Dental Health (591)
Tooth brushing is one of the first lessons of personal care that we learn as children – for many of us, brushing our teeth is one of the first health habits that we are taught in life. Brushing and flossing your teeth is the simplest and most cost-effective way to preserve your oral health and to enjoy a lifetime of healthy teeth and gums.
The American Dental Association (ADA) recommends that people brush their teeth twice every day – once at night before going to bed, and once in the morning. Brushing your teeth at night helps to remove bacteria and keeps your mouth clean while you sleep. Brushing your teeth in the morning helps freshen your breath and removes any bacteria that built up during the long night of sleep.
In addition to brushing your teeth twice a day, the ADA recommends that you floss once a day as well. Flossing is important because it allows you to clean in between your teeth removing bacteria and plaque, and keeping your gums healthy. Flossing helps keep your gums in shape. If you don’t floss often enough, your gums might bleed, which, if you’re not careful, can be a sign of possible gum disease and infection.
Your oral health can be a reflection of your overall health. Sometimes the first sign of a disease shows up in your mouth. In other cases, infections in your mouth, known as periodontal disease, can cause problems in other areas of your body.
More than 75% of Americans over the age of 35 have some form of gum or periodontal disease. Signs of periodontal disease include: bleeding gums when brushing or flossing; red, swollen or tender gums; loose teeth; persistent bad breath; or receding gums. Sometimes there are NO obvious signs of periodontal disease. That is why routine professional dental exams are so important to your overall health.
Periodontal disease ranges from simple gum inflammation, called gingivitis, to a more serious disease, called periodontitis that causes gum tissue to pull away from the teeth forming pockets that become infected. Periodontitis results in damage to the bone supporting your teeth, and ultimately the loss of your teeth.
Periodontal disease is a chronic bacterial infection of the gums, and the byproducts of oral bacteria can enter the bloodstream. When oral bacteria escapes into the bloodstream it increases inflammation throughout the body and can injure major organs. Chronic inflammation is recognized as a significant factor in aging and disease.
Bacteria and inflammation from periodontal disease is associated with a number of serious health problems including:
• Heart disease
• Rheumatoid arthritis
• Premature birth
Joint replacements: Gum disease is a major risk for infections in your joints after joint replacement surgery. Maintaining healthy gums and teeth is critical for preventing serious problems in your new joints. Current guidelines recommend taking antibiotics before having your teeth cleaned and any necessary dental work. Be sure to list joint replacements on your medical history at your dental office. Antibiotics are also recommended prior to dental care for patients who have had heart valve replacement.
If you have symptoms of periodontal disease, please take it seriously and call us for a thorough dental exam!
Oral and maxillofacial surgeons are trained, skilled and uniquely qualified to manage and treat facial trauma.
Injuries to the face, by their very nature, impart a high degree of emotional, as well as physical trauma to patients. The science and art of treating these injuries requires special training involving a hands-on experience and an understanding of how the treatment provided will influence the patient’s long term function and appearance
Soft Tissue Injuries Of the
When soft tissue injuries such as lacerations occur on the face, they are repaired by suturing. In addition to the obvious concern of providing a repair that yields the best cosmetic result possible, care is taken to inspect for and treat, injuries to structures such as facial nerves, salivary glands and salivary ducts (or outflow channels).
Bone Injuries Of the
Fractures of the bones of the face are treated in a manner similar to the fractures in other parts of the body. The specific form of treatment is determined by various factors, which include the location of the fracture, the severity of the fracture, and the age and general health of the patient. When an arm or a leg is fractured, a cast is often applied to stabilize the bone and allow for proper healing. Since a cast cannot be placed on the face, other means have been developed to stabilize facial fractures.
One of these options involves wiring the jaws together for certain fractures of the upper and/or lower jaw. However, certain other types of fractures of the jaw are best treated and stabilized by the surgical placement of small plates and screws at the involved site. This technique of treatment can often allow for healing and obviates the necessity of having the jaws wired together. This technique is called rigid fixation of a fracture. The relatively recent development and use of rigid fixation has profoundly improved the recovery period for many patients by allowing them to return to normal function more quickly.
The treatment of facial fractures should be accomplished in a thorough and predictable manner. Importantly, the patient’s facial appearance should be minimally affected. An attempt at accessing the facial bones through the fewest incisions necessary is always made. At the same time, the incisions that become necessary are designed to be small and, whenever possible, are placed so that the resultant scar is hidden.
The proper treatment of facial injuries is now the realm of specialists, well versed in the emergency care, acute treatment and long-term reconstruction and rehabilitation of the patient.
Prosthodontists are responsible for some of the most important aspects of dental care.
