My Blog

By Gary W. Machiko, DMD
November 09, 2018
Category: Oral Health
Tags: celebrity smiles   retainer  
FanofSuperheroFilmBlackPantherBreaksSteelWirewithHerMouth

Some moviegoers have been known to crunch popcorn, bite their fingers or grab their neighbor’s hands during the intense scenes of a thriller. But for one fan, the on-screen action in the new superhero film Black Panther led to a different reaction.

Sophia Robb, an 18-year-old Californian, had to make an emergency visit to the orthodontic office because she snapped the steel wire on her retainer while watching a battle scene featuring her Hollywood crush, Michael B. Jordan. Her jaw-clenching mishap went viral and even prompted an unexpected reply from the actor himself!

Meanwhile, Sophia got her retainer fixed pronto—which was exactly the right thing to do. The retention phase is a very important part of orthodontic treatment: If you don’t wear a retainer, the beautiful new smile you’re enjoying could become crooked again. That’s because if the teeth are not held in their new positions, they will naturally begin to drift back into their former locations—and you may have to start treatment all over again…

While it’s much more common to lose a removable retainer than to damage one, it is possible for even sturdy retainers to wear out or break. This includes traditional plastic-and-wire types (also called Hawley retainers), clear plastic retainers that are molded to fit your teeth (sometimes called Essix retainers), and bonded retainers: the kind that consists of a wire that’s permanently attached to the back side of your teeth. So whichever kind you use, do what Sophia did if you feel that anything is amiss—have it looked at right away!

When Black Panther co-star Michael B. Jordan heard about the retainer mishap, he sent a message to the teen: “Since I feel partly responsible for breaking your retainers let me know if I can replace them.” His young fan was grateful for the offer—but even more thrilled to have a celebrity twitter follower.

If you have questions about orthodontic retainers, please contact our office or schedule a consultation. You can read more in the Dear Doctor magazine articles “The Importance of Orthodontic Retainers” and “Bonded Retainers.”

By Gary W. Machiko, DMD
October 30, 2018
Category: Dental Procedures

Cosmetic ContouringYour teeth really take a beating—biting, chewing, speaking, and grinding all wear your smile down over time, and minor imperfections such as small chips and cracks often glaringly show. Thankfully, you can rejuvenate your smile with a simple cosmetic dentistry procedure called cosmetic contouring. Offered by expert Pittsburgh dentist, Dr. Gary Machiko, cosmetic contouring make a big difference in how you look and feel.

Aiming for a Great Smile?

To give you your best smile, your dentist may use many aesthetic dental services such as porcelain veneers, teeth whitening, and cosmetic contouring, to improve your look and boost your confidence. When you see Dr. Machiko for a cosmetic dentistry consultation, he'll examine your mouth to ensure your gums and teeth are healthy and to discuss with you changes you'd like to see.

If you have small imperfections such as mild overlapping, tiny chips, or uneven tooth length, he may suggest cosmetic contouring. This one-visit service solves those little smile problems quickly and comfortably.

Here's How It Works:

Most people do not require any local anesthetic for this service. However, that is an option if you and your dentist deem it necessary.

Basically, Dr. Machiko will use fine grit sandpaper and a handheld drill to reshape the teeth right in the "smile zone" around the front of your mouth. The central and lateral incisors and pointed canines often have the most obvious flaws, and back teeth may have an unbalanced bite. Some individuals also use contouring to minimize sharp tooth corners or reshape an oddly shaped tooth.

Whatever the case, Dr. Machiko carefully removes just enough enamel to achieve the desired effect. Typically, treatment takes 30 minutes or so. Afterward, you may notice mild dental sensitivity to temperature or pressure, although this side effect will resolve within a few days.

Find out More!

Could cosmetic contouring be right for your smile? Why not ask Dr. Machiko at your next six-month check-up, or arrange a consultation right now? Call the office today for an appointment: (412) 367-1319.

YourCaseofGingivitisCouldDevelopintoSomethingMoreHarmful

That bit of gum bleeding after you brush, along with redness and swelling, are strong signs you have gingivitis, a form of periodontal (gum) disease. Without treatment, though, your gingivitis could turn into something much more painful and unsightly — a condition commonly known as “trench mouth.”

Properly known as Acute Necrotizing Ulcerative Gingivitis (ANUG), the more colorful name arose from its frequent occurrence among soldiers during World War I. Although not contagious, many soldiers contracted it due to a lack of means to properly clean their teeth and gums and the anxiety associated with war. Inadequate hygiene and high stress still contribute to its occurrence today, along with smoking, medications that dry the mouth and reduced disease resistance — all of which create a perfect environment for bacterial growth.

ANUG can arise suddenly and be very painful. The cells in the gum tissue begin to die (“necrotizing”) and become swollen (“ulcerative”), especially the small triangle of gum tissue between the teeth called the papillae, which can appear yellowish. Patients also encounter a characteristic foul breath and taste. Untreated, ANUG can damage tissue and contribute to future tooth loss.

