Cosmetic dentistry

If you’re not satisfied with your smile, modern cosmetic dentistry can help. This method of professional oral care focuses on improving the appearance of your mouth, teeth, gums, and overall smile. Common procedures include teeth whitening, veneers, fillings, and implants.

Cosmetic dentistry is becoming more and more popular, with the industry as a whole projected to reach $32 billion by 2026. Although it’s not an essential procedure, cosmetic treatment can restore confidence in your smile.

What Does a Cosmetic Dentist Do?

A cosmetic dentist is responsible for a variety of procedures — from minor fixes to major surgeries. Here are a few of the cosmetic procedures they offer.

Inlays and Onlays

Inlays and onlays, also known as indirect fillings, are used when a tooth is too decayed to support a typical filling. These fillings are created in a dental laboratory and bonded in place by a cosmetic dentist.

An “inlay” is when the material is bonded in the center of the tooth. An “onlay” is when the filling covers one or more parts of the tooth or covers the tooth’s entire surface.

This procedure is an alternative to the crown, preserving more of the tooth’s natural surface while still strengthening and restoring the tooth after decay or deterioration.

Dental Implants

After severe tooth decay or tooth loss, dental implants are used to replace teeth. The cosmetic dentist first attaches a screw to the jaw to provide support. Then, the implant is inserted into the bone socket of the missing tooth.

Over time, the bone and tissue fuse to the implant, securing the replacement tooth inside the mouth. Once properly attached, the dental implant should blend into the surrounding teeth.

Dental Bonding

For dental bonding, the cosmetic dentist applies a moldable resin to the tooth and hardens it with ultraviolet light. Then, they trim, shape, and polish the material to blend into the surface of the tooth.

Bonding can repair chips, cracks, misshapen teeth, and tooth decay. For minor cosmetic issues, bonding is a more affordable alternative to fillings or crowns.

Reasons to See a Cosmetic Dentist

There are many reasons you might see a cosmetic dentist, including:

  • Tooth decay
  • Damage (cracks, chips, etc.)
  • Crooked teeth
  • Misshapen teeth
  • Discoloration
  • Missing teeth

People with damaged, decaying, crooked, or discolored teeth may also have difficulty when eating and speaking. For others, dental issues may affect their self-esteem.

According to a 2015 survey by the American Dental Association, 33% of young people are reluctant to smile due to conditions of the teeth and mouth. Another 23% of adults have cut back on their participation in social activities due to embarrassment about their smiles.

If you feel dissatisfied with your smile, a cosmetic dentist can improve the condition of your teeth.

https://www.webmd.com/a-to-z-guides/

Pediatric Dentistry

Pediatric dentists are dedicated to the oral health of children from infancy through the teen years. They have the experience and qualifications to care for a child’s teeth, gums, and mouth throughout the various stages of childhood.

Children begin to get their baby teeth during the first 6 months of life. By age 6 or 7 years, they start to lose their first set of teeth, which eventually are replaced by secondary, permanent teeth.

Without proper dental care, children face possible oral decay and disease that can cause a lifetime of pain and complications. Early childhood dental caries—an infectious disease—is 5 times more common in children than asthma and 7 times more common than hay fever. About 1 of 5 (20%) children aged 5 to 11 years have at least one untreated decayed tooth.

What kind of training do pediatric dentists have?

Pediatric dentists have completed at least:

  • Four years of dental school
  • Two additional years of residency training in dentistry for infants, children, teens and children with special needs

What types of treatments do pediatric dentists provide?

Pediatric dentists provide comprehensive oral health care that includes the following:

  • Infant oral health exams, which include risk assessment for caries in mother and child
  • Preventive dental care including cleaning and fluoride treatments, as well as nutrition and diet recommendations
  • Habit counseling (for example, pacifier use and thumb sucking)
  • Early assessment and treatment for straightening teeth and correcting an improper bite (orthodontics)
  • Repair of tooth cavities or defects
  • Diagnosis of oral conditions associated with diseases such as diabetes, congenital heart defect, asthma, hay fever and attention deficit/ hyperactivity disorder (ADHD)
  • Management of gum diseases and conditions including ulcers, short frenula, mucoceles and pediatric periodontal disease
  • Care for dental injuries (for example, fractured, displaced or knocked-out teeth)

Where can I find a pediatric dentist?

