Posts for: June, 2020
Straightening your teeth with braces or other orthodontic gear is a positive step toward a healthier and more attractive smile. You'll likely be pleased with your smile when they're removed.
But you may also notice something peculiar once the braces are off—dull, white spots on your teeth. These spots, usually located under or around braces hardware, are where mouth acid has “demineralized” calcium and other minerals in the enamel. As beginning tooth decay, these spots are a sign your hygiene efforts weren't sufficient in cleaning your teeth of plaque.
In many cases, the spots will improve on their own after the braces are removed. We can also strengthen the enamel with fluoride pastes or gels, or inject tooth-colored resin within the spot to restore the enamel's translucence and improve appearance.
But the best approach is to try to prevent white spots from occurring at all. Here's what you need to do.
Keep up your oral hygiene. Even though more difficult with braces, you still need to brush and floss to protect your teeth from tooth decay. To make it easier, take advantage of special brushes designed to clean around orthodontic brackets and wires. A floss threader can also help you better access between teeth—or switch to a water flosser instead of floss thread.
Practice a “tooth-friendly” diet. A diet high in sugar and acid could short-circuit your best hygiene efforts. Certain beverages are big offenders: sodas, energy and sports drinks, and even “natural” juices. Instead, eat foods high in vitamins and minerals like fresh fruits and vegetables, lean proteins and low-fat dairy.
Get your teeth cleaned regularly. While you're seeing your orthodontist for scheduled adjustments, don't neglect regular cleanings with your family dentist. Professional cleanings at least every six months reduce the risk of dental disease. These regular visits are also a good time for your dentist to check your teeth for any signs of dental problems associated with your braces.
It's not easy to keep your teeth clean while wearing braces, but it can be done. With help from a few handy tools and continuing care from your dental professionals, you can avoid unsightly white spots.
If you would like more information on dental care while wearing braces, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can also learn more about this topic by reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “White Spots on Teeth During Orthodontic Treatment.”
You might be a bit apprehensive if your dentist recommends a root canal treatment, especially if it's your first. That's understandable: Popular culture has portrayed the root canal as an unpleasant experience.
But as a routine dental procedure, root canal treatments have been responsible for saving millions of decayed teeth. And, with local anesthesia, the procedure is painless. In fact, a root canal treatment stops pain that often results from advanced tooth decay.
So, let's take the mystery out of the root canal. Here's the 411 on this vital but often misunderstood dental procedure.
Why the name “root canal”? The terms for the procedure—root canal therapy, root canal treatment or simply “root canal”—arise from one of the principal parts of the tooth involved, root canals. These are tiny passageways that lead from the tooth's innermost layer, the pulp, to the tooth roots. While treatment often focuses on decay or diseased tissue within the pulp, the root canals can be infected too and must be included in the later filling process.
Who can perform a root canal? All general dentists are trained in basic root canal procedures. Depending on your tooth's condition, your family dentist may be able to perform it. But if your tooth has an intricate root canal network or some other complication, you may need an endodontist, a specialist in interior tooth and root treatments. Endodontists can perform advanced root canal techniques and have the specialized equipment to handle intricate cases.
What happens during a root canal? Although details may vary depending on the type of tooth and extent of decay, there's a basic process for all root canal procedures. After numbing the tooth and surrounding tissues, the dentist drills into the tooth to access the inner pulp chamber and root canals, then removes the diseased tissue and disinfects the empty chamber and canals. After preparing the canals, the dentist then fills the empty spaces. This, and subsequent sealing and crowning, protects the tooth from future decay.
After the procedure you may have some minor soreness for a few days, which is usually manageable with mild pain relievers like ibuprofen or acetaminophen. This discomfort will diminish with time, and your tooth will have a new lease on life.
If you would like more information on root canal treatment, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can also learn more about this topic by reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “Root Canal Treatment.”
You may not see an obvious connection between your dental health and your overall health, but studies show that your oral care routine has a big impact on your general wellbeing. So, if you neglect your teeth, you could be putting yourself at risk of serious health problems down the road. Here at Colesville Dentistry in Silver Spring, MD, your dentists, Dr. Gregory Hysong and Dr. Lynda LePore, provide regular dental check-ups to help you maintain a beautiful smile and improve your overall health.
The Connection Between Dental Health and General Health
It’s something that you might not think about often, but your mouth is full of harmful bacteria. Fortunately, through daily brushing/flossing and regularly attending visits to your Silver Spring dentist, you can keep your oral health in check. Conversely, if you do neglect your oral hygiene, then the bacteria can multiply, combine with sugar in the food that you eat, and produce acids. These acids eat away at your teeth, causing cavities, tooth decay, and gum disease. They can also cause infections that can spread throughout your body.
Here are some health conditions that are known to be connected to oral health:
- Cardiovascular Disease and Strokes
When you skip brushing and flossing, plaque gradually builds up on your teeth. This can increase your risk of heart attack or stroke, for the bacteria in oral plaque can get into your bloodstream and block your arteries.
When allowed to build up in the mouth, bacterial colonies can cause gingivitis—the early stage of gum disease. As the gums bleed, bacteria can travel throughout the body to the heart where it can cause an infection known as endocarditis.
If you suffer from diabetes, gum disease can worsen the condition. When the gums bleed and begin to recede from the teeth, they form pockets that are vulnerable to infection. This can make it difficult for diabetes sufferers to absorb their medications.
Prioritize Your Oral Health
Don’t underestimate the impact that your oral health can have on the rest of your body. Take care of your teeth and gums and protect your total health. If you are looking for a dentist in Silver Spring, you can contact Colesville Dentistry at (301) 384-6000 to schedule a consultation.