Category Archives: family dentistry

What to Do in the Event of a Chipped Tooth

Chipped Tooth - Norwich, ConnecticutOh no, you have a chipped tooth! Maybe you fell. Maybe you were hit in the face or mouth. Maybe you bit down on something hard. At first, you thought everything was okay, but running your tongue along your teeth, you feel a jagged edge that wasn’t there before.

Tooth enamel is a very strong material. It has to be for all the chewing that we do. Nevertheless, teeth can break and chip, and sometimes you may not even realize it because there’s no pain. However, if you have a major break, it’s likely that the nerve inside the tooth has been exposed and even damaged, and that’s when the pain starts. If hot or cold drinks or even air touch those nerve endings, it can be quite painful. Fractures occur from accidents, cavities, or old fillings that crack.

You might not be in pain, and you might think your tooth looks and feels just fine, but call your dentist anyway. On the other hand, if your tooth hurts non-stop, it’s a serious sign that the nerve might be damaged, so you definitely need to call.

So what can you do in the mean time for your chipped tooth until you get to the dentist office?

 

  • First, rinse your mouth with warm water. It might be a bit painful but do it anyway.
  • If you’re bleeding, apply pressure with gauze to try to stop the bleeding. Tea bags will also work.
  • Go ahead and put a cold pack on your cheek or lip near the broken tooth. This will help keep the swelling down. Take an over-the-counter pain reliever, too.
  • If it’s going to take you a while to get to the dentist, purchase dental cement from a local pharmacy and cover the cracked part of your tooth as a stopgap repair.

 

What will my dentist do?

The dentist will do an exam to find out why and how the tooth broke in the first place. Different fractures are repaired differently. It can range from smoothing out a minor crack to putting on a crown. Serious breaks that expose the nerve require more involved procedures. If the nerve is in jeopardy, you will most likely need a root canal. Certain teeth like molars have more than one root, so multiple roots might need repair. In some cases, the root can’t be saved and your dentist will pull the tooth. He or she may recommend a replacement artificial tooth. If your break is due to tooth decay, the damage is sometimes very extensive. The decay may go down into the bone, and teeth are typically removed in this instance as well.

Just remember, for a tooth chip, crack or fracture, contact our office as soon as you can. You will have a better chance of saving that tooth if you do! In the event that you have a chipped tooth or another form of dental emergency, call us immediately at (860) 887-2231.

What is Dental Scaling and Who Needs it?

Dental Scaling - Norwich, ConnecticutWe here at Norwich Family & Cosmetic Dentistry believe that knowledge is power. Knowing more about good oral health practices can lead to not only a brighter smile but also a healthier overall life. Which is why we constantly remind our patients that one of the best preventative measures against poor dental hygiene is scheduling regular teeth cleanings every 6 months. But did you know that not all cleanings are created equal? Some individuals actually need a more in-depth cleaning than others, and this is where dental scaling comes into the conversation.

What is Dental Scaling?

Dental scaling is a process that your dentist uses to remove excessive plaque buildup, tartar (calculus), and biofilm from the surfaces of your teeth. An ultrasonic instrument is typically used for sonic vibrations to remove the scale and tartar buildup on your teeth as well as below the gum line. After the ultrasonic part is completed, the dentist or hygienist may use a hand instrument scraper-like device to reach any surfaces not reached by the ultrasonic method.

How is it Different From a Routine Cleaning?

Usually referred to as a “deep cleaning”, scaling differs from the typical cleaning process in a number of ways. It is a non-surgical procedure done as a routine part of your professional cleaning at your visit every six months. In the event that there are apparent signs or symptoms of gum disease or periodontal disease, your dentist will perform dental scaling as a treatment. Patients that put off scheduling their bi-annual cleaning appointments are at higher risk of oral health conditions going unnoticed. When inflammation of gum tissue and the interior of the mouth from built-up plaque and tartar goes untreated for too long, it can drastically affect the condition of your teeth and the underlying supporting bone structure. Thus requiring dental scaling to prevent further damage.

