Most understand the importance of a healthy smile, however a healthy smile doesn’t always equal a white smile. Unfortunately, keeping our smiles white takes more than brushing and regular dental exams. While these are extremely helpful, most of us need a little help along the way.
What Causes Tooth Discoloration?
Many things can discolor your teeth. From what you eat and drink, lifestyle choices and even your dental hygiene can negatively affect your smile. Below are some of the most common causes of a less-than-stellar smile:
- Food and drinks. Coffee, tea and wine can stain your teeth. In addition, certain fruits and vegetables can also discolor your teeth when eaten in excess.
- Smoking or using chewing tobacco can stain teeth.
- Poor dental hygiene. Not brushing properly and never flossing can cause discoloration.
- Certain medications can also stain your teeth. Antibiotics, in particular, can discolor your teeth. Tetracycline and doxycycline are two of the most common offenders.
- Excessive levels of fluoride from either environmental sources or excessive use of fluoride toothpaste or rinses can also cause discoloration
1. Teeth Bonding
Similar to veneers, bonding can also improve the appearance of your teeth. Bonding involves applying a tooth-colored composite over the discolored teeth. Unlike veneers, which are require a customized mold to fit properly, bonding can be done in only one visit. Keep in mind that you still need to treat bonded teeth as your own, which means adhering to a healthy oral hygiene regimen.
2. Teeth Whitening
Teeth whitening or bleaching is the least invasive and possible most cost-effective procedure for improving your smile. However, you there are a few things you should take into consideration. The condition of your teeth and the exact cause of why your teeth are discolored are two important factors.
There are several ways to whiten your teeth; at-home products and in-office whitening. Tooth whitening can also be accomplished with over-the-counter products. These products are available in your local drug store, however, due to their low concentration of whitening components, the results will not be the same as with in-office treatments.
3. Laser Whitening
Laser teeth whitening is performed in a dental office. Bleach is applied and then heated with a laser to whiten your teeth. Hydrogen peroxide gel is used for this process and usually comes in concentration ranges of 25 to 40 percent. After treatment, you must take precautions to reduce tooth sensitivity, which include:
- Professional application of desensitizing products
- Use of specially formulated toothpaste for sensitive teeth
Dental veneers are another possible treatment option. Similar to bonding, veneers can brighten even the most discolored teeth. However they do have slight differences. For example, veneers are permanent and cannot be removed. As mentioned above, veneers do require custom-made dental molds to ensure proper fit over your natural teeth.
Placed directly on the surface of your teeth, porcelain veneers are indistinguishable from your real teeth. Veneers can be used to correct a wide variety of dental flaws, including staining or teeth discoloration.
How Can I Prevent Tooth Discoloration?
Simple lifestyle changes may able prevent tooth discoloration. For instance, if you drink coffee, you can try cutting back on consumption. However, if you simply love your cup of joe, using a metal straw to get your daily dose can prevent staining of your teeth. In addition, your oral hygiene habits go a long way towards keeping your teeth white. Brushing, flossing and using mouthwash on the daily, as well as seeing your dentist regularly, can also help keep your smile healthy and beautiful.
A healthy, beautiful smile not only boosts your self-confidence, but makes you happier, and can literally add years to your life. If you’d like to change the appearance of your teeth and smile, reach out to us today to discuss a variety of options for the discoloration of your teeth. From simple color correction to replacing missing teeth, your perfect smile is only phone call away.
Many people underestimate the value of establishing good oral health. From oral care practices at home to making regular visits to a dentist, maintaining good oral health is essential for helping promote total health and wellness.
