How Does Chewing Gum Affect my Teeth?

Gone are the days when chewing gum is considered poor etiquette. In today’s society, you can find people chewing gum in business meetings, church, and just about every other situation. With gum chewing so prevalent, you may have wondered what it’s doing to people’s teeth. You may be surprised to learn that research shows that chewing sugarless gum has a number of dental benefits. Let’s see how it can actually be a helpful addition to your oral care routine.

Saliva flow
Chewing sugarless gum increases the flow of saliva in your mouth, which rinses away food particles. Saliva also neutralizes acids that result from bacteria in your mouth that can lead to tooth decay. Known to carry with it calcium and phosphate, increased saliva flow also helps strengthen your tooth enamel.

ADA acceptance
Choose gum with the American Dental Association (ADA) Seal, indicating it as met the required safety and effectiveness criteria. This approval means that you can trust the gum’s packaging and labeling to be true.

Sugarless
The only gums carrying the ADA Seal are sugarless. They contain sweeteners that don’t cause cavities, like aspartame, mannitol, sorbitol, or xylitol. Chewing gum with xylitol is especially recommended, because it has been shown to combat tooth decay and cavities.

Dental hygiene
Even though chewing gum can be beneficial, remember that brushing and flossing are still the best ways to care for your teeth. Brush twice a day with fluoride toothpaste, and floss every day to remove plaque and debris between your teeth. Between these dental hygiene tasks, however, it is acceptable to chew sugarless gum to continue caring for your mouth during the day.

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Making a Decision about Dental Implants

For many years, your only choice for replacing missing teeth was dentures or bridges. Now dental implants offer an impressive alternative. Don’t rule them out just because you don’t know what they are, what the process is, who makes a good candidate, or what the benefits include. Learn more about implants so you can make an educated decision whether they’re right for you.

Teeth can be lost or severely damaged for many reasons such as gum disease, tooth decay, or injury. Dental implants provide a solution by surgically placing a titanium root directly into your jawbone. A post connects the implant to an artificial tooth that is placed on top during a second surgery. Usually there is a delay between the first and second surgeries to allow for proper healing so that the implant is successful.

Implants offer lots of benefits. They look and feel like your real teeth, and there’s no slipping or speech problems as with other restorations. They have a very high success rate and can last a lifetime with good care. Your oral hygiene tasks are the same as with real teeth. Your self-esteem will increase with your fully restored and functional smile.

Although many people are good candidates for implants, your dentist will let you know if there are risks for you. Healthy gums are very important, so those with periodontal disease may not be suitable. There also must be sufficient jaw bone support for implants to attach successfully, or you might be able to have bone grafting done to achieve more jaw strength before implants.

Dental implants are often the ideal solution for people who are missing teeth. Even though you might be nervous about the procedure, implants provide a great way to restore your smile comfortably and naturally.

Dental Implants Shreveport

Tooth Replacement Options

It’s more common that you might think for adults to lose one or more teeth due to injury or oral diseases. Missing teeth can make chewing and speaking difficult, not to mention lowering a person’s self esteem. That’s why it’s smart to ask your dentist about tooth replacement options, to see if one of them might be right for you.

Dental implants
When artificial tooth roots are inserted into your jaw to replace lost teeth, it’s called dental implants. It involves surgically placing a metal post into the bone under your gums. Then a crown is attached to the post, creating a natural-looking replacement tooth. Dental implants do not affect adjacent teeth, and they look and feel like natural teeth. They are also more secure than other tooth replacement options. However, to be considered for dental implants, you must be healthy overall, have a secure and strong jawbone, and have healthy gums.

Dental bridges
Also called a fixed partial denture, the purpose of a dental bridge is to “bridge” or close the gap between your missing tooth or teeth and your surrounding teeth. Your dentist bonds the bridge onto the teeth adjacent to your gap. This is called a fixed bridge. There are also removable bridges, which you are able to remove, clean, and replace yourself. Another type of dental bridge is called an implant bridge, which attaches to a dental implant. The various types of dental bridge are made from materials like gold, alloys, and porcelain.

Dentures
When you need a tooth replacement option for all or most of your teeth, dentures may be the best choice. Complete dentures are used when you have no teeth left, or the remaining teeth must be removed. These cover both your upper and lower gums. Overdentures are removable and may be used if you have some natural teeth remaining, or have dental implants. These are only an option if your remaining teeth or implants can provide enough support for the overdentures.

