Dental

Is It Normal for My Teeth to Move Immediately After the Braces Come Off?

It is normal for the teeth to “settle” after the braces come off. This settling can result in a bite that is actually better than when the braces were in place. Movement of the front teeth however is undesirable and patients, (and dentists alike) want to prevent it as much as possible. When the braces are on, the teeth are held tightly in place while the doctor carefully positions each one. After the braces come off however, there is no such control. The forces of occlusion, wear, and the tongue come back into play. Even if the teeth are held in place with a bonded retainer after appliance removal, the position of the teeth will still change with time.

Retainers are the key to preventing tooth movement. The most important time to be faithful with your retainer is immediately after your braces come off. Everyone is different and the length of time that retainers must be worn full time varies. Each patient must monitor their own teeth during the first month or two after their braces come off and make sure they wear their retainers at least as much as prescribed, even more if necessary. If you don’t wear your retainers and your teeth move because you didn’t, you may have to have braces again to move things back where they were.

If you are wearing your retainers faithfully and your teeth still move, you may need to have a bonded retainer glued behind them for a while until they are more stable. If you have a tight bite, you may not have room to fit a retainer behind your front teeth. In these cases you will need to let the teeth settle and have the teeth bonded or veneered to close the space. The spaces in these cases are due to the narrow size or shape of the teeth and not their position. Consequently, the “fix” is to change the size of the teeth and not to try and move them again.

If you notice small but progressive changes in the days or weeks after your braces come off, your retainer may need to be adjusted or replaced. The sooner you notice the problem and report it to your orthodontist, the more likely it will be that merely changing or adjusting your retainer will be enough. Clear aligners can also be created to correct minor movements that have occurred. These aligners may then be worn as permanent retainers after the realignment is complete. Bigger movements may require that brackets go back on the teeth for a visit or two. The longer changes are left unaddressed, the more extensive the additional treatment will be.

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Hairy Tongue

 

What is Hairy Tongue?

As the name describes, Hairy Tongue is a condition of the tongue which gives the appearance that it has hair on it. Yes, amazing as it sounds, tongues can appear to grow hair on them Uncle It style. As such, the signs of hairy tongue are easy to spot:

  • Yellow, brown or black discoloration of the tongue,
  • A furry or hairy look to the tongue,
  • Bad breath,
  • A metallic or unpleasant taste in the mouth,
  • A gagging sensation.

With all that happening to a tongue, it’s easy to assume the worst. But in reality, hairy tongue is typically a harmless and temporary condition. Besides being quite shocking and possibly a bit embarrassing, at DentAlign Studio, we have seen it before and we are ready to help anyone clear up this unpleasant condition.

What Causes Hairy Tongue?

When the normal projections on the tongue called papillae grow longer than normal and are not shed, hairy tongue can result. This makes the tongue look “fuzzy” or “hairy,” but the stuff is not really hair. Bacteria and debris build up on the papillae and cause a brown, yellow or black discoloration. If you are experiencing hairy tongue, it is quite likely that one or more of the following is happening in your mouth:

  • Poor oral hygiene,
  • Normal bacteria have been disrupted by antibiotics,
  • Use of medications with bismuth, like Pepto-Bismol. (You can read about it in the common questions portion of the Pepto-Bismol website here)
  • Heavy tobacco use,
  • Use of mouth washes with peroxide or astringents.

The treatment of hairy tongue is directly related to its causes. Home remedies include regular brushing, flossing and tongue cleaning and discontinuing any habits aggravating the condition. Make an appointment with us for a consultation!

Myths about taking care of bad breath.

Bad breath, can be a major problem, one that can directly affect your personal and professional life. The good news is that bad breath can often be prevented with some simple steps.

Bad breath is caused by odor-producing bacteria that grow in the mouth. When you don’t brush and floss regularly bacteria accumulate on the bits of food left in your mouth and between your teeth. The sulfur compounds released by these bacteria make your breath smell.

Certain foods, especially ones like garlic and onions that contain pungent oils, can contribute to bad breath because the oils are carried to your lungs and out through your mouth. Smoking can also be a cause of bad breath.

