The Aging Mouth: What is Normal, What is Not

The natural process of aging takes its toll on your teeth and mouth just as it does your body. Here are some common oral health changes you can anticipate as you age:

Enamel Wear — Chewing, cleaning and the normal aging process means your teeth will eventually wear down over time.

Darker Tooth Color — Aging dentin (the tooth’s middle layer) holds stains easier than younger dentin, making your teeth appear slightly darker.

Gum Changes — Aging gums naturally recede over time.

Cavities — Cavities around the root of the tooth are more common as you age. Any fillings you have are also aging and can weaken or crack.

Other changes to your teeth and gums aren’t normal and shouldn’t be overlooked. These symptoms could signal something more serious and are reason to see your dentist right away:

Tooth Loss — Dental cavities and gum disease are the leading culprits of tooth loss in seniors, but neither is a normal part of aging. If your teeth and gums are healthy, there’s no reason why your teeth should fall out.

Dry Mouth – As you age, you may notice a reduced flow of saliva, sometimes as a side effect of medical conditions, medications or medical treatment. Saliva is important because it lubricates the mouth and neutralizes the acids produced by plaque.

Bleeding Gums — Bleeding gums are a sign of periodontal (gum) disease, a leading cause of tooth loss in seniors. But gum disease is not an inevitable result of aging; it’s caused by the build up of plaque. Left untreated, gum disease is linked to other health concerns like arthritis and heart disease.


A Beautiful Smile Is Precious And Priceless

Did you know that the shape, shade, length and spacing of your teeth could significantly affect your smile? And our smiles can greatly affect our self-esteem and confidence?

Common conditions that impact your smile negatively include:
• Broken, cracked or worn teeth
• Discolored teeth
• Missing teeth
• Crooked teeth
• Decayed teeth
• Gaps between teeth
• “Gummy smiles”
The good news is that, thanks to modern technology and improved materials, these physical issues can be dramatically changed to create natural, long-lasting and beautiful smiles.
Each patient, along with his/her unique circumstances, must be evaluated individually. Factors such as occlusion [bite], oral habits, available space, health of the gum tissue, severity of the problem and patient expectations must be taken into consideration during the makeover planning process.
Depending on the situation, there are a variety of treatment options to achieve excellent esthetic outcomes. For whiter natural teeth, in-office or at-home bleaching [whitening] techniques are available. Repairing teeth or closing spaces may be accomplished with tooth-colored composite resin bonding, porcelain veneers or porcelain crowns.
These procedures vary in time and cost along with differences in longevity and appearance. If you’re not satisfied with your smile, or you want to learn if you’re a good candidate for any of these remarkable techniques, call our office today for a consultation.

Why So Sensitive? 5 Reasons Why Your Teeth Hurt

Do your teeth hurt when you drink or eat something hot or cold? Most people think this is normal, but that’s not always the case. When your teeth hurt, they’re trying to tell you something: See your dentist.

More often than not, tooth sensitivity is a sign of a dental problem like tooth decay or gum disease. But there are other reasons why your teeth may be hurting:

  • You might have a cracked or broken tooth
  • One of your fillings could be broken or rotten
  • You might be grinding your teeth while you sleep
  • You could be brushing your teeth too hard
  • There might be dental plaque buildup on your tooth roots

Don’t make the mistake of ignoring sensitive teeth or trying to self-treat. If your sensitivity lasts longer than a couple of days or keeps recurring over a couple of weeks, make an appointment to see your dentist. The longer you wait, the worse it can get and the more expensive treatment will be. A quick exam can reveal exactly what’s going on and get you back to living pain-free.


Chipped Teeth Choices

If you have a chipped tooth, you’re not alone! In fact, chipped teeth are the most common dental injury today. But don’t let that little-known fact fool you into ignoring a chipped tooth; any type of dental trauma deserves immediate attention. A small chip may not cause you pain, but there could be damage underneath the surface of the tooth. Our dentist can rule out cracks or internal tooth problems that aren’t visible to the naked eye. And in many cases, your chipped tooth can be repaired in just one visit.

