Adults can also have the straight, attractive, and healthy smiles that they have always desired. Crooked teeth are a thing of the past.
Many dentists are now recommending braces for adults. Increased awareness and demand from the public has seen a rise in adult orthodontic care. Braces do not have to be metal brackets and wires commonly seen in children.
Another way of achieving straight teeth is to use a system of braces made of clear plastic material that is almost imperceptible when worn.
The benefits of braces are improved appearance, facial harmony and a greater sense of self-confidence. Moreover, straight teeth have healthier gums and a decreased chance of decay. At your next visit, ask your dentist about braces for big people!
A complete dental examination should include a check up of the structures inside as well as outside the mouth.
During an extra-oral examination, structures and tissues such as the oro-facial skin, lymph glands of the neck, salivary glands, muscles, joints are all examined. Abnormalities may necessitate further investigations and tests.
An intra-oral examination looks at the lining of the mouth, other soft tissues, function of the tongue, floor of the mouth and soft palate. Gums are looked at in detail and several parameters are observed. In terms of teeth, the occlusion and individual surfaces of teeth are scrutinized for any problems. Any existing restorations are also carefully examined.
Radiographs (X-rays) may be taken to further examine teeth and bone to a greater detail.
- First look at your smile in relation to your face.
- Identify what you do not like about your smile.
- Is it the colour, shape, size, position of your teeth?
- Could it be related to your gum shape and contour?
- Is it how your teeth show when you smile?
It is important to communicate clearly to your dentist what you would like done. Once goals are established and possible outcomes discussed, a smile make-over is possible. Techniques such as whitening, veneers, gum recontouring, orthodontics, etc. are commonly used.
The end result is a patient who is more confident and comfortable.
Have you ever gone to the dentist, after months of brushing twice a day and wondered why you still have cavities or gum disease or other bacterial related problems? Maybe it would help to know what is going on in there.
Over 400 different species of bacteria live in the mouth and new ones are being discovered every day. They live in colonies, in harmony with each other and support each other in various ways. Their numbers added up total to a population that runs into multi-millions. In one cubic millimeter of plaque, there are over 100 million bacteria! Not all the bugs are bad; however, many of them can be harmful.
They produce toxins, inflammatory agents, acids and other substances that can be detrimental to teeth, gums, heart and circulatory system and even to pregnant mothers. Their presence challenges our immune system and they activate various protective mechanisms in the body. When the body cannot overcome the challenge, a disease process ensues.
It is necessary to keep the numbers of these bacteria in control to prevent breakdown. This is done by regular brushing, flossing, visiting your hygienist and removing areas of opportunity for bacteria.
When dentists talk about your bite, they are talking about the way your teeth come together and the way the work. Occlusion is how your teeth come together when you close your jaw. Your occlusion is influenced by three primary components: teeth, nerves and muscles. This applies to your natural teeth as well as dentures, bridges and crowns.
If occlusion is not right, it can lead to other problems such as joint problems, chronic pain or even breakdown of teeth and their supporting structures.
Your bite is important because if teeth come together incorrectly, they can cause sensitivity, gum recession, excessive bone deposition, wearing down of the teeth, and even fracture of teeth. Other problems associated with an improper occlusion of teeth are pain in the jaw joints including face, head, and even the neck.
Missing or lost teeth affect the way teeth mesh and interact. Poor fillings or restorations that do not mesh properly affect the bite. Occlusion can also be influenced by crowded or malpositioned teeth.
Soda has emerged as one of the most significant sources of acid that is capable of damaging teeth.
There are two significant threats posed by soft drinks.
- The sugar content fuels bacteria that produce acids.
- Soda drinks themselves may contain organic acids.
Rapid breakdown of tooth structure is related to the acidity and the sugar content of the soft drink. Brands of soda that contain artificial sweeteners still pose a significant threat because they still contain acids.
Soda can be sweetened by adding table sugar or corn syrup. This yields the equivalent of 10-12 teaspoons of sugar in the typical 12 ounce can. These sugars fuel the metabolism of bacteria that produce the acids.
