Posts for: March, 2019
Your teeth’s hard, enamel coating protects them from environmental dangers or disease. But although it’s made of the hardest substance in the human body, enamel isn’t invincible — prolonged exposure to acid can cause dental erosion, a condition in which the enamel’s mineral content permanently dissolves, a process known as de-mineralization.
De-mineralization occurs anytime our mouth environment becomes too acidic due to eating or drinking items with high acid content. Saliva normally neutralizes mouth acid in thirty minutes to an hour after we eat, as well as restores mineral content to the enamel (re-mineralization). Danger arises, though, if the saliva’s buffering action is overwhelmed by chronic acidity, caused mainly by constant snacking or sipping on acidic foods and beverages throughout the day — in this situation, saliva can’t complete the process of buffering and re-mineralization.
As a result, the enamel may permanently lose its mineral content and strength over time. This permanent dental erosion leads to serious consequences: the teeth become more susceptible to decay; the dentin becomes exposed, which causes pain and sensitivity to pressure and temperature changes; and changes in the teeth’s size and color can negatively alter your appearance.
It’s important to take action then before dental erosion occurs. Along with daily oral hygiene, restrict your consumption of acidic foods and beverages to meal times and cut back on between-meal snacks. Rather than a sports drink after exercising, drink nature’s hydrator — water. You should also alter your brushing habits slightly — rather than brush right after you eat, wait thirty minutes to an hour. This gives saliva time to restore the mouth to its normal pH and re-mineralize the enamel. Brushing right after can remove even more of the minerals in softened enamel.
If significant erosion has occurred, there are a number of treatment options we can undertake to preserve remaining tooth structure and enhance your appearance. In moderate cases, we can reshape and cover damaged teeth using dental materials like composite resins or porcelain to fill decayed areas or cover teeth with veneers or crowns.
The key of course, is to identify dental erosion through clinical examination as soon as possible to minimize damage. Your enamel plays a critical role in protecting your teeth from disease — so take the right steps to protect your enamel.
If you would like more information on protecting your enamel, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can also learn more about this topic by reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “Dental Erosion.”
Can you have healthy teeth and still have gum disease? Absolutely! And if you don’t believe us, just ask actor David Ramsey. The cast member of TV hits such as Dexter and Arrow said in a recent interview that up to the present day, he has never had a single cavity. Yet at a routine dental visit during his college years, Ramsey’s dentist pointed out how easily his gums bled during the exam. This was an early sign of periodontal (gum) disease, the dentist told him.
“I learned that just because you don’t have cavities, doesn’t mean you don’t have periodontal disease,” Ramsey said.
Apparently, Ramsey had always been very conscientious about brushing his teeth but he never flossed them.
“This isn’t just some strange phenomenon that exists just in my house — a lot of people who brush don’t really floss,” he noted.
Unfortunately, that’s true — and we’d certainly like to change it. So why is flossing so important?
Oral diseases such as tooth decay and periodontal disease often start when dental plaque, a bacteria-laden film that collects on teeth, is allowed to build up. These sticky deposits can harden into a substance called tartar or calculus, which is irritating to the gums and must be removed during a professional teeth cleaning.
Brushing teeth is one way to remove soft plaque, but it is not effective at reaching bacteria or food debris between teeth. That’s where flossing comes in. Floss can fit into spaces that your toothbrush never reaches. In fact, if you don’t floss, you’re leaving about a thirdÂ to half of your tooth surfaces unclean — and, as David Ramsey found out, that’s a path to periodontal disease.
Since then, however, Ramsey has become a meticulous flosser, and he proudly notes that the long-ago dental appointment “was the last we heard of any type of gum disease.”
Let that be the same for you! Just remember to brush and floss, eat a good diet low in sugar, and come in to the dental office for regular professional cleanings.
If you would like more information on flossing or periodontal disease, please contact us today to schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can also learn more by reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “Understanding Gum (Periodontal) Disease.”
Fillings used to be anything but subtle. Every time you opened your mouth, the people around you saw a flash of silver and knew you'd had a cavity. Today, tooth-colored fillings from Dr. Angela Toy of Newberg, Oregon's Arbor Hills Dental offers an effective, discreet alternative to silver amalgam fillings!
Tooth-colored fillings look just like natural enamel
Tooth-colored fillings are tinted to match common tooth shades to ensure that your smile, not your dental work, is the first thing that people notice about you. The fillings are made of composite resin, a durable material created from powdered glass and plastic.
The advantages of tooth-colored fillings
Tooth-colored fillings offer several important advantages, including:
- Less Destruction of Healthy Tooth Structure: Before the filling is placed in your tooth, your Newberg dentist must remove the decayed area and a portion of the healthy structure surrounding the cavity. The step is crucial but can also slightly weaken teeth. Tooth-colored fillings only require removal of a small amount of healthy structure, which helps your treated tooth remain strong.
