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Monday, December 26, 2011

Home Remedies for Toothaches

Anyone who’s had the bad luck to be waylaid by a toothache knows that few experiences are more miserable. You want relief and you want it now. While home remedies may temporarily ease discomfort, the only way to get lasting toothache relief is to see a dentist.
Until you get professional help you may get some temporary relief using these toothache home remedies:
Rinse your mouth with warm water. Some toothaches are caused by trapped food particles. Use dental floss to remove anything wedged between teeth. This ensures a clean mouth and provides toothache relief.
Take an over-the-counter pain reliever. Toothaches can often be eased with pain relievers. Consider applying ice to the affected area as an additional toothache remedy.
Apply an over-the-counter antiseptic containing benzocaine. This is a tried and true temporary toothache remedy.
Avoid very hot or very cold foods. Toothaches lead to sensitive teeth, so treat them gently.
Toothaches won't just go away. Your ultimate toothache remedy will come from a dentist. Toothache remedies depend on the source of the problem; an X-ray will usually be used to check for decay or other dental problems. Then your dentist can perform the appropriate dental treatment, such as a tooth filling, tooth extraction or root canal.
Remember, toothache remedies can't top prevention! The best way to stave off toothaches is to practice good oral hygiene, including regular flossing and brushing. Another great toothache remedy is your dental visit; it helps your dentist prevent and identify problems before they become serious.

Friday, December 16, 2011

What To Do About A Dental Emergency

A dental emergency is always a stressful situation, but it can become absolutely nerve-racking when your dentist is out of the office. Whether it's late Saturday night and your dentist won't be back in until Monday, or if your dentist is out of the country on 2-week vacation, a dental emergency can be difficult to manage on your own. There are some basic things that you can do to prevent or cope with dental emergencies when they occur.
The best way to handle a potential dental emergency is to avoid it in the first place. The most common dental emergency is pain or swelling from an infected tooth. In most cases, this does not happen suddenly, overnight. Typically, a person has some degree of pain or discomfort for several days or even longer before they are in severe pain and in need of emergency dental care. The best advice is to visit the dentist at the first sign of any discomfort in the teeth or gums.
If a dental emergency does occur when your dentist is unavailable, there are several things that you can do. Pain in the teeth or gums can often be effectively handled with over-the-counter pain relievers such as ibuprofen (Advil®), naproxen (Aleve®), or acetaminophen (Tylenol®), to be taken as directed. Rinsing with warm salt water (a teaspoon of salt in eight ounces of water) can help temporarily relieve puffy or swollen cheeks and gums. Some-store bought products like Orajel® can also be effective in relieving minor soreness of the gums. If you have a broken tooth, a piece of wax or even some soft chewing gum can cover a sharp edge until you can get to the dentist.
Your dentist should also be available for advice if a dental emergency occurs. Thanks to cell phones and answering services, patients can often reach their dentist after office hours. This gives the dentist the ability to contact the pharmacy for antibiotics and pain medication should they feel that patients need them. If your dentist is going to be out of the office for more than a few days, he or she should have another dentist available to treat any dental emergencies that may occur.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Tips for Breaking Bad Oral Habits

Did you know that a lot of little things you do (or don't do) on a day-to-day basis affect your teeth's well-being and may fall under a list of bad oral habits? These include not brushing or flossing enough, eating too many sweets too often, or even using your teeth to open a bag of chips.
Bad oral habits die hard, but they can be stopped in their tracks by the following tips:
Floss at least once a day. It helps remove bits of food and dental plaque in places your toothbrush can't find, helping to keep your gums healthy.
Brush at least twice a day. If brushing is not an option, chew sugarless gum (make sure it's sugarless!) for 20 minutes after a meal or snack. This helps prevent tooth decay. 
Clean your tongue. Regularly cleaning your tongue with a toothbrush or a tongue scraper helps remove the bacteria that causes bad breath.
Replace your toothbrush regularly. Replacing your tooth brush ever 3-4 months is a good idea. Bristles in your toothbrush that are bent and broken don't do a good job cleaning your teeth.
Eat a balanced diet. Snacking on sweets without brushing increases the acid in your mouth… and the likelihood of tooth decay. Munch on vegetables and fruit instead.
Regular Dental Visits. Your dentist is trained to do damage control in your mouth before it's too late. You should visit the dentist regularly -- every six months.
Adding these to your list one at a time is a good start to kick those bad oral habits. By doing a little self-check on your daily dental care habits, you can be on your way to making sure your teeth, your mouth's health and your overall health are at their best.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Avoiding the Baby Bottle Blues

