Best New Years Resolutions for you and your teeth

“New year, new you!”

You may be considering saving some extra money, getting a better job or losing weight. Many people set new goals about having a healthier lifestyle in the new year.  Why not try adding some New Year resolutions for your teeth into the mix? Setting a goal to improve dental health is easy and it can benefit your overall health too.

Simple New Years Resolutions for you and your teeth

  • Schedule out your two dentist appointments – We all know that professional cleanings should happen twice a year, but most people have a hard time making it into the office for just one of the two appointments. We all have packed and growing schedules. So, make it a point to actually see the dentist twice in 2015, even if that means scheduling the appointments right now. You will be glad you did once you’re walking out with a healthy smile!
  • Diet Change (2 birds 1 stone) – Eating well is important for your dental health. Poor nutrition can affect the entire immune system making you more susceptible to a long list of mouth problems (including gum disease). Luckily, eating crisp fruits and raw vegetables like apples, carrots and celery help clean plaque from teeth and freshen breath.  Antioxidants and other nutrients found in fruits, vegetables, legumes and nuts improve your body’s ability to fight bacteria and inflammation, helping to protect your teeth and gums.
  • Quit smoking – Smokers experience twice the tooth loss of non-smokers, due to plaque and tartar buildup that encourages dental decay.  Your ability to fight infection throughout the body decreases significantly, including in the mouth and gums.  Lastly smoking causes bad breath (and it’s much more pleasant to kiss a non-smoker!)
  • Finally (possibly the hardest resolution) Pick up that FLOSS! – It’s been in the drawer for months just hoping to get it’s big break – why not make 2015 the year? Flossing is the only way to get between the teeth and all the way down in the gum line. The seemingly never ending list of benefits  might just be the kick you need.

So we’ve got you on the right path and hopefully you will think about your teeth while you plan out your New Year’s resolutions, and you will have a healthier, better-looking smile by the time the next year rolls around!

The first and easiest step is picking up the phone to make your appointments – Dr. Chauvin is waiting for your call!

Happy New Year!

How to get rid of white spots on your teeth

white spots on teethWhite spots on teeth can be worrisome if you do not know how they got there or how to treat them.  On top of that, white spots on your teeth can be unsightly and your confidence can take a hit. These spots are typically a cosmetic issue but can turn into a health concern. The untreated result being tooth deterioration.

Causes of white spots on teeth:

If the spots have been present since you were a child, you may have experienced a disruption in enamel formation as your teeth grew. This is better known as enamel hypoplasia.  White spots can also appear in childhood when kids ingest too much fluoride toothpaste. This is called fluorosis. Both of these causes are common in childhood, and can cause lasting spots on teeth.

White spots that have formed more recently on adult teeth are often caused by plaque build-up, which can cause hard, scaly spots near the gum line and make the teeth look discolored. The most concerning reason for white spots on teeth can be the beginning stages of tooth decay or cavities can sometimes look like white spots. As bacteria produce acid, it then begins to dissolve the mineralized surface of a tooth, appearing bright white. 

Lastly, braces often leave theses spots but can be avoided with the proper care.

Treatment and prevention of white spots on your teeth:

There are various methods by which a dentist can get rid of the calcium deposits from your teeth. Your dentist might whiten the teeth to remove calcium deposits by concealing the discoloration. If the whitening process does not work, there are a few more options.  There is the air abrasion procedure, in which your dentist will  use a device that blows crystal particles towards the calcium deposit. Any remaining spots will be fixed with filling material. This professional treatment is called microabrasion, this is a process where the dentist rubs a mixture of pumice and acid on the teeth to get rid of white teeth spots.  However, if the white spots are very large microabrasion might not be a viable option. In that case, a porcelain crown or a cap would be needed to cover up the spot or spots.

The most important part is alway prevention.  You can start by practicing good oral hygiene. You must brush and floss your teeth at least twice a day and visit your dentist after every six months for a regular dental check-up.  

Do your best to avoid acidic and sugary drinks and foods that can damage your tooth enamel. If you wear braces then you must make additional effort to take excellent care of your teeth so that when the braces are removed to expose your straightened teeth, you do not catch sight of unpleasant spots on your tooth.

 

At Dr. Chauvin’s Lafayette Dental office, we know it can sometimes it can be difficult to determine what white spots mean. Too often it is an early sign of tooth decay that can be handled but you must visit a dentist. We will be able to assess the damage and recommend treatments that are suitable for your situation. Contact Dr. Chauvin today to make an appointment.

 

How Teeth Whitening Works

Teeth whitening is the most common cosmetic procedure that dentists perform.

