Protect Your Enamel

protect your tooth enamelTooth enamel is the thin outer covering of your tooth structure, and is the hardest substance in the human body.

Enamel protects teeth from the daily stress of biting and chewing. It also insulates teeth against extreme temperatures, preventing them from being sensitive to hot and cold. Tooth enamel is strong and durable, but can chip or crack.

Once damaged, enamel cannot repair itself and the damage is permanent.

Acids Destroy Tooth Enamel

Altough strong, tooth enamel is susceptible to erosion by acids. Foods and drinks which contain high amounts of acids damage enamel over time. Some of the worst culprits for acid erosion are:
• Soft drinks and sports drinks which are high in phosphoric acid.   Even diet drinks contain acid.
• Fruit juices (some fruit acids can be stronger than battery acid)
• A diet high in sugars and carbohydrates
• Acid reflux disease
• Dry mouth
• Environmental factors

Environments Causes of Enamel Erosion

Habits and environmental stressors can damage tooth enamel. Grinding and clenching your teeth (bruxism) can place large amounts of stress on your tooth surfaces, causing the enamel to crack, chip or erode.

Bruxism can cause erosion of the enamel at the gum line, weakening your tooth structure and causing sensitivity.
Abrasion of tooth enamel occurs with aggressive brushing or improper flossing, or biting on hard objects such as biting fingernails.

Enamel can also be damaged from abfraction, or fracturing of the tooth due to cracking of enamel.

Corrosion of enamel occurs chemically with strong acids such as aspirin, vitamin c or frequent contact with stomach acid.

Protect Your Tooth Enamel

Avoiding enamel erosion is the best way to prevent these types of dental problems.

Avoid acidic foods and drinks. If you grind or clench your teeth, your dentist can help you modify your behavior or even reduce the stress of bruxism with a mouth guard.

Treat medical conditions such as acid reflux disease and other gastrointestinal problems. Avoid habits and behaviors that ca damage tooth enamel.

Treating Damaged Enamel

If you have damaged enamel, see your dentist. Your dentist can prescribe the appropriate dental treatment to repair the damage of enamel erosion.

In some cases, bonding of the teeth will help protect the eroded areas from decay and further damage. In more severe cases of enamel damage, a dental crown may be advised to repair and protect your tooth.
Contact your Saratoga  dental office for more information .

What is Baby Bottle Tooth Decay?

child-228439_1280Like tiny feet and fingers, baby teeth may only be around for a little while, but they are important. Baby teeth help ensure that the permanent teeth come in properly. In addition, little ones need healthy, strong baby teeth to help them chew, speak clearly and show their bright smile.

Temporary as they may be, baby teeth are susceptible to cavities, just like adult teeth. In babies and toddlers, tooth decay is often referred to as ‘baby-bottle tooth decay’ or early childhood caries.

What Causes Baby Bottle Decay?

Early childhood caries is most often seen in the upper front teeth, but can affect any of the teeth. It occurs primarily because of prolonged exposure to liquids containing sugar. Breast milk and formula both contain a form of sugar which can cause cavities.

When a baby is put down to sleep with a bottle, or a bottle is used as a pacifier, it causes prolonged exposure to the sugary liquid inside. In addition, cavity causing bacteria can be passed from mother to baby through saliva- when a mother puts the baby spoon in her mouth, or passes saliva another way, it can introduce cavity causing bacteria into the baby’s mouth.

How to Prevent Baby Bottle Decay

The good news about cavities is that they can be prevented. Babies who get enough fluoride (from fluorinated water) have less chance of developing decay.

Avoid allowing baby to fall asleep with a bottle or to use a bottle at any time other than feeding time. Proper oral hygiene for babies is important, even before their first tooth comes in. Gently clean the gums with a soft cloth after feeding, and move up to a soft child-sized toothbrush with the appearance of the first tooth. The use of a tiny amount of fluoride toothpaste is advisable until the age of 3, when a pea sized amount is recommended.
Teaching good dental habits from the start will help your baby develop good dental hygiene as they grow. Always supervise your child’s brushing to make sure teeth are getting clean. As baby grows, encourage the use of a sippy cup by her first birthday.
For more information on protecting your baby’s teeth, contact Park Saratoga Dental.

What Causes Dry Mouth?

dry mouthDry mouth can be caused by numerous factors or sometimes just increased age.  The most common causes of dry mouth are certain medical conditions such as diabetes, mouth breathing, sleep apnea and even rheumatoid arthritis.

Autoimmune disorders such as Sjogren’s Syndrome and lupus can cause dry mouth. Treatments such as radiation therapy can cause a reduction in saliva in the oral cavity.  Certain medications can inhibit saliva production leading to dry mouth as well.