Pediatric dentists practice in a variety of locations including private practices, dental schools, and medical centers. Your pediatrician can help you find a pediatric dentist near your home.

Pediatric dentists — the best care for children

Children are not just small adults. They are not always able to be patient and cooperative during a dental exam. Pediatric dentists know how to examine and treat children in ways that make them comfortable. In addition, pediatric dentists use specially designed equipment in offices that are arranged and decorated with children in mind.

A pediatric dentist offers a wide range of treatment options, as well as expertise and training to care for your child’s teeth, gums and mouth. When your pediatrician suggests that your child receive a dental exam, you can be assured that a pediatric dentist will provide the best possible care.

https://www.healthychildren.org

Zygomatic implants

Implants

If you are self-conscious because you have missing teeth, wear dentures that are uncomfortable, or don’t want to have good tooth structure removed to make a bridge, talk to your dentist to see if dental implants are an option for you.

Dental implants are a popular and effective way to replace missing teeth and are designed to blend in with your other teeth. They are an excellent long-term option for restoring your smile. The development and use of implants are one of the biggest advances in dentistry in the past 40 years. Dental implants are made up of titanium and other materials that are compatible with the human body. They are posts that are surgically placed in the upper or lower jaw, where they function as a sturdy anchor for replacement teeth.

Zygomatic Implants

Zygomatic implants are dental implants that are anchored in the zygoma or cheekbone. They are prescribed for patients who have moderate, advanced, and even extreme resorption in the maxilla, or the upper jaw. Normally, when needed, zygomatic implants will be used to replace a full set of teeth in the upper jaw for patients who have severe bone loss in the maxilla.

Are Zygomatic Implants Safe?

Yes, when placed by a board-certified maxillofacial and oral surgeon, zygomatic implants are safe, effective, and painless. As these implants come near sensitive parts of the face, including the eyes and sinuses, they must be placed by a qualified and experienced surgeon to avoid serious complications.

The most effective way to understand zygomatic implants is to see them. The animation below illustrates the placement of two zygomatic implants and four traditional implants, an all-on-six implant procedure. The implants support the whole upper bridge.

Zygomatic implants make it possible to sidestep bone loss issues. The extended length of the implant allows it to anchor into a patient’s cheekbone or the zygoma. No bone grafting or sinus lifts are needed. The zygoma is a very dense bone and provides excellent implant support for the lifetime of the patient.

Why Does Losing Teeth Cause Bone Loss?

Like a muscle, bone is a tissue that requires exercise to maintain strength and mass.

A natural tooth is nested within the jawbone. Chewing and biting down regularly works the bone and tells the body to build a healthy jawbone. When the teeth are lost or removed, the surrounding jawbone is no longer stimulated by chewing activity, and this disuse quickly leads to bone loss.

When teeth must be removed, a dental implant is the last resort option to replace the missing or unsalvageable teeth. Quality dental implants, including zygomatic implants, offer a lifetime solution that is comfortable and strong, matching the look and feel of natural teeth.

How Do Implants Work?

The roots of a natural tooth are secured within the root canal of a person’s jawbone. Similarly, conventional dental implants are anchored in place by the jawbone.

Titanium is the preferred material for implants due to effective osseointegration with the patient’s jaw.

A typical implant cannot be securely secured in someone who has severe bone loss in the upper jaw, resulting in further difficulties and chronic pain or discomfort.

How Do Dental Implants Help Prevent Bone Loss?

Dental implants that imitate the natural stimulation of teeth are the most effective method for preventing further bone loss. The titanium root of a new teeth implant duplicates the pressure and stimulation of chewing, matching the natural stimulation of teeth. This gentle action signals the body to continue fortifying the jawbone, significantly reducing the risk of bone loss, and quite often leading to stronger and healthier bones.

Titanium implants imitate the role of a natural tooth root, providing stimulation to your jawbone and allowing osseointegration, and fusion with the bone.

To prevent additional bone loss, implants should be placed immediately following tooth extractions. The sooner the better.

Can You Have Dental Implants If You Suffer from Severe Bone Loss?

Since zygomatic implants can be placed in one day and have a higher success rate than bone grafting, they are the ideal solution for bone loss when receiving a full-arch prosthesis in the upper jaw.

While traditional implants are placed in the jawbone, surgeons utilize the zygomatic implant’s length to securely place them in the patient’s cheekbone, or zygoma. The zygoma is a very dense bone and provides excellent support for the lifetime of the patient.

