Monday, February 16, 2015
Dental implants offer people an alternative to the traditional ways of replacing missing teeth. The actual implant is an artificial root [anchor] made from synthetic material, usually titanium metal. There are three phases to the implant process.
First, the dental implant is surgically placed into the jawbone. It takes 3-6 months to fuse with the bone [called osseointegration]. An abutment [post] is attached to the implant and protrudes above the gum tissue. A replacement restoration is cemented or screwed to the implant abutment. Depending on the situation, dental implants can support a fixed crown or bridge or act as a stabilizing base for a full denture. The procedure can take up to 9-12 months for completion and has a high degree of success.
Some individuals have had so much bone resorption [loss] that the remaining bony ridge is too thin to hold an implant. In many cases, synthetic or natural bone can be grafted [added] or grown to allow for dental implants as an alternative treatment.
Implants have a great advantage for people already wearing full dentures since they can support and stabilize the denture while minimizing further bone loss of the denture ridge.
Not everyone is a good candidate for dental implants. There are certain risk factors that may limit success including smoking, excessive alcohol consumption, chronic bruxism [grinding teeth], systemic problems such as diabetes and individuals with poor oral hygiene.
Dental implants offer a “second chance” to those who have lost all of their teeth. For people missing only one or several teeth, dental implants provide benefits as an alternative way to restore your mouth. To determine if implants are for you, a clinical examination, x-rays, study casts and other appropriate records and measurements will be necessary. Call our office at (757) 229-1224 if you have questions or would like to schedule an implant exam.
Monday, February 2, 2015
Preventing Tooth Decay
Tooth decay [caries, cavities] is probably the most prevalent disease, affecting almost everyone during his or her lifetime. The good news is that it isn’t life threatening and is essentially preventable. The tooth decay process starts with dental plaque [sticky mixture of bacteria, food & debris]. Bacteria [germs], which naturally live in everyone’s mouth, but thrive in plaque, utilize carbohydrates from your diet, especially refined sugar [sucrose] to produce acid. Acid, if produced frequently, will demineralize [dissolve] the tooth enamel structure, which is the hardest substance in the human body. From there the acid will continue to eat through the underlying dentin layer until the bacteria and their waste products reach the pulp [nerve]. Left untreated, tooth decay can lead to root infection and eventually loss of your tooth.
There are visible signs of a cavity. Initially, it will appear as a small white spot, which in time will turn brown. As the decay continues, a hole in the tooth may become apparent. There are also warning symptoms such as sensitivity while brushing or to hot or cold foods or to breathing in air. Of course a painful toothache is a definite sign.
The most important prevention technique is daily removal of plaque with flossing and brushing. If possible, good oral hygiene should be practiced after every meal.
Using fluoride to strengthen the enamel and help remineralize teeth is a highly reliable prevention tool. Use only a fluoride, ADA recommended toothpaste. At our office, we give topical fluoride treatment to children up to age 18. We can also fabricate custom trays to be used at home with a gel fluoride for adults who have rampant caries or who are more predisposed to having tooth decay. We also recommend fluoride drops or vitamins for infants who don’t live where the public water supply is fluoridated. Call our office to see if your water is fluoridated. Diet is significant in caries prevention. . Studies have shown that the nature and frequency of sugar intake is more important that the amount. If the sugary food is very sticky like caramel, gummy bears or jam, it will remain on the teeth for a longer period of time. If you or your children are constantly snacking on sugary foods, there is a continuous acid attack on your teeth. What do we do to prevent this potential problem? Avoid having sugar in your mouth for long periods of time. Stay away from sucking candies and chewing gum [unless sugarless] and refrain from drinking soda pop regularly [unless diet]. Try to cut down on the number of snacks per day. If you must snack, substitute foods that most like but don’t promote tooth decay. Examples are popcorn, pretzels, fruits, nuts, cheese, pizza and vegetables. Consuming sugary foods with a meal or for dessert has a less detrimental effect, because increased salivary flow during meals helps to wash the food away. Also, it is usually nearer the time that most people will brush their teeth. Keeping this in mind, it is better for children to eat sweets at a time and place that allows them to brush soon afterwards. As your children are growing, make sure they get plenty of calcium [dairy products] so that their tooth enamel develops properly. Finally, because you may be asymptomatic and unaware of the beginning of tooth decay, it is critical that you visit our office every 6 months for a check-up. Some cavities are hard to detect, especially those between the teeth. Sometimes, only bitewing x-rays can discover them. We will also give you a professional prophylaxis [cleaning], which is an important part of prevention.
