Although we've known for some time how tooth decay forms, it's still prevalent across the population—even more so than cancer or heart disease. Along with gum disease, it's a leading cause of tooth loss.
Fortunately, our knowledge about tooth decay has grown considerably, to the point that we now recognize a number of risk factors that make it more likely a person will develop this disease. By first identifying them in individual patients, we can take steps to address them specifically to reduce the chances of this destructive disease.
Genetics. Researchers have identified around 40 to 50 genes that can influence cavity development. The best way to assess your genetic risk is through family history—if numerous close family members contend with tooth decay, your risk may be high. If so, it's important to be extra vigilant with addressing other areas over which you have more control.
Saliva. Cavities are directly caused by oral acid, a byproduct of bacteria, that can erode tooth enamel over prolonged contact. This is minimized, though, through a normal saliva flow that neutralizes acid and helps remineralize enamel. But poor saliva production can slow acid neutralization. You can improve your saliva flow by drinking more water, changing medications or using saliva-boosting products.
Oral hygiene. You can reduce bacteria (and thus acid) by removing their "room and board"—dental plaque. This accumulating film of food particles harbors the bacteria that feed on it. Daily brushing and flossing, accompanied by regular dental cleanings, effectively removes dental plaque, which in turn lowers the levels of oral bacteria and acid.
Dental-friendly diet. Even if you diligently address the previous risk factors, your diet may fight against your efforts. Diets high in processed and refined foods, especially sugar, provide abundant food sources for bacteria. On the other hand, a diet primarily of whole foods rich in vitamins (especially D) and minerals like calcium and phosphorous strengthen teeth against decay.
Preventing tooth decay isn't a "one-size-fits-all" approach. By identifying your own particular risk, we can craft a care strategy that can be your best defense against this destructive dental disease.
Mike Tyson made a splash when he faced off against sharks during the Discovery Channel's Shark Week 2020. But there's bigger news for fans of the former undisputed world heavyweight champion: After a 15-year absence, he will enter the ring again for two exhibition matches in the Fall. However, it's not just Tyson's boxing action that made news during his 20-year career. His teeth have also gotten their fair share of press.
Tyson used to be known for two distinctive gold-capped teeth in the front left side of his mouth. He made headlines when he lost one of the shiny caps—not from a blow by a fellow pugilist but from being headbutted by his pet tiger as Tyson leaned in for a kiss. Tyson's teeth again garnered attention when he had his recognizable gold caps replaced with tooth-colored restorations. But the world champion may be best known, dentally at least, for his trademark tooth gap, or “diastema” in dentist-speak. Several years ago, he had the gap closed in a dental makeover, but he soon regretted the move. After all, the gap was a signature look for him, so he had it put back in.
That's one thing about cosmetic dentistry: With today's advanced technology and techniques, you can choose a dental makeover to suit your individual taste and personality.
An obvious example is teeth whitening. This common cosmetic treatment is not a one-size-fits-all option. You can choose whether you want eye-catching Hollywood white or a more natural shade.
If your teeth have chips or other small imperfections, bonding may be the solution for you. In dental bonding, tooth-colored material is placed on your tooth in layers and then hardened with a special light. The material is matched to your other teeth so the repaired tooth fits right in. This procedure can usually be done in just one office visit.
For moderate flaws or severe discoloration, porcelain veneers can dramatically improve your appearance. These thin, tooth-colored shells cover the front surface of the tooth—the side that shows when you smile. Veneers are custom-crafted for the ideal individualized look.
Dental crowns can restore single teeth or replace missing teeth as part of a dental bridge. Again, they are manufactured to your specifications. With restorations like crowns and veneers, the smallest detail can be replicated to fit in with your natural teeth—even down to the ridges on the tooth's surface.
And if, like Mike Tyson, you have a gap between your teeth that makes your smile unique, there's no reason to give that up if you opt for a smile makeover. Whether you would like a small cosmetic enhancement or are looking for a more dramatic transformation, we can work with you to devise a treatment plan that is right for you.
If you would like more information about smile-enhancing dental treatments, please contact us or schedule a consultation. You can learn more in the Dear Doctor magazine article “Cosmetic Dentistry: A Time for Change.”
Oral hygiene forms an integral part of overall body hygiene and health. When you get braces or aligners on your teeth, it becomes difficult to clean the teeth. But that makes it even more important to follow a meticulous oral hygiene practice. A sticky film called plaque forms on the tooth, and it contains bacteria. Frequent brushing can remove this plaque, and if not removed, it harms the teeth and gums. Dr. Chris Wermerson of Wermerson Orthodontics, who is a specialist in Orthodontics in Sioux Falls, SD, says oral hygiene in this period is a factor that can't be overlooked.
Orthodontics in Sioux Falls, SD
Brushing should be done using either a soft-bristle toothbrush or bi-level brush which has shorter bristles in the middle and longer ones in the edges. It is ideal to brush 3 times a day when you are undergoing orthodontic treatment. Brushing should cover all surfaces of the tooth but the act of brushing shouldn't dislodge the braces. An electric toothbrush is also acceptable, provided the speed is moderate and the back of the brush doesn't hit the braces.
