Posts

5 Tips for Mouth Health

In the hustle and bustle of everyday life it’s becoming more and more easy for people to forget about one of the most important aspects of their well-being–oral health. When you think of mouth health, you probably associate it with having straight teeth or fresh breath, but neither of these things indicate that your teeth are strong and well maintained. If you want to make sure that your oral health is on point following the five simple steps outlined here.

 

Mouth Health Tips to Follow:

1. Practice Regular Brushing and Flossing

  • It is good practice to brush your teeth at leas twice per day. Ideally, it’s also good to brush in between meals. To brush properly, remember to move the toothbrush in a circular motion rather than straight across. Don’t forget to gently brush your tongue, too. The circular motion helps break up more plaque and cleans a bigger surface area.
  • Many people have a difficult time with regular flossing. Remember, brushing your teeth is a very important part of oral health, but it doesn’t get everything in the nooks and crannies. Regular flossing reduces the chances of infection, inflammation, and cavities between the teeth. Don’t let your dentist be the only person that cares enough to floss your teeth–take the initiative! Floss each time you brush.

2. Stop Tobacco Use

Cigarette are not just a root cause to develop lung cancer and other types of respiratory disease but it is also one of the common causes of other gum or mouth disease. People who are chain smokers usually encounter toot loss, pus between teeth, bad breath, bleeding gums, bone loss, gum recession and other. This condition can lead to periodontal disease as well. That is why if you want to have good mouth health, it is best to avoid cigarette smoking.

3. Chew gum.

What’s the catch? It has to be sugar-free. Chewing gum actually helps break up food that’s stuck in your teeth and increases saliva to neutralize oral acid.

4. Dental Check-ups

You can do plenty on your own to keep up your oral health — but it’s also important to see us regularly. When you visit Dr. Chauvin’s office  twice a year, we will check you for early signs of problems, and take care of any that we find… before they get bigger and harder to treat. We’ll also make sure you leave with a sparkling smile that has been thoroughly and professionally cleaned.

5. Healthy Diet

Believe it or not, what you eat can certainly impact your dental health. Eating a well-balanced diet will ensure that you are receiving necessary vitamins to help keep your teeth strong. Plus, reducing sweets will help protect your teeth against cavities.

If you would like to learn more on mouth health or just want to schedule an appointment with Dr. Chauvins office contact us today!!

 

 

A Tooth Friendly Easter Basket

tooth friendly easter basketChocolate bunnies, heavenly hash, and bright yellow peeps are the traditional part of Easter Basket fun. The National Confectioners Association says that Americans spend more than $1.5 billion on Easter candy each year, second only to Halloween candy! This is the equivalent of 25 pounds per candy per person! However, here at your favorite Lafayette dentists office, we have it on good authority from the Easter Bunny that there are many fun items you can include in a tooth friendly easter basket that are not filled with sugar. 

Whether you’re 5 or 35, Easter candy can be incredibly tempting. However, too much of a good thing can be a very bad thing – 92% of adults age 20-64 have had cavities in their permanent teeth. According to the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research, each person in that same age group has an average of 3.28 decayed or missing permanent teeth and 13.65 decayed and missing permanent surfaces. And it’s not just grown-ups: The Pew Center on the States says that about 60% of children have dental decay. 

Going easy on the sugary, sticky candy that hangs on to teeth long after the taste is gone is a better idea than you might think. Sugar in candy combines with the bacteria in your mouth to create acids, which attack the enamel of your teeth. What tastes so great in the moment can lead to cavities and other dental problems down the road. And if you skip the sugar in your child’s basket, you might even avoid the sugar rush! You can have them to drink plenty of water between each piece of candy. Rinsing their mouth frequently will clean their smile of some acid formation and bacteria from sugar. Since dry mouth is more conducive to bacteria, hydrating your mouth is a good practice for daily oral hygiene. But a better alternative is simply replacing the candy in your tooth friendly easter basket!

