My Blog

Posts for: March, 2012

By Redwood Dental Health Center
March 26, 2012
Category: Oral Health
Tags: floss  
FoolproofFlossing

Dental professionals agree that effective removal of plaque, the film of bacteria (also called a biofilm) that gathers on everyone's teeth, is the key to good dental health. Daily brushing and flossing are the usual recommendation for plaque removal. It is important to ask us about effective brushing and flossing. At your next appointment, ask us for a demonstration.

Effective brushing removes plaque from the easily accessed surfaces of the teeth. To remove plaque from between the teeth, you must floss.

Some people find it awkward to hold the floss with their fingers as they move it around their teeth. One technique for flossing, suggested by a dentist in Dear Doctor magazine, may make it easier than more traditional methods, although it does take a little practice.

Preparation
This method requires tearing off a 10 to 12 inch length of floss and tying it to form a circle big enough for your fingers, but not your thumbs, to fit within it. The circle should be knotted with a double knot.

To Clean Teeth and Gums
Keep the floss taut at all times, with about and inch or less between your thumb and index fingers for your upper teeth, or index fingers only for your lower teeth. Curve the floss around each tooth and gently move it up and down until you hear a squeaky clean sound. Extend the downward movement of the floss to just below the surface of the gum, without being too harsh and causing injury. As you move from tooth to tooth, move around the floss circle so that each tooth gets a clean section of floss.

Upper Teeth
Place all your fingers in the ring, with the floss over your left thumb and right index finger to floss your upper left teeth, and over your right thumb and left index finger to do the other side.

Lower Teeth
Use both index fingers to floss all your lower teeth.

You may only need to floss once a day before or after brushing to keep your gums health and ward off periodontal (gum) disease. Your dentist will guide you as to how often you may need to floss your teeth. Try this technique and see how it works for you.

Contact us today to schedule an appointment to discuss your questions about flossing techniques. You can also learn more by reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “Flossing — A Different Approach.”


By Redwood Dental Health Center
March 18, 2012
Category: Dental Procedures
Tags: veneers   prepless veneers  
DontLiketheDrillNowTheresDrill-FreeCosmeticDentistry

If you have a tooth that just doesn't look good because of decay or injury, a porcelain laminate veneer is probably a good way to make it look as good as it ever did — and maybe even better! Dental veneers are composed of thin layers of dental ceramic material. They essentially replace the original tooth enamel and require preparation of the tooth by removing a small amount of enamel to allow room for the placement of the veneer.

Recently, more and more dentists have been using minimal prep or prepless techniques that do not require this preparation. In such cases, the porcelain is bonded directly to the outer layer of the tooth's enamel. Highly skilled dental technicians can design a custom-fit veneer that feathers into the tooth just short of the gum line.

Prepless techniques cannot be used in all situations, but when they are used appropriately the results are beautiful and very stable. Should you get prepless veneers? The following is a list of advantages and disadvantages of prepless veneers.

Advantages of prepless veneers include:

  • Tooth preparation or reduction is not needed, leaving the original tooth whole.
  • They are not placed under the gum tissue, eliminating the possibility that the restorations negatively impact the gum tissue.
  • They can be used to change the appearance of teeth that are too small or misshapen making the teeth look larger and eliminate unwanted spacing.
  • They can be used to “lengthen” teeth that have been worn down by grinding.
  • Since the underlying tooth has not been reduced, prepless veneers are reversible and practically risk-free.

Disadvantages include:

  • There are many cosmetic situations in which they cannot be used, and traditional veneers (requiring preparation) must be used instead.
  • Prepless veneers cannot be used in cases in which orthodontic treatment is recommended to move the teeth, such as improper tooth position, poor bite, or a poor facial profile.
  • Since they are added on to existing tooth structure, they do not work for teeth that are relatively large or in a forward position in a smile.
  • They do not usually work for lower teeth because of space restrictions.
  • They cannot replace lost or damaged enamel.

Working with prepless veneers requires special skills and training. Please discuss our credentials and experience with us when you inquire about this technique. We can assess your specific situation and let you know whether restoration without the drill is appropriate for you.

Contact us today to schedule an appointment to discuss your questions about prepless veneers. You can also learn more by reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “Porcelain Veneers Without the Drill.”


By Redwood Dental Health Center
March 10, 2012
Category: Oral Health
Tags: oral health   fluoride  
HowDoesFluorideProtectYourTeeth

The CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) calls fluoridation of drinking water one of the ten most important public health measures of the 20th century, along with such measures as vaccination and motor-vehicle safety.