When it comes to thumb sucking, babies are naturals -- maybe because they practice even before they are born. Children begin sucking on their thumb while in the womb to develop the skills necessary for breastfeeding. Not surprisingly swapping a thumb for a pacifier or baby bottle is an easy transition for many kids.
In a child's first few years, pacifier use generally doesn't cause problems. But constant, long-term pacifier use, especially once permanent teeth come in, can lead to dental complications. Constant sucking can cause top front teeth to slant out, and bottom front teeth to tilt in. It also can lead to jaw misalignment (such as an overbite) and a narrowing of the roof of the mouth.
It is generally advised that children stop or drastically reduce their pacifier use around age 3. If a child is dependent on the pacifier to be calmed and soothed, try giving it to him or her only when absolutely necessary and using positive reinforcement to wean them off the habit.
Many children also use a baby bottle longer than necessary. Apart from the risks associated with the sucking motion, bottles also carry a heavy risk of promoting tooth decay if they contain anything other than water.
Frequently sucking or sipping on milk or juice from a bottle over an extended period of time will increase your child's risk of tooth decay. When sugars and carbohydrates come in consistent contact with teeth they create an environment for decay-causing bacteria to thrive. Tooth decay can lead to painful infection and in extreme cases children may need to have a tooth extraction or dental treatment to extensively repair damaged teeth.
Long-term use of pacifiers and bottles can lead to speech and dental problems as your child gets older. Since children develop at different ages, it is a good idea to speak with your dentist and pediatrician to make sure that your infant or toddler's early oral habits don't cause problems.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Tough Brushing Tortures Teeth

Most dentists don’t go a day without seeing patients who are damaging their teeth and gums by brushing too hard. Some report that as many as two out of three patients brush their teeth too hard. This is a problem. A stiff-bristled toothbrush combined with overzealous brushing teeth can cause serious dental problems over time, including gum disease and tooth sensitivity.
People think that if they brush twice as hard, they will do twice as much good, In fact, overzealous brushing can cause significant damage to the periodontal tissues and bones that support the teeth. If you used the same amount of force and brush the side of your arm, you could take your skin off.
One way to avoid damaging your teeth and gums is to purchase a "soft" toothbrush featuring rounded bristles which are less abrasive to teeth. You should hold the brush between the thumb and forefinger, not with the fist. When brushing, do not `scrub' the teeth with a horizontal, back-and-forth motion.
Instead, start at the gum line and angle the brush at a 45-degree angle. Brush both the teeth and the gums at the same time. Push hard enough to get the bristles under the gumline but not so hard that the bristles flare out. It's also a wise move to limit the amount of toothpaste because it is abrasive.
The irony is that dentists want people to brush longer, not harder. Children and adults tend to spend less than one minute at a time brushing their teeth, even though removing plaque from the mouth requires at least two to five minutes of brushing at least twice a day. Remember: brush longer, not harder.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

6 Easy Ways to Prevent Cavities in Kids

Kids and cavities seem to go hand in hand. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 28 percent of children ages 2 through 5 have at least one dental cavity, compared to 24 percent a decade ago.
Although 4 percent may not seem like a lot, that increase represents thousands and thousands of children and cavities -- as well as a trend in the opposite direction of the last 40 years, when tooth decay was on a gradual decline.
So if you have children and cavities are a concern, here are six easy ways to reduce the risk:
1. Avoid giving your baby juice or formula at night. The sugar in juice and formula causes the bacteria in the mouth to produce the acids that cause baby bottle tooth decay. Use fluoridated water instead.
2. Choose low-fat foods from the basic food groups. Raw fruits and vegetables, nuts, whole-grain breads and low-fat dairy products are great for your child's overall health and their dental health!
3. If you must, give sweets only as a dessert. If your child must have sweets, limit it to dessert or following a main meal. Late-night snacking and frequent snacking are a major culprit of cavities in children.
4. Invest in a water filter. Instead of spending extra on bottled water, invest in a filter for your sink, or a filtered water pitcher. Fluoridated tap water is an excellent resource to help the battle between children and cavities.
5. Don't share cups or utensils. Cavities are contagious. So if you have them, you can pass them onto your child by sharing cups and utensils.
6. If you smoke, stop. The University of Rochester's Strong Children's Research Center has discovered a link between smoking, children and cavities. Results from a study show that children of parents who smoke are more likely to develop cavities.

Monday, October 17, 2011

A Dream Cure for Dental Anxiety

According to Columbia University College of Dental Medicine, about 30-40 million Americans suffer from some degree of dental anxiety. There’s good news if you’re someone who gets sweaty palms at the thought of going to the dentist. Sedation or “sleep” dentistry can help you get the dental care you need without being crippled by swells of anxiety and debilitating fear.

If you like choices, you'll love sedation dentistry. You can choose from light to mild sedation, which help you feel relaxed and calm but keep you awake and aware, or deep sedation, which puts you to sleep and makes you unaware of treatment. Unsure what's right for you? Consider talking to your dentist about the range of sedation options now available.

Sleep dentistry is a catchall term used to describe a dental office that offers IV dental sedation or general anesthesia or both. This type of sedation dentistry is ideal for people with mild dental anxiety. With IV sedation, you won't feel, hear, taste or smell anything and won't have any memory of the procedure. However, you may be conscious enough to respond to the sedation dentist. General anesthesia is the most complete form of sedation, under which you are totally asleep and unaware.

Conscious sedation dentistry refers to light and moderate forms of sedation, including nitrous oxide and oral sedation. A sedation dentist administers nitrous oxide through a mask and oral sedation through a pill. With conscious sedation, you remain awake and aware but also relaxed.