Complications From Dry Mouth

Dry mouth is more than an annoying condition for people who suffer with it.  Your saliva acts as a natural cleanser for your mouth.  Saliva helps wash away food particles and bacteria, inhibiting tooth decay.

When saliva production is decreased, the risk of developing cavities and gum disease increases.  In addition, reduced saliva can increase the risk of developing an oral candida infection (yeast infection).

Patients with dry mouth should see their dentist regularly to examine the teeth and gums for signs of tooth decay or gum disease, since the risk of both is increased for them.

Treatment of Dry Mouth

There are many ways to help reduce the symptoms of dry mouth.  Chewing sugarless gum can help stimulate saliva production.  Avoiding chemicals such as caffeine, tobacco and mouthwash containing alcohol can help alleviate symptoms.  Keeping well-hydrated can also help alleviate symptoms of dry mouth.  Sip water throughout the day and use a humidifier at night to keep your air passages moist.

Avoid mouth-breathing.  Over the counter products, such as Biotene, can also help.  Look for a product that is designed to help alleviate dry mouth symptoms.  These products are available in many preparations including mouth rinse, oral spray, gum and toothpaste.

For more information about the causes and treatment of dry mouth, contact Park Saratoga Dental.

Fun Fourth of July Facts

fireworks-180553_1280Independence Day is one of the most loved of American holidays.  At Park Saratoga Dental, we wish each and every one of you a fun-filled, safe and exciting Fourth of July.

In the spirit of the holiday, we have compiled some interesting facts about Independence Day that are sure to spark some patriotic conversations.  Thanks to the US Census Bureau for providing these interesting facts.

In July, 1776, the estimated population of our newly independent nation was 2.5 million. On July 4, 2014, the estimated population was 318.4 million!

There were 56 signers of the Declaration of Independence.  Most of it was written by Thomas Jefferson, who was considered the most eloquent writer on the committee who drafted it.

The total estimated production of cattle and calves in Texas in 2013 was 6.1 billion pounds. There is a good chance that the beef hot dogs, steaks and burgers on your backyard grill came from the Lone Star State, which produces 1/6 of the nation’s beef. 

$203.6 million represents the value of fireworks imported from China in 2013, representing the bulk of all U.S. fireworks imported ($213.8 million).

Find more interesting Fourth of July Facts at

Have a safe and happy 4th of July from the team at Park Saratoga Dental!

Teeth Grinding Can Be a Painful Habit

headache-388870_1280It is normal for people to grind or clench their teeth (bruxism) from time to time, but for some people, frequent or constant grinding and/or clenching can have serious repercussions. Habitual bruxism can damage teeth and cause painful side effects.

What Causes Teeth Grinding?

Grinding and clenching of the teeth is often caused by stress and anxiety. Most bruxism occurs at night during sleep and can be caused by an improper bite, missing teeth or even sleep apnea.

Symptoms of Teeth Grinding

• Fatigue or pain in the facial muscles
• Dull headache
• Worn tooth surfaces
• Gum recession
• Erosion of tooth enamel at the gumline

Consequences of Grinding or Clenching Teeth

Habitual bruxism causes severe, prolonged pressure on your teeth and gums. Over time, the teeth can become worn down and very short. Gum tissue can receded severely, causing teeth to become loose or lost. Constant stress on the facial muscles can cause chronic headaches or even TMJ dysfunction. Over time, the stress from grinding can cause teeth to chip, fracture or erode.

Treatment of Bruxism

If you grind and clench during the day, being aware of the habit will help you modify your behavior and reduce daytime clenching. In some cases, special therapy may be needed in order to break the habit. Avoid caffeine and alcohol which cause intensified bruxism. Don’t chew on pencils, pen caps, or other items.

If you grind and clench your teeth during sleep, your dentist can make a custom fitted mouth guard which will reduce the force of bruxism and protect teeth from damage. Relax your jaw and facial muscles with massage and/or moist heat prior to sleep.

Your Dentist Can Help With Teeth Grinding

The most effective protection against nocturnal bruxism is wearing a dental nightguard. Your dentist can evaluate your symptoms and recommend a course of treatment designed to prevent bruxism and protect your teeth and gums. Learn more about bruxism or schedule an appointment for a dental nightguard today.

