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.
Is it wise to be snacking with Invisalign Aligners?
Continuing to chronicle and document my Invisalign® journey from a dentist’s perspective, this week we discuss the possibility and wisdom of snacking with Invisalign Aligners – even if it’s with soft food.
Weeks 4 and 5
These last two weeks continued to be less eventful.
Invisalign does a great job as long as you wear the aligners. This is why we instruct patients to wear them as much as possible except for brushing and eating. I always get the question concerning the length of time that they really should be worn. This usually ends up with a question of only wearing them at night. My answer is always “nighttime only is not long enough to create enough movement.”
To snack or not to snack – That is the question
With that in mind, I have the following dilemma. When presented with food and the chance to eat, I needed to decide as to whether to partake and remove the aligners or forgo the food.
I am not referring to meals. I am referring to the numerous opportunities for snacks during the day. Many times it is easier to leave the aligners in.
This got me thinking as to whether or not I could be snacking with Invisalign® aligners in my mouth. After all, I have seen patients without any teeth eating. They don’t eat well, but they do eat. I learned that food that did not require much grinding was a perfect choice. I became adept at bananas, tangerines, yogurt and some other foods. If you are currently wearing aligners, why don’t you gave it a try?
Its an issue of cleanliness
The only problem that I see is one of cleanliness. For example, everyone can drink with the aligners in place.
If you head out to Starbucks and order your favorite latte, you will discover that coffee breath will linger longer than usual. This is because once the liquid gets inside the aligners, the standard mechanical motion of the tongue and lips will not be present. Saliva does not reach the area as readily as it does without the aligners. Food or liquid behind the aligners lingers.
If we take this concept to sugary foods, the sugar will stay in contact with your teeth much longer. That, of course, spells trouble.
So in the end, I actually ate less frequently than my new found idea allowed me, but still, more than, I had not come across this idea.
The bottom line is that I want to think like a patient, but I can’t get the dentist out of me.
If you have dentures, you may think that they should last forever. The truth is, your face, jaw, and gums change over the years, but your prosthesis does not. Your dentures are made of a rigid material and can’t adapt to these physical changes.
In this article, let’s explore some issues that indicate it may be time to replace your dentures.
Will My Front Teeth Look Big?
I thought of this question as I met a new patient this week. He had a set of dentures that were on their last legs. They had broken over the years and had a number of repairs to try and patch them together.
None of that phased me as I see that sort of thing a lot.
What made an impression on me was how much of his tooth showed when he smiled. The upper front teeth were enormous.
First of all the teeth were very long.
Secondly, when he smiled, the entire tooth was visible as well as a fair amount of pink denture base above the teeth. This gentleman was in his 60’s, and that look was not at all natural.
We sometimes see that in a very young patient but time takes its toll on the height of teeth.
Dentures or crowns should look natural
Dentures or crowns on front teeth should reflect a natural look on a person. They should be in consonance with their facial features and general appearance. A person’s chronological age will affect the size of his teeth. Denture teeth that were made when someone was in their 40’s do not look natural for someone who is twenty or thirty years older.
Front teeth have definite shapes and sizes to create a “natural smile.” They are not all the same length..they are not all the same width..and of course, they are not bright white.
All of that just spells phony when one looks at it.
The makeup of a ‘natural’ smile
I strive to have a natural and comfortable look on the dentures that we make. The very front teeth are the largest and widest of the upper six teeth. They are taller than the tooth that is next to them and definitely wider than that tooth. They do not all line up in a row. The four front teeth as a group are relatively flat looking, whereas the cuspid, or “eye tooth” has a large mid-section. These subtle difference make our smiles look, for lack of a better word, natural and pleasing.
When you need to replace your dentures
Dentures, like anything else, can be made to last for a long time. However, the larger question is whether or not they should be used for a long time. First of all, a denture is porous and absorbs odors and bacteria to the point of saturation. This creates a very unsanitary situation in the mouth. Second of all, the colors and size of teeth change as we get older. Bright white and large teeth are not appropriate for someone as they advance through middle age. These are reasons that I recommend that your dentures be remade every 5-7 years. This way our denture stays “in style”.
Just as our faces and bodies change, our artificial teeth should adapt and change. After all, this is the same thing that happens to people with natural teeth. They change in shape and color.