Dental sedation is not a painkiller. It is designed to relax patients who feel nervous or anxious during dental treatments. With dental conscious sedation, patients remain awake and able to respond to the dentist. Under general anesthesia, patients are completely unconscious. To help with pain, sedation dentists rely on a local anesthetic like novocaine to numb parts of the mouth that require dental work.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Seniors Can Keep Their Teeth for a Lifetime

Surveys by the American Dental Association and Oral B® reveal that 7 in 10 respondents 65 years of age and older visit their dentist at least once a year and almost all said they believe that healthy teeth and gums are important. It's great to know that seniors are concerned about their oral health, because dental needs change as we age.
Unfortunately, cavities are not just for kids. All throughout our lives, carbohydrate-containing foods team up with bacteria in the mouth to produce cavity-forming acids. Seniors often have receding gums that expose the sensitive roots of the teeth to cavities. These cavities should be filled as soon as possible to avoid further damage to the teeth. Seniors should try to brush teeth at least 2-3 times a day and floss once daily. To reduce the risk of cavities, it is recommended to use fluoride toothpaste and a mouth-rinse containing fluoride.
Periodontal disease or gum disease is the main reason people lose their teeth. Gum disease is caused by plaque, a bacterial film that continuously forms around the teeth. Although gum disease is often painless until it is very advanced, some signs of gum disease include: bleeding gums after eating or brushing your teeth, persistent bad breath; swollen gums; loose teeth; a change in the fit of partial dentures; or permanent tooth loss.
The effects of gum disease become cumulative as we age. Your dentist or hygienist can clean the plaque and tartar under the gumline to help reduce the damage of gum disease. As with cavity prevention, daily brushing and flossing are essential. Regular dental cleanings and dental exams are important. Seniors with gum disease should see their dentist 3-4 times a year.
Seniors who have worn dentures for many years may find that they don't seem to fit as well anymore. Loose dentures make it difficult to eat and speak (they seem to make a "clacking" noise), and do not support the face as well. Your dentist can sometimes remedy the problem by relining the denture, but a new denture should be made every 5-7 years, or when the dentures cannot be used comfortably.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Braces: Looking Good and Feeling Great

It's been proven that people are captivated by beautiful smiles, so it's understandable why you'd want to get dental braces for cosmetic reasons. But straight teeth don't just look better; they're healthier, too.
When teeth are properly aligned, they're easier to clean ... and when your teeth are clean and dental plaque-free, you're less likely to need a tooth filling or gum disease treatment. Wearing braces can also help prevent excessive wear of your teeth and help you chew better.
Today's braces have come a long way from the stereotypical "tin grins" of TV and movies. In addition to traditional metal braces for straightening teeth, there are now a variety of braces designed with your comfort and appearance in mind:
Clear Braces -- Porcelain dental braces feature tooth-colored brackets made from a glass-like composite material that appears translucent.
Gold Braces -- Gold braces are actually stainless steel braces overlaid in gold.
Lingual Braces -- Similar to traditional metal braces, lingual braces are placed behind the teeth so that they're virtually unnoticeable.
Mini Braces -- Mini braces are 30 percent smaller than their traditional metal counterparts but just as strong.
Removable Braces -- Removable braces are mouthguard-like devices made of clear plastic. Invisalign® dental aligners are the most common type of removable braces.
No matter which type of dental braces you choose, orthodontic treatment can bring about a major improvement in your appearance and your quality of life. In approximately 24 months — the typical active treatment time for traditional braces — most people are able to achieve the smile of their dreams.
Are dental braces right for you? Ask your dentist during your next dental checkup.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Aromatherapy Eases Dental Anxiety

When you think of aromatherapy, you probably don't picture a candle warmer in your dentist's office. But a study conducted by King's College London researchers explored that very possibility. Half of the 340 people studied were exposed to the scent given off by a candle warmer activating five drops of lavender oil in water while waiting for a dental appointment. The other half were not exposed to the lavender aromatherapy.
The results? The anxiety level of those not exposed to lavender was significantly higher than those who smelled the scent. The results applied no matter what type of dental treatment people were awaiting -- whether it was for a routine dental cleaning or a visit involving something more anxiety-provoking such as a tooth filling.
Exposure to lavender had no effect on people's anxiety about future dental appointments. These findings suggest that lavender acts as an effective "on-the-spot" remedy to reduce anxiety while you wait for your dentist appointment, but it might not be enough to ward off the fear of future visits.
Use of lavender as aromatherapy is generally considered safe for most adults. (Lavender should not be used by pregnant or breast-feeding women.) Although side effects are rare, some people may develop an allergic reaction to lavender. Symptoms may include nausea, vomiting, headache and chills.
Because of the relaxing effects of lavender, the herb could potentially enhance the effects of central nervous system depressants. To be on the safe side, talk to your dentist about all the medications you take, including any vitamins, herbal supplements or conventional medications.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Diet and Exercise Prevents Gum Disease

