Ossian Dental

Invisible Braces- Not Just for Looks

When most of us think of invisible braces such as Invisalign®, we naturally assume that their sole purpose is to enhance the aesthetic value of one’s smile.

Invisible Braces

And to a certain extent that assumption is true. For most people with braces of any type, the primary goal of straightening their teeth is improving their look. But did you know that there are actually added health benefits to having a straighter smile as well?

Here, we outline just a few reasons, outside of the obvious aesthetic benefits, that invisible braces can help you:

  • Periodontal Health: Overcrowded teeth can result in swollen, red, irritated gums. More often than not, these symptoms are the result of periodontal disease. Braces help to straighten and evenly space teeth to allow for enhanced gum health.
  • Better Cleaning Access: Because the clear teeth aligners are removable, you can do a better job of brushing and flossing your teeth, just as you would without braces. By contrast, traditional metal braces limit access to the surfaces and in-between areas of teeth, making it difficult to maintain a good brushing and flossing routine.
  • Healthy Diet: Invisible braces are removable, which means that there are no restrictions to what you eat. This allows you to continue your healthy eating habits just as if you didn’t have braces at all. With traditional metal wires and braces, however, some people fall into the trap of eating only soft foods and thus miss out on much-needed nutrients.
  • Overall Health: Because oral infections are thought to be related to other health issues in the body such as an increased risk of heart disease, stroke and diabetes, keeping your teeth properly spaced and straightened is an important first step toward better health throughout your body.

Allow us to enhance your smile both aesthetically and from an oral health standpoint as well with invisible braces!

Dental Implants vs Dentures and Bridges

Whether it was during a consultation in our office or perhaps while you were doing your own research online, you have probably come across the term “dental implant” at some point. A dental implant is a great way, often the best way, to replace a missing tooth.

Dental Implant X

So how do you decide if a dental implant is the right path for you, or if a more traditional tooth replacement method such as dentures or bridges is the best way to go?

We have been asked this question many times, and have compiled a comprehensive breakdown of the benefits that implants offer over their conventional counterparts. We hope that this guide will help make the decision process easier for you.

Dental Implants vs. Dentures and Bridges: Things to Consider

  • Longevity: Dental implants offer a long-term solution (often lasting a lifetime) to missing teeth, while dentures and bridges require replacement every 5 to 10 years. Not only does this mean less hassle, it also means that implants may be more affordable over time.
  • Quality of Life:
    • Simply put, dental implants look, feel and function more like natural teeth than do dentures and bridges.
    • With a dental implant, our patients can hardly notice the difference when biting into hard objects. They also look more natural.
    • In addition to that, dental implants are fixed – they are not going to fall out while you are talking or smiling, and you don’t have to put them away each night when you go to sleep. They remain in your mouth, anchored to your jawbone at all times.
  • Bone Stability and Health: Just like muscles, bones also need a “workout” in order to maintain their mass and health. So when a tooth is missing from the jawline, the bone underneath the old tooth site becomes atrophied and shrinks. Dentures and bridges do nothing to help this deterioration. However, dental implants actually screw into the bone and integrate with it, actually encouraging new bone growth.
  • Overall Health: Because implants allow for a normal range of food choices in the diet (a benefit not afforded by dentures), they encourage you to continue your healthy lifestyle for the rest of your life!

Do you still have questions? As always, we are here to answer any questions you have. Give us a call for more information!

Straight Teeth Without the Brackets and Wires

Straight Teeth Without the Brackets and WiresNothing compares to the look a child gives us when he or she is told they need braces. The fact of the matter is that many kids and young adults do eventually need some sort of treatment to fix gaps and cracks in their smile. But unfortunately, the combination of metal wires and crooked teeth can cause social embarrassment for many adolescents.

What if there was a solution that not only straightened your teeth but also avoided the hassles of traditional orthodontic braces?

