Your teeth are some of the strongest things in your body. They chomp your food, keep your mouth structured, and even help you talk. But do you know what keeps your teeth so strong? Teeth are made up of several different parts, included strong roots and tough dentin. However, the part of your tooth that is the strongest is the enamel.
Enamel covers the crowns of your teeth, and it’s the hardest substance in your entire body. Pretty amazing, right? Unfortunately, much like any other part in your body, if you don’t take care of your enamel, it can begin to decay and break down.
Enamel doesn’t regenerate, so it’s especially important that you take good care of it. Let’s take a look at some of the reasons why enamel breaks down and the ways you can prevent it.
Drinking Too Much Soda
By now, most people know how dangerous soft drinks can be to their bodies. However, many people don’t realize that they can also destroy your teeth. Soft drinks—and other drinks like fruit juices—contain high amounts of acid, both citric and phosphoric. High levels of such acid in your mouth leads directly to enamel erosion.
If you have acid reflux or other gastrointestinal problems like frequent vomiting, you may also experience enamel break down. Like with soda, these gastrointestinal problems can raise the overall acid content in your mouth.
Unhealthy Oral Hygiene Habits
Not taking care of your teeth properly is another thing that can lead to the breakdown of your enamel. Plaque and tartar build up leads first to cavities and, if left alone long enough, can lead to greater enamel decay. Other poor oral habits like grinding your teeth or chewing on ice can lead to enamel decay.
If you suffer from dry mouth syndrome, you may start to eventually experience enamel decay. Dry mouth is caused by a lack of saliva, which leads to a higher acidic content.
Unfortunately, enamel decay can be caused simply by your own genetic makeup. There’s no way to really prevent your enamel from breaking down if it’s caused by genetics.
How You Can Prevent Enamel Breakdown
So, now that you know what causes enamel decay, how can you prevent it? As with many things in the oral health world, extra attention and care can go a long way with preventing your enamel from breaking down.
If you’re worried about your enamel, try following these methods of prevention:
- Lessen your soft drink intake – Soda is one of the main causes behind enamel decay, so it’s best to limit the amount you drink. Also try to avoid over-consuming juice drinks that have high concentrations of citric acid.
- Take care of your teeth – Creating and maintaining a solid oral hygiene routine can prevent many problems with enamel erosion. Brush at least two times a day and floss at least once a day to prevent plaque and tartar from building up and eroding your teeth’s enamel.
- See your dentist – If your especially worried about enamel decay, don’t hesitate to set up an appointment with your dentist. During the appointment, you can learn more ways to keep your teeth healthy and strong.
If you’re an older dental patient, you may be reluctant to visit the dentist. Your teeth and gums have been through a lot over your many years and it is evident in your smile. Your smile is marked by discolored, cavity-riddled teeth, a receding gum line and embarrassing gaps where some of your teeth have already fallen out. You don’t like your smile, but because of our age think that nothing can be done to regain that bright, vibrant, healthy smile you had when you were younger. With your advanced age, you think it is too late to change your smile.
The Aging Process
There are undesirable changes that happen in the mouth as we age. Seniors are at high risk of cavities and gum disease due to naturally receding gums, brittle teeth and dry mouth that is a common side-effect of many medications seniors take for other health issues. In addition, because the muscles of the heart weaken with age, older dental patients are more sensitive to analgesics and local anesthetics. This can make it more difficult for certain dental procedures to be done.
How Cosmetic Dentistry Can Help Make You Look Younger
When you think of cosmetic dentistry, you may think it is only for patients younger than yourself. While cosmetic dentistry is popular for patients in their thirties through sixties, there is nothing saying that older patients can’t take advantage of cosmetic dentistry to get a younger, healthier-looking smile. In fact, cosmetic dentistry is becoming more popular amongst senior patients.
Tooth discoloration is common amongst seniors as tooth enamel breaks down over time. Professional teeth whitening can restore and bring back to life the faded smile of age. Teeth whitening can brighten teeth by many shades, so senior patients have the option for a subtle or more vibrantly whiter smile. Senior patients with deep, stubborn stains, bonding may be a more appropriate whitening treatment. With bonding, a tooth-colored substance is applied over the stained area of a tooth. Bonding is also an effective treatment to relieve tooth sensitivity and to cover small cracks or chips in the teeth.