- Stronger Teeth: Exposing composite resin to a curing light bonds the material to your tooth and strengthens it.
- Lower Risk of Cracks: Like any metal, silver amalgam expands and contracts when exposed to hot and cold temperatures. Eventually, constant expansion and contraction may cause a crack in your tooth. Cracks increase your risk of cavities, inflammations, and infections in your tooth pulp. Luckily, composite resin doesn't react to temperature changes, which can help reduce your risk of cracks.
- No Discoloration: Silver amalgam fillings may darken your teeth if you've had them for a while. However, discoloration isn't an issue with tooth-colored fillings. In fact, the color of your filling won't change no matter how long you've had it.
Do you think you may have a cavity? Call your Newberg, OR, dentist, Dr. Angela Toy of Arbor Hills Dental, at (503) 538-2143 to schedule an appointment today!
The American Dental Association recommends that most people schedule an appointment for a check up and professional dental cleaningevery six months in order to prevent or lower the risk of common problems like tooth decay and gum (periodontal) disease. But despite heightened awareness of the dangers of gum disease and the risks of tooth loss, many adults struggle to get to the dentist until something goes wrong. But if an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure as the old saying goes, taking the time to schedule regular dental appointments can save a significant amount of time and money in the long run in additional dental work. Dr. Reina Garcia, a family dentist in Sudbury, MA, offers general and cosmetic dentistry services for the entire family.
Preventive Dentistry in Sudbury, MA
Even if you brush and floss regularly, regular professional dental care is still an important part of a comprehensive oral healthcare routine. During your appointment, the dentist will check your gums for pockets, gum recession, screen for oral cancer and tooth decay, and perform a deep clean between the teeth to eliminate the plaque and tartar buildup that your toothbrush may leave behind.
The Advantages of Seeing a Family Dentist
Family dentists offer a comprehensive range of services for patients of all ages, from children to senior citizens. A family dentist offers a number of benefits for busy parents who might otherwise struggle to get everyone to the dentist for preventive care and other dental work, from saving time by treating everyone at the same practice, to familiarity with the family history that can help to predict and lower the risk of hereditary issues.
Find a Family Dentist in Sudbury, MA
For more information about preventive dentistry services for the entire family, contact Millbrook Smiles by calling (978) 443-5500 to schedule an appointment with Dr. Garcia today.
The month of March brings the first day of spring, when nature seems to wake up after a restful winter slumber. It also brings Sleep Awareness Week, which leads us to ask: How's your sleep? For around one of every three people, the answer seems to be: Not so good! In fact, it's estimated that some 50-70 million people in the U.S. alone have sleep problems, including sleep-related breathing disorders like obstructive sleep apnea (OSA).
People who suffer from this condition seem to sleep fitfully and snore loudly—and they may actually wake up dozens of times every night without even knowing it. These "micro-arousals" make it impossible to get restful sleep, which can lead to fatigue, trouble concentrating, and behavioral issues. Children with sleep disorders like OSA are sometimes diagnosed with attention deficit/hyperactivity disorders because the symptoms are very similar.
If you suspect that you (or someone you care about) may have a serious sleep disorder, it's a good idea to get an examination from a medical professional who specializes in this area. If the diagnosis is OSA, there are a number of treatments that can be effective—one of which is an oral appliance that's available from the dental office.
Dentists are quite familiar with the anatomical structure of the mouth, which is sometimes the root cause of OSA. In many individuals, the soft tissue structures in the back of the oral cavity (including the tonsils, tongue and soft palate) can shift position when muscles relax during sleep and block the flow of air through the windpipe. The lack of sufficient air may cause a person to awaken briefly, gasp for breath, and then relax their muscles—over and over again, all night long.
After a complete exam, we can have an appliance custom-made for you that has proven successful in managing mild to moderate cases of OSA. Shaped a little like a retainer, it is worn in your mouth at night and taken out in the daytime. The appliance helps maintain an open airway by re-positioning the jaw and/or keeping the tongue out of the way.
Oral appliance therapy is one of the most conservative options available for treating OSA: It requires no major equipment or irreversible medical procedures. However, there are a number of other options, including machines that supply pressurized air through a face mask and even oral surgery. It's important to consult with a specialist in sleep disorders when you're facing this issue. If the diagnosis is OSA or a similar sleep problem, remember that help may be available here at the dental office.
If you have questions about sleep-related breathing disorders, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can read more in the Dear Doctor magazine articles “Oral Appliances For Sleep Apnea” and “Sleep Disorders & Dentistry.”