What’s the Difference: Dental Crowns Vs. Veneers

veneer
Crowns and veneers are two well-known dental restoration procedures that can combat a variety of the same issues, albeit with some crucial nuances. Determining which option is the right fit for you situation can be a bit difficult–but fear not, below is a brief outline on the difference between crowns and veneers.

What Is A Dental Crown?

Dental crowns are essentially a porcelain shell designed to cover the tooth. Before the crown can be placed, the dentist has to shape your tooth so that it fits comfortably underneath.

What Is A Veneer?

Veneers are also made of porcelain, but unlike crowns, veneers are bonded to the tooth/teeth that need to be fixed. Before placing veneers, your dentist will need to remove small amount of enamel in order to set them properly without altering your bite.

Now that we understand the basic differences between crowns and veneers, let’s take a look at the situations each is most suitable for.

Dental Crowns And Veneers: It’s All About Functionality

Veneers are ideal when dealing with issues like minor cracks or chips, enamel damage, minuscule misalignments, spaced teeth, teeth that are too short, and discoloration. Basically, veneers are best when seeking a restorative procedure that will not affect the functionality of your teeth.

Crowns, on the other hand, cover most of the territory outlined above, but also work if the functionality of the tooth or teeth in question is less than optimal. For example, a tooth that is badly decayed can be handily be repaired by a crown, while a veneer is useless. Crowns also come in handy when protecting teeth that have had root canals, and as well as in situations where a tooth is causing problems with your bite due to being too short–here, a crown could elevate the tooth so it is in line with the rest of your bite.

How Does The Longevity Differ?

If cared for properly, both crowns and veneers can last a lifetime. This means that you must weigh your options before undergoing a procedure. Once the restorative procedure has begun, the crown or veneer will need to remain in place in order to provide optimum protection to the tooth.

Though both crowns and veneers are constructed from porcelain, they can become discolored if neglected and/or not cared for properly. Additionally, it is important that you are considerate of what you put into your mouth, as eating too many hard substances or chewing your fingernails could potentially damage your crown or veneer.

Shopping for a New Toothpaste: 4 Factors to Consider

toothpaste
Let’s face it, buying toothpaste isn’t as simple as it sounds. With so many different formulas out there that all claim to do similar things, how do you know which one is right for you? This list will provide four factors to consider when shopping for a new toothpaste.

1. Fluoridated Toothpaste Will Help Protect Enamel

While all toothpastes on the market will fight cavities simply by virtue of removing plaque, only toothpastes containing fluoride will go the extra distance and guard enamel against decay. Getting a daily dose of fluoride in your toothpaste is a great way to strengthen your enamel and guard against potential problems. For children, fluoride is a great preventative measure–but take care to ensure that your children (or the children you are supervising) under six-years-old do not swallow the toothpaste. Doing so could result in a condition known as flurosis, which occurs as the result of an overdose of fluoride. As always, talk to your dentist for the best advice concerning the specifics of your children’s toothpaste.

2. The Difference Between Toothpaste and Teeth Whitening Kits

Many toothpastes claim that they will whiten your teeth. This is true in the sense that they contain particular agents that fight against staining. However, if you pay attention to the ingredients included in the pastes your dentist treats you with and teeth whitening kits, you will notice that both contain an ingredient that most whitening toothpastes lack: peroxide. This ingredient is the main reason why you will not achieve the same results using whitening toothpaste as you will with a bi-annual dental visit, regular brushing, and a whitening kit.

3. Are Your Teeth Too Sensitive For Regular Toothpaste?

Many toothpaste brands make formulas for people with sensitive teeth. This means that the toothpaste contains an agent capable of blocking stimulus to any sensitive roots, enabling patients to get through the day with a little less sensitivity bothering them. However, if you are experiencing sensitivity it is best to consult your dentist right away rather than let the problem linger.

4. What’s With Antibacterial Toothpaste?

Toothpastes labeled as “antibacterial” contain an agent known as triclosan, which claims it can protect the teeth and gums from bacterial infections (for example: gingivitis). However, some dentists argue that triclosan does not work as advertised, so make sure to consult with your dentist to determine which option is best for your specific situation.

Can You Restore Tooth Enamel?

tooth enamel
Enamel is the thin outer shell of the tooth, designed to protect the inner portion of the tooth from the pressure of biting, chewing, and grinding required for breaking down food. It also helps to stop the bacteria in your mouth from infiltrating teeth and creating pockets of infection.

