Is brushing your teeth ruining your teeth?

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The toothbrush. The most essential and basic dental health tool. Most of us have been brushing our teeth since we were small, but did you ever stop to think that the toothbrush you use could be damaging your teeth even as you scrub away the plaque?

How to damage your teeth by brushing

Believe it or not, you can actually do some serious damage to your teeth simply by brushing improperly or using the wrong kind of toothbrush.

Stiff Bristle

Most dentists recommend using a soft-bristled toothbrush even if it feels like you’re not able to scrub very well with it. Stiff-bristled brushes can scratch your teeth and eventually scrub away the enamel! Some people have even cracked their teeth simply from brushing with a stiff toothbrush for so long that it continued to wear down the tooth even after wearing away the enamel layer. It can also cause the gums to recede or pull away from the teeth. This damage is easily preventable simply by using a soft one.

Too Much Force

Another way to damage your teeth by brushing is to always brush the same direction or apply too much force, which could scratch your teeth. For example, if you always scrub your teeth side-to-side, your dentist will probably be able to tell by a horizontal roughness on the surface of your teeth. Proper technique is more important than all the bells and whistles of the tool with which you do it.

Toothbrushes: What’s the Difference?

Walk down any oral health care aisle in the store, and you’ll be overwhelmed by all the products claiming to whiten your teeth, give you fresh breath, blast away plaque and do the BEST job of taking care of your mouth. They can’t all be the BEST, but are there really significant differences between any of them?

Electric or manual? Stiff-bristled or soft? Plain handle or squishy gel support grip? Many dentists give their patients a free toothbrush whenever they get a cleaning. Should we avoid the toothbrush because it’s a cheap giveaway, or should we use it because the dentist knows what toothbrush would be best?

The abundance of options might cause you to not care at all and use whatever toothbrush you happen to grab on the shelf, or it might send you into a frantic search for the perfect toothbrush. With a few quick tips, however, you don’t have to settle for either of these options.

The Best Toothbrush

Rather than going for the toothbrush with the most sparkly packaging or the longest list of extra features, here are a few simple guidelines for choosing the best toothbrush.

  • Soft bristles – You don’t want to scrape off the enamel along with the plaque!
  • Fun handles – For children (or adults!), this could help encourage good dental habits by making it fun. The same goes for grown-ups: If a contoured gel handle in your favorite color will help you brush more often, you don’t have to settle for the plain gray plastic! But if you don’t want to shell out an extra $2 for a fancy handle, the plain plastic is just as effective.
  • Brush head – Some people like to use a large toothbrush head because they feel like they can cover more surface with each swipe, but some people with a sensitive gag reflex or who want to reach every crevice may prefer smaller heads. This is entirely up to personal preference.
  • Electric toothbrushes don’t necessarily do a better job of cleaning your teeth, they simply make it easier to brush. It’s up to you if you prefer to move the brush around yourself or let a couple of batteries do it for you.
  • Replace your toothbrush every 3 months so germs don’t build up and the brush doesn’t become worn out and ineffective. If you don’t like your current toothbrush, you can switch to a new one.

Keep these tips in mind, and next time you’re in the market for a toothbrush,  you’ll be able to discern what is important and what is simply a matter of preference.

What is a water pik and do I need one?

 

Water picks, sometimes called “oral irrigators,” make an excellent addition to your regular home care regimen of brushing and flossing. Especially helpful to those who suffer from periodontal disease and those patients of ours undergoing orthodontic treatment with full-bracketed braces, water picks use powerful tiny bursts of water to dislodge food scraps, bacteria, and other debris nestled in the crevices of your mouth. Children undergoing orthodontic treatment may find using a water pick is beneficial if their toothbrush bristles tend to get caught on their wires or brackets.

When you use a water pick, you’re not only dislodging any particles or debris and bacteria you might have missed when brushing, you are also gently massaging the gums, which helps promote blood flow in the gums and keeps them healthy. While water picks are an excellent addition to your daily fight against gingivitis and other periodontal diseases, they are incapable of fully removing plaque, which is why Dr. V and Patty want to remind you to keep brushing and flossing every day.

If you have sensitive teeth or gums and find it uncomfortable to floss daily, water picks are a good alternative to reduce discomfort while effectively cleaning between teeth. Diabetics sometimes prefer water picks to flossing because they don’t cause bleeding of the gums, which can be a problem with floss. If you have a permanent bridge, crowns, or other dental restoration, you may find that a water pick helps you keep the area around the restorations clean.

