Dental Tips Blog

Apr
17

What Is “Teeth Alignment?”

Posted in Orthodontics

‘Tooth alignment’ generally refers to the way your teeth fit together in your smile. Dental offices that make adjustments in the position of teeth may offer “teeth alignment” services.

“Ortho” means straight and “-dont” refers to teeth. So “orthodontic” means straightening teeth, or bringing them back into healthy alignment. This is usually done with the help of braces.

You’ve probably realized by now that not everyone needs orthodontic treatment. Why might you end up needing braces?

Why Correct Tooth Alignment

Crooked teeth don’t just look a little funny. They can affect your overall oral health, as well.

Teeth that are positioned differently from the rest will trap bacteria and bad-smelling germs. The biofilm around crooked teeth can easily get inflamed. Your tooth itself might be more likely to develop a cavity.

Getting “teeth alignment” or orthodontic treatment will not only make your smile look better, it can also help you avoid some dental treatment later on.

Bringing Your Teeth Back into Position

When a few teeth are tipped or twisted out of alignment, this can throw off your entire bite. That’s why dentists who specialize in straightening teeth recommend treatment as soon as possible.

These specialists are called “orthodontists.” An orthodontist can give you several options for straightening your teeth. Some of these methods are better for kids, some are ideal for adults, some are cosmetic in nature, and some treatments can correct major problems.

Treatment options include:

  • Classic braces
  • Invisalign
  • Clear braces
  • Aligners
  • Accelerated ortho

To find out what kind of treatment you need to correct your smile, contact your local dentist or orthodontist for a consultation.

Posted on behalf of:
Spanaway Family Dentistry
20709 Mountain Hwy E #101
Spanaway, WA 98387
(253) 948-0880

Apr
17

Four Signs You’re Losing Your Enamel

Posted in Mouth Guards

Enamel erosion is an ongoing and insidious process. It’s downright deadly to teeth if you don’t stop it in time.

What is enamel erosion? It’s physical wear to the outer layer of your tooth structure. This process commonly happens as a result of acid exposure, but it can also be due to mechanical causes, such as bruxism or brushing too aggressively. If you’re alert to the following signs, you can take action before it’s too late.

  1. Teeth Look Brittle

Enamel is clear, but it looks pretty white against the dark yellow part of your tooth’s dentin layer. If the enamel starts to thin out, the layers on the edge of your tooth that don’t have dentin under them will look thin and glassy. Your teeth might look like they’d chip very easily.

  1. Smile Getting Yellow

When you lose enamel, that yellow dentin shows through a lot more. Our enamel wears down with age. As our teeth get older, they tend to look darker than years past.

  1. Flatter Teeth

A teeth grinding and clenching habit will quickly shave off lots of enamel. Your teeth might look flat, stubby, or square if you’re subconsciously chewing off your own enamel.  A custom dental nightguard can protect your tooth enamel from further damage.

  1. Increased Sensitivity

Your enamel helps to insulate the nerves in your teeth from changes in temperature and acidity. As enamel wears away, the nerves become more exposed to things that bother them. If your smile is getting unusually more sensitive, it could be a sign that your teeth are in jeopardy.

Have you noticed any of the signs described above? Contact your dentist right away to find out how to save your smile.

Posted on behalf of:
Springhurst Hills Dentistry
10494 Westport Rd Suite 107
Louisville, KY 40241
(502) 791-8358

Apr
17

Am I Old Enough for a Dental Implant?

Posted in Dental Implants

You’re probably reading this because you’re a teenager who wants to fill a gap in your smile with a dental implant. Or you may know of a young person who could benefit from a dental implant. Here’s what you should consider before getting an artificial new tooth.

Are You Done Growing?

The first and foremost consideration is making sure your jaw is fully developed. Implants heal permanently into the bone. Once there, they stay for good. They can’t move around with braces the way teeth do. If you get a dental implant too soon, your jaw would grow and your teeth could end up with weird spacing or gaps between them.

