Signature Dental

8 Good Toothbrushing Habits

Did you know that your smile is one of the first things other people notice about you? Healthy, beautiful teeth are essential to making a good first impression. And while there are many ways to achieve a healthy, beautiful smile, it’s important to start with the basics of oral health care–brushing your teeth.

Your toothbrushing habits can make or break your smile. We all know we are supposed to brush our teeth every day, however, it’s not just important that we brush our teeth daily– the details of that habit are imperative to its effectiveness.

So, are you brushing your teeth in the most effective way? Here are 8 tips to get the most out of tooth brushing:

1. Use a soft-bristled toothbrush.

Using a hard-bristled toothbrush is a sure way to damage your gums and teeth. These toothbrushes have tightly-packed bristles that don’t bend easily, causing the erosion of dental enamel and irritation of gum tissue.

Soft-bristled toothbrushes are less dense, so the bristles bend while moving back and forth along your teeth and gums. Though this may not feel as effective as a hard-bristled toothbrush, it’s much better at cleaning your mouth without doing any damage.

2. Invest in an electric toothbrush.

Electric toothbrushes are a great option for children and adults, and they are especially great for people with limited mobilities due to arthritis, carpal tunnel, or developmental disabilities. An electric toothbrush takes some of the pressure off of you by doing most of the work. You simply hold the toothbrush against each tooth for about 10 seconds, and let it do the scrubbing!

Various studies, like this one, have also shown that electric toothbrushes reduce plaque and the risk of gingivitis more than manual toothbrushes.

3. Use the 2×2 rule.

The American Dental Association recommends that everyone brush for two minutes, twice a day. Most people brush their teeth in the morning to get rid of “morning breath”, but brushing at night (right before bed) is even more important.

In the evening, our teeth have plaque build-up along the surfaces of our teeth and gum line. Without removing it before going to bed, that plaque can turn into tartar, which leads to cavities and gum disease. Brushing at night also helps prevent surface stains from setting in so your smile stays bright.

4. Use fluoride toothpaste.

Fluoride, a naturally-occurring mineral, remains one of the most important ingredients in toothpaste to prevent cavities and gum disease. Fluoride remineralizes tooth enamel, encourages the production of fluorapatite, and exerts antibacterial properties. Though fluoride cannot reverse cavities, it can slow down their progression.

5. Be gentle.

Be careful of how much pressure you’re using when brushing. Even if you use a soft-bristled toothbrush, pressing down too hard while brushing your teeth can also damage your enamel and gum tissue, leading to dental sensitivity, cavities, and gum recession.

To determine if you are using too much pressure, try brushing with your non-dominant hand and feel the difference! Then, switch back to use the proper combination of pressure and technique.

6. Brush your tongue.

The tongue harbors bacteria just like the teeth and gums do, so it’s very important to clean your tongue while brushing. Rinsing with water alone will not remove the bacteria or the biofilm. So, after you’ve brushed your teeth, one of the best toothbrushing habits is to brush your tongue front to back and side to side, then rinse with water. You can also use a tongue scraper, but both methods are effective.

7. Replace your toothbrush every three or four months.

There are several reasons why you should replace your toothbrush often:

  • Bacteria build-up: As a toothbrush removes bacteria from your teeth, gums, and tongue, it accumulates bacteria in the bristles. The longer you use a toothbrush, the more bacteria it accumulates.
  • Worn-out bristles: At about the 3-4 month mark, the bristles on your toothbrush will likely lose their stiffness, and consequently, their effectiveness.
  • Sickness: If you’ve been sick, especially with a viral or bacterial infection, it’s best to switch out your toothbrush once the sickness has passed.
  • Accidental sharing: If someone accidentally uses your toothbrush, buy a new one to avoid the transfer of cavity- or disease-causing bacteria.

8. Follow up with flossing.

Unfortunately, toothbrushes can’t clean between your teeth. Flossing is an essential part of any oral hygiene routine and should never be neglected. Use traditional floss, floss picks, or a water flosser to remove plaque from between your teeth. This is one of the best ways to avoid cavities, gum disease, bad breath, and a multitude of other oral health issues.

