Posts for: May, 2019
Unlike our primitive ancestors, our teeth have it relatively easy. Human diets today are much more refined than their counterparts from thousands of years ago. Ancient teeth recovered from those bygone eras bear that out, showing much more wear on average than modern teeth.
Even so, our modern teeth still wear as we age—sometimes at an accelerated rate. But while you can't eliminate wearing entirely, you can take steps to minimize it and preserve your teeth in your later years. Here are 3 things you can do to slow your teeth's wearing process.
Prevent dental disease. Healthy teeth endure quite well even while being subjected to daily biting forces produced when we eat. But teeth weakened by tooth decay are more susceptible to wear. To avoid this, you should practice daily brushing and flossing to remove disease-causing dental plaque. And see your dentist at least twice a year for more thorough dental cleanings and checkups.
Straighten your bite. A poor bite, where the top and bottom teeth don't fit together properly, isn't just an appearance problem—it could also cause accelerated tooth wear. Having your bite orthodontically corrected not only gives you a new smile, it can also reduce abnormal biting forces that are contributing to wear. And don't let age stop you: except in cases of bone deterioration or other severe dental problems, older adults whose gums are healthy can undergo orthodontics and achieve healthy results.
Seek help for bruxism. The term bruxism refers to any involuntary habit of grinding teeth, which can produce abnormally high biting forces. Over time this can increase tooth wear or weaken teeth to the point of fracture or other severe damage. While bruxism is uncommon in adults, it's still a habit that needs to be addressed if it occurs. The usual culprit is high stress, which can be better managed through therapy or biofeedback. Your dentist can also fashion you a custom guard to wear that will prevent upper and lower teeth from wearing against each other.
If you would like more information on minimizing teeth wear, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can also learn more about this topic by reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “How and Why Teeth Wear.”
Tooth decay and developing bite problems could be major obstacles to your child's normal growth and development. Without good, preventive dental care at home and from the dentist, these obstacles could impact their health now and well into adulthood.
Here are 3 things you should do to help your child stay ahead of harmful dental problems.
Start daily hygiene early. To protect your child from tooth decay, you should begin cleaning their teeth and gums early, even before teeth appear. For your first hygiene efforts use a clean wet cloth to wipe their gums after feeding to reduce bacterial growth in the mouth. After teeth begin to erupt start brushing them with a fluoride toothpaste—a slight smear for infants and up to a pea-sized amount when they get older.
Keep sugar to a minimum. The bacteria that causes tooth decay thrive on sugar. To minimize bacterial growth, keep your child's sugar intake to a minimum by providing dental-friendly snacks and foods. Also, try to limit any sugar they eat to mealtimes rather than with snacking through the day. And avoid sending them to bed with a bottle filled with a sugary liquid (including formula and breastmilk).
Begin dental visits around age one. Dentists and pediatricians recommend regular dental visits for children starting around their first birthday. This increases the chances of detecting disease or bite problems early before too much damage occurs. Your dentist can also provide preventive measures like sealants or topical fluoride to reduce the risks of tooth decay. And early visits lessen the chance of your child developing dental visit anxiety, a phobia that could continue into adulthood.
Dental cleanings, a preventive care service provided by your Newberg, OR, dentist, Dr. Angela Toy of Arbor Hills Dental, are an important aspect of good oral health. Read on to learn how visiting the dentist every six months for a cleaning and checkup can help you avoid tooth decay and gum disease!
Cavity-causing plaque lurks in hard-to-reach spots
Plaque buildup is a huge factor in tooth decay. The longer this colorless, sticky film remains on your teeth, the greater the chance that it will begin to attack your tooth enamel and possibly cause a cavity.
Brushing twice daily and flossing every day are simple ways to get rid of plaque, but it can still linger if you don't brush thoroughly or if plaque collects between overlapping teeth or other areas that you can't reach with toothbrush bristles or dental floss.
Fortunately, every speck of plaque will be removed during your dental cleaning. If it's difficult for you to remove plaque from your teeth completely, your dentist may recommend a few oral hygiene tips or suggest more frequent dental cleanings.
Tartar can't be removed at home
Plaque eventually turns into tartar, a hard deposit that can't be removed by brushing. If you have tartar, you'll notice a gray or brown film at the bottom of your teeth. Although you can't see it, tartar can also extend under your gums.
If tartar isn't removed regularly, it may begin to damage your gums or bones. Luckily, your Newberg dentist has special tools that remove tartar from teeth. If you have gum disease, your dentist may recommend a deep cleaning to remove tartar and plaque above and below the gum line.
