As a regular part of your daily hygiene you may be using a mouthrinse — or “mouthwash” — mainly to keep your mouth feeling fresh and clean. Some mouthrinses, though, do more than give you fresher breath.
While there are countless mouthrinses available, we can place all of them into two broad categories: cosmetic and therapeutic. The first refresh your mouth and breath, usually with a mentholated or minty taste and smell that masks unpleasant odors. How well they work is mainly subjective: if you feel better after using them, they’ve done their job.
Therapeutic rinses have a different role, intended to improve oral health in some way. We can divide these into anti-cariogenic (decay prevention) or anti-bacterial rinses. You can find fluoride-based anti-cariogenic rinses over-the-counter in retail or drug stores, usually containing about .05% sodium fluoride per volume. Numerous studies have shown these rinses highly effective in preventing tooth decay when used with daily brushing and flossing.
Likewise, over-the-counter antibacterial rinses have proven somewhat effective in reducing bacteria that leads to dental disease. Formulated usually with triclosan, sanguinaria extract, zinc or essential oils, they can also help reduce the incidence of gingivitis (inflammation of the gums), but only if used in conjunction with brushing and flossing.
Perhaps, though, the most widely studied and substantiated therapeutic mouthrinse is chlorhexidine, a prescription-only rinse. Chlorhexidine inhibits the formation of bacterial plaque on tooth surfaces, the main trigger for both tooth decay and periodontal (gum) disease. It’s often used as a post-surgery rinse when brushing and flossing may not be possible, but dentists will often prescribe it for patients who have a high propensity for dental disease.
Using a mouthrinse depends on your current oral health and personal preferences. Therapeutically, most people gain some added tooth strength protection from using a fluoride rinse in their daily hygiene. If fresh breath and the way your mouth feels are important to you, you should consider such a rinse that also has a pleasant taste and effect for you. We can further discuss with you whether a different type of rinse, or a prescription-strength formula, might be best for your particular needs.
If you would like more information on mouthrinses, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can also learn more about this topic by reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “Mouthrinses.”
If you know anything about dental disease, then you know bacteria ranks high on the Usual Suspects list. Tooth decay gets its start from acid produced by bacteria; periodontal (gum) disease is often triggered by bacteria that infect the gums.
But the particular strains of bacteria that can cause dental disease are a small percentage of the 10,000-plus species inhabiting your mouth. The rest, numbering in the millions, are fairly benign—and some, as recent research is now showing, play a sizeable role in protecting your teeth and gums against other malicious bacteria, fungi and viruses.
Dr. Aaron Weinberg, a dental researcher at Case Western Reserve University, has been investigating these protective bacteria for many years. His research began with a scientific conundrum: although the mouth has one of the highest densities of bacterial populations, wounds in the mouth tend to heal quickly.
The answer, he believes, originates with human beta defensins (hBDs), substances produced by cells in the lining of the mouth that are natural antibiotics against disease. He has found that certain bacteria actually help stimulate their production.
This isn't just an interesting fact about the body's defenses and immune system. During his research, Dr. Weinberg was able to identify the agent within the bacteria that triggered hBD production. This has opened up a new line of research: The possibility that harnessing this agent might help assist in our treatment of infection by boosting the body's defensive capabilities.
For example, researchers have proposed including a form of the agent in toothpaste. Over time, this might stimulate hBD production and guard the mouth against the development of dental diseases like gum disease.
These possibilities all come from our increasing knowledge and understanding of the microscopic world around us, especially in our mouths. Bacteria are much more complex than we may have realized—not all are our enemies, and some are definitely our friends. Learning more may open up new ways to keep our teeth and gums healthy.
Get a straighter, whiter, and more perfect smile with porcelain veneers from our Waterford office
How often do you notice people’s smiles? Probably quite a bit, especially if you are a bit self-conscious about the look of your own set of teeth. Fortunately, if you'd like to improve your appearance, our Waterford, MI, dentist, Dr. Steven Rollins, has a cosmetic dentistry option for you: porcelain veneers.
So what is a veneer?
Veneers are thin porcelain shells that are bonded permanently to the front of your smile to cover flaws and to improve the overall shape, size, and appearance of one or more teeth. Most people turn to veneers to enhance their entire smile, but you may also choose to receive veneers for a few teeth or even one cosmetically flawed tooth. This cosmetic dentistry is fully customized to your needs.
Could you benefit from veneers?
