Tips to Protect Tooth Enamel

Anchorage family dentistTooth enamel is one of the most protective natural features of the body but vulnerable due to its location. It is the outermost layer surrounding the visible portion of teeth. The enamel is the part of the teeth that comes in contact with food and beverages that enter the mouth, and it is the part that typically picks up stains. Regular checkups and professional dental cleanings with a family dentist will help maintain enamel throughout life.

Instructing patients in proper at-home self-care, such as flossing, brushing, and the use of a fluoride mouth rinse, often improves the subsequent checkups. Unless there are visible signs of enamel loss, however, many patients are never instructed on ways to maintain and protect their tooth enamel. Some of the greatest dangers to enamel strength and health are foods and beverages. These substances stay in contact with enamel for extended periods of time and penetrate enamel to leave stains. Acidic foods and beverages weaken enamel, allowing cavities to develop.

A diet with excessive sugar consumption generally increases these occurrences, causing bacteria to grow faster and cavities to develop sooner. While the best way to avoid these risks is avoidance of their causes, family dentists know avoidance is not likely to work, so the next best approach is to minimize damage by rinsing the mouth or brushing after consuming foods and beverages typically high in acid and/or sugar. Flossing will improve results, and attending professional exams and cleanings on schedule will also help.

Although patients often prefer bright white teeth, it is more beneficial to have teeth professionally whitened than to use over-the-counter whitening gels and kits. These kits and gels, though at times effective, can leave teeth more sensitive and affect enamel with continued or frequent use. Discussing dental and oral health concerns at regular checkups can also help by keeping patients well-informed and clinics aware of patient concerns for future monitoring.

To learn more about maintaining tooth enamel, and other aspects of oral health, contact our skilled dental team today!

What is This Whole Ortho-tain Thing You Keep Talking About?

shutterstock_210060295Wondering what this whole Ortho-tain thing is I keep mentioning? Well here is everything thing you need to know!

My Experience:
For the past three years of my 13 years of experience as a dentist, I am truly stunned by the results of the Ortho-tain appliance and am so excited to share it with the public. The Ortho-tain appliance can effectively prevent the need for orthodontics and straighten young smiles as early as possible. The best part about this appliance though is that it actually works!

So what exactly is this amazing product?
Ortho-tain is a mouthguard appliance that can straighten your teeth without brackets and wires. It is generally worn for just a few hours a day. It also gradually guides your child’s teeth in the correct position before severe crowding, unlike braces which mainly correct crowding.

Why have I never heard of it then?
The appliance has actually been around since the 1970’s but does not garner as much of a profit as braces do. I have actually had the pleasure of meeting with the Otho-tain creator, Dr. Earl Bergerson, a humble and caring orthodontist. He is very passionate about this product and is excited for it to increase the growth and development of oral health.

Will Ortho-tain work on young children?
I have placed the Ortho-tain appliance on children as young as 5 and 6 years old. It is actually ideal to start children on this appliance young because it guides the teeth into the correct placing, corrects cross-bites, overbites, and deep-bites, avoiding the need for costly braces.

Can I afford Ortho-tain?
Oh yes! This appliance is actually 1/3 to 1/2 the cost of traditional orthodontics.

Will my child need a retainer after treatment like they will after braces?
Nope! Your teeth are connected to your jawbones with a periodontal ligament. With normal braces, we wait for the adult teeth to come in crooked and twisted (after the ligaments are set), and then they must be untwisted. The ligaments are like rubber bands and they want to move back to where they were. This is a relapse and this is the reason people get braces over and over again. With Ortho-tain, the appliance actually guides teeth straight as the erupt in the first place, and the ligaments form and end up exactly where they need to be. It’s the most remarkable thing about the appliance!

Interested now that you know a little more about this amazing product, or maybe you’re still a little skeptical even? That’s alright, give me a call at (907) 276-5522 and I would love to tell you more about it and answer all your questions.