As you may have guessed, there is a solution: a revolutionary treatment appropriately named Invisalign®. Unlike regular metal wire braces, Invisalign® uses clear, removable trays, molded to the shape of your teeth to straighten your smile over time.  Invisalign® is a great solution for adults and many adolescents as well.

How do we use Invisalign®?

First we will take an x-ray and impression of your teeth, which will then be sent out for the creation of a 3-D model of your teeth. A series of custom plastic aligners are then created out of liquid resin, hardening in a plastic mold.

How should you take care of your aligners?

In order for the Invisalign® process to be effective, you will need to wear each set of aligners for two to three weeks. In total, the process takes approximately 13 to 14 months. Aligners should only be removed for brushing, flossing and eating. When the treatment process ends, you will be encouraged to wear a retainer at night to maintain your new smile!

What other benefits does Invisalign® have over traditional braces?

While the main appeal of Invisalign treatment is its transparent appearance, it also avoids some of the health disadvantages that are associated with traditional braces, such as the shortening of tooth roots, increased chance of tooth decay and interference with x-rays.

Are you looking for an improved smile?  Call us to schedule your Invisalign® consultation!

 

5 Possible Cavity Killers You Wouldn’t Expect

wineandcheese-200x300The Green Goblin of oral hygiene is an influx of cavities in one’s mouth. Most patients are aware that brushing and flossing is the central defender of cavities. However, few people know about these foods, drinks, and other tips that may help prevent cavities and tooth decay.

1)   Cheese- Evidently, being cheesy isn’t always a bad thing. Casein, a protein included in cheese, increases calcium levels in the mouth. Because teeth already partially consist of calcium, salivary calcium helps mineralize teeth, which prevents cavities. This does not mean that you should eat 5 cheese sandwiches a day. However, a dose of cheese every now and then wouldn’t hurt. In fact, it might help!

2)   Sugar Free Gum-  Believe it or not, chewing sugar free gum has been doctor recommended to avoid cavities for years. The reason – sugar free gum consists of a sugar substitute called “xylitol.” This isn’t the same teeth-rotting sugar substitute included in diet soda. Xylitol prevents cavities because bacteria cannot use it to grow or produce acid.

3)   Dark Chocolate- Perhaps indulging isn’t as guilt-stricken as one would think. It turns out that dark chocolate contains cocoa beans with strong antioxidants that can prevent tooth decay. Tannins, the component in dark chocolate that give it its bitter taste, prevent oral bacteria from sticking to one’s teeth. The polyphenols in dark chocolate not only limit bacteria, but also work to cease bad breath by neutralizing microorganisms. Remember that DARK CHOCOLATE – not milk chocolate or white chocolate – is the cavity killer.

4)   Using a Straw- Carbonated beverages are never a wise choice regarding oral health. However, there is a way to limit cavity growth while consuming soda: using a straw. Using a straw prevents the soda from hitting your teeth, reducing the chances of tooth decay and cavities. However, the best way to avoid cavities regarding soda is NOT DRINKING SODA.

5)   Red Wine- *For the 21+ only* While many believe that wine is an unfavorable drink for teeth due to the stain left behind, one study suggests otherwise. It was found that wine has many components that actively prevent tooth decay and cavities. This isn’t saying that one should excessively drink wine, and isn’t even proof that red wine is effective in fighting cavities. It merely says that wine consists of cavity fighting components.

 

All Oral Bacteria are Not Equal

All Oral Bacteria Is Not Created EqualThe mouth harbors a diverse and plentiful and microbial community due to its hospitable environment. It is warm, nutrient-rich and maintains an ideal pH balance. This highly diverse microflora inhabits the various surfaces of the normal mouth- gums, teeth, tongue, and cheeks. What many people don’t realize is that most of the bacteria are beneficial organisms and live in harmony with each other and the human body.

