Diabetic Dental Care

May 28th, 2015

People with diabetes are more likely to have oral health problems. Infections and gum irritations are harder to treat in diabetics, and can more easily progress into advanced stages. Therefore, if you have diabetes, it’s vital to be extra careful about practicing good dental hygiene and maintaining optimum oral health.

Some of the dental issues that diabetic patients face include:

  • Higher risk of gum disease like gingivitis and periodontitis
  • Increased risk of cavities
  • Trouble fighting bacteria, allowing increased plaque buildup on teeth
  • More tartar, which irritates the gums
  • Higher risk of tooth loss if gum disease reaches advanced stages
  • More susceptible to bacterial infections, which can delay the healing process
  • Higher risk of dry mouth, which often causes cavities

Unfortunately, oral health problems can also affect your overall health. If you have diabetes and also gum disease, it is harder to control your diabetes. Severe gum disease elevates blood sugar, which in turn puts you at higher risk of diabetic complications.

As a diabetic, follow these recommendations for dental care:

  • Visit the dentist at least every six months, and discuss any changes in your condition or medications.
  • Brush a minimum of twice daily, and floss every day.
  • Consider using an anti-bacterial toothpaste or mouthwash to prevent gum disease.
  • If you wear dentures, properly care for them to avoid oral thrush.
  • Discuss scaling and root planning procedures with your dentist, which can clean your teeth better so that bacteria can’t cling to them as well.

Another thing to remember is to report any health issues to your dentist if you have any dental procedures scheduled. Complications like trouble regulating your blood sugar level can impact the safety of certain procedures, such as oral surgery or implant placement. It can also affect your ability to heal properly.

Look Years Younger with a Smile Makeover

May 21st, 2015

Wrinkles and gray hair are not the only clues to your true age. As you age, so does your smile. Tooth enamel wears down, gums recede, and lips thin. Old, worn, chipped or discolored teeth are dead giveaways to your advancing years. Other problems that may be aging your smile include old silver fillings, missing teeth, or a gummy smile line. Thankfully, restoring the youthful appearance of your smile is easily achieved with a smile makeover. Modern techniques in cosmetic dentistry can make great strides towards improving the appearance of your smile, instantly taking years off your looks.

A smile makeover is a customized treatment plan with the goal of improving the esthetics of your smile. Your smile makeover may include one or more cosmetic dentistry procedures such as teeth whitening, dental veneers, tooth implants, tooth-colored fillings, orthodontics, gum reshaping, or composite bonding. Consulting with a qualified cosmetic dentist to find out which procedures would suit your needs is the first step towards projecting a more youthful image. In cooperation with your dental professional, you may choose a combination of treatments to be completed to ultimately achieve the younger smile you desire.

While you can’t stop aging, you can stop your smile from aging you. Most smile makeover procedures are non-invasive, and many can be completed in as a little as one dental visit. If you feel your smile is showing your age, it is easy to improve your self-confidence and feel younger and healthier with a smile makeover. Contact a cosmetic dentist to find out how a smile makeover can help you face the world with a youthful, new smile.

Is Teeth Whitening Safe?

May 14th, 2015

Teeth whitening has never been more popular than it is today, and people are willing to try many methods in the attempt to brighten their smiles. Whether it be professional or at-home methods, people desire a beautiful smile but also a healthy one.

What is teeth whitening?
Aging, consuming dark foods and drinks, and smoking all contribute to stained or yellowed teeth. No matter how much brushing is done, it can be very difficult to get the white smile of your youth back. Discolored teeth can be embarrassing and bring down your self-esteem, but regaining a bright smile conveys beauty and health. That’s why teeth whitening has become such a popular cosmetic dental procedure.

How does it work?
The hard outside layer of your teeth called enamel is there to protect them. As you age and eat, a film forms on your teeth that eventually penetrates your tooth enamel and leads to hard-to-remove stains. The process of teeth whitening involves creating a chemical reaction to break down stains, breaking through the porous tooth enamel and brightening the teeth. Most whitening solutions contains hydrogen peroxide or carbamide peroxide, which are proven to be effective and safe for stain removal.

