By Mark Levy | December 26, 2012
Lots of people find that when they get older, those golden years bring lots of new cavities. Why would you suddenly start getting cavities when you are in your 60′s or 70′s? Most of the time you can blame your medications!
One side effect of many medications, including those for allergies, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, pain, anxiety or depression (a lot of the most common prescriptions written today) is reduced saliva flow. This is called xerostomia or “dry mouth” and it is one reason you need to tell your dentist about all of your medications you may be taking. If you are on a medication that causes dry mouth here are some suggestions to reduce your risk of dentla decay:
- Use over-the-counter oral moisturizers – these ususally come in spray or rinse form
- Drink lots of water all day long. This helps rinse food debris from your mouth and keeps the tissues moist.
- Chew sugar-free gum (those containing xylitol are most helpful) or suck on sugar-free candies to stimulate saliva flow
- Avoid beverages that add to the problem like coffee, alcohol and carbonated soft drinks
- Check with your physician to see if a lower dose or different medication could help
Dry mouth not only leads to more dental decay but your gums can be affected as well. This is not the time of life to skip your dental checkups.
Regular dental hygiene visits can help clear away plaque and bacteria so you can maintain good oral health – which leads to better overall health – as you age. It is not unusual to have decay under older dental restorations. In some cases the decay may require removal of the tooth. While dental bridges are still used in some cases to replace the missing tooth, a far more popular and natural feeling option is a dental implant.
Dental implants act just like tooth roots and the restoration is completed with a special crown. The resulting tooth looks and feels like your natural tooth.
Please contact cosmetic dentist Dr. Mark Levy in Columbus, OH today at 614-476-6696 to schedule your next appointment.
By Mark Levy | October 31, 2012
You’ve just been told you need a root canal but you aren’t really sure what the procedure is and why it is necessary. Here’s a little more information to help you understand your situation.
Your dentist might suggest that you need a root canal to save a tooth that otherwise might be lost. Root canals are needed when the pulp of the tooth has become infected due to decay or injury. Teeth aren’t like other parts of the body so taking oral antibiotics won’t clear up an infected tooth.
The first sign that you may have an infected tooth is sensitivity to heat or cold. Your tooth may feel sensitive when pressure is placed on it and you may have found yourself chewing on only one side of your mouth! If a tooth is feeling “different” than it normally feels then it is time to get it checked. Teeth don’t have the ability to heal themselves and the pain from an infection can be severe and is something we want to avoid.
Many people become fearful when they hear the words “root canal” but high tech dentistry today allows us to complete root canal therapy on a tooth while the patient remains completely comfortable. If you are nervous about your procedure or about dental visits in general, sedation dentistry is a wonderful option. Dentistry using a “little pill” allows you to receive the needed treatment in a completely relaxed state.
What happens during a root canal? During root canal therapy the tooth is opened up and the infected center of the tooth which contains nerves and the blood vessels is removed. The empty “canal” of the tooth is cleaned and shaped using dental files. The empty space is then filled with a special material.
Teeth that have had root canal therapy become brittle and can break easily. This is why a dental crown is usually placed as a final restoration once the root canal has been completed.
The alternative to root canal therapy is removal of the tooth and replacement with a dental implant or a dental bridge. Dental implants are artificial tooth roots that are placed in the jaw bone. A special type of implant crown is placed on the implant and the completed restoration feels and acts just like a regular tooth. A dental bridge uses the adjacent teeth to serve as supports while a false tooth “bridges” the gap caused by the missing tooth.
If you are experiencing tooth pain, or sensitivity to heat or cold, please don’t delay contacting Columbus, OH cosmetic dentist Dr. Mark Levy at 614-476-6696.
By Mark Levy | February 3, 2012
People seem to think that losing a tooth is unusual but it’s not. Dentists fight to save teeth every day but sometimes we just can’t win the battle. Almost 70% of adults between the ages of 35 and 44 have lost at least one permanent tooth and even more surprising, at age 74 more than a quarter of the people have lost ALL of their teeth. Reasons for the loss vary – tooth decay, accidents, gum disease, excessive wear (bruxism or tooth grinding), or periodontal disease.
No matter the reason for the loss it is important to replace missing teeth as soon as possible. When a tooth is removed it affects more than the appearance of your smile. Other teeth will begin to shift in your mouth making brushing and flossing more difficult. The jaw bone that once anchored the tooth is no longer needed in that area and begins to recede. Chewing food may become more difficult causing nutrition problems, especially for older patients.
