Invisalign: The Clear Alternative to Braces

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Teeth straightening today offers many options. There are metal bands and brackets that now come in a variety of colors appealing to younger patients; but teens and adults that wish to straighten their teeth have choices too … and many are opting for Invisalign clear aligners.

The advantages of Invisalign are numerous:

Clear – This makes teeth straightening a virtually invisible method.

Removable – This is an important component for a couple of reasons. Patients that can remove their dental braces are free to enjoy all the foods they love. Simply remove the aligners, enjoy your snack or meal, and replace. Secondly, the patient can brush and floss thoroughly without cumbersome braces to get in the way.

Comfortable – The aligners are made without wires or metal. They are firm enough to gently shift teeth to their correct placement without abrading soft oral tissues in the process.

Convenient – With standard metal braces, the patient must see the dentist to have wires tightened to keep the straightening process moving forward. With Invisalign, the aligners are simply replaced every two weeks … each aligner is designed to keep teeth moving toward the correct occlusion.

Invisalign is ideal for resolving an over bite, under bite, or cross bite. A consultation with your dentist will involve photographs, x-rays, and dental impressions. These are the tools that will be used by the Invisalign lab to fabricate the series of aligners using 3-D digital technology. They will develop aligners based on the length of time determined to resolve your malocclusion.

The aligners need to be worn twenty to twenty-two hours every day. When each aligner is replaced every two weeks, the new aligner will feel very snug. That is because at the end of this two week period, your teeth should have been shifted to where the aligner no longer feels tight. This is how the process gradually moves teeth to their new placement.

At treatment conclusion, no matter what type of orthodontic treatment you choose, you will be given a retainer to be worn. The retainer will allow your teeth to develop a memory for their new location. Failure to execute this part of the program will allow your teeth to possibly shift back to their former location. Don’t waste months or years of treatment … wear your retainer as directed.

To learn more about Invisalign or other services we offer, contact our team at Anderson Dentistry today.

Protect and Strengthen Teeth with Dental Crowns

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Tooth decay can weaken and deteriorate your teeth, and extensive decay may not be adequately addressed with a filling alone. In these cases, dental crowns can help to protect and preserve teeth that have been affected by large cavities.

Dental crowns can be made of any number of materials – metal, porcelain fused to metal, composites – depending on the patient’s needs and aesthetic preferences. Your dentist will meet with you for an initial evaluation to gather all of the information needed to design your crown. Decayed material is removed from your tooth, which is then “prepped” for crown placement by removing a thin layer of enamel.

Your dentist will forward the design specifications to a dental lab, which is tasked with crafting the crown. When the crown is ready to be placed, the patient returns to the office to have it bonded to the tooth. Before it is permanently placed, the crown’s design can further be adjusted according to the patient’s desires. However, after the crown is bonded to the tooth, it cannot be altered. Therefore, be sure that you are satisfied with the crown’s appearance before that point.

Dental crowns can be used in other circumstances beyond restoring a tooth affected by decay. A dental crown may also be placed on a tooth following a root canal, which leaves the tooth susceptible to breakage without some additional form of protection. A crown can also be used primarily for aesthetic purposes.

If you take good care of a dental crown, it can last for many years. Maintain a thorough oral hygiene routine of twice-daily brushing and daily flossing, and keep sweet treats to a minimum. You will get instructions on how to care for your dental crown so that it can continue to protect your tooth.

Dental crowns can help to protect and strengthen your teeth in a number of circumstances. Might you benefit from this treatment? Contact Anderson Dentistry at either of our convenient locations to schedule an evaluation.

Oral Piercings: The Hidden Risks to Your Health

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Tongue and lip rings may be trendy, but is a fashion statement truly worth the risks it may present to your health? Educate yourself on the potential pitfalls that oral piercings can have for your oral health as well as your general well-being. If you still decide to proceed with an oral piercing, be sure that you are taking all necessary precautions to minimize your risks.

As is the case with any piercing or opening in the soft tissues of the mouth, a lip or tongue ring does present the risk of infection. This risk may be more pronounced in the mouth, which is a warm, moist environment that is hospitable to bacteria growth. If you get an oral piercing, it’s essential to keep it clean to limit the likelihood of infection. Pain and swelling can also be problematic with a lip or tongue piercing, and the latter can be life-threatening if the swelling is severe enough to restrict your airway’s opening.

Similarly, patients who have sensitivities to certain metals can experience an allergic reaction to an oral piercing, and this can also cause swelling.

