Posts for: May, 2016
There are two basic facts about tooth decay: 1) next to the common cold, it’s the world’s most prevalent infectious disease; and 2) with modern dentistry, it’s preventable.
Getting from Fact 1 to Fact 2 requires the daily hygiene habits of brushing and flossing. You probably learned these tasks when you could barely peer over the bathroom sink; but the real question is: are you getting the most benefit from your efforts? It’s not merely doing them, but doing them the right way.
For example, bearing down on your teeth and brushing vigorously isn’t just unhelpful, it’s damaging. Instead, you should hold your brush with perhaps just two fingers at a 45-degree angle relative to your gum line and “gently” scrub with short circular or “wiggly” strokes. Continue this action around each arch brushing all tooth surfaces, which should take about two minutes.
Your toothbrush itself is also important: most people (unless otherwise directed by their dentist) should use a multi-tufted brush with soft bristles. If you brush with the proper pressure it should last 4 to 6 months before replacing it. You should also replace it if the bristles become worn or splayed.
Flossing once a day is important for removing the plaque between teeth your toothbrush bristles can’t reach. The best technique is to form a “C” with the floss that wraps around each tooth and move it up and down gently three or four times until you hear a squeaky clean sound on both sides of the tooth.
The ultimate test of your efforts comes during your regular dental checkups. You can get a check now, though, on how you’re doing by using your tongue to feel your teeth at the gum line. If they feel smooth and slick, you’re probably doing a good job of plaque removal; but if they feel a bit rough and gritty, you’re missing some of the plaque and need to be more thorough when brushing. You can also use floss by running it up and down the tooth surface — if it squeaks, they’re clean!
Your particular dental condition may require specific treatment or the use of other dental products like antibacterial mouthrinses. But learning and practicing proper brushing and flossing is key to keeping teeth and gums healthy and disease-free.
If you are missing most or all of your teeth, you may believe you have no options left. However, you should not give up on your smile just yet. Dentures can give your smile new life and allow you to eat and speak normally. Learn more about dentures with help from your Macon, GA dentist.
Types of Dentures
- Complete Dentures: Complete dentures work best in situations where the patient has lost all of the teeth on an arch. A dental laboratory creates a full row of replacement teeth which rests on top of the gums.
- Partial Dentures: Partial dentures benefit patients who have one or more healthy natural teeth remaining. A partial denture uses these remaining teeth as an anchor, fitting over them and incorporating them into your new smile.
- Immediate Dentures: Sometimes, patients must have their remaining natural teeth extracted before wearing dentures. In these cases, immediate dentures, created prior to the extraction appointment, fit over the gums after extraction. This allows the patient to enjoy their new smile immediately rather than waiting until their extraction sites heal.
- Implant-Supported Dentures: Dental implants are often used to replace a missing tooth’s root. However, implants serve many purposes. A common use for dental implants is to support a permanent or removable denture. Several implants throughout the arch give the denture a foundation on which to attach, latching onto the implant to keep it into place.
Caring for Your Dentures
Caring for your dentures is as easy as adding a few extra steps to your oral care routine. To begin, remove your dentures and clean them thoroughly with a soft denture brush and denture cleaner. Brush your gums and any remaining teeth with a toothbrush at least twice daily. Floss any remaining teeth at least once a day to prevent decay. Soak your dentures overnight in denture solution or water and rinse them thoroughly before putting them back in your mouth in the morning. Be sure to see your Macon dentist at least twice a year for regular examinations and cleanings.
A brand new smile is only one simple phone call away. For more information on the best kind of denture for you, please contact Dr. Clinton M. Watson and Dr. Nicole L. Jackson at Northside Family Dentistry in Macon, GA. Call (478) 475-1976 to speak with an associate about scheduling your consultation for dentures today!
In real life he was a hard-charging basketball player through high school and college. In TV and the movies, he has gone head-to-head with serial killers, assorted bad guys… even mysterious paranormal forces. So would you believe that David Duchovny, who played Agent Fox Mulder in The X-Files and starred in countless other large and small-screen productions, lost his front teeth… in an elevator accident?
“I was running for the elevator at my high school when the door shut on my arm,” he explained. “The next thing I knew, I was waking up in the hospital. I had fainted, fallen on my face, and knocked out my two front teeth.” Looking at Duchovny now, you’d never know his front teeth weren’t natural. But that’s not “movie magic” — it’s the art and science of modern dentistry.
How do dentists go about replacing lost teeth with natural-looking prosthetics? Today, there are two widely used tooth replacement procedures: dental implants and bridgework. When a natural tooth can’t be saved — due to advanced decay, periodontal disease, or an accident like Duchovny’s — these methods offer good looking, fully functional replacements. So what’s the difference between the two? Essentially, it’s a matter of how the replacement teeth are supported.
With state-of-the-art dental implants, support for the replacement tooth (or teeth) comes from small titanium inserts, which are implanted directly into the bone of the jaw. In time these become fused with the bone itself, providing a solid anchorage. What’s more, they actually help prevent the bone loss that naturally occurs after tooth loss. The crowns — lifelike replacements for the visible part of the tooth — are securely attached to the implants via special connectors called abutments.
In traditional bridgework, the existing natural teeth on either side of a gap are used to support the replacement crowns that “bridge” the gap. Here’s how it works: A one-piece unit is custom-fabricated, consisting of prosthetic crowns to replace missing teeth, plus caps to cover the adjacent (abutment) teeth on each side. Those abutment teeth must be shaped so the caps can fit over them; this is done by carefully removing some of the outer tooth material. Then the whole bridge unit is securely cemented in place.
While both systems have been used successfully for decades, bridgework is now being gradually supplanted by implants. That’s because dental implants don’t have any negative impact on nearby healthy teeth, while bridgework requires that abutment teeth be shaped for crowns, and puts additional stresses on them. Dental implants also generally last far longer than bridges — the rest of your life, if given proper care. However, they are initially more expensive (though they may prove more economical in the long run), and not everyone is a candidate for the minor surgery they require.
Which method is best for you? Don’t try using paranormal powers to find out: Come in and talk to us. If you would like more information about tooth replacement, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can learn more in the Dear Doctor magazine articles “Crowns & Bridgework,” and “Dental Implants.”