Posts for: February, 2019
Like other aspects of our lives, aging can take a toll on our smile. Over a lifetime the effects of disease, teeth wearing and the foods we eat can cause our teeth and gums to look unattractive.
Here are 3 of the most common age-related dental problems and how we can help you "turn back the clock" on each one.
Discoloration. Teeth can dull and grow darker over time. And not just from what we eat or drink—age-related structural changes in the tooth can also cause discoloration. We can often alleviate external staining temporarily with teeth whitening. If the staining is heavy or it originates inside the tooth, then we can install life-like porcelain veneers or crowns to cover the discoloration. We can also use composite dental materials to alter the color of one darkened tooth so that it doesn't stand out from the rest of your teeth.
Wearing. Our teeth naturally wear down over time. If the wearing is excessive, though, teeth can look shorter and less youthful. Again, we can use veneers or crowns to change a tooth's outward appearance and make them look longer. We can also employ enamel contouring and reshaping that smoothes out sharper edges caused by wearing to give your teeth a softer, more youthful look.
Receding gums. On the other end of the spectrum, gums that have shrunk back or receded from the teeth can make them look much larger and unattractive. Our first step is to treat any gum disease present—the most common cause of recession—which often helps the tissues to regenerate. If your case is more advanced, though, you may also need grafting surgery to restore lost gum tissue. Using in-depth microsurgical techniques, surgeons attach grafted gum tissue at the recession site. Over time new tissue will grow, restoring adequate gum coverage.
You can also improve your appearance at any age with orthodontics. Besides a more attractive smile, properly aligned teeth tend to wear more slowly and evenly. This and proper daily oral hygiene and regular dental care can keep your teeth looking younger even in your later years.
If you would like more information on gaining a more youthful smile, 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 “How Your Dentist can help you Look Younger.”
Proponents of legalized marijuana have won phenomenal gains over the last decade. Despite the federal government's continuing criminalization of the drug, several states including California, Colorado and Massachusetts, have voted to legalize its recreational use.
Most people are aware of the social and political controversies the marijuana legalization movement stirs. But there's another side to this roiling issue: the health effects of marijuana, particularly for your teeth and gums. What may be lost beneath the more exciting headlines about ballot initiatives is the growing evidence that habitual marijuana use may increase the risk and severity of periodontal (gum) disease.
Gum disease is a bacterial infection caused by dental plaque, a thin film of bacteria and food particles that accumulates on teeth. The spreading infection triggers inflammation, a normal bodily response to disease that's ordinarily beneficial. But if the inflammation becomes chronic it weakens the gums' attachment to the teeth. This can create voids or periodontal pockets of infection around the teeth. The disease can eventually damage the underlying bone, which could accelerate tooth loss.
Poor oral hygiene is the biggest factor for an increased risk of gum disease; thinner gum tissue (an inherited condition or related to poor tooth position) is another factor, as well as lifestyle habits like tobacco use or excessive alcohol consumption. Add marijuana to the list: there's now some evidence that its use increases the risk for more severe periodontal pockets if the disease occurs.
In a recent study, researchers with the Columbia University College of Dental Medicine reviewed statistics on the care for nearly 2,000 adult patients; a quarter of those in the study were frequent marijuana users. The marijuana users proportionately had deeper periodontal pocket occurrences than the rest of the patients in the study that didn't use the drug.
The study doesn't say that marijuana causes periodontal (gum) disease. But it does suggest that marijuana use might increase its severity. As with other substances and practices in our society, marijuana use comes with a caveat: it may be legal where you live, but it may not necessarily be good for your health.
If you would like more information on the effects of marijuana use on your oral health, 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 “As More States Legalize Marijuana, Link to Gum Disease is a Concern.”
Though cosmetic dentistry focuses on improving the appearance of your smile, it can do so much more. From taking your self-esteem to new heights to giving you a boost of newfound confidence in your appearance, cosmetic procedures can truly take your smile to the next level. Find out more about cosmetic dentistry and how it can improve your smile with Dr. Melinda Kuhn at Kuhn Family Dentistry in Reno, NV.
Could cosmetic dentistry benefit me?
Depending on your dental situation, you may benefit one of — or even a combination of — the cosmetic dentistry procedures provided by your Reno, NV dentist. A good candidate for a cosmetic dentistry procedure is in good dental health and free from problems teeth decay and gum disease. They should take their at-home oral care seriously and be committed to brushing twice a day and flossing at least once in addition to routine dental examinations and cleanings every six months.
Common Cosmetic Dentistry Procedures in Reno, NV
- Bonding: Bonding uses composite resin materials bonded directly onto the tooth to change its shape and improve its appearance. Usually used in conjunction with dental contouring, dentists most commonly use bonding to repair chipped teeth.
- Crowns and Bridges: A crown is a tooth-shaped “cap” which fits over the tooth to protect it from all sides. Bridges replace a missing tooth by spanning the gap between two healthy teeth.
- Dental Implants: Dental implants are a permanent and nonremovable solution to fill your gap — or gaps. From replacing a single tooth to holding a full denture in place, implants can treat many dental issues related to missing teeth.
- Porcelain Veneers: Dental veneers are a super-thin shell of porcelain which fit over a tooth to change its appearance and improve its aesthetic quality. Veneers can treat minor issues, such as a chipped or cracked tooth, or cover all the teeth in an arch to completely overhaul a smile’s appearance.
- Teeth Whitening: A professional teeth whitening treatment is a foolproof way to give your smile the boost it needs. Fast and obvious results make this procedure a go-to for many people.
For more information on cosmetic dentistry procedures available, please contact Dr. Melinda Kuhn at Kuhn Family Dentistry in Reno, NV. Call (775) 829-9331 to schedule your appointment with Dr. Kuhn today!