Posts for: May, 2019
It's difficult to measure how x-ray imaging has transformed dentistry since its use became prominent a half century ago. As equipment and methods standardized, the technology revolutionized the way we diagnose tooth decay and other mouth-related issues.
One of the more useful of these methods is called the bitewing x-ray. The term comes from the shape of the device a patient holds between their teeth with the film attached on the side toward their tongue. We direct the x-ray beam to the outside of the patient's cheek, where it passes through the teeth to expose on the film. Its particular design provides clearer images since the patient's bite helps keep the film still and distortion-free, making it easier to view signs of early tooth decay.
Bitewing x-rays usually consist of four films, two on either side of the mouth, necessary to capture all of the teeth (children with smaller jaws, however, often only require one film per side). How frequently they're conducted depends on a number of factors, including the patient's age: children or young adolescents are usually filmed more frequently than adults, usually every six to twelve months. Frequency also depends on a patient's particular decay risk — the higher the risk the more frequent the x-ray.
Regardless of how often they're performed, a similar application principle applies with bitewing x-rays as with any other radiological method: As Low As Reasonably Achievable (ALARA). With the ALARA principle in other words, we're looking for that sweet spot where we're able to detect the earliest stages of dental disease with the least amount of radiation exposure.
Bitewings fit this principle well: a patient receives only a fraction of the radiation exposure from a four-film bitewing as they do from a daily dose of environmental radiation. Factor in new digital technology that reduces exposure rates and bitewings pose virtually no health risk to patients, especially if conducted in a prudent manner.
The benefits are well worth it. Thanks to bitewing x-rays we may be able to diagnose decay early and stop it before it causes you or your family member extensive tooth damage.
Fluoride is a critical weapon in the war against tooth decay. But this natural chemical proven to strengthen tooth enamel has also aroused suspicion over the years that it might cause health problems.
These suspicions have led to rigorous testing of fluoride's safety. And the verdict from decades of research? We've found only one verifiable side effect, a condition called enamel fluorosis. Caused by too much fluoride present in the body, enamel fluorosis produces white streaks and patches on teeth, and can develop into darker staining and pitting in extreme cases. But other than having an unattractive appearance, the teeth remain sound and healthy.
Fortunately, you can reduce the risk of fluorosis by limiting fluoride exposure to within recommended limits. Fluoride can show up in processed foods and other substances, but the two sources you should focus on most are oral hygiene products and fluoridated drinking water.
Dentists highly recommend using toothpaste with fluoride to fight tooth decay. But be careful how much your family uses, especially younger members. An infant only needs a slight smear of toothpaste on their brush for effective hygiene. At around age 2, you can increase the amount to about the size of a vegetable pea.
As to drinking water, most utilities add fluoride to their supply. If yours does, you can find out how much they add by calling them or visiting cdc.gov ("My Water's Fluoride"), where you can also learn more about recommended levels of fluoridation. If you think it's excessive, you can switch to water labeled "de-ionized," "purified," "demineralized," or "distilled," which contain little to no added fluoride.
Even if your fluoridated water is within recommended levels, you may wish to take extra precautions for infants nursing with formula. If possible, use "ready-to-feed" formula, which usually contains very low amounts of fluoride if any. If you're using the powdered form, use only water with the aforementioned labeling for mixing.
Before making any drastic changes that might affect your family's fluoride intake, consult with your dentist first. And be sure you're keeping up regular dental visits—your dentist may be able to detect any early signs of fluorosis before it becomes a bigger problem.
If you would like more information on maintaining the proper fluoride balance with your family, 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 “Tooth Development and Infant Formula.”
How veneers from your dentist in Denton, Texas, can enhance your smile
If you’ve stopped smiling because you have damaged, discolored, or worn-down teeth, it’s time to enhance your look with dental veneers! With the help of veneers, you can have an appearance that you will make you proud to smile. At Denton Family Dentistry in Denton, Texas, Dr. Christopher Edmondson offers a full range of cosmetic, restorative, and preventive dental services, including dental veneers, to have you looking great!
What veneers can do for you
Veneers are thin laminates of sparkling porcelain which are cemented on to the front surfaces of your teeth. Considered a conservative dental treatment for it requires little-to-no tooth surface removal, veneers can improve your smile in no time! They can help teeth that are:
- Damaged or broken from an injury or accident
- Worn-down or eroded from aging or bad habits
- Cracked or fractured from trauma
- Unevenly spaced or gapped apart from genetics
Porcelain veneers can remake your smile and give you the self-confidence that comes with knowing that you look great. This smile makeover is possible because veneers' porcelain structure reflects light and looks just like natural tooth enamel. This material is also stain resistant, meaning that your new veneers will stay looking new and beautiful for years!
The veneer installation process
The application of veneers requires between two and three appointments, including a consultation appointment. During this consultation, your dentist will explain the veneer process and how your new restorations will look after they are placed. This is a great opportunity for you to learn more about veneers and why they are an excellent choice for you!
Following the initial appointment, Dr. Edmondson will prepare your teeth for the veneers and make molds of them to be sent off to a dental laboratory. Once the molds have arrived to the lab, skilled dental artisans will create your veneers. Your new veneers are then sent back to the office and permanently cemented by Dr. Edmondson.
Imagine having a great new smile in as little as two to three appointments! The quick turn-around time makes veneers an excellent choice to enhance your smile quickly, just in time for a special event coming up!
Give us a call!
To find out more about dental veneers and how they can help your smile, dial (940) 591-9700 to reach Dr. Christopher Edmondson's Denton office!