Posts for: June, 2016
If we could go back in time, we all probably have a few things we wish we could change. Recently, Dr. Travis Stork, emergency room physician and host of the syndicated TV show The Doctors, shared one of his do-over dreams with Dear Doctor magazine: “If I [could have] gone back and told myself as a teenager what to do, I would have worn a mouthguard, not only to protect my teeth but also to help potentially reduce risk of concussion.”
What prompted this wish? The fact that as a teenage basketball player, Stork received an elbow to the mouth that caused his two front teeth to be knocked out of place. The teeth were put back in position, but they soon became darker and began to hurt. Eventually, both were successfully restored with dental crowns. Still, it was a painful (and costly) injury — and one that could have been avoided.
You might not realize it, but when it comes to dental injuries, basketball ranks among the riskier sports. Yet it’s far from the only one. In fact, according to the American Dental Association (ADA), there are some two dozen others — including baseball, hockey, surfing and bicycling — that carry a heightened risk of dental injury. Whenever you’re playing those sports, the ADA recommends you wear a high-quality mouth guard.
Mouthguards have come a long way since they were introduced as protective equipment for boxers in the early 1900’s. Today, three different types are widely available: stock “off-the-shelf” types that come in just a few sizes; mouth-formed “boil-and-bite” types that you adapt to the general contours of your mouth; and custom-made high-quality mouthguards that are made just for you at the dental office.
Of all three types, the dentist-made mouthguards are consistently found to be the most comfortable and best-fitting, and the ones that offer your teeth the greatest protection. What’s more, recent studies suggest that custom-fabricated mouthguards can provide an additional defense against concussion — in fact, they are twice as effective as the other types. That’s why you’ll see more and more professional athletes (and plenty of amateurs as well) sporting custom-made mouthguards at games and practices.
“I would have saved myself a lot of dental heartache if I had worn a mouthguard,” noted Dr. Stork. So take his advice: Wear a mouthguard whenever you play sports — unless you’d like to meet him (or one of his medical colleagues) in a professional capacity…
Would you like straighter teeth, but don't like the look of metal braces? Invisalign offers the perfect option for you. Dr. Nicholas Papapetros, Dr. Jhon Giraldo and Dr. Leo Kharin, your Andover, MA dentists at Dentistry by Design, share some information about this innovative brace system.
Invisalign offers clear advantages
There's no way to hide traditional metal braces. Every time you open your mouth to talk, smile, laugh, sing or even yawn, it's obvious that you wear braces. Removable Invisalign aligner trays are made of comfortable, clear plastic, which means that your braces are almost invisible.
There are no adjustments with Invisalign
The Invisalign system uses a series of aligner trays, instead of wires and brackets, to move your teeth. Every two weeks, you'll begin using a new set of aligners to straighten your teeth gently and effectively. Although you'll still visit your Andover dentist periodically to check your progress, you won't have to worry about adjustments.
Invisalign treats a variety of issues
The Invisalign system corrects the same orthodontic issues that metal braces do. They're a good choice if you have an underbite, overbite, crossbite, open bite, crowding or gaps between teeth. If you're an adult, you may only need to wear Invisalign aligners for about a year. Teenagers usually wear the aligners for the same amount of time required for metal braces.
Invisalign is the most flexible brace system
Although your aligner trays aren't very noticeable, there still may be times when you would rather not wear them. Whether you're attending a special event or playing your favorite sport, it's no problem to remove your trays for a few hours. Because you'll also remove your aligner trays for meals, you can eat foods that are off limits for traditional brace wearers, such as popcorn, nuts, sticky candy and hard vegetables.
Are you ready to straighten your teeth with Invisalign? Call Drs. Papapetros, Giraldo and Kharin, your Andover, MA dentists at Dentistry by Design, at (978) 475-5333 to schedule an appointment. Improve your smile with Invisalign!
You’re satisfied with your smile appearance except for one thing — your teeth aren’t as white and bright as you wish they could be. So, you’ve decided to do something about their dull yellow color.
You’re also thinking about buying a whitening product you can use yourself rather than a professional application. But you still want the answers to two questions: are home whitening kits safe? And, are they effective?
By and large the answer to the first question is yes — if you use it as directed. The whitening agents in FDA-approved products are in safe proportions to other ingredients and won’t cause any major health issues. That said, if you go beyond the instructed dosage you could damage your teeth, especially your enamel, and cause long-term problems with your dental care.
In addition, if you (or a family member) are still in your early teens, you may want to wait until you’re older. Although most permanent teeth have come in by puberty, their enamel still needs to mature. The chemicals in a whitening kit could be too strong for their under-developed enamel. It’s best to get our advice on whether your teeth are mature enough for whitening.
As to their effectiveness, home whitening kits should perform as their labeling indicates. But there are some differences in effects between a home kit and a professional application.
Although a home kit usually uses the same whitening agents (like carbamide peroxide), its strength is much lower than a professional treatment — about 10% of volume compared to around 30% in clinical solutions. This means it will take much longer to achieve the desired whitening effect that a professional application can in fewer sessions, and with less precision. In addition, home kits are only effective on surface staining of the enamel — discoloration within a tooth requires treatment by a dentist.
You can get satisfactory results from a home whitening kit. But before you make a purchase, consult with us first — we can advise you on what to look for in your purchase, as well as determine if your teeth can benefit from whitening at home.
If you would like more information on teeth whitening, 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 Whitening Safety Tips.”