Ideally, ordinary cleanings are recommended every 6 months. However, depending on the severity of your gum disease, it may be necessary to descale your teeth up to four times a year. This will help to maintain the status of your condition and prevent it from progressing further. If your dentist has determined that you have periodontal disease, he or she will perform dental scaling and may possibly recommend periodontal surgery; which can be much more invasive.

How Do I Know if I Might Require Dental Scaling?

As always, the best prevention to needing future extensive dental work is a great home hygiene routine that you stick with daily. But even the most avid brusher and flosser can still develop an oral health condition. Until your next visit to the dentist, there are a few things you should personally keep an eye on. Since gum disease can be relatively painless, it’s important to note if you experience any of the following symptoms:

  • Receding gums that move away from the tooth
  • Red, tender, swollen or bleeding gums
  • Halitosis (bad breath) or a bad taste in your mouth
  • Visible pus around the gums
  • Loose teeth or shifting teeth

Healthy gum tissue fits snugly against each tooth, but when plaque buildup is present, the area around the gums can be affected, as well as deep pockets from where bacteria dwell. Scaling keeps tartar, plaque, and bacteria from getting underneath the gumline so your gums can properly heal and fit more snugly against the tooth. If you are experiencing any of the symptoms listed above, contact your dentist to schedule an examination as soon as you can.

What to Expect Afterwards?

Most patients handle dental scaling fairly well, as it is not a significantly painful procedure. You may be advised to stay away from certain foods or drinks that can aggravate your teeth and gums after scaling, and your dentist will possibly recommend using a desensitizing toothpaste. Though there is no real ‘recovery period’, it is likely that you will be asked to schedule a follow-up visit in 2-4 months to evaluate your oral status. The majority of patients will begin to notice a significant decrease in red, swollen and bleeding gums and even see that their gums are more pink and firm after scaling.

The key to maintaining ideal dental health and avoiding future oral complications is to not ignore the warning signs. What may seem like a little light gum bleeding could potentially evolve into something that can not only be uncomfortable but also costly. Stay educated on ways you can prevent gum disease and keep a healthy, vibrant smile! One way we like to keep our patients informed is through our Facebook page, so be sure to connect with us!

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Make Your Child’s First Dental Visit an Epic Win!

Child's First Dental VisitThere are many “firsts” in the life of a newborn baby as it grows into a small child. One of which is a child’s first dental visit. Compared to when a child speaks his or her first word, introducing a youngster to a professional dental environment can be one of the more stressful milestones. If you have a tiny tot at home, we’d like to provide some friendly advice on how you can make their first dental checkup a success.

When Should I Schedule My Child’s First Dental Visit?

A good rule of thumb is to schedule the first dental visit on a child’s first birthday or once their first tooth arrives; whichever comes first. Even though some pediatricians will do a basic mouth check during their doctor checkups, they do not perform a thorough examination. So it is important to see a dental professional with the expertise to properly evaluate the status of your oral care. If you have an older child who has yet to visit a dentist, not to worry! It’s never too late, but the earlier the better.

Oral Hygiene:

When that first tooth comes in, start brushing with a small, soft-bristled brush without toothpaste, just water. This sets a standard for your child at a very young age and encourages healthy habits early in life. The important thing is to be consistent. If you have bath time every night, then incorporate brushing into that routine. Older siblings are great role models, so have all your kids brush together. Flossing should also be introduced once the child has two teeth touching each other.

Making That First Visit Comfortable:

Child's First Dental Visit

*pediatricdentistcharleston.com

Parents should utilize children’s books or songs about their teeth and dental care to familiarize their children with their own mouths. Read to your child, or talk to him or her about the dental visit and what it will be like. Just like adults, children are more relaxed when they’re prepared. Tell them what the dentist will do. Older siblings can help by talking about their own experiences with the dentist. Some parents even take their younger child to an older child’s dental appointment, just to get the younger child used to the sights and sounds of the dental environment as well as the dental staff that will be examining them.

