Six Reasons Why Dental Implants Might Be the Best Option

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Missing teeth can have a huge impact on a person’s health and confidence. Often, those missing teeth make it difficult to chew, which affects your diet. Facial features can change if there is bone loss in conjunction with the missing teeth. And for many people with missing teeth, their confidence takes a hit because they are so self-confident about how they look and how they eat.

Historically, dental bridges and dentures have been the primary solution to helping people with missing teeth. But the development of dental implants has provided patients with a new choice that can be a “game-changer” for a patient’s life.

Here are six reasons why a dental implant might be the right choice for you if you are missing teeth.

Prevents Bone Loss

If you replace a lost tooth with a dental implant, it will prevent the bone from starting to reabsorb because it replaces the root. If you don’t take this approach, you may eventually require a bone graft because of the bone reabsorption process. You will need to make sure that too much time doesn’t pass between when you lose your tooth and begin the dental implant process.

Enhances Your Quality of Life

Implants look and feel like your own teeth, so your quality of life is bound to be improved. Dental bridges and dentures can be difficult to take care of and wear, and dental crowns can feel and look like they aren’t natural.

Eating Is Easier – Which Helps You Be Healthier

With dental bridges, dentures and crowns, eating can be a hassle. You may have problems with certain types of foods (crunchy or sticky foods can be difficult) adversely impacting the crown, denture or bridge. If you have a dental implant, you won’t have to worry about a bridge or denture slipping or a crown coming off.  Crunchy vegies, chewy steak, sticky caramel rolls – none of them will present a problem chewing if you have implants. And since you will be able to thoroughly chew your food with implants, your digestion will improve and so will your health.

Stop Worrying

Your dental implant won’t slip or move when you chew food, laugh, cough or sneeze. They are permanently attached to your jawbone and are as sturdy as natural teeth that are healthy.

Naturally Restores Your Mouth

An implant is the best dental approach to replicating the original tooth that you lost. It matches the structure of the original tooth as close as possible and is the sturdiest and most natural looking option available.

Food Can Have Flavor

For folks who wear an upper denture, the full flavor of any food they eat is seriously reduced. With a dental implant, you won’t have that problem. You’ll be able to enjoy the full flavor of whatever food you are eating.

If you would like more information about the advantages of dental implants, the procedure to put them into your mouth, and their cost, meet with a dentist at Lehigh Valley Smile Designs for a complimentary consultation.

Source: Worldental.org, American Dental Plan

6 Tips to Flossing Effectively

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Using Proper Techniques Are Important if You Want to Be the Boss of Your Floss

How Often Should You Floss?

Daily according to the American Dental Association (ADA) if you want to effectively remove the plaque from places between your teeth where you toothbrush can’t reach. Remember, plaque that isn’t removed hardens into calculus or tartar and eventually can lead to cavities. Plus flossing helps fight cavities and prevent gum disease.

Before or After Brushing?

It doesn’t really matter if you floss before or after you brush or the time of day when you floss. The important thing is, as Nike says, “Just Do It!” Many people think they should floss just before they go to bed and end up never flossing because they are always too tired at the end of the day. So pick a time when you have a couple of extra minutes every day and floss.

Nylon or PTFE Floss?

When you are flossing, you have two types of floss to choose from – nylon floss (multifilament) or PTFE floss (monofilament). Nylon floss is made of multiple strands of nylon, so it sometimes tears of shreds if you have “tight teeth”. You can get it waxed or unwaxed depending on your preference. PTFE floss is more expensive but slides between your teeth easier, especially if the spaces between your teeth are tight. It generally won’t shred. Check with your dentist or oral hygienist for their floss recommendations for your teeth.

Flossing Flawlessly

Gum disease begins at the gum line and between teeth. Daily flossing is an important part of your oral health care routine to help remove the plaque from these areas where a toothbrush doesn’t completely reach. But to truly reap the benefits, you need to use proper flossing technique.

You can floss flawlessly if you follow these four easy steps, according to the American Dental Hygienists’ Association:

Wind: Wind 18 inches of floss around middle fingers of each hand. Pinch floss between thumbs and index fingers, leaving a one- to two-inch length in between. Use thumbs to direct floss between upper teeth.

Guide: Keep a one- to two-inch length of floss taut between fingers. Use index fingers to guide floss between contacts of the lower teeth.

Glide: Gently guide floss between the teeth by using a zig-zag motion. Don’t snap floss between your teeth. Contour floss around the side of the tooth.

Slide: Slide floss up and down against the tooth surface and under the gum line. Floss each tooth thoroughly with a clean section of floss.

