Dental Tips Blog

Dec
31

Do I Have to Get Teeth Pulled Before Getting Braces?

Posted in Orthodontics

No one likes getting a tooth pulled, period. But there’s something that just feels even worse about losing a perfectly healthy tooth for the sake of orthodontic treatment.

If braces are in your future, you’ll be glad to know that tooth extraction is not an automatic part of treatment. Just because someone you know had a couple teeth removed for braces doesn’t meant that you’ll have to.

So why do some people need to have teeth pulled for orthodontic treatment?

Perhaps there is an extra tooth (yes, that happens) that will only get in the way of things.

More commonly, teeth have to be pulled because:

  • They are too close together and removing one or two will open space up to move teeth freely with braces
  • Front teeth are very protruded and a couple back teeth have to go to give them room to be pulled into place
  • It’s easier to remove teeth than it is to surgically alter a bone discrepancy, such as a jaw being too narrow for all the teeth to fit

Orthodontic treatment takes longer if teeth have to be removed first. Pulling teeth is not the cheating route. If the dentist or orthodontist recommends it, then they really believe it’s necessary.

To avoid having to get teeth pulled, it’s best to have an orthodontic evaluation by age 7. That’s why this is the general recommendation for kids. It’s actually preferred to monitor tooth development and alignment from the time children are small and make corrections with expanders. Tooth extraction is typically a last resort.

Okay, that’s great, but you aren’t seven years old anymore. At this point, you can only find out whether or not you need teeth pulled by visiting an orthodontist for a consultation.

Posted on behalf of:
Seven Hills Dentistry
1305 Cedarcrest Rd #115
Dallas, GA 30132
(678) 257-7117

Dec
31

5 Signs Your Pre-Teen Has Bad Oral Hygiene

Posted in Fillings

Your son or daughter is reaching that age where they start to worry about how others view them. Kids are bombarded with images that prompt them to set near-impossible standards for themselves in terms of appearance.

As for you? You just want to see your child happy and healthy. Your pre-teen deserves a great foundation to start from, one of health that gives them more freedom to express themselves.

Great oral hygiene is a cornerstone of health. If your child gets into good habits in this area now, you’ll have some peace of mind.

Use your child’s natural desire to fit in and be beautiful to encourage those healthy tooth habits.

Here are some signs that your kid may actually be headed down wrong path when it comes to dental health and hygiene:

  1. Their teeth look orange from layers of plaque.
  2. Your child is a very picky eater. Limiting their diet to junk food or carbs makes their dental plaque stickier and more prone to causing cavities.
  3. Your child’s gums appear red or swollen. This indicates gingivitis.
  4. You’re constantly visiting the dentist to get another filling for your child.
  5. You find out your child is experiencing bullying because of his or her tooth appearance or bad breath.

What you can do:

Encourage good hygiene for your family by having the appropriate dental products easily accessible around the home. Promote healthy snacking by stocking the right foods. Educate your son or daughter on how choices in daily life can affect the look of their smile.

Your family’s dentist is on your side and can help your child get an idea of the condition their mouth is in. Schedule an appointment to get more information.

Posted on behalf of:
Sycamore Hills Dentistry
10082 Illinois Rd
Fort Wayne, IN 46804
(260) 213-4400

Dec
31

Is Scurvy Still A Thing?

Posted in Gum Disease

It’s not just pirate lingo – scurvy is a very real condition that still affects people even today. Scurvy isn’t a communicable disease like the common cold. Rather, it’s a deficiency of vitamin C, or ascorbic acid. This vitamin is found in many fresh foods including:

  • Strawberries
  • Kiwis
  • Citrus fruit
  • Tomatoes
  • Carrots
  • Broccoli
  • Spinach
  • Papaya

In times past, scurvy was common among seafarers (like pirates) who didn’t have access to such fresh foods for months at a time. Today the condition is actually very rare, but people in certain groups are at risk. The elderly, those with sensitive food allergies, anorexia sufferers, alcoholics, and people who can’t or won’t make fresh foods a part of their diet are prone to scurvy.

Symptoms of this condition include appetite loss, diarrhea, fever, irritability, odd skin markings, and puffy, bleeding gums. If allowed to progress, scurvy can result in the loss of teeth. There are even indications that a vitamin C deficiency in pregnant mothers can adversely affect brain development of the baby.

