All posts by Jsgross

Yes! Straight Teeth Are Possible – Even Now!

Straight Teeth -Senior Woman with new straight teeth

Wow, I Never Had Straight Teeth!

It was almost like a staged reaction that one sees on a TV show. After removing 10 teeth and placing a denture in the mouth of the patient, her eyes lit up in delight with an astonished expression appearing on her face. I thought to myself, this is why I love the practice of dentistry.

Let me explain what was going on with this patient. I started seeing her a little while ago with a complaint of a loose tooth.  Whenever someone gives me a history such as that, I think immediately of infection. Although trauma could also be involved, infection is usually the underlying reason.

A Foundation Analogy

Everyone needs to understand that teeth are held firmly in place by a strong foundation. Just like a building is built with cement or steel anchors into the ground so too are teeth firmly anchored in our heads. More specifically in our upper and lower jaw.

In our analogy, if the foundation, starts to become compromised and erode away the building will become unstable. It will no longer be safe to live in. Either we fix the foundation or we knock down the house and start over.

So too in the case of teeth once the foundation is compromised we strive to fix it.

Fixing the deterioration early

The beginning of a compromised foundation in the mouth is what we call gingivitis or in more general terms, periodontal disease. We try to catch the problem early and stop the deterioration.

This is usually relatively easy to do. It takes some time and effort on our part and on the patients part. It is not costly or uncomfortable to fix the problem at this point.

If we don’t deal with the problem when it is first discovered, then there are more sophisticated solutions that are available.

Obviously, since the problem is worse and more involved then the solution takes more effort on everyone’s part. However, we still have a solution.

We don’t have to condemn the house and bring it down.

When Gum Disease is Ignored

If we persist and ignore the problem, then condemnation by the local authorities is the only answer to this dangerous and unsafe situation.

In the case of our mouth’s the teeth are so bad that they are very loose. The mouth is filled with unsightly gum disease. Sometimes the gums bleed easily and other times they don’t. The common denominator is loose teeth and really unpleasant breath. A professional in the dental field picks up immediately on the smell that emanates from someone with bad gum disease.

Once Past the Point of No Return

In our patient’s case, she had no hope except to remove the teeth that were hopeless.

Hopeless means that I have no other method or technique to stop the gum disease around a tooth except for removal.

Once a tooth is gone then the disease process goes away. It feeds off the teeth. Without them, the disease is gone. So I had a fix for the disease in her mouth.

Fixing the Cosmetics After Removal of The Teeth

However, her cosmetics were a challenge. Her natural teeth were long and protruded a great deal outside of her mouth. Within reason, whenever we kind of start over and remove teeth, we have a fresh opportunity to fix the cosmetic problem.

This is what we did in this case. The upper front teeth we lined up in a very pleasing pattern and position. We needed to make them harmonious with bottom teeth and sometimes that can be a challenge. We were fortunate and created an outstanding result. She now has new straight teeth!

New Straight Teeth – An Emotional High for Everyone

As I said at the beginning, the good feeling from helping someone such as this can not be measured by any means. In fact, words can do justice to describe the feeling.  It was an emotional high for everyone in the office that day. My staff and the patient were all elated beyond words.

If any of this sounds like your situation or a situation of a loved one or friend, tell them that a solution is available for them. Whether the solution is a permanent teeth or great looking denture, there are answers to their problem. They are not alone.

Megan is available to schedule you for an evaluation and provide you with some answers to your questions. Please call her at 440.951.7856 and take advantage of this opportunity.

Wishing everyone a great week!

Jeffrey Gross, DDSFAGD is an Ohio licensed general dentist and is on the staff of Case Western Reserve School of Dental Medicine.

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Why Are My Front Teeth Sticking Out?

flaring front teeth

We don’t notice the subtle changes over time

We look at ourselves or at familiar objects many times during a day. It gets to the point that we don’t even notice them anymore. This is the way our brains sort out all the details that we encounter and put those that we are familiar with on the back burner.

Our brains have to deal with the matters at hand and everything extraneous that is not pressing at the moment is filed away, so to speak.

A great example of this is watching someone or something grow and develop. On a daily basis we don’t see the slight incremental changes that occur, but if we are presented with a snapshot of the past, the difference becomes obvious and at times is rather striking.

This happens in the mouth also. We brush our teeth on a daily basis, but how many of us notice the subtle changes that occur in the mouth.

What Causes Flaring Front Teeth?

Today, I will focus on the flaring front teeth. Why does this occur? Does it occur to everyone over time? Is there a way to stop or correct it? That’s a lot to talk about, so let’s get right to it.