Customized dentures for each patient
During the denture making process in our office, we spend a lot of time getting the front teeth to look appropriate for that particular person. Many times we use computers to aid us in picking the best size for our mouths. These teeth are always viewed by the patient and me when the teeth are in wax. This allows me to move the teeth in any direction at will. We may move them up, or push them down, allowing us to see more or less of our teeth. To create a natural appearance, I may recommend turning a tooth ever so slightly. I may suggest a small space between certain teeth.
All of this is done to duplicate the works of what we often call nature.
It is essential to see how the curve of the edges of your teeth looks against your upper and lower lip. Do we have a harmonious smile line (a tracing of the teeth edges) or does it look out of place?
I compare pictures of your old teeth and try to make a change for the better, in a very subtle fashion. I use digital photos and videos to help the patient see themselves as the rest of the world sees them.
The science and art of denture making
Denture making is a science blended into an art. It can’t be rushed and shouldn’t be hurried. After all, you will be wearing these dentures for years. The least that should be done is spending an appropriate amount of time creating them.
If you think that it is time to make the move to a denture or to update your current denture, please call me. I will listen to you and do my best to help you.
I can be reached at 440.951.7856. Looking forward to meeting you.
The Invisalign® treatment aligners can serve as a tooth whitening tray too!
Continuing to chronicle my Invisalign® journey from a dentist’s perspective, this week we discuss an added benefit that Invisalign® treatment aligners provide that most people don’t realize!
Invisalign® aligner trays can serve a second function
Okay, now let’s get to a fun topic. Do you know that with the Invisalign treatment, there is an extra added perk that very few people discuss? Please allow me to give you some insider information that many times is lost with all the emphasis, and rightly so, on the alignment and moving of teeth. What is often forgotten is that the aligner trays can serve a second function. They can act as bleaching devices or trays too!
Two Different Approaches to Teeth Whitening
Bleaching or whitening of teeth has been around for a long time. There are two different approaches to brightening our smiles.
In-Office Laser Whitening
One approach is to sit under a high-intensity light in the dental office with your mouth packed with cotton and gauze while a caustic bleaching solution is put on our teeth. This method works well, though some people have developed a lot of sensitivity either during or after the visit. These are sometimes hyped as “rapid whitening” or “laser whitening”. They are all very similar as the manufacturer has come up with some method to accelerate the activity of the bleaching liquid. This kind of jump starts the bleaching process with follow-up care and more whitening done at home.
Whitening can also be accomplished without supercharging the solution. A unique solution is applied to the teeth and whitening proceeds in a steady, gentle fashion. You might ask, how does the whitening work? Doesn’t it run off the teeth? Dentists need a way to keep the solution on the teeth.
Usually, custom-made holders or trays are made for the patient to keep the liquid on the teeth while it does its magic.
Invisalign® treatment aligners can serve as bleaching trays
Interestingly enough, the trays or holders look like aligners that we use to straighten the teeth during the Invisalign treatment. So now with our aligners, we have the perfect fitting and accurate bleaching trays. This is a perfect opportunity to ask your dentist to provide you with a dentist-quality whitening solution for your teeth. This is something that I offer as a special perk to my patients.
Capitalize on the opportunity
For those of you considering straightening your teeth with the Invisalign treatment and its aligners, I encourage you to also whiten your teeth. Not only will they be straight, but they will sparkle when you are done with treatment.
Continuing to chronicle my Invisalign journey from a dentist’s perspective, this week we discuss how I’m adjusting to life with Invisalign®
Well, I just finished my second week, and it was a lot less eventful than my first.
Learning to place my aligners correctly
I learned how to set the aligners in my mouth without grabbing my lips or cheeks!
The lower set was more of an issue for me as the bottom lip always seemed to wrap forward and get caught in the aligner as I was snapping it into place. At the same time, the back of the lower aligner would get close to my cheek on both sides. If I wasn’t careful, I would catch my lip and both cheeks at the same time creating a trifecta of sores.
Pro Tip! Using my fingers
I learned to use my fingers to hold back the lips and cheeks and still allow the aligner to seat in to place on my teeth. I needed all of my fingers to multitask.
Being a dentist, this was second nature to me. However, I see how my patients would fight and struggle to learn some of these skills. Some of them never learn those skills and tricks and come in with sores throughout their mouths.
