Am I a Candidate for Clear Braces?

Each year, many adults throughout the United States decide to straighten their teeth using clear braces. This is not surprising because your smile is extremely important as it affects every social interaction you have with others.  Whether it is a date, a job interview, a business meeting, a presentation, or just getting together with friends and family, your smile has a big impact on your confidence level and your self-esteem.  Unfortunately, your smile and your overall appearance can also significantly affect the way you are treated by others.  Fortunately, advances in dental technology and orthodontics now make it possible for most adults to achieve a straighter more beautiful smile, without putting up with the time and hassle associated with traditional metal braces.

If you are an adult, there are a variety of orthodontic solutions that are available to help you achieve straighter teeth without significantly altering your appearance in the process.  Invisalign® invisible braces and Six Month Smiles® are two different types of orthodontic treatments that can be used to help adults improve the appearance of their smiles. The Invisalign® system utilizes a series of custom-made, clear aligners that can be worn over your teeth to gently move them into the desired position. Six Month Smiles® uses a patented set of Lucid-Lok® clear brackets and tooth colored wires as well as low forces to move your teeth into the desired position. Both of these options offer significant advantages over traditional metal braces, however, they are not suitable for every patient.

Both the Invisalign® system and Six Month Smiles® can be used for most patients with crooked or misaligned teeth.  However, if you are in need of major bite changes or have other dental health issues, you may not be a candidate for either of these options.  Only a qualified dentist can determine for sure whether or not these orthodontic solutions are right for you.  If you are interested in clear braces, the first step is to find a certified and experienced Invisalign® and/or Six Month Smiles® dentist in your local area.  Then, you and your dentist can decide together which option is best suited to help you meet your goals while at the same time fitting your lifestyle and your budget.

Posted on Behalf of Dr. Justin Scott, Pure Dental Health

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Tobacco and Your Teeth

Tobacco, whether it is smoked or chewed can have lasting negative effects on your oral health.  At best, it can cause severe tooth discoloration that is hard to treat.  At worst, it can cause oral cancer, an extremely aggressive and often deadly type of cancer that forms on the mouth or throat.  Smoking tobacco (cigarettes) can also make you more susceptible to periodontal (gum) disease and eventually tooth loss.

It can be very difficult to remove tobacco stains from your teeth using traditional methods of bleaching/teeth whitening such as over-the-counter treatments, professional take-home whitening kits (purchased from a dentist) and professional in-office whitening treatments.  Therefore, individuals with tobacco-stained teeth are many times forced to consider more expensive options such as bonding and porcelain veneers.

The facts related to oral cancer are very sobering. According to statistics posted on the Oral Cancer Foundation website, “close to 43,250 Americans will be diagnosed with oral or pharyngeal cancer this year.  It will cause over 8,000 deaths, killing roughly 1 person per hour, 24 hours per day. Of those 43,250 newly diagnosed individuals, only slightly more than half will be alive in 5 years. (Approximately 57%) This is a number which has not significantly improved in decades.” This highlights the importance of getting regular oral cancer screenings from your dentist.  Most dentists will screen for oral cancer on a regular basis.  If you smoke, your dentist may recommend more frequent oral cancers screenings for you.  Early detection is one of the best ways to fight this serious disease.

Both current and former smokers have an increased risk for developing periodontal disease and are at risk for developing more severe periodontal disease than people who have never smoked.  This is because smoking causes systemic immuno-suppression and impairment of soft tissue and bone cell function.  If you are a current smoker or you smoked in the past, it is vitally important for you to get regular dental checkups so your dentist can check for signs of periodontal disease such as red, swollen or bleeding gums and gums that are receding.  This will enable your dentist to detect and treat gum disease when it is in the earlier stages.  Early detection and treatment will help to prevent the tooth and bone loss that can occur with late-stage, untreated periodontal disease.

If you are a current smoker and are concerned about your dental health, schedule an appointment with your dentist today.  If you would like to quit smoking or using tobacco products, it is a good idea to talk to your physician.  Your doctor can help you find the resources you need to break this habit.

Posted on Behalf of Dr. Justin Scott, Pure Dental Health

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Acute Tooth Pain: Is it an Abscessed Tooth?

If you have excruciating pain in one of your teeth, you could be dealing with an abscessed tooth.  An abscessed tooth is a painful condition that is caused by an infection at the root of a tooth or between the gum and a tooth.  The most common cause of an abscessed tooth is severe decay.  However, an abscessed tooth can also result from trauma to a tooth or gum disease.  Severe decay and tooth trauma such as a chipped or broken tooth can cause openings in a tooth’s enamel which allows bacteria to infect the center of a tooth (pulp).  This infection can also spread from the pulp to the root of the tooth and/or the surrounding bones and structure.

Symptoms of an abscessed tooth include severe, throbbing, and/or shooting pain in the area of the mouth where the abscess is located.  Other symptoms include fever, pain when chewing, sensitivity to hot and cold, bad breath, swollen neck glands, redness and swelling of the gums, an open, draining sore on the side of the gum and more.

If you think you may have an abscessed tooth, you should notify your dentist immediately, even if it is after traditional dentist office hours.  Many dental practices have a dentist that is on call to handle dental emergencies such as abscessed teeth.  To eliminate the infection, the abscess may need to be drained.  This can be achieved with a procedure called a root canal.  After a root canal procedure, the center of the tooth is this cleaned and sealed to prevent further infection.  In some cases of an abscessed tooth, the tooth is extracted, allowing drainage through the socket.  A third way to drain an abscess is to make an incision into the swollen gum tissue.