The weakened enamel of teeth found in older patients and the possible shifting of teeth due to lost teeth and deteriorating jaw bones can cause teeth to get cracked, chipped, form striations and become misshapen. To recreate a younger-looking smile that is straight and full of smooth, strong teeth, thin sheets of porcelain that cover affected teeth called veneers can help.
For many seniors, the many years of use and deterioration of proper oral hygiene have left few, if any, of their natural teeth in their mouths. For these patients, dentures may be their only options. Dentures have been traditionally a hallmark of advanced age. Modern dentures, however, have greatly improved from those in the past. Today, denture patients can have permanent dentures thanks to dental implants. Dental implants are titanium posts that are inserted into the jaw bone and are topped with a natural-looking ceramic crown. Because these posts are directly inserted into the jaw bone, they are secure and stable, providing excellent support for dentures. With implant-supported dentures, patients can bite, chew, smile and talk with confidence. Unlike traditional dentures that are bonded to teeth and must be taken out for eating and overnight cleaning, implant-supported dentures can withstand great force, enabling them to stay in the mouth. Seniors with these dentures don’t have to worry about embarrassing slipping and sliding of the denture and can enjoy more of their favorite foods.
How LeDowns Dentistry Can Help
At LeDowns Dentistry, we want healthy and great-looking smiles for all our patients, no matter their age. We believe that it’s never too late to restore one’s smile and we offer the dental services that can help bring back the life and youthfulness of your smile. To learn more about the cosmetic dental services we offer seniors, feel free to contact us and schedule an appointment.
Dental implants have been a saving grace for smiles ruined by tooth loss caused by tooth decay, trauma, age, and gum disease. These dental crowns and appliances have become a popular avenue by which patients can resurrect their formerly beautiful smiles.
What Are Dental Implants?
Dental implants are commonly used to replace a missing adult or permanent tooth. While baby or primary teeth fall out and are replaced with permanent teeth, adult teeth aren’t replaced once they fall out or are extracted.
The resulting gap in one’s smile not only looks bad, but it can weaken the underlying gum and bone tissue and cause neighboring teeth to shift out of proper alignment and placement.
Dental implants, therefore, are used to restore the look of the smile and to preserve the stability of the jaw and maintain proper bite and teeth alignment. Dental implants are commonly used to “replace” single missing teeth, though they are now used to anchor dental bridgework and dentures.
Implants are comprised of three parts: the post, the abutment, and the dental crowns. The post is a titanium screw that is inserted directly into the gums/jaw. The implant post provides the stability of the implant and securely affixes it to the mouth.
The abutment is a small metallic part that is attached to the top of the post. It is on top of the abutment that the crown, or “fake tooth” is attached, affixing it to the post.
The crown is a realistic, tooth-like component made of either porcelain or resin. The dental crowns are made specifically for each patient, matching the color, size, and shape of the patient’s other teeth and mouth.
It typically takes multiple dental office trips for implants to be fully inserted. The post, abutment and a temporary crown are typically applied in the first appointment. X-rays and other images of the mouth and teeth will be done in order to get the proper measurements and coloring for the crown.
The crown is often made by hand in an off-site dental laboratory and can take many weeks to be sent back to the dental office. The patient will return to the dental office after the crown is finished and the dentist will place it on the abutment after removing the temporary crown.
The Makings of Dental Implants
As mentioned earlier, dental implants are made of three components: a post, an abutment, and a crown. The post and abutments are made of titanium and are manufactured off-site. Titanium has become the standard material for dental implants because of the alloy’s unique biocompatibility properties.
What this means is that the body’s immune system won’t attack the implant post nor fight the tissue damage caused by the insertion of the post into the gums/jaw. Instead, the cells of the body will grow around the post and absorb it like it was part of the body. Titanium’s biocompatibility results in fewer allergic reactions and infections and quicker healing.
The crown is made either of composite resin or porcelain. It is the same thing as a crown that fits over a tooth with a large cavity. The shading of the patient’s teeth will be noted as the crown is to look like the rest of the patient’s natural teeth. X-rays and 3-D scanning of the patient’s mouth, bite and teeth will be done to ensure the proper size and shape of the crown.