The Relationship Between the Bottom and the Top Teeth

A very common statement that I hear from patients is one involving the relationship between the bottom teeth and the top teeth. We know that teeth are there for chewing. To effectively chew, the top and bottom teeth must grind against each other.

When talking about the front teeth, and asking someone to bite down, oftentimes they throw their jaw forward so the lower front teeth touch the upper front teeth and meet perfectly.

People say to me “see, they come together really good.”

I then ask them to relax their jaw and gently close their mouth. Now the lower front teeth move back behind the upper front teeth and are no longer meeting perfectly.

Go ahead and take a moment to stand in front of a mirror and try it. I can wait for you to come back.

The Normal Position of the Lower Front Teeth

Now that you have tried that little exercise yourself, you see that the normal position of the lower front teeth is behind the upper front teeth. This is because the front teeth are really not chewing teeth.

The back teeth are the chewing teeth and they come together to grind and chew the food. The front teeth are the ripping and cutting teeth. They slide over each other like a pair of scissors.

The Forces put on the Upper Front Teeth

So now that we know that the proper position of the lower front teeth is behind the upper front teeth to create our personal set of teeth scissors, we can understand the forces put on the upper front teeth. The lower teeth push the front teeth up and out. These teeth will be stable if we have back teeth.

However, if we have lost our back teeth, and not replaced them. In fact, even if we wear partial dentures that are old, their result is the same. Excessive upward and outward forces on our front teeth.

The result is the upper front teeth flaring or sticking outward.

A Strong and Stable Chewing Platform

As I stated at the beginning of this column, the changes are subtle and take place over time. However, the flaring front teeth is a universal phenomenon. Our teeth don’t look like they used to and our faces start to become sunken. This is why having a strong and stable chewing apparatus in the back of our mouths is so important.

If you think you are having an issue with flaring front teeth, please call Megan at 440.951.7856 to schedule a consultation.  I look forward to helping you out!

Jeffrey Gross, DDSFAGD is an Ohio licensed general dentist and is on the staff of Case Western Reserve School of Dental Medicine.

 

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There’s No One Size Fits All in Dentistry

one size does not fit all in dentistry

In this article, let’s discuss how a recent study on aspirin dosage mirrors my philosophy and approach to my dental practice. Since each patient and their situation is unique, there is no One Size Fits All in dentistry. We will tailor a solution that fits the patient best because I take a personalized approach to dentistry.

Doctor, I Take A Baby Aspirin Every Day

I hear this statement quite frequently in the office. Depending on the patient and the procedures that are planned, this fact may or may not have an impact as to how I proceed. Other patients tell me that they take a full aspirin tablet is part of their regimen. Does this make a difference? Are these people iller or at more risk than the baby aspirin group? Why is anyone even taking an aspirin?

Like aspirin dosages, there is no one size fits all in dentistryWhy People Take Aspirin Daily

Let’s talk about this for a moment.

Cardiovascular disease, including heart disease and stroke, affects millions of people in the United States. Many times this is due to blood clots that form and occlude or block a vital pathway. This could be to the heart or the brain. When this happens people suffer a heart attack or stroke.

If we can thin the blood and make the ability to clot less likely then in theory, we can help a person avoid these problems.

Sometimes people who have never had a problem, take aspirin. Others take it only after having some type of health issue. The former is called Primary Prevention and the latter is Secondary Prevention.

The difference between these two approaches has been studied and debated for years. Sometimes even countries have different recommendations as to what and how much to take.

Like anything in life, aspirin has benefits but it also has the potential for creating bleeding issues. So how do we decide how much to take if our doctor makes this recommendation?

A Recent Study on Aspirin Dosages

In an article and study published very recently, a Professor Peter Rothwell in the Department of Clinical Neuroscience in Oxford University in the United Kingdom the following conclusion was reached.

There is not one dose of aspirin that is universal for all people.

Low doses of aspirin (75–100 mg) were only effective in preventing vascular events in patients weighing less than approximately 150 lbs and had no benefit in the 80% of men and nearly 50% of all women weighing more than that.

On the flip side, higher doses of aspirin were only effective in patients weighing more than the first group of people.

So yes, a 200 lb man will need more than a 100 lb woman.  

The correct amount of aspirin to help keep the blood flowing freely is weight dependent.

So a baby aspirin may be appropriate for that slender lady whereas that muscular man will need a full adult aspirin.

A Personalized Approach to Dentistrypersonalized dentistry

This concept of applying the correct dose to the individual is an example of creating a personalized approach to medicine.

In my world, this means a personalized approach to a dental problem. We need to look at the entire mouth and the entire patient to come up with the correct treatment and sequence of procedures.