Tuesday, January 13, 2015
One Gorgeous Smile with LUMINEERS
No other veneer option is as versatile!
When it comes to improving your appearance, it's crucial to have freedom of choice. However, many smile makeover options, including traditional veneers, leave patients with irreversible loss of tooth structure, Chiclet-like teeth, and sometimes pain and discomfort. Now, painless LUMINEERS® offers incredible versatility creating a smile that is perfect for every individual.
Whether re-shaping worn and chipped teeth or creating a straighter, more uniform smile, revolutionary LUMINEERS® has changed the face of dentistry. By dramatically transforming a smile in the most minimally invasive way, LUMINEERS® is the only veneer procedure that preserves and protects natural teeth whenever possible, so that the process is virtually painless - even a post-procedure aspirin is unnecessary.
The exceptionally thin LUMINEERS® [width of a contact lens] leaves original teeth in tact, and the process is reversible. Traditional veneers require the removal of sensitive tooth structure, often shaving or grinding down teeth. Consequences of such tooth reduction can sometimes cause the death of tooth pulp, causing the need for a root canal procedure.
Without the need for local anesthesia, LUMINEERS® offers a painless and permanent smile enhancement option. Since the process is so simple and gentle, the sensitivity usually felt after a traditional veneer procedure is eliminated, making even an aspirin unnecessary.
LUMINEERS® provides instant teeth straightening and permanent whitening. It is a convenient substitute for braces and other orthodontics. The procedure may also be used on worn teeth to strengthen them and prevent further wear. LUMINEERS® can even be placed over crowns to improve esthetics and help rejuvenate a smile. A LUMINEERS® procedure is so versatile, it can even be used on cases that require some tooth structure removal for desired esthetic results. All LUMINEERS® come with a 5-year warranty.
LUMINEERS® can only be made from Cerinate porcelain, an innovative porcelain, crafted through a proprietary process unavailable anywhere other than Den-Mat Corporation. LUMINEERS® creates a custom-made smile clinically proven to last up to 20 years. LUMINEERS® is the best of both worlds - ultra thin, yet super strong for a radiant smile that resists any micro-cracking, which can damage restorations.
If you think you may be a candidate for this procedure, call our office at (757) 229-1224 to set up an appointment.
Tuesday, December 30, 2014
Many people have bleeding gums, and they don’t think twice about it. They view it as a minor inconvenience. If you were bleeding from any other part of your body, you wouldn’t hesitate to see a physician. If you lost a body part you wouldn’t hesitate to have it replaced. We have 32 teeth - they are all body parts.
While we may not need our teeth to live like one needs a heart, we need our mouth to be pain-free and functional to enjoy a good quality of life.
This is our passion. Make it yours and the rest will fall into place. Call and ask us how we may help you achieve your oral hygiene and health goals and ensure a greater quality of life.
But like exercising, dieting or anything that requires a routine, many of us fall short of a sustained effort to accomplishing long-term results. Why do we run out of toothpaste, floss, toothbrushes vitamins, etc. when we know their importance? Why do we have problems maintaining an oral hygiene regimen? Perhaps, we don’t make the answers priorities.
Call (757) 229-1224 today to schedule an appointment with one of our hygienists.
Tuesday, December 16, 2014
Whitening Your Smile
How we look and how we perceive ourselves has much to do with our self-esteem. When the color of our teeth makes us embarrassed to smile, it’s probably time to get our teeth whitened [bleached].
As one ages, teeth may darken from coffee, tea, smoking, berries and other substances that get into microcracks in the enamel causing discoloration. Some people have gray or brown bands on their teeth caused by an early childhood fever or tetracycline medication taken when the tooth enamel was forming. In some parts of the country where fluoride is found in natural high concentrations in the drinking water, individuals have developed teeth with bright white patches or dark brown blotches [mottled enamel or fluorosis].