Tooth Friendly Easter Basket Ideas:

Maintaining healthy teeth and gums is important, but that doesn’t mean kids can’t have fun with it. 

  • Novelty tooth brush
  • Play Dough
  • Bubbles
  • Glitter Pens
  • Stickers –scratch n sniff of course
  • Legos
  • Fruit snacks
  • Dark chocolate

 

As always, there’s no substitute for brushing and flossing at the end of the day to keep teeth clean and cavity free. The easter bunny never intended for tooth decay to go hand in hand with his delightful reputation.

If you need help keeping your family’s mouth healthy contact Dr. Chauvin’s office today and schedule a check up or teeth cleaning.

 

Types of Dental Fillings and the Right One for You

dental fillings

Are you curious about what types of dental filling options you have, and what types there are? Lots of people can get confused by what sort of dental filling options they have. Thankfully, Dr. Chauvin, your favorite Lafayette Louisiana dentist is extremely experienced and can help you along this process by offering a great deal of options for your procedure.

 

Your dental options vary depending on your health, where and how the filling is placed, the amount of pressure the tooth will have to take while chewing and the type of materials that should be used for your individual needs. Most fillings are used to fill the hole that is left behind when a dentist takes out a cavity. Fillings can also be used to repair cracked or broken teeth, or give new shape to a tooth.

Types of Dental Fillings:

  1. Amalgam Fillings –  These metal fillings are typically made up of mercury and copper. Amalgam fillings are strong and long-lasting, but are aesthetically unpleasing. Advantages include: Strength, inexpensive, and can be completed in one visit.  Disadvantages include: Do not blend in, healthy parts of tooth may be removed to make room for filling, can tarnish over time, can crack in temperature changes.
  2. Composite Fillings – These tooth-colored fillings are made of a hard plastic material, making them very safe and strong. The main advantage is that they are made to match your teeth. However, the 5 year lifespan is very short compared to other filling options, so they may not be the first option for people on a budget in the long-term. 
  3. Porcelain Fillings – Also called inlays or onlays, porcelain fillings are custom created in a dental lab and then bonded to the tooth by the dentist. They can be matched to the color of the tooth, resist staining, and are about the same cost as gold fillings. A porcelain restoration generally covers most of the tooth, making the filling nearly undetectable.
  4. Glass ionomers –  These glass and acrylic fillings usually last less than five years, but they are often a good choice for children whose teeth are still changing. Also, they can release fluoride, which can help prevent tooth decay.

An Alternative to Dental Fillings: Dental Crowns and Dental Implants

For some patients of Dr. Chauvin, dental crowns may be necessary in the presence of severe tooth decay. Dental crowns are used to protect teeth that are weak from decay and in danger of breaking or cracking. Teeth that are already cracked can also be held together with a dental crown. When there isn’t enough tooth left after a filling has been placed (when the filling is too large), a dental crown can be used to protect and cover the tooth. A dental crown is a cap placed over a tooth to restore strength, shape, and size. Dental crowns may also be used to improve the appearance of the teeth, and once placed, fully encase the entire visible portion of the tooth above and below the gumline. 

If your tooth has suffered so much damage that it cannot be saved, the tooth will need to be extracted and replaced.  Dental implants often offer the most stable, durable, and natural looking tooth replacement option.

Learn More about Dental Fillings

Want to know more? Please contact your Lafayette La dentist Dr. Chauvin. He readily shares his knowledge and expertise with our patients. We would be happy to answer any questions or schedule an appointment for you.

It’s important that you take good care of your teeth by brushing twice a day and flossing regularly. And of course, visiting Dr. Chauvin twice a year for your regular check-up. Doing so will ensure that issues with tooth decay are caught and dealt with early and that your teeth remain as healthy as possible.

Why are they called wisdom teeth?

why are they called wisdom teethWisdom teeth are actually our “third molars.” They are located all the way back in the jaw, and they tend to come in some time between the ages of 16 and 25, if they come in at all.

