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Trunk or Treat 2018

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.

LeDowns Dentistry at Trunk Or Treat Event LeDowns Tooth Fairy 2018 Trunk or treat with the tooth fairy

Ways to Recognize and Treat Gum Disease

recognizing and treating gum disease with your local Denver CO dentist

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.

Get a Fresh Bright Smile for Spring

Spring is in full swing. Spring is often associated with bright sunshine, warm weather, blooming flowers, buddingFresh Smile for Spring - Denver CO Dentist trees and chirping birds. Spring means a fresh start.

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.

Veneers

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.

Dr. Lê Featured in the Latest Issue of Aesthetic Dentistry

In this year’s winter issue of Aesthetic Dentistry, Dr. Lê was given the opportunity to share her own experience as a patient for a major dental procedure.

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.

Right?

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.

 

Should You Replace Your Old Silver Fillings?

Should you replace silver fillings?

 

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.

Reasons Why People Get Dental Veneers

Have you tried simple cosmetic treatments like teeth whitening and left feeling dissatisfied with the end result? Do you have imperfections like cracks or gaps in your teeth that you want to fix without invasive surgery? IF this sounds like your situation, you may want to consider getting dental veneers.

Cosmetic dentistry has advanced to the point that you can get these imperfections fixed without advanced and painful surgical procedures. Veneers are a simple and cost-effective way of fixing the minor imperfections and flaws on the surface of your teeth. If you’re interested in veneers, read on the learn more about them and how they can help your smile shine brighter.

What are Veneers?

First, it’s helpful if you know exactly what veneers are and how they help your smile look and feel better than ever before. Veneers are simply thin layers of material placed over your teeth to cover up the flaws. They’re typically made from porcelain, but they can also be made from composite resin. Veneers are becoming a more popular choice in people looking for a simple solution to their dental woes.

Reasons to Get Veneers

There are a ton of different reasons why you might need to get veneers. Some of these reasons include the following:

  • Chips and Cracks – If you have chips or cracks in your teeth, veneers can easily cover them up. The good thing about this is that veneers don’t only serve a cosmetic purpose. Veneers can also keep cracks and chips from getting worse over time.
  • Discoloration – Veneers can also help cover up mild to severe discoloration. Veneers are sometimes the only option for staining that can’t be fixed with simple tooth whitening solutions. Veneers offer a good alternative to tooth whitening and can achieve a much brighter look overall.
  • Gaps – If your teeth are misaligned, veneers can help with that, too. Misalignment often causes gaps in your teeth, which would typically take years to fix with orthodontics. Veneers can cover those gaps in the span of a couple hours, which is all the time it takes for your dentist to put them on.

There may also be other reasons for getting veneers based on your individual dental situation.

Consult Your Dentist

If you think veneers might be the right choice for you to improve the look of your smile, it’s worth it to look into getting a consultation from your local dentist in Denver. We can assess your individual situation and outline the pros and cons, if any, for getting veneers on your teeth. During your consultation, we’ll take a look at the shape of your teeth to determine if there is any reasons veneers won’t work for you. Then, we’ll outline the plan we should take specifically for you.

If you decide to go through with getting your veneers, we’ll schedule another appointment. During this appointment, the dentist will buff the front of your teeth to prepare them for receiving the veneers. This also serves to lower the surface of your teeth, which will then be replaced by the veneer. After that, the veneers will be placed, and you’ll be set to go!

Everything You Need To Know About Bad Breath

bad breathDo you have social events coming up? Perhaps you’re interviewing for that big job you’ve always wanted or you have a holiday party with friends. Whatever the occasion, these types of events often require you to be in close quarters with other people, conversing and having a good time. If you have bad breath, it can really affect the event and cause you a lot of embarrassment.

If you’re suffering from bad breath, you might be wondering what’s causing it and how you can fix it. Much like other dental problems, bad breath—clinically referred to as halitosis—can be caused by a wide variety of things.

  • Poor dental hygiene is one of the biggest causes of halitosis. If you aren’t brushing and flossing your teeth well enough at regular intervals, the leftover food and associated plaque can start to stink.
  • Underlying health conditions may also cause your breath to stink. Do you have a cold, sinus infection or pneumonia? Bad breath can also be a sign that you have diabetes, acid reflux or digestion problems.
  • Dry mouth can be a big factor in the way your breath smells. Your saliva is a huge deterrent to the “bad” bacteria that wants to grow in your mouth. If you don’t produce as much saliva, that bad bacteria can grow better and cause smellier conditions.
  • Dental problems like gum disease, tooth abscesses and cavities can cause halitosis. These things are often caused by the bad bacteria you want to avoid, which in turn increases the bad smell.
  • Smoking and alcoholism are common causes for bad bacteria, along with other tobacco products like chewing tobacco.

