Dental Consumer Products Overview: Denture Products
If you have dentures, or even if you haven’t, chances are you’ve seen TV advertisements for denture products. Because dentures and teeth loss can be emotional topics, it’s no surprise that the advertisements try (let’s call them) unconventional approaches. Sometimes they try too hard to be funny, sincere, or authoritative. Other times they go for realness and end up somewhere closer to too-much-information.
But for all their flaws, these ads are speaking to a sizable market. Over 60 million people in the US lack teeth, and according to the Journal of Prosthetic Dentistry, there will be 37.5 million people wearing full dentures by 2020. For people with dentures, consumer products on the market attempt to address two primary needs:
- Keeping dentures clean
- Keeping dentures in your mouth (preferably comfortably!)
Cleaning products come in a few varieties. Martha Raye, denture wearer, advocated for a brand of dissolving tablets that killed bacteria and remove stains. There are also pastes, much like toothpaste, that patients can use to brush their dentures—once the dentures are safely out of your mouth. Ultrasonic cleaning appliances can remove stains from dentures, although they are more expensive and also require the use of a special cleaning fluid. For patients concerned with chemical cleansers, homemade solutions using lemon juice, vinegar, or baking soda can all help remove stains and re-whiten dentures.
Denture adhesives include pastes or gels that come in a tube, like toothpaste and adhesive strips. These adhesives are meant to keep dentures in patients’ mouths comfortably while eating and talking.
Dentures are meant to fit comfortably in the mouth—and not require adhesives—because they are molded specially to the patient’s jawbone and palate. However, without teeth anchored in the jaw, the bone deteriorates over time, and its shape changes. This eventually leads to dentures that don’t fit, or that cause discomfort, requiring adhesive. Even cleaning dentures, which requires them to be removed from the mouth, could conceivably cause patients to experience negative feelings.
However, changes in dental technology can reduce these issues for patients. Fixed implant dentures use dental implants to secure replacement teeth permanently to the jaw. Patients can brush them in their mouth, just like teeth, and the implants themselves help the jawbone avoid further deterioration. Although implants do tend to be more expensive than traditional dentures, for many they are an appropriate, life-long solution to their dental needs.
Whether you’re looking for the best way to take care of your dentures or you’re considering whether implants might be a better solution for you, we’d love to talk to you. Call your Lancaster, CA dentist today at 661.952.7865 for an appointment to find out more!
Five Signs You Might Have Sleep Apnea… and One Thing You Can Do About It
At one point in time, maybe even only a few years ago, sleep apnea was not well-known among the public. Now, thankfully, public awareness of sleep apnea is much higher. After all, it is a dangerous condition, and because it is a disease that affects sleep, many people who have sleep apnea aren’t even aware of it.
If you suffer from sleep apnea, you will temporarily stop breathing during the night—up to hundreds of times! The health implications are quite serious, as sleep apnea is linked to many cardiovascular diseases, including high blood pressure, heart failure, stroke, and heart arrhythmias. So if you have sleep apnea, it’s important to get treatment.
So what are some signs or risk factors for sleep apnea?
- You’re overweight.
Body weight is linked to obstructive sleep apnea, which is caused by tissues in the upper throat collapsing, constricting the flow of air to the lungs. Heavier people can have tissue built up around their neck and throat; these tissues fall back and obstruct the airway when they’re lying down.
- You have high blood pressure.
When you stop breathing during an episode of sleep apnea, less oxygen gets to your brain. Since your brain needs to maintain sufficient oxygen levels at all times, this can lead to spikes in blood pressure as your body tries to compensate for low oxygen levels by pumping more blood, faster, to your brain.
- You’re often tired during the day.
Even if you think you’re getting plenty of sleep at night, you probably aren’t if you’re suffering from apnea. Not only do the interruptions detract from the amount of sleep you’re getting; they also detract from the quality of sleep. If you have difficulty waking up in the morning, feel tired all day long, need frequent naps, or doze off on occasion, you might have apnea.
- You’re frequently irritated, depressed, or prone to mood swings.
If you’re not getting enough sleep, it can quickly have an impact on your mood. Your body releases cortisol, a hormone that causes stress, if you’re sleep deprived. This means you might end up feeling anxious, irritable, or just out of sorts frequently.
- You snore.