Your thoughts, desires, and goals all go into the decision-making process.

In fact, we make this decision together through a process called co-diagnosis.

Some examples

For example, this week a patient just finished the special “get a new set of teeth in one day” procedure.

These teeth are permanent and she will never take them out. She never wanted to wear a denture and this was the solution for her.

Another patient could deal with a denture but only if it locked in on implants. This one comes in and out but solves the need to use adhesive paste.

A third patient is also losing many teeth. She also wants an instant solution. In her case, a permanent same day bridge is in her cards. Similar situations but a variety of choices are available.

Just as Dr. Rothwell in England found that one dose of aspirin is not appropriate for everyone, so too one size fits all in dentistry will also not be a correct approach.

If you would like to hear options for a variety of procedures in one office, please pick up the phone and call Megan.

She can be reached at 440.951.7856 and she will get you in for a discussion in the most expedient manner. I look forward to meeting you!

 

Jeffrey Gross, DDSFAGD is an Ohio licensed general dentist and is on the staff of Case Western Reserve School of Dental Medicine.

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Your Diet and its Potential to Reduce Gingivitis

reduce gingivitis

What Else Could I Do Besides Brushing to Help With My Gingivitis?

As with many things in medicine I wish that I had a magic bullet to fix this chronic issue. In our day and age, we are so used to having a medical problem, seeing a doctor and being fixed, so to speak. Take a pill and we are all better.

There are some medical issues that come on rather fast and many times can be treated simply and quickly. This is the 20th and 21st-century medicine that we are privileged to experience and come to expect.  

There is another type of medical problem which often shows up as we get older. This type of condition is a chronic one. That means that it lasts for a long time and often times comes on slowly. In fact, it comes on so slowly that we don’t even realize that something is wrong for many years and decades.

As we live longer the odds of us seeing these types of issues increases. Some of these problems are due to things breaking down, others are due to lifestyle.

Two Major Chronic Oral Diseases

When it comes to oral diseases, the two major ones are cavities and gum disease.

Cavities

We are all aware that what we eat affects cavities. We are taught and learn from a young age that sugar is bad for your teeth. Mouth bugs love sugar and produce acid after their sugar feast, which results in holes in your teeth. These holes are commonly referred to as dental cavities.

Gum Disease

With gum disease its a different sort of phenomenon. Gum disease is a broad term and encompasses things like gingivitis and periodontitis. In gum disease, bacteria are involved but they are not the same as in cavities.

When it comes to gum disease we talk about frequent professional cleanings. This is important but will not solve all of our problems.

In addition to seeing a dental hygienist for cleanings, we need to follow up at home with excellent home care. Yes, tedious and boring brushing and flossing is the basis of healthy gum tissue.

Unlike cavities on teeth, gum tissue can go through phases of health and disease. Gums can be turned from a diseased state to one of health. Once a cavity starts, there is no way for it to heal itself. This is a major difference between these two dental problems.

A Recent Study and an Exciting Discovery

The fact that gums can heal, and gingivitis can be reversed prompted a study that was reported last week at the European Federation of Periodontology’s conference.  

The lead author was Dr. Johan Wölber of the Department of Operative Dentistry and Periodontology, Centre for Dental Medicine, University Medical Centre, Freiburg, Germany.

He designed a study in which a group of patients was asked to follow a special diet low in processed carbohydrates and animal proteins but rich in Omega 3 fatty acids, vitamins C and D, antioxidants, plant nitrates, and fibers.

The other group did not change their diet and followed a typical Western diet with processed carbohydrates and animal protein.

To take toothbrushing out of the equation, neither group cleaned their teeth at all.

After looking at both groups after 4 weeks,  the “healthy diet substantially reduced inflammation of the gums. On the whole, we found a significant reduction of gingivitis of about 40%”, said Dr. Wölber.

Diet Alone Can Reduce Gingivitis

I need to repeat that outstanding and exciting result.

Diet alone reduced gingivitis in the absence of brushing and flossing.

The best diet for overall health, as well as dental health, involves eliminating or at least limiting processed carbohydrates and bad fats (as opposed to healthy fats).

An increase in plant-based whole foods which is filled with plenty of fiber and anti-inflammatory components will fill the void left by avoiding the foods that promote and drive inflammation.

Well, there you have it. The foods that reduce heart attack, stroke and cancer will also help keep the teeth in your mouth to enjoy these great foods.

Remember, life is not an all or nothing. Those foods that promote inflammation can be had on occasion as a treat. Our eating habits and style should not be made up of all treats.

To learn more about the benefits of a healthy plant-based diet and oral health read my article ‘Nutrition and the Durability of Your Teeth’ here.

