The best thing you can do for your teeth is to take care of them. Adults over 35 lose more teeth to gum diseases than from cavities. The best way to prevent cavities and disease is by good oral hygiene, done every day.
These are easy to follow preventative care tips that go a long way to preventing cavities, gum disease, and bad breath.
One of the main contributors to gum disease and tooth decay is plaque. Plaque is a colorless film, which sticks to your teeth at the gum line.
Plaque is constantly forming on your teeth, and the only way to remove it and prevent plaque buildup is by daily brushing. By brushing and flossing twice daily, you can remove these germs and help prevent periodontal disease.
How to Brush Your Teeth
Many people think they know how to brush; after all, we’ve been doing it since we were kids. But over time, people get a bit lackadaisical, and they don’t get the most out of brushing. It’s vital for long term tooth health, especially if you would like to keep your teeth well into old age.
First, use a fluoride toothpaste to get the best protection. Position the brush at a 45degree angle where your gums and teeth meet. Gently move the brush in a circular motion using small, gentle strokes and light pressure. Use this technique on all upper and lower incisors. Use back and forth actions to brush the biting surfaces. Don’t forget to brush your tongue to remove germs. A tongue sweeper can even be more effective at eliminating bacteria from the surface of your tongue.
If you have any pain while brushing or have any questions about how to brush properly, please be sure to contact us.
How to Floss Your Teeth
We know that no one likes to floss. But gum disease usually appears in the area between the teeth that your toothbrush misses. Flossing is a very effective way to remove plaque from those surfaces, preventing gum disease and tooth decay. Flossing is simple and only takes two minutes.
Start with a piece of floss that is 18″ long. Wrap the floss around each index finger lightly and grip the floss with the index finger and the thumb. Insert the floss in between your teeth and gently move back and forth. Repeat this process between all teeth, even those with no teeth behind them (at the back of the mouth). There are several types of flosses, including nonwaxed and waxed. Either is effective and is a matter of personal preference.
If you haven’t’ flossed in a while, you may see some blood. The appearance of blood is normal the first few times you floss, but it will go away. If it doesn’t, it may indicate a bigger problem. Contact us for a quick evaluation.
Should I use an Electric or Manual Toothbrush?
Oral health experts believe that brushing with an electric toothbrush can be more effective than using a manual toothbrush. Electric toothbrushes are designed to replicate the professional brushes used by hygienists in the office for cleanings.
When used correctly, an electric toothbrush can be more effective than a manual toothbrush in removing plaque. An electric toothbrush can decrease brushing time while helping users reach difficult areas of the mouth, especially in the back. If you prefer a manual brush, the best one to buy is an extra soft-bristled brush with a small head that fits comfortably in your mouth and has a handle with a grip that feels comfortable in your hand.
Electronic toothbrushes cost more than manual brushes. But you do not have to buy one for everyone in your family. Electric toothbrushes come with multiple heads that you swap out for each user, helping save some money.
Types of Dental Care Products
Fluoride toothpaste and mouth rinses/mouthwashes can help reduce tooth decay as much as 40% if used in conjunction with proper brushing and flossing. Any child under the age of six should use products labeled explicitly for their age group. Tartar control toothpaste can reduce tartar above the gum line. However, since gum disease starts below the gum line, these products have not been proven to reduce the early stages of gum disease.
There are many antiplaque rinses on the market, many of which are approved by the American Dental Association. These rinses contain ingredients that may help control early gum disease when used in conjunction with brushing and flossing.
Professional and Routine Cleaning
In addition to daily brushing and flossing, it is essential to have your teeth professionally cleaned every six months. The importance of coming to see us twice a year can not be understated.
A professional cleaning will remove plaque and buildup in areas where you cannot reach or may miss. Keeping up on your preventative care will help you prevent gum disease and keep your teeth healthy.
Plus, with occasional Xrays and the trained eye of a dental professional, we can find and fix issues long before they become problems.
Dental Services & Restorative Care
Your smile helps you to project an image of self-confidence and high self-esteem. When you feel good about yourself, it shows in your appearance.
Good oral health means good overall health. Consider the dentist an added insurance policy. By visiting the dentist regularly, you get an oral-health physical that can help you prevent illness, identify potential issues, and save you money.
Dental Fillings and Sealants
A dental filling is a treatment used to repair minimal tooth fractures, chips, tooth decay, cavities, or damaged surfaces of the teeth. While fillings from years past have traditionally been silver, we now use a white composite material that not only blends in with your natural teeth but also strengthens the affected tooth.
