How to Know If Your Tooth’s Enamel Is Damaged
Enamel isn’t something we think about every day, or even all that often. However, it is one of the most important things about your oral health. Enamel is the tooth’s outer covering. Over time, enamel can become chipped, worn, or even lost due to dental trauma, dental procedures, or problems with the supporting tissues of the mouth. While calcium can naturally repair to some degree, damage sustained over time may leave your tooth vulnerable to further enamel loss.
It can be difficult to know if your tooth’s enamel is permanently damaged. We’ve created a list to know if yours is damaged to make it easier for you!
One of the most common signs your tooth’s enamel is damaged is sensitivity. You may notice discomfort while eating or drinking something with hot or hot temperatures. The more your enamel gets damaged, the more extreme your sensitivity will become. If you’re experiencing tooth sensitivity, make sure to talk with your dentist as soon as possible!
Another way to know if your enamel is damaged is if the color of your teeth has changed. This color change often occurs first on the central incisors, which are your very front teeth. Those teeth might become transparent around the outer edges. As the enamel continues to erode, your teeth might turn a gray or yellowish color.
If your teeth change shape, it’s a good indicator that you have enamel damage. Your teeth may begin to appear rounded, develop ridges, and often the gaps between teeth will become more substantial. Eventually, you may notice cracks in your teeth.
How to Stop Enamel Erosion
Tooth enamel loss puts your teeth at increased risk for tooth decay. Some tooth enamel loss occurs naturally with age, but you can help stop harmful tooth enamel loss by following a regular oral care routine of brushing your teeth twice a day and flossing regularly. Your tooth enamel is the first line of defense for your teeth against tooth decay.
Here at Finger Lakes Dental, we are always happy to help. If you think you are experiencing enamel damage, call the Finger Lakes Dental location nearest you and we’ll set up an appointment, or schedule your appointment using the link below. We’ll look at your teeth for any signs of erosion, and talk with you about your options if you do have damage.Schedule Online
Dental Sedation: Making Your Procedure as Comfortable as Possible
Many people have fears and anxiety about visiting the dentist. We get it, dental visits rarely end up being anyone’s favorite thing to do! But, waiting to go to the dentist, or never going, can turn small dental issues into bigger, more complicated problems that are potentially more painful, too. At Finger Lakes Dental, we understand coming to see us can seem intimidating, and we are committed to making your visit as comfortable as possible. Among other things we do to welcome you to our office, we can make most procedures relatively painless, thanks to the power of modern medicine and dental sedation.
Controlling Dental Pain: Local Anesthesia vs. General Anesthesia vs. Sedation
Usually, a local anesthetic is enough to manage your pain. However, for some people, pain isn’t the only concern. Patients who suffer from anxiety may be concerned the discomfort of a procedure will cause elevated anxiety. If that’s the case for you, don’t worry! Sedation can make your visit a breeze.
Dentists use three primary methods to manage patients’ pain and stress during procedures:
- Local anesthesia: numbs the immediate area being worked on
- General anesthesia: makes you unconscious for the duration
- Sedative medication: calms you – dentists can choose different levels of sedative
Local anesthesia is applied with a swab or syringe directly to the skin or muscle in the area the dentist plans to work on. Some sedatives are released into the patient’s bloodstream through a needle or catheter. Unlike general anesthesia, where the patient is entirely unconscious and may need assistance with their breathing and heartbeat, sedative medication can leave the patient in a semi-conscious state. This means the patient can respond to verbal commands and doesn’t need to be watched as closely.
Many sedatives leave the patient with no memory of the procedure, so they don’t have to worry they will have traumatic memories of the procedure. A combination of local anesthesia and sedative medication makes a patient’s experience both painless and more emotionally comfortable. Oral sedatives (by mouth) often simply calm a person’s nerves a bit. These sedatives leave the patient fully conscious but help them relax during the dental procedure. The type of sedation a dentist uses depends on the individual needs of each patient.
Going to the dentist may not ever be one of your favorite things, but at Finger Lakes Dental we have ways (including sedation) to ensure your dental visit is as comfortable as possible. If you have questions about how we can accommodate you during your visit, or if you have specific questions about any procedure, call the Finger Lakes Dental location nearest you and we’ll be happy to ease your anxiety!
