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Monday, August 3, 2020

Building a strong relationship with your dentist

You’ll give yourself the best chance of good oral health if you build a strong relationship with your dentist.
That can sometimes mean asking the right questions and helping them to assist you in the best way possible.
So you want to make sure you have a dentist who will first of all explain techniques that you should use to help prevent dental health problems. They should be willing to show you step-by-step what you need to do.
You should also choose a dentist who is willing to take time to answer your questions, especially when they are recommending a course of treatment.
If you don’t understand any part of what your dentist recommends, don’t be afraid to ask for more information.
You may want to ask if there are other options to the solution they recommend. For example:
– How do the options differ in cost?
– Which solution will last the longest?
– Do all the options solve the problem?
Ask the dentist which treatments are absolutely necessary, which are elective and Which are cosmetic.
Ask which procedures are urgently needed, and which ones are less urgent. Your dentist will help you prioritize between problems which need immediate attention and those that are less urgent.
Often, treatment can be planned over a period of time but make sure you understand any consequences of delaying treatment.
It’s naturally also important to make sure that you are given full information about fees and payment plans before treatment is scheduled.

Monday, July 27, 2020

Taking care of your dentures

Your dentures are designed to last a very long time so it’s important that you take care of them as you would take care of your own teeth.
They are very delicate and may break easily if dropped even a few inches. So it’s a good idea to stand over a folded towel or a basin of water when handling dentures.
When you are not wearing your dentures, store them away from children and pets.
Like natural teeth, dentures must be brushed daily to remove food deposits and plaque.
Brushing helps prevent dentures from becoming permanently stained and helps your mouth stay healthy.
There are special brushes designed for cleaning dentures but a toothbrush with soft bristles can also be used. Avoid using hard-bristled brushes as these can damage your dentures.
Some denture wearers also use hand soap or mild dish washing liquid for cleaning and that’s fine. But avoid using powdered household cleansers, which may be too abrasive. Also, avoid using bleach, as this may whiten the pink portion of the denture.
The first step in cleaning dentures is to rinse away loose food particles thoroughly. Moisten the brush and apply denture cleanser. Brush every surface, scrubbing gently to avoid damage.
Dentures may lose their shape if they are allowed to dry out. When they are not worn, dentures should be placed in a denture cleanser soaking solution or in water. Never place dentures in hot water, which could cause them to warp.
Ultrasonic cleaners are also used to care for dentures. However, using an ultrasonic cleaner does not replace a thorough daily brushing.
You can seriously damage your dentures by trying to adjust or repair them yourself. So see your dentist if your dentures break, crack, chip or if one of the teeth becomes loose.
Over time, dentures will need to be relined, rebased, or remade due to normal wear. They may also need to be replaced if they become loose and the teeth show signs of significant wear.
You need to make regular visits to your dentist to make sure the dentures are working as well as possible for you and to check for more serious problems in your mouth such as oral cancer.

Monday, July 20, 2020

How your oral health links with your general health

Research has shown strong links between periodontitis (advanced form of gum disease) and other health problems such as cardiovascular disease, stroke and bacterial pneumonia.
And pregnant women with periodontitis may be at increased risk of delivering pre-term and/or having babies with low birth weight.
However, just because two conditions occur at the same time, doesn’t necessarily mean that one condition causes the other. The relationship could work the other way.
For example, there is evidence that diabetics are more likely to develop periodontitis and have more severe periodontitis than non-diabetics.
Alternatively, two conditions that occur together may be caused by something else.
In addition, people who smoke or use alcohol have a higher than average risk of developing periodontitis and other conditions, including oral cancer.
Research is looking at what happens when periodontitis is treated in individuals with these problems.
The aim is to find out whether periodontitis does have an effect on other health problems.
If one caused the other, improvement in periodontal health would also improve other health problems.
While the research is not yet conclusive, the potential link between periodontitis and systemic health problems, means that preventing periodontitis may be an important step in maintaining overall health.
In most cases, good oral health can be maintained by brushing and flossing every day and receiving regular professional dental care.

