Learn the Benefits of Dental Implants

IF YOU HAVE EXPERIENCED TOOTH LOSS, you are not alone. In fact, more than 35 million Americans are missing all of their teeth, while 178 million are missing at least one tooth. Here’s the good news: there are solutions for you.

Dental Implants Function Much Like Natural Teeth

While there are other tooth replacement options, dental implants have many advantages over other treatments. They are called “implants” because an artificial tooth root is placed, or implanted, in your jawbone. It is then covered by a natural-looking tooth replacement. Implants are the only tooth replacement option that incorporate an artificial root, allowing them to function much like natural teeth.

There Are Many Benefits to Choosing Implants

Here are five major benefits to consider when deciding between dental implants and other tooth restoration options:

#1: Dental implants are convenient and long-lasting.

Unlike dentures, you don’t need to take them out to eat or clean and there’s no need to reapply them with adhesive. Implants also provide a permanent solution to tooth loss–they are built to last a lifetime if they are well taken care of.

#2: Get the look, feel and function of your natural teeth.

Dental implants are virtually indistinguishable from natural teeth so you can look and feel your best. They also function like real teeth, meaning you can bite naturally and eat the foods you love without hesitation. Implants also don’t interfere with speech like some other replacement options.

#3: Oral hygiene isn’t complicated by implants.

You can take care of your teeth as usual, flossing once a day and brushing twice daily. With implants, it’s easy to maintain that bright, beautiful smile!

#4: Implants prevent bone deterioration and loss.

When you lose teeth the jawbone deteriorates, causing your face to appear sunken over time. Implants act as an artificial tooth root, stimulating the jawbone and promoting bone growth. This helps maintain the natural shape of your face and jaw.

#5: Leave your natural teeth unaltered.

Some treatment options, like a dental bridge, require grinding down other healthy teeth to support the bridge. Implants replace lost teeth but do not require any alteration of your existing healthy teeth.

Don’t Let Tooth Loss Keep You From Smiling

You should never let tooth loss keep you from a healthy, beautiful smile. If you have experienced tooth loss, come and talk with us today. We will consult about what tooth restoration options will be best for you, your lifestyle and health.

Our patients’ smiles make it all worthwhile!

Image by Flickr user Vanessa Porter used underCreative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 license. Image cropped and modified from original.

The content on this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.

How Breastfeeding Affects Your Child’s Oral Health

CHOOSING TO BREASTFEED a child is a personal and special decision for a mother. Not only does nursing provide a valuable bonding experience for mother and baby, it also has many health benefits, such as decreasing the child’s risk of SIDS (sudden infant death syndrome) and lowering the chances of mom developing breast and ovarian cancer. But what effect can breastfeeding have on baby’s oral health and development?

Breastfeeding Aids in Bite Alignment

You may not have known that the sucking mechanisms are different for bottle-fed and breastfed babies. Breastfeeding stimulates muscle tone in the jaw because it requires the use of the jaw muscles more so than bottle-feeding. A study published in “Pediatrics” also showed that babies who were exclusively breastfed for six months were 72 percent less likely to have crooked teeth.

With that being said, it is important to remember that every child is different.Breastfeeding does not guarantee that a child will not have future orthodontic problems just as bottle-feeding does not always lead to bite misalignment. There are many factors that go into bite alignment such as thumb-sucking, pacifier use and genetics.

Decrease Your Child’s Risk of Tooth Decay

Breastfed babies have a reduced risk of cavities. This is because they aren’t at risk for baby bottle tooth decay. Baby bottle tooth decay happens when a child is put to bed with a bottle that contains formula, milk, or fruit juice. Cavities and decay can still occur in breastfed babies, however, if parents aren’t careful.

To prevent decay, whether bottle feeding or breastfeeding, gently wipe your infant’s gums with a wet washcloth or soft towel after feedings. Later, when your child’s teeth finally make an appearance, start brushing them with a small toothbrush and fluoride toothpaste twice daily. For children under three, use no more than a smear of toothpaste, approximately the size of a grain of rice.

And good news, moms. The eruption of teeth doesn’t mean you have to stop breastfeeding. Every mother and every child is different. Start weaning your child whenever it is right for both of you.

Moms, Don’t Neglect Your Own Oral Health

Mothers with newborns are completely focused on taking care of the new addition to their family. But, moms, don’t let that get in the way of setting enough time aside to focus on your oral hygiene. Cavity prevention is even more crucial for new parents, as bacteria can be transferred from you to your baby.