The shading color and size dimensions along with the desired crown composition material will be sent to an off-site dental laboratory where the unique crown will be made by hand and then returned to the dental office. It takes roughly six weeks for the crown to be made and returned to the dental office.
Porcelain dental crowns tend to be more expensive and more vulnerable to chipping, but they offer a more natural light reflection and shine than composite does. Composite resin crowns are more affordable and more resistant to chipping. Both options give the wearer a realistic-looking tooth.
What LeDowns Dentistry Can Do For You
At LeDowns Dentistry, we offer patients high-quality dental implants that will rejuvenate and restore their smiles. While dental implants are great solutions for most patients, they may not work for others. Contact us today to schedule an appointment with one of our dental specialists to discuss how dental implants can improve your smile.
When you think of a healthy smile, you envision a mouth full of bright, white teeth free of cavities and gum disease. All the teeth are straight and smooth. You want teeth like that. If you did, you would know that your mouth has optimum health. Are all the signs of your dental health visible?
There are both visible and invisible signs that your teeth and gums are healthy.
The Visible Signs of a Healthy Smile
White teeth, free of excessive staining. Teeth naturally turn a yellow color with age. Teeth that are excessively yellow or have yellow or dark portions can indicate tooth decay.
Teeth that are straight and do not appear excessively long. Crooked teeth are harder to take care of and are more likely to have tooth decay. Against the common myth, teeth don’t “get longer” as one ages. Teeth will appear “longer” when the gums are receding. Gum recess is a sign of gum disease.
Gums that are firm and a pale pink color. Gums that are white, dark pink or red indicate the presence of inflammation and possible gum disease.
Gums that aren’t recessed too low. The gums should recede no more than 3 millimeters from the bottom of the teeth.
A smooth, pink tongue. The tongue has thousands of papillae on the surface which allows for the tongue to detect taste and temperature of food. In and around these sensors are places where germs and bacteria accumulate. Proper tongue cleaning will remove the white film that decayed food particles leave behind. Canker sores or red patches on the tongue can indicate a potentially serious health condition such as diabetes or cancer.
An aligned bite. The teeth on the top jaw and bottom jaw are to align so that the wear and pressure of biting and chewing will be evenly distributed. A misaligned bite is not only a sign of an unhealthy mouth, but it can also cause other problems like ear aches and temporomandibular joint disorder (TMJ).
Invisible Signs of a Healthy Mouth
The absence of tooth sensitivity. One of the hallmark symptoms of tooth disease is tooth sensitivity. If your teeth are pain-free and free of sensitivity, chances are they are healthy and don’t have cavities.
Fresh breath. It can be hard to have fresh breath all the time. In the mornings everyone’s breath is less than pleasant. Persistent bad breath even after brushing, flossing and using mouth wash can indicate disease and decay. If your breath is fresh, it means there is nothing decaying in your mouth.
A mouth free of pain and discomfort. Pain is the body’s way of letting you know something isn’t right. A mouth that is pain-free is one that is in proper working condition.
A mouth that is moist. A healthy mouth will be naturally moist with saliva. This is the body’s built-in mouth wash. A dry mouth provides a more hospitable environment for germs, bacteria and eventually plaque to grow and accumulate.
A healthy mouth goes beyond just “skin deep.” There are both visible and invisible signs of a healthy mouth. Even if you have all the signs of a healthy mouth, there could possibly be some underlying oral health concerns that only a trained eye of a dental professional will be able to recognize. This is why it is important to see us at LeDowns Dentistry every six months for a professional teeth cleaning and oral examination. At-home oral hygiene isn’t enough to achieve or maintain a healthy mouth. You also need the regular check-up by a dental professional.
A healthy mouth is a beautiful mouth. If it has been more than six months since your last dental office visit, contact us today to schedule an appointment.
It’s a brand new year, and a great time to look back at 2018 and see what we’ve accomplished and look forward and set new goals for all the great things we want to do in the next 12 months.
Of course, New Year’s Resolutions are notoriously difficult to keep. We go into them with the very best of intentions, but tend to lose interest and motivation all too quickly.
However, if there’s one resolution we can unreservedly recommend it’s this: To get and maintain a great smile.
Why is this such an important resolution?
Let’s just consider some of the benefits of a simple smile.
