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Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Fleetwood Dental’s Guide to Common Dental Problems: Part 2

Getting extensive dental work like a root canal isn’t anyone’s idea of a walk in the park, which is why it is important to pay attention to common dental problems so you can prevent them. A few weeks ago, we posted the first part of our guide to common dental problems. Here is part 2!

Tooth Infection: Tooth infection occurs when the nerve-containing pulp inside the tooth is damaged or becomes infected due to injury or decay. The root canal (which connects the top pulp chamber to the tip of the root) can become infected as well. If you have a cracked tooth or a deep cavity you should be weary of tooth infection.
See your best dentist if you feel pain in or around a tooth. You may need to get a root canal, during which the pulp will be removed, the pulp chamber and the root canal will be cleaned and the tooth will be filled. Your dentist also may seal the tooth with a porcelain or golf crown.

Enamel Erosion: This occurs when soda and citrus drinks wear down the surface of the teeth, resulting in discoloration and rounding. If you are constantly sipping soda (even diet soda!), lemonade, sports drinks or wine, you are at risk for enamel erosion. Overbrushing can also have similar effects on the enamel close to the gum lines.

To prevent further enamel erosion, drink less soda and more water! If you must have your daily Diet Coke, sip it through a straw or have with a full meal and be sure to chew sugarless gum, sip water or brush your teeth afterward. Teeth can also be restored with bonding materials.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Fleetwood Dental’s Guide to Common Dental Problems: Part I

Dental health isn’t just important for your pearly whites—it can affect your overall health, which is why is it imperative to know how to treat common dental problems. Read the first part of our guide to solving common issues plaguing your mouth.

Tooth Decay: Otherwise known as dental cavities or caries, this occurs when plaque—a film of bacteria that forms after eating starches or sugars—remains on teeth for too long. Although anyone can get a cavity, children and older people are most cavity-prone.

So how do you prevent tooth decay? Stop plaque in its tracks by brushing with fluoride toothpaste and flossing daily. For children, plastic coatings called sealants can be applied to the chewing surfaces on their back teeth as soon as their molars come in. As for older people, using a mouth rinse containing fluoride and receiving regular fluoride treatments should help.

Gum Disease: Also known as gingivitis (the early stage) and periodontitis (the advanced stage), gum disease is a bacterial infection caused by plaque attacking the gums, bone and ligaments that keep your teeth where they are. According to estimations by the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research (NIDCR), half of all adults show some signs of gingivitis. Stress, poor oral hygiene, pregnancy and systemic diseases like diabetes can contribute.

Make sure to see a dentist regularly and notify your dentist if your gums bleed or feel tender. Regular brushing and flossing can reverse gingivitis and a dentist can perform a deep cleaning around the teeth and below the gum lines to combat periodontitis.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

The Price of Lumineers

Are you considering lumineers? A higher model of porcelain veneers, they are popular but come at a price! Check out our guide for the basic cost of lumineers and factors that can affect your total cost.

Porcelain veneers are pieces of porcelain surgically affixed to the front of your teeth, while lumineers are made of thinner, stronger porcelain. Lumineers merely require cement, while porcelain veneers require that the patient have the porcelain ground before cementing the veneer to the front of their teeth.

On average, the range of lumineers to improve the color of your teeth is $700-$1,100 per tooth. So why are they so pricey? First off, it is much more realistic-looking than porcelain veneers. Second, the lumineer is stronger, thinner and easier to work with due to advanced materials. Third, the procedure of getting lumineers is much easier. Can you see why many people opt for lumineers over veneers?

With that said, the cost of lumineers is based on the individual needs of your teeth and the specific office procedures. Take your time choosing the lumineer specialist or you’ll risk having your lumineers stain or crack. And then you’ll be paying for additional procedures.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Fix Your Smile with Tooth Bonding

Is there something quirky—like a chipped tooth or rounded teeth—about your smile that bothers you? Do something about it with dental bonding. Dental bonding can help fix many different tooth-related issues, including fix or improve the natural shape of your teeth. If your teeth are showing signs of tooth decay, are naturally rounded or if you chipped one of your teeth years ago and never fixed it, ask your dentist about dental bonding.

