Beautiful Smiles Have Advantages That Go Beyond Appearance

While definitions of beauty vary, symmetry is a common component of how most assess a face as beautiful. A common standard used is a balanced eye alignment with both sides of the mouth, nose and cheeks mirroring one another. However, many beauty ‘experts’ agree that, regardless of meeting these standards, beauty exudes from those who possess an aura of confidence.

Being confident, however, requires one to feel confident. That sounds so simple, yet it’s not. When we stop and examine what creates confidence in a person, many say it’s feeling self-assured about the impression one makes. And, right or wrong, we know that a large part of this impression is created by what others see on the outside.

In my twenty years in dental practice, I’ve seen hundreds of patients who decided, after much contemplation, to have a smile makeover. And rightly so, since many surveys have shown that the first thing people often notice when meeting someone is their smile.DrB Pt Mirror copy

Modern cosmetic dentistry offers a number of durable, natural looking and long-lasting methods to create a smile that enhances one’s appearance and self-confidence. In some instances, for example, placing porcelain veneers on just the front six upper teeth can dramatically improve a smile’s appearance with a look and feel that is as natural as real teeth.

You may remember “Extreme Makeover,” a series on television that aired from 2002 to 2007. Each episode followed an individual who had been chosen for a total makeover. Typically, the individual was taken through weight loss and toning, plastic surgery, hair and makeup, and smile enhancement. What quickly became key criteria for the candidates selected was their need for cosmetic dentistry.  Why?

After the show began, it became very apparent to the producers that the most significant changes in appearance emerged from the smile enhancements. While losing weight, a nose job or breast lift were all beneficial, it was the smile that often had the most dramatic effect when it came to improving appearance.

When smile makeovers are completed in our office, I’ve had many patients break out in tears at the new smile they see in the mirror. And, even though the expenses associated with some smile enhancements can be a financial stretch, I’ve never had a patient who didn’t say their new smile was “worth every cent” with most adding, “I only wish I hadn’t waited so long to do this.”

Yet, it’s not what occurs in the moments after their new smile is completed as what emerges over time. I’ve seen a number of my smile makeover patients lose weight, pursue work promotions, get a new hairstyle, become more social, smile more often and seem more positive about life in general. It’s as if the new smiles released self-esteem that had been hiding behind smiles that kept their true self-confidence tucked beneath the surface.

Time and again, research has shown the dramatic effect a smile has on one’s overall demeanor. Apparently, the act of smiling causes the brain to release endorphins, which are the feel-good chemicals in the brain. Findings also show that even faking a smile causes the brain to react as a mood booster.

The simple act of smiling is good for you, inside and out! A smile that enhances our appearance tends to be shared more often. This sets off a domino effect. Since our mood is boosted from our brain’s chemical reactions, it makes us feel more positive. Feeling more positive makes us feel more confident. And so on.

Whether you need to replace missing teeth, old crowns or bridgework, need to realign crooked or crowded teeth or repair broken, chipped or worn teeth, today’s cosmetic dentistry offers excellent options. And, many are surprised at the affordability of achieving the smile they desire.

Begin with a no cost, no obligation consultation. We’ll talk about what may work best for your goals, comfort options, payment plans and anticipated treatment time.

When you consider the small amount of space that a smile has on our bodies, it amazing at how significantly it can transform our appearance and mindset one way or another. Yet, what nature may have denied, modern dentistry can give back!

Call toll free 1-866-9-Smiles to arrange a time convenient for you.

Canker Sore Or Cold Sore, Or Worse?

As we enter the holiday season, our risk for illness increases. Perhaps it’s because we’re confined to the indoors with others more often. However, for many of us, the added stressful during this time of year can compromise the immune systems, which can place our resistance at lower levels. christmas-reindeer-head

In spite of getting our flu shot, washing hands often, boosting vitamin C intake and staying active, a couple of irritating and embarrassing oral problems tend to emerge more during stressful times of the year.

During the holidays, we see more individuals who develop canker and cold sores.  With ultra-busy times of year like the holidays, your likelihood of getting a cold or canker sore increases along with the added stress.

The two are often confused, however, with the difference being:

Canker Sores
These are small ulcers that typically have a white or gray base and red border. Unlike cold sores, canker sores appear inside the mouth and are not contagious. The exact cause of canker sores is uncertain but fatigue, stress or allergies can increase the likelihood of a canker sore. Some experts suspect immune system problems, bacteria or viruses can also spurn eruption. A cut caused by biting the tongue or inside of the cheek as well as hot foods or beverages may contribute to canker sore development. Canker sores usually heal on their own in a week or two. Over-the-counter topical anesthetics, steroid preparations,  and antimicrobial mouth rinses can provide temporary relief. As a holistic method, you may try swishing with plain, sugar-free yogurt for a minute or so. This helps to restore a healthy bacteria balance in the mouth while soothing discomfort.

