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Archive for December, 2013

How Menopause Affects Your Oral Health

Tuesday, December 24th, 2013

There are different cycles of menopause. Women can start experiencing some symptoms of this life changing experience in their 40’s. Women who have undergone a hysterectomy can go through “the change” even earlier. When these hormonal differences start to occur, the entire body is affected. This includes the mouth, teeth and gums making this time of life a critical period to make and keep consistent visits with the dentist.

Menopause is the stage of life when the reproductive cycle and related hormones change. Some women will skate through this time of their life with few side effects. But for the rest of us, our bodies may feel like they have turned on us.

Weight gain, bloating, heartburn accompanied by hot flashes and night sweats mostly impact the body. But dry mouth and concerns for gum disease are more reasons to remain vigilant in the care of teeth and gums.

Heartburn is most often the result of stomach acids that back up from the digestive system. These acids can affect dental health, so if you are experiencing chronic heartburn or acid reflux, your dentist can make recommendations for relief.

Dry mouth is a very big problem. Without sufficient saliva production, the bacteria normally flushed with saliva can linger on teeth and gums. Bacteria can lead to gingivitis (gum disease) and dental decay. Solutions include increasing water intake, and doing the things that promote saliva production like chewing sugar free gum or sucking on sugar free candy.

Many of the hormonal changes experienced mostly by women can result in bone loss. While this is most often thought of in terms of the body only, bone loss in gum tissue can occur as well. This leads to the potential of tooth loss. One of the big risk factors, smoking, can increase the odds of gum disease and tooth loss as we age making the decision to discontinue tobacco very important.

Keeping our biological teeth for all of life is a wonderful goal. We can help achieve this by daily flossing, brushing, and keeping our bodies as healthy as possible.

Seeing one of our experienced and caring dentists every six months for a cleaning to remove plaque build-up will help prevent gum disease and dental decay. These visits also provide an opportunity for the dentist to make sure your oral health is maintained during one of life’s biggest changes.

Lumineers: A custom cosmetic dentistry solution

Thursday, December 12th, 2013

Many dental imperfections can be altered, replaced, and/or repaired. But one of the least invasive, reversible options available is to correct problem areas with Lumineers. 

…one of the least invasive, reversible options available is to correct problem areas with Lumineers.

Lumineers is the brand name of a dental veneer that can correct:

  1. Dental stain – One or more teeth suffering with intrinsic stain can benefit from different procedures – usually the hygienist is able to remove extrinsic stains resulting from diet or lifestyle habits. However, when medication or over-fluoridation has stained teeth from the inside, many topical treatments will not be sufficient to correct the problem.
  2. Chipped teeth – When dental bonding is not enough, a Lumineer can cover an unsightly, chipped or broken tooth.
  3. Gaps between teeth – Those unwanted spaces appear to close when treated with Lumineers.
  4. Misshapen or worn teeth – Lumineers can take worn down enamel or teeth that appear not to match surrounding teeth and make all of them appear symmetrical.
  5. Gum erosion – Brushing too hard or genetics can result in teeth appearing to have a shelf when gum tissue has worn away displaying the bony tissue above the tooth close to the gum line. Lumineers can cover the tooth and worn away portion appearing to form one solid tooth.

Veneers are ultra-thin “jackets” that are fabricated to be placed over existing problem teeth to basically cover the dental imperfection. Most veneers require dental enamel about the thickness of the veneer to be removed so the finished product will look natural. However, Lumineers is a non-invasive process. What this means to the patient is that very little of the enamel is removed making the process reversible in the event the patient wishes to have them removed. With most other dental veneers, they are considered permanent and cannot be removed.

Another big advantage to Lumineers is their durability. Not only do they look natural, they will resist stain and actually add strength to the teeth they cover.

For patients that fear the discomfort of dental work, Lumineers can be applied without the need for drilling or injections to numb the area providing a totally pain free cosmetic restoration.

Upon completion, the Lumineers will have been applied only to teeth that require repair and will so closely match surrounding teeth it will be difficult to tell which teeth have been treated.

Call 312-491-9494 to learn more about Lumineers today.

Is Invisalign a Treatment Option for Malocclusion?

Tuesday, December 3rd, 2013

A malocclusion is a condition where the top arch of teeth does not align properly with the bottom arch. When teeth do not meet correctly, they can slide off each other when chewing or create problems that may result in teeth grinding and/or clenching. When this occurs teeth will benefit greatly with an orthodontic correction, and today many people are selecting Invisalign clear braces.

Invisalign clear braces have many advantages over traditional metal bands and brackets. Invisalign braces are clear and removable providing many advantages:

  1. Since they are clear, the process of straightening teeth is done very discreetly. Teenagers and young professionals find this to be one of the primary benefits.
  2. Being removable is a second huge advantage. Patients can continue to eat their favorite foods, which is normally not possible with traditional braces. The patient simply pops the Invisalign clear braces out for meals and snacks, replacing when done.
  3. Taking care of oral health is important, and can be simply accomplished by removing the aligners to floss and brush daily. The semi-annual dental appointments for a thorough cleaning and dental exam are easily performed without the burden of traditional dental braces.
  4. Comfort – The aligners are made from plastic. There are no wires to break or metal that can result in painful abrasions to soft oral tissue. The aligners are replaced approximately every two weeks to keep the straightening process moving on track.
  5. Athletes – Anyone who must wear a mouth guard will appreciate not having to find one to fit over metal braces. With Invisalign, the aligner is removed during such activities, and a protective mouth guard is worn. The aligner is replaced at the conclusion of the event.

As with any dental procedure, the patient must undergo an examination by the dentist to make certain they have a treatable malocclusion with Invisalign. This usually involves photographs, x-rays, and dental impressions. These will be sent to the Invisalign lab where the technician will utilize digital 3-D technology to fabricate the series of aligners that will gently reposition teeth to correct the bite.

Treatment time with Invisalign is very close to the time required for standard treatment. It just doesn’t seem as long as the patient enjoys the freedom of removing the aligners while eating, brushing, flossing, and enjoying life while they undergo straightening their teeth.

Contact our experienced team at ORA Dental Studio today for more information about Invisalign.