Posts for: October, 2016
Your teeth are meant to last a lifetime. Even with wear and tear from years of eating and biting they can continue to function properly and look attractive well into your senior years.
Teeth are resilient thanks in part to enamel, the hardest substance in the human body. But the gums also contribute to this resilience: besides attractively framing the teeth, they protect the dentin and roots below the enamel covering.
Unfortunately, the gums can shrink back or “recede” from their normal place. Not only does this look unattractive, the recession can also expose teeth to disease and cause tooth sensitivity to temperature changes or biting pressure.
There are a number of causes for gum recession, some of which you may have little control over. If, for example, your teeth come in off center from their bony housing, the gum tissues may not develop around them properly. You might also have inherited a thinner type of gum tissue from your parents: thinner tissues are more delicate and susceptible to recession.
But there are other causes for which you have more control. Over-aggressive brushing (too hard for too long), ironically, does more harm than good as it can injure your gums and cause them to recede. More likely, though, your recession is a direct result of neglecting proper hygiene for your teeth and gums.
When teeth aren't properly cleaned through daily brushing and flossing, a thin film of bacteria and food remnant called plaque builds up on tooth surfaces. This can trigger periodontal (gum) disease, which subsequently causes the gum tissues to detach from the teeth and often recede. To learn more about proper teeth cleaning, click here for our informative video.
To reduce your risk of gum disease, you should gently but thoroughly brush and floss daily, and visit us for cleanings and checkups at least twice a year. If you have a poor bite (malocclusion), consider orthodontic treatment: malocclusions make it easier for plaque to accumulate and harder to remove.
Above all, if you begin to see signs of gum problems — swelling, bleeding or pain — see us promptly for an examination and treatment. Dealing with these issues early is the best way to ensure your gums continue to do their jobs for the long-term.
Everyone has to face the music at some time — even John Lydon, former lead singer of The Sex Pistols, arguably England’s best known punk rock band. The 59-year old musician was once better known by his stage name, Johnny Rotten — a brash reference to the visibly degraded state of his teeth. But in the decades since his band broke up, Lydon’s lifelong deficiency in dental hygiene had begun to cause him serious problems.
In recent years, Lydon has had several dental surgeries — including one to resolve two serious abscesses in his mouth, which left him with stitches in his gums and a temporary speech impediment. Photos show that he also had missing teeth, which, sources say, he opted to replace with dental implants.
For Lydon (and many others in the same situation) that’s likely to be an excellent choice. Dental implants are the gold standard for tooth replacement today, for some very good reasons. The most natural-looking of all tooth replacements, implants also have a higher success rate than any other method: over 95 percent. They can be used to replace one tooth, several teeth, or an entire arch (top or bottom row) of teeth. And with only routine care, they can last for the rest of your life.
Like natural teeth, dental implants get support from the bone in your jaw. The implant itself — a screw-like titanium post — is inserted into the jaw in a minor surgical operation. The lifelike, visible part of the tooth — the crown — is attached to the implant by a sturdy connector called an abutment. In time, the titanium metal of the implant actually becomes fused with the living bone tissue. This not only provides a solid anchorage for the prosthetic, but it also prevents bone loss at the site of the missing tooth — which is something neither bridgework nor dentures can do.
It’s true that implants may have a higher initial cost than other tooth replacement methods; in the long run, however, they may prove more economical. Over time, the cost of repeated dental treatments and periodic replacement of shorter-lived tooth restorations (not to mention lost time and discomfort) can easily exceed the expense of implants.
That’s a lesson John Lydon has learned. “A lot of ill health came from neglecting my teeth,” he told a newspaper reporter. “I felt sick all the time, and I decided to do something about it… I’ve had all kinds of abscesses, jaw surgery. It costs money and is very painful. So Johnny says: ‘Get your brush!’”
We couldn’t agree more. But if brushing isn’t enough, it may be time to consider dental implants. If you would like more information about dental implants, please call our office to schedule a consultation. You can read more in the Dear Doctor magazine articles “Dental Implants” and “Save a Tooth or Get an Implant?”
Wearing braces can be a challenge to some people, not just in the discomfort one might face, but also in the oral cleansing. Don't you hate it when vegetables always get stuck between brackets??
It takes motivation. In order to obtain great smiles, you gotta put in that extra effort to keep the teeth in tip top hygiene condition. In this article we will look into the proper ways to clean teeth and how even in wearing braces, oral hygiene can be well done. Those wearing orthodontic devices will know how difficult oral hygiene routine can be because plaque and food particles can adhere to the brackets and teeth.
As with the millions of people with braces, you may use a 'soft' or 'ultra soft' toothbrush. Brush your teeth with a gentle hand and brush like you used to without the braces. Take a closer look in the mirror to make sure no debris are left in between those brackets.
Taking a good look in the mirror is helpful to maneuver your toothbrush so as to remove as much as soft deposits that you see on your teeth and the braces. For those difficult areas in between the braces wire and the teeth, you can use an interdental brush.
Before you brush, rinse with water first. This can help loosen any food lodged in and around the braces. When you're ready to clean, use an ADA-accepted fluoride toothpaste and start by brushing at the gumline at a 45-degree angle. After cleaning the gum line, place the toothbrush on top of the brackets, angling down to brush on top of each bracket. Then, reposition the toothbrush to brush the bottom of the bracket and the wire, angling the toothbrush up. Go slowly. Make sure to brush every tooth at the gum line as well as above and below the brackets. This will ensure you'll reach the majority of the tooth's surface and help to remove plaque and food debris.
Nowadays, even kids who are old enough to brush on their own may require some form of assistance until they are comfortable properly angling the toothbrush and have learned how to brush their teeth with braces. There are many instructional videos out there to educate by providing useful tips. Just type in"brushing with braces" or something like that in YouTube, you'll find some innovative tools and techniques to level up your oral hygiene, all the while with the braces on.
If you have questions about braces or dental hygiene, give our dental office in South Riding, VA a call today. We look forward to hearing from you!