If your spouse or significant other tells you that you snore, or if your snoring wakes you up, then that’s a good sign you might have sleep apnea. In fact, snoring is the most common sign of sleep apnea.
And now, for one thing you might not know about sleep apnea: there are treatment options other than a CPAP machine. In fact, if you have sleep apnea, you can call your dentist for help. There are simple oral appliances (mouth guards) that can position your jaw in such a way that it keeps your airway open during the night.
So if you’re concerned about sleep apnea, you might just want to talk to your Lancaster, CA dentist about it next time you’re in the office for a check-up. Call Douglas B. Weber, DDS at 661.952.7865 today, and we’ll be happy to help!
As the calendar turns to August and the summer starts to wind down, parents (with fondness) and children (with dread) begin to think about notebooks, pencils, and new outfits… everything that goes along with Back to School season. But did you know that dentists, hygienists, and dental assistants spend a lot of time thinking about going back to school as well?
Forty-seven states require dentists to complete some amount of continuing education courses before they can renew their licenses. For hygienists, the total is higher still, with 48 states mandating continuing education. (Dental assistants get off a little easier; only 22 states have a minimum continuing education requirement.)
So what exactly are dentists and their teams studying… and why should it matter to you?
Read on to find out more!
In order to ensure that dentists, hygienists, and dental assistants are providing the best possible care to their patients, state licensing boards typically require these professionals to pass an exam to get their license. The certification lasts for one to five years, with two- and three-year terms being most common. Rather than require dental professionals to retake board examinations every couple years, most state licensing boards mandate dental professionals to take a certain amount of credit hours in continuing education to retain their license.
Many organizations provide continuing education courses, including the American Dental Association, dental graduate schools, and other professional dental associations and institutions. All of these organizations must be certified to provide professional-level training before the credits can count towards meeting licensing requirements.
Many states require dentists to include fundamental training in their continuing education—things like CPR and infection control. However, other topics are popular as well. Many institutes offer training in new dental techniques or technology; instruction in specialty dentistry like implants, orthodontics, or endodontics; or how to run their practice more effectively. Hygienists and dental assistants take continuing education classes that provide practical and technical instruction in their roles on a practice team. Courses can take place in person, online, or at special training events.
Why should this matter to you, as a patient?
It matters because when you go to a dentist, you can be sure that you’re getting top quality care from professionals that care enough to stay informed and trained in their field of expertise.
Dentists, like other medical professionals, are committed to the health and well-being of their patients, and continuing education requirements demonstrate that commitment. In fact, if you ask your dentist or hygienist, chances are that they’re not just meeting the requirements of their state dental board—they’re exceeding them!
If you’re curious about new technology in dentistry, new dental techniques, or what your dental care providers are studying, feel free to ask next time you’re in the office. We’ll be happy to tell you all about it.
Make an appointment with us today, and you can be sure you’ll be getting the highest quality dental care. Request an appointment today on our website or by calling the office at 661.952.7865!
A Brief History of Grills
“I got my mouth looking something like a disco ball
I got the diamonds and the ice all hand set
I might cause a cold front if I take a deep breath
My teeth gleaming like I’m chewing on aluminum foil”
– Grillz, Nelly (featuring Pall Wall & Ali & Gipp)
Grills (or grillz) are, if not popular, at least fairly recognizable these days. Made of precious metals (gold and platinum being the most common) and often studded with diamonds, most grills are removable and worn over the front teeth. But where do they come from?
Although many people would point to Nelly and his 2005 song, “Grillz,” as the starting point for the trend, they’re actually much older than that. (And no, we’re not just talking about rappers like Slick Rick, Flavor Flav, and Big Daddy Kane from the 80s and 90s, either). We’re talking ancient history.
In ancient Italy, between 800 and 200 BC, wealthy Etruscan women wore teeth woven together with gold wire the thickness of a rubber band. The wire held together teeth that had been removed and were placed back into the mouth, so they made eating difficult. The practice wasn’t necessarily common, but archaeologists found documentation of around 20 sets of teeth woven together in this way. Etruscan civilization vanished as the Romans took over Italy, and this fashion trend died with it.
In Latin America, Mayans actually cut small holes into their teeth and filled them with precious stones, typically jade. Again, this was a trend that only royalty and the wealthy could afford. Although the Mayan civilization has disappeared, many people in southeastern Mexico, Belize, Honduras, and Guatemala still wear gold tooth jewelry today.
