The Importance of Tooth Enamel

February 25th, 2015

Enamel, which is the hard mineral-rich outer layer of your teeth, is the number one defense against tooth decay.  Unfortunately over time, enamel can be eroded by acid, which is found in food, drinks, and bacterial plaque.  As enamel erodes, your teeth become more susceptible to tooth decay.  When acid levels rise, calcium in enamel becomes soft which is called de-mineralization.  Your mouth can counteract this process with salvia.  Saliva has the ability to neutralize acid and the calcium within saliva helps bind to your teeth to help replace the lost enamel.  This is a process known as re-mineralization.

If there is too much acid in your mouth, saliva is not able to neutralize the effects.  Drinks that contain high citric acid such as soda and sports drinks can be very damaging to enamel.  Not only are these drinks high in acid, they also have a high buffering capacity that slows down the neutralizing effect of saliva.  Although brushing your teeth after drinking highly acidic beverages seems like a way to protect enamel, it can actually have a counter effect if done to promptly.  Acid found in food or drink softens the enamel and if you brush your teeth too quickly, the brushing can essentially brush away some of your enamel.

There are a few methods in maintaining a healthy pH balance in your mouth.  The most effective way is to limit the amount of acidic food or drinks you consume.  If you decide to drink acidic drinks, use a straw in efforts to reduce the amount of time the acid is in contact with your teeth.  Also try and drink these during your mealtime.  The final step is to wait at least 30 to 60 minutes after drinking or eating something acidic before brushing your teeth.  Because tooth enamel is the main component in maintaining healthy teeth, keeping your enamel strong is the best way to keep your teeth from decay.

Root Canal Treatment

February 16th, 2015

Your teeth are meant to last a lifetime.  Brushing, flossing, and proper oral hygiene help to keep your teeth strong and healthy over the course of your life.  Sometimes, however, damage can occur to a tooth, most often from a deep cavity or an injury that causes a tooth to crack, and this can cause the interior of the tooth to become infected.  The infection can damage the pulp of the tooth, which is a network of blood vessels and nerves.  If left untreated, the damaged pulp can cause infection that will damage the bone around the tooth, which will then lead to swelling and pain.  If the damaged tooth becomes infected, your dentist may have to preform a root canal to save the tooth.

A root canal involves opening the tooth, removing the damaged pulp, cleaning, shaping, filling and sealing the tooth.  Root canals are a very common and effective procedure used to save the infected tooth from having to be removed.  Root canals do require two appointments because a permeate crown needs to be fitted and molded before it can be applied to the tooth.  During the first appointment, your dentist will remove the infected pulp and drain any abscesses.  The root canal will then be cleaned and shaped for a temporary filling.  During this visit impressions will be taken so a proper fitting crown can be molded for the infected tooth.  During your second visit, your dentist will check the tooth and make sure all of the infection has cleared.  Once this has been completed, the permanent crown will be applied to the tooth.  Any adjustments to the shape of the crown will be made so that the new crown does not affect your bite.

After your root canal has been completed, your tooth will look and feel as good as new.  Proper oral hygiene will help prevent any additional infections to the tooth.  If you are experiencing any sensitivity or discomfort, schedule an appointment with your dentist today to address the issue and prevent any further decay.

How Do You Know If You Need A Root Canal?

February 9th, 2015

If you’ve been experiencing tooth sensitivity or pain, how do you know if you need a root canal?  This answer unfortunately is sometimes painfully obvious, and that pain is caused within the affected tooth.

Anyone can experience some degree of tooth discomfort.  An issue within a tooth’s root canal is not necessarily always the cause for discomfort.  You might experience sensitivity to hot or cold liquids or foods, which isn’t usually a sign of a serious problem.  These symptoms could also be the result of a loose filling, a small area of decay, or an exposed root surface.  If you are experiencing sharp pain that occurs when you bite down, pain that lingers after you’ve consumed hot or cold food or drinks, or a constant ache from an area that is difficult to pinpoint, these may all be symptoms of infection or inflammation within the root canal.  An infection within the pulp tissue of a tooth is typically treated with a root canal.

A dentist will be the only one who can determine whether the pulp tissue inside your tooth is the cause of the pain.  If this is confirmed, then a root canal procedure can be the most effective way of relieving the pain and preventing further damage to the area.

If you ever begin to feel severe aching or pressure in your mouth that does not subside, or if you begin to notice sensitivity and swelling in your gums, don’t wait for the problem to fix itself!  These symptoms are all major reasons to schedule an appointment with your dentist and have the issue checked out and treated.