Considering the number of cavities most people get in their lifetime, though, it should come as no surprise that tooth enamel is susceptible to wear and damage. This may be due to trauma, illness, and the foods and beverages you consume, not to mention a lack of proper oral care.

What can you do if your tooth enamel becomes damaged? Can you restore it in order to protect your teeth from harm? Here’s what you need to know.

Watch What You Eat

Foods and beverages that contain high sugar and acid contents can seriously damage your tooth enamel, especially with continued exposure. Acids alone can wear away tooth enamel, whereas sugar feeds bacteria in the mouth that lead to tartar and plaque buildup, potentially producing acids in the process.

Your best bet to avoid this and keep enamel strong is to avoid acids and sugars commonly found in soda, fruit juice, and citrus fruits, just for example. If you have a hard time cutting these items out of your diet, at least use a straw for drinks and rinse with water immediately after consuming foods or beverages high in sugar and/or acid.

Add Fluoride Treatments

Fluoride is one of the best treatments to protect and restore enamel because it forms a barrier between your enamel and the foods and beverages that can cause harm. Using fluoride products (like toothpaste) at home can be beneficial, as can receiving regular fluoride treatments during dental visits.

You should also make sure you’re getting plenty of calcium, which strengthens and fortifies the entire tooth to prevent damage even in instances where some enamel erosion occurs.

Address Bruxism

Cracks, chips, and other damage to teeth can also cause enamel erosion, so if you clench or grind your teeth, you need to address the problem immediately. A night guard is the most common treatment for bruxism, although you may also want to treat potential underlying causes like stress or anxiety.

Prevent Further Damage

Some amount of enamel restoration is possible, but it’s best to prevent damage in the first place with proper oral hygiene, regular dental visits, and a sensible diet. If you’re doing all this and still having issues with erosion of enamel, you may want to consider dental sealant.

What Causes Receding Gums?

receding gums
There’s no denying that receding gums are cause for concern. Aside from the fact that this condition can erode your confidence in your smile, exposing the roots of teeth could lead to increased risks for infection and decay.

There is good news, though. When you first start to notice gum recession, you can visit your dentist to learn about the treatment options available to you. Of course, you’d probably rather avoid receding gums if at all possible.

When you understand possible causes of gum recession, you’ll find that there’s a lot you can do in the way of prevention. Here are several causes of receding gums.

Genetics

Unfortunately, gum recession is sometimes hereditary. On the one hand, this means there is little you can do to prevent it. On the other hand, if you know it is coming you have plenty of time to prepare yourself, plan for treatment options, and recognize the signs of recession early in order to prevent further damage.

Misalignment

It might surprise you to learn that misaligned teeth can be to blame for gum recession. The good news here is that you can use treatments like orthodontic braces or Invisalign, just for example, to fix this issue and prevent a host of potential problems, including gum recession. At the very least you’ll know to keep an eye on your gums and other oral health concerns if your teeth are misaligned.

Vigorous Brushing

When was the last time you got a lesson in brushing your teeth? When you were five? If so, it should come as no surprise that your brushing habits are less than perfect.

The bad news is that overzealous brushing can damage your gums and cause them to recede. The good news is that you have complete control over how you brush. If you think you might be brushing too hard, ask your dentist for a refresher course to protect your oral health.

Bruxism

Teeth grinding and jaw clenching, also known as bruxism, is a common problem thought to be related to stress. It is also one possible cause of receding gums (not to mention cracks and chips to teeth).

While you might have some trouble curbing this nervous habit, especially since it often occurs during sleep, your dentist can prescribe a night guard to help protect your teeth and gums from pressure and damage caused by bruxism.

Gum Disease

Poor oral hygiene can lead to a whole host of problems, including cavities, gum disease, and periodontal disease in some cases. None of these are good, and over time, the result can be gum recession (among other things).

It is imperative that you work with your dentist to address oral hygiene issues and treat gum disease. If gum disease is left untreated, gum recession could be the least of your worries.

Trauma

Any time you suffer tooth or mouth trauma, including injury or illness, there’s a chance you could also see gum recession in the aftermath. So long as you visit your dentist regularly and follow instructions, you should be able to stave off this issue or at least catch it and treat it early.

Common Questions About Dental X-Rays

dental x-rays
Keeping your smile bright and beautiful is the absolute best way to look and feel attractive and confident every day. However, it’s not a one-and-done undertaking – it’s an ongoing process that requires several components.

A good personal, oral health routine that includes daily brushing, flossing, and rinsing with mouthwash is a great place to start. You also need to schedule regular dental visits for check-up and cleaning to get anything you miss on your own.

