Posts for: June, 2016
Preventing tooth decay is mostly about the basics: daily brushing and flossing followed by regular dental cleanings and checkups. But there’s also a bigger picture: your own personal risk profile for decay based on factors you can modify directly — and those you can’t.
The first type of factor usually involves habits and behavior that either work with your mouth’s natural defenses to fight decay or against it. Besides regular hygiene, your diet is probably the most important of these you can modify for better dental health.
A diet rich in fresh vegetables, protein and dairy products boosts strong, healthy teeth resistant to decay. Conversely, bacteria thrive on the sugar in many snack foods, while sodas, sports or energy drinks elevate acid levels that soften and erode the minerals in your teeth’s enamel.
Lifestyle habits like tobacco use or excessive alcohol consumption also increase your decay risk. Not only do they promote plaque buildup (the thin film of bacteria and food particles that feeds the decay process), but tobacco especially can impede the body’s natural prevention and healing properties.
Conscientious hygiene practices, a dental-friendly diet and modified lifestyle habits all can help you prevent decay. But diligence may not be enough — there are other possible factors you can’t control or may find difficult to change. For example, you may have a genetic propensity toward certain bacteria that cause decay. You may have a condition like gastric reflux that increases the mouth’s acid level. You may also be taking medications that reduce saliva flow, the mouth’s natural acid neutralizer.
But if we know which of these indirect risk factors affect you, we can compensate with extra measures. If enamel strength is a problem we can topically apply fluoride; we can also reduce chronic bacterial levels with prescription rinses. If you have restricted saliva flow, we can attempt to modify your prescriptions through your doctor or prescribe aids that increase saliva.
The key is to investigate your complete risk factor profile through a thorough dental examination. Once we know everything about your mouth, life and health that increases your decay risk, we can put in place a balanced strategy of prevention and treatment just for you. Doing so will greatly increase your chances for keeping your teeth decay-free and healthy.
If you would like more information on preventing and treating dental disease, 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 “Tooth Decay: How to Assess Your Risk.”
You want to look your best for that once-in-a-lifetime moment — like your wedding day. It can also take time and effort: many people spend months losing weight or trimming up at the gym. But while you’re getting the rest of your body ready for the big event, don’t forget your smile.
The best approach is to make a plan that addresses your smile’s shortcomings — a “smile makeover,” if you will. And the best place to begin is with us, your family dentist. We’re already familiar with your dental health status, so we can advise you on what’s possible and best for you.
We can also provide many of the services that enhance smile appearance. If your teeth are relatively healthy and attractive, a thorough dental cleaning or a whitening application can revive your smile’s brightness just in time for the big day. And for minor defects like a chipped tooth or discolored old fillings, we can bond the latest tooth-colored materials to those unsightly areas. And any of these procedures can be performed in one visit.
Installing porcelain veneers is an effective way to restore more moderate tooth defects. These thin outer coverings with life-like color, shape and texture can effectively hide mild to moderate chipping, discoloration or slight gaps between teeth. Teeth with more extensive damage can be completely covered with a crown made of similar life-like materials. Either of these solutions could match the shape and color of nearby teeth.
By planning well enough ahead, you may also benefit from more extensive cosmetic changes. Missing teeth always pose a challenge, but there are a number of viable options: fixed bridges using adjacent teeth; various denture solutions, including implant-supported removable overdentures; and the dental implant, the rising star for dental restorations that replaces both the root and crown with a durable, life-like tooth. There are also orthodontic solutions for misaligned teeth (at any age!) and surgical procedures for gums that help restore lost tissue or correct a “gummy” smile showing too much of the gums.
Whatever your needs, there’s a way to make your smile more attractive. It’ll be all the more reason to display it confidently on your special day.
If you would like more information on smile transformations, 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 “Planning Your Wedding Day Smile.”
Wedding season is the perfect time to upgrade your smile. Whether you're a member of the wedding party or a guest, you'll benefit from cosmetic dentistry treatments. Dr. Stephen P. Lukin, and Dr. Mark Lukin, your Sugar Land, TX, dentists, share information on several popular cosmetic dentistry options.
Bond is a simple, inexpensive way to fix a variety of dental flaws, including chips, discolorations, cracks, exposed roots, and stains. Your Sugar Land, TX cosmetic dentist uses a flexible resin bonding material and shapes it to fit your teeth. After the material hardens, it's as strong as your tooth enamel.
Crowns slip over your teeth and provide stability to weak or damaged teeth. They're also used to cover chips, oddly shaped or crooked teeth, or discolorations. Crowns are made of porcelain, porcelain-fused-to-metal, ceramic, resin, gold and other metal alloys.
Bridges, dentures, and dental implants
If you're concerned about a gap in your smile, a bridge, dentures or dental implants will help you ensure that you'll look your best in those wedding photographs. These restorations replace one or more missing teeth, improve your appearance and make it easy to chew and bite normally.
A wedding season teeth whitening session is an excellent way to brighten your smile. Professional teeth whitening may lighten your teeth as much as three to eight shades in just one visit. If you're careful to avoid foods and beverages that can stain teeth, such as coffee, tea, wine, cola, and berries, your teeth may stay whiter for several years.
Dental veneers cover the imperfections that can make you feel self-conscious about your smile. They're a good choice if you have cracks, chips or gaps between your teeth. Veneers can also help your smile look more uniform if you have one tooth that's oddly shaped or too short and is also used to cover discolorations or whiten all of your teeth.
If your smile isn't ready for wedding season, call your Sugar Land, TX, dentists, Dr. Stephen P. Lukin, and Dr. Mark Lukin, at (281) 265-9000 and schedule an appointment to learn which cosmetic dentistry treatment is best for you. Transform your smile with cosmetic dentistry!