I resolved to make an effort to teach some of these tricks and hacks when I notice sores that are present. Sharing my knowledge of holding back the lips while placing the aligners would really be a nice thing. I’m sure that my patients will appreciate it.
Inspecting the Invisalign® attachments
While I was placing an aligner, I decided to examine the attachments a little closer. One of my lower teeth, the lower right cuspid (eye tooth) had two attachments. Remember the attachments are the little projections that are bonded to the teeth to help the aligners grip the teeth better and ultimately move the teeth properly.
The attachments are made of tooth-colored filling material and are relatively invisible. At least they are challenging to see.
Great! One of my Invisalign® attachments were missing
So when I looked a little closer, I noticed that only one of the projections was there. That tooth was missing the second attachment. I will assume that it was there and fell off.
The Importance of having two attachments
Whatever the reason the second attachment on that tooth was important. The cuspids have long roots and are difficult to move. This is probably why the Invisalign software that generated the plan placed two attachments. The better the grip, the more predictable the movement.
So I had to go back and have the second attachment replaced on the tooth. This wasn’t a big deal, except for the fact that the device that was used to holding my lips out of the way was really cutting into my upper lip.
After a reasonable amount of time grimacing and wincing, we decided that adding a cotton roll under my lip would help. This reinforced to me that all retractors are not created equally. I knew that from my end. Now I know it from the patients’ end as well.
Chronicling how I’m adjusting to life with Invisalign®
I just switched to the third aligner. I’ll see what develops this week. In the meantime, I’ll just continue chronicling how I’m adjusting to life with Invisalign®.
Stay tuned for my thoughts on week 3 of this Invisalign Patient Experience – Through the Eyes of a Dentist!
From The Doctor Chair to The Dental Chair – A Unique Perspective
As a dental practitioner administering Invisalign in my practice for nearly 20 years, I know it can be a terrific orthodontic approach to predictably straightening your teeth. However, I never knew firsthand what an Invisalign patient experience was until now. Now, as an Invisalign patient myself, I have the unique perspective of knowing what an Invisalign treatment entails from both sides of the equation. I’m hoping this blog series will help give unique insight and perspective to anyone contemplating this procedure for themselves.
Welcome to The Invisalign Patient Experience – Through the Eyes of a Dentist!
Why Don’t You Practice What You Preach?
When I was in my last year of school, I listened to a physiology lecture from a practicing physician. He was morbidly obese and smoked during the address. I kept on thinking and wondering. Why wasn’t he picking up and listening to what he was saying? He knew that his lifestyle was heading him down the road to some serious health problems. Why didn’t he take his own advice?
Well, some years later, I asked myself the same question.
I had developed a tooth issue which was the result of crowded teeth. It was more than a tooth issue. It had ramifications to the gum and bone structure around my teeth.
Sure, I am a great brusher and flosser, and disease was less of an issue with me than with other non-dental people.
That being said, I was still beating up certain teeth. I knew that they would begin to chip and crack. The excessive wear was already there. I wanted to stop this.
Crowded lower front teeth
I advise my patients all the time about crowded lower front teeth and what happens. I recommend fixing the issue before it becomes a severe problem. I needed to address this in my own mouth.
I finally made time for myself and began orthodontic treatment with Invisalign. As I mentioned earlier, I have used Invisalign treatment in my office for close to 20 years. Now I am on the other end of the treatment so to speak.
I now have aligners (that’s what those plastic things that move your teeth are called) on my top and bottom teeth.
I started to feel what it was like to be sitting in the dental chair, not in the doctor chair.
Sharing my Invisalign patient experience and perspective
So I thought that I would share some of those experiences, feelings, and issues that my patients have. This time it is coming from a dentist perspective, and I hope to share what is going on and how I cope with those issues. I hope that this may help some of you who are also going through orthodontic treatment. For those of you contemplating this treatment, it will give you a glimpse into what lies ahead and how to successfully navigate the path.
An appointment for Invisalign® attachments
I have just completed my first week of therapy. Let me tell you how it went for me. It began last Monday with an appointment in which these little plastic projections were applied to my teeth. These buttons are designed so the clear plastic aligners effect movement of the teeth. The size and position of the attachments will control the movements and potentially their timing too.
I sat in the chair and had plastic retractors placed to hold my lips and cheeks away from my teeth.