Where Can You Get Zygomatic Implants?

Although the placement of zygomatic implants is a very safe and effective procedure, it requires the specialization and experience of a qualified oral surgeon. Not many oral surgeons have routine experience placing zygomatic implants. Depending on your location, you may need to travel to have your zygomatic implants placed.

https://www.mouthhealthy.org/en/az-topics/i/implants

Oral Piercings

Body piercing is a popular form of self-expression. Oral piercings or tongue splitting may look cool, but they can be dangerous to your health. That’s because your mouth contains millions of bacteria, and infection and swelling often occur with mouth piercings. For instance, your mouth and tongue could swell so much that you close off your airway or you could choke if part of the jewelry breaks off in your mouth. In some cases, you could crack a tooth if you bite down too hard on the piercing, and repeated clicking of the jewelry against teeth can also cause damage. Oral piercing could also lead to more serious infections, like hepatitis or endocarditis.

If you pierce your tongue, lips, cheeks, or uvula (the tiny tissue that hangs at the back of the throat,) it can interfere with speech, chewing, or swallowing. It may also cause:
  • Infection, pain, and swelling. Your mouth is a moist environment, home to huge amounts of breeding bacteria, and an ideal place for infection. An infection can quickly become life-threatening if not treated promptly. It’s also possible for a piercing to cause your tongue to swell, potentially blocking your airway.
  • Damage to gums, teeth, and fillings. A common habit of biting or playing with the piercing can injure your gums and lead to cracked, scratched, or sensitive teeth. Piercings can also damage fillings.
  • Hypersensitivity to metals. Allergic reactions at the pierced site are also possible.
  • Nerve damage. After a piercing, you may experience a numb tongue that is caused by nerve damage that is usually temporary but can sometimes be permanent. The injured nerve may affect your sense of taste, or how you move your mouth. Damage to your tongue’s blood vessels can cause serious blood loss.
  • Excessive drooling. Your tongue piercing can increase saliva production.
  • Dental appointment difficulties. The jewelry can get in the way of dental care by blocking X-rays.

If you already have piercings:

  • Contact your dentist or physician immediately if you have any signs of infection—swelling, pain, fever, chills, shaking, or a red-streaked appearance around the site of the piercing.
  • Keep the piercing site clean and free of any matter that may collect on the jewelry by using a mouth rinse after every meal.
  • Try to avoid clicking the jewelry against teeth and avoid stress on the piercing. Be gentle and aware of the jewelry’s movement when talking and chewing.
  • Check the tightness of your jewelry periodically (with clean hands). This can help prevent you from swallowing or choking if the jewelry becomes dislodged.
  • When taking part in sports, remove the jewelry and protect your mouth with a mouthguard.
  • See your dentist regularly, and remember to brush twice a day and floss daily.

Of course, the best option is to consider removing mouth jewelry before it causes a problem. Don’t pierce on a whim. The piercing will be an added responsibility to your life, requiring constant attention and upkeep. Talk to your dentist for more information.

Oral Piercing Safety

If you’ve decided to get an oral piercing, make sure you’re up to date on vaccines for hepatitis B and tetanus.

Pick a piercing shop that appears clean and well-run. Look for a piercer who has a license, which means they were specially trained. The piercer should wash their hands with germ-killing soap, wear fresh disposable gloves, and use sterilized tools or ones that are thrown away after one use.

Oral Piercing Care

Once you leave the shop, you’ll need to make sure your piercing heals and doesn’t get infected. Healing usually takes 3 to 4 weeks. During that time, you should:

  • Rinse your tongue or lip piercing after every meal or snack and before bed. Use warm salt water or an antibacterial, alcohol-free mouthwash.
  • Not share cups, plates, forks, knives, or spoons
  • Eat small bites of healthy food.
  • Not eat spicy, salty, or acidic foods and drinks
  • Not have hot drinks, like coffee, tea, or hot chocolate
  • Be gentle. Talk and chew carefully, and try not to click your jewelry against your teeth.
  • Check every once in a while to make sure your jewelry is still tight to prevent swallowing or choking.
  • Take out your jewelry while you play sports, and wear a mouthguard.

While the piercing heals, you should be able to remove the jewelry for short periods without the hole closing. If you get a tongue piercing, the piercer will start with a larger “barbell” to give your tongue room to heal as it swells. After the swelling goes down, dentists recommend that you replace the large barbell with a smaller one that’s less likely to bother your teeth.

