Posts for: February, 2017
Taking care of your child’s teeth is a high priority, not only for their health now but for the future too. And that means dealing with their teeth’s most common and formidable enemy, tooth decay.
Your focus, of course, should be on preventing decay through good oral hygiene practices, a healthy diet low in foods with added sugar and regular office visits for cleaning and checkups. But some children at higher risk or who’ve already encountered tooth decay may also need a little extra help in the form of dental sealants.
The most common use of sealants addresses a weakness in young teeth that disease-causing bacteria exploit. Deep grooves known as pits and fissures form within the biting surfaces of developing back teeth and in the rear of front teeth.Â It’s very difficult to reach these areas with daily brushing, so some plaque may be left behind (hence the importance of semi-annual office cleanings).
Inside the mouth, these pits and fissures are in a warm and moist environment and are a haven for bacteria that feed on plaque and produce high levels of acid as a by-product. The acid softens enamel to eventually create a hole, or a “cavity” in the tooth. Children’s young enamel is highly susceptible to this process — it hasn’t developed enough strength to resist the adverse effects of acid.
A “pit and fissure” sealant made of resin fills in the grooves in the teeth to inhibit the buildup of plaque — a kind of “mini” filling. It’s an added layer of protection that complements other prevention efforts. But applying them isn’t an automatic practice — we only recommend it for children at high risk, especially where decay is beginning or it appears the conditions are conducive for it. When needed, though, it can be quite effective in preventing decay or minimizing its effects.
The best way to know if your child could benefit from a sealant is to have them undergo a complete dental exam. From there we can advise you on whether a sealant application is an important investment in their current and future health.
If you would like more information on dental disease prevention for children, 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 “Sealants for Children.”
Do you want a dazzling smile? In-office teeth whitening removes years of dental stains and the process is safe. Lukin Family Dentistry, which is located in Sugar Land, TX, offers professional solutions for individuals who are interested in whitening their smiles. Dr. Stephen Lukin and Dr. Mark Lukin are both dentists in Sugar Land, TX. Read on to find out if teeth whitening would work for you.
In-Office Teeth Whitening
For in-office bleaching, your dentist will place a protective rubber guard over your gums to help avoid sensitivity to the hydrogen peroxide. Your dentist will combine a whitening gel with a light source to whiten your teeth. An in-office teeth whitening session takes about 60 minutes. One in-office teeth whitening session will make your teeth about 10 shades lighter.
Good Candidates for Bleaching
Almost everyone is a viable candidate for teeth whitening. The ideal candidate for professional teeth whitening is someone who is in good dental health and has tooth discoloration or stains. Teeth whitening helps to remove stains on the surface of your teeth caused by smoking and drinking dark-colored beverages such as red wine, coffee, and tea. Your Sugar Land, TX dentist will assess your oral health and recommend the whitening method that is best for you.
Poor Candidates for Bleaching
Teeth whitening is not recommended if you have untreated cavities. Your cavities need to be treated before your teeth are whitened. With a professional teeth whitening treatment, a person's natural teeth will lighten but their restorations won't. Teeth whitening treatments will not have a lightening effect on the color of veneers, fillings, crowns, and dental bridges. Nursing or pregnant women are advised to avoid teeth whitening.
Your smile is one of the first things people notice about you. Say goodbye to those less-than-perfect pearly whites. Now is the time to get your sexy smile. Call Lukin Family Dentistry in Sugar Land, TX at 281-265-9000 right now to schedule an appointment for an in-office teeth bleaching session. One of the most glamorous ways to improve your appearance is the ultimate accessory—a celebrity smile!
Not long ago, the most affordable option for total tooth loss was a removable denture. Dentures, prosthetic (false) teeth set in gum-colored acrylic plastic bases, can effectively restore function and appearance. But the appliance continues to have one major drawback: it can accelerate bone loss in the jaw.
Like other living tissues, older bone cells die and become absorbed into the body (resorption). Normally they're replaced by newer cells. The forces generated when we chew our food travel through the teeth to stimulate this new growth. This stimulus ends when we lose our teeth, and so cell replacement can slow to an abnormal rate. Eventually, this causes bone loss.
Removable dentures can't provide this stimulation. In fact, the pressure generated as they compress the gums' bony ridges can even accelerate bone loss. That's why over time a denture's fit can become loose and uncomfortable — the bone has shrunk and no longer matches the contours of the dentures.
In recent years, though, a new development has been able to provide greater support to dentures while at the same time slowing or even stopping bone loss. We can now support dentures with dental implants.
Implants are best known as individual tooth replacements: a titanium metal post replaces the root, while a life-like porcelain crown attaches to the post to replace the visible tooth. In addition to providing a longer-lasting alternative to removable dentures, implants provide a very important health benefit: they improve bone density because they mimic the function of natural teeth. Bone cells are naturally attracted to the titanium; they adhere to the titanium post and are stimulated to grow through the action of chewing, increasing bone density and securing the implant's hold in the jaw.
Using the same technology we can support removable dentures, or even full fixed bridges. Rather than rest directly on the bony ridges, a denture can make a secure connection through a coupling system with just a few strategically placed implants. We can also permanently attach a full bridge by fastening it to a few implants with screws.
Not only do we eliminate the pressure from dentures compressing the gums and bone tissue, we can actually stimulate bone growth with the implants. Although more costly upfront than traditional dentures, unlike traditional dentures which must be replaced every five to seven years, long-lasting implants may be more cost-effective over the long-run.
If you would like more information on implant-supported tooth replacement, 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 “New Teeth in One Day.”