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Posts for: August, 2014

By Berger Family Dental
August 29, 2014
Category: Oral Health
HowDentistrySavedKathyIrelandsSmile

It is not often that you find a celebrity who is willing to speak candidly about any cosmetic or restorative dentistry that he or she has had. Instead, most prefer that their fans just assume that their dazzling “Hollywood” smile is something that just happened naturally. However, that is not the case with Kathy Ireland, the former Sports Illustrated cover girl, current business mogul and founder of kathy ireland Worldwide, a billion dollar marketing and design firm. In a Dear Doctor magazine cover story she talks openly about her dental experiences, injuries and treatment so that people worldwide can understand what may be possible for them.

For Kathy, it happened several years ago when she was playing with her husband and children in their driveway. Kathy decided that she would stand in her children's wagon and surf across their driveway. Instead, she ended up “face-planting,” as she describes it, in a freak accident that left her with a broken nose, split forehead and several broken teeth. She recalls that it sounded like a watermelon had smashed. Luckily, her husband, an emergency room physician, was on hand to care for her. Kathy is just as thankful to her cosmetic and restorative dentist who restored her trademark smile with some veneers and a dental implant. Today, the only reminder she has from this accident is a small scar on her nose that she covers with a little makeup.

You would think that this accident would be enough trauma for one person; however, Kathy describes an earlier accident where she knocked out a tooth and then later knocked it loose again. Kathy also wanted to take the time to let readers know that her dental implant experiences were “pretty easy.” She did recall, “hearing all the sounds while all of it was going on” and then added, “but I have to tell you, that after being a mom and having kids, going to the dentist...is like going to the spa!” She said that she has even fallen asleep in the dental chair.

To learn more about Kathy Ireland, continue reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “Kathy Ireland.” Or if you think cosmetic or restorative dentistry is right for you, contact us today to schedule an appointment to discuss your specific goals.


By Berger Family Dental
August 20, 2014
Category: Oral Health
Tags: bad breath  
BadBreathMightbeaSignofaMoreSeriousOralCondition

If you’re experiencing chronic halitosis (bad breath), it could be a sign of oral disease (as well as a systemic condition or treatment). In fact, it’s quite possible to visit our office about bad breath and find the cause is actually tooth decay, gum disease or some other oral condition.

In those cases treating the more serious condition might also result in a reduction in bad breath. Here are a few scenarios where such treatment could result in both better health and fresher breath.

Repairing decayed teeth. Repairing teeth damaged by decay — removing diseased tissue, filling cavities or repairing defective fillings — will also reduce the level of decay-causing bacteria. Such bacteria are often responsible for bad breath since they also release volatile sulphur compounds (VSCs), characterized by a foul “rotten eggs” odor. After treatment, these odors can diminish significantly.

Treating gum disease. Periodontal gum disease is a progressive infection caused by bacterial plaque. The basic treatment is to remove as much offending plaque and tartar (hard deposits) as possible. This may require extensive cleaning techniques (like root planing) to remove plaque from tooth root surfaces beneath the gum line, as well as antibiotic therapy. Periodontal therapy not only restores health to gum tissues, it may also alleviate bad breath caused by bacteria.

Extracting third molars (wisdom teeth). The opercula (flaps of gum tissue) around wisdom teeth have a tendency to trap food debris, which fosters bacterial growth. If this leads to chronic infection we may recommend removing the wisdom teeth. This not only reduces the chances of infection but may also alleviate bad breath caused by the bacterial growth.

Treating candidiasis. This is a yeast infection arising as a result of antibiotic use that suppresses normal oral flora. It’s also a source of bad breath. Treating the infection and restoring normal balance in the mouth may help alleviate bad breath as well as prevent disease.

You may see a pattern here: many of these conditions that simultaneously contribute to bad breath stem from high levels of bacteria, which flourish in plaque built up on tooth surfaces due to inadequate oral hygiene. Effective daily brushing and flossing (along with semi-annual office cleanings) removes much of the offending bacterial plaque. As a result you’ll experience better oral health — and maybe fresher breath too.

