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Monday, July 19, 2010

Teeth Whitening Advances To Modern Times

Smiling is one of the toughest things to do in life, particularly when you know that you do not have the perfect white teeth. A smile is one of the most essential factors of our life. It brings about a lot of benefits, not to forget the positive outlook it can spread out to other people watching you. However with age and the consumption of certain food or beverages, the teeth become stained and discoloured. However, not many of us know where it all started from.

The Smile History

We all know that teeth whitening procedures are as old as the human civilizations itself. Apart from the contemporary world, teeth whitening procedures were used by our ancestors as well. The use of teeth whitening procedures predates the AD era, however they were incepted way before this epoch, somewhere around 3000 BC. Obviously, back then, people did not have the same kind of techniques and tools as we have today. But the concept remained the same; rubbing the teeth with some whitening material would help to eliminate any kind of food residue which clings to the teeth after eating.

Formerly, they used something known as the 'chew sticks'. As the name suggests, it is not a typical brush that we know today, but is made out of some type of a tender tree branch. One end of this small tree branch would either be frayed or unravelled. Regardless of how crude the material was, as long as it could create a whiter, cleaner finish, it was used for whitening teeth in the early days. Even today, people in some parts of the world still make use of chew sticks, which proves its effectiveness in teeth whitening

Teeth Whitening Procedure Timeline

In the year 1498, the first ever 'bristled' toothbrush was brought into existence in China. The bristles were created from the back hair of the famous Siberian hogs. Hollow bones or Chinese bamboo were used to manufacture the handles of these brushes. The Europeans took notice of these tools and brought it back with them in their hometown.

With the passage of years, hog's hair has been lost and such a material was replaced with plastic. Hog's hair was used for about half a millennium and then teeth whitening procedures went through a major revolution. Du Pont is one such genius who discovered nylon in the year 1938. Animal hair was then replaced by nylon, however in 1950; soft nylon bristles were introduced in toothbrushes.

After this, another technological revolution brought about the electronic toothbrush. It was one of the most convenient ways to attain whiter teeth, which was later replaced by battery operated one. The recent toothbrushes have a motor which caused the bristles to rotate automatically as soon as it was switched on.

Modern Teeth Whitening Situation.

After the discovery of nylon in the early 20th century, teeth whitening procedures have undergone a revolution. Therefore you need to be wise in selecting the options available to you.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Boost Your Oral Health

Aging is inevitable. It's one of the permanent things in this world. But just because it's unavoidable doesn't mean we just leave it to take its natural course. There's no reason to associate aging with pain, wrinkles, wasted look, and most especially dull smile. After all, a bright smile is an indication of good health and youth.

One quick beauty tip: regular visits to your dentist in Newport Beach can do a lot in boosting your youthful look. Remember that aging gracefully is more than skin-deep. Good oral health also does a lot in aging and preventing health issues linked to aging such as heart diseases, diabetes, and stroke. Of course, brushing and flossing helps in keeping your oral health healthy, but even if you've been a diligent brusher and visitor of your dentist, there are other habits you do that affect your teeth and mouth. Read on to find out which habits to do and not to do to keep a healthy smile.

1. Drinking and brushing. Brushing after mealtime is important. But there is an exception to the rule: don't clean your teeth after drinking acidic beverages such as soda and wine. Brushing right after drinking acidic beverages will erode the tooth enamel. So, instead of brushing immediately, sip water or chew gums instead. This will help saliva production to neutralize acid in the mouth.

2. Use a straw. Soda junkies should practice this at all time. Acids in juices, sports drink, and sodas erode teeth enamel. Sipping with straws help limit contact of acid in the mouth.

3. An apple a day keeps the doctor (and your dentist in Newport Beach) away. Eating crunchy foods such as apples and carrots help remove stain in the teeth. These crunchy foods have an astringent quality ideal for cleaning the teeth. But don't forget to rinse your mouth with water if you can't brush after eating.

4. Kiss a lot. Kissing increase saliva production. With enough saliva in the mouth, the teeth are cleansed and cavity causing bacteria are removed. But don't make this as an excuse to kiss anyone. If you don't have anyone to smooch, consider chewing sugar-free gums with xylitol.

5. Eat whole grains. Aside from preventing diabetes and heart diseases, whole grains also keeps the teeth healthy. It helps stabilize blood sugar and reduce the chance of periodontitis in diabetics.

Coupled with regular visits to your dentist in Newport Beach, these habits will surely help you look younger instantly. So, maintain good dental habits and you are sure to age gracefully.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

What is a dental crown? Why do teeth require dental crowns?

What are dental crowns?

