My Blog

Posts for: May, 2016

By Phillip S. Tully III DMD
May 17, 2016
Category: Dental Procedures
AToothlessTiger

Let’s say you’re traveling to Italy to surprise your girlfriend, who is competing in an alpine ski race… and when you lower the scarf that’s covering your face, you reveal to the assembled paparazzi that one of your front teeth is missing. What will you do about this dental dilemma?

Sound far-fetched? It recently happened to one of the most recognized figures in sports — Tiger Woods. There’s still some uncertainty about exactly how this tooth was taken out: Was it a collision with a cameraman, as Woods’ agent reported… or did Woods already have some problems with the tooth, as others have speculated? We still don’t know for sure, but the big question is: What happens next?

Fortunately, contemporary dentistry offers several good solutions for the problem of missing teeth. Which one is best? It depends on each individual’s particular situation.

Let’s say that the visible part of the tooth (the crown) has been damaged by a dental trauma (such as a collision or a blow to the face), but the tooth still has healthy roots. In this case, it’s often possible to keep the roots and replace the tooth above the gum line with a crown restoration (also called a cap). Crowns are generally made to order in a dental lab, and are placed on a prepared tooth in a procedure that requires two office visits: one to prepare the tooth for restoration and to make a model of the mouth and the second to place the custom-manufactured crown and complete the restoration. However, in some cases, crowns can be made on special machinery right in the dental office, and placed during the same visit.

But what happens if the root isn’t viable — for example, if the tooth is deeply fractured, or completely knocked out and unable to be successfully re-implanted?

In that case, a dental implant is probably the best option for tooth replacement. An implant consists of a screw-like post of titanium metal that is inserted into the jawbone during a minor surgical procedure. Titanium has a unique property: It can fuse with living bone tissue, allowing it to act as a secure anchor for the replacement tooth system. The crown of the implant is similar to the one mentioned above, except that it’s made to attach to the titanium implant instead of the natural tooth.

Dental implants look, function and “feel” just like natural teeth — and with proper care, they can last a lifetime. Although they may be initially expensive, their quality and longevity makes them a good value over the long term. A less-costly alternative is traditional bridgework — but this method requires some dental work on the adjacent, healthy teeth; plus, it isn’t expected to last as long as an implant, and it may make the teeth more prone to problems down the road.

What will the acclaimed golfer do? No doubt Tiger’s dentist will help him make the right tooth-replacement decision.

If you have a gap in your grin — whatever the cause — contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation, and find out which tooth-replacement system is right for you. You can learn more in the Dear Doctor magazine articles “Dental Implant Surgery” and “Crowns & Bridgework.”


By Phillip S. Tully III DMD
May 03, 2016
Category: Oral Health
Tags: root canal  

A toothache is never an enjoyable experience. Eating and drinking become more difficult, and even something as simple as breathing root canalcan produce pain. However, relieving tooth pain is often as simple as undergoing a root canal procedure at the Columbus, GA dentist’s office of Phillip Tully. Despite its bad reputation, root canal therapy is a painless, relatively quick procedure which can eliminate your tooth pain and save your natural tooth from extraction.

When is a root canal necessary?
A root canal is necessary when the tooth’s pulp becomes inflamed, infected or dead. The tooth’s pulp made up of blood vessels, nerve, and connective tissues, is located in the tooth’s hollow, inner pulp chamber. When the pulp becomes inflamed, a toothache occurs. This often comes with sensitivity to hot and cold, making drinking and eating painful or uncomfortable. A toothache can also have a radiating ache, occurring without stimulation.

How does a root canal work? 
A root canal begins when your Columbus, GA dentist Dr. Tully administering local anesthetic to numb the area. Then, your dentist makes a small access hole in the top of your tooth from which he removes the infected pulp. With the pulp removed, your dentist cleans and sterilizes the inside of the tooth, making sure no infected tissue is left behind. Composite materials fill the tooth and seal it off to prevent further infection. In most cases, you will need a dental crown which sits over the top of the tooth to protect it. Our dental office is equipped with CEREC Crowns, so the new crown will be ready later that day.

Does a root canal hurt? 
While root canals have a reputation for being painful, drawn-out procedures, that is simply a myth. A root canal only occurs once the area is numbed with local anesthetic. While you may feel some pressure from the instruments, you should not feel any pain during your procedure.

For more information on root canal therapy, please contact Dr. Phillip S. Tully III, DMD at his office in Columbus, GA. Call (706) 323-6491 to speak with a knowledgeable and friendly associate about scheduling your dental examination.


OrthodonticsCouldbetheSmileTransformerYouveBeenLookingFor

When designing your new smile, we have a lot of options for changing how individual teeth look: from whitening discolored teeth to replacing missing teeth with life-like dental implants. But the problem may not be how your teeth look — in fact, individually they may look perfect. If they’re not straight, though, your smile won’t be as attractive as it could be.

We can address a poor bite (malocclusion) through the dental specialty of orthodontics. By moving misaligned teeth we may be able to transform your smile without any other dental work, or it could serve as a more solid foundation for other cosmetic enhancements. To find out if orthodontics can make a difference for you, you should begin with an initial visit to your general dentist. A thorough dental examination will enable them to tell you if correcting your bite could be a good option for you. If it is, they’ll most likely refer you to an orthodontist, a specialist in treating malocclusions.

The orthodontist will also perform an evaluation and get as complete a picture as possible of your particular bite problems. This examination will also include checking jaw growth and development in younger patients, how the affected teeth align with other teeth, and if your current bite is having any effect on the jaw joints. This will provide a good overview of not only the malocclusion but how it affects the rest of your mouth.

With this detailed analysis, they can then advise you on the best course of treatment. Most malocclusions can be corrected with braces or, increasingly, clear aligner trays. In certain situations, though, more specialized approaches may be needed, such as isolating only certain teeth for movement.

While orthodontic treatment takes time and can be expensive, the end result can be amazing: an improved bite that not only enhances your appearance but improves function and long-term health. Along with other cosmetic enhancements to your teeth and gums, orthodontics can give you a new sense of confidence in your smile.

If you would like more information on improving your smile with orthodontic treatment, 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 “The Magic of Orthodontics.”