Cold Sores
These are also referred to as fever blisters or Herpes simplex and are located around the lips, under the nose or on the chin. Caused by herpes virus type 1, cold sores are very contagious. These are clusters of fluid-filled blisters that often erupt since are they are most commonly found around the edge of the lips. Cold sores are Herpes lesions that may follow a fever, sunburn, skin abrasions or emotional upset. Because cold sore blisters are on the outside of the mouth, they can be embarrassing and uncomfortable. Although they usually heal in a week, over-the-counter topical anesthetics may speed the process while providing some relief. In our office, we can use a laser to hasten healing, often within a 2-3 day period. If occurrences are frequent, ask about prescription drugs that can help reduce the duration of these viral infections.

It is important, however, to pay close attention to any change to oral tissue that does not heal within 10-14 days. When oral tissue does not repair on its own in a week or two, it should be examined immediately! This is a symptom of oral cancer, which kills 1 person every hour of every day.

Oral cancer has one of the worst survival rates of all cancers. Because symptoms can mimic a bite on the inside of your cheek, more obvious symptoms often do not emerge until the cancer has reached advanced stages. Of those who acquire oral cancer, only 57% are estimated to still be alive 5 years later.

Some tissue changes in your mouth are normal and repair on their own in about 10 days. However, it is important to be aware of oral cancer’s symptoms and react quickly to areas that change further or do not go away. Symptoms include:

• white or red patch of tissue
• unusual lesion in the mouth
• difficulty or discomfort when swallowing
• persistent sore throat or feeling something is stuck in the throat
• a lump or mass inside the mouth or neck
• wart-like mass
• numbness in the mouth or face

Lesions or discolorations that are early warning signs are not always visible, particularly in the back portion of the mouth (the oropharynx, the tonsils, and base of tongue), which can be an obstacle to early diagnosis and treatment. This is yet another reason that keeping your regular oral hygiene exam and cleanings is so important. During these times, we look for unusual changes in the mouth that can indicate a problem. However, you should never wait until your scheduled appointment to have anything unusual examined.

While uncomfortable canker or cold sores may not be welcome, they tend to go away in a week or ten days. Again, if an unusual spot or sore is still present after two weeks, call 586-739-2155 immediately for an appointment.

Can A Healthy Smile Protect Your Heart?

Bacteria in our bodies is not always a bad thing. For example, certain bacteria in the gut actually enhance the process of digestion and help to keep the digestive system operating efficiently.

However, some bacteria is not good. When too much bacteria invade the body, the immune system becomes overburdened. This is why an untreated cut can become infected.

The body’s natural defense response, white blood cells, aren’t always able to conquer infection at certain levels. This is when your doctor may prescribe an antibiotic – to give the immune system added reinforcements.

Periodontal (gum) disease is an infection in the mouth. This is where oral bacteria have amassed to the point that the immune system cannot manage infectious growth. While gum disease destroys tissues in the mouth and the structures that support teeth, this infectious bacteria doesn’t always stay confined to the mouth.

The bacteria of gum disease can enter the bloodstream through tears in weakened gum tissues. As it travels throughout the body, it can trigger inflammatory reactions elsewhere. Over the years, the bacteria of periodontal disease has been linked to everything from stroke to preterm babies to diabetes.

One of the first correlations between oral bacteria and other serious health problems was found in heart disease. An excellent explanation of how this occurs can be found in Harvard Medical School’s newsletter: Harvard Health Publications.

http://www.health.harvard.edu/press_releases/heart-disease-oral-health

They explain the sequence of events as: “In people with periodontitis (erosion of tissue and bone that support the teeth), chewing and toothbrushing release bacteria into the bloodstream. Several species of bacteria that cause periodontitis have been found in the atherosclerotic plaque in arteries in the heart and elsewhere. This plaque can lead to heart attack.

“Oral bacteria could also harm blood vessels or cause blood clots by releasing toxins that resemble proteins found in artery walls or the bloodstream. The immune system’s response to these toxins could harm vessel walls or make blood clot more easily. It is also possible that inflammation in the mouth revs up inflammation throughout the body, including in the arteries, where it can lead to heart attack and stroke.”

Through numerous studies and years of research, we now know that your oral health is closely related to your overall health. By achieving and maintaining a healthy smile, you’ll be doing your body good!

If you are experiencing any of the following symptoms of gum disease, please know that it will only worsen without treatment. Common signs are: gums that bleed easily when brushing, tender gums, gum recession, frequent bad breath, gums that darken in color from a healthy pink to red, and pus pockets that form near the base of some teeth.

Gum disease is also the nation’s leading cause of adult tooth loss. And, studies have shown that the loss of natural teeth compromises the digestive process, social confidence and one’s lifespan.

Don’t delay care. Make sure you are current on your twice-a-year dental exams and cleanings and be committed to your at-home oral hygiene regimen. Twice daily brushing and daily flossing is necessary to keep oral bacteria at a manageable level.

Ready for a clean mouth that supports your overall health? Call toll free 1-866-9-Smiles for more information about an examination and cleaning. Or, ask to begin with a no-cost consultation.

