Posts for: December, 2017
Have you heard about dental sealants? These preventive treatments have been available for many decades, and more and more children are taking advantage of them. The National Institutes of Health (NIH) estimates that around 30% of kids from 6 to 11 years of age have had sealants applied to their molars (back teeth). Sealants are designed to reduce the incidence of cavities by filling in or eliminating the pits or crevices found in all molars, where decay-causing bacteria can hide and your brush can't reach. But do they really work?
Now, the research is in, and the answer is clear — YES!
Two major studies, each of which reviewed the results of thousands of patients over several years, recently came to the same conclusion: Dental sealants are effective at reducing cavities, and their benefits can last for four years (or more) after application. In general, the studies showed that kids who didn't get sealants were twice, three times, or even more likely to get cavities, compared to kids treated with sealants.
Sealants themselves are protective coatings made of plastic resins or glass-like materials. They are applied in liquid form, and then hardened by a special light. When “painted on” to the chewing surface of a molar, sealants fill in the tiny crevices, or “pits and fissures,” that are found there. Uneven tooth surfaces form a perfect breeding ground for the bacteria that cause tooth decay; worse yet, the bristles of a tooth brush can't usually reach them. That's what makes these areas highly susceptible to tooth decay.
Applying sealants is a quick and painless procedure that doesn't require any numbing shots or drilling. Many kids start getting sealants when the first permanent molars come in, around age 5 to 7; they may have more sealant treatments when additional molars emerge, between the ages of 11 and 14.
Sealants are recommended by the American Dental Association and the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry, and have only a modest cost per tooth. On the other hand, having a cavity filled generally costs substantially more, and may result in more trouble (and expense) down the line — so sealants can make sense economically, as well as preventively. This is especially true for those at high risk for tooth decay.
If you have questions about dental sealants, please contact us or schedule a consultation. You can read more in the Dear Doctor magazine article “Sealants for Children,” and “Top 10 Oral Health Tips for Children.”
Laying out goals for the New Year is a great way to inspire yourself to make positive changes that can improve your health. For example, many habits—both good and bad—affect the health of your teeth and gums. Here’s a list of risky habits to kick, and mouth-healthy habits to adopt:
Habits That Risk Oral Health
Smoking. As if oral cancer weren’t enough to worry about, smoking also promotes gum disease and tooth loss. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, smokers have double the risk of gum disease compared to nonsmokers. And according to the Academy of General Dentistry, smokers are about twice as likely to lose their teeth as nonsmokers. For help quitting, visit smokefree.gov.
Snacking. Nibbling all day can create the perfect conditions for tooth decay—especially if your snacks contain sugar and other carbohydrates. Sticky snacks like cookies, crackers, chips and candy bars that cling to teeth tend to remain in the mouth and attract decay-causing oral bacteria. The acid these bacteria produce can penetrate the enamel of your teeth, causing cavities.
Soft Drinks. Speaking of tooth-eroding acid, soft drinks have plenty of it. And this includes both regular and diet varieties of soda, sweetened iced tea, sports drinks and so-called energy drinks. The healthiest drink for your teeth is water!
Brushing. You probably brush your teeth every day already, but are you doing it correctly? To get the most benefit from this healthy habit, brush twice each day for a full two minutes each time. Use a soft-bristled toothbrush with toothpaste that contains fluoride, and don’t scrub too harshly!
Flossing. Yes, it’s worth the effort! If you don’t floss, you’ll miss cleaning about 40% of your tooth surfaces. A toothbrush just can’t reach in between teeth, where decay-causing dental plaque can hide. If you find dental floss difficult to work with, try using disposable floss holders.
Regular Dental Checkups. Keep up a regular schedule of professional teeth cleanings and exams! This allows us to remove any hardened dental plaque (tartar) that has built up on your teeth, screen you for oral cancer, and treat minor dental problems before they become major ones. Plus, it’s a great opportunity to review your at-home oral hygiene.
If you have any questions about how to improve your oral health, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can also learn more by reading the Dear Doctor magazine articles “10 Tips for Daily Oral Care at Home” and “10 Tips to Help You Stop Smoking.”
Even a flawed smile can become beautiful with dental veneers.
We only have one chance to make a great first impression in both our professional and personal lives and having a great smile can go a long way to giving the very best first impression that you possibly can. That’s why so many people believe that putting money into having the perfect smile is the best investment. Our Reno cosmetic dentist Dr. Melinda Kuhn offers dental veneers so that patients can finally get that picture-perfect smile.
Do you hate that gap between your front teeth? Do you wish that you didn’t have such noticeable chips and cracks in your teeth? Is one tooth worn down or misshapen? If you said yes to any of these questions then dental veneers could help your smile. These thin porcelain or composite resin shells are adhered to the front of your teeth to hide these common imperfections so that the world around you only notices a whiter, healthy smile.
Veneers are a great option for those looking to hide dental flaws such as:
Chips and cracks
Malformed or misshapen teeth
Uneven or worn teeth (often from teeth grinding)
Spaces between teeth
Teeth that are too small
There are so many ways dental veneers can improve the appearance of your teeth. Before you get veneers, there are some facts that you should know about this treatment:
If you are getting traditional dental veneers, our Reno dentist will need to remove about 0.5 millimeters of enamel from your teeth prior to getting veneers. This reduces the thickness of your natural teeth so that when the veneers are applied your smile doesn’t look bulky. Because enamel can’t grow back, once this tooth preparation has occurred it is not reversible.
In many cases removing this small amount of enamel can be performed painlessly without the need for anesthesia. Of course, those who have dental anxieties surrounding procedures or those who have tooth sensitivity may decide to get anesthesia or sedation.
It takes about one week to get your specially designed dental veneers. Veneers are then bonded to your teeth using a special resin, which is sandwiched between the veneers and the front of your teeth. Then a light is used to harden the resin and permanently adhere the veneers.
Are you ready to take the plunge and get dental veneers in Reno, NV? We are so happy to hear it. Call our dental office today and schedule an appointment with our cosmetic expert Dr. Kuhn, who is ready to give you the smile you want.