Monday, December 22, 2014

The Perfect Smile

Almost anyone can have the perfect smile they dream about. But there is a great deal more to the perfect smile than white teeth. Most people who look at a smile will look at the color and the alignment of the top and bottom teeth and notice whether teeth are crooked. A filling or a crown that doesn't match natural tooth structure may also be noticed. But the teeth are only one of the three equally important components of a perfect smile. The human mouth is a stage and is framed by the lips and the soft tissue (gums) that surround the teeth. If either of these deviates from the accepted norm, even if the teeth are straight and white, the smile may appear to be unsightly.

Low, Medium, and High Lip Line
Your lips frame your gums and teeth. There is not much a dentist can do about the muscles and attachments of the lips. But the lips have a dominant role in your perfect smile. The lip line is divided into three types - low, medium, and high. A low lip line means you show little or no tooth structure when you talk or smile. In the United States today, this is regarded as being the appearance of an older person. The skin and muscles of the human face drop about 1mm every 10 years, beginning at about age 40. This is due to gravity and a loss of tissue elasticity. As the muscles and skin drop, less tooth structure is seen, which contributes to an older appearance, of a low lip line. The older you are, the less of the top teeth will be visible and more of the bottom teeth will be visible. A medium lip line is one where the whole tooth shows when talking or smiling. The line of the teeth generally follows the lower and upper lip lines. This appearance, coupled with dominant front teeth, is considered as being the most desirable type of smile. A high lip line is one where all of the front teeth and gum tissue above the top front teeth are visible. It can range from a little gum to a large amount of gum tissue visible. This is considered a less pleasing appearance. 

The gum tissue surrounds the teeth. The gum tissue should fill in the space between the teeth that touch so that all you see is gums and teeth - no spaces. Where the tooth appears to come out of the gum, the gum should have a scalloped (wave-like) look. The gum should be situated higher on the central incisors (front two teeth), lower on the lateral incisors (smaller two side teeth), and higher again on the two eyeteeth. Usually, the gum tissue is higher around the eyeteeth than the front two teeth. And, of course, the left and right sides should be a mirror image of each other. This scalloping should follow the upper lip line. Correct appearance here is of primary importance in developing a perfect smile. If the height of the gum is too low or too high around a specific tooth or several teeth, even if the teeth are straight, they will look "wrong." Gum position defects can be (and should be) corrected before any major front tooth restoration. Treatment may be minimal or major, depending on the number of teeth and type of problem present.

The teeth themselves should generally follow the lip line from left to right. They should be proportional to each other and themselves. Most often, a length to width ratio of 1.6:1 is desirable. Adjacent teeth also follow a similar proportional ratio when viewed straight on. If individual teeth are too long, wide, not in proportion to each other, or not mirror images left to right, esthetic problems result. 

We can recognize these problems and offer suggestions for improved esthetics. You may look and not know what is wrong with your smile, but you know that you do not have the smile you want. It may not be the teeth alone. The framing of the teeth by your lips and the architecture and position of the gums surrounding your teeth are two variables in a three-part equation for a perfect smile - yours!

If you have any questions about your perfect smile, please feel free to ask us.

Friday, December 19, 2014

The Ultimate Guide to Toothpaste 


It is common knowledge that we should all see the dentist every six months. But what should be happening between appointments? Regular brushing, flossing and rinsing with mouthwash are the obvious answers to keeping a clean mouth. However, if you’re like us – picking the “right” toothpaste can be extremely overwhelming. Check out this handy cheat sheet before walking down the toothpaste aisle!
Tartar Control Toothpaste
This particular formula is a good choice for people that are prone to tartar and are looking to prevent buildup. Tartar control toothpastes contain ingredients that are effective in breaking down plaque on the teeth before it hardens into more difficult to remove plaque. Remember, this toothpaste does not help to prevent tartar buildup below the gum line but should be used to as a preventative measure.
Whitening Toothpaste
Almost every brand offers some sort of whitening toothpaste. While some products contain harsh materials that gently scrub away surface stains, some companies use peroxide to whiten. While popular, whitening toothpastes can often cause sensitivity and is not recommended for children under the age of 18. Consult your dentist for safer, cost effective options.
Toothpaste for Sensitivity
Specially formulated toothpaste for sensitive teeth is great for individuals that experience discomfort when eating or drinking hot or cold foods. These toothpastes are usually less abrasive and contain either strontium chloride or potassium nitrate. Why these chemicals? These compounds aid in the reduction of sensitivity by inhibiting the passageways that travels through the teeth to the nerves.
Children’s Toothpaste
It is incredibly important for your kids to have their own, specially formulated toothpaste. We suggest you start with a “training” toothpaste for toddlers, since these are designed to be safe to swallow (just in case)! Children’s Specific Toothpaste is the best choice for older kids. It is similar to adult toothpaste but typically comes in more kid-friendly flavors and contains less fluoride.  Consult your dentist if you’re still unsure which brand is best!
A bonus note on fluoride: Fluoride is a naturally occurring mineral that strengthens tooth enamel and helps prevent tooth decay. However, excessive fluoride can stain the teeth, which is why kid’s toothpaste typically contains a smaller concentration.
Always make sure the toothpaste you choose has earned the approval of the American Dental Association. Remember to set a good example by brushing your teeth twice daily and encourage your children to join in on the fun!

Thursday, December 18, 2014

Avoid holiday oral health hazards


Holiday lights are shining in trees and storefronts. Parties are scheduled. Family time around the Christmas tree. With all the holiday festivities, you don’t want a sudden toothache to ruin your holiday celebrations.
Even dentists enjoy a great gingerbread cookie or a traditional candy cane during the holiday but we know holiday treats can often bring dental troubles. So here are some tips for a holiday season without dental problems.