Get Personalized Tooth Brushing Tips

Have questions about the best fluoride toothpaste? Want to know if you’re using the right brushing technique? Need recommendations for an electric toothbrush? Our friendly dental team is prepared to answer your questions and help you achieve optimal oral health. Contact us today to schedule an appointment.

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April is Oral Cancer Awareness Month

Spring is the season of renewal! Trees are blooming, birds are singing, and…we’re reminding you about the dangers of oral cancer. We know it doesn’t really fit with spring’s eternal feeling of hope and optimism, but April is Oral Cancer Awareness Month and early detection is a beautiful thing.

The Prevalence of Oral Cancer

The American Cancer Society estimates approximately 54,000 new cases of oral cancer (oral cavity and oropharyngeal cancers collectively) will be diagnosed in the United States this year. Oral cancer is particularly dangerous because it often goes unnoticed in its early stages when it responds most successfully to treatment. Early-stage symptoms frequently appear non-threatening and may present as a white or red patch of tissue in the mouth or a shallow lesion that resembles a common canker sore. Unfortunately, due to late-stage diagnoses, oral cancer is responsible for almost 2% of all cancer deaths in the US, despite accounting for less than 3% of all cancers diagnosed.

Risk Factors

Historically, the primary risk factors associated with oral cancer have been age (the average age at diagnosis is 62 years), tobacco use, excessive alcohol consumption, and the combination of the two (the risk being greater for people who use both tobacco and alcohol).

However, recent data shows that the fastest growing segment of the oral cancer population is non-smokers under the age of fifty. And, according to the Academy of General Dentistry, a quarter of cases have no risk factors for cancers of the mouth (i.e. tobacco or alcohol use). This shift coincides with an overall decline in smoking and an increase in the number of younger people diagnosed with oral cancer related to human papillomavirus number 16 (HPV16), a disease transmitted through sexual contact.

The Good News

Awareness is key to early detection and treatment. When diagnosed at an early stage, the overall 5-year survival rate for people with oral cancer is 85%. To help increase the public’s knowledge of oral cancer and the role self-exams can play in early detection, the Oral Cancer Foundation launched www.checkyourmouth.org. This website is packed with great information, including a how-to video on self-screening.

Prevention

Aside from avoiding tobacco and excessive alcohol consumption, early detection is key. Patients should contact our dental team if they experience any of the following symptoms for longer than two weeks:

  • A sore that bleeds or doesn’t heal
  • A growth, lump, or thickening of the skin or lining of your mouth
  • Tongue pain or numbness
  • Jaw pain or stiffness
  • Difficulty or painful chewing, speaking, or swallowing (the sensation of food getting caught in your throat)
  • Prolonged hoarseness
  • Numbness in the oral / facial region
  • Persistent earache in the same ear
  • Loose teeth with no apparent dental cause

Oral cancer screening is one more reason regular dental check-ups are vital to overall health. Not only do we examine the general health and appearance of your teeth, but also of your oral tissues. This is important because tissue changes in the mouth that might signal the beginnings of cancer often go undetected to the untrained eye but can be seen and felt easily by dental professionals.

It’s also critical for patients to have an open line of communication with their dental practice. Be sure to let us know if you’ve experienced any changes in your medical history – even if you think it’s not important. This is also where patient transparency comes into play. Be honest about your tobacco and alcohol usage; we’re not here to judge!

Contact Our Office

If you’re experiencing any of the symptoms noted above or think you’re at risk for oral cancer, our team is here to help. Contact our practice to schedule an appointment.

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Dental Assistant Recognition Week

Dental Assistants Recognition Week™ (also known as DARW) is held the first full week in March (this year, it’s March 6-12), and we want to take this opportunity to give our hard-working dental assistants the recognition they deserve!

Our dental assistants are crucial to the success of our practice. They perform multiple functions, and we couldn’t provide the level of patient care we do without them.

One of the dental assistant’s most important priorities is providing patient care. As such, they often form strong patient relationships and act as the face of our practice. It’s not uncommon for patients to feel nervous or uncomfortable about visiting the dentist. In these situations, our dental assistants play a crucial role in helping to alleviate patients’ anxiety.

From preparing for procedures before a patient is even in the dental chair to following up with care instructions after treatment, dental assistants are essential players in providing an exceptional patient experience.

