Invest in your smile’s health and appearance.
We see straight, even smiles everywhere nowadays—in movies, magazines, even social media posts from people we know. A straight smile has become the ideal, and the wealth of orthodontic treatment options means that it’s easier than ever to achieve it. Adulthood is all about prioritizing, however, so we know that orthodontic treatments don’t always make the top of the list even if you’ve always wanted an even smile. Though the boost in self-confidence that orthodontic treatments can provide is absolutely priceless, the truth is that straightening your teeth does far more than improve their appearance. It actively improves your oral health!
A properly aligned bite puts less stress on your teeth and jaws, prevents your teeth from being worn down unevenly, and can cut down or eliminate frequent headaches. Plus, straight teeth are simply easier to clean well, which decreases your risk of cavities and gum disease. As a result, undergoing orthodontic treatment is often a way for you to invest in yourself and your overall well-being. Traditional braces don’t always sound appealing, however, especially if you’re an older adult with a professional career. Thankfully, advances in orthodontic treatments haven’t just made it easier to straighten your teeth—options like ClearCorrect aligners allow you to undergo treatment more comfortably and discreetly than ever! To help you understand this option, we’ve broken down 5 of the most common questions our patients ask about ClearCorrect aligners.
1. What are ClearCorrect aligners?
ClearCorrect aligners are a system of clear aligners that work to straighten your teeth over time. Since the aligners are clear, most people won’t notice them on your teeth. The aligners are also removable, so eating and cleaning your teeth are as simple as taking the aligners out beforehand. As a result, ClearCorrect doesn’t have dietary restrictions. You can continue eating all of your favorite foods, from toffee to popcorn, as long as you brush your teeth before putting your aligners back in.
2. How does ClearCorrect work?
Much like Invisalign, ClearCorrect works by using a series of custom-made aligners to gradually shift your teeth into their ideal positions. Every time you switch to a new set of aligners, it applies slight, gentle pressure on your teeth to shift them a little more. By the time you switch to the next set of aligners, your teeth will have shifted to fit the set you’re currently wearing. This is the equivalent of an orthodontist tightening the wires on a set of braces, but you can do it right in the comfort of your own home! While you’ll still need to visit Dr. Farless regularly to ensure that your teeth are moving the way they’re meant to, you likely won’t have to visit our office as often and your visits will be faster.
3. Who is a good candidate for ClearCorrect treatment?
ClearCorrect is an incredibly effective treatment that can address many orthodontic issues, including overbites, underbites, teeth that are overcrowded or have gaps between them, and twisted or crooked teeth. Complex orthodontic issues, however, may be best treated using another method like traditional braces. If you’re interested in ClearCorrect, the best way to determine if you’re a good candidate is to schedule a consultation with Dr. Farless.
Additionally, you need to be willing to form a few new habits, like taking the aligners out before you eat, keeping tabs on them so you don’t lose them, practicing great oral hygiene, and wearing the aligners for at least 22 hours a day. These are simple habits, but they keep your aligners clear and allow them to do their job within the timeframe that Dr. Farless predicted.
4. How long does ClearCorrect treatment take?
On average, orthodontic treatment with ClearCorrect takes between one and two years. ClearCorrect is used to treat a range of orthodontic issues and it’s tailored specifically to each patient’s unique case, so it’s hard to provide an exact estimate for your treatment time until you’ve seen Dr. Farless for a consultation.
5. Will ClearCorrect aligners hurt?
It’s normal to experience soreness for a few days after you first get your aligners and every time you make the switch to a new set. This same soreness is common across orthodontic treatments, occurring with other clear aligners like Invisalign and with traditional braces after each adjustment. You should only feel sore for a few days, however, and your discomfort should be very minor! Over-the-counter pain medication should easily knock out any discomfort you’re feeling, but many people don’t even feel the need to take anything for it.
Aside from this, ClearCorrect aligners are incredibly comfortable! They’re designed specifically for your mouth, so they fit snugly and comfortably. Plus, the smooth plastic they’re made from won’t cause cuts, scrapes, or sores on the skin of your mouth like traditional braces can. This makes clear aligners the most comfortable way of straightening teeth, as well as the most discreet!
