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Risk Factors Of Tooth Decay

Teeth loss is inevitable as it comes with aging, but tooth decay can hasten and cause premature loss of teeth.

Simply put, tooth decay is the destruction or wearing down of the enamel, which is the hard, outer layer of the teeth. Tooth decay causes cavities or holes in teeth, eventually leading to tooth loss.

Bacteria and a diet high in sugar and starch are the two major causes of tooth decay. Bacteria leads to plaque buildup, while sugar and starch are converted into acid, which then attacks the tooth enamel and weakens teeth.

There are also several factors that can increase the risk of tooth decay, such as:

- Poor oral hygiene: Not regularly brushing and flossing can cause bacteria to breed in the teeth and gums. Make it a point to brush your teeth twice a day to remove the plaque that is clinging to the teeth. Flossing once a day will help clear out plaque from hard-to-reach parts of the teeth and gums that are vulnerable to tooth decay.

- Dry mouth: This is usually caused by aging (since the mouth glands produce less saliva as you grow older), taking certain medications, and illnesses such as Sjörgren's syndrome, diabetes, Alzheimer's, and other diseases that affect the salivary glands. Saliva is needed to lubricate the teeth and neutralize decay-causing acids.

- Prolonged exposure to sugar: As mentioned, a diet high in sugar and starch speeds up the rate of tooth decay. Regulate your intake of sugar and carbs (e.g. pasta, bread, pastries, etc.) to stave off not just unwanted pounds but also tooth decay. Parents should avoid giving their babies frequent and prolonged feedings of sugary drinks. Also, if you are taking medication that contains sugar, ask your doctor for sugar-free alternatives.

- Fluoride deficiency: Fluoride protects the teeth by making them more resistant to the acids produced by plaque. Use fluoride-rich toothpaste to further bolster protection for your teeth, or ask your dentist on how you can increase your fluoride levels.

- Tooth size and shape: Small teeth with lots of deep pits and grooves have more areas for plaque to accumulate, and make them harder to clean. Consult with your dentist on proper oral hygiene practices or the right dental treatment to effectively get rid of plaque.

- Teeth position and bite: Those with crooked teeth and a poorly aligned bite are advised to seek orthodontic treatment to prevent cavities and tooth decay. There is more surface area for plaque to grow and spread with overlapped teeth, while a poorly aligned bite can wear down enamel faster, making the teeth vulnerable to decay.

- Smoking: Cigarettes do not just stain the teeth, they can also do some serious damage to the structure. Smoking weakens the teeth and causes your glands to produce less saliva. Keep in mind that if you breathe through your mouth, you dry up the saliva that helps protect your teeth.

The Benefits Of Digital Impressions

Digital impressions are very beneficial to most people who have dentistry as their chosen field of work. It is proven that they do increase efficiency and productivity in the workplace and significantly improves the chances of higher accuracy. The highlight benefit of these digital optical impressions is that you can use your email to deliver virtual impressions to the clinic or laboratory, rather than the traditional way of using impressions material sent via conventional postal delivery services. Using digital impressions can speed up the treatment of the patient, and promote less clinic visits since these impressions can be used to make same day restorations.

Aside from the mentioned above, digital impressions also provide more benefits as follows:

First of all, digital impressions make more quality models since they are more accurate and shaped better than the traditional way. It reduces errors when making adjustments. In this way, fitting restorations will be easier and less time-consuming.

Having said that it take less time to work on it, there will be less labor time compared to models or impressions made of impression material. The scanning of the teeth in total with the opposing teeth and bite only take at least three to five minutes to be completed, compared to the traditional way that takes up a total of around twenty minutes including. Traditional making of impressions leaves most patients with an unpleasant experience because the impression materials do not taste good. Using digital impressions will make patients more comfortable and the whole process easier for the patient and also for the dental team carrying out the work.

Furthermore, patients will likely appreciate the technology for making the whole process more efficient. They will feel more engaged, properly cared for, and more secure because they can see their impressions while seated in their chair.

The process of making digital impressions not only induces a healthy experience for both dentists and patients, but it is also good for the environment alike. The process is done digitally, therefore it is easier to store and prepare. They require less space in the office filing system as they eliminate the need for paper, and are easily organized and referenced in a digital format.

Lastly, this process is considered as a front-runner in "Green Dentistry" because it promotes an eco-friendly nature of conducting business. The conventional process uses disposable materials, mixtures, and substances that only add to the growing waste problem in the environment. Digital impressions eliminate the generation of waste since the data can be reviewed or deleted without leaving behind a big pile of physical waste.

These are the benefits of using digital optical impressions for a better environment, for the dentistry field of treatment, and for dentists and patients alike.

How To Choose A Cosmetic Dentist

Cosmetic dentistry refers to any dental work or procedure that focuses on improving the look of your teeth, smile, and mouth.

While cosmetic dentistry procedures are usually done for aesthetic purposes, some actually provide restorative benefits. Dental veneers not only repair chipped or damaged teeth, but also improve the bite. Dental fillings are used to treat decayed teeth, and their color can be matched with the natural shade of your teeth to enhance oral appearance. Implants are meant to replace missing or lost teeth and help with your bite, but they improve your smile as well.

Since the aim of cosmetic dentistry procedures is to enhance overall oral appearance, it is crucial that you select the right cosmetic dental practitioner for you. Here are some tips.

1. Get referrals. Get trusted recommendations from your family dentist, who should be familiar with the current status and condition of your mouth and teeth. You can also ask referrals from relatives, colleagues, and friends who have had cosmetic dentistry procedures done and were satisfied with the results.

2. Check out their previous work. Cosmetic dentists usually show before and after pictures of their work. However, be wary of those who do not have examples of their previous work, and be mindful of airbrushed or photoshopped pictures as well.

3. Do a background check. Once you have narrowed down the list of potential cosmetic dentists, research on their credentials, experience, and education. Consider the following:

- How long has he/she been in practice?

- How extensive is the practice?

- What sort of cosmetic dental work does he/she do?

- What dental techniques and technologies does he/she use?

- Does he/she offer 24/7 or emergency services?

- Is he/she a member of the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry?

The last question is actually very important, especially if the kind of cosmetic dental procedure or treatment you are looking for needs meticulous care and expert skills. AACD members are required to undergo rigorous training and pass strict ethical standards in order to qualify, so getting an AACD-accredited dentist ensures that you will receive high quality, professional dental care.

4. Schedule an initial consultation. Check out the office and get a feel of things. Do you like the patient comforts provided by the dentist? Do you feel that the dentist is sympathetic about your oral concerns? Is the staff friendly, welcoming, understanding, and patient? Do you like the ambiance of the dental practice?

It is best to compile a list of your concerns and what you want to change about your smile before meeting with the dentist. When you discuss them with the dentist, assess how he/she responds and evaluate the proposed solutions or treatment plan. Do not be afraid to probe and keep asking away. The right cosmetic dentist for you will spell out the procedure to you in great detail, including prior preparations, actual steps of the procedure and materials to be used, and after-care tips.

Do not be shy about fees and costs, either. Ask about payment plans and financing options they are offering to help you manage the cost of your smile makeover. Some cosmetic dental procedures can be quite expensive, so it is only natural to want to protect your investment and be upfront about getting your money's worth.