Posts for: September, 2018
It’s a big moment after months of wearing braces to finally get a glimpse of your new smile. The crooked teeth and poor bite are gone — and in their place are beautiful, straight teeth!
If you’re not careful, though, your new look might not last. That’s because the natural mechanism we used to straighten your teeth may try to return them to their previous poor positions.
Contrary to what many people think, teeth aren’t rigidly set within the jaw bone. Instead, an elastic, fibrous tissue known as the periodontal ligament lies between the teeth and the bone and attaches to both with tiny fibers. Though quite secure, the attachment allows the teeth to move in very minute increments in response to growth or other changes in the mouth.
Orthodontic appliances like braces or clear aligners put pressure on the teeth in the direction we wish them to move. The bone dissolves on the side of the teeth where pressure is being applied or facing the direction of movement and then builds up on the other side where tension is occurring.
The ligament, though, has a kind of “muscle memory” for the teeth’s original position. Unless it’s prevented, this “memory” will pull the teeth back to where they used to be. All the time and effort involved with wearing braces will be lost.
That’s why it’s important for you to wear an appliance called a retainer after your braces have been removed. As the name implies, the appliance “retains” the teeth in their new position until it’s more permanently set. For most people, this means wearing it for twenty-four hours in the beginning, then later only a few hours a day or while you sleep.
The majority of younger patients eventually won’t need to wear a retainer once bone and facial growth has solidified their teeth’s new position. Older adults, though, may need to wear one from now on. Even so, it’s a relatively slight inconvenience to protect that beautiful, hard-won smile.
If you would like more information on retainers, 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 “The Importance of Orthodontic Retainers.”
You want to improve the color of your smile. It's dingy, dull, yellowed. You want the safest, most potent way to whiten your teeth. At Art of Dentistry in Danville, VA, your dentists, Dr. Jessica Owens and Dr. Zachary Hairston, offer fast and effective teeth whitening treatments which really work. Get a youthful, beautiful smile through professional whitening.
How tooth color changes
You used to have amazing pearly whites, but now, well, the opposite is true. You brush and floss faithfully, but still, your enamel is so yellow, you're too embarrassed to smile.
Why do teeth stain? Surprisingly, tooth enamel is very porous. Just like a concrete sidewalk, enamel is rock-hard but still readily absorbs staining material such as coffee, tobacco, sports drinks, curry, soy sauce, and more.
These extrinsic stains may improve a bit with whitening toothpastes and rinses you buy at the drugstore, but the effects aren't long-lasting or what you'd call spectacular. Some products, such as whitening strips, can cause gum and tooth sensitivity, too, conditions you definitely want to avoid.
Explore professional teeth whitening
Offered by your dentist at Art of Dentistry in Danville, VA, in-office and at-home whitening improves tooth color by several shades, and the results really last. To confirm that your teeth and gums are healthy enough for whitening, Dr. Owens or Dr. Hairston will do a complete examination. Patients who have a lot of fillings and crowns, who have gum disease, exposed roots, or are pregnant should not get their teeth whitened, say experts at the Cleveland Clinic.
However, if your dentist determines you're eligible, you can choose from an in-office service, which takes about an hour, or an at-home version which takes about a week. Both processes are professionally supervised and use a very concentrated hydrogen peroxide gel. Tooth color improves by as much as eight shades.
Keeping teeth white
After your treatment regimen, Dr. Owens and Dr. Hairston make these recommendations to keep your smile bright indefinitely:
- Brush your teeth twice daily with a fluoride toothpaste, and floss daily. At-home hygiene is critical to your oral health and smile appearance.
- Cut down on staining foods and beverages, and brush if you do consume them.
- Stop all tobacco usage. ( cigarettes and smokeless tobacco harm your oral and systemic health besides creating the stubbornest of tooth discoloration).
- Come to Art of Dentistry for touch-ups as needed.
Transform your smile
Professional teeth whitening is super-popular and economical compared to other aesthetic dental treatments, says the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry. Find out more about the process at a one-on-one cosmetic dentistry consultation at Art of Dentistry. Contact the friendly office staff in Danville, VA, at (434) 792-0700.
If you’re brushing and flossing daily, as well as seeing your dentist at least every six months, you’re doing the top things needed to maintain your dental health. But all your hygiene efforts could be undermined if you’re not eating a dental-friendly diet. Simply put, there are foods that protect and promote dental health and those that increase your risk of dental disease.
Diets in the latter category are typically high in added sugar and low in natural food fiber. The largest sources of these are processed sugars from sugar cane or beets and high fructose corn syrup. With just a little knowledgeable label reading, you can find sugar and its various aliases added to thousands of processed food items including pastries, candies, sodas and energy drinks.
Heavy consumption of processed sugars also contributes to dental disease. Disease-causing bacteria thrive on sugar as a food source, which fuels both their growth and their production of oral acid. Elevated acid levels can dissolve the minerals in tooth enamel faster than saliva can keep up. Softened enamel opens the door to tooth decay, while increased bacterial growth can lead to periodontal (gum) disease.
A diet, however, low in added sugar and high in fiber can have the opposite effect. Although fresh fruits and vegetables contain natural sugars, they also have indigestible parts called fiber that slow the digestion of any sugars and allow the body to more efficiently process them. With the higher quantity of vitamins and minerals found in unprocessed foods, the overall effect of this diet is a decrease in your risk for dental disease.
Speaking of dental-friendly foods, we should also give honorable mentions to certain dairy items like cheese and milk that stimulate saliva production and are rich in calcium needed for tooth strength. Another beneficial category is both black and green tea, which contain antioxidants to fight disease and fluoride to strengthen enamel.
Adopting a low-sugar/high-fiber diet can have a profound impact on your overall health. Over time, you’ll also reap dental health rewards with stronger teeth and gums and a lower risk of tooth decay and gum disease.
If you would like more information on diet and oral health, 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 “Nutrition & Oral Health.”