Posts for: November, 2017
If you were asked to identify the number one mouth problem affecting dental health, what would you name? Toothaches? Poor hygiene? Jaw joint issues?
Believe it or not, the top issue among 15,000 respondents in a recent American Dental Association (ADA) survey was dry mouth. A full one-third of the respondents had experienced chronic lack of normal saliva flow; difficulty biting and tooth pain, took second and third place, respectively.
We’ve all experienced the discomfort of temporary dry mouth when we first wake up in the morning or after eating certain foods. But chronic dry mouth is much more serious with long-term effects on a person’s teeth and gum health. This is because among its other important properties, saliva helps neutralize enamel-softening mouth acid and restores minerals to enamel after acid contact. Without sufficient saliva flow you’re much more susceptible to dental disease.
While there are several causes for dry mouth, perhaps the most common is as a side effect to at least five hundred known medications. Because older people tend to take more medications than other age groups, dry mouth is an acute problem among people over 60 (a major factor for why dry mouth took the survey’s top health problem spot).
You can help ease dry mouth from medications by first asking your doctor about switching to alternative medications that don’t affect saliva production. If not, be sure to drink more water during the day and especially when you take your oral medication (a few sips before and after).
You can help your dry mouth symptoms from any cause by drinking more water, limiting your consumption of alcohol or caffeine, and avoiding tobacco products. You can also use substances that stimulate saliva flow—a common one is xylitol, an alcohol-based sugar that’s used as a sweetener in certain gums and candies. Not only does xylitol boost saliva flow it also inhibits the growth of bacteria and thus decreases your risk of disease.
And speaking of reducing bacteria and their effects, don’t neglect daily brushing and flossing. These habits, along with regular dental cleanings and checkups, will benefit you just as much as your efforts to reduce dry mouth in avoiding dental disease.
Dental implants can fill those toothless gaps and revive your smile for the long term.
Whether you are someone who developed gum disease that went undetected because you don’t come in for routine cleanings or you received a nasty blow to the face while in the heat of the game, there are so many reasons why people of all ages can experience tooth loss. Millions of Americans have lost at least one tooth, but our Cedar Park, TX, dentist, Dr. Jason Dyson, is here to tell you how dental implants could give you back the smile you miss.
Why should you replace missing teeth?
Besides the fact that having gaps in your smile can be unsightly and embarrassing, untreated tooth loss can lead to a variety of other unpleasant issues. For instance, teeth will start to shift toward the gap, leading to misalignments in your smile. Over time you’ll experience jawbone loss, which will affect the shape of your face and even lead to premature wrinkles and lines.
In order to prevent these problems from happening to you, it’s important that you visit our Cedar Park general dentist right away to find out whether dental implants are the best choice for replacing your missing tooth or teeth.
What are dental implants?
Implants are small metal posts that are placed into the jawbone to take over the role of your missing tooth’s roots. An implant is designed to replace a single missing tooth and to support a dental crown. Of course, multiple implants can also be used to replace multiple teeth and to support other restorations such as dentures.
How are dental implants different from other tooth replacements?
Implants are the only tooth replacement that actually functions and look like real teeth. They even fuse together with the jawbone and tissues within your mouth. No other restoration offers the longevity that this tooth replacement does. With the proper care and maintenance, an implant could last the rest of your life.
Implants are also the only replacement option that provides the jawbone with the stimulation it needs to prevent bone loss. Since dentures and bridges don’t take the place of tooth roots and can’t stimulate the jawbone, the bone will continue to lose density over time, which will result in needing to get your dentures or bridges readjusted.
Treating your tooth loss should be your top priority. By restoring your smile you could prevent further oral health complications in the future. Now is the perfect time to call Parmer Oaks Dental Care in Cedar Park, TX, and to schedule an implant consultation with us.
Some people are lucky — they never seem to have a mishap, dental or otherwise. But for the rest of us, accidents just happen sometimes. Take actor Jamie Foxx, for example. A few years ago, he actually had a dentist intentionally chip one of his teeth so he could portray a homeless man more realistically. But recently, he got a chipped tooth in the more conventional way… well, conventional in Hollywood, anyway. It happened while he was shooting the movie Sleepless with co-star Michelle Monaghan.
“Yeah, we were doing a scene and somehow the action cue got thrown off or I wasn't looking,” he told an interviewer. “But boom! She comes down the pike. And I could tell because all this right here [my teeth] are fake. So as soon as that hit, I could taste the little chalkiness, but we kept rolling.” Ouch! So what's the best way to repair a chipped tooth? The answer it: it all depends…
For natural teeth that have only a small chip or minor crack, cosmetic bonding is a quick and relatively easy solution. In this procedure, a tooth-colored composite resin, made of a plastic matrix with inorganic glass fillers, is applied directly to the tooth's surface and then hardened or “cured” by a special light. Bonding offers a good color match, but isn't recommended if a large portion of the tooth structure is missing. It's also less permanent than other types of restoration, but may last up to 10 years.
When more of the tooth is missing, a crown or dental veneer may be a better answer. Veneers are super strong, wafer-thin coverings that are placed over the entire front surface of the tooth. They are made in a lab from a model of your teeth, and applied in a separate procedure that may involve removal of some natural tooth material. They can cover moderate chips or cracks, and even correct problems with tooth color or spacing.
A crown is the next step up: It's a replacement for the entire visible portion of the tooth, and may be needed when there's extensive damage. Like veneers, crowns (or caps) are made from models of your bite, and require more than one office visit to place; sometimes a root canal may also be needed to save the natural tooth. However, crowns are strong, natural looking, and can last many years.
But what about teeth like Jamie's, which have already been restored? That's a little more complicated than repairing a natural tooth. If the chip is small, it may be possible to smooth it off with standard dental tools. Sometimes, bonding material can be applied, but it may not bond as well with a restoration as it will with a natural tooth; plus, the repaired restoration may not last as long as it should. That's why, in many cases, we will advise that the entire restoration be replaced — it's often the most predictable and long-lasting solution.
Oh, and one more piece of advice: Get a custom-made mouthguard — and use it! This relatively inexpensive device, made in our office from a model of your own teeth, can save you from a serious mishap… whether you're doing Hollywood action scenes, playing sports or just riding a bike. It's the best way to protect your smile from whatever's coming at it!
If you have questions about repairing chipped teeth, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can also learn more by reading the Dear Doctor magazine articles “Artistic Repair of Chipped Teeth With Composite Resin” and “Porcelain Veneers.”