By Anthony Gazzola, Jr., DMD
June 03, 2022
Category: Oral Health
Tags: oral hygiene  
BrushingFirstorFlossingTheProsandConsforBothWays

It's time for your daily oral hygiene session, so you reach for your toothbrush. Or…do you pick up your floss dispenser instead?

Or, maybe you're just paralyzed with indecision?

No need for that! Although there are pros and cons for performing either task first, choosing one or the other to open up your oral hygiene session won't interfere with your primary goal: removing harmful dental plaque. In the end, it will likely come down to personal preference.

You might, for instance, prefer brushing first, especially if you seem to generate a lot of gunky plaque. Brushing first may help remove a lot of this built-up plaque, leaving only what's between your teeth. Flossing away this remaining plaque may be easier than having to plow through it first, and creating a sticky mess on your floss thread in the process. In the end, you might simply be moving all that plaque around rather than removing it.

So why, then, would you want to floss first? Flossing initially could loosen the plaque between teeth, thus making it easier for your toothbrush to remove it. Flossing first could also serve as your reconnaissance "scout," helping you to identify areas of heavy plaque that may need more of your attention during brushing. And, you might find your mouth feels cleaner if you finish off your session with brushing rather than flossing.

There's one more good reason to floss first: You might not do it otherwise. It's not a secret that flossing is many people's least favorite of the two hygiene tasks. Once you finish brushing, it's tempting to simply shrug off flossing. Doing it first gets what may be for you an unpleasant task out of the way.

So, which approach is best for you? It may help to simply experiment. Try one way for a while and then try the other way to see which one feels best to you. What's most important is that you don't neglect either task—brushing and flossing together is your "secret sauce" for maintaining a healthy mouth.

If you would like more information on effective oral hygiene practices, 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 “Brushing and Flossing: Which Should Be Done First?

MAFSStarJakeEdwardsUndergoesaSmileMakeoverAndHelpsOthersAlongtheWay

A year ago, former Australian footballer Jake Edwards got married. On television. To a woman he'd just met. No, not in a Vegas wedding chapel—it was all part of a reality TV series called Married At First Sight. Unfortunately, the marriage didn't last, which led to Edwards reevaluating his life. And one area in particular that came under his inward scrutiny was his smile.

Although otherwise possessing movie star looks, Edwards' teeth were anything but handsome: Besides a few that were chipped and cracked, his teeth overall looked small. His less-than-perfect smile was no secret, and he had plenty of offers from dentists to transform his smile.

He finally decided to do so, but with a twist: In addition to his own, he offered a full smile makeover to two other people for free (each valued at $30,000). The impetus for his makeover contest undoubtedly stems from his own lifelong experience: After years of being teased and bullied about his teeth, he knew firsthand how an unattractive smile can affect your personal and social confidence.

You too might feel the same confidence drain every time you look in the mirror. The problem, though, is that a full-scale makeover may seem out of reach financially and there aren't many Jake Edwards-style contests around to enter. But not to worry! There are a few ways to change your smile for the better without taking out a second mortgage on your house.

Teeth whitening. Even a smile with straight and perfectly formed teeth can be unattractive if those teeth are stained and dull. A professional teeth-whitening procedure can change that: Using a bleaching solution, we can turn drab and dingy teeth into a bright and dazzling smile in one sitting. With a little care and occasional touchups, your whiter smile could last for quite a while.

Bonding. We can repair mild to moderate chips and other tooth deformities simply and affordably with dental bonding. We gradually apply a resin dental material color-matched to your tooth, building it up and sculpting it to look natural. In just one sitting, a chipped tooth that once stood out like a sore thumb can regain its attractiveness.

Veneers. Many people like Edwards suffer from teeth that appear overly small or have slightly widened gaps. Problems like these and other deformities can be overcome with dental veneers, thin layers of porcelain bonded to the surfaces of teeth. Veneers can mask all manner of dental defects and truly transform a smile.

These and other affordable cosmetic procedures can truly change your smile, and many only take one visit. To learn more about your personal options, see us for a complete dental exam and consultation.

If you would like more information about other cosmetic dental procedures, please contact us or schedule a consultation. To learn more, read the Dear Doctor magazine article “Repairing Chipped Teeth.”

By Anthony Gazzola, Jr., DMD
May 14, 2022
Category: Oral Health
Tags: oral health  
YouMayNeedaDifferentTreatmentApproachtoClearUpThisFacialRash

We all value clear skin as a sign of health and vitality—and attractive facial skin certainly enhances a beautiful smile. So, when a rash or other skin outbreak mars our facial appearance, we may turn to an array of remedies to clear it up. But one type of facial rash doesn't respond well to these common ointments or creams. In fact, the standard approach may just make the condition worse.

The rash in question is peri-oral dermatitis. Literally "rash around the skin of the mouth," it has a red appearance as it erupts on the skin near or around the lips. The rash can happen to anyone of any age, but mainly in women 20-45. Although we're not fully sure of its underlying causes, peri-oral dermatitis may be related to the types of cosmetics and skin care we use. Incidences of it are higher in industrialized cultures with a heavy use of cosmetics.

Researchers also suspect a link between the rash and the prolonged use of steroids, an anti-inflammatory substance found in many skin treatment products. The steroid can cause the blood vessels in the skin to constrict and temporarily improve the skin's appearance. In just a few minutes, though, the rash may look worse than ever.

