All posts by Flawless Dental

A New Solution To Enamel Loss?

Researchers at the University of Southern California have made a major breakthrough in the investigation of tooth enamel regrowth procedures.

Tooth enamel is a nonliving tissue; unlike bone, enamel does not regrow naturally in the human body. Lack of tooth enamel can cause sensitivity and even pain in the mouth, making the tooth much more susceptible to breakages, decay, and other issues. This fact has been the bane of dentists and patients alike; previously, once enamel eroded, it was gone forever.

However, the team of researchers at USC have discovered that an enzyme found only in the teeth—metalloproteinase-20, or MMP-20—is a key component in biomineraliztion and the initial creation of enamel on the tooth. What makes this enzyme special is that it “chops up amelogenin proteins, which facilitate organized enamel crystal formation”.

What does this mean? It means that researchers are hard at work to determine whether or not MMP-20 can work with other enzymes to allow “enamel-making cells in the body to add more mineral and make enamel.”

The team tested a hydrogel recipe on a set of human molars prepped with artificially created decay and saliva. The gel, known to be able to “repair early tooth decay by growing an enamel-like layer”, showed “big improvement over other methods” of remineralization, which produced disorganized structures of crystals.

To take it to the next level, the team plans to alter this gel recipe by adding MMP-20 in hopes of creating a stronger, enamel-like seal.

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BPA Exposure Affects Young Teeth

From the moment they erupt in our mouths as children, our teeth plays a major part of our lives. As such, it’s essential to care for them well during childhood and continuing into adulthood. In a recent study done with lab rats, it was found that when teeth were exposed to BPA, “there were multiple characteristics in common with a tooth enamel pathology known as MIH (Molar Incisor Hypomineralisation) that selectively affects first molars and permanent incisors.” Although this certain type of enamel is generally found in only 18% of kids aged 6 to 8, it means that the children are more susceptible to cavities, pain, and decay.

Bisphenol A, more commonly known as BPA, is a chemical that has been used largely in recent years in plastics and resins. Lately, however, there have been more and more studies that show that BPA has negative affects on the human body, specifically affecting metabolism, reproduction, and development. With this study, we may soon add children’s teeth to that list.

When studied, the teeth of the lab rats were found to have white marks on them, and now the researches will compare that to the actual human teeth to see if its effects remain the same. The “brittleness” of the enamel when examined leads to the notion that there is significant “mineral depletion” making the teeth very susceptible to decay.

BPA could have a direct affect on our teeth, and when discussing children, they are even more sensitive to BPA during their first years of life. Overall, we should take from this study the idea that we need to ensure that young children are not exposed to BPA so that they will not suffer from the effects of MIH.

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Want an A-list Smile? With Veneers, It’s Possible!

In today’s society, first impressions are everything. People instinctually form judgments within milliseconds of seeing a new face for the first time. From clothing choices to our pearly whites, every aspect of our appearance helps strangers form opinions of us instantaneously.

It’s no surprise, then, that our smiles play an incredibly important role in portraying a favorable image. The appearance of our teeth can greatly influence our self-esteem level—positively or negatively. If teeth are misshapen, dull, or discolored, it can affect your confidence and make you much less likely to greet people with a smile. Unfortunately, this can come off as unfriendly. However, if your teeth are pearly white and perfect at every angle—like a Hollywood celebrity—you’ll be proud to flash your dazzling smile and will make a much better impression. Luckily, unlike pricey designer gowns and million-dollar diamonds, the ability to smile like a star is available to everyone through dental veneers!

If obtaining straight, white, flawless teeth is something that is important to you, talk to your dentist about veneers. Veneers were invented in the 1930s by Dr. Charles Pincus to improve the smiles of Hollywood’s motion picture stars. Subsequently, over the past 80+ years, almost all red-carpet A-Listers in the entertainment industry have been getting them.

So how exactly so veneers work? Veneers are razor-thin slices of porcelain bonded to the front and sides of your teeth so they look perfect in shape and color. What’s more, they can fix dental problems such as discoloration, teeth that are worn down, chipped or broke teeth, misaligned teeth, or teeth with gaps in between them. If you are experiencing any of these issues yourself, or you just want that award-winning white smile like your favorite celeb, set up a consultation with your dentist to discuss the best option for you and your pearly whites.

