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.
Aging gives birth to a lot of health woes, which is why it becomes more and more important to pay close attention to your well-being as you continue to get older. It can be a lot of work, but you can be certain that your efforts will have a huge impact on your overall health.
Tips for Taking Care of Your Teeth As You Age
For example, with oral care, taking care of your teeth as you age will involve additional steps and even special products at different stages in your life. But if you commit to all of these, you do not only get to preserve your teeth and their proper functioning — you also avoid health complications associated with common mouth diseases for aging folks.
If you want to get serious with your oral health in order to feel and look good throughout your life, a Prescott, AZ dentist has these tips for you:
Use soft-bristle toothbrushes – they’re kinder to aging teeth and gums.
Consider an electric toothbrush, especially if meticulous brushing is difficult for you. An electric toothbrush doesn’t need much manipulation to effectively clean your teeth.
Use sonic air floss instead of waxed nylon flosses. This product may be a tad expensive but you can use it for a long time. The advantage provided by this special kind of floss is that it’s so much easier to use and you can avoid cutting your gums as you try to dislodge food debris between your teeth and gums.
If you have dentures, make sure to clean them regularly and to use the appropriate cleaning agents. Don’t clean your dentures with toothpaste – that’s a big no-no. Also, it’s healthier to remove your dentures before going to sleep; doing this will help preserve your gums.
Use a mouthwash to maintain the pH balance of your mouth and prevent bad breath-causing bacteria from proliferating.
Drink water often. Water can also contribute to maintaining the right pH level of your mouth. Plus, it contains fluoride which can help prevent tooth decay.
If you still smoke, better stop. Smoking dehydrates the mouth and a dehydrated mouth is the perfect breeding place for bad breath- and tooth decay-causing bacteria. Likewise, it increases your risk for lung and other cancers.
Eat healthier. Getting loads of vitamins and minerals from your meals will boost your immune system. A healthy immune system will make you less prone to oral diseases.
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.
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!
Cases of missing teeth among young children are often deemed cute occurrences (which is probably why there’s a popular song about missing teeth). But when you’re old, missing teeth can be a health risk.
Apart from a sagging facial appearance that can make you look sad and older, missing teeth can also have other negative consequences. One is the high likelihood of “shifting” – teeth can move a bit toward the gap. This movement creates spaces between the teeth that will not only alter alignment and bite but can also make teeth prone to harmful bacteria buildup that can lead to gum disease. A more serious consequence is bone loss, which will put you at greater risk of losing more teeth as you get older.
One of the best solutions to missing teeth is a dental bridge. What it does is it literally bridges the gap created by one or more missing teeth. It is made of two or more crowns (depending on the missing tooth’s location). One crow will serve as the replacement for the missing tooth, and the other/s for the anchoring tooth or teeth (called abutment teeth).
Maintain the healthy shape of your face (no more hollow areas).
Maintain your proper teeth alignment and bite.
Preserve your original teeth better.
There are different types of dental bridges that your dentist can put in for you depending on where your missing tooth or teeth are, and they are:
Cantilever bridges – These are the type of bridges used when there are adjacent teeth on only one side of the missing teeth. Cantilever bridges are not used that often anymore because they are not ideal as restorative solutions for missing tooth at the back of the mouth where there’s usually a lot of pressure on surrounding teeth.
Maryland bonded bridges – These are also called a resin-bonded bridge or a Maryland bridge. They are made of porcelain, porcelain fused to metal, or plastic teeth and gums held together by a metal or porcelain framework. Metal or porcelain wings, usually placed on just one side of the bridge, are anchored or bonded to your existing teeth.
Traditional bridges – These consist of a crown for the tooth or implant on both sides of the missing tooth, with a pontic or a dummy tooth in between. Traditional bridges are the most frequently used type of bridge and they are made of either porcelain fused to metal or ceramics.
The application of dental bridges takes multiple visits to the dentist, which can take several weeks. But once the bridges are permanently placed in, you’re sure to feel a big difference in the way your mouth feels and functions. Ask your trusted Prescott, AZ dentist about the best treatment for you.
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.