They regularly:

  • Welcome patients
  • Answer questions and alleviate patient anxiety
  • Educate patients about treatment options
  • Provide reassurance about upcoming procedures

Our dental assistants are also on the front lines of keeping patients and team members safe. Beyond managing sterilization of dental instruments, they have the uncanny ability to anticipate what’s next in dental procedures and what patients might need. As a result, they’re integral to ensuring the entire appointment goes smoothly and patients remain as comfortable as possible.

Beyond patient care, dental assistants help to maintain the practice’s schedule and keep everything on track. Consummate multi-taskers, dental assistants ensure patients are seated on time and provide the support dentists need to work through scheduled appointments in a timely manner.

Even though March 6-12th is dedicated to recognizing dental assistants, they play an important role in our practice year-round. We’re grateful to our dental assistants for the hard work and contributions they make to keep our patients and team happy and safe!

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Why Do I Have White Spots on My Teeth?

Everyone wants white teeth, but not so much when that color appears in spots or blotches. Technically known as white lesions, white spots can develop on your teeth due a range of factors from diet to ingesting fluoride as a child.

Common causes include:

Fluorosis – Though fluoride is essential for strengthening teeth and preventing decay, too much fluoride in developing teeth can lead to low amounts of calcification, which causes spots of softer enamel and discoloration. Fluorosis occurs when children consume too many fluoridated beverages or swallow fluoride toothpaste when the enamel layers of permanent teeth are being formed. Most commonly, this happens before the age of 8 when permanent teeth come in, or around the ages of 1-2 when baby teeth appear. Fluoride is safe but should only be consumed in proper amounts. That’s why it’s important for parents to monitor their children’s brushing habits during the stages of tooth formation, to ensure they aren’t accidentally ingesting large amounts of toothpaste or mouthwash.

Enamel Hypoplasia – This condition is an enamel defect that results in thin or missing enamel. Enamel hypoplasia is generally caused by a nutritional deficiency that leads to mineral loss in the tooth. Taking certain antibiotics, or conditions such as celiac disease, can make it difficult to absorb nutrients resulting in enamel defects. Additionally, smoking while pregnant may cause this condition in children. In some cases, enamel hypoplasia occurs on only part of a tooth’s surface, resulting in white spots, or pits and grooves in the tooth’s enamel. In other cases, an entire tooth may have an overly thin layer of dental enamel or no enamel at all.

Diet – A diet high in sugar or acidic foods can also cause white spots on your teeth. Highly acidic foods and drinks, such as soda and citrus fruits eat away at your tooth enamel. A diet high in sugar also causes the formation of acidic plaque, which can erode enamel. Acid reflux is another trigger because it produces acid in the stomach, throat, and mouth. As tooth enamel breaks down, patients may also experience other symptoms like sensitivity to cold or hot foods and beverages.

Plaque Accumulation – White lesions can also form due to an accumulation of bacteria plaque. Frequently the result of poor dental hygiene, plaque accumulation can also be a side effect of wearing braces. Lack of effective oral hygiene or an inability to thoroughly remove plaque between brackets cause demineralization of the tooth, which results in white areas of decalcification These white spots are early cavities but can generally be reversed if treated quickly.

Treatment for White Spots on Teeth

While some patients don’t mind the aesthetics of white spots on their teeth, others are extremely bothered by it.  Fortunately, for those concerned there are a number of treatment options to eliminate the spots, including:

Enamel Microabrasion – This procedure removes a thin layer of enamel from the tooth’s surface using mild abrasion. This can remove white spots and improve the appearance of teeth.

Bleaching – Performed under a doctor’s supervision, bleaching helps balance the color of your tooth’s enamel. This treatment lightens the entire tooth, so that it matches the color of the white spots. However, since this treatment can further bleach white spots, resulting in the spots taking on a different shade of white, it’s not an effective treatment for people with fluorosis.

Veneers – Depending on the extent of the white spots, your dentist may suggest concealing them with a porcelain veneer. This involves the creation of a custom porcelain that is permanently bonded to the surface of your teeth, effectively covering any discoloration.

Contact Our Dental Team

Whatever the cause of the white spots on your teeth or on your child’s teeth, you have several options for treatment. Please call our team to discuss the best options.