Can working out improve your dental health? Yes, according to one study. Researchers at the Case Western Reserve University School of Dental Medicine have discovered that people of a normal weight who exercise regularly and maintain a healthy diet are less likely to have gum disease. The study, published in the Journal of Periodontology, suggests that a healthy lifestyle may help prevent periodontal disease.
Researchers took the same factors that lower the risk of diabetes and heart disease into account when analyzing data from 12,110 participants. They found that those who exercised regularly, had healthy eating habits and maintained their weight were 40 percent less likely to develop periodontal disease than their counterparts. Those who met two of the criteria lowered their risk by 29 percent, while participants with just one healthy virtue had a 16 percent less chance of developing gum disease.
Overall, only 7 percent of those who met all three of the criteria had some form of gum disease. The participants who had a poor diet, limited physical activity and were considered overweight totaled 18 percent, suggesting that obesity can more than double your chances of developing periodontal disease.
Scientists aren't exactly sure why these factors may decrease your chances of developing gum disease. It's already known that healthy eating can help build up your immune system. Scientists now theorize that eating healthy foods, such as fruits and vegetables, may also help remove dental plaque from teeth. It's also believed that obesity promotes gum inflammation, while physical activity may decrease it.
While a healthy lifestyle may help improve your dental health, it's not a substitute for maintaining a good oral hygiene routine. Brushing and flossing daily and seeing your dentist twice a year are essential.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Dental Health Tied to Good Nutrition

Nutrition can have a big impact on the health of your teeth, especially when it comes to the development of tooth decay. Basically, this means what you eat can lead to cavities. There are several aspects of nutrition and dental health to consider:
·        Foods that are starchy or high in sugar increases the risk of cavities
·        Sticky foods (including raisins and other dried fruits) can increase cavity risk because they adhere to teeth.
·        Dairy products like cheese help neutralize acid in the mouth, acting as a buffer between teeth and tooth decay.
·        Eating sweets during meals may help reduce the risk of cavities because increased saliva production helps neutralize and wash away destructive acids.
·        Another good nutrition dental habit is eating legumes, nuts and grains, which contain antioxidants that increase blood flow, improve immunity and strengthen blood vessels.
Nutrition and dental health go hand in hand, especially when it comes to certain vitamins. Vitamins A, C and D are vital to healthy teeth and gums. Vitamin A is linked to the healthy formation of teeth and skin and contains antioxidants that protect the body from free radicals which cause disease. Many foods are rich in Vitamin A, including liver, spinach and carrots. Vitamin D forms after being exposed to sunshine and promotes calcium absorption, which is essential for strong teeth (and bones). Vitamin C offers a variety of dental and nutrition benefits: It promotes healthy teeth and gums, boosts the immune system and is also an antioxidant. Natural sources of Vitamin C include papayas, strawberries, brussels sprouts and broccoli.
One common nutrition-dental myth concerns the health value of bottled water. While it's probably better to drink bottled water rather than sports drinks, sodas, juices and even "fortified" bottled waters, which all contain cavity-causing sugars, most bottled waters aren't fluoridated. When it comes to drinking water, your teeth are more likely to benefit from filtered tap water because most community tap water systems are fluoridated.
The fact is when you pay attention to good nutrition, good dental health is one of the payoffs.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Toothache FAQs

It's true — toothaches come and go, sometimes seemingly without any rhyme or reason. But don't let the transient nature of a toothache pain fool you. It’s usually a clear sign that something's seriously wrong with your teeth.
A toothache can be caused by sensitivity to hot or cold or a more serious problem like a dental cavity, gum disease or a cracked tooth. One thing's for sure: If you've had a bad toothache for more than a couple of days, you should see your dentist!
Q: Isn't it normal to have a toothache now and then?
A: Most people occasionally have mild toothaches, particularly when consuming hot or cold drinks or food. This is the type of toothache pain that may not necessarily be a cause for worry. But a bad toothache — the kind that wakes you up in the middle of the night, throbs all day, or lasts for more than a couple of days — could mean that a more serious problem exists. The worst thing to do is sit around wishing a toothache away. The best thing to do is visit the dentist for help.
Q: I had a toothache, but it went away. Should I still see a dentist?
A: It's never a good idea to gamble with your dental health. So even if you think a toothache was mild, only a dentist can make a proper diagnosis. Pick up the phone and call your dentist - it only takes a few minutes.
He or she will likely ask you a series of questions: Was the toothache pain gnawing or throbbing? Did the tooth ache last a whole day or just for a moment? Can you see holes in the tooth that's causing pain? Do you have swollen gums or neck glands? Depending on the answers, your dentist may ask you to come in for an exam.
Q: Is it OK to take over-the-counter pain relievers for a toothache?
A: Unless you have been advised by a physician to avoid OTC pain relievers, most dentists recommend taking pain medicines like acetaminophen and ibuprofen as instructed. But if an OTC pain reliever doesn't help alleviate toothache pain, that's a good sign you need to actually see a dentist.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Are You Living with TMJ?

