How to Prevent and Treat Dental Erosion

Ad Min - Friday, July 31, 2020

What Is Dental Erosion?

Dental erosion is the wearing away of dental tissues, with the loss of the surface of the teeth due to the acids, not bacteria. This may be caused by acids produced in the body which affects the teeth due to reflux or vomiting, and with acids contained in the drinks like carbonated drinks and sports drinks.

Acids can melt and soften the crystals that make up our teeth and make them susceptible to be worn away with abrasion. This is also called acid wear.

Dental erosion is a serious condition for dental problems where dental hard tissues are lost due to acids which are produced inside or come from outside, called intrinsic or extrinsic reasons.

Not many studies have been carried out yet, to know the exact figures for prevalence of this condition but it is estimated that it is common all over the world, among adults and children.

Symptoms of Dental Erosion

When the surface of tooth gets eroded, it makes the tooth sensitive to cold and hot food and even when the atmosphere gets too cold o, the teeth can be sensitive to outside temperature and may cause discomfort.

In advanced condition of dental erosion, the enamel gets worn away and dentine gets exposed, showing yellow marks on the tooth surface. If a tooth decay has been treated and the tooth has a filling, this filling gets exposed due to dental erosion of the same tooth.

The cause of acids eating away or eroding the tooth material can be intrinsic or extrinsic.

Intrinsic causes of dental erosion

One of the functions of saliva which is produced in the mouth is to protect the teeth and mouth from the acidic attack that occurs in the normal course of day. Gastric juices are produced to digest the foods ingested by individuals. When these juices pass through oral canal very frequently in the form of reflux or vomiting, the saliva is unable to protect the teeth from these acids in the gastric juice. The juices get passed from the buffering system of saliva and star corroding the teeth. There are a number of ailments that causes gastric acids to reach teeth and damage them.

Gastro oesophageal reflux is one condition where stomach acids are regurgitated following heavy meals after overeating. If this happens occasionally, the saliva can take care of it. But if when gastric acids enter oral cavity during sleep, the saliva is not enough to control acidic activity on teeth and corrosion takes place, because in sleeping state, the lower molars are in in constant touch with acids. Obesity or pregnancy brings on pressure on abdomen which increases reflux activity in individuals.

Bulimia is another condition where individual opts to vomit the food taken to keep a desired weight. This ailment is common among females of 18 to 35 years of age. In this group of people who are suffering from bulimia, the dental erosion is found to be 90 percent. In bulimic people the front teeth get eroded first because gastric juices are forced through front teeth.

In chronic alcoholism the dental erosion occurs because of frequent vomiting and regurgitation. Front as well as back teeth are affected by chronic alcoholism.

Because of the weight of the foetus, the intra-abdominal pressure increases resulting in frequent reflux. But since this is not chronic, it does not result in serious erosion.

Extrinsic causes of dental erosion

These causes result from the lifestyle of individuals, and environmental or occupational factors that expose teeth to acids.

Acidic beverages are the most common outside reason for teeth erosion in US and many other developed countries. Sports drinks, fruit juices and aerated drinks have very low pH value which makes it a high-risk factor for dental erosion. A major chunk of dietary acids come from soft drinks which are very commonly consumed at meal times and between meals.

Individuals who work out a lot, get dehydrated and their saliva production is less than required. In such a case, the risk of erosion of teeth gets doubled.

Industrial or occupational risk
In an industry where airborne acidic particles are more, the factory workers are at an increased risk of getting teeth erosion. In swimming pools, where pH level is low, the workers get more erosion of teeth than normal.

Prevention of dental erosion

The most important factor that can be controlled by individual is lifestyle and dietary changes.

Dental erosion is irreversible so what dental health professionals can do at the most is to halt the process of erosion.

Milk and milk products have been found to protect teeth against erosion. Milk has phosphate and calcium content which helps in containing acids from eroding dental tissues. Fluoride treatment also helps in contain the process of erosion of teeth.

General guidelines for people with dental erosion

  • Avoid acidic beverages and holding them in mouth for long, so as not to bathe the teeth in the beverage.
  • Drink water and rinse mouth with water after having any drink.
  • Rinse mouth with soda bicarbonate after vomiting
  • Chewing gum increases saliva. Saliva helps in stopping acidic juices to work on teeth, by allowing you to swallow saliva while chewing along with acids in the mouth
  • Drink milk along with acidic meals and drinks to neutralize the acid in the drink.
  • Drink one glass of water before breakfast.
  • Avoid having drinks between meals.
  • Drink fruit juices with straw to avoid the teeth coming in contact with acids in the drink.
  • Stay hydrated.
  • Acids make teeth softened so wait for an hour before brushing your teeth after and acidic or a heavy meal to stop erosion with toothbrush.
  • Even after vomiting wait for an hour before brushing your teeth.
  • Use tooth mousse before consuming acidic drink.
  • Fluoride toothpaste helps in strengthening teeth.
  • Seek medical advice for the ailments like bulimia and gastro intestinal disorder to stop erosion of teeth.

Regular visits to dentists will help in diagnosing and preventing dental erosion.

Which dental filling is suited for you?

Ad Min - Wednesday, July 22, 2020

Research has shown that cavities are seen in children and adults alike, untreated tooth decay leads the list in oral diseases round the globe. 60-90% of children and almost 95% or more of adults have tooth decay. Decay is seen in primary teeth as well as permanent teeth. Tooth decay often starts as cavities when the outer enamel gets eroded.

Food consumed stays in the mouth and teeth and they bring about bacterial action. Sugary food and drinks contribute to this more than other types of food. The sugar when acted on by the bacteria releases acid which removes the protective cover of the teeth. Weaker areas in the teeth then will see cavity formation in them.