A fluoride concentration of about one milligram per liter (1 mg/L), or 1 part per million (1ppm), in the water supply is associated with substantially fewer cavities. This concentration of fluoride (equivalent to a grain of salt in a gallon of water) has been found to have no negative health effects.

The connection between fluoride and oral health was confirmed in the first half of the 20th century, and by 1955 the first clinically proven fluoride toothpaste was launched. Fluoride-containing toothpastes are common today, along with other fluoride-containing products.

Protective Effects of Fluoride
Ongoing studies have shown that fluoride has both a systemic (through the body) effect and a local effect at the tooth surfaces. Tooth decay takes place as part of a kind of active war between de-mineralization and re-mineralization, in which acids produced by bacteria in plaque (a biofilm in your mouth) soften and dissolve the minerals (de-mineralization) in the tooth's surface. At the same time, the saliva bathing the tooth acts to re-harden the tooth's surface by adding minerals back (re-mineralization). If fluoride is present in the biofilm and in the saliva, it protects against de-mineralization.

The fluoride you drink in your water is deposited in your bones. Bone is an active living substance that is constantly broken down and rebuilt as a normal body process. As this happens the fluoride is released into the blood, from which it can enter the saliva and act on the tooth surface. The fluoride in toothpastes and products like rinses is delivered directly to the tooth surface. Fluorides can also be eaten in foods with high fluoride content such as teas, dry infant cereals and processed chicken, fish and seafood products.

Problems with Over-use
Eating or swallowing too much fluoride can contribute to a discoloration of teeth called dental fluorosis, which varies in appearance from small white striations to stained pitting and severe brown mottling of the enamel. To avoid this effect, monitor children's tooth brushing to make sure they use only a small amount of fluoride toothpaste and do not swallow it.

Adding fluoride to water has been controversial because some people believe that it may cause other harmful effects. However, most health experts believe that fluoridated water carries no significant health risks and significantly contributes to public health by preventing tooth decay.

Contact us today to schedule an appointment to discuss your questions about fluoride. You can also learn more by reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “Fluoride & Fluoridation in Dentistry.”


By Redwood Dental Health Center
March 02, 2012
Category: Dental Procedures
TestingyourKnowledgeDentalImplants

Dental implants are a fascinating treatment option that can be life changing when used properly. They have also experienced tremendous scientific advancements and press over the years making them highly desirable by people of all walks of life. See how much you really know about dental implants by taking our quick and easy true/false self test.

  1. Dental implants can produce lifelike results that are indistinguishable from natural surrounding teeth.
    True or False
  2. Many dental professionals consider dental implants as a “third set of teeth,” as they can last a lifetime when properly maintained.
    True or False
  3. A dental implant is a safe option that is suitable for all patients regardless of age.
    True or False
  4. When properly placed and maintained, dental implants have a 90% success rate.
    True or False
  5. If you do not have enough bone to support a successful dental implant, there is not much that can be done.
    True or False
  6. When teeth are missing, the face tends to have a sunken-in appearance called, “posterior bite collapse.”
    True or False
  7. One of the positives of dental implants is that they do not affect adjacent teeth.
    True or False
  8. Dental implants typically cost significantly more than other options, such as a bridge, over the course of a lifetime.
    True or False
  9. Dental implants are always more desirable than bridgework or other treatment options for missing teeth.
    True or False
  10. Dental implants can lead to improved health due to better nutrition and proper digestion.
    True or False
Answers:
  1. True. Dental implants can appear as beautiful, natural teeth.
  2. True. When properly maintained, implants provide the same function as natural teeth roots.
  3. False. Dental implants are not suitable for replacing primary teeth or permanent teeth in young children or teenagers. They are best used when facial and jaw development is complete.
  4. False. They have a 95% success rate.
  5. False. If you do not have enough bone for a dental implant, you may be a candidate for a bone graft — a process in which we “grow” the bone we need for the implant.
  6. True. This condition is often totally reversible once teeth have been restored through implants or bridgework.
  7. True. Unlike bridgework, dental implants do not affect surrounding teeth.
  8. False. They are less expensive in the long run.
  9. False. Sometimes a bridge is better than an implant.
  10. True. Once teeth are restored, chewing and digesting food is easier; thus health improves.

To learn more, continue reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “Dental Implants, Your Third Set of Teeth.” Or, you can contact us today to schedule an appointment or to discuss your questions.