In ancient Filipino myths, the creator of the world, a deity named Melu, had gold teeth—and during what was the Middle Ages in Europe, Filipinos were filing down their teeth and decorating them with gold. Some of these decorations included gold bands that covered the entire front row of teeth; the oldest date to around 1300 AD.
As the Renaissance began in Europe, dentistry was becoming more scientific and less superstitious—and Giovanni de Arcoli, a 15th century Italian professor of medicine, became the first author known to recommend filling cavities with gold to preserve them.
Grills started appearing in rap and hip hop videos in the 80s, and became even more popular as Southern rap began to take off in the 90s and early 2000s. And now, they’ve jumped into mainstream culture, as celebrities like Madonna, Miley Cyrus, Katy Perry, and even Ryan Lochte have sported them in recent years.
You might expect a dentist to come out against grillz as a health hazard, but no studies have proven that they’re bad for your teeth. As long as they’re removed and the teeth are brushed and flossed as appropriate, they shouldn’t cause health problems. Some metals can cause irritation; if it causes a rash, or bleeding, or other problems, just stop. Similarly, don’t clean them with anything toxic to ingest (like most jewelry cleaners), and don’t try to attach them permanently to your teeth with glue. But if you want to wear a grill, and you use some common sense and take care of your teeth, you’ll be part of a long tradition of dental jewelry.
We can’t recommend a jeweler to create your grill, but if you have any questions about dental instruments—either ornamental or for health reasons—please give us a call at (661) 952-7865 and we’ll be happy to answer your questions.
Last month, we looked at foods and drinks that can stain your teeth, but whiteness isn’t the only measure of healthy teeth. There are lots of foods that can chip your teeth or damage dental work in your mouth when you eat them. What are some of these problem foods? Your Lancaster, CA dentist can warn you about some of the biggest culprits when it comes to chipped teeth, loose fillings, and broken crowns.
On a hot summer day, it’s great to fill a tall glass with ice and pour in some soda, lemonade, or tea to help cool down. You’re right if you assume that sugary drinks are bad for your teeth (they are!), but they’re bad in an over-the-long-term kind of way. In fact, lemonade and soda are also quite acidic, which isn’t good for your tooth enamel, either. However, it’s the ice that can actually chip your teeth if you chew it. Other hard foods can damage your teeth, too, so be careful when you’re eating things like baguettes, hard pretzels, and biscotti.
Lots of people enjoy buttered popcorn while sitting in a cool, air-conditioned movie theater, but unpopped kernels can definitely ruin the fun. They’re hard enough to chip a tooth if you crunch down on one of them by accident or on purpose. However, popcorn actually poses a double threat. The thin shell that covers the kernel can actually get stuck between your teeth or between your tooth and gum, giving bacteria a source of food and promoting tooth decay.
Fruits with pits
What do olives, cherries, dates, and peaches all have in common? They all have pits, of course, and those pits can damage teeth. If you accidentally bite into a pit, you can definitely crack or loosen a crown—or damage regular tooth enamel.
Pretty much every type of candy can damage your teeth. Hard candies can chip teeth if you bite on them or chew them up; if you suck on them and let them dissolve slowly, you’re basically giving your teeth (and the bacteria in your mouth) a sugar bath. Chewy candies, like caramels or taffy, can stick to your teeth, increasing the risk of cavities, or stick to fillings and crowns, loosening them.
But sour candies are probably the most damaging of all because they combine three dangers to your teeth all in one. They’re loaded with sugar and they stick to your teeth, but the sour flavor actually comes from acids, which eat away at tooth enamel.
You’re probably noticing a theme by now. Hard foods can damage your teeth. We’re not trying to you away from enjoying the sorts of treats you love. However, if you’re eating something that could chip your teeth, pay attention while you’re eating it. If you’re eating something that could damage your teeth in another way, remember to drink some water to rinse out sugars and acids. And always brush your teeth and floss after you’ve eaten any of the foods on this list.
If you’ve damaged a tooth or lost a filling because of something you ate, give your Lancaster, CA dentist a call at 661.952.7865 to make an emergency appointment. Come on in, and we can get your damaged tooth fixed right away!