There are many reasons behind the loss of teeth. For some, it’s due to an accident or an unfortunate incident (such as getting punched in the mouth by someone with the jab power of Floyd Mayweather). Meanwhile, for a lot of adults, it’s because of severe gum disease.
The loss of teeth, for whatever reason, can make smiling and eating a problem. There’s that feeling of self-consciousness because it truly is uncomfortable to be a grown-up with missing teeth. Plus, there’s also the challenge of breaking down food properly through chewing. You can “gum” tough foods like jerky and steak for hours and they still won’t get cut down to the right size pieces for easy digestion.
Restorative dentistry can address the problems created by tooth loss. There’s a range of solutions available to restore teeth, including dental implant supported dentures. Dental implants can make replacement teeth such as dentures feel like your own. Likewise, they make sure dentures function like your natural teeth because the denture is fastened securely to the implants that are surgically placed into your jawbone.
The feel, look, and function are definitely the best advantages you can get from this restorative dentistry solution, but these aren’t all. There are still several other benefits to be derived from a dental implant-supported denture, says a Prescott, AZ dentist.
The perfect fit of the dentures makes sure that there are no weird sounds created when you’re chewing food or speaking.
Oral care is easier because you can brush the dentures as if they’re your real teeth (since they’re a part of you due to the implants).
You don’t need creams or glue to keep the denture in place (which is an additional expense and can be a hassle for you).
It can actually preserve the good health of your gums because it doesn’t just sit on your gums and wear them down.
It’s a long-lasting solution.
There are two types of implant-supported dentures: ball-retained and bar-retained dentures. These function the same way, but they are attached to implants differently. Ball-retained dentures are held in place by ball-shaped metal parts that attach directly to implants in the jaw. Meanwhile, bar-retained dentures rely on a thin metal bar attached to implants placed in the jawbone. Have a thorough consultation with your dentist to determine which type of denture is suitable for you.
It’s imperative to mention as well that while a dental implant supported denture makes a fantastic solution to missing teeth, not everybody is eligible for it. There are stringent standards to uphold for the procedure and each of them must be met to ensure success. Consultation with the dentist will reveal if you’re a good candidate for implants or if you’re better off with other restorative dentistry solutions.
Although dentists recommend flossing for enhanced oral hygiene, at least a third of Americans don’t floss at all. Studies indicate that this may be due to lack of education or not stressing the importance of flossing enough to make it a habit. By not flossing, you increase your chances of developing gum disease.
Here is a more detailed explanation of the consequences of not flossing your teeth from a trusted Prescott, AZ dentist.
When you eat, food particles get lodged in your teeth and beneath your gums. It is in these types of environments where bacteria thrive and multiply. Brushing your teeth is not enough as the bristles cannot get into these hard-to-reach places. Dental floss works as a supplementary tool, cleaning the areas that your brush can’t reach. Making flossing a daily routine ensures that no substances or organisms can make your mouth their home.
Buildup of plaque and tartar
Not flossing causes a variety of dental issues. If you skip flossing for even just a few days, you run the risk of developing a buildup of plaque. Solidified plaque is known as tartar. Once a layer of tartar has formed and hardened on your teeth, it becomes more difficult to remove. You will need to visit a dentist to have all of the tartar removed.
Over time, if you don’t make flossing a daily habit, you could potentially develop gum disease. Gum disease occurs when your gums become inflamed due to the bacteria inside your mouth. The inflammation makes your gums sensitive to pressure and makes it more prone to bleeding. Even eating becomes uncomfortable at some point.
In extreme cases, you could potentially lose your teeth because of gum disease or cavities. This happens when the disease has affected your gums to the point that it can no longer provide support for your teeth. In another study, it was found that approximately 10 percent of Americans between the ages of 50 and 64 no longer had any teeth left.
Compared to men, women are more likely to develop gum disease. The probability of developing gum disease rises during pregnancy. Having gum disease while pregnant can lead to giving birth to premature babies or babies with low birth weights.
With poor oral hygiene habits, your mouth becomes the ideal breeding ground for bacteria and pathogens. By not brushing and flossing, your body will reabsorb these microscopic organisms. Some of these pathogens may end up in your lungs where it could cause a host of respiratory issues. One review established a connection between poor dental hygiene and developing pneumonia. By simply brushing and flossing, patients lowered their chances of developing pneumonia by as much as 40 percent. Schedule your appointment with one of our dentists today!