Are You Ready for the Responsibility?

While an implant is just as easy to care for as regular tooth, it’s even more important than other teeth. A natural tooth can develop a little gum inflammation and recover. But if your gums around an implant get inflamed and aren’t kept clean, you run the risk of losing your implant completely. It’s not something you can just stick back in place. You have to be ready to take excellent care of your implant.

Do Your Parents Think It’s a Good Idea?

You will need your parents’ approval and input. They’ll want to hear what the dentist thinks and help you wisely weigh your options. Even if you can’t have an implant right now, there are ways your dentist can help prepare your smile to get an implant in the next couple years.

If you’re reading this and want to find out more, talk with your parents about scheduling an implant consultation with your dentist.

Posted on behalf of:
Gold Hill Dentistry
2848 Pleasant Road #104
Fort Mill,  South Carolina 29708
(803) 566-8055

Apr
17

What You Should Know About the Color of Your Gums

Posted in Gum Disease

We tend to think a little more about the color and health of our teeth. But your gums are just as important to pay attention to.

Is This Normal?

Gum color is determined in the same way your skin color is: genetics and melanin.

Gingival tissues range in hues from light pink to coral pink to tan to dark brown. Your gum color is probably similar to that of your parents’ since it’s hereditary. It’s not uncommon for some individuals to have a mix of colors. Yes, some people even have freckles on their gums!

Just because your gums don’t look exactly like the bright pink ones on the toothpaste package doesn’t mean that they aren’t healthy and beautiful, too.

The Color You DON’T Want to See

A strong hint of red in your gum tissue is usually a bad sign. It indicates that your gums are irritated and inflamed with bacteria. You may have gingivitis or gum disease that requires gum treatment.  When plaque builds up in one area for too long, your gums react by causing their blood vessels to swell. This results in puffy red gums that are prone to bleeding. Blue or purple tissue is even worse!

How to Change the Color of Your Gums

If your gums are naturally dark-hued, it’s possible to get them lightened. Some dentists and gum specialists offer gum-bleaching procedures. A few people choose to lighten their gums simply because they prefer the look of white teeth against pink gums.

What can you do about gum inflammation? Visit your local dentist for a gum health assessment. A professional dental cleaning and some flossing tips will have your gum color back to normal again.

Posted on behalf of:
Wayne G. Suway, DDS, MAGD
1820 The Exchange SE #600
Atlanta, GA 30339
(770) 953-1752

Apr
17

Inlays, Onlays, Overlays – What’s the Difference?

Posted in Fillings

What do inlays, overlays, and onlays have in common? They are all called “indirect fillings.”

They’re designed outside the mouth and then cemented into a prepared tooth like a piece in a puzzle. Virtually the only difference between all these fillings has to do with their size.

Inlays

Inlays are the smallest, covering the least amount of tooth surface. They usually restore damage on the inner part of a chewing surface. Picture the valleys or grooves on the top of your molars. That’s where an inlay would fit into.

Onlays

One step above inlays, onlays anchor onto one of the cusps or pointy parts of a tooth for more stability. If one of those sharp “mountains” on your teeth gets damaged, an onlay would do the job of repairing it.

Overlays

Overlays are also referred to as partial crowns. They’re far more conservative than crowns, however. An overlay covers the entire top part of the tooth, but it doesn’t replace the entire outer layer of enamel as crowns do. These restorations offer the most strength and protection just short of a full crown.

Pinlays

Sometimes a dentist might decide to anchor an indirect filling with the support of a pin that’s fastened directly into the tooth.

Indirect fillings can be made of ceramic, porcelain, or gold and often require two visits to place. Some ceramic fillings can be made on-site in a single appointment if the office has that technology.

With the goal of being conservative yet strong, indirect fillings can help you retain more of your tooth for a long time. Ask your dentist for more information on the restorations available in your area.

