Glick & Woods Dentistry

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Types of Partial Dentures

Dentists generally prescribe dentures for patients who are missing teeth. Some of these patients willingly subscribe to the dentist’s recommendation for esthetic reasons. After all, it’s difficult to smile with some teeth missing. An opportunity to have back a complete set of teeth is a good confidence booster for someone who has lost it.

While the patient concerns himself with beauty and appearance, dentists are more concerned about the adverse effects on someone with missing teeth—like temporomandibular joint (TMJ) problems. A patient with TMJ problems will experience difficulty moving his jaw, in addition to headaches and earaches.

There are different types of dentures, classified as fixed and removable.

Dental implant bridges are among the fixed kind and involve a permanent attachment of the artificial teeth to the jaw or gum tissue. These are preferred since the attached teeth bear a striking resemblance to natural ones. However, they’re harder to clean.

Removable dentures come in different styles. There’s the flipper denture, which is the least expensive of them all. However, they are just temporary solutions to tooth loss. In cast metal dentures, soreness is not an issue since its framework doesn’t come in contact with the mouth’s soft tissues. The flexible framework denture uses nylon-like materials, which is considered an advance in dental treatment.

When one or more rear teeth are lost, dentists use the Nesbit denture; however, there’s the danger of accidentally swallowing it. Lastly, the cusil denture is one that allows the remaining natural teeth to show and protrude through.

Fill the Tooth Gap with Partial Dentures

Dentists recommend the use of partial dentures for people with missing teeth. These dentures help fill the gap created by teeth that were extracted or missing or that fell out. What most people understand is that this orthodontic device serves esthetic purposes so that people with missing teeth are no longer restricted in flashing their smiles. In a way, using dentures help boost a person’s confidence, making them feel good about themselves and their smiles. Additionally, partial dentures provide support to the mouth, help people chew their food and maintain the shape of their faces.

When a tooth is extracted or missing, the remaining teeth tend to shift from their positions and fill the empty spaces left by the missing teeth. Without this device, the teeth are also likely to have a crooked and unpleasant appearance due to the unbalanced force created—one tooth is pushed in the direction of the tooth gap without anything that will counter balance from that side.

Partial dentures are designed to fill the gaps that were created, thus creating gap-free teeth alignment. Here, the natural teeth stay in their original positions. No teeth movement occurs since the spaces created by the missing teeth are filled.

In addition to their esthetic purpose, partial dentures prevent other problems that might arise from spaced teeth, like temporomandibular joint (TMJ) problems. This disorder causes headaches, ear aches and jaw pain, among others.

With those gaps closed and filled, one can now have painless jaw movement as well as a gap-free, beautiful smile.

Sensible Healthy Eating Habits: Keys to Strong and Healthy Teeth

One of the common misconceptions about dental health is that it can only be obtained through brushing and flossing. But those habits alone won’t suffice. In addition, your teeth, bones and gums still need proper nutrition to become strong and healthy. Ideally, you should eat balanced and healthy meals.

Columbia University College of Dental Medicine’s Dr. Courtney Chin, DDS, MPH, affirms that what we “eat or drink seriously affect overall health, including teeth and gums.” Accordingly, we need to eat a balanced diet, consisting of protein and carbohydrates (i.e., fruits, vegetables, fish and meat). Snacks and small meals should also consist of healthy food choices.

However, there are certain kinds of carbohydrate-filled foods that we need to avoid to minimize the risk of tooth decay. Sugary and starchy foods may be delicious, but eating too much of it can cause cavities. Most processed foods that contain sugar, especially the gooey and sticky stuff, promotes tooth decay.

So should we give up sugary and starchy foods? Not necessarily. However, we should practice moderation when eating these items, serving them only at certain times to minimize consumption on these cavity-causing foods. For instance, you can indulge in chocolates as after-meal desserts.

It is wise to consult your dentist regarding your food choices. Ask for help in formulating your meal and snack plan. At most, he or she will likely tell you to put a lid on the sugary and starchy foods and make healthy choices instead.

What Causes Widely Spaced Teeth?

Having beautiful teeth enhances the physical beauty of a person. Lovely pearly whites always strike a pretty picture. Take for instance Hollywood actresses Julia Roberts, Jessica Alba and Anne Hathaway. Their beautiful marble-like teeth are beautifully aligned, making them drop-dead gorgeous.

