Dental Tips Blog

Jul
31

Should You See a Periodontist?

Posted in Gum Disease

A periodontist is a dentist with extra training and experience in gum health issues.

There’s a lot more to your gums than meets the eye. What you might not realize is there are layers of complex ligaments beneath the pinkish skin you can see on your gums. These tissues make up what’s called the “periodontium.”

The ligaments strengthen and nourish teeth, anchor them in their sockets, and act like shock absorbers to cushion your teeth when you bite. Your periodontium is so important that there are dental specialists who focus on that alone!

Why Your Gums Need Attention

Your periodontium can start to break down if it gets inflamed. Unfortunately, it doesn’t simply grow back. What starts as gingivitis on the surface of the gums can progress to gum disease and eventually cause the periodontal ligaments to pull away from the tooth, creating pockets.

As the pockets fill with bacteria or tartar and don’t get cleaned, they’ll get deeper and deeper. Ultimately, the bone can break down, too. Teeth will thus lose support and start to loosen. What’s more, your gums are a portal between your mouth and the rest of your body. So, an infection there can trigger inflammation or even another infection elsewhere.

Time To Take Action

Your dentist and hygienists will do their best to treat your case. But if your situation goes beyond what their office is equipped to handle, they will likely refer you to a gum specialist.

A periodontist will give you more varied and thorough treatment options for stopping gum disease and repairing the damage.

To start with, consult your dentist for a periodontal assessment. Charting and x-rays will help determine the seriousness of your case and what the next step is.

Posted on behalf of:
Edward Gardner, DDS
8133 Forest Hill Ave, Suite 201
Richmond, VA 23235
(804) 409-7963

Jul
31

Are Sealants the Same Thing as Fillings?

Posted in Fillings

Have you ever had a sealant before? If not, it’s easy to see how it can be confused with a dental filling.

These treatments both look white and sit on top of a tooth. Sealants are usually cheaper, but their differences go far beyond cost alone.

Sealants: What They’re For

A sealant is a thin ribbon of resin that fills in deep grooves on the chewing surface of a tooth. Toothbrush bristles can’t always reach into those valleys, so sealing them off makes for an easier to clean surface.

Sealants are designed to prevent decay.

Fillings: The Reparative Treatment Phase

Whether tooth-colored or metal, all fillings do the same job of repairing a tooth once a cavity has already struck. You can’t slap a sealant over a filling because that would just trap the decay inside a tooth where it will keep growing.

Instead, you have to remove the damaged tooth material and replace it with a new structure.

Do You Need A Sealant Or A Filling?

It’s not as simple of a matter as walking into your dentist’s office and requesting a sealant. In fact, even your dentist can’t tell you what you need until he or she gets a good look inside your mouth.

Special tools, lasers, and x-rays all aid in diagnosing decay. If nothing harmful is discovered, your dentist will be happy to place as many preventive sealants as you need. But once a spot of decay breaks through the enamel, it’s too late – that tooth will need a filling.

While you’re at your dentist’s, find out more about other cavity-prevention strategies. Call today to schedule your visit.

Posted on behalf of:
Dental Care Center At Kennestone
129 Marble Mill Rd NW
Marietta, GA 30060
(770) 424-4565

Jul
31

Moms-to-Be, Start Caring for Your Baby’s Smile NOW!

As you may know, your health as an expectant mother easily affects your growing baby. It’s important to watch what you eat, get plenty of exercise, and avoid exposure to harmful substances.

But are you also watching your smile?

Your oral health even now can have a big impact on your little one. Starting good habits now will help you keep your smile in good shape long after your baby’s arrival.

When to Get Dental Treatment

Dental cleanings and checkups during pregnancy are just fine. If restorative treatment becomes unavoidable, the second trimester is the best time to schedule. At this point, a lot of your baby’s critical development is finished, and your belly won’t be too big to be uncomfortable!

Gum Health Maintenance

You may notice your gums are a lot more sensitive now than before your pregnancy. This is normal due to all the extra hormones. You don’t need to be alarmed by the increased bleeding from your gums, but you should be very diligent about oral hygiene.

