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Serving Las Vegas and Henderson, Nevada since 1999.

Dental implants are widely spread throughout dentistry and have become mainstream for many patients. In the past, patients were presented other options…go without a tooth or teeth, wear a removable denture, or have a cementable bridge made.Dental implants have allowed for a great additional option which does not cut down existing teeth, and is strong and unmovable. Unfortunately, many of us forget that dental implants need to be cared for and maintained just like  natural teeth.

What Are Dental Implants?

Dental implants are an artificial tooth root (usually made of titanium) that a periodontist or oral surgeon places into your jaw to support restorations that resemble a tooth or group of teeth. Dental implants can replace a single tooth, support  a bridge, or support a denture (making it more comfortable and secure).

Dental implants are an ideal option for people in generally good oral health who have lost a tooth or teeth due to periodontal disease, injury, fracture or decay. Dental implants are actually more tooth saving than traditional crowns and bridges, since dental implants do not cut down healthy teeth or rely on adjacent teeth for support.

Sufficient bone, and good overall health will give you the best prognosis for ideal oseointegration, (the way bone fills in around the implant for strength). Dental implants are intimately connected with the underlying bone and gum tissues in the mouth. So, proper fit, good occlusion, and excellent oral hygiene are necessary for long term success. With technique and material advances, dental bone grafts are now more successful than ever and can be used to augment your natural bone. Periodontal disease, diabetes, bleeding problems, etc. can cause difficulty in placement, healing and longevity of the dental implants. Be upfront with your dentist regarding health issues so that the proper steps can be taken to give you the highest chance of success. There is an increased risk of failure in patients who are smokers. For this reason, dental implants are frequently placed only after a patient has stopped smoking.

Top Tips For Caring For Your Dental Implants

-Toothbrushing. Usual toothbrushing applies. It is recommended that you brush twice a day but it is even more beneficial to brush after every meal if that is possible.

-Flossing. Yes, flossing is important even with dental implants. Flossing is able to clean around the dental implants along the gum line. Just because the dental implants cannot get tooth decay it does not mean you cannot lose them. Bone loss is still possible around the dental implants which can lead to their loss.

-Maintain Regular Dental Visits.  Dental implants should be cleaned with different types of dental instruments as not to scratch the surface. They should again not be cleaned with ultrasonic or vibrating dental instruments of any kind. It is important to examine the dental implants at least once per year along with your regular professional cleaning schedule. Your dentist will evaluate the bone levels along with the soft tissues and occlusion. The important takeaway here is to have frequent examinations to catch any issues that might arise early enough so proper corrections can take place.

-Use A WaterPik. A great way to clean around dental implants is to use WaterPik.  The WaterPik is a water spray that cleans in between and around the teeth. But keep in mind again too much pressure may cause damage to the pocket so keep it at the lowest level possible. Recent studies have shown the WaterPik to remove up to 145% more debris than regular dental floss alone. Periogen in the waterpik can help remove tartar buildup around implants making it easier to keep them clean.

-Do Not Smoke. Smoking has been known to decrease oxygen flow to the gum tissues. This results in delayed healing, deterioration of the oral tissues, and bone loss. Bone loss and inflammation will cause your implant to loosen and fall out. If you want to protect your investment, do not smoke.

-Avoid Extremely Hot Liquids. Dental implants are made of metal and metal has ability to retain heat more readily than our oral tissues. If you drink extremely hot liquids, the metal of the dental implant  may heat up from the liquid and stay hot. The heat may cause a burning of a thin layer of cells around the implant. With repeated small damages this may cause inflammation around the implant. This is not backed by research, but is worth mentioning.

Caring For Dental Implants Conclusion

Just like your natural teeth, dental implants should be maintained if you wish to keep them. With proper maintenance, both at home and in the dental office, dental implants can last a lifetime. Dental implants can strengthen, and enhance your smile for years to come.

At home dental hygiene is often neglected due to our busy schedules. While many are diligent in maintaining good oral health at home others let it slide. The recommended daily regimen is brushing in the morning after breakfast and again before bedtime. Is it helpful to brush more often?

Tooth Brushing Frequency

The answer to the above question is YES and NO! It is definitely possible to over brush our teeth. It is estimated that approximately 80% of us are over brushing. Some of us become obsessed, but we are brushing incorrectly and we are brushing with the wrong type of toothbrush. There is definitely such a thing as too much of a good thing when it comes to brushing your teeth.

Brushing your teeth too frequently and too aggressively can damage the structure of our teeth as well as wear out the tooth enamel. Toothbrushes are designed to last around 3-4 months before they lose their soft bristles. However, frequent usage of the toothbrush would wear down the bristles and leave the bristles jagged and sharp, with serrated edges. When this happens, your toothbrush can then wear away the enamel and dentin from our teeth.