Exhibit a Positive Attitude and Relax:

Children are sensitive to their parents’ attitudes, so if you’re tense about the initial visit, your child will pick up on your anxiety and might even mirror your behavior. Just be relaxed and happy. Show them that the dentist is not a monster, but a friendly professional that wants to help them.

Certain parents even pick out special clothes, like a “going to the dentist” outfit or special socks. They can also bring their favorite book along, anything to make it a positive experience!

Don’t Pass on Your Fears!

Dental care has made incredible advancements since you’ve been a child and continues to do so every year. So even if you had nothing but negative experiences at the dentist when you were young, just know that your child is reaping the benefits of evolved treatments. Until your child is old enough to understand the difference, remain positive about dental visits and refrain from telling your own personal horror stories so that they are comfortable and WANT to see the dentist.

Norwich Family & Cosmetic Dentistry prides itself on maintaining the reputation of providing some of the highest quality and friendliest oral care around. We make the well-being and comfort of all of our patients, no matter how young or old, our number priority. We are well-versed in all the current pediatric dental techniques and services, and we truly love what we do every day. So no need to be scared and schedule your child’s first dental visit with us today!

To select a date and time that is convenient for you, call us at (860) 887-2231.

Oral Cancer Risks & Preventative Measures

Oral Cancer Risks - Norwich, ConnecticutApril is Oral Cancer Awareness Month,  it is a month to recognize and spread awareness about the risks, warning signs, and the devastation that can affect those diagnosed with oral cancer. Here is an overview of oral cancer risks, symptoms, and preventative measures to decrease the odds of you or someone you love contracting this potentially deadly disease.

Key Statistics:

It’s estimated that almost 50,000 people will suffer from oral and pharynx cancer in 2017 alone. While this accounts for less than 3% of all cancer cases, it means almost 10,000 people will still lose their lives. Almost 350,000 people in the United States alone were living with oral cancer in 2014, and new cases have risen 0.6% on average over the last 5 years. Unfortunately, the survival rate for those diagnosed after five years only 64.5%.

Who is the Most Susceptible?

While men are twice as likely to develop this type of cancer as women, it can develop in anyone. Though smokers and heavy alcohol drinkers are at high risk, young non-smokers are a growing segment of the population contracting oral cancer due to the human papillomavirus (HPV).

Symptoms:

  • Eroded, crusty, rough spots; as well as thickening tissues
  • Irritation or sores that won’t go away
  • When you close your mouth, you notice your teeth fit differently
  • Difficulty when it comes to speaking, moving your tongue/jaw, swallowing or chewing
  • Numbness, pain or tenderness in the lips or mouth (along with white or red patches)

If symptoms persist beyond 2 or 3 weeks, that is a red flag to immediately make an appointment with your dentist.

Oral Cancer Risks:

  • Alcohol: Heavy drinkers make up about 70% of those suffering from oral cancer.
  • Smoking: 80% of people with oral cancer had habits such as using snuff, cigarettes or chewing tobacco.
  • Genetics: Fanconi anemia is an inherited blood condition that can develop into aplastic anemia or leukemia. Folks with this condition are 500 times as likely to develop oral cancer as people without it.
  • Age: About 66% of people with this type of cancer are over the age of 55. The average age is 62.
  • Suppression of the immune system: Using immune suppression drugs may lead to oral cancer.
  • Ultraviolet Light: Prolonged exposure to sunlight in addition to an unnutritious diet can evolve into this oral health condition.

Preventative Measures:

Fortunately, there are best practices you can adhere to in order to prevent oral cancer. The most obvious is a regular habit of brushing and flossing your teeth daily. Including green tea, cabbage, berries, garlic, tomatoes, broccoli, flaxseed, grapes, and beans in your diet can also be a huge combatant. Avoiding cigarettes and heavy alcohol abuse, as well as regular dental visits, help fight against the onset of oral cancer.

At Norwich Family & Cosmetic Dentistry, we know the impact that this horrendous disease can have on individuals and their loved ones. That is why we provide an annual screening for all of our patients to minimize oral cancer risks and consistently monitor the status of your oral health. So if you haven’t scheduled your next dental examination, now is the time!