Treatment and prevention for scurvy are the same: plenty of vitamin C. Our bodies can’t make this vitamin on their own and neither can they store it for long. That’s why it’s so important to get a healthy dose of it every day via a balanced diet loaded with fresh foods.

Interestingly, vitamin C is also essential for disease prevention and healing in the gums. Talk with your dentist about increasing your intake if you have been diagnosed with any form of gum disease. A daily glass of orange juice may be all it takes to keep your gums and body healthy with sufficient vitamin C.

Posted on behalf of:
Park Slope Dental Arts
506 3rd St
Brooklyn, NY 11215
(718) 962-0300

Dec
31

What If You Don’t Have Enough Bone for an Implant?

Posted in Dental Implants

A house is only as strong as its foundation and an implant is likewise only as good as the bone it rests in. While dental implants represent hope for many people with missing teeth, they aren’t always a guaranteed solution.

Insufficient bone for implants could be the result of:

  • Injury
  • Gum disease
  • Tooth defects
  • Years of wearing a denture
  • Going years without replacing teeth

Perhaps for one of the reasons listed above you’ve been told that an implant wouldn’t work for you.

Does this mean you can say goodbye to the hope of ever again having a beautiful smile?

Happily, no. You still have a chance! Implant specialists offer a few different procedures for restoring bone in the mouth so that it can support these restorations.

Bone Graft

A very common and safe procedure, grafting uses bone from your body, a donor’s, or a synthetic material to patch up weak areas. The procedure is a lot easier than you might imagine and after a few months, your mouth should be ready to receive an implant.

Ridge Expansion

In a very specific bone grafting treatment, the ridge of the lower jaw is widened to make it easier to support implants.

Sinus Augmentation

If you’ve been missing some upper back teeth for a while, there’s chance that your sinus cavities have gotten a little bigger as the bone thins out. The wall separating your sinuses from your teeth could be too slim to safely anchor an implant. Packing on some extra bone tissue to “lift” the sinus is the best way to make implants happen.

Talk with your general dentist to get a better idea of what your smile needs to qualify for dental implants.

Posted on behalf of:
Cane Bay Family Dentistry
1724 State Rd #4D
Summerville, SC 29483
(843) 376-4157

Dec
31

How Dentists Diagnose Cavities

Apparently, you have another cavity. But you don’t see anything there. You’re not entirely convinced the dentist isn’t making this up.

Before you jump to conclusions, keep in mind that a dentist is trained to pick up on tooth decay long before it turns into an ugly brown hole in your tooth.

How do dentists detect cavities? Here are a few of the main ways.

Classic Exploration

Those scary metal hooks the dentist “pokes” your teeth with are called explorers. The fine tipped instruments are very sensitive. With years of practice, your dentist can skim the tip of the tool over your tooth and notice unusually soft spots indicative of decay.

Lasers

More and more dental offices are incorporating the use of special lasers that ping back a result when they scan weakened tooth enamel. These lasers really come in handy when checking for cavities in the back teeth during your six-month dental visits.

X-Rays

Yearly x-rays are taken almost entirely because of cavities. A regular set of bitewing images helps the dentist see in-between your teeth where no one else can. Dark triangles in the enamel at the point where neighboring teeth touch mean that there is decay going on.

Dye

Some dentists use a non-toxic dye to check for signs of decay. This usually comes in handy when he or she is cleaning a cavity from a tooth and wants to make sure it’s completely gone before placing the filling.

Through routine dental cleanings and checkups, your dentist will make note of areas that are prime to develop decay and alert you to them. You will then get recommendations for treatment like fluoride or sealants to help you avoid cavities altogether. Schedule your routine dental examination today!

Posted on behalf of:
Salt Run Family Dentistry
700 Anastasia Blvd
St. Augustine, FL 32080
(904) 824-3540

Dec
31

9 Herbs and Spices That Are Good for Your Smile

Ready for something fresh? These nine herbs and spices are great natural sources of smile-boosting factors.