1. Bring a toothbrush. Holiday parties with friends and family are about gathering together where lots of food and beverages are on hand. By bringing a toothbrush, toothpaste and dental floss, you can periodically excuse yourself to take care of your teeth. If you cannot do this, at least try to rinse your mouth with water between dinner courses or chew sugar-less gums such as Orbit or Trident with xylitol, a antimicrobial which reduces plaque formation and reduces the production of acid in the mouth.

2. Avoid too many desserts and sweetened holiday beverages. The party may offer a multitude of sugary snacks and holiday desserts, but don’t forget that drinks like eggnog, hot cocoa, punch and most liqueurs contain a high level of sugars. Take a quick trip to the restroom and brush. By limiting your consumption, you can deter unwanted tooth decay while reducing any harmful effects to your waistline.

3. Holiday stress can harm your teeth. If the season is stressing you out, you may find yourself grinding or clinching your teeth during stressful situations and often while you sleep. This can cause headaches and jaw pain, as well as damaged teeth and dental work. The best way to address this problem is to use a dental mouth guard which won’t stop the grinding but can prevent it from causing pain and damage.

4. Have emergency dental contacts on hand. The wrong bite into a candy cane can result in a dental disaster. You may chip a tooth, lose a filling, or break a crown while on vacation or when the MDA office is closed. Contact your dentist or local dental offices to see if they can provide you with emergency care over the holidays.

5. Start the New Year with proper dental care. The holiday fun can keep you distracted, but as long as your oral health care becomes a habit, you can continue the holiday fun without fretting about your teeth. Make a resolution to brush and floss regularly and schedule routine check ups with your dentist. Regular professional cleanings and good home care are essential for healthy, strong teeth that are free from decay.

Always remember to check with your dentist before changing any of your dental habits. Have Omni on hand for any of your dental emergencies this holiday. We have 3 locations for your convience: 

Hymeadow Drive: 512.250.5012 
William Cannon Drive: 512.445.5811
Jolleyville Road:512.346.8424

"Avoid Holiday Oral Health Hazards « Morrison Dental Associates |." Morrison Dental Associates. 7 Dec. 2011. Web. 18 Dec. 2014. <>.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Dental Facts & Fiction

Dental Facts
In anticipation of the new year, we’ve compiled a list of dental facts you may not know about and dental myths you should stop believing!
FACT: Tooth enamel is the hardest substance in the human body.
FACT: The plaque found on your teeth is home to more than 300 different species of bacteria.
FICTION: Placing a cap on your toothbrush is helpful. — It is actually MORE detrimental since bacteria favor the moist environment for reproduction.
FACT: At least 3 out of 4 Americans suffer from some form of periodontal gum disease.
FACT: A snail’s mouth is no larger than the head of a pin but it can contain over 25,000 teeth!
FICTION: Dentistry is a recent discovery. — Actually, mummies have been found in Egypt with fillings made up of resin & malachite.
FICTION: Toothpicks are better than floss. — Sadly, the most often chocked on item by Americans is a toothpick – just floss!
FACT: Like fingerprints, everyone has a unique set of teeth. Even identical twins!
FACT: The cotton candy making machine was co-invented by a dentist! Before it got the name cotton candy, it was called “fairy floss.”

Before changing your health routines, come in to speak with a dentist about any of your dental concerns. We have three locations, in Austin, for your convenience. 

 "Dental Facts & Fiction | ToothZone Dentistry - Fort Collins." ToothZone Dentistry Dental Facts Fiction Comments. 15 Dec. 2014. Web. 17 Dec. 2014. <>.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

5 Holiday Treats For Your Teeth

Halloween through New Years is an exciting and often delicious time of year, but it can also be a dangerous time of year for your teeth! Keep these five tips in mind to keep your pearly whites healthy throughout the holiday season:  
1. Stay away from chewy candy
We know that it is nearly impossible to stay away from the delicious holiday candy that shows up this time of year, but did you know those sticky candies are terrible for your teeth? The chewy substances stick to your teeth’s enamel which stimulates tooth decay and can even rip out fillings! Try your best to serve delicious, healthy alternatives and only have a few of these tasty treats this holiday season!
2. Use a nut cracker
Nuts are a great source of protein but remember: do not use your teeth to crunch down on this healthy snack! The hard nature of the shell of a nut can cause severe tooth and gum damage and can even crack your teeth. Use a nut cracker to remove the shell and you’re all set to enjoy!
3. Your teeth are not box cutters
Using your teeth to open presents or packages may require a future root canal or repairing of an existing crown. Do your teeth a favor and take the extra second to use scissors or a box cutter to rip open your presents this holiday season! 

4. Don’t chew on hard candy
While we’ve already warned you to stay away from the chewy treats, you should also avoid chomping on the hard stuff this year! By biting down on hard candy, you run the risk of cracking or chipping your teeth if you crunch on hard candy or even ice cubes. Instead of biting down, let the candy dissolve in your mouth as to reduce the stress on your teeth!

5. Drink water
To keep your smile bright this holiday season, avoid drinking coffee, black tea, soda, or red wine that can stain your teeth. Try replacing these beverages with water that can wash away food particles and bacteria. Water also keeps your mouth quenched to avoid a dry mouth which can cause bad breath. 

Give your teeth the present of avoiding any dental emergencies over the holidays by following these  five simple tips. If you just can’t stay away from the yummy candy and need to come in for an appointment, call your Omni Dental Group nearest you, sooner than later! Happy Holidays!

"5 Holiday Treats For Your Teeth | ToothZone - Fort Collins." ToothZone Dentistry 5 Holiday Treats For Your Teeth Comments. Toothzone, 5 Nov. 2014. Web. 16 Dec. 2014. <>.

