April is Oral Cancer Awareness Month, and is working with health care providers around the country to educate people about the causes of this terrible disease and how everyone can lower their risk of contracting it. Approximately 35,000 people will be diagnosed with some form of oral cancer this year, and there are many kinds that can affect people.
Is your toothbrush one of your most precious possessions? Could you survive without one? In a recent survey, participants were asked to choose the invention they could not live without and 34 percent of teens and 42 percent of adults chose their toothbrush over a personal computer, automobile, microwave, or a cell phone. Would you choose your toothbrush? Dr. Postol hopes you would!
The prospect of receiving restorative treatment in a dental office can seem intimidating, and anxiety regarding dental treatment is the primary reason for untreated dental caries (tooth decay) and missed appointments. This is especially true when the uses for different types of restorations are unclear, as dental terminology appears murky at best. While an oral health professional has the capability to effectively explain these differences, understanding why different restorations are used, how long they will last, and how they appear in the mouth can afford patients confidence before they arrive at an office for treatment. Fillings, crowns, bridges, and implants are several types of restorative work that can be explained in greater detail.
Dental fillings are usually recommended when treating smaller, more localized areas of tooth decay. They are available in several metallic substances (including gold and amalgam, which last for a long time) or can be made of tooth-colored materials such as glass ionomers (which release fluoride) or composites (which are a translucent white color, and are less resistant to force). The material used when fillings are necessary is a matter of patient preference and can be explained in greater depth by an oral health professional prior to treatment.
Fillings can be placed on one surface, two surfaces, or three surfaces depending on the extent and location of tooth decay. To determine which restoration is best, dental health professionals use a series of assessments including radiographs and an examination with a dental explorer (an instrument which checks to see if any surfaces feel sticky or tacky).
All teeth are comprised of two sides (the interproximal areas), a front and back surface, and the biting or chewing surface (termed the “occlusal”). The most common types of fillings include either one or both interproximal surfaces of the teeth (mesial or distal), the occlusal surface, or all three. Whenever decay encompasses more of a tooth’s structure, crowns are recommended rather than fillings.
Crowns are used when tooth decay infects most of the dentin of a tooth structure. They can be made of silver, gold, and porcelain, but new materials are continuously introduced. An accurate impression of a tooth needs to be made in order for a crown to be comfortable and functional. At the initial appointment, a tooth is drilled to a small, symmetrical “peg” on which the crown can be placed. While an accurate crown is being created in a dental lab, a temporary crown is placed on the tooth in order to assess it for health, determine if the fit is accurate, and, sometimes, to wait until the patient can afford a permanent crown. At the final appointment, the permanent crown is cemented into place. Crowns typically last for years, and, if they do come loose, they can be re-cemented during a regular cleaning.
When several teeth are absent or need to be crowned, a bridge is recommended. A bridge is a succession of crowns (abutment teeth) that can be anchored into place with cement on one specific tooth (the pontic tooth). Crowns can be exclusively made of metal or porcelain or, in many cases, are a mixture of porcelain fused to metal (thus affording patients an attractive appearance while providing the durability of metallic crowns). Like crowns, bridges are also cemented into place and can last patients for a lifetime if meticulous oral hygiene is preformed daily.
Implants are practical for patients who have many teeth extracted and who also possess proper brushing and flossing habits. An implant is a lifelike tooth structure attached to a screw. Implants are placed into the alveolar bone (the bone in the jaw that surrounds the teeth), and consequently, the bone is “tricked” into thinking that real teeth are still present. Ultimately, this results in less alveolar bone loss to the patient, which helps them to avoid the development of periodontal infections. The possibility of implants failing due to poor oral hygiene is taken very seriously by dental health professionals, and accordingly, candidates for implants must take an interest in maintaining healthy teeth and gums.
Restorative dental work can benefit patients by preventing future tooth decay and restoring the teeth to their normal function. Feeling good about receiving these types of treatments is simply a matter of understanding and feeling familiar with their uses.
For more information about dental restorations, smile design, or general dental issues, contact your Ballwin and St. Louis, MO dentist, Dr. Kevin F. Postol today.
Some people (whether or not they admit it) just love ice chewing. They can get it from their freezer at home or fill up a cup at the cafeteria or just about anywhere, as long as they can fulfill their craving for that crunchy frozen water. If you’ve ever done this, you probably had a parent, teacher or friend tell you that it was bad for you and you were going to ruin your teeth. This is definitely true and Dr. Postol, your St. Louis Dentist, will tell you so, because the hard material chips away at the enamel on your teeth and can cause you to need expensive and painful restoration treatments. However, it turns out that this isn’t the only way ice chewing is bad for your health.
Bad breath is a problem that everyone has to deal with at some point. It’s impossible to keep our mouths smelling fresh and clean all day, every day, especially when there are delicious things to have like coffee or cheeseburgers with extra onions, pickles and mushrooms.