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Benefits of Chewing (Sugar-Free) Gum

Chewing gum may not have gotten your school teacher’s approval, but as long as it’s sugar-free, it will get a nod from your dentist! In fact, sugar-free gum is the only item in the candy aisle that can actually improve your oral health.

Adding sugar-free gum to your day can help:

Increase Saliva Flow

Saliva plays a critical role in your overall oral health. In addition to washing away bacteria, saliva keeps your mouth at the correct pH level. A dry mouth causes an imbalance in the mouth’s pH level. This can lead to acidic saliva (when the pH drops below 5.5), which breaks down tooth enamel, creating the ideal environment for cavities. When you chew, muscles compress the salivary glands in the mouth, which release saliva to keep the mouth moist. Increasing saliva production by chewing gum after eating will help keep the mouth clean.

Fight Bad Breath

We’ve all experienced bad breath on occasion. Strong-smelling foods like garlic, onions, and spices that linger in your mouth can be masked quickly by popping in a piece of minty, sugar-free gum. Aside from the refreshing flavor, chewing gum increases saliva production, which removes odor-causing oral bacteria. It’s important to note that frequent bad breath can also be a symptom of more serious oral health conditions like gum disease or dry mouth. If you have persistent bad breath, it’s a good idea to schedule a check-up with your dentist.

Whiten Teeth

Many of the most common food and beverages in our diet are highly pigmented and can stain teeth. Some of the worst culprits are chocolate, coffee, tea, cokes, red wine, dark beer, and berries (yes, even though they’re healthy). While whitening toothpaste and treatments can dramatically reduce stains, whitening chewing gums are a great on-the-go option. When chewed after meals, whitening gum helps wash away stain-causing food particles by stimulating saliva production. In addition, these chewing gums also coat the teeth to help prevent stains in the first place.

Prevent Tooth Decay

In a study noted in the Journal of Oral Science, participants who chewed gum with the sugar-free sweetener xylitol had fewer oral bacteria in their mouth after chewing. This, combined with the fact that saliva carries nutrients and chemicals like calcium and fluoride that strengthen tooth enamel, reduces the risk of tooth decay. While chewing gum is NOT a substitute for regular brushing and flossing it, can complement a healthy oral hygiene routine.

Contact Our Office

Remember, while chewing sugar-free gum is a great way to clean teeth and freshen breath, chewing gum that contains sugar can actually damage your teeth, so choose wisely! To ask our team any questions about chewing gum or ways to improve your oral hygiene in general, contact our office.

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Holiday Foods that are Good for your Teeth

The holidays are here, and with them come all the joys of the season – lights and decorations, time with friends and family, and those special treats we only get this time of year. The best way to enjoy the holiday festivities and keep your oral health intact is to balance those sticky, sugary foods with some that actually benefit your teeth and gums. We promise it’s not as hard as you might think!

Fruit & Vegetable Platter

Every gathering has one! Not only do fruits, such as apples, strawberries, and kiwis, add some natural sweetness to your plate, they also scrub your teeth when you eat them. The natural fibers of the fruits combine with saliva in the mouth and help wash away food particles and stain-causing bacteria. Vegetables like carrots, cauliflower, broccoli, and cucumbers also help clean your teeth and gums by removing food particles that can build up into plaque.

Deviled Eggs

We all have that one relative who swears their Deviled Eggs can’t be beat! This year, let them know that those delicious bites actually boost oral health. The egg yolks are a great source of vitamin D, which strengthens bone, and the selenium in eggs helps cure and protect oral lesions. Additionally, eggs have vitamin b2, also known as riboflavin, which plays an important role in preventing mouth sores and reducing inflammation.

Turkey

Often the holiday table centerpiece, turkey contains more than tryptophan (the nutrient blamed for after-dinner drowsiness). It also has phosphorous, which works in tandem with calcium to help produce strong bones and teeth. So go ahead and get your share of the bird!

Nuts & Cheese

As if we needed another reason to love a good charcuterie board! Not only are nuts loaded with vitamins and minerals, they also contain fatty acids and protein that benefit your brain and general health. Plus, the fatty acids in nuts help gum health. One word of caution – try to stick with non-cooked, unsalted nuts when possible. Cheese strengthens tooth enamel and increases saliva production. Bonus – the calcium and high levels of protein in cheese are also great for your overall health.