Dental procedures are done to preserve the teeth. Extraction of teeth is done only when the decay is extensive and the teeth cannot be saved anymore. In the procedure, the dentist will remove the upper portion of the teeth. Through this opening they will clean out all the decay that is there in the inner pulp cavity of the teeth. Thorough cleaning of the interior of the teeth is done to remove the decayed portion. This area is then filled with dental fillings and the hardened using a special light to harden the filling. The teeth are saved from further damage and can function as before.

A wide variety of fillings are available to choose from. Materials are chosen depending on the oral health, the position of the teeth, the extent of decay and also the cost. Dentists will conduct an oral examination to determine which type of filling will be suited.

Gold fillings

Metal fillings are commonly used due to their durable nature. Gold fillings have been used by many, they easily last up to 10 plus years or more. They do not corrode and as they are sturdy they can withstand the strength of the chewing. It is expensive because of the metal used. It might require a few visits to the dentist. Some prefer this filling due to the metal used in the procedure.

Silver fillings

Another type of metal amalgam filling that is commonly used is silver fillings. Many prefer this type of filling, as they do not like the gold coloured filling. As a metal filling similar to gold, this can also withstand strength and is durable and often lasts longer than other types of fillings. When silver is chosen as the filling, dentists will need to remove healthy portions of the teeth to make space to hold this metal. Some experience a differ colour to the neighbouring teeth due to this silver amalgam filling. As it does not go along with the natural colour of the teeth, some reject it due to anaesthetics. It does not however cost as much as gold amalgam fillings.

Composite fillings

Tooth coloured fillings that is the advantage of having composite fillings. They match the colour of the natural teeth and are usually preferred when filling is to be done to the front or visible part of the teeth. They bond well to the teeth structure when applied and are cured using light to stay hardened on the teeth. They cost more than amalgam fillings. They are also less durable than other fillings as they are not made of sturdy materials like metal fillings. As they are less durable, they might need to be replaced. Extensive force or pressure on the teeth can lead to chipping off the composite filling.

Glass ionomer fillings

These types of fillings are usually recommended for children who still have teeth to fall off. The reasons are varied – this dental filling has a short life span, less than five years or so. Children have milk teeth falling off and permanent teeth taking the place, some they can use fillings that have a short life span. Besides this, another feature is fluoride. This filling produces fluoride another the cavity, thus offering extra protection to the teeth. Fluoride helps to fight away infection as well. That is one of the biggest advantages of using glass ionomer filling especially for children. This is applied as a tight paste on the cavity and offers protection from the outer environment. Teeth are sealed off from further decay due to this filling. When compared with composite filling this is less sturdy and also is not the exact colour of the natural teeth.

Ceramic fillings

Ceramic dental fillings are the most expensive of the different type of fillings. The main reason is the aesthetic value it provides and they are also long lasting. Compared with other fillings, ceramic filling offers high abrasive quality and also resists staining besides being similar in colour to natural teeth. It does not need to be replaced as composite filling as they are stronger, but that does not rule out them being brittle. Ceramic dental restorations are generally called Inlays and Onlays depending on where they are used. On the teeth as a protective layer or in between the teeth to cover the gap between the teeth.

Caring for dental fillings will help to make sure they last long. Brushing and cleaning of teeth should be done as before. This helps to make sure food debris does not stay on the tooth surface.

Reducing sugary food, opting for healthier options of food can help keep the teeth and filling safer for a longer time. Besides this, reducing food or products like tobacco that stain teeth can also help promote longer lasting teeth.

When consuming hot or cold food if teeth sensitivity is felt, it can be a chance of crack in the filling. It is highly recommended that this concern is checked with the dentist. Sometimes while eating, one can feel a roughness on the teeth – this can also be another sign that there is a crack or break in the tooth filling. When unsure, do not ignore the symptom check it with the dentist as soon as possible.

A Patient’s Guide to Wearing Dentures

Ad Min - Tuesday, June 30, 2020

Advancement in technology and medicine has brought a great many changes to dental health. The progress made has helped to develop modern and sophisticated dentures that are easy to wear and manage. Getting used to wearing dentures is much easier than before. But people have questions on dentures, how to wear them correctly, how to take care of them etc.

A Patient’s Guide to Wearing Dentures

Understanding Dentures

Before we move on, let us understand - what are dentures? They are artificial teeth. They are dental appliances used to replace natural teeth. Natural teeth are generally lost due to aging, but diseases like periodontal or far-reaching dental cavities also lead to loss of teeth.  Besides this, dental trauma due to accidents or genetic disorders also can result in teeth loss.

Dentures are usually prescribed by dentists when it is not possible to save the natural teeth. They help in preserving oral health by going for this procedure. There are different types of dentures – some are partial and some are complete dentures. Immediate dentures are also available at dental clinics, these are placed on the same day the teeth are removed. Dentures are made of acrylic, nylon or metal. Many opt for teeth that mimic natural teeth in colour and appearance so they do not feel awkward using them.

Placing dentures will require more than one or two visits to the dentist. The health of the gums is important while placing dentures, this is initially assessed by dentists during the first dental consultation. Treatment plans are decided after this assessment.

Some teeth might need to be removed before dentures are placed as they are not able to support them. Oral surgery is performed before dentures are placed. Proper healing of the gums is required before dentures can be placed. Some dentists will provide temporary dentures at this time, so the patient does not feel awkward with no teeth.

Gums will shrink when teeth are lost. Dentists will take impressions of the gums and dentures are made in the dental clinics to make an exact fit for the gums. Some adjustments would be needed to make sure they stay in place. Regular appointments need to be kept with the dentist to ensure the dentures are properly fitted. Partial or removable dentures are held in place with the help of natural teeth. The replacement teeth are fixed to anchors made of plastic or metal and they are attached to the natural teeth.