Monday, July 13, 2020

The secrets of avoiding gum disease as an older adult

Gum disease  also known as periodontal disease  often progresses slowly, without pain, over a long period of time and that’s one reason it is common among older adults.
The longer the disease goes undetected and uncontrolled, the more damage it causes to gums and other supporting tissues.
Although periodontal disease is caused by plaque, other factors can increase the risk or severity of the condition, including:
– Food left between the teeth
– Tobacco use  smoking and smokeless tobacco
– Badly aligned teeth
– Ill-fitting bridges or partial dentures
– Poor diet
– Systemic diseases such as anemia
Although periodontal disease is common, it can be controlled and, if caught in its early stages, it can be reversed. However, in advanced stages, it may require surgery.
Look out for the following warning signs and see your dentist if you notice any of them:
– Bleeding gums when you brush
– Red, tender or swollen gums
– Gums that have pulled away from the teeth
– Pus between your teeth and gums when the gums are pressed
– Loose teeth or teeth moving apart
– Any change in your bite
– Any change in the fit of your partial dentures
– Constant bad breath or bad taste
Keeping an eye out for these problems and having regular dental checkups can help you stop gum disease becoming a major and expensive problem.

Monday, July 6, 2020

How smoking affects your teeth

While the general effects of smoking on your health are well-known, it can also have significant effects on your oral health.
Here are some of the ways smoking can harm your oral health and hygiene:
– Oral Cancer
– Periodontal (gum) disease
– Delayed healing after a tooth extraction or other oral surgery
– Bad breath
– Stained teeth and tongue
– Diminished sense of taste and smell
Research suggests that smoking may be responsible for almost 75% of adult gum disease.
Tobacco products damage your gum tissue by affecting the attachment of bone and soft tissue to your teeth. One effect is receding gums which expose the tooth roots and increase your risk of tooth decay or to sensitivity to hot and cold in these unprotected areas.
Cigar smoking is equally a major risk and even smokeless tobacco products contain a variety of toxins associated with cancer. Smokeless tobacco can also irritate your gum tissue.
Giving up smoking will provide a significant boost to your oral health as well as giving you the chance to live longer.

Monday, June 22, 2020

Why it’s not inevitable that you’ll lose your teeth as you get older

Advancements in dental techniques and the increased focus on preventive dentistry means older adults are keeping their natural teeth longer than ever before.
A survey by the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research showed that the rate of toothlessness in the 55 to 64 age group has dropped 60 percent since 1960.
Whatever your age, it’s important to practice good oral hygiene at home and to visit your dentist regularly. A few simple steps can help you maintain good oral health throughout your life.
Plaque, the sticky, colorless layer of bacteria that causes tooth decay and gum disease, can build up quickly on the teeth of older adults, particularly when they neglect oral hygiene. This can increase the risk for tooth decay and periodontal disease.
So it’s important to brush your teeth twice a day with fluoride toothpaste, and clean between your teeth daily with floss or interdental cleaners.
Regular dental checkups are also an important part of caring for your teeth.
This can help you save your teeth and gums and prevent other dental problems. It will save you time and money in the long-run as well.

Monday, June 15, 2020

How sedation and general anesthesia can make your visit to the dentist easier

While local anesthetics are often used in dental treatment, there is sometimes a need for anti-anxiety agents – such as nitrous oxide – or sedatives to help people relax during dental visits.
Dentists may use these agents to induce “minimal or moderate sedation”.
In this case, the patient reaches a relaxed state during treatment but can respond to speech or touch.
Sedatives can be administered before, during or after dental procedures by mouth, inhalation or injection.
More complex treatments may require drugs that can induce “deep sedation”.
This reduces consciousness and causes a loss of feeling which helps to reduce both pain and anxiety.
Sometimes patients undergo “general anesthesia” where the drugs lead to a temporary loss of consciousness.
A dentist may recommend deep sedation or general anesthesia for certain procedures with children or with adults who have severe anxiety or for people who have difficulty controlling their movements.
While these techniques to control pain and anxiety are used to treat tens of millions of patients safely every year, it’s important that you let your dentist know anything that might affect your ability to benefit from them for example, tell them about any illnesses or health conditions, whether you are taking any medications and if you’ve had any problems with allergic reactions to medications.