By Mark Levy | January 23, 2012
Is your energy boost damaging your smile? Not too long ago, if you wanted a little energy boost you drank a cup of coffee. Today we can skip the coffee and get our caffeine fix from any number of energy drinks on the market. The growth in sales of these drinks has been amazing and more products are coming to market all the time. From a dental point of view most of the energy drinks are enamel destroyers meaning they cause damage to dental enamel and leave your teeth vulnerable to decay.
Why do energy drinks cause dental damage?
Most energy drinks are highly acidic. Not only does the acid erode your tooth enamel but it also changes the pH levels in your mouth making it much more hospitable to bacteria.
Most energy drinks contain lots of sugar. Yes, there are some sugar free brands available but most rely at least partly on sugar for a quick energy rush. Sugar is always bad for your teeth but combined with the high acid content of the drinks your dental enamel faces an uphill battle. The acid has compromised the enamel and the sugar feeds all the bacteria that are growing in the pH altered mouth.
Some drinks can also cause dry mouth. Caffeine is a diuretic and some energy drinks can cause you to dehydrate. When your mouth is dry the chances of tooth decay and gum disease increase. We need our saliva to keep our mouths clean and healthy.
Too much caffeine can cause your body to secrete calcium through urine. Both bones and teeth suffer when calcium levels decline.
If you consume lots of energy drinks try to protect your smile by rinsing with water after finishing the drink. Wait to brush your teeth about an hour so you don’t further damage your dental enamel. Chew sugar-free gum containing xylitol to help with saliva flow. Cosmetic damage that includes discoloration may be repaired using dental veneers.
Please contact StoneRidge Dental Care in Columbus, OH today if you are experiencing sensitivity or discomfort. By treating these problems early you can avoid serious dental damage. Call 614-476-6696 today to schedule your appointment.
By Mark Levy | January 6, 2012
Some patients call dental crowns “caps” because they are used to entirely cover or “cap” a damaged tooth. But there is no difference between a cap and a crown. They are one in the same. A dental crown is the “official” term for this type of dental restoration.
A crown is a permanent restoration that is created in a dental lab. While dental veneers are used for most cosmetic cases sometimes a dental crown can also be used to improve the appearance of a tooth by changing its shape, color or alignment. Crowns are also placed over dental implants to replace missing teeth.
A dentist will recommend a crown when:
- A tooth has fractured
- When a cavity or replacement filling is so big that not enough tooth is left for a strong restoration
- To replace a tooth using a dental implant
- For cosmetic purposes when a tooth needs more reshaping than is possible using dental veneers
- To restore a tooth that has had a root canal
Depending upon where the tooth needing the crown is located you may be able to have your dental crown made in just one visit thanks to our CEREC. This amazing machine creates a custom porcelain crown right in our own office.
Many crowns are made in dental labs which will require two visits to the office. During the first visit your tooth will be prepared for the crown, impressions will be taken and a temporary crown placed in your mouth. The dental laboratory will create your crown and send it to us. You will return to the office where we will remove the temporary crown and cement the permanent restoration in place. Your bite will be tested to make sure that all of your teeth are fitting together properly with the new crown in place. With good home oral hygiene care your dental crown will last for many years.
Please contact StoneRidge Dental Care in Gahanna, OH at 614-476-6696 today to schedule your appointment for your dental crown.
By Mark Levy | December 27, 2011
Fluoride is a naturally occurring substance that has been used for many years to fight tooth decay but it seems that bacteria are learning to fight back. The incidence of tooth decay in America has greatly declined with the advent of fluoride toothpastes and the addition of fluoride to municipal water supplies. While this is controversial in some areas the addition of this mineral has the amazing ability to not only reduce cavities in children and adults but can even repair the early stages of tooth decay.
Researchers from Yale reported in Science Express that bacteria have molecular messaging systems called riboswitches that detect fluoride. When the fluoride is detected the bacteria activate their defenses. One of the side effects of these defense mechanisms contributes to tooth decay.
Fluoride not only hardens the enamel in our teeth but is toxic to bacteria. These bacteria have had to deal with the toxic effects of fluoride for billions of years and have evolved these sensors to help them survive. According to the researchers “Now that these sensors and defense mechanisms are known, it may be possible to manipulate these mechanisms to make fluoride even more toxic to bacteria.”
