If you are an adult with slightly crooked or gapped teeth, you may have considered braces to correct your alignment issues. As a teen, these minor issues may not have warranted braces, but as an adult you may be dissatisfied with the uneven look of your smile these problems have caused. If the idea of full blown orthodontia to correct one crooked tooth or a small gap between your front teeth is not appealing, dental veneers may be an attractive alternative.
A dental veneer is a thin layer of either ceramic or resin material that is bonded directly to the surface of your teeth. Veneers do not change the alignment of your teeth but create the illusion of a smooth line of teeth. With veneers, there are no unsightly wires or brackets as with braces. Unlike orthodontia that can take months or years to complete, veneers can be placed in one to two office visits. With proper care, you can expect veneers to last ten to fifteen years before they will need to be replaced.
Most anyone with overall good oral health can be a candidate for veneers. Dental veneers are not a good option for diseased or decaying teeth, as they need a strong, healthy tooth surface with which to adhere. However, if you have healthy teeth that just don’t line up in a way that’s pleasing to your eye, dental veneers could solve your problem and leave you with a straight, smooth smile.Read More »
Advancing age presents unique challenges related to dental care. As a person ages, limited mobility, side effects from medications, and other medical conditions can cause oral health problems. For example, a patient with arthritis may have difficulty brushing and flossing. Complications from diabetes or other chronic illnesses can contribute to gum disease. Some of the most common oral health issues associated with senior patients include:
- Tooth loss
- Tooth decay
- Gum disease and gum recession
- Dry mouth
Oral health directly affects the health of other parts of the body, meaning it is vitally important for elderly patients to remain vigilant with their dental care. Research has shown a direct correlation between gum disease and heart disease, for example. Regular visits to your family dentist are the first line of defense against the disease and decay that could negatively impact you or your loved ones as you approach your golden years.
Likewise, missing teeth or poorly fitting dentures can lead to dangerous problems in elderly patients. Trouble chewing may cause an older person to aspirate food, or avoid eating altogether. A family dentist can address these issues, refitting dentures and providing solutions for missing, broken or loose teeth.
Advances in dental care means that people are keeping their natural teeth longer than ever. Longer life expectancies and the increased use of prescription medications is placing new stresses on aging teeth and gums. Maintaining a relationship with a qualified family dentist will help to ensure you or your older loved ones avoid some of the dental pitfalls associated with advancing age and keep a healthy smile for a lifetime.
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If you have recently whitened your teeth, you will want them to stay looking their best for as long as possible. Whitening treatments can damage your teeth if overused or used improperly, so once you have those bright white teeth, you’ll want to keep them that way. This will allow you to have as few whitening treatments as possible while still possessing that bright, white smile you love so much.
The worst thing you can do for your white teeth – and for your overall health – is to smoke cigarettes or to use any tobacco product. Smoking is extremely bad for your health, and the nicotine can leave deep brown stains embedded in the grooves and pits of your tooth enamel that brushing alone cannot remove.
Smoking leads to bad breath (halitosis) and gum disease (gingivitis) and is a leading cause of most types of cancer. If you are serious about maintaining your oral health, you will begin by stopping smoking. Your dentist will have tips for you to follow that can help you toward your goal of smoking cessation.
Many foods you consume without thought such as dark soda, coffee, red wine or tea can stain your teeth and leave them discolored. Some fruits such as beets, blackberries and blueberries can also darken your smile, as can balsamic vinegar and soy sauce. Food and drink stains worsen over time and with repeated consumption of the culprit foods and drinks.
Sports and energy drinks have been shown to erode tooth enamel over time, leading to discolored, thin, translucent teeth. Dentists recommend that you don’t sip these drinks over long periods of time, and that you reduce teeth stains and enamel erosion by rinsing your mouth following consumption and brush your teeth as soon as possible.
Regular check-ups by your dentist and cleanings by professional dental hygienists will help you maintain the bright, beautiful smile you already have and allow you to enjoy all of the benefits the confidence of a healthy smile can bring.
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Thanks to advances in dental technology, dentures are more natural looking and comfortable than ever before. If you are one of the many adults wearing dentures to replace missing teeth, there are several do’s and don’ts you will want to follow to ensure they maintain their fit and your oral health:
- Do take your dentures out before going to bed, allowing your mouth tissues to rest from wearing them all day.
- Don’t let your dentures dry out. Soak them in mild denture solution or water while you sleep.
- Do clean them daily with either a mild detergent or special denture cleaning solution and a soft-bristled brush.
- Don’t soak them in very hot water, as this could cause them to warp, and they will no longer fit properly.
- Do handle them with care. Dropping your dentures or treating them with strong cleansers or harsh brushes can do permanent damage.
- Don’t neglect your oral care for the rest of your mouth. Even patients with a full set of dentures need to take care of their gums, and if you have partial dentures you should continue to brush and floss your remaining teeth regularly.
- Do pay attention to changes in the fit or feel of your dentures. Problems with fit can lead to irritation and discomfort, and could also be an indication of gum disease.
- Don’t try to adjust or repair your dentures on your own. If your dentures are ill-fitting or damaged in any way, schedule an appointment with your dentist to have them evaluated.
- Do continue to see your dentist for regular checkups to help maintain your best oral health and check your dentures for fit and function.
If you are missing all or some of your teeth, dentures can greatly improve both your appearance and the quality of your life. By following these simple guidelines, you can maintain the beauty and functionality of your dentures for many years.
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