There are lots of myths about taking care of bad breath. Here are three things you may have heard about bad breath that are not true:

Myth #1: Mouthwash will make bad breath go away.

Mouthwash only gets rid of bad breath temporarily. If you do use mouthwash, look for an antiseptic (kills the germs that cause bad breath) and plaque-reducing one with a seal from the American Dental Association (ADA). When you’re deciding which dental products to toss into your shopping cart, it’s always a good idea to look for those that are accepted by the ADA. Also, ask your dentist for recommendations.

Myth #2: As long as you brush your teeth, you shouldn’t have bad breath.

The truth is that most people only brush their teeth for 30 to 45 seconds, which just doesn’t cut it. To sufficiently clean all the surfaces of your teeth, you should brush for at least 2 minutes at least twice a day. Remember to brush your tongue, too. A lot of bacteria actually stay on the surface of your tongue. It’s equally important to floss because brushing alone won’t remove harmful plaque and food particles that become stuck between your teeth and gums.

Myth #3: If you breathe into your hand, you’ll know when you have bad breath.

Wrong! When you breathe, you don’t use your throat the same way you do when you talk. When you talk, you tend to bring out the odors from the back of your mouth (where bad breath originates), which simply breathing doesn’t do. Also, because we tend to get used to our own smells, it’s hard for a person to tell if he or she has bad breath.

If you’re concerned about bad breath, make sure you’re taking care of your teeth and mouth properly. Some sugar-free gums and mints can temporarily mask odors, too.

If you brush and floss properly keep up with your regular cleanings, preferably twice a year but  occasionally more frequent visits are needed, especially if you have braces. But if your bad breath persists, you may have a medical problem like gum disease. Give us a call to schedule an appointment! So we figure out if something else is behind your bad breath and help you take care of it.

5 reasons why flossing is extremely important.

Proper dental care (which includes regular flossing) can do more than keep your smile pretty and healthy. A healthy mouth can also help prevent much more serious diseases,But if you’re still not convinced that you should add flossing to your daily routine, we’ve got five examples to make the case that flossing is extremely important:

#5. Flossing and Brushing Are More Effective Than Brushing Alone

Unlike a toothbrush, which cleans the tops and outer surfaces of the teeth and gums floss is designed specifically to clean the tight spaces between the teeth and the gap between the base of the teeth and the gums.

These are places that a toothbrush can’t reach. And while antimicrobial mouthwash can kill the bacteria that form plaque, it can’t remove the stubborn tartar and bits of food that can lodge in these places.  That’s where floss comes in. It’s a tool specifically made to remove plaque from the tight spaces between the teeth and under the gums. The ADA suggests that flossing before you brush also helps make brushing more effective: With less plaque caught between your teeth, the fluoride in toothpaste can get to more parts of your mouth. Think of floss and a toothbrush as a detail paintbrush and paint roller, respectively. You could paint your living room walls with just one of the tools, but using them together will provide a much better result.

#4. Flossing Protects Your Gums

The places where the gums and teeth meet are where flossing plays its major role. Tiny particles of food can get lodged here, and plaque in this area will harden and over time they form tartar, a thick deposit that only the dentist can remove with a scraper. Tartar buildup can lead to gingivitis, red, swollen gums that are the first stage of gum disease. If left unchecked, the bacteria-laden tartar and plaque can spread even deeper below the gum line, causing periodontitis: severe gum disease characterized by severe inflammation and eventual tooth and bone loss.

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#3 It can save you money!

In an era of rising health care costs and diminishing insurance benefits, it pays to take steps to reduce your medical expenses. Dental Preventive care now can pay significant dividends down the road. Also consider the point above, If your general dentists deems that the extent of gum disease would be better treated by a specialist, your coinsurance might be higher at the specialists’ office.

#2 Flossing Helps Prevent Other Diseases

Tooth and gum disease can have effects that go far beyond discolored teeth, discomfort or bad breath. Extensive research has shown that the bacteria that flourish in an unhealthy mouth can harm the rest of the body, leading to heart disease, diabetes and respiratory illness. This is such a significant issue that, in 2003, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) began calling for public health initiatives to address oral health as a step toward addressing these potentially life-threatening systemic diseases, conditions that affect multiple organs and body systems.