Whiten Teeth For Affordable Smile Improvement

Want to improve the appearance of your smile without straining your budget? Today’s tooth whitening systems offer affordable ways to lessen the visibility of flaws in natural teeth, have a smile that looks healthier, and take years off!

But not just ANY whitening system can provide: • Dramatic Whitening Levels • Exceptional Longevity • A Safe & Comfortable Process

Zoom 2 gives an exceptional white in about an hour!

Get the results you want with

In about an hour, Zoom II goes beyond mere surface stains caused by coffee, red wine or smoking. The Zoom II whitening system can remove even deep stains for a dramatically white smile.

In addition to being a comfortable process for people with sensitivity issues, Zoom II lasts far longer than drug store whitening kits, which only give minor shade improvement.

The Zoom II process takes place in our office. Using light activation technology, this system combines a “photo-fenton” reaction of peroxide and iron in the Zoom II gel. The peroxide reacts with the iron, producing stain terminators as the light cyclically renews the iron for significantly enhanced whitening results.

Ready to whiten like you mean it? Improve your smile quickly and affordably! Call today to discuss the Zoom II whitening process for yourself or for a special smile in your life! (Also makes a fabulous holiday gift — gift certificates are available!)

Call (586) 739-2155 to learn more.

To Floss Or Not?

When it comes to removing debris and bacteria in the mouth, brushing your teeth doesn’t always do the job. This is where flossing can give your oral health a ‘leg up.’

Flossing removes food particles caught between teeth that a tooth brush cannot reach or dislodge.

When you eat food, an acid enters the mouth through saliva flow. As the initial stage of digestion, this acid is designed to break food down as it’s chewed.

Although beneficial to the digestive process, this acid is potent. It is so strong that it can soften tooth enamel. This is why it is wise to delay brushing for 20 to 30 minutes after eating. The abrasive nature of a toothbrush and toothpaste can wear away precious tooth enamel while in this softened state.

Food needs to be removed before it starts to rot. Food particles that remain in the mouth allow oral bacteria to thrive. As bacteria eat, they reproduce – rapidly. How rapidly? The sticky film you feel on teeth in the evening is actually a coating of oral bacteria that has accumulated since your morning brushing.

Known as plaque, this film coats the teeth, tongue and gums. When not removed daily, plaque can form into rock-hard bacterial masses that attach to teeth. This is referred to as calculus (or tartar) and is what your hygienist scrapes off teeth during dental cleanings. Once formed, it cannot be brushed or flossed away.

This is why it is important to keep oral bacteria levels to a minimum. The devotion of twice daily brushing and daily flossing helps you avoid problems such as cavities and gum disease.

For decades, brushing and flossing have been the tried-&-true techniques for maintaining a healthy mouth. However, like most things, proper techniques can mean the difference between somewhat helpful and very effective.

Brushing should be done with a soft to medium bristle tooth brush using a fluoridated toothpaste. You should use a circulation motion on the front and back of each tooth and a swirling motion along the tops.

Flossing also requires the proper technique to have a positive impact. For example, researchers at the University of Washington School of Dentistry found that when children between ages 4 – 13 had their teeth professionally flossed for five days a week for just over a year and a half, there was 40% decrease in cavity risk. A group of the same ages who flossed on their own saw no such benefit.

Yet, many people feel flossing is awkward. They claim it cuts circulation in their fingers and it’s difficult to reach certain areas in the mouth. For people with large fingers, this seems to be a significant obstacle. Too, people who have dexterity problems, such as arthritic challenges, feel frustrated by the movement required.

For easy flossing tips, watch our short video: http://www.banrbarbatdds.com/dental_care.php

For situations where self-flossing is too challenging, we often recommend water flossers. These are easy to use, affordable and can be more effective than flossing when challenges exist.

In spite of daily flossing and twice daily brushing, other factors can impact your potential for a healthy mouth. As mentioned prior, each time you eat, the acid attack in your mouth places tooth enamel in a vulnerable position. For those who are frequent snackers, they are more susceptible to oral problems due to an increased number of acid attacks throughout the day.

People who sip sodas during the day also have a greater risk. The acid in the soda coupled with the drink’s sticky sugar is a double wallop when it mixes with the acid in the mouth. Often, people drink sodas between meals, which means the mouth is being bombarded by acid far too often to ward off potential damage.

If people who have lost teeth due to insufficient oral hygiene could go back, daily brushing and flossing would take on a much higher priority in their day. Adult teeth are a ‘one-&-done’ deal. Losing them opens the door for decisions that can be costly and even frustrating (just ask most long-time denture wearers!).

If you can’t get comfortable with flossing, consider purchasing  a water flosser and make it part of your everyday oral hygiene routine. In addition to reducing your risk for cavities and gum disease, you’ll be able to enjoy fresher breath and a more confident smile.

Behind on your dental cleanings and check-ups? Let’s get you up to speed before the year’s end. Call 1-866-9-Smiles to schedule an appointment.