SOFTOUCH  DENTAL
Center For Aesthetic & Implant Dentistry
 
Jennifer N. Nguyen, D.M.D, F.A.D.I.A  & Associates
3232 W. Lake Mary Blvd. #1400
Lake Mary, FL. 32746  
     

 


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Additional Section
 


HOW TO GET A HEALTHY SMILE & KEEP IT FOR LIFE

If the eyes are considered a window to the soul, then the teeth are the door to the heart. A beautiful, healthy smile can open many doors...from career to relationship, a promotion, an important date.

Needless to say, we all want a nice, genuine smile. We want to see beautiful smiles where ever we go. How many of us were lucky enough to be born with a naturally beautiful smile? Studies have shown that over 85% of US population had some sort of "help" from the dentist, either getting their teeth straighten out, bleaching, bonding, or veneers...Since we are not all born with great teeth, how do we get a great smile and maintain it for life?

So how do you get a healthy smile?

I. Visit the dentist for a Complete Dental Examination.

II. Ask the dentist for a Salivary Genetic Test

III. Ask the dentist for a Smile Evaluation

I. What does the dentist look for during your Complete Dental Examination?

1. Your gums:

- Presence of bleeding gums and deep gum pockets means gingivitis/periodontal disease. Do you know there is a gum disease caused by P. gingivalis that can destroy the supporting structure of your teeth? This includes your gum and the underlying bone surrounding the teeth. It is the silence killer of your teeth, since you can have this gum disease for years without any pain or any sign or symptoms.

2. Your teeth:

- Early decay (cavity) caused by S. mutans utilizing sugar, and secreting acid destroying tooth structure

- Enamel erosion/abrasion - tooth ditching at the gum line caused by acidic foods/drink, aggressive brushing or excessive teeth clenching/grinding

- Leaky silver fillings , fractured tooth

- Decalcification - white spots on teeth - weak enamel

3. Your bite - TMD (Temporal Mandibular Disorder)

- The dentist can check for a specific wear pattern on your teeth

- Sign, symptom of TMD: chipping teeth, fracture teeth, teeth become sharp over time that you can feel with your tongue, frequent headache, pain in the jaw joint

II. Salivary Genetic Test

- It is the diagnostic test of the new millennium. A PCR-DNA testing can identify specific bacteria causing disease in the mouth, helping dentists to tailor specific treatment/prevention for you.

III. Smile Evaluation

- Only have your smile make-over after the dentist's examining your gum for periodontal disease. To have a smile make-over on unhealthy gums is a waste of your time and investment. You don't want to build your house on sand for the same reason. Ask the dentist if you need a regular cleaning or a "deep/root cleaning" prior to any smile make-over.

- After the teeth cleaning, a smile make-over involves taking intra-oral photos of your teeth, making a model of your upper and lower teeth, assessing your bite.

- To see your future smile, the dentist can place "wax" on your your teeth model. This called a "Wax-Up." It will serve as a map to plan for your future smile. You could also get a digital image of your future smile, called "Dental Imaging"

- Do bleach your teeth prior to a smile make-over, so the dentist can match the shade of your teeth. There are usually three options to transform any smile into a gorgeous smile: from a simple enamel reshaping, to bonding and veneers. This takes tremendous skill by the dentist. Don't forget to ask for photos of actual patient cases. Ask the dentist for his/her recommendation for your specific need.

- Never choose the dentist solely on the fee.  Since all bondings and veneers are not made the same. Dentists use different types of cement and bonding agents. This is just a small variation in technique, but it could mean along term success or failure.

- Have a specific "dental budget" in mind when having a smile make-over. This is the amount of money you are comfortable with to pursue your new smile. For example, do you want a ten, twenty or forty thousand dollars car? How are you going to finance for it?

 

If you already have a healthy smile, tips to maintain a healthy smile

1. Brush at least twice a day, floss once a day before bedtime. Place your toothbrush at a 45 degree angle toward the gum line and use a small circular motion. Brush for at least 3 minutes. Change your toothbrush every 3 months. Don't forget to clean your tongue with a tongue scraper.

2. Use additional fluoride such as fluoride rinse or brush-on gel. Do not rinse with over-the-counter products that contain alcohol. Long term use can cause dry mouth, sensitive teeth and oral cancer.

3. If your are in a restaurant or in a car, rinse/swish with water. Finish a meal with an apple, carrot, celery, or sugarless gum. Keep a travel inter-proximal brush and floss in your purse, in your car, by your bed, so it is more convenience for you to get to.

4. Always include fruits, vegetables and a non fat yogurt ( calcium for your teeth) in your diet

5. If you cannot stay away from sugary food, eat the whole portion one time during the day. For example, if you want to eat a chocolate bar, eat the whole bar at one time, preferably after dinner, then go rinse/brush/floss/swish with fluoride. Never snack on it all day long. Why? If you eat 1 chocolate bar all at one time, you get 1 "acid attack." If you eat 1 chocolate bar, divide it by morning, afternoon and night time; you get 3 "acid attacks" and so on. Your chances of getting a cavity will be 3 times greater. Do not munch on sweet all day long.

6. Do not sip on sugar containing beverage all day long. These include carbonated soda, sport drinks such as Gatorade. It is like bathing your teeth with acid. You will get rampant decay (cavity) and enamel erosion - weaken the outer layer of your teeth. Do drink tea without adding cream or sugar. Do not smoke. Most of our patients who smoke, have severe root decay in a later years which require full mouth rehabilitation.

7. If you have a history of fractured teeth, wear a protective custom guard. In some severe cases, a bite adjustment and an orthotic device made by a dentist can correct the bad bite and stop the grinding and headache. A bad bite can go under diagnosed, leading to severe wear, fractured teeth, short teeth and loss of teeth.

8. Walk/jog alone or with your dog at least 3-4 times a week. So what does exercise get to do with your teeth? Exercise regularly stimulates the release of endorphin - a chemical that makes you feel "happy." When you're happy, you are more motivated to take care of yourself and others :-) If you don't have time to join a gym, get the Wii "My Fitness Coach"

9. If you have diabetes, hypertension, high cholesterol, ask the dentist for a prescription of fluoride, saliva substitute; since side effects from medications can cause dry mouth, leading to severe recurrent decay and tooth loss . Saliva acts as a buffer in increasing the pH in your mouth. When the pH of saliva drops below 5.5, decay will occur. Your salivary flow decreases when you sleep, this is why we recommend brushing and flossing before bedtime. If you have acid reflux - GERD (Gastro-Esophageal Reflux Disease), rinse with fluoride, then brush. Do not brush immediately as you might get enamel abrasion, erosion. Surgery can be done if you get it 3-4 times a day. Talk to your physician.

10. Finally, visit the dentist regularly for a preventative check-up and cleaning at least twice a year. The dentist is trained to see hidden problems you cannot. A small cavity only needs a filling. Waiting another year, the cavity gets deeper into the pulp, you can no longer have a filling, but to save the tooth, you will need a root canal, a crown (cap). The cost to fix the tooth will be substantially higher and the prognosis to save the tooth is poorer.

Remember, loss of teeth is a never ending problem in dental health

In summary, to keep a healthy smile, brush, floss, think before you eat/drink, get regular exercise and visit the dentist twice a year. After all, there is a strong connection between your mouth, your body and your over all health.

Dr. Jennifer N. Nguyen is currently practice at SofTouch-Dental, PLLC. The practice primarily focused on comprehensive adult dental health including full mouth reconstruction utilizing laser, implant and aesthetic to restore teeth and gums. For contact information, visit www.softouch-dental.com or (407) 323-1010