All advanced treatments in Orthodontics in Sioux Falls, SD, are available at Wermerson Orthodontics.
Fluoride toothpaste or rinse suggested by your dentist will help to fight tooth decay. Patients may find excuses not to floss when they have braces on the teeth but once a day is mandatory. Other oral hygiene tools such as interdental toothbrushes are also available. It is a good idea to avoid sticky and hard foods such as chewing gum, caramel, chewy candy, nuts, and hard candy as they can harm the braces and wires.
Lack of proper oral hygiene will lead to decay in teeth and gum diseases. So evaluation of oral hygiene by your dentist and professional cleanings during regular check-ups are essential.
For more information regarding orthodontics services in Sioux Falls, SD, schedule an appointment with Dr. Chris Wermerson of Wermerson Orthodontics by calling (605) 274-0555 today.
Even masterpiece paintings need an appropriate frame. Likewise, our gums help bring out our teeth's beauty.
But gums are more than enhancements for our smile appearance—they're also critical to good oral health. In recognition of National Gum Care Month, there are a couple of reasons why you should look after your gums just like you do your teeth.
For one, the gums are primarily responsible for holding teeth in place. With healthy gums, the teeth won't budge even under chewing stress (although this attachment does allow for micro-movements). Diseased gums, however, are another story: Advancing gum disease weakens gum attachment, causing teeth to loosen and eventually give way.
The gums also protect the root end of teeth from pathogens and oral acid, just as enamel protects the crown. Gum disease can also foul up this protective mechanism as infected gums have a tendency to shrink away from the teeth (also known as gum recession). This exposes the roots to an increased risk for disease.
So, taking care of your gums is an essential part of taking care of your teeth. And, the basic care for them is the same as for your pearly whites: daily brushing and flossing and regular dental cleanings. These habits remove the buildup of dental plaque, a thin film of food and bacteria that cause gum disease.
It's also important to keep a watchful eye for any signs of gum abnormalities. Be on the alert for unusual gum redness, swelling and bleeding. Because these may be indicators of an infection already underway, you should see us for an examination as soon as possible.
If we find gum disease, we can begin immediate treatment in the form of comprehensive plaque removal. If the disease has advanced to the root, we may need to access this area surgically to remove any infection. So, the sooner we're able to diagnose and treat an infection, the less likely that scenario will occur.
Ironically, something meant to protect your gums could also damage them. You can do this with excessive and overly aggressive brushing. Putting too much "elbow grease" into brushing, as well as doing it more than a couple of times a day, could eventually cause the gums to recede. Instead, apply only the same degree of pressure to brushing as you would while writing with a pencil.
As we like to tell our patients, take care of your mouth, and your mouth will take care of you. Something similar could be said about your gums: Take care of these essential soft tissues, and they'll continue to support and protect your teeth.
Straightening your smile just got easier, thanks to Invisalign in Sioux Falls, SD. Your orthodontist, Dr. Chris Wermerson of Wermerson Orthodontics, will determine if Invisalign can straighten your smile.
What Is Invisalign at Wermerson Orthodontics?
Want to fix your crooked teeth without getting a mouth full of metal brackets and wires? With Invisalign, you can. Invisalign clear aligners are a more comfortable alternative to braces for orthodontic treatment. Your dentist can give you about 20-30 clear aligners for your treatment. These clear trays put pressure on your teeth to slowly shift them into place.
How Invisalign at Wermerson Orthodontics Works
Consistency is crucial for getting results with Invisalign. You'll need to ensure that you're wearing your Invisalign clear aligners for about 20-22 hours daily. Your custom Invisalign aligners from your dentist are designed to correct your dental imperfections. They consistently put pressure on your teeth to correct your dental defects. You can move up to a new phase of clear aligners every week or two weeks depending on your dentist's recommendation.
Who Needs Invisalign at Wermerson Orthodontics?
If you're unhappy with your smile, your dentist will examine your teeth to determine if Invisalign in Sioux Falls, SD, can fix your crooked smile. Dental defects that your dentist can correct with Invisalign include:
- Overlapping teeth
- Crooked teeth
- Gapped teeth
Benefits of Invisalign at Wermerson Orthodontics
There are several reasons why getting Invisalign is so popular:
- They're Discrete — Unlike metal braces that attract lots of attention, Invisalign clear aligners let you fix your teeth discretely.
- Oral Hygiene — Invisalign clear aligners are easily removable, letting you clean your teeth thoroughly without trouble.
- No Food Restriction — Your removable clear aligners allow you to keep eating your favorite foods during your treatment. You need only take off your clear aligners before your meal and put them back on afterward.
- Comfortable — Invisalign is a lot more comfortable than metal braces. Tightening your metal braces at your dentist's office can be uncomfortable too.
Correcting crooked teeth at your dentist's office with Invisalign in Sioux Falls, SD, is possible. Call 605-274-0555 to schedule your consultation with your orthodontist, Dr. Wermerson at Wermerson Orthodontics today.
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