The “Bad Guys” of Dental Bacteria

Interestingly, a new born baby’s mouth does not contain bacteria, but becomes colonized rapidly in the early stages of life. Nobody knows for sure how many different bacteria species there are. Estimates in the oral cavity alone vary between 500 to 650 different species. Only a few specific species are believed to cause dental caries, including Steptococcus mutans, considered the most important bacteria involved with tooth decay. However, the type of bacteria varies according to the progress of tooth destruction.

This harmful bacteria collects around the teeth and gums forming a sticky, creamy-colored mass called plaque. Some areas of the mouth collect plaque more commonly due to less salivary flow, such as grooves in molars and between teeth. The oral cavity actually contains the only known part of the human body that does not have a regulated system of shedding surfaces: the teeth. This allows plaque to adhere to the surface of teeth for long periods of time. At first, plaque is soft enough to come off easily with a toothbrush. However, it starts to harden within 48 hours. After about 10 days, the plaque becomes dental calculus, called tarter, and is now difficult to remove.

Villains Love Carbohydrates

Sugars from candy, soft drinks, and fruit juice can play a significant role in tooth decay. When sucrose (table sugar), the most common of sugars, coats the surface of the mouth, some intraoral bacteria interact with it. The result is lactic acid, which decreases the pH in the mouth. This demineralization allows for greater bacterial invasion deep into the tooth.

Carcinogenicity, or the extent to which tooth decay is likely, depends heavily on how long the sugar remains in the mouth. Surprisingly, it is not the amount of sugar ingested but the frequency of sugar ingestion that is the most important factor in tooth decay.

Bacteria’s Kryptonite

Oral hygiene is key to battling the bacteria “bad guys”. Brushing your teeth twice a day will reduce dental plaque and food particles collecting around your teeth. Additionally, it is imperative to floss daily to wipe all your enamel surfaces free of plaque to discourage bacterial growth. Good general oral-health habits can usually prevent enough bacterial growth to keep tooth decay from starting.

Dentures – The End of An Era

You may have heard the term “edentulous”, a term that describes someone that has no teeth. Incredibly, more than 35 million Americans do not have any teeth. Despite advances in dentistry, this number is expected to grow in the next two decades along with an aging baby boomer generation. Tooth loss commonly results from decay and gum disease.

Dentures---The-End-of-An-EraUp until now, the only option for edentulous patients has been dentures. Their history is a long one. Scientists have found evidence of early dentures, dating back to 700 BC in present-day northern Italy, made of human and animal teeth. Over the years, the materials changed, but the inconvenience of ill-fitting dentures did not.

While dentures are extremely common, most patients find them uncomfortable and awkward. They can make daily tasks most of us take for granted, like talking and eating, difficult.

Presently, dental implants are rapidly becoming the standard of care. The biggest difference in the patient’s experience is that dental implants look and function just like their natural teeth. Most dental implant patients even report not being able to feel a difference! They do not slip or move inside the mouth as dentures are prone to do. Dental implants will generally last longer, as well. This is an important point to consider when comparing costs. While implants are more expensive, they usually last a lifetime. Dentures, on the other hand, can wear down and require replacement.

For patients looking for a more affordable replacement option, with the increased stability of implants, they may want to consider implant-supported dentures. Unlike traditional dentures, which rely on suction, implant-supported dentures are secured by dental implants. Regardless of which route an edentulous patient takes, it is clear that benefits of implants far outweigh those of dentures and will pave the way for a new era in tooth replacement.

If you are interested in exploring dental implants as a replacement for your own dentures, give our office a call to reserve a consultation today!

 

Healthy Foods After Dental Surgery

Foods After SurgeryOn our website and social media channels, we have thoroughly explained why and how oral surgery is beneficial. Here’s a reason that has gone unmentioned: it will make you appreciate the solid foods and acidic drinks that you aren’t able to eat or drink immediately after your procedure.  Sandwiches, chips, and orange juice should all be avoided after your wisdom tooth removal, dental implant surgery, orthognathic surgery etc. Too much chewing can possibly re-open the sensitive areas of your mouth, and can cause bleeding or even infection. But don’t worry – we have a few healthy food and beverage recommendations when your mouth is delicate.

