October 10, 2012
The Bad News
Although most people are aware of the necessity of proper daily tooth brushing and flossing, few people realize that clean teeth and healthy gums can protect against a wide variety of serious health problems! When you don’t brush and floss effectively or frequently enough, your mouth’s normal population of bacteria multiplies on your teeth and gums, depositing a sticky ‘plaque’ substance. These colonies of germs then cause a series of destructive changes that damage your teeth, gums and jawbone. In addition to getting cavities, gum disease, pain and infection, the bacterial invasion enters your blood stream and increases your risk for a whole host of systemic problems like heart disease, stroke, respiratory illness, diabetes complications and pregnancy complications.
The Good News
But it’s not all bad news. After all, it’s your mouth. You can control your oral health by simply establishing a solid habit of brushing twice daily with a soft toothbrush using the proper technique and a quality fluoride toothpaste, as well as flossing carefully twice daily. These days there are a host of advanced toothpastes, rinses and electric toothbrushes that can help you do a much more thorough job than was possible in the past. The most effective thing you can do is to call the office for an evaluation of your condition and get some advice as to which of the many new products would benefit you most. If we don’t have them here in the office for you, we can help you obtain them.
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Get Them Radically Clean with Rota-dent®
The greatest service we can render for anyone is to get them solidly on the road to excellent home care, as far as cleaning their teeth. One of the best tools available is the Rota-dent battery-powered toothbrush. Why is it better than a regular brush? Well, remember the bacteria in our mouth are constantly multiplying and forming colonies under the gum line and between the teeth, which are areas regular toothbrushes just can’t get to effectively. Rota-dent has been specifically designed and clinically proven to reduce plaque and thereby minimize both calculus build up and gingivitis or gum disease. It provides easy and consistent access to even the hardest-to-reach places, including around orthodontics, appliances and restorations without scrubbing, special toothpastes or fancy techniques.
The Rota-dent bristles are soft enough to allow you to press them under the gum line, or between the teeth, without any chance of damaging the gums or teeth. The Rota-dent comes with several different brush head designs to accommodate various mouths, orthodontics and gum conditions. It is only available through dental offices, because it is important to pick the right brush head design for your situation, and receive instruction on its use.
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For years there has been debate in the dental profession regarding the pros and cons of using silver amalgam fillings, which contain about 50% mercury, to restore cavities. While it has not been proven scientifically mercury can harm you, we have chosen to not use silver amalgam/mercury fillings, as the technology involved with them is well over 100 years old. There are also several drawbacks to them, which can cause trouble for teeth with silver fillings.
At our office we prefer to provide our patients with the newest and best alternatives available, which are bonded ceramic composite resins. Not only do they look natural, they provide a much better service and protection for your teeth, as they eliminate all the shortcomings of the old fashioned silver fillings. They seal the teeth better, insulate against hot and cold better, and if they wear down they can be repaired more easily. Many people who are undergoing a cosmetic improvement on their front teeth elect to have dark silver fillings in their back teeth replaced with the bonded ceramic resins to provide a total cosmetic improvement. Please call the office if you want to look into replacing any of your old, unsightly silver fillings.
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For many people the way their teeth fit together causes stress on the jaw muscles and joints. Many people grind or clench their teeth. Regardless of the reason, a poor bite and frequent grinding and/or clenching can cause serious damage and pain to teeth, jawbone and the muscles and joints controlling the jaw. Many people suffer from headaches, head and neck muscle pain as well as ear pain, including popping and clicking noises near the ear when they open or close the mouth. Often it is due to a poor bite, clenching or grinding of the teeth.
Whether the problem is due to a poor bite or frequent grinding or clenching, the jaw muscles never get a chance to rest. They are overworked, fatigued and go into spasm. Some people can wear their teeth right down to the gum line, some will experience loose teeth, and some will have pain in or near the ear and possible radiating over the head and neck. The muscles need a chance to rest. A new device, known as an NTI-tss, can provide rest for the muscles and thus alleviate all the above symptoms. It is quicker to fabricate than previous appliances used for these problems, and it has been shown to give more complete relief. It is so effective the FDA has approved it for reduction of pain for migraine headache sufferers. It is custom fitted to your upper front teeth, and provides a flat surface for your lower front teeth to rest on in whatever position is comfortable for your jaw muscles. It also helps break the cycle of grinding or clenching, which other appliances used in the past did not do.
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October 8, 2012
Bad Breath Can Indicate Serious Problems
Over 90 million people struggle with chronic bad breath! For most it is caused by high levels of bacteria in the mouth, that form colonies under the gum line, between the teeth, and between the taste buds on the tongue. They produce sulfur gases, the same as from rotten eggs, resulting in foul-smelling breath. Chewing gum, mints, or typical mouthwashes may only mask it temporarily.
