiety and improve communication. It is easily administered through a comfortable nose mask, and its effects are quickly reversible. Nitrous oxide helps to relax patients and reduce discomfort. Our doctors will only administer nitrous oxide with your consent, so please ask for details. A driver is not needed and you can drive after being given nitrous oxide.

Oral Sedation
If you are nervous about dental treatment, oral sedation may be used. It is taken by mouth. This type of medicine will make you a little drowsy, and will keep you relaxed and calm during the procedure. The medicine usually begins to work within 20 minutes. Your dentist will have you take the medicine once you arrive at the appointment. If you are having sedation, you should have nothing to eat or drink after midnight the night before the appointment. A driver is needed to escort you home before and after the procedure has been performed.

IV Sedation/General Anesthesia
Dr. Shieh works closely with a board-certified dentist anesthesiologist, Dr. Zak Messieha, if you are better suited to be placed under IV sedation or general anesthesia. He has specialized training using various medications to safely putting patient to sleep and avoiding a traumatizing event. A driver is needed to escort you home before and after the procedure has been performed.

General Dental Emergencies

A toothache can be caused by a cavity, lost filling, loose tooth, or injury. If you have a toothache without any noticeable swelling or fever, we recommend an over-the-counter pain medication (Tylenol or Advil) combined with a soft, room-temperature diet. It’s best to have any toothache evaluated by the dentist to determine the cause and treat if necessary. Please contact our office during business hours to schedule an appointment.

The local drug store sells temporary cement for reattaching loose crowns. Clean the old temporary cement with a toothbrush out of the crown and make sure it fits back on the tooth. Load the temporary crown with a pea size amount of temporary cement, then seat it in the mouth and bite down with good pressure for 5 minutes. Clean off any excess cement and make sure to floss in between. Under no circumstance should you use superglue to put your crown back on. Superglue is a toxic material and can irreversible hurt your tooth and gums. Proceed to call our office and we will schedule a time to deliver the final crown or re cement the temporary

If a tooth is chipped, try to locate the chipped portion and place it in cold milk. A chipped piece can often be reattached in the office. If the chipped tooth is pink or bleeding, contact our office or after-hours number immediately. This type of injury is often very sensitive and requires evaluation and prompt treatment. If the chipped tooth is not pink or bleeding, we recommend soft, room-temperature foods combined with an over-the-counter pain medication. Contact our office during business hours to schedule an evaluation and treatment. Depending on the size of the chip, the tooth may be smoothed for comfort or “rebuilt” using white filling material.

A knocked out tooth can be scary but don’t panic. If the tooth can be located, gently rinse off any large debris (dirt, grass, etc.) using cool water. It’s important to hold the tooth by the crown (the portion of the tooth that is visible in the mouth) in order to protect the delicate tissue on the root surface. Reinsert the tooth into its socket using gentle finger or biting pressure OR place the tooth in a glass of cold milk. Contact our office or after-hours number immediately since treatment is time sensitive and requires prompt attention. If the tooth cannot be located, it’s still important to contact the dentist immediately for evaluation.

The local drug store sells temporary denture repair kits. Please follow the instructions carefully. Under no circumstance should you use superglue to repair your denture. Superglue is a toxic material and will melt the denture material as well as irritate your gums. Proceed to call our office and we will schedule a time to repair and fix your denture correctly

Pediatric Dentistry

Pediatric dentists are the pediatricians of dentistry.

Pediatric dentistry is one of the nine recognized dental specialties of the American Dental Association (ADA). After the four years of dental school, pediatric dentists complete two to three years of additional training focusing on the unique needs of infants, children, adolescents and individuals with special healthcare needs. At South Shore Smiles, we have created a unique dental atmosphere where children will feel comfortable. It is our top priority to provide an experience that establishes trust and confidence while making you and your child feel at home!

When to Visit
The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry has recommended that children first see the dentist six months after the first tooth erupts, or no later than their first birthday. After that, kids should have a dental checkup and cleaning every six months to prevent tooth decay and proactively treat problems.