Wearing dentures will take some time to get used to. One might feel they are slipping off and it feels ‘unnatural’ while chewing food. Adhesives are available at the dental clinics. You can check with the dentist in case you feel the dentures are coming off easily. Some might feel soreness and irritation in the mouth. But all this will go away in a couple of weeks as one gets used to wearing them.

It’s important to keep in mind that it is better to stick to soft food when one is initially wearing dentures. Some feel their dentures are coming out when chewing. It takes time to adjust to new teeth and one has to be careful while chewing food. Once they are comfortable using dentures then can move on to other types of food. Getting used to wearing dentures varies from person to person, it is preferable to check with the dentist if one is having problems with using them.

Caring for Dentures

Like natural teeth, dentures also need utmost care. They need to be cleaned like natural teeth especially after consuming food. Food debris can stick on dentures, if you remove dentures and clean them then it must be done with utmost care. Tooth pastes should not be used to clean them, special cleaners are available for dentures. Using pastes will harm the dentures. Special brushes are also available in the market for cleaning dentures.

To enjoy durability for your dentures, they must be kept immersed in water especially at night. This will also give time for the gums to rest. Some dentists suggest wearing dentures at night initially but later on, it is considered safe to remove them.

Cleaning them should also be done carefully without exerting much pressure on them. Cleaning them under running water will help to clean away most of the food debris. Cleaning them with mild soap will help to preserve dentures in good condition. Hot water will damage them and dentures must never be cleaned with hot water. Improper cleaning can cause staining of dentures like natural teeth.

Besides cleaning teeth, tongue and gums should also be cleaned thoroughly. Soft bristled tooth brushes can be used to clean them. This will help to remove any bacteria or plaque build-up in them. These conditions are rare, but one can see them as white patches on the tongue. SO it is important to make sure the overall oral health is maintained.

Another issue that can crop up if dentures are not cleaned properly is halitosis or bad breath. Like natural teeth, bacterial build up can happen between teeth and cause bad breath. If you have partial dentures only, then this plaque build-up in the artificial teeth can spread to other remaining teeth and affect the dental health of the person as a whole.

While it is clear that dentures help to replace natural teeth when they are lost, they also help provide support in other ways. Losing teeth can result in a loss of clarity in speech. Speech can become unclear, many people feel less confident while conversing. Facial muscles also sag when teeth are lost.

Taking care of dentures will also be explained in dental clinics. Doubts and concerns must be discussed with the dentist. If the dentures are damaged, then the best is to make an appointment with the dentist for effective help. If dentures cannot be used due to damage, then it must be stored carefully, making sure to keep them moist always.

What is Cosmetic Dentistry?

Ad Min - Sunday, June 21, 2020

A specialised branch of dentistry that incorporates the aspect of looking good and significantly altering the appearance of people’s teeth is what Cosmetic dentistry does. Aesthetic or cosmetic dentistry changes people’s smile and gives them an immense boost of self-confidence. This dedicated dentistry helps people attain improvement of one’s look and also transform how they present themselves.

What is Cosmetic Dentistry

Cosmetic dentistry services are not confined to only adults, children also undergo cosmetic dentistry procedures. The main type of service done is negligible and not full-fledged like those for adults. Children who suffer from trauma or accidents to the oral area would benefit from the procedures offered. Care is provided for immediate need and later more treatment options possible as they grow older is planned according to their needs.

Cosmetic dentistry and its varied treatment options are not just for aesthetic purposes but also as medical treatment options for dental concerns that are due to developmental or other deficiencies. These procedures help provide support to teeth and mouth tissues to perform their functions and also offer structural support.

Types of cosmetic dentistry

Based on the needs, there are different types of cosmetic dental procedures available. They are examined briefly.

1. Teeth Whitening

Cosmetic dentistry is widely known due to this dental procedure. Teeth whitening is done to remove stains and clean the teeth. Also known as bleaching, this helps to lighten the stains and make the teeth sparkle brighter. Lifestyle and food habits can cause teeth to lose their sparkle. Medications also are known to bring this effect to teeth. There are different products available for whitening in the market. Some can be bought over the counter as well, but for best results it is better to check with dentists. As some products would not be suited for everyone, seeking expert medical advice is recommended.

2. Dental Crowns

Crowns are placed over teeth to offer them good protection and enhance appearance. Teeth which are damaged or chipped or broken can be saved by this dental procedure. The teeth are prepared before the crowns are placed. This helps the dental crowns fit properly over the teeth. They are made of materials which mimic natural teeth in colour and can easily blend in. Some would have a gap between their teeth, dental crowns can also be placed in fill in these gaps and improve the appearance. These crowns can withstand the pressure that comes in with chewing food and if taken care can last long. Proper dental hygiene is important when taking care of dental appliances.

3. Dental Veneers

Another type of procedure is placing veneers. Dental veneers are custom made and are usually used to cover when there are damages to the front teeth. They are custom made and cover the visible portion of the teeth and are usually made of porcelain and using dental tools they are stuck on to the teeth. They are really thin and do not jut out when placed on the teeth.  Stains or cracks on the teeth can be covered up using this dental procedure. The shape of the teeth, colour and position of the teeth can be improved. Usually this procedure is completed in two to three visits – the time taken is for preparing the proper dental veneer for proper fitting.

4. Dental Implants

Not just improving the appearance of teeth, if teeth are lost – replacements are possible with dental implants. Teeth are lost due to decay, trauma to the mouth or accidents – cosmetic dentistry helps people recover their confidence by replacing lost teeth. This procedure involves dental surgery and is performed under anaesthesia. Support is placed on the jaw bones and the teeth are placed on them. They are surgically fixed on to the bone structure and provide strong anchorage to the teeth. Artificial teeth fixed are similar to the natural teeth and those who have done this procedure would not be conscious of having done this surgery.

