Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Tooth Replacement Options

Tooth Replacement Options
Losing a tooth is a frustrating experience, and it can also have other disadvantages. Even if the lost tooth is a back molar and you are not concerned with others noticing it is missing, it is still advisable to have it replaced. A missing tooth can cause other adjacent teeth to start shifting, which can affect your smile. Additionally, the bone can start shrinking, requiring bone grafting if you ever decide to get a tooth replacement procedure. Tooth replacement should be done sooner rather than later with one of these options.
Dental Implants
The most permanent option for replacing a tooth is with a dental implant. The dental implant uses a metal post that becomes the root of your tooth. It is implanted into your jaw bone, where it is left for about 3-6 months to heal. During this time, the bone starts healing around the implant, which holds it firmly in place. Then, your dentist places an abutment and crown on top. The benefit to implants is that they last a long time, and function just like your natural teeth. Once healing is done, dental implants tend to be the most comfortable option.
Another option for a missing tooth is a fixed bridge. The bridge requires adjacent teeth to be intact, as they act as the anchor for the bridge. These teeth are prepared by being filed down, and then a crown is placed over them for more stability. The bridge is made with these crowns, plus an abutment where you have the missing tooth. This is also known as a fixed partial denture, as it is not removed like a traditional denture. You can get a bridge for one or multiple missing teeth, as long as you have adjacent teeth for holding the bridge in place.
Partial or Full Dentures
Lastly, there are partial and full dentures. Both are good options depending on the number of teeth needing replacement. Partial dentures work like regular dentures, but for less teeth missing. The partial denture is made to have teeth that look and feel like your other teeth so that it is not noticeable or obvious to others. If you’re replacing all of your teeth, you will need to get full dentures.
Schedule an appointment with your dentist today to learn more about your options and to find the tooth replacement option that will work best for you.

Monday, December 7, 2015

Smile Care During the Holidays

Smile Care During the Holidays
Taking care of your smile during the holidays is important for many reasons. For one thing, you want the brightest, healthiest smile for your holiday pictures and gatherings with family and friends. However, the holidays also often mean a busier schedule. This can make keeping up with your diligent oral hygiene habits difficult during the holiday season. Make sure you don’t neglect smile care during the holidays, eat right, and visit your dentist as scheduled.
Keeping Your Teeth White
The first thing you will want to do is keep your teeth looking their whitest. Aside from brushing and flossing regularly, there are some other things you can do to maintain your bright smile for holiday pictures.
Start by chewing foods that naturally remove stains from your teeth, such as celery, carrots and apples. There are also foods that prevent staining of the teeth, including green vegetables such as broccoli and spinach. These foods create a barrier over your teeth, reducing decay and staining. Finally, sip water after drinking red wine or coffee, as this can help to prevent staining.
Be Careful with the Sweets
Eating sweets and the holidays seem to go hand-in-hand. Unfortunately, sugar is also linked to bad breath, tooth decay, staining and gingivitis. Try to keep the sweets to a minimum, brush after eating a lot of sugary treats if you can, and drink plenty of water after eating a sweet.
The Importance of Nighttime Brushing
You already know to brush your teeth before going to bed every night, right? This routine is even more important during the holidays. If you have an extra cookie after dinner, don’t forget to brush your teeth before bedtime. Small morsels of that sugar-laden cookie can end up sticking to your teeth while you sleep, which can lead to tooth decay. Try to make it a point that you always brush your teeth before bed, so the sugar and food particles don’t remain on your teeth and gums overnight.
Visiting Your Dentist
If you have a routine dental visit scheduled during the holidays, don’t put it off because you’re too busy. Not only do you need the dental cleaning, but your dentist may notice oral health problems that need to be addressed. If you put off getting dental work, the issue can escalate and lead to a serious infection, when you might have just needed a simple procedure.
Taking good care of your smile during the holidays is about preventative care and paying close attention to what you eat and to your oral hygiene.

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Reasons to Be Thankful for Your Smile

