Ask anyone and you’d likely hear that they would prefer a bright, white beautiful smile over a yellow, discolored one. A beautiful smile is pleasant to look at and enhances one’s appearance. In fact, if you think about, have you noticed that those who are happy and confident of their smiles aren’t afraid to show them off while those who are embarrassed and self-conscious of their smiles tend to hide them?
There are deep-down, psychological and emotional forces behind this tendency to show off a beautiful smile and hide an unpleasant-looking one.
Psychological Benefits of a Beautiful Smile
Professional success. A smile may not seem to correspond to one’s professional ambitions. After all, if one puts in the hours and work, it would make sense that he or she becomes a more valuable employee who gets the attention of the boss. However, studies have shown that those who regularly smile at work are seen as more confident and charismatic. Because of these qualities, they are more likely to get promotions into more leadership roles. Similarly, those who smile and communicate during an interview are more likely to get a second interview or get hired than those who hide their smile.
If one is ambitious and dedicated to pursuing a career, the journey will be less stressful, frustrating, and discouraging if he or she has a beautiful smile they are proud to show off.
A happier and healthier life. With a beautiful smile, one is more likely to smile, laugh and communicate with others. This not only makes one more approachable, friendlier and more fun to be around, but it also improves one’s attitude, mood and outlook. When one has a positive attitude, mood and outlook, one is less likely to experience as much stress and more likely to have more peace and be relaxed. Being more relaxed enables one to be able to think more clearly, gain a different perspective and make better decisions.
Improved peace of mind. An ugly smile often has an unpleasant cause such as tooth decay or gum disease of inadequate or improper oral hygiene. Having a constant fear that your teeth and gums are in poor health and that one perpetrated their condition through a lack of care can cause one to feel ashamed and embarrassed. If there is pain or discomfort associated with a poor smile, one may be constantly worrying about the deteriorating condition of their teeth and gums. A beautiful smile on the other hand can spare one of the shame and worry as they know that their great-looking mouth reflects a healthy mouth.
Emotional Benefits of a Beautiful Smile
A beautiful smile also has emotional benefits as well including:
Higher self-esteem. When one has a beautiful smile, they are proud of it and will show it off. Conversely, if your smile isn’t as great as you’d like, it can be easy for you to dwell on the flaws and hide your smile. Those who are not only content with how their smile looks, but are proud of their unique smile, will appear more confident, engaged, content and friendly. They are proud to smile and show the world their inner beauty and will be more likely to embrace and compliment the unique beauty of others.
Better relationships. It can be emotionally draining and discouraging to try and make friends or date people who don’t like you. If you’ve ever wondered what makes people avoid you or not engage with you, maybe you should check the condition of your smile and the frequency at which you smile. People are drawn to those who smile and laugh and appear easy-going, friendly, engaged and funny. If one is embarrassed of their smile and don’t reveal it, he or she can come off as being cold, unfriendly, aloof and boring.
The appearance of a beautiful smile has many underlying benefits including psychological and emotional ones. At LeDowns Dentistry, we want every patient to have a beautiful smile that they are proud to show off. Proper oral hygiene is the best way to get that amazing smile and begin to feel great about yourself. Regular visits to our office for a cleaning and examination every six months is an important part of proper oral care. If it has been longer than six months since your last dental appointment, contact us today to schedule an appointment and get that beautiful smile.
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 that time of year again! People are running around trying to finish all of their holiday shopping for themselves and their loved ones. It’s a busy—sometimes stressful—season that is punctuated by time spent with family and friends.
As you shop for gifts, you’re likely thinking about what that person loves. Unfortunately, there is one thing that many people forget around the holiday season, and that’s their oral health. It’s easy to understand and forget during this time of year, when treats abound and your schedule stays packed, but it’s critical that you don’t forget your oral health. So, why not make a gift out of oral health?
Gifting your loved ones things that help them improve their oral health can be a thoughtful and fun idea that also has health benefits. Take a look at some of these ideas and incorporate them into your holiday shopping plans.
- Toothbrush and Floss – These essential oral hygiene tools are important for everyone to have. Many people forget that they need to replace their toothbrushes on a regular basis. Toothbrushes and floss are perfect stocking stuffers and they’re incredibly affordable if you’re on a budget. You can’t go wrong with gifting a new toothbrush and floss.
- Electric Toothbrush – Electric toothbrushes are becoming more popular as people realize how convenient and effective they are at cleaning your teeth. With an electric toothbrush, your loved ones can comprehensively clean their teeth more efficiently overall. They also provide helpful features like timers that help them ensure they’re brushing for a long enough duration.