Crowns are a type of dental restoration which, when cemented into place, fully cup over the portion of a tooth that lies at and above the gum line. In comparison, fillings are dental restorations that fill in or cover over just a portion of a tooth. Since dental crowns encase the entire visible aspect of a tooth, a dental crown in effect becomes the tooth's new outer surface.

Crowns can be made out of porcelain (meaning some sort of dental ceramic), metal (a gold or other metal alloy), or a combination of both. Other terms that are used to refer to dental crowns are "dental caps" and "tooth caps."

Why do teeth need dental crowns?

A dentist might recommend placing a dental crown for a variety of reasons but, in general, most of these reasons will usually fall within one of the following basic categories: To restore a tooth to its original shape.

To strengthen a tooth.

To improve the cosmetic appearance of a tooth.


Dental crowns be used to restore a tooth's shape and strength.

Since a dental crown that has been cemented into place essentially becomes the new outer surface for the tooth, it is easy to imagine how the placement of a crown can restore a tooth to its original shape. It's also easy to see how a dental crown can help to strengthen a tooth by way of being a hard outer shell that encases the tooth structure that lies within it. For both of these reasons, dental crowns are routinely made for teeth that have broken, worn excessively, or else have had large portions destroyed by tooth decay.

It is conceivable that a dental filling, as an alternative, could be used as a means to restore a tooth's shape. Dental crowns however offer your dentist a big advantage over dental fillings by way of the fact that they are fabricated "away from your mouth." By this we simply mean that dental crowns are fabricated in a dental laboratory (by a dental technician using plaster molds your teeth). Dental fillings, in comparison, are created "in your mouth" by way of your dentist placing the filling material directly upon your tooth.

When a dental crown is made the dental laboratory technician can visualize and examine all aspects of your bite and jaw movements, from a variety of angles, and then sculpt your dental crown so it has the perfect anatomy. In comparison, when a dentist places a dental filling they have far less control over the final outcome of the shape of your tooth because it is often difficult for them to visualize, evaluate, and access to the tooth on which they are working.

From a standpoint of strength considerations, there are some types of filling materials that can bond to tooth structure. For the most part, however, dental fillings are not considered to substantially strengthen a tooth in the same way that a dental crown, with its rigid encapsulation a tooth, can.

Porcelain dental crowns be used to improve the cosmetic appearance of teeth.

Since a dental crown serves to cup over and encase the visible portion of a tooth, any dental crown that has a porcelain surface can be used as a means to idealize the cosmetic appearance of a tooth. Possibly you have heard it rumored (especially in past decades) that certain movie stars have had their teeth "capped." This simply means that the person has obtained their "Hollywood smile" by way of having dental crowns placed.

Actually, getting your teeth "capped" just to improve their cosmetic appearance can at times be a very poor choice. Dental crowns are best utilized as a way to improve the cosmetic appearance of a tooth when the crown simultaneously serves other purposes also, such as restoring a tooth to its original shape (repairing a broken tooth) or strengthening a tooth (covering over a tooth that has a very large filling).

In general, a dental crown probably should not be used as a means to improve the appearance of a tooth if there is any other alternative dental treatment that could equally satisfactorily achieve the same cosmetic results. This is because a dentist must grind a significant portion of a tooth away when a dental crown is made. If a more conservative dental procedure could equally well improve the tooth's appearance, such as a porcelain veneer, dental bonding, or even just teeth whitening, then it is usually best to consider that treatment option first.

Understanding How Cosmetic Dentistry Beautifies Your Smile

Cosmetic dentistry is the field of dentistry related to improving the appearance of one’s mouth through dental procedures. In laymen’s terms, it is the expertise of cosmetic dentistry that gives broadcast journalists and Hollywood actors their perfect pearly whites.

Often, cosmetic dentistry involves the whitening of teeth, veneers, or other restorative procedures. Cosmetic dentistry differs from traditional dentistry, which focuses on the maintenance of good oral health and hygiene, and treating any maladies related to the patient’s oral health.

Veneers, implants, whitening treatments, and other cosmetic dentistry procedures have been available for many years. Whiter teeth have now become a status symbol, and Hollywood stars and other celebrities have popularized the need for a whiter, brighter smile. For this reason, there are newer and better procedures now available in the field of cosmetic dentistry to ensure one can get the much-coveted bright white smile.

Cosmetic Dentistry Tooth Whitening – Sparkling Shine

Tooth whitening is the most common cosmetic dental procedure. Teeth whitening can be done effectively with optimal results in the office of the cosmetic dentist, as opposed to do-it-yourself kits at home. Certainly, home whitening products are effective, but the time required to achieve desired results is far longer than having the procedure performed by a cosmetic dentistry professional.