The technician looked at my teeth and remarked as to how clean my teeth were. I rolled my eyes and thought, “what were you expecting.” Fortunately, I did not verbalize my thoughts.
Applying the Invisalign® attachments
The teeth that had the projections (officially called attachments) were cleaned. They were then dried and bonded in preparation for the attachments. All of this was done with the cheek retractors in my mouth and cotton stuffed all over to prevent contamination of the teeth with my saliva. The attachments were connected to the teeth, and I was given my first set of aligners. They snapped into place and really felt weird.
Two facts about wearing the Invisalign® aligners
I knew two essential facts about wearing the aligners.
First of all; wear them all the time except for eating and cleaning of the teeth. This should be 22-23 hours a day. They only work when you wear them. Night time wearing alone will not work.
The second fact is never to put them down unless they are in some type of case. The Invisalign aligners are clear and easily lost.
Okay so far so good.
Eating with Invisalign® attachments
A few hours later, I wanted to eat something.
I needed to get these plastic things off of my teeth.
I washed my hands and put my fingers in my mouth trying to find an edge to lift them up. It is really much easier at first when I am in the dentist role and trying to remove them. I tried this way and that way until I finally found a spot to start pulling it off. I knew what it felt like to lift an aligner out of the mouth, so I pulled without uneasiness, and it came out.
I spent some time going through the discovery exercise on the other aligner with success. I ran my tongue over my teeth, and the attachments felt like I found something stuck on my teeth. I didn’t like that feeling as it was very strange to me.
I then began lunch.
Accidentally biting my lips and cheeks
As I started to chew, my lower left attachment pushed out my lip ever so slightly. This was just enough for me to catch my lip with my upper teeth and bite myself. I did this once and then again. I was forced to chew more slowly and deliberately. This is probably not a bad thing in and of itself.
Of course, once you bite yourself and your lip or cheek swells just a little bit causes you to bite yourself some more.
I can’t tell you how many thousands of times that I have said that to my patients. Now it was more than words. It was a reality to me. I just needed to be more careful.
Putting the aligners back in
Okay, lunch is over. Time to floss and brush and put the aligners back in.
Firstly I put in the upper set, and that was easy. Just line up the aligner with upper front teeth and snap into place.
The lower set was more of a challenge. Just when I got it into position and pushed down firmly, my lip folded in and I nailed by the lip. Ouch! Of course, now I had a cut and was ready for a mouth sore to develop. Usually, trauma to the lips will result in a sore that takes a few days to heal. I think that I just discovered a new diet. Beat yourself up so that eating goes from a pleasure to a negative experience.
The crowning blow came from the inside edge of my lower aligner. I developed a canker sore (a small mouth sore) on the underside of my tongue. So now, not only was eating a pain(literally), so was the simple act of speaking. Every time my tongue moved it sent waves of pain through me. How many more months do I have to do this?
Stay tuned for my thoughts on week 2 of this Invisalign Patient Experience – Through the Eyes of a Dentist!
In our last blog post, we discussed five ways to improve your oral health in the coming year. One suggestion was to eliminate one junk food daily. Expounding on that theme, let’s discuss the problem of added sugars and ways to reduce our intake of them.
I Am Addicted To Sugar. What Can I Do?
This question came up at a perfect time. A study just came out showing that sugar-sweetened beverage consumption declined for both children and adults in the United States between 2003 and 2014, according to the Harvard TH Chan School of Public Health.
Despite that reduction, teenagers and young adults still consumed more than the recommended limit for added sugars set by the 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans. These guidelines indicate that we should consume less than 10% of our calories from added sugars. Unfortunately, very few of us meet these guidelines.
Added sugars are the real problem
The fact is, sugars are not inherently bad, as they are found in fruits and many healthful foods. The problem occurs when manufacturers add sugar to a product. You’d be surprised, but it’s not just junk foods, candies, etc. that are the usual suspects. Unfortunately, you can find products with added sugars in many ordinary foods you wouldn’t even think of! Make sure you check the product nutrition labels! It’s your first line of defense!
If we try to cut back on the junk foods, such as limiting ourselves to one less “junk food a day”, we will make progress. Adding fruits will help feed our sugar addiction.
Try reducing added sugars from our diets
The real challenge is identifying and reducing added sugars from our diets. Keeping added sugars under their 10% limit is a process that takes months to get a grip on but is achievable.