How to Treat It

If you deal with chronic bad breath, the first thing you should do is try and identify what may be causing it. Consider the causes listed above and see if there is anything there that you can easily identify and correct on your own. Things like upping your dental hygiene game and dropping the tobacco and alcohol consumption can eliminate bad breath almost immediately.

If you can’t easily identify the cause to your bad breath, it’s time to see a dentist. Set up an appointment with your dentist sooner rather than later. The sooner you correct your halitosis, the quicker you can enjoy social interactions again. Your dentist will perform a comprehensive examination of your mouth and may suggest you see a doctor if they suspect underlying medical issues.

After diagnosing a cause, your dentist or doctor will provide you a treatment plan. The way you treat your bad breath depends entirely on what’s causing it in the first place. If it’s an underlying medical condition, medication and fixing the problem can correct your halitosis. If it’s a cavity or abscess, dental procedures will help.

How to Prevent It

Preventing halitosis is just as important—if not more important—as treating it. If you never have to experience bad breath in the first place, all the better. Bad breath prevention can also come in many forms, but the American Dental Association (ADA) recommends a few things:

  • Preform regular dental hygiene.
  • See your dentist regularly.
  • Only eat sugarless gum and sugar free candy.
  • Drink water regularly to stimulate saliva production so your mouth stays moist.
  • Quit smoking and other tobacco-related hobbies.
  • Use over-the-counter mouthwash to kill the bacteria causing your bad breath. Be aware that mouthwash won’t solve your underlying issues; it will only temporarily mask the odor.

What Should You Do If a Filling Comes Out?

filling problems denver coThere’s something extremely disconcerting when you feel a filling come loose. While this isn’t necessarily a dental emergency, it can lead to some extra sensitivity on the exposed part of your tooth and make it easier for bacteria to get into hard-to-reach places.

What Causes Fillings to Fall Out?

There are a few simple things that can cause a filling to fall out.

The first is related to ongoing decay. It’s possible that decay could have worked its way in between the filling and your tooth, slowly eroding the structure around the filling. Eventually, the filling will not be as securely fitted as it once was.

Another likely cause for a lost filling is trauma of some kind. If your tooth is cracked or chipped, the filling may not fit as well anymore.

Finally, a filling may come out after a few years of constant clenching or grinding your teeth. (Although, technically this also falls into the “trauma” category.)

What Should You Do When It Falls Out?

If you haven’t accidentally swallowed the filling, take it out of your mouth. You don’t want to breath in those materials. You don’t need to save it for us, though, if it’s an old-fashioned gold filling we can understand you wanting to hang onto it yourself.

The very next step is to call us for an appointment.

Most of the time, this won’t be a dental emergency, and we’ll set up an appointment to take care of you as soon as possible.

However, if you are feeling pain or intense sensitivity, this definitely qualifies as an emergency and we will get you in for treatment immediately.

If you cannot make it into the office right away, there are some over-the-counter solutions that will cover exposed cavities. At this point, though, you should definitely avoid sticky and sugary foods. You can also use some over-the-counter pain medications (aspirin, Tylenol, etc.) to alleviate mild pain.

From this point on, though, be sure you are absolutely dedicated to great oral hygiene. This includes rinsing your mouth out with warm water after eating, and brushing after every meal.

What Will Happen at Your Appointment

Don’t wait to set up an appointment to get this fixed. We don’t want you going around with a gap in your teeth any longer than is absolutely necessary. We don’t want to give food particles a chance to get in there or bacteria to start setting up shop.

At your appointment, we’ll take an x-ray of the affected area and figure out the best procedure.

We may be able to simply restore the filling with newer materials and make sure it is secured in place. If you need a root canal, or if you lost the filling due to some kind of trauma, we may recommend a crown or cap to correct the situation.

If we determine that there just isn’t enough of the tooth structure left after the filling falls out, then we may even have to recommend an extraction.

Prevention is Always the Better Choice

Modern filling materials are designed to last. However, there are some things you can do to prevent accidental loss.

First, of course, is to maintain good oral care. This will help ensure that no bacteria can work its way between your filling and tooth.

Second, use mouth guards if you’re involved with any kind of sports or activities where you could potentially sustain some dental damage.

Finally, avoid chewing on hard candies and ice. That’s just asking for problems.

No Filling Lasts Forever

Every material used for filling cavities will eventually need to be replaced. They simply can’t last forever under the stresses we put them through.

As long as you’re coming in for your regular checkups, though, we can keep a close eye on them and make recommendations if we think it’s time for a replacement.

And, if you’re this proactive about these times of restorations and replacements, you won’t have to worry about ever feeling that disconcerting sensation of losing a filling.