How to Replace a Lost Tooth:
Dental Implants, Dental Bridges and Removable Appliances are all common choices. What is the best choice? That will depend upon your oral health and the number and placement of the missing teeth. For most people, the strongest, most durable replacement option is the dental implant.
Dental implants are small titanium screws that act as an artificial tooth root. The implant is placed in your jaw bone and the bone and surrounding tissue grow around the implant and hold it in place. A special dental crown is attached to the implant for a natural looking and feeling tooth replacement. Implants are used to replace just one missing tooth or can be used to replace many.
Dental implants can even be used to anchor full dentures — no more slipping. The beauty of the dental implant is that it acts and feels just like a real tooth so the patient does not have to change their eating or hygiene habits.
Please contact Dr. Mark Levy at StoneRidge Dental Care in Columbus, OH at 614-476-6696 today for more information about tooth replacement using dental implants, bridges or removable appliances.
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 | April 1, 2011
The American Association of Endodontists published a survey that showed that 70 percent of American fear losing a natural tooth – the same percentage that fear root canals, the procedure that can save that same natural tooth. Most of the fear of root canals is based on outdated ideas of the treatment. Almost 90 percent of patients who had undergone root canal treatment were satisfied with the treatment they received.
Modern root canal treatment is nothing to be afraid of and in most cases can save the infected tooth. For those cases where the tooth cannot be saved the patient now has options for treatment. A few years ago when you lost a tooth the only way to replace it was using a dental bridge. Today, for most patients, the optimal treatment for a missing tooth is a dental implant.
Dental implants fuse with the bone in the jaw and act just like a natural tooth root. Not only does the implant serve as the anchor for the special implant crown that replaces the lost tooth, it also helps maintain the health of the jaw by reducing bone loss.
As always, prevention is the key to avoiding tooth loss in the first place. It used to be that losing teeth was considered a normal part of aging, today we all expect to live out our lives with a complete set of natural teeth! Better understanding of oral hygiene including home care and the importance of regular professional cleanings have made losing teeth much more rare.
Please contact StoneRidge Dental Care today at 614-476-6696 to schedule your dental hygiene appointment. If you have a tooth that is bothering you don’t wait until you are in pain – call us today so we can stop a small problem before it becomes larger. Keeping your smile healthy is our goal!
By Mark Levy | August 26, 2010
“What were George Washington’s false teeth made of?” is a common trivia question. Find the answer at the National Museum of Dentistry located in Baltimore, Maryland. The museum hardly considers the question trivial however, the dentures worn by our first President are the star exhibit at the museum. They are not carved of wood as many visitors guess, but are made from a much more durable material – hippopotamus ivory.
The National Museum of Dentistry is an affiliate of the Smithsonian Institution and hosts about 10,000 visitors annually. In addition to the famous false teeth, the museum includes exhibits such as Queen Victoria’s personal dental instruments, toothbrushes throughout the ages and an Arctic whale known as a narwhal. The narwhal is best known for the six foot tooth growing out of its head.
Children visiting the museum get to put on lab coats and play dentist. They learn to floss and brush correctly using a giant mouth for practice. Parents will remember the old toothpaste jingles played at the museum.
The most popular exhibit are those famous dentures which were made by President Washington’s favorite dentist in Philadelphia. Washington only had one tooth in his mouth by the time he became President in 1789. According to the museum’s director of communications Washington lost his teeth due to illnesses. “We think he had many illnesses throughout his life, it was tough living back then” according to Amy Pelinsky. “And the medicine was tough too… the medicine actually made your teeth fall out”. So even though we know he brushed, George Washington still lost his teeth.
Today’s dental care is a far cry from colonial times. If you have lost one tooth or several you have choices about what type of replacement to use. The best option for most people is a dental implant. Dental implants are placed into the jaw bone and serve as an artificial tooth root – a dental crown is placed over the implant and you have a restoration that looks and feels completely natural. Implants can also be used to anchor dentures for those patients who have lost most or all of their teeth. Utilizing a combination of implants, cosmetic crowns and dental veneers you can achieve the smile you have always dreamed of.
Please contact my Gahanna, Ohio office today at 614-476-6696. Ask one of my team members at how cosmetic dentistry including dental veneers, crowns and implants can help restore your smile.