Monday, December 21, 2015

Dental Implants Vs. Dental Bridges: Which Is Right For You?

More than 50 percent of U.S. adults are missing at least one tooth. For those who want a more permanent solution than dentures, bridges and implants are attractive replacement options. Here are just a few of the reasons patients prefer them.

Dental Implants

Screwed directly into the jawbone by a cosmetic dentist, implants are titanium posts that act as artificial tooth roots. A prosthetic tooth or crown can then be attached to the implant for a comfortable, secure fit. Implants, made to last for the life of the patient, are a durable, nearly worry-free replacement option. With a completely natural look and feel, most folks never know the wearer even has them. Implants also help prevent bone loss and will not affect neighboring teeth, which cannot be said about bridges.

Dental Bridges

When a patient is missing a tooth in between two healthy teeth, his/her cosmetic dentist might recommend a dental bridge. The device is essentially a frame that is cemented to the natural teeth and has an artificial tooth in the middle to replace the missing one. Often more affordable than dental implants, bridges help patients chew and speak normally. But because neighboring teeth must anchor the device in place, they must be filed or ground down a bit for a secure fit.

Which Is Better?

Although both have their pros and cons, implants are probably the safer option. This is due to the fact that they do not require any work to be done on adjacent teeth. It is also important to note that adding a bridge makes it more difficult to clean the affected area, which increases the risk of tooth decay. The lifespan of a dental bridge may also be a bit shorter than that of a dental implant.

Patients should consult their cosmetic dentist for more information about dental implants and bridges. 

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Clever Ways to Make Brushing Teeth Fun for Kids

Sometimes brushing teeth seems more like a chore than washing the dishes—especially with children. But, as any parent knows, it’s vitally important for every child to brush his or her teeth for good health and hygiene. These tips will make the brushing process more fun for your kids.

1. Make it a game

Parents should set a timer and have kids brush long enough to "outrun" it. Another option is to have multiple children “race” to see who can get the cleanest teeth in the allotted time. Whatever it takes, kids will enjoy brushing more if it’s made into a game.

2. Use apps

There are tons of apps for both iPhone and Android that can be used to help both children and adults brush for the correct amount of time. These apps can get anyone to stick to the task at hand.

3. Brush to the music

By playing a child’s favorite song, any parent can get their kid to brush for the required two minutes!

4. Let kids get involved

Kids’ toothbrushes and toothpaste feature all kinds of bright colors and fun characters, so an easy way to make brushing more fun is to allow kids to pick out their own brushes and paste.

What are your tips for having fun while brushing teeth? 

Monday, August 24, 2015

Five Signs and Symptoms of TMJ

TMJ stands for "temporomandibular joint." Temporomandibular disorders (TMD) are dysfunctions of this joint. TMJ/TMD can affect both the joint itself and the muscles that move it. If a patient is experiencing any of the following symptoms, making an appointment with a dentist is the next step.

1. Jaw Joint Lock
If the jaw locks so that it's hard to open or close the mouth, there's a good chance the culprit is TMJ-related.

2. Jaw Pain
After locked jaw, one of the earliest symptoms of TMJ is pain or tenderness of the jaw. This may be triggered by grinding teeth at night.

3. Ear Pain
The muscles that move the jaw connect around the ear, so pain may be expressed here as well.

4. Pain When Chewing
TMJ can cause a clicking sound or grating sensation when chewing food, which can be unpleasant and uncomfortable.

5. Facial Pain
Facial pain may be experienced as a dull, aching pain in face and neck muscles.

If one or more of these symptoms are present, it's time to consult a dentist. If the dentist confirms the patient has TMJ/TMD, treatment options include pain medications or muscle relaxants, as well as non-pharmaceutical therapies like bite guards. In severe cases, steroid injections and even surgery may be necessary.

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Professional vs. Store-Bought Teeth Whitening Products and Their Ingredients

Stains often occur on teeth over time, as foods and beverages can eventually cause discoloration. Consumers may scan store shelves to find a product that will give fast and effective results, but it's helpful to compare the differences between professional and store-bought teeth whitening products and their ingredients.

Ingredient Comparisons

The two active ingredients in whitening products are hydrogen peroxide and carbamide peroxide. Of these two agents, carbamide peroxide is often preferred, as it is slightly more stable than hydrogen peroxide and it penetrates teeth more gradually.

Home vs. Professional Applications

Over-the-counter products contain up to 10 percent hydrogen peroxide. Professional products contain a combination of both active agents. Hydrogen peroxide levels rise to 40 percent for professional teeth whitening applications, with carbamide peroxide levels at about 35 percent. 

Consumers should contact a dentist for a professional recommendation regarding this process. Some people may need the extra brightening power of a professional application, while others might find success with a product purchased over the counter.