My Blog

By C. Roger Macias Jr., DDS
May 14, 2022
Category: Oral Health
Tags: oral health  
DontLetTheseAgingPitfallsRobYouofGoodOralHealthLaterinLife

Boomers, Gen X, Millennials, Gen Z—we're all different. But regardless of our particular birth generation, we do have one thing in common: we're all getting older. Sooner (Boomers) or later (Gen Z), we're all going to face some challenging realities related to aging—including regarding our teeth and gums.

Even if you've enjoyed optimal oral health throughout your life, aging can still have an impact. As we recognize Older Americans Month this May, here are some potential issues you might face as you get older with your teeth and gums, and how you can start minimizing those issues now.

Wearing. After tens of thousands of meals, you can expect your teeth to show some wear. The question is, how much. Crunching ice or using your teeth as a nutcracker accelerates normal wear, as can an unconscious teeth-grinding habit. It's important, then, to keep an eye on dental wearing and adjust your lifestyle habits (or get help with them from your dentist) to minimize the rate of wear.

Discoloration. Teeth naturally yellow as we get older, but just like dental wearing, there are things that can make it worse: Drinking coffee, tea, or red wine, smoking, or neglecting oral hygiene. Restricting foods that cause staining, quitting smoking, and renewing your brushing and flossing habit (along with regular dental cleanings) can help keep staining to a minimum.

Dental disease. Fifty percent of people over 30 will contend at some point in their lives with gum disease—and that percentage mushrooms to 70 percent after age 65. And, it's not just gum disease—older adults have a higher risk for tooth decay, as well as oral cancer. Besides practicing good oral hygiene habits, it's especially important to visit your dentist regularly for checkups, and to eat a healthy diet of whole foods and less processed, sugar-laden foods.

Disability. Our ability to take care of ourselves can diminish as we get older, which could have an effect on our oral health. Both physical disability and cognitive decline may make it harder to brush and floss, or to keep up with regular dental care. Along the way, you may need to make adjustments to your oral hygiene routine like using larger-handled or power toothbrushes, flossing picks, or water flossers. And if the time comes, seek out help from a caretaker or loved one to help you keep up with your oral care.

A long and happy life isn't challenge-free and your oral health may well be one of those challenges. But with a continuing focus on good personal and dental care, you can meet those challenges with a healthy mouth and a beautiful smile.

If you would like more information about the effects of aging on oral health, please contact us or schedule a consultation. To learn more, read the Dear Doctor magazine article “Aging and Dental Health.”

These2SimpleHabitsCouldExtendYourDenturesLifeandProtectYourHealth

Once upon a time, losing all your teeth could shorten your life. Only the well-to-do could afford dentures, which were crude by today's standards. Modern dentures, by contrast, are vastly more life-like and functional and you don't have to be wealthy to own them.

Today's dentures are also more durable, potentially lasting for several years. But their longevity isn't inevitable. In fact, there are two crucial things you should do to get as much service life from them as possible: clean them regularly and take them out before you go to bed.

Although impervious to disease, dentures can still accumulate dental plaque, a thin film of bacteria and food particles. This buildup could make you more susceptible to infection from a particular kind of yeast called Candida albicans, which can cause your body's defenses to over-produce a protein call interleukin-6. This protein in turn could increase bodily inflammation linked to conditions like diabetes, arthritis, or heart disease.

To keep dentures clean, make a habit of removing and rinsing them after eating. You should also take them out and brush them at least once a day with antibacterial soap or a dedicated denture cleanser. Not toothpaste, though—its mild abrasives are too harsh for the appliance's dental materials, creating micro-scratches that can harbor plaque.

As to your second task: Wearing dentures all the time increases wear on them, as well as the supporting bone under the gums. The friction and pressure of dentures already tends to irritate the bone, causing further bone loss and a looser fit for your dentures. 24/7 denture wear accelerates this process, hastening the time when you'll need your dentures repaired or replaced.

And as with dirty dentures, wearing them all the time could harm your health. In a recent study of nursing home residents, those that wore their dentures around the clock were more than twice as likely to develop severe pneumonia as those who didn't.

Doing these two things for your dentures is simple and easy. But don't let that simplicity fool you! Following these habits could have a huge impact on both your dentures' service life and your health.

If you would like more information on denture care, 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 “Sleeping in Dentures: A Habit That Can Cause Health Problems.”

By C. Roger Macias Jr., DDS
April 24, 2022
Category: Dental Procedures
Tags: dental implants  
BeforeReplacingYourMissingTeethYouMayNeedOtherDentalWork

Replacing missing teeth can do wonders for a smile. And you have solid options for doing so, from a partial denture to state-of-the-art dental implants. But there might be a roadblock to your restoration plan—literally. Some of your other teeth may be in the way.

When a tooth has been missing for a while, the teeth on either side of a tooth gap will naturally begin to move or “drift” into the space. This could result in an inadequate amount of available space for a prosthetic (false) tooth.

If that happens, we'll first need to move the errant teeth back to where they belong, either with traditional braces or removable clear aligners. If we're successful, we can then proceed with the missing tooth restoration.

But before starting orthodontic treatment, there may be another problem that needs our attention first. If your missing teeth are the result of periodontal (gum) disease, your gums and supporting bone may not be as healthy as they need to be. This can interfere with orthodontics, which often depends on the gums and bone around a tooth being healthy enough to reform as the tooth moves. That may not be possible if they're still infected with gum disease or you've suffered significant bone loss.