Monday, December 15, 2014

       The Best and Worst Foods for Your Teeth

If you are what you eat, that's particularly true for your teeth and gums. When you drink and munch starchy or sugary foods, you're not only feeding yourself, you're feeding the plaque that can cause havoc in your mouth.
Plaque is a thin, invisible film of sticky bacteria and other materials that covers all the surfaces of all your teeth. When sugars or starches in your mouth come in contact with plaque, the acids that result can attack teeth for 20 minutes or more after you finish eating. Repeated attacks can break down the hard enamel on the surface of teeth, leading to tooth decay. Plaque also produces toxins that attack the gums and bone supporting the teeth.
Although some foods invite tooth decay, others help combat plaque buildup. Here are some foods to seek out and some to avoid.

The good guys

  • Fiber-rich fruits and vegetables. Foods with fiber have a detergent effect in your mouth, says the American Dental Association (ADA). They also stimulate saliva flow, which, next to good home dental care, is your best natural defense against cavities and gum disease. About 20 minutes after you eat something containing sugars or starches, your saliva begins to neutralize the acids and enzymes attacking your teeth. Because saliva contains traces of calcium and phosphate, it also restores minerals to areas of teeth that have lost them from the bacterial acids.
  • Cheese, milk, plain yogurt, and other dairy products. Cheese is another saliva generator. The calcium in cheese, and the calcium and phosphates in milk and other dairy products, help put back minerals your teeth might have lost due to other foods.
  • Green and black teas. Both contain polyphenols that interact with plaque bacteria. These substances either kill or suppress bacteria, preventing them from growing or producing tooth-attacking acid. Depending on the type of water you use to brew your tea, a cup of tea can also be a source of fluoride.
  • Sugarless chewing gum. This is another great saliva generator that removes food particles from your mouth.
  • Foods with fluoride. Fluoridated drinking water, or any product you make with fluoridated water, helps your teeth. This includes powdered juices (as long as they don't contain a lot of sugar) and dehydrated soups. Commercially prepared foods, such as poultry products, seafood, and powdered cereals, also can provide fluoride.

The bad guys

  • Sticky candies and sweets. If you eat sweets, go for those that clear out of your mouth quickly. So thumbs down for lollipops, caramels, and cough drops that contain refined sugar. Note: Effects of chocolate on preventing cavities have been widely touted (largely by studies funded by the candy industry), but not conclusively proven. Cacao (70 percent) does have some health benefits. Some studies have shown chocolate to be not as bad as other sugary treats.
  • Starchy foods that can get stuck in your mouth. Soft breads and potato chips, for instance, can get trapped between your teeth.
  • Carbonated soft drinks. These drinks are the leading source of added sugar among kids and teens. Besides being laden with sugar, most soft drinks contain phosphoric and citric acids that erode tooth enamel.
  • Substances that dry out your mouth. These include alcohol and many medicines. If medications are the cause, consider talking to your health care provider about getting a fluoride rinse, or a fluoride gel with which to brush your teeth.

Eat for a healthy mouth

The ADA offers these tips to help reduce tooth-decay risk from the foods you eat:
  • Consume sugary foods with meals. Your mouth produces more saliva during meals, and this helps neutralize acid production and rinse food particles from the mouth.
  • Limit between-meal snacks. If you crave a snack, choose something nutritious. Consider chewing sugarless gum afterward to increase saliva flow and wash out food and acid.
  • Drink more water. Fluoridated water can help prevent tooth decay. If you choose bottled water, check the label for the fluoride content.
  • Brush your teeth twice and floss once a day.

Medical Reviewers:
  • Eakle, Stephan W., DDS
  • Freeborn, Donna, PhD, CNM, FNP 
Eakle, Stephan W, D.D.S. "University of Rochester Medical Center." University of Rochester Medical Center. Web. 15 Dec. 2014. <>.

Friday, December 12, 2014

Traveling and Oral Health: Tooth Tips for the Holidays

We don’t have to tell you: the winter holidays mark one of the busiest seasons of the year. With shopping, parties and vacations jam-packed on the calendar, it’s no wonder that many people take shortcuts when it comes to oral health maintenance during this time. If you are traveling during the holiday season and you want to avoid a January surprise cavity (or worse), here are some simple tooth travel tips to help you keep your smile intact.
  1.  Don’t leave home with a toothache! If you suspect you have any lurking problems in your mouth, schedule an appointment prior to your travel date so that you don’t end up with a tooth emergency while out of town. Research emergency dental clinics in your destination city and have those numbers handy to ensure that your time off is as relaxing as possible.
  2. No one ever regrets buying travel-sized gear. Keeping a travel toothbrush, floss and toothpaste on hand in addition to trial sizes of your favorite toiletries reduces your packing time, and not just during the holidays.
  3. Splurge on probiotics! Diseases and germs run rampant in buses, airports and other communal places that you might encounter during your trip. Researchers believe that probiotics are not only good for the gut; they may help maintain optimal oral health too!
  4. Toothbrushes don’t last forever! Generally, dentists recommend that you buy a new toothbrush every two to three months when at home. However if you are traveling, your toothbrush is exposed to even more bacteria. It’s best to toss it when you return home and swap it for a fresh brush, even if it hasn’t hit the three-month mark yet.
  5. Chewing gum is a limitless oral-health-on-the-go tip! Bringing sugar-free gum with you has multiple benefits; not only does it taste good and make your breath smell fresh, but the gum can help remove food that may be stuck in your teeth as well, acting as a secondary toothbrush.
Always consult a dentist before changing your dental habits, schedule your appointment today. We have three Austin locations for your convenience.