Salmon

Many holiday gatherings include salmon or Lox with cream cheese. Cream cheese has the same benefits to your health as other cheeses, and salmon is fantastic for your oral health. Salmon has vitamin D, phosphorous, and omega-3 fatty acids, all of which improve teeth health and strength, gum health, and the overall health of your body.

Pumpkin Pie

We saved the best for last! Even though most pumpkin pies have a lot of sugar, pumpkin also has lots of vitamin A, which helps maintain healthy gums. Just be sure to brush after enjoying your piece!

Contact Our Team

As your dental care provider, we’re here to help you create and maintain a healthy oral hygiene routine all year long. If you have any questions, feel free to contact our dental team.

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5 Things to Know Before Choosing Your Invisalign Provider

Once you’ve decided to use Invisalign® to improve your smile, the next step is to select the right provider. When choosing any healthcare provider, it’s essential to do your research and not simply go with the first name Google serves up. There are over 40,000 Invisalign providers in the US, so it’s important to weigh factors beyond the designation alone.

Here are five factors to help you make the right choice:

  1. Experience
    You wouldn’t feel comfortable having a mechanic with minimal hands-on experience replace the brakes on your car, nor should you consider a dentist with limited knowledge of Invisalign. Fortunately, Invisalign makes it easy to know how many treatments a provider has completed. Invisalign ranks providers in tiers from bronze to VIP based on the number of cases the provider has completed that year. Provider rankings are conveniently noted in the Invisalign Doctor Locator.
  2. Technology
    Certain technologies can make the Invisalign treatment process much more streamlined for the patient. For example, there are two options for getting trays fitted – scan or impression. Digital intraoral scanners take 3D models and bites of patients’ teeth in minutes, are much more comfortable and more accurate than traditional impressions used to fabricate Invisalign trays. Invisalign makes it easy to know which providers use advanced technology by noting it in the Invisalign Doctor Locator.
  3. Online Reviews
    Thanks to the internet, when looking for recommendations, you’re no longer limited to the experiences of friends and family. Once you have a preliminary list of Invisalign providers, it’s a good idea to check out their reviews, either on Google, Healthgrades, or another review system, to see what type of feedback others have shared about them. One or two negative reviews aren’t necessarily a red flag, but if you consistently see negative reviews from previous patients, you might consider removing that provider from your list.
  4. Certifications
    There are certain times when degrees and certifications are more important than others and selecting an Invisalign provider is one of those times. Research your provider to ensure they’re qualified and haven’t simply jumped on the Invisalign trend.
  5. Atmosphere
    How do you feel when you walk into the provider’s practice? Do you get the sense that they genuinely care about you as a patient, or do you feel like a number? The Invisalign process can take anywhere from six months to two years or more, depending on your individual treatment plan, so it’s important that you feel comfortable with your provider. You want someone who will be able to give you the time you need to answer all your questions and make you feel comfortable during the entire Invisalign process.

Contact Our Office

Choosing the right Invisalign provider can take some time and effort, but given that your dental health is at stake, it’s worth the effort. If you’re in the process of searching for a qualified Invisalign provider for yourself or a family member, please reach out! Our team is happy to answer any questions.

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3 Ways Dental Technology Can Alleviate Anxiety in Patients

If you’re one of the estimated 50-80% of adults with dental anxiety, chances are you’ve avoided or delayed dental care at some point in your life. Whether it be a routine cleaning or a more in-depth procedure, such as a root canal or filling, putting off dental visits often results in more significant issues down the road.

In the majority of cases, dental anxiety is a result of a prior traumatic dental experience. However, there are patients with dental anxiety who have never visited a dentist yet still fear the experience. Dental anxiety typically comes down to one or more of these root concerns:

  • Fear of pain
  • Fear of injections
  • Fear of helplessness

Fortunately, there are many ways in which today’s dental technology can alleviate these types of anxiety.

Fear of pain – Laser dentistry is an excellent alternative for patients who are particularly sensitive to pain. Because lasers don’t cut through tissue in the same way that traditional dental instruments do, patients experience less swelling, tenderness, and bleeding. This less invasive treatment also prevents many of the sounds that can trigger anxiety, as the lasers are much quieter and emit a low pulsing sound that many people find relaxing.

