Posts for: February, 2015
Why is it the right time to quit smoking? The answer is simple: one, smoking is bad for both overall and oral health, and two, there are now plenty of resources to help quit.
How smoking impacts oral health
We all know how smoking cigarettes ruins overall health by contributing to lung cancer, heart disease, stroke and chronic lung issues such as COPD. But, what does smoking do to the mouth--i.e, the teeth, gums, tongue and so on?
The American Academy of General Dentistry states that when men smoke for 10 years, they likely to lose an average of 2.9 teeth. When women smoke 10 years, they will probably lose 1.5 teeth. The fact is that smoking comprises every aspect of oral health including:
- the body's immune system. With lowered immunity, an individual is more susceptible to infections and gum disease. A smoker heals less quickly after a dental procedure, too.
- plaque and tartar. Studies show that these substances build up more quickly in a smoker's mouth. This means more frequent cleanings are necessary, and if plaque and tartar are not addressed, tooth decay, advanced gum disease, bone recession and tooth loss are soon to follow.
- tooth sensitivity. Smoker's teeth hurt with very hot or cold drinks and food.
- bad breath. The medical term is halitosis, and smoking is one of the big culprits.
- leukoplakia. These whitish oral lesions on the inside of the cheeks and on gum tissue are common and concerning in the smoker's mouth. They are definitely pre-cancerous.
- tooth staining. Nice pearly whites get ugly yellow and brown discoloration from cigarettes.
- oral cancers. The National Institutes of Health state that smoking greatly increases the chance of developing cancer in the mouth. Cigarettes combined with alcohol consumption makes the risk even higher.
Why quitting smoking may be easier now
Yes, quitting the nicotene addiction related to cigarette smoking has always been difficult, but the American Dental Association emphasizes that there are many helps available to smokers these days. One is the extensive network of support groups and one on one coaching. Contact the local branch of the American Cancer Society to find a group or go online to connect with a telephone quit line.
Another available tool is pharmacological support. The primary physician can prescribe nicotene replacement therapy (NRT) in the form of a gum or another drug that he or she thinks can help the individual give up smoking.
Alaska's Trusted Dental supports quitting
Robert Morehead DMD, Max Swenson DMD and Frank Cavaness DDS want you to have your best general and oral health. Their training and experience in a wide range of dental services can help you on your way to a great smile. Also, they assist you with being smoke-free.
Call their friendly staff for a consultation at the Anchorage, Alaska location today. At Anchorage Dental Arts, LLC, 2600 Cordova Street, call 907-276-1712.
Now in your adult years, you feel you’ve functioned pretty well even with a few misaligned teeth. You may also think having them straightened at this point may not be worth the effort and expense.
But there are solid reasons — beyond, of course, the psychological and social benefits gained from a new smile — why straightening teeth even as an adult can be a wise investment. Orthodontics not only enhances your appearance but may also improve your long-term oral health.
Restores proper oral function. Teeth that are aligned properly will tend to function properly. Although you can still chew, speak and smile with teeth that aren’t quite aligned properly, over time you’ll put more stress on both the teeth and the jaws, which could lead to more wear than what normally occurs with aging. By re-aligning teeth to a more normal position you could be extending the life of your teeth and reducing your risk of other functional problems.
Reduces the risk of periodontal (gum) disease. Some people with misaligned teeth are more susceptible to periodontal disease. Besides difficulties with bacterial plaque removal (a must to avoid gum disease), a person with misaligned teeth can also encounter more defects involving bone and gum tissues like gum recession that can contribute to the progression of gum disease. By straightening teeth (and performing plastic periodontal surgery if needed), we can reduce this risk dramatically — as long as we’re performing periodontal treatment for existing gum disease before and during orthodontics.
Facilitates tooth replacement. When we lose a tooth, the mouth’s natural mechanism is to move remaining teeth to fill the void left by the lost tooth. This can make it difficult to position a dental implant or similar tooth replacement in a functional and aesthetically appealing way. By applying orthodontics to move drifting teeth back into their proper place, we restore the best condition for achieving success with a tooth replacement.
The best way to know how much you could benefit from orthodontic treatment is to visit us for a full dental evaluation. From there, we can help you decide if treatment for straightening misaligned teeth is right for you.
If you would like more information on orthodontic treatment, 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 “Why Straighten Teeth.”
As a member of the best-selling pop group Spice Girls, Mel C (AKA Sporty Spice) enjoyed her share of musical superstardom. At the band’s peak in the Nineties, the young singer’s signature look featured baggy sweatpants, an assortment of tattoos, a nose stud and a gold-capped incisor, front and center in her mouth. Today, Melanie Chisholm is still singing — but now she’s a mom, an amateur triathlete… and that gold tooth is just a memory. Not only that, her smile looks more evenly spaced and whiter than it did when she was referred to as the “tomboy” of the group.
What happened? In our view, it all boils down to changing tastes — plus a little bit of help from dental professionals. As the “wannabe” singer proves, there’s no single standard when it comes to making your teeth look their best. Your own look is unique to you — and your smile can reflect that individuality.
For example, crowns (caps) are substantial coverings that may be placed on teeth when they are being restored. They are available in three types: gold, all-porcelain, or porcelain-fused-to-metal. The latter two are tooth-colored, while the gold is — well, shiny like gold bling. Which one is right for you? In many cases, it’s your choice.
Likewise, dental veneers — wafer-thin shells that can correct cosmetic issues by covering the surface of your teeth — can be made in a variety of shades. Their hues may range from natural ivory to Hollywood white, and everything in between. What’s the best color for you? Only you can say.
Some people opt for a “smile makeover” that uses small irregularities in the spacing and color of teeth to create a more “natural” look. Other folks want a perfectly even, brilliant white smile that dazzles the eye. Still others are looking to match or restore the smile they once had — perhaps even re-creating a signature gap between the teeth. As long as there are no other dental issues involved, the choice is yours.
So if you’re unhappy with your smile — or if you feel it doesn’t reflect the person you “wannabe” — why not talk to us about a smile makeover? Just call our office to schedule a consultation. You can learn more about this topic in the Dear Doctor magazine articles “Beautiful Smiles by Design” and “The Impact of a Smile Makeover.”