Schedule your routine cleaning or dental exam TODAY, it could save your life. Call (860) 887-2231 to schedule a time.

Everything You Need to Know About Dental X-Rays

Dental X-RaysTechnology is an integral part of modern dentistry. High-resolution imaging, laser technology, and state-of-the-art cleaning tools are all used to provide the best quality dental care possible. Among these advancements, x-ray imagery plays a prominent role in the pursuit of ideal oral care. However, some patients may not be familiar with the process and intent behind taking x-ray images of their mouth. That is precisely why we would like to explain the importance of dental x-rays as part of your oral care regimen.

Dental X-Rays Defined:

Dental x-rays are transparent images of the teeth, surrounding bone and soft tissue to get a closer look at the interior of the mouth. They help dentists detect underlying issues like cavities, bone loss, or problematic wisdom teeth that cannot be detected by mere visual examination. At your first dental appointment, your dentist will order a full-mouth x-ray called a periapical image, which provides a highly detailed view of the eWisdom Teeth Removal - Dental X-Raysntire tooth and underlying bone structure. This allows a deeper look to detect issues below the gum line. After that, bitewing x-rays are taken at each checkup to look for cavities, especially those that occur between the teeth. Younger patients might have an occlusal x-ray to look for extra teeth or teeth that haven’t yet erupted from the gum line, such as wisdom teeth. Your dentist may also do a panoramic x-ray to include a broader view that includes the jaws and sinuses.

Why Do I Need an X-Ray?

These images help dentists look for tooth decay and any damage to the underlying bone that supports the teeth. Dentists also look for any injuries that may have occurred to the tooth roots and other structures. Dental x-rays are much higher resolution than the naked eye, which allows a more thorough visual inspection. With this clearer view, your dentist can better detect oral health issues early before symptoms arise and before more serious conditions can develop, such as oral cancer. Tumors, cysts or abscesses can show up very clearly in x-rays. Children’s teeth are examined with this technology as well to keep an eye on the development of permanent teeth, making sure they are erupting straight and in the right location. Similarly, wisdom teeth are monitored through x-rays, giving your dentist a better idea of whether or not they will have to be removed or if they’re affecting your other teeth.

How Often Should X-Rays Be Administered?

Dental X-rays are scheduled when you need them based on your age, risk for disease, and signs of disease. As a norm, the bitewing x-rays are done at every checkup, but you may need them less frequently if everything checks out; or more frequently if there is a condition or area of concern the dentist is monitoring. Skipping your routine x-ray could cause your dentist to miss any early signs of tooth decay and other serious issues like tumors or oral cancer.

Are They Safe?

The x-ray pictures use a very small amount of radiation and are very safe. As an extra precaution, dentists usually advise pregnant women to wait until after the birth of their child to receive x-rays just ensure proper development of the baby. A lead bib is also applied over the patient’s clothing, covering their reproductive organs to protect the area from the minimal radiation. Simply put, dental x-rays are completely safe!

If you’re a new patient at Norwich Family & Cosmetic Dentistry, we can easily set you up with your initial appointment which will include a complete overview of your oral health status. Dental x-rays will be administered as well as a thorough examination and cleaning.

To schedule your first appointment with us, call us at (860) 887-2231.

How Nail Biting is Destructive to Your Teeth

Nail Biting - Woman biting nailsNail biting, a Freudian scholar’s dream habit, is not as innocent of a habit as you may think. This oral fixation can actually be genetic, and it occurs more frequently in females than males. Sometimes, nail biting can present itself as a nervous habit. Other times, it can be caused by stress, frustration, or boredom. Whatever the reason, it can prove to have a significantly negative impact on your teeth and oral health.

Negative Effects of Nail Biting

Nail Biting can cause the following oral health complications:

1. Bruxism

People who are in the habit of biting their nails can develop Bruxism, commonly known as teeth grinding. Teeth grinding can cause facial pain, tense muscles, jaw pain, sensitive teeth, headaches, improper jaw balance, injury to tooth enamel, and receding gums. You could say that biting your nails is a gateway habit to Bruxism.