So how do you choose the right water pick?

Water picks are available for home or portable use. The home versions tend to be larger and use standard electrical outlets, while portable models use batteries. Aside from the size difference, they work in the same manner, both using pulsating water streams. A more crucial difference between water picks is the ability to adjust the pressure. Most home models will let you choose from several pressure settings, depending on how sensitive your teeth and gums are. Most portable models have only one pressure setting. If you want to use mouthwash or a dental rinse in your water pick, check the label first; some models suggest using water only.

Please give us a call at our office if you have any questions about water picks, or ask Dr.V or Patty during your next visit!

Why Dentist Prescribe Dental X-rays?

  In this bitewing radiograph, I have used photoshop to highlight the decayed area.  This x-ray provides a full view of the crown to the root tip of a tooth

 

 

Dental X-rays, also called radiographs, are an important tool for the dentist. The three most common types of dental X-rays are the bitewing, periapical and panoramic X-rays. Bitewing X-rays are those that are taken during most routine dental check-ups and are useful for revealing dental cavities between the teeth. Periapical X-rays show the entire tooth, including the roots, as well as the bone surrounding them. A full series of x-rays or FMX is a set of 14 periapicals and 4 bitewing xrays that gives us a complete detailed view of the teeth. These X-rays are useful in helping to diagnose a dental abscess, a cavitiy as well as periodontal gum disease. The third type of x-ray commonly used in dentistry — the panoramic X-ray gives a broad overview of the entire mouth. This X-ray supplies information about the teeth, upper and lower jawbone, sinuses, and other hard and soft tissues of the head and neck.

 

One advantage of the panoramic X-ray is its ease of use. Unlike other X-rays where the film is placed inside the patient’s mouth, the panoramic film is contained in a machine that moves around the patient’s head. Some people may be familiar with the panoramic X-ray because it is usually taken when the wisdom teeth are being evaluated. The X-ray will also reveal deep cavities and dental gum disease, but it is not as precise as bitewing or periapical X-rays. The panoramic X-ray has many other applications, including evaluating patients with past or present TMJ or jaw joint problems; those who require full or partial removable dentures, dental implants or dental braces; those who are at risk or suspected of having oral cancer symptoms or other tumors of the jaw, have impacted teeth (especially impacted wisdom teeth) or have had any recent trauma to the face or teeth (i.e. can help identify a fractured jaw); and for those who can not tolerate other types of films (severe gaggers).

 

The panoramic X-ray can also identify some not so common problems, such as calcification within the carotid artery that may indicate the potential for a stroke. In one unusually situation, a patient who mentioned that he had suffered for years with recurrent sinus infections.A panoramic X-ray was taken that revealed an infected tooth–upside-down and stuck in his sinus!

 

Defeating Gum Disease

Gum disease runs rampant in our part of the world. Something like four out of every five Americans will be diagnosed with gum disease. That is an incredible high number for such a preventable disease! We can categorize most cases into one of three levels: gingivitis, periodontal disease, and advanced periodontal disease. Gum disease is progressive, which means that if it isn’t treated, it will continue to get worse. Read below for more details on these levels of gum disease and how we can knock it out of your mouth with our advanced dentistry!

Gingivitis
This first level of gum disease is difficult for the patient to notice. There’s rarely any pain, and the swollen gums might not seem like cause for alarm, if the patient even knows they are there! We can treat gingivitis with one good, thorough dental cleaning. We will clear the bacteria and show you how to prevent it from happening again.

Periodontitis
If gingivitis isn’t treated, it will go deeper into your gums, and turn into periodontitis. This form of gum disease is much more serious because the infection will begin to affect the bone structure holding the tooth root in place. In order to treat this, we must turn to a procedure called root scaling and planing, which is a deep cleaning of your tooth roots and a removal of debris found under the gums.

Advanced Periodontitis
If allowed to continue further, periodontitis will become more and more advanced. At this stage, you are probably beginning to lose your natural teeth because the damage to your bone structure is so severe that it cannot hold the root any longer. We treat this with pocket reduction surgery. We use the dental laser to clean out the infection and repair the damaged gums.

