Sports Safety: Protect Your Tongue and Lips During Sports

sports safetyWhile playing football or soccer, you already know how important it is to protect your teeth from a flying ball. But you also should know how to avoid injuring your lips or tongue. A family dentist can help you with sports safety devices that can prevent facial or oral cavity injuries.

An injury to your tongue from biting it while playing sports can lead to extreme discomfort along with permanent damage to the muscles. When your tongue’s muscles have a severe injury, it is impossible to consume food, drink beverages or talk properly.

Prevent Injuries with a Mouth Guard

You also must protect your lips from damage to avoid destroying your facial appearance. A torn lip can require several surgeries to make it look normal again. Despite having the best plastic surgeon, you may have scars for a lifetime. Lip and tongue sports safety is essential for children, teenagers and adults when they are playing sports in a group or alone.

Order a Custom-fitted Mouth Guard

Whenever you are playing any type of sport, it is important to wear a dental mouth guard that will protect your tongue and lips in addition to your teeth. While you can find generic mouth guards at drugstores, it is better to have one that is custom-fitted. You can schedule an appointment with a family dentist who will collect a mold of your mouth to create a guard that fits precisely.

Mouth Guards Are Comfortable

Mouth guards are made of durable but soft plastic material. They protect the inner parts of your mouth in addition to your lips. With the proper care, a customized mouth guard will last a long time. However, because children and teenagers grow rapidly, a new one will frequently need to be made.

Replace Mouth Guards Occasionally

If a customized mouth guard degrades or no longer fits correctly, a store-bought one is acceptable for a short period of time. Teenagers and children may not want to wear a mouth guard, but it is the best way to protect their tongue or lips. There is a good chance that your family dentist has a sports safety video for your children to watch. They will be able to see what can happen when they don’t wear a mouth guard.

Prevent Bruising and Cuts

Once kids know that an injury to their tongue or lip can lead to pain, bruising or cuts, they are more willing to use a mouth guard during a sporting activity. When participating in sports at school or on the weekends, it is important for a teacher or coach to remind players to wear their mouth guards.

Next: Read about dental bridges here

Tooth extractionA tooth extraction is a common type of oral surgery that may be performed to prevent pain or infection. You may also need to have a tooth removed for other reasons.

Sometimes there’s not enough room in your mouth for your wisdom teeth to come in properly. While your dentist will do everything possible to promote healing, it is important to carefully follow their home care instructions. As your extraction site heals, it is important to make sure that you do not do any of the following.

Don’ts of Tooth Extraction

Drink from a Straw

Anything that causes you to purse your lips and inhale can cause the clot to dislodge from the tooth extraction site. This means that you will need to avoid drinking from straws for at least twenty-four hours. However, your dentist may recommend avoiding them for longer. In addition to straws, you will want to avoid anything else that requires sucking such as lollipops or sports bottle spouts.

Smoke Before or After Your Extraction

Smoking is one of the worst things that you can do for your oral health. It is especially bad to smoke after a tooth extraction. This is because smoking requires you to do the same sucking action as drinking from a straw. It also reduces blood flow to your gums. which slows down the healing process. People who choose to smoke following oral surgery risk getting dry socket or dealing with an infection. If possible, try to stop smoking two weeks before your surgery to promote better healing and avoid additional discomfort.

Poke at the Extraction Site

Depending upon your extraction, you may have a small hole left where the tooth was removed, or your dentist may use small stitches to close the gap. Either way, it is important to leave this area alone. Avoid poking it with your tongue or other objects. If food gets in the hole, your dentist can show you how to use a special rinse to get it out. This will be helpful so that you do not irritate the delicate gum tissues as they heal.

Stop Taking Your Medication

Most people begin to feel better within the first day or two after their tooth is removed. However, you must not let that stop you from taking any of your prescribed medications on time. Your dentist may give you antibiotics to help heal or prevent infection. You may be given pain medication with anti-inflammatory properties. Take these medications as prescribed to bring down swelling and avoid having to go back because of an infection.

At some point, most people require having a tooth extracted, and it is common to be a little nervous about the procedure. Fortunately, dentists are used to removing teeth, and there are many things that you can do to help your body heal. By avoiding these important risk factors for infection and dry socket, you can feel confident that you have done your part to heal properly after your oral surgery.

dental bridges for missing teethDental Bridges

One or more missing teeth can adversely affect the appearance and functionality of your smile. Missing teeth can cause a change in occlusion (bite), shifting of the teeth, temporomandibular joint disorder (TMJ), speech impediments, an increased risk for periodontal disease and a greater chance of tooth decay. Dental bridges, like implants and partial dentures, are used to replace missing teeth. There are several types of fixed dental bridges (cannot be removed), including conventional fixed, cantilever and resin-bonded.