Posted by Dr. Kronenwett on Nov 5th, 2014 8:18 am  
Dr. Kronenwett. "Traveling and Oral Health: Tooth Tips for the Holidays." Traveling and Oral Health: Tooth Tips for the Holidays. 5 Nov. 2014. Web. 12 Dec. 2014. <>.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

5 Tips for Healthy Holiday Smiles

Healthy Holiday Teeth
A season of holiday cheer doesn’t mean a holiday from your family’s dental health.  In fact, the change in your schedule and diet means that it is even more essential to be vigilant in maintaining your beautiful smile.  Here are five pointers for a healthy mouth during the holidays:

Get up to date on your dental visits before the year is out.

Don’t put off needed visits until you return from visiting family.  It’s always a good idea to plan ahead, get an appointment early and take care of your teeth before the rush and hustle of celebrating.  Staying up to date will help prevent dental issues from ruining your time away from home by detecting any underlying issues that need to be treated before your leave.  Holidays and vacation times are also very busy time in dental offices, so you want to make sure your appointments are scheduled and taken care of sooner rather than later.  And don’t forget flex benefits! Many flex pay health care plans require you to spend any accumulated funds before year end.

Make a dental travel kit.

Nearly everything comes in a travel size and we’ve found that the activity of putting together a dental travel kit will encourage great habits while you are away from home.  Don’t forget to pack travel sized mouthwash, floss and a toothbrush for everyone in the family. We’re excited about new convenient options as well, such as quick disposable toothbrushes that can be carried for “in-between” brushing on the go.  Your kids will love their own dental kit.  Help them to pick out a special brush and mini-toothpaste just for their time away.

Protect your toothbrush.

If you’re leaving town for the holidays, you want to make sure that your toothbrush stays covered.  Extra handling, luggage and hotel bathrooms provide bacteria extra opportunity to find its way onto your bristles and into your mouth.  Several options are available, including covers that are anti-bacterial.  A closed cover gives a warm, damp place for bacteria to thrive, so remember to let your toothbrush dry before covering it up.

Watch what you eat.

We are all more likely to indulge in sugary drinks, snacks and desserts during the holidays.  We’re also more likely to allow our children to indulge for special occasions. Why not make a conscious decision to eat a bit healthier this year?  Instead of just planning your days and family activities around food, look for opportunities for more active fun.  You might also decide to pack healthy snacks so that you won’t be tempted to grab a quick treat on the road that may not be good for your teeth.

Keep your routine.

Whatever you decide to eat, don’t forget your regular dental habits.  It may be tempting to just go to bed after a long day of family fun, but forgetting your routine could mean no-so-fun dental problems later on.  Make brushing and flossing an activity that your family does together.  It can be a great opportunity to “de-brief” and discuss the activities of the day or plan for the next.
We wish everyone a great season of love, joy, happiness and healthy smiles!

 "5 Tips for Healthy Holiday Smiles." East Valley Pediatric Dentistry. 4 Dec. 2014. Web. 11 Dec. 2014. <>.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014


This Holiday Season, Eat, Drink, and Be Very Good to Your Teeth

Kid with Candy CaneWhile we all know that the holiday season can be tough on your wallet and your waistline, did you also know it can pose some danger to your gumline? Holiday events and traditions, such as family and work parties, are often a big part of the end of the year. However, according to the Massachusetts Dental Society (MDS), some aspects of this holiday season may not bring comfort and joy to your mouth and can actually cause injury to your teeth.

Enamel is the top layer of the tooth and is the hardest substance found in the body. The enamel is what protects the inner part of your tooth from injury. When enamel is weakened, your tooth can become more susceptible to problems, including cracking and breaking.

Therefore, you may not want to take a “crack” at putting certain items in your mouth. Accidentally biting down on small, hard objects—such as candy canes, chocolate gelt coins, ice cubes, or food decorations—can cause a cracked tooth.

Kid with GeltCracked teeth can also occur from bruxism (teeth grinding), which can often be a result of holiday stress. The force of the grinding usually occurs while sleeping, not making for a silent night. Physical symptoms can manifest themselves through sore facial muscles or jaw joints. The grinding can eventually lead to a cracked tooth if the force is great enough.
While many of us enjoy consuming seasonal holiday foods and drinks, use caution when being home for the holidays and eating or drinking anything overly acidic, sugary, or sticky. Acidic foods and drinks, such as citrus fruits and juices, wine, soft drinks, and sweetened mixed drinks, can actually cause enamel erosion over time. It is better to sip beverages through a straw to minimize exposure of the acids to the tooth enamel. Also, try to avoid sticky toffees and candy, as they can loosen or even remove fillings and crowns.
If you experience sensitivity to cold and/or sweetness, there are steps you can take to relieve the discomfort. Rinse your mouth with a mouthrinse containing fluoride, and brush and floss your teeth.  If the sensitivity continues, try a toothpaste designed to limit sensitivity.

Lastly, while giving and receiving holiday gifts can be enjoyable, they can also pose problems for your oral health. Many people use their teeth to cut through strings and tape, open packages, and remove tags from new clothing. The Masschusetts Dental Society warns that these practices can cause your teeth to chip, crack, or even break. So always use a pair of scissors to open your child’s new toy or remove that tag from a new sweater—never use your teeth.
By following some simple guidelines, you can enjoy the most wonderful time of the year—with a bright, healthy smile.

Check with one of our skilled dentist before ever changing your dental routine. Schedule your appointment today.

"Holiday Oral Health Tips - Massachusetts Dental Society." Holiday Oral Health Tips - Massachusetts Dental Society. Web. 10 Dec. 2014. <>.

Monday, December 8, 2014

Holiday sweets can be tough on teeth

The winter holidays are known for sweet treats and tempting goodies, but that doesn't mean that you have to end up at the dentist with cavities in January.

How do sweet foods and drinks cause cavities?