Common Reasons People Need Dentures
If you are one of those who have been religiously observing proper oral care since you were young, chances are you won’t be needing dentures when you get old. But if you are one of those who constantly put off regular brushing or call off dentist appointments, then you may find yourself needing dentures as you age.
A denture, commonly known as false teeth, is a removable replacement for missing teeth and gums. It can either be full or partial, depending on your needs, and your dentist will help you choose the type that is best for you.
It is also worth noting that there are several situations wherein you might need dentures. A Prescott, AZ dentist states the common reasons people need dentures below:
- Loss of natural teeth
The loss of natural teeth, whether from tooth decay or injury, is one of the primary reasons people need dentures. Tooth loss due to mouth disease does not happen at once, unlike accidents or injury. It is a gradual process that starts when you neglect caring for your pearly whites.
Having said so, losing one or more of your teeth due to decay and gum disease is avoidable, yet it still remains to be among the top reasons for getting dentures.
- Difficulty chewing and speaking
Dentures might not be your first choice, but when you are missing some teeth, you may find it difficult to chew certain types of food and to speak properly. When this happens, getting a set of dentures may become your best option.
Because the front teeth are important in speech, pronouncing certain words becomes challenging when you are missing some of your teeth. Denture placement can restore essential oral functions like chewing and speaking.
- Facial sagging or altered facial contour
Missing or underdeveloped teeth causes the facial muscles to sag and the facial contour to alter and appear hollow. Dentures help individuals have an improved appearance by filling out their facial features. This will help individuals gain back their self-confidence or self-esteem.
New dentures may feel awkward at first and it will take some getting used to. It will require practice to speak and eat with your dentures on, but your dentist will help you deal with some of the challenges you may experience.
Caring for your dentures is also important to ensure that they will last a long time. Careful handling is also vital because they are delicate and can easily break. Of course, regular dental checkups are still necessary even if you have dentures on.
8 Tips for Healthy Teeth and Gums
Most people think that their teeth will always be healthy, strong and functional, and so they usually take these for granted. A reputable Prescott, AZ dentist emphasizes that proper and efficient dental care is very crucial throughout the human life cycle.
Here are some tips for healthy teeth and gums that will help you achieve a bright, big smile.
How to Achieve and Maintain Healthy Teeth and Gums
1. Deal with dental visit anxiety – If sitting on a dentist’s chair often makes you anxious, help yourself feel calm by bringing your headphones and a music player to your next appointment. This is indeed a great way of relieving your anxiety. Most of all, you must communicate with your dentist so he can help you.
2. Floss first before you brush – Flossing first will make brushing more effective since it will remove the food that gets trapped in between your teeth. There are floss holders you can buy from a drugstore if handling floss agitates you. After flossing, brush your teeth gently and rinse with a recommended antibacterial mouthwash to totally eliminate any leftover plaque.
3. Regularly replace your toothbrush – Over time, toothbrush bristles flatten, wear down and fray. Replacing your toothbrush every 3-4 months is highly recommended. To avoid harboring germs, consider replacing your brush if you are sick.
4. Be gentle when using toothpicks – A toothpick is a good alternative to floss; however, be very gentle when using it because it can easily damage your gums and it may even break off below your gum line.
5. Consume cheese – The whey protein and casein in cheese will help keep your tooth enamel in its excellent form because it reduces demineralization. Moreover, cheese has tooth-building calcium. But do not forget to include vitamin D-rich foods in your diet because this vitamin can help your body absorb calcium.
6. Remove teeth stains with baking soda – If you love drinking red wine, coffee or other tooth-staining beverages, your pearly white teeth can become dim. Brushing your teeth using baking soda at least twice a month will help brighten your smile. You can use toothpaste containing baking soda if plain baking soda irritates your teeth and gums.
7. Control your acid reflux – Preserve your tooth enamel and oral health by controlling your acid reflux. Avoid consuming foods and drinks that can trigger reflux, such as tomatoes, coffee and tea, chocolate, mint, and caffeinated drinks.
8. Brush your tongue – Brushing or scraping your tongue each time you brush your teeth can help prevent bad breath. Your tongue can host different bacteria that cause bad breath, so giving it a scrub will help minimize or eliminate odor-causing compounds.