That’s because everyone wants a bright, white, attention-grabbing smile.  An estimated 10 million Americans will spend over 1.7 billion dollars this year alone on whitening services and products.  Before we can get into the details of how teeth whitening works it’s important to understand why you might need this in the first place.  Stains.

 

How teeth get discolored

Your teeth are made up of an inner layer called dentin and an outer layer enamel.  Enamel is hard and shiny but is easily stained.   Food, and other substances build up on your teeth in the form of a tiny particle layer call a “pellicle film.”   Brushing your teeth can take some of it off  and whitening toothpastes are designed to work even harder on enamel.  Beyond good oral hygiene a dentist can clean away this film, through teeth cleanings.

The pellicle layer gradually gives way to discoloration in the enamel layer, discoloring it slightly. Over the years, that adds up, and that’s why many adults eventually seek out teeth whitening treatments.

Common causes for stains

  • Foods/Drinks: Coffee, tea, soda, wines and certain foods ( potatoes, cherries, blueberries)
  • Chewing tobacco and smoking
  • Poor Dental Hygiene
  • Medicine: Antihistamines, antidepressants and high blood pressure pills.
  • Dental Work: silver amalgam restorations can produce a grayish-black color on the teeth.
  • Age: As you get older, the outer layer of enamel on your teeth wears away, revealing the dentin’s natural, yellow color.
  • Genetics: Some people have whiter, healthier teeth
  • Location: Excessive fluoride from environmental sources, such as high fluoride levels in drinking water.
  • Medical Treatments: Certain treatments can adversely affect the color of enamel and dentin layers. Chemotherapy and head and neck radiation are two examples.

 

So how does teeth whitening work?

teeth-whitening

Over the counter teeth whiteners use bleaching chemicals to get down into the tooth enamel and set off a chemical reaction that breaks apart the staining compounds.  Most tooth whiteners use one of two chemical agents: carbamide peroxide or hydrogen peroxide (the same stuff that will bleach your hair). When used in the mouth, carbamide peroxide breaks down into hydrogen peroxide and urea, with hydrogen peroxide being the active whitening ingredient.  Its also important to point out that you should have your teeth professionally cleaned and checked before going with this method.

In-office treatments will use more powerful controlled concentration of the peroxide, and a special high-intensity light that accelerates the bleaching, each being tailored to a particular patient.  Before the tooth whitening treatment, the dentist will clean the teeth, fill cavities, and make sure your gums are healthy.  They then place a hydrogen peroxide paste on the teeth for several minutes, rinses it off, and can apply it several more times. The procedure can achieve about four to six shades of whitening after only one 40-minute treatment.

In-home treatments are another option. The dentist will take a mold of your mouth and make custom mouth trays.  The patient will put a thin layer of whitening gel into the tray and wear it for about 2 hours a day or while sleeping. Most whitening occurs in one to two weeks.

Looking for professional teeth whitening in Lafayette, La?  Give us a call! 

 

How often do I need to get a teeth cleaning?

One of the best things a person can do for their health is take care of their mouth.  If you have good oral hygiene habits and a healthy mouth, your dentist and dental hygienist will probably suggest professional teeth cleaning at least twice a year.  For patients with gum disease it can be every three months.

Tartar and plaque form in the mouth at different rates and can lead to periodontal disease that can cause inflammation of the tissues or gums (gingivitis) or the bones (periodontitis) that surround and support the teeth. Once these conditions have developed, they can be challenging to treat. The best protection is prevention, with regular teeth cleanings, avoiding smoking and practicing good oral hygiene by brushing and flossing regularly at home.

dental-cleaning-lafayette-dentist

What Can I Expect During a Teeth Cleaning?

During a teeth cleaning, the dentist or hygienist will evaluate your overall health and oral hygiene.  They will check for any tooth decay, root decay, and gum or bone disease.   Any stains or deposits on your teeth are removed with tools including a tooth polisher and a scaler. Tooth polishers buff teeth and eliminate tiny pieces of plaque. Scalers look a bit like metal hooks and are used to remove hard plaque, especially between teeth. 

 

What you can do to prevent bad news:

There several things you can do to improve your mouth’s health and decrease your chances of dental problems.

  • Regular teeth cleaning
  • Brushing 2-3 times a day
  • Flossing once a day
  • Using mouthwash once a day
  • Not brushing too hard
  • Using the correct type of toothbrush

Every day, your mouth has to battle the forces of tooth decay. As you eat, food particles are smashed in-between your teeth, and are immediately food for any harmful bacteria hanging out in your mouth. Acidic drinks such as orange juice or sodas can wear away enamel over time. Brushing too much can damage your enamel, and brushing too little can allow plaque to build up. Every person’s mouth is different, so it’s important to see your dentist regularly. Need a teeth cleaning but don’t have a regular dentist? Give us a call, we’re taking new patients!