Tooth sealants are a white acrylic material that is placed over the tooth to prevent decay. Sealing can last several years before a reapplication is needed.
Teeth whitening can be used to correct tooth discolorations caused by staining, aging, or chemical damage to teeth. This type of damage can be caused by smoking, drinking coffees, teas, and sodas, for example. Using the latest in tooth whitening technology, we can offer a safe method for creating a whiter smile.
We offer one-hour inhouse whitening, custom trays for at-home applications, and convenient readymade trays. Our whitening systems also include a desensitizing agent to reduce or eliminate sensitivity often caused by whitening.
Porcelain veneers are thin shells of ceramic that bond directly to the front and top surfaces of the teeth. They are an excellent option for those with gaps in the teeth, teeth that are severely stained, poorly shaped, or crooked. The porcelain is placed on top of your teeth and looks very natural. While thin, the material is durable and resistant to coffee, tea, and even cigarette stains.
Current research shows that porcelain veneers have approximately a 93% success rate over 15 years. If you think you may be a candidate for veneers, make an appointment. Dr. Gum will talk you through the process and answer your questions to determine if veneers are right for you.
Inlays and Overlays
Gold, porcelain, and composite resin are used to construct tooth inlays and overlays. An inlay, similar to a filling, is used inside the edges of the tooth. An overlay is similar to the inlay, but it extends out over the sides of the tooth.
Traditionally, gold has been the material of choice for inlays and overlays. Currently, porcelain has become the most popular material due to its strength and color, which can better match the natural color of your teeth.
From time-to-time, it may be necessary to pull (or extract) a tooth. It is essential to consider your other teeth and the structure of your mouth when removing a tooth. Dr. Gum will make an assessment and make recommendations for the best long-term options for you.
After you get home, you may experience some pain and bleeding from the extraction. If you experience bleeding, place moist gauze over the empty socket and bite down firmly for 45 minutes. For pain and swelling, put a bag of frozen vegetables covered in a washcloth on the affected area of the cheek for 20 minutes. Rotate 20 minutes off, then 20 minutes on for relief. You also may take over-the-counter pain relief medications such as Tylenol® or ibuprofen.
Be careful not to chew on the side of the extraction for 24 hours. Also, it is best to avoid alcohol and hot liquids. To keep the mouth clean, avoid brushing on the side of the extraction for a day or so and avoid commercial mouthwashes.
A root canal is a simple treatment that can save your natural teeth and prevent the need for permanent restorative work. When the center of your tooth, known as the pulp, gets infected by decay, chipping, or cracking, it can cause swelling, sensitivity, and pain. Root canals are performed to alleviate the pain. The root canal is a non-surgical procedure that removes the infected pulp and cleans and seals the area from further damage or infection. Dr. Gum will assess the affected area, and give you counsel on whether a root canal is a good option for you. In 90% of cases, root canals are successful treatments for guests.
One of the ways you can replace the loss of a tooth is a bridge. This structure attaches new artificial teeth to the adjacent natural teeth. Bridges are permanently secured in your mouth to act as natural teeth and maintain the proper formation of your mouth.
The attachment procedure may take more than one appointment to complete. Impressions of your teeth are made with a mold or a computer scan to ensure proper fit.
Another option for missing teeth is the dental crown or “cap.” Some applications for crowns are: preserving a cracked tooth, repairing a broken tooth, or restoring a tooth that is severely decayed. The crown is a long term viable solution made of high-grade porcelain and encases the affected tooth. The fitting of a crown can be done in one appointment using our Cerec machine.
Missing teeth can lead to shifting of the remaining teeth causing crooked teeth, making it difficult to brush and floss, allowing bacteria to settle and cause additional problems. A good option for replacing multiple missing teeth is the partial denture. Partial dentures are a removable dental appliance and use clasps or crowns for attachment. There are many different materials and attachments options. Dr. Gum will review your situation and make the best recommendation for you.
Many people do not want metal braces for a variety of reasons. We can provide an inconspicuous, removable orthodontic appliance that serves as an alternative to traditional braces. We prefer Clear Correct, which offers a high-quality product and is a lower-cost alternative to its national competitors.
Clear Correct is an option for adults needing an alignment, but do not want a mouth full of metal braces. If you are interested in clear aligners, Dr. Gum will talk with you and conduct an assessment to determine what type of alignment appliances are best suited for you and your teeth.