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Improving Your Smile with Dental Implants

Losing teeth for one reason or another is not as uncommon as you might think. Injuries and severe tooth decay are only a couple of the causes for smiles to have holes in them from missing teeth. The good news is that you don’t have to go through life with an incomplete smile. Dental implants provide one solution for replacing lost teeth.

Popularity
These restorations that involve a titanium root with an artificial tooth on top have become increasingly popular. Instead of using bridges or dentures that are known to have some hassles with them, implants are a permanent and secure solution. Once the area has healed, you can go back to your normal habits without any concerns related to the implant. They look very natural, preserve neighboring teeth, improve speech, restore the mouth’s function, and help maintain your facial features.

Candidates
Good candidates for implants have strong enough jaw bones to be able to support the implant. Patients with significant bone loss may not be able to successfully maintain implants. Good oral health is helpful, as is good general health since surgery is required. Smokers and those with certain health conditions may not be recommended for dental implants.

Procedure
Once you’ve been identified as a good candidate, the first step is having the titanium rod inserted into your jaw bone. It can take up to three months for it to completely fuse with your bones. Then your dentist will make an abutment to hold the implant, and a mold will be taken of your mouth so that the crown can be created. Until it is ready, a temporary crown will be placed. Finally, your crown will be placed and adjustments will be made if needed.

Maintenance
After you implant is complete, you can resume your regular lifestyle. Your normal dental hygiene routine of brushing, flossing, and checkups should be maintained for the best results.

 

We offer dental implants at our Shreveport dental office.

Saving Your Tooth with Root Canal Treatment

Millions of root canal treatments are performed every year, and it is an effective and safe way to save a damaged tooth. Unlike its reputation over the years, modern dentistry allows this procedure to be practically painless and to provide relief from symptoms right away.

Anatomy
The first thing to understand is the anatomy of the tooth. Under the hard enamel on the outside of the tooth and the dentin below that, the interior of a tooth contains pulp. It houses the nerves, blood vessels, and connective tissues that all nourish the tooth. This allows it to grow properly and contributes to good oral health. After the tooth is fully developed, the tooth can get its nourishment from surrounding tissues and the pulp is not as necessary.

Necessity
The pulp can become infected, inflamed, or damaged by problems like decay, injury, repeated dental procedures, or a bad crown. If the damaged pulp is not treated, an abscess can develop or severe pain can result. Often, root canal treatment is the only way to save the tooth instead of having to extract it. Dentists advise that saving a tooth is almost always a better option, providing the most natural appearance, efficient function, and protection of oral health.

Procedure
Many patients report that root canal treatment is not much different for them than having a regular filling done. X-rays are taken and a local anesthetic is administered. Once numb, a dental dam is placed to protect the area during the procedure. Then the pulp is removed, the area is thoroughly cleaned, and then it is filled with special material for this purpose. The tooth is sealed for protection, and finally a crown is placed on top to protect the tooth. Most patients are able to return to normal activities immediately following treatment, and the procedure is permanent in most cases.

If you need a root canal dentist in Shreveport, contact our office today.

Wisdom Teeth Q / A

Also called third molars, wisdom teeth are the last set of teeth to erupt. Usually, people get their wisdom teeth in during their late teens and early 20s. Although some individuals have no trouble with their wisdom teeth, many people end up having these teeth removed because they may become impacted and create dental health issues. Learn more about wisdom teeth with this Q and A:

Do I need to have my wisdom teeth removed?
If your wisdom teeth aren’t causing problems, you can leave them alone. Typically, wisdom teeth are crooked or impacted, which can generate problems with the surrounding teeth. Also, wisdom teeth can be harder to keep clean, so the risk of decay on these teeth is higher.

When should I have these teeth taken out?
For optimal results, most dentists recommend wisdom teeth removal for patients when they are between 16 and 22 years old. The formation of the roots isn’t complete, so you have fewer complications.

Are there any risks?
As with any surgery, you can have issues arise, but the biggest concerns are nerve damage and dry sockets. Older patients have a greater chance of nerve damage because the root has more fully developed. Dry sockets occur when the post-surgery blood clots dislodge.

Does my age matter?
Some adults don’t experience any symptoms until they are in their 30s, 40s, or 50s. You can have these teeth extracted at any point, but when you get older, surgery is more difficult and the recovery takes longer. If you have trouble with your wisdom teeth, contact your dentist right away for a complete exam.

Shreveport dental office for wisdom teeth – Dr. Michael Woolbert