Gum disease is completely preventable with a good oral hygiene routine of brushing twice a day, flossing once before bed, and seeing a dentist every six months for a cleaning and exam, yet gum disease is the number one cause of lost teeth in the USA. Don’t be a negative statistic. today to schedule your appointment, and let’s get you back on track with a healthy smile!

Should My Child have Dental Sealants?

The answer is YES! Dental sealants are a critical but underutilized component of preventive dentistry according to Delta Dental. The one-two punch of sealants and fluoride (in toothpaste and water) along with a proper diet can almost totally prevent new tooth decay.

National surveys by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) indicate that only 38 percent of children and teenagers ages 12 to 19 have dental sealants.

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Dental sealants can save families time, money and the discomfort of dental fillings. Sealants are thin, plastic coatings applied to the pits and grooves of teeth to protect them from the bacteria and foods that lead to tooth decay. They only take minutes to apply and are usually covered by insurance. First and second permanent molars are the most likely to benefit from sealants, so it’s best if the sealant is applied soon after those teeth appear, before they have a chance to decay (usually ages 6 and 12).

A sealant is virtually 100 percent effective if fully retained on the tooth, and studies have shown they remain intact 92 to 96 percent of the time after one year and 67 to 82 percent after five years. Sealants should be checked at each regular dental appointment and can be reapplied if they are no longer in place.  Sealants are one of the easiest and effective measures of cavity prevention available. If you have any questions about sealants for your child(ren) contact our office.

Are X-Rays At Your Dentist Safe?

digital dental xrays

digital dental xraysOne of the most powerful tools your dentist has to help diagnose and treat dental health issues is the use of x-rays. Dental x-rays let your dentist see what’s going on, not only on the surface of your teeth but inside them, as well as inside the gum and jawbone areas to help determine a tooth’s growth and progression as well as overall health.

Traditional dental x-rays were performed by your dentist or dental technician using a special film that reacted to the x-rays passing through your teeth and gums; today’s digital radiography uses a sensor to capture images in much the same way, but without the wait for the film to be developed. In addition, modern digital radiography procedures use considerably less radiation — as little as 10% of the amount used to create x-ray images with traditional film procedures.

Obviously less radiation is better than more — although for most patients who were getting x-rays at most twice a year, there was never in any danger from developing radiation-related problems even with the film-based x-rays. But for patients who need more imagery because of particular conditions or procedures they are undergoing, having 1/10th the amount of radiation involved is of course a good thing.

In addition, todays’ digital radiography images are of considerably higher resolution; they can be easily manipulated by your technician or dentist on their computer, as well, allowing them to change lighting and contrast in ways that help them diagnose small problems well in advance of them becoming big ones — the proverbial “stitch in time” that can keep dental issues from becoming worse. X-rays are important to your dental health, and today’s modern digital imagery gives your dentist a better tool than ever before to help keep your teeth at their best.

What Can Cosmetic Dentistry Do For Me?

Cosmetic dentist

Cosmetic dentistMost people understand what they should expect from a traditional general practice dentist; increasingly there has been a growth in interest in cosmetic dentistry, and what advantages can be had from a visit to this kind of dentist. Cosmetic dentists are fully-trained dental professionals who understand that in additional to having a healthy set of teeth and gums, there is often a value to be had in maintaining the beauty of a patient’s mouth — that there are functional issues some general practice dentists aren’t qualified to address. Cosmetic dentists are up to date on the latest advances in dentistry, from modern techniques to the remarkable new materials being used in dental restorations.

A cosmetic dentistry practice can help improve the look and functionality of a patient’s smile by changing the way their teeth align, changing the shape of individual teeth, and even change their size — larger or smaller, depending upon what’s called for in terms of both function and aesthetics. These specialized dentists can artfully close up spaces between teeth, or give crowded teeth a little more room; they can correct the way a patient’s bite closes, making chewing and even speaking more natural.

If a patient’s teeth are less white or bright than they’d prefer — often despite an excellent oral health record — cosmetic dentists have a number of procedures at their disposal that can bring tooth enamel up just a few shades or dramatically; they can have the change take place practically overnight, or spread things out so friends and co-workers don’t even notice the change over time.

Cosmetic dentists can repair teeth that have suffered from decay or trauma, be they chipped, cracked, broken or even missing; they can even replace outdated and unattractive appliances. For more information call us today!