First, there are physical benefits. A smile can help you look younger (actually proven in studies) and feel better. People who smile a lot seem to have lower stress-hormone levels, and that leads to a number of other health benefits.
There are also a number of psychological benefits. A smile can help improve your mood – for that matter, it can help boost others’ moods. For you, a smile tells your brain that there is a reason to be happy, so it will accommodate you by releasing some natural “feel good” chemicals. But it’s also important to note that a smile is literally contagious. The more you smile, the more others will want to smile back.
Finally, there are many social benefits to sharing your smile. People often report improved work situations and better relationships when they more readily smile at others. Smiles can reduce conflict and help others feel more comfortable around you. That means people are more open to honest conversations and new ideas.
How to Get a Great Smile
You don’t have to let self-conscious feelings keep you from experiencing all those great benefits. It’s easier than ever to deal with a wide range of cosmetic dental concerns and get the smile you’ve always wanted. Whether it’s stained or discolored teeth, chips or cracks, or even completely missing teeth, we can help you take care of it.
Just a few of the potential treatments that can help you get a great smile include:
- Teeth Whitening – One of the most common cosmetic procedures that can produce immediate results.
- Implants – Replace missing teeth with strong and durable titanium implant and custom crown.
- Tooth-Colored Fillings – Replace those old metal fillings with a material that mimics your natural teeth.
- Veneers – Cover up damage and discoloration while reshaping and reinforcing your teeth.
- Dental Crowns – Misshapen, broken, or worn-out teeth can be treated with these custom caps.
- Teeth Straightening – Invisalign is an effective way to reposition your teeth and improve your bite.
More than Just Looks
A great smile is actually about more than just looks. While we already mentioned the physical feel-good benefits of smiling, these services actually go beyond that.
Things like missing teeth, cracked or crooked teeth, and a misaligned bite can have an unwanted impact on your overall dental health. You can protect yourself from infections and cavities by taking advantage of these treatments.
A New Smile for a New Year
If you are going to make a new resolution this year, let us recommend one that involves a healthy new smile.
A smile may seem like a small and simple thing, but it may be a lot more important than you think.
Contact us today to see how we can help you keep this resolution.
LeDowns Dentistry was happy to join the Green Valley Ranch community in their annual Trunk or Treat event this year.
This is a fun and safe way for kids to go trick-or-treating, and we love handing out “treats” that are good for your teeth! We had the “tooth fairy” there for the kids to meet, and nearly 400 kids came to the event. This is something that we enjoy doing every year and are already looking forward to next year’s event.
When you go to the dentist, you likely fear being told that you have a cavity or two. You don’t think about the possibility of having gum disease.
Gum disease, while it is common, can become a serious oral health issue if it isn’t promptly diagnosed and properly treated.
When you go visit the dentist for a routine exam and cleaning, we’ll check for gum disease. Some of the procedures you may expect include: using a probe to measure the “pockets” of your gums, take X-rays of your mouth and ask about your medical history to identify risk factors.
If your dentist discovers that you have gum disease, it is probably gingivitis. This common, low-level for of gum disease can be easily treated and the damage can be reversed with simple methods such as improving one’s at-home oral hygiene routine.
If you ignore your gingivitis, it can progress into the serious periodontitis. This high-level form of gum disease can have significant, negative impacts on one’s oral health and the damage is irreversible. It is not easily treated like gingivitis is. Periodontal disease can result in lost teeth and/or a weakening and damaging of the jaw bone.
However, you can get an idea of whether or not you have gum disease before visiting the dentist. Here are some telltale signs to look out for:
- Bad breath that won’t go away
- A bad taste in the mouth
- Bright red, swollen gums
- Tender or bleeding gums that bleed very easily
- Painful chewing
- Loose teeth
- Sensitive teeth
- Receding gums that look like they are pulling away from the teeth or teeth that appear long
- White spots on the gums
- Pus between gums or teeth
- Change in the way the teeth fit together in the mouth or spaces opening between teeth
- Change in the way partial dentures fit
This list isn’t a comprehensive list, but lists the most common symptoms. Patients can have gum disease without experiencing any symptoms, making it important to make regular appointments with our dental office.