If you want to learn more about this exciting field of medicine and dentistry, call us for a complimentary visit. We can even talk about your teeth too.

Our number is 440.951.7856. Megan will answer the phone and get you scheduled in a timely fashion.

Jeffrey Gross, DDSFAGD is an Ohio licensed general dentist and is on the staff of Case Western Reserve School of Dental Medicine.

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The Time is Now to Get Your Spare Denture Made

senior with spare denture

What Is Involved In Making A Spare Denture?

I could not believe my ears when I met this patient yesterday. He was actually planning ahead. He was getting prepared for the possibility of not having his denture because of _______________. You get to fill in the blank.

Possibilities are dropping it and it breaks into two pieces, letting the dog get a hold of it, biting down on a nut and cracking it, losing it in Lake Erie. (Yes, you read that correctly. I had a patient who lost his upper denture while swimming in the lake.)

Whatever the reason may be, if you can not be seen in public without your teeth, then you need a spare denture.

I have recommended this for years to my patients. In the past two weeks, this subject came up with and is being acted on by two totally different patients.

So let’s talk about how we do this. Let’s talk about costs. Let’s talk about the time involved.

Making A Spare Denture Used to be a Time Consuming and Expensive Process

In the not too distant past making a spare denture involved all the same things that were involved when the denture was originally made.

Impressions were taken, the bite was verified, teeth were chosen and tried in, etc. Essentially we were doing the whole process all over again.

If we decided to skip any steps or appointments, we were taking a chance of having a problem.

Okay, this was only supposed to be a spare. That is all well and good if the spare is truly a spare.

Some people want the spare to be their new all the time, every day denture.

There is no room for skipping steps or taking shortcuts.

The denture has to be made with the same precision and care as the existing denture hopefully was made. Multiple appointments and fees commensurate with that level of work were the guidelines that need to be followed in that case.

Today the Task is Simplified and Inexpensive

What if the spare is truly a spare. Its purpose was to be worn in an emergency. It was a backup, to use computer lingo, in case something went awry. It was to be used if a reline needed to done at the laboratory.

In 2018, we have technology that makes the process of making a spare denture simple. With modern computers and scanning devices, my lab can make a duplicate of any denture.

The inside and outside are an exact copy of the original denture.

Less Time

From a time standpoint, all that is involved is 2 appointments. The teeth are an exact copy of the size and shape of the original denture. The inside is an exact copy. This saves the lab some time.

We also employ technology makes it impossible to have a single tooth pop out of the denture.

More Affordable

This streamlined process has another benefit.

The cost is better than the term affordable would indicate. This process is downright inexpensive.  

In fact, my patients are in general disbelief when I tell them the fee.

The usual response is why didn’t I do this sooner. When you think about it. It makes sense. We don’t need all the appointments and verification steps of a traditional denture. We are copying the inside and outside of what you have.

Proactively Planning for Future Possibilities

Planning for future possibilities takes a lot of stress out of our lives. I saw another patient earlier this week who knew that his tooth was on its last legs. In cases like that, I always advise the patient to be proactive and deal with the issue on his or her terms.

What does that mean?  Allow me to explain.

When a tooth breaks or causes discomfort, both you and I have to scramble to fix or short circuit the problem. In other words, we are working with the tooth calling the shots. This may mean a greater cost, lost time from work or other events in life and a general inconvenience as it disrupts our daily routine.

When we are proactive, we are in control as to the how and when a treatment will proceed. We are now in charge, not the tooth. Those patients who follow this advice are so much further ahead than those who decide to not deal with the issue.

If you know that an issue is pending or have been advised by someone to take care of some health issue, now is a great time to set the wheels in motion to deal with it.

If you only have one denture, then maybe now is the time for that spare.

Getting out and about is easy in the glorious sunny weather that we are experiencing. There is no need for boots and heavy coats as bone-chilling cold is a distant memory.

Give Megan a call at 440.951.7856 and set up a visit to meet us and discuss your concerns. I look forward to hearing from you.

 

Jeffrey Gross, DDS, FAGD is an Ohio licensed general dentist and is on the staff of Case Western Reserve School of Dental Medicine.

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The Difference Between Dental Implants and Bridges

Dental Implants and Bridges

Should I Get an Implant or a Bridge?

So the conversation went earlier this week.

On top of this patient’s questions is the fact that I am giving a lecture tomorrow to a group of dentists on the subject of dental implants in the front of the mouth. Yes, there can be differences between the front and the back of the mouth. At the lecture, I will be spending some time talking about which of the choices may be more appropriate in differing situations.

So I thought that since this subject of dental implants and bridges shows up no matter which direction I turn, I would spend some time sharing a few thoughts with you today.

