Sunday, July 29, 2012

When Your Dentist Says You Need Dental Crowns

Dental crowns are a type of cap placed over the top of the tooth. In many cases, they are necessary to prevent any type of decay of that tooth. Newer products offer a similar function and are now recommended by various dentists as a preventative measure in children. However, as you get older, your dentist may begin to talk to you about your needs for these devices. They can provide both an improvement to the way the tooth looks as well as to how it functions.

Why Do You Need One?

The potential reasons for having dental crowns will range significantly. These devices can help in various circumstances including whenever there is a risk or the presence of damage to the tooth. They encase the visible portion of the tooth fully, which provides a layer of protection to the enamel. Often, they cover the tooth from the top of it through to the location of the gums. The following are some examples of when these may be necessary.

-Those who have one or more weak teeth may benefit from having these put in as it stops the further decaying due to bacteria.

-For those who have a broken tooth or one that is worn down significantly, this can add a layer of protection to avoid additional damage.

-In some root canals, the dentist will place a crown over the tooth as a preventative and protective measure.

-Those that have significantly yellowed teeth that cannot be cleaned may benefit from this treatment.

-Those who have a large filling and the remaining tooth is minimal may benefit from the use of this device.

-In some cases, they are used to provide for an anchor location for a dental bridge to ensure it remains in place.

-They can be helpful when a dental implant is put into place by providing a layer of protection for the artificial tooth.

The use of dental crowns is not uncommon. If your dentist says you may need to consider using them, it may actually be a benefit to you. There are various types of products on the market but most offer a very natural looking result. These can actually improve your smile in the long-term.

Overall, dental crowns can be a good investment because they protect the teeth from bacteria. Bacteria, which can cause damage to the structure of the teeth as well as the gums, is only brought under control with proper treatment and oral hygiene, but once the damage is done, it is hard to restore health to a smile. That is where the use of a crown can come in handy. Protect your smile for years to come by investing in these.

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Thursday, July 26, 2012

What Does The Dentist Mean By Plaque?

When the dentist says you have plaque, do you know what that is? What about tartar, and the effects that both have on your mouth? Do you know how dentists take care of these two before they can cause serious harm? The answers to these questions are essential for those who wish to keep their teeth and mouth healthy and clean.

Materia alba, or plaque, is a problem that spans the entire globe, affecting nearly the entire population of Earth. Plaque is a type of bacteria that feeds on carbohydrates, and multiplies vigorously when there is an abundance of them. That is why dentists warn about consuming foods and drinks with high levels of sugar, as sugar provides the food needed for rapid growth.

Plaque can form in a less than five hours after eating, and coats the teeth and tongue in a thin film. The coating film is actually the waste of the bacteria after feasting. Leaving plaque alone for extended time periods will lead to the buildup of tartar.

Calculus or tartar is when plaque begins to calcify on the teeth and in the space between the gums. Being much harder than plaque, it is easily stained and causes bad breath, along with inflammation, which makes the gums bleed. Leaving it to build up further causes the bones and tissue holding the teeth in place to be eaten away, which leads to gum disease and tooth decay with time, ending with teeth falling out permanently.

In order to take care of plaque and tartar, dentists will clean the teeth on each visit. It starts out with using dental tools that vibrate rapidly, to break loose the buildup of the bacterial waste and make it easier to wash out. After that, they go by hand, using a curved hook-like instrument to scrape off the lingering remains in between the teeth and gum line, which may bleed slightly in the process. To close, they polish the teeth.

In severe cases, they do deep cleaning. This involves numbing the mouth since the deep scaling goes below the gum line and towards the nerves. Then they undergo root planning to prevent tooth loss, by making the gum tissue cling to the roots of the teeth even tighter.

When a doctor says you have plaque, you should now understand that it is the waste of bacteria that leads to tartar buildup. The buildup can lead to several problems, such tooth decay, and dentists take care of it through cleaning and scaling. You can keep your teeth strong by watching what you eat and brushing every day, preventing the need for deep cleaning.