When you eat sugary foods or drinks, naturally occurring bacteria in the mouth feed on the sugar and create acids as a by-product. These acids then wear down the tooth enamel, making it weaker and more susceptible to tooth decay as well as a host of other problems, including gingivitis.
Snacking on sweets throughout the day or during an extended period of time (such as at a holiday party) is especially harmful, since damaging acids form in the mouth every time you eat a sugary snack and continue to affect the teeth for at least 20 minutes afterwards.
"Snacking on sweets and sugary beverages throughout the day can increase the chance of tooth decay and gum disease," says Ken Sutherland, DDS, a senior Delta Dental dentist consultant. "Brushing and flossing after snacks definitely reduces bacteria."

Simple steps for holiday oral care

The best way to avoid cavities while still enjoying your holiday indulgences is to practice good oral hygiene. Here are some tips to help:
  • Eating sugary or carbohydrate-rich foods as part of a balanced meal is better than eating them alone. The body produces more saliva to help digest larger meals, which washes away more food and helps neutralize harmful acids before they can attack teeth.
  • Foods that take a long time to chew can damage teeth. That's because sticky foods, including nutritious choices like raisins, dates and dried fruit, hold acid against teeth longer than do other foods. Try to limit your consumption of these foods.
  • After consuming high-acid food (fruits) or drinks (wine), rinse with water before brushing your teeth to prevent tooth erosion from the acids.
  • Keep a toothbrush and travel-size toothpaste handy (for example, in your pocket or purse or store these in the glove compartment of your car) so that you can brush right after eating at holiday parties. An added benefit is that you are less likely to eat after you brush your teeth, so you may end up eating less at parties.
  • If you're unable to brush your teeth after eating, rinsing your mouth thoroughly with water or chewing sugar-free gum will help to wash away food particles, produce more saliva and neutralize acids in your mouth

"Brush up" on your technique

Use your holiday vacations to spend more time brushing your teeth. If you're relaxed or have more free time during the day or with your morning or nightly routine, you can use the time to brush more thoroughly and develop better oral care habits.
It isn't necessary to brush vigorously to get your teeth clean. What's important when brushing your teeth is not how hard you scrub, but that you use the proper technique and that you do a thorough job. And that takes time. Dentists recommend that you brush your teeth for two to three minutes to get the most thorough cleaning.
If you get into the habit of brushing for two to three minutes every morning, every night and after every meal during the holidays, you may keep those good habits when your regular routine resumes.
Last updated: December 2009

The oral health information on this web site is intended for educational purposes only. You should always consult a licensed dentist or other qualified health care professional for any questions concerning your oral health.

"Holiday Sweets Can Be Tough on Teeth." - Delta Dental. 1 Dec. 2009. Web. 8 Dec. 2014. <>.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Gingival Hyperplasia

What is gingival hyperplasia?
Gingival hyperplasia is an increase in the size of the gum tissues caused by an increase in the number and normal arrangement of the cells. It is characterized by inflammation of the soft tissues surrounding the teeth. The gum tissues will appear shiny and swollen and dark red to bluish purple in color.

How can I get it?
The predisposing factors in this inflammation can include but are not limited to systemic factors (diabetes mellitus), antiepileptic medications (such as Dilantin, Mysoline, and Depakene), immunosuppressant drugs (cyclosporine), calcium channel blockers (Procardia, Calan, Cardizem, and Bayotensin), select other medications, hormonal changes associated with pregnancy, oral contraceptives, or the types of hormonal changes younger teenagers experience during puberty. We commonly see hyperplasia associated with pregnancy, oral contraception, and puberty.

These conditions do not necessarily cause the gums to become inflamed or enlarged, but rather in the presence of only slight amounts of plaque and/or calculus, the response of the gum tissues can be out of the ordinary. Hyperplasic gingivitis can also occur just because of a large presence of bacterial plaque without any of these factors being present.

If you have any of these predisposing factors or take certain drugs, there is a potential for gingival hyperplasia. Unfortunately, gum disease does not hurt until it is too late. If you have gingival hyperplasia, and if you are lucky, you will probably notice that your gums bleed when you brush and floss. Bleeding is always a sign of disease or infection.

Elimination and/or Prevention
To eliminate or prevent these problems, your oral self-care must be thorough. You must brush and floss and do whatever other oral self-care procedures you have been instructed to do every day. This may clear up the problem entirely. If not, you will need to adjust the interval between recare appointments with the dental hygienist. A time frame of 2, 3, or 4 months between cleanings, depending on the severity of the problem, will be more appropriate for prevention of hyperplasia. This will be necessary for as long as the predisposing factors exist. 
  • If medication is the factor, you will have to see the hygienist at the interval recommended. 
  • If you are pregnant, gingival hyperplasia could persist until the hormonal changes associated with pregnancy revert back to normal. Until then, you need to schedule your oral recare appointments with the dental hygienist as recommended. Similarly, if you take oral contraceptives and notice signs of recurring gum infections (bleeding when brushing and flossing), assuming that your oral self-care is thorough, a more regular recare schedule may be necessary.
  • Gingival hyperplasia in young teens is generally seen where oral self-care is not adequate. A 3-month interval is best in this circumstance. Some teenagers have inadequate oral self-care habits. Junk food and sugar drinks (even juice) coupled with almost nonexistent brushing and flossing cause serious gum disease, bad breath, and decay. Generally, the hormonal change stabilizes and the acute problem resolves.
These recommendations are designed to prevent gum problems. Prevention is better and much less expensive than any cure. If you have dental insurance, it will probably not cover the additional necessary dental treatment. While you do need them to maintain your oral health, these situations are not considered unusual by the carrier and are not generally covered procedures.

If you have any questions about gingival hyperplasia, please feel free to ask us!

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Uprighting Tilted Molars

One of the most common conditions in an adult who has experienced an early loss of an anterior molar or premolar is the drifting and tilting forward of first or second molars. This drifting or tilting will cause the teeth to move off their normal vertical and horizontal positions. Teeth move at a very slow pace, so it may take many years for this movement to become noticeable to you. 

