All posts by ddrowns

Fluoride in Toothpaste

Does kid’s toothpaste contain more or less fluoride than adult toothpaste?

Thanks, Leslie

Dear Leslie,

Adult toothpaste sold in the United States that contain fluoride have about 1,100 to 1,450 parts per million (ppm) fluorides. Children’s toothpaste contains anywhere from 100 ppm to 1,400 ppm. Almost all toothpaste sold in stores nowadays contains some fluoride. There are some toothpastes that contain no fluoride and these are most likely to be found in health food stores. Since children are more likely to swallow toothpaste it’s recommended not to purchase fluoridated toothpaste for children less than two years of age unless the child is prone to tooth decay and it’s recommended by a dentist. If fluoride is ingested a child can become sick with an upset stomach as well as vomiting. After the age of two parents can start to purchase toothpaste with fluoride however make sure you watch your young child brush their teeth and at the same time make sure they are spit out the excess toothpaste and rinse with water afterwards.

If you are wanting to purchase a fluoridated toothpaste to fight in the prevention of tooth decay research suggest that toothpaste containing less than 1,000 ppm fluoride concentrations has the same effectiveness as toothpaste that contain no fluoride. Therefore in order to prevent cavities purchase toothpaste that has more than 1,000 ppm fluoride concentration levels.

Post courtesy of Dr. Malone, Lafayette Louisiana Cosmetic Dentist

Dental Flap Surgery

My dentist is recommending I see a periodontist for dental flap surgery. What is Dental Flap Surgery?

Thanks, Gloria

Dear Gloria,

Flap surgery is recommended when root planing and scaling are not enough to treat moderate to severe periodontal disease in eliminating the pocket. This surgical procedure is done with a local anesthetic and the gums are loosened around the tooth and bone to thoroughly clean the roots of the tooth removing tarter and diseased tissue. Because periodontal disease causes the bone to deteriorate around the tooth, most of the time during flap surgery the bone is reshaped to help the tissue heal properly. If the bone is severely damaged synthetic bone or cadaver bone is placed around the tooth to help bone grow back. Your tissue is then sutured back into place and usually covered with a periodontal pack or gauze to protect the area. After a week your sutures will most likely be removed by the periodontist.

This procedure can take up to three hours to complete, depending on the severity of periodontal disease and the sites being treated. Antibiotics and pain medication are usually prescribed following this procedure to help with infection and ease any discomfort. Twenty four hours after surgery it’s usually recommended to swish with salt water rinses to reduce swelling. If swelling is not reduced over a few days place ice packs on the side of your face where the procedure was completed to help reduce the inflamed site. Make sure you maintain good oral hygiene by brushing and flossing regularly but be gentle. Eat soft foods and as the area heals you can put more solid foods back into your diet.

Post courtesy of Dr. Malone, Lafayette Louisiana Cosmetic Dentist

Is There A Way To Prevent Jaw Clenching On Amphetamines?

There is a research chemical that goes by the name of Benzo Fury, its chemical name is 6-APB and theoretically taking it makes your eyes open wide and pupils dilate to the point that it is mostly just your pupil, but it also makes your jaw tense till its rock hard and doesn’t move much when you talk, it tightens around the two sides of your jaw connecting it to your top skull so my main question is that I have been told that magnesium supplements are able to prevent this happening to your jaw, is this true? If there is any other advice it would be much appreciated since it is helping me with my research.

Thanks, Russ

Dear Russ,

One of the main side effects of taking amphetamines is bruxism more commonly known as teeth grinding. Many users of amphetamines become addicted to this drug whether it comes in a legal prescription dose or its illegal use as a recreational drug. There is really no cure for bruxism, however evidence suggests that magnesium supplements, calcium, and pantothenic acid (vitamin B5) may help. It has been noted that a deficiency of magnesium in the diet causes teeth grinding, so even if you increase your intake of magnesium and still take amphetamines which causes one to grind their teeth it most likely will not stop you from grinding. Botox has been used to weaken the muscles surrounding the jaw which has reduced the effects of clenching and grinding of the teeth. Muscle relaxants prescribed from your medical doctor at bedtime has also been effective in reducing teeth grinding.

For the most effective tips on reducing grinding of teeth we recommend the following therapies:

  • Reduce stress – Many of us grind our teeth due to the daily stress we encounter in our lives. Seek counsel or strategies that reduce stress like yoga and meditation.
  • Splints – Ask your dentist to make you an appliance to wear to prevent you from grinding your teeth. This may help you wean your habit of grinding as well as prevent you from wearing down your teeth, having your gums recede, tooth mobility, headaches, pain, and soreness.
  • Misaligned teeth – If your teeth are not aligned properly bruxism can occur. One can benefit from orthodontics or full mouth reconstruction.
  • Behavior therapy – When you notice yourself grinding or clenching start positioning your jaw in the proper position. Close your mouth, don’t allow your teeth to touch, and keep your tongue upward.
  • Exercise your jaw – Before your go to bed open your mouth as wide as you can and hold it open for 10 seconds. Repeat this therapy 10 times, which will help your jaw relax before bedtime.