Establishing a Dental Home
Establishing a dental home for children at a very young age can provide preventive care beginning with the child’s first tooth. A one-year-old child is much more manageable than an apprehensive three-year-old. It is much easier to do a quick exam and educate parents on oral hygiene for a one-year-old than treat an uncooperative three-year-old with dental cavities. The goal of the child dental visit are to:

  • To provide education relevant to the child’s age.
  • Give the family a place to turn if they have a question about oral health or if the child sustains an oral injury and needs immediate attention.
  • Allow a place for immediate attention other than the hospital emergency room which can become very stressful and costly. This emergency room experience could likely characterize the child’s first dental experience with pain and anxiety rather than a benign examination.
  • Hopefully reduce the amount of dental treatment they will need in the long run.

The infant’s first visit should be a pleasant experience that will positively influence your child’s attitudes about future oral health care.

What can you expect at the first dental visit?
An examination and cleaning on a small child doesn’t involve many teeth and can be done very quickly. The most effective and comfortable position for patient, parent, and dentist is the lap to lap position. Dr. Dunlop and parent sit opposite each other with knees touching. The child sits on the parents lap facing the parent with their legs embracing them. The child then lies backward until the head rests in Dr. Dunlop’s lap while the parent holds the patient’s hands. This creates a stable base and a cradling effect for your child as they lay down with their head resting on our lap while they see you, their loving parent. The teeth are then cleaned and examined by Dr. Dunlop.

Research has shown that dental decay has decreased over the past few decades however is still the number one cause of child illness in the United States. The best method for reducing tooth decay is still prevention and one of the major resources is the exposure to fluoride.

Fluoride is a mineral that can be found in all naturally occurring water sources, even the ocean. Fluoride compounds have been found to significantly reduce instances of tooth decay by simultaneously strengthening the tooth structure and helping the tooth to re-mineralize after acids from bacteria have attacked the dental enamel. This re-mineralization is crucial to keeping your child’s teeth healthy and strong. If the teeth have sufficient levels of fluoride, they are more likely to stay strong, healthy, comfortable, and normal looking—all of which are important factors for small children learning to eat, drink, talk, and socialize with their peers.

Studies have shown that the period when teeth are developing are the most crucial phase for the teeth to receive fluoride, which is why dentists and pediatricians recommend that your child receive regular fluoride treatments.

The American Dental Association recommends fluoride treatments twice a year for your child’s teeth to keep them healthy and strong. Please be aware that your insurance company may only pay for this treatment once a year. If you have questions about what your insurance company covers, contact your provider. Also, because some cities choose to fluoridate their water, check your local municipality to find out what level of fluoridation your child may already receive.

Dental sealants are thin plastic coatings that are applied to the grooves on the chewing surfaces of the back teeth to protect them from tooth decay. There is no numbing or shots needed to place these sealants. Research has shown that four out of every five cavities present in children’s mouths occur on the biting surfaces of molars, which is why sealants are typically used to protect these teeth. Sealants protect these surfaces by keeping germs and food particles out of these grooves. By applying dental sealants, you can significantly decrease the chances of your child getting cavities. For this reason, most pediatric dentists recommend sealing 6-year and 12-year molars.

Tooth decay is the number one chronic childhood illness, with 42% of children ages 2-11 suffering with cavities. Unfortunately, many of these early cavities go undiagnosed and untreated. In fact, 23% of children within the same age group have untreated cavities, leading to even more discomfort and decay.

Since children aren’t likely familiar with the tell-tale signs of a dental cavity, many parents overlook them. Instead of complaining about a sore tooth, your kids might suddenly develop an aversion to eating, drinking, or speaking properly. This is even more of a problem when cavities occur in the molars or in between the teeth, where they are difficult to see. Since dental disease in kids has also been tied to dangerous systemic diseases such as diabetes and pneumonia, it is crucial to bring your child in for their normal dental exams and checkups. The type of restoration will be determined by Dr. Dunlop based on the prognosis of the tooth.

Fillings
Dental fillings are designed to patch the hole in the tooth. Without fillings, food, plaque, and bacteria could easily collect in the space again, causing deeper and more painful damage.

After the dentist numbs the area with a local anesthetic, the decay is removed with a gentle dental drill. Next a tooth-colored composite resin filling is used to fill in the cavity. The surface is smoothed and the tooth is polished, leaving a strong, healthy tooth once again.

Crowns
Stainless steel crowns are silver caps that cover the whole tooth. Porcelain crowns are tooth colored. Dental crowns for children are generally completed in one visit, and will usually last until the tooth falls out at around the age of 10 to 12. We place crowns on first and second baby molars that have large decay in between the teeth, or on teeth which are too damaged to be repaired with fillings.

