If it seems like your teeth are getting longer as you get older, it's unlikely they're magically growing. More likely, your gums are shrinking or receding from your teeth. Besides the negative effect on your appearance, gum recession exposes you and vulnerable tooth areas to harmful bacteria and painful sensitivity.
Although common among older adults, gum recession isn't necessarily a part of aging: It's primarily caused by periodontal (gum) disease, in which infected gum tissues can weaken and detach from the teeth. This, along with bone loss, leads to recession.
But gum disease isn't the only cause—ironically, brushing your teeth to prevent dental disease can also contribute to recession. By brushing too aggressively or too often (more than twice a day), you could eventually damage the gums and cause them to recede. Tobacco use and oral piercings can also lead to weakened or damaged gums susceptible to recession.
You can lower your risk of gum recession by abstaining from unhealthy habits and proper oral hygiene to prevent gum disease. For the latter, your primary defense is gentle but thorough brushing and flossing every day to remove harmful dental plaque. You should also see your dentist at least twice a year for professional dental cleanings and checkups.
If, however, you do experience gum recession, there are a number of ways to restore your gums or at least minimize the recession. To start with, we must treat any gum disease present by thoroughly removing all plaque and tartar (calcified plaque), which fuels the infection. This reduces inflammation and allows the gums to heal.
With mild recession, the gums may rejuvenate enough tissue to recover the teeth during healing. If not, we may be able to treat exposed areas with a tooth-colored material that protects the surface, relieves discomfort and improves appearance.
If the recession is more advanced, we may still be able to stimulate gum regeneration by attaching a tissue graft with a micro-surgical procedure. These types of periodontal surgeries, however, can require a high degree of technical and artistic skill for best results.
In any event, the sooner we detect gum disease or recession, the quicker we can act to minimize the damage. Doing so will ensure your gums are healthy enough to protect your teeth and preserve your smile.
If you would like more information on gum recession, 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 “Gum Recession.”
Ashley Graham has a beautiful and valuable smile—an important asset to her bustling career as a plus-size model and television host. But she recently revealed on Instagram a “confrontation” between one of her teeth and a frozen oatmeal cookie. The cookie won.
Holding her hand over her mouth during the video until the last moment, Graham explained how she sneaked a cookie from her mom's freezer and took a bite of the frozen treat. Taking her hand from her mouth, she revealed her broken tooth.
Okay, maybe it wasn't an actual tooth that was broken: the denticle in question appeared to have been previously altered to accommodate a porcelain veneer or crown. But whatever was once there wasn't there anymore.
Although her smile was restored without too much fuss, Graham's experience is still a cautionary tale for anyone with dental work (and kudos to her for being a good sport and sharing it). Although dental work in general is quite durable, it is not immune to damage. Biting down on something hard, even as delicious as one of mom's frozen oatmeal cookies, could run you the risk of popping off a veneer or loosening a crown.
To paraphrase an old saying: Take care of your dental work, and it will take care of you. Don't use your teeth in ways that put your dental work at risk, tempting as it may be given your mouth's mechanical capabilities.
Even so, it's unwise—both for dental work and for natural teeth—to use your teeth and jaws for tasks like cracking nuts or prying open containers. You should also avoid biting into foods or substances with hard textures like ice or a rock-hard cookie from the freezer, especially if you have veneers or other cosmetic improvements.
It's equally important to clean your mouth daily, and undergo professional cleanings at least twice a year. That might not seem so important at first since disease-causing organisms won't infect your dental work's nonliving materials. But infection can wreak havoc on natural tissues like gums, remaining teeth or underlying bone that together often support dental enhancements. Losing that support could lead to losing your dental work.
And it's always a good idea to have dental work, particularly dentures, checked regularly. Conditions in the mouth can change, sometimes without you noticing them, so periodic examinations by a trained dental provider could prevent or treat a problem before it adversely affects your dental work.
We're glad Ashley Graham's trademark smile wasn't permanently harmed by that frozen cookie, and yours probably wouldn't be either in a similar situation. But don't take any chances, and follow these common sense tips for protecting your dental work.
If you would like more information on care and maintenance of cosmetic dental work, please contact us or schedule a consultation. To learn more, read the Dear Doctor magazine articles “Porcelain Veneers: Strength & Beauty as Never Before” and “Dental Implant Maintenance.”
What's the best way to do many dental procedures? At the dental office of Dr. Joel Levy in Larchmont, NY, laser dentistry accomplishes many preventive, cosmetic, and restorative treatments more comfortably and quickly than ever before. Here's what you need to know about this innovative tool.
Just what is laser dentistry?
Dr. Joel Levy uses the Waterlase system to deliver a wide range of in-office treatments which previously were more time-consuming and invasive. Hand-held Waterlase instruments combine a stream of water with focused light energy instead of high-speed drills or uncomfortable incisions.