Unfortunately, most of us are not gifted with such lovely teeth. Some of us are plagued with cavities and tooth decay, while others have widely spaced teeth. While cavities can be eliminated with frequent brushing, flossing, and professional dental assistance, widely spaced teeth are remedied by braces.

The common grievance from people with spaced teeth is that the unwanted gaps give them a poor esthetic appearance. It also deprives them of the confidence to smile and to feel good about themselves. So what causes widely spaced teeth?

There are several possible causes of widely spaced teeth. For one, abnormal gum conditions can also cause wide spaces between teeth. Also, there’s the shifting of teeth due to missing teeth.

Generally, tooth extraction creates spaces between teeth when one tooth falls out. The resulting gap created by the tooth extraction may not sound serious, but it can cause movement among teeth. The adjacent tooth tends to change its position as it moves and fills the gap.

Also, teeth tend to create spaces between them if they are smaller, thus making available spaces. Conversely, if the jaws are bigger than normal, making the teeth smaller, this tends to create wide spaces between teeth.

Eating Healthy to Build Strong Teeth

Many mothers express their concerns regarding their kids’ eating habits. Naturally they want their kids to eat lunches that are healthful and good for them. However, making them eat healthfully is hard to do.  A mom of two boys, Geraldine Gennari expressed her sentiments on the matter. “Most days, my sons will eat the apples or other fruit I pack for lunch, but what they really want is what the other kids are eating.”

Experts agree that sensible and healthy eating habits contribute to the well-being of the child. In particular, a child’s diet will also significantly affect his dental health. Dr. Courtney Chinn, DDS, MPH, of Columbia University’s College of Dental Medicine affirms this. “What parents allow their children to eat and drink seriously affects their overall health, including their teeth and gums.”

Dr. Chinn recommends the following sensible eating habits:

Limit high-sugar foods. Sweet and sugary items like candies and cookies can cause tooth decay. The more sweets like these, the more cavity-causing bacteria will attack your child’s teeth. However, you can let him or her indulge from time to time, but set these sweets as part of a meal, perhaps as dessert. Sugary drinks like sodas, sports drink and artificially sweetened fruit juices are highly discouraged. Dr. Chinn recommends milk or water instead.

Stash away these sweets. Serve them infrequently. Instead, offer healthy choices during snacks or meals. For instance, an apple is a good substitute for sugary junk food. Encourage your child to eat healthfully by setting a good example.

What’s Wrong with Sugary Sweets?

Sugary snacks are a good motivational tool. If you want kids to study their lessons, use sugary snacks to motivate them to open their books. If you want them to help with the chores at home and offer sugary sweets as reward, they’ll get the job done. Truly, sugary snacks are excellent leverage devices in dealing with kids.

However, sugary snacks can have a bad effect on their health. Sweets like candies, cookies and others can cause a variety of adverse effects; tooth decay and cavities are just two of them.

So how do these snacks attack the teeth and cause tooth decay and cavities? Well, these sweets contain sugar that germs and bacteria in the mouth love to eat. Yes, germs feed on the sweets. And some of these germs form a sticky substance called plaque, which in turn causes tooth decay and cavities.

The worse kinds of snacks include those sticky sweets that your kids love to chew. Since they stay longer in the mouth, the sticky, chewy or gooey stuff gives their teeth a sugary bath; perfect for those cavity-causing germs.

If you want to give sweets to your child, it’s best to limit them to dessert after a meal. Limit the number of times during the day that your child consumes any sweet and sugary foods. As much as possible, load meals with healthy items like fruits and veggies, which help build strong teeth.

Indulging in Healthy Foods for Better Dental Health

Feeding your kids can be difficult. They are usually picky with their food usually preferring junk food over the healthy food that they should be eating. Try bringing them to the grocery store and you’ll see them grabbing the sugary and starchy items instead of apples and oranges. This can be a disaster for children’s health; not to mention, their dental health.

You see, eating right is a huge factor in having a healthy set of teeth and bones particularly those foods containing calcium and other nutrients.

However, peer pressure, coming from friends and classmates, isn’t helping the cause of healthy eating. Picture this: You pack your child a healthy and delicious meal for lunch at school. But what your child sees peers eating can influence the way he or she eats. While your child takes a bite from an apple, the classmate is munching on junk food. Most likely, your child will drop the apple and feast on the classmate’s sugary food. What’s a parent to do?