Tetracycline Staining of Teeth

some medications stain teethWhen it comes to teeth whitening, there are two main types of dental stains that discolor teeth and cause cosmetic dental problems for patients. Extrinsic stains are those caused by food and drink or smoking. These stains reside on the outside of the tooth and stain the enamel. Extrinsic stains can often be removed with a thorough dental cleaning or professional teeth whitening.
Intrinsic stains are stains which are embedded within the tooth structure itself. One of the most common intrinsic dental stains occurs with the use of a prescription antibiotic called tetracycline. From the 1950’s to the 1980’s, the antibiotic tetracycline was commonly used in children for anything from an ear infection to acne treatment. The problem with tetracycline is that in young children, from prenatal through about age 8, the tetracycline became calcified within the structure of developing teeth, resulting in tooth staining from within the tooth itself.
Although harmless, tetracycline staining of the teeth is often severe and extremely unattractive. Because the stains cannot be removed with cleaning or dental bleaching, eliminating the stains is often not possible. Tooth discoloration from tetracycline staining is often dark gray or brown. It usually covers the tooth entirely or occurs in a linear pattern on the tooth structure. The most often recommended treatment for tetracycline staining on teeth is to cover the stains with cosmetic dental veneers or dental crowns.
Adults are not at risk for developing tetracycline staining on their teeth, because the staining only occurs during tooth development. Tetracycline is still commonly used today, although it is no longer prescribed for children under 8 years old or pregnant women.

Dental stains from antibiotics can be corrected with cosmetic dentistry. If you have dental discoloration caused by antibiotics or other factors, talk to your dentist about possible treatment options.
Only your dentist can determine whether your tooth discoloration can be corrected with professional teeth whitening or cosmetic dentistry. Contact Dr. Ban today to schedule a consultation and find out the best way to correct tooth discoloration and regain a beautiful bright smile today!

4 Things You Should Know About Gum Disease

ID-1001617051. Gum disease, clinically known as periodontal disease, is the leading cause of tooth loss in adults.
Periodontal disease is a chronic disease which, to some degree, affects at least 75% of American adults. Gum disease is a chronic inflammatory disease that causes destruction of the bone and soft tissue which supports the teeth. Symptoms include reddened, swollen gums which bleed easily, gum recession and pocketing and eventually loosening of the teeth. Up to 30% of adults are genetically predisposed to periodontal disease, despite good personal oral hygiene.
2. Gum Disease is a Bacterial Infection
Periodontal disease is caused by a bacterial infection. Plaque and bacteria form on tooth surfaces, and harden into tartar. Regular brushing and flossing helps remove plaque, but only a professional cleaning can remove the hardened tartar.

Left untreated, the bacteria affects the gums, causing them to get irritated, swollen and tender. This is a condition called gingivitis. As the disease advances, it begins to destroy healthy bone and gum tissue, and results in a chronic infection deep in the gums.

Advanced gum disease is called periodontitis. Signs and symptoms include deep pockets around the gums, bone loss around the tooth roots, tooth abscess and loose teeth.
Untreated bacterial infections can cause serious problems with overall health when they occur elsewhere in the body. An infection in the oral tissues is no different. Periodontal disease is not a “small” infection. In fact, the mass of the oral tissues is about the same as that on your arm, from your elbow to your wrist. If you had an infection which encompassed an area as large as your forearm, you would not ignore it, but seek medical intervention right away.
3. Gum Disease Can Be Treated And Even Reversed
As with any destructive process, the early identification of gingivitis and periodontitis is the key to successful treatment and even reversal. The goal of your dentist is to identify early symptoms and risks for susceptibility to periodontal disease before advanced disease occurs. Earlier stages of periodontal disease can often be treated non-surgically utilizing a targeted and specialized cleaning procedure which removes plaque and tartar from deep gum pockets. This procedure also helps to smooth the surface of the tooth root to remove and inhibit bacterial growth. Often, antibacterial therapy is delivered straight to the source of infection. When non-surgical treatment is successful, careful maintenance, more frequent professional dental cleanings and careful personal oral hygiene help maintain gum health.
4. Gum Disease May Be Linked to Systemic Diseases
Because periodontal disease is a chronic inflammatory disease, it makes sense that it can be linked to other chronic inflammatory conditions. Research has shown that oral infections can cause problems in other areas of the body. Chronic inflammatory diseases such as diabetes, cardiovascular (heart) disease and Alzheimer’s disease have been linked to advanced periodontal disease in studies.
Prevent gum disease with good personal dental hygiene. Brushing and flossing is not enough.

Seeing your dentist for a check-up every six months is important for disease prevention and early detection. Your regular dental cleaning removes hardened plaque deposits (tartar) around gums which cannot be removed with brushing and flossing. If you have active periodontal disease, your dentist can recommend special treatment designed to halt the destructive process and in some cases, repair the damage.
See Your Dentist Right Away If:
• Your gums are red and swollen
• Your gums bleed easily
• Your gums are receding
• Your gums are painful or tender
• Your teeth are becoming loose

Schedule an appointment with your Saratoga Dentist.

