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Tooth decay and erosion and how to prevent it

Tooth decay and erosion and how to prevent it

We all want happy and healthy teeth that look great. For the most part, people know to brush their teeth, floss, and use fluoride as part of their daily home care routine. However, there are some factors in our daily routine that most people don’t take into account. This isn’t a personal failing on the part of anyone, it is just that some routines can produce a level of wear and tear that not many people take into account.

Our Enamel

Our teeth are made up of four main parts. Enamel, Dentin, Cementum and pulp. Enamel is the outer protective layer. While it is the hardest part of the body (stronger than bone), it is not invincible. It contains no living cells, meaning it can not repair itself if damaged by decay or wear.

Although a dentist can repair wear and tear with composite bonding, veneers and porcelain crown, best defense against tooth decay and erosion is prevention.

Causes of tooth decay and erosion

Tooth decay and erosion occur as a result of an acidic environment in the mouth. Prolonged exposure to acid, weakens the enamel, eroding away the enamel and eventually the underlying tooth structure.

There are few ways in which acids can dissolve enamel over time. Some of which are more preventable than others.

  • Sugars – Major cause of tooth decay are sugary, sticky foods and beverages. Sugars in food and drinks react with the bacteria in your mouth, forming acids. Every time you eat or drink anything containing sugars, these acids attack the teeth and start to soften and dissolve the enamel.
  • Coffee, wine and Citric Fruits – These are either naturally acidic or are acidic through a certain type of processing. While coffee or a glass of wine is not bad for your teeth, constant exposure to all of these things will weaken the enamel, making it more vulnerable to wear.
  • Carbonated drinks and sodas – Constant sipping on sodas is the worse. Not only they are loaded with sugar, but they are also acidic (phosphoric acid). Creating an environment that weakens the enamel and more prone to tooth decay. Carbonated water are a better choice, as they are not as acidic and sugary. However, best option would be still water.
  • Smoking – Smoking increases your risk of tooth decay by creating a dry environment. Normally your saliva washes away the plaque. Without good salivary flow, more plaque remains on your gums and teeth increasing your risk of developing gum disease and tooth decay.
  • Dry mouth- Dry mouth can increase your risk of developing caries due to lack of saliva washing away the plaque. Dry mouth can be caused by certain medication or certain Auto Immune disorders such as Sjogran’s

 

  • Stomach Acid – Acid reflux can contribute to enamel wear and erosion by exposing your teeth to stomach acid. Be sure to consult with your physician to address acid reflux issues.

 

Prevention

Best defense agains enamel erosion and tooth decay is prevention.

  • Good home care- Be sure to brush twice a day and floss daily to remove plaque build up off your teeth.
  • Fluoride- Use fluoridated toothpaste or mouthwash. If you are prone to getting cavities, use prescription strength fluoride products such as Enamelon. Regardless of the source, fluoride helps to remineralize the weak enamel spots, preventing them from developing into cavities.
  • Reduce sugar and soda consumption.
  • Drink plenty of water if suffering from dry mouth. There are also products such as Biotin that help with dry mouth.

 

If you are in need of a Dentist in Austin, that will make you feel comfortable with treatment, consider Downtown Dental Design. If you think you need composit bonding, porcelain crown and veneers to help counter erosion damage or tooth decay, feel free to give us a visit and see if we are a right fit for you!

A History of Cosmetic Dentistry: Tooth Whitening

A History of Cosmetic Dentistry: Tooth Whitening

Photo by KAL VISUALS on Unsplash

There is no denying that dentists are relatively new in the history of mankind. However, the idea of oral health and tooth maintenance is a lot older than most people think. There is plenty of anthropological evidence and records that can attest to that. So, what is this evidence, and how did it lead to modern day cosmetic dentistry as we know it?

Early Cosmetic Dentistry

Before there were cosmetic dentists in Austin, Texas, or any other place really, most people took it upon themselves to clean their own teeth. While there were certain individuals in civilizations and tribes that would focus on things like surgery and extraction, the tools and techniques were rudimentary at best.

The practice of tooth whitening was first in Ancient Egypt. The Egyptians came up with a version of whitening paste that was a composite of ground pumice stone, wine vinegar, and other various ingredients. This was the first instance of white teeth being considered a sign of wealth and status.