Fear of injections – It’s estimated that at least 10% of adults have a fear of injections that inhibits their ability to receive medical care. Traditionally, anesthetic is delivered using a hypodermic needle and syringe. Though effective, there is usually some pain or discomfort associated with the initial injections, which can deter patients from getting the dental care they need. The advent of “The Wand” eliminates this barrier. The Wand is a computer-assisted system that looks like a pen and gradually pushes anesthetic gently into the gum. The device uses advanced technology to identify intraligamentary tissue quickly, allowing for the best possible injection results. The Wand also allows dentists to easily numb a single tooth without the rest of the mouth being affected, reducing the uncomfortable side effects of common numbing agents.

Fear of helplessness – The feeling of having no control over a situation is frightening for many. Sitting back in a dental chair, unable to see what is happening, is a vulnerable position that can trigger intense dental anxiety. Such an instance is where good communication between you and your dentist comes into play. When you feel informed and in control throughout a visit, you’re less likely to be anxious, even when you’re looking at the ceiling. Don’t be afraid to share your feelings! Communication is a two-way street, and just as it’s up to our team to ensure patients have all the information they need, the reverse is just as imperative. It’s vital that patients take an active role in sharing information, as well as concerns.

Since people tend to be more afraid of the unknown, we use a patient education system to give patients a visual walkthrough of the dental procedure so they know what to expect before they’re in the chair. Additionally, using an intraoral camera connected to a screen allows patients to see exactly what their dentist sees, which helps to further demystify the process.

Our team understands that while a procedure might be “routine” for us, it likely isn’t for our patients. That’s why we work hard to make sure patients are informed and comfortable at every touchpoint. We believe that though patients may not look forward to the procedure itself, the experience doesn’t have to be frightening or uncomfortable.

Quality patient care has always been at the heart of our practice. If you’re concerned, worried, or fearful of the dentist, our team is here to help. Take the first step by contacting our office.

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How Do Teeth Become Stained?

There’s no shortage of teeth whitening solutions. From in-office lasers to at-home whitening kits and snap-on veneers, there have never been more ways to achieve a white smile! But, before you order a custom kit or hit up the drugstore for whitening strips, there’s more you should know about teeth discoloration.

Not all stains are created equal, and the cause of yours needs to be taken into consideration when selecting a whitening solution. Teeth stains fall into one of three categories:

Extrinsic Stains

An extrinsic tooth stain is one on the surface enamel or outside of the tooth. Although it’s the hardest part of the tooth, enamel comes into contact with everything you consume. Over time, pigmented residue from food and beverages builds up and is absorbed by the enamel, creating a stain.

While coffee and cola are common tooth-staining culprits, any food or beverage with dark tannins can result in tooth discoloration, including dark berries, fruit juices, and tomato-based sauces. Additionally, some starchy foods, like pasta and potatoes, can also create conditions that cause staining. Porous teeth and thinning enamel can also increase the likelihood of extrinsic stains.

To help keep your smile white, consider using a straw when drinking potential stain-causing beverages. Rinsing your mouth with water after drinking will also help prevent stains by removing pigmented particles from the surface before they can be absorbed. The good news is that extrinsic stains are limited to the enamel, making them the easiest to remove. Extrinsic stains can generally be treated using regular dental cleanings and various teeth whitening products, such as whitening toothpaste.

Intrinsic Stains

Intrinsic tooth stains occur when dentin, the sensitive layer underneath the enamel, becomes stained. Common causes of intrinsic tooth stains include:

  • Fluoride – Excess fluoride consumption during enamel formation can create brownish staining or mottling.
  • Decay – Tooth decay appears as a greyish-black color that usually begins where the tooth meets the gum. Pulp necrosis (when the inner pulp dies) causes discoloration to the entire tooth.
  • Medications – Antibiotics that contain tetracycline and doxycycline can discolor still-developing teeth in children (typically those under the age of eight). Additionally, some antihistamines, antipsychotic drugs, and antihypertensive medications are linked to teeth discoloration.
  • Aging – As we age, the outer layer of enamel wears away, revealing the natural yellow color of the underlying dentin. Grinding and hard brushing can also cause the appearance of the teeth to darken.
  • Tooth trauma – Nerve damage can cause teeth to darken or become discolored.

