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Archive for April, 2016

What is a tooth friendly diet?

Tuesday, April 26th, 2016

dentist River NorthIf you want to limit your sessions with your dentist to semi-annual exams and cleanings, you’ll want to be sure to eat a tooth friendly diet in addition to maintaining a solid oral hygiene routine.

A tooth friendly diet is one that limits the foods and beverages that can harm teeth while including enough of the foods that have the nutrients the patient needs for a strong, healthy smile.

Sweets are probably the first thing that come to mind when you think of how your diet affects your smile. Indeed, you should not overdo it on sweet treats, especially sticky ones that can leave a residue behind that clings to your teeth and provides a nutritional source for harmful oral bacteria. This produces acids that can destroy tooth enamel as waste products. Other foods that are high in carbohydrates, like crackers and popcorn can have a similar effect. Even raisins, which are sweet and sticky, can linger long after you eat them.

Speaking of acidic foods, these can damage your enamel directly, too. Sodas are twice as hard on your teeth because they contain sugar and acids. Even excessive consumption of otherwise healthy things like tomatoes or citrus fruits can accelerate decay.

Now, your dentist wouldn’t necessarily tell you to cut all of these foods and beverages out completely, but use good judgment and don’t indulge in them frequently. When you do eat or drink these items, take time to brush your teeth, rinse your mouth or even chew sugarless gum to stimulate saliva production afterward.

Your dentist might also advise you to incorporate more healthy, nutritious foods to give your smile a boost. These include fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains and lean protein sources. Foods that are particularly beneficial to your oral health include dairy products (milk, cheese, etc.), crunchy fruits and veggies that stimulate saliva production and foods rich in Vitamin C. You should also be drinking adequate amounts of water so that you don’t get dehydrated.

Are you eating the right foods to protect your smile and your oral health? At your next exam, check in with our dentists to see if there’s anything you should cut back on in your diet or any foods that you should add. Even if you are eating a tooth friendly diet, you should pay close attention to your oral hygiene and rinse or brush your teeth after meals to remove any lingering bits of food.

Call us today at Ora Dental Studio to set up your next cleaning!

Should I whiten my teeth before or after cosmetic dental procedures?

Friday, April 15th, 2016

teeth whitening ChicagoOften patients who want to address aesthetic flaws in their smile also would like to improve the shade of their teeth through teeth whitening. The timing of such a treatment should be carefully considered within the context of other interventions that the patient may be receiving.

Your cosmetic dentist will advise you on the most appropriate sequencing of all of your treatments, including teeth whitening. With some interventions, teeth whitening may need to take place at the beginning of the process, while others should be postponed until closer to the end of the treatment timeline.

For example, if your cosmetic dentist is planning to place porcelain veneers as part of the effort to enhance your smile, it will be necessary to undergo the teeth whitening before the veneers are bonded to your biological teeth. Veneers do not respond to teeth whitening gels, so you must be satisfied with the shade of your teeth before they are placed so that your natural enamel will match your veneers.

However, in other instances, it may make sense to hold off on teeth whitening. A patient who is anticipating getting braces may not want to get their teeth bleached prior to having the appliances bonded to the teeth. While the patient is wearing braces, the teeth may get stained around the perimeter of the appliances, leaving the patient with two-toned teeth.

These are just two examples of possible sequencing of teeth whitening. You should consult with your dentist to determine what approach makes the most sense in your specific case.

When the time comes for your teeth whitening treatment, rest assured that you can see the results you want with a minimal investment of your time. An in-office system, such as ZOOM! laser whitening, can leave teeth up to 10 shades whiter in as little as an hour. This compressed timeline is a courtesy from lasers that activate the bleaching gel, helping them to eliminate stains much more quickly.

Teeth whitening can add a nice flourish to a smile makeover, but you should be sure to undergo this treatment at the right time. If you are interested in including teeth whitening in your treatment plan, be sure to discuss this with our experts at Ora Dental Studio during your initial consultation. Contact one of our convenient locations today!

What you need to know about teeth grinding and clenching

Tuesday, April 5th, 2016

dentist 60607Patients who unconsciously grind and/or clench their teeth — a condition called bruxism — can be doing serious damage to their smiles. The results of bruxism include uneven patterns of wear on the teeth, increased tooth sensitivity and jaw or facial discomfort related to sustained muscle tightness.

Other symptoms that can indicate bruxism include earaches and headaches, indentations on the tongue and loose teeth.

Because the teeth grinding and clenching often happens when the patient is asleep, the patient may be completely unaware of the problem. A sleeping partner may alert the patient to teeth grinding, or a dentist may observe signs of it during a routine exam.

Fortunately, patients who have bruxism don’t have to suffer from its negative effects. The condition typically can be resolved with appropriate treatment from our dentist.

In some cases, this will involve a custom-crafted appliance that the patient wears during sleep to prevent the upper and lower jaws from touching. When your dentist designs such an appliance to meet the unique specifications of your mouth, the device tends to be more comfortable and effective and the patient is more inclined to wear it.

Bruxism can also result from or be exacerbated by poor stress management, so interventions to address this issue may also be incorporated into a patient’s treatment plan. Patients may be referred for psychological counseling, for example, or encouraged to eliminate certain stressors from their environments.

In addition to causing discomfort and premature wear and tear on a patient’s teeth, bruxism can also contribute to a temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorder, a painful condition in which the jaw fails to function properly. In the most severe forms, TMJ disorders can require a surgical procedure to resolve the symptoms.

If you’re a patient who has noticed symptoms of bruxism, it’s important to understand that you can get an effective treatment for this condition. Schedule an evaluation at our office so that you can soon get relief from your symptoms.