Straighten Up A Smile For Oral Health & Great Looks!

We make Invisalign available in our practice as an option to straighten teeth as an alternative to traditional braces for excellent reasons. Because straight teeth are easier to keep clean than crowded or misaligned teeth, they tend to be healthier teeth in addition to giving a more attractive smile.

Invisalign is an FDA-cleared system that effectively straightens teeth without wires and brackets, making it comfortable and without the awkward feelings some have with a mouthful of bindings. Invisalign combines 3-D computer imaging technology with a clear, medical grade polymer to move teeth at a pace that is faster than that of traditional braces. Plus, they can be removed to eat and clean teeth and are generally undetectable when worn. We offer Invisalign for adults as well as Invisalign Teen.

Want to treat someone you know to a gift they’ll truly cherish every day? Ask about Gift Certificates for Invisalign or Invisalign Teen! Also, we can start your gift recipient off with a complimentary consultation to review the process and scheduling procedures. Just call us at (586) 739-2155 or Toll Free 1-855-9-Smiles to get the process started.

What Is A Root Canal & When It’s Needed

Have you ever heard the phrase, “I’d rather have a root canal than …”?

Perhaps root canals of yesteryear were dreadful procedures deserving of this reputation. However, most modern root canals are no more involved than having a typical filling. They are performed in less time than procedures of the past and your comfort is at an optimal level throughout.

Root canals are important since they can save your tooth. They are performed to remove dead nerve tissues and bacteria from the tooth’s interior. They are needed when infection is attacking its nerve root system, which is typically accompanied by pain and swelling in the area. This infection can result from a crack in the tooth, a cavity or an injury.

We begin by thoroughly numbing the affected tooth. When you assure us that you are fully comfortable, we  remove a small part of the top of the tooth to reach the pulp. The tooth’s pulp is made up of nerves, blood vessels and tissue, all of which connect to the jaw bone. Pulp supplies blood to a tooth and enables you to feel sensations such as hot coffee or cold ice-cream.

The infected pulp is removed and the canals inside the tooth are cleaned. The repaired tooth is then sealed and a permanent crown is placed to cover and protect the tooth.

Saving a tooth and keeping it in its natural position is important. Each tooth has a necessary role in your mouth. Losing one has a domino affect when it comes to the vulnerability of other teeth in your mouth. Should you ever need one, you’ll find that today’s root canals are performed quickly and comfortably.

Oral Health Tips For Diabetic Adults

Nearly 8% of the American population have diabetes with 1.6 million new cases diagnosed yearly for ages 20 and over. Diabetics may have problems with the eyes, kidneys, heart and nerves as well as lower resistance to infection and a slower healing process.

If diabetes is not controlled, oral bacteria thrive in high glucose levels in saliva. Without proper brushing and flossing, the bacteria form a sticky film called plaque, which hardens into tartar. This leads to periodontal (gum) disease. It’s not unusual for diabetics with inadequate blood sugar control to find themselves dealing with gum disease. Typically, they develop gum disease more often and more severely. It has also been shown that they lose more teeth than those who have good control over their diabetes. The most common oral health problems of diabetics are: tooth decay, periodontal disease, salivary gland dysfunction, fungal infections, inflammatory skin disease, delayed healing, and taste impairment.

Dry mouth, common among diabetic patients, greatly increases the risk of tooth decay and periodontal disease without adequate saliva to help wash away food particles. Using a fluoride mouthwash can help. These are sold over-the-counter at drug stores. Sugarless gum, sugarless mints and taking frequent sips of water may help alleviate a dry mouth. Limiting caffeine and alcohol also help.

An oral condition that appears more frequently among diabetics is oral candidiasis, a fungal infection in the mouth, which occurs especially with denture wearers. An antifungal medication can be prescribed to treat this. Another is Lichen Planus, which is a skin disorder that produces lesions in the mouth. A severe type causes painful ulcers that erode surface tissue. Although there is no cure, a topical medication can relieve the condition. And, while some diabetics feel their taste is diminished, taste impairment is usually not severe. Altered taste sensations are barely perceptible to most diabetic patients and hopefully do not negatively influence food choices.

Not only for oral health, but for good overall health, diabetics should maintain good blood sugar levels, a well-balanced diet according to specific needs, proper oral care at home and regular dental checkups. Preventive oral health care, including professional dental cleanings, is important to avoid gum disease and other oral health problems.

In dentistry, the sooner the better. Problems in the mouth do not repair on their own. For a custom approach to your oral health and wellness, call toll free 1-855-9-Smiles or (586) 739-2155 to arrange a free consultation to discuss your needs. Together, we can help you avoid the most common oral health problems of diabetics and enjoy a healthy, happy smile.

Dental Implants Have A Long, Interesting History!

For those who are considering dental implants for tooth replacement, they may be surprised that modern implants have been around for decades. And, even more interesting, primitive forms of dental implants have been discovered dating back to early civilizations.

Archeologists have found ancient skulls with cast iron and carved shells in the place of removed teeth. Although their methods and materials were primitive, these first attempts at dental implantation successfully show implants bonded with the jaw bone, referred to as osseo-integration. This process is what prevents the jaw from shrinking, or ‘resorbing,’ when tooth roots no longer exist to stimulate the bone.

In the 1970’s, a lightweight material developed by NASA called Titanium was found to be bio-compatible, meaning it would not be rejected by the body. From then on, dental implants were made from Titanium and have the highest success rate of any implanted surgical device.