We Want Healthy Smiles for Mothers and Their Children

Whether you choose to breastfeed or bottle-feed your baby, or a combination of both, it’s up to parents to start their children off right when it comes to their oral health and development. If you have any questions concerning pediatric oral health care, give us a call. Our job is to keep families smiling!

To our patients and friends, thank you.

The content on this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.

Calcium Isn’t Just Good for Bones—It Benefits Your Smile Too!

WE’VE ALL BEEN TOLD (and many of us tell our children) that milk builds strong bones. But our nutritional and dietary preferences are not only widely varied, they also change from time to time. Does milk really “do a body good”? Some believe it does, and others believe it doesn’t.

Regardless of your take, you’re not alone. Today, millions of people follow vegan or vegetarian diets, and tens of millions of people are lactose intolerant. Whether or not you choose to avoid dairy for health or other personal reasons, here are some thoughts from our team.

Calcium and Vitamin D Play a Key Role in Oral Health

It’s true that dairy products are full of calcium, and often supplemented with vitamin D (which helps your body absorb calcium and other bone-building minerals). While people on specialized diets (including vegans and vegetarians) are typically very careful about eating healthy, there’s still a risk of calcium and vitamin D deficiency.

One of the dangers in calcium and vitamin D deficiency is the increased risk of periodontal (gum) disease. In addition, these deficiencies can weaken your teeth and lead to tooth decay. Without the right vitamins and minerals, your mouth’s defenses may be down.

Need a Good Source of Calcium? Dairy Isn’t the Only Option!

The good news is that, if you choose, you can get these nutrients from alternative sources. For example, just one ounce of sesame seeds contains almost as much calcium as an entire glass of milk. Other major sources of calcium are dark leafy greens like spinach, kale, and collard greens.

When it comes to vitamin D, surprisingly, your best source is the sun! When exposed to the sun’s radiation, your body naturally produces vitamin D. But of course, be careful and use common sense—you also know the potential problems associated with prolonged/unprotected sun exposure.

There are also a number of things we can eat and drink that are “fortified” with calcium and vitamin D including soy milk, orange juice and some breakfast cereals. You can also consider taking supplements.

Do you have questions about this topic? Contact us! Do you have suggestions for others who may be wondering about other sources for their daily calcium? Let us know! Leave a comment below, or on our Facebook page. We love hearing from you!

And, as always, thank you for being our valued patient!

The content on this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.

Saliva: The Unsung Hero of Oral Health

EVER THINK ABOUT HOW GREAT your saliva is? Probably not. We’d love to enlighten you! Saliva has an all-important role in your oral and digestive health.

Saliva Has Many Important Functions

Our bodies make two to four pints of saliva a day. That means that over a lifetime, a person will create enough saliva to fill two swimming pools! So, why is saliva important? Well, there’s more than one answer to that. Besides allowing us to give wet willies or make spit wads when we were kids, our saliva has many important functions.

First, saliva aids in digestion. It begins the process of breaking down food and helps us chew, taste and swallow. In fact, without our spit, we wouldn’t be able to taste at all!

Additionally, saliva is essential to maintaining our oral health. Our spit contains antimicrobial agents that protect teeth and defend against bacteria. It also contains minerals such as calcium and phosphate that remineralize our teeth, strengthening the enamel.

Your saliva plays an especially important role after eating and drinking. It washes away that extra food and debris left in your mouth that contributes to decay. It also helps neutralize the acids created by bacteria that break down enamel and cause cavities. Thank you, saliva!

Some People Do Not Create Enough Saliva

Some people have a condition called dry mouth, where they aren’t producing enough saliva. Certain illnesses and medications can cause dry mouth, and those who have it are more prone to tooth decay and gum disease as a result. For those with and without dry mouth, here are some tips to increase saliva production and protect your teeth:

  • Chew sugar-free gum, especially after meals
  • Suck on sugarless candy
  • Drink plenty of water

Saliva Works Around the Clock to Protect Our Smiles

Saliva may just be the unsung hero of our oral health. It is constantly strengthening and defending our teeth against bacteria, decay and dental disease. At the end of the day, all we can say is that our bodies are amazing and our spit is awesome!

Thank you to our wonderful patients and friends!

The content on this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.

Don’t Forget To Clean Your Tongue!