Mouth Guards And Sports

January 15th, 2015

The winter season has arrived which means a number of children are about to begin participating in winter sports such as hockey, basketball, and wrestling.  These sports (among other sports throughout each season) pose a high risk of injury to the mouth.  The unsettling fact is that most children do not wear mouth guards while playing sports.

Although mouth guards are mandatory to wear in some sports such as football, it is recommended by dental professionals to wear a mouth guard in any high contact athletic activity.  A study found that 68% of children do not wear a mouth guard during soccer, basketball, baseball and softball games.  The likelihood of a ball, bat, or body part coming into contact with someone’s mouth is extremely high.  It is estimated that wearing a mouth guard during sports could prevent more than 200,000 oral injuries per year.

Proper fitting mouth guards should be:

- Comfortable.
- Easy to clean.
- Durable and tear resistant.
- Not restricting to breathing or speech.
- Able to easily stay in place.

With the numbers as they are, it is very important for children to protect their teeth and mouth by wearing a mouth guard.  This could be what saves your child from a mouth injury and thousands of dollars in dental expenses.

New Year Dental Resolutions

January 9th, 2015

The New Year has arrived but that does not mean there still is not time to add a few dental related resolutions to your list!  Although many people often aren’t able to keep their resolutions, oral related resolutions might be a bit more motivating to keep.  We at Easton Dentist have come up with three suggestions for some oral health related resolutions this 2015:

Reduce The Sweets – This New Year try cutting down the amount of sweets you consume.  The longer your teeth are exposed to the sugars in sweets, the longer the acids have to attack tooth enamel, which can lead to tooth decay.  Reducing the amount of sweets you eat can help keep your teeth cavity free this year.

Brush & Floss Regularly – If you don’t already, commit to brushing your teeth twice a day for two minutes.  Brushing for two minutes is important because is will provided the recommended and necessary cleaning to keep your teeth healthy and cavity free.  Also, another part to this resolution should be to increase your flossing.  If you aren’t flossing once daily, try to start out by at least flossing once a week.  As this habit begins to pick up, slowly work your way to flossing once a day to keep those gums healthy.

Quit Smoking – Cigarette smokers might already have a New Year’s resolution to quit smoking but your oral health is another major reason to kick the habit.  Cigarette smoking is the primary cause of gum disease.  Not only will your lungs thank you for this resolution but your teeth and gums will too.

These few resolutions are just some of the suggested oral health tips we recommend you strive to improve upon this New Year.  Make sure that you also schedule a teeth cleaning every six months to keep your smile vibrant and healthy!

The Four Types of Teeth

December 26th, 2014

When you think about teeth, you may not naturally think about the fact that there are different types of teeth.  As you run your tongue along the tops of your teeth, you can feel the changes in size and smoothness.  What you probably don’t know is that there are four different types of teeth and they each have distinctive functions.

Incisors – These are the top and bottom four teeth in the center of your mouth.  These eight teeth are flat and can often be sharp, which is why you might primarily use them for biting into food.

Canines – The canines are the teeth to the right and left of your incisors.  These are the sharpest of your teeth and best used for grasping and tearing food.  The canine teeth also have very long roots due to their size.

Premolars – These teeth are located behind your canines. There are two on the top and two on the bottom. They are larger and have a flat chewing surface, which makes them best for crushing food.

Molars – The molars are the last teeth towards the back and are the largest teeth in your mouth.  These teeth have bigger, flatter chewing surfaces and make chewing and grinding food into smaller pieces easier.

Each one of your teeth assists to make eating possible.  It’s important to take proper care of your teeth to prevent cavities and decay.  Make sure to brush twice daily and floss regularly.  Also remember to schedule a cleaning every six months to check to see if your teeth are cavity free.

Holiday Treats That Can Lead to Unhealthy Teeth

December 18th, 2014

The holidays are here which means sugary treats are everywhere.  Although it’s hard to turn down that delicious holiday cookie grandma just baked, we want to remind you about the effects sweets can have on your oral health.  Here are four of the most common treats we suggest to eat and drink in moderation during the holiday season:

Holiday Cookies – It’s enticing to grab one of those delicious holiday cookies that always seem to be available and laying around.  Before you reach for the second or third, it’s important to remember the amount of sugar each cookie contains and the amount of damage it can have on your teeth.

Holiday Drinks – There are a number of seasonal beverages like hot chocolate, eggnog, and warm apple ciders that are perfect for the holidays and make you feel warm inside.  Whenever you decide to drink one of these sugary drinks, try to keep it to only one cup or a small serving.  After you’ve finished, make sure to drink a glass of water afterward to help wash out some of the sugar residue and protect your teeth.