As a result, you should replace your toothbrushes before the bristles splay so that you’re reassured that your toothbrush would not wear away your tooth structure. You also should choose toothbrushes that will not hurt your gums and teeth. It is recommended that a soft bristle toothbrush is used unless recommended differently by your dentist.

Proper Brushing Technique

1. You should always try to choose a toothbrush with soft bristles. Tooth brushes can be chosen on individual preference.  Basically, choose one that you are comfortable with.  Also size of brush head is important. If the toothbrush is too large to fit properly in your mouth, you will be unable to reach the further most areas. For many an electric toothbrush will work best. Our office recommends the Rotadent (made by Zila) electric toothbrush but any would be fine if it is effective for you.

2. Rinse your brush before using it. A small amount of tooth paste is enough for brushing. You do not need to cover all  the bristles with toothpaste. Just want enough on there for the paste to do its work.

Proper brushingProper brushingProper brushing

3. Hold the tooth brush angulated at 45 degrees to your teeth towards the  gums. Do not hold the brush flatly against your teeth. You want to be able to have the brush go all the way down to the gum line where most of the plaque resides. Paying extra attention to the gum line, hard-to-reach back teeth and areas around fillings, crowns or other restoration.

4. Start from the back of the upper jaw. You need to ensure you are cleaning all surfaces of the teeth effectively. There are three surfaces…..

1. The chewing surface of teeth.

2. The outer surface of the teeth facing the cheek.

3. Inner surfaces of the teeth.

Start with 3 teeth at a Clean on all 3 surfaces of the teeth. Use gentle pressure with short back and forth movements. Avoid using vigorous pressure as it is unnecessary. Let the brush and paste do the work for you.

5. After cleaning the 3 back most teeth, move on the next 3 teeth…..and so on.

6. After you have completed brushing your upper teeth, move on to your lower teeth and complete brushing in the same way as the upper teeth.

7. After brushing your teeth, brush along the gum line gently to remove any lodged food particles. Also, brush your tongue. Brushing your tongue will remove bacteria and buildup there to help with bad breath.

Tooth Brushing Recommendations

1. It is necessary to brush your teeth at least twice a day. Most people do this once every morning upon waking up, and before they go to bed at night. You can also brush your teeth after your midday meal or snacks.

2. Use short, gentle strokes to clean your teeth. Brush the outer and inner surfaces, as well as your tongue. If you have to clean in between your teeth, then use vertical brush strokes.
Then, you should brush your teeth for at least two minutes at a time. This would ensure that you have adequately removed all the plaque, food residue, and bacteria that may be in your mouth.

3. Remember to floss each night before going to bed to ensure that there is nothing stuck in your teeth.

One last tip, would be the use of a plaque disclosing solution. This would give you a visual aid to see what areas you are missing or need work on.

Toothbrushing Can Keep Away Tooth Decay

Above all, you should visit your dentist every six months for a professional dental cleaning to remove any tartar or plaque build up. These regular visits would ensure that your mouth is as healthy as it can be. Your dentist would also use this opportunity to clean your mouth thoroughly to get rid of the tartar and plaque buildup.

With the proper toothbrush, brushing techniques, and regular visits to your dentists, you are on your way to having a perfect, flawless smile. Just remember to regularly brush your teeth – and to brush them for at least two minutes!

Xylitol is a sugar alcohol sweetener used as a sugar substitute. Unlike other sweeteners, xylitol is actively beneficial for dental health. It has been shown to reduce tooth decay to a third in regular use.

How does Xylitol Work for Better Dental Hygiene?

There have been numerous research studies that have shown the benefits of chewing gum sweetened with Xylitol after meals and snacks. Xylitol makes an excellent sweetener, as it has many of the same properties as regular table sugar (sucrose). However, unlike table sugar, xylitol reduces tooth cavities.

Xylitol is a natural sweetener derived from the fibrous parts of plants. It contains far fewer calories than table sugar and has less of an effect on the bodies overall blood sugar levels. Xylitol has a low glycemic index of 7, compared to sugar’s level of 83. It also does not break down like sugar and can help maintain a neutral pH level in the mouth. Xylitol has the ability to inhibit the creation of acid in the mouth. By lowering the acid content in the mouth, this in turn lowers the risk of tooth decay.

Tooth decay happens when bacteria in your mouth consume the sugars we eat. When you eat food containing ordinary sugar (sucrose), it gives bacteria on your teeth energy, allowing them to multiply and start making acids that can eat away the enamel on the teeth. This acid attack causes tooth decay and cavities to begin to form.