Harmful Dental Habits to Avoid

dentist AnchorageThe simplest of bad dental habits can have a profound effect on teeth and overall jaw functioning. Some bad habits can easily be spotted at checkups and cleanings by a dentist. Patients can take steps to rid themselves of these harmful behaviors for better dental checkups and a better, healthier smile.

  • Oral hygiene habits: Insufficient or inefficient flossing, brushing teeth too hard, or simply not brushing correctly and at least twice a day can all contribute to increased bacteria in the mouth, more prominent staining of teeth, and inflammation or irritation of the gums, as well as risk of damage to enamel and increased risk of cavities. It is equally important to maintain regular dental checkups and cleanings.
  • Too much sugar and/or acidic foods and beverages: Soft drinks, sodas, sports drinks, juice, coffee, tea, and almost any beverage that isn’t pure water can be quite acidic and acid weakens tooth enamel leaving teeth more susceptible to bacteria and dental decay. Diet beverages are just as acidic, if not more depending on the type of sweetener used instead of sugar.
  • Chewing ice, popcorn kernels, and hard candy: Chewing on hard candy and popcorn kernels can put tremendous pressure on teeth, especially teeth with large fillings. Chewing on ice also puts pressure on teeth, but with the added factor of extreme cold that increases risk of damage.
  • Chewing on anything that isn’t food: Chewing on non-food items such as paper, pens, pencils, paperclips, toothpicks, and other items increases risk of damage to teeth as well as the added risk of transferring bacteria from the object. Nails are not food and underneath the nails live a variety of bacteria that should not enter the mouth.
  • Grinding or clenching teeth: As with chewing on non-food or hard items, grinding or clenching teeth puts undue pressure on the teeth. A lot of grinding and clenching behaviors occur subconsciously such as during sleep, and in such cases a night guard can be worn to reduce damage.
  • Improper use of teeth: Using teeth for anything but their natural intended use (i.e. chewing and speaking) should be considered bad. Teeth are not meant to be used as tools to open bottles, break plastic wrapping or tear open packages, and teeth are not meant to hold items such as flashlights, pens, or other items.

As with most habits, a minimum of 28 days is usually required to break the habitual behavior or to form a good, healthy habit. Contact the office of Dr. Owen C. Mandanas at 907-276-5522 today for more information about good and bad dental habits and making positive changes for a healthier smile.

To Choose, or Not to Choose the Toothbrush

shutterstock_206881837How much thought goes into choosing your toothbrush? Chances are your choice was based on price and color, but what about the health and well being of your mouth? Did you think about that?
Toothbrushes should be replaced every three months, after you have been sick, or when they start to show wear.  This means at least four times a year you will find yourself in the toothbrush isle faced with the decision of what type of toothbrush to purchase.
So what should you consider when selecting a toothbrush? Bristles, the shape of the head, and the handle are all important factors.
Soft bristles are often the best choice because they are best at removing plaque from your teeth, while staying gentle and not damaging the gum line.
The shape of the toothbrush head can be important as well. A small toothbrush head allows you to navigate better and reach further back in your mouth, where plaque is hiding. It also proves to be less invasive for those prone to gagging.
Additionally, a nonslip flexible handle can ease the process. It will also allow you to cover more surface area without the risk of slipping and harming the inside of your mouth.
Next time you find yourself in the toothbrush isle, be sure to consider the head, handle, and bristles of the brush as well. If you have any other questions, please give me a call today at 907-276-5522.  

Illumisure Insurance

shutterstock_197338823Are you one of the 131 Million Americans without dental insurance? Dr. Mandanas now offers a solution for those who are without or think they can not afford dental insurance.

The Illumisure Plan allows you to receive all the rewards of dental insurance with less time and money. There are no deductibles, no yearly maximum benefits, and no exclusions for cosmetic or elective care. Illumisure member advantages also include complimentary preventative care (cleaning, exams, and x-rays), a 15 percent discount on all restorative or cosmetic treatment, and affordable monthly payments.

The amount of companies providing dental insurance for their employees is decreasing and Medicare does not cover your dental needs. You never know when an incident will occur or if you or a family member will need costly and extensive dental work. Illumisure offers membership plans for adults as well as children and covers both in an emergency.

