Sports mouthguard is an absolute necessity

Posted by Dr. Edward Magida | Filed under , , , ,

I can't stress enough the importance of wearing a properly fitting mouthguard because I have seen the damage that can be done to a person's mouth during a sporting event.

Not too long ago I had to treat a young man who was on his high school lacrosse team. Due to the nature of the game, the players wear helmets to protect themselves from getting hit by the ball and the sticks. My patient was hit in the front of his mouth with a lacrosse stick while he was on the sideline, not actually in the game at that moment. It was an accident and the friend who hit him unintentionally had no idea how this small mistake would change this young man's life.

My patient came to the office with a severely fractured front tooth. It was an upper central incisor, the first one you look at when a person smiles. Its prognosis was hopeless. There are lots of things dentists can do to restore mutilated teeth, but sometimes things are not possible. This was one of those times. The tooth was absolutely beyond hope.

The young man was sent to see a local periodontist who placed an implant in the area where the fractured tooth used to be. For six months my patient had to wear a "flipper" which is a one tooth partial denture used to temporarily fill in the space left when the broken tooth was removed. For a front tooth, which is missing, six months can seem like a long time. After the required waiting time had passed and the implant had healed in the bone, I made a porcelain crown to fit the implant and make the patient's smile look normal again.

The simplest way to protect your teeth, jaws and TM joint is to wear a properly constructed mouthguard appropriately made for the type of sport you play.
The young man who lost his front tooth showed me his "guard," and I use that term loosely. It was not form fitted to his teeth. Actually it was just a thin piece of plastic he was supposed to bite on that wasn't fitted to anything.

When I recently went to a local sporting goods store to see what is available, I was appalled. Most of the ones being sold are either thin pieces of plastic that are absolutely worthless and can't protect teeth, or they are the so called "boil and bite" type, where you heat the plastic up with hot water and bite into it to make a lasting imprint of your teeth. The problem with these types of guards is that it is difficult to determine if the person had bit down hard enough to get a nice even mold of the teeth. Also, even if the teeth are securely covered by the plastic, the person might have bit down a little crooked in the soft plastic so now the bite is off and this can actually decrease playing ability.

The type of plastic used is critical. A properly made sportsguard fabricated from dental impressions should be made from laminated, very tough material.
The saying "you get what you pay for" is absolutely true when it comes to proper protection for your mouth.

Anyone who plays a sport that has the slightest possibility of causing damage to his or her mouth should have a dentist fabricate a well-fitting guard.

Makeovers - Maybe It's Time to Smile

Posted by Dr. Edward Magida | Filed under , , , ,

The other night my wife was watching a reality TV show called "Extreme Makeovers". Don’t tell anyone but I was watching it also. This is a show where people start out as ugly ducklings and then are incredibly transformed into swans by the end of the show. This magic is done with the help of plastic surgery, fitness experts and cosmetic dentistry. This particular episode had a shy young woman named Amy who looked to be in her twenties. You could really tell that this woman had suffered in her youth from the teasing brought on by the way she looked. That problem about herself that bothered her the most was her teeth. She spent most of her life with oddly spaced, discolored ugly teeth. This problem affected her self confidence so much, that she rarely smiled or even spoke to anyone. Her cosmetic dentistry makeover consisted of porcelain veneers and teeth whitening. The porcelain veneers are thin shells of porcelain which are bonded to her existing teeth. The beauty of this procedure is that in one feel swoop, a dentist can correct color imperfections, size problems and also spacing issues. The veneers, being made of porcelain, appear perfectly lifelike and natural. They can lighten dark teeth, lengthen teeth shortened by the ravages of time, and straighten teeth for those people who might not have had the ability to get braces when they were younger.

This process was painless and the results were quickly seen. For her teeth that did not receive veneers, a bleaching process lightened them to match the veneers.
When Amy saw her teeth for the first time, she started sobbing. She just couldn’t believe the difference her teeth made in her overall appearance. Amy felt that just the improvement in her teeth alone would make a big change in her life. It gave her the boost in confidence she needed to get out and join the rest of the world. This young woman’s happiness was so evident and extreme, that my wife sat there with tears streaming down her face. My wife was amazed at the effect cosmetic dentistry had on this woman. I wasn’t surprised because I see it all the time. The advances in cosmetic dentistry have made it easier and more predictable than ever.

If you, or a family member or friend have been thinking about changing your appearance, consider improving your smile. Most people notice a nice smile on someone’s face above everything else. A nice smile will definitely improve a person’s self confidence. Who knows, this might also lead to a better job and a higher quality of life. Ask your dentist for an opinion about what can be done for you. You will be glad you did.