First 24 Hours

For the first 24 hours after your surgery, your teeth/jaw will need some time off. Therefore, smoothies, low-fat jello/puddings, and cold soups will be the most beneficial for your healing process. It is extremely important to refrain from using a straw, as the sucking causes excess strain, which ultimately can delay the healing process. Here are a few recommendations:

Banana Mango Shake- A healthy, filling way to start the day after your surgery. Also, bananas help replace electrolytes and maintain fluid balance within your body.

Applesauce- You can’t eat apples, but this is the next best thing!

Tomato Soup- A great snack even when your mouth isn’t sensitive.

Cold Pasta- Ever tried a Sun-Dried Tomato Basil Orzo? Might be the perfect time to expand your taste buds!

Next Few Weeks

Over the next few weeks, you will start easing into enjoying solid foods again. Here are some tasty transitional foods (some can even help the healing process!)

Broccoli Omelet: Who would’ve thought thathealing from oral surgery could be so healthy? Broccoli contains enough calcium to speed up the healing process, and the eggs provide enough protein to make this a fully substantial meal while taking it easy on your teeth/jaw.

Chicken Salad: Finally some real meat! Chicken that is chopped up into small pieces can be eaten with a salad, or even a cold pasta. The chicken provides the protein, while the salad (with soft vegetables) provides the healthy goodness.

Chicken Pesto Pasta: Believe it or not, this dish can prevent oral infection. The basil in pesto contains volatile oils, which can protect the mouth from oral bacteria. The last thing your mouth needs after oral surgery is bacteria.

We hope that these recommendations help! We genuinely want you to heal as quickly as possibly while maintaining a healthy lifestyle. Feel free to call us with any questions about the post oral surgery process.

The Evolution of Dental Care

                                                         The Evolution of Dental Care: From Finger to Floss

Did you know that the toothbrush is one of the oldest tools that humans still use? In fact, in a survey conducted in 2003, Americans chose the toothbrush as the number one invention over the car, personal computer, cell phone, and microwave. This may come as a shock in a day and age obsessed with technology, but it just goes to show how much value we place on our pearly whites. But it makes you wonder… how have people kept their teeth clean throughout the centuries? How did the toothbrush, toothpaste, and floss come into existence and how have they evolved over time?

The Evolution of Dental CareOne would assume that the first toothbrush was surely the finger, but evidence has shown that as far back at 3500 BC to 3000 BC chewing sticks were used in Babylonia. These chewing sticks were essentially a stick from an astringent tree with a frayed end that acted as bristles to clean teeth. These chewing sticks have also been found in ancient Egyptian tombs. Their predecessors are still commonly used in certain areas of the Middle East, Africa, Asia, and South America and are known as miswak or mswaki sticks.

When excavating Ur in Mesopotamia, ornately decorated toothpicks were found that dated back to 3000 BC. Other archaeological digs have recovered various tree twigs, bird feathers, animal bones, and porcupine quills as the earliest toothbrushes and toothpicks. An ancient Sanskrit text on surgery dating back to the 6th century describes severe periodontal disease and stresses oral hygiene; “the stick for brushing the teeth should be either an astringent or pungent bitter. One of its ends should be chewed in the form of a brush. It should be used twice a day, taking care that the gums not be injured.” Pretty sound advice, even by current standards! Ancient Greek and Roman literature referenced the use of toothpicks to keep their mouths clean, and ancient Roman aristocrats kept special slaves for the sole purpose of cleaning their teeth. Imagine that job!

