Tupelo Smiles

Dental Bonding

If you want to improve the cosmetic appearance of your teeth, but are on a budget, you may be interested in dental bonding. In this treatment, a dentist will skillfully apply a tooth-colored resin to each tooth you wish to treat. The resin is cured with a light, then filed and polished to blend flawlessly with your natural tooth. Dental bonding can be a great solution to correct small cracks or chips, to fill gaps between teeth, to elongate worn teeth, or to cover stains. Bonding is a more affordable option than veneers. Dental bonding can be done in one office visit with immediate cosmetic results. However, since plastic resin is not as strong as your natural teeth, the bonding is more prone to chips, cracks, or breaks. Usually, dental bonding lasts for three to ten years before it needs to be reapplied. Talk with your dentist to find out if bonding is the right solution for your chipped, cracked, or discolored teeth.

3D Printing

One of the newest pieces of dental technology is a 3D printer. Many dentists and dental labs are using 3D printers to make everything from mouth guards and crowns, to retainers and other orthodontics. This new technology reduces the time it takes to make these dental products, while providing more precision, and patient customization. While it used to take weeks to make a retainer, they are now made by a 3D printer in just a few hours. Another application for dental 3D printing is the creation of models to aid in dental surgery techniques. While traditional methods are still common, the use of 3D printing technology in dentistry is expected to rapidly increase.

Oil Pulling

You may have heard about “oil pulling,” and its supposed benefits for your oral health. Oil pulling is the practice of swishing oils, like coconut oil or olive oil, in your mouth. Some claim that oil pulling can whiten teeth, improve dental health, and even improve overall well-being. The practice of oil pulling has been around for centuries, and originates from practices in Asia and the middle east. Are the age-old health claims true? According to the American Dental Association and other health professionals, the answer is No. Currently, there is no scientific evidence to support the claims that oil pulling reduces cavities, whitens teeth, or promotes overall well-being. The A-D-A does not recommend oil pulling as a dental hygiene practice. The most important thing to keep your teeth healthy is to brush with a fluoridated toothpaste twice daily and floss between your teeth once per day.

Dentist Certifications

 

You may have noticed that your dentist has a few letters after his or her name when listed professionally. What do all those letters mean? The most common, that all dentists possess, is their dental school degree. This will be either D-M-D or D-D-S. Both degrees follow the same curriculum, and it’s usually a preference of the university as to which degree they award. Another acronym you may see is F-A-G-D. This signifies that this dentist is a Fellow in the Academy of General Dentistry. This certification is gained through hours of continuing education and training. The A-A-A-C-D signifies that a dentist is an accredited member of the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry. This certification requires extended training in cosmetic dentistry. In short, the letters behind a dentist’s name explain their qualifications and certifications.

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Dentures

A “denture” is a device that is inserted into the mouth to replace natural teeth, and provide support and structure to the cheeks and lips. There are a variety of different types and forms of dentures that a dentist may recommend to a patient. A removable denture is what most people imagine when they think of dentures. These dentures rest on an acrylic, or plastic base, and fit securely but comfortably on the gums. These dentures can be removed easily by the wearer. Partial dentures are a good option for patients who still have some of their natural teeth. Partials do not cover all of the gum line of the patient. Sometimes dentists will recommend partial dentures to be anchored to the mouth and gums through dental implants. This provides unparalleled stability and durability for the wearer. Remember — regular dental visits are still important to patients with dentures to check for oral tissue disease or changes.

Reading a Tube of Toothpaste

 

Do you know how to decode the label on your toothpaste? There are some helpful hints to be found on your tube of toothpaste, to ensure you are using the best toothpaste for you and your family. First, you should look for the American Dental Association seal of approval. All A-D-A approved tooth pastes contain fluoride, an element that helps to prevent tooth decay. Many other common ingredients in toothpaste are whitening agents like hydrogen peroxide, anti-hypersensitivity agents, anti-microbial agents, and additives that help with tartar control. Look for toothpaste that targets any dental concerns you may have. And if you have any questions about your toothpaste, ask your dentist for recommendations.

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Electronic Cigarettes

 

Smoking cigarettes is harmful to your dental health. New electronic cigarettes, or e-cigs, may seem to be less harmful, but recent research says otherwise. Researchers at the University of Rochester have found that e-cigs, also commonly called vapes, are just as damaging to both teeth and gums as regular cigarettes. Previously, dentist and scientists believed the chemicals found in cigarette smoke were to blame for oral health issues. Even though e-cigs use less added chemicals, the smoke still causes damage to cells in the mouth, which could lead to a variety of oral diseases. The best way to reduce your risk of oral disease is to quit smoking, both traditional and electronic cigarettes.

Dental Insurance vs. Dental Savings Plan

 

Do you know the difference is between dental insurance, and a dental discount plan? Dental insurance works like health insurance and is often available through your employer. Most plans have a monthly premium, and when you have a dental expense, the insurance plan pays all or part of that expense, up to a stated maximum. Like health insurance, these plans come with deductibles, co-pays, waiting periods and policy maximums. Dental discount plans, however, do not pay any dental expenses for you. Instead, you pay an annual fee for the plan, and then receive a discount on dental procedures as you have them performed. There are generally no deductibles, no waiting periods, or annual maximums. Before buying a dental discount plan, make sure that your dentist participates in that plan. Contact your dentist’s office if you have any questions about which best fits your needs.

Gaps (Diastema)

 

A diastema is an area of extra space between two or more teeth, often called a gap. The most common place for a diastema is between the front two upper teeth. Many children have diastema, especially as they lose their baby teeth and adult teeth grow in. Often, this gap will close on its own as the child gains more permanent teeth. However, some adults have diastema. If the gap causes alignment problems, or is cosmetically unappealing to a patient, there are options for closing the gap. The two most common treatments are orthodontics to move the teeth together, or veneers bonded to the outside of the tooth. Many patients keep their gap, as they feel it gives them a unique smile.