Post courtesy of Dr. Malone, Lafayette Louisiana Cosmetic Dentist

Vitamins for a Healthy Smile

The best prevention for healthy teeth and gums is brushing and flossing daily as well as routine dental check-ups and cleanings. Several vitamins that help in keeping our mouths healthy are vitamin C, vitamin D, and calcium however having a balanced diet that provides nutrition also helps promote a healthy smile.

Over snacking on foods throughout the day can expose our teeth to foods that damage the enamel, so limit snacking. Try to avoid sugary drinks especially carbonated drinks that produce acid because when we sip on these liquids over time it raises the acid levels in the mouth causing erosion to the enamel. Stay away from candy and snacks that have a lot of sugar. Starchy foods like breads, pasta, potatoes, and even rice can increase the acid levels in the mouth. Sweetened coffee, tea, and red wine can also weaken the enamel because they are usually sipped on slowly causing acid levels to remain high for a longer period of time.

Here are some healthy food eating tips in keeping your mouth healthy

  • Chewing sugar free gum helps promote saliva which helps cleanse our mouths and neutralizes the acid in the mouth.
  • Eating milk and cheese protect our enamel. They promote saliva productions neutralizing the acid and they contain protein, phosphorous, and calcium with buffer acids preventing erosion.
  • Drink lots of water
  • Drink sugar free liquids
  • Fish and Flaxseed contain anti-inflammatory agents that help fight against gum disease.
Post courtesy of Dr. Malone, Lafayette Louisiana Cosmetic Dentist

Natural Straight Teeth from Diet Alone?

According to research about 95% of the population has some form of malocclusion meaning more or less crooked teeth or the bite is off. Skeletal remains from our ancestors proves only about 5% had the same problem. So why such a drastic difference from way back then to now? Well the answer may be our diets.

The question that is coming up more frequently is can we develop straight teeth naturally without going through braces or Invisalign? Well the answer is unknown, however some evidence suggest that the modern diets we have developed may have a part on how our jaws grow improperly causing are teeth to become crooked. Refined carbohydrates are being explored to be one of the culprits in disturbing normal growth because carbs increases insulin and IGF-1 to abnormal levels. This can cause the jaw to develop narrower. Very little research has been done on this topic however it was discovered that those living in other countries in desolate areas avoided modern foods that contained sugar, canned goods, white flour, and vegetable oils but did consume a diet rich in conventionally prepared foods which included animal fats. These people had wider dental arches, straighter teeth, and little tooth decay.

So in the end will eating a nutrient dense diet make your teeth straight, no one really knows. What we do know though is having diet rich in nutrients is good for strong teeth and bones as well as brain development and without nutrients full development may be interrupted or delayed.

Post courtesy of Dr. Malone, Lafayette Louisiana Cosmetic Dentist

How can i treat dental fluorosis without veneers?

I have access fluoride that is damaging my teeth, which is like a white dot on my front tooth. Since it is permanent I wondered if there’s any other way to treat that without veneering. Can crest white strips or any other tooth whitening product remove that or make it less visible. What food should I eat and what food should I quit?

Thanks, Ericka

Dear Ericka,

Fluorosis happens when are baby and permanent teeth are developing under the gums. Once teeth are erupted they can’t develop fluorsosis any longer so you don’t need to worry about avoiding certain foods or eating anything special. Just remember that foods high in sugar or liquids we drink that contain acid like soda, Gatorade, and some juices can cause tooth decay so it is always recommended to limit stuff like this in your diet.

Fluorosis that is severe makes your teeth pitted and the outer layer of enamel is lost which make teeth very susceptible to tooth decay. It sounds like you have a mild form of fluorosis which is common and not damaging to the teeth. We understand that the appearance of your teeth is a concern and will share with you some advice on how to treat your condition.

Whitening your teeth will make the whites spots even whiter so we advise you not to do that. Treatment options vary and depend on how severe the condition is and what you can afford. Abrasion is when the enamel is softened and abraded with pumice to change the appearance of the tooth. This is the least expensive however does not work in all cases. You also have the option to have composite bonding placed. This involves roughening the surface of the damaged enamel, etching the tooth, and then a composite resin (white filling) is placed on the surface of the tooth to match the rest of your teeth. The last option would be a porcelain veneer, which is the most expensive however looks like your natural teeth. Discuss with your dentist which option would work for your particular situation. If your dentist doesn’t specialize in cosmetic dentistry have them refer you to someone that does.

Post courtesy of Dr. Malone, Lafayette Louisiana Cosmetic Dentist

How to Make Teeth Whiter Quickly

I have a class reunion in two weeks and I want my teeth whitened fast. How would I go about doing that?