Ancient Chinese writings from around 1600 BC portray chewing sticks that were derived from aromatic trees and sharpened at one end to act as a toothpick. In the thirteenth century, the Chinese began to attach boar bristles to bamboo, essentially fashioning the first toothbrush. The optimal choice for bristles was taken from the back of the necks of cold climate boars, generally found in Siberia. Traders introduced these toothbrushes to the West and they quickly gained popularity. At that time Europeans were brushing their teeth by dipping a linen cloth or sponge in sulfur oils and salt solutions to rub away tooth grime. This was referred to as “The Greek Way”, as Aristotle had recommended this method to Alexander the Great. As these toothbrushes spread from East to West, in the West they preferred softer horse hairs over the coarse boar bristles, yet horses were deemed too valuable for the sake of toothbrushes, making boar bristles popular well into the early 1900’s.

Fast-forward to 1780 and we meet a man named William Addis of Clerkenwald, England. Addis was sitting in Newgate Prison for allegedly inciting a riot. The method for brushing teeth in jail was to take a rag and dip it in a solution of soot and salt and rub it onto the teeth. Addis believed there had to be a more efficient way, so while he passed his time in jail he began to think up solutions. Spying a broom, inspiration struck him and he took a small animal bone leftover from his meal and drilled holes into it. He then tied some swine fibers into bunches, strung them through the holes, and glued them into place. At this time in Georgian England, refined sugar was being shipped in from the West Indies in mass quantities. This caused a huge increase in the consumption of sugar for Londoners who then suffered from rotting teeth, the only treatment for which was to pull the infected teeth. When Addis was released from jail, he went on to market and sell his toothbrush under the name Wisdom Toothbrushes, which went on to become a very successful business that is still around today.

Toothbrushes continued to be made with animal bone handles and more often than not, boar bristles, although fancy toothbrushes were made with badger hair for those who could afford them. Celluloid handles were introduced in the 1900’s and quickly replaced bone handles. In the 1920’s a new method of attaching bristles to the handle was developed: holes were drilled into the brush head, bunches of bristles were then forced through the holes, and secured with a staple. This method is the same method that is commonly used today.

The next evolution in toothbrushes occurred when Wallace H. Carothers of Du Pont Laboratories invented nylon in 1937. Nylon bristles quickly overtook animal hair bristles for sanitation and cost-effective purposes. Although boar hair bristles often fall out, do not dry well, and are prone to bacterial growth, they strangely still account for 10% of the toothbrushes sold worldwide. The new nylon bristled toothbrushes were sold as “Doctor West’s Miracle-Tuft Toothbrush” due to its more hygienic properties.

With World War II looming in the background, British and American housewives were instructed to waste nothing, which translated to no more bone handles for toothbrushes. Bone handles had long been popular for things like toothbrushes, knives, guns, and handles for many more items. The shift to celluloid was a natural progression as soup bones were needed more than ornate bone handles. World War II gave oral hygiene an unexpected boost. The soldiers in World War II were expected to brush twice daily, a habit they brought home with them, likely due to the fact that Trench Mouth had become so rampant during World War I.

And what about toothpaste? Well, ancient Egyptians were making a “tooth powder” as far back as 5000 B.C.E. It was made from ox hooves, myrrh, eggshell fragments, and pumice. No device was found with the remnants of the tooth powder, which is why it is assumed that the finger was the first actual toothbrush. Other early tooth powders contained mixtures of powdered salt, pepper, mint leaves, and iris flowers. In Roman times, urine was used as a base for toothpaste. And since urine contains ammonia it was likely an effective whitening agent. In later times, homemade tooth powder was made of chalk, pulverized brick and salt. It is said that Napoleon Bonaparte regularly brushed his teeth with an opium-based toothpaste. In 1873, Colgate mass-produced the first toothpaste in a jar called Crème Dentifrice. By 1896, Colgate Dental Cream was packaged in collapsible tubes. Finally, by 1900, a paste of hydrogen peroxide and baking soda was developed, and by 1914 fluoride was introduced and added to the majority of toothpastes on the market at that time.