Signs That a Root Canal is Needed
Each year, over 60 million Americans visit the dentist. Many of these visits can be attributed to cavities, which are small holes in your teeth that allow bacteria to get inside. But sometimes, other dental issues occur that require additional treatments. If you experience severe tooth pain, bleeding, or swelling (other than after eating)—these are just a few signs that a root canal is needed. Root canals are considered the best option for saving a damaged tooth when an abscess is present. Here are some signs you might need a root canal.
At Finger Lakes Dental we offer root canal treatment in Canadaigua, Henrietta, Naples, Palmyra, and Victor, New York. See our locations page for address, contact, and office information of each location.
Having persistent pain is one way to tell if you need a root canal. The pain might be constant, or it might go away, but it always comes back. You may feel the pain deep in the bone of your tooth, or it might be in your jaw, face or other teeth.
Tooth pain may have other causes, such as gum disease, cavities, or an impacted tooth, but it’s always a good idea to talk with your dentist if you have tooth pain.
An infection in the pulp of your tooth can cause your tooth to become discolored.Trauma to the tooth or the breakdown of the internal tissue can damage the roots and give the tooth a grayish-black appearance. While there might be other reasons a tooth is discolored, it could be cause for a root canal so talk with your dentist!
Sensitivity to Heat and Cold
When your teeth start to hurt from drinking a hot cup of coffee or drinking ice water, you may need a root canal.
The pain can be just a dull feeling, or it can be a sharp pain that lingers for an extended period of time, even after you’ve finished eating or drinking. If your tooth hurts when you eat or drink something hot or cold, it may be an indication that the blood vessels and nerves in your tooth are infected or damaged.
Swollen gums near the painful tooth can be a sign of an issue that requires a root canal. The swelling may come and go. It may be tender when you touch it, or it may not be painful to the touch.
There also might be a pimple-like abscess on your gum, which may ooze pus from the infection of the tooth. This can give you an unpleasant taste in your mouth and make your breath smell bad.
A Chipped or Cracked Tooth
If you’ve chipped or cracked your tooth in an accident, in a contact sport, or by chewing on something hard, bacteria can set in and lead to inflammation and infection. Even if your tooth didn’t crack but you did injure it, the injury can still cause damage to the nerves of the tooth. The nerve can become inflamed and cause pain and sensitivity, which may require root canal treatment.
These are just a few signs that you may need a root canal. If you have any of these symptoms, it’s a good idea to talk with your dentist. The Finger Lakes Dental team can help answer any questions you may have. Contact any of our five locations if you have any questions or schedule an appointment online today.
How to Teach Your Child the Value of Oral Hygiene
As a parent, it’s a very daunting task to teach your child the value of oral hygiene. It is especially difficult when they are in the preschool years and more likely to be distracted and uninterested in what you have to say. The key is to make teaching fun for both parent and child.
Keeping good oral hygiene is so important as a child. As a parent, you probably know this, but how do you convince your child that it is important. When you maintain a clean mouth, you will have lesser chances of dental diseases and tooth loss. Good dental hygiene also plays a huge role for aesthetic reasons as it keeps your teeth looking polished and white and also reduces the chance of experiencing bad breath.
Habits to Teach
Regular Dental Checkups
It’s important to take your child to the dentist for regular checkups (at least every six months). This will help them get into the habit of seeing a dentist on a regular basis, which will help them even as they grow into adults.
Eating Healthy Foods
Eating healthy at a young age is so important for children. This will help them get into the habit of eating fruits and vegetables and actually enjoy them. Eating healthy is great for oral health and will keep their teeth stay in good condition
Brushing Twice a Day
Showing your child that it is important to brush their teeth twice a day is a great practice. You can even start this before your child actually starts teething. You can start by wiping their gums with soft foam, and once they start to grow teeth, you can upgrade to a baby toothbrush. This will help your child to grow up with the familiarity of having their teeth brushed.
Teaching your child at a young age that not only brushing, but also flossing your teeth is another great way to keep their mouth healthy. If this is difficult for you as a parent, you can have your dentist help show them at their regular checkup!