A lip or tongue piercing can also damage your teeth, which might require a dentist to place a restoration of some sort to address the damage. Many people with tongue piercings get in the bad habit of running the piercing along their teeth, and doing so can cause chips and cracks in the teeth. Oral piercings may also cause lacerations or other injuries in the soft oral tissues.

Depending on the location of the piercing, it can also be an obstruction in imaging needed by your dentist for your care, like x-rays. It can also cause you to drool excessively, and you may experience some nerve damage from the piercing, although this typically reverses with time.

If you already have an oral piercing, be sure that you know how to care for it properly. Check in with us for tips and suggestions for keeping your mouth as healthy as possible.

Look Carefully at Dry Mouth: Causes and Treatment

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Xerostomia, commonly called “dry mouth”, is a common symptom that affects many people and can have varying effects on oral health. The causes of dry mouth do vary as well. If you suffer with dry mouth on a consistent basis, we recommend that you bring this up with our dentist at your next appointment. During your appointment, we might inquire about lifestyle habits and which medications and supplements you take to help narrow down the underlying cause of dry mouth. In many cases, xerostomia is exacerbated by medical conditions, common medications, and lifestyle habits.

Causes of Dry Mouth

More than likely, dry mouth is a sign of another issue. Sometimes, patients who take anti-histamines to fight allergies or other medications such as anti-depressants will suffer from dry mouth. Medical conditions like diabetes contribute to xerostomia as well. Both medical conditions and medication can affect the production of saliva and subsequently cause one to experience dry mouth.

Lifestyle choices such as drinking alcohol, inadequate water consumption, and smoking cigarettes also contribute to insufficient saliva production.

The Importance of Saliva
Saliva production is very important to maintaining healthy teeth and gums. We like to think of saliva as nature’s way of rinsing the mouth. Saliva can help patients swallow small particles of food and it can dilute acidic compounds, which weaken tooth enamel. Soft oral tissues such as the gums and linings of cheeks benefit from saliva production as well. It is important for these tissues to remain moist. Patients with persistent dry mouth typically have a higher incidence of gum disease and tooth decay.

Treating Dry Mouth

The first line of treating dry mouth is to evaluate a patient’s lifestyle habits. If patients drink or smoke, our dentist will likely recommend abstaining from these substances. Adequate hydration is also important. We encourage patients to drink at least 64-ounces of water daily.

Since diminished saliva affects the health of teeth and gums, patients should practice very thorough oral hygiene including daily flossing and twice-daily brushing. Scheduling regular dental cleanings and checkups will also help safeguard oral health.

Contact Anderson Dentistry at either of our convenient locations today to schedule a checkup or cleaning.

5 Reasons You Can’t Afford to Neglect Your Oral Health

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Good oral health is precious. We use our teeth every day of our lives to eat food. Our tongue and the joints on each side of the jaw help us speak with proper enunciation. When we neglect our oral health by not making regular visits to a dental office or by practicing improper oral hygiene, we put our wellbeing at great risk.

Neglecting one’s oral health can affect all the structures in the oral cavity along with greatly increasing the likelihood of developing destructive oral health conditions that will require professional treatment from a dentist. Following are five reasons why we should not neglect our oral health.

Tooth Loss

One major complication associated with neglecting one’s oral health is the loss of teeth in adulthood. When we disregard our oral health, our teeth can become badly decayed or our gums can become diseased. In severe instances, these conditions can cause tooth loss. Losing teeth is devastating and affects more than a person’s appearance. Tooth loss will negatively impact oral function, lead to bone loss, and cause depression and social anxiety.

Gum Disease

Another common condition associated with neglecting oral health is the development of gum disease. Most commonly caused by improper oral hygiene, untreated gum disease can advance into a progressive condition that destroys all the mouth’s tissues including bone and teeth.

Oral Cancer

Like many other health conditions, oral cancer is treatable when detected early on. A dentist will perform screenings for oral cancer during routine checkups. By foregoing regular checkups, oral cancer can go undetected and potentially advance into a fatal condition.

Bone Deterioration

Bone deterioration commonly afflicts those who have neglected their oral health – especially when tooth loss and periodontal (gum) disease are present. The density of our jawbones is important for supporting teeth, oral function, and a youthful appearance. Losing bone mass can have many negative effects on one’s wellbeing.

Costly Restorative Treatment

Not only does neglect lead to oral disease, treating advanced dental conditions can be very costly and invasive. Early detection typically yields conservative and wallet-friendly treatment. We strongly encourage preventive care and regular checkups to diminish the likelihood of a person developing chronic oral health problems.

Call our dental office today to reserve a checkup.