5. Dental Bonding

Saving teeth can also be done by bonding. In this procedure, a resin is applied to the teeth that need treatment. It makes the teeth become stronger, brighter and not be lost to damage. Saving the teeth that are chipped or broken is done using bonding and is similar to placing veneers, a slight advantage is that bonding can be done much faster. The material that is similar to the teeth colour is chosen and bonded to the teeth and the procedure gets its name from this. These resins that are applied to the teeth to alter its appearance can absorb stains from smoking or tobacco, so these habits must be stopped.

6. Dental Fillings

Protecting a tooth that is decayed is possible through the dental filling. The decayed part of the teeth is removed by dentists using specialised tools. The decayed part in the interior of the teeth is completely removed. This portion of the teeth is then filled with filling. There are different types of filling to choose from. Gold, silver, amalgam and plastic fillings are available to choose from. Depending on the need and requirement of the person fillings are chosen. The latest that many choose is porcelain fillings. They match the colour of the teeth and are custom made.

Cosmetic dentistry helps improve oral health along with improved appearance. Correcting the bite that is not proper due to lost teeth and improved chewing ability of the teeth is possible through different cosmetic procedures. When gaps are filled or decayed teeth are replaced, the health of other teeth is also saved. This will help in proper chewing of food and also increased general health. Delay in seeking help from dentists can help save teeth and money in the long run. A proper and timely treatment can help to stop the damage from progressing. It might even need only a slight change in lifestyle to protect the teeth from damage. It is important that dental concerns are not brushed away and regular consultations with dentists are attended. This will help to promote and maintain good oral and overall health.

Understanding Cavities

Ad Min - Tuesday, May 19, 2020

Cavities are formed in the teeth after the protective enamel covering is eroded. These are tiny openings on the surface of the teeth. Damage to the teeth gets multiplied if there are cavities or dental caries. This dental problem is seen in children and adults alike. Cavities are usually seen on the top portion of the teeth where the dental enamel has exposed the inner layer of the teeth.

Dental Cavities

Easy treatment options are available for cavities and are routinely conducted in dental clinics. Dentists provide treatment procedures based on the requirement of the client. This is decided after a thorough dental consultation. Oral health of the person is taken into consideration and also the presence of other disease conditions like diabetes or any other chronic diseases.

Causes of Cavities

Cavities usually appear as white spots on the surface of the teeth. As mentioned earlier they are usually seen on the top portion of the teeth. The reason is cavities are formed when bacteria present in the mouth work on sugary food that is consumed. If there is less than perfect dental hygiene, then sugary food will remain stuck to the top portion of the teeth. Bacteria in the mouth move to this area and attack the food debris. They release acid and this will work on the dental enamel.

The enamel is a hard covering of the teeth. Below this level, there is the dentine region and then the inner pulp of the teeth. This area has the nerve endings and is the inner most level of the teeth. When cavities are left untreated, the damage moves to the interior of the teeth and the whole teeth are lost. The gum lining also gets swollen and irritated due to the infection. The teeth along with the root is damaged due to this plaque attack.

Risk factors for cavities

It is also important to know what are the risk factors that speed up cavity formation. The main reason for cavity formation is sugary food. Besides this milk, soda, candy, mints etc. can also speed up cavity formation. This food stay longer on the teeth or rather they stick to the teeth for a longer period of time. If a person consumes a lot of sugary and junk food then they are at a higher risk for cavities.

The teeth that usually have cavities are usually teeth at the back of the mouth. These teeth have more grooves or pits when compared with the front teeth. These grooves will be a good place for sugary food to stick to the teeth. Babies usually consume food such as milk or juices and the food will stick to these teeth similar to the adults who consume larger quantities of junk food. This will bring about decay for both children and adults alike.

Some people have a condition known as dry mouth. There is a reduced amount of saliva in the mouth when compared with other people. Usually saliva will act as a cleansing agent and washes away sugary food. Besides this, saliva also attacks the acid that is released by the bacteria. Eating disorders also contribute to this condition. Stomach acid will act on the teeth when there is repeated vomiting and erode the protective covering of the teeth.

Inadequate dental hygiene or brushing will also contribute to dental cavities. Brushing and flossing will help to remove the food debris that is stuck in the teeth. It is important to brush teeth twice a day particularly after meals. If it is not done properly, then plaque formation happens on the teeth after bacteria acts on the food particulars.

Symptoms and treatment

The different symptoms that are seen in those who have cavities are toothache, which is so normal that many will ignore it. Along with it comes tooth sensitivity. When a person consumes hot or cold food then there is irritation experienced along with slight pain. Pain is also noticed when chewing food, discolouration of the teeth is also seen. This is usually seen in cases when the decay has spread and cavities are in their advanced stage. The protective covering of the teeth is lost and the inner layer is more pronounced giving the teeth a darker shade. Brown or black stain can be noticed on the teeth. Some of the symptoms mentioned are common and might go away in a few days’ time, hence it is avoided mostly. And few may not have symptoms that are visibly felt. So to avoid that, it is recommended to go for routine dental check-ups.

Treatment options

For those who go for regular check-ups, the treatment can begin early. X-rays will help in finding out the exact issue with the teeth. Different treatment options are available when it’s quite early – the most common type is the fluoride treatments. Fluoride is generally found in tap water and tooth pastes. In this treatment, the amount of fluoride is higher, usually they are used in the form of gels or foam. The teeth are treated using these materials and help to contain the cavity formation.

