Posts for: December, 2014

By Wilmington Dental Associates
December 30, 2014
Category: Oral Health

Cat Cora, philanthropist, author, chef, restaurateur and the first female chef on the Food Network's hit series Iron Chef America is a dynamo driven by a desire to change people's lives for the better. And she is no different when it comes to tackling her most challenging role: caring for the needs of her four active young sons. This includes monitoring the food they eat, their oral hygiene habits and protecting their teeth from injuries.

During an interview with Dear Doctor magazine, Cat describes a backyard accident in which one of her boys, Zoran, was accidentally knocked in the mouth by another child while jumping on the family's trampoline. While her son was not seriously injured, it did cause her to take proactive steps to avoid future injuries. She had her dentist make a custom-fitted mouthguard to protect his newly erupted adult teeth. He now wears the mouthguard while on the trampoline and when playing soccer.

If you and/or your children routinely participate in contact sports — boxing, football, hockey, lacrosse, soccer, water polo, rugby and basketball, for example — or other forms of vigorous physical activity, you too should consider getting a professionally made mouthguard. A properly fitted mouthguard can help prevent injuries to the jaws, lips and teeth. And unlike those cumbersome “boil and bite” mouthguards you can purchase at a drugstore, the ones we make will stay in place, making it easier for you to breathe and talk.

If you are still not convinced, consider these facts: According to the American Dental Association, an athlete is 60 times more likely to suffer harm to the teeth when not wearing a mouthguard. And the US Centers for Disease Control reports that sports-related dental injuries account for more than 600,000 visits to the emergency room each year. Furthermore, people who do not have a knocked out tooth properly reserved or replanted may face a lifetime cost of $10,000 to $20,000 per tooth, according to the National Youth Sports Foundation for Safety.

To learn more about mouthguards, continue reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “Mouthguards.” Or if you are interested in obtaining a mouthguard for yourself and/or your child, contact us today to schedule an appointment. And to read the entire interview with Cat Cora, please see the article “Cat Cora.”

By Wilmington Dental Associates
December 19, 2014
Category: Oral Health
Tags: diabetes   gum disease  

Periodontal (gum) disease is a progressive bacterial infection caused primarily by bacterial plaque on tooth surfaces not adequately removed by daily oral hygiene. In fact, nearly all of us will develop gingivitis (inflammation of the gum tissues) if we fail to clean our teeth and gums for an extended period of time.

Some people, however, have a greater susceptibility for developing gum disease because of other risk factors not related to hygiene. Patients with diabetes are at particular high risk for acute forms of gum disease.

Diabetes is a chronic condition in which the body can’t adequately regulate the bloodstream’s levels of glucose, the body’s primary energy source. Type 1 diabetes is caused by inadequate production in the pancreas of the hormone insulin, the body’s primary glucose regulator. In Type 2 diabetes the body develops a resistance to insulin’s effects on glucose, even if the insulin production is adequate. Type 1 patients require daily insulin injections to survive, while most Type 2 patients manage their condition with medications, dietary improvements, exercise and often insulin supplements.

Diabetes has a number of serious consequences, including a higher risk of heart disease and stroke. Its connection with gum disease, though, is related to how the disease alters the body’s response to infection and trauma by increasing the occurrence of inflammation. While inflammation is a beneficial response of the body’s immune system to fight infection, prolonged inflammation destroys tissues. A similar process occurs with gum disease, as chronic inflammation leads to tissue damage and ultimately tooth loss.

Researchers have found that patients with diabetes and gum disease may lessen the effects of inflammation related to each condition by properly managing both. If you’ve been diagnosed with either type of diabetes, proper dental care is especially important for you to reduce your risk of gum disease. In addition to effective daily brushing and flossing and a professional cleaning and checkup every six months (more frequent is generally better), you should also monitor your gum health very closely, paying particular attention to any occurrence of bleeding, redness or swelling of the gums.

If you encounter any of these signs you should contact us as soon as possible for an examination. And be sure to inform any dental professional that cares for your teeth you’re diabetic — this could affect their treatment approach.

If you would like more information on dental care for patients with diabetes, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can also learn more about this topic by reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “Diabetes & Periodontal Disease.”

By Wilmington Dental Associates
December 15, 2014
Category: Oral Health
Tags: Oral Care  

Celebrate Self-Awareness Month by promoting preventive oral care in your life.

This September is Self-Awareness Month, so there’s never been a better time to get to know yourself a bit better. This month is meant to put a spotlight on you and who you are. It’s also important to consider what aspects of your life you would like to improve and strengthen. For many, health is a major part of living a fulfilling life. If you’ve been putting your health on the backburner, September is a wonderful time to consider your health, particularly your smile. Your Wilmington family dentist wants you to take time throughout this month to promote preventive dental care in your life. Here are some things to improve upon this month (and from here on out):

Brush for Life

The most important part of preventive care is to brush your teeth each and every day. Ideally, it would be great if all our patients would brush their teeth after every meal; however, twice a day is a good rule of thumb.

When shopping for oral care, opt for toothpastes that are approved by the American Dental Association, as this means they promote healthy, disease-free smiles when used as directed.

Is it time to throw out your old toothbrush? If you have to ask, then most likely it’s time. Everyone should be replacing their toothbrush or brush heads about three or four times a year. When the bristles begin to fray it’s time to toss that toothbrush and get yourself a new one.