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Monday, July 23, 2012

Dental Bonding and Enamel Shaping for an Improved Smile

Cosmetic dentistry techniques have been available for hundreds - even thousands - of years, but until recent times, cosmetic dental services were financially feasible to the wealthy alone. The fact that most dental insurance plans don't cover aesthetic dental procedures has also proven to be a roadblock for many patients. Fortunately, advancements in dental tools and techniques have made cosmetic dentistry available to the masses - namely, composite bonding and enamel shaping. Both bonding and enamel-shaping are simple, non-invasive, and inexpensive techniques that can completely transform your smile.
Dental Bonding
Composite bonding involves the use of a composite resin to mend small problems in the tooth enamel. Some of the imperfections that can be corrected by bonding include:
  • Gaps between teeth
  • Small chips or cracks
  • Uneven or slightly-crooked teeth
  • A tooth that is smaller or shorter than its neighbors
  • Discolored teeth that cannot be repaired by whitening
The bonding process is painless and can often be completed in one dental visit. First, your dentist will choose or mix a composite color that closely matches the color of your teeth. A rubber dam will then be used to isolate the tooth or teeth in question. A phosphoric solution will be used to polish the enamel in preparation for bonding, at which point the chosen color is applied as a resin and molded into the required shape. In some cases, a special light will be used to accelerate the hardening of the resin until it is firmly bonded with the structure of the tooth. The final step is to ensure that the bond is comfortable, so the patient will feel and bite down on the repaired area to make sure that it feels natural.
After the bonding is complete, the repaired teeth can be used to chew, eat, and speak normally. However, it is important to care for the bonded teeth to ensure that they do not undergo any damage. Continue with your oral healthcare regimen as usual with regular brushing, flossing, and professional cleanings. It is best to refrain from harmful habits such as chewing ice, hard candy, or other hard objects, since composite materials can chip under pressure.
Enamel Shaping
Another quick and pain-free technique to improve the appearance of your smile is enamel shaping or contouring. By contouring the shape of your tooth enamel, your dentist can:
  • Correct uneven or awkward positioning of the teeth
  • Remove tiny chips or cracks
  • Improve slight crookedness
  • Smooth teeth that appear rough or pointy
  • Shorten teeth that are too long in relation to their neighbors
The contouring procedure can take only minutes to complete. A simple tool implements a diamond-tip to smooth and shape the enamel. This technique will only remove a millimeter or so of the outer enamel and usually does not require any local anesthetic. Once finished, your dentist will polish the affected teeth and the process is complete. Since the teeth have only been reshaped a bit, after-care only requires the same oral techniques that are always necessary for healthy teeth and gums.
Simple, yet Effective
While bonding and enamel-shaping sound like minimal procedures, the results can be astounding. Especially when used in conjunction with each other, these cosmetic techniques can fix a number of unsightly flaws from crooked teeth to gapped, chipped smiles. Sometimes, a quick contouring and bonding procedure is all you need to transform your teeth into the dazzling smile you've always wanted. Many patients are under the impression that they need braces, veneers, or other procedures to achieve the same results. The best part is that these are some of the most inexpensive cosmetic procedures available.
While insurance doesn't always cover cosmetic techniques, bonding and enamel-shaping provide an affordable solution for the average patient. In many cases, one of these techniques can cost less than a fashionable pair of shoes! If you've been dreaming of improving your smile, be sure to consult your dentist about these simple yet effective techniques.

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Friday, July 20, 2012

A Dentist Helps Keep Your Teeth and Gums Healthy

Family dentistry practices specialize in the prevention of tooth problems, restoring any troublesome areas, and maintaining dental health overall. They are trained to treat every member of your family, at any age. These dentists have been trained in a wide range of techniques that can provide care for many different issues.

If you or one of your family members have a dental problem, are experiencing pain, or desire a cosmetic dental service, contact a family practice to address your oral health needs. The ADA, also known as the American Dental Association, recommends that patients visit the dentist for a checkup a minimum of two times a year. These checkups can help detect oral health problems before a patient even experiences any symptoms. This not only saves the patient from considerable distress, it can also mean that teeth that would have been lost due to decay or other problems might be able to be restored.

During your visit, exams may be provided in order to detect cavities or other problems. If they find a cavity during your checkup, they may provide you with treatment such as a filling before it develops into a more serious problem. It may be tempting to put off getting a filling is the pain is not too bad, but the sooner you act in this situation the more of the tooth you can save, which preserves its overall structural integrity. Some of the other preventative, cosmetic, and restorative dental services you may be able to receive include dentures, implant crowns, root canal therapy, teeth whitening, veneers, and much more.

Going on regular visits to your dentist is an important aspect of staying physically healthy. There are many overall health issues that are connected to the deterioration of oral health. Your regular dental visits can help problems such as gum disease, which is the leading cause of tooth loss for adults in the United States. Gum disease can be painful, damages your teeth and gums, and can even cause you to experience loss of bone, among other problems. Gum disease has been connected to a number of other issues such as lung disease, diabetes, and pancreatic cancer.

