Thursday, May 31, 2012

Veneers- What are they and what can they do for you?

Veneers were invented by a dentist in California for the purpose of changing the appearance of an actor's teeth temporarily. Since veneers were stuck on by denture adhesive, they only stayed on for a short time and eventually fell off. When they were first introduced veneers were very expensive to make and so usually only celebrities could afford them. Now, of course, technology has improved making cosmetic veneers very affordable to most anyone.

A veneer placed on top of your teeth can easily and greatly improve an imperfect smile. Veneers are useful to close gaps in-between teeth, cover up permanently stained teeth, help correct chipped or broken teeth, or cover teeth that are badly shaped or crooked.

So what exactly are they? Veneers are thin shells that are custom made out of tooth-colored material and placed over your teeth. There are two types of veneers: porcelain veneers and composite resin veneers. Porcelain veneers are made in a laboratory and then placed on your teeth. Because they have to be made in a lab, having porcelain veneer work done requires at least two visits to your dentist. They are more expensive than composite veneers and can not be fixed if broken or cracked- they must be fully replaced. Composite resin veneers are also referred to as chairside veneers because they can can be completed in one visit at your dental office since no lab work is involved. Composite material is applied to your teeth, then light cured and polished. 

Both types of veneers require that a small amount of enamel be removed from your teeth in order to accommodate the porcelain shell or composite material so as not to add bulk. Because of this, veneers are not reversible- once you choose to get them you have to keep up with them forever. Veneers are also not necessarily permanent. They usually last between 10-30 years and can always be replaced if they fall off. 

Are veneers for you? Cosmetic veneers are often referred to as "instant orthodontics" because they can be used to cover up a variety of aesthetic problems in your smile. They are certainly cheaper than braces if your concern is cosmetic and you have one or a few teeth that are unsightly. However, veneers can't be used to cover up unhealthy teeth or fix any orthodontic problems like the correction of underbites, overbites, and severely misaligned teeth.  

A Family Dental Care Center

Thursday, May 24, 2012

5 Things that are Surprisingly Good for Your Teeth

While drinking coffee does have it's disadvantages, like staining your teeth, it can also help prevent tooth decay and erosion. Coffee contains trigonelline which provides a protective barrier and keeps cavity-causing bacteria from sticking to your teeth.

Green Tea. 
As long as you don't put sugar in your tea, drinking green tea can be very beneficial to your oral health. A study found that men who regularly drink green tea had superior oral health vs. men who did not. Additionally, drinking one cup of green tea a day may help people keep their teeth as they age. 

Omega-3 Superfoods. 
Found in foods like salmon, tuna, spinach, and walnuts, omega-3 fatty acids are already known to reduce the risk of heart-disease. Recently it's been discovered that they can aid in improving dental care too. Omega-3 can be used to treat swollen and tender gums caused by gum disease and can even restore damaged tissue and bone where your teeth are anchored to your jaw. Additionally, omega-3 may be able to help prevent cavities by preventing bacteria growth. 

Losing Weight. 
Studies have shown that people who struggle with obesity and gum disease have a higher chance of improvement in their oral health when they lose weight. Your body is much more capable of fighting off gum disease when the inflammation triggering fat cells disappear. 

Cheese contains a protein called casein that fortifies the surface of your teeth and is particularly useful to those prone to cavities. It is also low in sugars and acids and high in calcium which is also very good for your teeth. 

A Family Dental Care Center

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Why Straight Teeth Are Good For Your Health

With the recent introduction of Invisalign in my practice I've noticed that most people don't realize the impact straight or crooked teeth have on their oral health. Your mouth will profit hygienically as well as cosmetically from straight teeth. Straightening your teeth can also help problems like jaw pain and TMJ. If you are on the fence about invisible braces to straighten your teeth, consider these factors: 

Gum disease. Gum disease, also known as periodontal disease, is an inflammation of the gums coupled with an infection that destroys the tissue that supports your teeth. Untreated, gum disease can cause bone loss, systemic problems, receding gums, and eventually even tooth loss. People with gum disease usually have symptoms that include terrible breath, gums that bleed even with gentle brushing and flossing, and gums that are swollen.
Gum disease is no joke, patients with a history of gum disease require more frequent and thorough dental cleanings, three to four times a year, for the rest of their life. To try to reverse the gum disease they also require antibiotic treatments that are placed in their gums by their dentist. This is very expensive, extensive, and very preventable. So how does this relate to straight teeth? Teeth that are not aligned properly are more susceptible to gum disease. If your teeth are crowded, very spaced out, or if you have a cross bite, then you have a potential risk of periodontal disease and tooth and bone loss. This is because it is easier for food to get stuck and plaque to form, causing your gums to harbor harmful bacteria. 

Worn Teeth
Premature wear and worn down teeth. 
When you have:
- an open bite (where your back teeth come together but there is a space between the front teeth) 
- a deep bite (if your upper front teeth hide the lower teeth) 
- or an edge-to-edge bite 
you are potentially at risk for premature wear on your teeth. These types of bites can make a mouth that is otherwise healthy deteriorate over time. This can cause flat teeth that have been worn down, TMJ problems, sore jaw muscles, and even chipped or fractured teeth. Worn down teeth may eventually require extensive dental work to restore them. TMJ may require appliances to relieve the jaw pain. 
Properly aligned teeth can be less stressful on the supporting teeth and bone jaw joints. 