Dr. Courtney Chinn, DDS, MPH, of the Columbia University College of Dental Medicine acknowledges this predicament and stresses the fact that healthy food choices can have a significant effect on a child’s overall health, which includes the teeth and gums.

Dr. Chinn advises parents to keep kids away from snacks that stick to the teeth, which causes tooth decay and cavities. Sugary drinks should be minimized; milk and water are highly recommended. Stash only fruits and veggies at home so your child will be motivated to eat healthy foods only.

Dental Accidents (And What to Do If It Happens to You)

Have you noticed how most athletes (boxers, football players, etc.) wear mouthguards for every game? This protective gear helps prevent jaw and tooth injuries. In fact, the American Association of Orthodontists highly recommends wearing one when engaging in physical sports like boxing, basketball, football, wrestling and other similar activities. Think of it as armor and a cushion for your teeth, protecting them from an incoming ball, another object or a person.

However, mouthguards are not your typical fashion accessory that you can always wear to school, the office or party. Unprotected, your teeth are at risk of injury at any moment notice. That could be broken, loosened or knocked out at the point of impact.

Accidents happen. But what you do afterward is what really matters. If you slip on the floor, fall off a bike or bump the wall and hit your mouth, chances are you could injure your jaw and teeth. Here are a couple of tips on dealing with the unfortunate event.

If your tooth broke, was chipped or loosened, put an ice pack on the injured area. Save the chipped tooth fragment for possible reattachment, or gently attempt to push a loosened tooth back into its socket, if feasible.

If you knocked out your tooth, seek professional help immediately. Timely dental attention could greatly improve your tooth’s chances for reattachment. Still, you can attempt to restore it in its socket until professional help arrives. If not possible, place the tooth in your mouth (saliva helps), in a glass of milk or in sterile saline solution—but never in water.

Watch Out for Potentially Unsafe Toothpastes

In 2007, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) issued consumer warnings against toothpastes coming from China and South Africa. The agency has identified these imported products over concerns that they contain a poisonous and potentially hazardous substance known as diethylene glycol (DEG), which is used in antifreeze. An advisory was also issued stating that these products are typically sold, at a lower price, at “bargain” stores and retail outlets.

While the ban on certain imported toothpastes was lifted, consumers should still exercise precaution in the purchase of these products. Accordingly, the FDA advises the public to look at the product’s label; if it contains DEG, do not use it.

The public should also look out for “gray market” toothpastes: counterfeit products marketed and sold under a particular brand name without the permission of the brand’s true manufacturer. These toothpastes are potentially dangerous since they may not contain the same ingredient quality as its original counterpart. Since its production and sale were not authorized, safe use cannot be assured.

To identify a counterfeit product, check the label for spelling errors, uneven spacing of markings or any signs of inconsistent labeling. Take note that genuine products are stamped with a seal of approval from the FDA.

In all cases, avoid toothpastes that don’t present “Drugs Facts” on their packaging. The FDA regulates the content of each toothpaste product. Accordingly, it is mandatory for manufacturers to list their ingredients. If no list appears on the label, it is mostly like coming from an illegal source.

Baby Bottles, Pacifiers, and Thumb-Sucking Can Ruin Your Baby’s Teeth

Babies suck on things; it’s their natural and physiological reflex. They find comfort in bringing their fingers, pacifiers or any object within reach inside their mouth. Though it may be a normal aspect of their development, sucking could create a problem for your baby.

Frequent and long-term sucking can be dangerous, especially if it develops into a habit. Thumb-sucking, in particular, can distort the teeth, causing them to slant or tilt, while the jaws could get misaligned. In addition, pacifiers can alter the mouth. As much as possible, put a stop to thumb-sucking, especially if it goes beyond the period for its physiological need. As for baby bottles and pacifiers, there are a couple of things that you need to consider.

For safety precautions, look for pacifiers that are made in one piece. Avoid those with easily detachable parts; there is a potential danger of being swallowed if it breaks into smaller parts. Never attach the pacifier to a string and place it on your child’s neck, to avoid accidental strangulation.

Cavity-causing bacteria thrive on excess food materials, so always clean the pacifier and baby bottle after every use. Wash them with warm water to eliminate germs. Never share your baby’s bottle or pacifier with another baby since bacteria can be passed on.

It is important to keep your baby’s teeth healthy, now and even after babyhood, since most will remain until adolescence or even until adulthood. At the slightest detection of tooth decay, always consult a dentist for treatment.