Generally speaking, teeth can be whitened by several shades within just one office visit. This cosmetic dentistry procedure can cost anywhere from a few hundred dollars to $900 at the highest end.

Perfectly Pearly Veneers with Cosmetic Dentistry

The use of veneers in cosmetic dentistry has been on the rise in recent years, especially with technological advances using better ceramics – which give a more realistic and natural quality to the look of the teeth being covered. Veneers are basically glued on outer covering or shells, utilized for several different purposes.

Veneers are used in cosmetic dentistry to cover teeth whose enamel is worn, chipped, or discolored. Additionally, veneers are used in cosmetic dentistry to fix minor aesthetic problems related to misaligned teeth or unevenly proportioned teeth. Several different types of veneers are available for those seeking a newer, cleaner, and brighter smile.

Realistic Cosmetic Dentistry Implants and Bonding

For teeth that are significantly chipped or completely missing altogether, other options are available, including bonding and implants. Implants are prosthetic teeth that look like the real thing and are very difficult not to mistake for real teeth. Implants are anchored to the patient’s jaw and are made to match the other teeth in their mouth. Once in place, implants are an ideal replacement for the missing tooth, and cosmetically, they improve an individual’s appearance.

Bonding occurs when cosmetic dentists use a composite resin to fill in large chips and/or cracks in a patient’s teeth. Typically, this cosmetic dentistry method is used for teeth besides the front teeth, as opposed to veneers, which are used for the front teeth, purely for cosmetic purposes. Bonding has not only aesthetic value, but benefits the patient by helping them to reduce further damage to the affected tooth or teeth by filling them in and strengthening them in the process.

With all of the advances in cosmetic dentistry, patients have a wide array of choices to help renew and rejuvenate their smiles. Consult with your cosmetic dental health care professional and see if one or more of these procedures would be right for you.

Implant Dentistry – A Solution for Missing Teeth

As we age, some of us will lose teeth due to disease, injury, or simple daily wear. In addition to bringing about unwanted changes to a person's facial appearance, missing teeth have a negative effect on that person’s confidence and self-esteem. With the advent of implant dentistry, however, those who are missing one, two or several teeth no longer have to accept a lifetime of embarrassment and inconvenience. Dental implants, sturdy titanium posts that are anchored directly into the jawbone and topped with realistic replacement teeth, provide the security and usability of permanently placed teeth.

What are Dental Implants?

Dental implants are a restorative dentistry option that allows patients to replace missing teeth with ones that look, feel, and perform like their own. During the first step of this procedure, a doctor skilled in implant dentistry surgically places a titanium screw or post in the patient's jaw. After the gums have healed around the embedded post, a replacement tooth is attached to the top of it.

Dental Implants – Benefits and Possible Complications

Dental implants are a vast improvement over conventional dentures. They're more stable and user-friendly than many other teeth replacement options, and because the posts that secure dental implants in place are integrated into the jaw, they also help prevent bone loss and gum recession (because the pressure of chewing on the implant’s crown stimulates the underlying bone and prevents it from deteriorating from disuse). However, some medical circumstances – including radiation therapy in the mouth area, and diseases such as diabetes -- lower the success rate for implant dentistry. For that reason, patients must undergo a rigorous screening process before they may proceed with implant dentistry.

Alternatives for Replacing Missing Teeth

Patients can choose from a variety of options to replace missing teeth. In addition to dental implants, there are removable partial dentures held in place by wire clips; fixed dental bridges cemented into position by crowns placed on the teeth adjacent to an empty space; and traditional full dentures.

Cost of Dental Implants – Financing Options

The cost of dental implants varies depending on the number of missing teeth and the area of the country in which the implant dentistry is performed. The cost of dental implants ranges from $2,000 to $4,000, so the average cost of the procedure is hard to pinpoint. Prior to treatment, your dental professional can go over implant prices and discuss your payment options with you. Fortunately, financing is available for people who require advanced treatment such as dental implant placement. Third party financing companies can provide credit and many dental offices offer installment plans for their dental implant patients to help manage the cost of replacing missing teeth.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Fillings: The Basics

Determining If You Need a Filling

Your dentist may use several methods to determine if you have tooth decay, including:
*Observation — Some discolored spots on your teeth may indicate decay, but not all of them. Your dentist will use an explorer, a metal instrument with a sharp tip, to probe for possible decay. Healthy tooth enamel is hard and will resist pressure by the explorer. Decayed enamel is softer. The instrument will stick in it slightly. Explorers should be used with caution. Pressing too hard with an explorer can damage a healthy tooth.

