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Posts for category: Dental Procedures

By Kevin S. Midkiff, D.D.S. Family & Cosmetic Dentistry
November 09, 2018
Category: Dental Procedures
Tags: Invisalign  

Invisalign BracesMetal braces are no longer the only method dentists use to straighten crooked teeth. Invisalign offers a much more discreet orthodontic option. Lynchburg, VA, dentist Dr. Kevin Midkiff helps his patients correct bite issues and realign crooked teeth with removable Invisalign aligner trays.

What is Invisalign?

There's no need for metal wires and brackets with Invisalign. The system corrects the position of teeth with a series of clear, removable aligner trays that fit snugly over your top and bottom teeth. The trays exert constant pressure on your teeth, which slowly changes their position.

Your trays are custom made for you by the Invisalign company after your Lynchburg dentist creates a digital 3D image of your mouth. The image, compiled from digital photographs, X-rays, and impressions, is used to plot the course of your treatment. Each tray is worn for 20 to 22 hours per day for approximately two weeks before being replaced with the next tray in the series.

Does Invisalign work as well as metal braces?

Invisalign is just as effective as metal braces in correcting mild to moderate orthodontic issues. It's an excellent option for crooked teeth, spacing issues, or bite problems. Although many people can benefit from Invisalign treatment, metal braces may be the best choice if you have a severe bite problem or complicated orthodontic issues.

If you're a teenager, you can expect your treatment to last two years or longer. Adults generally have shorter treatment times and may only need to wear the trays for about a year in many cases.

What are the benefits of Invisalign treatment?

Invisalign's clear aligner trays are an excellent option if you don't want to draw attention to your teeth during treatment. Thanks to their snug fit, the aligners blend in with your smile and aren't noticeable in photographs.

As the aligner trays don't contain wires, you'll never have to worry about cuts to your lips or mouth from stray wires. Cleaning your teeth is also easy. You'll remove the trays before you brush and floss and replace them as soon as you're finished. You'll also take the trays out before you eat, which means that you won't face any food restrictions during your treatment.

Transform your smile with Invisalign! Call Lynchburg, VA, dentist Dr. Kevin Midkiff at (434) 239-8133 to schedule your appointment.

By Kevin S. Midkiff, D.D.S. Family & Cosmetic Dentistry
October 31, 2018
Category: Dental Procedures
3FactorsThatCouldAffecttheSuccessofaRootCanalTreatment

A tooth with deep decay is in real peril. If the disease isn’t stopped, it can eventually infect the bone and greatly increase the risk of losing the tooth. But tooth decay removal and a root canal treatment can stop advancing decay and resulting infection in its tracks.

During this common procedure we first drill into the tooth to access the inner pulp. After removing the infected pulp tissue, we disinfect and fill the empty chamber and root canals with gutta percha. We then seal the tooth and crown it to protect against re-infection.

But while most root canals are successful and long-lasting, sometimes the tooth becomes re-infected. Here are 3 factors that could affect the long-term success of a root canal treatment.

Early treatment. Like many health problems, the sooner we detect decay and treat it, the better the outcome. A tooth in which the infection has already advanced beyond the pulp is at greater risk for re-infection than one in which the infection is localized in the pulp. Keeping up your regular dental visits as well as seeing the dentist at the first sign of abnormality—spots on the teeth or pain—can increase your chances of early diagnosis.

Tooth complications. Front teeth with their single roots and canals are much easier to access and treat than a back molar with an intricate root canal network. Root canals can also be extremely narrow making them easy to miss during treatment. In cases like this the expertise and advanced equipment of an endodontist (a specialist in root canal treatment) could help increase the odds of success in complex situations.

The aging process. Teeth do wear over time and become more brittle, making them increasingly susceptible to fracture. A previous root canal treatment on an aging tooth might also increase the fracture risk. To avoid this, it’s important for the tooth to receive a crown after the procedure to protect the tooth not only from re-infection but undue stress during chewing. In some situations, we may also need to place a post with a bonded composite buildup within the tooth to give it extra support.

Even if a tooth has these or similar complications, a root canal treatment may still be advisable. The benefits for preserving a decayed tooth often far outweigh the risks of re-infection.

If you would like more information on root canal treatments, 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 “Root Canal Treatment.”

By Kevin S. Midkiff, D.D.S. Family & Cosmetic Dentistry
October 11, 2018
Category: Dental Procedures
Tags: dental implants  
WhatYouShouldKnowAboutAntibioticTherapyBeforeImplantSurgery

Placing a dental implant within the jawbone requires a surgical procedure. For most people it’s a relatively minor affair, but for some with certain health conditions it might be otherwise. Because of their condition they might have an increased risk for a bacterial infection afterward that could interfere with the implant’s integration with the bone and lead to possible failure.

To lower this risk, dentists for many years have routinely prescribed an antibiotic for patients considered at high-risk for infection to take before their implant surgery. But there’s been a lively debate among health practitioners about the true necessity for this practice and whether it’s worth the possible side effects that can accompany taking antibiotics.

While the practice still continues, current guidelines now recommend it for fewer health conditions. The American Dental Association (ADA) together with the American Heart Association (AHA) now recommend antibiotics only for surgical patients who have prosthetic heart valves, a history of infective endocarditis, a heart transplant or certain congenital heart conditions.

