My Dentistry Blog
Posts for: October, 2015
Can you have healthy teeth and still have gum disease? Absolutely! And if you don’t believe us, just ask actor David Ramsey. The cast member of TV hits such as Dexter and Arrow said in a recent interview that up to the present day, he has never had a single cavity. Yet at a routine dental visit during his college years, Ramsey’s dentist pointed out how easily his gums bled during the exam. This was an early sign of periodontal (gum) disease, the dentist told him.
“I learned that just because you don’t have cavities, doesn’t mean you don’t have periodontal disease,” Ramsey said.
Apparently, Ramsey had always been very conscientious about brushing his teeth but he never flossed them.
“This isn’t just some strange phenomenon that exists just in my house — a lot of people who brush don’t really floss,” he noted.
Unfortunately, that’s true — and we’d certainly like to change it. So why is flossing so important?
Oral diseases such as tooth decay and periodontal disease often start when dental plaque, a bacteria-laden film that collects on teeth, is allowed to build up. These sticky deposits can harden into a substance called tartar or calculus, which is irritating to the gums and must be removed during a professional teeth cleaning.
Brushing teeth is one way to remove soft plaque, but it is not effective at reaching bacteria or food debris between teeth. That’s where flossing comes in. Floss can fit into spaces that your toothbrush never reaches. In fact, if you don’t floss, you’re leaving about a thirdÂ to half of your tooth surfaces unclean — and, as David Ramsey found out, that’s a path to periodontal disease.
Since then, however, Ramsey has become a meticulous flosser, and he proudly notes that the long-ago dental appointment “was the last we heard of any type of gum disease.”
Let that be the same for you! Just remember to brush and floss, eat a good diet low in sugar, and come in to the dental office for regular professional cleanings.
If you would like more information on flossing or periodontal disease, please contact us today to schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can also learn more by reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “Understanding Gum (Periodontal) Disease.”
If you have been wearing Invisalign clear aligners and are nearing the end of your treatment, you may wonder if you will wear retainers. The answer is yes, and David L. Dooley DDS, David B. Lewis, Jr. DDS and Alexander Quezada DDS of Colonial Dental Group strongly recommend that you do.
So, how often should you wear your Invisalign retainers? The answer to this common question impacts how straight and beautiful your newly refurbished smile remains. The dentists at Colonial Dental Group in Glenview, IL want your teeth to stay healthy, your bite correct and the jawbone strong; so they advise their Invisalign patients wear retainers according to their specific instructions.
Typically, Invisalign patients use Vivera retainers, durable thermoplastic appliances resembling the invisible aligners used during orthodontic correction. Dentists design the retainers from impressions and photos taken with an intra-oral camera, producing a snug, custom fit that keeps teeth in their corrected positions. Just like the Invisalign aligners, the retainers are comfortable, strong and unobtrusive in appearance.
When to Wear
Usually, patients wear their retainers according to a definite schedule such as:
- 12 to 22 hours for the first 3 to 6 months after treatment
- night time only for the next 6 to 12 months and beyond
- 3 to 5 times per week after one year and beyond
The timetable varies depending on the complexity of the original orthodontic problem and on the patient's age. Colonial Dental Group sometimes advise retainers for additional correction of minor tooth alignment issues.
Why to Wear
For best retention, patients use retainers for the long term, protecting the investment of their time and family budget, too. Bite, spacing issues, closed gaps and other issues corrected by Invisalign aligners stay corrected when patients wear their retainers as instructed. The American Association of Orthodontists states that teeth remember their original positions, correct or not. So, no retainer means tooth drifting.
Retainers strengthen the underlying jaw bone and supporting ligaments, too Not only do teeth change position while wearing braces or clear aligners, the bone and connective tissue changes. Retainers definitely benefit and reinforce the new bone configuration.
Contact Colonial Dental Group
Every orthodontic patient has questions. Feel free to call Drs. Dooley, Lewis and Quezada with your concerns about retainers or any other aspect of orthodontic care. They really want your new Invisalign smile to function well and remain beautiful forever. Contact the office today for a consultation: (847) 729-2233.
Our bodies are constantly changing as we age. Although the most rapid development occurs during childhood and adolescence, our bones, soft tissue and bodily systems will continue to change, even as we enter old age.
That includes our mouth and facial structures. Over time change will result in a flatter facial profile: this will cause the nose to gain more prominence as the lower part of our face becomes shorter. The extent of our lip movement can also change with time, resulting in less of our teeth appearing when we smile. The teeth themselves will also wear, which can make them appear shorter.
These and other aging consequences should be taken into account in our dental care. We should consider their impact on the health and function of our teeth (the therapeutic aspect) and our appearance (the cosmetic aspect). Rather than less attention, the effects of aging often require a multi-layered approach to care. The foundation for this care, of course, isn’t laid when we reach our middle or later years, but with the regular and special treatments we receive when we’re young.
For example, the best time to address teeth alignment and bite is usually during early adolescence. Orthodontic treatment will certainly improve dental function and smile appearance in the short term; but improving the bite can also have implications later in life. By anticipating how the soft tissue and bone structure within the face and jaws will continue to develop, we can better determine the final teeth position we wish to achieve. This creates satisfying results in the present and a more stable platform for oral health in the future.
We can apply the same approach to other areas, like the position of the lower jaw. Using orthognathic surgery to reposition it will benefit jaw development throughout adulthood. Making these improvements can diminish the effects of aging later in life.
In essence, dental care is a life-long endeavor that begins when we’re very young and continues into our senior years. Properly caring for your teeth at any age is the key to enjoying good oral health for your entire life.
If you would like more information on the effects of aging on dental 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 “Understanding Aging Makes Beauty Timeless.”