Dental Myths: All Teeth Whitening Options are the Same

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Not all teeth whitening systems are created equal – especially when one is comparing store bought products with professional treatments. Teeth whitening is one of the most popular services provided by our cosmetic dentist. This is because we provide take-home and in-office treatments that effectively brighten teeth to beautiful shades of white. Professional whitening means that tough, deep stains caused by beverages like wine or coffee and the process of aging are lifted away revealing noticeably brighter teeth.

Following is useful information about your teeth whitening options.

At-Home Teeth Whitening

Professional at-home whitening is a convenient way to lighten permanent stains when you have free time. This option provides a gradual improvement of the color of teeth and is ideal for those whose teeth are exposed to staining agents on a regular basis. For instance, those who drink coffee daily or those who have not stopped smoking can benefit from at-home whitening.

The take-home system we used is called Kör Whitening. What makes Kör Whitening unique is the way the bleaching solution is handled after it is manufactured and the distinctive design of the trays, which deliver the whitening solution.

To ensure that the bleaching solution maintains its integrity and potency, the solution is refrigerated from the moment it is manufactured and delivered to our practice where it is kept cold until it is prescribed to our patients. Additionally, the custom trays that accompany this teeth whitening system effectively prevent saliva from migrating over teeth and diluting the whitening solution. With Kör Whitening, patients can achieve stunning results without causing tooth sensitivity or enamel damage.

In-Office Whitening Treatments

An in-office whitening treatment normally takes about one hour. Our team will place protective liquid dam over the gums and use a rubber-like oral appliance to hold the mouth open. Bleaching solution is then applied to the teeth. Sometimes, a special light will be used to deepen the whitening process.

To learn more about smile enhancing treatments provided by our cosmetic dentist, call Anderson Dentistry at your convenience to reserve a consultation.

Brushing and Flossing Do More Than Just Clean Teeth

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Brushing teeth twice daily helps prevent plaque from building up on teeth. Plaque starts out as a sticky substance, but over a period of hours can harden. Once it has hardened on teeth, you can no longer remove it with your tooth brush. A visit to your dental office will be needed.

Daily flossing removes food debris between teeth and at the gum line that your tooth brush failed to reach. The flossing action also stimulates gum tissue. This stimulation can be important in preventing the onset of gum disease, a condition that can have serious consequences such as gum recession, periodontal disease, and tooth loss.

Dental floss comes in many different styles … waxed or plain, thick or thin, flavored or plain; you can buy floss in small containers or floss with tooth picks on the other end. Your dentist can demonstrate the correct way to floss your teeth; using floss daily enhances dental health.

Daily flossing and brushing are your own personal weapons to fight dental decay

There is a difference between “clean” teeth and “white” teeth. White teeth are aesthetically pleasing for your smile; clean teeth are more important to your dental health. You can have bright, shining teeth … but if your gums bleed, you have bad breath, are experiencing receding gums, or teeth feel loose … your dental health is in jeopardy.

Daily flossing and brushing are your own personal weapons to fight dental decay

Daily flossing and brushing are your own personal weapons to fight dental decay; decay occurs when bacteria breaches dental enamel resulting in a cavity. Failure to catch decay in its earliest stages can mean a large dental filling. For excessive decay, the patient might be faced with the need for a restoration like a crown to save their tooth.

In addition to daily brushing and flossing, consistent appointments with your dentist every six months for the type of cleaning you can’t do on your own is important on several fronts … teeth are cleaned removing any plaque that has formed since the previous visit; any potential problems can be addressed before they have a chance to escalate; and you benefit by having stain removed allowing teeth to look their best.

Even patients that are diligent about their daily oral care routine can run into a dental problem; know your dental health and recognize when you need to consult your dental office for needed care.

If it’s time to schedule your next exam, contact Anderson Dentistry at either of our convenient locations.

Why can’t children get dental implants?

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Dental implants involve a procedure where lost or extracted teeth undergo a transformation whereby a titanium post is surgically placed in gum tissue; following a healing period, a restoration is permanently affixed to the implant allowing the closest thing to a biological tooth to restore the ability to eat, speak, and smile comfortably and with confidence.

The aspect of this procedure that is unsuitable for children involves bone maturity. Since the child is still in a growing stage, the stability of the implant would be at risk. It is critical to the success of the implant that it remains stable and allows bone to graft to the implant. With a child there is growth, and with growth comes movement.

Once the child has achieved bone maturity where growth is no longer an issue, they become suitable for the implant process.

When adults undergo dental implants, they do so with the understanding that without their complete cooperation, their financial and time investment may be for naught. It is imperative to keep the implant area clean to prevent infection, the leading cause of implant failure.