Gum Disease Treatment
If you and our dentist find that you do indeed have gum disease, quick treatment is necessary to keep it from getting worse. There are numerous treatment options available that aim at controlling the progress of gum disease.
The best course of treatment we’ll recommend will be determined on how severe your gum disease is. Sometimes treatment can be something such as quitting smoking or bettering your at-home oral hygiene routine. If you have periodontitis, the treatment is more involved and custom to each patient.
Regardless of the treatment our dentist recommends, proper, at-home oral hygiene is essential in keeping one’s gum disease manageable.
Regular deep cleaning done at the dentist office, combined with proper at-home oral hygiene is often the best way to stem gum disease.
If, however, one’s gum disease develops into periodontal disease, more extreme treatment may be necessary. Deep scaling and root planing are common periodontal disease treatment procedures. Other more, extensive treatment options include “flap surgery,” pocket reduction surgery, tissue grafts and laser therapy and localized antibiotics.
While cavities are bad for your oral health, gum disease can be as equally devastating and should be taken seriously. You may have gum disease and not know it, making it important to see us at least every six months.
The longer you ignore your gum disease, the worse it gets and the harder and more expensive it gets to treat.
If it has been more than six months since your last dental exam and cleaning contact LêDowns Dentistry, your Denver CO dentist, today to schedule an appointment. You can now book your new patient exam or cleaning appointment online at ledownsdentistry.com. We look forward to hearing from you and to help you keep your teeth for a lifetime.
You may have cleaned up your home, you’ve likely been cleaning out your closet getting ready for a new wardrobe and you may even be going to gym and eating healthy meals to get swimsuit-ready.
While you’re in the process of making over your home, body and style, why not freshen and renew your smile?
Maybe you’ve been neglecting the enhancement of your smile out of busyness or maybe you’ve let years of poor oral hygiene and bad dietary choices get out of hand and you feel like it’s too late to improve your smile.
If you fall into one of these categories, schedule an appointment with us right away so we can clean your teeth and gums and examine them for possible issues. We’ll also suggest treatment.
If you routinely visit the dentist, and you’ve been following a strong at-home oral hygiene routine, a smile makeover can be as simple as getting veneers or having your teeth professionally whitened.
Do you have any teeth that are cracked, chipped, rough or misshapen?
If so, veneers are what you may need to enhance your smile for spring.
Veneers are thin layers of porcelain placed over the surface of teeth. They improve the look of your smile as well as correct any slight misalignment of your bite.
Veneers are very strong and durable, lasting many years with proper care.
Getting veneers are a quick, easy and routine procedure done by your cosmetic dentist in Denver, taking only one dental office visit and as little as a few minutes depending on how many veneers are needed.
Professional Teeth Whitening
Maybe you don’t have any noticeable dental malformities or abnormalities. Your smile is decent, but it’s sparkling white vibrancy has been muted by the inevitable yellow tinge that comes from use and everyday life.
Did you know that a whiter smile can greatly improve one’s smile?
Sure, you can try the at-home teeth whitening kits and products and hope for the best.
These at-home teeth whitening products, however, take longer to yield noticeable results, the results aren’t as significant as they can be and the results won’t last long.
At LêDowns Dentistry, we use one of the most effective bleaching systems available to give you the whitest, brightest smile possible. The professional teeth whitening system we use is called the Kor Whitening System, which was developed by a renowned teeth bleaching expert and dentist, Dr. Rod Kurthy.
The Kor teeth whitening system gives a thorough and deep whitening of every tooth, including the hard-to-reach ones.
Our professional teeth whitening in Denver CO is a fast and routine procedure with often little or no pain and discomfort. Your teeth will be noticeably whiter when you walk out of the office after your appointment.
Our cosmetic dental specialists will carefully apply the right amount of bleaching agent to give you a bright, yet natural looking teeth.
This spring, as you’re getting rid of the old and putting on the new, don’t forget your smile. Simple, quick, routine cosmetic dental procedures such as veneers and professional teeth whitening can be all you need to transform, freshen and brighten your smile for this new season.
If you’re looking to transform your smile this spring, contact us today at LeDowns Dentistry and schedule an appointment.
This was a great opportunity, and we were thrilled to work with the magazine to tell this story.
For those of you who aren’t subscribers to this particular periodical, this is the story of how Dr. Lê herself experienced a full arch reconstruction, and how that affected her interactions with patients over the years.