Not only will this improve our general health, but it will also help our dental health as well. Remember cavities are caused by bacteria feeding on sugar in our diets. Less sugar translates into fewer cavities.
Taking supplements to aid oral health
The question always comes up regarding taking pills to help our oral health. Supplements are not one of my favorite things to ingest, as the industry, unlike medicines, have no regulation or supervision.
Despite this fact let’s talk about a couple of compounds which may help with our mouths.
Grape seed extract
Grape seed extract comes naturally loaded with Vitamin C and Vitamin E. We are not sure, but for whatever reason, this compound will inhibit the formation of what we call “plaque”. Plaque is the cause of gum disease and cavities. Plaque is essentially a commune of bacteria. These all feed off of sugar and produce destructive acid. Prevent the plaque and reduce the cavities. Prevent the plaque and prevent gum disease.
Another supplement that has many general health benefits is CoQ10 which is short of Co-enzyme Q10. This nutrient that is made in your body will help us fight infections and other insults by improving our immune system. Poor diet and age can affect its levels. Japanese dentists are very fond of CoQ10, and many recommend dosages of 60 mg daily as a preventive measure for gum disease. It also has benefits when applied topically to gum tissue. As with many supplements, research may be scarce, and claims abound. That being said, these dosages appear to be safe with the benefits outweighing any risks.
Use proper diet and nutrition for good oral health
These and other therapies in medicine are based on the concept that response to disease attach can be controlled or improved with proper diet and nutrition. Eating a diet that is primarily plant-based with a reduction or elimination of inflammatory agents such as sugar will help our health in general, and our mouth in particular.
If nutrition and quality of life enthuse you, give me a call and let’s share some thoughts. My passion is good health for you and your family.
Don’t forget that My “Better Than Insurance” program is still in effect until the end of the month.
I am looking forward to hearing from you and can be reached at 440.951.7856 to discuss nutrition or my money saving program with you.
As the new year approaches, we are all thinking of making resolutions to improve our lives and our health. As a dentist committed to you and your family’s good health, I’d like to suggest resolving to improve your oral health in 2018. However, a resolution without a plan is planning to fail. Read on to make this year’s resolution a successful one.
Can You Make A Suggestion for Mouth Care Priorities for the New Year?
You bet I can! Before I do, allow me a moment to wish a Happy New Year to everyone. I hope that this year will be filled with wonderful things for everyone. Now let me get to our topic at hand.
Making a Fresh Start
There is no feeling better than that of making a fresh start. Our lives revolve around a yearly calendar. We get this fantastic opportunity to refresh and recharge ourselves mentally. I can not stress how important this is, to every one of us. As the time goes by, we rarely think of ourselves. The month of January allows us to reflect upon ourselves and look at how we can do things differently than in the past. The guiding motivation is not only “different,” but “better.” It is a well-known fact that memberships in health clubs explode in January. Unfortunately, few people maintain the enthusiasm and commitment as time goes on.
Today, let’s focus on making our goals real and attainable. Specifically, I am going to focus on techniques to improve our oral health. I have spoken at length in this column and face to face in the office about the impact of oral health on our general health. My suggestions will, therefore, have implications that go beyond the mouth. Its ramifications are endless.
One of the reasons that New Year’s Resolutions don’t work is that they are too broad and extensive. This translates into unrealistic goals and expectations. The key to success is to think of a small and incremental change that will impact you and your life. Once you have that thought, then make the change even more modest. Make it something that you can do immediately and simply. Okay, so let’s look at my list.
5 Simple Steps to Improve Your Oral Health.
1. Get a New Toothbrush.
This is so simple. A builder once told me that “new” is always good. He is absolutely right about this concept. It applies equally as well in the mouth. Toothbrushes are most efficient when the bristles are fresh. Over time, they do not clean as well. For the short term, our mouths do not feel as fresh with a worn brush. In the long run, they are not doing their job causing problems, and we are wasting our time.
2. Get Your Teeth Cleaned.
Now is a great time to set up a cleaning visit. We all overate during the holiday season and probably didn’t brush as well as we should. The timing is perfect to remove the tartar and stain from our teeth. Seeing freshly cleaned teeth is always a great motivator for oral health.