Fortunately, antibiotics and other treatments are quite effective in eradicating bacteria that cause the disease, so if caught early it’s completely reversible. We start with a complete examination to confirm the diagnosis and rule out other possible causes. We then attempt to relieve the pain and inflammation with non-steroidal, anti-inflammatory drugs like aspirin or ibuprofen and begin antibiotic treatment, most notably Metronidazole or amoxicillin. We may also prescribe a mouthrinse containing chlorhexidine and mild salt water rinses to further reduce the symptoms.

We must also treat any underlying gingivitis that gave rise to the more acute disease. Our goal here is remove any bacterial plaque and calculus (hardened plaque deposits) that have built up on tooth surfaces, particularly below the gums. Only then can we fully bring the disease under control.

It’s also important you become more consistent and effective with daily brushing and flossing, quit smoking, reduce undue stress, and get better rest and nutrition. Establishing these new habits and lifestyle changes will help ensure you’ll never have to experience trench mouth again.

If you would like more information on ANUG and other periodontal gum conditions, 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 “Painful Gums in Teens & Adults.”

By Gary W. Machiko, DMD
October 29, 2018
Category: Dental Procedures

Find out whether or not you should get dental implants in Pittsburgh, PA.

Dental ImplantThere is a reason so many people are turning to dental implants to replace one or more of their missing teeth. After all, dental implants are the next best thing you can have to a real tooth, as they don’t just look like real teeth, but function just like them too. So, what makes you an ideal candidate for getting dental implants from our Pittsburgh, PA, aesthetic dentist Dr. Gary Machiko?

Before we answer this question, it's important to note that there are multiple factors which determine whether dental implants are truly the best way to replace your missing teeth. While there are many adults out there who can benefit from implants, just like with any dental treatment, implants aren’t right for everyone and it’s important that our Pittsburgh, PA, implant dentist helps you find the right tooth replacement to fit your needs.

Some factors that influence your candidacy for dental implants include:

Your Age

The ideal candidate for implants will be an adult, and you’ll be happy to hear that there is no age cap on when you can get dental implants. Adults of all ages are able to enjoy a brand new smile thanks to dental implants. However, implants are not ideal for children and most teens.

This is because a child’s jawbone is still developing. Placing an implant into the jawbone during this time would halt the jawbone’s growth. If you have a child or teen who is dealing with tooth loss, talk to our Pittsburgh, PA, dentist about other tooth replacement options.

Your Health

Your health is paramount to whether or not you are an ideal candidate for implants. After all, you will have to undergo surgery, meaning that you will need to be healthy in order to heal efficiently. During your consultation, we will examine your mouth and take X-rays to make sure that there isn’t significant jawbone loss.

We will also go through your medical history. If you have any chronic conditions such as diabetes or heart disease, it doesn’t necessarily mean that you can’t get dental implants, but we will want to make sure that you have your condition under control with the proper medications or treatments before we get started.

Your Lifestyle

Certain habits can affect the success and health of your dental implant. One such habit is smoking. If you are a smoker, this won’t just impact the healing process after your implant surgery, but it can also greatly increase your risk for implant failure. Therefore, it’s a good idea to quit smoking prior to getting implants.

Find Out if You Qualify!

Are you interested in taking the next step toward getting dental implants? If so, then call our Pittsburgh, PA, dental office today at (412) 367-1319 to schedule your no-risk consultation. We want you to feel confident smiling again.

SurgicallyAccessingSinusescanHelpGrowNewBoneforImplants

Dental implants are by far the best way to replace missing teeth. But they do more than improve your smile: they can restore your ability to eat, chew and talk properly, especially if the teeth replaced are in the back of your mouth. What’s more, they can improve the entire look of your face by restoring facial height and cheek support lost because of the missing teeth.

There is, however, one obstacle to overcome before receiving dental implants — a lack of sufficient bone at the implant site. Bone loss usually occurs when teeth have been missing for some time. This is because when we chew the forces generated by the teeth stimulate continual bone growth to make up for older bone that has dissolved (resorbed). This stimulation doesn’t occur after teeth are lost, which slows the rate of bone growth. Over time the amount of healthy bone diminishes.

Without enough bone for support, implants can’t be placed properly. Fortunately, some of the bone can be regenerated through techniques that place bone grafting material at the site to stimulate and serve as a scaffold for new bone.  The new bone will eventually replace the graft.

For missing upper back teeth with bone loss, we can take advantage of facial anatomy to grow the bone needed for implants. This area of the face is where the maxillary sinuses, air spaces lined with a tissue membrane, are located on either side just above the upper jaw. After determining their exact size and location through detailed x-ray imaging, we can surgically access the area inside the mouth just above the missing teeth.

The sinus cavity is an area where bone growth can occur by placing a bone graft between the floor of the sinus and the sinus membrane. Sometimes bone growth enhancers are used to stimulate and speed up regeneration. The procedure can usually be performed with local anesthesia (much like a routine tooth filling), with only mild discomfort afterward for a few days managed by an anti-inflammatory drug like ibuprofen and a decongestant for sinus swelling.

After six to seven months, we re-evaluate the area to see if sufficient bone has returned for implant surgery. If so, you will be well on your way to achieving a new look and better function through dental implants.

If you would like more information on building new bone through sinus surgery, 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 “Sinus Surgery.”





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