The takeaway here is to limit your use of topical steroids for skin ailments, especially if you're diagnosed with peri-oral dermatitis. In that case, you should stop using any topical steroid products, even non-prescription hydrocortisone and only wash your face with a mild soap. The rash may initially appear to flare even worse, but be patient, as it should begin to clear over time.

In extreme cases, your dentist can also prescribe antibiotics to help boost healing, usually something mild like doxycycline, minocycline, or tetracycline. Normally taken orally or sometimes applied topically, this antibiotic treatment can take several weeks before your skin shows any marked improvement.

So, if you've encountered a pesky facial rash that won't seem to go away, talk with your dentist. With their help, you may be able to find the right approach to relieve you of this irritating and unattractive condition.

If you would like more information on facial rashes, 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 “Rash Around the Mouth: Peri-Oral Dermatitis.”

By Anthony Gazzola, Jr., DMD
May 04, 2022
Category: Oral Health
Tags: retainer  
RemovableorFixedChoosingtheRightOrthodonticRetainerforYou

Anyone who's worn braces celebrates that day they finally come off. But while this marks the end of the actual teeth-straightening process, it's just the beginning of the next phase—wearing a retainer to preserve those hard-earned gains.

A retainer is a dental appliance that keeps or "retains" straightened teeth in their new positions. Without it, there's a high chance the teeth would rebound to where they were before through a kind of tissue memory within the gum ligaments. In essence, the same natural mechanism that allows us to move teeth with braces can also work in reverse.

Most people are familiar with the removable retainer and its benefits. Being able to remove the device makes it easier to brush and floss teeth, and it's a convenience if you only need to wear it part of the time. But removable retainers can easily be misplaced and lost, requiring purchase of a replacement. And, there's always the temptation to wear it less than the recommended time.

There's also an alternative appliance that's growing in popularity known as a bonded or non-removable retainer. These are usually a thin wire bonded with a composite dental material to the back of the teeth. Unlike the removable retainer, only a dentist can remove the bonded variety.

Its fixed nature is its biggest advantage—since it's in to stay, there's no need to keep up with it. And because it's positioned behind the teeth, no one need know about save the wearer and their orthodontist. The bonded retainer can, however, take a little getting used to the fixed wire against the teeth, and it can make flossing more difficult.

Although more rigid than the removable type, a bonded retainer could still break while biting and chewing. Wearers need to exercise caution biting into hard foods like apples to avoid damage—and the added expense of repairing or replacing it.

As you or a family member approaches the day the braces come off, you'll surely be discussing with your orthodontist which type of retainer is best in your situation. Either way, wearing a retainer is an absolute must if you're going to protect that new smile you've endured so much to achieve.

If you would like more information on straightening teeth through orthodontics, 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 “Bonded Retainers.”

By Anthony Gazzola, Jr., DMD
April 24, 2022
Category: Oral Health
Tags: teeth grinding   stress  
ChronicStressCouldBeDamagingYourDentalHealth

We're all quite familiar with the impact chronic stress can have on our minds and emotions. But stress can also take a toll on physical well-being, even basic physiology like pulse rate and blood pressure. It might also surprise you to know that stress could play a role in some dental problems.

April is Stress Awareness Month, an opportunity to look afresh at this unsettling problem that afflicts many in modern life. As dental care professionals, we focus on how stress could affect your teeth and what you can do to minimize that effect.

Stress is any physical or mental strain in response to a danger or peril in life. It can be a good thing, as the sudden stress a hiker feels upon meeting a bear in the woods, which can focus the mind to take life-saving action. And if expertly harnessed, the "butterflies" a musician feels right before a concert may also serve to improve their performance.

Stress becomes problematic, though, when it morphs into a chronic response to life in general. Besides health problems akin to those we've previously mentioned, chronic stress can give rise to nervous behaviors like fidgeting, smoking or binge eating.

Stress may also give rise to behaviors we don't even realize we're doing—and one such involuntary habit could impact your dental health. Teeth grinding is the gnashing or grinding of teeth together, or mindlessly chewing on a hard object like a pencil.

Although quite common and less concerning in children, it's another matter when it occurs in adulthood. The habit can accelerate the normal teeth wearing that accompanies aging. Abnormally high biting forces generated by grinding can also cause teeth weakened by disease to loosen or fracture.

There are ways to reduce the effects of grinding, like wearing a protective mouthguard or having your teeth altered to reduce the biting forces the habit can generate. But addressing the chronic stress underlying teeth grinding through the following ways could help reduce its frequency and occurrence.

Adopt a healthy lifestyle: Eating a nutritiously-balanced diet, exercising and getting enough quality sleep can help reduce stress.

Avoid drugs or alcohol: These mood-altering substances may help someone cope with stress, but they don't address the underlying issue, and they can create additional physical and emotional issues for the user.

Pursue relaxation: Meditation, biofeedback therapy or even pursuing a favorite hobby could help you better manage your response to life issues causing you stress.

Seek others' help: Sharing your life struggles with trusted friends, family, professionals, or therapy groups can help greatly reduce your experience of stress.

Reducing chronic stress will certainly improve your overall well-being. If you suffer from teeth grinding, it may also do wonders for your oral health.

If you would like more information about stress-related dental problems, please contact us or schedule a consultation. To learn more, read the Dear Doctor magazine article “Teeth Grinding.”





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