Gum disease is linked to premature births, so it’s very important for you to take care of your gums.

Your dentist may even recommend that you have one or two standard dental cleanings during your pregnancy to ensure that you stay healthy.

After Delivery Dental Care

It can be tricky to schedule dental care after the arrival of your baby! But it’s a good idea to get caught up on exams and x-rays as soon as possible to make sure there aren’t any new problems.

Visit your dentist to get suggestions on keeping your gums healthy and your teeth strong. Expectant women with healthy smiles are more likely to have children with healthy teeth!

Posted on behalf of:
Atlantic Dentistry
13474 Atlantic Blvd Suite 109
Jacksonville FL 32225
904-647-1800

Jul
31

Is Laughing Gas Dangerous?

Nitrous oxide (N2O) is a colorless gas that depresses the nervous system. It dulls pain and mildly alters awareness. Sounds may be distorted and some people report feeling numb or tingling limbs while inhaling this gas.

This may sound more like a street drug than a medical treatment. In reality, nitrous oxide, better known as “laughing gas,” is an effective and safe anesthetic used by many dentists for mild dental sedation to help relieve anxiety and make dental treatment more comfortable. But, go back nearly two centuries, and you’ll find that N2O was the complete opposite of a medical standard.

Soon after the discovery of this gas, it became a carnival attraction. Whole crowds would assemble to breathe in nitrous oxide and revel in the effects. When a dentist in the 1840s attempted to use nitrous as an anesthetic, he was ridiculed.

Nowadays, we know that recreational use of nitrous oxide can be dangerous. This is primarily because inhaling too much of the gas by itself can deprive your brain of oxygen.

Today’s dentists administer the gas in the safest way possible. The flow is combined with an oxygen tank so that the patients never lose too much air. Only trained dental professionals can give someone nitrous oxide.

On the plus side, nitrous has no residual effects and doesn’t accumulate in the system. Each dose is carefully measured and can be almost instantly reversed, if needed. It’s a very low-stress anesthesia technique that’s popular for children’s appointments.

The FDA regulates the use of nitrous oxide and you can rest assured that the controlled setting of a dental office is a safe place to use it. If you want to ease dental anxiety, ask your dentist whether laughing gas is right for you.

Posted on behalf of:
Town Center Dental
1110 State Route 55, Suite 107
Lagrangeville, NY 12540
(845) 486-4572

Jul
31

How Long Will a Dental Implant Last?

Posted in Dental Implants

Your implant is designed to feel like a normal tooth, but it can take some getting used to. After the surgical placement, the tissue around these restorations need time to heal. You’ll also be visiting the dentist for multiple appointments.

With all the time and effort involved, there’s no side-stepping the issue – dental implants can cost more than other tooth replacements. But rather than looking at them as an expense, it best to see them for what they really are: a smart investment.

Just as with any other smart investment, you can expect the payout of a dental implant to be worth all of the time and start-up costs. What this also means is that you can expect your implant to last you a very long time!

Lifespan Of Dental Implants

As an implant integrates with your bone and gums, it essentially becomes a part of you. It isn’t going anywhere. The best part about investing in an implant is that they can last you a lifetime.

Dental implants are commonly made from titanium. You’re not likely to have an allergic reaction and it won’t break down. Top it off with a sturdy crown, and you’ve got the next best thing to a natural tooth.

Investing In Implants

Virtually all other tooth restoration options are temporary. From bridges to dentures, you’re not going to find a replacement that lasts as long as implants do.

Of course, there’s much you still need to do to keep your implant strong. It might not be a natural tooth, but it has natural gums and bone around it. Keeping your implant clean is the key to making it last.

Talk with your dentist for information if you’re curious about implants.

Posted on behalf of:
Marietta Dental Professionals
550 Franklin Gateway SE
Marietta, GA 30067
(770) 514-5055

Jul
31

Is It True That Braces Damage Your Teeth?