Lead By Example
Your child learns the most from you as their parent. Showing them how important oral hygiene is and practicing good oral hygiene is one of the best ways for them to learn. When you put both your child’s and your own dental hygiene as a top priority, your child will grow up understanding the importance of taking care of your teeth.
It is imperative to teach your child how to take care of their teeth at a young age. We’re always happy to answer any questions or address any concerns you may have. Contact any of our five New York locations to schedule your child’s next appointment
What are the Different Stages of Gum Disease?
Gum disease is the progressive loss of the attachment of the gum tissue to the teeth. It occurs when harmful bacteria in the mouth continuously produce toxins that irritate and inflame the gums and bone that hold teeth in place. There are several different stages of gum disease including gingivitis, periodontitis, and advanced periodontitis. At Finger Lakes Dental, we provide gum disease treatment at each of our five New York locations.
Gingivitis is the only stage of periodontal disease that is reversible because it hasn’t yet attacked the bones. Typically, gingivitis is caused by a buildup of plaque around the teeth. One of the first signs of gingivitis is bleeding gums, however, many symptoms are painless, which is what makes this stage of periodontal disease so common. Good oral hygiene and regular dental visits and cleanings can help treat and reverse gingivitis successfully.
If gingivitis is left untreated, the disease will progress and the gums and teeth will start to separate even further from each other. This will lead to the development of deep gingival pockets, which can promote bacterial growth even further. These pockets are prone to calculus, which can cause damage to the connective tissues responsible for holding the teeth in place.
At this stage, aggressive dental treatment is the only way to stop the disease from progressing even further. In these cases, the preferred form of treatment is what’s referred to as root planning and if necessary, antibiotics.
If you’ve reached the stage of advanced periodontitis, you are at risk for tooth loss and for your teeth to fall out at any time. At this stage, the teeth will have to be removed to prevent the disease from spreading even further. Surgical grafts may also be required to help compensate for the loss of both bone and gum tissue.
Losing teeth is not the only thing you have to be worried about, though, if you have advanced periodontitis. There’s been growing evidence of a link between periodontal disease and other types of complications, such as that of the heart, brain, and even lungs.
At this stage, aggressive dental treatment and regular checkups, treatments, and intake of certain medications is required to help slow down the progression of the disease. Further treatments may also be necessary to try to reverse as much of the damage done by periodontal disease as possible.
Periodontal disease can be reversed if you catch it quick enough. However, the longer you wait, the worse it gets. You should get in contact with your dentist right away if you believe you have symptoms of periodontal disease. Find the Finger Lakes Dental location nearest to you from our locations page or schedule an appointment online. We’re always happy to help!
Insights on Invisalign®
Braces can feel like a bit of a contradiction. You want a clean, straight smile, but you first have to wear a highly visible device on your teeth for months on end. You want a well-aligned bite, but for a while braces make some day-to-day tasks, such as brushing teeth and eating some foods, more difficult. Fortunately, for those who want to show off their pretty pearly whites as they go AND show off the results of their realignment as soon as possible, one option is clear plastic removable aligners such as Invisalign aligner systems. At Finger Lakes Dental Care in New York, we offer Invisalign clear aligners at each our our five locations— Canandaigua, Henrietta, Naples, Palmyra, and Victor.
The Benefits of Clear Aligners
Clear aligners, as their name suggests, are clear plastic devices intended to straighten your teeth over time. They are nearly undetectable by observers. Not only are they more difficult to see (getting you closer to being able to show off that perfect smile), but they can be taken out temporarily when needed, allowing you to brush your teeth or eat without distraction.
The Clear Aligner Fitting Process
For most clear aligners, including Invisalign systems, your dentist will take a mold of your teeth and send it in. From there, orthodontic experts will determine the difference in positions between where your teeth are and where you want them to be and will create several stages of aligners to gradually move your teeth into the desired position. You’ll have to wear the aligners most of the time—about 22 hours a day. At certain points in the process as your teeth change position, you’ll move on to the next device, switching them out until your teeth are right where you want them to be.