With regular visits to your dentist, you can discover the early signs of cavities, check for oral cancer, reduce emergencies, and maintain good oral health. It is not enough to floss, brush, and rinse to prevent oral health problems. It is essential that you visit a dental practice on a regular basis. You can call and schedule an appointment with a skilled and professional family dentist today to get the oral health care services you need.

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Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Bite These 7 Habits for Better Oral Health

Seemingly minor actions can significantly impact your oral health. Brushing quickly, clenching your jaw when you're stressed, gnawing on pens, ripping things open with your teeth-you might do these things without thinking twice.

Pay attention to how you use-or abuse-your teeth, then make some changes. Chances are, if you're like most people, you've succumbed to several of these oral health no-no's:

1. Poor technique
You're in a hurry or thinking about something else. And so, you brush fast, hard, or not at all. Brushing too quickly often results in missing surfaces and wind up with a poor cleaning job. Brushing too hard can damage gums and cause the gum line to recede. It can also wear down tooth enamel, resulting in sensitivity.

The Academy of General Dentistry recommends holding your toothbrush at a 45 degree angle and using a gentle, circular motion. Brush twice a day for 2-3 minutes at a time. If, for some reason, brushing just isn't an option, chew sugar-free gum and swish your mouth with water following a meal-but don't make it a habit.

2. Skipped care
Tempting as it may be, skipping daily brushing and flossing sessions doesn't pay off. Doing so can get you out of the habit and mean enduring additional, unpleasant plaque at your next checkup. Over time, the omissions may just add up to decay and cavities.

And remember to floss! Don't just slide floss in and out of the spaces between your teeth, make sure to gently rub it up and down against their sides. Consider using floss picks or wands, if that makes the job easier-whatever ensures you do it daily.

3. Shoddy tools
For optimal "mechanical effectiveness," the American Dental Association recommends replacing your toothbrush every 3 to 4 months-earlier, if you notice wear. Also make the switch following illness.

4. Clenching and grinding
A lot of people grind their teeth at night or clench their jaws when tense Most of us don't notice these habits until they create pain. Grinding and clenching wear down tooth surfaces; they can also lead to tooth fractures, as well as tension headaches and jaw pain.

Discuss these problems with your dentist. He or she may recommend a mouth guard for nighttime protection. For daytime problems, start practicing awareness. Trying to catch yourself in the moment will help you stop. Check your posture, too; a hunched back and high shoulders create tension. Stress-reduction and relaxation techniques can also help diminish-and even get rid of-these harmful habits.

5. Nibbling
It's easy to mindlessly gnaw on a pen or chomp on ice cubes. But catching yourself in the act may prevent chips, cracks and worn enamel. Reach for sugar-free gum or sip on some water instead.

6. Unintended use
Your teeth are not scissors, pliers or nail clippers. When used to stand in for these tools, they are subject to harmful wear, breaks and fractures. The end result: expensive and possibly painful dental work, as well as unsightly appearance. Keep a small multi-tool or scissors on hand, so you won't be tempted to use your teeth.

7. Sweet tooth
Grabbing for sugary foods and drinks may provide temporary comfort or energy, but they also erode enamel and facilitate plaque buildup. Substitute a short walk or stretch when you hit that afternoon lull. If you can't shake your sugar craving, reach for fruit. And, if it's about refreshment, choose water, low-fat milk or juices made with 50 percent fruit juice and no added sweeteners.

You only get one set of adult teeth; use them wisely and properly, and treat them with care!

