January 29th, 2018
The mouth plays a critical role in digestion. Proper chewing and a complete bite are crucial in this process.
Imagine ... you are enjoying a meal. You start by taking a bite of food. Yum! The flavors ignite the salivary glands. The saliva starts flowing. You begin enjoying all the delicious flavors. The teeth are chewing in order to break down the food into smaller and smaller bits. The tongue moves the food around the mouth to make sure it is getting properly tasted and broken down. The saliva encases the food and its enzymes break it down further. By the time you are ready to swallow the bolus of food is nicely mashed and easily goes down the throat toward the stomach. This happens each time you take a bite of food.
Now imagine that you are missing several (or even a few) teeth. You take a bite of food but it is harder to grind that food up. When you swallow there are larger chunks of food present in the bolus that is heading toward the stomach. The stomach has to work harder to break down this mixture. You may notice stomach discomfort after eating or an increase in acid reflux. This also happens when you don't properly chew the food (like inhaling it instead of enjoying it).
If you are missing teeth contact your dental professional to see what options you have to correct this. Also make sure to chew your food completely to help with the digestive process.
January 15th, 2018
Invisalign is an orthodontic treatment option that allows people to straighten their teeth using clear trays, called aligners. These trays are made with a trademarked SmartTrack material that gently guides the teeth into the desired position. Tooth movement is also aided by composite attachments that are temporarily bonded to certain teeth depending on the movements needed. These attachments are the same color as the teeth and are hardly noticeable. Invisalign trays are worn twenty-two hours per day and are removed when eating. Each tray is worn up to two weeks and then changed for a new one.
Invisalign trays are removable and allow easier home care (brushing and flossing) than traditional braces. While this is a major benefit it can also be a hindrance. Compliance and wearing the trays is a must if Invisalign is to work. If you don't wear the trays the teeth are not going to move. Invisalign is a great choice for adults and very compliant teenagers.
There are definite benefits to having straight teeth. Straight teeth are more esthetically pleasing. An aligned bite is more conducive to a healthy mouth. When the teeth are straight, it allows for easier brushing and flossing. Easier oral hygiene diminishes plaque and calculus build up on the teeth leaving the gums and teeth happier.
December 27th, 2017
Tooth decay is the most prevalent chronic disease in both children and adults. The good news is that it can be preventable. Knowing what causes tooth decay, aids in its prevention. Three components are necessary for a cavity to happen. These include: bacteria, food for the bacteria and a tooth. If any of these criteria are missing, decay will not happen.
The most common bacteria associated with tooth decay are streptococcus mutans. These bacteria use the sugars found on teeth to create lactic acid which breaks down the enamel. The enamel is the inert, protective coating on the outside of our teeth that preserves the soft inner layers. If it is weakened, the tooth is more susceptible to damage and decay.
The food we eat can provide a meal for the bacteria on our teeth. Foods that are high in sugar or those that can be converted into sugar are what the streptococcus mutans thrive on. Their meal is changed into an acid that erodes the teeth.
Finally, the tooth is the setting where this process occurs. To prevent decay, it is very important to brush or rinse the food items from the teeth after eating. Limit the amount of sugary food or items that will turn into sugar (ex, crackers, chips, cereal ...). Good oral hygiene habits and a well balanced diet will help deter tooth decay.
December 6th, 2017
Do you have consistent pain in your tooth when you are biting or chewing? The culprit may be cracked tooth syndrome. This occurs when there is a crack in the tooth. In many cases this crack is too small to show up on radiographs or is under the gingiva. Cracked tooth syndrome can be difficult to properly identify. Signs and symptoms of a cracked tooth are pain upon biting or discomfort to temperatures like hot and cold. The discomfort lasts while the tooth is in use.
Some common causes for cracked teeth include: grinding or clenching, malocclusion of the teeth (improper bite), and large restorations in the teeth. Some treatment options for a cracked tooth include: bonding the affected tooth with composite, a full coverage restoration of the tooth (an onlay or crown), root canal therapy, and in severe cases extraction of the tooth.
If you feel like you may be clenching or grinding your teeth, especially at night, talk to your dentist about a night guard. This guard will help protect your teeth. Also if you have malocclusion, talk to your dentist about orthodontics (braces). A good bite creates a healthy environment for the mouth.
November 20th, 2017
Sonicare toothbrushes are amazing! The technology used for these toothbrushes provides a product that is very efficient and extremely easy to use. There are different models. At our office we have the Easy Clean model. This brush has one setting that is timed for two minutes. After two minutes the brush turns off on its own. It is efficient and simple. Another great model is the Diamond Clean. This model has several different settings with different frequencies. It is diverse and effective. It is also timed to ensure proper brushing length. They even have one for kids!
Sonicare toothbrushes can remove up to 7 times more plaque than a manual toothbrush. The way that they do this is through amplitude and frequency. Amplitude is how the brush head moves. Frequency is how fast the brush head moves. Sonicare's dynamic technology produces 31,000 brush strokes per minute versus the 300 brush strokes per minute produced by a manual toothbrush.