A HEALTHY TONGUE is incredibly important for a healthy mouth. We know we talk a lot about your teeth, but it’s time we told you more about your tongue, that amazing muscle that allows us to speak, taste, and swallow!

Get Rid of Bacteria by Cleaning Your Tongue

You’ve already brushed your teeth for two minutes and you’re ready to be done. Not so fast! Cleaning your tongue is just as important as cleaning your teeth. Did you know that almost 50 percent of the bacteria in your mouth is on your tongue? If you don’t worry about cleaning your tongue, that bacteria will transfer to your teeth even after you’ve brushed. Your oral health care routine should always include a good tongue cleaning!

Here’s another interesting fact: 90 percent of bad breath comes from a dirty tongue! Until you learn how to clean your tongue, you may not be able to get rid of that lingering halitosis.

Cleaning Your Tongue Is Easy

There are three tools to choose from when it comes to cleaning your tongue: a tongue scraper, a tongue brush, or your handy dandy toothbrush.

  • Use a tongue scraper for a thorough cleaning. This tool is usually made of soft, flexible plastic, sometimes metal. It gently peels the thin mucus-based layer of debris from your tongue. You should scrape from the back of your tongue to the front. Rinse the scraper after each swipe of the tongue.
  • A tongue brush works just as well as a scraper. Some opt for a tongue brush that has bristles specifically designed to clean out the crevices of the tongue. Again, start cleaning at the back of your tongue and work your way forward. Rinse the brush well after use.
  • Toothbrushes work best for teeth. While it’s better to use a toothbrush on your tongue than nothing at all, toothbrushes were designed to clean the hard enamel of your teeth, not the soft surface of your tongue. You may not get as thorough a clean using your toothbrush. However, the mechanism is the same; start at the back and work your way to the front.

Your Mouth Will Thank You

Your mouth will thank you for a clean, healthy tongue. Cleaning your tongue once or twice a day before or after brushing will greatly improve your oral health, not to mention your breath! It’s a win-win!

Our patients rock!

Image by Flickr user Chase Elliot Clark used underCreative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 license. Image cropped and modified from original.

The content on this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.

How Stress Can Affect Your Oral Health

DID YOU KNOW THAT STRESS can have an effect on your oral health? As if you needed any more on your plate! Knowing how stress and oral health are connected can help you combat any problems that might arise.

Stress May Contribute to Teeth Grinding

Bruxism is the technical term for habitual teeth grinding and jaw clenching. For some people, clenching and grinding are natural responses to stress and frustration. Teeth grinding, however, usually occurs during sleep, meaning thatpeople are often unaware of the problem. Flatter tips of the teeth and a sore jaw are common signs of bruxism.

Stress Can Worsen Symptoms of TMD

TMD, or temporomandibular joint disorder, affects the jaw joint and associated muscles used in moving the jaw and neck. Similar to bruxism, stress is thought to be a contributing factor in TMD, causing jaw clenching, joint pain, headaches and even popping and clicking of the jaw.

Your Immune System Is Weakened During Times of Stress

Stress can actually compromise your immune system, increasing your risk of oral infections. Some people experience dry mouth, putting them at a higher risk of developing cavities. Others contract canker sores when stressed. Stress can even increase your chances of experiencing gum disease.

Maintain Good Oral Hygiene and Health, Even During Difficult Times

Keeping your oral health routine in tip-top shape, especially when you are stressed, is essential! Continue to practice good oral hygiene and you will protect your mouth from infection and decay.

For most people, it’s difficult to see the effects of stress on their bodies until something happens. That’s why it’s important to visit your dentist regularly, as he or she can detect the telltale signs of stress in your mouth and help you to remedy any problems.

We Want To Make Life Easier For You

When you’re under a lot of pressure or life gets tough, the last thing you think about is your oral health. We want to make things easier for you by helping you to avoid any oral health issues not only when you’re stressed out, but all the time!

Learning to deal with the inevitable stresses of life in a positive way will boost your oral and overall health. However, if you do feel you are experiencing any symptoms of bruxism, TMD or other oral health problems, call us and schedule an appointment. We have solutions for you!

Keeping our patients happy and healthy is our priority!

Image by Flickr user web4camguy used underCreative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 license. Image cropped and modified from original.

The content on this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.

Are Sports and Energy Drinks Damaging Your Teeth?

DRINKING ENERGY AND SPORTS DRINKS on a regular basis is becoming increasingly popular, especially among young people. But did you know that these drinks can be extremely damaging to your teeth?