The American Dental Association recognizes prosthodontists as dental specialists with three years of additional training after dental school in the prevention and treatment of tooth loss.
Tooth loss happens from decay, gum disease, traumatic injury, cancer or wear. Losing teeth places stress on the mouth’s structures and shape causing the bone to shrink and possibly changing a person’s facial appearance. Many adults who do not replace their missing teeth suffer poor self-esteem, premature aging, poor diet, loss of function and social embarrassment.
By utilizing dental implants, fixed bridgework, removable partial dentures and complete dentures a prosthodontists’ expertise can change a smile and a life. If patients are missing one or more teeth; are interested in dental implants; wear dentures or removable partial dentures; and/or want to improve the esthetics of their smile, they should ask their dentist about a referral to a prosthodontist.
These specialists, like myself, have a highly skilled understanding of the dynamics of a smile, the preservation of a healthy mouth and the creation of tooth replacements. Prosthodontists also maintain a strong commitment to the dental health care needs of older patients, individuals with congenital anomalies, and those who have been affected by oral cancer.
You can visit www.gotoapro.org for more information on how prosthodontic treatment can keep your smile healthy for a lifetime.
Let’s face it: one of the first things you notice about people is their smile. When you meet someone with a bright, natural smile, it catches your attention. However, over time, the natural aging process and your lifestyle (smoking or drinking coffee, tea, or wine) can stain your teeth.
Today everyone wants to feel and look good; they have a strong self-image. People who feel good about themselves interact positively with family, friends and business contacts. A beautiful confident smile plays a significant role in you image.
To get your smile back to looking its best, you should choose an advanced method in modern dentistry that makes it easy to restore a natural beauty to teeth that are stained, chipped, crooked, missing, or separated by a wide space. Those old silver fillings which have made your back teeth dark and unattractive can now be replaced with state-of-the-art materials that will make your teeth stronger, healthier and much more attractive.
Recent advances in dentistry make cosmetic procedures quicker, gentler, and:
- Can help you achieve the longest-lasting results
- Give you the most naturally brilliant and uniform look
- Are clinically proven to be safe and effective
Cosmetic dentistry can make you look and feel younger, more attractive, and more confident. Now you have a choice.
Over the years I have been discussing Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) as a description of a structural condition, which is seen as a sleep condition rather than a structural condition during sleep. I believe that studying the same structural relations associated with OSA, while we are both awake and asleep, can and will provide a better understanding for how they function.
Medicine’s principles of CPR (cardio-pulmonary-resuscitation) sequence of “airway-breathing-circulation” illustrates, although closely tied together, that the airway, essentially the jaw-tongue-throat anatomic and functional relationship comes first. It controls air airflow and one’s ease of, even potential for, breathing, as well as its affect from and effect upon by the rest of the body.
I have also noted that my understanding of science has led me to conclude that the design function of the body is to keep itself alive, and it compensates for structural compromise to airflow through the throat by:
• Clenching and/or grinding teeth (more often during sleep)
• Increased adrenaline secreted as in the “fight or flight” response to increase muscle tone and activity support the above actions, breathing, circulation and more
• Posture changes (poor posture while awake and postural changes while asleep)
Compensation Impact Upon Our Concept Of Beauty
• The tooth clenching and grinding is associated with TMJ issues of pain and poor posture. Worn teeth from grinding often decrease facial support leading to wrinkles and frown lines from jaw and facial muscle changes.
• The increased frequency and intensity of the “fight or flight” or “stress response” is in actuality stress; stress increase impairs beauty and health.
• Posture change, as forward head posture, which continues impacting total posture, not only predisposes us to musculoskeletal pain (adding to the stress response), compression of the rib cage, lung capacity and even vital organs below. As illustrated below has a positive impact on increasing the airway in allowing the jaw and tongue to fall forward as influenced by gravity while sitting or standing while awake.
For every inch your head moves forward, the head “gains” 10 pounds in weight and the muscles in your upper back and neck have to work harder to keep the head (chin) from dropping forwards onto your chest.
This increases with aging as does OSA and, I believe, osteoporosis relation to the airway management chronic “stress response” from the adrenal gland component upon the other glands of the endocrine system upon the body’s ability to absorb and assimilate calcium. Note the illustration below:
Compensation detracts from our concept of beauty, yet appropriate dental intervention focusing on Oral Systemic Balance to maximize the dental relationship to ease of breathing, can, likely prevent or minimize this as it addresses much of the origin of OSA.