Your teeth and gums can stay healthy and happy throughout your life with proper care. Most importantly, there will be fewer risks for gum disease and tooth decay if you always have healthy teeth and gums. Schedule your appointment with one of our dentists today!
The 8 Common Teeth Alignment Problems
Perfectly aligned teeth are not that common. If you see someone with really straight teeth alignment, it’s quite likely that she wore braces — that’s because most people just don’t naturally grow their teeth that way. On top of that, there are certain habits that affect proper teeth alignment such as thumb sucking and pacifier use. Plus, other variables contribute to the problem as well.
So, what are the common teeth alignment problems most people suffer from? A Prescott, AZ dentist rounds up eight of them below:
- Malocclusion – This condition is also known as “poor bite” and it basically means you have crooked teeth. It is often hereditary and it’s frequently associated with other dento-facial deformities.
- Deep overbite – This is when your upper teeth cover the entire row of your lower teeth when you bite. This condition may not be unsightly and it also may not look like a big problem but when lower teeth bite into the palate or gum tissue behind the upper teeth, this can lead to bite discomfort and bone damage.
- Underbite or lower jaw protrusion – This is the complete opposite of an overbite and it tends to look more unnatural. It can create speech difficulty, with the lower jaw protruding to some degree longer than the upper jaw.
- Crossbite – This is when the upper teeth bite inside the lower teeth. This can make biting and chewing difficult, which is why early orthodontic treatment is recommended for correction.
- Overjet or protruding upper teeth – While it may seem similar to a deep overbite, an overbite doesn’t necessarily mean that the upper front teeth protrude a lot; with this case it does. It’s a serious problem because it makes the lower front teeth quite prone to injury. Typically, this condition is associated with a lower jaw that is shorter in proportion to the upper jaw.
- Open bite – This when the upper and lower incisor teeth do not touch when biting down. You can see an open space between the upper and lower rows. Apart from the fact that it doesn’t look nice, this teeth alignment issue overworks the molars.
- Teeth crowding – This usually happens when the dental arch is small and/or the teeth are just too big.
- Teeth spacing – When teeth are small or a few teeth have been removed, this causes “shifting,” which then creates spaces between teeth. It doesn’t look nice and it also makes the gums more prone to damage.
Thankfully, all these teeth alignment problems have solutions. Consult your dentist if you have any of these issues to see which corrective treatment is most suitable for you.
As you approach or go through your early 20s, you may think that you’re just about done with all the growing and developing that your body does. By this time, you think to yourself, you ought to have successfully hurdled the crucial biological stages and are now ready to live life to the fullest.
Unfortunately, typically from the ages of 17 and 21, you will still be going through some significant changes. In particular, your teeth aren’t all fully and perfectly erupted at this point — you may still discover your wisdom teeth beginning to emerge.
Why the name, wisdom teeth?
These teeth are called such because they appear in a person’s mouth when they are at a slightly older and ideally wiser age.
You may indeed be older, but you can still feel pain all the same — and pain is something that wisdom teeth usually create. Sometimes these teeth come through correctly, but more often than not, there is no longer enough space for them to emerge properly in the right position. Wisdom teeth often become impacted, which means that they are unable to come out from under the jaw and to the surface of the gums.
Should you have your wisdom teeth removed?
Your dentist can closely monitor the development of your wisdom teeth. With regular brushing, flossing and check-ups with your dentist, wisdom teeth that come out correctly can help you chew better and cause no issues at all.
However, if you notice some of the following signs, your wisdom teeth may become increasingly problematic as time goes on:
- Your wisdom teeth are starting to crowd or even cause damage to your other teeth
- You feel pain and some swelling in the jaw caused by a bacterial infection to a partially erupted wisdom tooth
- Food is often trapped around an improperly erupted wisdom tooth, leading to cavities
- A cyst forms near the impacted tooth, putting the surrounding teeth’s roots as well as the bone supporting the teeth at risk
Thorough and routine examinations of your mouth, along with x-rays of the affected area, can help your dentist determine if removing the wisdom teeth is the ideal solution to your particular dental situation. Removal is also often recommended if you are being treated for certain other dental conditions and if you will be getting braces.
Talk to your trusted Prescott, AZ dentist about the best options for your teeth and find out whether your wisdom teeth can prove to be beneficial for you.
How Does Sugar Cause Tooth Decay?
Since you were a young kid, you’ve heard the adults tell you to limit your consumption of sugary treats. They reasoned out that food laden with sugar can lead to tooth decay, or even worse, tooth loss.