Since intrinsic stains exist on a deeper layer of the tooth, they are not as easily addressed as enamel stains and may require more extensive dental treatment, such as in-office whitening solutions or at-home tray-based whitening products.

Age-Related Stains

Age-related stains are the result of extrinsic and intrinsic staining. Your body changes as you get older, and your teeth are no exception.

Intrinsically, tooth enamel thins as you age, and your core tissue (dentin) naturally yellows. Together, these factors allow the dentin to show through, making it more apparent. When combined with extrinsic stains caused by years of tobacco usage and/ or consuming certain foods and beverages, even the healthiest teeth will show staining.

Similar to intrinsic stains, age-related staining affects the dentin of your teeth. So, more intensive whitening techniques used for intrinsic stains work best with aging teeth. It’s also important to note that professional cleanings every six months can remove stains that daily brushing and flossing can’t. These visits also allow your dentist to check for age-related dental problems like dry mouth, tooth decay, gum disease, and more.

Schedule A Consultation

If you’re dissatisfied with the appearance of your teeth due to dental stains or tooth discoloration, we can help. Contact our dental team to schedule a consultation.

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Are There Options for Repairing Severely Damaged Teeth?

Anyone who has ever experienced the agony of a toothache knows that poor oral health is more than an inconvenience; it negatively impacts your quality of life. Not only can damaged teeth cause physical pain, but they can also create extreme self-consciousness and pose significant health risks if left untreated.

Damage occurs to teeth for a variety of reasons, from disease and facial trauma to years of teeth grinding or a misaligned bite. Fortunately, dental advancements allow us to treat or correct even the most severely damaged teeth. Specific treatment options will depend on a patient’s circumstances and health history; however, we’ve outlined some common corrective procedures below:

Dental Implants

When possible, saving natural teeth is the preferred option; however, there may be instances where preservation is not feasible. For example, in some cases of overcrowding or tooth or bone structure loss, extraction may be the best solution. In these situations, dental implants will be a likely option.
Dental implants are essentially artificial tooth roots that create a strong foundation for dental crowns. Crowns are custom-made to fit a patient’s mouth and match their natural teeth. Many dentists and patients prefer dental implants because they offer the same function as natural teeth and help prevent bone atrophy in the jaw. Not only do today’s implants restore function, but, just as importantly, they also fulfill patients’ esthetic expectations. As long as facial growth and development are complete, dental implants can be an excellent option for those who have lost teeth due to injury or decay. They can be used to replace a single missing or damaged tooth or to restore an entire smile. Ideally, implant surgery candidates are non-smokers with good oral health, including a sufficient amount of bone in the jaw and healthy gums.

Inlays and Onlays

Also known as indirect fillings, inlays and onlays are used when a tooth has moderate decay, or there isn’t enough tooth structure to support a traditional filling. Using adhesive dental cement, an inlay is placed directly on the tooth’s surface. When more significant damage is present, an onlay is used instead to cover the tooth’s entire surface. Made of durable materials, inlays and onlays can last up to 30 years with proper oral hygiene.

Dental Veneers

Veneers are an excellent option for patients who have a tooth that is cracked, chipped, or severely discolored. They can also be used to close a gap or fix teeth that are worn down or uneven. Cosmetic veneers are ultra-thin shells made of porcelain or composite resin materials that cover the front surface of a tooth. Custom created to look exceptionally realistic, these shells bond to a patient’s tooth with a strong, dental adhesive designed to hold up to daily rigors.

Full mouth Reconstruction

Intended for patients with extensive damage to their teeth and mouth, full mouth reconstruction involves a combination of dental treatments to rebuild or restore teeth, gums, and jaw function. A full reconstruction plan can include any number of the procedures listed above, as well as:

  • Dental bonding
  • Dental bridges and crowns
  • Dental fillings
  • Complete or partial dentures
  • Root canal treatment
  • Periodontal disease treatment

Though cosmetic elements, such as teeth whitening, may be a treatment plan component, full mouth reconstruction is not purely aesthetic, and patients need to meet a certain baseline of health to be considered candidates.

Our practice understands that the thought of extensive dental work can be intimidating, but we also know that the results can be life-changing. Don’t wait until you can’t stand the pain to schedule a consultation. Give us a call today!

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