Opt for Floss

Your Wilmington family dentist highly recommends flossing each day to promote healthy teeth and gums. Flossing will get in those tight spaces between teeth to help remove bacteria and plaque. Take your time when flossing and be gentle, as the gums are delicate and prone to lacerations if you’re too rough.

Biannual Dental Cleanings

We all know you have a busy schedule; however, you must find time to make your health a priority. This means scheduling your six-month dental cleaning and exams. These exams allow your Wilmington dentist to identify problems and treat them right away before they become serious issues. We can also provide you with more helpful hints for properly caring for your smile.

Clean Eating

Opt for these foods to promote a healthy smile:

- Milk and other calcium-fortified products (cheese)

- Crisp fruits and veggies like celery and apples

- Leafy greens, which contain folic acid

Also, avoid acidic foods and drinks, sugary snacks, starchy foods and even alcohol, which can produce stains. What you put in your body will affect your smile, so choose wisely.

The best thing you can do for your smile is practice preventive care. Whether you have a question, concern, or it’s time to schedule an appointment, call our office anytime. Kick off Self-Awareness Month the right way!

By Wilmington Dental Associates
December 04, 2014
Category: Dental Procedures

A recent episode of “America’s Got Talent” featured an engaging 93-year-old strongman called The Mighty Atom Jr. The mature muscleman’s stunt: moving a full-sized car (laden with his octogenarian “kid brother,” his brother’s wife, plus Atom’s “lady friend”) using just his teeth. Grinning for host Howie Mandel, Atom proudly told the TV audience that his teeth were all his own; then he grasped a leather strap in his mouth, and successfully pulled the car from a standstill.

We’re pleased to see that the Atom has kept his natural teeth in good shape: He must have found time for brushing and flossing in between stunts. Needless to say, his “talent” isn’t one we’d recommend trying at home. But aside from pulling vehicles, teeth can also be chipped or fractured by more mundane (yet still risky) activities — playing sports, nibbling on pencils, or biting too hard on ice. What can you do if that happens to your teeth?

Fortunately, we have a number of ways to repair cracked or chipped teeth. One of the easiest and fastest is cosmetic bonding with tooth-colored resins. Bonding can be used to fill in small chips, cracks and discolorations in the teeth. The bonding material is a high-tech mixture of plastic and glass components that’s extremely lifelike, and can last for several years. Plus, it’s a procedure that can be done right in the office, with minimal preparation or discomfort. However, it may not be suitable for larger chips, and it isn’t the longest-lasting type of restoration.

When more of the tooth structure is missing, a crown (or cap) might be needed to restore the tooth’s appearance and function. This involves creating a replacement for the entire visible part of the tooth in a dental lab — or in some cases, right in the office. It typically involves making a model of the damaged tooth and its neighbors, then fabricating a replica, which will fit perfectly into the bite. Finally, the replacement crown is permanently cemented to the damaged tooth. A crown replacement can last for many years if the tooth’s roots are in good shape. But what if the roots have been dislodged?

In some cases it’s possible to re-implant a tooth that has been knocked out — especially if it has been carefully preserved, and receives immediate professional attention. But if a tooth can’t be saved (due to a deeply fractured root, for example) a dental implant offers today’s best option for tooth replacement. This procedure has a success rate of over 95 percent, and gives you a natural looking replacement tooth that can last for the rest of your life.

So what have we learned? If you take care of your teeth, like strongman Atom, they can last a long time — but if you need to move your car, go get the keys.

If you would like more information about tooth restoration, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can learn more by reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “Crowns & Bridgework.”

By Wilmington Dental Associates
December 04, 2014
Category: Oral Health
Did you know that you should be seeing your dentist every six months for a routine cleaning and exam? If you aren’t going for routine dental cleanings then unfortunately you are part of the 34 percent of Americans that also did not see their dentist for a full year (according to a Gallup poll conducted in 2009). However, opting out of these routine visits may have a negative impact on your health and even your wallet. Before skipping your next dental visit, check out the importance of seeing your Wilmington family dentist regularly:

It prevents dental problems

While personal care is vitally important to a healthy smile, so too are six-month checkups. During these visits, your dentist can give your smile a professional and thorough cleaning that your toothbrush at home just can’t give you. Also, tartar buildup can eventually lead to gum disease, and the only way to properly remove tartar is with the proper dental instruments. Regular brushing and flossing just won’t cut it.

It will save you money

It might seem hard to believe that you’re somehow saving money by seeing your dentist twice a year; however, skipping dental visits could cost you big bucks in the future. Preventive care is significantly cheaper than the dental treatments you may need if you don’t see your Wilmington family dentist routinely. Not to mention the fact that no one really wants to deal with invasive treatments to fix a problem that could have been prevented altogether with routine exams.

It can detect non-dental health issues

While the main purpose of a routine exam is to inspect your smile and make sure your teeth and gums are healthy, you might be surprised to know that we can also pinpoint non-dental issues just by looking at your mouth. Problems such as diabetes, osteoporosis and even certain cancer can be detected during your next visit. You owe it to your overall health to keep up with your six-month checkups.
While it might seem hard to fit your Wilmington, DE family dentist into your busy schedule twice a year, you’ll be happy you did when you are able to have a beautiful, problem-free smile. Everyone in your family should be seeing their dentist regularly. If it’s time that you or someone in your family scheduled their six-month visit, call Wilmington Dental Associates at (302) 654-6915 today.

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