Jaw pain. Earaches. Headaches. What do these problems have in common? They could be the result of rockin' out too hard. Or playing flag football with a little too much zeal. But since we're talking teeth here, you should know that these are all symptoms of temporomandibular joint disorder, also known as TMJ or TMD.
TMJ is caused by habitual teeth grinding or jaw clenching. Adults do it. Even kids do it. Which means that TMJ disorder is one of those equal-opportunity conditions that affect people of all ages. True, the symptoms may come and go and even seem harmless. But why live with chronic pain if you don't have to? Your dentist can help you put an end to the grind.
Patients diagnosed with TMJ share some habits. Many sufferers are grinding teeth while sleeping, awake or both, resulting in chronic headaches, dull earaches or jaw pain. A "clicking" or "popping" sound in the jaw can also be common. In worse-case scenarios, jaw lock was the result of TMJ disorder. Some people may experience swelling on the side of the face or pain affecting their neck, back and/or shoulders. Over time, TMJ can also cause dizziness and vision problems.
You can get some TMJ relief at home by doing gentle jaw exercises or applying cold or hot compresses during the day or at night. But your best bet for long-term relief is to see your dentist for help.
Think you're experiencing TMJ? You'll find the answer in the dental chair. A dental exam will eliminate non-TMJ-related causes of your pain symptoms, such as toothache, sinus issues and periodontal disease. Your dentist may then take X-rays or order an MRI to look at the temporomandibular joints themselves to spot damage.
There are a wide range of treatment options if you are diagnosed with TMJ — everything from physical therapy to surgery. One of the most popular is to be fitted with a custom-made mouthguard to halt the wear-and-tear of stress-related teeth grinding. Many patients find this a highly effective way to manage their TMJ.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Parent's Guide to Dental Safety

As a parent, you want to keep your child safe -- which is no small task! The good news is that there is a lot you can do to protect your child's mouth, teeth and gums from harm.
Infants and Toddlers
Little ones fall a lot as they learn to navigate their way in the world, putting them at risk for a broken tooth or a cut or bitten tongue, lip or cheek. To guard your child's dental safety:
- Child-proof your home. Do not let your child walk around carrying a bottle or sippy cup; unsteady walkers could injure their teeth or gums during a fall.
- Keep any mouthwash (and all other fluids) out of the reach of children. The alcohol content in most mouthwashes can be toxic to small children.
- Pick an age-appropriate toothbrush that is the right size for your child's mouth. Do not share your child's toothbrush with anyone else.
School Age Kids
Accidents from sports and outdoor activities such as skateboarding are common for this age group, as are cavities. To keep your child's dental safety in check:
- Make sure your child wears a mouthguard while playing sports.
- Consider dental sealants for added protection against dental cavities.
- Don't yank loose baby teeth. If a tooth is extremely loose, use a clean damp gauze pad to firmly tug on the tooth. If it doesn't come out right away, leave it alone.
Good nutrition and oral hygiene tend to fall by the wayside during the teen years To safeguard your teen's dental safety, talk to your child about the need to:
- Use caution with teeth whitening products. Before using any over-the-counter dental products, talk to your dentist to see if whiteners are appropriate for your teen.
- Cut back on soda. The sugar in soda can cause dental cavities and the phosphoric acid blocks the absorption of calcium, weakening teeth.
Remember, the most effective ways to protect your children’s dental health is to make sure they brush and floss regularly and see a dentist twice a year.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Enjoy Strawberries the Tooth-wise Way

Considered a "super-fruit," the strawberry is rich in antioxidants and extremely beneficial to heart health. Low in calories but high in vitamin C, potassium, fiber and folic acid, strawberries are a tasty part of a healthy diet -- but too much of a good thing can be bad for your teeth.
Unfortunately, strawberries, like many healthy foods, are highly acidic -- and consuming acidic foods and drinks on an ongoing basis can lead tooth erosion, a condition that wears down the protective coating of enamel on your teeth. Once tooth enamel is lost, it doesn't grow back. Enamel erosion can cause a wide range of dental problems, including sensitive teeth, discoloration, cracked teeth and even tooth loss.
That's not to say you have to cut back on the foods that are good for you. We have some tips on how you can protect your teeth and maximize the benefits of eating this delicious fruit:
1. Eat smart. Pair your strawberries with foods that have low acid and sugar content. Nuts, spinach, bananas, apples and many dairy products are excellent options.
2. Don't eat constantly throughout the day. Waiting a couple of hours between servings allows saliva to neutralize acid and repair tooth enamel.
3. Rinse after eating. Rinsing your mouth out with water also neutralizes acid.
4. Chew gum. Chewing sugar-free gum for 20 minutes following a meal can activate saliva and help wash away debris.
5. Hold off on brushing your teeth. Yes, you read that right! The abrasives in toothpaste can further damage enamel that's weakened by acid. Wait at least 30 minutes before brushing your teeth after eating or drinking something acidic.
6. Floss. Strawberries contain an average of 200 seeds, which can get stuck in your teeth. Flossing at least once a day will help you prevent cavities from developing between teeth.
When it comes to the many health benefits of strawberries, your teeth are probably the last thing on your mind. But with a little forethought, you can fully enjoy your favorite fruit without worrying about your dental health.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Perfect Teeth for Your Perfect Wedding

Every bride wants to look perfect on her wedding day. But you can’t do it all yourself, so you’ll need a team of experts who can help make your beauty dreams come true.

Usually, a bride’s beauty team consists of a stylist and a makeup artist. A great stylist will make sure that not even a hair is out of place as you walk down the aisle. And a skilled makeup artist can keep your face looking flawless — even through the laughter and tears.

But we want to make sure that you don’t forget about your smile! Because let’s face it; a lackluster smile just won’t do for your big day. Having flawless hair and makeup without a bright smile is like eating a wedding cake without icing.