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Saturday, July 14, 2012

All You Need to Know About Tooth Sensitivity

There is nothing worse than looking forward to your favorite treat, only to find that eating it causes pain to your teeth. A bite of ice cream, a sip of hot coffee, or even a healthy snack of citrus fruit can be painful.
Unfortunately for those with extremely sensitive teeth, this happens all too often.
Teeth are comprised of many layers, the strongest of which is the enamel. When the enamel has worn away and dentin that coats the nerve of each tooth is left exposed, painful tooth sensitivity is experienced.
Teeth sensitivity- also known as dentin hypersensitivity or root sensitivity- can be caused by a number of things, including age, vigorous brushing, and injuries, among other causes. Dentin hypersensitivity affects more than 40 percent of the adult population world wide, according to the Academy of General Dentistry.
Certain foods can lead to tooth sensitivity. Highly acidic foods such as sodas, citrus juices, and pickles can cause enamel to wear out and expose sensitive areas of the tooth. Bodily acids can damage teeth as well. Those who suffer from bulimia or gastroesophageal reflux disease must pay special attention to their dental care routines, as bodily acids can cause tooth erosion and sensitivity.
Tooth sensitivity can also be caused by facial injuries and chipped teeth. Wearing a mouthguard can help avoid this by keeping teeth from smashing together and causing major oral injuries. Protecting teeth with a mouthguard during sports and physical activity can also lower the risk of concussion.
Sometimes tooth sensitivity cannot be avoided. The aging process comes with receding gum lines and years of vigorous brushing, which can contribute to tooth sensitivity. Those who have undergone orthodontic treatment such as dental braces, have had routine teeth cleanings throughout their lives, or had cavities filled might also experience tooth sensitivity during and after their procedures.
Braces are made to guide teeth into alignment, which will naturally cause discomfort to patients. Those with braces must take great care to thoroughly clean their teeth and braces because trapped food can create acid that can eventually lead to cavities, decalcification and increased tooth sensitivity.
Patients who have sensitive teeth and are undergoing orthodontic treatment might fear the day their braces come off. While the procedure of removing braces simply feels like intense pressure on the teeth to most people, those with sensitive teeth might have a harder time enduring it. However, orthodontists are highly trained to reduce discomfort to all patients.
Once braces have been removed, patients can finally treat tooth sensitivity on the entire tooth surface, focusing on what was covered by the braces.
There are a number of home remedies and in-office procedures that can help alleviate tooth sensitivity.
At Home
Simple modifications to your everyday oral hygiene routine can help tremendously. First, a soft bristle toothbrush is recommended, as well as gentler brushing strokes. We also recommend patients double check the proper way to brush teeth, as improper brushing can cause unnecessary scratching of the enamel.
Second, special toothpastes exist to protect teeth from tooth sensitivity. You don't need to sacrifice fluoride or whitening, because several toothpastes made for tooth sensitivity come with whitening and fluoride capabilities. There are special rinses and mouthwashes that also come made for sensitive teeth.
The Canadian Dental Association recommends using products that have their seal of approval to ensure the product you use has passed the ADA criteria for effectiveness.
At the Office
Dentists can offer a fluoride gel to strengthen enamel. They can also offer to "seal" sensitive teeth with a plastic material. Covering teeth mends the exposed dentin and worn enamel and reduces sensitivity.
No matter the level of sensitivity, make sure to bring it up at your next visit to your dentist or orthodontist so they can advise the best solution for your oral health.

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Wednesday, July 11, 2012

What Are Veneers? An In-Depth Overview of Dental Veneers

Dental veneers are wafer-thin shells of tooth-colored materials, which are used for covering the front surface of teeth for cosmetic purposes and are also known as porcelain veneers. Veneers are used to change the color, length, shape or size of teeth and are bonded to the front surface of teeth.
Either porcelain or resin composite is the material, which is used for making the veneers. In comparison to resin veneers, stains are better resisted by porcelain veneers and the light-reflecting characteristics of natural teeth are better mimicked by them. Veneers made of resin are thinner and less of the tooth surface needs to be removed to place them. So, when it comes to deciding the best choice, it is better to consult your dentist.
What Types of Problems Can Be Fixed with Dental Veneers?
Typically, the following problems can be fixed using dental veneers:
Broken or chipped teeth
Discolored teeth
Gaps between teeth
Irregular, misaligned or unevenly shaped teeth
Worn down teeth
How Are Dental Veneers Applied?
You will have to visit your dentist thrice if you want to get dental veneers, one for consultation, the second for making the making the veneers and the third for applying them. Veneers can be applied to one tooth or simultaneously to multiple teeth.
Before your dentist prepares your teeth and makes veneers for them, you will have to explain what sort of a result you want to achieve. Your teeth will be examined by your dentist during your first appointment, and your dentist will determine if dental veneers are suitable for you. Your dentist might possible make impressions of your teeth and mouth, and might also take dental X-rays.
About 1/2 millimeter of enamel from the surface of your tooth will be removed by your dentist to prepare it for a veneer. Before the enamel is trimmed off, your dentist will decide and even ask you if you want local anesthetic so that the area is numbed. Next, an impression or model of your tooth will be made. The dentist will send out the model to a dental laboratory, where it will be used to construct your veneer. The laboratory will send back the veneer within a week or two.
Before permanently cementing the dental veneer to your tooth, your dentist will check if it fits properly and its color is appropriate by temporarily placing it on your tooth. To ensure the veneer fits properly, your dentist might remove and trim it a few times. Your dentist might use the cement to adjust the color of the veneer to match your natural teeth. Next, the dentist will clean, polish and etch your tooth to roughen it so the bonding process is strong.
Your dentist will apply special cement to the veneer and will place it on your tooth. After properly positioning the veneer on your tooth, a special light beam will be applied to it, activating the chemicals in the cement as a result of which it will harden quickly. In the final steps, excess cement will be removed; your bite will be evaluated, and any final adjustments to your veneer will be made as necessary.
What are the Benefits of Dental Veneers?
Getting veneers has the following benefits:
A natural appearance is provided to your tooth
Porcelain is tolerated quite well by gum tissue
Porcelain veneers are resistant to stain
Darker teeth can be made to appear whiter
A conservative approach to change the color and shape of a tooth is offered by veneers. The extensive shaping before the procedure that is required by crowns is not required when veneers have to be applied. This makes them a more aesthetic and stronger alternative.
Is Special Care Required by Veneers?
No special care has to be taken for your new veneers. Simply, the normal good oral hygiene practices like brushing and flossing should be continued. Even though porcelain is stain-resistant, it is better to avoid foods and beverages that cause stain.
How Much Do Veneers Cost?
The extent of the procedure and the country you reside in are among the factors that affect the price of dental veneers. Generally, the price of dental veneers starts from $500 to $1300 per tooth. Insurance does not generally cover the cost of veneers.
What are veneers? Now you know what dental veneers are, and you can consider getting them if you have broken, chipped, discolored, irregular or misaligned teeth.

