Family and Cosmetic Dentist - Livonia
31574 Schoolcraft Road
Livonia, MI 48150
Were you surprised to learn at your regular dental checkup that you required additional procedures? Perhaps the dentist recommended you have one or more of your existing fillings replaced. If the tooth doesn't hurt, why would we suggest replacing the filling? Sometimes dental problems do not have painful symptoms.
Dental fillings are designed to last many years, but our teeth are under constant stress. Chewing, clenching, grinding and temperature changes put tremendous force on fillings and may cause them to crack, chip, fall out or simply wear away over time.
As well, fillings can eventually pull away from surrounding tooth enamel to leave small spaces between the tooth and the filling. Bacteria can sneak in around the edges of the filling and cause decay, which can progress right into the dental pulp inside the tooth and result in pain, discomfort and the need for further dental work.
The key to avoiding unnecessary discomfort is to try staying one step ahead of any loose or worn fillings by replacing them before they become a painful problem - a preemptive and relatively simple procedure that will be more economical and comfortable for you in the long run.
Fill up on dental facts during your next visit to reinforce your good dental health.
You already know that brushing and flossing are the most important weapons against the formation of plaque - the primary cause of cavities. But did you know that there's another way to help combat tooth decay, through the application of a plastic coating - or "sealant" - on your child's teeth?
The application of a dental sealant is a simple, painless procedure involving the placement of a preventative plastic material on the chewing surfaces of the teeth. The pits and fissures of the back teeth, where food and bacteria tend to collect, are literally sealed to create a flatter, smoother tooth surface that doesn't allow plaque to penetrate.
Sealants are most effective in helping to prevent cavities in children with newly formed permanent teeth. First permanent molars erupt into the mouth at about 6 years of age and as such sealants should be applied at that time. Second permanent molars arrive at about 12 years, and the grooves of those teeth are just as susceptible to cavities as the first permanent set of molars. Sealants should therefore be applied again, soon after the eruption of this second set of permanent molars.
Give us a call at 734-425-4530 to find out more, or ask us about this preventative treatment at your next visit.
If you're reading this article before the children's eagerly anticipated ritual of Halloween, or after the windfall of candy has already descended into your household, you'll want to know how best to minimize the damage that candy can have on your little ghosts' and goblins' teeth. Here are some tips to help put the bite on cavities.
It's important to remember that sticky treats such as toffee, caramels and jujubes are the worst for teeth as the remnants from these soft candies stick to teeth and are difficult to remove. Interestingly, it's not actually the amount of sugar in candy that can cause decay, but the amount of time that the candy stays in the mouth, which is why hard candies like suckers that take a long time to eat are also a poor choice.
Candy that is present in the mouth for an extended time offers a sustained food source for bacteria, which feeds off the sugars in the candy to form an acid that then attacks the tooth enamel to initiate the decay process. Popping a solid chocolate bar in your mouth is a better choice than munching on one filled with a gooey center, as the candy filling may stick to the teeth and provide a longer-lasting food source for the natural bacteria to feed from in the mouth.
Try to limit any big candy bonanzas to meals so that sugar consumption isn't spread out over the full course of a day. After the children have had their limit, it's crucial that they immediately floss and brush thoroughly, especially before they go to bed.
If you're currently congratulating yourself for surviving the nutritional nightmare of this year's Halloween, remember that the holiday season is coming up, and all the same rules apply to sweet treats then as well.
There's an intruder in your mouth that, if ignored, could make all the difference between a great grin and a miserable mouth. That invader is plaque, an invisible bacterial film that develops on your teeth every day and is the main cause of periodontal disease, more commonly known as gum disease.
The easiest way to keep plaque under control is to brush at least twice a day, and to floss between your teeth daily to remove the plaque and bacteria that can't be reached with your toothbrush. If you floss faithfully every day, brush your teeth properly and maintain a regular dental visit schedule, plaque never gets a chance to harden into tartar, which is much more difficult to remove and is the first step to the development of gum disease.
There are a number of flosses available today to suit any mouth makeup. For example, are your teeth regularly spaced? Try unwaxed floss, which tends to cover more surface as the fibers separate. If you find the unwaxed version difficult to maneuver between your teeth, try waxed or Teflon-coated floss. Perhaps your teeth are close together? Try narrow, waxed floss - it'll slide more easily between the teeth. And people with widely spaced teeth may want to give the wider dental tape a go.
Once you find a floss that works for you, make sure you're flossing effectively:
By the way, if your gums bleed a bit after you first begin to floss, don't worry! The bleeding will usually stop after a few days. (Call us if it doesn't.)
If you have limited finger dexterity or are simply having trouble getting the hang of conventional flossing, you may want to try the preloaded dental floss that comes on disposable plastic handles. It may be easier to manage, and works as well as conventional floss does. Other options include:
Your choice of floss isn't as important as the fact that you're doing it at all. Ask us to explain more about these interdental aids, and about tips or tools that may make flossing a more efficient process for you.
You floss your teeth then brush them until they're squeaky-clean, satisfied that your mouth is as clean and fresh as it can be. While you may have done the best job possible, have you ever stopped to think of how clean your actual toothbrush is?
First of all, when you brush, the plaque, bacteria and oral debris on your teeth are captured on your toothbrush. The next time you brush, some of those germs are reintroduced into your mouth. For this reason we highly recommend you replace your toothbrush if you have just battled a cold or flu.
Look at the space around your toothbrush too. Toothbrushes knocking together or being in close vicinity to other toothbrushes allow airborne bacteria to travel from toothbrush to toothbrush, opening up the possibility of infections such as periodontal (gum) disease and even the common cold being passed from one person to another.
Here's another thought that can turn even the most unconcerned of us into a germophobiac: Studies show that when you flush the toilet, polluted water vapor erupts out of the flushing toilet bowl and settles on nearby surfaces, which may include your toothbrush! Take a second to put the lid down on the toilet before you flush it next time, to help contain these germs.
The Academy of General Dentistry suggests that the best way to protect your toothbrush is to, after rinsing the bristles thoroughly and then shaking the excess moisture off the toothbrush, place a toothbrush cover over the toothbrush head. This will help cut down on the potential spread of bacteria from one toothbrush to another.
Finally, make a habit of greeting each new season with a new, soft-bristled toothbrush. If you need recommendations on the best type of toothbrush for your individual needs, please ask us the next time you're in.