Wednesday, March 23, 2016

How Does a Cavity Happen?

A cavity is a hole in the tooth left behind after the removal of tooth decay. Cavities are caused by bacteria in the mouth that will build up over time. Culprits to the development of cavities are the absence or lack of proper daily oral hygiene routines, skipping biyearly dental cleaning visits and poor eating habits. Both children and adults are susceptible to the development of cavities.

How a Cavity Develops

Everyone needs food to survive. Unfortunately, the bacteria contained in your mouth also need food — to produce the harmful acids that erode tooth enamel. You’ve probably heard that sugary foods and sweets are bad for your teeth; however, it’s actually any carbohydrate that’s the culprit. Simple carbs known as fermentable carbohydrates are found in foods like bread, crackers, cereal, chips — even bananas. The sugars react with the bacteria and begin to dissolve the protective layer of the teeth.

In its earliest stages, tooth decay manifests with a white spot. At this stage, further damage can be prevented by professional fluoride treatments. If left unchecked, the acids will continue to eat through the tooth enamel — causing lasting damage to the tooth. The only thing left to do at this point is remove the decay and fill the cavity. The longer the problem goes untreated, the more severe it can become; decay can reach all the way to the nerve of the tooth.

Risk Factors for Cavities 

Some people are more likely to get cavities than others. For example, young children are susceptible because their new teeth don’t have strong enamel. Baby bottle tooth decay, as its known, is very common in youngsters and can cause serious cavities within a short period of time.

For adults, cavities are often caused by periodontal disease. Dry mouth and certain medications can cause this problem. Saliva is important because it washes away harmful bacteria and acids, so anything that causes a decrease in saliva production can contribute to tooth decay.

Sometimes, tooth decay occurs underneath fillings, crowns, or other restorations — especially if the restoration is cracked or placed incorrectly.

Cavity Prevention

Regular dental examinations and cleanings can prevent cavities from forming. For patients of all ages, early detection is key. Although home dental care such as regular brushing and flossing is important, only a professional cleaning can remove harmful tartar buildup. In addition, your dentist can protect your teeth with fluoride treatments and sealants — minimizing your risk of developing cavities.

Schedule Your Appointment 

Don’t take your chances with cavities — schedule your appointment with Dr. Richard Stuart today by calling 317-660-6223. Dr. Stuart and his friendly staff are proud to serve Indianapolis; services offered include preventive dentistry and cosmetic dentistry for patients of all ages.

Thursday, March 10, 2016

What are Hybrid Dentures?

If you have lost most or all of your teeth, denture options can range from traditional, adhesive-based dentures and bridges, to the stable, fixed implant-supported dentures. One of the most reliable denture options, and growing in popularity are hybrid dentures.

Hybrid dentures offer the strength and stability of a fixed denture restoration, as well as the advantages of a removable denture. The denture is fixed in place using dental implants, but can be removed by the dentist or hygienist for professional cleanings. Hybrid dentures are a great solution when there is significant bone loss in the jaw, but patients want the convenience of having a “fixed” denture.

Advantages of Hybrid Dentures

  • Comfort: Hybrid dentures are customized to fit the natural face shape and jaw line. Because they replace the natural teeth without covering the palate, dentures don’t cause the mouth shape to alter and don’t feel bulky or too big. 
  • Stability: Hybrid dentures are fixed in place using biocompatible and durable titanium or zirconium implants that fuse to existing jaw bone. Once the implants have been surgically placed and given time to heal, the implants are fitted with an abutment upon which the dentures are securely fitted.  
  • Minimally-Invasive: Although implants are surgically placed below the gum line, they take the place of the natural root and the procedure usually requires minor sedation and pain relief. The process itself can take as little as a couple of hours from start to finish, and recovery from the procedure is rapid. 
  • Health: Hybrid dentures replaces gum tissue with pink acrylic between the teeth to allow for correct positioning and appearance. This means the dentures are often indistinguishable from natural teeth when it comes to everyday activities, including eating and drinking, speaking and smiling. Hybrid dentures allow patients to bite and chew without restriction, which stimulates the remaining bone and prevents further loss to bone and tissue. 
  • Aesthetics: Hybrid dentures are created using resilient, durable and natural-looking materials, and are customized to fit the individual. Because they are retained using dental implants that are below the gum line and not visible, the new dentures look natural and fit closely to the gum line. 
  • Dental Well-being: Hybrid dentures can help patients regain control of their dental health. Hybrid dentures must be kept clean through daily brushing and with the help of regular visits to the dentist for a thorough, professional cleaning. 

Hybrid dentures are not for everyone, and a full analysis of the jaw bone, existing mouth structure and dental health will be required before establishing a treatment plan. And though they are durable and resilient, hybrid dentures may need to be repaired after years of wear. However, if you are interested in hybrid dentures as a permanent solution for missing teeth, ask your dentist whether you would be a good candidate for this remarkable and reliable denture option.

Contact Dr. Richard J Stuart to schedule an appointment and find out more about hybrid dentures.