“How does sugar cause tooth decay?” you might ask.
It’s actually not the sugar in food
Contrary to what you may have heard, it is not exactly sugar itself that causes tooth decay and other dental problems.
Sugar is just one of the major factors involved in a series of events that occur after eating sugary and starchy food.
A glimpse into your mouth’s eco-system
Much as you would like to believe that your mouth is clean and free from bacteria, the truth is that it is home to hundreds of bacteria.
Now, some of these bacteria may be harmful, but there are also beneficial bacteria that can be found inside your mouth.
When you consume food rich in sugar, you are essentially feeding the harmful bacteria in your mouth. Some of the bacteria in your mouth feed on sugar and then release acids.
In turn, these acids corrode the teeth’s enamel, the protective layer of the tooth. Over time, these acids can create a hole in your teeth. Left unchecked, these holes can go to the deeper layers of the teeth which lead to toothaches and even tooth loss.
Little helpers inside your mouth
Your teeth are constantly bombarded by acids that corrode the enamel. But your teeth are not defenseless.
The acids in your mouth remove minerals from the enamel through a process known as demineralization.
But another key process takes place inside your mouth: remineralization. In this process, the minerals leeched away from the teeth’s enamel are replaced and the teeth are strengthened.
Your saliva plays a crucial role in this process, providing the teeth with minerals like calcium and phosphate. These minerals help repair the teeth.
Your teeth need your help
However, the saliva can only do so much. When you eat too much sugary and starchy food, your teeth has little time to repair themselves.
This is why it is crucial to limit your intake of treats laden with sugars and starch.
But apart from limiting your consumption of sugars and starches, a Prescott, AZ dentist says there are a few other things that you can do to protect your teeth against cavities.
For one, you should add more fruits and veggies to your diet. These facilitate the production of more saliva. Dairy products, on the other hand, are rich in the minerals that help strengthen the teeth. Drinking green and black teas can also control the population of harmful bacteria in your mouth.
Dentists also recommend drinking fluoridated water and brushing the teeth with a fluoride toothpaste. Fluoride can help prevent tooth decay and even reverse it during the early stages. Schedule an appointment with our doctors today!
Dentists recommend regular dental care to preserve your oral health. They can also help you in finding the most suitable yet affordable treatment. Routine oral health care is a great way to achieve a healthy mouth and teeth for years to come. Regularly visiting your dentist for basic dental care exams and cleaning is a great start!
Reputable Prescott, AZ dentist, Dr. Mark Costes suggests scheduling a visit with your local dental hygienist to clean and polish your teeth every six to nine months. Also, you need to have routine examinations and X-rays. Based on the findings from these examinations, additional preventative dental care may be suggested to ensure good oral health longterm.
Dental Exam and Common Procedures
Complete Oral Examination – This will detect problems such as deteriorating fillings and conditions affecting your overall health such as oral cancer and gum disease. Your dentist will explore each tooth, gums, the tongue.
Panoramic X-ray – This refers to taking a shot of all of your teeth as well as your upper and lower jaws to gain a clear picture of your mouth’s condition. It shows the entire mouth in one image, identifying problems like fractures, bone abnormalities, infections, tumors, and impacted teeth. This imagery method is often used when planning treatments like dentures, braces and implants.
Dental Surgery – This includes everything from a simple tooth extraction to a complicated procedure like dental implant surgery. It is primarily done to relieve pain as well as to boost the appearance and function of your smile. It can be performed in a dentist’s office without having to be referred to another office.
Dental Care Basics
- Brush at least twice a day – Do not rush when you brush. Proper brushing will require at least two minutes. Also, do not neglect the gum line, areas around fillings, crowns and hard-to-reach areas.
- Clean in between teeth – Your toothbrush can’t reach all the areas to be cleaned. As such, it is very crucial for you to use floss or interdental cleaners to clean the areas that the toothbrush cannot reach. Brushing your tongue is also important since this will remove bacteria to ensure fresh breath.
- Eat a balanced diet – Make it a habit to eat a balanced diet that contains foods from the five major food groups. You need to limit snacks containing high levels of sugar.
- Visit your dentist regularly – Dental visits must be done every six months or more for early detection of any dental problem including tooth decay, gum disease, and oral cancer. Routine fluoride application is also a must. This can be done during your routine dental examination and cleaning.
