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Dental Care for Seniors

1663269727_471a74b122_zAs you age, you have different medical needs. Dental care is no exception. Those in their senior years often have conditions that can affect their dental health. If you have questions or concerns about your teeth and gums, you should see your dentist, who knows your individual circumstances. In the meantime, here are some ways that your dental care might change as you get older. Medications Can Affect Your Oral Health If you are on medication for your heart, diabetes, or other health conditions, they can sometimes affect your teeth and gums. One common side effect of many different medications is a dry mouth. Having a dry mouth is not only uncomfortable, but also contributes to dental decay. Saliva washes away bacteria and plaque, and not having enough of it can lead to cavities and gum disease. If you are on...

Crown Preparation: What to Expect

14425627083_62cff473a7_zIf you've been told that you need a crown on one of your teeth, you might be nervous and not know what to expect. The good news is that a crown prep is generally a painless procedure. There are multiple steps, though, so you might want to ask your dentist to explain what's happening as he or she goes through each phase of the treatment. Here is a primer on what you might expect during your crown preparation appointment. Impressions Before your dentist begins to prep your tooth for the crown, he or she will want to take an impression so the lab knows how your teeth currently fit together. The goal is for your crown to fit naturally into your bite. You might need full upper and lower impressions done, or your dentist or dental assistant might take impressions of...

Root Canal vs. Extraction: Which Is Right for You?

2121691688_320638e94d_zIf you've had an aching tooth for a while or if you suddenly started experiencing pain and swelling, you might have been told by your dentist that you need a root canal or an extraction. Sometimes, the choice is clear-cut, but other times, it can take some discussion and brainstorming to come up with the right solution. Here are some considerations to keep in mind as you decide between root canal therapy and the extraction of your tooth. Location If your tooth is in the front of your mouth and it can be saved with a root canal and a crown, this is probably the option you're going to want to choose. If the tooth is the last one in your mouth and you don't have one opposing it, however, an extraction might be warranted. Anywhere else, it might not be...

Are Dentures Right for You?

Are dentures right for you?

Are dentures right for you?

If your dentist tells you that you should have all or most of your teeth extracted and dentures made, you might experience a range of feelings. If you've been struggling with your dental health for some time, you might feel a sense of relief. On the other hand, if you still want to try to save your natural teeth, you might feel frustrated, sad and angry. It's important that you feel secure in the knowledge that having dentures put in in place of your natural teeth is the right decision for you. Take a look at these considerations to keep in mind as you make your decision. What Type of Dentures? Not all dentures require the extraction of all of your teeth. In fact, if any teeth are strong and...

All About Your Dental Assistant

What does a dental assistant do?

What does a dental assistant do?

You might sometimes refer to the person who helps your dentist with procedures as a "hygienist" or a "nurse." It's actually a dental assistant in most cases (occasionally a hygienist will assist with procedures, but that's not their main job function). If you aren't sure what a dental assistant does, read on to find out! Chairside Assisting The main job of a dental assistant is to assist the dentist with various procedures. While assistants can do some procedures on their own, such as taking impressions, taking x-rays, and getting patients prepped for surgical procedures, most assistants spend a good majority of their day doing what's often called "four-handed dentistry." This means that your dentist's hands and your assistant's hands move in harmony to treat cavities, perform root canal...

The First Signs of a Cavity

Is a cavity causing your toothache?

Is a cavity causing your toothache?

Have you ever woken up with a severe toothache, then found out that you had a cavity that was close to (or into) the nerve space of your tooth? Dental cavities don't start off that way; they begin as tiny, painless pits in the enamel, then spread down through the other layers of the tooth until they reach the nerve. That's when you end up with a bad toothache and an emergency visit to the dentist. If you are aware of the beginning signs of a cavity, however, you can often catch it before it gets to the point of pain and the need for more extensive treatment (like a root canal or a crown). Check out these early signs that you might have a cavity...

Wisdom Teeth: What to Expect and When to Extract

Should you keep your wisdom teeth?

Should you keep your wisdom teeth?

There are a lot of fallacies out there about wisdom teeth. Otherwise known as third molars, wisdom teeth usually begin growing in between the ages of 17 and 21. They're the last teeth to come in, and you'll have one in each quadrant of your mouth, if all goes as planned. Unfortunately, many (but not all) people have problems with their wisdom teeth, and most of the time, these problems lead to the extraction of the third molars. Read on to find out more about what to expect, problems that might occur, and considerations for removal. What to Expect If you (or your child) are around 18 or 20 years old, you might begin to notice some soreness and pain in the very back of your mouth. This is often...

Tips for Whiter Teeth

Creative Commons image by  LaVladina

Creative Commons image by
LaVladina

If you think your smile could be whiter and brighter, you're not alone. Many patients wish they had whiter teeth. Teeth whitening solutions are very popular and often a good option for people who want to lighten their teeth a shade or two. Sometimes, however, there are other things you can do to improve the appearance of your smile. Check out these tips for whiter teeth that don't include bleaching trays. Quit Smoking If you smoke, you already know that it's bad for your lungs, heart, and the rest of your body. You probably also know that cigarette smoke leaves a film on your walls, furniture, and, yes, your teeth. While regular cleanings will help keep the discoloration in check, the only way to really eliminate it is...