In most cases, antibiotics are prescribed to help fight off the infection.  Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory medications such as Motrin and Alleve may be used to alleviate the pain.  Your dentist may also recommend that you rinse your mouth with warm salty water.

Failing to seek treatment for an abscessed tooth will only lead to more serious and more painful complications including tooth loss.  If you have severe tooth pain and think it may be due to an abscessed tooth, schedule an appointment with your dentist today.

Posted on Behalf of Dr. Justin Scott, Pure Dental Health

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Dental Phobia: More Common Than You Think

What do heights, small spaces, public speaking and visiting the dentist all have in common? The answer is that these are all common fears. If you have a dental phobia, you are certainly not alone.  In fact, statistics show that approximately 15% of Americans suffer from dental anxiety to some degree.  In some cases, the fear can simply cause anxiety and discomfort manifesting in symptoms such as an elevated heart rate and sweaty palms.  In others, it can cause panic attacks and debilitating fear.  Dental phobia can occur for a number of reasons but for many people, fear of the dentist begins with a painful childhood experience.  For this reason, it is important for children to have a positive experience on their first visit to the dentist and throughout their childhood.

If your fear of the dentist is mild to moderate, you can employ coping strategies such as deep breathing exercises, meditation, listening to music and talking through your fears to get you through your dental experience.  However, if your dental phobia is severe and makes it difficult for you to receive the dental care that you need to maintain healthy teeth and gums, you may want to talk with your dentist about Sedation Dentistry.

Sedation dentistry involves the use of either inhaled, oral or intravenous sedative medications.  These medications can be used to ease your dental phobia and anxieties make your experience at the dentist more tolerable and even enjoyable.  With today’s advanced dental techniques and technology as well as the various options for Sedation Dentistry, there is no need for you to fear going to the dentist.  If you have been putting off needed dental work or a dental cleaning and checkup due to a dental phobia, talk to your dentist about Sedation Dentistry today.

Posted on Behalf of Dr. Justin Scott, Pure Dental Health

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If You Are Trying to Get Pregnant, Now is a Good Time to Visit the Dentist

If you are planning on becoming pregnant in the near future, you probably have a long lists of things to do to prepare for your pregnancy. You will need to buy a crib, decorate a nursery and figure out childcare, if you are a working professional.  You may also need to make some important lifestyle changes such as quitting smoking, losing weight or limiting your intake of alcohol and caffeine.  All these things are important to increase your chances of getting pregnant and having a healthy pregnancy.  Is visiting the dentist on your list? If not, it should be.  If you are planning on becoming pregnant in the future, it is a good idea to visit the dentist for a routine dental checkup now, before you actually become pregnant.  This will give your dentist the opportunity to diagnose and treat any dental health issues such as tooth decay, gum recession and periodontal disease, before you become pregnant.  This way, if anesthesia is required for your procedure, you do not have to worry about exposing your unborn child to it.  Additionally, some individuals experience anxiety when it comes to visiting the dentist for dental procedures.  Due to the harmful affects of stress on the body, it is important to minimize stress and anxiety as much as possible during pregnancy.

The other reason that it is important to visit the dentist before you become pregnant is because the hormonal changes that come with pregnancy can make you more susceptible to periodontal disease.  Since periodontal disease is caused by the buildup of plaque, getting regular professional dental cleanings is important to prevent this serious condition.  Once you do become pregnant, your dentist may recommend more frequent cleanings and checkups to prevent periodontal disease.

If you have questions about pregnancy and your dental health, talk to your dentist today.  If it has been over six months since you last visited the dentist and you are planning on becoming pregnant in the future, visit your dentist today for a routine dental checkup.

Posted on Behalf of Dr. Justin Scott, Pure Dental Health

 
Posted on Behalf of Dr. Justin Scott, Pure Dental Health

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American Academy of Pediatrics Offers New Dental Recommendations

If you have a baby or toddler, you have the important job of caring for your child’s dental health.  The preventive dental care that your child receives today can have a large effect on his or her dental health in the future.  For this reason, it is important to be aware of the recommendations made by dental health experts for the care of children’s teeth.  You may be interested to know that the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) has recently offered new dental recommendations.  These new recommendations were published online on August 25 in the journal Pediatrics.

According to the new guidelines, all children should start using toothpaste with fluoride as soon as the teeth appear.  This is regardless of their risk for developing cavities.  However, the amount recommended for use does vary according to the child’s age.  The AAP recommends using a smear (the size of a grain of rice) for children under the age of three.  Starting at age three, they recommend using a pea-sized portion of fluoride toothpaste.

The AAP guidelines also recommend the application of a fluoride varnish by a dentist every three to six months, as soon as the teeth appear.  This is to protect against tooth decay, one of the most chronic diseases affecting American children. However, the AAP does not recommend the use of fluoride rinses in children under the age of six.  This is due to a concern about the risk for children under the age of six swallowing more than the recommended levels of fluoride.

If you have questions about your child’s dental health, talk to your dentist today.  As a parent, you are your child’s best defense against tooth decay and other serious dental health issues.

Posted on Behalf of Dr. Justin Scott, Pure Dental Health

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