Toss the floss once you’re finished. Remember, flossing should not hurt when you do it. If it does, you may be in jeopardy of damaging the tissue between your teeth. You’ll probably feel some discomfort when you first start flossing, but after a week or two the discomfort should go away. Recurring pain means you should get in touch with your dentist.

Flossing With a Flosser

Some people prefer to use a flosser for convenience. Hold the flosser handle firmly and point the flossing tip at an angle facing the area you want to floss first (either top teeth or bottom teeth). Guide the floss gently between two teeth, and be sure to avoid snapping or popping the floss. Use the same zigzag motion that you would us with standard floss. Bend the floss around each tooth and slide it under the gum line and along each tooth surface.

Don’t Forget the Kids!

If you have a child that has at least two teeth that touch, you should be flossing their teeth regularly. You usually have to wait until they are around 10 years old before they can handle this daily oral health routine themselves.

Sources: MouthHealthy.org, Oral B, Colgate, American Dental Association

7 Resolutions to Help You Improve Your Smile in 2017

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Happy New Year! The holidays have come-to-a-close, yet winter remains for another 2-3 months. It’s the perfect time for reflection at another year gone by and making resolutions for the one to come. Self-improvement is a great way to make these cold winter nights a little bit brighter after all. Maybe you’re finally ready to quit that bad habit or you’re planning that trip you’ve always wanted to take. There are a ton of ways you can improve your smile if you stop to think about it.

The trick to making your teeth healthy is not necessarily expensive dental work, unless of course you already have a dental problem that needs addressing. The very first step is a consultation with your dentist. A hygiene appointment and x-rays are affordable and serve as an excellent starting point. You can talk to your hygienist about a customized treatment plan at home to make 2017 the year of improving your dental health.

1.      Brush More Often

Brushing your teeth is crucial to good dental care. Professionals recommend that you brush your teeth . at least twice a day. When making your resolution, brushing more might seem daunting, but there are a couple things you can do to keep your schedule. And don’t forget to keep your family brushing regularly too, especially from an early age.

You may also consider a travel toothbrush for your office or work to keep your brushing routine regular. The trick to making a regular brushing schedule stick is set reminders for yourself the first few weeks on your phone or watch. Hopefully after a few weeks of practice, brushing two to three times a day will feel like second nature.

2.      Floss Every Day

No matter your age, flossing once each-and-every day is the BEST way to insure a healthy smile. Dental floss is stronger and easier to use than ever, and there are flossing aides like flossing picks and Waterpik available as alternatives if you find it difficult to start. If you haven’t flossed in a while, you might find it cumbersome or even painful to the point of it causing your gums to bleed. This is normal, for a time, however if bleeding continues more than a week or two you probably have gingivitis and should consult with your dentist.

3.      Eat (& Drink) Better

The most popular resolution each year is diet. We all want to look better, improve our physical appearance and become healthier. Your oral health effects the rest of your body and your appearance, and yet it is often forgotten when it comes to eating habits. Sure, we know sugar is bad and vegetables are good, but are you making sure you brush every time you drink a sugary drink or stain your teeth with coffee or red wine?

Avoiding certain food and drink in your diet isn’t the only thing you can do. Eating those vegetables, nuts, fruits and other foods with antioxidants helps to reduce inflammation and fight bacteria that can lead to gum disease. They also help with nutrition in most diets, as to not get in the way of shedding those extra pounds. Think of it as one more reason to get healthy this year!

4.      Curb Bad Habits

Nervous habits and addictions are bad for your teeth. Smoking for instance will stain your teeth, damage your gums and can cause oral cancer, and that’s just for starters. Coffee addicts will notice considerable staining to their teeth over time and if you chew your nails or lips you might find yourself with sores, increased risk of infection and damage to enamel.

Breaking a habit is always an uphill battle, but there’s no better time than the start of the new year. If you needed one more reason to drop the cigarettes, cut back on caffeine or find other ways to keep your hands busy and out of your mouth, your dental health is it. Cigarettes in particular, will be the biggest challenge and you can speak to your dentist for suggestions on breaking the chemical dependency over time. Dental friendly chewing gum is a great place to start in most cases.

5.      Get Your Oral Cancer Screening

Our dentists recommend an annual check-up for oral cancer. Every year thousands of people die from oral cancer and most of those cases are treatable if found early. When you visit, our dental care team will check for bumps and inflammation that may be an early sign of cancer. Oral cancer is on the rise due to HPV or the human papillomavirus. Screening only needs to be conducted annually but at the very least be sure to ask for a screening every few visits to the dentist.