When it has advanced, then dental crowns and fillings are chosen. Fillings are of different types. There are silver, gold, porcelain fillings available. The teeth are cleaned and based on the suitability of the material and personal choice of the patient the fillings are chosen. Dental crowns are placed as ‘crowns’ on the teeth. They cover the teeth that are affected and protect the teeth. The colour of these crowns is chosen to mimic that of the teeth similar to dental fillings.

Severe damage to the teeth would need a more detailed treatment option. Root canal treatment is performed in such a situation. The damage will have spread to the tooth root. The infected pulp is removed and is replaced with a filling. This treatment helps to save the teeth rather than removing it. But sometimes when the cavity formation is beyond control, then dentists will suggest removing it. This helps to save the overall dental health of the person.

Can adults wear braces?

Ad Min - Tuesday, May 19, 2020

All people are not fortunate enough to be born with a set of pearl white set of teeth. Many people have teeth which they want to improve. Braces are basically appliances which apply gentle pressure on teeth for them to move slowly in the jaw to help correct the protrusion and bite. Your bite, either overbite or under bite are important for chewing and amount of pressure they put on lower jaw. They also help in to straighten your teeth. The braces are more often made of metal but now many options are available.

adult braces

Who benefits from braces?

The people who benefit from braces are the ones who have crooked teeth, who have faulty bite, who do not have correct pressure of teeth required for chewing. Also people who have decayed teeth, cavities, and gum diseases.

How do braces help people with dental problems?

  • Braces correct the dental problems by spacing out teeth, so that cleaning teeth becomes easier.
  • Braces help controlling pressure of upper teeth on lower teeth.
  • As teeth are required to be cleaned, and cavities are filled, before braces can be fixed, this vital step is taken which helps getting rid of major dental troubles.
  • Braces also helps in protecting teeth from injury. When teeth are protruding, they are more prone to get broken. Braces can give protection by helping in straighten the teeth.

Can Adults Wear Braces Too?

There was a time when braces were only associated with the youth, teenagers and adolescents. When braces were discovered it was thought to start the treatment of braces, the child should have developed all permanent teeth because it would be useless to give braces to children who are going to lose temporary teeth anyway. Then doctors would advise parents to wait till all permamnt teeth erupted and they could be braced as early as possible to move them to correct position.

Slowly the treatment of braces to correct teeth alignment and a host of other dental problems began catching up all over the world. By the time it became very popular, many people had passed their adolescence and had become adults. They began to wonder about their own non aligned and crooked teeth. They started to wonder about correcting their own smile and how to get a better smile and in turn get a better self concept.

Many adults realized that it was possible to correct their previous dental work and get straighter and better looking teeth. It is now possible for adults to get braces on their teeth.

When do adults need braces?

Those who were not fortunate enough to receive timely dental braces for their dental problems such as overbites, under bites, overcrowded teeth, incorrect jaw position, crooked and protruding teeth may need braces when they become adults.

Can adults wear braces?

Since wearing braces have been an adolescent thing for so many years, adults always take time to think about going in for braces. It takes courage to take the decision of wearing braces in adulthood. It can be quite intimidating. Although now more and more adults are opting for wearing braces to correct dental problems and getting a better smile even in adulthood, it is not very easy to opt for in later age.

Adults who are professionals and have to present themselves in formal settings find it daunting to wear traditional braces comprising of dark wires and brackets. They find it undesirable to go about their social meetings wearing these brackets where the smile looks really unbecoming.

Now thanks to advances in dental treatment methodology, there are many options to braces which make more and more adults opting for braces. Today adult patients have a lot of choices available to them like lingual and ceramic braces to Damon, fixed, and clear braces.

Difference between braces among adults and young adults

Adults are as good candidates for receiving same benefits from braces as children. But the differences is that the recovery time for adults may be longer than in children because when children are growing they are more capable getting faster recovery. Adults have already grown that is why they take longer to recover from treatment.

Usually youth requires 12 months or more to wear braces whereas adults may require 18 months to 3 years to wear braces for them to be effective. The adults need to wear retainers also for a longer period after braces are removed to maintain the results of treatment.

Types of braces available

One of the reason today it has become possible for adults to go for  braces is the variety of braces available. Although the best option traditional dentists opt for is metal, there are other materials braces are made of which are attractive and reasonable priced.

There are smaller and less noticeable braces which are becoming popular.  There are natural tooth colour ceramic braces which are liked by many because they are not noticed at all and look natural at the same time very effective in straightening the teeth and correcting the bite.

The minor teeth and jaw alignment needs are taken care of by invisible clear braces made of plastic which is virtually invisible making it preferred choice among adults.

Traditional metal braces: These are made of stainless steel. They are attached to the front of teeth and are the most used braces among traditional practitioners.

Clear ceramic: The braces made from ceramic are worn on front of teeth like metal braces. They are clear and blend with the colour of teeth and are unnoticeable. They look better than metal braces but break more easily than metal.

Concealed or lingual: These brackets which are attached at the back of the teeth and therefore not seen or visible to people.

Invisible: These are a series of braces which are clear appliances made to order and are removable. They are called aligners. These are more convenient because they do not trap food as they can be removed. These are used for minor alignment problems.

As you can see, there are many methods available to correct your dental problems and enhance your smile. If you need a smile that needs correcting, get in touch with your dentist today!

Cosmetic dentistry for a great smile and youthful appearance

Ad Min - Wednesday, April 22, 2020

Giving teeth ‘a makeover’ is the ultimate aim of cosmetic dentistry. It improves self-esteem and helps regain a youthful appearance by repairing damaged teeth, giving teeth the lost shine and lustre, and by restoring the ‘perfect smile’.
Dentists focus on improving dental aesthetics by improving the colour, shape, alignment. Depending on the dental condition, there are different procedures that you can choose from. Dental consultations form the basis on which the dental procedure is selected. Along with improved appearance, dental and oral health is also a crucial consideration.