Posted on behalf of:
Soft Touch Dentistry
1214 Paragon Dr
O’Fallon, IL 62269
(618) 622-5050

Apr
17

Oral Hygiene Tips for Traveling

Just because you’re heading out of town for a few days is no excuse to leave your oral hygiene routine behind. From forgetting toothpaste to a real dental emergency, here’s how to keep your smile healthy even when you’re away from home.

Get the right-sized toothbrush travel case. Make sure it has some ventilation. If your brush is packed tightly into a case that it can’t move or “breathe” in, then it will never dry out. This makes for the perfect environment for bacteria to flourish.

Air out your toothbrush. Speaking of drying out, set aside time for your toothbrush to enjoy some fresh air. You could leave it on a sunny windowsill (window closed, of course) or on the dash of your car. Too much time spent in a dark travel bag will make your brush quite icky.

Stock up on travel-sized products. You can get any dental product in a travel-friendly quantity. There’s no excuse for not having some toothpaste on hand when it fits so neatly in your purse or glove compartment in your car.

Brush without toothpaste. It does happen – from time to time we forget the toothpaste. Even then, brushing without toothpaste is still effective and necessary to reduce plaque levels.

Have a backup plan. Keep a couple toothbrushes handy in your luggage in case you lose or misplace one at a hotel. Let your dentist know you’ll be out of town if it’s going to be a lengthy trip. Research other dentists in your destination area to find out who you can visit in the event of a dental emergency.

With these tips, you’ll experience a safe trip full of healthy smiles!

Posted on behalf of:
Mitzi Morris, DMD, PC
1295 Hembree Rd B202
Roswell, GA 30076
(770) 475-6767

Apr
17

What Can You Eat with a Dental Crown?

Posted in Crowns

You want to protect your new dental crown and make sure it lasts you many years. But neither do you want to give up your favorite goodies. With a few precautions, you can continue eating with dental crown as you normally do.

Eating with a Temporary Cap

Temporary crowns are made of plastic and do not fit like permanent restorations. They just protect your tooth until the final crown is ready. You should avoid letting crunchy or chewy foods get near your temporary crown. It’s not the end of the world, but it is annoying if it does come off.

Foods to Avoid with a New Crown

Don’t eat or drink for about 30 minutes after getting your permanent crown. This helps the cement to set firmly. Stay away from hard or sticky foods for the first 24 hours.

Watch your sugar intake – your crowned tooth is still just as prone to getting cavities.

Be very cautious about using a crowned front tooth to bite into tough foods. Sandwiches are fine, but whole apples, corn-on-the-cob, and biting meat off BBQ ribs could put jeopardize your tooth. A crowned tooth will never be as strong as a natural one, so you do need to be careful.

What About Staining Foods?

Your new crown shouldn’t pick up too much stain. The issue though is that it can’t get any lighter in color. It’s made to match your other teeth at the time your dentist places it. If you ever want to bleach your teeth, you can’t expect the crown to lighten as well.

Still have some more questions about your new crown? Contact your dentist before the procedure to find out more.

Posted on behalf of:
Springfield Lorton Dental Group
5419-C Backlick Rd
Springfield, VA 22151
(703) 256-8554

Apr
17

Four Reasons Dentures Are Better Than No Teeth at All

Posted in Dentures

Are you really happy being toothless for the rest of your life? Here’s why you should give some serious thought to the benefits of dentures.

  1. You Can Eat Better

Without teeth, you’ll probably be inclined to choose soft foods that don’t require any chewing. This is a problem because those softer foods are going to be lower in fiber and nutrients that your body needs. Dentures will let you chew items that are full of fuel to keep you healthy.

  1. You’ll Enjoy Social Activities Much More

It’s one thing to relax around family without any teeth. But you’ll surely discover a new level of confidence when you have dentures for a social event outside your home. Few people are willing to smile without any teeth. Dentures will give you teeth to show off during group photo sessions.