Thanksgiving is the time to be thankful, and that includes being thankful for your smile. If you’ve been focusing on your oral health and proper dental hygiene, you have a lot to be thankful for.
First, you can smile confidently, knowing you always have fresh breath and a clean, bright smile. What’s more, when you have a healthy smile, you can improve your overall health and reduce your risk for serious medical conditions. Here are some important reasons to be thankful for your smile.
Having a Confident Smile
The first reason to be thankful for your beautiful smile is that it can help you feel more confident, and improve your self-esteem. The cosmetic reasons for a good smile are important because you feel happy to smile wide and show your pearly whites. You know your breath is always fresh and your teeth are aesthetically pleasing. The confidence you portray makes it easy to be around you, because you feel good about yourself. That makes others enjoy being around you too. People are just naturally attracted to people who smile.
Improved Health
More and more research contends that proper oral health care can improve systemic health. Gum disease and periodontal disease have been linked to more serious health conditions, including heart disease and diabetes. For example, gum disease causes an excess of inflammation, which can lead to blocked blood vessels and can up the risk of stroke and heart disease. There is also a link between gum disease and diabetes. Be thankful that you are improving your overall systemic health when you have good oral health.
Prevention of More Serious Issues
The preventative measures of good oral health are considerable. By taking good care of your teeth and getting regular cleanings and checkups from your dentist, you can prevent more serious dental issues and costly procedures. This includes periodontal disease, as well as procedures like root canals or extractions.
You can also be thankful for saving yourself quite a bit of money by not requiring these extensive procedures. Many of them can be avoided simply by seeing your dentist on a regular basis. Regular check-ups also help your dentist look for signs of oral cancer, which can be treated early.
This is the time of the year for being thankful, and having proper oral health is a wonderful thing to be thankful for.

Saturday, October 3, 2015

The Pitfalls of Poor Oral Hygiene

The Pitfalls of Poor Oral Hygiene
Maintaining proper oral hygiene techniques at home can mean the difference between a healthy, happy smile and a discolored, embarrassing one. So what can you do if you’re not happy with your smile? The answer is simple: visit your dentist regularly. Then, while you’re there, ask the right questions. Ask them what kind of toothbrush you should use, how to floss properly and whether or not you should be using any special appliances or tools. You can search all over the internet for proper oral hygiene techniques, but in reality, your dentist knows your history and can recommend the best products and behaviors to help maintain a healthy smile.
After your appointment, you need to apply those techniques to your everyday brushing routine. Here’s an idea of how you can improve your oral hygiene at home:
  • Brush twice a day – Brushing is great for your teeth and gums. It is recommended that you brush after every meal and right before you go to bed.
  • Floss once a day – Making sure to floss before you go to bed is one of the best ways to maintain healthy gums.
  • Preventative care – Patients are recommended to visit their dentist at least twice a year. Preventative treatments allow your doctor to monitor and treat any possible problems.
  • Stay clean – Clean your toothbrush regularly and understand when to replace an overused toothbrush.
Healthy teeth are not just white; they are thoroughly cleaned and have no cavities or bacteria buildup. Healthy gums are pink and firm, they should never bleed while brushing. If you do not maintain a regular brushing or flossing routine, you might notice that your teeth have become discolored, your gums bleed easily and plaque has built up in the small, hard to reach areas of your mouth.
Plaque is a sticky combination of bacteria and food that begins to accumulate on your teeth within 20 minutes of your last meal. If you do not clean your teeth well enough, plaque will build up and eventually develop into tartar. Untreated tartar buildup can lead to serious periodontal issues. These conditions include:
  • Cavities – Small holes that damage the structure of your teeth and often cause pain after eating sweet, hot or cold foods and drinks.
  • Gingivitis – Swollen, inflamed and bleeding gums. This is treatable through various professional cleaning procedures.
  • Periodontal Disease (gum disease) – If gingivitis goes untreated, it can lead to gum disease. This condition causes the destruction of the bone and ligaments that support the teeth, often leading to tooth loss.
  • Halitosis (bad breath) - Bad breath that is most commonly related to poor oral hygiene and is caused by the release of sulphur compounds by bacteria in the mouth. 

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Making your braces stylish

Growing up is hard enough without adding braces into the mix. Some kids would rather live with crooked and spaced teeth for their entire lives rather than spend 18 months in braces. As parents, we can empathize with our children’s apprehensions.  The companies who are responsible for developing new dental technologies understand as well. That is why they have created many ways to sport braces without embarassment!

The Invisalign® system uses custom fit, clear aligners to move teeth into place. The aligners are fitted every few weeks to shift the teeth into the desired position. Invisalign®  is also very convenient for teens who play sports as the aligners can be removed before physical activity. Patients who choose Invisalign®  also need fewer checkups.

There are also mini braces that are 30% smaller than regular metal braces. They also come in gold and glow in the dark! Lingual braces are another way to straighten the teeth. The brackets are attached to the backs of teeth and no one will know they are there unless you tell them. Lingual dental braces can be worn by almost anyone unlike some of the other treatment options.

The new options in braces allow teens to use dental braces as a fun way to make a fashion statement. The brackets, which previously only came in silver, now come in clear, tooth-colored, and even gold. The wires and bands come in an almost infinite number of shades including metallic, neon, and every color in-between. The colors can easily be changed during routine visits with the orthodontist. Some teens match the colors to the holidays and others choose their school colors to show their spirit.

Despite the wide range of colors and options that dental braces offer, they are still an adjustment. As a parent, be sure to discuss the reality of wearing braces and the maintenance that is required for treatment to be successful. The new fashion options that braces offer are an added bonus that makes the treatment that much more bearable. Your orthodontist can share actual patient pictures of the various styles of braces and band colors to make the patient more at ease with the appearance of them. Orthodontists are skilled at explaining the pros and cons of dental braces and addressing any apprehension your teen may have.