For many people, they affect the other teeth when they come in and often require surgery to remove them. Wisdom teeth get their name because of their fashionably late arrival to the party – right around the age when a person matures into adulthood and is “wiser” and said to be gaining a bit of wisdom in life.

Most cases involving wisdom teeth in the modern world cause problems, resulting in their removal or else damage the jaw line. So, the theroy suggest that we develop these teeth because our early ancient ancestor’s diets were so rough, including raw meat, leaves, nuts, berries, leaves, etc. These foods required extra chewing and as a result, experts believe that they are evolution’s way of giving us a helping hand, so to speak. The problem is that in today’s world of ever more processed food, they could be said to be several million years too late, making them not quite as wise as they would have us believe!

What should you do about your wisdom teeth?

If wisdom teeth grow in properly, fit in your mouth well, and have healthy gums around them, they can be left untreated. But more often than not, wisdom teeth don’t come in as they should. Sometimes the jaw simply isn’t large enough to accommodate them, so they’re not able to break through the gum line properly.

Then they become impacted wisdom teeth; stuck in the jawbone underneath the gum line. Impacted wisdom teeth can cause swelling, pain, and infection of the gum tissue surrounding the area. They can also cause shifting of the other teeth as they try to erupt. If you are a part of the 85% of people that need their wisdom teeth removed, you will be looking at an extraction.  

How easy or difficult it is depends on the position of the tooth and how far along it’s developed. A wisdom tooth that’s impacted usually takes a little longer to extract. But have no fear, your Lafayette dentist, Dr. Chauvin will discuss your individual situation with you and let you know exactly what’s involved with the removal of your wisdom teeth and how we can manage any of your concerns.

What happens during wisdom teeth removal?

After discussing the procedure, you and your dentist will choose the type of anesthesia that will be used during your surgery. There are three main options for wisdom teeth removal.  There is local anesthesia in the form of an injection near the surgical site; sedation anesthesia, which is given to you through an IV in your arm; and general anesthesia, where you inhale medicine through your nose. If you’re having all four teeth removed, you will most likely be put to sleep during the surgery. 

The night before the procedure, you won’t be allowed to eat anything after midnight. Once arriving medical team will give you anesthesia to make you fall asleep or apply local anesthesia to numb the surgical areas of your mouth, depending on your procedure type.

To remove the tooth, the dentist will cut your gum and remove your tooth – Typically, being cut into sections.

After the procedure, the dentist will sew up the area with some stitches, if necessary. Most dentist use sutures that dissolve or fall out on their own. You’ll have some gauze placed in your mouth to help stop the bleeding. If you’re having four wisdom teeth removed, the procedure will take about 30 minutes.

 

If you end up needing wisdom teeth extracted contact your favorite Lafayette Louisiana dentist Dr. Chauvin today and schedule an appointment.

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!

What to do if your tooth is knocked out

Your first reaction if your tooth is knocked out might be to freak out, cry, flail your arms and tell yourself life is over (speaking from experience).

Do not do that – Unless you are a famous hockey player who wears this empty tooth slot like a badge of honor. Everything will be fine.

Modern dentistry has come along way and if you act quickly it will increase the likelihood of saving the tooth.

Dental implantThe upper front permanent teeth are the most common teeth to be completely knocked out. Baby teeth are usually not reimplanted in the mouth after an injury, since they are replaced naturally by permanent teeth later. When a tooth is knocked out, the nerves, blood vessels and supporting tissues are damaged, too. The nerves and blood vessels can’t be repaired. That is why all avulsed teeth will need a root canal. However, the bone can reattach to the root of the tooth once it’s put back into place.

It’s very important to get to the dentist as fast as possible, typically within one hour, to avoid the tooth being damaged any further.  There are several steps to take to assure safe and clean keeping.