Sports and Energy Drinks Are Highly Acidic

It’s important to remember the purposes of each of these drinks so as not to consume them more often than you should. Energy drinks may provide a pick-me-up during a long day at work, but drinking one or more energy drinks everyday can damage your teeth in the long run.

Sports drinks were made to keep your body hydrated and energized during bouts of intense exercise. While they may be beneficial during a good workout, these drinks should never take the place of water and should not be consumed casually or on a daily basis.

The reason for this is that both energy and sports drinks are highly acidic.Regularly consuming food or drink with high acidity levels wears away your tooth enamel. This makes teeth more susceptible to cavities, tooth discoloration, and sensitivity.

The Combination of Sugar and Acid Packs a Mean Punch

Energy and sports drinks launch a twofold attack on your teeth: while acid weakens the enamel, sugar feeds cavity-causing bacteria and contributes to decay. Not a good combo! While sugar-free options are available, the majority of these types of drinks are chock full of sugar. Unfortunately, even the sugar-free versions are still as acidic as their sweet counterparts.

Consume Acidic And Sugary Beverages Wisely

Here are some tips to protect your teeth if you are drinking energy and sports drinks:

  1. Don’t make it a daily habit. Drink sports drinks only during high intensity workouts, not on a regular basis, and minimize the amount of energy drinks you consume.
  2. Drink it all at once instead of sipping throughout the day.
  3. Rinse out your mouth or chew sugarless gum afterward. This will help increase saliva production and counteract acidity.


Know The Facts, Protect Your Smile

Believe it or not, the adverse effects these drinks have on teeth isn’t widely known. With 30 to 50 percent of U.S. teens consuming energy drinks, and as many as 62 percent consuming at least one sports drink per day, it’s important that people understand how damaging they can be to teeth.

If you have more questions about sports or energy drinks, call us or send us a Facebook message!

We’re always happy to hear from our patients.

Image by Flickr user Keith Allison used underCreative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 license. Image cropped and modified from original.

The content on this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.

What to Do About Congenitally Missing Teeth

WHILE MOST PEOPLE HAVE thirty-two permanent teeth that develop (including the wisdom teeth) some people’s permanent teeth never grow in at all. These are called congenitally missing teeth—teeth missing from birth—and it’s actually more common than you think!

So, what do you do if you find out you or your child have one or more congenitally missing teeth?

Why Would a Tooth Be Congenitally Missing?

A lot of factors are at play when it comes to the complex process of tooth formation. Congenitally missing teeth can run in families, meaning that often it is simply an inherited trait. Certain systemic conditions can also result in missing teeth. Whatever the reason for congenitally missing teeth, the good news is that there are effective ways to treat it.

What Kinds of Treatments Are There for Missing Teeth?

Depending on your unique situation and personal preference, your dentist will recommend one or a combination of these treatments:

  • Dental implants: This is most often the treatment of choice. Dental implants are artificial tooth roots that provide a strong foundation for replacement teeth. Combined with a crown specifically made to match your teeth, they are the most natural, functional and long-lasting treatment option.
  • Dental bridge: Bridges, often considered the next best option, literally “bridge” the gap created by one or more missing teeth. Crowns, placed on the two teeth adjacent to the gap, are connected to a false tooth that fills the space left by the missing tooth.
  • Removable partial denture: This appliance consists of replacement teeth attached to a gum-colored plastic base. The removable denture simply rests on your natural teeth and gums.
  • Orthodontic treatment: Oftentimes gaps left by missing teeth will cause the surrounding teeth to rotate and shift into the empty space, resulting in bad bite and other issues. Orthodontic treatment is often recommended to keep the gap open until treatment to replace the missing tooth is undertaken.


Your Dream Smile Is Our Goal

If you or your child have congenitally missing teeth, consult with us today about your options. Whatever your decided treatment plan, we’re dedicated to making sure you get the smile you’ve always dreamed of!

Making you smile makes our day!

Image by Flickr user KatieThebeau used underCreative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 license. Image cropped and modified from original.

The content on this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.

What To Know About Infant Dental Care And Teething

DENTAL CARE IS IMPORTANT at all ages, even for babies! Here are some tips on how you can care for your child’s mouth even before their first precious smile.

Good Oral Care Begins Before Teething

Even though your baby’s primary teeth won’t come in until they are around four to seven months old, caring for their gums before teeth come in is important. Even before tooth eruption bacteria can leave behind plaque that can damage teeth as they come in.