  1. You Can Maintain Your Smile Shape

Without teeth to support your jaws, your chin and mouth will get a sunken-in appearance. A set of prosthetic teeth will give your smile the support it needs. This is how dentures will help you look younger.

  1. Your Oral Hygiene Might Actually Improve

When there’s no teeth to worry about, why bother with brushing?

Your mouth still needs care even after all your teeth are gone. But it’s easier to neglect the task when you can’t see anything in there worth worrying about. Dentures require simple daily maintenance. Because you’re going to clean them every day, you’ll be more in-tune with the condition of your mouth.

Visit your dentist to find out which tooth replacement option is right for you.

Posted on behalf of:
Georgia Denture and Implant Specialists
203 Woodpark Pl #102
Woodstock, GA 30188
(770) 926-0021

Apr
17

What Does Dental Sedation Feel Like?

If you’ve never experienced the feeling of being unconscious, then the idea of having dental sedation can seem a little scary.

Different Kinds of Sedation

Most dental sedation techniques keep you conscious. They aren’t all exactly alike but they all mainly work by relieving anxiety and making you forget the procedure.

Three sedation strategies commonly used in dentistry include:

  • Nitrous oxide (laughing gas)
  • Oral medication
  • IV-administered medication

What to Expect

An IV-administered sedative is the only kind that can make you truly unconscious. Even the level of anesthesia will be carefully monitored by the dental team. They can give you just what is necessary to treat you successfully. This method is the one that lets you really sleep through treatment.

Oral conscious sedation medications come in pill or syrup form. You might take them on arrival at the dental office, or one or two hours before arriving. These medications will make you feel very relaxed and care-free. You won’t be bothered by needles, drills, or anything else. You probably won’t even remember anything, but this method doesn’t make you conscious.

Laughing gas is the lightest form of sedation. It’s easily reversed because you simply exhale the gas and it leaves your system. You’ll wear a light rubber hood over your nose and gently breath in the air that flows through it. The hood might be scented with something yummy like vanilla or orange.

This gas makes your head feel light and you might get a case of the giggles! Patients usually report tingling limbs, dulled hearing, and a flying sensation.

Talk with your dentist about which dental sedation option is best for you.

Posted on behalf of:
Green Dental of Alexandria
1725 Duke St
Alexandria, VA 22314
(703) 549-1725

Apr
17

When Your Child Won’t Sit Still at the Dentist

That enchanting and innocent smile is worth every effort to protect. But despite your best efforts, your child may not appreciate the need for dentistry.  Managing expectations, choosing a pediatric dentist, and dental sedation are all options for achieving a positive outcome at your child’s next dental visit.

Some children have a hard time sitting still for treatment because of high energy levels. Others struggle with severe anxiety in the medical setting.  What can you do to help your little one get the fullest benefit from every dental visit?

Be Reasonable

It’s not unusual for parents to want their kids to get treatment as soon as possible. All children should have their first oral examination by the time they are around 1 year old. But they may not need a professional cleaning until they are at least 3.

Don’t panic if your dentist feels your child may be too young for dental sealants or a fluoride treatment. This doesn’t mean that your child will miss out on important benefits. Your dentist knows when a procedure will do your child the most good.

Be reasonable in your expectations of what your child can handle. Most necessary major procedures aren’t tolerated well by kids in general.

Discuss Dental Sedation

Even kids who are old enough to be expected to sit through treatment may have a hard time. Certain medications can help them to relax or even doze through a procedure. Your dentist will have suggestions for a safe and effective sedative treatment.

Look for a Pediatric Specialist

After discussing matters with your dentist, you may realize that your child would do better at a pediatric dentist. These offices cater to very young children and those with special needs. When all else fails, your dentist can make a recommendation for a trusted pediatric dentist in your area.

Posted on behalf of:
Dr. Farhan Qureshi, DDS
5206 Dawes Ave
Alexandria, VA 22311
(703) 931-4544

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