What Your Teeth Say about Your Health

A definite link exists between your oral health and overall well being. In fact, your teeth can actually tell you and your health care providers a lot about what’s going on with your body. Look through the following symptoms and contact a doctor if you have concerns:

Flat or Worn Teeth – Often, people grind their teeth, a condition called bruxism, without even realizing it. This clenching and grinding can serve as an indication of the stress in your life. Headaches and jaw pain are other symptoms of teeth grinding. To stop the discomfort and wear on your teeth, your dentist may suggest a mouth guard.

Cracking or Crumbling Teeth – When a person exhibits cracking or crumbling teeth, it usually indicates a problem with gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), which is also refereed to as acid reflux disease. With GERD, the stomach acid comes back up into the esophagus and can then reach your teeth. In younger people, disintegrating teeth can also point towards bulimia, a serious eating disorder.

Sores that Don’t Heal – Sometimes, people may accidentally bite their gums or chew on the inside of their cheeks as a nervous habit. These sores usually heal quickly. If you have an area that doesn’t clear up with one to two weeks, contact your dentist for an exam to rule out oral cancer. In fact, oral cancer kills one person every hour. Early detection improves treatment options and long-term prognosis.

Dry Mouth – Allergies, smoking, dehydration, and certain medications can all lead to dry mouth. However, not having enough saliva can indicate other medical conditions such as Sjogren’s syndrome and diabetes.

 
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The Success Rate of Dental Implants

 

Dental implants have become a great solution for many people who have suffered tooth loss. Implants involve surgically placing an artificial root in your jaw to anchor a replacement tooth or crown. These are used to replace one or more teeth, and do not impact neighboring teeth. Now that dental implants have been used for some time in dental care, what is their success rate?

Studies show that dental implants are one of the most successful restoration procedures. There is a 95 percent success rate after five years for lower jaw implants, and 90 percent for upper jaw. This difference in success is likely due to the lower jaw being denser than the upper jaw, which makes it more difficult for the implant to integrate with the upper jaw bone.

A successful implant requires the patient, dentist, and oral surgeon to work together to create and follow a treatment plan. It’s important for this teamwork to continue after the implant and crown have been placed, so that the chances for success are best. You should consult with your dentist before getting implants to make sure you are a good candidate, because many failures can be avoided by making sure you have the best opportunities for success from the beginning.

After receiving dental implants, some of the reasons they may fail include:

  • Implants sometimes break or fracture.
  • Infection or inflammation in the gums or bone may occur.
  • Implants may not integrate with the bone properly if the implant is not placed appropriately.
  • Poor oral hygiene can lead to a condition similar to gum disease around the implant.
  • Smoking can reduce the body’s ability to heal.

If you are carefully evaluated and determined to be a good candidate for implants, and if you follow the instructions for after care, you should be able to achieve the high success rates like most patients do.

 

 

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The Basics of Porcelain Veneers

One of the most natural-looking cosmetic enhancements your dentist can offer is porcelain veneers. Often, the gorgeous smiles you see on movie stars and models were created with a little help from porcelain veneers. With natural-looking results, no one will ever guess that you have had aesthetic dental work.

In just a few appointments, porcelain veneers can give you a stunning, new image. The following details will give you more information about dental veneers.

Veneers can change various aspects of your smile.
Made from fine dental porcelain, the veneers will cover front teeth to improve size, color, shape, and overall appearance. With traditional veneers, a skilled ceramist will handcraft each custom veneer according to the dentist’s exact specifications.

Veneers are designed to last.
After placement, your restorations will provide years of beauty, if you take proper care of the veneers. Brush often, floss regularly, and see your dentist every six months to protect this investment.

Dental veneers are not false teeth.
These thin shells of porcelain are placed on the front surfaces of your teeth, permanently covering imperfections like gaps, stains, or crooked teeth. For placement of traditional veneers, your dentist will remove a layer of enamel in preparation for the restorations.

Minimal-prep veneers are also a choice.
Depending on your case, the dentist may suggest minimal-prep veneers. These contact-like wafers can be placed without enamel removal, which means you can reverse them at a later point. Because they can look bulky or unnatural, talk with your dentist before choosing minimal-prep veneers.

 

 

 

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Gum Disease Creates Serious Concerns

Estimates suggest that at least 75 to 80 percent of adults have some level of gum disease. Because the initial symptoms are mild, like swollen or bleeding gums, many people don’t realize they have a problem until gum disease causes damage to their oral health. Understanding the signs and the seriousness of gum disease can help you protect your smile.

Myth: Gingivitis is no big deal.
Truth: The mildest form of gum disease, gingivitis will get worse without treatment. If you practice excellent dental care and see the dentist as directed, you won’t sustain any lasting problems.

Myth: Everyone’s gums bleed when they brush.
Truth: Just as your arm bleeds if you get cut, your gums bleed when you have a problem. Swollen and bleeding gums are often an indication of gum disease. If you notice pink in the sink, mention it to your dentist.

Myth: Gum disease is curable.
Truth: Although your dentist can stop the progression and promote healthy gum tissue, gum disease is only treatable, not curable. Good home hygiene and regular dental appointments will keep your gums in good condition and prevent further problems.

Myth: As people age, they naturally lose their teeth.
Truth: Ideally, your teeth are meant to last a lifetime. The number one cause of adult tooth loss is gum disease. So if you take good care of your mouth, with regular dental care and routine home care, you should enjoy a complete smile for life.

 

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