For over half a century, dentists have promoted a proven strategy for sound dental health. Not only is this strategy effective, it’s simple too: brush and floss every day, and visit your dentist at least twice a year or as soon as you see a problem.
Unfortunately, this strategy isn’t resonating well with people between the ages of 18 and 34, known more commonly as the “millennials.” A recent survey of 2,000 members of this age bracket found a startling number: over one-third didn’t brush their teeth as often as recommended, some going as long as two days between brushings. About the same number also reported fear of dental visits. Given all that, the next statistic isn’t surprising: tooth decay affects one in three people in the millennial age group.
This isn’t to pick on millennials, but to point out that good oral hygiene naturally leads to good oral health, regardless of age, gender or ethnicity. Here’s more about the dental care basics for better health.
Brush twice, floss once daily. The American Dental Association (ADA) recommends a thorough brushing with toothpaste containing fluoride twice a day. You also shouldn’t neglect a once a day flossing between teeth to remove plaque from areas brushing can’t effectively reach. Keeping plaque accumulation to a minimum is the best way to prevent diseases like tooth decay or periodontal (gum) disease.
Visit your dentist at least twice a year. Dental visits every six months (or more if your dentist recommends it) accomplish two things: a professional dental cleaning removes any buildup of plaque and tartar (calcified plaque) missed by daily hygiene. It also allows your dentist to inspect your teeth and gums for any signs of disease that may require treatment.
See your Dentist ASAP if you notice problems. You should also see your dentist sooner if you notice anything abnormal like unusual spotting on the teeth, tooth pain or sensitivity, or swollen, reddened or bleeding gums. These are all signs of disease, and the sooner it’s treated the less chance your teeth and gums will suffer serious harm.
Like other age groups, millennials know the importance of a healthy smile, not only for social and career interaction, but also for their own personal well-being. Sticking to a regular dental care program is the primary way to keep that healthy smile.
Tooth decay is as relentless as it is destructive, and it makes little distinction between age, gender, ethnicity or social status. Although risk levels vary from person to person, we’re all potentially in the crossfire for this harmful disease. Getting ahead of it early could save your teeth.
Tooth decay begins with oral bacteria. While feeding on dental plaque that accumulates on the teeth, bacteria multiply and produce acid as a by-product. Too much acid softens and erodes tooth enamel, which enables decay to advance deeper into the tooth.
If it isn’t stopped, decay can eventually infect and weaken the roots and bone, and ultimately lead to a lost tooth. By stopping it as early as possible before it reaches the inner pulp and root canals, we can greatly limit the damage.
Regular dental care is crucial for early detection. Here’s how we can stay ahead of developing decay during dental visits.
Visible inspection. There are visible signs a trained dentist may notice that point to tooth decay. Besides an already formed hole or cavity, we might also pick up on other unusual appearances like white spot lesions: these slight blemishes often occur in the areas of contact with other teeth, which we can treat with topical fluoride.
X-rays. This tried and true diagnostic tool has been a mainstay of dental care for nearly a century. The images they produce can indicate decay as darker spots or areas on or within the tooth that may not yet be visible to the eye. And with advances in digital processing and more streamlined equipment, we can effectively do this with a very low dosage of radiation exposure.
Advanced technology. We’ve developed other means for better disease detection that complement x-rays and visual inspections. Specialized microscopes and lasers are now important tools for analyzing suspected areas of early decay.
Even if decay gets a foothold we can effectively stop it and restore a tooth with a root canal treatment or a similar procedure. The best outcome, though, is to not allow this destructive disease to get that far. With dedicated oral hygiene and regular dental visits that uncover early decay, chances are good your teeth can remain healthy for a lifetime.
If you would like more information on fighting tooth decay, 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.”
There are several reasons why dental implants are so popular. Perhaps the most important, though, is their longevity: if maintained properly implants can last for decades. However, they’re not indestructible—certain mouth conditions could put them at risk for early failure. But if you address emerging problems early, you may be able to prevent that unfortunate outcome.
Your implants may be in danger, for example, if you have a teeth grinding or clenching habit. This occurs when a person involuntarily and repeatedly bites down on their teeth when not chewing or speaking. Usually triggered in adults by high stress, teeth grinding can subject both natural teeth and implants to damaging levels of force. Over time this can cause bone loss around an implant and weaken their support. It could also cause a direct break in an implant.
