Category Archives: saratoga family dentistry

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 .

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.

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.






Is Snoring Keeping You Awake Nights?

snoring help is hereSnoring affects nearly 90 million Americans, and can be more than just an annoying habit. An estimated 160 million people are affected by snoring, when you consider the spouses and children of the snorer.
Habitual snoring disrupts healthy sleep patterns, which can contribute to a number of problems. There are many over the counter products available to help prevent snoring. Treatment options range from special pillows to nose strips, even surgery. Finding the option that works best for you can be as easy as seeing your dentist.

What Causes Snoring?

Snoring is caused by the passage of air through a relaxed airway. During sleep, the muscles in the airway relax and narrow the airway, increasing the force of air as it is exchanged. As the force of air increases, the soft tissues such as the soft palate and uvula vibrate, creating the loud snoring sound that keeps you awake at night.

What Is Silent Nite?

One treatment option that is having a huge positive impact on snoring patients is the Silent Nite® oral appliance, available through your dentist The Silent Nite appliance is a custom fitted dental appliance designed to help prevent snoring. It’s streamlined and flexible design make it a comfortable fit, so it is easy to wear while you sleep. Silent Nite fits comfortably over your teeth, repositioning your lower jaw slightly forward, supporting the soft tissues in the airway. This extra support prevents narrowing of the airway and vibration of the soft tissues, effectively reducing or eliminating snoring.

Is a Dental Snoring Device Right for Me?

The Silent Nite snoring prevention device can be prescribed by your dentist. Imagine giving yourself (and your spouse) the gift of a quiet and restful sleep every night. Schedule a consultation to discuss your symptoms and explore whether a snoring device is the best option for you.

Straight Talk About Missing Teeth

dentures vs implantsDentures, Bridges and Implants:  Comparison

When it comes to missing teeth, deciding on the treatment option that is right for you means understanding your options.  Missing teeth can affect everything from dental function, appearance and overall health.  Choosing a treatment option that suits your lifestyle and supports your overall health is important.

Dental Bridges

A dental bridge is used to replace a missing tooth by constructing a crown on the adjacent teeth with a false tooth bridged between them.  A dental bridge is a good option for patients who could benefit from crowns on the teeth adjacent to the space.  Other factors that contribute to the decision to use a dental bridge are overall dental health, desires of the patient and cost.  A dental bridge is an effective, affordable and long-lasting solution for a missing tooth.

Dentures or Partial Dentures

A removable prosthesis such as a denture or partial denture can restore appearance and support dental function in the case of multiple missing teeth.  A removable denture is an appliance that can restore the appearance of missing teeth.  The appliance consists of false teeth mounted on a plate which is attached to the adjacent natural teeth with a wire attachment.  The appliance is removable, and must be maintained and/or relined from time to time to ensure a secure fit and function.

Dental Implants

A dental implant is the most permanent, natural looking and functioning method of tooth replacement.  A dental implant replaces the entire tooth structure from root to crown and once placed, it is 98% likely to last the rest of your life.  A dental implant functions just as a natural tooth, making it possible to enjoy the foods you love without worry.  Implants cannot decay and do not require the involvement of adjacent teeth.

For more information about your options for replacing missing teeth, contact Park Saratoga Dental to schedule a consultation appointment.

Wisdom Teeth- To Remove Them or Not?

dental healthFor a large percentage of Americans, wisdom tooth removal is almost a rite of passage. Teenagers in Saratoga and across the country undergo the treatment to extract wisdom teeth every year. Why should you remove your wisdom teeth, and do they always need to be extracted in the first place? Let’s look at some of the reasons why dentists recommend that you have these teeth extracted.

Wisdom Tooth Pain

Most wisdom teeth cause some pain at some period of their growth. For most people pain from the eruption of the teeth (when the teeth break through the gums as they come in) is temporary. Once the teeth have erupted, if they are in a good position and can be kept clean and healthy, then no treatment at all might be recommended. Unfortunately, in many cases, the wisdom teeth continue to cause problems. Most wisdom teeth do not come in straight, and can cause chronic pain or infection. These third molars are also more prone to tooth decay. When problems such as this occur on a regular basis, your dentist will likely recommend that you have the teeth removed in order to prevent continued problems and the potential for damage to your other teeth from decay or infection.