Tobacco use is discouraged … that includes all forms as smoking is another reason why implants do not succeed.

Once the implant has been placed in gum tissue, a healing period ensues allowing the bone and implant to integrate. This process has been coined osseointegration and this merging provides a stable base for the final restoration in much the same way as the roots of a tooth support the natural tooth above the gum line.

Once healed, the implant (which has been covered for its protection) is uncovered; abutments are placed that will be used to cement the final covering in place.

The final restoration that your dentist has fabricated specifically for this use will match the shape, size and color of surrounding teeth making the replacement tooth indistinguishable from biological teeth.

Caring for your implant is the same as what you do for all your teeth … brush at least twice each day with a fluoridated tooth paste; floss daily; and visit your dentist every six months for a cleaning and dental exam. Your dentist will be able to monitor your implant to enable you to enjoy the advantages you have earned – eating the foods you love, speaking clearly, and smiles to last a lifetime.

Your Most Common Teeth Whitening Questions Answered

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A stained and dull smile is one of the top cosmetic complaints among patients. As we age and as our teeth are exposed to dark foods and beverages like berries and coffee, our teeth can lose their beautiful white appearance. Moreover, permanent stains are difficult to remove once they form and many patients express frustration over the ineffectiveness of over the counter whitening treatments. Our cosmetic dentist offers a safe and effective solution to improve dull and discolored smiles by utilizing KöR whitening treatments. Following are some answers to common questions about teeth whitening.

Why don’t over the counter products work?

Many folks feel disappointed by store bought whitening strips and toothpastes. These products do not contain the potency needed to lift deep, permanent stains. Instead, store bought products only contain small amounts of whitening agents in their formulas and sometimes contain harsh abrasives that can damage tooth enamel with prolonged used.

Why should I choose professional whitening?

We encourage patients to choose professional teeth whitening services so that they get the most out of their time and money. Professional whitening is effective; in fact, professional treatments dramatically lighten and brighten the color of teeth. The KöR whitening system utilizes prescription-strength bleaching gels that are strong enough to penetrate the enamel surface of teeth to lift stains that form in the dentin layer of teeth. Moreover, the whitening treatments we use will not damage tooth enamel or cause prolonged tooth sensitivity.

What makes KöR whitening different?

KöR whitening utilizes advanced technology to ensure that the potency of bleaching agents is not diluted by contaminants or saliva. This is done by using oral trays that keep saliva and sulcular fluid from diluting or destroying the whitening gel as well as keeping whitening solutions refrigerated for maximum effectiveness. The chemical makeup of KöR’s bleaching solution is unique and proprietary. This technology allows our cosmetic dentist to provide consistent, predictable, and safe results to our patients.

To learn more about our cosmetic dentistry services, call our friendly team today to reserve a smile makeover consultation.

Can frequent headaches signal a dental problem?

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Individuals that suffer with frequent headaches should pursue their origin. Your dentist is a good place to start. Chances are you may be due for your six month check-up so you can accomplish this important task at the same time.

Headaches, jaw pain, neck discomfort … these are possible signals that the source could be due to teeth grinding and jaw clenching. Patients often initiate teeth grinding subconsciously during periods of sleep. This act can occur for several reasons.

Adults that deal with daily stressors often grind and clench. And the things we stress about are sometimes common and unavoidable such as work, school, family, finances, and the things we must do to deal with them such as commuter traffic or not enough time in the day to complete tasks.

Although you might not be able to eliminate the root causes that produce stress, there are steps you can take to limit the side effects. In addition to things like counseling, your dentist may recommend the use of a night guard.

A night guard that is designed especially for you can comfortably and effectively relieve the habit of teeth grinding and jaw clenching while you sleep. When this habit acquired during sleep is eliminated, the daytime habit you have probably adopted should subside as well.

It’s not just stress that can result in teeth grinding and clenching. A malocclusion is a condition where the top teeth do not properly align with the bottom teeth. When biting down the teeth slip off each other instead of making solid contact. This could also promote grinding and clenching.

TMJ disorder is another condition that can result in headache. TMJ is an acronym for temporomandibular joint. This joint is located where the jawbone and skull intersect. Every time you open or close your mouth to eat, speak, smile, cough, or yawn … any of these actions can lead to discomfort. Although this ache is focused primarily in the face, neck, or jaw, it can lead to head pain too.

Once a diagnosis has been rendered, the likelihood of finding relief through the use of a mouth guard is very high. Your dentist will work with you to find the material and model that will provide the optimum fit and functionality to provide relief.

To learn more or to schedule your next visit, contact Anderson Dentistry at either of our convenient locations.