Dentist - Chicago
220-222 W. Huron, Suite 4002
Chicago, IL 60654
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Posts for: November, 2012

By Reuben D. Collins, DDS
November 27, 2012
Category: Oral Health
IsYourFavoriteDrinkDissolvingYourTeeth

If you like soft drinks and carbonated colas, beware. Acids in these drinks may be dissolving the minerals in your teeth — a process called chemical erosion. And don't think that natural fruit juices or sports and high energy drinks are any better than sodas. They also contain acids that dissolve the surface enamel of your teeth. Once your enamel is lost, it is gone forever. It cannot naturally recover.

Sadly, teeth in children and teenagers — an age group most likely to drink large quantities of soda and juices — may be more easily eroded by acids. These youngsters have not had long-term exposure to fluorides which harden tooth enamel and protects them from acid erosion.

The Difference between Erosion and Decay
Chemical erosion is not the same as tooth decay (cavities). In chemical erosion, acids in your mouth react directly with minerals in the outer enamel of your teeth. In the case of tooth decay, bacteria in dental plaque (a bacterial film that forms on your teeth) utilize the sugars in the drinks and produce acids that attack your teeth.

After Acidic Exposure, Wait 30 Minutes to an Hour before Brushing
You may think that the solution to chemical erosion is to brush the acidic solution from your teeth as soon after drinking them as possible. But tooth brushing immediately after can actually accelerate chemical erosion and make it worse. After they are bathed in an acidic solution, minerals in the tooth surface become partially dissolved. Brushing at this time may brush away the affected layer. If you wait a half hour to an hour, your saliva will have time to neutralize the acids and harden the tooth surface by adding minerals back into it.

Drinks Less Likely to Cause Dental Erosion
Instead of drinking colas and sports drinks, stick to water and/or milk, which have the added benefit of supplying calcium to help add minerals back to the tooth surface.

If you must sip on juices or soft drinks, try to do so only at mealtimes. This is preferable to drinking them all day long, which leaves your teeth constantly bathed in an acid solution. Avoid swishing the drinks in your mouth, and sip them with a straw to reduce contact between acidic drinks and your teeth.

Contact us today to schedule an appointment to discuss your questions about acid erosion of teeth. You can also learn more by reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “Dental Erosion.”


By Reuben D. Collins, DDS
November 19, 2012
Category: Dental Procedures
DentalImplantsQuiz

How much do you know about dental implants? Test yourself with this quiz.

  1. Earliest recorded attempts at using dental implants were from
    1. Medieval England
    2. The ancient Mayans
    3. U.S.A. in the 1950s
  2. Dental implants are called endosseous. What does this mean?
    1. They fuse with the bone
    2. They are inside the mouth
    3. They are not real teeth
  3. What are most dental implants made of?
    1. Aluminum
    2. Titanium
    3. Steel
  4. What part of the tooth does an implant replace?
    1. The implant is the root replacement
    2. The implant is the root plus the crown
    3. The implant is the crown
  5. What is the success rate of dental implants?
    1. 50 percent or less
    2. 75 percent
    3. 95 percent or more
  6. What could cause an implant to fail?
    1. Smoking or drug use
    2. Poor bone quality and quantity at the implant site
    3. Both of the above
  7. What is a tooth's emergence profile?
    1. The implant and crown's shape as it emerges from beneath the gum line
    2. A measure of the urgency of the tooth replacement
    3. A measure of the time it takes for you to be able to chew on the new implant
  8. What are some of the factors that go into the aesthetics of designing the crown?
    1. Choice of materials
    2. Color matching
    3. Both of the above
Answers:
  1. b. The concept of dental implants goes back to the Mayan civilization in 600 AD.
  2. a. The word endosseous (from endo meaning within and osseo meaning bone) refers to the implant's ability to fuse with or integrate with the bone in which it is placed.
  3. b. Most implants are made of a titanium alloy, a metallic substance that is not rejected by the body and is able to fuse with the bone.
  4. a. The term “implant” refers to the root replacement, which is anchored in the gum and bone. A crown is put around the implant where it emerges from the gumline.
  5. c. The majority of studies have shown long term success rates of over 95 percent.
  6. c. Factors that could cause an implant to fail include general health concerns such as smoking and drug use, osteoporosis, or a compromised immune system; poor bone quality or quantity; and poor maintenance such as lack of proper brushing and flossing.
  7. a. The emergence profile has a lot to do with the implant's natural appearance. It involves the way the crown, which attaches to the implant, seemingly emerges through the gum tissue like a natural tooth.
  8. c. Choices such as materials, color, and position can be worked out in the design of a customized temporary crown, which acts as a template or blueprint for a final crown.

Contact us today to schedule an appointment to discuss your questions about dental implants. You can also learn more by reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “Matching Teeth & Implants.”


By Reuben D. Collins, DDS
November 08, 2012
Category: Dental Procedures
MimickingLifeWithTooth-ColoredFillings

The goal of restorative dentistry is to return the teeth to full form (shape) and function. For years, a key tool for achieving this goal has been through the use of metal amalgams (silver looking dental fillings). However, this technique does have some disadvantages. One is the fact that they can involve removal of healthy tooth structure to retain them. Too much “undercutting” can undermine and weaken a tooth resulting in less resistance to biting forces possibly leading to fatigue fractures and cracked tooth syndrome. Another approach is call “biomimetic” which literally means mimicking life. This approach to dentistry is made possible through the structured use of tooth-like materials such as composite resins. Scientific studies and clinical experience have validated their use as both safe and predictable.

By mimicking life, we rely upon our delicate balance of artistry, experience and expertise to provide you with properly restored teeth that function and wear normally, while appearing indistinguishable from natural teeth. Dental composite are now the most commonly used materials for tooth-colored adhesive restorations and have properties similar to a natural tooth's enamel and dentin. They consist of resin which are plastic and fillers made of silica (a form of glass). The fillers give the composites wear resistance and translucency (see through properties). However, most of the properties of enamel are also mimicked quite well by dental porcelains. Porcelains are a form of ceramic, that are formed by the action of heat. Dental porcelains come in all colors and shades so we can easily and perfectly match the color of virtually any natural tooth. As for longevity, porcelain is typically your best option because it is the closest option in mimicking a natural tooth.

To learn more on this subject, you can continue reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “The Natural Beauty of Tooth Colored Fillings.” Or contact us today to schedule an appointment to discuss your specific questions.