Patients experience far less pain, less bleeding, and quicker recovery times. In fact, laser dentistry in our Larchmont, NY, office truly is minimally invasive, and many times, patients require little to no anesthetic, reports 123Dentist.
Also, the Waterlase instrument delivers variable wavelengths of light, making it adaptable to both hard and soft oral tissues. Because of its extraordinary precision, this laser targets just the area to be treated, with little to no collateral damage to surrounding tissues. There's no appreciable sensation of heat and no vibration as with typical dental drills and other instruments.
Laser dentistry treatments
There are many. Your care plan will depend on your individual diagnosis. Treatments may include:
- Gum disease therapy, disinfection, and debridement of soft tissues impacted by advanced periodontitis
- Gummy smile sculpting, removal of excess gum tissue to affect a more pleasing and even gum line
- Cavity site preparation
- Surface roughening of tooth enamel (enameloplasty) for application of plastic sealants (a tooth decay preventive), and porcelain veneers
- Frenectomy, or removal of a tongue tie
- Laser whitening, application of a concentrated hydrogen peroxide gel, then activation of the chemical with light energy to remove years of enamel stains (up to eight shades of color improvement)
- Removal of fibromas and other benign oral growths
- Treatment of canker sores
Whether you require preventive, restorative, or cosmetic dental procedures, laser dentistry from Dr. Joel Levy can help. Why not call our office to learn more about it? For our Larchmont, NY, location, phone (914) 834-9534.
Opting for a family dentist is an excellent decision to care for the dental needs of your entire household. But how do you choose the right one? It has to be someone to whom you can entrust the health of your whole family. A great first choice to consider is your local family dentist Dr. Joel Levy in Larchmont and New York City, NY. Get in contact to find out much more about the practice.
What to Look For
Your family dentist must provide a range of services to treat all the members of your home. From braces and fillings, all the way to bridges and dentures.
You'll have the convenience of having everyone treated under one roof, as well as that of liberating your schedule by combining appointments into one visit.
A family dentist also treats children as a matter of course, so they're equipped at anticipating all manner of apprehension, and the ways of properly handling it. So look for a dentist who is well known to his patients as kid-friendly, to help make the trips into the office more comfortable for your little ones.
Family Dentistry in Larchmont, NY, and New York City, NY
In seeking the opinions of others you have many avenues to do so in today's world.
If you know someone personally whom you trust, and has been treated by a dentist you've been considering, you're in luck. But for most of us, that is rarely the case.
You can turn to online reviews and read what others who've been treated at the office are saying. An overwhelmingly positive response is hard to argue against. Video testimonials can give you a better sense of people's reactions and give you a taste of the atmosphere in the office.
But to really experience it you should come by, make an appointment and see for yourself. Make a call to the practice of Dr. Levy in Larchmont and New York City, NY, by dialing (914) 834-9534 and (212) 986-2287 respectively.
By the time your child reaches their first birthday, they may have only a handful of primary teeth. So, should you schedule their first dental visit or wait until they're older?
Absolutely schedule it—a dental visit at age one is one of the most important steps you can take to protect and promote your child's dental health. Starting routine dental care at this early stage can help ensure they enjoy healthy teeth and gums now and in the future. Here's why.
Keeps you a step ahead of tooth decay. Children can experience a rapidly advancing form of tooth decay called early childhood caries (ECC). If not prevented—or treated promptly should it occur—ECC can quickly destroy primary teeth. If they're lost prematurely, future permanent teeth may not erupt properly. Regular dental visits can help prevent or diagnose decay before it causes major damage.
Intercepts problems before they grow. Dental problems, especially bite-related, usually appear in late childhood or early adolescence. But they can start much earlier with signs only a dentist might be able to detect. Early treatments can correct or minimize a developing bite problem, saving you and your child more extensive treatment later.
Reduces your child's dental visit anxiety. The dental office can be an unfamiliar environment for a child that can trigger anxiety. But children who start dental visits sooner rather than later are more apt to adapt and view visiting the dentist as a routine part of life. You may also want to consider a pediatric dentist who not only specializes in children's dental care and development, but may also promote a “kid-friendly” treatment environment.
Promotes the importance of dental care. Beginning regular dental visits shines the spotlight on your child's dental needs and development. As a caregiver, you can gain important insight and support from your dentist toward ensuring your child's teeth stay healthy and develop normally. As a side benefit, increased attention on your child's dental care may increase the same for your entire family.
The first years of a child's life sets the foundation of their dental health for the rest of their lives. You can help make sure that foundation is as sound as possible by beginning early dental visits.
If you would like more information on effective dental care for children, 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 “Age One Dental Visit.”
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