Basic dental care will involve your daily participation. Your smile will greatly depend on these dental care basics, so always keep them in mind and put them into practice. Call us today to set up your appointment!
Most people just brush their teeth day in and day out, not knowing that this won’t remove all the harmful bacteria in their mouth.
For you to gain the best oral health, you need to brush both your teeth and your tongue.
Bacterial Live and Proliferate on Your Tongue
Biofilm, a specific type of bacteria, makes up a huge amount of the bacteria in your mouth. Similar to other bacteria, biofilm will contribute a lot to creating different oral health problems for your teeth, gums and mouth. These bacteria live on your tongue in the ridges and spaces you can’t see. A few hours after brushing your teeth, these bacteria can transfer from your tongue to your teeth. Mouthwash alone won’t eliminate them, which is why brushing your tongue is very important.
Tongue Brushing Tools and Techniques
- Toothbrush – Focus on brushing your tongue after you’ve brushed your teeth. You can use the bristles of your toothbrush or a specialized brush with a built-in tongue cleaner. Start brushing by reaching to the back of your tongue, and working forward toward your mouth’s opening. You must brush the entire tongue’s surface with gentle pressure. After that, rinse with water.
- Tongue Scraper – This is a flat, soft and flexible plastic tool that is used mainly for brushing your tongue. When using a scraper, start from the back of your tongue going forward. Since it lacks bristles, it may be more difficult for you to reach certain areas. After each swipe of the tongue, you must rinse the scraper. Avoid using the scraper with too much force to prevent tongue sores and bleeding. And since the center of the tongue has the bulk of bacteria, concentrate on this area when scraping.
- Cleaner – This is an excellent tool for brushing your tongue because this is a scraper with bristles. It combines the best of a scraper and a toothbrush. The bristles, though, are rubber.
How Often Should You Brush Your Tongue?
Cleaning your tongue, a Prescott, AZ dentist says, must be done at least once in the morning and once in the evening before going to sleep. Whenever you feel your mouth is dry or has a foul taste in midday, cleaning your tongue immediately will be the best solution.
Aside from that, consider using a mouthwash rinse after brushing your tongue to moisturize your mouth and to kill other bacteria.
Indeed, maintaining fresh breath and a healthy mouth is not just about brushing your teeth. Make it a habit to give your tongue sufficient attention to ensure fresh breath and good oral health. Call us today!
Contrary to the common belief that tooth decay is only caused by not brushing teeth regularly – this is the main reason, but it can actually be the result of frequent, hard brushing as well. When you brush your teeth too much and you brush rather vigorously, your tooth’s enamel gets scratched, creating small “abrasions” or cavities that if not taken care of may result in serious tooth decay.
Whatever type of tooth decay you may have, immediate treatment is important for tooth decay only gets worse over time, says a Prescott, AZ dentist. It’s worth noting too that decay spreads rapidly and when it reaches the more sensitive parts of your teeth, you can expect pain to intensify and occur more often. Other complications may arise as well, such as face swelling, pain that radiates to other parts of the head, and in severe cases, flare-ups of other health issues such as diabetes, cancer and heart disease.
Tooth decay treatment is affordable especially if it will be performed for the prevention of further damage instead of for the purpose of removal. For small abrasions or erosion on your enamel, prevention of further damage has to be done right away. The dentist will perform the treatment using filling materials that contain fluoride, calcium and phosphates.
Now, for tooth decay that has already reached the dentin, repair is performed using a dental filling. There are different kinds of filling; there’s amalgam, which is composed of silver and other metals, or a tooth-colored resin material, which has a much nicer appearance though not as durable as amalgam.
For damaged teeth that have changed in shape and size, the dentist will fill them and then add a crown to help strengthen and restore shape and function. The application of a crown can be expected to increase the cost of treatment.
As for the worst case of tooth day, meaning there’s an abscess, these are your treatment options:
A root canal treatment, followed by a crown because teeth can become more brittle after this treatment and are likely to break easily.
An extraction – this when there are no other means to save the tooth.
These only go to show how important it is to have consistent, good oral care practices because tooth decay is a serious health issue. On top of this, treatment can cost you a significant amount of money. So brush, floss, rinse with a fluoride mouthwash and visit your dentist regularly to prevent the pain and cost of tooth decay.
Schedule an appointment with one of our dentists today!