Posts for: December, 2011
Even with all the medical know-how we possess at the dawn of the 21st century, complete tooth loss is still a big problem. In this country, more than a quarter of all adults between ages 65 and 74 have lost all of their teeth. For these individuals, removable full dentures are often still used as an affordable and effective way to replace missing teeth.
Success with dentures originates from a collaboration among dentist, laboratory technician, and, of course, the denture-wearer. Creating false teeth that look natural is as much an art as it is a science. We take a number of steps to make sure you will get the best results. These include:
- Positioning the teeth. Using facial landmarks and photographs of how you used to look before your teeth were lost helps us determine where to place each tooth and how the upper and lower teeth should line up in relation to each other. For example, we will consider what size the teeth should be; how close to the lip they should be; and how much space should exist between the upper and lower teeth when they are at rest.
- Simulating natural gums. If you are someone with a “high lip dynamic” (a lot of gum shows when you smile), it is particularly important to simulate real gum tissue in a set of full dentures. Fortunately, there are many colors and textures available to create a realistic effect. Again, photographs can be helpful in achieving this.
- Balancing the bite. We must make sure that your upper and lower dentures come together in a way that facilitates normal biting, chewing, and speech.
As a denture wearer, you will need to visit our office regularly to make sure the gum tissue and bone upon which your dentures rest stay healthy. It's common to see a gradual loss of bone in people who wear dentures at a rate that varies from person to person. This bone loss can affect the fit of your dentures and lead to other health problems, which we can address if we are monitoring you on an ongoing basis.
If you have any questions about dentures, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can learn more about this topic by reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “Removable Full Dentures.”
Perhaps you've seen Nate Berkus on The Oprah Winfrey Show or watched his television program, The Nate Berkus Show. You may even have read his best-selling book, Home Rules: Transform the Place You Live Into a Place You'll Love. Regardless of where or how you discovered Berkus, you will surely have noticed his dazzling smile.
Berkus recently opened up about the facts behind his trademark smile during an interview with Dear Doctor magazine. First off, his smile is totally natural, as he never wore braces or had any cosmetic work, including porcelain veneers. However, Berkus does give credit to his childhood dentist for the preventative healthcare he received as a young boy. “I'm grateful for having been given fluoride treatments and sealants as a child,” he said. Nate also shared the important flossing advice he learned from his dentist that he still follows today: “Floss the ones you want to keep.” Berkus went on to say that he feels, “healthy habits should start at a young age.”
And we totally agree! For this reason we have put together the following list of facts and oral hygiene tips:
- Over 50% of plaque accumulation occurs in the protected areas between teeth — a place that may be difficult or even impossible to reach with a toothbrush.
- A thorough brushing may take up to two minutes at first, and it may feel awkward as you reach some places in your mouth.
- Remember, more is NOT always better! Brushing or flossing too hard can be damaging to your teeth and gums. And never saw back and forth with your floss.
To learn more about oral hygiene, including brushing and flossing techniques, you can continue reading the Dear Doctor article “Oral Hygiene Behavior - Dental Health For Life.” Or you can contact us today to schedule an appointment so that we can conduct a thorough examination, review your brushing and flossing techniques, and discuss any questions you have as well as treatment options. As needed, we will work with you to teach you the proper brushing and flossing techniques so that you feel confident before you leave our office. And to read the entire interview with Nate Berkus, please see the Dear Doctor article “Nate Berkus.”
Cleaning dentures is an important part of wearing them. However, did you know that recent research has revealed a link between denture hygiene and overall health? The evidence shows that oral bacteria have been implicated in chronic obstructive pulmonary (lung) disease, bacterial endocarditis (“endo” – inside; “card” – heart), generalized infections of the respiratory tract and other systemic diseases. While it is never our intent to frighten you, we feel it is important that we share some important tips on maintaining and caring for your dentures so that your oral health does not negatively impact your general health.
Our first tip focuses on fit, as denture slippage is an experience that anyone who wears dentures dreads. So if your dentures seem to slip or you have started increasing the amount of adhesive you are using to achieve the same level of denture retention that you had when first fitted, you need to make an appointment with us soon. Otherwise, an ill-fitting denture can cause discomfort, embarrassment and contribute to other oral health issues.
Next, we must focus on cleaning your dentures. It is critical that you clean your dentures daily. However, you should never use harmful or abrasive cleansers. Nor should you ever place your dentures into boiling water! The best method for cleaning is to soak them daily in a non-abrasive denture cleaner. And when you remove them, gently brush them with a soft-bristled toothbrush.
Our last tip concerns how long you wear your dentures each day. Even if your dentures are extremely comfortable — for example, you forget they are in — you should not wear them 24 hours a day. Why? Because you will develop a chronic yeast infection called, “denture stomatitis” due to stagnation that develops under dentures when the lubricating and antibacterial effects of saliva are impeded. Unfortunately, the constant pressure on the gum tissues caused by wearing dentures can accelerate jawbone loss over time. Give your mouth and tissues a rest by sleeping without your dentures in your mouth.
Wouldn't it be wonderful if you could put up a protective shield to guard your children's teeth from decay? Think of the time and money you would save, not to mention the pain your children would avoid. Well, it turns out that you can put up such a protective shield — or at least, we, your dental professionals, can.
The natural protective mineral coating (the enamel) of a child's new teeth is more permeable to the acids that dissolve minerals and cause decay, so the new teeth are more vulnerable to tooth decay than mature teeth are. As a tooth's enamel matures it becomes more resistant and stronger. Thus it is important to protect the surfaces of the new teeth when they erupt (grow up through the child's gums).
The back teeth, particularly, often erupt with deep grooves in them. The backs of the top front teeth may also have such grooves, which dentists call “pits and fissures.” When the grooves are deep, they are hard to keep clean. Toothbrush bristles may not be able to reach to the bottoms of the grooves; and bacteria may gather in them, releasing acid byproducts that dissolve tooth enamel and start forming decay.
Dental sealants are among the preventive options we have in the war against decay in your child's new teeth. Regular tooth brushing and flossing, regular dental visits, application of fluoride, and low sugar consumption are also important in decay prevention techniques.
Sealants are protective coatings placed in the tiny pits and fissures to seal them off from bacterial attack. Some dentists routinely seal all permanent molar teeth and many primary (baby) molar teeth soon after they erupt.
Some dentists use sealants only when an examination shows that decay is just starting or very likely to start in a particular tooth. In such cases a minimal amount of tooth enamel is removed to eliminate any decay, and a mini-resin, invisible filling is applied.
Contact us today to schedule an appointment to discuss your questions about dental sealants for your children. You can learn more about them by reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “Sealants for Children.”