  1. Green tea. Loaded with antioxidants and an excellent natural breath-freshener, a cup of green tea every morning could do you a lot of good. Just take it without sugar so that it doesn’t become a cavity hazard.
  2. Cloves. Did you know this simple kitchen staple is the foundation for a lot of numbing agents in dentistry? You can enjoy clove’s anesthetic properties by chewing on a whole one when something in your mouth hurts.
  3. Cinnamon. Enjoy it in a hot drink, yogurt, or oatmeal every day to experience the way it can regulate blood sugar and cut down your sugar cravings. This is good for lowering your cavity risk!
  4. Fennel, 5. Cardamom, and 6. Parsley. These get grouped together as a trio of powerful breath-refreshers. Munching on them stimulates saliva flow which washes away traces of acid from your last snack.
  5. Rosemary. A tablespoon of this very average herb actually contains about 4% of your recommended daily value of calcium. Add it to a cheddar sauce over steamed broccoli for a calcium-loaded dinner.
  6. Turmeric. This spice is up-and-coming in research in terms of how powerfully beneficial it is. It lends a bright golden glow to Indian foods. Turmeric could potentially work better than the best mouthwash. Enjoy this spice in a variety of stir-fries and curries.
  7. Garlic. While this one may not be the best for breath, it is great at fighting virtually everything else. It’s best eaten raw, so try to incorporate it into salads, dressings, and sauces.

Remember, no natural herbal remedy can replace the help of your dentist so schedule a dental checkup and cleaning soon!

Posted on behalf of:
Milton Dental Specialists
13075 Hwy 9, Suite 110
Milton, GA 30004
(770) 521-2100

Dec
31

Dentures Are No Substitute for Natural Teeth, Dentists Warn

Posted in Dental Implants

Many people believe that dentures are an inevitability. But changes in dentistry are leading to people keeping their natural teeth longer. Working to keep your own teeth healthy will make you more likely to have them for the rest of your life.

Sure, you can take your teeth for granted and assume a denture is the dental procedure to end all dental procedures.

Before you do, take a minute to consider how a denture could actually bring about other concerns that you hadn’t considered.

This Doesn’t Taste As Good As I Remembered . . .

An upper denture in particular is good at blocking your ability to taste foods. Things will seem a lot less flavorful after you get dentures. Bummer.

Bite Down. Now Lighten Up By 90%.

If you get dentures, you can expect your bite force to be about a tenth of what it is right now. That makes a big difference in what you’ll be able to chew with ease. You’d have to cut everything up into tiny bites or restrict your diet to nutrient-poor or soft foods.

Your Smile Changes Over Time

With years of wear, the pressure of a denture on the gums causes the bone underneath to resorb. Gradually, your mouth takes on a sunken-in look. This can age your appearance and make it harder to get your denture to fit.

Really Less Work?

You might think daily brushing and flossing for natural teeth is a pill. You’re not off the hook when it comes to denture care. They require daily brushing and soaking plus frequent maintenance appointments.

The bottom line? Show love to the teeth you’ve got. Don’t rush to get them pulled. If you need to replace missing teeth, there may be better options such as dental implants or an implant supported dental bridge.  Talk to your dentist about what tooth replacement options are best for you.

Posted on behalf of:
Greencastle Dental
195 Greencastle Road
Tyrone, GA 30290
(770) 486-5585

Dec
31

Why A Dental Crown May Be Your Child’s Best Option

Tooth decay is just as serious for kids as it is for adults. If not more so. A cavity in a baby tooth isn’t something you can afford to ignore just because “that tooth will fall out, anyway.”

Cavities spread rapidly in children’s mouths. Kids aren’t great about keeping their teeth clean, but baby teeth have thin enamel. Decay can quickly reach the pulp where it can develop a life-threatening abscess.

Sometimes, a crown is the only treatment option.

Can’t You Pull the Tooth?

Occasionally. But that will depend on your child’s tooth development. Each baby tooth acts as a placeholder for an adult one that’s yet to come. If that tiny placeholder is lost too soon, other teeth can drift and fill the gap, causing crowding once the grown-up one comes in.

Pulling a tooth and putting in a spacer is usually a last-resort option.

What About a Filling?

