Is a “teeth crush” a thing? According to a recent confession by Lucy Hale, it is. Hale, who has played Aria Montgomery for seven seasons on the hit TV show Pretty Little Liars, admitted her fascination with other people's smiles to Kelly Clarkson during a recent episode of the latter's talk show (Clarkson seems to share her obsession).
Among Hale's favorite “grills”: rappers Cardi B and Post Malone, Julia Roberts, Drake and Madonna. Although some of their smiles aren't picture-perfect, Hale admires how the person makes it work for them: “I love when you embrace what makes you quirky.”
So, how can you make your smile more attractive, but uniquely you? Here are a few ways to gain a smile that other people just might “crush” over.
Keep it clean. Actually, one of the best things you can do to maintain an attractive smile is to brush and floss daily to remove bacterial plaque. Consistent oral hygiene offers a “twofer”: It removes the plaque that can dull your teeth, and it lowers your risk of dental disease that could also foul up your smile. In addition to your daily oral hygiene routine at home, professional teeth cleanings are necessary to get at those hard-to-reach spots you miss with your toothbrush and floss and to remove tartar (calculus) that requires the use of special tools.
Brighten things up. Even with dedicated hygiene, teeth may still yellow from staining and aging. But teeth-whitening techniques can put the dazzle back in your smile. In just one visit to the dental office, it's possible to lighten teeth by up to ten shades for a difference you can see right away. It's also possible to do teeth whitening at home over several weeks using custom-made trays that fit over your teeth and safe whitening solutions that we provide.
Hide tooth flaws. Chipped, stained or slightly gapped teeth can detract from your smile. But bonding or dental veneers, thin layers of porcelain custom-made for your teeth, mask those unsightly blemishes. Minimally invasive, these techniques can turn a lackluster smile into one that gets noticed.
Straighten out your smile. Although the main goal for orthodontically straightening teeth is to improve dental health and function, it can also give you a more attractive smile. And even if you're well past your teen years, it's not too late: As long as you're reasonably healthy, you can straighten a crooked smile with braces or clear aligners at any age.
Sometimes a simple technique or procedure can work wonders, but perhaps your smile could benefit more from a full makeover. If this is your situation, talk to us about a more comprehensive smile renovation. Treatments like dental implants for missing teeth combined with various tooth replacement options, crown lengthening for gummy smiles or tooth extractions to help orthodontics can be combined to completely transform your smile.
There's no need to put up with a smile that's less than you want it to be. Whether a simple cosmetic procedure or a multi-specialty makeover, you can have a smile that puts the “crush” in “teeth crush.”
If you would like more information about cosmetic measures for enhancing your smile, please contact us or schedule a consultation. To learn more, read the Dear Doctor magazine articles “Teeth Whitening” and “Porcelain Veneers.”
Easter will be hippity-hopping our way soon, bringing with it Easter baskets loaded with lots of sugar filled treats--and the potential for tooth decay! What steps can you take to minimize the risk?
1. Choose Sugar Free Candies Or Gum If Possible
Cavity-causing bacteria enjoy sugar almost as much as our tastebuds do. If you’ve ever seen a toddler revved up on sugar, you can easily imagine bacteria acting the same way in your mouth. Sugar Free treat options don’t activate these cavity-causing bacteria. Another plus to Sugar Free Gum is that it can be chewed after having sugary treats to promote saliva flow and rinse away some of the remaining sugar.
2. Pick Candy That Dissolves Or Is Chewable Rather Than Sticky Candy
The longer your tooth is exposed to sugar, the more likely a cavity will form. Chocolate, which dissolves quickly and is more easily rinsed away by saliva, is a better choice than jelly beans or peeps which will stick to your teeth. Chocolate’s also a better choice than hard candies or lollipops that take a long time to dissolve.
Remember that sticky candies, such as jelly beans, can pull out your fillings or crowns--conditions that will require you to visit your dentist.
3. Eat Candy As Part Of Your Meal Or In One Sitting Instead Of Grazing Or Snacking Throughout Your Day
Each time we put sugar in our mouths, 20 minutes of cavity-causing bacteria activity occur. So if you eat the entire contents of your Easter basket in one sitting, you’ll get 20 (maybe 30) minutes of cavity formation time total.
In contrast, if you eat a handful of jelly beans now, cavity activity will occur for 20 minutes. Eat another handful a bit later, and it’s another 20 minutes. (Already more than what you’d get from eating it all at once!) Come back for a third course--yep, you guessed it, another 20 minutes. You can see how the exposure adds up.
4. Avoid Eating Candy Right Before Bed
At night, we tend to have less saliva to rinse away any sugar left on the teeth. The result is similar to what happens in item 2 above.
5. Brush Your teeth Thoroughly After Eating Candy
Brushing your teeth with a soft or extra soft toothbrush helps remove any sugar that remains on your teeth. Toothpaste helps reverse the acidic oral environment caused by the cavity-causing bacteria interacting with sugars. If you can’t brush, rinse with plain water or chew sugar free gum to help remove some of the left over sugar from your teeth.