Impacted Wisdom Teeth

Your jaw might not be large enough for four more teeth to come into position as a teen. For many dental patients, wisdom teeth cannot erupt properly into the arch with the rest of the teeth. As they try to come in, they can turn sideways, or erupt only partially. When this happens, it is a condition called ‘impacted wisdom teeth’. Impacted teeth often become infected, swollen or painful. When the tooth becomes trapped in the bone, it can also form a cyst around it. A cyst is a fluid filled sac that can grow and damage the bone tissue around it. If your wisdom teeth are impacted, or have cysts or other pathology associated with them, your dentist will likely recommend that you have them extracted to avoid further complications.

Dental Crowding From Wisdom Teeth

When the third molars come in, or erupt, they can place a great deal of pressure on the roots of the adjacent teeth, causing them to shift or move out of alignment. In severe cases, the teeth across the jaw can become crooked. This can cause problems with your bite as well as affect the appearance of your smile. When teeth are misaligned, they are harder to keep clean and can develop cavities and gum disease. Wisdom teeth commonly cause orthodontic relapse for patients who have completed orthodontic treatment and braces. This is why so many orthodontists recommend removal of the third molars at the completion of orthodontic treatment.
If you have problems with your wisdom teeth, schedule an appointment to find out if they must be removed in order to preserve your dental health. For most patients, wisdom teeth removal is a simple procedure that requires very little recovery time. Contact your Saratoga dental office for more information about your wisdom teeth.

How Going to the Dentist More Often Can Save You Money on Dental Care

save money on dentalAlmost half of Americans only go to the dentist when they know they have a dental problem of a toothache. Dental patients who are motivated by pain, rather than prevention pay significantly more for their dental care, even though they go to the dentist less often.

Brushing and Flossing is Not Enough

Good personal oral hygiene is imperative to prevention of dental disease. Brushing and flossing daily will remove plaque and bacteria from the oral cavity, teeth and gums. This reduces the chances that destructive bacteria will take hold and lead to cavities and gum disease.

Even with good dental habits, plaque and bacteria collect at and below the gum line on tooth surfaces, forming hardened tartar. This substance cannot be removed from the teeth with brushing and flossing, and must be removed with a professional dental cleaning. Tartar will build up over time, leading to decay and periodontal disease.

Skipping Your Preventive Dental Care is Expensive

Your dentist recommends a dental check-up and professional cleaning at least every six months, and more frequently if you are prone to tooth decay or gum (periodontal) disease. This is because your dentist knows that regular dental care makes it possible to prevent major dental problems from developing in the first place. In addition, a regular dental exam will give your dentist the opportunity to detect and diagnose the beginning stages of disease processes such as a small cavity or reddened inflamed gum tissue. When diagnosed in their early stages, reversal of the disease process or removal of the decay is much simpler and far less expensive than waiting until it has progressed into a more serious problem.
Most dental insurance plans know that preventive dental care reduces the risk of developing serious dental problems such as advanced decay, periodontitis and tooth abscess. This is why many dental plans cover the cost of preventive dental care at no cost to the patient. For patients without insurance, the cost of regular dental cleanings and check-ups is still far lower than the cost of seeking dental care only in painful situations.

Early Stage Dental Disease Is Not Painful

Waiting until you have a toothache to go to the dentist usually means that you will require restorative treatment in order to repair and preserve your diseased tooth. Most dental problems start off on the microscopic level, and gradually get worse.  A tiny cavity does not hurt, and you probably cannot see it.  By the time you feel discomfort from the decay, it has likely spread to the vital structures within the tooth. If you feel the pangs of a toothache, it is likely that treatment such as a large filling, dental crown or even root canal treatment is necessary to repair it. These types of treatment are much more costly than a small filling. The treatment to repair it is likely more expensive than your dental check-up and cleaning would be, even with the cost of a small filling included.

Regular Check-Ups Save Money Over Time, But They Also Save Your Teeth

Although saving money is great, it is not the only reason to stay current with your regular dental care. When dental problems are prevented or detected early, your teeth stay healthier. Routine dental care makes it possible to prevent the common causes of tooth loss, which are untreated tooth decay and periodontal disease. When you see your dentist at least every six months, you give yourself the gift of healthier teeth that will last you a lifetime.

Make an Appointment at Park Saratoga Dental