The final piece of the puzzle is getting dental x-rays. While most people are well aware of the benefits of a solid home care routine and regular dental cleanings, you might not totally understand why you need to undergo x-rays. Here are a few common questions about dental x-rays answered.

Why do I need x-rays?

Dental professionals, including your dentist, hygienist, and others, can do a lot to ensure the health of your teeth, gums, and other tissue in the mouth. They have the knowledge, skill, experience, and tools to keep your mouth healthy and clean.

However, they can’t see everything. X-rays are necessary to give dentists an idea of what’s going on inside your teeth and below the gum line. Even if dental professionals suspect potential issues like cavities, they need to see the extent of the damage so they can plan for appropriate treatment.

What if there are no indications of problems? Why do you need regular x-rays? This is so your dentist has a record of your dental history. Problems can develop over time, and regular x-rays allow your dentist to spot new problems, even when there are no other indications, as well as keep an eye on developing issues to determine when treatment is necessary.

How often do I need x-rays?

The regularity of x-rays depends entirely on the patient. For some patients, annual x-rays are enough. Others may need x-rays every six months, or you might need extras in some situations if you’re dealing with developing issues or there are other indications of problems.

If you ever wonder why your dentist recommends x-rays or how often, just ask. Dental professionals are always happy to explain the benefits of any test or treatment.

Why do I need more than one type of x-rays?

Most patients are familiar with bitewing x-rays, where you bite on a piece of plastic that contains a strip of x-ray film while the x-ray is taken. This is the most common type of dental x-ray and it is used to check for decay between teeth, monitor tooth alignment, and so on.

However, your dentist may want a better look at the entire tooth, including the root and parts of the jaw, to look for issues below the gum line. In this case, you might need periapical x-rays.

There are also occlusal x-rays that target the roof and floor of the mouth, and panoramic x-rays that provide a more comprehensive view of the entire mouth, jaw, and sinuses. Your dentist may take x-rays to create baseline images to refer back to, or you may need additional x-rays if problems are suspected.

Is radiation a concern?

Dental professionals take every precaution to prevent harmful exposure to radiation. This is the purpose of the heavy bib used to cover areas not being x-rayed. Whenever dentists order x-rays, they have weighed the potential risks and rewards, along with the patient’s individual needs. If you are concerned, however, don’t hesitate to ask questions so that you feel comfortable with the procedure.

How to Keep Teeth White After a Professional Whitening

teeth whitening
Staining and discoloration of teeth is nothing abnormal. It happens to all of us as we age and it can be caused by what we eat and drink, bad habits like smoking or poor dental care, illness, injury, medications, and other factors.

There is good news, though. Many types of staining and discoloration can be addressed with at-home or professional whitening treatments, although naturally, the treatments performed by your dentist are likely to be more effective than products you can purchase over the counter.

If you’re going to spend time and money to get the beautiful, white smile of your dreams, though, you want to preserve it as long as possible. There are several steps you can take to make sure your professional whitening endures.

Say Goodbye to Tobacco

This is number one. If you smoke, chew, or use other tobacco products you could not only damage your overall health, but also reverse the effects of professional teeth whitening.

Tobacco products are major culprits when it comes to stains and discoloration on teeth, and they can also cause dryness in the mouth that contributes to tooth decay and gum disease. Then, of course, there is the link to cancer. In other words, ditch the tobacco.

Change Your Diet

There are many foods and beverages known to stain teeth. Some of the most common are coffee, tea, and wine, but staining can also result from food dyes and other chemicals found in many products. What should you eat instead?

Sticking to water in lieu of other beverages is a great way to start, especially since you’re probably not getting your requisite eight glasses a day when you’re drinking coffee and soda. Water does not stain teeth, and it has the added bonus of flushing away food particles that can lead to tartar and plaque buildup, as well as tooth decay and gum disease.

You should also get plenty of calcium (found in dairy products and other sources) and think about adding high-fiber fruits and vegetables that stimulate gums and promote saliva (which rinses your mouth). Apples, carrots, and celery are good choices, but leafy greens like kale and spinach (which also have calcium) are even better.

Proper Oral Hygiene

This probably goes without saying, but maintaining a regimen of brushing, flossing, and rinsing after every meal, as well as visiting your dentist regularly, can only help to keep your mouth healthy and your teeth white.

Home Maintenance

Whether your teeth are whitened by a laser or you utilize bleaching trays from the get-go, you might want to ask your dentist to make you a set of bleaching trays for periodic touch-ups to keep your smile brilliantly white indefinitely.