Do you have that "Long in the tooth look?"

Posted by Dr. Edward Magida | Filed under , , ,

Have you ever seen someone smile and it seems that their teeth are really long? You know what I mean. The teeth look like the teeth of a snarling dog, at least 50% longer than what they should be. Well, before you sign them up with Barnum and Bailey, you should realize that the teeth really haven't grown longer. Rather the gums have shortened. This can happen for many reasons. Because the gums no longer cover the roots of the persons' teeth, like they did years ago, the teeth appear longer. Many people have this condition called "gum recession". When it occurs in the front of the mouth, it can really make a persons smile seem older. When it occurs on the back teeth, it does not have that aging effect, but there are still problems that can develop. When the gums recede and the roots of the teeth are now exposed, the teeth can become more prone to tooth decay, due to the root surface not having any enamel on it. The exposed roots can also become more sensitive to hot and/or cold temperatures more easily.

How do your gums recede?. Healthy gum tissue attaches to the teeth near the bottom of the enamel part of the tooth. The gum tissue completely covers the necks of the teeth. There are certain instances when the gums pull away from the necks of the teeth. This condition is called recession, and it can happen in the following ways:

The most common way is for the gums to actually be worn away, because the person brushes their teeth incorrectly and/or too hard. You should only use a soft toothbrush to clean your teeth. Leave your medium and hard toothbrushes out of your bathroom. Perhaps your tool box is the correct place for them, to help clean your tools. Never use a front to back sawing motion to brush as it could harm the delicate gum tissues.

Gum, or periodontal disease, can also be a cause of gum recession. This disease causes the bone to shrink around the teeth. The gums can also shrink and pull away from the teeth.

Smokers tend to have more gum disease since the smoke causes the gums to not maintain their strength and attachment to the teeth.

Oral jewelry, such as a tongue bar, can rub away the gums from the necks of the teeth.

If you find yourself in the same boat as millions of others, that is with recession, what should be done? Well, many times nothing needs to be done. If the recession is not too bad, you just want to not cause any more recession.. Many times all this means is a change in the way you brush your teeth. Obviously cutting down or eliminating smoking will also help. While you're at it, keep the hardware, meaning your tongue piercings, on the shelf. Metal does not belong in a persons' mouth, period. If you have receding gums and do not have sensitivity to hot, cold or sweet things, that's great. As long as the recession stays in check you do not have to do anything.

However, if temperature and /or sweet things cause pain to your teeth, or if your dentist tells you that you are now starting to get cavities around the necks of the teeth (which used to be covered by the gums), then you might want to do some things.

Using a prescription strength fluoride toothpaste or mouthrinse is one way to combat the pain that develops in the teeth. The fluoride helps to stop the pain caused by temperature. It will also help prevent the occurrence of root cavities, which can happen because the now uncovered roots do not have any enamel protection like the rest of the tooth.

You can also use one of the "desensitizing type" toothpastes that have been formulated to stop the pain and sensitivity from developing.

Lastly, if your recession is rather severe and your teeth look funny because a lot of gum is missing, your dentist might suggest getting a "gum graft". This is a procedure where gum tissue from another part of your mouth is put in the areas where it is missing. Since it is your own tissue it should attach itself in the new area and replace the gum tissue you lost. After a few weeks the gum tissue in the new area blends in with the old gum and your smile looks younger because you are not " so long in the tooth" anymore.

Dentistry... ENJOY!!

Posted by Dr. Edward Magida | Filed under , , ,

Over the years, I have found there to be a sort of universal saying that goes along with anything pertaining to food or eating. It used to be that I noticed it when I frequented Chinese restaurants. I would place my family's order, usually ordering way more than we needed for that meal so we could take home the rest for the next day, and then I would dig into the noodles on the table. Upon the waitpersons' arrival and serving our feast, he or she would always, and I mean always, upon placing the last dish, say "enjoy". Enjoy... as if the kitchen staff had gone out of their way to make all this food only for my family that night. Enjoy.... just hearing it being said after our meal was served made me feel great, like royalty.

Nowadays, it seems like I hear it being said all the time. Whenever we eat out, the server emphatically states "enjoy", before departing our table. I would like to think that the establishment is proud of the food they serve and are grateful that we want to spend our hard earned money there. I feel like my presence is recognized by this saying..."enjoy". Recently, while buying groceries at a local supermarket I had the same type of encounter. After loading all the goodies into my cart, the cashier looked up and stated a sincere "enjoy". The interesting thing is that now some of the individual food manufacturers are placing this on their foodstuffs. I was opening a can of peaches for a snack when I noticed that it said on the top of the can "Enjoy by 7/9/04". By this point I'm sure all of you are wondering why a dentist is writing all this stuff. Well, there is a reason for my madness, so to speak.

