All posts by Flawless Dental

Something Old, Something New (And Don’t Forget Something White!)

On your wedding day, you want to look your absolute best for all those photos and videos, and most importantly, for the person you’re walking down the aisle to. Your wedding is one of the most important days of your life, and with all the effort you put into all the other aspects of the big day, it only makes sense to give the same attention to yourself!

The adage goes: something old, something new, something borrowed, and something blue. Well, we’re rewriting that—let’s also make something white. We’re not talking about the dress… we’re talking about your smile. Professional whitening can really revitalize your smile, and whether you’ve considered teeth whitening treatments before or not, your wedding is a perfect time to try them out.

Natural smiles aren’t just one shade of white! They contain varying degrees of colors that may not be immediately visible to the untrained eye. When you use over-the-counter treatments, you could end up over-whitening your teeth, resulting in an opaque, toneless smile. However, a professional whitening treatment is typically effective and personalized. Cosmetic dentists know how to create your perfect smile by finding your perfect shade of white, one that matches your skin tone and the whites of your eyes. Your dentist can whiten your teeth up to 10 shades in one sitting!

Professional treatments don’t have to happen in the dentist’s chair either! If you love the convenience of over-the-counter treatments, don’t worry—you can obtain a take-home whitening kit that is made just for you. With proper care, the effects of teeth whitening can last more than a year. You’ll have the perfect smile for the wedding, the honeymoon, and whatever adventure that comes next!

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What Do You Need to Know About Dentures?

Modern dentistry offers many alternatives to dentures. However, dentures are still an option for many patients. Here is what you should know about dentures before making a decision regarding your oral health.

Dentures are a big change from natural teeth. There is definitely an adjustment period when it comes to dentures.

How They Look and Feel

At first, dentures will not feel like natural teeth. In fact, many patients feel like the dentures are too big for their mouth, they have a “full-mouth” feeling. As you adjust to the dentures, this feeling should go away. It may also take some time for your tongue to get used to the feeling of the denture, but the awkwardness will lessen over time and your dentist or prosthodontist may recommend dental adhesive to help you feel more confident with the fit.

New Sensations

Since dentures are not like your natural teeth, they will feel like a foreign object in your mouth at first. For a while you may produce extra saliva, which is trying to compensate for the strange feeling and object in your mouth. Try sucking on candy or mints to clear away excess saliva. Expect soreness at first as your mouth adjusts to the dentures.

Speaking

Dentures can change the way you speak and the way that you hear yourself speak. The sound of your voice travels through the vibrations in the bones of the jaw and skull. Dentures change that sound and make it seem louder.

You also may experience clicking when you speak. Try speaking more slowly in order to prevent this. Your muscles, lips, cheeks, and tongue are trying to acclimate to the dentures and are trying to get used to them.

Eating

After placement, your brain will be paying more attention to the dentures in your mouth than the food that you are eating. This reaction will make it feel as though food has lost its taste. This will go away after your brain gets used to the dentures.

After first receiving your dentures, eat soft foods and cut your food into small pieces. Also, try to chew your food evenly so that you place equal pressure on your dentures.

Talk to your dentist to find out if dentures are a good option for you. If you do decide on dentures, be prepared for the adjustment.

If you are thinking about getting dentures, here are a few things that you need to know. Check out our blog post to learn about the ins and outs of getting dentures.

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Does Cold Weather Hurt Your Jaw?

Do you notice pain in your jaw when it is cold outside? Do you feel sharp pains in your jaw and teeth during chilly weather? If so, you may have a serious jaw condition that needs treatment by a specialist.

Although it is possible that cavities are the source of your pain, it is likely to be an issue with your temporomandibular joint, a hinge that connects your jaw to your skull. If you experience pain in this area, it is likely to be a temporomandibular joint disorder (also known as TMJ or TMD) which can cause pain in your jaw joints and muscles that controls your jaw.

Other symptoms of TMJ or TMD include:

  • Earaches
  • Headaches
  • Pain when chewing
  • Pain when opening your mouth
  • Clicking, grating, or popping sounds in your jaw
  • If you suffer from any of these issues as well as pain in your jaw during cold weather, then you need to visit your dentist. Your dentist can best address the situation and can move forward with a treatment plan to relieve your pain.

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    How to Ruin Your Teeth With DIY Orthodontics

    Many people think that orthodontics is as simple as just applying pressure on teeth until they move to their desired location. However, what they fail to consider is the importance of using the right tools to move the teeth as well as taking the proper care and consideration of the root structures and the impact of one tooth’s movement on other teeth. (Or rather, what professional training of orthodontics is all about!)