Everyone is not a candidate for bleaching. Teeth discolored from aging have the best results. If you have tooth colored resin or composite fillings in your front teeth, they will not change color from bleaching and will “stick out like a sore thumb” after the procedure. If you would like to have your teeth whitened, call it to our attention at your next check-up visit. If you are not a good candidate, we can suggest alternatives such as bonding or porcelain veneers.
There are various options to whitening your teeth. Bleaching can be an in-office procedure [chairside]. It may involve several appointments of 30-60 minutes each. The bleaching agent is applied to your teeth and activated with a special light. There is also an at-home procedure wherein you will wear a custom-made mouthguard, filled with a bleaching gel, as per instructions from your dentist. Some toothpastes have added whitening agents and can be used as an adjunct to the other two procedures. In any case, there is no reason to ever again suffer the embarrassment of discolored teeth.
This is the Best Holiday gift idea! Call our office today to get your friend or family members Whitening Gift Certificate.
Tuesday, December 2, 2014
The single biggest source of calories [7%] in the American diet is from carbonated soft drinks. A carbonated beverage is one that releases carbon dioxide in normal atmospheric pressure. Artificial carbonation was first introduced in 1767 and after 1830, the sweetened and flavored lemon-lime, grape and orange carbonated drinks became very popular. Today, heavily sweetened, carbonated drinks or sodas are among the most popular beverages in the world. Consumption of carbonated soft drinks peaked in 1998 when consumption was 56.1 gallons per person per year. Soft drinks provide large amounts of sugar [mostly high-fructose corn syrup] to many individual's diets. The empty calories of soft drinks contribute to health problems, particularly obesity and tooth decay [caries]. A study from Harvard shows that soft drinks may be responsible for the doubling of obesity in children over the last 15 years.
Carbonated soft drinks not only have a high sugar content that contributes to tooth decay but also have a very acidic pH that can erode tooth enamel. Some of these drinks, especially the colas have as much caffeine as a cup of coffee and can disrupt children's or adult's sleep and leave them feeling tired during the day.
These carbonated soft drinks are also related to gastric distension, which can trigger reflux. Studies show the consumption of one can of soda a day corresponds to 53.5 minutes of elevated acid levels in the stomach.
The best approach is to cut down or avoid carbonated drinks. Many schools have removed the soft drink vending machines in their halls and cafeterias. If not, it's best to drink through a straw so the soda is swallowed from the back of the mouth and does not come in contact with the teeth causing decay. Substitute other beverages such as water and more nutritious beverages like milk and juices.
Monday, November 17, 2014
Toothbrushing is an effective way of removing plaque [sticky mixture of bacteria, food & debris] from your teeth. Daily removal of plaque can prevent tooth decay and periodontal [gum] disease. Select a toothbrush that will provide easy access to all areas of your mouth; this includes one with a small head [1 inch by ½ inch] and a flexible head or handle. The brush should have soft nylon bristles with round heads and a wide handle for a firm grip. There are also a variety of electric or sonic brushes that work well. Call our office for a recommendation.
Establishing a daily pattern and a consistent approach to your brushing technique is important to ensure that you have accomplished adequate cleaning. One easy technique involves placing the toothbrush at a 45° angle to your teeth and gently brushing in an elliptical motion. Start on the same quadrant [same side, lower or upper] each time. Brush the outside of the teeth, the inside and the biting surface. Repeat this action with the other three quadrants. When you are finished, brush you tongue. Adequate brushing should take 3-4 minutes.
There are other effective brushing methods that may be appropriate for you, depending on the condition of your teeth and gums. Bring your brush to your next check-up visit and have our hygienist review your technique.
Toothbrushing is most effective if done right after eating. It would be a wise idea to keep an extra brush at work for after lunch or snacks. Toothpaste is not necessary if you are using fluoride toothpaste at home 1-2 times a day. Just rinse with water when you are finished.
Effective toothbrushing starts with habit and routine and ends with time, diligence and good technique.
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