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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!

The history of braces

history of bracesIf you think braces are a modern development, think again.  Archeologist discovered that braces date back to ancient man over 3000 years ago.  Although, a better choice then was not letting anyone know you had crooked teeth. You would end up with what is referred to as ‘mouth appliances.’  That wouldn’t get me excited for my next selfie…

Early history of braces

Archaeologists uncovered mummified remains with metal bands wrapped around individual teeth. They used cord from animal skin (catgut) to bind the metal bands together in attempts to straighten teeth.  Installing these devices along with new teeth (dental implants) were often done after death to ensure they looked good enough to enter into the afterlife. 

The first recorded attempts among the living were by the ancient Romans. Aulus Cornelius Celsus wrote about his use of hand pressure that involved applying finger pressure to the teeth at regular intervals.  Today, many Roman tombs opened up by archaeologists reveal that some teeth of the deceased had a small gold wire that was used to attach the arch wire to the bracket. The wire was bound to the teeth in an effort to force the teeth to move and close off noticeable gaps. 

The most important breakthroughs came between 1728 and 1757 with the publication of 2 books by French dentistPierre Fauchard and Ettienne Bourdet. The first book titled “The Surgeon Dentist”  talked about all facets of diagnosis and treatment of teeth, with an entire chapter on ways to straighten teeth.  Fauchard used a horseshoe-shaped device made of precious metal which helped expand the arch, called a “Bandeau”.   In 1757,  Ettienne Bourdet’s book, “The Dentist’s Art”, also had a chapter on straightening teeth and using mouth appliances. Bourdet was the dentist to the King of France and further perfected Fauchards’ Bandeau. He is the first dentist on record who recommended extraction and the first to scientifically prove jaw growth.

In 1771, John Hunter, a Scottish doctor wrote a book titled “The Natural History of the Human Teeth,” which described dental anatomy in accurate detail.  John Hunter was responsible for coining the terms still used today for teeth, such as bicuspidscuspidsincisors and molars.

Almost 50 years later, in 1819, the first modern braces for teeth were created by Christophe-Francois Delabarre. Using a wire ‘crib’ to help straighten teeth, this marked the beginning of modern orthodontics. 

Braces during the 20th century 

It wasn’t until the early 1900’s that the term ‘braces’ was officially used. Dentists would individually wrap bands of materials varied around each tooth. They typically used gold, platinum, silver, steel, gum rubber and occasionally, wood, ivory, zinc, copper, and brass.  Wooden teeth were worn by many but made famous by George Washington (who actually didn’t wear wooden teeth).

Advancements in the 1970’s

In the 1970’s everything about braces changed. Orthodontists could now bond brackets right onto a tooth with a new dental adhesive and secure the wire to the bracket with colored ties. Wires got a new look as well: more flexible metals, like nickel, titanium and copper made things more comfortable.

Several attempts at hidden or ‘invisible’ braces happened but the techniques never really gave people what they wanted. It would be several decades before invisible braces became what they are today.  

Invisalign was created in 1997 by Zia Chishti.  Chishti was a Stanford University graduate with no dental background. She took the concept of the plastic retainer, the same one ancient Egyptians used 5000 years before, and figured out how to use it to straighten teeth, instead of maintaining already straight teeth. Along with Kelsey Wirth, they used 3D imaging software to map out a patient’s mouth and create custom aligners that would slowly transform the wearer’s smile. This eliminated the uncomfortable tightening of wires and more importantly no more ‘metal mouth.’

Invisalign was tested and perfected over 3 years before finally becoming available to the public in 2000. Since then it has grown in popularity over a decade and become the new standard for many patients seeking dental treatment.

So what’s next for braces?

Orthodontists think that the popularity of orthodontic treatment will only increase as both the cost and length of treatment time decreases. 

NASA discovered a special heat-activated, nickel-titanium metal discovered that might change the face of orthodontic treatment. It can be molded into a small wire and improve how teeth align in the mouth while cutting down on office time. 

There is also a futuristic possibility of 3-D printed braces. This was highlighted at a gadget trade show in Las Vegas.

So as companies develop more precise, high-tech materials and methods, your braces will be on for a shorter period of time, be smaller and less visible, result in less discomfort, and give great results. We’ve sure come a long way from the wrap-around “metal mouth” – and that’s something we can all smile about!

Contact Dr. Chauvin – Your Lafayette dentist if you have more questions!

mouth guard

Custom night guard benefits

A custom night guard protects people that have problems with bruxism. Bruxism is the compression and gritting of teeth. For some people, it is a mild annoyance. For others, this can become a serious issue that becomes difficult to control and treat at advanced stages.Typically, bruxism happens in your sleep.