What is professional whitening?
Professional whitening methods use stronger whitening solutions and often high-intensity light to speed up the chemical reaction and produce more dramatic results. The whitening solution is applied for several minutes, exposed to special light, rinsed, and then the process may be repeated several times to produce desired results. It is common for teeth to be lightened up to six shades brighter in only an hour.

What about whitening at home?
Over-the-counter products contain milder whitening agents, so it takes longer to achieve desired results. It usually takes at least a few weeks of consistent use to lighten teeth up to four shades. Some products for home use are more effective than others, so it may take some experimentation to find what works best for you.

What is the best method?
Consulting your dentist is the best way to develop a whitening plan for your specific smile. Severe stains might only be improved with professional methods, as they provide the quickest and most dramatic results. However, at-home methods are often simple and affordable. It all depends on your expectations for your own smile.

Family Dentists: Experts in Caring for All Ages

May 7th, 2015

Family dentists are experts in treating patients no matter what their age or oral health. The goal of a family dentist is to care for every family member in one convenient location, so that each patient is comfortable and confident about visiting the dentist.

Young members of a family present unique issues when it comes to dentistry. Many children find dental offices scary and parents struggle to get necessary dental care for their kids. Family dentistry offers a calming and welcoming environment for children, often providing distractions like videos and games. Having the flexibility and expertise to work with kids is a great advantage of family dentistry, because learning to handle dental visits at a young age is a good start to a lifetime of dental success.

Dental professionals suggest that children begin seeing the dentist around their first birthday. Not only will the dentist check and treat the child’s oral health, the parents will be educated on proper dental care. They will learn how to help their children avoid cavities, gum disease, and other issues as more teeth erupt and the child’s mouth grows.

Family dentists treat pediatric patients, but they are also skilled in the oral health needs of adolescents. If kids grow up going to the dentist, they won’t be as nervous or frightened about instruments and procedures as they become more aware of treatment. Comfortable patients are much more likely to sit still during procedures. Also, family dentists are trained to recognize issues related to orthodontics as older children reach the age that orthodontic intervention might be necessary. Some family dentists practice orthodontics, and others refer patients to specialists.

Family dentists take care of mom and dad, and even grandma and grandpa, too. The whole family can enjoy seeing the same dental professionals in one office location, and establish a long-lasting relationship for everyone with their healthcare provider. Family dentists perform all sorts of dental procedures, so no one is left out in the specific needs that might affect certain age groups. Oral health should never be neglected, and family dentistry is a step in the right direction.

Preparing for Root Canal Therapy

April 28th, 2015

Are you dreading an upcoming root canal treatment? With so many myths prevalent about the horrors of root canal therapy, it would be no surprise if you are not looking forward to the procedure. First of all, you should know that the goal of root canal therapy is to relieve you of pain, not to cause it. There are also several tips you can follow to make the experience easier and more successful:

  • Find out from your dentist if an antibiotic prescription will be necessary. Treating the infection around the tooth with an antibiotic can help rid the tissue of infection, which will also reduce potential swelling and improve healing after the procedure. Make sure you notify your dentist if you are allergic to any medications.
  • With your dentist’s consent, start taking a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medication such as ibuprofen or naproxen several days prior to your root canal therapy. Continue the medication in the days following the procedure to help reduce pain and swelling.
  • If you are experiencing mild to severe anxiety, consult with your dentist about options for sedation during your root canal therapy. While mild anxiety is easily addressed with nitrous oxide, more severe cases may be helped by conscious or IV sedation.
  • Eat a healthy meal at least one hour prior to your root canal procedure. Treatment can take as long as three hours, followed by numbness that makes eating difficult, so eating a good meal prior to the procedure will make you feel more comfortable both during and after your root canal.
  • Follow-up with your dentist to schedule necessary restorative dental work in a timely manner. Your root canal treated tooth will require a crown or filling to ensure the treated tooth does not fracture.