After your tongue has healed, take the jewelry out every night and brush it the way you brush your teeth. You might want to take it out before you go to sleep or do anything active.

https://www.mouthhealthy.org/en/az-topics/o/oral-piercings

 

Jaw pain or Facial pain

Many adults suffer from chronic jaw and facial pain. Some common symptoms include pain in or around the ear, tenderness of the jaw, pain when biting, or headaches. Many things can cause facial pain, which can make it difficult to diagnose and treat. Your dentist will conduct a thorough exam, which may include X-rays, to determine the cause of the pain.

Possible causes of jaw pain or facial pain include:

  • sinus problems
  • toothache
  • infections
  • arthritis
  • injury
  • tooth grinding /Bruxism
  • periodontal disease

Sinus problems

A sinus infection (sinusitis) can cause a toothache. The pain in the upper back teeth is a fairly common symptom of sinus conditions. The sinuses are pairs of empty spaces in your skull connected to the nasal cavity. If you have sinusitis, the tissues in those spaces become inflamed, often causing pain.

Toothache

Toothache occurs from inflammation of the central portion of the tooth called the pulp. The pulp contains nerve endings that are very sensitive to pain. Inflammation to the pulp or pulpitis may be caused by dental cavities, trauma, and infection. Referred pain from the jaw may cause you to have symptoms of a toothache.

Infections

Bacteria can enter the innermost part of the tooth through either a deep cavity or a chip or crack in your tooth. The resulting infection and inflammation can cause an abscess at the tip of the root. A tooth abscess is a pocket of pus that’s caused by a bacterial infection.

Arthritis

Arthritis can affect the temporomandibular joint (TMJ) that opens and closes the mouth, sometimes making it painful to open and close your mouth. Different oral Infections can also occur: Bacterial infections can cause swelling around your tooth or over the jaw, severe pain, fever, and swollen nodes around your jaw

Injuries

Traumatic dental injuries often occur as a result of an accident or sports injury. The majority of these injuries are minor – chipped teeth. It’s less common to dislodge your tooth or have it knocked completely out but these injuries are more severe. Treatment depends on the type, location, and severity of each injury.

Bruxism/ Tooth grinding

Bruxism (BRUK-siz-um) is a condition in which you grind, gnash or clench your teeth. If you have bruxism, you may unconsciously clench your teeth when you’re awake (awake bruxism) or clench or grind them during sleep (sleep bruxism). Sleep bruxism is considered a sleep-related movement disorder

Periodontal disease

Periodontitis is gum disease. It is a chronic inflammatory disease that is triggered by bacterial microorganisms and involves a severe chronic inflammation that causes the destruction of the tooth-supporting apparatus and can lead to tooth loss. It can also lead to other health problems.

Your dentist’s plan for treatment will depend on the source of your facial pain, but recommendations may include:

  • mouth protector
  • muscle relaxants
  • exercises
  • anti-inflammatory drugs
  • antibiotics
  • root canal therapy
  • periodontal treatment
  • extraction

If you suffer from jaw pain or facial pain, speak with your dentist or physician for diagnosis and treatment.

https://www.mouthhealthy.org/en/az-topics/j/jaw-pain

Cavities, or tooth decay

Cavities, or tooth decay, are the destruction of your tooth enamel, the hard, outer layer of your teeth. It can be a problem for children, teens, and adults. Plaque, a sticky film of bacteria, constantly forms on your teeth. When you eat or drink foods containing sugars, the bacteria in plaque produce acids that attack tooth enamel. The stickiness of the plaque keeps these acids in contact with your teeth and over time the enamel can break down. This is when cavities can form. A cavity is a little hole in your tooth.

Cavities are more common among children, but changes that occur with aging make cavities an adult problem, too. The recession of the gums away from the teeth, combined with an increased incidence of gum disease, can expose tooth roots to plaque. Tooth roots are covered with cementum, a softer tissue than enamel. They are susceptible to decay and are more sensitive to touch and to hot and cold. It’s common for people over age 50 to have tooth-root decay.

Decay around the edges, or a margin, of fillings, is also common for older adults. Because many older adults lacked fluoride and modern preventive dental care when they were growing up, they often have many dental fillings. Over the years, these fillings may weaken and tend to fracture and leak around the edges. Bacteria accumulate in these tiny crevices causing acid to build up which leads to decay.