How do teeth become tilted?
Teeth are normally held in position by the contact with the adjacent and opposing teeth. When this contact or occlusion is changed because of an extraction, the teeth will migrate toward the front of the mouth. Because of the forces of occlusion, they will begin to tilt and move into the space created by the extraction. 

Why this is bad for you?
Because of the change, the tooth that has moved will be more prone to having decay start between it and the one behind it. There will also be a tendency for an adverse change in the position of the bone and gum architecture, and the change is not for the better. Because of a change in the way food deflects off the tooth and different actions and forces on the root, pathologic periodontal pockets can and usually do develop. As one tooth begins to move, the other teeth around it begin to change position too. The closer they are to to the tooth next to the space, the more they move. Three, four, five, or more teeth can easily be affected.

What are your options to fix it?
Since this is not normally a stable or good situation, we advise that you consider having it corrected. 

One tooth:
The easiest solution when there is one tooth missing and only one tooth that has moved forward and tilted is to orthodontically upright the malpositioned tooth. This can often be done in a matter of several months. Once the tooth has been moved back into position, you must stabilize it so that it will not drift back into the space again. If the tooth can be moved forward so that it is in contact with the more anterior tooth, stabilization might include some type of night retainer for several months. If there is a space anterior to the moved tooth, that is, if the tooth was moved backward in the uprighting process, you should consider replacing the missing tooth with a conventional fixed bridge, a bonded bridge, an implant, or a removable partial denture. All of these options should be considered and the choice should be made before the orthodontic treatment begins.

More than one tooth:
Conventional Bridge
If more than one tooth has moved, the orthodontic correction will become more complicated and involve more time and more teeth. Some teeth may be moved forward, and some, backward. Opposing teeth may have extruded into the space and need to be intruded back into the socket. As with the movement of only one tooth, the final prosthetic plan must be determined before any work begins. Stabilization and restoration must be begun as soon as possible after the teeth have been correctly moved, or they will move again.

How do you prevent it?
Prevention is the best treatment. Dentists recommend saving teeth. If you have had a tooth removed, get it replaced as soon as possible, thus preventing future improper movement and misalignment. But if you are unlucky enough to have had a back tooth removed at an early age and the teeth are beginning to move, consider orthodontics to upright and reposition the teeth. If you do not, you can expect future problems with decay and your periodontal supporting tissues. Continued movement may even cause the loss of more teeth!

If you have any questions about uprighting teeth, please feel free to ask us!

Monday, October 13, 2014

Sour Candies

In the past 20 years, candies marketed to children have increasingly been of a “fruity” or “sour” variety.
  • Sour candies are very acidic, with a low pH level (Acid Levels in Sour Candies).
  • Some candies are so acidic it can actually burn gums and cheeks.
  • Acid weakens and wears away tooth enamel.
  • Teeth without protective enamel are prone to tooth decay.
  • Each acid attack lasts about 20 minutes.
  • Holding the acid in your mouth by prolonged candy sucking or chewing continues the acid attack.

Research Supports the Theory of Dental Erosion

Research on the harmful effects of acidic food and beverages and dental erosion is well documented in scientific literature. Minnesota dentists Dr. Robyn Loewen and Dr. Robert Marolt, in conjunction with Dr. John Ruby (University of Alabama-Birmingham School of Dentistry), have compiled this substantial evidence into an article titled “Pucker Up: The Effects of Sour Candy on Your Patients’ Oral Health,” published in the Minnesota Dental Association’s Northwest Dentistry Journal (March-April 2008).

The findings are informational and highly useful for both dental professionals and the general public.

How Tooth Erosion Happens

View a Chart Showing the Acid Levels in Popular Sour Candies (.pdf)

What You Can Do To Protect Your Teeth Now:

  1. Reduce or eliminate consumption of sour candies.
  2. Don’t suck or chew sour candies for long periods of time.
  3. If you do eat a sour candy, swish your mouth with water, drink milk, or eat cheese afterwards to neutralize the acids.
  4. Chew sugar-free gum to produce saliva which protects tooth enamel.
  5. After eating sour candy or other acidic foods or drinks, wait one hour before brushing teeth.  Brushing right away increase the harmful effects of acid on teeth.
  6. Ask your dentist about ways to reduce sensitivity or minimize enamel loss if erosion has begun.
  7. Use fluoride toothpaste and a soft toothbrush to protect your teeth.

Friday, October 10, 2014

You Know You've Got A Good Toothbrush When...

Before you even move to open your tube of toothpaste, the quality of your tooth-brushing session has already been determined. We’re talking, of course, about your toothbrush.

How is your toothbrush, and is it working as hard at keeping your teeth clean as you are? Here are a few ways to tell.

A toothbrush is good when:
  • It’s comfortable. Don’t worry about fancy add-ons—buy what you like and what feels right.
  • It has soft bristles. Ask your dentist and hygienist about this one, but the ADA recommends that most people use soft-bristled brushes to avoid damaging their teeth and gums.
  • It’s (relatively) new. When was the last time you switched out your toothbrush? Three months is about the right time to switch out, and sooner if you notice any discoloration or fraying of the bristles.
  • It’s clean and dry. This is very, very important! Wet, un-rinsed toothbrushes can harbor bacteria that can actually make your mouth less clean when you brush.   
  • Power brushes have been proven to be superior to manual brushes due to the amount of strokes/minute but even power brush heads need to be replaced. 3 months is a good rule of thumb for any brush you choose.
Go give yours a look and see if it measures up!

Thursday, October 9, 2014

Furcation Involvement

What is the furca?
The roots of the teeth are covered and surrounded by bone and gum tissues when they are in their normal state and have been disease-free. Only the crown portion is visible. Some teeth toward the back portion of your mouth have two or three roots extending into the jaw bone from the crowns of the tooth. This "V-shaped" area where the tooth branches or forks into two or three roots is called the furcation or furca. The furca is also covered with bone and is attached to the tooth by periodontal ligament fibers.