Saturday, August 8, 2015

Back to School, Back to the Dentist

Back to School, Back to the Dentist

For kids, it marks the end of summer fun and start of a new school year. For parents, it’s a happy return to regular bedtimes, baths and household routine, but with the added stress of afterschool activities and regular PTA meetings. And for both parents and kids, it often means a return to the dentist for a cleaning, checkup, new toothbrush, and hopefully a cavity-free bill of oral health.

Why is back-to-school such a good time to schedule a dental appointment? For kids who have likely enjoyed a summer full of sugary candy, soda, ice cream, slumber parties and campouts--when brushing and flossing could have easily been forgotten-- a return to the dentist is an important time to address any cavities that may have occurred and provide the teeth with a thorough cleaning. A back-to-school dental appointment also provides kids with the sense of a fresh start and a return to routine, which helps them stay diligent with twice daily brushing and flossing. If there’s any need for orthodontics, sealants or other dental services, it’s best to undergo such treatments prior to the start of the school year, making any adjustments easier to implement along with other changes. Any developmental oral health problems that could affect speech or diet are also best addressed before they potentially affect your child’s school life.

Since family life gets especially busy once classes resume, parents will find it much easier to take care of dental appointments before the need to sign kids out of school or skip activities arises. Back-to-school is important for more than just grade school students. For high school and college aged kids it’s a good time to consider wisdom tooth removal. Wisdom tooth extraction is often simple and straightforward, but it still requires a few days of rest and recovery, which is best done without the stress of homework, new classes and coursework.

Teachers and educational administrators should also use back-to-school as a time to take care their own need for an exam, cleaning, and dental work. This ensures that you needn’t miss any days of work to take care of your oral health or endure any pain due to unaddressed issues.

Even if your days in class are long behind you, back-to-school can be a chance to catch up and start a new beginning for everyone. Why not do so with a smile? If you or your child is due for a dental visit, now is a great time to make your back-to-school appointment.

Saturday, July 4, 2015

Tooth Sensitivity – What Causes It and How Can I Treat It?

Tooth Sensitivity – What Causes It and How Can I Treat It?

Summer has arrived, and for individuals with sensitive teeth, the thought of ice cold treats could have you cringing instead of cheering. Tooth sensitivity can make dental visits, procedures, and a variety of foods and beverages very uncomfortable to experience. While it may be considered a minor problem in the realm of various oral health disorders, tooth sensitivity should be addressed and treated to ensure that your dental checkups and hygiene habits go smoothly and comfortably, and that you can enjoy a reasonable variety of food and drink without pain.
Tooth sensitivity most frequently occurs when the nerves of tooth are not adequately protected. When tooth enamel is worn down due to improper or abrasive brushing, tooth decay, gum disease or infection, then hot and cold temperatures will easily stimulate the tooth nerves and cause sensations of pain and discomfort. A dental checkup is the best bet in identifying the primary factor or combination of factors that could be causing your tooth sensitivity-- whether it’s a cavity, weakened filling, gum tissue recession, bruxism, or need for a root canal.

Once the issue has been identified and treated with a necessary procedure, tooth sensitivity should subside shortly thereafter. If, however, you experience tooth sensitivity on a regular basis and no periodontal issue has been determined as the cause, there are still a number of steps you can take to reduce and manage your tooth sensitivity.
First, ensure that you are brushing and flossing properly, and with the right tools. Use a soft bristled toothbrush and waxed floss. Do not attempt to “scrub” your teeth clean when you brush. Instead, brushing should be completed gently, in short strokes. If your toothbrush bristles appear frayed at the ends, you’ve discovered a telltale sign of rough brushing and your teeth have likely sustained damage from toothbrush abrasion.
The toothpaste you choose could also contribute to or alleviate tooth sensitivity. Whitening toothpastes often contain abrasives and can easily add to tooth sensitivity—so too can teeth whitening products like gels and strips. Use toothpaste that is specified as desensitizing. Desensitizing toothpastes can be purchased just about anywhere under a variety of generic and brand names. Look for potassium nitrate as the active ingredient, as this substance works to block and protect exposed dentin and nerves.

Finally, make smart choices when it comes to oral health and hygiene. Good smile care habits reduce plaque and tartar, and minimize your risk of gum disease, cavities and other issues that result in tooth sensitivity and more serious problems. Avoid tobacco products and reduce intake of foods and beverages high in sugar, acid or alcohol. If you have issues grinding or clenching your teeth, take care to minimize stress and consider using a mouth guard to prevent enamel damage and discomfort.
Follow these steps and you’ll be more likely to scream for ice cream, not because of it. Don’t forget to brush and floss afterwards.