When your braces finally come off, you’ll hopefully be astounded by what you see –once-crooked teeth replaced by a more attractive smile. But you might also see something you didn’t expect: noticeable white spots on some of your teeth.
These spots called white spot lesions (WSLs) appear lighter than the surrounding tooth enamel due to mineral loss just beneath the surface. This happens because bacterial or food acids have contacted the enamel surface for too long and dissolved the underlying calcium and other minerals. This results in a small discolored and chalky-like area in the enamel.
WSLs are common during orthodontics because wires and brackets create hard to reach places for brushing and flossing, which can accumulate bacterial plaque. The bacteria produce acid, which weakens the enamel at these places. The tiny white spots that result are more than just unattractive—they can become entry points into the tooth for decay. That’s why they should be dealt with as soon as possible—and preferably before they’re created.
To that end, you’ll need to do as thorough a job as possible brushing and flossing while undergoing orthodontic treatment. To improve your thoroughness try using an interproximal toothbrush that can maneuver more closely around braces hardware than a regular brush. You can also improve your flossing with a floss threader or a water flosser, a device that sprays pressurized water to loosen and flush away plaque.
If you do develop WSLs, there are some things we can do to treat them. We can attempt to re-mineralize the affected enamel with the help of topical fluoride (either pastes or gels for home use or with an office application) or a re-mineralizing agent. We can also use techniques like microabrasion, which restores damaged areas beneath the surface, or inject a liquid, tooth-colored resin beneath the WSL’s surface to improve appearance and protect against decay.
If while wearing braces you do notice any white spots or other tooth discoloration let your dentist or orthodontist know right away. The sooner your dental providers can begin dealing with potential WSLs the better your chances for a healthy and beautiful outcome after braces.
If you would like more information on oral hygiene while wearing braces, 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 “White Spots on Teeth During Orthodontic Treatment.”
Today’s dental care has advanced leaps and bound over the last century. But these advances are tiny steps compared to what many believe may be coming in the next few decades. This optimism arises from our growing understanding of deoxyribonucleic acid (DNA), the chain-like molecule that houses the genetic instructions for the growth, function and reproduction of every cell in the body.
As researchers unlock the secrets of this vast genetic blueprint unique to each individual the possible applications from this knowledge are astounding. Here are just a few possibilities that could one day impact everyone’s oral health.
Preventing tooth decay. This rampant disease, triggered by bacteria (particularly Streptococcus mutans), can cause extensive damage in otherwise healthy teeth. There’s already some indications from the study of genomics that we may be able to stop or at least hinder this disease in its tracks. Already we’re seeing advances in gene therapy that might be able to inhibit the growth of Strep mutans and reduce its colonies in the mouth.
Growing new teeth. Composed of various layers, a natural tooth is part of a dynamic system of bone and gum ligaments that allow movement, protection and nourishment. Although dental implants are the closest and most advanced artificial approximation we now have to them, implants still can’t fully measure up to the function and capabilities of a natural tooth. But further insight into the genetic code may one day allow us to reproduce a living replacement tooth for a lost one.
Harnessing saliva for detecting disease. The impact of genomics related to the mouth could impact more than just the mouth itself. Researchers have discovered that saliva contains genetic information similar to blood, urine and other bodily fluids with markers for various disease conditions. Unlike other fluids, though, saliva is relatively easy to collect. The key is new equipment and testing protocols to take advantage of the information already available in a single drop of saliva.
These examples illustrate the range of possibilities for better health in the future: a reduction in dental disease early in life; new and better ways to restore missing teeth; and quicker ways to diagnose dangerous health conditions.
If you would like more information on new developments in dental care, 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 Future of Dentistry: A Sneak Preview of Your Dental Future.”
In our constant battle against infectious disease, the “enemy” is often too close for comfort: hospitals and other medical facilities must be ever vigilant against opportunistic infections their patients may contract while in their care.
Dental offices are no exception. Because even the simplest procedure — a dental cleaning, for example — may result in exposure, providers and patients alike face a possible health risk. We must be especially concerned with blood-borne viral infections — spread by person to person contact through blood — the most serious being hepatitis B and C, and HIV/AIDS.
Hepatitis is a viral inflammatory disease that disrupts the critical functions of the liver, particularly as it cleanses and regulates the blood, and cause serious bodily impairment or death. The virus can be transmitted when the blood from an infected person makes its way into the bloodstream of another person, mainly through cuts or a needle injection. Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) can lead to the chronic condition AIDS that destroys the body’s immune system; it spreads mainly through sexual contact, as well as through person to person blood contact.