Posted in Braces

There is a lot of misinformation regarding orthodontic treatment. It’s news you hear from your next-door neighbor and stuff you read online.

If your dentist told you that you need braces, you might not be sure who to believe.

These facts may help you make a decision:

How Braces Affect Enamel

It’s a myth that the brackets cause your teeth to lose enamel. Rather, the cement is carefully popped off with special tools. Any remaining residue is gently buffed away with a low-power handpiece.

“White spots” only show up when plaque is left around the braces for a long time. You can avoid this simply by brushing well.

Do Braces Cause Gum Recession?

Sometimes, gums do recede near brackets, but this is also limited if your brackets are kept clean. Plaque-infested braces will irritate the gums.

What About Shortened Tooth Roots?

Shortened tooth roots do happen. However, this problem is not as severe as it sounds. Teeth can generally afford to lose a tiny bit of root structure at the tip and still work just fine. You’d never feel it!

Braces take advantage of a very natural process to move teeth. Your orthodontist will encourage tooth movement at a safe rate and regularly check your teeth on x-rays for signs of root resorption. If there’s anything suspicious, you’ll get a break from treatment.

In summary, there are no unpredictable risks of orthodontic treatment. Everything can be carefully monitored and managed, and you play a big role personally in preventing problems. The benefits of braces far outweigh the minor downsides.

To get a more complete picture of orthodontic treatment, schedule a visit with your local dentist or orthodontist.

Posted on behalf of:
Broad Street Braces
2010 South Juniper Street
Philadelphia, PA 19148
213-234-3030

Jul
31

Diabetes and Oral Health

Posted in Gum Disease

Have you been diagnosed with diabetes? You probably know that this condition increases your risk of things like heart disease, kidney failure, and stroke.

But how about your risk for gum disease?

There’s more research emerging every year that highlights the link between oral disease and diabetes. If you haven’t already, now is the time to familiarize yourself with the way diabetes affects your smile.

Gum Disease

Interestingly, studies show that gum disease and diabetes go both ways in affecting one another. Uncontrolled diabetes causes oral infection to quickly advance, and the presence of gum inflammation makes it harder to control blood sugar.

Infections

Diabetes lowers your body’s ability to fight off infection. This leads to a greater chance of oral health problems such as:

  • Fungal infection
  • Viral infections
  • Sores
  • Tooth decay
  • Gum disease

Dry Mouth

Diabetics are prone to xerostomia, or dry mouth. A very uncomfortable condition, dry mouth leads to a faster accumulation of food debris and bacteria.

This lack of saliva quickly leads to yet another oral health issue linked to diabetes. 

Cavities

High blood sugar, little saliva to wash bacteria away, and poor resistance to infection add up to make a recipe for decay.

What You Should Do

Proper medication and lifestyle changes are crucial to helping you stay master over diabetes – instead of the other way around. Keeping your mouth clean is another key way to stay healthy.

It may be best to post-pone unnecessary procedures if your blood sugar is not under control. See your dentist for regular cleanings, exams, and x-rays. Let your dental team know about any changes in your medications. Trust them to know how diabetes affects your dental health and treatment!

Posted on behalf of:
Chester Road Family Dental
11701 Chester Rd.
Chester, VA 23831
804-748-5105

Jul
31

A Crown in a Day is Possible!

Posted in Crowns

There are a lot of things that hold people back from getting dental work done:

  • Cost
  • Fear of pain
  • Shortage of time

Fortunately, there are advances being made all over the dental healthcare system which are alleviating these common patient concerns.

For example, new technology has made it feasible for folks to get a new dental crown (from start to finish) in a single appointment.

The main reason you would ordinarily have to wait weeks to get your crown is because it’s crafted in an off-site dental lab. This option is still quite viable because of the high quality of restorations produced in labs.

But in the interest of saving time, a lot of dentists have turned to installing an in-office milling machine and computer system that complete the project in one step.

