Archive for December, 2010

Common Myths about Tooth Decay

Monday, December 27th, 2010

From the time we are young, our parents teach us to brush and floss our teeth so that we won’t get cavities. Most people believe certain “facts” about cavities and how they actually develop. Unfortunately, not everything we learn is true. Take a few minutes to discover what’s true and what’s not about keeping your teeth healthy and strong:

Fact or Fiction: Sugar causes most cavities.
Reality: Actually, this statement is both fact and fiction. The acid produced by bacteria in your mouth is what causes cavities. Eating foods high in carbohydrates increases the bacteria in your mouth, resulting in greater acid production, which leads to a greater chance of tooth decay.

Fact or Fiction: Kids get more cavities than adults.
Reality: In the last 20 years, thanks to fluoride and better preventive care, tooth decay in school-aged children has decreased. On the other hand, senior citizens have seen a rise in the incidents of cavities, possibly because of changes in their mouths that come with aging, including dry mouth and issues with gum health.

Fact or Fiction: You must replace old fillings.
Reality: Most restorations do have a life expectancy, but it depends on a variety of factors such as tooth wear, hygiene habits, and location. Plan to replace an old filling if the restoration breaks down, a cavity develops around the filling, or the tooth fractures.

Fact or Fiction: If I get a cavity, I will know it.
Reality: Because tooth decay starts out small, most people don’t realize they have a problem until the cavity gets bigger and causes damage to the nerve. Routine visits to the dentist enable your doctor to check your mouth and catch small cavities before they create larger oral health issues.

Wishing you a Happy New Year from the dental office of Brown, Reynolds & Snow Dentistry – Richmond, VA.

Restore Your Smile with Inlays, Onlays, and Porcelain Crowns

Tuesday, December 21st, 2010

When you develop a larger area of decay than a filling can repair, your dentist may suggest an inlay, onlay, or porcelain crown. These restorations will revitalize the function and appearance of damaged teeth. Usually, inlays, onlays, and porcelain crowns are fabricated in a dental lab and placed on the patient’s tooth, a process that normally takes two appointments.

Most people have never heard of these terms, so it helps to have an explanation of how these restorations work. An inlay is a custom porcelain repair that fits on top of the tooth. With an onlay, the restoration fits over the grooves and down the tooth’s side. Also called three-quarter crowns, inlays and onlays are between a filling and crown in the world of tooth repair.

Dental crowns, also known as caps, fit over the part of the tooth that appears above the gum line. Crowns are used to stabilize and protect a severely compromised tooth. Depending on the location of the tooth, your dentist may suggest an all-porcelain, porcelain-fused-to-metal, or all-metal crown. Usually, porcelain crowns are recommended for the teeth visible when you smile, while metal crowns can endure the extensive pressure placed on back teeth.

With an inlay, only, or crown, your dentist will remove the decay, prepare the tooth, and take impressions of the area. These models are sent to the dental lab so that a skilled technician can generate your custom restoration. Most of the time, your dentist will place a temporary until the dental office receives the permanent inlay, onlay, or crown and you return for a final fitting and placement.

Happy holidays from our dental team at Brown, Reynolds & Snow Dentistry – Richmond, VA dental practice.

What Your Teeth Say About Your Health

Wednesday, December 15th, 2010

A definite link exists between your oral health and overall wellbeing. In fact, your teeth can actually tell you and your health care providers a lot about what’s going on with your body. Look through the following symptoms and contact a doctor if you have concerns:

Flat or Worn Teeth – Often, people grind their teeth, a condition called bruxism, without even realizing it. This clenching and grinding can serve as an indication of the stress in your life. Headaches and jaw pain are other symptoms of teeth grinding. To stop the discomfort and wear on your teeth, your dentist may suggest a mouth guard.

Cracking or Crumbling Teeth – When a person exhibits cracking or crumbling teeth, it usually indicates a problem with gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), which is also refereed to as acid reflux disease. With GERD, the stomach acid comes back up into the esophagus and can then reach your teeth. In younger people, disintegrating teeth can also point towards bulimia, a serious eating disorder.

Sores that Don’t Heal – Sometimes, people may accidentally bite their gums or chew on the inside of their cheeks as a nervous habit. These sores usually heal quickly. If you have an area that doesn’t clear up with one to two weeks, contact Brown, Reynolds & Snow Dentistry for a ViziLite Plus exam to rule out oral cancer. In fact, oral cancer kills one person every hour. Early detection improves treatment options and long-term prognosis.

Dry Mouth – Allergies, smoking, dehydration, and certain medications can all lead to dry mouth. However, not having enough saliva can indicate other medical conditions such as Sjogren’s syndrome and diabetes.

Schedule a visit at our Richmond, VA dental office – Brown, Reynolds & Snow Dentistry.

The Truth about Common Dental Myths

Tuesday, December 7th, 2010

Modern dentistry allows people to keep their teeth healthy and strong. In fact, dentistry has evolved from folk practices to a medical discipline that follows scientific findings. Some common misconceptions still exist, including:

Myth: If I can’t see a problem with my teeth, they are fine, so I don’t need to visit the dentist.

Truth: Regular checkups are important even if you can’t see anything wrong. Sometimes, problems like decay and gum disease don’t present any signs until the condition progresses. Visiting the dentist for a routine exam twice a year allows the doctor to more effectively monitor your oral health.

Myth: Toothbrushes with hard bristles do a better job cleaning teeth.

Truth: Actually, most dentists recommend soft-bristled brushes because the hard bristles can remove tooth enamel, which makes your teeth more sensitive to hot and cold.

Myth: Root canal procedures cause pain.

Truth: When a tooth is severely damaged by trauma or deep decay, the soft nerve center called the pulp dies and pressure builds inside the tooth. Any discomfort you feel comes from the inflammation and infection. Most people actually feel better after a root canal, a procedure where the doctor removes the damaged tissue and seals the tooth to prevent further problems.

Myth: Teeth whitening will harm my teeth.

Truth: Both in-office and take-home teeth whitening options have evolved over the years. With a dentist’s supervision, you can safely and effectively brighten your smile.

Myth: Chewing sugar-free gum means I don’t have to brush my teeth.

Truth: Although sugar-free gum after meals may freshen breath and reduce plaque build up, you can’t use it as a substitute for brushing twice a day. Only regular brushing and flossing can get rid of the plaque already on teeth and remove food particles from between teeth.

We care about your dental health at Brown, Reynolds & Snow Dentistry – Richmond, VA dental practice.

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