Oral diseases are treated and oral health is restored through the various procedures that are available under the cosmetic surgery umbrella. In this article, we discuss some of the most popular cosmetic dentistry procedures across the world.

Teeth Whitening

This procedure is by far one of the commonest procedures opted by many. Making the teeth whiter and shiner can improve the smile significantly. Many are affected by the dull colour of their teeth. They lose their self-confidence when they are not sure of their smile.

Teeth whitening procedures employ many measures to clean the stains from the teeth and make it brighter. Professional teeth whitening procedure in dental clinics is the better option rather than picking up a teeth whitening product over the counter. With professional whitening, products are carefully chosen to suit the patients. The risk of allergic reactions is low and the result is also durable when compared with other procedures.

However, if you cannot go to the dental clinic for teeth whitening, you may also use whitening gels or strips, whitening trays, whitening chewing gums etc. which are available over the counter. You have to follow instructions precisely and be careful not to overdo the bleaching.

Inlays and Onlays

Teeth decay can set in due to various reasons. Eating habits, inadequate dental cleaning habits etc. can all trigger decay in the teeth. The decay needs to be cleared out and the teeth must be filled to restore health and functionality.

Inlays and onlays are indirect fillings that are bonded to the teeth. They are called indirect as the procedure is done outside in the dental lab. Decay or damage to the teeth is sometimes seen on the cusps or grooves on the teeth. Protecting this area is possible through this procedure.

Both inlays and onlays are the same except Inlays are laid within the cusps in the teeth and onlays cover the cusps of the teeth. This technique does not require drilling of the teeth like in other procedures.

The teeth are first numbed. Then an impression of the teeth is taken for making the inlay or onlay. To give a natural look, the colour of inlay and onlay is matched to that of the natural teeth.

Dental Veneers

Dental veneers help give better colour, shape and changes the appearance of the teeth. A veneer is a very thin covering that is placed on top of the teeth that requires treatment. It fits over teeth like a thin coat.

There are different types of veneers to choose from like porcelain or composite veneers. Colours that match the teeth colour can be chosen so they look completely natural. If the teeth are chipped or stained or has lost colour considerably, placing veneers on the teeth can help bring back fully restored shiny teeth.

Before placing the veneers on the teeth, a bit of scraping is done the teeth surface. Dental veneers are held in place by strong adhesives, they help to stick to the surface of the teeth. Veneers are made by using a mould from the teeth so they remain in the exact shape of the teeth that require treatment. Dental veneers are also used to close gaps between teeth. This will give an even and bright smile and restore the confidence of the person.

Dental implants

Having a complete set of natural teeth always is everyone’s dream. But age, accidents, trauma or other diseases may cause loss of teeth. Speech, nutrition, health, self–esteem all get affected due to loss of teeth.

Replacement teeth provided through dental implants are strong and durable. Implants are the closest replacement for natural teeth among currently available teeth restoration options.

There are a few preconditions for a patient to receive implants. The gums must be healthy and must be able to hold the implant. The implant is first surgically fixed to the jawbone. Once it heals, then the replacement tooth is placed on top. The colour of the tooth is chosen to match that of natural teeth. This surgery takes time as the gums need to heal after the implants are placed and then the new tooth is placed on it.

Composite Bonding

This is another popular cosmetic procedure to restore the appearance of chipped or discoloured teeth. In this procedure, a composite resin is applied to the teeth. The resin will be of the same colour as natural teeth.

Teeth are prepared by roughening it and then the cosmetic resin is applied. For the resin to stick on to the teeth, an ultra violet light is applied. Even small gaps can be treated using teeth bonding. This procedure is not complicated, does not require anaesthesia unless decay in the teeth need to be removed. Many favour this treatment as it can be completed in a single visit to the dentist and also does not cost much. Proper care must be taken as this resin is fragile and can chip off.

A Complete Overview of Teeth Whitening

Ad Min - Friday, March 20, 2020

Whitening procedures are done primarily to bring the lost colour and shine to the teeth. This cosmetic restorative procedure is quite common across the world. One of the main reasons why people opt for this procedure is for the smile. Many are disturbed when their smile is less than perfect. This also affects a person’s self-confidence.

Overview of Teeth Whitening

It is important to know all aspects of teeth whitening before going ahead with the procedure. Many do the treatment at home and are often affected by abrasions on the teeth, teeth roughening and also loosening their natural protection. Some have also reported an increase in teeth sensitivity and gum irritation as the product used is unsuitable.

Discolouration of teeth is usually brought due to staining, which can be external or internal. External staining is seen on the dental enamel and is superficial. The entire tooth changes to yellowish in colour. The strong stains in the food consumed or tobacco will get caught in the pores of the teeth and it changes colour. Intrinsic staining is typically not spread all over the teeth, but on a particular portion of the teeth. This is usually deeper on the teeth, and is usually seen due to medication. Internal staining requires more care and treatment when compared with external staining.

Causes of teeth discolouration

There are many reasons for teeth discolouration:

Food and drinks
Food and drinks like coffee, tea, wine and even vegetables are known to bring discolouration to teeth. It is also caused due to tobacco chewing or smoking. The dental enamel gets eroded and loses colour. Aging also is one of the main reasons why teeth change colour. The protective dental enamel loses its strength as age goes by. When the protective covering loses its strength, it becomes easier for the stains to reach the internal part of the teeth.