Visiting Their Dentist Jupiter Patients Learn Advantages Of Dental Veneers

veneers

At the dentist, Tequesta patients often say that they’ve come to us in an attempt to address specific problems with the way their teeth look; in particular with otherwise perfectly healthy and functional teeth, many patients don’t like the appearance of their smile because their teeth are stained, uneven, or misshapen in some way that detracts from the look of their face. veneers

One of the simplest, fastest and most economical ways to address these problems is with the dental veneer process. When they choose veneers, Jupiter patients are picking a cosmetic dentistry procedure that is time-tested and safe, as well as highly effective. Veneers are merely thin pieces of porcelain or composite resin that are attached directly to the front of the “offending” tooth, completely covering it and looking every bit as natural as your other teeth. Modern veneers are not only easy to put in place, they’re also incredibly durable — they’re resistant to scratches, difficult to chip, and will not stain the way natural tooth enamel will.

Veneers can be used to cover up just about any problem, and can be color matched to completely blend in with your surrounding teeth. What’s more they’re easy to maintain, requiring no more of a dental hygiene routine than natural teeth. Regular flossing and brushing, combined with a visit to your dentist for check-ups and cleanings, is enough to maintain your veneers; with a little care, your new smile can last a lifetime and look as great as the day you left the dentist’s office!

For more information about dentistry topics or to set up a visit with the professionals in dental veneers Tequesta patients recommend to their friends more often than any other dentistry office, please call us today!

In Cosmetic Dentistry Jupiter Patients Like Implants For Function, Durability

dental implant

If you’ve been considering visiting the dentist to look into ways to effectively replace broken or missing teeth, or if you’ve already got dentures or a bridge and are interested in more durable solution that doesn’t slide around, the dental implant procedure from a cosmetic dentistry professional might be just what you’re looking for. dental implant

When it comes to dental implants, Jupiter patients at our clinic who have had the procedure report numerous advantages, not least among them the ultimate strength and durability of the implants. While the procedure is one of the longest in duration — requiring not only a surgery to place the implants but a long healing period after — the final product is so stable and so effective it remains one of the most popular solutions to a variety of dental problems.

Once the jawbone effectively bonds to the metal implant rods themselves — a process that occurs over several months after the surgery, known as osseointegration — the implants are truly permanent, and are built to last a lifetime with minimal preventative maintenance. The crowns, dentures or bridges that can be attached to those implants serve to give patients the full natural function of their teeth — every bit as solid as natural teeth ever were, with the added benefit of being constructed from exceptionally durable materials.

Finally, while bone and gums surrounding traditional dentures typically begin to recede and weaken, causing a change in facial appearance and an increasingly poor fit, dental implants Tequesta patients receive leave the jawbone stronger — and less likely to erode over time than with other methods. For more information about procedures in cosmetic dentistry Tequesta patients can truly benefit from, please feel free to contact us today and schedule an appointment.

Choosing Veneers, Jupiter Patients Pick Simple, Beautiful Restorations

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AlVillalobos0402For teeth that are misaligned, disproportionately sized, cracked, chipped, poorly spaced or even irreparably stained, dental veneers Tequesta dentists use today are modern and personalized solutions that can make a huge difference in the way a person’s smile looks — and ultimately the way the person behind that smile feels.

To start the procedure at the dentist, Jupiter patients are given a thorough examination to ensure the procedure is the right one for their dental needs. Then, a very thin layer of the front of the teeth to be covered is removed; this allows the veneer to be cemented to the tooth without the final product being even a fraction of a millimeter thicker than the original tooth.

Dental veneers themselves are amazingly thin, and much like the natural enamel on healthy teeth are slightly translucent, making them very natural looking. Made either of porcelain or a durable composite resin (which itself can be color-matched to surrounding teeth), dental veneers offer results which are truly remarkable, especially considering how little time is required to complete the process.

Best of all, porcelain veneers can last a lifetime, and can be maintained with virtually the same dental health regimen dentists recommend for natural teeth — a regular schedule of brushing and flossing at least twice a day, combined with routine visits to the dentist’s office for cleanings and examinations.

Importantly, dental veneers are not affected by typical tooth whitening procedures, so if you intend to whiten teeth that are not covered by veneers, that should be done first so the veneers themselves can be better color-matched. If you would like to learn more about the advantages of dental veneers or would like to meet the dentist Tequesta residents refer most to their friends and family, call us today!