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  • 5 Dental Apps That Will Keep Your Oral Health on Track

    Young beautiful brunette lady touching and browsing her smart phone at home

    Mobile Apps That Keep Your Smile Bright and Mouth Clean

    Many mobile dental applications are available free, others are free to download but require a paid upgrade or annual subscription for full functionality, and some apps must be purchased. Fees can be as nominal as 99 cents or range into the hundreds of dollars. According to WebMD, as well as countless other reliable medical resources, medical professionals constantly find direct links with dental health and heart health. If you need a little help keeping up on your dental health, need some help managing your plan or meds, or just would like to know more in general about keeping your mouth clean, check out these helpful apps.

    eProcrates Rx

    Dental patients with prescriptions find the most benefit from this app. With eProcrates Rx, you get a free mobile clinical reference library. You’ll find a drug guide, drug interaction checker, and information on drug formulas. It constantly updates and gives relevant medical news. You can download versions that include other types of information, such as alternative medicines, insurance codes, diagnostic tests, disease diagnosis and a medical dictionary, but that extra information costs anywhere from $99 to $199 per year. One of the best parts about this app is that it tells you dosage information, interactions, and contraindications.

    iRomexis

    iRomexis offers a comprehensive image viewer for the iPad that works with both 2D and 3D images. It can display any image it gets from Planmeca X-ray units. With great resolution, you can take your X-rays to your home to look at as well as any other professional for a consultation. You can share the images on this map to any mobile device, meaning you can zoom and measure the images, as well as adjust the brightness and contrast, and take a snapshot of any angle.

    DDS GP

    Like iRomexis, DDS GP designers made the app with dentists in mind. It’s designed to help dentists and patients make a dental treatment plan for their diagnosis. It’s great if you want to fully understand your diagnosis and do the best you can to treat it and prevent any further issues. You’ll find a plethora of topics spanning the dental industry, as well as a drawing board. Bring this app or suggest it to your dentist and see what they come up with. It’s a great source of information.

    Lexi-Dental Complete

    Lexi-Dental Complete gives you a full library filled with dental resources. These resources include drug information and effects, patient resources, photos of dental procedures and conditions, information on diagnostic procedures, natural product information, Stedman’s Medical Dictionary and a dental office emergency handbook. Though it lands on the pricey side, you can download it for a free 30-day trial. Otherwise, you’ll have to shell out $285 annually; a reasonable price considering the resources available.

    If you’re not satisfied with that, you can also try checking out Kool Smiles’ information on their website, dedicated to helping spread dental care and education globally. They focus on the dental divide, with a goal to even the playing field and allow everybody the same access to dental health. They spend millions of dollars every year towards providing free dental services for those who can’t afford to pay for it.

    My Smile

    This simple little app allows you to compare your smile to a 15-shade tooth palate, letting you know where your teeth fall in the range of colors. Just keep in mind when using the app that the quality, angle, and lighting of the photo you use have an effect on where you’ll land on the chart. It works best as a relative scale.

    Remember, no matter how you do it, it’s important to keep up on your dental health. Find what method works for you; just make sure you don’t slack on cleaning your mouth. After all, you do use it to kiss people.

    Sources: WorlDental.org, WebMD

  • The Role Fluoride Plays in Preventing Cavities

    Fluoride Slows Breakdown of Enamel and Speeds Remineralization

    Fluoride is a great way to prevent cavities in children and adults.

    Tooth decay (cavities) is the single most prevalent childhood disease. Tooth decay affects nearly 60% of children and causes problems that often last long into adulthood affecting health, education, employment opportunities and well-being. Untreated tooth decay can cause pain and infection that can lead to problems with nutrition, growth, school readiness and speech problems. Children in the United States miss hundreds of thousands of school days each year due to toothaches or dental problems. In addition to brushing, flossing and regular checkups, avoiding snacks that contain sugars and starches can help teeth and gums stay healthy. Instead of soda or other sugary drinks, drink fluoridated water.

     

    How Does Fluoride Protect Our Teeth?

    The relationship between fluoride and tooth decay is complex and probably not yet fully understood. However, it is known that fluoride interferes with the process of tooth decay in at least four ways:

    1. If children ingest sufficient fluoride during the period of enamel development (up to 7 years of age) the fluoride alters the structure of the developing enamel making it more resistant to acid attack. This was originally thought to be the most important mechanism of fluoride; however, with advances in knowledge this is now understood to be the least important mechanism.

     

    1. When teeth are subjected to alternating demineralization and remineralization as described above, the presence of low levels of fluoride in the plaque and saliva both encourages remineralization and ensures that the enamel crystals that are laid down are of improved quality. In other words, low levels of fluoride in the mouth gradually improve the strength of the tooth enamel and its ability to resist acid attack.

     

    1. The third way in which fluoride works is by reducing the ability of the plaque bacteria to produce acid. This is a major factor in the prevention of tooth decay.