Poor dental hygiene
Besides external causes bringing about staining of teeth, there are other reasons also. Poor dental hygiene is one of them. Many do not practice good personal hygiene. Daily brushing and flossing are important to maintain good dental hygiene. Plaque and stain causing elements remain in the teeth and stick to the teeth. Inadequate brushing and cleaning techniques do not remove tobacco or food debris and cause staining of teeth.

Disease conditions that affect dental enamel will bring about a change in teeth colour. Other treatments like those for cancer can also discolour the teeth. Chemotherapy and radiation will change the colour of the teeth, especially if it is in the head and neck region. If pregnant mothers have any infections, the dental enamel of the child will also be affected and a change of colour can be seen in that of the child.

Use of medicines for a longer period will change the colour of the teeth. Antibiotics if taken for a continuous period will make the teeth turn yellowish. Medicines for mental illness, or antihypertensive medicines will change the teeth colour. Some mouthwashes are known to have ingredients in them that bring about discolouration of teeth. Besides, if teeth or mouth area has suffered any trauma or accident then teeth will change colour due to the damage they suffered. Some people have discoloured teeth due to genetics as well.

Types of whitening products

There are many options available at your disposal to whiten your teeth.

Whitening strips and chewing gums

Many products are available that can be used at home as a whitening product. Whitening strips have whitening material like peroxide in it. It’s a gel-like material that is applied on the outer side of the teeth. Peroxide helps reduce the stain on the teeth and make it bright. The strip should be used for the time as mentioned on the product cover for maximum results.

Teeth whitening chewing gums can be used after each meal. They are available in sugarless variety as well. These gums help provide a refreshing taste and remove food odours after a meal. They also provide a coating on the teeth, this acts as a protection to the teeth and also helps prevent staining.

Tray-based whiteners

This product can be purchased from a drugstore and is also available from a dental clinic. The product is a mouth guard shaped tray that can be fitted onto the teeth. The tray contains whitening gel. Teeth are subjected to the treatment in the trays for a specific period of time and this helps to change colour from yellow to white. If at home, this can be worn for a couple of hours as part of the treatment. The peroxide will work on the stains and lighten it. The advantage of getting this from the dental clinic is the dentist can provide treatment that is suited for each person. Some may have sensitivity and irritation while using these trays. Dentists can help choose a treatment option that is suited to their needs.

Toothpastes and rinses

Whitening toothpaste are available in the market to help remove stains. It is mostly the external stains that can be removed using this method. The toothpastes contain mild abrasives that help remove the stains from the top of the teeth. Some also contain polishing agents that help to bring out the sparkle in the teeth. These polishing agents are mild and do not harm the teeth. Toothpastes do not clean out the stains fully, they only lighten it. Similar to the toothpastes, there are mouth rinses available that also help in reducing the yellowish stains in the teeth.

Whatever be the type of treatment that is chosen, expert advice from the dentist can be taken. Any type of dental treatment, be it simple or complex should be done after a consultation with the dentist. This is necessary to rule out any dental complications. Oral health is checked and the proper treatment is planned after proper diagnosis. This helps to maintain oral health and hygiene.

Common Dental Fillings Options for Treating Cavities

Ad Min - Saturday, February 22, 2020

Dental fillings are used to treat cavities. A cavity is a hole left in the teeth because of bacterial action. Even after the cavity is formed in the teeth, the bacteria do not go away. They are still present in the cavities and continue to cause damage to the what is remaining of the teeth.

Common Dental Fillings Options for Treating Cavities

Dental fillings will stop the damage and make that sure oral health is not compromised. Dentists will examine the teeth that are affected, and may order X-rays if required. The cavity is cleaned to remove bacteria and decayed matter. Then it is filled with an inert material and sealed. Fillings replace the part of the teeth that are damaged. Dental restoration is possible with the help of fillings. The functionality and structure of the teeth are preserved with fillings.

Types of dental fillings

There are a variety of dental fillings to choose from.

Amalgam fillings
This is the traditional or the classic fillings that most people choose. They are usually called silver fillings but actually it is a combination of different materials like tin, mercury, copper and silver. Mercury is the main element and forms almost half of this mixture. These fillings are used because of their durability and strength. Cost-wise also they are cheaper than the other fillings.

After drilling the tooth, the dentist cleans the cavity. They will then mix the mixture of alloy with liquid mercury. This forms a soft putty like material which will harden into a solid filling and works as a filler for the damaged teeth. Many have concerns because of mercury being used in dental fillings, but research shows that amalgams have not posed much of a health risk apart from some allergic reactions. If your old filling is still strong, there is typically no need to remove it. However, do inform your dentist if you feel you are sensitive to mercury or any of the other materials used in the filling mixture.

Composite fillings
A mixture of powdered glass and resin is used in composite fillings. They are favoured over the other types of fillings as they match the colour of the teeth. They blend well with the natural teeth and are hard to detect. They are also used for other cosmetic procedures like changing the colour of the teeth or even reshaping the disfigured teeth.

When compared with the traditional ‘silver’ fillings they cost a bit more, but can’t beat the camouflage effect they provide. Besides this, composite fillings bond well with the teeth, they stick to the sides of the teeth and provide support. They also provide strength to the teeth, act against any breakage or extreme temperatures. After placing the filling, some may notice increased teeth sensitivity. Inform the dentist about this and they will take appropriate measures. Composite fillings are also known to absorb the stains of food that is consumed, this can be prevented by applying a plastic coating over the teeth. Though they are sturdy, composite fillings do not last as long as the amalgam fillings.

Gold fillings
Gold fillings provide good strength and are durable. They do not chip or break away and are usually preferred to be placed in the rear teeth so they are not visible. Teeth get affected according to the food consumed. But gold fillings do not absorb stains from the food. Gold also expands and shrinks along with the teeth and this quality goes a long way when used as a filling.