This, she says in the article, is something that many dentists forget – especially when it comes to the bigger dental procedures: Things are a little different on the other side of the drill.
A lot of patients, too, never realize that their dentist may have also experienced the exact same things they’re going through. After all, these are dental care specialists. They obviously know how to take care of their own teeth and never have any problems.
In fact, Dr. Lê explains throughout the article that it was never quite that simple.
Dr. Lê went through two years of braces and had her premolars extracted, but still didn’t get the results she wanted. So, she opted for another round of braces, hoping to finally close the gaps in her teeth.
After nine months into this second round, they finally came off and the doctor told her that this was “as good as it gets” and that she’d just have to live with the remaining gaps.
This experience really affected her, and shaped her philosophy on helping patients understand their needs and providing true comprehensive dentistry.
Years went by and Dr. Lê’s career and personal life continued to advance. She was still looking for an opportunity to correct the gaps in her teeth.
The right time finally came when, in 2013, Dr. Downs was scheduled to teach a full arch reconstruction course at a dental laboratory out in Utah.
As part of this course, Dr. Downs preps and places a full arch or full mouth reconstruction on a volunteer patient.
So, Dr. Lê decided to volunteer.
The results were exactly what she had wanted for years.
More than that, though, she learned a lot of things about herself and how patients experience things from the other side of the drill.
Now, she works hard to prepare her patients for what they expect, and she even encourages other doctors to get restorative treatments if they need it.
One of the largest benefits (aside from developing a little more empathy for the patient) is that she gets to be a living example of what they, themselves, can have.
Every dental website has testimonials and before-and-after pictures.
Not every dentist can show their patients in person exactly what a restored smile looks like.
LêDowns Dentistry was thrilled to have this chance to be featured in Aesthetic Dentistry, and hopes you get a chance to check out the entire article.
In recent years, the dental health world has exploded with new technologies and techniques that have vastly
improved the lives and smiles of people all over the world. However, since these techniques and materials are still relatively new, there are many remnants of the old way of doing things hanging around. As an example, many people alive today still have their old silver fillings. Many dentists are starting to avoid filling cavities with silver fillings, but are OK with their patients keeping those silver fillings.
If you have silver fillings, you might be wondering if they’re still safe to have in your mouth. These types of fillings have a long, controversial past that’s worth examining.
The History of Silver Fillings
Silver fillings, also known as amalgam fillings, were first invented in 1819 by an English chemist. These fillings were made up of a variety of different materials, including mercury, silver and tin. Almost from the moment the first amalgam filling was used, there was controversy, centered mostly around the mercury content found in the fillings. Many people, including dentists, were concerned that the mercury in the fillings would cause major health problems in patients.
Are Silver Fillings Safe?
Because of the controversy surrounding silver fillings, there have been a huge number of studies performed examining the overall safety of using them in the human mouth. For the most part, the studies have ended with the consensus that silver fillings are still safe to use. However, there are still vocal counterparts that argue against the efficacy and health concerns related to amalgam fillings.
When They Need to be Replaced
Replacing your old silver fillings can be a touchy subject. Many dentists want to replace them as soon as they see them in their patients, and other dentists advice waiting until they become a problem. Both opinions hold their own merits. If you have silver fillings, its best to consult with your dentist and see what they say.
The typical reasons to remove silver fillings include:
- Age – All fillings age over time and this aging process can weaken the fillings’ overall effectiveness at keeping the decay away. If your filling is loose, you can experience cavities in teeth that have already been filled.
- Fractures – Amalgam fillings can lead to fractures and cracks in your teeth because of the amount of tooth removed during the filling process. If your dentist notices these fractures, they’ll likely want to replace the filling.
- Cosmetic – There’s no way around it. Silver fillings just don’t look as good as the composite fillings. If you want fillings that match the color of your tooth, it’s time to get the old ones replaced.
Consult with Your Dentist
If you have silver fillings and are considering getting them replaced, it’s time to set up an appointment at our office and talk to us about your options. We’ll take a look at your old amalgam fillings and determine if there is any reason we should or shouldn’t replace them. Getting tooth colored fillings can greatly improve the look of your smile. Don’t wait to get your appointment set up today.