The damage caused by bruxism can include:

  • Serrations in the teeth
  • Deterioration of the biting surface area
  • Tooth fractures or breaks
  • Tooth loss
  • Headache
  • Jaw pain
  • Neck pain

As a person grinds their teeth, the incisors and canines move against one another sideways. This causes the degradation of the enamel, which leads to dulled biting edges. Bruxism not only causes problems for the individual suffering for it, but also for those around them. Some people grind their molars loudly while they sleep. If they are sleeping with anyone, that person is going to have a hard time trying to stay asleep.

Teeth grinding leads to serious dental harm, if left untreated. Many people are usually either unaware they have a problem, or aren’t as severely affected as others. That is because only five to ten percent people develop severe symptoms.

Treatment for Bruxism:mouth guard

Unfortunately, there isn’t a direct treatment for bruxism itself. The best way to prevent additional damage is with a custom night guard. While this helps protect a person’s teeth, it doesn’t do much for the head and muscle pain caused by grinding. There are a few things someone can do to try to reduce the severity of their grinding:

  • Reduce caffeine consumption
  • Stay away from alcohol
  • Avoid chewing on things that aren’t food, especially chewing gum
  • Be more observant during the day. If you find yourself clenching, put the tip of your tongue in between your teeth. This forces your jaw to relax.
  • Before bed, place a warm washcloth on your jaw to relax the muscles.

While these won’t necessarily eliminate the problem, they can help reduce the severity of it. Over the counter night guards are available, but if they don’t fit well, they can actually make the problem worse. A custom night guard will be measured to fit your mouth exactly. A dentist will use putty to take a mold of your mouth, and then he’ll send the impression off to be turned into a night guard. The end result is a perfect mold of your mouth that will protect your teeth and help you manage your grinding. Questions? Give us a call!

What you need to know about Periodontal Disease

Periodontal disease is a severe problem, in which the gums have actually pulled away from the teeth. Pockets then form at the base of the teeth. These pockets fill with debris, which creates a breeding ground for bacteria. Once they get infected, the body begins to fight the infection. The bone and connective tissue that hold teeth in place get caught in the crossfire, and begin to be destroyed. If left untreated, a person will begin to lose their teeth.

Luckily, this isn’t an overnight process. Periodontal disease is actually the second stage of gum disease, the first being gingivitis. No bone loss or irreversible damage happens until the late stages of periodontitis, so as long as it is caught and diagnosed early, it can be reversed.

Symptoms of periodontal disease:

  • Swollen, tender, reddened gums
  • Gums that bleed easily when teeth are brushed
  • Gums pulling away from the teeth
  • Loose teeth
  • If your bite feels different
  • Tooth sensitivity
  • Pain while chewing
  • Smelly breath that doesn’t go away after brushing

Can periodontal gums be corrected?

Yes they can. You have to discover it early and be diligent. Complex periodontal gum conditions can also be treated, but they need a special cleaning, which your dentist can provide.

Green mouthwashAdopting an intense oral hygiene routine can go a long way to improve periodontal gums. Brush thoroughly once you get up each morning and prior to going to bed every night. Brushing, or at the very least, rinsing with drinking water after meals and snacks may also help remove germs trapped between teeth, assisting in slowing down periodontitis. Rinse the mouth with an excellent antibacterial mouthwash for a complete thirty second cycle, twice every day. This can help reach germs trapped in pockets below your gum collection, aiding in reversing periodontal gum illness. Floss each day, and pay special focus on flossing just underneath the gum line for reversing periodontal gum illness.

While a diligent dental hygiene program can go quite the distance in assisting the treatment of periodontal gum disease, sometimes that’s not enough, and it’s time for professional help.

Your dentist can perform periodontal cleaning, if x-rays show heavy pockets of germs surrounding all of your teeth below the gums. There are several treatment options, but they are all focused on removing bacteria from below the gum line. You may be prescribed a special antibacterial mouthwash, or have to have a very in depth cleaning.

If necessary, he might perform actual periodontal medical procedures. These involve lifting the flaps of the gum, making it possible for heavy cleaning, and then suturing them back in place. Following the procedure, you should have several appointments to be sure of the achievement of the cleaning. This type of treatment is very successful, and most regain normal use of their teeth when everything has healed.

The important thing is to seek help once you notice any signs of trouble with your gums. Periodontal gum illness can be absolutely corrected when it’s found early. If you need to get your gums checked out, 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!