Don’t leave your dental needs to chance and be slammed with a hefty bill. Save time and join online at ladydentistanchorage.com, or call us today with any questions at (907) 276-5522.

Gingivitis and Your Overall Health

dentist AnchorageDid you know that the health of your mouth could affect your overall wellbeing? In the last decade, research has consistently shown that oral health is linked to a number of systemic conditions—especially in conjunction with periodontal disease. Gum disease, a common dental condition, has been linked to cardiovascular problems, diabetes, and even Alzheimer’s. Our experienced dentist explains.

An Overview of Gum Disease

The onset of gum disease is difficult to detect; in fact, many patients do not experience noticeable symptoms at first. Gingivitis involves the beginning stages of periodontal disease, where the gums become irritated by plaque and tartar buildup. Plaque is a sticky and slightly translucent substance that coats teeth and gums. Filled with bacteria, when plaque is not removed by brushing and flossing, it will inflame the gums. As plaque builds up and hardens into calculus, the condition will worsen without professional treatment and prophylaxis. Advanced gum disease is a destructive condition that is capable of eroding bone and soft tissues. It is also the leading cause of tooth loss in adulthood.

The Connection between Gum Disease and Overall Health

Gum disease can increase a patient’s risks for heart disease and immune impairment. The link between oral health and overall health is two-fold. For example, diabetics are more susceptible to gum disease and those with gum disease hold a higher risk for developing diabetes. When gingivitis advances, the gums are systemically infected. This infection could potentially reach a patient’s blood stream and cause further health complications.

Preventing Gum Disease

The best ways to prevent gum disease are to commit to visiting your dentist regularly for dental checkups and cleanings and to adopt a thorough oral hygiene routine. Dental cleanings are important for removing tartar, which cannot be removed by brushing and flossing, while checkups can detect gum disease at its earliest stages. Patients should brush their teeth at least twice a day and floss once a day, preferably at night.

To learn more about protecting your health, feel free to bring up any questions you may have at your next visit to our office. To schedule an appointment, call our friendly team today.

Conquering Your Fear of The Dentist

shutterstock_200626970Many people have huge anxiety and fear at the thought of going to the dentist. Some even postpone their necessary routine teeth cleanings, which can lead to infection, cavities, root canals and more. If you are someone who dreads going to the dentist, here are a few tips to overcome your fear:
 
-Request break times if you are feeling overwhelmed
-If the noise of dental tools is scaring you, bring earplugs or headphones
-If you feel that you cannot breath, try a nasal strip to help with blockage
-Find an escape. Focus on an interesting picture or the view outside
-Relax. Unclench you jaw, unfurrow your brow, and close your eyes
-Find a dentist that you feel comfortable with. Someone who can calm you and you know you can put your trust in.
Dr. Mandanas never overbooks, and gives all her focus and care to each patient one at a time. If your are experiencing dental anxieties, give her a call today at 907-276-5528, and she will be happy to discuss any special care and requests you need.

Innovative Alternatives to Braces

shutterstock_197324459We understand the importance of a healthy bite structure and the aesthetic appeal of brilliantly straight teeth. We also understand the financial and physical pain of braces (snapping rubberbands and food stuck in your brackets is never fun).

Therefore, Dr. Mandanas has teamed up with Ortho-Tain® and Six Month Smiles® in order to offer our customers alternatives to traditional braces.

Ortho-Tain®

What differentiates Ortho-Tain® from metal braces is that the appliance is the only removable orthodontic appliance approved by the FDA to correct both functional and aesthetic issues regarding your teeth. Ortho- Tain® can even correct overbites, buck teeth, crowding, spacing, TMJ disorders, and malocclusion, all at a lower more affordable price than traditional braces.

Six Month Smiles®

Six Month Smiles® is designed for those who wish for a short-term orthodontic solution. The use of clear brackets and wires that match the shade of your teeth, serves to be less noticeable than traditional braces in a manner that is more comfortable and conservative. Results can be obtained in approximately six months.