If that's the case, it may be necessary to first treat any gum disease present and rebuild the bone. The latter can often be done by grafting bone material to the area of loss. The graft then serves as a scaffold of sorts upon which new bone can grow and accumulate. And reducing gum disease, mainly by removing bacterial plaque, allows the gums to heal and regain attachment with the teeth.

Once your gums and bone are healthy again, we can then proceed with orthodontics. After the teeth are reasonably aligned, we can then complete the restoration for replacing your missing teeth, and any other cosmetic enhancements for your remaining teeth like veneers or crowns.

The entire process may take some time and multiple treatment visits. But gaining a more attractive smile in the end is well worth it.

If you would like more information on dental implants, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation.

By C. Roger Macias Jr., DDS
April 14, 2022
Category: Dental Procedures
HeresWhatThese3CelebritiesDidtoAmpUpTheirSmile

It's easy to assume our favorite performers were born with perfect looks. And, while that may be mostly true, many of them still put in a lot of time and expense to make themselves more attractive. One area in particular that gets a lot of focus from celebrities is their smile.

That's because even the most endearing famous smile may still have a few dental flaws. You'll often find a celebrity addressing those flaws to improve their physical appeal—and in ways not necessarily exclusive to the rich and famous. In fact, anyone could benefit from many of the same procedures the stars use to make their smiles more attractive.

Here, then, are 3 celebrities who addressed specific issues with their smile in ways that could benefit you.

Hugh Jackman. Best known as X-Men's Wolverine, Jackman says he once had a dentist look at his teeth and exclaim, "My God, you've got gray teeth." Fortunately, the dentist followed up his outburst with a viable solution: professional teeth whitening. Depending on the exact nature of a discoloration, having your teeth whitened by a dentist with a bleaching solution can turn up the brightness on a dingy smile. Jackman chose a professional application because it offered better control on the degree of whiteness.

Zac Efron. The famous actor who got his start in the movie High School Musical had a defect common among celebrities—a gap between his front teeth. While many celebs like Michael Strahan or Madonna choose to keep their trademark gap, others like Efron opt to lose it. He had his gap "closed" with porcelain veneers, thin shells of dental material that are bonded to teeth. If you have a slight gap that you'd like to close, veneers might be a great solution.

Celine Dion. This beautiful Canadian singing sensation has been going strong for three decades. Although she now looks stunning, she once had a smile only Dracula could love—elongated eye teeth that looked like fangs and overly large front teeth. Unlike our first two stars, though, Dion's experience was truly a "smile makeover" that included oral surgery, orthodontics and veneers. Even so, such a comprehensive smile upgrade is still within the realm of possibility for the average person.

These are just three of the many celebrities who've turned to cosmetic dentistry to improve their smiles. So can you! Visit us for a complete assessment of your smile needs, and we'll provide you options for making your wonderful smile even better.

If you would like more information about cosmetic dental options, please contact us or schedule a consultation. To learn more, read the Dear Doctor magazine article “Cosmetic Dentistry: Fix Your Smile With Veneers, Whitening and More.”

By C. Roger Macias Jr., DDS
April 04, 2022
Category: Oral Health
Tags: tooth decay  
HeresHowtoMinimizeOralBacterialGrowthandStopToothDecay

Finding out you have a cavity can be an unwelcome surprise. The truth is, though, it didn't happen overnight, but the result of ongoing conditions in the mouth.

Those conditions usually begin with harmful oral bacteria. As a life form, these bacteria need food and lodging, which they readily find from the carbohydrates in your diet. The bacteria and food remnants form a thin biofilm that accumulates tooth surfaces called dental plaque. The bacteria in turn produce oral acid, which can soften and erode the teeth's protective enamel. As bacteria multiply the mouth's acidic levels rise, making cavity formation more likely.

But there's also a flip side to this scenario: Interrupting bacterial growth can help prevent cavities and other dental diseases. Here's how you can do just that.

Remove plaque buildup. It's a simple principle: Deprive bacteria of their refined carbohydrates to reduce their toxicity and remove daily plaque buildup with brushing and flossing. For an added boost, see your dentist at least twice a year for a thorough dental cleaning.

Curtail snacking on sweets. Bacteria love the refined sugar in pastries, candies and other sweets as much as we do. Thus, constant snacking on sweets throughout the day could actually foster bacterial growth. Instead, ease up on your sugar intake and limit sweets to meal times only.

Rinse after sugary drinks. Sodas, sports or energy drinks also provide bacteria with added sugar. They may also contain added forms of acid that further lower your mouth's pH level into the acidic danger zone for teeth. Make it a habit, then, to rinse out your mouth with clear water after drinking one of these beverages to dilute excess sugar or acid.

Take care of your saliva. Saliva neutralizes acid even more than plain water, usually in 30 minutes to an hour after eating. By contrast, not having enough saliva increases your risk for decay and other dental diseases. So, be sure to drink plenty of water, monitor medications that might interfere with saliva production, and use saliva boosting products if needed to keep your saliva production healthy.

If you would like more information on managing your dental health, 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 “Cost-Saving Treatment Alternatives.”





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