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The Teething Myth You Have to Stop Believing

Many parents have the misconception that teething causes diarrhea. What’s the correlation, you may ask? It is believed that the excess saliva that comes with teething can affect the gastrointestinal system.

However, although there is no evidence of a causal relationship, this idea may not be completely baseless, as teething babies put a variety of different items in their mouths during teething. This can result in them introducing a host of new bacteria into their system which can then results in diarrhea.

If your baby has diarrhea while teething, don’t write it off as a symptom of teething itself. Monitor what your baby puts in his or her mouth, and if the diarrhea persists, he or she should be examined by a doctor to avoid further issues.

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How an Oral Abscess Can Affect You

An infection in the mouth is never a fun situation, especially when it can lead to an oral abscess. An abscess is a pocket of pus caused by infection, and they can exist in the mouth as a periapical abscess (if it’s in the tooth) or a periodontal abscess (if it’s in the gums). Oral abscesses are commonly a result of food getting trapped between the gum and the tooth.

Having an abscess is extremely painful and needs to be treated right away. If you think you have one, it’s important to call your dentist immediately, as an untreated abscess can become a cyst in the jawbone. If a root canal or tooth extraction does not remove the cyst, then surgery may be needed.

Your dentist will remove the abscess and clean the area thoroughly. After it has been cleaned, they will allow the trapped pus to escape and treat the infection with antibiotics. Many different treatment plans may be followed depending upon the type of infection and where it is within the tooth.

The best way to avoid an abscess is to maintain a good oral health routine that involves brushing, flossing, and regular dental visits. However, it is easy to develop issues if you neglect your teeth. If you are experiencing pain, ask your dentist how they can help create a treatment plan for you.

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Can Seasonal Allergies Impact Your Oral Health?

If you suffer from seasonal allergies, you know how irritating they can be. Constant sniffling, sneezing, and headaches can take a toll on your mood and ruin your plans. But did you know they may also influence your dental health? Here are some common ways your seasonal allergies can mess with your mouth, and how you can handle them.



Tooth Pain

Allergy sufferers commonly experience excessive amounts of mucus buildup in their sinuses. The fact that the largest sinuses in your face are directly above your mouth is—you guessed it—bad news for teeth. Pressure in these sinuses can push down on teeth and cause uncomfortable aches. 

Try taking an antihistamine, like Benadryl, to thin out the mucus buildup and relieve your toothache. If the problem persists, contact your dentist! There may be another, unrelated problem that requires professional attention.

Dryness

Feel like you’re constantly dealing with a scratchy mouth and throat during allergy season, no matter how much water you drink? Or worse, stuffy nose forcing you to breathe through your mouth? A lack of moisture in your mouth means less saliva to wash away all that bacteria that accumulates in your mouth, which can lead to gum disease and tooth decay.

The best way to counteract dryness? Water! Stay as hydrated as possible while your allergies are acting up, both to help get rid of bacteria in the mouth and to help your body further thin out mucus.



Soreness

A sore throat is one of the most frustrating seasonal allergy side effects. Usually, it’s caused by post-nasal drip—mucus that drains down the back of the throat from the sinuses—which can also lead to bad breath that can’t be eradicated by brushing.



Just like with dryness, upping your H2O intake can help flush out some of that bacteria and freshen your breath. If that doesn’t help as much as you’d like, try a saltwater gargle to kill harmful cultures and do away with excess mucus!

As tempting as it may be, don’t skimp on your usual brushing and flossing just because your allergies have you feeling less than your best. Your mouth will thank you!

Why Chewing Gum is Good For Your Oral Health

Not all chewing gum are created equally. Although people have been chewing gum for centuries, there’s a critical difference between gum that can help your teeth and gum that can ruin your teeth: sugar!

Sugarless gum has been shown to have oral health benefits and can even help to prevent tooth decay! In fact, chewing sugarless gum for 20 minutes a day helps to increase saliva in your mouth. In addition, the increased saliva helps neutralize and wash away the acids in your mouth that are produced by broken down foods. By washing away this acid, you can protect your enamel.

Increased saliva flow also helps to carry more phosphorus and calcium around your mouth. These nutrients are key to strengthening enamel, which lowers your risk for tooth decay.

Chewing gum after a meal has even earned the seal of approval from the American Dental Association. That means that chewing gum is certified to meet certain dental standards such as reducing plaque acids, reducing cavities, and that it is safe for oral tissues.