As with many things, a little fluoride can be good for our teeth but too much can cause problems including spotting and discoloration. There are other reasons for discolored or mottled teeth including use of medications such as antibiotics. Unfortunately, the discoloration caused by medications or excess fluoride cannot be removed by dental bleaching. Cosmetic dentistry techniques including dental veneers are used to restore discolored teeth creating a beautiful new smile.
For more information about cosmetic dentistry options in the Columbus, OH area please contact Columbus cosmetic dentist Dr. Mark Levy at StoneRidge Dental Care today. Schedule your consultation by called 614-476-6696.
By Mark Levy | November 22, 2011
Once you pass your 50th birthday you begin to notice some changes in your body. Your metabolism runs a little slower so you can’t eat like you used to. Body parts that you never thought much about start to twinge or ache. This is also a time where we notice some oral health changes. If you have been brushing, flossing and seeing your dentist regularly your teeth are probably still very healthy. Things to keep an eye on when you’ve past your 50th birthday include: dry mouth, weakened bones, crowding of teeth, burning mouth syndrome and suspicious sores.
Dry mouth is usually a side effect to medication. Hundreds of prescription and over the counter medications ranging from antidepressants to antihistamines can cause saliva production to slow. Dry mouth is not only uncomfortable it can lead to tooth decay. Our saliva is constantly bathing our teeth and washing away the bacteria that cause tooth decay. If your saliva production has slowed it is important to keep your mouth moist. Sip water often, chew sugarless gum to promote saliva production or suck on sugarless candy. Ask your dentist about artificial saliva substitutes if your dry mouth is severe. Sjogren’s Syndrome can also be a reason for dry mouth.
As we age our bones may weaken due to osteoporosis. Because our teeth are anchored into our jaw bone this weakened state can affect your smile as well. The National Institutes of Health found that older women with osteoporosis are more likely to lose teeth. Dental implants can be used to replace missing teeth and can even help keep your jawbone healthy. Even people with healthy bones can develop crowded teeth as they get older. That once straight, beautiful smile can become jumbled, leaving teeth that are difficult to clean. Dental veneers and crowns can be used to create “instant orthodontics” giving you back your perfect smile.
Any sore in your mouth that doesn’t go away in two weeks should be considered suspicious. Oral cancers affect over 30,000 Americans each year and the numbers are increasing. Oral cancers used to be seen mostly in smokers or people who smoked and drank alcohol, today that statistic is changing. An oral cancer screening is an important part of your dental examination.
Burning mouth syndrome may affect women during menopause. The condition which makes the inside of your mouth feel like it is on fire may be caused by a drop in estrogen. Your physician and your dentist can work together to put out the fire.
Please contact StoneRidge Dental Care today at 614-476-6696 today to schedule your next appointment. We’ll help keep your teeth healthy for your next 50 years!
By Mark Levy | November 12, 2011
Looking forward to celebrating your 40th birthday? During our 40′s we start to experience some changes in our bodies but the good news is, if you have been taking care of your teeth (brushing, flossing, etc.) your dental health should continue to be terrific.
There are a few things to keep an eye on when when you hit your 40′s:
Replacing old fillings - Many of those old mercury amalgam fillings are probably beginning to break down and should be replaced. Old fillings form cracks or become loose which can allow bacteria underneath creating more decay. Without removing the decay and replacing the filling you can risk a future root canal or even loss of the tooth. Old bridges and crowns may also need to be replaced.
Periodontal disease – Healthy gums are important. Gum disease has been linked to heart disease, diabetes and even preterm birth A recent study in the Journal of Periodontology reported that over 23% of women aged 30-54 have gum disease. If your gums are red, sore or if they bleed when you brush or floss you need to see your dentist. The health of your smile and your long term overall health depends upon healing this chronic infection.