How Does Sensitive Toothpaste Work?

sensitive toothpasteSensitive teeth are a bothersome and painful problem which causes pain in the teeth when they are exposed to certain conditions. Exposure to hot and cold, even pressure can cause tooth pain for people with sensitive teeth, causing them to avoid certain foods and even activities in order to prevent it.

What Causes Sensitive Teeth?

The cause of sensitive teeth lies in the anatomy of a tooth. Your tooth is made up of two main parts- the crown (above the gum) and the root (below the gum). A hard covering called enamel protects the exposed portion of the tooth from decay and sensitivity.

Beneath the enamel, the tooth is made up of dentin and pulp. The pulp is the vital, part of the tooth structure which contains the blood supply and the nerve. Extending from the outside of the tooth into the nerve canal are tiny, microscopic tubules or pores.

When sensitive teeth are exposed to heat, cold and pressure, the sensation of pain occurs as a result of the nerve detecting the stimulant through the tubules. People with sensitive teeth often have a thinning of the tooth enamel, reducing its protection against feeling pain. Gum recession with resultant exposed tooth root is also a common cause.

Sensitive Toothpaste Can Help

Sensitive toothpaste works by one of two means. In some sensitive toothpaste, an ingredient called potassium nitrate causes a mild numbing of the nerve, blocking the sensation and helping ease sensitivity. Other sensitive toothpastes work by blocking the tubules which lead to the nerve inside the tooth. An ingredient called potassium nitrate builds up inside the tubules, and over time works to block them, preventing the sensation of hot and cold from reaching the nerve.

Do You Have Sensitive Teeth?

Sensitive teeth can be a real pain. Your first step to solving the problem is to have a dental check-up with Dr. Ban.  A dental exam will help make sure that your sensitive teeth are not caused by another problem such as tooth decay, gum disease or injury. Dr. Ban can recommend a sensitive toothpaste and other treatments which may be available to you in order to treat your sensitive teeth.
Give us a call today to schedule your dental check-up!

Straighter Teeth For A Healthy Smile

Invisalign alignerCrooked teeth and a misaligned bite cause cosmetic concerns, but there are many more serious reasons to correct orthodontic problems.

Dental problems that damage teeth and gums often develop in patients with misaligned teeth.  Correcting your bite before serious problems develop can help you keep teeth and gums healthy for life.

Crooked Teeth are Prone to Gum Disease

When your teeth are misaligned, rotated or overlapping, it can be difficult to keep the spaces between them clean.  Flossing between teeth is often difficult or not possible.  In cases like this, plaque and bacteria can take hold in the tight spaces between teeth.  Over time, hardened plaque around the gumline can lead to gum disease.

Gum disease (periodontal disease) damages the gum and bone tissue surrounding the roots of your teeth, and can lead to tooth loss.  As bacteria take hold in the gums, it causes the tissue to become inflammed, swollen and causes the gums to fall away from the tooth roots.  Left untreated, the infection eventually causes destruction of the bone tissue.  As the bone and gum tissue recede, teeth can become loose and eventually lost.

Crooked Teeth Are Prone to Decay

Tooth decay is common in crooked or overlapping teeth.  For the same reasons that misaligned teeth develop gum disease, they are also more prone to tooth decay.

Bacteria feed on sugar, and excrete acids that weaken tooth enamel and cause decay.

Misaligned Teeth Wear Unevenly

Uneven wear of tooth surfaces is another common effect of misaligned teeth.  When your bite out of balance, it can cause uneven pressure and wear down the enamel on tooth surfaces.  Over time, teeth can become damaged.  It is not uncommon for people with a misaligned bite to experience frequent headaches and excess strain on facial muscles that causes “myofacial pain”.

Invisalign Helps Straighten Teeth and Prevent Dental Problems

One simple way to correct orthodontic misalignment is Invisalign treatment.  Invisalign Clear Aligners are custom made to straighten teeth without braces.  Properly aligned teeth are healthier and stronger.  When teeth are straight, it is easier to keep them clean and prevent gum disease, tooth decay and uneven wear.

Advantages of Invisalign include

  • No brackets or wires on teeth
  • No dietary restrictions, simply remove the aligners for meals
  • Easier and more effective dental hygiene
  • Fast results- most patients achieve their desired result within 6-12 months.
  • Aligners are nearly invisible while worn

Ask Your Dentist If Invisalign Is Right For You

Take control of your dental health and wellness and ask your dentist if Invisalign is the right treatment option for you.  Schedule a consultation to learn more about how straightening your teeth now can help prevent serious dental problems later.