Using the most advanced dental technology possible is just as important as staying up-to-date on the latest treatment techniques. Because our practice is dedicated to providing you with the safest and most convenient treatment options available, we utilize advanced digital X-ray technology in our office. Digital X-rays provide several advanced imaging options designed to save time, provide clearer dental photos, and expose patients to 90% less radiation than with traditional Xray technology.

Most children start to lose their baby teeth by the time they are 6 or 7, but every child is different. Some children lose teeth earlier than they are supposed to because of illnesses, accidents, decay, or other injuries. Although losing teeth early might not seem like a serious problem, complications can occur if the baby teeth aren’t in place for as long as they should be.

Baby teeth play the crucial role of holding a space available for incoming permanent teeth. Unfortunately, if baby teeth fall out early, the other teeth might shift or spread differently, which could leave the permanent tooth without a place to go. Dr. Dunlop will evaluate your child to see which space maintenance device works best for the patient.

Upon examination, Dr. Dunlop and Dr. Shieh will work together to determine not only the oral health of your child but also the adequacy of space and alignment. During each checkup, they are observing healthy teeth and gums, completing an oral cancer screen and checking eruption patterns and space for growth.

When is the best time to begin orthodontics?
The American Association of Orthodontists recommends that the initial orthodontic evaluation should occur at the first sign of orthodontic problems or no later than age 7. At this early age, orthodontic treatment may not be necessary, but vigilant examination can anticipate the most advantageous time to begin treatment.

What are the benefits of early orthodontic evaluation?
Early evaluation provides both timely detection of problems and greater opportunity for more effective treatment. Prudent intervention guides growth and development, preventing serious problems later. When orthodontic intervention is not necessary, the doctors can carefully monitor growth and development and begin treatment when it is ideal.

What are the advantages of interceptive treatment

Some of the most direct results of interceptive treatment are:

  • Creating room for crowded, erupting teeth
  • Creating facial symmetry through influencing jaw growth
  • Reducing the risk of trauma to protruding front teeth
  • Preserving space for unerupted teeth
  • Reducing the need for tooth removal
  • Reducing treatment time with braces

Are you a candidate for orthodontic treatment?
Orthodontics is not merely for improving the aesthetics of the smile; orthodontic treatment improves bad bites (malocclusions). Malocclusions occur as a result of tooth or jaw misalignment. Malocclusions affect the way you smile, chew, clean your teeth or feel about your smile.

Why should malocclusions be treated?
According to studies by the American Association of Orthodontists, untreated malocclusions can result in a variety of problems:

  • Crowded teeth are more difficult to properly brush and floss, which may contribute to tooth decay and/or gum disease.
  • Protruding teeth are more susceptible to accidental chipping.
  • Crossbites can result in unfavorable growth and uneven tooth wear.
  • Openbites can result in tongue-thrusting habits and speech impediments.

Ultimately, orthodontics does more than make a pretty smile – it creates a healthier patient.

Our goal at South Shore Smiles is to create an enthusiastic and supportive environment that fosters a positive dental attitude. We want your child to be excited about his or her visit! Our team is trained in a variety of techniques that help ease an anxious or fearful child. Commonly used behavior guidance tools include:

Tell-Show-Do
Although very simple, tell-show-do is one of the most effective behavior guidance techniques. With this technique, a team member tells your child about the appointment using age appropriate terms and descriptions, shows your child related sounds/smells/tactile aspects of the appointment, and then completes the appointment without deviation from the explanation and/or demonstration. Our team members utilize this technique with all anxious patients.

Distraction
As any parent knows, distraction helps to redirect a child’s attention and behavior. Our team members will engage your child in conversation/song/questions to help alleviate anxiety. Our treatment areas are also equipped with radios and televisions to help distract your child during longer or more difficult appointments.

Nonverbal Communication
Gestures and facial expressions convey a great deal of information to children. A simple smile, high-five, or fist bump combined with a relaxed posture at your child’s level will help to relieve anxiety.

Positive Reinforcement
Rewarding desired behavior is essential to strengthen its recurrence. Our team members utilize verbal praise, stickers and end-of-appointment prizes to help shape good behavior. We also encourage patients to demonstrate their good behavior to siblings in an effort to reinforce positive appointments.