If you would like more information on controlling chronic bad breath, 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 “Bad Breath.”


 

Like most things in life, there is a right and a wrong way to brush your teeth.  As your teeth play an important role in your overall health, it’s important that you perfect your brushing technique.  Here are some common bad brushing habits:

You Don’t Brush Your Teeth For Long Enough

It’s impossible to brush your teeth properly in 30 seconds.  Unless, of course, you only have two teeth in your mouth!  For the rest of us though, we need to spend a full two minutes brushing our teeth.  Set your stopwatch and spend 30 seconds on each quarter of your mouth.  Most electric toothbrushes have a built in timer which will alert you every 30 seconds.

Being short on time is not an excuse.  There are 1,440 minutes in a day, so it’s not hard to spend just 2 of them each morning and night.

You Don’t Concentrate On Brushing Your Teeth

Toothbrush and floss

Next time you brush your teeth, watch yourself in the mirror.  It will be easier to spot which areas of your mouth you’re missing with your toothbrush.  Watching TV or walking around the house while brushing makes it much more difficult to do a good job of cleaning your teeth.  Avoid multitasking and concentrate on the important job at hand.

You Use The Wrong Brushing Technique

Using the wrong technique to brush your teeth can cause permanent damage to your teeth and gums.  Brushing your teeth from side to side can cause your gums to wear away.  Instead, brush your teeth using a small circular motion.  If you use an electric toothbrush, focus on one tooth at a time.  For manual toothbrush users, brush a few teeth at a time before moving on to the next section.  Hold your brush at a 45 degree angle to your gums and gently brush every tooth.  Be sure to brush the outside, inside and biting surface of every tooth.

You Don’t Floss Your Teeth

No matter how well you brush your teeth, it is impossible to clean every surface of your teeth using a toothbrush alone.  Floss is needed to clean the area between your teeth, where plaque builds up.  Whether you floss before or after you brush is not particularly important.  The important thing is that you floss between your teeth every day before you go to bed.

You Use The Wrong Toothbrush

To properly clean your teeth, you need the right tool for the job.  It’s important to use a soft or extra soft toothbrush with a small head.  The soft bristles will clean your teeth without doing any damage to your gums.  Using  a toothbrush with a small head is easier to manoeuvre to reach areas which are difficult to clean.  Your toothbrush will need replacing every three months.  If the bristles become frayed, you may need to replace it more often.  A good rule of thumb is to get a new toothbrush every time the season changes.

You Use The Wrong Toothpaste

Using the correct toothpaste is important to avoid damaging your teeth.  Many toothpastes contain baking soda.  While this is great at removing stains, it’s abrasive properties can leave permanent scratches on the surface of your teeth.

Try brushing without toothpaste.  Not only can you brush properly without toothpaste, you will be able to brush longer and more effectively!

You Brush Too Hard

Brushing too hard, especially in a side to side motion, can wear away the enamel of your teeth.  Enamel is the top surface of your teeth and has a shiny appearance.  Wearing away the enamel can eventually lead to notches in the teeth near the gums.  This can cause tooth sensitivity and may require a filling to relieve the discomfort.  Aggressive tooth brushing can also wear away the gums and cause recession, which also contributes to tooth sensitivity.

Conclusion

With modern medicine, people are living longer than ever before.  This means that your teeth need to last longer than they used to.  Taking proper care of your teeth and avoiding these common brushing mistakes will help ensure that your teeth last for the rest of your life.


DentalHygienist-YourPartnerinPreventingDiseaseandMaintainingOralHealth

Keeping up your dental hygiene with daily brushing and flossing is essential to preventing disease and maintaining good oral health. But that doesn’t mean it’s all on your shoulders — the fact is, you have a strong partner in your dental hygienist. This valuable member of our staff provides a number of different functions that add a boost to your hygiene habits.

