Oral Health Care: Taking Care Of Your Gums

Dental mouth mirror near healthy white woman teeth with precious stone on iMost people are aware that your teeth are extremely important when it comes to your overall health.  Tooth decay can affect other aspects of your health and lead to some serious conditions.

Of course, it’s important to consider more than just your teeth when you’re dealing with your oral health.  Your gums are also a critical piece of the puzzle and you’ll never have total oral health if they are diseased.

About Gum Disease

Gum disease is one of those issues that doesn’t often have many symptoms in the beginning.  This means that when you finally notice something is wrong, you may be in danger of losing a tooth or teeth.  When plaque is left on the surface of your teeth to form hard tartar, it can attack the point where the teeth and gums meet and lead to infection and tooth loss.   

Symptoms

While you may not notice anything in the very early stages, once symptoms do begin to show you might see:

  • Red gums or a little bleeding with brushing.
  • Puffy gums or change of gum color.
  • Swelling, bleeding in your gums or loose teeth.

Since pain is not always part of the equation, you may be in a bad state by the time your dentist realizes you have gum disease.  That is why it’s important to see your dentist regularly and brush and floss regularly to keep your gums clean and the attachment between your gums and teeth strong.

Health Risks

Some of the health risks associated with serious gum disease include:

  • Pain and abscesses
  • Chronic bad breath
  • Tooth loss
  • Diabetes
  • Lung infections (especially in the elderly)
  • Possible pre-term baby deliveries

Many doctors and health care practitioners claim that oral health can affect your heart, your blood and even your brain, so take it seriously and keep your teeth and gums healthy. 

Are You At Risk?

Some of the more common risk factors for gum disease include:

  • Hormone changes (especially for women)
  • Smoking
  • Poor nutrition
  • Certain medications

The key to minimizing your gum disease risks is to stop any of the behaviors that are listed as risk factors and obey basic oral hygiene rules.  If you remove plaque on a daily basis, before it gets out of hand, you’ll be well on your way to maintaining good oral health and avoiding any of the gum disease consequences.

Cosmetic Dentistry Answers and Solutions for Reconstructing Smiles

Cosmetic dentistry focuses its attention on improving the appearance of the overall smile. Traditional dentistry includes the diagnosis and treatment of oral disease, tooth decay, tooth decay prevention and oral hygiene. Cosmetic dentistry on the other hand is completely elective. It includes treatments that bring beautification and excellence to the mouth. Of course, cosmetic dentistry goes hand-in-hand with general dentistry because the teeth cannot be beautified without first handling the crucial basic needs. Full mouth restorations include both cosmetic dentistry and general dentistry procedures. Cosmetic dentistry offers numerous beautification options including onlays, and inlays, composite bonding, teeth whitening, dental veneers, smile makeovers, dental implants and full mouth restorations.

Full Mouth Restorations
Full mouth restorations begin with a comprehensive examination. The dentist will determine which restorative procedures are needed including porcelain veneers, full coverage crowns, inlays or onlays, bridges and implants. The treatment will depend on the condition of the teeth including cavities and decay, cracks, tooth wear, short or long teeth, truth is, missing teeth, discoloration and root canal issues. Periodontal disease will require scaling and root planning. A strong foundation is required for cosmetic dentistry. Newly constructed teeth will require a strong and healthy gum foundation. Soft tissue and bone graft treatments are available to strengthen the gums and the underlying jaw bone. X-rays, photographs and models of the teeth made from impressions will be used to develop a plan for restoration. Specialists may be required including a periodontist, orthodontist and oral surgeon. A comprehensive treatment plan will be developed. A detailed written description will display the step-by-step plan for the full mouth restoration. Multiple phases of treatment will be needed. The entire treatment may take 12 months or longer depending on each unique case.

Smile Makeovers
Smile makeovers are designed to improve the appearance of the smile and include elective treatments for the purpose of beautification. One or more cosmetic dentistry procedure may be used including dental veneers, teeth whitening, tooth implants and composite bonding. Smile makeovers are customized according to the patient’s unique requests. Multiple issues can be addressed through a smile makeover including the replacement of silver or amalgam fillings with natural tooth colored fillings, lighter tooth color and consistent shading, alignment and spacing, replacement of missing teeth, harmony and balance by repairing uneven teeth lengths, fuller lips, cheeks and smile through orthodontics or oral maxillofacial surgical procedures, tooth lengthening, smile line and tooth texture and proportions. Cosmetic dentistry procedures often require ongoing maintenance. Porcelain veneers can chip or break and permanent composite can stain which requires enhancement or possible replacement. Dental crowns may need to be replaced after 10 to 15 years. The materials chosen by the dentist will impact the durability of the smile makeover.