Recently the American Academy of Pediatrics published a position paper to inform the public about the dangers posed by the ever-increasing amounts of soda consumption. Between 56%-85% of school age children consume at least one serving of soda each day. At least 20% of school age children consume a minimum of four soda servings every day.
Whiter and brighter teeth look great and make you appear younger and more youthful. People with a winning smile are more confident and are more successful in life in general.
It is possible to achieve this using either home, or professionally administered bleaching kits, or in-office light assisted whitening. Physical cleaning removes stains and build-up from enamel leaving a surface that looks cleaner and whiter.
Whitening uses chemicals that permeate the surface of enamel to bleach it. Home bleaching is the least effective, while light assisted whitening achieves the most dramatic results. Regression to the original shade is fastest if home bleaching kits are used. In-office light assisted whitened teeth are lighter for a longer period of time. Usually, home and professionally administered kits require several applications, while the light assisted method requires one visit. Following any whitening procedure, there may be some transient sensitivity of teeth. This can be managed using a mild pain killer.
Insurance companies do not generally pay for teeth whitening as it is considered cosmetic. Ask your dentist or hygienist for more details about whitening.
Finally, beware of quack providers who are unscrupulous about methods of whitening, infection control and problems that may ensue from this procedure if proper precautions are not taken.
There are hundreds of toothbrushes on the market. These choices are often confusing especially when you wonder, “Which is the best toothbrush?”. Choices include either the manual types or the electric type.
All toothbrushes can be effective, provided they are used and used properly. Infact, the Academy of General Dentistry states that the best toothbrush that you can buy is the one that you will actually use. While both electric and manual toothbrushes have some pros and cons, the bottom line is which one you will use effectively. The Canadian Dental Association recommends brushing your teeth at least twice a day for two minutes. If you are not sure which type of toothbrush you would use ask your dental professional at your next visit. Some general guidelines are given below.
Most have an easy grip handle.
Some come with a tongue scraper.
Easy to travel with.
No built in timer to tell you when two minutes are up.
Can be difficult for some people to hold onto firmly.
Most have larger ergonomic handles.
Some have built in timers that let you know when you have brushed for two minutes.
The buzzing of an electric toothbrush feels good to some people.
Some electric toothbrushes dispense toothpaste.
Some electric toothbrushes can be quite expensive.
Most electric toothbrushes require charging or battery replacement.
Since people are different and have different preferences, I think it is good to have a large variety of dental products to satisfy individual demands.
Bruxism is the clenching and/or grinding of your teeth. Clenching refers to tightly clamping your teeth together without the side to side movement as seen in bruxism. Both these actions are harmful to the teeth, joints and muscles if continued for a protracted period of time. Often patients do not even know that they are clenching or grinding.
The force of clenching causes stressful pressure on the muscles and tissues. Chipped and worn teeth, jaw disorders, pain, soreness, sensitivity, headaches, earaches, damaged fillings and other problems can result from bruxism. Furthermore, clenching and bruxism can disrupt restful sleep. Nightly grinding can also disturb sleeping partners.
Bruxing may be transient or a long term problem. It should be diagnosed by your dentist. To alleviate clenching or grinding a night guard can be custom made for you.
Snoring can cause all sorts of problems. From being socially unacceptable to others, conditions that have far reaching implications such as high blood pressure, heart attacks to strokes. Snoring also can be a warning that you suffer from Obstructive Sleep Apnea. This is a condition where breathing stops for intervals, up to hundreds of times a night. It leads to poor quality sleep, tiredness and poor work performance, high blood pressure, heart attacks and stroke. Brain cells die off, as a result of poor oxygen supply.
Signs of sleep apnea include tiredness during the day, falling off to sleep while watching TV, nodding off while driving, poor concentration and waking up gasping, getting up at night frequently to urinate.
If you snore, you should first see your doctor to determine if you do have sleep apnea. Sleep apnea is a common condition affecting millions of people. If you do suffer from sleep apnea, there are several treatment options including CPAP machine, surgery or a dental appliance.
Dental devices to prevent snoring have been in use since the early 1900s, but it is only in the past twenty years that increased awareness and research by dentists and doctors have made these devices a viable method of treatment.
Talk to your doctor and your dentist. Do not let this hidden disease harm your health.