Thursday, October 9, 2014

Keep Your Smile Intact: Advice from a Mountain View Cosmetic Dentist on How Not to Wreck your Teeth

Teeth are tough, but they can easily be worn down by bad oral habits. People think that just because teeth can bite down on food all day they are immune to the long-term effects of too much hard treatment. In fact the enamel on the tooth – the hard coating that protects it from damage – does have its limits. Oblivious to this, many people develop habits that often end up by exceeding those limits. An article on WebMD by Pamela Babcock gives a few examples of these habits, focusing on the fact that people tend to use their teeth as tools:

‘Chomping ice and hard candy, not to mention popping off bottle caps and ripping open potato chip bags, can crack or break your teeth.“People tend to do some wild things with their teeth,” King says. She recalls a patient in her 50s who habitually gripped the ropes of her sailboat’s mast between her teeth. Over time, the woman’s natural teeth had worn to the point she needed porcelain veneers. Find a bottle opener or pair of scissors. And if you’re sailing, use your hands.’

Bad habits such as these can build up over time to cause bigger problems, but sudden breakdowns can also occur as a result of everyday events. Playing a sport without a mouth guard, or tripping and hitting your face on the ground, or other common accidents frequently result in chipped or broken teeth.

Mountain View cosmetic dentist Dr. Patrick F. McEvoy, DDS, explains that thanks to advances in cosmetic dental technology there are many excellent techniques for repairing teeth that have suffered damage.  For people whose teeth enamel is worn, veneers – usually made of porcelain - are an excellent option that function as replacements for the natural tooth’s enamel. They are placed directly on the tooth’s surface and usually attached by using a light-sensitive resin that hardens and bonds when exposed to ultraviolet light.

For people who have suffered a cracked tooth, fillings or extraction and replacement might be necessary depending on the severity of the damage. Your dentist will explain the options and treatment plan, says Dr. McEvoy, whose long career in cosmetic dentistry in Mountain View as an expert restorer of beautiful smiles, has seen all kinds of tooth damage. For minor damage, a filling matching the natural tooth enamel can be placed to cover up the cracks.  With new technologies such as the pain-free Solea laser, the repairs can be affected in one short visit, often without anesthesia, and without costing more than traditional ‘drilling and filling’.

A broken tooth can be fixed by placing a porcelain cap or crown on the stub.  Again, technologies such as the CEREC® system enable the new material to be made and fitted in one visit.  If the adjoining teeth have been severely damaged, cosmetic dentistry offers innovative procedures, such as dental implants. A great cosmetic dentist can make your teeth look brand new, and tough (though not invulnerable!) again. So if you want your teeth to serve you for many years to come, handle your repairs with as much care as your normal set of teeth – and use a scissors to rip open that bag of potato chips.

(Source: 15 Ways to Wreck Your Teeth, Pamela Babcock)

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