The practice carried over to the Roman Empire, where people were very much concerned about their teeth health and appearance. Romans had the habit of using a special type of chew sticks for brushing their teeth and keeping it plaque free. They also used urine to whiten teeth. Urine has a natural concentration of ammonia, which acts as a whitening agent. Upon that discovery, later on, the practice of using urine for toothpaste ended. Over time, the practice of tooth whitening for cosmetic and preservation purposes carried over to Europe.

What is interesting to note, however, was that whitening was not the only means of aesthetic teeth in the world. In fact, there is a process of tooth preservation that involves the opposite.

Photo by Mikael Kristenson on Unsplash

Tooth Blackening

This form of cosmetic dentistry was more popular in China, along with various Pacific islands in the surrounding areas. Also, it was in practice in sparse locations in South America. It involved dying teeth black through a combination of bugs, tree dye, and other trace elements to create a lacquer that prevents tooth decay.

The earliest evidence of this practice was in China around 200 CE. The practice spread through Japan and the surrounding islands a few hundred years later. The practice became known as ohaguro and it became a status symbol, much like tooth whitening did in Europe.

However, the popularity of this trend did not make it past the mid-1800s in Japan and most other gentrified places in Southeast Asia. This was thanks to colonialism. French explorers, along with other European figureheads were unimpressed with the sight. They even initially thought black teeth was a deterrent instead of a sign of beauty. This, combined with the new Empress of Japan in making her first public appearance with white teeth persuaded the public to pick up white teeth as a fashion statement.

Tooth Whitening by Cosmetic Dentists Today

Picture By AUTHORITY DENTAL under Creative Commons 2.0

Tooth whitening today is more available and popular than ever. Especially in the United States.

During late 1800s dentists started using chlorine as a bleaching agent for restoring yellowish tinge on teeth. Till 1900 it was a popular method of teeth whitening all across Europe. Post-1900 AD the use of Hydrogen Peroxide came in practice. During 1960, dentist William Klusimer invented peroxide-based whitening agents and till 1970 it was widely popular in practice. Onward 1989, carbamide peroxide was introduced as teeth whitening agent, which has less side affects.

Since then, with advances in research and developments, the teeth whitening products have come a long way and there is broad range of products to choose from. They range from over the counter products such as whitening toothpaste and mouthwash, whitening strips to professionally prescribed products by your dentist. As for over the counter toothpaste and mouthwash, they help maintain the color. However, some whitening toothpastes can be very abrasive and we do not recommend prolonged use. Over the counter whitening strips can be some what affective but results vary from individual to individual.

Of course, dental professionals offer more affective array of products. You can choose in office whitening which is more intense but gives you an instant result. Some post op sensitivity is expected with in office whitening but resolves within few days. There is also option of custom trays and at home whitening. You can do this at comfort of your own home, on average expect result to show in 7-10 days.

Lastly, you have the option of professional strength whitening strips. This is a great option if you are in a rush and don’t have time for in office appointment. Regardless which whitening option you choose, the results are beautiful and safe if used properly.

www.downtowndentaldesign.com

Dental Implants and their Benefits

Dental Implants and their Benefits

The field of dentistry and medical care has changed quite a lot over the centuries. From the idea of worms residing in your teeth to 3-D imagery, dental theory, and oral care technology act as a reflection of our current societal state. We can offer more now than we did merely a decade ago. And our progress drastically improves the lives of people who suffer from the ravages of tooth decay. One of the more innovative ways that the dental industry has done this is the utilization of dental implants. In the past few decades there has been great advancement in implant dentistry in both material, technique and esthetic. Implant dentistry ranges from replacing single tooth, to multiple teeth to full mouth rehabs involving fixed denture supported implants, known as All-on-4.

© Authority Dental

The Purpose of Dental Implants

For the most part, implants are a necessity for patients who have lost their teeth. After all, our teeth are responsible for things like breaking down food, play a part in our speech patterns, and provide lip and facial support preserving a natural smile. For the most part, implants can help do those jobs after tooth loss.

They also prevent the shifting of teeth into the empty spaces that the lost tooth has left behind. Dental implants can also work towards the preservation of the jawbone. According to dynamicdentalinc.com, “If you choose to place a fixed bridge instead of getting a dental implant, your jawbone will eventually begin to deteriorate underneath the missing tooth. This occurs because you don’t receive adequate stimulation to the bone without a tooth root. “

Dental implants are great treatment options as opposed to bridge or full dentures as they preserve bone, restore function and esthetic, miming natural dentition without compromising adjacent teeth. Dental implants have 99% success rate, making them superior to fixed bridge in function and longevity.