The bacteria that cause bad breath also do damage to the gums and jawbone, which is known as gum disease. To properly eliminate bad breath, we must evaluate for any signs of gum disease, Bad breath can also stem from other general health situations: internal infections, diabetes, kidney failure, liver malfunction, and dry mouth caused by aging, medications, mouth breathing or chemotherapy. Regardless of the cause, bad breath is treatable! There are numerous rinses, toothpastes, and devices available. You may need a thorough dental cleaning, as well. The first step would be to call the office for an evaluation; from there we can help you have fresh breath.
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Long-Term Protection Without Detection
The back teeth, molars and sometimes pre-molars have deep grooves on the chewing surfaces. These grooves can be so deep and narrow that it can be impossible to clean down in the grooves. Bacteria, however, have no problem getting down to the full depths of these grooves and causing decay that can be hard to detect until it is quite advanced. Dental sealants now offer a means of successfully protecting molar and premolar chewing surfaces from decay. Recognized by the American Dental Association as a key means of cavity prevention, dental sealants are a thin resin film that can be applied to your at-risk tooth surfaces.
The same advanced bonding techniques used for cosmetic dentistry are used to bond the sealants in the grooves to seal out bacteria. The entire procedure is not only painless, but fast: requiring between ten and forty-five minutes, depending on the number of teeth we’re sealing. The cost of a sealant is much less than the cost of a filling, and it is an excellent investment to protect teeth from getting cavities at all. Over the years they can wear down, and should be checked regularly, which is another important reason for regular examinations and cleanings.
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When permanent teeth are lost, regardless of the reason or number of teeth, dental implants can offer a “new lease on life.” They are superior to other choices because they are solid, secure, and esthetic. After nearly 35 years of use, they have a 90-95% proven success rate in appropriately chosen cases.
An implant is a special surgical grade titanium post, manufactured to highly precise specifications, under strict sterile conditions, that is inserted surgically into the jawbone below the gum surface. With proper use of the newest anesthetics and medications you need not be concerned about pain. As the bone bonds to the post, it forms a secure foundation onto which your new teeth are then attached and shaped to match your mouth. The number of teeth being replaced will determine the best kind of restoration for you. Implants can help replace a single tooth, or a full set of teeth. If you have been suffering with partial or full dentures, or are missing teeth, or feel you need teeth extracted, do not hesitate to call to be evaluated for implants.
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FDA approved Invisalign is the “invisible” way to straighten your teeth without wearing conventional metal braces. Invisalign uses a series of clear, removable custom-made aligners to move your teeth. Because you remove your aligners before you eat and drink, there are no food restrictions or problems with flossing or brushing. This technology is also more comfortable, avoiding the mouth abrasions that can be caused by the metal and wires of conventional braces. And this technology is also more convenient, since you are likely to spend less time in the doctor’s office getting adjustments.
Invisalign uses 3-D computer imaging technology to design the complete treatment plan, from the initial teeth positioning to the desired final positioning. This 3-D imaging allows you to preview the final positioning of your teeth before you start treatment. Custom-made aligners are created based on the imaging information. Each of these aligners moves teeth incrementally and is worn for about 2 weeks. Typically, you will visit your dentist once every 6 weeks for “progress reports.” Not every situation can be treated with Invisalign, so call the office to get an evaluation to see if you can be helped with this new technology.
If you are missing a tooth, a permanent bridge can often be made to replace it. It should look and feel natural, without hooks or clasps, and stay in permanently, allowing totally normal function. When teeth are missing the remaining teeth begin to change position, and this can lead to numerous problems, including loss of more teeth. A fixed bridge will prevent teeth from shifting, and stabilize your bite. To have a bridge made, call the dental office so the doctor can evaluate the area and discuss specifics with you.
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Strong, Attractive and Safe Alternatives to Metal Fillings
Onlays: Onlays are used for large restorations. They restore the area inside the cusp and extend over one or more sides of the tooth. Because of their size they are usually made of porcelain.
Inlays: These are used to restore the area of tooth inside the cusps. Inlays are a conservative tooth restoration which means they require far less drilling and preparation of the tooth than a metal filling. Inlays are usually made of porcelain or composite resin, making them “invisible” in your smile.
Onlays and inlays are created in a dental laboratory from an impression of your teeth. Any shrinkage of the device occurs in the lab and is accounted for when cemented. Large fillings can shrink and be at greater risk for breakdown and tooth sensitivity. The final result will fit perfectly with surrounding teeth and can be as strong as a natural tooth.
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