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The Perfect Day Starts with the Perfect Smile

We would like you to meet one of our patients. Her name is Theresa. Theresa came to Scottsdale Dental Arts because she was unhappy with her current smile. She was getting married and wanted the perfect smile for her wedding day. Dr. McCargar replaced her bridge and also did several crowns for Theresa. Next, we whitened her teeth with Zoom! She also went home with an at-home whitening kit to maintain her perfect smile. If you are getting married soon and want to have that picture perfect smile, then give us a call to discuss your options.

Forget Botox. Floss your teeth

by:  Lisa Zamosky
msnbc.com contributor
June 18, 2010

If you’re like most of us, your dental hygienist scolds you every six months for not flossing. You hear the warnings that sticky plaque tucked between your teeth can lead to gum disease and health problems, but still you have trouble squeezing it into your daily routine.

But here’s some news that may inspire you to remember: Flossing your teeth, experts say, may do more to fight the effects of aging — at least over the long-term — than plastic surgery.

If you’re not flossing every day, you’re leaving 40 percent of your teeth surfaces dirty — coated with gummy bacteria — and that causes staining and yellowing between and around teeth, explains Dr. Eugene Antenucci, a dentist in Huntington, N.Y., and spokesperson for the Academy of General Dentistry.

An overgrowth of plaque can also lead to gingivitis, the first stage of gum disease, which creates inflammation, bleeding and tenderness in gum tissue that can lead to gum recession and bone loss.

“You register an older look because you see more spaces, less and uneven gum tissue,” according to Antenucci. Hence the quaint term for aging, “long in the tooth.”

And matters can get even worse. Gum disease can eventually cause the bones underneath to dissolve away, explains Dr. Donald S. Clem, a dentist in Fullerton, Calif.

“When gum disease begins to eat away at the bone, there are changes in facial appearance. Once a tooth is lost the bone has no reason to be there,” says Clem, who is also president-elect of the American Academy of Periodontology Foundation. “In later stages of periodontal disease we would see disfigurement in terms of caving in of the lips and cheek and wrinkles around the lips and cheeks.”

And don’t count on plastic surgery to save the day. In a recent study in the journal Plastic and Reconstructive Surgery, researchers found that bone loss in the jaw, as well as the eye sockets and cheeks, aged people in ways that cosmetic procedures that tighten and plump the skin, can’t fix.

“Even if tooth replacement is considered after a tooth is lost, there might not be enough bone left to place an implant in the most aesthetically desirable place,” says Dr. Laura Torrado, a cosmetic dentist in New York City.

Flossing won’t give you the immediate gratification of Botox or Restylane, Antenucci acknowledges. But who really care if you’ve got smile lines when you’re missing teeth?

Dry Mouth

In dry mouth little or no saliva is present to help break down food. It can cause food to taste bland and therefore people will often add more salt or sugar which can increase disease risk for diabetes and hypertension. Dry mouth can also create an environment that bacteria thrive in. Bacteria in the mouth can cause cavities, gum disease, and bad breath. There are treatment options for dry mouth and ways to prevent it.

Dry mouth, also known as xerostomia, can be caused by certain medications. Common medications that cause this are: anticholinergics (ie: dicyclomine, Atrovent®), antihistamines (ie: diphenhydramine, Claritin®), and tricyclics (amitriptyline, nortriptyline). {We have a complete list of medications in a past April, 14 2009 article here} Talk with your doctor or pharmacist if you have dry mouth and you are taking one of these medications.

Discontinuing the medication that is causing dry mouth will often result in the cessation of the dry mouth. However, a medication should never be discontinued without your doctor approving it first. If your doctor recommends that you should continue taking one of the medications that is causing dry mouth there are over-the-counter treatment options to help with the dry mouth. There are 3 different types of products to help treat dry mouth. The first products work quickly and are portable for relief on-the-go. There are gels, liquids, and sprays to sooth the dry mouth quickly. The second type of product is to help prevent the dry mouth by daily cleaning. Biotene makes mouthwashes and toothpastes specifically designed for people with dry mouth. The third type of product helps to stimulate salivary flow throughout the day in a gum.

Dr. McCargar, a dentist at Scottsdale Dental Arts, states that Biotene is a product he frequently recommends to patients that suffer from dry mouth. “Often, by using a series of the Biotene products, patients see improved salivary production and decreased dry mouth.” Dr. McCargar also stresses that if you are experiencing dry mouth not to ignore it because it can be causing other more serious health problems.

The Super Tooth

Researchers at the Tel Aviv University School of Mechanical Engineering, the National Institute of Standards and Technology, and George Washington University have been studying what makes the human tooth so resilient. The researchers discovered that tooth enamel owes its strength to a network of micro-cracks that diffuse pressure and stress. The structural make-up of the enamel is wavy and arranged in several layers. This structure makes is strong because it does not allow a clear pathway for pressure to break down the tooth. The pressure instead is spread out over the entire tooth due to the network of layers and wavy patterns. The research was originally planned to be used in composing a newer generation of stronger and lighter aircraft. The researchers are trying to develop a new aircraft composite material to replicate the tooth structure. Currently, aircraft uses composite materials made from layers of glass or carbon fibers held together in a single layer grid matrix. The researchers are also now studying ways to replicate this matrix for the use in dentistry to create stronger crowns and dental materials.

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