So you’ll need to find an expert who knows smiles better than anyone. And that’s how your dentist can help.

Dentists are trusted professionals who are skilled in treatments ranging from teeth whitening and porcelain veneers to dental bonding. Whether you want to make your smile as white as your wedding gown, or get a complete smile makeover, your dentist can help make your big day as perfect as you’ve always dreamed it would be.
Getting married soon? Make sure to include a cosmetic dentistry consultation in your wedding plans. Schedule an appointment with your dentist today.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Dental Advice for Moms-To-Be

Expecting a baby is a very exciting time, and you're already on the right path if you’re staying on top of your dental health. With the proper dental care measures, you'll increase your chances of having a smoother pregnancy, full-term delivery and healthy baby.

If you're planning to get pregnant, consider having your teeth cleaned and any restorative dental treatment done first. If you are already pregnant, be sure to tell your dentist before getting any work done. You should also have a dental checkup at least once during the pregnancy. Although dental cleanings aren't harmful, it's recommended that expecting mothers get them done during the second trimester to reduce the risk of complications.

According to the American Dental Association, it's best to postpone dental work during the first and third trimesters as well, as these are critical periods for the baby's development. Your dentist will let you know what dental treatments can be performed during the second trimester, but more complicated procedures will probably be postponed, if possible. Unnecessary treatments, such as cosmetic dental work, should be avoided altogether.

If you do have an unexpected dental problem or emergency, make an appointment with your dentist as soon as you can. Your dentist will look for signs of infection and determine the need for treatment. Dental X-rays are usually avoided during pregnancy, but if photos are necessary, your dentist will take extra precautions to protect your baby.

Monday, May 30, 2011

Don't Take Chances with Chipped Teeth

In the movies, a simple pratfall usually gets a big laugh, and a resulting chipped tooth can have the audience rolling in the aisles. But in real life, a chipped tooth due to trauma is no laughing matter. Besides possible pain and damage, a chipped tooth can cause a lot of embarrassment.

If you have a chipped tooth, you're not alone! In fact, chipped teeth are the most common dental injury today. While a chipped tooth can range in terms of size and damage, any type of dental trauma deserves immediate attention. Although a small chip will most likely not cause pain, you should contact a dentist to make sure there is no other damage to the tooth's structure. A dentist will be able to rule out accompanying cracks or internal dental problems when examining your chipped tooth.

More significant damage should definitely not be ignored! A broken tooth may result in an exposed nerve, which can cause a great deal of pain. A completely knocked-out tooth can actually be saved if you act quickly. Regardless of your dental emergency, contact your dentist right away.


Monday, May 2, 2011

Porcelain Veneers for an Instant Smile Makeover

How long is your dental wish list? If you're like most people, you've considered several cosmetic dentistry treatments to help whiten, straighten or reshape your teeth -- but for a total smile makeover, natural-looking dental veneers may be the fastest way to create a beautiful new smile.

Veneers are thin, porcelain shells that are attached to your existing teeth to meet a variety of cosmetic goals. Your dentist can match them to your natural or desired tooth color for a uniform, authentic appearance. Porcelain veneers are also highly stain-resistant and may actually strengthen your natural teeth.

There are many reasons you and your dentist may choose porcelain veneers, but if you have any of the following dental problems, you may find them especially helpful:

•    Dull or stained teeth
•    Crowded or crooked teeth
•    A diastema (gap) between your front teeth
•    Teeth that are misshapen, too small or too big
•    Chipped or broken teeth

Rather than spending years with dental braces and multiple appointments for dental bonding, teeth whitening and other cosmetic procedures, your dentist can completely transform your smile with teeth veneers in only two dental visits.

Friday, April 8, 2011

A Bite Out of History

People of ancient times believed that the stabbing pain of a toothache was caused by a toothworm, which either had appeared spontaneously or had bored its way into the tooth. If the tooth pain was severe, it meant that the worm was thrashing about, but if the aching stopped, then the worm was resting. Cultures all over the world, many of whom had no contact with each other, held stubbornly to this myth. The folklore of the toothworm persisted from ancient times to the beginning of the eighteenth century.

Folk Cures
 Bee: Honey, a product of bees, was used to coat an infected tooth in the Middle Ages. People smeared their aching teeth with honey and waited all night with tweezers in hand, ready to pluck out the toothworm.
 Donkey: In ancient Greece, donkey’s milk was used as a mouthwash to strengthen the gums and teeth.
 Frog: Besides spitting in a frog’s mouth for toothache relief, these web-footed creatures were applied to a person’s cheek or to the head on the side of the ailing tooth.
 Onion: In the Middle Ages a slice of onion was applied to the ear on the side of the aching tooth.
Reprinted with permission from "Toothworms and Spider Juice: An Illustrated History of Dentistry" – Loretta Frances Ichord, Millerbrook Press.

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Cranberries Have Unique Benefit for Women

A recent study at Rutgers University, and published in Phytochemistry, confirmed a long-held theory that ingestion of cranberries is helpful in protecting against harmful bacterial in the urinary tract. This is due to one of its natural compounds called proanthocyanidin [PAC's], and its anti-adhesion effect.