6.      Set a Schedule

What is the single most important step in making dental health as a resolution stick? Sticking to the schedule of course. Not only do you need to set a personal, daily schedule for yourself and your family, but you’ll also need to set a schedule with your dentist. Every patient has different dental needs, but the average, healthy person should see the dentist for cleaning and an exam every six months, regardless of age.

Seeing a dentist regularly for smaller, routine care has proven to be more cost effective than waiting for restorative care. It’s especially worth considering a set schedule with your dentist if you have insurance benefits of some kind or if you are nervous about fillings or root canals. With a regular cleaning schedule at home that involves flossing, brushing and a healthy diet, visiting your dentist AT LEAST twice a year is the final and crucial piece to a perfect smile.

7.      Smile More

It might seem simple, but we don’t smile enough. Maybe you don’t smile because you’re shy or because you are self-conscious about your teeth. Maybe, like most of us, you don’t really remember to do it until it’s too late. Studies have shown how positive a smile can be on you and those around you. Smiling can improve productivity, energy and atmosphere at work. It can make shopping easier, and it can lead to social interaction you had closed yourself off to. If everyone made it their resolution to smile more, we could change that together.

 

Source: 123Dentist.com, Colgate.com

 

Dental Checkups Are A Key to Fighting Oral Cancer

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April Is Oral Cancer Awareness Month - Be Sure to Get a Regular Screening at Personal Care Dentistry

Approximately 48,250 people in the U.S. will be newly diagnosed with oral cancer this year. While alcohol, smoking and tobacco use are still major risk factors, the fastest growing segment of oral cancer patients is young, healthy, nonsmoking individuals due to the connection to the HPV virus. This virus is the same one which is responsible for the vast majority of cervical cancers in women. A small percentage of people (under 7 %) do get oral cancers from no currently identified cause. It is currently believed that these are likely related to some genetic predisposition.

Screening is the best hope of reducing the death rate from this disease.

Oral cancer is the largest group of those cancers which fall into the head and neck cancer category. Common names for it include such things as mouth cancer, tongue cancer, tonsil cancer, and throat cancer. For more than a decade there has been an increase in the rate of occurrence of oral and oropharyngeal cancers.

When found at early stages of development, oral cancers have an 80% to 90 \% survival rate. Unfortunately, at this time the majority are found as late stage cancers, and this accounts for the very high death rate of about 43% at five years from diagnosis (for all stages and types combined at time of diagnosis). Late-stage diagnosis is not occurring because most of these cancers are hard to discover (though some like HPV origin disease have unique discovery issues). Rather, it is because of a lack of public awareness coupled with the lack of a national program for screenings which would yield early discovery by medical and dental professionals. Worldwide the problem is far greater, with new cases annually exceeding 640,000.

Signs of Oral Cancer

Mouth cancer can appear in different forms and can affect all parts of the mouth, tongue and lips.

Mouth cancer can appear as a painless mouth ulcer that does not heal normally. A white or red patch in the mouth can also develop into a cancer. It is important to visit your dentist if these areas do not heal within three weeks.

How to Detect Oral Cancer Early

Mouth cancer can often be spotted in its early stages by your dentist during a thorough mouth examination. If mouth cancer is recognized early, then the chances of a cure are good.  Many people with mouth cancer go to their dentist or doctor too late.

The dentist examines the inside of your mouth and your tongue with the help of a small mirror. Remember, your dentist is able to see parts of your mouth that you cannot see easily yourself.

If your dentist finds something unusual they will refer you to a consultant at the local hospital, who will carry out a thorough examination of your mouth and throat. A small sample of the cells may be gathered from the area (a biopsy), and these cells will be examined under the microscope to see what is wrong.

If the cells are cancerous, more tests will be carried out. These may include overall health checks, blood tests, x-rays or scans. These tests will decide what course of treatment is needed.

If mouth cancer is spotted early, the chances of a complete cure are good, and the smaller the area or ulcer the better the chance of a cure.

However, too many people come forward too late, because they do not visit their dentist for regular examinations.

How to Keep a Healthy Mouth

It is important to visit your dentist regularly, as often as they recommend, even if you wear dentures. This is especially important if you smoke and drink alcohol.

·        When brushing your teeth, look out for any changes in your mouth, and report any red or white patches, or ulcers, that have not cleared up within three weeks.

·        When exposed to the sun, be sure to use a good protective sun screen, and put the correct type of barrier cream on your lips.

·        A good diet, rich in vitamins A, C and E, provides protection against the development of mouth cancer.  Plenty of fruit and vegetables help the body to protect itself, in general, from most cancers.

·        Cut down on your smoking and drinking.

 

 

Sources: OralCancer.org, MouthCancer.org