In order to receive veneers that will meet your cosmetic needs, we will first need to take impressions of your teeth. This ensures that your restorations offer a natural, perfect fit. Since veneers cover the entire outer surface of your teeth, this means that we have the ability to completely modify the alignment, shape, and color. Dental veneers can easily address:
- Minor overlapping or crowding
- Gaps between teeth
- Slight crookedness
- Discolored teeth
- Chips and cracks
- Oddly shaped or extremely worn-down teeth
- “Gummy smiles”
What are the advantages of dental veneers?
Yes, there are a variety of different ways to improve your smile and our dental team is happy to sit down with you to determine whether veneers are the right fit. Some of the benefits associated with veneers include:
- Veneers are extremely durable, which means they can last up to 15 years or longer before needing to be replaced
- Veneers are made from porcelain, which is stain resistant
- These restorations could reduce tooth sensitivity, particularly teeth that are sensitive due to excessive wear
- Veneers can provide teeth with any additional layer of support and strength
- Giving adults straighter smiles without having to wear braces
- Cosmetic dentistry that provides amazing results in just a couple of visits
- Minimal tooth preparation and no anesthesia
Interested? Give us a call
Are you interested in receiving dental veneers? Ready to find out if you are the ideal candidate for veneers? If so, call Summit Dental Group in Waterford, MI, today at (248) 681-3600 to schedule your consultation.
Dental amalgam—also known as “silver fillings”—has been used for nearly a hundred years to treat cavities. There are several reasons why this mixture of metals has been the go-to material among dentists: Malleable when first applied, dental amalgam sets up into a durable dental filling that can take years of biting forces. What’s more, it’s stable and compatible with living tissue.
But there’s been growing concern in recent years about the safety of dental amalgam, with even some wondering if they should have existing fillings replaced. The reason: liquid mercury.
Mercury makes up a good portion of dental amalgam’s base mixture, to which other metals like silver, tin or copper are added to it in powder form. This forms a putty that can be easily worked into a prepared cavity. And despite the heightened awareness of the metal’s toxicity to humans, it’s still used in dental amalgam.
The reason why is that there are various forms of mercury and not all are toxic. The form making headlines is known as methylmercury, a compound created when mercury from the environment fuses with organic molecules. The compound builds up in the living tissues of animals, particularly large ocean fish, which have accumulated high concentrations passed up through their food chain.
That’s not what’s used in dental amalgam. Dentists instead use a non-toxic, elemental form of mercury that when set up becomes locked within the amalgam and cannot leach out. Based on various studies, treating cavities with it poses no health risks to humans.
This also means there’s no medical reason for having an existing silver fillings removed. Doing so, though, could cause more harm than good because it could further weaken the remaining tooth structure.
The most viable reason for not getting a dental amalgam filling is cosmetic: The metallic appearance of amalgam could detract from your smile. There are newer, more life-like filling options available. Your dentist, though, may still recommend dental amalgam for its strength and compatibility, especially for back teeth. It’s entirely safe to accept this recommendation.
Learn more about dental crowns and how they can fix broken and weak teeth.
Our dentist, Dr. Steven Rollins, is proud to offer family dentistry services to the Waterford, MI area which means that everyone from children to seniors can receive dental crowns to improve the health and longevity of their smile. Read on to learn how this simple dental procedure plays a major part in improving the health of your smile.
Why Dental Crowns are Placed
A crown is a tooth-shaped restoration that fits over a tooth to surround and protect it. They are generally placed when a tooth may be too weak or damaged to be able to function fully on its own. Even though enamel is the hardest substance in your body, issues such as severe decay, infection, and traumatic injury can cause enough damage to a tooth that it will require a dental crown. As part of our family dentistry services in Waterford, our office offers crowns to improve teeth that are:
- Weakened by decay or injury
- Broken or cracked
- Infected and requiring root canal treatment
- Severely malformed, misshapen, or discolored
Crowns can also be used to replace missing teeth. For example, a crown is usually placed over a dental implant to replace a single tooth while two crowns are placed over teeth to anchor a dental bridge into place with a separate “dummy” crown in the middle to fill in the space.
How I Could Benefit from a Crown
If you are dealing with a broken or damaged tooth, it is important that you see your dentist as soon as possible for treatment. If you are also experiencing the warning signs of an infected dental pulp, this is another reason to visit the dentist right away. By turning to us for care when you need it, we can make the treatment process simple. Along with the restorative benefits of a crown, this restoration can also hide different defects or flaws in a tooth to enhance the overall appearance of your smile.
Need Dental Care? Give Us a Call
Whether you have questions about our family dentistry services or if you’re dealing with a dental emergency, Summit Dental Group in Waterford, MI, is here to help. Call us at (248) 681-3600 to schedule your next appointment or consultation.
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