Advanced Behavior Management
Occasionally children require more advance behavior guidance techniques in order to complete dental treatment. These advanced techniques include protective stabilization, conscious sedation and hospital treatment under general anesthesia. Protective stabilization is the use of a blanket, wrap, mouth prop, parent, and/or team member to restrict a child’s movement in order to decrease the risk of injury while allowing for the safe completion of treatment. Our office is trained in the correct use of such techniques, and we will never use protective stabilization without your consent. If our doctors recommend protective stabilization, sedation, or hospital treatment, additional information will be provided at your child’s appointment.

Nitrous Oxide
Commonly referred to as laughing gas, nitrous oxide is a safe and effective way to reduce anxiety and improve communication. It is easily administered through a comfortable nose mask, and its effects are quickly reversible. Nitrous oxide helps to relax patients and provides a small degree of amnesia for those “less than pleasant” aspects of a dental treatment. Our doctors will only administer nitrous oxide with your consent, so please ask for details.

Oral Sedation
If your child is nervous, oral sedation may be used. It is taken by mouth. This type of medicine will make your child a little drowsy, and will keep him or her relaxed and calm during the procedure. The medicine usually begins to work within 20 minutes. Your dentist will have your child take the medicine once you arrive at the appointment. If your child is having sedation, he or she should have nothing to eat or drink after midnight the night before the appointment.

General Anesthesia
Some children require deeper anesthesia to manage their dental anxiety or uncontrollable movements. General anesthesia might also be recommended if your child has extensive dental issues, such as baby-bottle tooth decay or deeply rooted infections.

General anesthesia is administered through an IV to help put your child to sleep. This deeper form of anesthesia can affect other systems of the body,  so your child’s breathing, heart rate, and other vital signs will need to be carefully monitored. The general anesthesia can be either performed in office or at the hospital. Dr. Dunlop holds hospital privileges for treatment under general anesthesia at Community Hospital in Munster, IN and at St. Catherine Hospital in East Chicago, IN. Dr. Dunlop also works with a board-certified dentist anesthesiologist, Dr. Zak Messieha, if your child is better suited in an in-office setting. He has specialized training using various medications to safely put a child patient to sleep. All the dental work can be completed in one visit.

Dr. Dunlop also works with a board-certified dentist anesthesiologist, Dr. Zak Messieha, if your child is better suited in an in-office setting. He has specialized training using various medications to safely put a child patient to sleep. All the dental work can be completed in one visit.

Pediatric Dental Emergencies

A toothache can be caused by a cavity, lost filling, loose tooth, or injury. If your child has a toothache without any noticeable swelling or fever, we recommend an over-the-counter pain medication (Tylenol or Advil) combined with a soft, room-temperature diet. It’s best to have any toothache evaluated by the dentist to determine the cause and treat if necessary. Please contact our office during business hours to schedule an appointment.

If your child has a severe toothache with swelling and/or fever, please contact our office or after-hours number immediately. A severe toothache that prevents sleeping or causes swelling/fever signals the spread of infection. You can provide your child with an over-the-counter pain medication, but a prescription antibiotic and/or after-hours office visit may be necessary. It’s important for your child to remain hydrated, so encourage room temperature drinks. If your child develops swelling of the neck or has trouble breathing, contact 911 immediately.

If a tooth is struck or bumped, the surrounding gum tissue may bleed. This bleeding is typically mild to moderate and stops without treatment. If the tooth is slightly loose or out of position, we recommend a soft diet and over-the counter pain medication. Contact our office during business hours to schedule a follow-up appointment. If the tooth is very loose or severely out of position (your child cannot talk or close the mouth properly), please contact our office or after-hours number immediately to discuss the injury with our dentists. An after-hours appointment may be necessary to evaluate the injury and/or re-position the tooth. With all injuries, continued follow- up is necessary to ensure the vitality of the tooth.

If a tooth is chipped, try to locate the chipped portion and place it in cold milk. A chipped piece can often be reattached in the office. If the chipped tooth is pink or bleeding, contact our office or after-hours number immediately. This type of injury is often very sensitive and requires evaluation and prompt treatment. If the chipped tooth is not pink or bleeding, we recommend soft, room-temperature foods combined with an over-the-counter pain medication. Contact our office during business hours to schedule an evaluation and treatment. Depending on the size of the chip, the tooth may be smoothed for comfort or “rebuilt” using white filling material.