These brushes are very user friendly. They are timed and have a pause every 30 seconds. This allows you to spend the proper time in each quadrant of the mouth. After 2 minutes the brush turns off automatically, ensuring that the teeth have been brushed for the proper time. The most common mistake in brushing is not doing it long enough. Sonicare toothbrushes are a great tool for oral hygiene.
October 26th, 2017
There are many different products available to achieve a brighter smile. Here is a little information about some at home teeth whitening products. Some options include tray whitening and teeth whitening strips.
Tray whitening is a professional system that uses custom trays and whitening gel only available from the dentist. Impressions of your teeth are taken and trays are made from the models. The whitening gel is placed in the custom fitted trays and they can be worn for 30 minutes up to overnight depending on the strength of the gel. Desired results usually take approximately two weeks. These trays are reusable. You just need to replenish the whitening gel.
Teeth whitening strips are thin, flexible strips of material with a film of whitening gel on one side. To use, place the strip gel side touching the teeth. Press the strips into place making sure to cover the front of the teeth. The strips are one size fits all so sometimes the gel can get onto the gums. The gel can be caustic to the gums causing mild to moderate discomfort. Teeth whitening strips are usually worn 30 minutes a day. Desired results usually take longer than the tray whitening systems. The strips are one time use only.
October 12th, 2017
In lieu of dental hygiene month, I would like to discuss flossing! It is a undoubtedly a favorite topic.
The goal of flossing is to clean in between the teeth where your toothbrush cannot reach. There are several different methods and tools that can be used to achieve this goal. This particular blog will tell how to use traditional rope floss. I prefer Reach (waxed mint). However, if you have difficulty getting floss in between your teeth, I would recommend Glide. The technique for flossing with rope floss is as follows.
Break off a sizeable piece of floss (maybe 10 inches). Wind the floss around one of your middle fingers. Then wind the remaining around the middle finger on the other hand. There should be about two inches of floss between your fingers. Hold the floss between your thumbs and forefingers while guiding it between your teeth using a gentle motion. Gently rub the floss against the teeth removing any debris. Use a clean area of floss when going between different teeth. Do this throughout the entire mouth. This technique is the most cost effective way to remove debris from in between the teeth. There are other ways to floss that are also beneficial. We will discuss them in the next blog.
September 23rd, 2017
There are many whitening products and systems available today. The Philips Zoom whitening system is a well-known in office treatment. Let’s discuss why Zoom is used and how the system works.
Most choose to whiten their teeth to improve the appearance of their smile. Staining on teeth can make the smile look dull or aged. Mostly stains are on the enamel or just below in the dentin. Stains are caused by food and drinks (such as blueberries, tea, coffee, and wine) and smoking. Over time the stains change the color of the dentin causing the appearance of the tooth to darken or become yellow.
Some whitening products include hydrogen peroxide or carbamide peroxide. These gels break apart specific carbon bonds that create yellow stain. Once these bonds are broken, they no longer reflect the yellow color. Zoom uses a blue LED light activated system that accelerates this whitening process. This technology allow for rapid results in forty-five minutes to an hour. Some patients can go to 8 shades lighter after the treatment. Zoom is best for those that want to have immediate results.
Most whitening services are designed to last for a long period of time. However, relapse does happen due to the causes listed above. Included with the Zoom treatment are take home touch up whitening trays to help maintain the initial results. We have been using this technology for some time and are pleased with the outcomes. Prior to any whitening treatment it is important to talk with a dental professional to see which products or systems are best for you.
September 14th, 2017
Dental implants are an important and helpful tool in dentistry. Technically a dental implant is an anchor that is surgically inserted into the jawbone. Once osseointegration of the dental implant occurs with the bone, it is used to support a fixed or removable prosthesis in the oral cavity.
Simplified, a dental implant is the “root” that holds onto the new tooth that will be going into the mouth. It is the unseen foundation nestled in the supporting tissues of bone and gingiva. It provides a platform for the visible and functional prosthesis.
Modern titanium dental implants were engineered by an orthopedic surgeon and research professor, Dr. Branemark. Luckily for dentistry, he was able to envision the osseointegration of titanium implants in the oral cavity to help replace missing teeth. His dental implant design was used clinically in 1965. The technique and the parts, however, only continue to improve as technology advances. The majority of dental implants are still titanium with several different dental implant systems available. We like to use the Nobel Active and Astra.
Implants are important and helpful because they give patients another treatment option when a tooth is missing or lost. Before dental implants the treatment options for a missing or lost tooth consisted of:
- Do nothing
- A removable prosthesis (A partial denture)
- A fixed bridge (Crowns attached to the teeth closest to the space where the missing or lost tooth is)
Dental Implants allow for a fixed (one that doesn’t leave the mouth) solution without doing treatment on the surrounding teeth. The fact that dental implants are an independent solution is nice because the surrounding teeth do not have to be used in the restoration process.
Implants are a great option when a tooth is lost.