But patients with prosthetic joint replacements, who were once included in the recommendation for pre-surgical antibiotics, are no longer in that category. Even so, some orthopedic surgeons continue to recommend it for their joint replacement patients out of concern that a post-surgical infection could adversely affect their replaced joints.

But while these areas of disagreement about pre-surgical antibiotics still continue, a consensus may be emerging about a possible “sweet spot” in administering the therapy. Evidence from recent studies indicates just a small dose of antibiotics administered an hour before surgery may be sufficient to reduce the risk of infection-related implant failure with only minimal risk of side effects from the drug.

Because pre-surgical antibiotic therapy can be a complicated matter, it’s best that you discuss with both the physician caring for your health condition and your dentist about whether you should undergo this option to reduce the infection risk with your own implant surgery. Still, if all the factors surrounding your health indicate it, this antibiotic therapy might help you avoid losing an implant to infection.

If you would like more information on antibiotics before implant 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 “Implants & Antibiotics: Lowering Risk of Implant Failure.”

By Kevin S. Midkiff, D.D.S. Family & Cosmetic Dentistry
September 11, 2018
Category: Dental Procedures

Crowns and BridgesYou're happy with your smile--for the most part. Your check-ups are good, but one back molar has been filled several times. Both you and your dentist--Dr. Kevin Midkiff--worry that it may crack. Would a dental crown prolong its life? A full evaluation at your dentist's office in Lynchburg, VA gives the information you need. Learn the details on dental crowns and if one could restore your weak tooth.

What is a crown?

A dental crown is a porcelain jacket custom-made to cover your tooth from the gums and up. This lifelike restoration replaces failing enamel and protects the tooth from further damage or infection. Crowns improve smile aesthetics, too, because the porcelain is perfectly matched to the rest of your smile, and the shape and size properly fill the space.

Is a crown right for you?

Your dentist will determine that with a comprehensive oral examination at his office in Lynchburg. Some teeth are too heavily damaged to receive crowns. Others may benefit from root canal therapy, an in-office procedure which removes diseased pulp from inside the tooth before crowning it.

Additionally, Dr. Midkiff looks at your overall oral health and at-home hygiene habits. Both contribute to the long-term retention of a crown or any other dental restoration.

If you do qualify, you'll spend two appointments with Dr. Midkiff. He'll shape the tooth, take oral impressions and formulate a treatment plan. Also, he'll cover the tooth with a temporary restoration to protect it and normalize its appearance and function while you wait for your permanent crown to return from the dental lab.

When it does, your dentist will take the temporary crown off and replace it with the new one. A strong adhesive bonds the crown in place, and with some easy adjustments, you're ready to go.

Other uses for dental crowns

The American Dental Association states that crowns are very stable and last for years with routine care at home and at your dentist's office. Dr. Midkiff also may use crowns to:

  • Cover a dental implant
  • Finish root canal therapy (sparing an infected tooth)
  • Attach artificial teeth (bridgework) to natural teeth
  • Refinish severely cracked or congenitally deformed teeth (such as peg-shaped lateral incisors)

Consult us

At the offices of Dr. Kevin Midkiff, the professional staff combine expert cosmetic dentistry with the comprehensive care family dentists are known for. Your dentist can make your weak molar strong and beautiful again with a porcelain crown. Find out more. Call today for an informative consultation: (434) 239-8133.

By Kevin S. Midkiff, D.D.S. Family & Cosmetic Dentistry
September 01, 2018
Category: Dental Procedures
CorrectingaPoorBiteImprovesDentalHealthasWellasSmileAppearance

Overbites, underbites, crossbites—these are just a few of the possible malocclusions (poor bites) you or a family member might be experiencing. But no matter which one, any malocclusion can cause problems.

Besides an unattractive smile, a malocclusion makes it more difficult to chew and to keep the teeth and gums clean of disease-causing bacterial plaque. Thus correcting a malocclusion improves dental health; a more attractive smile is an added bonus.

This art of correction—moving teeth back to the positions where they belong—is the focus of a dental specialty called orthodontics. And, as it has been for several decades, the workhorse for achieving this correction is traditional braces.

Braces are an assembly of metal brackets affixed to the teeth through which the orthodontist laces a metal wire. The wire is anchored in some way (commonly to the back teeth) and then tightened to apply pressure against the teeth. Over time this constant and targeted pressure gradually moves the teeth to their new desired positions.

The reason why this procedure works is because teeth can and do move naturally. Although it may seem like they’re rigidly set within the jawbone, teeth are actually held in place by an elastic tissue network known as the periodontal ligament. The ligament lies between the tooth and bone and keeps the tooth secure through tiny fibers attached to both it and the bone. But the ligament also allows teeth to continually make micro-movements in response to changes in chewing or other environmental factors.

In a sense, braces harness this tooth-moving capability like a sail captures the wind propelling a sailboat. With the constant gentle pressure from the wires regularly adjusted by the orthodontist, the periodontal ligament does the rest. If all goes according to plan, in time the teeth will move to new positions and correct the malocclusion.

In a way, braces are the original “smile makeover”—once crooked teeth can become straight and more visually appealing. More importantly, though, correcting a poor bite improves how the mouth works, especially while eating, and keeping things clean. A straighter smile isn’t just more attractive—it’s healthier.

If you would like more information on correcting misaligned teeth, 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 “Moving Teeth with Orthodontics.”