Fortunately, with today’s dental technology, diseased and damaged teeth can be saved with root canal therapy. Following these simple tips will help you get through your root canal successfully and with minimal discomfort.

Interesting Dental Tidbits

April 21st, 2015

While most people know the basics about dental health, like brush twice daily and schedule routine checkups, those facts may be all they know. You can expand your dental knowledge to learn more information about dentistry. Modern dental care has helped protect our oral health and smiles, but these little factoids will impress your friends and family!

  • Before anyone invented toothpaste, people used mixtures of lemon juice, charcoal, ashes or even a mixture of tobacco and honey to clean their teeth.
  • In China, September 20th is Love Your Teeth day.
  • At one time, people used twigs or their fingers to brush their teeth.
  • Years ago, bad teeth were considered an issue for rich people because only individuals with money could afford sweets, which created cavities and rotted teeth.
  • One poll found that 73 percent of people would rather grocery shop than floss their teeth.
  • The Ancient Greeks were the first to use pliers to extract teeth.
  • During the 1600s, Japanese women made their teeth black as a sign of loyalty to their husbands.
  • Blue toothbrushes are more popular than red ones.
  • A beautiful smile can make you seem more attractive, intelligent, and successful to people you meet.
  • On average, women smile 62 times a day, and men smile just 15.
  • George Washington’s famous dentures were constructed from ivory, gold, lead and a mixture of human, donkey and hippopotamus teeth.
  • Your tooth prints are just as unique as your fingerprints, even for identical twins.
  • In 1866, Lucy Hobbs became the first woman to earn a D.D.S. degree, graduating from the Ohio College of Dental Surgery in Cincinnati, OH.

Dentists in Richmond

Examining Dental Veneers

April 14th, 2015

Smiles that are unattractive or embarrassing can impact your whole personality and the way you present yourself to others. There’s no reason to go through life hiding your smile when it can easily be transformed with dental veneers.

What are veneers?
Dental veneers are thin shells that are bonded to the fronts of your teeth to cover all kinds of imperfections. They can improve the shape, color and size of the teeth underneath them.

Who should get veneers?
There are numerous reasons that people choose dental veneers to beautify their smiles. Some common problems that veneers hide include:

  • Stained or discolored teeth
  • Cracked or broken teeth
  • Crooked teeth
  • Misshapen teeth, or teeth that are too big or small in your smile
  • Improperly positioned teeth
  • Unsightly fillings
  • Gaps between teeth or teeth that are too crowded
  • Smiles that show too much gum line (called gummy smiles)

Are there different types?
The most common kind of dental veneers are made of porcelain. They are durable, stain resistant, and natural-looking. They typically remain as white and bright as they were on the first day they were applied. Other choices are composite resin material or ceramic.

How are they applied?
Getting veneers is considered a minimally invasive process. Your tooth enamel is shaved a small amount so that the veneers can be securely attached to the fronts of your teeth. It is not painful and usually doesn’t require anesthesia. Once your teeth are prepared, the veneers are bonded and should stay in place for years. These are a permanent solution, so if your veneers ever fail they must be replaced. This is the most common way that veneers are applied. Another method is called “no prep” and uses very thin ceramic for the veneers that can be attached directly to the tooth surface without any sanding.

Protect Yourself from Oral Cancer

April 7th, 2015

Did you know that one person in the U.S. dies every hour from oral cancer? In fact, an estimated 30,000 Americans will receive an oral cancer diagnosis, and over 8000 people will not survive. Factors such as gender, age, alcohol consumption, and tobacco use may increase your risk for oral cancer. In about 25 percent of cases, patients have no risk factors at all.

Though oral cancer often starts with mild symptoms, certain signs may indicate cause for concern. Talk with your dentist if you experience any of the following potential warnings for oral cancer:

  • A mass or lump that you can feel inside the mouth or neck
  • Any sore or discolored area in the mouth that does not heal after two weeks
  • Continued hoarseness
  • Difficulty in speaking, swallowing, or chewing
  • Numbness affecting the oral/facial region
  • Persistent earache on one side

When caught early, the survival rate for oral cancer increases significantly. Many dentists regularly screen for oral cancer during checkup appointments. These steps can help you reduce your chances of developing oral cancer.