After your business lunch, opt for a piece of sugarless gum. Not only will it keep your teeth healthy, but it will also keep your breath fresh!

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Tooth Discoloration? Here’s How To Fix It!

There are many reasons why teeth can become discolored. Dentists have categorized causes of tooth discoloration into 2 types: Extrinsic and Intrinsic.

  • Extrinsic Staining – This type of discoloration is usually superficial and appears yellow and spread out over the entire tooth. It’s normally a result of eating food or drinking beverages that have very strong colors in them. Probably the worst culprit is black tea, as the high concentration of tannins get caught in minuscule crevices in the teeth, leaving the tooth stained. Other sources of extrinsic discoloration are berries, coffee, wine, and smoking.
  • Intrinsic Staining – This type of discoloration is not usually spread out over an entire tooth, but rather is usually small, localized, and very dark. These stains are much deeper in the tooth and are basically built into the tooth. These stains appear most often as a side effect of some medications. They can also appear as a result of disease, overexposure to fluoride, or as a result of the dentin layer of the teeth showing when the outer enamel layer erodes.

Have these stains? Luckily there are ways to clean or hide them! Generally, removing extrinsic stains is much easier than dealing intrinsic stains, as intrinsic stains usually have to be hidden.

  • Whitening Extrinsic Teeth stains – These stains can usually be removed by in-office teeth whitening or take home teeth whitening kits. You can also help avoid getting the stains in the first place by rinsing out your mouth with water after eating tooth-staining food. Whatever you do, don’t brush your teeth after eating staining food, as staining foods are generally also acidic and brushing right after eating acidic food can erode the enamel layer of your teeth.
  • Whitening Intrinsic Teeth stains – These stains usually can’t be treated with regular teeth whitening solutions and these stains need to be covered up. This can be accomplished through the use of dental veneers or dental crowns. These stains are also harder to avoid, as they may be a result of an important medication you are taking. It’s also hard to know when your teeth are over-fluoridated until the stains already appear on your teeth. Veneers and crowns cover up the stains and are do not stain from medication and fluoride.

Sports Drinks: Here’s the Catch

Reports indicate that 30 to 50 percent of U.S. teens consume energy drinks, and that 62 percent consume at least one sports drink a day. While the drinks hydrate and offer energy and minerals, there’s a side of them that most don’t talk about.

Sports drinks are full of acid and sugar used to enhance the flavor. In addition to adding flavor, however, these ingredients are also responsible for eroding the enamel of the athletes that drink them.

To make matters worse, breathing through the mouth while exercising leads to a dry mouth that, in addition to the acid in the drink, can lead to enamel erosion and cavities. In addition, researchers have found that signs of enamel erosion appeared only 5 days after treating the tested teeth to a condition where the teeth are immersed in sports drinks and then saliva.

Given all this, it’s best to stick to water for hydration, or, if sports drinks are consumed, to chew sugar free gum afterwards and avoid brushing teeth for at least an hour after drinking the sports drinks.

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Straighter Teeth in a Snap

Turns out you can have straighter teeth by mail! Well, at least that is what a few by-mail-only orthodontia companies believe. In an effort to help patients save money, some orthodontic companies are having patients send their impressions to them by mail instead of going in for a dentist’s consultation. While this approach may save patients money, it could cause harm to their teeth.

The way that companies like SmileCareClub and CrystalBraces work is that for a small fee they send you putty and trays that look like mouth guards for you to use to take impressions with. After the patient takes an impression with their teeth they then send them back to the company. The impressions are looked over by a dental professional and then sets of plastic dental trays are sent back to the patient to wear daily to help straighten teeth.

While these trays work similarly to the Invisalign dental straightening system, they are missing one key component, a dentist’s stamp of approval. Many orthodontists and dentists warn that if you try to get teeth straightening trays without first seeing a dental professional then you can face serious oral health risks. One of the major issues that orthodontists have with this no-visit system is that patients cannot be checked for oral health issues and barriers to straightening.

One doctor argued that you couldn’t check for gum disease without an in-person visit. Gum disease typically needs to be treated before any type of orthodontic work is started. Other specialists argued that for some patients will not benefit from teeth aligners and that they are wasting money by getting these aligners that will not work.

While buying straightening trays online may seem like a great opportunity to get the smile you want while saving money, it can harm your oral health. Visit your dentist or orthodontist to discuss what teeth straightening method could be right for you.

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