To prevent bacteria from adhering to your baby’s gums, gently wipe them down with a soft, moistened washcloth or piece of gauze. Do this at least twice a day, especially after feedings and before bedtime.

Teething Can Be A Difficult Time For Your Baby

When your little one does finally start teething, it’s normal for them to be fussy and irritable. Common symptoms are difficulty sleeping, decrease in appetite and increased drooling. It’s also normal for their temperature to increase slightly when they’re teething, however, high-grade fevers are not normal. If your child seems overly cranky or has a high fever, call your physician.

You Can Keep Your Child Comfortable With These Tips

Your baby may seem inconsolable while teething but here are some things you can do to soothe and ease their pain:

  • Massage their gums. The counter pressure of your finger helps ease teething pain.
  • Use teething rings or toys. Even a simple chilled washcloth will work. Chewing soothes the baby as counter pressure relieves pain. When chilling toys or rings, remember to refrigerate instead of freeze.
  • Relieve pain. Talk to your child’s doctor about pain relief if your little one seems to be having a more difficult time. Appropriate dosage of acetaminophen may be beneficial during especially painful teething episodes. Avoid teething medications that contain the pain reliever benzocaine.

Once Teeth Appear, Take Proper Care Of Them

The American Dental Association recommends taking your child to the dentist as soon as their first tooth appears and no later than their first birthday. Once teeth appear you can also begin brushing. Using a soft-bristled toothbrush, start brushing your child’s teeth twice a day. Since very young children haven’t yet learned to not swallow toothpaste, use only a smear of fluoridated toothpaste or the size of a grain of rice.

We’re Here To Help From The Very Beginning

Good oral care starts from the beginning of your child’s life. We’re here to help you every step of the way! If you have any questions concerning infant oral health care or teething, call or make an appointment with us today. Baby teeth may be small but they’re important!

Thank you to our patients who make our job worthwhile!

Image by Flickr user Donnie Ray Jones used underCreative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 license. Image cropped and modified from original.

The content on this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.

 

Why Is Fluoride So Good For Our Teeth?

WE DENTISTS MAKE a pretty big deal about fluoride and how good it is for your teeth. Truly, fluoride is the best cavity fighter out there, helping our teeth stay healthy and strong! But how exactly does fluoride do such an awesome job at keeping our mouths cavity-free?

Fluoride Prevents And Repairs Tooth Decay

Bacteria that are in plaque produce acids that seep into tooth enamel and break it down. This process of breaking down enamel is what causes cavities over time.Where plaque breaks down the tooth, fluoride builds it up!

Fluoride, a mineral that occurs naturally in many foods and water, protects teeth from cavity-causing bacteria by making tooth enamel more resistant to bacteria’s acid attacks.

Fluoride also helps repair tooth decay in its early stages by building up the tooth in a process called remineralization. This cavity-fighting mineral even reduces the ability of plaque bacteria to produce acid in the first place!

Fluoride Is Available In A Variety Of Forms

Fluoride can be directly applied to the teeth through fluoridated toothpastes and mouth rinses. In fact, toothpaste with fluoride has been responsible for a significant drop in cavities since 1960.

Dental offices also offer fluoride application to teeth as a gel, foam or varnish. Getting a fluoride treatment periodically is important because it contains a higher concentration of fluoride.

Fluoride Intake Is Important At All Ages

Exposure to fluoride can be especially beneficial for infants and children. Between the ages of six months and 16 years, fluoride becomes incorporated into the developing permanent teeth, protecting them from cavity-causing bacteria.

However, adults and children alike need to get enough fluoride to protect their teeth. Just as important as strengthening developing teeth is fighting tooth decay, which fluoride will help you do even after your permanent teeth have come in.

Increased exposure to fluoride can be beneficial for people with certain health conditions. For example, if you have dry mouth, gum disease or a history of frequent cavities, your dentist may recommend additional fluoride treatments or supplements. Ask us if you could benefit from additional fluoride.

Tooth Decay Is Preventable

The take home message is this: fluoride helps prevent tooth decay. If you have any questions about fluoride, call us or come in! We would love to hear from you!

We love our patients and their smiles!

Image by Flickr user bradfordst219 used underCreative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 license. Image cropped and modified from original.

The content on this blog is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of qualified health providers with questions you may have regarding medical conditions.