6. Substitute Other Items That Aren’t Candy
Instead of filling the basket with candy, consider mixing in some other items that aren’t sugary treats. Some ideas are: stickers, stuffed animals, pocket sized games, coloring books, crayons, comic books, musical or light up toothbrushes, and egg shaped brushing timers.
I hope that these few tips will help you to avoid tooth related problems during the Easter holiday. If you have any Easter Candy related questions, please feel free to call me at my office: 440-960-1940 or contact me through my website at www.drjrobb.com.
NOTE: The contents of this article is not intended to replace the clinical judgement of your healthcare professionals.
Jennifer G. Robb, DMD is a general dentist who sees both adults and children.
1320 Cooper Foster Park Rd. W
Lorain, OH 44053
Have you ever woken up in the morning and felt like your mouth was filled with cotton? We've all had bouts of occasional dry mouth, but the unpleasantness usually goes away after we eat or drink something.
But what if you have dry mouth all the time? In that case, it's more than unpleasant—it could be increasing your risk of dental disease. That's because your dry mouth symptoms are being caused by a lack of adequate saliva. Besides providing antibodies to fight harmful bacteria, saliva also neutralizes mouth acid that can cause tooth decay.
Your decrease in saliva could be caused by smoking or moderate to heavy alcohol consumption. It could also be a side effect of medications you're taking, one reason why older people, who on average take more prescription drugs than other age groups, have a high incidence of dry mouth.
So, what can you do to alleviate chronic dry mouth?
Watch what you eat and drink. Certain foods and beverages can worsen chronic dry mouth. Try to avoid or limit alcohol and caffeinated drinks like coffee, tea or soft drinks, as well as salty or spicy foods.
If you use tobacco, quit. Tobacco, especially smoking, can dry out your mouth, as well as damage your salivary glands. Abstaining from tobacco can alleviate dry mouth and help prevent dental disease.
Drink more water. Simply drinking water ensures your body has an ample supply for producing saliva. It's also beneficial for your dental health in general, as it can help buffer your mouth's acid levels and rinse away food remnants that could become food for bacteria.
Speak to your doctor. If you suspect a drug that you're taking may be causing dry mouth, discuss with your doctor alternative medications that may minimize this side effect. Simply changing prescriptions could alleviate your dry mouth symptoms.
You can also try saliva stimulants, both over-the-counter and prescription, to help your mouth produce more saliva. And be sure you also keep up daily habit of brushing and flossing to clear away bacterial plaque and lower your risk of dental disease.
If you’ve ever been unlucky enough to have a toothache, you know that the pain is horrible, and most remedies don’t really help. Many folklore remedies circulate, but is there any truth to them? We’ll take a look at them, but it is important to remember that none of these address the problem that is causing the toothache. You may get some temporary relief, but you still need to see a dentist to find out what is causing the problem and treat it so that it doesn’t come back.
Ice: One folk remedy suggests sucking on an ice cube to relieve your toothache.
Fact (at least sometimes): Some teeth will ache when heat touches them and feel better with cold. Our body temperature of 98.6 degrees Fahrenheit is pretty hot. The ice cube lowers the temperature around the tooth to bring temporary relief.
Oil of Cloves (Eugenol): Folk remedies suggest everything from putting the oil on the tooth, to putting it on a cotton ball that you put on the tooth, to biting into a whole clove that you’ve put on the tooth.
Fact: Oil of Cloves/Eugenol does have a soothing effect. In fact, it has been used in many dental products and is the source of what most people call the “dental office smell”.
Benzocaine (in an over-the-counter formula): placed on the tooth as the package directs.
Undecided: The ending “caine” indicates an anesthetic which may temporarily relieve pain. Benzocaine is a topical (surface) anesthetic. It will tend to wash away easily. Some formulations try to make it into an “oral bandage” material to keep it on or near the tooth. But, a dental school study using benzocaine pain patches reported that benzocaine did not seem to have an effect on toothache pain compared to a patch that had no medicine in it at all.
Vanilla Extract: Folk remedies suggest rubbing it on your tooth or putting it on a cotton ball that you can bite with that tooth.
Fact: Vanilla Extract does seem to have some pain relieving properties, but it is most likely the alcohol in the extract that provides the relief. Some people do find the vanilla scent soothing as well.
Garlic Clove: Chewing a garlic clove on the affected tooth is what most folk remedy sources suggest.
Undecided: Garlic does contain allicin which does have a slight antimicrobial effect. Chewing it releases the allicin, but the antimicrobial effect is not enough to reverse damage already done or stop damage that is occurring. Garlic and allicin have not been studied so we only have personal reports as evidence as to how effective it is or isn’t.
Comfrey: Some folklore sources suggest chewing comfrey leaves
False: Comfrey may have some pain relieving properties, but it also has toxic properties that can be absorbed through the skin and mucosa (what covers the inside of your mouth) which can poison you. The bad seems to outweigh the good in this case.