Perhaps the most important of those functions is semi-annual teeth cleanings. While daily brushing and flossing removes most of the bacterial plaque that causes dental disease and decay, harder deposits (tartar) will still form over time, especially in places your brush or floss can’t reach. To remove it requires advanced skills and specially designed hand instruments or ultrasonic equipment. In the case of advancing gum disease, your hygienist may also assist with a procedure known as root planing to reach plaque and tartar adhering to tooth root surfaces below the gum line.

Dental hygienists are also on the lookout for abnormalities that may be a sign of disease. During teeth-cleaning sessions, your hygienist looks for gum inflammation or bleeding that may indicate the presence of periodontal gum disease, a progressive condition that, left untreated, could lead to tooth loss. We will be able to assess the extent of the disease by gently probing and measuring any detachment of the gum tissue that has formed voids known as pockets. They also look for signs of oral cancer — bumps, sores or areas of swelling or tenderness.

There’s one other function your hygienist provides to enhance your oral health — educating and training you on dental care. They can provide you helpful information on risk factors for tooth decay or other dental diseases, along with helpful ways to reduce that risk. They can also help you improve your brushing and flossing techniques by demonstrating proper form.

Cleaning, monitoring and educating — these different “hats” your hygienist wears form a beneficial part of your overall dental care. Working together, you’ll be able to keep your teeth and gums in good form and function.

If you would like more information on the benefits of a dental hygienist, 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 “Dental Hygiene Visit.”


By Berger Family Dental
August 04, 2014
Category: Oral Health
Tags: tooth decay   cavity  
AreCavitiesContagious

Think of a contagious disease and you may picture one of the great outbreaks of the past: the terrible flu epidemic of 1918, the ever-present threat of polio in the early 20th Century, and the ancient (and still widespread) danger of cholera in overcrowded urban areas. Or you may think of the common cold, a familiar contagious malady that’s still very much with us. Yet there’s one contagious disease you may not think of, but probably should: tooth decay.

Many people don’t realize that tooth decay is contagious. But the fact is, decay bacteria can be passed between people like a bad cold — and it happens all the time.

Sugar usually gets the blame for tooth decay; a recent survey found that 81 percent of Americans say it’s responsible for cavities. But sugar alone isn’t the culprit. Cavities are actually caused by certain types of bacteria that cling to the teeth in the absence of proper oral hygiene. These bacteria process sugar from the foods we eat, and then secrete acidic byproducts that erode the hard enamel of the teeth. This causes the formation of the tiny holes we call cavities.

Children aren’t born with S. Mutans. But studies show that most of them “catch” it from their caregivers — often, their parents. By the time they are two years old, over 80 percent of kids will have detectable levels of the bacteria. Whether or not they pick up harmful microorganisms — and how much they have — depends on the infectiousness of the strain, and on the caregiver’s attention to oral hygiene.

How can you prevent the spread of decay-causing bacteria? Essentially, by limiting its transfer from your mouth to your baby’s mouth. So don’t “clean” a baby’s pacifier by putting it in your mouth, and don’t share utensils — for example, by tasting baby’s food with his or her spoon. While it’s ever so tempting, avoid kissing baby’s lips, especially if there is a chance of transferring saliva. And don’t even think of “pre-chewing” baby’s food — no matter what some self-appointed health gurus may say.

There’s still another way to limit the spread of decay-causing microorganisms: Make sure your own practice of oral hygiene is top-notch! Oral bacteria can spread not only from parents to babies, but also between adults. Maintaining good oral health means brushing and flossing every day, and getting regular check-ups: It’s important for you, and for everyone you care about.

If you have questions about tooth decay prevention or oral hygiene care, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can read more in the Dear Doctor magazine articles “Tooth Decay” and “How to Help Your Child Develop the Best Habits for Oral Health.”




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