Typically, conventional and cantilever bridges require shaping of the teeth surrounding a missing tooth. Crowns are then placed on the shaped teeth and attached to an artificial tooth (called a pontic).

A resin-bonded bridge requires less preparation of adjacent teeth. It is often used to replace front teeth, provided that the gums are healthy and the surrounding teeth do not have extensive dental fillings.

Consultation and Treatment Planning

Once you and your dentist determine that a bridge is the best replacement for your missing tooth or teeth, you will be advised of different materials that the dental laboratory can use to make your restoration.

Material availability will depend upon where in the mouth the bridge will be placed, whether or not you grind or clench your teeth (bruxism), your dental insurance coverage, and other factors outlined by your dentist. Today’s bridges can be fabricated from a combination of porcelain and metal, porcelain and gold, or exclusively with high-strength metal-free materials such as zirconia or alumina.

Your dentist will take X-rays and impressions of the treatment area, as well as preoperative photographs, for use in planning the ideal restoration for you. Depending upon the number of consecutive teeth you are missing, your bridge could be three or more units; two crowns that are cemented to the teeth on either side of the space (called abutments), plus one or more false teeth (called pontics) to fill the space. Additional impressions will be taken after your dentist prepares the abutment teeth.

Candidacy & Procedure Details

During the first visit, your dentist examines the health of your gums and other teeth to evaluate if you are a candidate. Candidates are given a local anesthetic so your dentist can prepare the teeth required to support the bridge. If the support teeth are decayed or badly broken down, your dentist may have to build them back up before they can be used as support teeth.

Next, your dentist takes an impression of the prepared teeth with a putty-like material that is used to create a model of your teeth. Your bridge is fabricated based on this model by a skilled lab technician so that it precisely fits the prepared teeth. It is important that your restoration fit perfectly to avoid additional oral health problems such as tooth decay.

While your restoration is being fabricated, your dentist fits you with a temporary so the teeth and gums can be protected from damage until your permanent bridge is ready.

To complete the procedure, you must return to the dental office for a second visit to have the bridge fitted and cemented.

Recovery and Post-procedure Care

After your bridge has been cemented into place, your dentist will provide you with hygiene information to maintain the performance and longevity of your restoration, along with the health of your teeth and gums.

A special floss threader will allow you to properly and thoroughly floss the areas surrounding your bridge and between the pontic and underlying gum tissue. It should be used daily to prevent the build-up of plaque and bacteria. Proper brushing with fluoride toothpaste should be performed at least twice each day.

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Dental Implant Cost

dental implantThe cost of a dental implant depends on many factors, including the type of implantation, the dentist performing the procedure, the location where the placement surgery is performed, the material used and the amount of dental insurance you have.

Single implants may range in cost from $900 to $3,000, depending on the aforementioned factors. The cost of full-mouth reconstructive implants can range from $24,000 to $96,000.

If treatment is not covered by your insurance plan, or if you don’t have insurance, you may be able to enlist the services of a third-party financing company. Qualified candidates can work with a financing company to develop a monthly payment plan that best fits their budget.

Advantages of a Dental Implant

Dental implants are stronger and more durable than their restorative counterparts, such as crowns and bridges that are cemented into place, or dentures that are removable.

Implants offer a permanent solution to tooth loss. When used to support a dental bridge or dental crown because multiple teeth are missing, they represent a cavity-resistant and stable foundation for these restorations. Although there are many restorative options for replacing missing teeth, none have proven as functionally effective and durable.

Periodontists and oral surgeons perform the implant surgical procedure itself.

Are You a Candidate?

To determine if you are a candidate for implants, seek the advice of a qualified dental professional with training in dental implants, crowns and/or oral surgery offered by private organizations may be completed over a weekend, but medical organizations such as the American Academy of Periodontology and the American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons offer more extensive training. It is a type of oral surgery so it is important to ensure that your dentist has the experience and training required for this sensitive procedure.

Dental implantation can be done any time after adolescence or when bone growth is complete. Certain medical conditions, such as active diabetes, cancer or periodontal disease, may require additional treatment before the procedure can be performed.

