Posts for: September, 2018
Once a patient's braces come off, it is important to make sure that your smile remains straight! This is where retainers come in. A retainer is a custom-fit device that sits in your mouth and reinforces the new position of your teeth. Although there may be an initial adjustment period, it is an essential part of the process of keeping your teeth in place over the long term.
For the first few months, it is recommended to wear the retainers 24/7, except when you are eating, drinking, or brushing. Eventually, night time wear is indicated for the first full year. After that, many patients can wear it a few nights a week. However, current research now reveals that in order to preserve the position of your teeth for your life, it is recommeded that you never ever fully stop wearing your retainers. Yes, indefinite retention is the key...meaning FOR-EV-ER!!
If a patient is concerned about forgetting to wear the retainer or possibly losing it, a lingual retainer may be the best option. Although this permanent wire that is placed on the tongue side of your teeth is not readily visible, they can cause dental issues for many patients if they don't maintain good oral hygiene. Plaque and tartar can build up around these lingual bars, which can lead to gum disease or cavities.
Wearing retainers are extremely vital after your teeth are straightened. Without a retainer to keep them in place, the teeth that you have taken so long to fix may begin to shift back into a more crowded positon again. Getting braces is quite an invvestment, which is why each patient should stay motivated to maintain their corrected smile for their entire life.
With the recent push for legalizing medical marijuana, it is a great time to pause and evaluate the oral health effects of the use of cannabis, which acts as a mild sedative and mood enhancer for recreational users as well an analgesic and antiemetic in clinical applications. Although in 2012, as many states started legalizing the substance for recreational consumption and medical usage, which has increased the social and legal acceptance of cannabis, the public health concerns have remained.
Many patients do not realize that cannabis contains many of the same carcinogens as tobacco, and chronic smoking of marijuana is associated with similar respiratory pathologies as tobacco smoking. The neurological and behavioral effects of cannabis asssociated with chronic systemic health effects include addiction, disruption of brain development, as well as psychotic disorders especially in adolescents.
The use of cannabis, particularly marijuana smoking, has been associated with poor quality of oral health, including an increase in xerostomia, which is a dry mouth. Further, the main psychotropic agent, THC, is an appetite stimulant, which often leads users to consume cavity producing snack foods. Regular cannabis users are known to have significantly higher numbers of cavities than nonusers, patricularly on normally easy-to-reach smooth surfaces. Other dental health concerns include yeast infections, gingival enlargement, and chronic inflammation of the oral mucosa, called leukoplakia, which has been associated with an increased risk for mouth cancers, especially is younger users.
Although many patients feel that cannabis use is completely without any adverse side effects, it has been shown to have many dental and overall health risks. If you have any questions or are in need of an appointment, call our office at 918-455-0123!
In a world where everything moves so quickly and teens and young adults find themselves pulling "all-nighters" or working long hours, energy drinks have grabbed the spotlight. You will have one (or three) and suddenly you have the drive that you need to keep on going. The same can be said for sports drinks. It's common for people to have one even when they are not engaged in any strenuous physical activity, which is what they were designed for. People will drink them simply because they have grown to love the taste.
Although they might taste great and boost your energy, there's a serious down side to consuming energy and sports drinks on a steady basis. Studies have shown that these drinks contain so much acid that they start to destroy your teeth after just five days of consistent use! The acid in these drinks dissolves your tooth enamel, which can make your teeth more vulnerable to bacteria. This can progress to staining, tooth decay, and hypersensitivity.
Limiting the amount of sports and energy drinks that you consume is in your dental best interest. If you do enjoy either or both of these drinks, you should make it a habit to rinse your mouth with water immediately after consumption, and brush your teeth about an hour later, after the period when the acid has a softening effect on your enamel has passed.
Fighting the signs of aging seems to be a common theme in our country. Although billions are spent on potions, pills, creams, and fad diets, all in the name of maintaining that youthful appearance, recent studies are now revealing the link to sugar. As a dentist, our profession has long been concerned about sugar and decay, but now there appears to be new evidence that "long sugar chains formed from simple sugar molecules" can lead to many health problems, including cancer, aging, and autoimmune diseases.
The National Academy of Sciences suggests that mapping these "glycans" may have "the potential to aid physicians in diagnosing and treating their patients," because "in the future, it is likely that analysis of an individual's glycans will be used to predict our risk for developing diseases like rheumatoid arthritis, cancer, or even food allergies." The authors add that "biological processes like aging are linked to inflammation in our glycome," but "it remains to be tested if reversing these changes can help prevent disease, or even slow aging," which is an intriguing possibilty.
So the next time you reach for that candy bar or sugar-filled energy drink, remember that it could be hastening your aging process! If you have any questions or are in need of an appointment call our office at 918-455-0123!
A smile makeover is usually a combination of one or more cosmetic dental procedures. To achieve your desired result, our dental team may perform or suggest a variety of options. The entire process is designed specifically for your unique cosmetic needs, and we will make sure that all of your concerns regarding your smile are addressed.
Check out the most common procedures available in dentistry today:
- TOOTH WHITENING: Whiter teeth are achieved through a bleaching process typically using hydrogen peroxide or carbamide peroxide. Yellower teeth usually respond well to this procedure, while brown-colored teeth stained by fluorosis or taking tetracycline do not respond as well to whitening. Tooth whitening is not for everyone; if you have sensitive teeth, gum disease, or poor enamel can be common contraindications.
- ORTHODONTICS: Braces are one of the tried-and-true ways of achieving a healthier smile. Braces are typically worn for about 24 months to reposition the teeth in a straighter and safer alignment. There are several different types of braces, clear ceramic braces, lingual braces, and clear aligners.
- VENEERS: Veneers are thin, tooth-colored material designed to be placed on the front surface of teeth to improve their overall appearance. They can be used in cases where the color, shape, size, or length is not as desired. Veneers are usually used in cases where teeth are discolored, chipped, worn down, misaligned, irregular, or have gaps.
- IMPLANTS/BRIDGES: Dental implants and bridges are used to replace missing or broken teeth. Nowadays, both implants and bridges are commonly performed procedures. Implants integrate directly with the jawbone, while bridges are placed over the adjacent teeth to the missing tooth. Implant technology has advanced a great deal in recent years and highly biocompatible ceramic materials are becoming more commonplace.