Thursday, September 7, 2017

Your Face Will Get Stuck That Way!

Form Follows Function

"Girls, you know, if you make faces like that, and somebody slaps you on the back, 
you'll stay that way FOREVER!!"

If you grew up in the 80's of before, you've almost certainly heard this expression.  And most of us made faces, and grew up, and came to the belief that the expression was untrue, and just a fear-based threat used by overly controlling adults to coerce the children to behave in the desired way. 

But is it really untrue?  Have you ever driven down the road, and looked at the people driving toward you in the oncoming lane?  Have you ever looked at the face of a parent whose child is causing a scene in the grocery store?  A businessman on the phone with his boss?  A busy soccer mom racing through the grocery store at 2PM on a Sunday afternoon?  A grumpy grampa complaining about his hip surgeon?

 Look around, and notice the furrowed brows all around you.  And connect that with the commercials you'll see about BOTOX Cosmetic.  Observe the down-turned mouths all around when you find yourself among some of your fellow humans.  Notice the advertisements for Cialis.  Decide for yourself if people generally look happy, like they're having a good time doing what they are doing.

Does form follow function?  If your facial muscles get into patterns of movement over the days, months, and years of your time on this planet in that body, don't you think the bony skeletal structures underneath will change over time in response to these muscular movements and patterns?

Of course they will!  Bones are dynamic, "living" structures, constantly changing and remodeling as we move through this 3-D hologram we call reality.  You have little construction crews made up of cells called osteoblasts, and demolition crews of cells called osteoclasts.  These two opposing forces must operate in a state of balance, or homeostasis, if we are to continue walking, and running, and jumping, lifting things up and putting them down.  And these crews constantly work to create a FORM that is best suited to carry out the FUNCTIONs that YOU, either intentionally or accidentally, DECIDE to do. 

My point is...


So every day, WAKE UP, and notice where you are.  
Choose to be grateful for something.  

Find a way to shake off the effects of the "bad" shit that happens to all of us here in this realm.  
Make lemonade.  
Smell the roses.  
Chew your food mindfully.  

And when you realize you've gone back to sleep and there is another frown on your face, 
WAKE UP again.  

Because if you keep on making that face...


Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Avoiding a root canal

Frequently patients will find my website, and come to my office, because they have been told they need a root canal or a crown, or both, and they just want to know if there are any alternatives. 
I've always been inclined to take challenges, especially when someone tells me something can't be done. 

Below is a picture of the tooth of a 77-year-old patient who was told this very thing.  She came to me because she would like to save this tooth, and she was told the only way to do so would require a root canal and a crown.  The other option she was given was extraction. 

Sure, this tooth looks pretty bad. There is decay well below the gumline, making this a truly "long tooth."  It would appear that there may also be decay approaching the nerve, which is presumably why a root canal was recommended.  This patient had no pain, and te x-ray did not show any sign of an infection.  In fact, the x-ray showed calcification of many of the nerve canals, which would make root canal therapy in this case potentially complicated and difficult. 

Now, if you wanna restore a tooth like this, you need the right tools and the right materials.  And you need to be able to clean out the debris so no decay is left behind!

Here the tooth is initially cleaned out using traditional instrumentation.  There is still a little bit of soft tooth structure left here, so I did a little bit more work, and then it was time to isolate.  Again, having the right tools available is key!

You can see this specialized matrix band is contoured and shaped to allow it to be submerged below the gumline, and to perfectly isolate the edge of the prepared tooth, which is clean and smooth and beautiful now.  Time to restore!

A bioactive material was used to restore this tooth to its natural form and function, and if I do say so myself, also restored the natural beauty of a lower bicuspid.  The bite was adjusted until it felt just right, and the patient left very happy that she was able to save this tooth, with a minimal amount of discomfort, for a fraction of the cost of a root canal and a crown.