#1 Preventing the build up of tartar, makes your 6 month check up and cleaning a breeze!

Few parts of a regular dental visit are as uncomfortable as the scraping the dentist or hygienist must do to remove tartar. Tartar is a hard buildup of plaque that forms around the gum line. Once it’s there, it can’t be removed without professional help. But thanks to floss, health-conscious individuals have a powerful tool to fight this stubborn problem.

Flossing allows you to remove the plaque that causes tartar while it’s in its early form: sticky, but soft and pliable. Since plaque doesn’t harden into tartar until it’s been undisturbed for a period of time, regular flossing can keep buildup from happening.

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Oral hygiene is important- and not just for your smile!!

Dental cavities and tooth decay is one of the most common medical conditions experienced by Americans and the single most common disease of childhood.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), more than 19 percent of children have untreated cavities and approximately 41 percent of children have decay in their “baby teeth.”

Cavities are the result of gradual tooth decay caused by the build-up of plaque and breakdown of protective enamel. Initially cavities are painless, but they open the tooth up to infections, eventually exposure the nerve resulting in pain. The internal structures of the tooth can also be destroyed, ultimately causing the loss of the tooth. While this might not seem important in “baby teeth” as they are going to be lost anyway, infection can cause damage to the growing teeth and subsequent treatments can be painful and expensive.

Overall, oral hygiene is an essential component of one’s health. Researchers from the American Heart Association recently shared findings that professional dental care can reduce the risk of heart attack and stroke. Experts tracked 100,000 people for an average of 7 years in Taiwan. They found that those who had their teeth professionally cleaned at least once every two years were 24 percent less likely to have a heart attack and 13 percent less likely to have a stroke.

Regular dentist visits and oral hygiene reduces the growth of inflammation-causing bacteria that causes periodontal disease. However, these bacteria can also cause inflammation of the vessels, with studies showing that these bacteria are associated with elevation in C-reactive protein, a marker for blood vessel inflammation.

Dental health should begin in childhood as even babies are susceptible to cavities. Most children get their first tooth around 6 or 7 months of age and dental care should begin promptly thereafter with a visit to the dentist, as well as, regular tooth brushing. One major risk for early childhood cavities is consumption of sugary liquids, particularly allowing your child to fall asleep with a bottle of juice or milk.

The extended contact with sugar increases the rate of tooth decay. Avoiding sticky foods and frequent snacks are other strategies to ward off cavities. Instilling these routines in childhood promotes their continuation into adult life and with more studies showing broad health benefits from dental hygiene it is essential.

So don’t forget to schedule your six month check up and cleaning!
Call our office today for an appointment.

E-Max Crowns

A dental crown or cap, as it is also commonly known is placed over a tooth to cover and protect it from breakage usually after a root canal treatment or sometimes used to restore a tooth’s shape and size or aesthetic appearance. When cemented into place, crowns fully encase the entire visible part of a tooth that sit above the gum line.

Most crowns are made of a metal material and coated in porcelain. However, when considering anterior crowns (think the visible teeth in the front when you speak or smile) most patient’s are greatly, and understandably so, concerned with the appearance of these crowns. At DentAlign studio, Dr Scopu offers her patients the latest in ceramic technology: E-Max crowns. These all-ceramic crowns are preferred for anterior tooth restorations for their longer lasting, aesthetic qualities.

What is an E-Max Crown?
This type of all-ceramic crown with an appealing translucent color. Typically with porcelain-fused to metal crowns, the color of the crown is an opaque tone because of the metal inside it, this may cause a crown to look less like a natural tooth. With an E-Max crown the translucency is combined with an extra strength and durability and the end result is a crown that looks like your own tooth. The reason behind this is that the crown is made from a single block of lithium disilicate ceramic, a top grade material which has been harvested for its toughness and durability.

The advantages
The transparent color and shape that can be achieved with an E-Max crown are what make it the best match for your natural teeth.
Also, because it’s all-ceramic crown, there is no metal alloy base which means that there won’t be an unsightly looking gray line along the gum line.