     

    1. A fourth, and probably minor effect of fluoride is that, if sufficient fluoride is ingested during childhood when the teeth are developing, it affects the depth of the fissures (grooves) on the biting surfaces of the teeth. In children who grow up in areas where the drinking water is fluoridated these grooves in the teeth tend to be shallower, thus reducing the ability of plaque to remain undisturbed.

     

    How Can I Prevent Cavities Using Fluoride?

    Common fluoride sources are fluoridated drinking water, toothpaste and some mouth rinses. Inform your dentist if your drinking water is not fluoridated. He or she may recommend that you use high-concentration fluoride treatments.

     

    Drinking Water

    • Adding fluoride to your drinking water is one of the easiest and most cost-effective methods of protecting children and adults from tooth decay.
    • Not certain about the fluoride levels in your water system? Ask your dentist.
    • If your water does not contain fluoride, your dentist may recommend prescribing fluoride tablets or drops for you and your family to help protect your teeth from cavities.
    • Fluoridated water is a great substitution for soft drinks as it helps protect your teeth while minimizing the damage done to them through sugar intake at the same time.
    • Bottled water may not include fluoride so while it may seem like the safe thing to do now, think about the fluoride you will be missing from your tap water.

     

    Toothpaste

    • Toothpastes containing fluoride help prevent cavities in both children and adults.
    • You should always supervise your children when they’re brushing their teeth.
    • Children under the age of 6 should only use a pea size dab of toothpaste when it contains fluoride.

     

    Mouthwash

    • Rinsing your mouth with mouthwash that contains fluoride is another way to help protect you and your family from cavities.
    • There are many brands of mouthwash available that now contain fluoride.

     

    Professional Topical Fluoride Treatment

    Your dentist can apply fluoride to the teeth as a gel, foam, or varnish. These treatments contain a much higher level of fluoride than the amount found in toothpastes and mouth rinses. For those in need of an extra fluoride boost, fluoride supplements are available as liquids and tablets, and must be prescribed by your dentist, pediatrician, or family doctor.

    When teeth are developing in infants and children between the ages of 6 months and 16 years, we’re very used to our dentist talking about getting enough fluoride. But adults benefit from fluoride, too. New research shows that topical fluoride – from toothpastes, mouth rinses, and fluoride treatments – are as important in fighting tooth decay as in strengthening developing teeth.

    Sources: OralB.com, British Fluoridation Society

  • Decisions, Decisions: Dentures, Bridges or Dental Implants?

    Each Option has Pros and Cons Depending on the Health of Your Teeth and Your Budget

    Nearly 70% of adults aged 35 to 44 years in the United States have at least one missing tooth due to an accident, tooth decay, gum disease, or dental fractures, according to the American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons. But there’s no need to go through life with missing teeth. These days, many good alternatives are available from the team at Personal Care Dentistry. Your missing teeth can be replaced with dental implants, bridges or dentures.

    iStock_000016108107_Medium - older couple in profileDentures

    Dentures, partial or complete, replace either the bottom arch or the top arch of your mouth. Dentures are false teeth, and although their quality has improved, they’re not ideal for everyone. If not secured with denture adhesive, dentures might slip out of place while eating or speaking, which is embarrassing, and partial dentures might promote infection and decay in other teeth if they aren’t fitted properly, which may increase the risk that you would need a tooth filling on the abutment (adjoining) tooth. That said, dentures may be the best choice for people whose gums and jaw are weak or unhealthy.

    Bridges

    A bridge is a dental restoration that spans an area that has no teeth and is connected to natural teeth at each end. A typical bridge consists of a filler tooth that is attached to two surrounding abutments or crowns. After completion, this bridge structure is then bonded into the mouth.

    Dental Implants

    Dental implants feel and function just like your natural teeth. They are permanent fixtures of titanium posts, which are anchored to the jawbone and topped with individual replacement teeth or a bridge that screws or cements into the posts.

    With good oral hygiene, dental implants can last for 20 years or more without the need for replacement. Dental implants are often a popular choice for people who have only one or two teeth missing, but they can be an alternative to dentures if you have several missing teeth. As long as your gums and jaw are healthy, two or more implants can serve as a base of support for several replacement teeth.

    Some Questions to Ask:

    1. How healthy is my mouth?

    Your oral health is the primary factor that determines which treatments are even possible. While dentures are a viable solution for virtually everyone, dental implants are only recommended for individuals with a strong jaw and healthy gums due to the invasive surgery required for the procedure.

    1. What does my budget allow?

    Because surgery is involved, dental implants are more expensive than dentures, but are a more permanent solution. A complete set of dentures will be much more affordable, but usually requires reshaping or replacement over time. If only one or two teeth are missing, partial dentures could be an alternative, and this is even less expensive.

    1. Am I willing to undergo surgery?

    Neither procedure happens overnight, but dental implants do require surgery and a longer treatment period. While dentures can take up to several weeks from point of examination to impressions, molding and fitting, dental implants require drilling into the jaw and healing time for the implant to fuse with the bone. It can also take up to several months before the prosthetic is fixed onto the implant.