If you think smoking is bad enough because it destroys your lungs, then you haven’t gotten to the most obvious effects yet.
Tobacco and cigarettes contain tar and nicotine that build up inside your mouth. These gather in between teeth, allowing more bacteria to take refuge in these spaces and attack the surrounding teeth. Since there are about 600 bacterial species that make up the oral microbiome, just imagine how much the act of smoking further aggravates the problem by boosting the growth of the bacteria.
One of the most important things to understand about how smoking affects your mouth is that it also has other effects on your teeth. When plaque or tartar accumulate and harden around your teeth, for example, they create stains, usually yellowish and black in color, that can give you a less attractive smile.
The stains can be very difficult to remove and often cause damage to the surface of your teeth as well. Your teeth are coated with a protective layer called enamel; once the enamel is damaged, bacteria can freely contaminate and infect the core of your teeth, which eventually leads to rotting and extraction.
Another serious effect of smoking is gum disease. Because the nicotine coats the teeth and gums in plaque, oxygen is blocked from properly reaching the bloodstream. This prevents gums from healing as fast as it can, causing in the further development of different kinds of oral diseases. Although smoking can severely damage one’s dental condition, there are ways that can help you treat the damage it has done on your gums and teeth.
Brushing and flossing the right way
Brushing your teeth and flossing should be done the right way in order to achieve optimal results. Brushing three times daily and flossing after every meal is the typical advice, but keep in mind that you also have to do these correctly — you have to use the right strokes and perform the right procedures to remove every bit of tartar stuck on the surface of your teeth. By making a real effort to make a habit out of brushing and flossing regularly, you prevent the cavities from spreading further to your other teeth.
Installing crowns or veneers
When the degree of staining on your teeth is too serious too remove, you can simply cover it up with dental crowns or veneers. These dental solutions can be easily installed by your dentist and would not take too much time to accomplish. They serve as protective coverings and come in a porcelain white color to improve not just function of the teeth, but also their appearance.
Do not allow your teeth to deteriorate and completely lose their beauty. Visit a Prescott, AZ dentist today; these credible dental experts have the knowledge, experience, and equipment to help bring back the perfect smile you lost from smoking.
People can become so concerned with their teeth that they tend to believe any information they receive about ways to care for them, which may not always be true or advisable. As a result, they observe dental routines that could be causing more damage to their teeth instead of helping them maintain strong and healthy set of chompers.
Keeping this in mind, it is important to learn about and adopt clinically proven and effective dental habits that you should practice to keep your teeth healthy — and to determine whether a piece of information about dental health is a fact or fiction.
Some examples of dental health facts and fiction include the following:
STATEMENT: Your teeth should be looked at and cleaned by a dentist once a year
The frequency of your visits to the dental clinic relies entirely on your dentist and not any self-established schedule. Each person’s dental condition is different from the next one’s, so the recommendations for dental check-ups would depend on the patient’s specific dental needs.
Some individuals with relatively healthy teeth may only need to see their dentist every few months, for example, while others with more delicate or serious dental issues may be advised to head to the dental clinic to undergo treatments or procedures once a month.
Since people consume different kinds of food and drinks, follow different oral hygiene practices, and have varying health conditions that could affect the state of their teeth, mouth and gums, required dental procedures also vary from patient to patient.
STATEMENT: Popcorn is a snack that is good for your teeth
Popcorn doesn’t always look the way it does when you buy it at the cinema. Its uncooked form is a hard, tough corn kernel. However, cooking doesn’t always turn every single kernel into soft, tasty and fluffy popcorn, and when your teeth accidentally bite hard on those un-popped kernels, precious white enamel on your teeth might end up chipped or cracked.
And because popcorn is often flavored with butter and powdered artificial cheese and butter, popcorn is not exactly the best choice of food to keep your teeth healthy.
STATEMENT:Sugar is the cause of cavities
It is true that sugary food or drinks cause cavities in teeth. Keep in mind, though, that they are also not the only reasons why people suffer from tartar build-up. There are other harmful chemicals and foreign contaminants that can cause plaque, such as nicotine and alcohol. Meat is also a culprit when it comes to cavity build-up; however, it does not directly affect the surface of your teeth. Instead, meat leftovers get stuck between teeth, allowing bacteria to gather and attack the enamel of your teeth.