    There’s a growing, disturbing trend of people attempting to move their own teeth using do-it-yourself orthodontics. This is spurred by people creating videos on YouTube showing how they are adjusting their teeth. Many of these people are young and don’t pay attention to the potential damage they are inflicting on their teeth.

    The methods these amateur ‘orthodontists’ use can cause enough harm to require the teeth be removed and replaced.

    People considering doing DIY ‘orthodontics’ to save money on visiting an actual, trained orthodontist should keep in mind they’ll probably spend more money in the long run trying to undo the damage that they caused to their own teeth than what they would have spent on an orthodontist.

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    What Xylitol Can Do For You

    If you’ve ever reached for a stick of sugar-free gum and checked the ingredients, then you’ve probably heard of xylitol. Xylitol is a naturally occurring carbohydrate that looks and tastes just like regular sugar. The difference? Xylitol is actually good for your teeth!

    Xylitol is made from either corncobs or trees. Using corncobs to produce xylitol means that it is a very sustainable product and one that comes directly from nature. In fact, we even produce xylitol in our bodies every day. The average person creates about 15 grams of xylitol daily.

    This natural product benefits your whole body as well as your teeth. It is good for your gums, healing wounds, and, according to one study, even in preventing ear infections. Since xylitol is derived from the fibrous part of plants, it doesn’t break down like sugar, so the pH level in your mouth remains neutral. The bacteria in your mouth can’t digest xylitol, which means that it cannot produce more acid. Lower acid levels mean that your enamel is safe and that no erosion will occur. Plus, it also helps you produce saliva, which is good for overall oral health.

    Long story short, Xylitol is the healthy alternative to sugar. It has 40% fewer calories and numerous health benefits. You can try xylitol tooth gels, toothpastes, or mints for results. You can also find xylitol in the form of sinus sprays and candies!

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    Breast Cancer and Oral Health

    More than 200,000 women are in the U.S. are diagnosed with breast cancer every year. With a breast cancer diagnosis comes a great amount of health challenges, including issues with oral health. Many breast cancer patients are at risk for dental caries, pain, and xerostomia. These conditions can seriously affect oral health.

    Xerostomia is a form of dry mouth that can cause serious decay to teeth. We all need saliva in our mouth because it helps to wash away bacteria that will become acid and erode enamel. Suffering from dry mouth allows the bacteria, acid, and plaque on teeth to cause decay much more quickly and severely. This makes it much easier for cavities to form.

    Chemotherapy is the main cause for most oral health issues during cancer treatment. The drugs used during chemotherapy can affect oral health negatively and require additional care from your dental team. Ask your dentist about the best practices for your teeth during treatment. They will know the best ways to prevent decay and further damage in your mouth.

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    Coffee: A Natural Way to Protect your Smile?

    Conventional wisdom, and society in general, has often pointed to coffee as a leading cause of stains on teeth. After all, it stands to reason that dark pigments in coffee could stain porous surfaces like your teeth. Most dentists would confirm this, and while it is true coffee can have that effect, new studies show that these risks may be negated by potential rewards.

    First, the idea that coffee can really decrease the whiteness of your teeth is slightly exaggerated. Although coffee does have very dark pigments, the risk of staining is almost completely negated by regular brushing habits. So, as long as you’re already brushing twice daily, you needn’t worry too much about tarnishing your pearly whites. Adding milk or other creamer products that contain fats also help to prevent coffee stains from setting in.

    All this is good news for your teeth, because in addition to carrying minor cosmetic risks in the form of pigments, coffee has some proven benefits to the health of your mouth. Coffee seems to prevent tooth decay by preventing the bacterial culprits from multiplying. When coffee was tested on S. Mutans (a bacteria that causes tooth decay) it was found to reduce the amount of bacteria compared to control groups. Coffee also acts as an anti-adhesive agent, preventing would-be tooth decaying bacteria from grabbing onto the surfaces of your teeth. And even if regular brushing habits don’t fully prevent staining of your teeth, modern cosmetic dentistry has made teeth whitening a simple and safe procedure.

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    Are You Better Off Without Toothpaste?