2. Damage to Teeth

Nails are a pretty tough structure, so biting them can severely harm your teeth. They can cause teeth to crumble, cause them to be worn down to the gums, cracked, chipped, or eroded. Basically, your teeth may be strong, but your nails are too. Therefore, your teeth can really suffer from this habit if not corrected.

3. Damage to Enamel and Roots

The enamel covers the outer layer of your teeth. It is the hardest and highly mineralized substance, but even enamel is no match for your nails. Over time, you can fracture that enamel with continued nail biting. Moreover, nail biting after orthodontic treatment, such as receiving braces, has shown to lead to root resorption; a process where parts of the roots of your teeth are dissolved by the bone around them, causing the roots to be weaker.

4. Diastema, Gingivitis, and TMJNail Biting

Nail biting can cause you to have a gap between your teeth (Diastema), especially if it starts young. Gingivitis, or an inflammation of the gums, can be another possible effect. Finally, nail biting can lead to a disk displacement in the temporomandibular joint, so a pain in the hinge that connects your jaw to the temporal bones of your skull in front of your ear can be a result of this habit.

5. Transmits Bacteria

Finally, you don’t know what’s lying under your fingernails or your fingertips, so when you put them in your mouth, all sorts of bacteria and diseases can be transmitted. You touch all sorts of things throughout the day, so you would do well to keep your touching implements away from your mouth.

If You’re a Nail Biter, There Are a Few Things You Can Do to Help Kick the Habit:

With so many negative effects of nail biting, you may want to try and break this bad habit. Here are some tips on how to do it:

1. Keep Them Manicured

If you are a female, this tip could work well for you. If you keep your nails neat and pretty, you will be less inclined to try and bite them, effectively ruining your magnificent manicure. You can also try a special nail polish that leaves a bitter taste in your mouth to keep your fingers out of it.

2. Address the Source of the Anxiety.

If you believe the root cause of your habit stems from anxiety, you may want to closely evaluate what could be triggering it. This can be a difficult feat for some, but understanding what is causing your anxiety (and in turn, your nail biting) is a great first step towards addressing and remedying your stressors.

3. Commit to it.

Breaking any habit can be a tough process. This is especially true if it’s a habit that you’ve had for most of your life, so you’re going to have to commit to it. Because most people aren’t even aware of when they are biting their nails, have your friends remind you of when you are chomping away. If you’re dedicated enough to the well-being of your oral health, it is a habit that you can certainly beat once and for all. Your teeth and your smile will thank you for it!

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Can Electronic Cigarettes Put Your Oral Health at Risk?

Electronic CigarettesThe popularity of electronic cigarettes (e-cigarettes) continues to increase among adults in the United States. The number of adults using these alternative inhalation devices, also known as vaporizers, rose from 3.3% to 8.5% in 2003. Recently, it has been reported that a whopping 3 million American teenagers are also participating in this trend. The attraction to ‘vaping’, as it is referred to, lies in the fact that these devices do not contain tobacco. However, the vapor produced by electronic cigarettes does contain nicotine; the addictive chemical found in ordinary cigarettes. In addition to nicotine, e-cigarettes contain chemicals such as propylene glycol, vegetable glycerol, and artificial flavors and colors. While these compounds are generally believed to be a healthier option over smoking tobacco, more and more information is coming to light about the effects of vaping on an individual’s oral health.

How Do Electronic Cigarettes Impact Oral Health?

Jamanetwork.com documents a host of harmful effects that e-cigarettes can have on the body. Among the risks involved in vaping is the increased likelihood of developing cardiac disease. But in regards to oral health, in particular, medicalnewstoday.com has suggested that smoking electronic cigarettes can be just as damaging as traditional cigarettes, if not more. The chemicals in e-cigarettes, especially nicotine, have been found to cause the following dental issues:

– Damage to gum tissue

– Damage to the interior cells of the mouth

– Loose teeth from weakened gums

– Tooth loss

– Gum recession

– Tooth sensitivity

– Teeth grinding

– Inflammation

Furthermore, untreated inflammation and damage to the interior of the mouth can evolve into more serious dental complications such as gum disease, infections, and even oral cancer.