So how does dental bonding work? Essentially, it is a material that covers the front of the tooth. The bonding material can be used to shape and fill missing areas in your teeth. Once they are put in place, a light is applied to make the material harden. Lastly, they are polished! Dental bonding can restore your confidence in your smile so that you will willingly show off your pearly whites every chance you get!

So what are you waiting for? Ask your dentist about dental bonding and get the tooth quirk that has been bothering you fixed once and for all. Dental bonding can repair chipped, cracked and discolored teeth and also replace silver amalgam fillings for a straighter, uniform smile!

Friday, May 13, 2011

What to Drink for Healthy Teeth

Your dentist tells you to what not to drink (we’re looking at you: soda and red wine!) to keep your teeth as white as possible, but drinking a certain beverage can help make your pearly whites even whiter. Can you guess what it is? Tea! According to new research published in the journal General Dentistry, tea is no worse for your teeth than regular old H20. So if you don’t want to risk yellowing your teeth but get bored of water, brew some tea (and in the summer months sip some iced tea).

Regular sodas can contain as much as 17 teaspoons of sugar (per 20-ounce container) and even through fruit juice seems like a healthier option, many can be erosive to teeth because the refined sugars and certain acids contained in fruit juice can eat away at your enamel.

So take a cue from the British and drink some tea today! Not only is it ok to drink tea if you’ve recently had your teeth whitened, but it is loaded with disease-fighting antioxidants. Bonus points for drinking tea without any added sweetener!

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Five Tips for a Healthy Mouth

You can’t get professional teeth whitening or cosmetic dentistry at home, but these five easy tips will keep your mouth healthier (and your dentist happier).

1. Do you think you might have bad breath? Check by swiping a cotton ball over the back of your tongue, where bacteria hangs out, then smell it. It should smell slightly sweet but if not, brush your teeth and the back of your tongue. You dentist can help if brushing isn’t enough to banish bad breath.

2. Suffering from painful canker cores? These painful (yet benign) sores often crop up when you’re stressed. If topical pain reliever doesn’t do the trick, your dentist may be able to use a soft-tissue laser to zap the sore.

3. Do you brush far enough back? When brushing, make sure to tackle the cavity-prone areas in the back of the mouth by brushing with your mouth only slightly open (your cheeks will block that area if you open too wide).

4. How many times a week do you floss? Your dentist has told you and we’ll say it again: brushing isn’t enough, make sure to floss!

5. When was the last time you did a self-exam? Check your mouth for red or red-and-white patches, pigmented lesions, sores with uneven borers and flaking on the tongue every few months.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Break Your Bad Dental Habits

You know you’re supposed to brush and floss daily, but did you know that you may have some bad dental habits? Read ahead to find out if you are committing any of the following dental sins:

• Drinking too much soda. Even if you are gulping down diet soda, all carbonated soda contains phosphoric acid, which can cause teeth erosion over time. If you have to have your daily Diet Coke (no judgment!), try sipping with a straw to limit contact with your teeth and try to brush afterward.

• Using the wrong type of toothpaste. Oftentimes, toothpastes labeled “tarter control” may be too abrasive. If your toothpaste feels gritty, it may be eroding enamel and causing receding gums. Do look out for fluoride on the list of ingredients.

• Eating things that stain—like coffee, tea, soda, soy sauce, red wine, marinara sauce, etc.—can undo teeth whitening procedures and leave you with yellowish, dull-looking teeth. And who wants that? If you spend money for a teeth whitening procedure from a qualified cosmetic dentist, make sure to avoid foods that stain.

• Using your teeth to open up packages can lead to breaks and cracks and damage to dental bonding. Also try to refrain from chewing hard candies and ice cubes.

• Ignoring problems like bleeding gums and chronic halitosis (aka bad breath). Brush and floss daily to prevent bleeding gums; drink water and remove excess bacteria with a tongue scraper to combat bad breath.

• Brushing too hard can wear down protective enamel and cause receding gums. Make gentle, circular scrubbing motions for two minutes using a soft brush. Consider using an electric brush, which may help remove more plaque than manual brushes.