Posts for: January, 2018
Straightening your teeth with braces is a serious commitment which can benefit you and your smile in more ways than one. However, understanding this process and how it works is key in deciding if orthodontic treatment can help you. Find out more about braces and what they can do for you with Dr. Jessica Owens and Dr. Zachary Hairston at Art of Dentistry in Danville, VA.
Do I need braces?
If you have misaligned teeth or bite issues, you can benefit from orthodontic treatment. Though teeth misalignments are more obvious to spot, you may not know how to tell you have a bad bite. However, if your top and bottom teeth do not line up, resulting in the top jaw protruding too far forward of the bottom jaw protruding in front of the top jaw, you have bite issues. If the middle teeth do not meet in the center or you notice that your top and bottom jaw cross each other, you may also have a bite problem. Severe wear and pain-related issues like TMJ disorder or an aching jaw can also indicate that you may require orthodontic care.
What can orthodontic care do for my smile?
Orthodontic care is a powerful tool not only to change the appearance of your smile but also its functionality and efficiency. Braces will move and straighten your teeth, giving you a smile you feel great about and teeth which can easily break down food during meals. Correcting crowding issues provides more surface area on the teeth, making it easier for your toothbrush’s bristles to reach plaque and bacteria. In some cases, wearing braces can even help correct breathing or swallowing issues like sleep apnea.
Orthodontic Care in Danville, VA
If you think you could benefit from orthodontic care, you should talk with your dentist at a consultation. In addition to traditional metal braces, Art of Dentistry also offers clear braces, lingual braces, and ceramic braces. These options allow you to choose the most suitable orthodontic option for your lifestyle and personality.
For more information on braces and what they can do for your smile, please contact Dr. Owens and Dr. Hairston at Art of Dentistry in Danville, VA. Call (434) 792-0700 to schedule your appointment with your dentist today!
“No man is an island….” So wrote the poet John Donne four centuries ago. And while he meant the unity of humanity, the metaphor could equally apply to the interdependence of the various parts of the human body, including the mouth. According to recent scientific research, your mouth isn’t an “island” either.
Much of this research has focused on periodontal (gum) disease, an infection most often caused by bacterial plaque that triggers inflammation in the gum tissues. Although an important part of the body’s defenses, if the inflammation becomes chronic it can damage the gums and weaken their attachment to the teeth. Supporting bone may also deteriorate leading eventually to tooth loss.
Avoiding that outcome is good reason alone for treating and controlling gum disease. But there’s another reason—the possible effect the infection may have on the rest of the body, especially if you have one or more systemic health issues. It may be possible for bacteria to enter the bloodstream through the diseased gum tissues to affect other parts of the body or possibly make other inflammatory conditions worse.
One such condition is diabetes, a disease which affects nearly one person in ten. Normally the hormone insulin helps turn dietary sugars into energy for the body’s cells. But with diabetes either the body doesn’t produce enough insulin or the available insulin can’t metabolize sugar effectively. The disease can cause or complicate many other serious health situations.
There appears to be some links between diabetes and gum disease, including that they both fuel chronic inflammation. This may explain why diabetics with uncontrolled gum disease also often have poor blood sugar levels. Conversely, diabetics often have an exaggerated inflammatory response to gum disease bacteria compared to someone without diabetes.
The good news, though, is that bringing systemic diseases like diabetes under control may have a positive effect on the treatment of gum disease. It may also mean that properly treating gum disease could also help you manage not only diabetes, but also other conditions like cardiovascular disease, osteoporosis, or rheumatoid arthritis. Taking care of your teeth and gums may not only bring greater health to your mouth, but to the rest of your body as well.
If you would like more information on treating dental diseases like gum disease, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can also learn more about this topic by reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “Good Oral Health Leads to Better Health Overall.”
Cavities can happen even before a baby has his first piece of candy. This was the difficult lesson actor David Ramsey of the TV shows Arrow and Dexter learned when his son DJ’s teeth were first emerging.
“His first teeth came in weak,” Ramsey recalled in a recent interview. “They had brown spots on them and they were brittle.” Those brown spots, he said, quickly turned into cavities. How did this happen?
Ramsey said DJ’s dentist suspected it had to do with the child’s feedings — not what he was being fed but how. DJ was often nursed to sleep, “so there were pools of breast milk that he could go to sleep with in his mouth,” Ramsey explained.
While breastfeeding offers an infant many health benefits, problems can occur when the natural sugars in breast milk are left in contact with teeth for long periods. Sugar feeds decay-causing oral bacteria, and these bacteria in turn release tooth-eroding acids. The softer teeth of a young child are particularly vulnerable to these acids; the end result can be tooth decay.
This condition, technically known as “early child caries,” is referred to in laymen’s terms as “baby bottle tooth decay.” However, it can result from nighttime feedings by bottle or breast. The best way to prevent this problem is to avoid nursing babies to sleep at night once they reach the teething stage; a bottle-fed baby should not be allowed to fall asleep with anything but water in their bottle or “sippy cup.”
Here are some other basics of infant dental care that every parent should know:
- Wipe your baby’s newly emerging teeth with a clean, moist washcloth after feedings.
- Brush teeth that have completely grown in with a soft-bristled, child-size toothbrush and a smear of fluoride toothpaste no bigger than a grain of rice.
- Start regular dental checkups by the first birthday.
Fortunately, Ramsey reports that his son is doing very well after an extended period of professional dental treatments and parental vigilance.
“It took a number of months, but his teeth are much, much better,” he said. “Right now we’re still helping him and we’re still really on top of the teeth situation.”
If you would like more information on dental care for babies and toddlers, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can also learn more by reading the Dear Doctor magazine articles “The Age One Dental Visit” and “Dentistry & Oral Health for Children.”