To simplify things a bit, I will only be talking about permanent bridges in this column.

Defining Dental Implants and Bridges

First of all, let’s do some definitions.

Both dental implants and bridges are used to replace a missing tooth or teeth.

There is a fundamental difference between them.

When we utilize a dental implant, there is no focus on what is on either side of the implant. The only things that matter for the implant are quality and quantity of bone into which, the implant will be placed.

When we are dealing with a bridge, we need to shift our focus.

In a permanent bridge, it is all about the teeth on either side of the missing tooth or teeth. The bridge needs to anchor to those side teeth. Much like a bridge over water. The span is held up by the two or more vertical components of the bridge. In this regard, dentistry is no different.

So what influences which is the best treatment for that patient?

Factors that determine the best treatment option

The number of Missing Teeth

One factor is the number of missing teeth.

If a lot of teeth are missing then a bridge may be a challenge. Remember the span of the bridge has to stretch between 2 teeth. If the span is small, then the side teeth that support the bridge will not be overburdened. If we are replacing 3 or more teeth then we could overload those side teeth.

Before we used dental implants, we used to double connect the side teeth. That means that instead of 1 tooth holding the bridge on each side we would use 2 teeth on each side. So now our bridge is held in place by 4 teeth rather than 2 teeth.

Today, that option is still present, but adding implants to the missing tooth area might be a better choice. This way we don’t have to involve any adjacent teeth as we did in our bridge scenario.

The Condition of the Teeth

The other factor that we need to consider is the future.

If one of the teeth holding the bridge is weakened or its longevity is in question, then placing a bridge may not be prudent. Since if the anchor tooth of the permanent bridge is lost then the whole bridge is lost.

If one of the adjacent teeth has a root canal and post, the placement of the bridge could stress the post. This could lead to either fracture of the post or fracture of the root of the teeth.

Cosmetic Considerations

When it comes to cosmetics in the front of the mouth, many times a bridge, rather than implants, may be a better choice. This is due to how the gum and bone may reshape and behave after the implant is placed. When we do a bridge, we usually don’t get involved with the gum and certainly not the bone. This means that the guess of how the gum will look as it relates to the tooth will not be needed. The final position and shape of the gum will not vary and we can plan accordingly.

We Customize a Solution For You

I could go on and on discussing varying differences. However, my space is limited. These are some of the thoughts that go through my head when I am asked to come up with a solution.

This solution will have a tremendous effect on your present oral health and on the future of your teeth. As we all know, this can greatly impact your quality of life as the years go on.

If you want to learn more or have a specific question, please call Megan and schedule a consultation. There is no charge for this meeting as I enjoy talking about it and educating you. In fact, it is my passion! I can be reached at 440.951.7856 and look forward to hearing from you.

 

Jeffrey Gross, DDS, FAGD is an Ohio licensed general dentist and is on the staff of Case Western Reserve School of Dental Medicine.

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The Pitfalls of Private Dental Insurance

Are you wasting money on private dental insurance?

Summer is in full swing, and the phones are ringing off the hook with patients looking to get their smile to look as good as their tans. Unfortunately, to offset the costs, many people will fall prey to the pitfalls of private dental insurance. Don’t be one of them!

Many people have gone out of their way to scour the internet or burrow into the brain of their insurance agent to find the best private dental insurance policy.
More and more ads are aired on TV with promises of saving a bundle of money.

If it’s too good to be true…

Those of us who have been around the block a few times know that if it sounds too good to be true, then it is probably is.
In fact, I’ll go even further. If it sounds too good to be true, it could even be bad for you.

How many times are we approached in an attempt to lure us into outstanding investments or cures that no one has ever thought of?

We are inundated, even more, we are bullied into buying into the fear factor that if we do not have dental insurance, we will not be able to weather the costs of needed dental care.

In the end, and sadly enough, patients who buy private dental insurance find out that they lack in their coverage.

While we’ve discussed and touched on this topic before, I want to go over some of the pitfalls of private dental insurance and why it is not a wise choice.

What Do You Mean that I Do not Have Coverage for A Whole Year!?

Whatchu talkin' about Willis?One big loophole for insurance companies is the elimination or waiting period.
You are not eligible for a variety of services that are in your “coverage” until you wait 6-18 months. This period varies by policy and company.

Let’s think about this.

You pay a premium month after month. Even worse, you pay a whole year premium up front and have no coverage. You need to fulfill your waiting or elimination period until your coverage kicks in.

All the while, you are paying for coverage that you are not receiving when you need it.

That does not make any sense to me. It should not make any sense to you either.

Disappointment follows disappointment.

