Posts for: March, 2017
Tooth decay doesn't have to an inevitable fact of life. Proper care of your teeth can help you avoid cavities and extensive dental treatments. Westfield, IN, dentists Drs. Kenneth and Katie Krause, who offer family dentistry services at Krause Dental, share a few tips that will help you care for your smile.
Brush and floss to prevent plaque build up
Failing to remove plaque increases your risk of tooth decay. Although you can't see this bacterial film, you've probably felt it on your teeth. When your teeth feel a little rough, it's because they're covered with a layer of sticky plaque. Brushing your teeth gets rid of the plaque and makes your teeth feel smooth again. Brushing twice per day helps keep your teeth free of plaque, but unfortunately, brushing alone doesn't remove plaque from every surface of your teeth. Daily flossing is needed to get rid of the plaque that adheres to the spaces between your teeth.
Easy does it
You don't have to apply a lot of pressure to get rid of plaque and stuck-on food particles. Tilt your brush at a 45-degree angle and use short, gentle strokes to clean your teeth. Make sure you brush all surfaces of your teeth and your tongue. Do you use a toothbrush with soft bristles? Using harder brushes can damage tooth enamel and make your teeth sensitive to hot or cold temperatures. Harder brushes can also push your gums back, which may increase sensitivity.
Take advantage of the power of cavity-fighting mouthwash
Today, mouthwash doesn't just keep your breath fresh, but can also play a role in preventing cavities. Products labeled "anti-cavity" contain antimicrobials that kill the bacteria present in plaque. Swish the mouthwash around in your mouth, spit, but don't rinse. Rinsing immediately following mouthwash use gets rid of much of the protection the product offers.
Don't forget about regular dental visits
Fitting in a dental visit isn't always easy when you have a busy schedule, but skipping exams can put your oral health at risk. When you visit our Westfield office, you'll receive a dental cleaning to remove plaque and tartar. Tartar, that hard gray or brown stuff that forms on teeth when plaque isn't removed, increases your risk of developing gum disease. If you visit every six months and do happen to develop a cavity, it will be detected when it's small. Small cavities are easier to treat and also cause less damage to teeth.
Keep your smile healthy by taking good care of your teeth and taking advantage of the family dentistry services offered by Krause Dental in Westfield, IN. Call Drs. Kenneth and Katie Krause at (317) 399-9329 to schedule your appointment.
Periodontal (gum) disease is a serious infection that can damage more than periodontal tissues — supporting bone structure is also at risk. Any bone loss could eventually lead to tooth loss.
To stop it from causing this kind of damage, we must match this disease's aggressiveness with equally aggressive treatment. The various treatment techniques all have the same goal: to remove bacterial plaque, the source of the infection, from all oral surfaces, including below the gum line. Buildup of plaque, a thin film of food particles, after only a few days without adequate brushing and flossing is enough time to trigger gum disease.
The basic removal technique is called scaling, using hand instruments called scalers to manually remove plaque and calculus (hardened plaque deposits) above or just below the gum line. If the disease or infection has advanced to the roots, we may use another technique called root planing in which we shave or “plane” plaque and tartar from the root surfaces.
Advancing gum disease also causes a number of complex problems like abscesses (localized infections in certain areas of gum tissue) or periodontal pockets. In the latter circumstance the slight normal gap between tooth and gums becomes deeper as the tissues weaken and pull away. This forms a void or pocket that fills with inflammation or infection that must be removed. Plaque buildup can also occur around furcations, the places where a tooth's roots divide off from one another.
It may be necessary in these more complex situations to perform a procedure known as flap surgery to gain access to these infected areas. As the name implies, we create an opening in the gums with a hinge, much like the flap of a paper envelope. Once the accessed area has been cleansed of plaque and infected tissues (and often treated with antibiotics to stop further infection), the flapped tissue is closed back in place and sutured.
To avoid these advanced stages it's important for you to see us at the first sign of problems: swollen, red or bleeding gums. Even more important is to reduce your risk for gum disease in the first place with dedicated daily brushing and flossing to remove plaque and regular dental visits for more thorough cleaning.
Gum disease can be devastating to your long-term dental health. But with diligent hygiene and early aggressive treatment you can stop this destructive disease in its tracks.
If you would like more information on treating gum disease, 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 “Treating Difficult Areas of Periodontal Disease.”
It might seem that supermodels have a fairly easy life — except for the fact that they are expected to look perfect whenever they’re in front of a camera. Sometimes that’s easy — but other times, it can be pretty difficult. Just ask Chrissy Teigen: Recently, she was in Bangkok, Thailand, filming a restaurant scene for the TV travel series The Getaway, when some temporary restorations (bonding) on her teeth ended up in her food.
As she recounted in an interview, “I was… like, ‘Oh my god, is my tooth going to fall out on camera?’ This is going to be horrible.” Yet despite the mishap, Teigen managed to finish the scene — and to keep looking flawless. What caused her dental dilemma? “I had chipped my front tooth so I had temporaries in,” she explained. “I’m a grinder. I grind like crazy at night time. I had temporary teeth in that I actually ground off on the flight to Thailand.”
Like stress, teeth grinding is a problem that can affect anyone, supermodel or not. In fact, the two conditions are often related. Sometimes, the habit of bruxism (teeth clenching and grinding) occurs during the day, when you’re trying to cope with a stressful situation. Other times, it can occur at night — even while you’re asleep, so you retain no memory of it in the morning. Either way, it’s a behavior that can seriously damage your teeth.
When teeth are constantly subjected to the extreme forces produced by clenching and grinding, their hard outer covering (enamel) can quickly start to wear away. In time, teeth can become chipped, worn down — even loose! Any dental work on those teeth, such as fillings, bonded areas and crowns, may also be damaged, start to crumble or fall out. Your teeth may become extremely sensitive to hot and cold because of the lack of sufficient enamel. Bruxism can also result in headaches and jaw pain, due in part to the stress placed on muscles of the jaw and face.
You may not be aware of your own teeth-grinding behavior — but if you notice these symptoms, you might have a grinding problem. Likewise, after your routine dental exam, we may alert you to the possibility that you’re a “bruxer.” So what can you do about teeth clenching and grinding?
We can suggest a number of treatments, ranging from lifestyle changes to dental appliances or procedures. Becoming aware of the behavior is a good first step; in some cases, that may be all that’s needed to start controlling the habit. Finding healthy ways to relieve stress — meditation, relaxation, a warm bath and a soothing environment — may also help. If nighttime grinding keeps occurring, an “occlusal guard” (nightguard) may be recommended. This comfortable device is worn in the mouth at night, to protect teeth from damage. If a minor bite problem exists, it can sometimes be remedied with a simple procedure; in more complex situations, orthodontic work might be recommended.
Teeth grinding at night can damage your smile — but you don’t have to take it lying down! If you have questions about bruxism, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can learn more by reading the Dear Doctor magazine articles “Stress & Tooth Habits” and “When Children Grind Their Teeth.”