The anti-adhesion property of cranberries prevents bacteria from sticking to the urinary tract, which is one of the most common regions for a woman to develop a bacterial infection. Half off all women will experience at least one urinary tract infection in their lifetime. E. coli, bacteria that cause urinary tract infections, are becoming increasingly resistant to common antibiotics. The study concluded that 80% of the antibiotic-resistant bacteria were prevented from sticking by the anti-adhesion property of cranberries. There is some conjecture that PAC's found in cranberry may minimize stomach ulcers and gum disease by the same mechanism.

This study compared the action of PAC's in cranberries to those in other foods such as grape and apple juice, dark chocolate and green tea. Apparently, not all PAC-rich foods have the same success or offer the same protection. By means of comparison, one eight-ounce glass of cranberry juice has the equivalent PAC's as a cup of frozen or fresh cranberries, 1/3 cup of sweetened dried cranberries or 1/3 cup of cranberry sauce. Both this study and earlier research show that the benefits of one glass of cranberry juice kicks in about two hours after consumption and lasts for about 10 hours. So, it is recommended that you drink one glass of cranberry juice in the morning and one in the evening for the maximum protection. Remember, cranberry is a food and not a treatment. Keep in mind that anyone who suspects an infection should consult the appropriate health care practitioner.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Getting The Point About Oral Piercing

Body piercing has become a popular form of self-expression, especially for but not limited to young adults. Oral piercing is becoming trendier but is not without risks and complications. The tongue is the most common site with the lips, uvula (soft tissue hanging from the back of the palate), cheeks and a combination of these sites also being utilized. Be sure the procedure is performed by qualified professionals who use disposable gloves, disposable or sterile instruments and sterilized jewelry. For several days after the piercing, you can expect swelling, pain, increased salivary flow and sometimes infection. There may be prolonged bleeding from punctured blood vessels.

The healing period is usually 3-6 weeks before the permanent device (hoops, studs, barbells) can be placed. During the healing stage, avoid spicy foods, alcohol and smoking. Use antiseptic or warm salt water mouth rinses; keep talking to a minimum for the first few days; and refrain from French kissing and oral sex for at least 2 weeks to minimize infection risk. Complications arising from oral piercing include chipped teeth, allergic reactions, change in the way your food tastes from interfering with taste buds and problems with speech, chewing and/or swallowing. After healing and to minimize complications, people should remove their jewelry once a day for cleaning and irrigate the hole with water. For those with tongue piercing, the tongue should be brushed every day. Proper care or removal should be taken during strenuous, contact sports.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Considering Dental Implants?

Important Facts to Help Make Your Decision

Many people are unaware of the consequences of losing their teeth or the effects of wearing partial or full dentures upon their jaws and bones. When teeth are lost, the surrounding bone immediately begins to shrink [atrophy]. Implant treatment, for tooth replacement therapy, can be the optimal treatment plan. Here are some important facts to take into consideration.
 Wearing dentures [plates] accelerates bone loss, and old dentures become loose because of this bone loss. It is possible to watch and wait for bone to disappear to the point where treatment success of any kind is in doubt.
 At the end of a five-year period, only 40% are still wearing the original partial denture made for them. This is not a great testimonial for value and utility. Those lucky enough to have a functioning partial denture after 5 years are still losing valuable supporting bone.
 Of those patients who wear a partial denture, 50% chew better without it.
 One study showed that after 8 years, 40% of the supporting teeth [abutments] that the partial hooks onto were lost through tooth decay or fracture.
 Patients with natural teeth can bite with about 200 pounds of force. Denture wearers can bite with approxiametly 50 pounds of force. Those wearing dentures for 15 years or more can bite with only about 6 pounds of force, and their diet and eating habits have had to been modified accordingly.
 The average lower full denture shifts from side to side during chewing and is a significant problem that new denture wearers must get use to and accept.
 Denture wearers have decreased nutritional intake, a ten year shorter life span, and 30% of denture wearers can only eat soft foods.
 The single tooth implant success rate is above 98%, and unlike a bridge, the teeth adjacent to the implant are no more at risk than if no teeth were missing.
 Implant-supported bridges or dentures have 95% success rates over 10 years without the severe loss of supporting bone.

For bone maintenance, the health of adjacent teeth, the longevity of the restoration and patient comfort, implant therapy is the treatment of choice. Implants can restore chewing function to the equivalent of someone with natural teeth. If you have questions or want to know if you are a good candidate for implant tooth replacement therapy, please call our office.

Monday, January 31, 2011

Dental Health From Birth To Age 3

Baby Bottle Nipples
Usually, we like to see your child for their first check-up at about age 2 - 3 years, when all their primary [deciduous] teeth have erupted. However, there are many measures that you as parents can take before this time to insure good oral health. To begin, if mom is not going to breast feed, the type of nipple used on the bottle can have a definite effect on the growth of the jaws and development of muscles and swallowing patterns. The NUK nipple has an optimal shape that fits the anatomy of your babys mouth. Upon first sight, many parents assume that its funny shape and size will cause the baby to reject it, and thus, shy away from using it. Try the NUK nipple for a few days. Most babies will accept it readily. Using the NUK will lessen the chance of your baby developing a colicky stomach and may prevent certain orthodontic conditions that wont become evident until your child is much older.