Permanent Tooth: An avulsed tooth can be scary but don’t panic. If the tooth can be located, gently rinse off any large debris (dirt, grass, etc.) using cool water. It’s important to hold the tooth by the crown (the portion of the tooth that is visible in the mouth) in order to protect the delicate tissue on the root surface. Reinsert the tooth into its socket using gentle finger or biting pressure OR place the tooth in a glass of cold milk. Contact our office or after-hours number immediately since treatment is time sensitive and requires prompt attention. If the tooth cannot be located, it’s still important to contact the dentist immediately for evaluation.

Baby Tooth: An avulsed baby tooth should never be reinserted in order to protect the developing permanent tooth. Instead, have your child bite down on a cold, wet towel to control any bleeding and contact the office or after-hours number. An appointment may or may not be necessary depending on the tooth and age of your child. If you are not sure whether a lost tooth is a baby tooth or permanent tooth, err on the side of caution and place it in cold milk.

**NOTE: If your child loses consciousness or complains of nausea and disorientation following trauma, seek immediate medical attention prior to contacting the dentist.

In most cases, a broken or dislodged appliance does not require after-hours treatment. Discourage your child from “playing” with a broken or loose appliance and offer soft foods and over-the-counter pain medication if necessary. Contact our office during business hours to schedule an evaluation or repair appointment. If an appliance becomes completely dislodged, place it in a small bag for safe storage and contact our office for an evaluation. The appliance will be reinserted or remade based upon its integrity and length of time outside the mouth.

Braces

Braces is one of the most popular ways to get a beautiful, healthy smile. A combination of brackets positioned carefully on your teeth and specially formed wires provide constant gentle forces that move the teeth into the correct position over the course of treatment. We offer different types of braces to suit your look and lifestyle. Your braces may be bold, with changeable colors, or subtle, tooth colored brackets that are much less obvious.

Dr. Shieh is a general dentist that has taken extensive courses to learn how perform braces in a comfortable and efficient manner. Dr. Shieh will evaluate your case to determine what best suits your needs for a smile that you can be proud of.

Goals of Braces:

  • Modifying the way your top or bottom jaw grows to correct a skeletal problem
  • Aligning teeth to improve the health of your teeth and gums
  • Improving the bite of the back teeth to reduce the wear of your teeth and to maintain the health of your jaw joint

The American Association of Orthodontists recommends that the initial evaluation should occur at the first sign of orthodontic problems or no later than age 7. At this early age, treatment may not be necessary, but vigilant examination can anticipate the most advantageous time to begin treatment.

Early evaluation provides both timely detection of problems and greater opportunity for more effective treatment. Prudent intervention guides growth and development, preventing serious problems later. When intervention is not necessary, Dr. Dunlop and Dr. Shieh can carefully monitor growth and development and begin treatment when it is ideal.

Braces not only can improve your smile but give you confidence and improve your oral health. Dr. Shieh and Dr. Dunlop can provide a complimentary consultation to determine what best suits your needs for a healthy smile.

Braces Emergencies

TRUE EMERGENCIES ARE NOT VERY COMMON DURING TREATMENT.

It is unlikely that you’ll have an emergency with your braces. The common problems and the “at home” solutions are listed below. If you experience any of these problems, call us and we will discuss the proper solution. If you cannot fix the problem on your own, call us and make an appointment to come in so we can fix your braces.

If the bracket or band is still attached to your wire, leave it in place. Place wax over it if it is rubbing on your cheek. If it falls off completely, save it and bring back to the office. Call us as soon as something breaks. We like to fix broken brackets and bands within a week whenever possible.

Place wax over the long wire end. If you would like, come into the office and we will cut the wire for you. If you can’t come in to see us (for example, you’re on vacation), you can use a fingernail clipper to cut the extra wire.

Place wax over the bracket that is bothering your cheek or lip. Eventually, your lip or cheek will toughen up and will not be bothered by your braces.

The best solution is to take tweezers and try to stick the wire back into the molar tube. If that does not work, push the long end of the wire towards the gums. You want to trap the wire under the bracket hook and against the tooth. Notify us of this at your next appointment.

If your appliance comes loose (even on just one side), call us and we’ll get you in to fix it as soon as possible. In the meantime, place wax over anything that is bothering your cheek, lips, or tongue.

Use the eraser on the end of your pencil to push the edge of the steel tie back towards your tooth. Notify us of this at your next appointment.

If your teeth are sore after your appointment, you can take whatever pain medication you normally take (like Tylenol or ibuprofen). You can also rinse with warm salt water. In a couple days you should feel better.

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