Wednesday, April 24, 2013
Friday, April 19, 2013
Are you embarrassed about your teeth? Do crooked or chipped teeth keep you from smiling the way you would like to?
Tooth discoloration, asymmetry, overcrowding, or chipped teeth can dictate whether or not someone feels their smile is adequate enough to show to the world. Even though these imperfections are normal and completely human, often times they prevent people from achieving their personal and professional goals.
That's why La Jolla dentist, Dr. David Kitchen, would like to discuss the many ways in which people can make a difference in their smile. The first step, and possibly the easiest one to take is that of whitening -- the most popular cosmetic dentistry procedure on the market. Optimal whitening is achieved in the office with your dentist, but at-home remedies have been shown to help improve the appearance of teeth as well. However, a dentist whitened smile will last for years when used properly (that includes using professional gels and trays once a month).
If you have broken or chipped teeth, you have a few options. The first would be to implement bonding, a process where chips and gaps are filled in with a hardened, tooth colored substance. Crowns, or porcelain "caps," are more durable, as they cover the entire damaged tooth. Veneers are another option, but only cover a section of the tooth. Your dentist may also suggest gum reshaping (gingivectomy), if you feel your smile is too "gummy."
To save time and money, combine these procedures with orthodontics first -- if your teeth are especially misaligned. Once teeth are straightened out, you La Jolla dentist will cosmetically correct the teeth orthodontics couldn't touch.
Friday, April 12, 2013
There are three major threats that lead to wearing down or injuring teeth: chewing, brushing, and grinding, along with accidental injuries. Today, San Diego dentist Dr. David Kitchen, discusses how you can avoid the daily wear your teeth encounter.
Biting down on a hard surface is how people normally imagine they'll chip a tooth, or think they'll chip a tooth. The reality is that chipping or breaking a tooth in this manner is actually quite uncommon. It is more likely that chipped teeth arise from those with root canals and fillings if you bite down on something hard.
Additionally, it is more likely that a chipped and/or broken teeth are a result of playing sports. Studies have found that wrestling, boxing, basketball, and karate are the biggest culprits of tooth injuries. If you play sports, be sure to protect your teeth by utilizing a mouthguard.
Unconscious Grinding: Bruxism
If you find yourself unconsciously grinding your teeth when you're not chewing food, then you might be suffering from bruxism, and endangering the surface of your teeth. Not only does teeth grinding wear down the pointed shape of molars, but also create micro cracks on the enamel surface, making you more susceptible to tooth decay. As any with bruxism knows, grinding your teeth also creates headaches, muscle pain, and jaw injury.
Your San Diego dentist, Dr. David Kitchen, can usually spot the tell-tale signs of bruxism during an exam. You may not even know you suffer from teeth grinding until you go to your dental check-up. That's another reason why it is important to see your oral health professionals twice a year.
Enamel Erosion and Acids
Teeth are built tough, but when the level of acid becomes imbalance in your mouth, the structural strength of teeth become compromised and susceptible to decay. Acidic foods and beverages and stomach acids (brought into the mouth by bulimia, morning sickness, or GERD) contribute to continued erosion of enamel.
Friday, April 5, 2013
Gum disease poses a risk to your oral health and you may not even be aware of it -- say La Jolla dentist Dr. David Kitchen. If left untreated, gum disease can lead to serious tooth loss and other health complications. Before gum disease escalates to that point, it is possible to reverse the progression of the effects of gum disease.
Gingivitis and Periodontitis
You've probably heard of gingivitis, but have you heard of periodontitis? Gingivitis occurs when bacteria gets stuck in areas of the gum line, inflaming gums. Symptoms of gingivitis usually come in the form of continual bad breath and bleeding gums while brushing. Once gingivitis goes untreated, the disease transforms into periodontitis -- reaching connective tissue and even the bone.
How Your Check-Up With Your La Jolla Dentist Helps
By the time patients even begin to notice the signs of gum disease, it's usually too late. That's why it's important to see your dentist bi-annually, to ensure you're not suffering from a severe case of gum disease. Dentists can spot problem areas along the gum line and any erosion around the root of the tooth. When you visit the dentist regularly, you begin to build up a history that allows the dentist to compare previous visits and x-rays, monitoring the progress or added erosion.
Preventing and Treating Gum Disease
Maintaining recommended dental hygiene habits is the first step in preventing gum disease. Most of us know the basics (brushing and flossing twice a day), but there are additional steps you can take:
- Use an anti-bacterial mouthwash after brushing to wash away any "left-over" bacteria
- Quit Smoking. Smoking damages gums, providing a habitable environment in which bacteria flourishes
- Dr. Kitchen can scrape away plaque at the gumline
What To Do About Periodontitis
If gum disease has infected the bone, then more specialized care at home and the dentist's office is required:
- The first step is for a dentist to remove plaque and tartar from below the gum line. You may need a local anesthetic so you don’t feel pain.
- Next, your dentist may prescribe an antibiotic to prevent infection. Some people, may need periodontal surgery to fold back gum tissue. Periodontal surgery can also treat deeper pockets of infection.
- Your dentist or periodontist may need to do a procedure called grafting. For that, he takes tissue from one part of your mouth (such as the roof) to replace gum tissue that has eroded, exposing the roots of your teeth.