Perhaps, the most predictable and consistent preventive measure in dentistry is the ingestion of systemic [enters the blood stream] fluoride up to about age 14. The incorporation of fluoride into the tooth enamel allows the tooth to be more resistant to demineralization by acid and ensuing tooth decay. If your water district doesnt add fluoride to the water supply, your baby should be receiving fluoride drops of a fluoride/vitamin combination as soon as possible after birth. The first permanent molars are already calcifying by age 3 months. It is in this formative stage that the tooth will incorporate the greatest amount of fluoride. Studies have shown that fluoride will not cross the placental barrier, so pregnant woman no longer receive fluoride preparations. Systemic fluoride [at 1 part per million] is a safe and effective way to dramatically reduce dental decay, along with the cost of dental treatment. Please call our office to learn if your water is fluoridated, and if not, we will be able to prescribe the proper dosage.

On the average a baby will start to get their first teeth at about six months. Teething [tooth eruption] can cause discomfort for your baby, as well as many sleepless nights for you. During teething periods, your baby may exhibit excess drooling, runny noses, low-grade temperature and/or overall crankiness. To help this situation, you may purchase some 2 by 2 inch gauze pads at your pharmacy and lightly rub your babys gums with them several times a day. This will remove a thin layer of plaque that forms on their gums, thus lessening eruption pain. Most babies will find this massaging very soothing, and some will derive pleasure from sucking on the gauze or your finger. A clean teeth ring to chew on may also be helpful. Teething gels or ointments that will temporarily numb your babys gums and reduce discomfort are available at your pharmacist.

Nursing Bottle Syndrome
Many parents give their babies a bottle in bed to pacify him/her and enable them to fall asleep. Most people fill the bottle with milk, formula, fruit juice or water mixed with a sweetening agent such as Kayro syrup or honey. Unfortunately, as your baby falls asleep, the tongue and nipple on the bottle pool the liquid around certain teeth. The acidic and/or sugar content of these liquids can cause severe tooth decay. This is called nursing bottle or baby bottle syndrome. Dont allow your baby to become a dental cripple before his/her first check-up. If you must give them a bottle in bed, be sure to fill it only with plain water.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Sinusitis Got You Down?

During the winter months and at other times when the air is very dry, it is important to keep our nasal passages moist. An easy way to do this is to sniff salt solution into both sides of the nose 2-4 times a day. To prepare a solution of proper strength, add 1/4 teaspoon of table salt to a cup of warm water, and stir it until all the salt has dissolved. Sniff some from a spoon or other small container into each nostril. Alternatively, you can buy ready-prepared nasal saline products, such as Ocean, Simply Saline or generic equivalents from drug stores. Such solutions can be used to wash away mucus from the membranous lining of the nasal passages. They also help by shrinking any parts of it that are swollen. If this is not done, mucus and the swollen membranes around these openings may block openings of the sinuses into the nasal passages. Sinusitis will then occur if nasal bacteria infect the mucus, which can no longer drain from the blocked sinus. Treatment of sinusitis (rather than its prevention) often requires the use of antibiotics.

Some doctors are not enthusiastic about nasal saline irrigation since researchers found that it does not significantly reduce the incidence of colds. However, do not confuse colds with sinusitis. Viruses cause colds, while sinusitis is a bacterial-induced complication for some colds. Irrigation of the nasal passages with saline cannot kill viruses or bacteria, but it does help to reduce the incidence of sinusitis in people with a tendency to develop this common complication of colds.

Sources: American Family Physician (70:1685 & 1697, "04) & Wall Street Journal (Dec.7"04, page D6).

Monday, January 3, 2011

Are You Thumbing Your Mouth At Me?

Infants have a natural instinct to suck as a way of nourishing and soothing themselves. Often, this leads to the child sucking on their fingers, a blanket, a stuffed animal or their thumb. Usually, this habit is given up by age 4. If it continues, it can be extremely detrimental to the development of their teeth and jaws causing crooked teeth, an incorrect bite, speech problems and/or open-mouth breathing. This habit may result in psychological trauma if it continues into school age when the other children tease them.

What should a parent do? If possible, try to switch them to a properly designed pacifier that fits the shape of the mouth. Pacifiers are less likely to create the same developmental problems [by distributing forces over greater area], are usually discarded by the child at an earlier age and are easier to hide than a thumb. If the thumb sucking is during the day, discuss the problem with them to discourage the habit. Placing a band-aid on their thumb as a reminder may help. Be positive and praise them when they remember. And reward them for their success.

It is more difficult to control thumb sucking when the child is asleep, because the child is unaware of this involuntary action. So, try this habit-breaking technique that is usually successful within two weeks. Before your child goes to bed, wrap a 2-inch wide ace bandage lightly around their fully extended arm [straight]. Start about 3 inches from their armpit and continue down past the elbow. This will not prevent your child from putting their thumb into their mouth. However, as soon as they fall asleep, the tension created by bending the elbow will pull the thumb from their mouth.

If your child is still sucking on their thumb or anything else by the time their permanent teeth erupt [around age 6], please call it to the attention of our office.