And what of floss? Researchers have found floss and toothpick grooves in the teeth of prehistoric humans. But it wasn’t until 1815 when a New Orleans dentist named Levi Spear Parmly promoted flossing with a piece of silk thread that floss really gained notoriety. Levi went on to be credited for inventing the first form of dental floss. By 1882 the Codman and Shurtleft Company of Randolph, Massachusetts began mass-producing unwaxed silk floss for commercial use. In 1898 Johnson & Johnson received the first patent for dental floss.  Dr. Charles C. Bass then developed nylon floss, which performed better than silk because of its elasticity. Today floss is still made of nylon.

Who would’ve thought that the history of dental care would be so fascinating? And who would’ve guessed that the toothbrush we use today evolved from a stick and was perfected by a convict? Today, there are over 3,000 patents worldwide for toothbrushes. Regardless of how they got here, toothbrushes, toothpaste, and floss are a necessity in our daily lives.

Considering an Upgrade to Dental Implants?

Considering an upgrade to dental implantsHave you been thinking of upgrading your current tooth replacement strategy but aren’t sure where to start?  This is a great time of growth in modern dentistry, especially when it comes to replacing missing teeth!  With the evolution of dental implants, patients don’t have to suffer some of the pains of the past when older, traditional tooth replacement methods were used.

Traditionally, missing teeth were always “fixed” with bridges or dentures.  And while both of those procedures are still in use by dentists and do still serve an important purpose, they often cause unintended problems in the mouth that modern dental implants may be able to alleviate, or avoid completely.

What is a dental implant, you may be asking?  At the most basic level, a dental implant is simply a prosthetic tooth that is mounted to a metal post which is screwed into the jaw bone.  The procedure is typically done in two visits.  During the first procedure, a titanium screw is inserted into the jawbone, where it is allowed to “settle in” and bond, a process that takes about six to eight months.  After that, the dentist creates a prosthetic tooth and attaches it to the titanium post for a fully functional (yet fake) tooth!

The benefit of dental implants is that, unlike dentures, they are almost unnoticeable by the patient.  Anyone who has had dentures knows that they tend to slip and wear down and sometimes even cause mild pain or discomfort.  With dental implants, you will not even know they are there.  They function just like a natural tooth in your mouth, no slipping, movement or separate cleaning required.  Similarly, patients who are used to receiving bridges may benefit by an upgrade to an implant as bridges have a tendency to invite bacteria and infection, requiring additional replacements.

Whatever your concerns about dental implants are, we are here to help.  Give us a call today to see if dental implants might be right for you!

 

 

Is It Snoring or Is It Sleep Apnea?

Is it snoring or is it sleep apneaWe all know that a little bit of snoring here and there is perfectly normal.  So how do you know when it’s snoring that you’re dealing with and when it’s sleep apnea?

Rest assured, we get this question all the time.   And the answer is that while a formal diagnosis has to be done by us here in the office, you may be able to get a better idea of which scenario you are dealing with simply by answering a few questions at home.

Here are some of the most commonly reported symptoms of sleep apnea.  Do you experience any (or several) of these?  If so, give us a quick call and we can schedule a consultation to diagnose (or rule out) and treat your condition.

  • Snoring with pauses, after which choking or gasping follow.  Ask a bed partner to observe your sleep habits or set up a recorder overnight.
  • Excessive sleepiness (falling asleep) during the day.   This happens because the breathing pauses during the night cause your brain to repeatedly disturb your sleep just enough to make you start breathing again.  Consequently, you never spend enough time in the restful part of sleep to be fully rested the next day.
  • Memory problems, concentration problems
  • Headaches, especially in the morning
  • Frequent trips to the bathroom during the night
  • Dry mouth in the morning
  • Moodiness, irritability and depression

While sleep apnea is a fairly common sleep disorder, it is an important one to tackle because it can cause damage to the organs over time.  Treatment options range from CPAP machines that give pressurized oxygen while you sleep to surgery.

If you think that you may have sleep apnea, please don’t hesitate to contact us for a consultation.