Are you disappointed by the stranger you see every time you look in the mirror? Have you been trying to disguise your weak chin by holding your lower jaw in a more forward position? Do you force your jaw forward and pull on your neck, trying to smooth that drooping neckline into a more pleasing position? Who would have thought that the development of your teeth and jaw would influence your facial features to such an extent? Most people think of how white or straight their teeth can be when they seek help from a dentist. However, there are specially trained dentists who deal with jaw issues and structural misalignments that may be plaguing you.
Perhaps your lower jaw is not only back too far, or recessed, but also over-closed shortening the distance between your nose and your chin. Your teeth and bony structures are scaffolding that support your facial tissues. When the scaffold is collapsed, or non-supportive, it is reflected in a sagging face and neck.
When the upper and lower arch of the mouth are too narrow or V-shaped, the lip posture suffers, the lips narrow and the teeth become crooked and protrude much like a beaver. This also can cause sagging of the face, jowls and neck.
Because of advanced training, a neuromuscular dentist can evaluate the entire facial and oral structural support and make non-surgical corrections that bring the alignment of the teeth, jaws and face into a more natural and beautiful position. For some patients, these misalignments often cause headaches, jaw and neck pain or cause teeth to shorten and gums to recede.
Misalignment of the facial structures can also cause health problems such as snoring or other breathing disorders that could rob you of possibly 20 or more years of your life.
Many patients who have been told they need jaw surgery have found this a wonderful non-surgical alternative to a more beautiful and healthy you. True beauty is certainly more than skin deep. Don’t mask the problems; get to the root of them. Find a dentist who is trained to seek out and correct the underlying dental problems that can change your facial aesthetics forever.
With all the advertising for cosmetic dentistry we see, it can be confusing to tell what’s really going on. Cosmetic dentistry includes whitening, bonding, invisible orthodontics (braces) such as Invisalign, and porcelain veneers. Porcelain veneers are thin pieces of porcelain that are bonded to the front surfaces of teeth to correct dark, chipped, or rotated teeth. Before you decide if porcelain veneers are right for you, it’s important to have enough information to make a good decision.
Some slick advertising by the company that makes Lumineers has caught the attention of both dentists and patients alike. Lumineers claim to be “no prep” and “no drilling” veneers, which appeals to many patients. While “no prep” veneers are certainly possible in some cases, “no prep” veneers often look bulky and lifeless, and crooked teeth cannot be corrected properly without some preparation. If the dentist does have to do some preparation, then perhaps it makes sense to use prettier porcelain such as Empress or EMax (a stronger version of Empress). Other name brand veneers such as MAC veneers are simply variations of traditional porcelain veneers.
Also, in order to achieve the best results, it is important to start with the end in mind. In my opinion, the best way to do that is to create a 3-D wax mock-up of how the teeth will look after the porcelain veneers are done. This allows the patient, the dentist, and the lab tech to identify potential problems with the expected result. It allows changes to be made during the temporary veneer stage. It also ensures that the natural teeth are not “over prepped” by removing tooth structure unnecessarily. “No prep” veneers are just that...very little preparation is done in advance, so the results are more varied.
It’s important to remember that veneers will require a lifetime of maintenance. While well-done veneers are strong and beautiful, they often need replacement after ten or twenty years. They don’t discolor as much as natural teeth because they are less porous, but the edges of the veneers may start to show if you experience gum recession. Good oral hygiene and regular checkups by your dentist are extremely important if you expect your veneers to last.
Finally, a veneer is really a crown that only covers the front of the tooth. In order to get the best cosmetic results, sometimes it’s best to use a combination of veneers and actual crowns, which cover the entire tooth. It all depends on your desired results and what the dentist has to work with beforehand. Be sure to ask your dentist what additional training beyond dental school he or she has had in cosmetic dentistry. Those of us who do cosmetic procedures routinely are more than happy to share our credentials.
Coming in for your yearly dental examination is very important. The dentist will do an overall exam where they will check for cavities, grinding, and do an oral cancer screening. Oral cancer is most commonly diagnosed by your dentist, rather than your primary care physician. Your dentist will feel around your gums, neck, and tongue for any signs. Oral cancer appears as a growth or sore in the mouth which doesn’t go away. Lumps, skin lesions, and discolored tissues may all be evidence of oral, head, or neck cancer.
If any of those signs are found, you may be referred to a specialist who may then perform a biopsy, which is a sample of the tissue to analyze for abnormal cells. It’s important for you to see a dentist before it has had a chance to progress and spread.
Anyone can get oral cancer but people who smoke and drink heavily are at a higher risk. Which is why it is so important for you to visit the dentist at least twice a year.
As for cavities, you don’t want them to get bigger, which will then end up costing you more money the end or even causing you to losing your teeth. Something that start as small filling may be a crown if you wait to long. The dental team will go over oral hygiene to prevent future cavities at each appointment.