To determine if you are a candidate, your dentist will thoroughly examine your teeth and gums and evaluate bone density and quantity. This may involve X-rays and computer tomography scans (CT scans) to ensure there is sufficient bone structure for placing the implant(s), and to determine exactly where it should be placed.

Based on the condition of your oral tissues, oral hygiene and personal habits, and commitment to follow aftercare instructions, your dentist will advise you of the most appropriate treatment plan. Some patients with insufficient bone or gum tissue require bone or soft tissue grafts and/or the use of small diameter implants (also called mini implants).

Also, if you are a smoker, your dentist will likely advise you to quit before undergoing the procedure because smokers face a higher risk of implant failure. A higher failure rate also occurs in people who take immuno-suppressants.

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Types of Discoloration

Tooth Discoloration - Causes and RemediesTooth discoloration falls into two main types: extrinsic and intrinsic.

Extrinsic discoloration occurs in the outer layer of the tooth, called the enamel; enamel stains can range from white streaks to yellow tints or brown spots and pits.

Intrinsic discoloration occurs in the inner structure of the tooth, called the dentin, when the dentin darkens or displays a yellow (or gray) tint.

Whereas extrinsic staining can be effectively treated using various whitening techniques, intrinsic staining may be more stubborn, potentially requiring alternative cosmetic treatment such as veneers.

What Causes Tooth Discoloration?

In order to effectively manage tooth discoloration, it is important to recognize the causes. These include:

Foods/Drinks: Coffee, tea, colas, wines and certain foods (e.g., potatoes, cherries, blueberries) can cause extrinsic tooth stains.

Tobacco Use: Smoking or chewing tobacco can result in discolored teeth.

Poor Dental Hygiene: Inadequate brushing and flossing to remove plaque and stain-producing substances can cause tooth stains.

Disease: Diseases affecting enamel and dentin can lead to tooth discoloration. Certain infections in pregnant mothers can cause discoloration in the baby by affecting enamel development.

Medications: Antihistamines, antidepressants and high blood pressure drugs can discolor teeth. Maternal use of tetracycline antibiotics during the second half of pregnancy may result in discoloration of the baby’s tooth enamel. Children who take tetracycline and doxycycline antibiotics during permanent tooth development (before age eight) may experience intrinsic discoloration of the permanent teeth.

Dental Work: Procedures requiring certain dental materials, such as silver amalgam restorations, can produce a grayish-black cast to teeth.

Ageing: As you age, the outer layer of enamel on your teeth wears away, revealing the dentin’s natural, yellow color. Additionally, over the years your teeth accumulate more stains and tartars, causing them to darken and discolor.
Genetics: Some lucky individuals have naturally brighter and/or thicker enamel than others.

Environment: Excessive fluoride from environmental sources, such as high fluoride levels in drinking water, or from excessive use of fluoride applications, rinses, toothpastes and oral fluoride supplements, can cause discoloration.
Medical Treatments: Certain treatments can adversely affect the color of enamel and dentin layers. For example, chemotherapy, and head and neck radiation are two such treatments.

Trauma: A fall or any other injury that damages the nerves or chips/cracks the teeth can lead to discolored teeth in adults and children.

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Teeth Whitening

teeth whitening before and afterAre you looking for a quick, non-invasive way to enhance your smile? Teeth whitening might be the answer.

Universally valued by men and women alike, whitening (or bleaching) treatments are available to satisfy every budget, time frame and temperament. Whether in the form of one-hour bleaching sessions at your dentist’s office, or home-use bleaching kits purchased at your local drugstore, solutions abound.

The long and the short of it is that it works. Virtually everyone who opts for a teeth whitening solution sees moderate to substantial improvement in the brightness and whiteness of their smile. That said, it’s not a permanent solution to discoloration and requires maintenance or “touch-ups” for a prolonged effect.

Bleaching vs. Whitening: What’s the Difference?

According to the FDA, the term “bleaching” is permitted to be used only when the teeth can be whitened beyond their natural color. This applies strictly to products that contain bleach – typically hydrogen peroxide or carbamide peroxide.

The term “whitening” on the other hand, refers to restoring a tooth’s surface color by removing dirt and debris. So any product that cleans (like a toothpaste) is technically considered a whitener. Of course, the term whitening sounds better than bleaching, so it is more frequently used – even when describing products that contain bleach.

An Examination of Enamel

Most of us start out with sparkling white teeth, thanks to their porcelain-like enamel surface. Composed of microscopic crystalline rods, tooth enamel is designed to protect the teeth from the effects of chewing, gnashing, trauma and acid attacks caused by sugar. But over the years enamel is worn down, becoming more transparent and permitting the yellow color of dentin – the tooth’s core material – to show through.