Tips to follow to increase chances of saving the tooth:

  • Do not touch the root
  • If the tooth is dirty rinse it with milk. (Milk helps the roots survive) Water will do if you do not have milk.
  • Do not use fabric to clean the tooth
  • The most important thing is to keep the tooth moist.  Drop it in a glass of milk. If you can’t do this, place the tooth in your mouth, between the cheek and gum.
  • Try slipping the tooth back into its socket. If this does not happen easily revert back to the option above.

Teeth cannot always be saved, however.  At that point your dentist will discuss options of porcelain crowns and dental implants.

Once you are at the dentist he/she will rinse the tooth and asses the condition of the mouth and tooth. The dentist may perform a root canal right away, or may wait. It mostly depends on how long the tooth was out of the mouth.  The dentist will splint the avulsed tooth to the teeth on either side with a soft wire material. Usually splints the tooth to the surrounding teeth for 7 to 10 days. If the bone around the tooth also has been fractured, the tooth may have to be splinted for 6 to 10 weeks. Reimplanted teeth eventually need root canal treatment.  This will be used to hold the tooth in place for several days.  Your dentist will decide how long the splint should remain in.

Once the hard part is over your dentist will examine the tooth in three to six months. Unless there are signs of infection, the next visit will occur at your yearly checkup. The dentist will follow up for the next two to three years to ensure that the tooth re-implanted successfully.

Contact Lafayette Dentist Dr. Chauvin immediately if your tooth is broken or knocked and follow the steps above to assure your mouth health stays on track!

 

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! 

 

5 Surprising Foods That Promote Healthy Teeth

foods good for teeth

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Throughout our lives (especially as children), we are told what type of foods to avoid to make sure we have healthy teeth. What we don’t usually hear about are the foods that are good for our teeth! Sure we know to drink milk for the calcium for strong teeth and bones, but there has to be something else, right? What if you don’t like, or can’t drink milk? The good news is there are other foods that can improve your mouth health. Some of them may surprise you!

 

The five foods that contribute to having healthy teeth are:

  • Strawberries – this delicious red fruit has a rather unexpected effect on your teeth. Even though it is red, it can actually whiten your teeth! How? It contains malic acid, which is a natural teeth whitener.
  • Dark chocolate – chocolate is not usually considered a healthy food. However, there are different types of chocolate. Milk and white chocolate are full of sugar. If it is by itself, cocoa is actually bitter! Adding minimal amounts of sweetener to cocoa will create dark chocolate. Containing tannins and antioxidants – dark chocolate can actually prevent the growth of bacteria. It also has a chemical called theobromine that can harden tooth enamel. Dark chocolate also has health benefits for your heart!
  • Artificial sweetener – we’ve talked before about how certain artificial sweeteners can benefit your mouth health. The chemical is called xylitol, and not all artificial sweeteners contain it, so it’s important to read the ingredients. Xylitol can actually inhibit the growth of bacteria in the mouth, more specifically, the bacteria that causes cavities. The way to get the most benefits from this artificial sweetener is from sugar free gums. Chewing gum stimulates saliva production which can loosen food particles, neutralize acids, and remineralize your teeth.
  • Cheese – we all know that milk is good for your teeth. And cheese is a byproduct of milk! Loaded with calcium, cheese is a great food to eat for your mouth health. It also normalizes the ph, or acidity, of your mouth, by neutralizing acid.
  • Kale – like cheese, kale is a great source of calcium. What is unique about kale is that you have to chew it a lot! This has the same bonus for your teeth that sugar free gums do! The excess saliva production loosens food particles and neutralizes acid in your mouth.

 

Having healthy teeth is one of the best things you can do for your health. Because gum disease can contribute to heart disease, it’s important to take very good care of your teeth and mouth. Brushing and flossing daily, and having regular dental check-ups are the best things you can do for your teeth. Give us a call if you want to schedule a cleaning with Dr. Chauvin!