    When you think of dental hygiene, a toothbrush and toothpaste immediately comes to mind. A cult has been built around toothpaste-a thousand different varieties, brands, flavors, and functions exist. Each new commercial touts a different dentist’s recommendation, and consumers are left baffled in the drugstore aisle wondering if whitening specialties really work. Unfortunately, all of this time and attention spent on toothpaste may be terribly unnecessary, as our reliance may spring out of habit instead of need.

    Overuse of toothpaste has been identified as actually causing certain conditions such as thinning of tooth enamel and heightened sensitivity. If you were taught that the more you brush your teeth, the whiter they will become, you could be a potential toothpaste abuser. As you brush your teeth harder and more often, the enamel wears down, the dentine becomes closer to the tooth’s surface, and the tooth appears darker instead of whiter. Mistaken beliefs about toothpaste can lock patients into a cycle of increased tooth damage.

    As with all things in life, no singular factor is completely causative. Tooth abrasion is the result of pressure, time, and speed during brushing in addition to the abrasives found in the toothpaste itself. Poor habits such as grinding and drinking excessive amounts of soda further aggravate the situation. However, recognizable patterns have emerged in studies where toothpaste is isolated.

    Brushing with water and brushing with toothpaste show different degrees of wear. As studies continue to measure the factors contributing to tooth damage, dentists are split over weighing the costs and benefits of toothpaste. Proven benefits such as fighting cavities and gum disease are not to be overlooked-however, at what cost?

    Sources:

    Moore, C., Addy, M. and Moran, J. (2008), Toothpaste detergents: a potential source of oral soft tissue damage?. International Journal of Dental Hygiene, 6: 193–198. doi: 10.1111/j.1601-5037.2008.00307.x

    Ferreira, Meire Coelho et al. “Effect of Toothpastes with Different Abrasives on Eroded Human Enamel: An in Situ/ex Vivo Study.” The Open Dentistry Journal 7 (2013): 132–139. PMC. Web. 15 May 2015

    Bolay S, Cakir Fy, Gurgan S. Effects of Toothbrushing with Fluoride Abrasive and Whitening Dentrifices on Both Unbleached and Bleached Human Enamel J Contemporary Dent. Practice 2012; 13(5): 584 – 589

    Fruits for Whiter Teeth?

    Recently hailed as an inexpensive and organic alternative to teeth whitening, fruit concoctions have arisen as the new way to get those pearly whites. But is there any truth to all these claims?

    A study at the University of Iowa points to “No”. Associate Professor So Ran Kwon tested homemade strawberry-baking soda mix, over the counter remedies, and professional whitening or prescribed whitening products. What he found was that “the only benefit of the DIY method is while it seems to make your teeth look whiter, they look whiter because you’re just removing plaque.” The fruit blends don’t penetrate into the teeth and remove stain molecules; they whiten only superficially.

    Professional treatments whiten from the inside out, which is what we really want. All the other procedures tested (professional whitening, whitening strips, and prescribed treatments) all had discernible effects on the whiteness of the teeth.

    So why don’t strawberries or other fruits work? It’s all about chemistry. These fruits don’t contain hydrogen peroxide or carbamide peroxide, both of which are active ingredients in teeth whitening products as regulated by the ADA. Apples and lemons? They don’t work either. In fact, studies have shown that the acidity present in these fruits could be harmful to your teeth. Kwon’s study showed that the strawberry-baking soda mix reduced the surface hardness of the teeth by up to 10%.

    If you’re looking for a whiter, brighter smile, we suggest you put down the fruits and contact your dentist today!

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    Dentistry Adaptation & Autism

    Autism affects 1 in every 68 children in America. Often, children with autism struggle with anxiety in new situations, including during trips to the dentist.

    Researchers from USC and Children’s Hospital Los Angeles decided to look into how dental environments could be adapted for children with Autism Spectrum Disorder. They strived to create a more comfortable environment for autistic children who often feel overwhelmed in dental offices. For example, the overstimulation of lights, sounds, and equipment are common elements that may induce fear and anxiety.

    Therefore, the researchers adapted the dental environment to be a better sensory fit for autistic children. They turned off overhead lights and headlamps, played soothing music and projected slow-moving visual effects on the ceiling to help calm and distract the kids. They even altered the chair, which, instead of using straps, used butterfly shaped arms that acted like a deep-pressure hug.

    The study found that children who had appointments in the sensory adapted dental office had decreased anxiety and reported lower pain and sensory discomfort.

    If you have an autistic child, discuss adaption options with your dentist so that your child can have an enjoyable dental experience with the least amount of anxiety!

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