Dentists are seeing acid-worn tooth enamel more and more frequently, especially in young patients. People are aware that sugars damage teeth, but seem to have little knowledge about acid erosion.
Acid erosion occurs when various foods and drinks temporarily soften the hard enamel surface of the teeth. While softened, the enamel can be more easily worn away. This can present an even greater problem for young children whose tooth enamel isn’t mature and, therefore, softer and more susceptible to the acid.
For adults, acid wear over time can prematurely age the appearance of teeth, causing them to yellow and lose their texture and luster. Acid-worn teeth also appear more transparent at the tooth edges and are often more sensitive.
Carbonated soft drinks are one of the worst culprits of acid wear. It is not the carbonic acid, but the citric and phosphoric acids that causes the erosion. Citric acid is actually the most erosive acid found in all soft drinks and the predominate acid in non-cola drinks, including fruit juices and sports drinks. Vinegar-based salad dressings, wine, caffeinated drinks, sour candies, and even many fruits and vegetables are acidic.
Dehydration is another factor that can contribute to acid wear. Dehydration decreases the amount of saliva in your mouth. Saliva helps to neutralize acidity in the mouth and allows the enamel to slowly re-harden. But with repeated acid activity and decreased saliva this doesn’t happen effectively.
Acid erosion is a difficult problem to reverse so prevention is the best solution. You can take the following steps to protect yourself from the possibility of acid erosion of your teeth.
1. Limit the time acidic foods are in contact with your teeth. Avoid grazing on acidic foods and drinks throughout the day and chewing on fruit for prolonged periods of time. Use a straw when consuming acidic drinks.
2. Consume milk, cheese or nuts with, or after eating, acidic food or drinks to help neutralize the acidic levels while replenishing the calcium and other minerals in your teeth.
3. Hydrate and keep saliva flowing. Alcohol, exercising without rehydration, and many medicines can dry out your mouth. Cheese, fiber rich foods and sugarless gum all stimulate saliva flow.
4. Avoid brushing teeth for up to an hour after consuming acidic food or drinks when the enamel is at its softest. Rinse with water instead.
5. Consume sugary foods with meals when your mouth produces more saliva.
6. Avoid sticky and sour candies and choose sweets that clear out of your mouth quickly. Thumbs up for chocolate, which because its sugars are coated in fat, slips easily out of your mouth (thumbs down for lollipops, caramels, gummy candies, or cough drops).
7. Choose candy, gum, and baked goods sweetened with xylitol. Xylitol does not break down like sugar and can help maintain a neutral pH level in the mouth. Xylitol also increases salivary flow and aids in the repair of damaged tooth enamel.
8. Most importantly, have regular dental check-ups and follow the advice of your dental professional.
If you have lost all or most of your teeth to decay or gum disease then you may think your only option is a removable denture, but hybrid dentures offer an alternative. Hybrid dentures are sometimes called fixed-removable dentures and are supported on implants with the denture being screwed securely into place. This treatment is especially suitable for those who have suffered significant bone loss in their jaw, and who find it difficult to keep a denture in place.
Who Can Have Hybrid Dentures?
A dentist will evaluate your eligibility for the procedure and will decide how many implants are required to support the prosthesis. In general a hybrid denture requires several implants for stability, and once they are placed they’ll need to be left to heal. When the healing process is fully completed we can connect them to abutments ready for the denture to be screwed into place. In some cases, this can all be completed in the same day as implant insertion. The denture is constructed on top of either a milled titanium bar or a cast gold bar, and is designed to allow easy access to the screws. These screws are not visible, and the access holes are sometimes filled in with tooth colored composite material.
They are the perfect solution for anyone who wants to have fixed teeth, but who doesn’t want to have individual implants to replace each missing tooth. A hybrid denture isn’t quite the same as having individual teeth but does give good aesthetic results, supporting your lips and cheeks and allowing you to eat normally.
Advantages Of Getting the Dentures
Unlike ordinary dentures you don’t need to take them out every night for cleaning as they are hygienically constructed to enable you to clean underneath, but you will need to return to your dentist a couple of times a year to have the denture unscrewed and professionally cleaned.
You’ll find a hybrid denture less bulky than a removable denture, especially if it is to replace your upper teeth. A normal removable denture covers the roof of the mouth whereas a hybrid denture leaves this portion open, which not only feels much more natural but enables you to taste your food properly.
Hybrid dentures are far more stable than ordinary dentures as they cannot move around on the ridge of the jaw because they are firmly anchored into place by the implants. They don’t create any soreness, and patients can often enjoy a much larger variety of food. Call your dentist or oral surgeon today to find out more about hybrid dentures.