Posts for: July, 2019
All-natural fruit juice with no additives: now what could be wrong with that? Nothing—unless your child is over-indulging. Too much of even natural fruit juice could increase their risk of tooth decay.
To understand why, we first need to look at the real culprit in tooth decay: mouth acid produced by oral bacteria as a byproduct of their digestion of sugar. Acid at high levels softens and erodes tooth enamel, which causes tooth decay. Acid levels can rise as populations of bacteria increase often fueled by sugar, one of bacteria's primary food sources.
And not just the added sugar found in soft drinks, snacks or candies—even fructose, the natural sugar found in fruit, can feed bacteria. To lower the risk of tooth decay, dentists recommend limiting the daily amount of sugar a child consumes, including natural fruit juices without added sugar.
That doesn't mean you should nix natural fruit juices altogether—they remain a good source of vitamins, minerals and other nutrients. But you'll need to keep your child's juice consumption within moderation.
As a guide, the American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) has issued consumption recommendations for children regarding all-natural fruit juice. The academy recommends the following daily juice amounts by age:
- 7-18: 8 ounces (1 cup) or less;
- 4-6: 6 ounces or less;
- 1-3: 4 ounces or less;
- Under 1: No juice at all.
You can further reduce your child's decay risk by limiting their juice intake to mealtimes, a good practice with any sweetened beverage. Sipping through the day on juice or other sweetened beverages can cause some sugar to stay in the mouth over long periods. This can interfere with the natural ability of saliva to neutralize any acid buildup.
If you're wondering what children could drink instead of juice, low-fat or non-fat milk is an acceptable choice. But the most tooth-friendly liquid to drink is plain water. Drinking nature's hydrator is not only better for their overall health, by reducing the risk of tooth decay, it's also better for their teeth.
If you would like more information on how sugar can affect your child's dental health, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can also learn more about this topic by reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “Squeeze Out the Juice.”
Each year doctors treat about 150,000 new cases of severe facial pain. If you're one of those people, you don't have to suffer—there are ways to gain relief from these painful episodes.
Those recurring episodes are known as trigeminal neuralgia (TN). As the name implies, the source of the pain are the trigeminal nerves, which originate in the brain stem and extend on either side of the face. Each is divided into three branches (hence the "tri" in trigeminal) that serve the upper, middle and lower parts of the face and jaw.
TN can involve one or more of these branches, resulting in mild to severe pain that can last for several seconds. Jaw movements like chewing or speaking can trigger an episode, as well as a light touch to the face.
There are various proposed causes for TN, including links with inflammatory disorders like multiple sclerosis, which damages the insulating sheathing around nerve cells. The most common cause, though, appears to be a blood vessel pressing against the nerve. The compression causes hypersensitivity in that area of the nerve so that it transmits pain at the slightest sensation.
Other conditions like jaw joint pain disorders (TMD) or a dental abscess can cause similar pain symptoms, so it's important to get an accurate diagnosis. If your doctor does identify your condition as TN, you may then need a comprehensive approach to treatment involving a team of care providers, including your dentist.
For the most part, TN can be managed, beginning with the most conservative approach to gain relief, often with medications to block the nerve's pain signals to the brain or decrease abnormal nerve firings. If that proves insufficient, though, more intensive treatments are available.
One possible treatment for an impinging blood vessel is a microsurgical procedure to expose the affected nerve and relocate the vessel. While this can be effective, the surgery does carry some risk of facial numbness or decreased hearing. If the risks are too high for conventional surgery, an alternative procedure uses a precise beam of high-dose radiation to relieve the pressure from the vessel.
The most important thing to know about TN, though, is that it is possible to control it and relieve future pain episodes. If you're experiencing these symptoms, see your dentist or doctor for an exam and accurate diagnosis.
If you would like more information on trigeminal neuralgia, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can also learn more about this topic by reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “Trigeminal Neuralgia: A Nerve Disorder that Causes Facial Pain.”
What kind of smile do you dream about? Is it one without chips, gaps, and stains? At Prestige Dental Network in East Hartford, CT, Dr. Allan Kwon and Dr. Jenny Kwon specialize in cosmetic dentistry services, including stunning porcelain veneers. Veneers resurface flawed, but otherwise healthy, teeth to make smile dreams come true. Read on to learn more!