Normal amount of bone and gum vs. loss of bone
As long as a furcation of a multirooted tooth is covered with the normal amount of bone and gum, everything is fine and the furca holds no exceptional interest for the dentist or dental hygienist. When there is an alteration in the density of the furca bone, or it actually starts to resorb (disappear due to some type of dental pathology), the furca area becomes important and interesting. Continued loss of bone would lead to loss of the tooth.

The loss of the bone in the furca area could be related to periodontal disease (gum disease). The periodontal pathology in the furca could be part of a localized problem - only present at that one site - or a sign that there is a more widespread problem that needs attention. The breakdown of bone in the furcation could also indicate that the nerve inside the tooth is dying, and the tooth will need a root canal (endodontic treatment). 

If the breakdown is specific to the site on that one tooth, treatment would be localized. The type of therapy recommended would depend on the severity of the breakdown. Minimal disease might be treated by a dental prophylaxis (cleaning) and reinforcement of personal oral self-care. Treatment of a more extensive breakdown could involve aggressive periodontal procedures including but not limited to periodontal surgery and bone augmentation. You may be referred to a periodontist for these procedures.

If the furca breakdown is a sign of more widespread periodontal disease, the whole mouth will be evaluated and specific treatment recommendations will be made.

There are many very small nerves that exit through various portions of the tooth, and a localized furcation problem could indicate that the nerve in a tooth is dead or dying and the tooth may require a root canal.

You may think that teeth are difficult to floss and brush when tooth alignment and gum position are ideal. When there is bone loss in a furca, daily oral self-care becomes more complicated. A furca is a difficult area to clean - the more bone loss, the more difficult. In extreme cases, there is no bone or gum left in the furca, and a patient could actually place an interdental cleaning aid completely between the roots of a two-rooted tooth. For a three-rooted tooth with a furcation involvement, the cleaning process is even more of a problem.

You have been diagnosed with a furcation involvement problem. After careful examination, a treatment recommendation will be made. Our recommendation will be based on not only treating your furcation problem but also preventing further exposure of the furcation area.

If you have any questions about a furcation involvement, please feel free to ask us.  

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Enamel Dysplasia

What is Enamel Dysplasia?
Enamel, the first word in the title, is probably familiar to you as the hard outer covering of the tooth crown. The second word, dysplasia, is probably less familiar. Enamel dysplasia is a dental term that discusses a number of dental problems, both cosmetic and structural. The condition may affect only the tooth surface and appear as small pits in the enamel or as a gross malformation of the enamel and shape of the tooth. Enamel dysplasia can range from slight to severe with all grades in between.

What causes it?
The causes of the dysplasia are numerous, but occur during a critical stage of enamel/tooth formation. Fever, illness, medication, change in nutrition, or prescription medication have all been cited as causes.

Is the tooth weaker?
Rarely do these conditions make the tooth weaker or more prone to decay. Teeth with dysplasia are not "soft." In fact, many times these affect teeth exhibit less incidence of decay than teeth that have normal shape, color, contour, and texture!
How do you correct it?
Everyone agrees that enamel dysplasia is unsightly and correction of the problem is needed. The solution depends on the type of defect and the extent to which the teeth are involved. 

If the blemish is superficial: many times it can be polished off the tooth, and  it never returns. This is done either with a drill or with special polishing compounds, or both. Sometimes a whitening agent is also used. Local anesthetic is not required because there is no pain involved. A restoration (filling) is not necessary to correct a superficial dysplasia.

When the defect is deeper in the tooth: the defect may have to be mechanically removed (drilled) and a bonded, tooth-colored restoration will be placed. Sometimes an injection of a local anesthetic is needed to correct a deeper defect. The filling should last for many years before it needs to be replaced. The color match is usually perfect.

Smoothing the enamel defect or replacing the area with a small filling is often all that is needed. When the defect is more severe, however, reconstruction of the tooth with bonded onlays or crowns is necessary. We will tell you what is indicated after examining your mouth and determining the extent of your problem.

Enamel Decalcification
There is one type of white spot or line that forms on a tooth that is not really a dysplasia of the enamel but it looks like one. This appears as a white line along the gumline and is caused by a decalcification of the enamel because of plaque or debris sitting on the tooth. In short, the area is not being brushed properly and a cavity has started to form. When a patient has orthodontic braces, cleaning the space between the orthodontic band and the gumline can be a problem. Proper oral self-care is a must for patients undergoing orthodontic therapy.

Treatment, other than some treatment with topical fluoride, may not be necessary if the enamel decalcification is discovered in the early stage. When the white line is soft or the decalcification has invaded the underlying dentin, drilling and restoration will be needed.

If you have any questions about enamel dysplasia, please feel free to ask us. 

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

How Does A Dentist Drill Work?

Today, dentists are dependent on the drill handpiece. If the drill is running smoothly, then the practice is running smoothly.

What is it?
The drill is a sophisticated device which runs on electric motor or air pressure. The most common type is the air driven handpiece. It runs with the help of compressed air which helps in rotating the turbine, ultimately rotating the bur.

Dentist Drill (Air Driven) Consists of 2 Main Parts:
1. The body or shell through which air and water are supplied
2. The turbine which revolves the bur

Dental Handpiece
The body or shell can be made up of brass, stainless steel, or titanium. Brass is cheaper, but it is less strong and more corrosive. Steel is strong by costly. Titanium is the least corrosive, most strong, and the most costly.