Can E-Cigarettes Work as a Quit-Smoking Aid?

For those trying to quit their addiction to tobacco cigarettes, e-cigarettes can seem like a good alternative for nicotine patches or gum. The reason for this is that it provides that nicotine ‘fix’ while still maintaining the physical act of smoking, which is a common component of the habit that many long-time smokers have difficulty removing from their daily routines. It provides the sensation of smoking without actually inhaling the carbon monoxide and other harmful chemicals found in the tobacco plant. E-cigarette manufacturing companies continue to promote their products as safer alternatives to regular cigarettes, however, the Food and Drug Administration and American Lung Association have a different stance. The FDA does not approve electronic cigarettes as a way to help quit smoking cigarettes, and the ALA does not lend support to e-cigarettes or vaporizers as an aid to stop smoking.

What About For the Casual/Occasional Smoker?

Some people that engage in the occasional cigarette or smoke during social situations may benefit by using and e-cigarettes to calm short-term cravings. The same could be said to long-time smokers in order to wean off of their addiction, but it is not advised to use an electronic smoking device as a full-time replacement for tobacco products. Our recommendation to heavy smokers considering using an e-cigarette to help them quit would be to keep usage at a minimum and only for the short-term to avoid possible long-lasting health complications in the body and in the mouth. The most advisable methods to cutting the habit for good is through medical advice from your doctor and a strong support system from family and friends.

The trend of vaping is still a relatively new concept with much to study about. As more research is conducted, we will start to learn more about the long-term effects of e-cigarette use on not only oral health but on overall health. In the meantime, if you are a smoker who has been thinking about quitting, we understand how difficult and intimidating the task can be. Organizations such as the American Lung Association and Smokefree.gov are available to help cut out the burdens of addiction and guide you towards a healthier, more fulfilling lifestyle. We hope this article has been helpful to you and we wish you the very best on your quit-smoking journey!

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Sugary Sports Drinks: What is Fueling Your Children?

Sugary Sports Drinks - Norwich CTAlong with February being American Health Month, it is also designated as National Children’s Dental Health Month. This time of recognition was designated to raise awareness of the importance of proper oral care starting at a young age. And if you are like most parents, you already know that sugar-laden soft drinks are bad for your children’s dental health, as well as having the potential for overall negative health effects. Regular consumption of readily available soft drinks such as Coca-Cola, which has a whopping 35 grams of sugar in a 12-ounce can, can erode tooth enamel, put your children at risk for more cavities and also lead to obesity or diabetes. But when it comes to sports drinks, parents tend to turn a blind eye. The reason for this is because they are unaware of their nutritional contents, and don’t realize that sugary sports drinks actually aren’t intended to be consumed by young children.

What Are the Sugary Sports Drinks That We Should Be Concerned About?

Let’s take a look at the sugar content of five of the most popular sports drinks on the market today. Keep in mind the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) recommends consuming no more than 10% of total calories in the form of added sugar:

Gatorade: 21 grams of sugar per 12oz./52.5 grams per 30oz.

Gatorade 2(G2): 7 grams of sugar per 12oz./17.5 grams per 30oz.

Powerade: 21 grams of sugar per 12oz./52.5 grams per 30oz.

Sqwincher: 26 grams of sugar per 12oz./44 grams per 20oz.

Invigorade: 13.5 grams of sugar per 16oz.

What’s the Significance of These Numbers?

For example, a child who consumes 2000 calories a day would want to limit his calories in the form of added sugar to no more than 200 calories (50 grams). As you can easily see above, the consumption of just one 12-ounce bottle of Gatorade adds 21 grams of sugar and a 30-ounce bottle would take your child well over the recommended daily allowance at an astounding 52.5 grams of added sugar.