3. Select One Need and Take Care of It.
Sometimes we are overwhelmed by recommended procedures. It is merely easier to forget everything in the face of multiple needs. For example, you may need four fillings. Rather than just letting things go, pick one filling and get it taken care of. If you follow that approach, it will be much easier and not be such a burden on you regarding time, effort and possibly finances.
4. Eliminate One Junk Food Daily.
Junk food, in general, and holiday treats specifically, all wreak havoc with our mouths. These sticky foods do not come off of our teeth naturally. It takes work to remove them from our tooth enamel. Usually, the time and place are inconvenient for efficient removal of sticky food products. I recommend that you stock up or carry a sweet fruit with you. It is loaded with fiber, great nutrients and really will satisfy your sweet tooth.
5. Spend Another 30 Seconds Brushing Your Teeth
We all spend too little time brushing. Once we have made an effort to go to a bathroom, haul out the toothbrush and turn on the sink water we have done all of the hard things. It is so easy to spend a little more time brushing and try to reach our goal of debris free teeth. Another half of a minute is time well spent.
These are all goals and techniques that are easy to do. Find one that you like and adopt it. It will stay with you and reward you in the future. If you have any question about my FIVE STEPS, please call me at 440.951.7856. I look forward to hearing from you.
Here’s to a successful New Year’s resolution for a Healthy Smile!
Typically, If you describe someone as being ‘long in the tooth’, you are saying derisively or humorously that they are old or aging.
However, there may be more at stake than hurt feelings.
Clinically speaking, having an unusually long tooth or teeth can be symptomatic of a much bigger problem. Gum disease.
My Tooth Became Really Big. Can You Help Me?
I saw this new patient last week, and she was correct. When you looked at her, all that you saw was one tooth. I don’t mean that one tooth was all that was present. She has many teeth that show when she smiles and talks. What I am referring to is one tooth that stands out more prominently than all of those around it. She was literally ‘long in the tooth’.
How did it stand out? First of all, it was much longer than the teeth on either side. It was her cuspid, or “eye tooth” as people commonly refer to it. The tooth is a large tooth, to begin with, but this was even larger and more prominent than we usually see.
The tooth was also pushed forward. When a front tooth is pushed forward, two things can result. First of all, the tooth may bite on the lower lip and therefore feel strange. It also causes a protrusion of the upper lip.
To top off these calls to attention by the tooth, the color of this tooth was whiter than the rest.
Gum Disease Spreading to the Bone
I recently wrote about shorter teeth. Shorter teeth come as the result of years and decades of wear of the biting surface as we get older. I also mentioned some teeth could do just the opposite. They appear to get longer as the gum and bone shrink a little away from the tooth.
My new patient was not an example of either scenario. Her tooth got much “longer” because of gum disease.
Gum disease starts in the gums and then spreads to the bone. This condition is a bacterial infection that will destroy the bone in which the tooth rests. If the disease damages all of the bone, then the tooth will become loose. If you are lucky enough, you won’t experience any pain, and one day, the tooth will fall out of your head. More likely than not, you will have swelling and discomfort requiring help from a professional to either save the tooth or remove it, depending on the severity of the situation.
A Good Analogy
Once the bone is attacked and slowly is destroyed, the tooth loses its primary stability. Let me give you an analogy. Think of a post implanted in the ground. If the earth is covering a good portion of the post, then the post remains stable. If the ground erodes away from the post and more post is above the surface than in the earth, instability will appear. The post will become movable, and if pressure is applied, it will no longer stand perfectly straight. It will start to lean to one side or the other.
The same thing happens to a tooth with gum disease, and this is what I saw in the mouth in question. Fortunately for her, the bone destruction did not extend significantly to the adjacent teeth. I recommended removing the tooth and replacing it.
As for the fact that this tooth was also whiter than the rest is because she had an old crown on the tooth. That crown matched her teeth years ago and was thus whiter. No matter how I replace the tooth, I would correct the color and make it match its neighbors.
So how did I plan on replacing the tooth after removal? Our choices were either a single implant or a permanent bridge which can’t come out.
After an evaluation, I recommended a bridge for two main reasons.
1. The first reason centers on the fact that the bone loss was resulting in the bone moving upwards. If I placed an implant, the resultant tooth would be very long.
Remember that was one of her initial concerns. A permanent bridge would deal with this long tooth issue better.