Candy Canes – This minty treat can cause a couple of negative effects on your teeth.  The prolonged amount of time these take to dissolve in your mouth leaves sugars lingering.  Also the hard and sticky structure makes it temping to bite, which could crack a tooth.

Caramels – Caramels are sticky treats that you find yourself chewing forever.  Even after you’ve finished, there always seems to be some lingering caramel left in your teeth.  The amount of sugar that is in a caramel treat can negatively affect your oral health.

All of these holiday temptations have a main ingredient, sugar.  We all know that sugar is bad for oral health because it mixes with bacteria on your teeth and will produce acid that erodes tooth enamel.  When you are enjoying these holiday sweets, just remember to keep your teeth in mind and try to take counter actions.  Make sure you are bushing twice daily and flossing regularly.  Also after your indulging, try to squeeze in an extra brush to remove the lingering sugar to keep your smile vibrant.  Everyone here at Easton Dentists wishes you all a happy and healthy holiday!

The Effects Gluten Can Have on Your Teeth

December 8th, 2014

Over the past few years there has been a rise in awareness surrounding Celiac disease and gluten sensitivity. With all the buzz of this disease and the effects it has on an individual, we decided to look into how eating gluten can affect the health of your teeth. When an individual that is affected by Celiac disease or gluten sensitivity consumes gluten, it can prevent their body from absorbing nutrients. It can also directly affect your oral health negatively.

Anyone with Celiac disease or gluten sensitivity can experience oral health issues that include:

- Damage and deterioration to teeth enamel
- Bad breath or dry mouth syndrome
- Recurrent canker sores or ulcers inside the mouth
- Teeth discoloration with brown or yellowing spots
- Inflammatory gum disease

For any individual that has Celiac disease or gluten sensitivity, check with your dentist and ask how to best maintain your oral health. Also if you are someone that is experiencing these symptoms but have not been diagnosed with Celiac disease, your dentist might be able to provide more information on your oral conditions and how to prevent and maintain a proper oral hygiene.

How to Be a Good Dental Patient

November 20th, 2014

We spend a lot of time and effort working to be the best in our field, however we thought we might give you a bit of perspective on how you can optimize the dental treatment experience on your end too.   The relationship between dentist and patient is one of trust and care but both sides need to be prepared for a healthy partnership.

Plan Accordingly

The first and foremost thing you can do to make your dental visit better for you and your dentist is to be prepared and ready to go.  Brush and floss your teeth before coming into the office and, please, avoid garlic and other breath-saturating foods before you come in.  Dentists do their best to make sure they are ready for your appointment when you arrive.  If you’re going to be late or have to cancel, it’s best to call ahead with a courtesy warning so the office isn’t wondering if they should cross you off for the day.

Speak Up

Good communication between dentist and patient is key for a healthy relationship.  Make sure you know what you’re looking for and what you expect.  If something hurts or you have dental concerns, tell you dentist and be as clear as possible.  Confusion can only cause problems down the road.  If you have dental anxiety, communicate with your dentist so they can be prepared to help you with this issue.

Good medical practices involve professionalism and quality care on the part of the dental physician but also rely heavily on the cooperation of a good patient.   In order to help your Columbus dentist take care of your smile, prepare and communicate.

Keep Your Teeth Healthy this Holiday Season

November 11th, 2014

We know how much you love us but it is a safe bet that your dentist is probably not the person you want to go visiting during the holiday season.  We would love to see you for a cleaning or whitening before those family pictures, but we know how it is.  We’re going to offer some tips and advice for making the most out of the holidays without damaging your teeth in the process.

Avoid Chewy Treats

Candy comes in many varieties during the holidays but the worst for your teeth is the chewy taffy stuff.  These sticky substances can lodge in your teeth and hang around for days, inviting the risk for tooth decay and gingivitis.  Munch your sweets sparingly and try to avoid the sticky, chewy ones.

Don’t Crack Nuts with your Teeth

Nuts are a great holiday snack, offering protein instead of sugar.  However, be careful how you crunch through these things.  The hardness can cause serious tooth and gum damage if you mow through them without cracking them first.  Shell the nuts and then enjoy.  Your teeth will thank you.

No Nail Biting

We know, you’ll be with family and Aunt Edna all season and the nerves usually take a toll on your nails but nail biting is not good for your teeth.  Find other ways to deal with the nerves of the season, like egg nog!  On that note, don’t use your teeth to open bottles or packages.  This can chip or damage teeth, requiring root canals.

Avoid Crunching Hard Candy

It’s true, we don’t want you chewing the gummy stuff either but crunching into excessively hard surfaces like ice or hard candy can chip or damage teeth, causing health problems and sometimes requiring surgery.

The holidays are a great time for food and sweets but take care of your precious enamel along the way and your smile will show.