- Water Flosser – Water flossers are like electric toothbrushes in the fact that they are powered devices that help you more efficiently clean your teeth. Rather than twist the string floss around your fingers and shove them into your mouth, you can use a water flosser to get that food out of your teeth. Water flossers make it easier for your loved ones to floss, which is one of the most commonly forgotten oral hygiene processes.
- Sugar Free Gum and Candy – If you have a sweet tooth in your life, you know just how much unhealthy and sugar-filled candy you can go through without problem. Sugar free gum and candy make perfect gifts for your sugar-addicted loved ones. They also make great stocking stuffers and are incredibly affordable.
- A Trip to the Dentist – If your loved ones haven’t seen the dentist in a while, you might want to give them the gift of a dental checkup. While this may not seem like the most desirable gift, it may be just the push your loved one needs to get back into the dental chair and on the right track again. Set up an appointment with us, your dentist in Denver, to get them going again.
Your Loved Ones’ Oral Health Matters
Taking care of your own oral health is relatively simple, but when it comes to helping others, you may run into roadblocks. If you’re worried about your loved ones’ oral health, don’t hesitate to get them gifts that can help them get healthy again.
It may have been more than 20 years since you’ve gotten dental work. You’ve gotten the work done such a long time ago that you may have forgotten that you have them. Suddenly, you experience sensitivity in one of your teeth. Tooth sensitivity or roughness is a likely indicator that your filling or crown has worn off and needs to be redone. Maybe you haven’t been to the dentist in a while and the dentist sees staining or tooth decay under a bridge or a crown or around a filling.
The indicators alerting that your old dental work may need to be redone are often noticeable. If your old dental work has failed or is failing, what should you do? The first thing you should do is to contact your dentist and make an appointment as soon as possible. He or she will be able to diagnose the problem and repair or replace the old dental work.
Fillings are often on the grinding surface of molars which experience much wear and tear as well as pressure. Over time fillings can become loose. The edges can chip providing ideal spaces for staining and possible plaque growth. Sometimes the whole filling will come out. When this occurs, the newly exposed tooth pulp and nerves will make the tooth sensitive to hot and cold temperatures.
The repair of fillings is quick, simple and routine. The dentist will simply remove the remainder of the old filling, clean the tooth surface, make it rough and insert the new filling.
Crowns can be placed on any tooth. These are thin, tooth-like shells of porcelain or resin composite that is placed over a tooth that has had extensive cavity damage, yet is not damaged enough to be extracted.
Crowns are designed to fit snuggly over a tooth so that it looks and feels like a natural tooth. Over time, crowns can get loose over even fall off. Crowns that have gotten loose provide a great surface on which plaque, germs and tartar can thrive. The space between the crown and the tooth can lead to the formation of cavities if it goes a long time without being fixed.
Similar to repairing an old filling, the dentist will remove the old crown, clean the tooth and insert a new crown. The only difference is that the patient may need to wait for their crown to be made and return to the dentist to have the new crown inserted.
Dental offices that have an in-house dental lab may be able to get the patient fitted with a new crown that same day.
Bridges are a small string of attached crowns that replace multiple cavity damaged teeth. As with crowns, cavities can form on the tooth underneath the crown as the crown loosens over time. The anchor teeth (the ones on either side of the bridge) are of particular concern when there is sign of possible tooth decay underneath the crown. These teeth need to be strong to keep the bridge stable.
Typically, if one part of the bridge needs replacing, the entire bridge gets taken off and replaced with a new one.
Dental work won’t last forever and will fail, making replacement necessary. Failure to replace old dental work can result in pain and discomfort, not to mention an increased chance of developing cavities and gum disease. Fillings, crowns and bridges are the most commonly repaired dental work.
Whether your old dental work has failed because of wear and tear or whether they have been damaged from trauma, it is important to contact us at LeDowns Dentistry right away to schedule an appointment to have it repaired.
A year or so ago, a number of celebrities began popping up on Instagram, showing off some new teeth whitening products that they were supposedly using to maintain their famous smiles. This is an at-home, light-based whitening kit, and a lot of well-known people snapped pictures of themselves holding the glowing devices next to their bright white smiles.
Just looking at the pictures, you might want to believe that this small, white circular device was solely to thank for the state of their smile.
Of course, deep down, a lot of us will just assume that these are obviously pictures that feature someone who has been paid to pose with a teeth whitener. After all, give a Kardashian a blue light to shine on her teeth, and it will still get shared by tens of thousands of people.
It may look a little overly-posed and fake to some people, but who can blame these celebs for doing it? Who wouldn’t want to make some good sponsorship money for a single selfie and some relevant hashtags?
It’s one thing top see a celebrity showing off their white teeth, but since their career depends on their appearance, they’re probably already paying a lot of money for a professionally bright smile.