Being fitted for an E-Max crown
There may be some preparation involved although this depends upon the state of your teeth and the extent of work that is needed. This preparation begins with an examination of the tooth to be treated. The tooth is cleaned and then reshaped using a small drill. The idea behind this is to improve the shape of the tooth and its condition so that it is ready for the fitting of the crown.
An impression is then taken of your teeth. This involves the use of impression material which you will be asked to bite into. The impression left by your teeth is used by a dental lab as a cast which is then used in the fabrication of your E-Max crown.
Then, Dr Scopu will fit a temporary crown which you will wear for two to three weeks until your new crown is ready. Once it is ready then you will return to the office to permanently cement the crown.

Call us today to replace an old crown with an E-Max crown!

Understanding Dental Insurance

As dental professionals, we get asked all the time “what is the best insurance?” or a variation of “Why is dental coverage so lousy?”.

And our patients have a point. Dental insurance typically is pretty lousy, for the patient and the dentist. There’s not enough coverage, too many things aren’t covered at all, the co-pays are too high, and the limitations are fairly strict. But why is this so?

And the reason is a fairly simple one, dental insurance is simply not profitable to insurance companies. Now, why isn’t it profitable … well, there are lots of reasons and speculation for that. I wish I could say “well, it’s because of XYZ, and if that gets fixed, it’s all sunshine and rainbows” (or fillings and root canals if you prefer). But that’s just not so.

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But when you change your perspective about dental coverage, you will begin to understand that dental care should not be limited to accommodate what insurance companies will cover. For instance, many dental policies have very strict guideliness that (unfortunately) determine the treatment plan for the patient. These guideliness are a broad “one size fits all” approach to dental care, which really hinders the treatment that a dentist can offer on a case per case basis. If your dentist is only giving you the options that your insurance will cover, chances are you are not getting the whole story about what treatment might be better.

For example, some policies that do not cover endodontic treatment for certain teeth would instead cover an extraction.

The best way to take full advantage of your insurance coverage is by understanding how it works. It may seem daunting at first and each insurance plan is designed differently, however there are some basics that can help you get a better idea of how you’re covered.

If you have the benefit of dental insurance provided by your employer, consider yourself lucky. Think of this benefit as a valuable “coupon” that can greatly reduce the cost of dental care. Almost all dental plans are the result of a contract between your employer and an insurance company. Your dental coverage is not based on what you need or what your dentist recommends. Employers generally choose to cover some, but not all, of employees’ dental costs.

For the most part, insurance coverage is broken down into three or four categories: preventive care, basic, major and orthodontic.

Preventive care is usually covered by the insurance by 100%. Routine cleanings, exams dental xrays, flouride treatment and children’s sealants are usually covered as preventive. However, most insurances limit the frequency of each of these services. Some patients may require to upkeep with more frequent dental cleanings due to active orthodontic treatment or periodontal issues, but insurances will limit the number of times a cleaning can be performed.

Basic care is usually covered at a percentage, leaving the patient with copayments to cover the portions that the insurance will not pay. Additionally, most policies have a yearly deductible that applies for basic work. This deductible can vary for each plan. Usual services under basic care are fillings, deep cleanings, root canals, and some simple extractions among other services.

Major work usually requires a pre approval from the insurance company. If the proposed treatment is approved, the insurance will notify the patient what percentage is their financial responsibility. Most major work consists of prosthetics such as crowns, bridges, partial and complete dentures and occasionally some oral surgery or surgical extractions.

Additionally, some policies may cover braces. Orthodontic treatment is also covered at a percentage of the fees and it needs to be pre approved by the dental insurance. The guideliness they follow to determine eligibility for this service, may not always benefit the patient.

To provide “full coverage,” an insurance company would have to charge more for premiums than a consumer would deem worth spending. So we get this hybrid “this is covered up to that amount/waiting periods/low maximums/no coverage at all” scenario that we’re in. Which really helps nobody — insurance companies don’t like it, as dental profesionals, we don’t like it and patients don’t like it.

There are no easy answers. But at least now you sort of have an inkling as to how dental insurance works.

What do you think about this subject?

Until next time, keep smiling.

by: Paola H