Drs. Leary, Burroughs & Woods
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Tooth Sensitivity, Are You The Culprit?
Frequently patients complain of a generalized cold sensitivity in areas where there are no obvious dental problems. The recurring culprit is root exposure from gum line recession. This can result from abrasive habits like scrubbing to hard, course tooth polishes, chemical erosion due to diet or digestive problems or trauma from grinding, clenching or bite problems.
The long term cure is to determine whether it is due to harmful habits, a hard toothbrush or a six pack of soda a day and STOP!!! However, there is an excellent, easy short-term cure --- sensitive-tooth toothpaste. This really works; We have many patients that report back a significant decrease in cold sensitivity after using the toothpaste for four to six weeks. All brands of the sensitive-tooth toothpaste have the same active ingredient -- 5% potassium nitrate -- a mineral that insulates and seals the root area from the effects of cold. Some of the popular brands are Crest Sensitivity, Sensodyne, and Protect. They have even come out with tooth whitening products for sensitive teeth with 5% potassium nitrate in the bleach solution. Keep in mind that y ou must use the sensitive-tooth toothpaste for four to six weeks to get relief. If you still have some lingering sensitivity, you can follow-up here and we can place stronger desensitizing agents or in the worst cases a bonded white filling to seal the root.
So, if you can't part with that hard toothbrush or you are too stressed out to stop grinding, we can still help you enjoy that occasional bowl of ice cream!
Is Your Sugar Habit Damaging Your Teeth?
PLAQUE IS THE CULPRIT… Plaque is a colony of bacteria the forms on your teeth daily. Plaque takes the sugar from the food you eat or drink and makes an acid, which causes decay. Sipping soda, juice, or any type of sugared drink, over a prolonged period allows the plaque to constantly make acid. Taking a bite of candy every five minutes is much worse than eating the bar all at one time. A few tips to minimize the effects of sugar:
- Drink all sugared drinks quickly or with a meal when you are salivating
- Drink water between meals or after sweets
- Brush and floss after eating sticky sweets
- Get regular check ups
Composites vs. Amalgams
Over the past several years, clinical research has proven that Composite Restorations (white fillings) are superior to Amalgams (silver fillings). Composite Restorations have a shorter curing time, longer duration time and less risk of fracturing. Additionally, they can be easily the color and shape of your existing teeth.
Although some Insurance Companies are still only giving benefit for Posterior Amalgams, this does not mean that they are the best treatment for Your dental health. Our office highly recommends and restores Posterior decayed teeth with the best matierial available composites.
If you have any questions or concerns please do not hesitate to ask us.
Power toothbrushes vs. Manual
Power toothbrushes remove 50% more plaque than a manual toothbrush. The oscillating or pulsating head accomplishes greater plaque removal. Most power brushes generate 30,000+ pulses per minute. Studies have proven using a power toothbrush will:
- Cause a significant reduction in plaque in adults and children
- Reduce brushing force you need to apply during brushing which will decrease the incidence of tooth sensitivity and receding gums
- Reduce gingival inflammation better than manual brushes
- Eliminate more stain and tartar than manual tooth brushing
- Cause patients to brush longer (minimum of 2 minutes)
Power toothbrushes are beneficial to anyone lacking manual dexterity or any disability that limits your ability to brush. There are may different types of power brushes if you are considering purchasing one let us know so we can help recommend the best type for you because all power toothbrushes are not created equal.
How can you prevent decay?
Dental sealants are a plastic coating applied to the chewing surface of permanent molars (the back teeth).
Some molars are hard to clean because the grooves on the chewing surface (known as pits and fissures) are deep and narrow. Sealants help smooth the grooves in the enamel allowing for easier plaque removal. Cleaner surfaces mean fewer cavities.
Usually, sealants are recommended for children to prevent cavities in permanent teeth. The age at which sealants are recommended varies from one child to another because the tooth needs to be completely erupted (fully through the gums) for successful placement. However, this procedure is not limited to children it can also be performed on adults. Adults typically do not need sealants unless they are trapping a lot of plaque or stains are present on the chewing surfaces.
Once, a sealant is placed it is very important to keep regular six month check-up appointments. Sealants need to be monitored by a dentist to ensure they are intact. It is possible that this plastic coating can chip and will need to be replaced or touched-up. Sealants last 2 years on average but many last for several years. Certain additional forces on teeth can cause the sealant to break including tooth clenching and orthodontic wire pressure.
Sealants are an inexpensive option for preventing cavities and many dental insurance companies provide coverage up to a certain age. If you have any questions about sealants, cost, or insurance coverage please ask any of our staff members.
Do you suffer from painful mouth sores? There are a wide variety of different oral lesions that can occur in the mouth. The two most common are oral Herpes and Apthous Ulcers. When they occur inside the mouth they have a similar appearance but totally different causes and treatments.