I stated before that the saying "enjoy" goes with things associated with food and eating. While it is possible to eat some foods without teeth, having them surely improves the process. I would like to group all kinds of things dentists see and do on a daily basis into one sentence, and then follow things with my new favorite word. For the person who finally gets the willpower to have all his hurting teeth taken care of... for the person who finally finds out that replacing your missing teeth makes your life better... for the person who has lost her self esteem because of an accident that knocked her front teeth out, and has finally decided to get some implants and crowns to get her beautiful smile back... to the elderly person in a nursing home whose denture keeps dropping out and has finally decided to have a new one made...to the people that have all their life not smiled a lot because they had teeth that were too dark or crooked or chipped or any combination of these, and have finally had a beautiful set of porcelain veneers or crowns placed... ENJOY!!!

Consider Changing Your Toothbrush

Posted by Dr. Edward Magida | Filed under , , , ,

Does your toothbrush look like you’ve been cleaning all the statues in New York City?

Do the bristles go in every direction, like a cartoon depicting someone’s hair while they get shocked by electricity?

Does the receipt for your toothbrush show it actually was purchased many years ago at a 5 and 10 cent store for only a dime?

Maybe it’s time to consider starting fresh and tossing your old friend and replacing it with a new toothbrush.  Studies have shown that the germs in your mouth easily contaminate the bristles, and get spread around as you brush your teeth.

It is wise to rinse the brush after using, and allow the brush to dry out first before using it again, since this will help control the spread of these germs. The use of two brushes, alternating between them, will help this process.  In a healthy person, you should replace the brush every three-four months.

Patients who have colds (or flu virus) should replace the toothbrush when the cold is over.  People with chronic conditions as well as those with oral inflammatory conditions, i.e. gum disease, should replace their toothbrushes more frequently as well as immersing their brushes into an antimicrobial mouthwash for 15-20 seconds when done using them.

Toothpastes containing triclosan appear to significantly reduce the microbial contamination on the brush.  Do not store toothbrushes in a room that has a toilet as it has been shown that flushing sends up a large amount of tiny droplets, which could contaminate the brush.

Electric toothbrush heads should be changed just as often.  If the person has braces on, then change the head every two-three months.

Toothbrushes are a vital element in maintaining good oral hygiene but they do need to be cleaned and replaced on a timely basis to be as effective as possible.

Bleach Your Teeth in One Hour - absolutely amazing

Posted by Dr. Edward Magida | Filed under , , ,

There are several ways to bleach one's teeth. At home bleaching can be done with bleaching trays that are molded to your mouth. Into these trays you apply a viscous gel and wear the tray for several hours during the day, or overnight. This method takes about 2-3 weeks before your teeth are bleached as much as they are going to. Then there are the whitening strips that you apply to your teeth. These also take a few weeks to work. Both of these methods take time to whiten your teeth as much as they can, which can vary depending upon the concentration of the bleaching material, the amount of contact the material has against the teeth, and quite honestly, whether you actually do the homework needed and actually put these materials onto your teeth properly. I say this because some people have the best of intentions but stop using the products too soon, for many reasons.

I have the solution... one hour in-office bleaching. It takes the guesswork out of the procedure because the dental personnel perform it on you, plus it only takes about an hour. This means it's a one stop visit to dazzling teeth. I can honestly say that the results are amazing because I recently had the procedure done to my own teeth and I am very impressed with the results I got. My teeth were on the dark side so I was skeptical, but when the treatment was finished, my teeth looked great.

The active ingredient is a hydrogen peroxide gel that is placed on the teeth. This gel is activated by a strong metal halide light that is positioned in front of your mouth. The machine controlling the light looks like the robot in the "Jetson's," so it has been named "Rosie." Every 20 minutes new gel is placed on your teeth, and this cycle is repeated 3 times. Since I was watching cable TV at the time the whole procedure seemed to go pretty quick. You could bring a movie to watch also if you wanted to.

As a dentist, I have seen many new products come and go. This product really works. Saying that it takes too much time to whiten your teeth is no longer a good reason not to do this. As long as you are at least 14 years old you can get the procedure done. Call your dental office for more details about this phenomenal service, you'll be glad you did. You might even smile more.