Cosmetics – Decades of coffee, red wine and sodas have probably robbed you of the shiny bright smile you remember from your 20′s. The easiest solution is one hour whitening with ZOOM! If you’ve never been happy with your smile you are not alone. Many patients in their 40′s decide that they aren’t happy with the smile they were born with and would like to change their crooked, misshapen teeth. Cosmetic dentistry techniques allow us to change the shape and color of your teeth, even change the contours of your gum line, giving you the smile you’ve always dreamed of.
StoneRidge Dental Care serves the Columbus, OH area. Please contact us at 614-476-6696 today to schedule your appointment.
By Mark Levy | November 1, 2011
A Swedish study has proven that the size of our jaws decrease with age causing crowded teeth in older adults. The study began in 1949 with plaster molds of the jaws of dental students, ten years later this was repeated. Molds were again created forty years after the first round and “We found that over these forty years there was less and less room for teeth in the jaw” said researcher Lars Bondemark.
The crowded teeth come from the shrinking of the jaw, mainly the lower jaw, and although it is a small amount it is enough to crowd the front teeth. Why the jaw changes throughout life is not known but the amount of change may be related to heredity and the health of the patients bite.
These finding reflect what I hear from my patients. From middle age onward, patients complain about their teeth looking crowded or that their smile doesn’t look “the same”. Fortunately the crowded appearance can be corrected and you don’t have to visit an orthodontist for a full set of metal braces.
Cosmetic dentistry gives an alternative for those seeking instant gratification and a beautiful smile. Using dental veneers and/or crowns the crowded appearance of your teeth can be changed in just a couple of visits. Dental veneers can also give you a brighter, whiter smile and change the appearance of misshapen teeth removing years from your appearance.
For more information about your options for changing a crowded smile please contact StoneRidge Dental Care in Gahanna, OH at 614-476-6696 today.
By Mark Levy | October 18, 2011
Chipped teeth are a common problem we see in our office. The reasons for the damage range from accidents to people who grind their teeth so severely they cause breakage How we repair the damage depends on factors such as the size and location of the chip, which tooth is chipped and the overall oral health of the patient. Options for repairing a chip include bonding and dental veneers. For a tooth that is badly chipped or cracked a full dental crown may be needed. If the damaged tooth is one that is easily seen when you smile please make sure that the dentist has received extensive training in cosmetic dentistry so that your smile will be as beautiful after the restoration as it was before the repair – maybe even better!
For smaller chips dental bonding may be sufficient. A tooth colored restoration material is bonded to the damaged surface and carefully sculpted to look just like your original tooth. The technique has some advantages but it is also subject to staining and may not last as long as a dental veneer.
Dental veneers are thin pieces of ceramic material that are created in a dental lab. They are matched to your tooth color and provide a very lifelike appearance. The dental veneers are bonded to your natural teeth and allow for the correction of chipped, discolored or misshapen teeth. A dental crown may be needed if the damage to the tooth is too severe to be corrected with the other alternatives.
If you have chipped a tooth please contact the office of Dr. Mark Levy at 614-476-6696 to discuss your treatment options. Please don’t delay, small chips can easily become larger, and the damage to the tooth more extensive over time.
By Mark Levy | September 8, 2011
Recently some researchers took photos of teens and digitally altered the images so that some showed crooked teeth and others straight teeth. The photos with the straight teeth were rated higher for popularity, sports ability and leadership by other teens. This doesn’t change when we become adults – we can say we aren’t supposed to judge a book by its cover but social scientists have found that people make negative judgments about people with unattractive teeth.
It used to be that people with crooked teeth who were in search of a more attractive smile went to visit the orthodontist, wore braces for a period of time and ended with straight teeth. Many were disappointed because although their teeth were now straight, their smile still didn’t match the one they wanted to have. Perhaps the shape or size of their teeth didn’t match their facial features or the color still appeared dingy even after whitening.
It is possible to achieve the beautiful smile you have always wanted. Using advanced cosmetic dentistry techniques the shape, size, spacing and color of your teeth can all be changed in an amazingly short period of time. While many dentists place porcelain veneers to cosmetically improve patients smiles, only dentists with extensive cosmetic training can achieve the perfect smile design that is just right for you!
Porcelain veneers allow your Columbus area cosmetic dentist to change the appearance of the tooth while maintaining the tooth structure and strength.