You can help prevent tooth decay by following these tips:

  • Brush twice a day with fluoride toothpaste.
  • Clean between your teeth daily with floss or an interdental cleaner.
  • Eat nutritious and balanced meals and limit snacking>
  • Check with your dentist on the use of supplemental fluoride, which strengthens your teeth, and on the use of dental sealants (a plastic protective coating) applied to the chewing surfaces of the back teeth (where decay often starts) to protect them from decay.
  • Visit your dentist regularly for professional cleanings and oral examinations.

https://www.mouthhealthy.org/en/az-topics/c/cavities

Root Canals Treatment That Can Save Your Tooth

If you have a severely damaged, decaying tooth or a serious tooth infection (abscess), your dentist may recommend a root canal treatment. Root canals are used to repair and save your tooth instead of removing it.

What’s Involved in Root Canal Repair?

The pulp is the soft tissue inside your tooth that contains nerves, and blood vessels and provides nourishment for your tooth. It can become infected if you have:
  • A deep cavity
  • Repeated dental procedures that disturb this tissue
  • A cracked or fractured tooth
  • Injury to the tooth (even if there’s not a visible crack or chip)
If untreated, the tissues around the root of your tooth can become infected. When this happens, you will often feel pain and swelling and an abscess may form inside the tooth and/or in the bone around the end of the root of the tooth. An infection can also put you at risk of losing your tooth completely because bacteria can damage the bone that keeps your tooth connected to your jaw.

Can I Get This Treatment Done During My Regular Check-up Visit?

Your dentist will need to schedule a follow-up appointment, or you may be referred to a dentist who specializes in the pulp and tissues surrounding the teeth. This specialist is known as an endodontist.

What Should I Expect?

A root canal treatment usually takes 1 or 2 office visits to complete. There is little to no pain because your dentist will use local anesthesia so you don’t feel the procedure. Once the procedure is complete, you should no longer feel the pain you felt before having it done. Before treatment begins, your dentist will:
  • Take X-rays to get a clear view of your tooth and the surrounding bone.
  • Numb the area around and including your tooth so you are comfortable during the treatment.
  • Put a thin sheet of latex rubber over your tooth to keep it dry, clean, and protected from viruses, bacteria, and fungus that are normally in the mouth.
During treatment, your dentist will:
  • Create an opening in the top of your tooth.
  • Remove the tooth’s nerve from inside the tooth and in the areas in the root, known as the root canal.
  • Clean inside the tooth and each root canal. Your dentist may treat the tooth with germ-killing medicine.
  • Fill the root canals with a rubber-like material to seal them against future infection.
  • Place a temporary filling on the tooth to protect it until a definitive restoration like a permanent filling or crown can be placed at the earliest opportunity.
After root canal treatment:
  • Your tooth and the area around it may feel sensitive for a few days. You can talk with your dentist about how to relieve any discomfort you may have.
  • Your dentist may prescribe antibiotics if the infection spreads. Use as directed, and follow up with your dentist if you have any problems taking it.
You will need a follow-up visit after the root canal treatment. At this visit, your dentist will remove the temporary filling on the tooth and replace it with a regular filling or a crown to protect your tooth from further damage. A metal or plastic post may also be placed in the root canal to help make sure the filling materials remain in place. This helps support a crown if you need one.

How Long Will a Root Canal Filling Last?

With proper care, your restored tooth can last a lifetime. Make it a point to brush twice a day for two minutes with fluoride toothpaste, clean between your teeth once a day, and see your dentist regularly to make sure your teeth are strong and healthy following such procedures.

https://www.mouthhealthy.org/en/az-topics/r/root-canals

The first step towards dental self-empowerment

How to know for sure that you’re heading in the right direction

Is greater oral health possible in 20 minutes?

Yes and no.

You see, while you can’t undo any ill health in the mouth in 20 minutes, you can accomplish the first (and most important) step in 20 minutes!

In this first step toward greater oral and whole being health, we have to start at the beginning.

Here is the bottom line.

If we don’t know where we are, how can we expect to get somewhere else?

Stated another way, if we don’t know our current location, how can we begin to chart a course to a new (more positive) destination (with our oral health)?

Bottom line, we have to know the current state of health of our gums and teeth before we can begin any course correction to create positive change.