Options, Options

Chipped tooth treatments vary according to the amount of damage. Depending on your situation, any one of these chipped tooth treatments may be an option for you:

Dental Bonding — Most chips can be corrected with dental bonding. Dental bonding is an efficient, durable and cost-effective way to correct minor chips.

Enamel Shaping — Often used in conjunction with dental bonding, enamel shaping can also correct small chips or surface flaws. During enamel shaping, a small portion of the tooth’s surface is removed or recontoured to smooth out imperfections.

Dental Veneers – If the chip is significant and dental bonding or enamel shaping can’t be used, you may need a veneer. These thin, porcelain wafers completely cover the surface of the tooth and are often used for front teeth.

Root Canal – Pain in the location of the chip can be a sign that the nerve is exposed. If that’s the case, a root canal may be necessary to save the tooth.

Dental Crown — A dental crown is used to completely cover larger teeth or to cap a tooth after a root canal.

Tooth Extraction — If the tooth can’t be saved, a tooth extraction may be necessary. The good news is a dental bridge or dental implants can replace missing teeth.


Clear the Clutter From Your Mouth in 5 Easy Steps

1. Get your teeth professionally cleaned.

When it comes to spring cleaning your home, you can do it yourself or hire a professional if you don’t have the time. But when it comes to cleaning your teeth thoroughly, seeing a professional is a necessity. We’re not saying brushing and flossing aren’t essential – but it’s only part of the equation. To get rid of the guck (aka plaque and tartar) that’s built up on your teeth, you’ll have to rely on the experts to do that. While some dentists do teeth cleanings themselves, they often turn to their dental hygienists to handle the job.

2. Change your toothbrush.

After using a toothbrush for about three months, the bristles become frayed and flattened — telltale signs that it’s time to get a new one. In fact, most dentists recommend changing your toothbrush every three months, if not sooner, depending on how soft or hard you brush. Also consider getting a toothbrush sanitizer like Zapi, which may kill up to 99 percent of toothbrush bacteria. Keep in mind that even if you invest in a sanitizer, you should still change your toothbrush every three months.
3. Put floss and mouthwash to work.
Most people have all the right tooth tools – toothbrush, floss and mouthwash – but many only use a toothbrush on a daily basis. If this sounds like you, spring is just as good a time as any to start using your floss and mouthwash. Flossing removes particles in between your teeth that brushing can’t reach. And mouthwash can give your mouth a truly clean feel. But proper flossing techniques are key; be sure to check out our “How to Floss” guide to find out if you’re doing it right.
Choosing the right kind of mouthwash is also important. Many dentists recommended using an alcohol-free mouthwash that won’t dry out your mouth. Mouthwash typically falls into two categories: cosmetic and therapeutic. Cosmetic mouthwashes mask bad breath and can help eliminate some mouth bacteria but have a limited overall effect on your dental health. Therapeutic mouthwashes can help fight periodontal disease and cavities and build tooth enamel. Be sure to consult your dentist about the best mouthwash for you!
4. Drink fluoridated water.
It’s well known that fluoride can help fight cavities. But most bottled waters don’t contain fluoride. On the other hand, many community water systems are fluoridated. So even if it’s not safe to drink your local water straight from the tap, it may be better to drink filtered tap water rather than bottled water. Drinking plenty of water also helps flush out the bacteria from your mouth.
5. Consider a teeth whitening treatment.
 While not technically “clutter,” tooth stains are something that most people want to get rid of. As part of your “spring revival,” you may want to consider treating yourself to a laser teeth whitening treatment. Laser teeth whitening treatments can literally transform your teeth from dull to dazzling, making your teeth 8-10 shades whiter in about an hour!
Remember, whether it’s been six months or six years since your last teeth cleaning, it’s never too late to get your dental health back on track.