Some of the other features of gold fillings are that they do not change colour after being used for many years. They do not change shape and also help in the chewing mechanism. Plaque formation is also reduced because of the polished surface of the filling. It does not allow food particles to stick and helps improve oral health.

Ceramic fillings
When the thought is on aesthetics along with providing restoration care for cavities, ceramic fillings score better. They are tooth coloured fillings and blend in well with the natural teeth. They are mostly made up of porcelain and do not take up stains like other fillings. It lasts for 10-15 years and is expensive as well. Earlier it took longer to make ceramic fillings but now due to advancement in technology the waiting period for the fillings is reduced.

There are concerns over ceramic fillings being brittle and breaking often. For this reason, ceramic fillings are filled in a larger space in the tooth. This offers extra support and they do not break off easily. Unlike the other fillings, there is no issue of allergy as metals are not used. Ceramic fillings are generally used as inlays and onlays.

Glass ionomer fillings
These fillings are made of acrylic and glass. Fillings of this variety are used when they are to be placed above the gum lining. They are especially recommended for use for children. Since fluoride is present in this mixture, it helps boost oral health by slowly releasing fluoride into the teeth. They also blend well with the natural teeth and have a good bonding with the dental enamel. Extra strength is given to the teeth due to this and there is no need for any bonding agent as it provides good attachment to the teeth. Glass ionomer fillings increase their support over the years, they absorb water and become stronger and are less susceptible to wear and tear.

5 Top Reasons For Toothache And What To Do About It

Ad Min - Monday, January 20, 2020

Toothache is the most common reason that would make anyone visit a dental clinic. It is a signal sent by the body to make you aware that your oral health is not top notch. Proper care and treatment might take care of the pain, but sometimes it will need more complex dental procedures.

Moving on, let us examine some of the main reasons for a toothache.

5 Top Reasons For Toothache

Tooth decay

Unchecked bacterial action in the teeth is what brings about its decay. The outer dental enamel gets eroded and the decay goes into the layers of the teeth and reaches the pulp of the teeth. Food contains sugar and when food debris gets stuck in between the teeth, the sugar also remains in the mouth. This sugary food attracts bacteria, bacteria acts on the food remnants and releases acids. These acids act on the different layers of the teeth and bring about decay.

Cleaning the mouth, brushing, and flossing can ward off this bacterial action. If cleaning is not thorough, then food stays in the mouth and plaque and tartar development will occur. This can also cause tooth decay. Along with daily cleaning of the teeth and tongue, it is also important to have a dental consultation at least twice a year.

Gum diseases

When you develop gum disease, there is inflammation and infection in the soft tissues surrounding the teeth. The gums become reddish and swell. They bleed easily when brushing. This condition is called gingivitis, and when left untreated progresses to periodontal disease. Infection is very severe in this stage. The gum tissues pull away from the teeth and jaw bone and forms small pockets. This space collects food debris and attracts bacterial action. The infection spreads rapidly and the plaque can be seen developing below the gum lining.

As the infection spreads, the gum lining and sometimes even the bone gets destroyed. It can spread to neighbouring teeth as well. The health of the gums will be lost and the jaw bone loses its strength and cannot provide support to the teeth. Dentists provide treatment to reduce the infection and reduce the pockets that are formed in the gum lining. The swelling of the gums and the accompanying pain is treated with antibiotics. The time of treatment and the recovery depends on the stage of the treatment and how the disease reacts to the treatment. The strength of the supporting tissues is regained by proper treatment and oral health is restored.

Fractured teeth

Teeth that are fractured or cracked cause tooth pain. This might not be a continuous pain, but it can strike sporadically. Pain is mostly seen when one is consuming food, or when exposed to hot or cold food.

When dental enamel is broken due to accident or sports injury, it exposes the inner layers of the teeth. The crack in the tooth might be just on the surface or it can go right to the root of the tooth. Cracks can be shallow, a fractured cusp, or it can break the tooth into two either from the root to the tip of the tooth or from the top of the tooth to the root. Some of the cracked or broken teeth can bring pain to the soft tissues of the mouth by cutting into them. They can also bring in bacterial action and infection.

Treatment is focused on protecting the teeth. Options are decided based on the type of fracture or chipping. Some can be helped by placing a crown on top of the affected tooth or it can be taken care of by placing dental veneers.

Tooth grinding

Tooth grinding or bruxism is a condition where some would clench, grind the teeth. This happens unconsciously when one is awake or while sleeping. This is also related to sleep disorders and can occur with snoring or sleep apnoea. Teeth get affected due to grinding and it can cause the teeth to be flattened or fractured or loose. The protective layer of the teeth gets lost and the inner layers of the tooth get exposed. This can cause pain and sensitivity when hot or cold food is consumed.

Besides pain in the teeth, jaw and neck pain are also felt by many patients. Depending on the extent of the problem, different options are explored by dentists to treat this dental concern.

Mouth guards are typically worn to reduce the flattening of the tooth. Some may need to wear dental veneers, sometimes even go for dental implants if the whole tooth is affected. Partial or complete dentures are also suggested by dentists if the tooth cannot be saved and the tooth is fully damaged.

Tooth abscess

A tooth abscess is a collection of pus caused by bacterial action. This can happen at any part of the mouth – at the root of the tooth or in the gum lining. The throbbing pain from the tooth can spread to the neck or jaws. Swelling can also be seen, some will also experience sensitivity to hot or cold food. When there is a tooth abscess, it can also loosen the tooth and there would be a bad odour from the mouth because of bacterial action. It is important to see the dentist when you notice swelling or pain and not ignore it. This will not go away on its own, it will need treatment.

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