2. Secondly, I would utilize my “Same Day-Immediate Bridge” technique that I developed. It allows me to remove a tooth and provide a replacement in usually less than an hour. We did that, and she left with a stunning and much-improved smile.
Taking Advantage of Our “Better Than Insurance” Program
Best of all, she took advantage of our “Better than Insurance” program that I mentioned in the last couple of columns. Rules do apply, but she met all of the criteria and saved 20% of the fee. She looked terrific, and we saved her money! Another happy customer and a healthy smile!
Call Megan today at 440.951.7856 and find out about our “Better Than Insurance” initiative to save you money and preserve your smile for a lifetime.
The subject of tooth problems during the holiday season seems to come up every year, and I address this issue in the office with my patients.
Whenever I respond to a question, it is vital for me to clarify the scope of the problem.
Christmas and New Years coincide with the influx of cold weather. Cold weather effects are enough by itself to cause my phone to ring off the hook. However, I hope to address that unique problem in another column.
Today, I want to focus on the overuse, abuse, and neglect that our teeth get this time of the year.
I want to offer a few tips to reduce the need the for a call to me in the short run and help keep your mouth healthy in the long term.
I want to teach you how to avoid tooth problems during the holiday season.
The December sugar rush
Sugar abounds in December. The closer we get to Christmas, the more the sugary treats flood into our lives. Don’t worry; I am not going to preach avoidance of those treats.
Cookies, candies and special baked goods are all part of the festive atmosphere that is so much fun. Having said that, what can we do to limit the damage that these foods cause?
Sugar is the lifeline for cavity-causing bacteria
Remember, that sugar is the lifeline of the bacteria that attach to our teeth and gums. These bacteria congregate where sugar collects on the teeth and produce acid and other damaging waste products. These chemicals eat away at our teeth and cause cavities.
Control your exposure
One key to minimizing the adverse effects of sugar is to control how much exposure we have to it. The frequency of exposure will determine how detrimental our sugar indulgences are for us.
Sitting in the office all day long and munching on a can of cookies and treats is the worst thing that you can do. It is far better to eat all that you want in a shorter interval than to graze this food all day long. The bugs in your mouth have a field day with this as they’re partaking of a non-stop buffet of sugar.
Nuts. The healthy holiday snack alternative!
But you are going to tell me that part of the fun is eating all day long. Trust me; I get it. I would like to suggest that you break up the sugar gorging with other foods. Nuts abound this time of year. Every store that I walk into has a display of “holiday nuts.” It would be a great idea to bring these into work. You can either bring them for your stash or contribute to the greater good.
Walnuts are a great resource to keep cholesterol in check and act as an anti-inflammatory component benefiting our entire body. They are also shown to help with moods. So many people have stress and family issues around the holidays that any help that we can find is a plus.
Let’s not forget chestnuts. Remember Nat King Cole’s ‘The Christmas Song’! Chestnuts are lower in calories when compared to other nuts, an excellent source of fiber for your diet and rich in Vitamin C. Their hypoglycemic index is low which makes them perfect for people who struggle to maintain proper blood sugar levels.
Macadamia nuts and Pecans
What about nuts that are high in calories like macadamia nuts and pecans?
According to Michael Greger, M.D., one of the leading nutrition physicians today, nuts, in general, do not cause weight gain. This is true even though they are composed of fats and therefore loaded with calories. He states that
“ Part of the trick seemed to be that nuts boost fat burning within the body. It could have something to do with the amino acid arginine or the phytonutrients found in nuts…”
Nuts and seeds are linked to lower heart disease and longer life. Personally, I snack on nuts and seeds every day. My patients know that I do not have a weight issue.
How to offset all that sugar!
Lastly, what can we do to help mitigate some of our overeating and indulgences? You all know where I am going with this. Let’s be extra diligent in our oral care at home. Spend more time brushing, flossing or using a water-jet device. In fact, this would be a great time to buy an electric toothbrush for you and the family. Oral hygiene can fix and erase some bad activities during the day and not give bacteria a foothold in our mouths. Don’t let a tooth issue ruin your fun in the upcoming days.
Now that you know how to avoid tooth problems during the holiday season, practice proper prevention techniques to control the problems.
If you develop a problem, we are working and not taking any time off. Please call me at 440.951.7856 so that I make sure that you enjoy every moment of the season.