Modern Dental Implant parts

The structure of a dental implant has three major parts.  There is the base, the abutment and the crown.

  • Base: A titanium screw that is placed in the jawbone in the place of the missing tooth. It fuses with natural bone to provide a safe, stable base. The healing phase can range from 3-6 months.
  • Abutment:Abutment which is screwed into the implant fixture is used to support the implant crown.
  • Crown: The tooth-like part of the implant, usually made of ceramic material, designed to restore function and esthetic.

© Authority Dental

There are more than 60 US manufacturers of dental implants, Toothwisdom.org explains the different parts of dental implants in a nutshell. The most common brands are Nobel Biocare, Zimmer Biomet,and Straumann dental implants.

 Downtown Dental Design offers a wide range of cosmetic dental treatments, including dental implants. Feel free to give us a call and visit our website in www.downtowndentaldesign.com.

Can gum disease lead to heart disease ?!

downtown dentist tarrytown tx

For decades, researchers have probed the link between gum disease and cardiovascular health. People with gum disease (also known as periodontal disease) have two to three times the risk of having a heart attack, stroke, or other serious cardiovascular event.

Although, there may not be a direct connection, as many people with heart disease have healthy gums, and not everyone with gum disease develops heart problems. Shared risk factors, such as smoking or an unhealthy diet, may explain the association. Still there’s a growing suspicion that gum disease may be an independent risk factor for heart disease.

How are poor oral health and heart disease connected?

One theory is chronic inflammation.
Gum disease begins when the sticky, bacteria-laden film referred to as plaque builds up around teeth. Left untreated, the gums become loose around the tooth and bone, creating a pocket that gradually deepens. This chronic gum infection and inflammation leads to bone loss and eventually tooth loss. The bacteria from these infected gum pockets can enter the blood stream where they trigger blood vessel inflammation and damage. Supporting this theory is the finding of remnants of oral bacteria within clogged (atherosclerotic) blood vessels far from the mouth.

To date, there’s no proof that treating gum disease will prevent heart disease or its complications. But the connection is compelling enough that dentists and many doctors recommend good oral health regiments to prevent gum disease in the first place.

The recommended preventive care by American Dental Association is brushing twice daily, each for two minutes, flossing and twice-yearly cleanings by a dentist or hygienist.

Bottom line, good oral health regiments benefit both your mouth and overall health.

Health Benefits of Straight Teeth 

Straight Teeth Tarrytown Tx

 

The benefits of having properly aligned teeth extend far beyond a confident beautiful smile. According to the American Dental Association, straightening your teeth can significantly affect your overall dental health, by reducing your risk of gum disease, tooth decay, enamel wear and trauma. A smile can hardly be perfect if it’s not a healthy one.

Misaligned crooked teeth and an incorrect bite such as deep overbite, underbite or cross bite can lead to excessive wear and tear of your teeth causing permanent damage. Having misaligned teeth makes it much harder to clean around them, leading to plaque and bacteria accumulation. This bacteria build up will lead to tooth decay and gum disease. 

It is never too late to align your teeth and improve your smile and oral health with Invisalign clear aligners or traditional braces. Invisalign is a great option to align your teeth, especially as an adult. There are many benefits of Invisalign aligners:

Invisible – Invisalign clear aligners are almost impossible to notice 

Comfortable – Invisalign aligners are easy and comfortable to wear, without limiting your lifestyle, allowing you to live your life the way you want to. 

Removable – Enjoy your favorite foods without worrying about brackets or wires bending or breaking.  Simply remove the aligners while enjoying your meals and social events.

Easy to clean and care for — One of the biggest challenges of having braces is removing all the food that gets trapped in the brackets and wires. This can often lead to plaque buildup and eventually tooth decay. With Invisalign, the aligners are removable, easy to continue brushing and flossing your teeth the way you normally do.

Customized – Using ITero digital scanner and 3D computer imaging technology, a fully customized set of aligners are created just for your teeth.

Effective –  With SmartTrack material, Invisalign aligners are effective and predictable in tooth movement, allowing you to achieve your desired smile in less time. 

Whether you’ve never had braces or have experienced shifting of your teeth, take the first steps in achieving a healthy beautiful smile.