A lot of celebrities and semi-celebrities have shared Instagram posts that touted the effects of one teeth whitening solution or another, but it was when Kim Kardashian West shared a picture of herself with a new blue-light device that people really started talking.
So, with the potential popularity from this kind of endorsement, it has to be asked whether or not these light-based whitening kits actually work.
The kit works very similar to a lot of other systems. You’re given some whitening gel, which you use to line some dental trays, and then pop them into your mouth and turn on the LED light. The reason for the light is to help the gel solution, which is why you are only supposed to have it on for 10 minutes (unlike many other current systems which require at least 30 minutes on your teeth).
After all, we often use lights in our own dental services. So, there must be something in these lights that help to accelerate the process? Right?
Well, not necessarily.
In order for the light to actually work, there must be something in the gel that actually reacts to it. This is called a “photocatalyst.”
In-office treatments – which are much more powerful that what you can buy over the counter – have these photocatalysts. Many of these systems that are showing up all over Instagram may not have them.
So, when you’re looking for an at-home, light-accelerated solution, make sure the chemical agent has a photocatalyst, such as ferrous gluconate, zinc oxide, or titanium dioxide.
If they’re big seller is “peroxide,” then they’re just trying to sound smart. Because LED light will have no impact on how the peroxide works on your teeth.
Once you’ve got a gel that has ingredients that actually react under specific light, be sure the system uses LED blue lights rather than ultra-violet treatments. UV lights carry too much risk and can damage your gums and lips.
There have also been some instances of people testing out these kits and finding that it made their teeth incredibly sensitive. So much so that they said it hurt to drink water. So, if you have sensitive teeth, you might want to give this a miss.
Of course, the best option is to always check with us before beginning any kind of at-home whitening regimen. We can advise you on cosmetic dental procedures and the best products and help you get a lasting smile.
Whether it’s your first time taking your child to the dentist or it’s been many years since you last stepped foot in a dental office, it can be stressful. You likely have many questions about your dental health and that of your family.
What questions should you ask? Below are some of the more common questions patients ask their dentists and a brief answer to them.
Many times, knowing some information about dental care before you visit your dentist will help curb some of the stress, anxiety, fear and embarrassment you may have. This will help result in a more pleasant dental office experience.
- What do I do in a dental emergency?
Dental emergencies are when a tooth is knocked out, there is bleeding in the mouth, there is a tooth abscess or the patient experiences severe pain in the mouth, jaw, face or head. As emergencies can happen at any time, it is possible that the dentist office is closed. If it is open, go see your dentist immediately. If the office is closed, some dentists have emergency numbers patients can call. If the emergency requires immediate treatment and care, visit the closest hospital emergency room.
- What age do I bring my child in for the first time?
Children should be introduced to the dentist and the dental office by their first birthday. A brief exam may be done at this appointment. Children should have their first teeth cleaning at the age of two.
- What kind of toothpaste and mouthwash should I use?
Toothpaste with the American Dental Association (ADA) seal of approval and toothpaste with fluoride are the kinds of toothpastes dentists recommend to their patients. For mouthwash, also look for ones that have been approved by the ADA and which don’t contain alcohol.
- What if I have a fear of the dentist?
The fear of the dentist is common for both children and adults. Most dental offices offer mild sedation to relax and calm anxious patients and make their visits quick, efficient and as smooth as possible.
- Are x-rays safe?
X-rays used in dental offices today are safe for all patients. Some offices now have high-tech, 3 D imaging technology that substitutes or works in conjunction with x-rays. Even with the safe and proper use of x-ray machines, dental assistants and hygienists are highly trained in x-ray precautions.
- Why do my gums bleed?
Bleeding gums just after flossing for the first couple times is normal as your sensitive gum tissue reacts to the harsh floss. If your gums regularly bleed or are swollen and red, it may indicate the onslaught of gum disease and you should schedule an appointment with your dentist.
- Why are my teeth sensitive?
Tooth sensitivity to hot and cold foods and liquids can be a sign of a potentially major dental issue, though that is not always the case. Tooth sensitivity is the result of the breakdown of the tooth dentin, the hard, protective outer layer of the tooth. When this layer gets worn down either by improper brushing, cavities, or receding gums due to periodontitis, the tooth roots and/or pulp, which contains nerves get exposed. Tooth sensitivity can also indicate the need to replace a filling or crown.
- How often should I see the dentist?
At LeDowns Dentistry, we encourage our patients (both children and adults) to come in every six months for a dental cleaning and exam.
- What’s the best at-home dental care routine?