Through a series of life circumstances, periodontal disease, or neglect of teeth, some of us find ourselves with missing teeth at some point in our lives. While we may think there is no lasting consequence for having missing teeth, the reality is that it can weaken the whole structure of your mouth, leaving you susceptible to disease and infection. Here are some lasting consequences of missing teeth, and what you can do to turn your dental health around:
Consequence #1: You Will Experience Bone Loss & Weakness
Whether a tooth falls out on its own or you end up pulling one as part of a dental procedure, if you fail to restore that area of your mouth completely, you will experience bone loss. The alveolar bone is responsible for supporting teeth in the jawbone, and this bone starts to deteriorate almost immediately after a tooth is pulled. Bone loss eventually leads to the breakdown of supportive cartilage and muscle tissue, which can make lips and cheeks take on a sunken appearance.
Consequence #2: Your Speech Can Change
Because losing a tooth can cause radical changes to the supportive bones in your mouth, this can affect the integrity of your gum tissue as well. When teeth become loose and weak, this will begin to affect your speech patterns. Slurring and the inability to make certain sounds will occur due to tooth loss; this will eventually affect your self-confidence and your relationships. Taking good care of your mouth, teeth and gums will prevent these changes from occurring.
Consequence #3: You Will Be At Increased Risk For Fractures
Not only will missing and damaged teeth change the landscape of your entire face, but tooth loss will also leave your more susceptible to fractures of your cheek and jawbones. Loss of volume in your bones makes them weaker and more prone to damage if you were to fall or sustain an injury. Taking care of compromised areas of the mouth before bone is allowed to weaken will ensure the future strength of your whole mouth.
Taking Charge Of Your Oral Health
The best preventative measure to reduce the chance of losing teeth is taking charge of your oral health. Establishing healthy habits at home and remaining diligent about visiting your dental professionals at least twice yearly will do wonders for strengthening and improving the health of your mouth. Good dental practices include:
1. Brush your teeth at least twice daily with a fluoride-based toothpaste. Aim for brushing for at least 2-3 minutes, and don’t neglect brushing your tongue and gums as well; these soft tissues can hold tons of hidden bacteria that can quickly turn into sticky plaque that can cause cavities.
2. Floss at least once daily in between teeth. Cleaning between your teeth can remove the plaque buildup that can lead to disease and decay. Flossing removes debris and buildup in areas that a toothbrush cannot reach; add flossing to your daily routine for total oral care.
3. Eat a diet rich in whole grains, fresh fruits and vegetables, and quality protein. Limit the consumption of sticky, sweet, acidic, and sugary snacks. Keeping your teeth free from sticky and acidic residues will ensure that you limit the buildup of harmful plaque that could lead to tooth decay.
4. Regularly inspect and replace toothbrushes, flossers, and other dental care devices to make sure you are getting the best clean. Worn brushes are not able to effectively clean residue off teeth; invest in the future of your oral health by regularly replacing your dental care devices.
5. Schedule regular visits to your dentist. Your dentist can deep clean, diagnose, and treat all kinds of dental conditions that you might not have the tools to address at home. In addition, taking regular x-rays will allow you and your dentist to design a comprehensive treatment plan that addresses all of your needs.
With active management at home and a little proactive planning with dental care professionals, it is possible to reduce and eliminate all instances of tooth loss, thus protecting the health and strength of your mouth. Here’s to your continued dental health!
The word “prosthodontics” is definitely a mouthful! Prosthodontics (pronounced prahs – tho – dawn – ticks) is a specialty field under the umbrella of dentistry. Another way to describe prosthodontics is prosthetic dentistry.
According to the American College of Prosthodontists, a prosthodontist must graduate from dental school and then complete an additional three to four years of rigorous specialty training.
Prosthodontics focuses on treating patients with a variety of oral health needs related to missing or malformed teeth, jaw or mouth structures or tissues. The goal is always to restore optimal oral health and function as well as aesthetic restoration.
In this post, learn more about each of the 4 branches of prosthodontics and how they can help you or a loved one.
Each of these 4 branches of prosthodontics focuses on treating a different area of the mouth or jaw.