Here’s how it works:

If you need a crown, your dentist will let you know and then schedule the appointment. At this visit, the tooth is prepared (damaged parts are cleaned away) so that a crown can fit over it.

Next, he or she scans your tooth and its neighbors with a special camera. This step eliminates the need for messy impressions. The scan zips off to a computer where your dentist can digitally manipulate it to design the most precise restoration possible.

Finally, these plans go to the on-site machine which hews your new crown out of a solid block of ceramic. You’ll try it on right then and there for a secure fit.

No more fussing with a temporary crown or waiting weeks for lab-made adjustments. You only have to take one afternoon off to get a new crown.

If this process interests you, ask your dentist about the options available in your area.

Posted on behalf of:
Rolling Hills Dentistry
53 North Street
Danbury, CT 06810
(203) 743-0783

Jul
31

Caring for Aging Smiles

Posted in Dentures

You may be worried for a loved one who’s going through the aging process. Or perhaps you’re concerned about what the future holds for you, personally.

Either way, the following tips can help ensure a strong, comfortable, and confident smile for years to come. It’s never too late to improve oral hygiene!

Adjust To Mobility Limitations

Conditions like arthritis and Parkinson’s can affect someone’s ability to keep their teeth clean. If you or a loved one suffer from limited mobility, consider switching to a toothbrush with a larger handle for easy grasp. Powered toothbrushes are ideal in this case.

Be Careful With Dentures

Just because dentures replace teeth doesn’t make them any less important. They should be handled with care, cleaned daily, and soaked often. A clean denture is a healthier one. These principles also apply to partial dentures and other appliances that could irritate the mouth.

Be Aware Of Changes In Your Mouth

Medications and just the factor of aging itself can affect the oral environment in surprising ways. Some common problems include:

  • Fungal infections (especially with a denture)
  • Dry mouth
  • Gum recession
  • Sensitive teeth

While these problems may be hard to avoid, there’s still something you can do. Good hygiene is critical to strengthening teeth. Your dentist will have suggestions for products and devices that make oral hygiene easy.

Most importantly, be reasonable in your expectations. Some age-related changes might make it harder to clean teeth. Focus on keeping yourself (or your loved one) comfortable and healthy.

Let your dentist help preserve you and your family’s smiles despite the challenges of aging. Contact your local dental office to schedule a visit.

Posted on behalf of:
Noble Smiles Dentistry
9779 E. 146th St.
Noblesville IN 46060
(317) 893-3992

Jul
31

4 Ways to Reshape Your Smile

Are you unhappy with the shape of your smile?

Perhaps you have some teeth that you feel are:

  • Too big
  • Uneven
  • Rough
  • Gapped

There’s nothing like a balanced smile to show others you take your oral health and beauty seriously! You’ve got several options for achieving that goal.

  1. Bonding Or Veneers

You can close up gaps and smooth out chips with the help of porcelain dental veneers. These slim porcelain veneers neatly mask imperfections in your tooth and give a uniform appearance across multiple teeth.

Not ready to commit to veneers?

That’s okay – dental bonding is next on the list. Your dentist can bond just a small bit of material to your tooth to make a big difference. While bonding isn’t as complete as a veneer, it’s a conservative first step towards a gorgeous smile.

  1. Enamel Shaping

Did you know that it’s actually possible to shape your teeth themselves?

As long as your teeth are healthy enough to spare a little enamel, they can be polished to look more in line.

  1. Orthodontic Treatment

You can never be too old to benefit from wearing braces. Having just one tooth out of line could be enough to skew your whole smile. Correct that problem and you’ll be amazed at the difference.

  1. Gum Recontouring

Your teeth may not even be the problem. Uneven gum growth and recession can create an uneven smile. Dentists have techniques for gently removing and reshaping tissue around your teeth to discover a brighter smile.

Say “goodbye” to your old smile and welcome a new start! Ask your dentist which cosmetic dental treatments can make a difference in your life.

Posted on behalf of:
Elegant Smiles
1955 Cliff Valley Way NE #100
Brookhaven, GA 30329
404-634-4224

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