Dr. Postol is here to help! The best way to keep bad breath at bay is to figure out when you have it, why you have it, and how to fix it. We hope this blog post will help you in all of those areas, but if you still have questions please to hesitate to ask at your next St. Louis Dental appointment!
The age old debate over white or red wine has covered hundreds of years and thousands of topics. Which tastes better? Which is more sophisticated? Which has less calories? Which has more health benefits? Now, a number of new studies are adding another topic to the controversy: which one is better for your teeth?
White or Red?
Everyone in Ballwin knows that drinking red wine can leave unsightly stains your teeth, but a recent study shows that white wine may actually be a worse culprit. Scientists at the New York University College of Dentistry studied the effects on tooth whiteness, and found that although red wine discolors, white wine actually dissolves a microlayer of tooth, making it rougher and more vulnerable. If this is followed with staining drinks such as coffee and tea, or acidic foods such as citrus fruits, the resulting damage could be harmful to the health of your mouth.
You’ve probably seen a lot of toothpaste commercials that talk about acid erosion, but they don’t always explain everything. What is causing acid erosion? Do your teeth have acid erosion? What can you do to stop it?
Dr. Postol and our office are here to answer any questions you may have about acid erosion. We hope to give everyone in Ballwin the chance to prevent acid erosion before it starts, and diagnose and treat the damage already in their mouths. We want your teeth to be as healthy as possible, so at your next visit with our St. Louis Dental staff be sure to bring up any issues you have with your mouth!
We’ve all seen glow-in-the-dark t-shirts, little kids shoes that light up when they walk, and even belts with flashing lights on them. But light up teeth? Two designers in Japan are doing just that to advertise a winter sale at their clothing store, Laforet Harajuku.
Now, we’re not just talking about those 25 cent plastic vampire fangs that you can get at Halloween that are supposed to glow in the dark. These “fronts” contain light-emitting diodes (LEDs) that you affix to your teeth which then glow and blink in different colors when you open your mouth. In fact, they are so bright that you can see them even with your mouth closed. What a great addition to the holiday festivities!
Their ad campaign features a group of girls walking around a city in the dark, wearing these LED smiles and acting as if nothing were strange. Frankly, it’s kind of creepy, like a pack of robots slowly coming towards you. The mouthpieces are also a little cumbersome, because you still have to carry a type of battery pack that is attached by wires that hang out of the side of your mouth.
For now, the technology is not commercially available, and the designers, Motoi Ishibashi and Daito Manabe, say they have no plans to make them so at this time. Further testing will have to be done before they can be sold on a large scale, and they will have to prove that the mouthpieces are not harmful to your teeth or general health in any way. Maybe someday you too can have light-up teeth!
In the mean time, Dr. Postol has several more realistic and wallet friendly options to help any and everyone in Ballwin get teeth that light up a room. Give St. Louis Dentistry a call to schedule a consultation today!
We here at St. Louis Dentistry are excited to announce that you can now download the latest copy of our newsletter from right here on our website! Our current newsletter features great information about the natural lifespan of your teeth and how we can help you keep them healthy at all stages!
Each newsletter online, and in print, is filled with fun facts and important information to keep your mouth healthy and your smile looking its very best! We’re not meaning to brag, but it really is a must read for everyone looking to maintain their oral health.
Take a look at the newsletter and give us a call to schedule your next appointment today! We look forward to helping your teeth grow happily and healthy!
Dr. Postol has a tip to give you whiter teeth in less than five minutes, just in time for your family Christmas pictures. How do we do it? With lipstick! (Sorry men, you’re out of luck this time!) The right shade of lipstick can make your teeth look whiter and brighter, and help your natural, healthy beauty shine through.
So which colors do this? A general rule is to try to stick with those that have blue undertones which will contrast with the yellow tints of your teeth and make them appear brighter and whiter. When looking for a specific color, try in the deeper reds and maroons. Stay away from nudes, peaches, neutral pinks, and frosted lipsticks, which can make your teeth look the same color as the lipstick.
Also important to remember is the sheen of the lipstick. Glossy, wet looks reflect light off your lips, adding depth and making your teeth shine as well. Matte finishes will make your smile look darker, bringing out any stains you may have. Some brands even have specific lines devoted to teeth-whitening lipstick, so check it out the next time you are in the makeup aisle.
How about getting lipstick on your teeth? One way to avoid this is with careful application followed by pouting your lips and poking your finger in your mouth to remove any excess color. Another great way is to keep your teeth as clean as possible so that the lipstick has nothing to cling to. Also, you should avoid activities like smoking, smacking your gum or biting your nails. Believe it or not, smiling keeps the lipstick off your teeth more than a straight face or a frown. So smile more!
If you find the perfect shade of lipstick but are still unhappy with the color of your teeth, talk to Dr. Postol about any number of cosmetic procedures that can give you the smile you deserve. We are here to help you get the beautiful smile you deserve!