Okay so now we have paid our money and have fulfilled our waiting period. Our coverage begins. We plan our treatment plan together and find out another surprise. Your copay on more involved procedures can be as high as 80%. You have waited a year to find out that your coverage is only 20%.
Disappointment follows disappointment.

Private dental insurance is not as comprehensive as you think

Are you covered?

Wait! It gets better! Just keep reading.
When most of us think of insurance, we think comprehensive. It will handle anything that comes along.
While this is crucial, though not universal, in medical insurance, it is far from true in the dental field.

Every policy comes with a long list of exclusions. Sometimes an entire procedure or class of procedures is left out.

Crippled Coverage

Other times the procedure is crippled. What do I mean by crippled? Let me give you an example.

Let’s say that you need a filling on a back tooth. A vast majority of doctors will do a white filling. This is in demand by most patients and can help strengthen the tooth via its bonding mechanism. So we call the insurance company to find out rules and parameters. They tell us that a filling is covered, but white fillings are excluded. Silver fillings are part of the policy and nothing more.
If we need to step it up a bit for structural reasons and do an inlay, which is a solid filling, there is no coverage.

These are just a couple of examples of crippled coverage.
Insurance companies call it an “alternate benefit clause.” It is part of every insurance policy. It is loaded and quite common in privately purchased policies.

So now our 20% coverage that I mentioned above has been reduced even further by the crippling techniques,

So you tell me. Is it worth your money to become part of this system?

The premium that you pay may give you a cleaning or exam, but falls so short on the items that you may need or want.

Let us examine your policy before I examine your teeth

Dental Benefits claim formBefore you pay your premium, I recommend that my patients bring in the information about the policy.

I look it over, and Megan calls to get all of the details. I can then advise you on what may or may not make sense for your needs.

If it works, then I will encourage you to buy it. If it does not make financial sense, then I can provide you with a paper shredder for your hard earned money.

This is because you are just throwing your money after an elusive cloud that just floats away from you.
You can never grasp it or genuinely benefit from it.

Even if you are not a current patient, I will be more than happy to advise and help you avoid the pitfalls of private dental insurance.

Please call me at 440.951.7856 and ask to speak to me. I look forward to talking with you.

 

Jeffrey Gross, DDS, FAGD is an Ohio licensed general dentist and is on the staff of Case Western Reserve School of Dental Medicine.

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Good Oral Health Habits and the Life of Your Teeth

Good Oral Health Habits and the Life of Your Teeth

The health and life of our teeth are in our control. Nothing earth-shattering or profound in that statement. Our oral health habits directly impact the life and use of our teeth. Good habits will extend their life and bad habits will shorten it.

Simple right?

Unfortunately, despite its common sense nature, this is often overlooked and ignored by many people.

In this article, I’d like to explore 5 common sense oral health habits we can and should all adopt to extend the life of our teeth.

What Can I Chew With My New Teeth?

I get this question a lot from patients. This week it came from someone who actually received 3 new teeth. She had been missing them for a while. Having tried various solutions over the years, nothing really worked. She came to me to see if I could help. She was a perfect candidate for new teeth which were a great replacement for what she lost.

After we discussed that she could really eat whatever she desired, she asked me if there were any restrictions. At first, I said “no, you have no restrictions” but then I thought of a news story that I saw recently.

The article was about Hailey Baldwin, known for her modeling and television career, who appeared on late night TV.  Jimmy Fallon, the host of the Tonight Show was interviewing her.

During the interview, she opened two bottles of beer with her teeth. Any dentist hearing about this would cringe. To make matters even worse, the host then commented,”You are the coolest person I’ve ever met.”

I can’t imagine how many of her fans will try this.  The result will be a good number of broken teeth and trips to the dentist. In my world, this is an activity that will lead to many tooth problems. Teeth are for eating food. This is an example of a behavior that will negatively impact our health.

A common sense study with profound implications

In the same vein there, was a study just published by Dr. Frank Hu who is chair of nutrition at the Harvard School of Public Health. Right now the average 50 years old can expect to live approximately 30-33 years according to the US government statistics. However, Dr. Hu found that practicing 5 habits could add approximately a decade to that number.

The habits are not crazy. In fact, you could probably figure these out yourself.  

The 5 Lifestyle Habits to Extend Life:

  1. Not smoking.
  2. Eating in a healthy fashion.
  3. Exercising regularly.
  4. Maintaining a normal weight.
  5. Drinking only in moderation.

Nothing is really earth shattering on this list. What is of great interest to the medical and scientific community is that we have the power and the ability to extend our own lives. Put in another way, we can live out our full lives and not cut it short with bad behaviors. The more great news is that not only are these people living longer, but their quality of life has improved markedly.