A beautiful, bright and attractive smile provides a great first impression and builds self-confidence. Many people believe that a great smile is priceless. Without saying a word, a beautiful smile portrays confidence, optimism and pleasure. Cosmetic dentistry offers answers and solutions to individuals suffering from the effects of an unhealthy smile. A pleasing smile is an attractive quality that causes others to respond positively. A beautiful smile has many major psychological and emotional influences on the individual. Cosmetic dentistry is offering many people a new outlook on life. Positive feelings of success and self-esteem are replacing negativity, timidity, and self-conscious feelings. Cosmetic dentistry offers much more than a beautiful smile.

It’s Never too Late to Get Braces

If you wish you could have a perfect smile but figure it’s too late, you’re wrong. Few people are born with teeth that grow naturally into a perfect bite. Just because you didn’t have braces as a child or teen doesn’t mean you have to put up with however your teeth ended up. Or perhaps you had braces when you were younger but your teeth later shifted again. You are not alone. Orthodontists say nearly half of their patients these days are adults.

Better Braces

If you are imagining a painful mouth of metal, think again. Braces are lighter than they were a generation ago, and the brackets are usually bonded onto to the teeth instead of wrapped all around each tooth.

Duration

Adults today usually wear braces 18 months to three years. That may seem like a long time, but it’s a very short time if you think of all the years from now you’ll be enjoying your new smile.

Self-Esteem

Looks aren’t everything, of course, but if you’ve been unhappy about your smile, getting braces is sure to boost your self confidence. Being content with your appearance will improve your overall sense of well-being.

Oral Health

Getting braces will help your oral health. Teeth that are crooked or too crowded are more difficult to brush, floss and keep clean. This increases plaque buildup and gum disease. Braces can also help with certain biting, chewing or speaking difficulties.

Device Choices

• Today’s metal braces are the most effective, so they are sometimes the best choice for a severe bite problem. They consist of metal brackets adhered to the front of the teeth with thin wires running through them.

• Clear braces are less noticeable and work almost as well, although they cost more.

• Concealed braces are brackets that attach to the back of the teeth so no one sees them.

• Invisalign makes removable aligners that can correct mild problems. You would get a series of aligners, wear each for two weeks and then wear the next set, gradually fixing minor problems. You take the aligners out to eat, brush your teeth and floss. These are the most expensive option.

• A retainer is the important final device to wear no matter which corrective process you choose. It keeps your teeth in their new position and many orthodontists now recommend you use a retainer for life.

Hygiene During Treatment

One good thing about being an adult when you have braces is that you may more fully appreciate the importance of brushing and flossing well to keep your teeth in good shape. You’ll also be sure to avoid sticky, crunchy or hard foods.

If you would like to improve your smile, there’s no better time than the present. With all the options in devices and the fact that so many more adults are doing it these days, getting braces will be much easier than you might imagine and will pay off with a confident new look for the rest of your life.

How to Clean Dental Implants

ImageEven though everyone would love nothing more than to keep their original teeth for the entirety of their lives, most realize that isn’t realistic.  There are many different reasons why you may lose one or several teeth, including injury, poor dental hygiene or infection.

One of the solutions to missing teeth are dental implants.  More and more people are turning to dental implants over traditional dentures, but even with implants it is vitally important to keep up a sound hygiene practice to keep your teeth and gums healthy.

What Are They?

A dental implant is basically an artificial root that is surgically implanted into your jawbone.  The root holds a replacement tooth or teeth that are designed to blend in with your natural teeth.  Dental implant teeth can act independently, meaning they don’t rely on neighbouring teeth for any support.

The more natural look and feel of dental implants make them a popular choice among people who need one or more teeth replaced.  And since they mimic natural teeth so well, they must be kept clean and free of plaque and other elements that can cause problems.

Brushing

One of the primary benefits of implants for many people is that you can clean them the same way you clean your natural teeth.  Regardless of how many you have in your mouth, take the time to brush at least two times a day, or after every meal for the most thorough cleaning.

If possible, choose a toothbrush that features an angled handle so you can easily reach around whole implant when it’s time to brush.  Apply the same amount of toothpaste as you normally would and move the head of the brush around the front, back and top of the implant in small circles.

Make sure that some bristles come into contact with your gums at the base of the implant, and try to continue the brushing procedure for two or three minutes.  When you’re finished, rinse your mouth thoroughly with clean water and spit into the sink.

Flossing

A clean dental implant doesn’t stop with just the brushing.  It’s also important to floss regularly to keep the dental implants clean.

Break off a 12-inch section of floss and wrap each end around your index fingers.  Gently guide the floss around the implant or implants and slide it all the way down to the gum line.  Be sure to run the floss along the side of the implant, just as you do on your natural teeth.

Make a point of keeping all of your scheduled dental appointments, so your dentist can keep an eye on your dental implants and they remain a healthy part of your smile for years to come.