Whole Life Dental Health
In our experience, if you brush regularly and want to keep your teeth problem free for the rest of your life, (barring drug abuse) just take care of two things:
- Occlusion (or alignment)
- Gums (or periodontal health)
While genetics, environmental factors, disease, some medicines, and other factors have been shown to contribute to long-term dental outcomes, those two factors have the greatest influence.
Research has shown that with proper occlusion (or alignment) individuals tend to keep their teeth longer into life and with fewer problems. Teeth need each other for support and when they are not properly aligned, the forces can cause shifting and ultimately damage the teeth and jaw.
If you built a house with an aligned foundation, you would not expect it to fall apart.
Some peopleís teeth simply come out misaligned, but for some, misalignment occurs later in life. When your wisdom teeth start to come out (usually between 17 and 25 years of age), they may push on the adjacent teeth and cause misalignment to develop. If your wisdom teeth are not showing or have come out crooked, this may be an indication that they will impact your alignment. Call us for a consultation and we can take a special x-ray to determine if this could be a problem.
Sometimes prolonged thumb sucking, tongue thrusting, or other habits can cause teeth to shift. Depending on the patientís age, call our Orthodontist or Pedodontist. They can help you stop these habits or diminish their consequences.
When you remove a tooth that has gone bad, it is important that you consult with a specialist to determine if replacing the tooth is necessary. Since teeth need each other for support, often, missing teeth leave a space causing other teeth to shift. In our experience this shifting can happen quickly or take several years. In any case, it should be addressed as it will often lead to costly damage to your remaining teeth.. Call our specialist for a consultation to discuss what can happen with your missing teeth over teeth.
When you are younger, often braces or Invisalign are recommended to correct the misalignment but even as an adult it may make sense to receive adult orthodontics to prevent damage later on. Weíve found that prevention is always best and the cost of one crown and replacements and consequent treatment later in life can outweigh the initial cost of braces.
In some cases, Orthodontics may not be appropriate. Other options include replacing missing teeth or other treatment.
Call our specialists for a consultation if you feel your occlusion is off or if you have any symptoms including pain, clicking and locking in the jaw, or headaches.
Flossing every day is the most important (and least costly) thing you can do to promote the health of your gums. Flossing is more beneficial than most people realize but you have to do it right. Food left in your mouth under your gums and between your teeth will, within 24 to 48 hours, become a sticky film that will harden on your tooth and will not be easily removable with simple flossing or brushing. The digestion process of naturally occurring bacteria in your mouth will combine with the food to produce decay causing chemicals and will promote large colonies of bacteria in and under your gums.
If you can only floss once, floss after your last meal of the day. When you start flossing, your gums might bleed (which is a symptom of gum disease) but after a week or two you should find that the bleeding stops. Donít let the blood deter you from flossing thoroughly and high into the gum as shown in the video below.
Once flossing becomes a habit (usually after 30 consecutive days of flossing) youíll feel about flossing the way you feel about brushing: you canít imagine going the whole day without it.
Prevention: Regular Cleanings
Despite brushing regularly, receiving regular cleanings as prescribed by your dentist (usually every 6, 4 or 3 months), will prevent you from accumulating food on your teeth that can cause teeth to decay and gums to promote bacterial colonies.
If youíve ever had a cleaning you should recall having squeaky-clean teeth. Compare that to how your teeth feel after you brush. Despite your best effort food does accumulate on your teeth, which is why you need periodic professional cleanings.
Fixing your gums: Deep Cleanings
If you havenít been flossing properly or youíve gone a long time without professional cleanings, you may develop gum disease. Accumulated food and the decay process that ensues usually leads to gums becoming puffy, bleeding during flossing, or gums separating from your teeth and usually leads to bone loss where food begins to catch under your teeth. In these cases, youíll need a deep cleaning.
A deep cleaning focuses on cleaning the tooth structure that is underneath the gum line and has been shown to restore gum health. Call us for a consultation if you have any of the following symptoms: puffy, bleeding, or separated gums or food catching.
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