I would like to suggest that we could extend the life of our teeth if we follow good oral habits also.

I have my own 5 habits to help our teeth.

The 5 Oral Health Habits to Extend the Life of Our Teeth:

  1. Use your teeth for what they were designed for – eating.
  2. Replace missing teeth.
  3. Fix broken teeth
  4. Get your teeth checked and cleaned regularly.
  5. Brush & floss daily

 

Using our teeth for things other than eating, like opening beer bottles with one’s teeth is akin to smoking.

Not fixing a broken tooth is akin to excessive drinking.

Not replacing missing teeth is akin to excessive weight.  

Not getting your teeth cleaned on a regular basis is akin to not exercising regularly.

Brushing and flossing are akin to eating in a healthful fashion.

These are all modifiable factors that will either extend or shorten the lifespan of our teeth. In many cases, they will allow us to keep our teeth throughout our entire lives. The health of our teeth is in our control.

If you are a regular reader of this column and have been considering putting emphasis on the care and health of your teeth, now is a great time to start.

Take my 5 Oral Health Habits to heart and call me. I can be reached at 400.951.7856. Talk to Megan and she will start you on the highway to better teeth. I look forward to hearing from you.

Jeffrey Gross, DDSFAGD is an Ohio licensed general dentist and is on the staff of Case Western Reserve School of Dental Medicine.

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Are Permanent Teeth Right For Me?

Permanent teeth - natural and umplant

Well at first glance that should be an easy one.  Permanent teeth are the best choice for everyone. Isn’t that the way that we were created? We have arms, legs, fingers, and toes that do not come off.

Of course, due to trauma or disease, we could lose some of these permanent extensions of our being, but we know that we need to replace them. We strive for permanent fixes.

What does permanent mean?

Let’s take a moment and define permanent. We tend to think of permanent as being the same as forever.

First of all forever is not really forever. Forever, when used in a human context, usually means as long as I am around. Forever for a 20-year-old is not the same forever as a 75-year-old. So forever can have different meanings depending on the situation.  

So if permanent does not mean forever, what does permanent mean? It usually means that once something is in place, no one has any intention to remove it.

Is it possible to remove it?…yes. It is removed on a consistent basis?…no.

Permanent in the context of dentistry

For example, in dentistry, we refer to a filling as being permanent. There is also a temporary filling. What is the difference? The temporary filling will fall apart relatively quickly and replacement is planned. A permanent filling will last much longer and I have no intention to remove or replace it when I put it into functionality. So it really depends on my thoughts and plans at the outset. Even though permanent is not forever, it implies a long-term solution or a fix to an issue.

The less that I have to deal with a dental appliance, then the more it becomes part of me, so to speak. Framed in the context of what I just mentioned, it is more permanent.

Different types of teeth replacements

For a variety of reasons, we could be forced to lose all of our teeth. If we choose to have them replaced, we need to choose between different approaches.

Full Dentures

Full DenturesThe oldest and “simpler” choice is a full set of teeth that sit in the mouth.  We call this a full denture.

When I need to, I can take out my teeth. Why would I need to take them out? There are a number of reasons. Why do I take off my shoes?  There are a number of reasons. It feels better when they are removed, cleanliness, when in place pain is present, etc….

This is the easiest way to replace missing teeth. The kind that comes in and out at will. They are not permanent because they don’t stay in place all of the time.

Permanent Teeth

The other way to replace missing teeth is with permanent teeth. When we deal with just a few missing teeth, a permanent option can be very simple. We have different types of choices. They could be cemented bridges, bonded bridges or dental implants. They are all good solutions to the problem of replacing missing teeth with a permanent solution. When we are faced with losing all of our teeth, we only have one permanent solution. This is permanent teeth supported by multiple implants.

Dental Implants

There is not a day that goes by that I do not see a commercial talking about this. The approach has been around for a couple of decades but only in the last 10 years or so has it exploded. It is the closest thing that we have to turn back the hands of time for many patients.

The techniques keep on evolving and improving

It is not an invention. It is a technique. As with all techniques, improvement is the constant mantra.

I have done root canals for decades. The way that I do them now is so different than the way that I did them years ago. They are better and faster. The result is a happier patient coupled with great results.

The same is true with permanent teeth. The procedure keeps on evolving. Many times the teeth in a day procedure literally takes a day. There are so many variables and intricacies in the technique that predictability and repeatability have been a challenge.

Underside view of implant procedure

Underside view of implant procedure using Guided Smile Chrome

One of our local laboratories has pioneered a technique which makes the entire process modular. This technique is called Guided Smile Chrome and truly guides the smile. The result is less stress for all of those involved and a reduction in the total procedure time.