Products sweetened with xylitol create an unwelcome environment for bacteria. They simply cannot stick to teeth in a xylitol rich environment.  This is how it protects the teeth from tooth decay. With Xylitol, the acid attack that would otherwise last for over half an hour is stopped. The bacteria in the mouth that are causing cavities are unable to digest xylitol, their growth is greatly reduced. The number of acid producing bacteria may decrease by as much as 90%. No acid is formed because the pH of saliva and plaque does not fall. After taking xylitol, the bacteria do not stick well on the surface of the teeth and as a result, the amount of plaque decreases. Many people are not aware of this ancillary benefit because such a claim makes xylitol into a drug. This crosses a legal boundary not allowed by the Food and Drug Administration.

It has been recommended that you chew a piece of xylitol gum after every meal or snack to gain maximum benefit to your teeth. Xylitol is recommended by dentists and physicians worldwide as a sweetener for anyone concerned with dental health, upper respiratory health, and sugar consumption, in general.

Can Xylitol Repair Damage to Enamel Too?

Research has also shown that the use of xylitol helps repair damage to the enamel. Saliva protects the mouth and teeth. Stimulated saliva in particular contains all the components needed to repair early tooth cavities. If sugar is only taken a couple of times a day, the saliva can do the job alone. But most people take sugar so often that the mouth’s own defensive tools are not enough.

Saliva that has xylitol is more alkaline than saliva stimulated by other sugar products. After taking xylitol products, the concentration of basic amino acids and ammonia in saliva and plaque may rise, and plaque pH rises as well. When pH is above 7, calcium and phosphate salts in saliva start to move into those parts of enamel that are weak. Therefore, soft, calcium deficient enamel sites begin to harden again.

Xylitol Conclusion

Xylitol can help maintain a healthy oral environment, but does not replace dental hygiene!

Xylitol can be an excellent adjunct to normal brushing and flossing coupled with regular dental visits and professional cleanings. The best part is it is quite easy to incorporate xylitol into your daily routine.

Dental Hygiene - The practice of keeping the mouth, teeth, and gums clean and healthy to prevent oral disease, by regular brushing and flossing and visits to a dentist.

Halloween time is a fun time for the whole family…the weather begins to turn, leaving cooler weather for lots of quality family time. It also means its time to pick out Halloween costumes for the kids and family as well as looking forward to collecting bags full of candy from the neighbors and at school. In those bags of candy lies an unsuspecting hazard…Sugar! Sugar consumption without proper dental hygiene leads to tooth decay.

But this time does not have to be a time being scared of possible dental issues following Halloween. It can give parents and children alike a chance to learn new dental hygiene tricks to maintain their dental health throughout the year.

Dental Hygiene Tips

By following the dental hygiene tips below, parents can help prevent tooth decay for their trick or treaters while teaching them good dental hygiene habits:

1. Be Selective. Not all of the Halloween treats are scary. A good dental hygiene tip is to encourage kids to eat candy that melts fast and can be eaten quickly. Try to avoid gooey, sticky sweets (like caramels) that can linger on in the mouth and on the teeth. This will allow the bacteria in the mouth to produce more acid which will cause tooth decay. Remind kids after eating any sugary candy to brush their teeth or at the very least rinse their mouths out with water. This will lessen the amount of time the sugar stays in contact with the teeth. A really good idea might be to buy a new toothbrush that is Halloween related as a final “treat”.

2. Hide the excess candy. Do not just leave the Halloween candy around the house after the Halloween trick or treating is over. Store it in a secret place out of reach from kids and adults.

3. Avoid grazing. If you maintain dental hygiene tip #2 this should not be an issue. The idea is not to just keep picking at the candy throughout the day. This reduces the time the sugars are in the mouth decreasing chance of tooth decay. A better idea is to hold back candy and use it as an after meal treat. Then have your child immediately brush and rinse to neutralize the sugar and acid production. Another option, if you cannot brush or rinse is to give them a sugar free xylitol gum. The gum will help increase salivary flow which will also help to neutralize the acids in the mouth.

4. Eat a Healthy Meal first. Have children not fill up on snacks and Halloween candy but fill up on a healthy nutritious meal first. This will give them less temptation to overdo their candy consumption. This is a good dental hygiene tip for all year and not just Halloween time.

So there you have it, a few easy dental hygiene tricks to allow you and your family to fully enjoy the Halloween time. Candy is not necessarily the enemy, the enemy is not maintaining a diligent dental hygiene regimen. As always visit your dentist regularly for dental examinations and professional cleanings.