    Initial discomfort is not uncommon for both procedures, as your mouth gets acclimated to its new teeth.

    1. How much does maintenance matter?

    Dental implants require minimal care aside from regular brushing and flossing, which is a big advantage of this treatment. Dentures, however, can cause infection and decay in other teeth if improperly fitted and/or if proper hygiene is not followed. Regular rinsing, brushing and soaking dentures overnight are additional steps you will need to add to your daily routine. Other issues that often challenge patients with dentures are damaged clasps, cracks, as well as looseness due to gradual bone loss.

    1. Are the cosmetic differences that come with implants worth it for me?

    While everyone has a different experience with dentures, common complaints include clicking noises, constant shifting or slipping (which can impair chewing and speech), a difference in taste, and bad breath.

    Dental implants, on the other hand, restore the ability to chew and speak as efficiently as one would with natural teeth, without the bulky feeling commonly reported by patients with dentures. For those who want to get closer to real teeth in terms of form, function and comfort, this more than justifies the investment required for dental implants.

    Regardless of which treatment you choose, replacing missing teeth boosts your oral health, improves your smile, and can help increase your confidence. Get further guidance and details on each procedure during your next check-up, or consider scheduling a separate appointment altogether for an in-depth consultation.

    Sources: Perio.org, WebMD.com, OralB.com

     

  • Are Dental Veneers A Good Choice?

    An Easy, Inexpensive Way to Fix Flawed Teeth.

    Veneers are ultra-thin shells of ceramic (porcelain) or a composite resin material, which are bonded to the front of your teeth. This procedure requires little or no anesthesia and can be the ideal choice for improving the appearance of the front teeth. Veneers are placed to mask discolorations, to brighten teeth and to improve a smile.

    Why a Veneer?

    Veneers are an excellent alternative to crowns in many situations. They provide a much more conservative approach to changing a tooth’s color, size or shape. Generally, veneers will last for many years, and the technique has shown remarkable longevity when properly performed.

    Types of Problems Dental Veneers Fix

    Teeth that are worn down.

    Teeth that are chipped or broken.

    Teeth that are misaligned, uneven, or irregularly shaped (for example, have craters or bulges in them).

    Teeth with gaps between them (to close the space between these teeth).

    What Happens During the Procedure?

    Patients may need up to three appointments for the entire procedure, including diagnosis and treatment planning, preparation and bonding.

    It’s critical that you take an active role in the smile design. Spend time in the planning of the smile. Understand the corrective limitations of the procedure. Have more than one consultation, if necessary, to feel comfortable that your dentist understands your objectives.

    To prepare the teeth for the veneers, the teeth are lightly buffed to allow for the small added thickness of the veneer. Usually, about half a millimeter of the tooth is removed, which may require a local anesthetic. Composite resin veneers are generally done in one appointment. After the tooth is prepared, the dentist carefully bonds and sculpts the composite material onto your teeth. For porcelain veneers, a mold is taken of the teeth, which is sent to the laboratory for the fabrication of the veneers. This may take several days. If the teeth are too unsightly, a temporary veneer can be placed, at an additional cost.

    When your porcelain veneers are ready, the dentist places each veneer on the teeth to check their fit and get a sense of the shade or color. While the veneers are resting on your teeth, view the results, and pay particular attention to the color. At this point, the color of the veneers can still be adjusted with the shade of the cement to be used. The color cannot be altered after veneers are cemented. To apply the veneer, the tooth is cleansed with specific chemicals to achieve a bond. Once a special cement is sandwiched between the veneer and tooth, a light beam hardens the cement.

    Advantages of Dental Veneers

    They provide a natural tooth appearance.

    Gum tissue tolerates porcelain well.

    Porcelain veneers are stain resistant.

    The color of a porcelain veneer can be selected such that it makes dark teeth appear whiter.

    Veneers offer a conservative approach to changing a tooth’s color and shape; veneers generally don’t require the extensive shaping prior to the procedure that crowns do, yet offer a stronger, more aesthetic alternative.

    Disadvantages of Dental Veneers

    The process is not reversible.

    Veneers are usually not repairable should they chip or crack.

    Because enamel has been removed, your tooth may become more sensitive to hot and cold foods and beverages.

    How to Maintain Veneers

    Dental veneers do not require any special care. For about a week or two, you will go through a period of adjustment as you get used to your “new” teeth that have changed in size and shape. After one or two weeks, your dentist will ask you to return for a follow-up appointment. Continue to follow good oral hygiene practices, including brushing and flossing as you normally would.

    Realistic Expectations

    Veneers are reasonable facsimiles of natural teeth, not perfect replacements. It’s not uncommon to see slight variations in the color of veneers upon close inspection, as this occurs even in natural teeth. Nevertheless, this procedure can greatly enhance your smile and can heighten self-esteem.

    Sources: Worldental.org, KnowYourTeeth.com, WebMD