Branch 1: Fixed Prosthodontics
Fixed prosthodontics is a sub-specialty that focuses on producing dental prostheses that are permanent. Once installed, a fixed prosthetic cannot be removed.
Examples of fixed prostheses can include artificial teeth, crowns (caps), bridges, inlays (modified crowns), onlays (modified inlays) and veneers (covers for the tooth surface).
Common reasons why you might seek out a specialist in fixed prosthodontics is if you have had a root canal and a portion of your natural tooth is now missing. Onlays, inlays and crowns (caps) are very common fixed prostheses used in prosthodontics dentistry every day. If you are not happy with the appearance of your teeth due to discoloration or unevenness, veneers can give your smile uniformity. Bridges are used to correct tooth gaps for similar reasons as well as for bite integrity.
Branch 2: Removable Prosthodontics
Removable prosthodontics is a sub-specialty that focuses on producing dental prostheses that can be removed. Instead of being installed, removable prostheses are fitted. They are designed to be used comfortably for long stretches of time and removed for cleaning.
Examples of removable prostheses can include dentures (complete or partial) and gingival veneers (surface covers for the base of the tooth to hide discoloration).
Common reasons why you might seek out a specialist in removable prosthodontics is if you want to have a removable bridge or set of dentures installed to correct missing teeth, gums or tissues due to injury, tooth loss, illness or disease. If you have receding gums that reveal discoloration near the base (neck) of the teeth, you may also wish to have removable gingival veneers installed to cover this color difference.
Branch 3: Implant Prosthodontics
Implant prosthodontics is a sub-specialty that focuses on using implants, small titanium cylinders, to secure fixed prostheses in place inside the mouth. A variety of different types of dental implants exist.
Examples of implant prostheses include individual crowns, larger bridges and fixed and removable implant dentures.
Common reasons why you might seek out a specialist in implant prosthodontics is if you are unhappy with a removable prostheses such as dentures, if you have lost entire single teeth (including the root) due to injury or disease, if you have lost multiple teeth and wish to have a bridge and similar dental health needs.
Branch 4: Maxillofacial Prosthodontics
Maxillofacial prosthodontics is a sub-specialty that focuses on correcting malformed or missing tissues and structures, whether present congenitally (from birth) or acquired due to disease, illness or injury.
Often these missing tissues or structures can create difficulties with speech, swallowing and chewing. Disfigurement is not uncommon when tissues or structures are missing.
Maxillofacial prostheses can be intra-oral (inside the body) or extra-oral (outside the body).
Examples of intra-oral maxillofacial prostheses can include palate covers, palate lifts, palate drop, jaw replacement and fluoride carrier (designed for medical protection due to disease or illness).
Examples of extra-oral maxillofacial prostheses include eye (ocular, orbital), ear (auricular), nose (nasal), mid-facial, somatic (part of the body) or radiation shield (designed to be used when undergoing radiation treatment).
Common reasons why you might seek out a specialist in maxillofacial prosthodontics include treatment of cleft palate, mouth or jaw reconstruction following cancer treatment or trauma to the region, mouth or jaw reconstruction due to congenital defects, treatment and reconstruction of under-developed or missing facial or mouth structures and protection of existing structures and tissues during cancer treatment.
There is no doubt that dental science has increased by leaps and bounds over the last decade alone and new advances continue to provide better fitting, simpler and more satisfying solutions to a wide range of dental and oral health issues.
It is vital to entrust your dental prostheses needs only to a prosthodontics specialist who has completed the additional three to four years of specialized education and training required to provide superior dental care. Contact us to schedule your consultation.
If you have missing teeth that were lost as a result of decay or trauma, enjoying your favorite foods can be a challenge, and it can also take a toll on your self-confidence. While a dental bridge or implants may be a better alternative, especially for those interested in permanent dental restoration, these options may be cost-prohibitive for some people. Partial dentures make it possible to fill the gap in your smile, enjoy a variety of foods, and improve your self-esteem for a fraction of the cost associated with permanent dental restoration procedures. Despite these benefits, however, there are some drawbacks in that partial dentures can alter the taste of some foods and may take a while before eating with them feels natural.