Still considering straightening your teeth? Visit Family Dental Care Center's website for FAQs and more information on Invisalign invisible braces at

A Family Dental Care Center: Dr. Seth Rosen
2030 West Main Street
Norristown, PA 19403

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Top 10 Ways to RUIN Your Teeth

Dentists are always filling your head with ways to improve your oral health, like our blog last week. Instead, here are 10 things that you should absolutely never, ever do! The top 10 ways to RUIN your teeth:
1. Use your teeth as tools. Cutting string, opening bottles, and ripping open bags with your teeth may seem like the easiest way to get the task done but is really very harmful to your teeth. This can crack or break your teeth, and over time can even wear them down. Save yourself the emergency dentist visit (and bill!) and use a pair of scissors instead. 

2. Skip regular cleanings with your dentist. Ideally, you should visit your dentist every 6 months to get your teeth cleaned. When your dentist cleans your teeth he removes plaque buildup. Plaque that is left untouched will harden and turn into tartar, creating more problems that are harder to deal with in the long run. 

3. Use mouthwash as a replacement for brushing and flossing. Jessica Simpson is infamous for claiming that she never brushes her teeth and only uses Listerine to clean her mouth. This is a terrible, not to mention disgusting, idea. The physical pressure you use when brushing and flossing are essential to removing plaque and embedded materials. Mouthwash can even mask odors in your mouth that indicate serious problems, allowing those problems to get much worse before they are detected.

4. Chew on ice. Chewing on ice cubes is a great way to crack and break your teeth and can even damage the soft tissue inside your teeth which can cause painful toothaches. Chewing on ice can also be a sign of an iron deficiency, so if you habitually chew ice see your doctor. 

5. Eat chips and soda. The sugars in soda, and all sugary drinks like gatorade, sweet tea, and fruit juices, react with the bacteria in the plaque on your teeth causing cavities. This bacteria, when mixed with the starch in potato chips, create an acid that will attack your teeth for up to 20minutes after you're finished eating. Avoid these foods, but if you must indulge, chew a piece of sugar-free gum immediately after. 

6.  Swim in a pool every day. The chemicals in swimming pools mix with saliva to create brown stains on your front teeth. Those who swim more than six hours a week are prone to these stains which are commonly called "swimmer's calculus". 

7. Take cough syrup before bed. Many cough syrups, like NyQuil, contain ingredients that cause tooth decay and erosion. When you drink cough syrup immediately before bedtime, these ingredients sit on your teeth all night long and ruin the enamel. Cough syrups often contain alcohol, which dries out your mouth and makes your teeth more susceptible to decay. Take cough syrup before you brush your teeth at night or even with a meal if possible.

8. Only drink bottled water. Unlike tap water, bottled water (unless fluoride is indicated as an additive on the bottle) rarely contains the fluoride necessary to making your teeth resistant to decay. Studies have shown that the most effective source of fluoride is water fluoridation, so drink from the tap! 

9. Pierce your tongue. Tongue rings are notorious for chipping and cracking your teeth. Even after broken teeth have been fixed a tongue piercing will continue to cause damage until it is removed.

10. Grind your teeth. Grinding your teeth can cause jaw pain, sensitivity, and can even change the appearance of your face. Over time, grinding can wear away tooth enamel and chip your teeth. 

A Family Dental Care Center
2030 West Main St. 
Norristown, PA 19403

Thursday, May 3, 2012

May is National Smile Month! Ten Ways to Improve Your Smile

May is National Smile Month! Fittingly, here are ten ways that you can improve your oral health this month: 

 1. Brush your teeth for two minutes twice a day with fluoride toothpaste. This one sounds simple, but are you actually brushing for the full two minutes? Make sure that you are giving your teeth a good, thorough brush twice a day. Additionally, use a toothpaste that has fluoride; all toothpastes that have the ADA seal of approval contain fluoride. 

2. Floss at least once a day. Ideally you should floss even twice a day. Flossing is so important because it is the only way to remove the plaque that is left in between your teeth that brushing cannot reach. This plaque can cause cavities, gingivitis, and bad breath, and if left on your teeth plaque can calcify into tartar. 

3. Add mouthwash to your daily routine. When used in conjunction with brushing and flossing, mouthwash can further improve your oral health by killing the bacterial plaque that causes cavities, bad breath, and gingivitis. The ADA seal of approval is on many antiseptic mouthwashes such as Listerine and ACT. 

4.  Replace your toothbrush. The ADA recommends that you replace your toothbrush every 3-4 months. Toothbrushes lose their efficiency over time and can even start to house bacteria. 

5. Eat your vegetables! Pumpkins, carrots, sweet potatoes, and broccoli all contain Vitamin A which is necessary for the formation of tooth enamel. Crunchy vegetables such as carrots and celery help clean the gums and produce saliva. 

6. Chew sugar-free gum after meals. Chewing gum increases the flow of saliva which in turn rinses your teeth and protects them from decay. Choose a sugar-free gum like Orbit or one with xylitol like Trident. 

7. Clean your tongue. This is essential to good oral hygiene. Cleaning your tongue removes bacteria that causes bad breath, tooth decay and gum problems. Use your toothbrush to brush your tongue or buy a tongue scraper. 

8. Avoid tooth stainers. If you want to keep your smile bright avoid black tea, coffee, smoking, and dark foods (like spaghetti sauce).  

9. Say no to sugary drinks. This means soda, sweet tea and many juices, and if you must drink it then use a straw. Sugar is so bad for your teeth because when dental plaque is mixed with sugar the bacteria that live in the plaque start the process of tooth decay and cause cavities. Cutting down on sugary drinks is the easiest way to prevent cavities- and it's healthier for you overall!

10. See your dentist regularly! It's so important to see your dentist for regular cleanings in order to maintain good oral health. You should get your teeth cleaned at a dental office twice a year or every 6 months. This can prevent problems, like gum disease, and fix ones, like small cavities, before they get out of control.