What do porcelain veneers look like, and what do they do?
Veneers are thin, tooth-shaped laminates which disguise cosmetic dental defects such as chips, hairline cracks, odd size and shape and more. A skilled ceramist crafts them one by one according to detailed instructions from your East Hartford cosmetic dentist and impressions of your teeth and gums.
Who can get porcelain veneers?
The best candidates have healthy teeth, realistic expectations for their new looks, and conscientious oral hygiene habits. Dr. Kwon performs complete exams on prospective veneer patients and clarifies their smile goals. Healthy teeth and gums are essential as well.
Are veneers permanent?
Most veneers are permanent because they require some mild enamel reduction to ensure proper fit. However, there are some veneer products (e.g. no-prep veneers) which are so thin they simply cover teeth with little to no surface preparation and so are considered reversible.
What kinds of defects can veneers camouflage?
There are several, including:
- Hairline cracks
- Small gaps
- Tooth rotation
- Mild crookedness
- Craze lines and pitting
- Deep, intractable stains
- Unusual size and shape
Veneers do not correct extensive decay, cover multiple fillings or protect abscessed teeth after root canal therapy. Porcelain crowns address these issues best.
How many appointments do veneers take?
Typically, it takes three visits to Prestige Dental Network—one for initial consultation, another for enamel reduction and placement of temporary veneers, and a third to bond the permanent veneers on the teeth.
How long will the veneers last?
The American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry says 10 years is average, but many patients keep their veneers up to 20 years.
How do I take care of my veneers?
Treat your veneers just like your real teeth:
- Brush twice a day with a soft toothbrush and non-abrasive toothpaste.
- Floss with whatever flossing product you like and will use consistently.
- See Dr. Kwon at Prestige Dental Network semi-annually for your prophylactic cleaning and examination.
- Don't chew ice, pencil tops, or sticky, hard foods, such as caramels or peanut brittle.
Find out more
At Prestige Dental Network, we welcome friendly, face to face conversations about our preventive, restorative and cosmetic dental services. If veneers appeal to you, why not book an appointment at one our four convenient locations in East Hartford, Hartford, and Meriden, CT? Call (855) 697-7378.
You would love to replace a troubled tooth with a dental implant. But you have one nagging concern: you also have diabetes. Could that keep you from getting an implant?
The answer, unfortunately, is yes, it might: the effect diabetes can have on the body could affect an implant's success and longevity. The key word, though, is might—it's not inevitable you'll encounter these obstacles with your implant.
Diabetes is a group of metabolic diseases that interfere with the normal levels of blood glucose, a natural sugar that is the energy source for the body's cells. Normally, the pancreas produces a hormone called insulin as needed to regulate glucose in the bloodstream. A diabetic, though either can't produce insulin or not enough, or the body doesn't respond to the insulin that is produced.
And while the condition can often be managed through diet, exercise, medication or supplemental insulin, there can still be complications like slow wound healing. High glucose can damage blood vessels, causing them to deliver less nutrients and antibodies to various parts of the body like the eyes, fingers and toes, or the kidneys. It can also affect the gums and their ability to heal.
Another possible complication from diabetes is with the body's inflammatory response. This is triggered whenever tissues in the body are diseased or injured, sealing them off from damaging the rest of the body. The response, however, can become chronic in diabetics, which could damage otherwise healthy tissues.
Both of these complications can disrupt the process for getting an implant. Like other surgical procedures, implantation disrupts the gum tissues. They will need to heal; likewise, the implant itself must integrate fully with the bone in which it's inserted. Both healing and bone integration might be impeded by slow wound healing and chronic inflammation.
Again, it might. In reality, as a number of studies comparing implant outcomes between diabetics and non-diabetics has shown, there is little difference in the success rate, provided the diabetes is under control. Diabetics with well-managed glucose can have success rates above 95%, well within the normal range.
An implant restoration is a decision you should make with your dentist. But if you're doing a good job managing your diabetes, your chances of a successful outcome are good.