The best defense against the spread of these diseases in dental offices or other healthcare settings is to eliminate as much as possible any opportunity for blood-to-blood contact. To accomplish this, all healthcare providers, including dentists, are mandated by federal, state and local authorities to incorporate and follow routine safety precautions. The U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issues regularly updated comprehensive guidelines for protocols and procedures to disinfect and sterilize equipment and facilities.
We dentists and our clinical staffs are also mandated by state licensing boards to refresh our knowledge of infection control procedures through continuing education. Such procedures cover every aspect of infection control, from barrier protection — by way of gloves, masks or gowns — to instrument disinfection.
Protecting patients as well as providers from the spread of infection is one of our profession’s highest standards. As a result, incidents of infection among the 170,000 practicing dentists in the United States are rare. You can be assured, then, that we’re taking every precaution to keep you and your family safe from disease when you visit our office.
If you would like more information on dental office procedures to prevent the spread of infection, 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 “Infection Control in the Dental Office.”
Find out why everyone should receive routine dental cleanings every six months.
Whether you don’t remember the last time you went to the dentist or you are wondering when you should start taking your little one in for routine checkups, it’s always a good time to ponder whether your smile is getting the proper dental care it needs to ward away cavities and gum disease. So, how often should you visit one of our Kennesaw and Woodstock, GA, dentists? The answer might surprise you.
Those who aren’t at an increased risk for cavities or gum disease can usually get away with seeing their general dentist in Kennesaw and Woodstock every six months (twice a year). Of course, it’s important that you don’t neglect your smile and don’t take long periods of time away from the dentist. These routine dental checkups are one of the best ways to protect teeth and gums from problems. We can also catch problems earlier on when they are much easier to treat.
With half of American adults suffering from gum disease, it’s important that you come in for regular checkups so that we can detect this issue early on before it wreaks havoc. If left untreated, gum disease can also cause extensive and severe damage not just to the gums but it can also lead to tooth loss. Furthermore, gum disease has also been linked to heart disease, as gum disease-causing bacteria can get into your bloodstream where they can stick to blood vessels within the heart.
Of course, there are certain people that are at an increased risk for developing cavities and gum disease. Those people include:
- Pregnant women
- Those with compromised or weakened immune systems
- Menopausal women
If you are part of one of these high-risk groups, then it might be a good idea to visit your Kennesaw and Woodstock family dentist even more regularly than just every six months. You may actually benefit from coming in every 3-4 months, so talk to your dentist about whether or not you might need to come in for routine checkups more often in order to protect your smile.
1st Choice Dental Care offers locations in Kennesaw and Woodstock, GA, to make it easier for everyone to schedule a dental cleaning when it works best for them. No matter if you want to schedule a checkup for yourself or your child, give us a call today.
Now you can get your new dental restoration in just one visit.
For those who’ve gotten dental crowns in the past, they can tell you that getting this restoration requires multiple trips to the dentist’s office. Of course, we know that everyone leads busy lives and sometimes getting to see the dentist once is a challenge, let alone two or three times in a short period of time. If you require a dental crown to protect or support a damaged or weakened tooth, our Kennesaw and Woodstock, GA, dentists are here to tell you how you could get your new restoration in just one visit.
That’s right, now you can come into our office and have a crown designed and fabricated right here on the premises while you wait. You’ll walk out the same day with a brand new crown. Of course, some people are skeptical, believing that these dental crowns might not be the same caliber as traditional crowns; however, our Kennesaw and Woodstock general dentists take digital images of your teeth to get more precise measurements, which results in a crown that offers a superior fit. These restorations are also made from porcelain, which is stain-resistant and extremely durable.
Getting CEREC crowns means that you can protect your tooth from further damage and get back that beautiful smile without having to wait. Once dental images are taken, these images are put onto the computer where special CAD/CAM software is used to design a perfectly fitted crown based on the exact measurements. Once the crown has been designed, we will transfer these measurements to the milling station, where we will choose a porcelain block that most closely matches the shade of the tooth and then place the block into the machine so that it can carve out your new restoration.
Once the restoration is complete, we will go ahead and check the fit before cementing it in place over the tooth to restore resilience and functionality back into the tooth. CEREC crowns are great because they can save people a lot of time, stress, and hassle. Plus, you’ll give your smile the protection it needs to prevent further issues.
Anyone dealing with a severely malformed or discolored tooth, or a tooth that is weak, worn, or fractured can benefit from same-day crowns; however, if you are dealing with a fracture that lies under the gums, CEREC crowns will not be able to restore your tooth.
Do you have questions about getting CEREC crowns? Want to find out if this is the restoration for you? If so, call 1st Choice Dental Care in Woodstock and Kennesaw, GA, today to book a no-risk consultation with us.
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