Are you interested in any of these new and impactful treatments? If so, give us a call today at (907) 276-5522.

Is the Dental Implant Prone to Cavities or Gum Disease?

dental implants AnchorageDental implants are designed to replace missing or damaged teeth, providing the look of a natural tooth but with enhanced durability due to the structural composition of modern implants. Modern dental implants are secured within the jawbone and have a custom-made portion that remains visible and resembles the original or missing tooth. This visible portion of the dental implant is the crown.

The crown of the dental implant is made to look just like a natural tooth, except this crown is incapable of suffering dental caries, commonly known as cavities. The crown of the implant is custom made for each patient and the implant dentist will ensure it fits properly and matches the rest of the patient’s teeth and mouth. This is especially important for functional chewing and speaking comfort. While the implant can break in extreme circumstances, it is designed to last a lifetime with proper care. Modern dental implants are actually stronger than natural teeth.

A natural tooth has a root that grows out from within the jawbone and a crown, which is seen above the gum line. Natural teeth are porous, which is why they stain from contact with things like coffee and tea, and they are susceptible to cavities and damage from exposure to various foods including sugar and acidic substances. When a tooth is damaged, lost, or extracted, the space left behind can weaken the jaw’s hold on the surrounding teeth. A dental implant reinforces the teeth around it, while providing a permanent replacement that functions just as well, if not better, than the previous tooth.

Gum disease is less common with the dental implants, although there may be some temporary inflammation or discomfort during the preparation and implant phases of the treatment plan. Flossing daily helps remove food particles from between teeth that can cause gum irritation and eventually lead to gum disease and other issues.

Proper brushing and flossing are essential for the maintenance of all teeth and gums, including dental implants. It is also important to maintain regular checkups with a general dentist for overall oral health as well as continued care of the dental implant.

For more information about dental implants, contact the office of Dr. Owen C. Mandanas at 907-276-5522 today!

Is Your Mouth Stressed Out?

Anchorage family dentistIf you are feeling the effects of too much stress in your life, chances are your mouth is, too. The body works in unison and the effects of stress and anxiety can negatively affect your wellbeing—including your oral health. In fact, stress-related dental conditions such as bruxism and TMJ disorder are not uncommon. Fortunately, our caring and experienced family dentist offers treatment for stress-related oral health issues.

How Stress Affects Your Oral Health

Have you ever woke up after a restless night of sleep to experience facial pain or headaches? Because we internalize stress, many patients grind their teeth and clench their jaw during sleep when stressed. The longer one endures distress, the more likely this action of clenching the jaw and grinding teeth becomes a habit. Over time, patients will begin to unknowingly do these things during the daytime, too. This habit of clenching and grinding teeth is called bruxism and it can have far-reaching effects on your oral health.

Over time, bruxism leads to wear and tear on teeth. As bruxism begins to wear tiny cracks in tooth enamel, the mineralized protective coating surrounding teeth, teeth become weaker in structure and more susceptible to decay. The molars located at the back of the mouth tend to experience more wear and tear than other teeth and eventually the upper and lower sets of teeth will not line up properly. As a patient’s tooth alignment (bite) changes, they may experience painful symptoms like toothaches and facial pain.

Malocclusions, Bruxism, and TMJ Disorder

Typically accompanying malocclusions and bruxism brought on by stress, patients often develop TMJ disorder. This dental condition leads to wear and tear on teeth and diminishes a patient’s quality of life by producing painful and debilitating symptoms. The TMJ is a joint that connects the skull and jawbone and is responsible for facilitating mouth movement. With stress-induced clenching and teeth grinding, it places unnecessary strain on the TMJ and surrounding tissues and ligaments.

Our family dentist provides treatment for bruxism and TMJ disorder with custom, comfortable oral appliances. These oral appliances resemble sports mouth guards and protect the teeth during sleep.

To learn more about bruxism and TMJ treatment, schedule an appointment with our skilled dental team today.