More than 3 million Americans are diagnosed with osteoporosis each year. While very uncommon, sometimes medications used to treat osteoporosis, called anti-resorptive agents, have been known to cause osteonecrosis. This causes severe damage to the jaw. It is important to let your dentist know if you are taking these medications because modifications to your dental treatment plan may be needed. Cases of osteonecrosis most commonly occur after a procedure that affects the jaw and surrounding tissues, like pulling a tooth. But don’t worry. Even if you need dental treatments while taking these medications, your dentist will know how to tailor you treatment plan to keep your mouth healthy. It is important to keep regular visits with your dentist, and let your dentist know of any unusual symptoms you may experience.
Did you know that many dentists are starting to offer Botox, and facial fillers, in their offices? Dentists who are members of the Academy of Facial Aesthetics, are trained to provide facial injections to reduce and prevent wrinkles, or fill and plump the skin. But is it safe to get these injections at the same time you get your teeth cleaned? The F-D-A says yes! Dentists have extensive training in the structure of the face, and specialized knowledge to expertly give these injections. Plus, many patients are able to get their injections when their mouth and face are already numb for a dental procedure, thus reducing the possibility of pain. If you are thinking about Botox or other facial injections, talk with your dentist.
Periodontal disease is the infection of the tissues around your teeth. The beginning stage of periodontal disease is call gingivitis and is caused by a buildup of plaque. Some of the most common causes of gingivitis are poor dental care, tobacco use, hormone fluctuations, diabetes, certain medications, and even genetics. Some warning signs of gingivitis are red, swollen gums that easily bleed, and persistent bad breath. Though periodontal disease is very serious, don’t worry. Gingivitis can be reversed before it develops into more serious disease. Most cases of gingivitis can be treated by a thorough cleaning at your dentist office, and diligent oral care at home including brushing twice a day, and flossing once per day. Many people with gingivitis do not know they have it, so it is important to see your dentist every 6 months for regular cleanings and checkups.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Over the course of your dental treatment, you may be referred to a specialist. Learn about the different types of dental specialists in this informative video from Dr. Richard Caron.
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.
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.