*Cavity-detecting dye — This can be rinsed over your tooth. It will stick to decayed areas and rinse cleanly from healthy ones.

*X-rays — X-rays can help your dentist see decay that doesn't show on the surface. However, X-rays are often not accurate in detecting smaller cavities. Current fillings or other restorations also can block the view of decay.
Decay is not the only reason you may need a filling. Other reasons include:

-Cracked or broken teeth
-Teeth that are worn from unusual use, such as:

.Tooth grinding (bruxism)
.Using your teeth to open things

Steps to a Filling

When you visit your dentist to get a filling, you will be given local anesthesia to numb the area if necessary. Next, your dentist will remove decay from the tooth, using hand instruments or a drill. Air abrasion and lasers also can be used to remove decay.
A drill, which dentists call a handpiece, uses metal cones called burs to cut through the enamel and remove the decay. Burs come in many shapes and sizes. Your dentist will choose the ones that are right for the size and location of your decay.

At first, your dentist will use a high speed drill (the one with the familiar whining sound) to cut through the hard enamel. He or she will precisely outline the cavity with the drill, removing only enough of the tooth so the filling can be placed properly. Once the drill reaches the dentin, or second layer of the tooth, the dentist may use a lower speed drill. That's because dentin is softer than enamel.

Throughout the removal process, your dentist will test the area with the explorer to see if all the decay has been removed.

Once all the decay is removed, your dentist will shape the space to prepare it for the filling.

Once all the decay is removed, your dentist will shape the space to prepare it for the filling. Different types of fillings require different shaping procedures to make sure they will stay in place. Your dentist may put in a base or a liner to protect the tooth's pulp (where the nerves are). The base or liner can be made of composite resin, glass ionomer, zinc oxide and eugenol, or another material.

Some of these materials release fluoride to protect the tooth from further decay.

If your dentist is placing a bonded filling, he or she will etch (prepare) the tooth with an acid gel before placing the filling. Etching makes tiny holes in the tooth's enamel surface. This allows the filling to bond tightly to the tooth. Bonded fillings can reduce sensitivity. They also can reduce the risk of leakage or decay under the filling. That's because the etched surface of the tooth and the filling material form a mechanical bond. Bonding is generally done with composite fillings. It can also be done with amalgam.

Certain types of fillings get hardened by a special light. With these fillings, your dentist will stop several times to shine a bright blue light on the resin. This cures (hardens) the material and makes it strong.

Finally, after the filling is placed, your dentist will use burs to finish and polish the tooth.

After a Filling

Many people feel some sensitivity after they receive a filling. The tooth may be sensitive to pressure, air, sweet foods, heat or cold. Composite fillings often cause sensitivity, but other types of filling materials can, too.
In most cases, the sensitivity will subside over one to two weeks. Until then, try to avoid anything that causes it. If your tooth is extremely sensitive or your sensitivity does not decrease after two weeks, contact your dentist's office.

It's important to let your dentist know about any sensitivity you are feeling. The next time you need a filling, he or she may be able to use a different material and make changes to reduce sensitivity. People vary in their response to different materials. Your dentist has no way of predicting if your tooth will react to a particular material.

When you talk to your dentist about the sensitivity, try to describe it as precisely as possible. This information will help decide what should be done next. Your dentist may take out the filling and put in a new one. He or she may add a base, liner or desensitizing agent on the tooth as well. If the filling was very deep, you could need a root canal treatment to solve the problem.

Besides sensitivity, some people feel discomfort when they bite down. There are two types of pain, each with a different cause.

*The first type occurs when you bite, and worsens over time. This is caused by a filling that interferes with your bite. Once your anesthetic wears off, you would notice this right away. Contact your dentist. You will need to return to the office to have the filling reshaped.

*The second type of discomfort is a very sharp shock that appears only when your teeth touch. This is called galvanic shock. It is caused by two metals (one in the newly filled tooth and one in the tooth it's touching) producing an electric current in your mouth. This would happen, for example, if you had a new amalgam filling in a bottom tooth and had a gold crown in the tooth above it.
Your dentist polishes the filling after it is placed, but occasionally sharp edges may remain. If you find one, contact your dentist and arrange to have it smoothed as soon as possible to avoid injury to your tongue or mouth.

Temporary Fillings

You may receive a temporary filling (usually white, off-white or gray) if:

*Your treatment requires more than one appointment.
*Your dentist wants to wait a short period of time for the tooth to heal.
*You have a deep cavity and the pulp (nerve and blood vessels) becomes exposed during treatment.
*You need emergency dental treatment.

A temporary filling may make your tooth feel better. This is because the filling seals the tooth, protecting the pulp from bacteria and reducing sensitivity.