  • Perform a monthly self-exam. If you notice anything suspicious, contact your dentist immediately.
  • Schedule regular checkups. Even when you perform home checks, you may miss something. Your dentist is trained to look for signs of oral cancer.
  • Choose a healthy lifestyle. Eating right, cutting out tobacco use, and limiting alcohol will help protect your oral health and overall wellbeing.
  • Limit exposure to the sun. If you are outside, cover your lips and face with a UVA/UVB sun block.

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Preventing a Root Canal Procedure

March 28th, 2015

Everyone would like to have beautiful, natural, healthy teeth. No one looks forward to a dental procedure like a root canal, and there are steps that you and your dentist can take now to keep your likelihood of a root canal procedure low.

Prevention is the key to avoiding a root canal procedure, and this begins with the patient at home. The development of good dental hygiene habits is the greatest step you can take toward overall good dental health. Brush at least twice a day, after each meal, and especially before you retire for the night. Don’t give the bacteria a chance to eat away at your teeth overnight while you sleep! Flossing daily eliminates stuck food particles and bacteria your brush can’t reach.

Keep your tooth enamel strong by using a toothpaste or mouthwash with fluoride. Do not use fluoridated toothpastes on children under the age of two, and children under six shouldn’t use fluoridated mouth rinses.
Ensure that your teeth and body receive all of the nutrients needed for maximum health by eating healthy and well. Crunchy foods such as hard fruits and raw vegetables can also help keep the surfaces of teeth clean.

Stopping smoking is a huge factor to life-long health, not just for your teeth, but for your body. It contributes to heart disease, lung disease, cancer, and other serious health problems. It’s never too late to stop! Ask your dentist or caregiver for help if you are having trouble quitting.

Drinking lots of water has benefits throughout your body, and keeps the mouth hydrated and clear of harmful acids, sugar, and bacteria. Avoid soda, energy drinks, juice, and coffee, or if you must consume them, drink water afterwards to keep their damaging effects at a minimum.

These steps are all important in the goal of preventing cavities and therefore preventing root canal procedures. If you do have a cavity, address it immediately when the decay is small, before it grows larger and reaches the inner areas of the tooth.

Talk to your dentist in Richmond today about these and the other steps you can take to reduce your risk of a root canal procedure.

Benefits of Cosmetic Dentistry

March 21st, 2015

When you think of cosmetic dentistry, you may believe its only purpose is to improve the aesthetic appearance of your smile. While many cosmetic procedures are elective, they do have restorative functions as well. If you are unhappy with the condition of your smile, consider these benefits of cosmetic dentistry:

  • You will experience increased self-confidence with a beautifully restored smile. First impressions are important, and nine out of ten adults believe personal and professional success is affected by the condition of your smile.
  • Enhance your career opportunities with an improved smile. Studies show that people who take care of their teeth have better chances of getting the job in interviews.
  • Restore your youthful appearance by whitening dingy teeth and repairing cracks and chips that are aging you.
  • Relieve headaches and joint pain caused by misaligned teeth and bruxism. A bite that is not aligned properly will cause headaches and tooth and joint pain.
  • Restore your oral health and decrease the chances periodontal disease with teeth that are whole, straight, and easily cleaned.
  • Improve your overall health by receiving proper dental care which improves your oral health and helps to prevent related health conditions.
  • Repair decayed areas of a tooth to restore vital function.
  • Stop worrying about the appearance of your smile and enjoy the satisfaction of knowing you are facing the world looking your best.

The advantages of cosmetic dentistry in our Richmond dental office are many, and the results can be life changing. If you find yourself with imperfections in your teeth and smile that make you uncomfortable, schedule a consultation with a qualified dental professional to find out how today’s advances in cosmetic dentistry can create a smile you will be proud to share with the world.

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