It’s true that a well-trained, aware dentist can be a tremendous expert resource to support us in our own oral health. However, each of us is responsible for creating whatever health we desire.

The person looking back at you in the mirror when you brush your teeth is the MVP (most valuable person) on your journey to optimal oral health.

Here’s the most important action you can take to improve your oral health

Step one to creating greater oral health is to have an accurate understanding of where we currently are.

After all, without knowing our current location, how can we judge whether we are making gains on our health or losing ground?

So, how do we accurately assess where our oral health really is?

Surely a recent dental chart from your dentist would provide you with much of the necessary information to accurately track the progress of an oral hygiene protocol.

However, we have found that filling out a map on your own mouth provides the individual with a tremendous amount of information that empowers each of us to be able to create greater oral health in our own mouth.

There’s a vast difference between believing what a professional tells you and knowing what you know from having seen it with your own eyes.

In the oral health world, there’s simply no better way to accomplish this than looking in your own mouth…

If you want to make a massive positive change in your oral health, take 20 minutes and get to know your mouth.

Getting to know your mouth…

Here is the OraWellness Mouth Map. It is designed similarly to a dental chart.

Benefit #1… Knowing what areas in your mouth need your focused, loving care.

Here’s why… You’ll see with your own eyes the state of health of your gum tissue around each of your teeth.

  • You’ll notice if a certain area is red and swollen.
  • You’ll take note if it bleeds when you floss between certain teeth.
  • You’ll finally see the exact state of health in your own mouth.

With that ‘current location’ known, you can bring more attention and mindful care to those areas that are in distress.

Obviously, knowing where in your mouth to put your caring attention will go a LONG way toward creating positive change.

But there’s another powerful benefit of getting to know your mouth.

Benefit #2… Having a dated record of your findings

By having a date on your Mouth Map, you can, for example, decide that you’re going to practice oil pulling every day for a month to see if it will help you navigate to greater oral health.

Sure, we all believe that oil pulling daily (for example) will help.

But unless you have a dated record of what’s going on in your mouth AND look again after that 30 days of oil pulling, your belief will stay a belief and you won’t know.

However, by doing a ‘before and after’ Mouth Map, you will know that you created a positive change in your oral health.

You’ll see it with your own eyes.

That, friend, is dental self-empowerment.

Seeing with your own eyes that you created to change with your efforts empowers us in a very big way.

How to get to know your mouth…

We are going to take two passes through the mouth looking for signs of redness, swelling, spots that bleed when (gently) flossed or brushed, any tooth sensitivity, spots where the gums are receding, etc.

The first pass we will go tooth by tooth with our finger, toothbrush, or gum stimulator. We are looking to gently rub the tooth and gum surfaces while looking for any signs above. Remember to explore both the outside and inside surfaces of each tooth!

In the second pass, we are going to do the same exploration, only this time with floss to ‘look’ what’s going on between the teeth.

Step one: Download the Mouth Map and print it out.

Step two: Gather together the following: toothbrush, floss, mirror, gum stimulator (if you have one), pen, and OraWellness Mouth Map.

Step three: Start by marking today’s date in the bottom right corner. Also X out any teeth on the Mouth Map that are no longer in your mouth. (Note: teeth numbers 1,16,17 and 32 are wisdom teeth. If you had your wisdom teeth removed, X them out.

Step four: Using a toothbrush, finger, or gum stimulator, go tooth by tooth looking for redness, swelling, bleeding when probed, gum recession, or tooth sensitivity when touched. Mark it in the appropriate spot on the Mouth Map using some type of notation. (the Mouth Map gives examples)

Step five: Floss consciously. What we mean is floss and after flossing each contact, check for the following: blood on the floss, discoloration on the floss, foul smell on the floss. If any of these are present, mark it on the Mouth Map. (Note: be sure to use a fresh segment of floss for each contact so you can really see/smell anything going on at each contact.)

Congratulations! You have a first massive step toward optimal oral health!

You now have a record of what’s going on in your mouth today!

This record helps in two main ways.

First, you now know what spots in your mouth need more care and attention.

Second, you will be able to see for yourself whether your oral health protocol is helping or not over the course of the coming weeks and months.