Sports drinks were formulated for consumption by athletes to replenish lost fluid and electrolytes during vigorous athletic activity. They are not intended for children that are most likely not involving themselves in enough strenuous physical activity to burn off the excess sugar. Unfortunately, many children gravitate towards these drinks for a number of reasons, such as:

– Children don’t often consider the sugar content and its impact on their teeth and overall health.

– These drinks come in a variety of flavors and are simply tasty and refreshing.

– Sports drinks are usually associated with professional sports teams and athletes, which they like to emulate. 

These sugary sports drinks, much like colas and ‘energy’ drinks, promote dental disease in the form of tooth enamel erosion and cavities. There are many good tasting alternatives for you and your children to consider while participating in sports. In fact, most children do not need anything other than plain water to stay hydrated during their athletic activities. If they object, then consider one of the low or no-calorie flavored waters such as Propel, which provides electrolytes and vitamins without the added sugar.

The habits that children learn will stay with them as they grow older, meaning that developing healthy dental habits at a young age helps them maintain oral health well into their later years. So be sure to make and keep all dental cleaning and examination appointments for your children. To make their next appointment or to see if we accept their dental insurance, call our office at (860) 887-2231.

If your current insurance doesn’t cover dental visits, consider looking into our money-saving alternative…The Dental Savings Club!

Adult Braces: What to Consider and Prepare For.

Adult BracesHappy New Year! Now that we have officially welcomed 2017, many people are thinking in terms of resolutions. The most common ones include losing weight and improving your nutrition. Another aspect of your health that you could consider for a New Year’s resolution is improving your oral health. Oral health could refer to hygiene as well as the condition of your smile. Maybe you’ve always been dissatisfied with your teeth because they aren’t as straight as you would like. If this is the case, braces could be the answer for you. Contrary to popular belief, they’re not just for kids! Adult braces are more popular than ever. This is why we’d like to shed some light on the process in the event you wish to improve your smile for the New Year and beyond.

What to Keep in Mind When Considering Adult Braces.

What Are They?

Braces are orthodontic devices applied to or around the teeth in order to straighten them over time and improve overall oral health. In addition, they can also align your jaw to improve your bite, close gaps in your teeth or space out crowded teeth. Typically, a dentist will evaluate if someone is a prime candidate for braces between the ages of 7 and 10 years old. Although this may be a requirement for some during childhood to prevent future and long-term dental complications, braces can be applied at any age for a more esthetically pleasing smile.

Types of Braces:

As a child, you may have noticed other children with the most common type of braces at the time; metal brackets applied to the surface of the teeth. Like many things, technology for orthodontics has improved exponentially over the past two decades. Aside from the traditional metal braces, lingual braces are another option. Lingual braces are also metal but are installed on the interior of the teeth. Braces made out of transparent ceramic material are another viable option. Clear aligners are by far the most popular style of braces due to their removability and because they are virtually invisible. These aligners act just like a mouth guard that surrounds the teeth. Although they are highly desired over the traditional brackets, clear aligners do not work for those who require more extensive alignment.

If you are interested in invisible aligners to straighten your teeth, consult with one of our dental professionals to determine if you are a prime candidate for our ClearCorrect treatment.

Receiving Braces At a Young Age Versus an Older Age:

When you get braces at an older age, there are a few age-related concerns that must be considered. Bones no longer grow in your older years. This, combined with aging tissues, makes the process of adjusting teeth more difficult. Lack of room in your mouth can also cause conflict with bite correction without extracting teeth. A particular complication can occur for those who have had teeth previously extracted. Existing teeth are not able to shift into locations where teeth have been removed.

Health concerns Involving Adult Braces:

Patients who have been diagnosed with gum disease should postpone any orthodontic procedures. It’s important to treat the disease first before inquiring about any form of braces. As an older individual receiving braces, you are also susceptible to root resorption, which leaves the tooth without an anchor. Once root resorption occurs, it is not treatable or reversible.

