Monday, September 30, 2013

Acids could be eating your teeth.

Teeth are similar to most things, in they can be eroded by acid.

Acids can come from external or internal sources.

A good example of an internal acid source would be Acid Reflux. Most acid reflux will cause mild to moderate cases of heart burn. The stomach acid will travel up the esophagus toward the mouth. It usually makes it only as high as the level of the heart and this is what causes a sensation that the area around your heart is burning. If the Acid Reflux is more severe it the acid will make it all the way to the mouth. When in the mouth the acids will eat away at the enamel of the teeth.

Another example of internal acid is the condition known as Bulimia. This is where individuals will induce vomiting as a way of losing weight. After eating they want to rid themselves of the food they just ingested before it gets absorbed into the body. As they induce vomiting not only does the food come
 up but stomach acids will come up also.

An example of external acids would be sucking on things like lemons or other acidic foods. Many Carbonated beverages are also very high in acid. These acids may not be as strong as acids from the stomach but if the exposure is consistent over a long enough period of time the effects can be just as damaging.

This picture illustrates the effects of acid against your teeth over time.

The tooth should be covered in white. That is the protective layer of the tooth known as enamel. Where the teeth have a more yellow appearance is where the acids have eaten away the enamel. The yellow portion is the layer beneath the enamel which is much softer and much more susceptible to decay. These teeth will need to be crowned quickly to avoid decay from reaching the nerve and the need for root canals.

Acids are very dangerous to your teeth whether from internal or external sources.
Seeing your dentist often will help in diagnosing acidic problems early.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Latest Video. Soft teeth. I will get cavities regardless, right?

So many people out there think, or have been told, that they have soft teeth.
This can be completely true. 
The genetic make-up of your teeth can be of such a composition
that they are softer then the standard teeth.

However, many people that have these softer teeth then think
"why try to take care of them? I will just get cavities anyway."

This is a HORRIBLE decision to make and 
can lead to awful consequences.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Nothing lasts forever.

Nothing lasts forever. 
This saying is true for many things.
It is also true for fillings in your teeth.

Below you will see a picture of a broken metal filling.
This individual has wonderful oral hygiene.
The cause of the breakage is simply, time.
Over time most people's fillings will need replacing.

Since the days of those metal fillings they have come up with filling
material that looks much more like real tooth and is still very durable.

Even if you have excellent dental hygiene please make sure 
that you are seeing your dentist on a regular basis.

This situation had nothing to do with not taking care of your teeth.
It simply was time to get the filling replaced that had deteriorated over time.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Cougars (teeth) or Utes (teeth)?

As a dentist here in the Utah area I have been asked many times (or never)
to settle the dispute over who is better, the Cougars or the Utes.
A Ute is a Native American that lived in the Utah area.

A Cougar is a large member of the cat family also known as a mountain lion.

Since I am a dentist I must use teeth as the determining factor for this decision.
It is evident from research that I have done that the teeth of a cougar
are far superior in every way to that of a Ute.

In color, ability to rip meat from the bone, size, and strength, the
cougars have a decided edge over the Utes.

Please note this opinion is not biased (although I do have BYU season tickets).


Monday, September 16, 2013

Marathon Running and Nut Chewing

As we age our body breaks down.

Lets take our knees for instance.
When we are 18, a 5 mile run probably wouldn't produce any knee soreness at all.
However, make you 80 yr old grandpa run 5 miles and, if he even survives, 
his knees would probably swell up like balloons and be very painful.

As we age our doctor will advise us scale back our activities, slightly, so
that we will not put stresses on our body that we are no longer able to handle.

While all of this sounds rather obvious, there is a point.

The point is that people who readily accept a reduction in certain
physical activities as true, do not accept that same reduction 
as it relates to their teeth.

As our knees are no longer able to sustain harsh physical activity 
our teeth are no longer able to sustain harsh chewing.

People come into my office, all the time, with broken teeth and say things
like, "I don't get it. I've always eaten cashews."
That statement contains everything I need to know. 
A life time of cashews does not mean that you can eat them forever.
Quite the opposite actually. 
It means that your teeth have endured a lifetime of harsh chewing
and you need to scale back to kinds of food you eat.

You can no longer run marathons and you can no longer continue to eat
the same hard things that you always have. The painful truth is that
as we age we must scale back our activities. 

And that most assuredly includes what you choose to chew.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Should I be afraid of getting a dental implant?

The question of safety with dental implants is one that seems to persist
among the general population.

Perhaps a lack of news coverage is responsible for this.

Someone getting a heart or lung replaced gets a lot more attention
(as it should) then replacing a tooth.

So lets see if this helps.
This is a picture of an artificial heart.

This is a diagram of a real heart.

This is a diagram of the lungs.
This is a diagram of an idea for an artificial lung.
All 4 of these items are very complex.
Yet doctors, very successfully, place (transplant) these items into patients all the time.

Below you will see a diagram of a tooth implant.

Yup, that's it.
Its a titanium screw.
No moving parts are pieces.
Far less complex then the heart or the lung.
Can there be complications and is it still surgery, yes.
But, If you can implant a heart or lung you can implant a tooth.

The point.
Please please please do not be afraid of dental implants.
Replacing severely broken teeth with implants is safe and simple.

If you think you may be a candidate simply talk to your dentist
about implants and if they are right for you.

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Now that my tooth is finally broken all the way, I will go and have it taken out.

This happens all the time.
And it is a horrible idea.
People, who neglect their teeth, will wait until they have a tooth that is
broken off at the gums to come to my office to get it extracted.

They laugh a little nervous laugh and say...
"well, not much left so it should be pretty easy yo pull out, right?"

The answer to that is, NO.
Imagine getting a fence post out of the ground.
Not the easiest thing in the world, right?
Now, take a chain saw and cut the fence post off at the ground.
How easy is that going to be now?!

If you want a tooth out, please, please, please, do not wait until
it is so broken down that there is nothing to grab on to.
It is NOT easier.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Can't flossing be made any easier?!

Asking if there is an easier way to floss is like asking if there is an
easy way to do a sit-up. Both of them simply are what they are.
There are little tricks and tips and things out there that you may
think make it a little easier to do, but in the end it just comes 
down to just bucking up and doing it.

Here are 2 examples of good old regular floss.
There are some differences in widths but this floss is pretty standard.

Here are 2 examples of floss on a handle.
These types of floss are becoming pretty popular due to the fact
that you don't have to wrap floss around your fingers and 
cut off all the blood flow during flossing.

And here are some examples of companies trying to do whatever they can
to make money (oops, I mean, Help you floss).

 Bottom line is you just need to do it. 
There is no replacement for flossing. 
If you hate going to the dentist to get cavities filled
then any one of these should become one of your best friends.