To best protect your mouth from plaque, tartar and germs, it is recommended that patients brush their teeth for 2 minutes, twice a day. Flossing and using mouthwash at least once a day is also recommended. Replacing toothbrushes every 3 months, using fluoride toothpaste and alcohol-free mouthwash, eating a healthy, balanced diet, limiting snacks and sugar intake and avoiding tobacco are other habits patients can practice at home to ensure a healthy mouth.
- How do I prevent tooth decay and gingivitis?
The best, most effective way to give your mouth a fighting chance against tooth decay and gum disease is to practice a good at-home dental hygiene routine like the one listed above, combines with regular visits to the dentist and taking care of the health of the rest of your body.
Brush and rinse after meals, avoid excessive sugar and foods that are hard, crunchy and sticky. Floss daily, eat a nutritious diet and exercise.
Being armed with some oral health know-how can give you the confidence to make your dental experience less intimidating and scary. Being familiar with the answers of basic dental questions will provide more motivation to help you and your family make visiting the dentist every six months a part of your dental hygiene routine.
At LeDowns Dentistry, our dentists and staff are happy to answer any questions you may have concerning your dental health. We also strive to provide a welcoming and comfortable environment that puts patients at ease.
No matter what questions you may have, contact us today to schedule an appointment and we’d be glad to answer your questions and address any concerns you may have.
Cavities are, unfortunately, a very common problem. According to the National Center for Health Statistics, at least nine out of 10 American adults have cavities (filled or otherwise), and nearly a quarter of the adult population in this country have untreated tooth decay.
It’s safe to say that everyone knows that the answer to a cavity is a filling. They know this this involves drilling and the use of a metal or composite material. But maybe the reason why there are so many untreated cavities out there is because they don’t know exactly how we treat cavities.
So, let’s take a closer look.
Here’s the Procedure for Treating Cavities
As soon as we determine that prevention alone is not going to stop the advancing decay, we start to consider the restorative procedures.
First, we have to determine how far the cavity has progressed. As long as it hasn’t reached the pulp, you’re still a candidate for a filling. If it has reached the pulp, then we’re looking at a slightly more involved procedure (root canals).
Next, we will numb the area around the tooth to minimize any discomfort.
After that, we can start to clean away the decayed enamel with the appropriate tool. This is most commonly a high-speed rotary drill. However, we understand that this is one of the instruments that really put people off and keep them from getting the treatments they need, but there are other tools available these days, and they might be an option in your case.
We may also find it necessary to use a slower drill to remove some of the damaged dentin.
Once we’ve removed all of the decayed portion of the tooth, we can start making a hole in your tooth that has a specific shape to hold the filling material more securely. This will provide more durability and strength once you start chewing on that tooth again.
If the cavity is large enough, we may need to use a lining material, as well. This is to prevent tooth sensitivity and seal it against any leakage. It can also help the filling material adhere to the tooth better.
Since we use tooth-colored composite fillings, we will need to etch the interior of the prepared tooth to create an even more adhesive surface for the material.
Of course, all of this assumes that most of the tooth structure is still intact. If it has lost too much of its structure, then we go beyond fillings and consider using crowns to strengthen and reshape your teeth.
Different Methods for Different Cavities
Depending on the exact location of the cavity, we may approach it differently.
Surface cavities that occur on the flat exterior of the tooth, for example, are easier to treat and may not even require a filling. As long as they haven’t broken through to the dentin, special fluoride treatments may be all you need.
Cavities may also appear on the roots of your teeth, if they’ve been exposed because of receding gums. In this case, we need to act fast, because the root doesn’t have a protective enamel layer, so it will be much easier for the decay to reach the pulp.
The most common cavities, pit and fissure cavities, occur on the chewing surfaces of your teeth where it’s easy for food to get stuck and plaque to build up.
A Note on Fillings for Children
Baby teeth are not permanent, so many parents wonder if it’s really worth it to get fillings if they’re just going to lose the teeth anyway.
Aside from the pain this could cause the child, there are some important reasons to take care of cavities in children. The most important being that the primary teeth are meant to help the permanent teeth come in properly, so it’s really important that your child’s teeth survive until they can do their job.
Sometimes, dentists may recommend using metal fillings for children because it’s cheaper and, again, they’re just going to lose those teeth anyway.
At LêDowns Dentistry, though, we haven’t used metal fillings in more than 15 years, and don’t intend to start now. We do not believe in putting something that is potentially harmful in your child’s mouth.
Cavities in children is a very common problem, despite all the warnings. So don’t put this off just because they’ll going to lose those teeth.
Nothing Beats Prevention
The moral of this story is that the best way to deal with cavities is to prevent them in the first place. The second best is to treat them before they break through the enamel and reach the dentin ( this is the best chance to treat the problem without breaking out the drill).
Make sure you’re coming in for your regular treatments so we can catch them in time and treat the cavities before they become a real problem.