During routine chewing, dentin remains intact while millions of micro-cracks occur in the enamel. It is these cracks, as well as the spaces between the crystalline enamel rods, that gradually fill up with stains and debris. As a result, the teeth eventually develop a dull, lackluster appearance.

Teeth whitening removes the stains and debris, leaving the enamel cracks open and exposed. Some of the cracks are quickly re-mineralized by saliva, while others are filled up again with organic debris.

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gum diseaseGum Disease

We know – this is a disgusting photo, but it’s real. Gum disease is an infection of the tissues that surround and support your teeth. It is a major cause of tooth loss in adults. Because it is usually painless, you may not know you have it. Also referred to as periodontal disease, it’s caused by plaque, the sticky film of bacteria that is constantly forming on our teeth.

Here are some warning signs that can signal a problem:

  • gums that bleed easily
  • red, swollen, tender gums
  • gums that have pulled away from the teeth
  • persistent bad breath or bad taste
  • permanent teeth that are loose or separating
  • any change in the way your teeth fit together when you bite
  • any change in the fit of partial dentures

Some factors increase the risk of developing gum disease. They are:

  • poor oral hygiene
  • smoking or chewing tobacco
  • genetics
  • crooked teeth that are hard to keep clean
  • pregnancy
  • diabetes
  • medications, including steroids, certain types of anti-epilepsy drugs, cancer therapy drugs, some calcium
  • channel blockers and oral contraceptives

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A dental implant is an artificial tooth root that is placed into your jaw to hold a replacement tooth or bridge. Dental implants may be an option for people who have lost a tooth or teeth due to periodontal disease, an injury, or some other reason.

Teeth Before Dental Implants

Teeth Before Dental Implants

Teeth After Dental Implants

Teeth After Dental Implants


Endosteal (in the bone): This is the most commonly used type of implant. The various types include screws, cylinders or blades surgically placed into the jawbone. Each implant holds one or more prosthetic teeth. This type of implant is generally used as an alternative for patients with bridges or removable dentures.

Subperiosteal (on the bone): These are placed on top of the jaw with the metal framework’s posts protruding through the gum to hold the prosthesis. These types of implants are used for patients who are unable to wear conventional dentures and who have minimal bone height.


The ideal candidate for a dental implant is in good general and oral health. Adequate bone in your jaw is needed to support the implant, and the best candidates have healthy gum tissues that are free of periodontal disease.

Dental implants are intimately connected with the gum tissues and underlying bone in the mouth. Since periodontists are the dental experts who specialize in precisely these areas, they are ideal members of your dental implant team. Not only do periodontists have experience working with other dental professionals, they also have the special knowledge, training and facilities that you need to have teeth that look and feel just like your own. Your dentist and periodontist will work together to make your dreams come true.

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toothache at nightToothache pain usually comes and goes, starting with intense flare-ups and then stop. It can prevent you from enjoying your daily activities, eating, and sleeping.

The most common problem with this pain is that it becomes worse at night, when you lie down to sleep.

Fortunately, you can deal with it by following a few simple tips.


Using Baking Soda and Salt for Toothache Pain

If an abscessed tooth is responsible for causing your pain, you should mix equal portions of baking soda and salt, and pat cotton in some water before dipping it in this powder. You should then place this cotton in between your teeth and cheek. Do not place it directly inside your tooth. You can relieve pressure and toothache by leaving a cotton ball overnight.

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Dental Veneers

lumineersFirst of all, dental veneers are thin sheets of porcelain that are applied onto the outer surface of the tooth.

The veneers can hide imperfections such as stained teeth, slightly crooked teeth, discolored teeth and other problems. Now, there are two major types available:

the preparation veneers

the non preparation veneers

The preparation veneers, are the regular porcelain dental veneers. In order to apply them, your dentist will remove parts of the enamel of the tooth, and maybe file down the teeth in order for the veneers to fit naturally.

Also, in order for the veneer to adhere perfectly to the surface of your teeth, the dentist will remove a layer of enamel. Many patients are quite scared about this procedure, but otherwise the dental veneers cannot be fitted well.

One very important thing you need to keep in mind is that you should find yourself a very highly trained and skilled cosmetic dentist who performs dental veneers treatments.

He will explain to you that he is going to try to preserve as much as possible from your natural teeth, so you should not worry that your teeth will be filed down excessively.

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