Apthous ulcers are white round painful sores that usually occur on the inside of the cheek and/or lips and in the area under the tongue. The actual cause is unknown. They are thought to be autoimmune in nature (your body attacking itself). They are frequently associated with a vitamin/iron deficiency and/or spicy foods. Taking a multivitamin with iron and regular use of a strong antibacterial mouth rinse such as Listerine can diminish the frequency and size of the lesions.
Oral Herpes inside the mouth are also white round painful sores that occur mostly on the hard gum tissue around the teeth and on the roof of the mouth. The sores also occur on the lips where they look like a blister first and then a round scab. Herpes is caused by a virus and will take 7 to 10 days to heal. Most people are exposed to the virus as a child but only a small percentage actually gets the oral ulcers throughout their life. There are some prescription ointments that will decrease the size and duration of the ulcers.
If you suffer from either type of oral ulcer let us know. We can provide you with information and prescriptions to make oral ulcers less frequent and painful.
Do any of these habits belong to you?
Nail biting, cheek biting, tooth grinding and clenching
All of these habits result in excessive tooth to tooth contact which leads to significant wear on your teeth. When you total actual tooth to tooth contact during the normal daily diet, it is only about two minutes a day. People with oral habits keep their teeth together for much longer and more frequent periods. Some severe clenchers have actually lost the ability to relax their jaw and keep their teeth together all day long.
Patients, who bite their nails frequently, wear the edges of their front teeth down. Cosmetically, the teeth will begin to look shorter and wider; the edges could be flattened or chipped. Some nail biters expose the inner layers of their teeth and have tooth sensitivity. Patients who clench and grind will wear their front and back teeth. This can cause cracks and frequently tooth sensitivity. As your teeth get flatter, more tooth surface is in contact every time you bring your teeth together and the rate of wear increases. In addition to tooth wear, all oral habits affect the TMJ (tempromadibular joint). This joint just like the other joints
in your body can be damaged by the excessive workout from oral habits. Joint pain, headaches, pops and clicks in the jaw are frequently associated with oral habits.
Treatment for both these problems is difficult. Lost tooth structure from wear can only be fully replaced if all the top or bottom teeth are rebuilt. 14 Crowns! This is an expensive proposition. TMJ problems can be tricky because it is difficult to stop eating or talking to rest an injured/painful joint Some patients may benefit from wearing a splint -- which is a piece of plastic worn at night between your teeth for protection and to keep your teeth apart so the joint can relax.
The best treatment is to control the habit and keep your teeth apart. Stop taking your stress out on yourself and find other less damaging ways to relieve that stress. Any steps you can take to protect your teeth and jaw joint will ensure comfortable function for many years to come.
Spacing? Too Dark?
If you don't like the position or color of your front
teeth, what are your options?
Ortho - This is the ideal procedure to achieve a "perfect"
smile. Currently most patients can choose between traditional
orthodontics, where brackets and wires are used to move teeth or
invisalign, where multiple hard clear retainers are used to move
teeth. The average cost for this procedure would be around
$6,000. The length of treatment is about 2 years, though it could vary
from case to case. When invisalign is used for minor tooth
straightening, it may be much less expensive.
Veneers - Ceramic veneers can be used to correct crowding,
spacing and discolored teeth. Thin pieces of lab fabricated
glass are permanently adhered to the fronts of your teeth to achieve
the desired cosmetic result. The procedure requires two visits,
minimal adjustment to your natural teeth and looks beautiful. The
pricing for veneers varies. One veneer costs about $800 per
tooth or to get the upper front six done is around $4,000. The
average lifespan of these restorations is 10 to 15 years.
Though, if your veneer chips, they are difficult to repair and
sometimes require replacement.
Bonding - Composite bonding can also be used to correct
crowding, spacing and discolored teeth. The procedure is done in
one visit. The material is bonded directly to the fronts of the
patient's teeth with the use of a UV curing light. Bonding can
be easily repaired, removed, or replaced if a different shade or
result is desired. Bonding achieves a very good cosmetic result,
but the natural appearance and polish is not as good as veneers.
The average cost is $180 per tooth and the lifespan is about 5 to 10
years depending on the patient's staining habits. Drinking
coffee or tea could affect the lifespan of the bonding.
Bleaching - If you are happy with your tooth position, but
want them whiter, bleaching is a great option for you. Bleaching
is a procedure where a peroxide gel is used to bubble out the stains
and discoloration of permanent teeth. The gel can be delivered
to your teeth in 3 ways - cellophane (white strips), in custom
bleaching trays, or in the dental chair by the dentist. In our
office we offer the prescription strength whitening strips for $80.
Custom trays for home use are $250. Chair side bleaching runs at
$150 per 30 minute treatment. With enough repeated applications,
all of these products will achieve the desired whitening.
Overall, there are many options when it comes to "upgrading" your
smile. If you have any questions, or are interested in any of
these procedures, please talk to your doctor.
We’re glad you found us!
- New patients are always
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groups… from toddlers to the young at heart
- Advanced, state-of-the-art
- Open communication and
relationships built on trust