But there are ways to stop or at least reduce the effects of teeth grinding. One effective way is a custom-made bite guard you wear while you sleep. Made of hard plastic, the guard prevents the teeth from making solid contact with each other, reducing the amount of force generated.
A more prominent problem is periodontal (gum) disease, a bacterial infection caused by built-up dental plaque on tooth surfaces. This can trigger inflammation, a normal defensive response that when it persists for an extended period of time can damage tissues and supporting bone. It can also cause a specific form of gum disease related to implants called peri-implantitis, in which the tissues that support an implant become infected and weaken, leading eventually to possible implant failure.
If you have implants, then, you should brush and floss daily to prevent gum disease, as well as see your dentist at least every six months for cleanings and checkups. And if you notice anything like reddened, swollen or bleeding gums, see your dentist immediately. The sooner you undergo treatment, the better the outcome for your implants as well as your overall health.
Dental implants can give you years of great service and can prove to be well worth the cost. But you’ll have to stay on your guard against gum disease and other mouth conditions that could endanger them down the road.
If you would like more information on dental implants, 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 “Dental Implants: A Tooth-Replacement Method that Rarely Fails.”
There are a few options available to replace missing teeth, most of which restore basic function so that you can eat and speak clearly, as well as improve the cosmetic appearance of your smile. Dental implants are the only dental restoration that replaces a missing tooth in its entirety, from root to crown. The dentists at Lynch Dental Center Dr. John Lynch, Dr. Sheila Lynch, and Dr. Fran Lynch offer dental implants and cosmetic and general dentistry services in Chicago and River Forest, IL.
Get a New and Improved Smile with Dental Implants
In order to qualify, you must be an adult in good general health, and willing to commit to ongoing oral hygiene and follow up visits to the dentist for check-ups and professional cleanings (the American Dental Association recommends every six months) in order to lower the risk of complications. You must also have enough remaining bone density in the jawbone to support the implant, which is surgically placed in the socket of the missing tooth, where it eventually fuses with the surrounding bone tissue in a process known as osseointegration.
Implants can replace a single missing tooth, or support an entire set of dentures (with just a few implants). The titanium screw-shaped implant is placed first, and once it heals the cosmetic crown is attached, completing the restoration - and your smile. When cared for properly, implants have a very high success rate and are the next best thing to a natural tooth.
Find a Dentist in Chicago and River Forest, IL
Dental implants are a good option for restoring both the cosmetic aspect of your smile as well as your oral health. For more information, and to find out if you are a candidate, contact Lynch Dental Center today to schedule an appointment with one of our dentists by calling 312-263-3235 in Chicago or 708-366-6411 in River Forest.
Orthodontic problems are usually associated with children and teenagers, when getting braces is most common and generally accepted as a rite of passage. However, adults are not immune to bite and alignment problems that require treatment. The problem is that for many older teenagers and adults, the prospect of wearing traditional metallic braces is not appealing for both professional and personal reasons. That's where Invisalign clear aligner trays come in. The dentists at Lynch Dental Center Dr. John Lynch, Dr. Sheila Lynch, and Dr. Fran Lynch offer orthodontic, cosmetic, and general dentistry services in River Forest and Chicago, IL.
Get Straighter Teeth with Invisalign
There are a number of malocclusions (bite and alignment issues) that require orthodontic treatment, some of which are more severe than others and are best treated with traditional orthodontics. Invisalign is a good option for mild to moderate problems such as:
- Open bite
A dental exam is the best way to determine whether Invisalign is the right option for your situation.
Benefits of Invisalign Clear Aligner Trays
Most people are drawn to Invisalign because they are the least invasive and most discreet option available to get straighter teeth. But there are a number of additional benefits that make Invisalign the ideal choice for many teenagers and adults. The trays can be removed for up to two hours a day, so there are no dietary restrictions like with braces. You can also continue to brush and floss, maintaining your oral hygiene routine throughout the treatment period. In some cases, the length of time it takes to straighten your teeth with Invisalign can be shorter than with traditional braces.
If you're ready to invest in a straighter, healthier smile - without getting braces - contact Lynch Dental Center today to schedule an appointment with one of our dentists by calling (708) 366-6411 in River Forest or (312) 263-3235 in Chicago.
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