Raisin with Black Pepper: At least one source suggested splitting a raisin, putting black pepper inside, and then biting down on the raisin with the affected tooth.
False: I could find no source that confirmed that black pepper worked to relieve pain. In addition, the raisin (a dehydrated fruit) contains high levels of sugar and is sticky. The sugar is going to encourage the bacteria that cause decay to break down the tooth more. The stickiness will keep the sugar source in contact with those bacteria for a longer period of time.
Again, I want to stress that a toothache is a sign that something is wrong. While I understand the desire to relieve the pain until you can get in to see a dentist, please realize that none of these nor any other ones you might find from various sources, fix the problem that is causing the pain. They are fine to use as a temporary measure while you wait, but make an appointment with your dentist as soon as possible—and don’t be fooled if the tooth stops hurting—most times, it will come back and it will come back worse than the previous time.
*Note: The information in this article is not meant to replace the judgement of your healthcare professionals.
Dr. Jennifer Robb is a general dentist who is accepting new patients at her Lorain, Ohio office. Call 440-960-1940 to reserve your time! Find out more about Dr. Robb at www.drjrobb.com or ask her questions at www.facebook.com/DrJenniferRobb
We get many calls asking for "just a cleaning". But did you know there are different types of teeth cleaning depending on your level of dental health?
All teeth cleanings are designed to remove plaque (soft buildup), calculus (hard buildup, also called tartar) and stains from your teeth, but they go about it in different ways and for different reasons.
The most common type of teeth cleaning has a big name—prophylaxis--but you’ll often see it shortened to prophy or pro. If you have dental insurance and check your plan, most will place this in the "preventive" category of their coverage--meaning it is designed to prevent future chronic problems. In a prophy, plaque, calculus and stains are removed from your teeth above and perhaps slightly below your gumline. The goal is to control the local irritating factors so that your teeth and gums stay healthy. Most children and the adults who do not have periodontal disease will have this type of cleaning. For most people, it is recommended every 6 months.
If you haven’t been to a dentist in a while and have so much calculus and plaque that the dentist cannot examine or evaluate your teeth and gums, you will have a full mouth debridement or a scaling with inflammation. Often an ultrasonic cleaning device is used to break up the large pieces of hardened buildup. Some hand instruments may be used as well. The goal here is to remove the bulk of the buildup so that the level of health of your teeth and gums can be determined. You may need additional “cleaning” type appointments to complete your care, depending on your level of dental health.
If your gum examination and/or x-rays show that you have periodontal disease, you are beyond preventive measures and already have an active problem. In this case, "just a cleaning" does not address the problem you have. With active periodontal disease, you will either be recommended to see a periodontist (gum specialist) or you will have a specialized type of cleaning called Scaling and Root Planing. This type of cleaning is often called a Periodontal Cleaning or a Deep Cleaning. Periodontal disease creates pockets between your tooth and gum. These pockets trap food, bacteria and plaque between your tooth and gum. Calculus often forms because your toothbrush and floss can’t reach far enough into the pocket to remove what’s trapped there. Because we are going below your gumline, scaling and root planing removes plaque and calculus buildup from both tooth and root surfaces. The goal is to help your gum tissue to heal and allow your pockets to shrink. You may have “novocaine” or topical anesthesia with this type of cleaning to make it more comfortable for you and allow for removing as much of the trapped material as possible. This is a therapy or treatment (as opposed to a preventive measure). There is no cure for periodontal disease, it can only be managed. It’s critical to continue your treatment with Periodontal Maintenance on a schedule determined by your dental care professional (usually 3 to 4 times a year). (Note: depending on your level of disease, there are times that surgical periodontal treatment is also indicated or needed.)
Once your periodontal disease is brought under control, regular visits to your dentist or hygienist are crucial to keep it that way. Remember, periodontal disease can only be controlled, it can't be cured! These visits are called Periodontal Maintenance and are more complex than a prophylaxis or regular cleaning. Periodontal Maintenance involves a full-mouth deeper cleaning that removes plaque and calculus from above and below your gumline, even into any deeper pockets that may remain after your intitial treatment. Because of that, it may also involve some scaling and root planing if an active periodontal disease site is found. Surface stain removal and polishing of your teeth are also part of this procedure. The goal of this type of cleaning is to reduce the number of bacteria that cause gum disease. Though levels of bacteria are lower after your visit, they build back up again within 3 to 4 months of your periodontal maintenance visit and can start breaking down the bone around your teeth again. (This is why we ask you to have this 3 or 4 times a year!)
*Note: Information in this article is not meant to replace the clinical judgement of your healthcare professionals.
Dr. Jennifer Robb is a general dentist with an office at 1320 Cooper Foster Park Rd., Lorain, OH 44053. To schedule an appointment, please call 440-960-1940. You can also contact Dr. Robb by using the contact form on her website at www.drjrobb.com or interact with her on facebook at www.facebook.com/DrJenniferRobb
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