There’s nothing quite as empowering as seeing for yourself how a spot that used to bleed when flossing no longer does. That’s taking control of your oral health! Welcome to dental self-empowerment

https://orawellness.com/the-first-step-of-dental-self-empowerment/

Aging and Dental Health

As you age, it becomes even more important to take good care of your teeth and dental health. One common misconception is that losing your teeth is inevitable. This is not true. If cared for properly, your teeth can last a lifetime.

Your mouth changes as you age. The nerves in your teeth can become smaller, making your teeth less sensitive to cavities or other problems. If you don’t get regular dental exams, this, in turn, can lead to these problems not being diagnosed until it is too late.

If you want to feel good, stay healthy, and look great throughout life, you might be surprised what a difference a healthy mouth makes.

Tips for Maintaining and Improving Your Oral Health

  • Brush twice a day with a toothbrush with soft bristles. You may also benefit from using an electric toothbrush.
  • Clean between your teeth once a day with floss or another flossing tool.
  • If you wear full or partial dentures, remember to clean them daily. Take your dentures out of your mouth for at least four hours every day. It’s best to remove them at night. 
  • Drink tap water. Since most contain fluoride, it helps prevent tooth decay no matter how old you are.
  • Quit smoking. Besides putting you at greater risk for lung and other cancers, smoking increases problems with gum disease, tooth decay, and tooth loss.
  • Visit your dentist. Visit your dentist regularly for a complete dental check-up. 

By adopting healthy oral habits at home, making smart choices about diet and lifestyle, and seeking regular dental care, you can help your teeth last a lifetime—whether you have your natural teeth, implants, or wear dentures.

Caregiving for a Disabled or Elderly Loved One  

You may have a parent, spouse, or friend who has difficulty maintaining a healthy mouth on their own. How can you help? Two things are critical:

  • Help them keep their mouth clean with reminders to brush and floss daily.
  • Make sure they get to a dentist regularly.

These steps can prevent many problems, but tasks that once seemed so simple can become very challenging. If your loved one is having difficulty with brushing and flossing, talk to a dentist or hygienist who can provide helpful tips or a different approach. Some dentists specialize in caring for the elderly and disabled. You can locate a specialist through the Special Care Dentistry Association’s referral directory. For those who wear dentures, pay close attention to their eating habits. If they’re having difficulty eating or are not eating as much as usual, denture problems could be the cause.

When you’re caring for someone who is confined to bed, they may have so many health problems that it’s easy to forget about oral health. However, it’s still very important because bacteria from the mouth can be inhaled into the lungs and cause pneumonia.

https://www.mouthhealthy.org/en/az-topics/a/aging-and-dental-health

Sensitive Teeth

Is the taste of ice cream or a sip of hot coffee sometimes a painful experience for you? Does brushing or flossing make you wince occasionally? If so, you may have sensitive teeth.

Possible causes include:

  • Tooth decay (cavities)
  • Fractured teeth
  • Worn fillings
  • Gum disease
  • Worn tooth enamel
  • Exposed tooth root

In healthy teeth, a layer of enamel protects the crowns of your teeth—the part above the gum line. Under the gum line, a layer called cementum protects the tooth root. Underneath both the enamel and the cementum is dentin.

Dentin is less dense than enamel and cementum and contains microscopic tubules (small hollow tubes or canals). When dentin loses its protective covering of enamel or cementum these tubules allow heat and cold or acidic or sticky foods to reach the nerves and cells inside the tooth. Dentin may also be exposed when gums recede. The result can be hypersensitivity.

Sensitive teeth can be treated. The type of treatment will depend on what is causing the sensitivity. Your dentist may suggest one of a variety of treatments:

  • Desensitizing toothpaste. This contains compounds that help block the transmission of sensation from the tooth surface to the nerve, and usually requires several applications before the sensitivity is reduced.
  • Fluoride gel. An in-office technique that strengthens tooth enamel and reduces the transmission of sensations.
  • A crown, inlay, or bonding. These may be used to correct a flaw or decay that results in insensitivity.
  • Surgical gum graft. If gum tissue has been lost from the root, this will protect the root and reduce sensitivity.
  • Root canal. If sensitivity is severe and persistent and cannot be treated by other means, your dentist may recommend this treatment to eliminate the problem.

Proper oral hygiene is the key to preventing sensitive tooth pain. Ask our dentist if you have any questions about your daily oral hygiene routine or concerns about tooth sensitivity.

https://www.mouthhealthy.org/en/az-topics/s/sensitive-teeth