Why It’s Important to Bring Your Kids in for a Dental Visit

tooth brush with tooth pasteWhen it comes to kids, there’s nothing more important than starting to take care of their health early. Since the moment a child is born, we are constantly monitoring their health and providing them a comprehensive health plan that extends years into their future. Unfortunately, the same is often not true of a child’s oral health. Many people put off their children’s first dental visits until their adult teeth start to come in, which is actually a serious mistake. Just like it’s important to get an early start on taking care of your child’s overall health, it’s critically important to get an early start on early oral health practice, as well.

When to Start

So, when should you start worrying about your child’s oral health? Many people ask themselves this question because your child’s first teeth are temporary and will eventually be replaced by adult teeth. This often results in parents thinking that they don’t need to take too much care of their children’s baby teeth. You may be surprised to learn that what happens to your kids’ baby teeth often directly affects the health and integrity of their adult teeth, as well. As such, it’s incredibly important to start taking care of your kids’ oral health as soon as you start seeing the first tooth poke through their gums.

The Steps to Take

Taking care of your children’s teeth is very similar to taking care of their bodily health. You’ll want to start as early as possible with appointments and checkups. As soon as that first tooth breaks through the gums, set up a dental appointment. At these appointments, your dentist will be able to check up on the overall progress of your child’s teeth and identify any early structural or other problems with your child’s mouth. You’ll also receive a personalized oral care plan for your child that you and your child can follow together. As you start to follow this oral care plan, you also begin to encourage your child to follow good dental practices by creating oral hygiene habits and teaching them about the importance of dental care.

Set Up an Appointment Today

If you’re looking for a dentist in Denver to help lay the foundation for the future of your kids’ oral health, look no further than LeDowns Dentistry. Set up an appointment with our office today and we can start your children’s journey toward a positive and healthy relationship with their oral health.

Seeing a dentist early can help your child get used to the idea of going to see the dentist, instead of fearing it, like many children do. We can create positive interactions with your child to encourage long-lasting trust in dentists as a whole. In the end, this trust and foundation will lead to healthier teeth and gums for your child. This, in turn, leads to the prevention of more serious complications from happening, which saves you more time and money overall.

Everything You Should Know about Oral Cancer and How We Can Help

woman getting oral cancer screeningEvery year, tens of thousands of people are diagnosed with oral cancer. This is a very serious disease that has a high mortality rate, and yet too many people don’t know much about it.

This becomes extremely problematic because the key to treating this cancer relies on early detection. If we can catch it in the earliest stages, it’s far more likely that it can be properly treated.

According to the National Cancer Institute, though, not enough people are getting the help they need. In fact, the statistics paint this picture:

  • More than 49,000 new cases of oral cancer will be diagnosed in 2017
  • An estimated 9,700 people will die as a result of this condition
  • The 5-year survival rate for people who have been diagnosed with oral cancer is around 64%

It’s important to understand the risks and facts about oral cancer, so let’s take a closer look.

What are the Risk Factors?

There are several factors that can increase a person’s risk for this type of cancer. The most common include:

  • Tobacco use – Even smokeless tobacco can greatly increase a person’s risk for developing oral cancer.
  • Alcohol use – When you combine alcohol with tobacco use, it can seriously increase your risks.
  • Sun exposure – It is possible to develop cancer in the lip area if you’ve been exposed to too much UV light.
  • Human Papillomavirus (HPV) – This virus has been linked to some of the recent growth in cases of oral cancer.
  • Poor oral hygiene or nutrition – There are several hygiene factors that could contribute to an increased risk of cancer.

One more statistic that we should mention here is the increased survival rate that comes from early diagnosis. If any of these factors apply to you, it’s important to get screened as soon as possible, since studies suggest that the 5-year survival rate increases from 64% to 83% if it is detected soon enough.

What Are the Symptoms?

While the best way to spot any potential symptoms is keep your regular dental appointments, there are some things you can watch for on your own. If you notice any of these symptoms, be sure to tell us about it immediately.

  • Sores that bleed easily and don’t seem to heal
  • Red or white patches on the soft tissues of the mouth
  • Strange lumps or thick tissues appearing in the mouth
  • Sore throats or hoarseness that doesn’t go away
  • Problems chewing or swallowing
  • Lumps in the neck area

How We Can Help

At LêDowns Dentistry, we are constantly updating the technology in our office to make sure that we always have the tools and techniques to properly and effectively detect the signs of oral cancer.

One of our most useful tools is the OralID system. This is a simple way to spot things that can’t be seen under normal light. It uses a fluorescence technology – a blue light that allows us to spot oral cancer, pre-cancer, and any abnormal legions while they’re still in their early stages.

It doesn’t require any rinses or dyes, so it’s convenient for us and the patient, and we can easily include this kind of screening with your regular checkups.

Oral cancer is a very serious problem, and prevention is the best way to fight it.

If you haven’t been in for a while, now’s the time to make an appointment for another checkup.