Today, there are many shapes and sizes of dental implants to accommodate various needs. The type that is best for you should be selected by a Doctor who is experienced in placing all types so they are able to choose the best one for your specific needs.

That Ringing In Your Ears May NOT Be Holiday Bells

Tinnitus involves hearing sound when no external sound is present. While a number of health conditions can cause or worsen tinnitus, in many cases, an exact cause is never found.

Tinnitus can be the result of age-related hearing loss, over-exposure to loud noise, ear wax blockage or stiffening of the bones in your middle ear. If these are ruled out as your source of tinnitus, another common cause is TMJ disorder (TMD). Problems with the tempero-mandibular joint, (the joint in front of your ears where your lower jawbone connects to the skull), is another cause for ringing in the ears.

Typically, TMJ disorders will be accompanied by other symptoms in addition to ringing ears. These include:

• Frequent headaches or migraines

• Jaw joint pain, clicking or popping

• Facial or neck pain

• Worn, chipped or sensitive teeth

• Limited ability to open the mouth

• Jaw tenderness when chewing

• Vertigo (feeling ‘off-balance’ and dizzy)

• Earaches

If you feel your jaw joint may be the source of that sound in your ears, it’s likely it is also contributing to other problems, or will in the future. Our office provides a thorough examination and diagnostic process to help determine if TMD is a problem for you. If so, we can make recommendations to help alleviate your symptoms and correct the problem.

To learn more, please call our office at (586) 739-2155 or toll free 1-855-9Smiles. We offer a complimentary consultation to answer your questions and explain the diagnostic process and will be happy to arrange a convenient time for you.

 

Floss Like A Pro!

People who floss their teeth on a regular basis seem to perform the task effortlessly, often without looking in a mirror or feeling they’ll lose fingers from lack of circulation! With the right technique and a few practice rounds, you can become a Floss Master!

First, use about 18 inches of floss. Nylon floss (waxed or unwaxed) is inexpensive but can shred between teeth with tight contact points. If this occurs, try the single filament floss (although higher-priced), which slides easily between teeth and is shred-resistant.

Use a mirror with good lighting so you can see the inside of your mouth. Now, wind the floss around the middle fingers of each hand with a couple of inches hanging loose to work with. Stretch the floss between your thumbs and index fingers and slide it in-between your teeth, curving the floss around the base of each tooth and beneath the gumline. Avoid popping the floss down between the teeth. This can tear tender gum tissue. Remove the floss using the same back-and-forth motion, moving it up and away from the teeth.

About every 3-4 teeth, loosen the floss from fingers and retighten to use clean sections. This will also keep your fingers from becoming uncomfortable.

Do this every night for one week. After seven nights, this should be easy enough to do in about half the time it took the first night. You may also find you no longer need the mirror!

What’s most important, however, is the tremendous advantage you’re having on your oral health! Flossing is a preventive health measure you’ll be glad you mastered!

What Smoking Does – A Dental Point Of View

Many smokers are unaware of the numerous oral health issues when it comes to tobacco use. For example, research shows that smokers lose more teeth than nonsmokers. According to the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention, while only about 20% of people over 65 who’ve never smoked are toothless, over 41% of smokers over 65 are toothless.

Studies also show that tobacco use may be one of the most significant risk factors in the development and progression of periodontal disease. Plus, it’s no surprise that following periodontal treatment or oral surgery, patients who smoke typically have longer healing times and treatment results are less predictable.

Too, smokers have greater increase for periodontal disease versus nonsmokers. One reason is increased susceptibility to calculus, which is the plaque that hardens on teeth and can only be removed during a cleaning. If not removed, the bacteria in calculus can destroy gum tissue and cause gums to pull away from the teeth.

When this happens, pockets form and fill with disease-causing bacteria. As gum disease progresses, deeper pockets between teeth and gums fill with bacteria that destroy tissue and supporting bone. As a result, the gums may pull away from the teeth, making them look long. Eventually, the teeth become loose and require removal.

Other tobacco products are also harmful to your periodontal health. Smokeless tobacco can cause gums to recede and increase the chance of losing the bone and fibers that hold teeth in place. Cigar and pipe smokers have it just as risky. The Journal of the American Dental Association revealed that cigar smokers experience tooth and bone loss at rates equal to those of cigarette smokers. Pipe smokers have tooth loss at a pace similar to that of cigarette smokers.

Time after time, research has shown the following occurs more often in those who use tobacco: oral cancer; bad breath; stained teeth, tooth loss; loss of taste; gum recession; mouth sores; and facial wrinkling.

I’m not about to lecture people when it comes to quitting smoking. However, I hope they realize it takes a terrible toll on their oral health, as with most other parts of their bodies.

Why Replace An ‘Unseen’ Back Tooth?

If you lose a back tooth, why replace it when the tooth isn’t visible?

Your teeth are arranged in a carefully balanced configuration to provide proper support and stability. Losing a tooth can start a vicious cycle of ongoing oral and structural problems. Typical oral problems include drifting, shifting, and an increased risk of gum disease and decay.

In a normal, healthy mouth, there is a natural balance of teeth. Each tooth has three or four companion teeth. These include the adjacent teeth on either side as well as upper or lower teeth that meet them. Upper and lower teeth work together to provide comfortable chewing function.

When a tooth is lost, statistics show its the companion tooth that will likely be lost next. Then, the next closest tooth is subjected to the same conditions. With each tooth lost, the problems are magnified and the cycle of tooth loss continues.

The best time to replace missing teeth is immediately after the tooth is lost. During a consultation, your questions will be answered and I’ll explain tooth replacement options so you can select the preferred treatment.