Alternatively, there are kits you can order to take a mold of your teeth at home. This is an overall less expensive process, but you aren’t likely to achieve the same results and you lose the benefit of your dentist’s expertise. Clear aligners may not be the best solution for you, so it’s best to consult your dentist beforehand even if you decide to go this route.
How to Pay for Clear Aligners
Depending on the degree of work your teeth need, an Invisalign clear aligner treatment can cost between $3,000 and $7,000. According to Invisalign’s website, your insurance may be able to pay as much as $3,000 of the cost. For the amount your insurance doesn’t cover, you have some options.
Many dentists offer payment plans, which allows you to split a large bill into smaller payments over time. This makes payment much more manageable for some people and can be useful in emergency situations when you don’t have time to save money for the treatment before you begin.
Of course, if you can save the money ahead of time, that’s probably the better option. If you’re planning to save up for an Invisalign clear aligner treatment or something similar, you may want to consider opening a Flexible Spending Account (FSA) or Health Savings Account (HSA). Accounts such as these allow you to take a certain amount of money out of your paycheck, pretax, to pay for some expenses—including, in some cases, clear aligners. The types of accounts you’re allowed to open and the amount of money you can put into them will vary depending on your situation, so talk to your bank or another financial professional about your options.
For those who can use them, clear aligners such as Invisalign systems can be the least intrusive solution for straightening teeth. It’s nice not to have to worry about the looks and inconveniences of traditional braces! The initial cost of clear aligners may seem daunting, but options are available to help pay for them. If you have any questions about clear aligners or other methods of straightening your teeth, please contact the Finger Lakes Dental location nearest you. We’ll be happy to walk you through your options and help you find the best possible solution for your smile.
Are Dental Implants Safe?
Dental implants have become many dentists’ go-to procedure for replacing missing teeth. Dental implant surgery replaces tooth roots with metal, screwlike posts and replaces damaged or missing teeth with artificial teeth that look and function much like real ones. This surgery is a great alternative to dentures and can offer an option when a lack of natural teeth roots don’t allow building denture or bridgework tooth replacements. At Finger Lakes Dental Care in New York, we offer dental implants at each our our five locations— Canandaigua, Henrietta, Naples, Palmyra, and Victor.
What are the risks?
Like any type of surgery, there are a few risks to getting dental implants. However, the problems that come with dental implant surgery are rare and typically minor and very treatable. Risks include:
- Sinus problems, when dental implants placed in the upper jaw protrude into one of your sinus cavities
- Injury or damage to surrounding structures, such as other teeth or blood vessels
- Nerve damage, which can cause pain, numbness or tingling in your natural teeth, gums, lips or chin
- Infection at the implant site
What are the advantages?
Dental implants are one of the most reliable dental procedures with a 95% success. They also offer advantages that other missing teeth solutions do not, such as:
- Appearance – Implants look and feel like your natural teeth.
- Speech – No need to worry about slipping dentures or loose bridges that can cause slurred speech.
- Comfort – Implants are permanent and stable, so no chaffing or discomfort will happen like with dentures.
- Oral health – Implant placement does not require modifying surrounding teeth as a bridge does. Also, implants stop bone deterioration and stimulate healthy bone tissue growth.
Dental Implant Procedure
When considering having a dental implant procedure, a patient will typically go through the following steps:
- First, the patient will go through a thorough exam and consultation with the dentist. The dentist will then make an individualized treatment plan.
- At the next appointment, the team will place your implant, which acts as a substitute tooth root.
- Then, the tooth is given time (about 2-3 months) to heal and integrate with the bone tissue.
- Once the implant has bonded to the bone tissue, a small connector called an abutment is attached to the implant.
- Impressions are taken of your teeth to create either a custom crown to replace one tooth or an implant-supported bridge or denture for multiple missing teeth. Crown restorations are custom tinted, so they blend in beautifully with your natural teeth.
- The finished crown, bridge, or denture is attached to the implant(s).
Once you get the finished implant, your new teeth are ready to use! If you have any questions or concerns, please contact the Finger Lakes Dental location nearest you. We want your implants to look and feel like real teeth and your smile looking its best!