The body can be further divided into head and outer sheath. The head holds the turbine and the outer sheath forms the handle and holds the inlets of air and water supply.
Interior Cross Section of Drill

Rusting of the inner surface of the head can be seen in handpieces due to repeated sterilization

Turbine is the heart of the drill. It is a kind of precision component which converts the air pressure in mechanical energy of rotation. Turbine rotates around an axis on which a bur or drill bit is fixed. As the turbine rotates, the bur will rotate. The turbine has small fin-like structures attached around its axis to catch the air resistance and convert it into rotatory motion.

How does the dental drill work?
Turbine inside head
1. Dentist presses a foot pad. The foot pad is a switch to turn the drill on and off.
2. When the foot pad is pressed, compressed air is released and enters the drill through the air inlet pipe which is attached to the drill at the back end, i.e. coupling
3. Compressed air reaches the head part of the handpiece in a small chamber which houses the air turbine
4. In attempt to escape, this compressed air rotates the turbine
5. Through various minute attachments, there is a facility to attach a bur to this turbine
6. When the turbine rotates, the bur also rotates
7. This bur is used for drilling and cutting tooth structures

Monday, October 6, 2014

Dental Emergencies

Regular dental care helps prevent inconvenient dental emergencies. However, dental emergencies can and do occur. Listed here are some of the more common dental emergencies and what you can do until you can get to our office. A good rule of thumb: if it hurts, do NOT wait to make an appointment. We will be happy to see you as soon as possible.

Toothache/Sensitive Teeth
A toothache or a sensitive tooth can be caused by several different types of problems. At times, it is a sign of a dying nerve inside the tooth. Over-the-counter pain relief medication can temporarily relieve the pain. Contact us for an appointment as soon as you notice the problem. Slight pain, if left untreated, can progress into facial or oral swelling and severe pain. Commonly, tooth pain can be eliminated with endodontic treatment (root canal therapy).

A sensitive tooth may be due to exposed root, a leaking or defective filling, decay, a bite-related problem, or a dying nerve. See us as soon as possible for an evaluation. Click here to read our blog post about the 10 biggest causes of sensitive teeth.

Broken Tooth
Teeth with large fillings can easily break or fracture. Call us as soon as possible to have the tooth evaluated and restored. If the broken tooth is not treated, more serious problems can develop. Broken teeth may or may not be sensitive to air and temperature changes. Sensitivity and pain are not necessarily an indication of how badly the tooth is damaged.

Tooth Knocked Out
Place the tooth in water or a wet towel or cloth. Do not try to scrub or wash the tooth. Get the tooth and the patient to us immediately. The faster the tooth can be repositioned, the better the odds that the tooth can be saved. Time is crucial.

Object Stuck Between Teeth
Use dental floss to gently remove the object. Do not use sharp or pointed objects to push or pry the object from between your teeth. If the object does not come out easily, come to us for help.

Final or Provisional Crown/Bridge Falls Out
See us as soon as possible to have the crown recemented. If this is not possible, you can use a denture adhesive (Fixodent, for example) that can be purchased without a prescription. Place a small amount in the crown and reseat it. Do not try to force it into place. It should not be difficult to put into place. When you cannot put the crown in correctly, save it, and bring it with you to your appointment. We will do the cementation. The reason the crown came out may make it impossible for the dentist to recement the old crown. That decision will be made during your examination.

Broken Partial or Denture
Bring the partial or denture here for repair. Do not try to glue the plastic yourself. Do not use Crazy Glue or other similar materials.

Orthodontic Problems
If the appliance is loose, take the patient to the orthodontist. If a sharp wire is exposed, cover it with a piece of wax, gum, a small cotton ball - anything to keep the sharp end from poking into the soft tissues.

Swollen Gums
Swollen gums are a sign of an infection. The infection may be caused by a dying nerve inside the tooth or a periodontal (gum) problem. Rinse your mouth with warm salt water. See us as soon as possible. The swelling may or may not be accompanied by pain. Either way, it needs immediate attention.

Contact us to make an appointment

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Top 10 Bad Habits That Can Wreck Your Teeth

Little things that you do every day can have a big impact on your teeth. Here is a list of the top 10 bad habits that can wreck your teeth!

1. Continuously sipping on soda or sweet coffee: The sugar from a single sip can sit on your teeth for 20 minutes, and the accumulation of sugar can lead to rampant decay.

What to do: Try giving up the sugary drinks. If you cannot, then try to drink the liquid within a 15- minute time period, then either brush your teeth or drink some water to wash the sugar away.

2. Brushing too hard: Some people think using a hard-bristled toothbrush will scrub more plaque off of their gums, but often they may be damaging the enamel or gums by brushing too hard. 

3. Sucking on cough drops often: Many brands of cough drops contain a lot of sugar, which will sit on your teeth. If you're using cough drops because you have a dry mouth, then your rate of tooth decay may be even worse.

4. Chewing ice and crunching on hard candy: This can fracture your teeth

5. Forgetting to use sunscreen on your lips: Exposure to the sun can cause oral cancer

6. Using your teeth to open anything or crack nuts: Do not use your teeth to open a bottle, a barrette, a bobby pin, or anything else that is hard. It can lead to chipped or fractured teeth.
7. Grinding or clenching your teeth: This can be a tough habit to break because many people do this in their sleep. The motion wears down your teeth which can cause problems with your bite and lead to fractures, loose teeth, and pain in your jaw and teeth. Ask you dentist about a night guard or other remedies.

8. Chewing tobacco: Popping a wad of tobacco into your mouth can lead to oral cancer. Why would you even want to risk it?

9. Piercing your tongue: Dentists have seen lots of patients who have accidentally bit their tongue stud or ring and ended up chipping a tooth. The tongue stud or ring could also damage gums. Even more importantly, the piercing creates a wound in the mouth, which is a highly-bacterial environment and could increase the risk of infection. These infections can be life-threatening.

10. Using your teeth to snip thread or a fishing line: The line could slip and cut your gum line 

Bonus: Biting your nails!