Temporary fillings often contain eugenol, an ingredient in over-the-counter toothache remedies. Eugenol is also a component of oil of cloves, which people use for toothache pain.

Temporary fillings are not meant to last. Usually, they fall out, fracture or wear out within a month or two. If you get a temporary filling, make sure you visit your dentist to get a permanent one. If you don't, your tooth could become infected or you could have other problems.

Why Replace a Filling?

Fillings don't last forever. They can become discolored. For example, amalgam or silver fillings corrode and tarnish. Composite, tooth-colored fillings pick up stains, and yellow or darken over time. When you chew, your teeth and any fillings in them are subjected to tremendous pressures. Even if no other problems develop, some fillings will wear out over time and will need to be replaced. A filling will need to be replaced earlier if it falls out, leaks or cracks.
Food debris and bacteria can seep down under a filling that is cracked or leaking. Since you can't clean there, the bacteria feed on the food debris and form the acid that causes tooth decay. Decay under a filling can become extensive before you notice it or it causes you pain. This is why you should have your fillings checked regularly and get them replaced when problems are found.

Fillings That Fall Out

Fillings can fall out for several reasons:

*You chew too hard on a large filling, and break the filling or the tooth.
*A filling material was used that cannot restore the tooth to its proper form and function. For example, if you have broken a large piece of your front tooth, a porcelain (tooth-colored) crown is probably the best treatment choice. In some cases, a dentist may place a composite filling instead. This may look good or acceptable. However, if the composite is too large, a strong biting motion may break the plastic material.
*The cavity is contaminated with saliva when the filling is placed. For composite resins, this will disrupt the bonding of the material. As a result, the bond will not stick well to the tooth and it may fall out.

Cracked Fillings

Both amalgam and composite fillings can crack, either soon after they are placed or after the fillings have been in place for some time.
Cracks can occur soon after a filling is placed if the filling is higher than the rest of the tooth surface, and must bear most of the force of biting. Cracks also can occur over time, as the forces from chewing and biting affect the filling.

Small cracks also can occur at the edges of a filling. These usually are caused by wear over time. These cracks often can be repaired.

Leaking Fillings

A filling is said to be leaking when the side of the filling doesn't fit tightly against the tooth. Debris and saliva can seep down between the filling and the tooth. This can lead to decay, discoloration or sensitivity.
Both amalgam and composite fillings can leak. An amalgam filling sometimes leaks slightly after it is placed. You would notice this as sensitivity to cold. This sensitivity decreases for the next two to three weeks. Then it disappears altogether. Over that period, the amalgam filling naturally corrodes. The corrosion seals the edges of the filling and stops any leaks.

A composite filling could be contaminated with saliva. This would weaken the bond between the filling and the tooth and allow for leaks. Other times, there may be small gaps where the tooth and filling meet. These gaps are caused by shrinkage when your dentist places the filling. Sensitivity after receiving a composite filling may disappear over time. If it doesn't, the filling may need to be replaced.

Fillings also can leak as a result of wear over time. These fillings should be replaced.

Worn-Out Fillings

Some fillings can last for 15 years or longer. Others, however, will have to be replaced in as little as five years. Your dentist can determine if your fillings are worn enough that they need to be replaced.

Clenching and Grinding

If you clench or grind your teeth, you may have more problems with your fillings. The forces placed on your teeth can lead to tooth sensitivity and extra wear on your fillings. Clenching or grinding also can cause your teeth and fillings to crack or develop small craze lines. These are fine cracks you can see if you shine a light on your tooth.

Keeping Your Fillings

Although some fillings can last for many years, the average life of an amalgam filling is five to seven years. Some can last 15 years. Composite fillings may not last this long.
Your dentist will examine your fillings at your checkup visits. You may need X-rays if your dentist thinks a filling might be cracked or leaking, or if decay is occurring under the filling. Make an appointment with your dentist:

-If a tooth is sensitive
-If you see a crack
-If part of a filling appears to be missing
To help your fillings last, you should visit your dentist regularly for cleanings, brush with a fluoride toothpaste, and floss once a day. If you have many fillings or very large fillings, your dentist may prescribe a fluoride gel you can use at home. The fluoride will help strengthen your teeth and prevent future cavities. Your dentist or hygienist also can apply a fluoride varnish around the edges of these teeth at your checkup visits.

Replacing a Filling

Before removing your old filling, your dentist will discuss treatment options with you. It is often possible to repair an old filling instead of removing it and replacing it completely. However, if the entire filling has to be replaced, the dentist may reevaluate what filling material to use. Talk with your dentist about your preferences for appearance, form and function. Then he or she can select the material that is best for you.