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Sunday, July 8, 2012

Understand Your Dentist Visits: What Causes Tooth Decay and Why?

Everyone knows that it's best practice to visit the dentist regularly for cleanings, but many do not know why. While it would seem that regular brushing and flossing is enough to keep your teeth healthy and clean, they cannot prevent all problems that can occur in the gums and teeth. Oral hygiene is based around the growth of a few problematic germs and substances and some cleaning procedures that address them. An understanding of how these work can make cleaning at home less of a chore and take some of the mystery out of visits to the dentist.

The main causer of problems in the mouth is a substance known as plaque. Plaque is technically dental biofilm, a thin film of bacteria that forms naturally on the surface of teeth. Most of the body that is exposed to the outside world forms layers and sheds, as hair and skin do. Teeth are different in that they stay as they are once fully grown. Because teeth do not shed their outer later, plaque builds up easily on the surface and will remain there if not removed.

Plaque starts forming after only a few hours of brushing and if left untouched will harden into a substance called tartar after a few days. Tartar itself is actually a calcium buildup on the tooth, but this buildup promotes harmful bacteria and can trap them between the tartar deposit and the surface of the tooth. These bacteria will eat away at the tooth itself, causing dental cavities. These holes in the teeth can grow rapidly, destroying layers of the bone crucial to the tooth's structure and eventually burrowing into the root of the tooth. This part of the tooth is soft and connects to the rest of the body in order to provide nutrients to the bone. Left untreated, an infection this deep can cause the tooth to completely decay and be lost.

While this may sound like an oral disaster waiting to happen, there are plenty of little things that you can do to stop these problems before they even start. Regular brushing, flossing, and use of anti-plaque mouthwash can destroy most of the plaque buildup in your mouth. Still, your toothbrush and floss cannot reach all of the nooks and crannies in your mouth, so some tartar is bound to form over time. Unfortunately, tartar is too hard to be removed with a toothbrush.

Routine dentist visits treat the problem of tartar buildup. Oral hygienists use ultrasonic tools and metal scrapers to remove the hard calcium buildups. Going to the dentist every six months to a year keeps buildups from becoming too damaging, and if cavities do occur fillings can seal up the holes to keep bacteria from tunneling too far into the teeth.

The key thing to remember about plaque and tartar is that time is your biggest enemy. When problems are left unattended, little buildups can escalate into big problems. If you haven't been to the dentist in awhile, a good cleaning can get you back to a clean slate. Your teeth feel great when they're fresh and clean, and with this knowledge in mind brushing and flossing can seem more productive and enjoyable.

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Thursday, July 5, 2012

Have a Beautiful Smile on Your Wedding Day

Every bride wants a radiant smile on her wedding day. Here are some tips on how to whiten and brighten your smile so that it will truly shine on your wedding day.

Monday, July 2, 2012

Stained Teeth: How to Remove Stains from Teeth

Food and drinks such as coffee, red wine, and tea can discolor your teeth. Learn how to remove stains from your teeth.