Getting a filling while the cavity is still small is always the preferred route from the outset. But as mentioned before, baby teeth have very thin enamel layers compared to adult ones. It doesn’t take long for a cavity to reach a critical stage. Trying to fill the tooth could result in more damage and pain to your child.

Why Crown A Baby Tooth

Most decayed baby teeth are capped with stainless steel crowns. The benefits to doing so include:

  • Economical
  • Long-lasting
  • Little to no sensitivity
  • More complete protection for the tooth than a filling

When options get limited, a dental crown really does become the best restorative solution for many kids. Of course, it’s best to avoid decay in the first place, so talk with your child’s dentist about preventative treatment and age-appropriate oral hygiene methods.

Posted on behalf of:
Bayshore Dental Center
810 W Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Blvd #2900
Seffner, FL 33584
(813) 330-2006

Dec
31

Want to Try Sleep Dentistry? 3 Things You Should Know Before You Do

You hear the ads and drive by that billboard every day. But does sleep dentistry actually work? Is it even doable? It sounds like something celebrities do as part of a high-end spa package – sleep through dental work.

Sleep sedation dentistry is much more accessible than it sounds. It has great benefits, too:

  • Get more dental work done in one visit
  • Reduce anxiety if you’re nervous about treatment
  • Keep you comfortable during any procedure

Sleep dentistry is not some sensational miracle treatment. Before jumping in, you should know a few things.

  1. You won’t actually be asleep.

Sedation works by lowering your consciousness, but it doesn’t knock you out. You’ll get it through pills or an IV. It feels like you fell asleep because the sedation makes you feel drowsy and forget what happened. Even so, you will be aware enough to communicate.

  1. Sleep dentistry is safe.

Through the entire time you’re sedated you will be monitored closely. Follow directions and carefully share your entire health history. In turn, a properly trained dentist or anesthetist will work with you to ensure that you get the right kind and amount of medication to safely be sedated.

  1. You’ll need to bring a buddy.

You should have a designated driver to bring you home after treatment. If you take sedative pills a few hours before the appointment, you’ll need that person to bring you to the office, too. You don’t want to have temporary amnesia and drowsiness while driving!

Feel free to ask your dentist any questions you may have about the procedure. The more you know, the more comfortable you’ll feel. Ask about options for sedation and anesthesia and other ways to reduce dental anxiety.

Posted on behalf of:
Dr. David Kurtzman D.D.S.
611 Campbell Hill St. NW #101
Marietta, GA 30060
(770) 980-6336

Dec
31

Black Teeth and Other Bizarre Dental Trends

Check out a few of these once-popular dental trends that astound, impress, and horrify us today.

Tooth Blackening

At one time, black teeth (ohaguro) were considered a mark of beauty in Japan. This was especially so when they contrasted with the white makeup of a geisha. The practice was believed to have strengthened teeth.

Egyptian Bridgework

This archaeological find isn’t so much bizarre as it is innovative. The early Egyptians apparently had a technique for bracing false teeth over a gap in the gums using gold or silver wire.

What isn’t entirely know is whether this extensive bridgework (which looks like it could have been painful) was performed on living patients or dead ones. It’s possible they only placed a dental bridge on a dead body to make it look good in preparation for burial.

Mayan Tooth Bling

The Mayans had some pretty advanced cosmetic dentistry. Mixing a resin with crushed bone, they would bind gems to carefully carved holes in teeth. They’d get creative with all kinds of precious stones and metals.

Analyzing those teeth today reveals that the Mayans knew a thing or two about tooth anatomy – their restorations usually stayed well away from the nerve inside of the tooth.

Tooth Sharpening

Teeth have been sharpened in countries all over Africa, South America, South East Asia, and the South Pacific. Cultural reasons for doing so include:

  • Class distinction
  • Religion
  • Gender distinction
  • Superstition
  • To look like sharks (that is an actual reason)

Thankfully, today’s cosmetic dental procedures are far safer, kinder to teeth, and more hygienic. There is plenty of room for self-expression within the bounds of safe cosmetic dentistry. Ask your dentist about treatment options for whitening, straightening, and otherwise enhancing your teeth to fit the modern ideal of health.

Posted on behalf of:
Precision Digital Dentistry
674 US-202/206
Suite 7
Bridgewater, NJ 08807
(908) 955-6999

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