A person’s teeth are often the first things that will be noticed as he or she interacts with other people. It’s a prominent facial feature that most people try hard to maintain and protect.
However, not everyone is born with perfect teeth. Sometimes the teeth in the upper jaw (maxillary) protrude and overlap the teeth in the lower jaw (mandible), creating an unpleasant overbite appearance.
In cases like these, people seek out the available options for overbite correction by asking experts such as a Prescott, AZ dentist to help them with their dental problem. Contrary to what some believe, an overbite can still be treated using a wide range of dental correction techniques, including the following:
Much like traditional retainers, Invisalign is a type of dental correction tool that reconfigures one’s teeth. Although it is often confused with a retainer, Invisalign is significantly different from its more old-fashioned counterpart.
As its name suggests, Invisalign is hard to detect when worn. Unless one carefully and critically observes the wearer’s teeth, it is nearly invisible to the naked eye. It’s clear and translucent material is what does the trick. As much as it is aesthetic, Invisalign has also been clinically proven to be effective not just in treating overbites but other dental misalignments as well.
One of the oldest teeth realignment techniques is dental braces installation. It involves attaching metal brackets to the teeth, guiding each tooth to their appropriate positions. Sometimes, the need for screws, headgear, and rubber bands arises, which can make it a less appealing option for overbite correction. It is, however, one of the most affordable and effective choices available.
Surgery or realignment of the jaw
When one’s overbite is too severe to fix with Invisalign and other non-invasive methods, it is time to consider more serious solutions. Surgery is often the last resort for those who suffer from an overbite; it is a medical procedure wherein a person’s jaw is realigned. In some cases, the lower jaw is too large to be in the same position as the maxillary, which creates the possibility of restructuring it to the right proportions.
Aside from the abovementioned options, there are many other overbite correction alternatives available on the market today. Thanks to modern technology, dental experts can now use advanced dental correction procedures to help patients achieve dental perfection without having to experience pain and discomfort.
Most people may not think much about it because it hasn’t happened to them yet, but losing a tooth (or more than one tooth) in your adulthood can be a big deal. After it is lost or extracted, a permanent tooth will no longer be replaced by another, and this loss can significantly affect your appearance or how your mouth and other teeth function when you eat or speak.
For this particular situation, dentists recommend getting dental implants as a viable solution. A dental implant is a titanium post that is surgically installed into the jawbone, under the gumline. On this implant, the dentist can then mount a replacement tooth or a bridge. It will appear like you never lost the tooth at all, and the implant is set in place — it isn’t removable like dentures are.
However, not everyone can be considered a good candidate for dental implants. Certain requirements must first be met before a dentist can clear you for the procedure. Primarily, you will need to have healthy gums as well as adequate bone on your jaw to support the dental implant.
If your jawbone is found to be too thin or weak, but dental implants are the best solution for your tooth loss, then your dentist may advise you to undergo a bone graft procedure first.
With this type of dental surgery, the dentist will either remove a section of bone from another part of your body or use a special bone grafting material, and then graft that onto the jawbone.
There will be a significant waiting period — often several months — for the graft to heal and create a strong new bone that can properly support your future implant.
When the bone graft is complete, your dentist can then proceed with the surgical procedure to install the dental implants.
Keep in mind that no two patients will have the exact same dental health needs and existing dental conditions, so your Prescott, AZ dentist must thoroughly review your medical history, study all the risks and benefits of pushing through with the bone graft and implant procedures in your case, and present you with all the facts and details you need to make a fully informed decision.
Being Diligent About Your Implants
Should you decide to go ahead with these treatments, it’s best to observe positive practices that can help ensure that your implants will function well and enhance your appearance for a long while: be diligent about brushing your teeth twice a day and flossing once daily; be mindful about avoiding hard foods that could damage both your natural teeth and your implants; if you smoke, do your best to quit, and pay regular visits to your Prescott Valley dentist.