Maintenance Requirements:

Proper oral hygiene habits become much more crucial when you have braces. You need to make sure you’re brushing and flossing longer than you otherwise would have. Flossing itself will take longer as you’ll be threading specially designed floss around and between all of the wires. Since food can easily get deeply wedged into the many crevices of the braces, flossing becomes especially important.

What to Expect?

Any form of braces will take some getting used to. Naturally, they can cause some discomfort and soreness when they are first applied or adjusted. Regular checkups must be scheduled every four to six weeks to monitor the progression of your teeth and adjust your braces accordingly.

It goes without saying that there are a number of food items to avoid to obtain the best results. Anything sticky such as gum or gummy candies can easily get stuck in between brackets where it can be difficult to remove. Hard foods such as dense candies, certain pizza crusts, or beef jerky should also be avoided.

It’s never too late to consider adult braces and improve the first thing that people usually notice about you: your smile! If you’re considering any form of braces in the New Year but dread the costs due to lack of insurance, we can help! Learn more about how Norwich Family & Cosmetic Dentistry can provide you with cost-effective dental treatments through our Dental Savings Club!

Can Fad Dieting Be Harmful to Your Teeth?

Fad Dieting_Fruit Juice GlassesWith the 2016 year winding down, the overwhelming majority of New Year’s resolutions are bound to involve some sort of dieting or wellness practices. But there’s simply no denying the link between a person’s dental health and overall health. What some people don’t realize these days is that healthy dental habits and proper dental care aren’t always enough to maintain one’s oral health. A major factor that determines the well-being of your teeth and oral cavity is your everyday diet. With the excess of dietary options available intended to provide specific results for each individual, it can be easy to fall into the trap of choosing a diet plan that may decrease your waistline, but could also harm your long-term oral health. Furthermore, certain ‘fad diets’ are catered solely for the purpose of weight loss and ignore how they impact your health in general. Studies have found that fad dieting such as the juice diet and the low-carbohydrate diet could be detrimental to a person’s teeth.

For further clarification, we’d like to focus on two particular types of fad dieting:

 

The Juice Diet:

Perhaps one of the most popular modern-day fad dieting crazes is known as the juice diet. People who partake in this diet typically get all of their daily calories and nutrients from fruit juices. The idea is that by eating or drinking nothing but fruit for several days at a time, the body gets naturally cleansed of toxins, resulting in quick and easy weight loss. Unfortunately, while fruit is good for the body, it can be bad for the teeth. Specifically, the acids and sugars found in fruit can wear away tooth enamel – and once enamel is gone, it can’t grow back. Weakened enamel makes teeth more prone to decay and cavities, while the acidity in fruit juice can also irritate sensitive gum tissue. Furthermore, once teeth lose their enamel they become increasingly sensitive to things such as cold, hot, spicy, and acidic foods and drinks…such as juices.

The Low-Carb Diet:

Another popular diet trend of today is the low-carb diet, which typically requires a person to eat anywhere between 20 and 100 grams of carbohydrates per day. This eventually results in the body going into a state of ketosis, where fat is burned instead of carbs for energy. The result is drastic and quick weight loss, but what impact does this diet have on teeth? When the body goes into ketosis, it releases ketones, which often result in bad breath (halitosis) that won’t go away, no matter how many mints a person pops or how often he or she brushes.

For those determined to make weight-loss their primary resolution for the New Year, fad dieting may do the trick. However, before committing to any sort of diet plan, consult with your physician to determine which one is the best fit for you. Individuals who already suffer from weakened enamel or other dental issues are urged to try alternative weight-loss programs other than the juice diet or low-carb diet. Don’t allow the latest dieting crazes compromise your long-term oral health. The most recommended approach to losing weight has withstood the test of time – through portion control, proper vitamin and nutrient intake, and daily exercise.

If you haven’t scheduled your teeth cleaning or any other pending dental procedures in preparation for the New Year, give us a call at (860) 887-2231. You can also kick-start 2017 with additional dental tips and information by visiting Norwich Family & Cosmetic Dentistry on Facebook!