To schedule a consultation to discuss the smile you have always dreamed of please contact StoneRidge Dental Care at 614-476-6696 today.
By Mark Levy | July 20, 2011
It turns out that some of the things we do every day are causing damage to our teeth. Here are a few that you might not be aware of:
- Using sports drinks to re-charge after a workout. Sports drinks have become extremely popular but they aren’t great for your teeth. The drinks are typically full of sugars which act as food for oral bacteria. On top of that, the pH levels in many of these drinks can cause your tooth enamel to wear away. The combination leaves you with teeth that are open to decay and a well-fed army of bacteria ready to go to work on them!
- Drinking wine. Even though we have been told that a glass a day is good for your heart, it isn’t so good for your pearly whites. This goes beyond the issues of stains from red wine. It seems that the acidity in wine, both white and red, can also erode your tooth enamel. To avoid this don’t swish the wine around in your mouth — take small sips and rinse your mouth with water after drinking.
- Going on a diet. Losing a few pounds is good for your health, going on a very restrictive diet might deprive you of vitamins and minerals you need for your healthy smile. Poor nutrition can also affect your immune system leaving you susceptible to infections such as periodontal disease. Proper nutrition and exercise are the keys to losing weight, crash diets are never the answer.
- Drinking bottled water. Bottled water typically does not contain fluoride like many municipal water systems do. Fluoride is controversial for some but it has been safely added to water supplies for many years and has drastically cut the rate of cavities in children and adults in this country. This substance helps remineralize the teeth making them stronger and resistant to decay.
- Adding lemon or lime to your water. Many trendy diet books suggest adding a squeeze of lemon juice to your water to promote weight loss. It really just makes the water taste a little better so you’ll drink more of it. While drinking lots of water is fine, the added acids from the citrus juice are bathing your teeth and weakening your dental enamel all day long. Keep drinking water, just make it plain tap water.
So what can you do to protect your teeth if you don’t want to give up your glass of wine or sports drinks? Most people think they should brush their teeth immediately – DON”T! Your enamel has been softened by the acids and scrubbing at it with a brush will only make matters worse. Rinse your mouth with plain water or better yet, chew a piece of sugar-free gum. The xylitol found in sugar-free gum actually inhibits oral bacteria and increases your saliva flow which will begin to remineralize your teeth. Follow up with a good brushing and flossing about an hour later.
If your habits have left you with a smile that is not as healthy and bright as it once was you have many options for restoring your smile. Cosmetic dentistry can reshape, rebuild and restore your naturally beautiful smile. Please contact StoneRidge Dental Care at 614-476-6696 to schedule your consultation.
By Mark Levy | February 22, 2011
Smoking is bad for your heart and lungs – we all know that, but did you also know that smoking affects your teeth and gums?
The ugly yellow nicotine stains on their teeth are usually the first dental side effect that smokers think of. But more worrisome is the effect that smoking has on your gums and other oral tissues.
When your dentist performs a complete oral examination one of the things he/she is looking for is signs of oral cancers. Smoking doesn’t just cause lung cancer, it can also contribute to oral cancer formation. Many people switch to smokeless tobacco products to avoid damaging their lungs but chewing tobacco is even worse when it comes to oral cancer formation.
Smokers are six times more likely to have severe gum destruction when compared to non-smokers. Treating gum disease is more difficult when the patient smokes because smoking reduces our ability to heal. Treating gum disease in patients who smoke is a big challenge for dentists.
Recent research has also shown that smokers have lower levels of the good kind of oral bacteria and much higher levels of the bad or disease related types of bacteria, especially the types that are linked to severe periodontal disease.
The best thing to do – quit using any type of tobacco product! Tobacco is highly addictive but their are numerous treatments that can help you stay on track. If you do use tobacco products it is important to let your dentist know. You may be scheduled for more frequent dental hygiene appointments to help keep your gums healthy. If you smoke and already have developed periodontal disease it is important to work with your dentist and hygienist to manage your disease.
Please contact the office of Dr. Mark Levy at 614-476-6696 to arrange your dental examination appointment including oral cancer screening. Conveniently located in Gahanna, Ohio we look forward to addressing your oral health care needs and giving you the beautiful smile you have always dreamed of.