Cleanings may improve the appearance of teeth
Have you noticed that your teeth look and feel better than ever after a cleaning? In addition to removing plaque and tartar, cleaning also removes surface stains that can make your teeth look a little dull.
Has it been too long since your last dental cleaning? Regular cleanings and checkups offer a simple way to protect your smile. Call your Newberg, OR, dentist, Dr. Angela Toy of Arbor Hills Dental, at (503) 538-2143 to schedule your appointment!
Invisalign clear aligner trays are a discreet and minimally invasive alternative to traditional braces, which makes them the ideal choice for many adults and older teenagers with common bite and alignment problems. Dr. Kunio Chan, a dentist in Billerica, MA, offers a full range of dental services for the entire family in Billerica, MA.
Invisalign in Billerica, MA
Invisalign has a number of advantages in addition to the fact that the trays are clear and virtually unnoticeable. The trays are removable for up to two hours per day, which makes it possible to maintain your oral hygiene routine and continue to enjoy your favorite foods without the restrictions necessary with metallic braces.
What Invisalign Can Do
Like any treatment method, Invisalign is not right for everyone. It works best for adults and teenagers over the age of 13 with the following orthodontic problems:
- Open bite
- Gaps and spacing
A comprehensive exam and consultation with the dentist will determine whether Invisalign is the best treatment option for your situation. While Invisalign is a good option for mild to moderate cases, it may not be the best option in severe cases. Patients considering Invisalign must also be able to commit to wearing the trays as instructed for the required amount of time every day, and keep up with follow up appointments and instructions from the dentist.
The Benefits of Invisalign
The ability to smile with confidence and maintain a normal routine throughout the treatment period is one of the biggest benefits of straightening your teeth with Invisalign. But there are more than just cosmetic benefits; the treatment period is generally shorter than with traditional braces, making them ideal for adults and teenagers who want straighter teeth without having to sacrifice the personal and professional life.
Find a Dentist in Billerica, MA
For more information about Invisalign and whether it is right for you, contact One Dental Care by calling (978) 667-0691 to schedule an appointment with Dr. Chan today.
May is National Save Your Tooth Month, and tooth decay is a leading cause of lost teeth. It all begins with oral bacteria growing rapidly in built-up deposits of dental plaque, and in turn producing high levels of acid. At these levels, acid can erode the minerals in tooth enamel to create holes (“cavities”) that allow bacteria to enter the tooth and infect it.
If at all possible, we need to try to stop tooth decay early by disinfecting and filling these cavities. If not, decay can spread through the teeth to the underlying nerve (pulp) tissue, following passageways known as root canals. If this happens, the chances for saving the tooth are extremely low.
But if the decay does reach the tooth’s innermost layer—the pulp—filling the cavities won’t be enough. Decay this advanced requires a procedure known as root canal therapy, or a root canal for short.
If you winced a little, it’s understandable: Root canals have gained an unfair reputation as an unpleasant experience. In reality, a root canal performed by a skilled dentist or endodontist (a specialist in root canals) isn’t painful. In fact, if you come in with a painful tooth, you’re very likely to leave after the procedure without any pain.
Root canal procedures can vary depending on the type of tooth and the intricacy of its root canal network. Essentially, though, we remove the diseased pulp tissue, and then clean and fill the empty pulp chamber and root canals. This stops the infection and, along with sealing and crowning the tooth, helps prevent a future re-infection.
How do you know if you need a root canal? You may find out from us if we discover advanced decay during a checkup or cleaning appointment. But you may encounter signs yourself like a throbbing toothache, pain during and after eating and drinking, or gum tenderness around a tooth. These are all possible indications of tooth decay.
If you experience any of these signs, you should see us as soon as possible for an examination. And don’t cancel your appointment if the pain goes away—this could simply mean the nerves in the pulp have died and are no longer transmitting pain signals. The infection, though, could still be there and continuing its rampage beyond the tooth and into the surrounding bone tissue.
Root canal therapy may not seem glamorous, but it’s an excellent option for a diseased tooth that would otherwise have to be removed. A root canal could get rid of your pain and give your troubled tooth a new lease on life!
If you would like more information about treating advanced tooth decay, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. To learn more, read the Dear Doctor magazine articles “Common Concerns About Root Canal Treatment” and “Root Canal Treatment: What You Need to Know.”