Thanks, Lou

Dear Lou,

A quick way to get your teeth whiter is through in office dental bleaching. Many dentists offer a one hour office treatment with Zoom, a professional whitening system. This treatment is completed in office and total prep time to completion is about an hour and a half. During this procedure your soft tissues in and around your mouth are protected and a gel is placed on your teeth. The gel is activated by a Zoom light. Teeth usually get 3 to 5 shades lighter however some people have reached 8 shades lighter. Every case is different and people respond to bleaching based on the original shade of their teeth.

This technique is safe however can cause your teeth to become sensitive like any other bleaching product. The sensitivity usually subsides overtime. Not everyone is a good candidate for bleaching so we recommend you visit a dentist for a consultation to see if you qualify. Remember that if you have dental work completed especially in your smile like white fillings, dental crowns, or veneers they will not bleach and your teeth will become lighter and your dental work will be more noticeable. Cost of this procedure usually runs a few to several hundred dollars.

Post courtesy of Dr. Malone, Lafayette Louisiana Cosmetic Dentist

Can I whiten my teeth if I have dental bonding?

I have my two front teeth bonded. Can I use a teeth whitener like crest white strips?

Thanks, Carlie

Dear Carlie,

Dental bonding will not bleach at all. In regards to crest white strips it will lighten your teeth somewhat however it is just temporary and your teeth will go back to their natural color within several months. We recommend that if you want to have a more permanent color change in your teeth to have them professionally bleached at your dental office either with the take home bleach trays or with in office ZOOM Whitening. After you have your teeth bleached you can have your dental bonding replaced to match your new tooth color, however dental bonding gets darker over time. Your best option would be to either have porcelain veneers or porcelain crowns which won’t change color and look very natural next to your normal teeth. This is considered a cosmetic procedure and most dental plans do not pay for cosmetics however if your dental bonding is wearing away and very little tooth structure is left you can have your dentist send a preauthorization to your dental insurance to see if they will cover the cosmetic procedure.

Post courtesy of Dr. Malone, Lafayette Louisiana Cosmetic Dentist

Pressure Around Front Crown

About 4 months ago, one of my upper front teeth broke when I fell on the floor during a badminton game. Luckily, my dentist managed to perform a root canal treatment and then placed a post to strengthen the tooth. I have another crowned tooth done 20 years ago next to the broken tooth and there was a black line at the gum level due to receding gum. The two front teeth were quite protruding. My dentist suggested to re-crown the old crowned tooth together with the placement of a porcelain crown over the broken tooth and he could angle the two teeth downwards to make them not so prominent. They were done and the two teeth are not so protruding.

After nearly 4 months, I still feel pressure around the two teeth and I feel uncomfortable. My dentist kept saying that the pressure will go away but I am doubtful. I also have 4 other teeth that were crowned a few years ago and they did not give me problems immediately after being crowned. I don’t understand why the two front crowned teeth keep giving me this under pressure feeling around them. I could floss between them, although it feels tight and after flossing, the pressure will go away for a while and then come back again. Any anyone have advice on this?

Thanks, Tim

Dear Tim,

Sometimes teeth that receive a root canal have no symptoms after the treatment but there are in some cases where patients still feel some pressure and pain for several months. We recommend that you visit your dentist and have your teeth x-rayed where your root canal was performed to see if the tooth is infected. Another consideration is to have your dentist check your bite. It is a possibility that your crowns that were recently completed are hitting too hard on your bottom teeth which can cause the same type of symptoms that you are having. Make an appointment with your dentist to have him re-evaluate your teeth and if you feel your solution is still unresolved we recommend you visit an endodontist who specializes in root canal treatments for a second opinion.

Post courtesy of Dr. Malone, Lafayette Louisiana Cosmetic Dentist

My front teeth crowns’ color mismatches

I recently got my front two teeth (incisors) capped with porcelain crowns and to my horror they are of not the similar shade as the rest of my teeth, they are in fact ,very much of a LIGHTER shade, and is very prominent when I talk! What do I do now? Is there any way to stain them a little? It cost me a lot to get them in the first place and I don’t think I can afford to break them and get another pair.

Thanks, Richard

Dear Richard,

Sorry to hear that you are not happy with the shade of your new porcelain crowns. Unfortunately the crowns are already cemented in your mouth so they cannot be stained to make them darker because it is very difficult to remove an anterior crown without causing damage to it. We recommend you talk to your dentist about your situation. You could have your teeth whitened to make them lighter so your crowns aren’t so noticeable or ask your dentist to replace them.  Next time you have cosmetics done ask your dentist for a mirror before he cements your crowns in your mouth to make sure you are happy with the color.

Post courtesy of Dr. Malone, Lafayette Louisiana Cosmetic Dentist