Teeth in a (half a) day

Permanent Teeth in half a day

Permanent Teeth in half a day – Next level full mouth teeth replacement with implants

Teeth in a day have now evolved into teeth in a half a day. The technique is computer driven and involves multiple modular pieces that fit together. The result was great and we corrected teeth that were spaced, decayed and broken. We even added teeth to places that were missing teeth for years. Best of all this patient did not have to learn to wear an upper denture. Learning to deal with a set of teeth that come in and out can be a challenge for us as we get older.

If you want to learn more about this breakthrough in permanent solutions to broken and decayed teeth, please call me at 440.951.7856 I look forward to speaking with you.

 

Jeffrey Gross, DDS, FAGD is an Ohio licensed general dentist and is on the staff of Case Western Reserve School of Dental Medicine.

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Missing a Tooth? You Have Options!

Missing a tooth?

Can I Have New Teeth on The Same Day That I Lose My Teeth?

This question may rank as one of the most sought after requests that I receive.
There are very few people to whom this point does not matter.
Going around missing a tooth is not something that most people want to do.

However, we have to qualify precisely in which situations this is relevant.
It is also true that most people do not mind walking around with a missing tooth.
Didn’t I just contradict myself?
First I said that patients do not want to be seen without a tooth, and then I followed with the opposite statement.

Let us look at these two comments and allow me to explain how they are not contradictory.

When people don’t mind missing a tooth

Let’s start and deal with the second statement.
What do I mean by “most people do not mind walking around with a missing tooth?”
With this latter statement, I am referring to our molars or chewing teeth.
In fact, I have found, not only do people not mind missing these teeth for a short period, but they don’t mind losing a tooth and not replacing it for years!

This is despite the fact that their chewing is either impaired or altered.
To chew food efficiently, they may need to favor one side. Alternatively, the person may spend a long time chewing their food before it is ready to be swallowed.

What’s the big deal? No one can tell!

The rationale for not replacing the tooth follows the thought that eating at some level can still be done. After all, there are still other teeth!
Imagine if we would apply that logic to a finger. One could say, “the loss of a finger would not be so bad as I have nine others.”
Of course, we would never say this but with teeth, since the function is not eliminated entirely and “nobody sees my space,” then what is the big deal?

When it comes to missing a tooth, many put appearance over function

I just touched upon the point which explains my first statement regarding people not wanting to walk around toothless.

Losing a tooth that is obvious to everyone around me is a big deal. In fact, this could affect chewing even less than a back tooth.

The deal breaker is the embarrassment. Walking around missing a tooth that everyone can see, bothers most people.

I remember walking into a store one time and seeing the regular employees walking around with a surgical mask on her face. I thought that she was ill and was contagious.

Being the friendly fellow that I am, I asked if she was okay. She replied that she felt well. Oh… the reason for the mask was that her front tooth broke and she was embarrassed about her appearance.

This is like the old real estate dictum.
As the saying goes, the three most important things in real estate are Location, Location, and Location.

Well, the same applies to losing a tooth in the minds of most people. Our appearance to our friends and neighbors is more important than the loss of chewing function.

With today’s modern dentistry, being toothless is a thing of the past.

I’m not going to focus on the two sides of this discussion.

I want to point out and say that with modern materials, computers and skill of the dentist, being toothless is a thing of the past.
I can either actually create a duplicate of a tooth, that is removed, at the same time that I remove it.
Today, I can also use digital impressions, photographs, and x-rays to convey information to my laboratory to allow them to create a
duplicate of our removed tooth.
This procedure applies to front teeth as well as it pertains to back teeth.
It is applicable when I am doing a permanent bridge to replace a tooth or teeth, or when I am making a removable bridge to replace a tooth or teeth.
This applies to when I remove all of your teeth and make a denture or when I may give you teeth supported on implants.

The point is, with today’s modern dental technologies and techniques, you don’t have to live with missing a tooth.

Whether your concern is appearance, functionality or both, you have options and we can help you!

My goal is to give you options and hope!

If you need to lose a tooth or teeth and are worried about the potential embarrassment, please call me and let’s talk.
My goal is to give you options, and as many people say to me, give you hope.
We can discuss various paths to follow. With your help and input, we can fine tune those options to deliver what you need and what you want.
I can be reached at 440.951.7856. Just call Megan and ask to speak to me or make an appointment for a complimentary consultation.
I look forward to hearing from you.

 

Jeffrey Gross, DDSFAGD is an Ohio licensed general dentist and is on the staff of Case Western Reserve School of Dental Medicine.

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