What Are Partial Dentures?
Commonly referred to as “false teeth,” partial dentures are plastic dental appliances that are designed and molded to fit the unique shape of your mouth and serve both a functional and aesthetic purpose. Like any other dental appliance, many people find getting used to them especially challenging as they tend to feel uncomfortable and may slide around because of the saliva in your mouth. Also, if you have recently had any teeth extracted, partial dentures can irritate your gums until they have had time to heal. That aside, once you have gotten accustomed to wearing them, you will never want to go without your partial dentures again.
What To Expect With Your New Partial Dentures
For most people, it can take several weeks to get adjusted to wearing partials; not surprisingly, many first time wearers cited eating with them as being the hardest part of the overall adjustment process. Some of the most difficult challenges include
- Difficult discerning between hot and cold liquids
- Difficult chewing certain foods
- Biting down on certain foods
Now that we have a general understanding of the challenges that first timer partial denture wearers can encounter, let’s take a look at how to overcome them in three easy steps:
1. The Adjustment Period
Not surprisingly, eating food within the first few days of getting your new partial dentures may feel awkward. In fact, many first time wearers have reported their partial dentures have become dislodged while eating. Also, many have complained about small particles of food becoming trapped underneath their dentures. However, it is important to note that these events are not uncommon, so you needn’t feel discouraged as you will learn to overcome these challenges over time. The best way to become acclimated to your new partials is by starting with soft, bite-sized foods like cereals, fish, and pasta, for example. In doing so, you will quickly learn to adapt to eating foods with them, and you will eventually be able to move on to more challenging foods like rice and certain cuts of meat.
2. How To Bite Down With Partial Dentures
Partial dentures can be used to fill any gap in your teeth; however, if partial dentures are being used to fill a void in your front teeth, you may find that biting down on certain foods like apples and corn on the cob, for example, using your incisors may be difficult. Again, this is part and parcel of getting accustomed to wearing dentures, and you will be able to overcome this hurdle in time as well. However, while you’re getting used to biting down with your partials, it may be a good idea to avoid these foods or use denture adhesive to help reinforce them while eating foods these specific foods as well as other more challenging foods.
3. Why You Should Avoid Certain Foods
After wearing your partial dentures for a while, you will become more confident and will likely want to eat many of the same foods you ate with your natural teeth. However, doing so would be ill-advised as some foods can be more trouble than they’re worth even after you have moved past the adjustment period. Of course, this is not to suggest that you embark on a journey towards completely overhauling your diet; however, it is important that you understand what is possible and, more importantly, what is not possible when it comes to wearing complete or partial dentures. In addition to raw vegetables, corn on the cob, and apples, it is a good idea to also avoid these following foods:
- Peanut butter and caramel
- Hard candy
Although it may be difficult to abstain from these foods, you will be doing yourself a tremendous favor by avoiding them as they can potentially damage your partials or cause discomfort as food particles become stuck underneath them. All in all, eating with partial dentures is entirely possible; however, there is a steep learning curve.
They say you’re never fully dressed without a smile. But what happens when you’re unhappy with the way your smile looks? It’s like getting getting ready, day to day, in an outfit you don’t like and are uncomfortable with. Whether you are unhappy with the color of your teeth, the alignment, or the shape, there are various prosthodontic options that can change the way you feel about your smile, turning what you try to hide into what you can’t wait to show off! (more…)
It’s time we remove the stigma surrounding dentures. They are no longer just for your grandma and grandpa. For many people, they are a great option for replacing missing teeth and surrounding tissues, whether you’re young or old. At Dental Specialty Associates, we are well aware that issues with your teeth, warranting replacements like dentures, can happen at any age. We pride ourselves on offering this solution to help you regain your day to day life. (more…)