We understand why it’s tempting to put off orthodontic treatment for so long, but it’s time to invest in yourself! ClearCorrect aligners are a discreet, convenient, and comfortable way to improve the health and appearance of your smile, allowing you to experience confidence in your smile at every level. If you’d like to learn more about ClearCorrect and find out whether or not you’re a good candidate for it, feel free to call and schedule an appointment with Dr. Farless at any time.
Many types of bacteria are actually good.
You’ve heard us talk about the importance of keeping oral bacteria at bay, but what you might not know is that not all of these microorganisms are bad.
In fact, many types of bacteria are actually good, and hold the secrets to discovering more about our overall health. However, before you toss your toothbrush, remember that a solid oral hygiene routine is key to striking a healthy balance.
Today we’re taking a deep dive into the fascinating world of oral bacteria with 10 interesting facts to remember. From the thought provoking to the downright silly, who knew bacteria could be so much fun?
1. Oral bacteria is linked to your overall health.
In the late 1800s, W.D. Miller said, “Oral bacteria can explain most, if not all, of the illnesses of mankind.”
Your mouth is more than a holding spot for your beautiful smile. It’s also a primary entry point for both your digestive and respiratory tracts. While most of the bacteria that enters your mouth is harmless, some can carry disease.
If it’s allowed to grow unchecked, it can lead to chronic inflammation. This is your body’s response to toxins and bacteria and is designed to work as a natural defense. If left unchecked, this long-term inflammation can have other adverse health effects.
A few of the conditions linked to poor oral health include the following:
- Cardiovascular disease
- Endocarditis (infection of the inner lining of your heart)
2. Oral bacteria can cause gum disease.
Within your mouth, the inflammation caused by bad oral bacteria can lead to gum disease and periodontitis.
If left untreated, this can cause your healthy teeth to become loose and can even lead to tooth loss. Periodontal disease is also linked to other health conditions, including heart disease and diabetes.
It’s important to brush and floss twice a day to prevent bacteria buildup and encourage healthy gums. Regular visits to our office can also help your dentist monitor your mouth for any early signs of gum disease.
3. Oral bacteria are teeny tiny.
Although they can cause major damage, bacteria are actually microscopic. In fact, they’re made of just one, single cell.
To put that into perspective, you have more than 37 trillion cells in your entire body, and each has its own designated role. For instance, humans have roughly 50 billion fat cells and 2 billion heart muscle cells!
4. Oral bacteria have their own DNA.
You know that your DNA is unique, but what about those little bacteria cells? Turns out, theirs is also one-of-a-kind. Most of the DNA of bacteria is contained within one circular molecule, called the bacterial chromosome.
In addition to the chromosome, most bacteria will also contain plasmids, which are smaller, circular DNA molecules.
5. They need energy.
Without a source of power, you’d lie around all day. Bacteria would do the same, but they have a job to do. That’s why they need a constant supply of energy, just like any other living organism.
Oral bacteria derive most of their fuel from fermentable carbohydrates that exist within your mouth. Then, they use various forms of sugar to create an unstoppable power force that they can metabolize into energy. Revved up, they can then impact the surface of your teeth and gums with a toxic blend of powerful, acidic waste.
6. Your mouth is home to hundreds of types of bacteria.
While scientists haven’t determined an exact number, they estimate that roughly 700 different types of bacteria will call your mouth home throughout your lifetime. At a given time, however, that number is somewhere between 34 and 72.
Once there, they prefer different places. Some stick to your teeth, while others hang out near your gums or on your tongue.
When they’ve found a spot to settle in, these bacteria will team up with other oral microbes. Together, they form what’s known as a matrix. This is the slimy, sticky material in plaque that makes it particularly difficult to remove.
7. Some oral bacteria are good.
Within the matrix, there are different communities of microbes. Some bacteria are disease causing, but others are good. The good bacteria help keep the levels of bad bacteria in check.
In addition, they also aid with digestion and help keep harmful microbes present in food from entering and attacking your body.
Want to help the good microbes grow while diminishing their bad neighbors? Limit sugary food and drinks.
These attract sugar-loving microbes, encouraging them to grow and spread out. Those are the microbes that can turn sugar into both matrix and acid, eroding the surface of your teeth. Some of the worst offenders include:
- Streptococcus mutans
- T. denticola
- P. gingivalis
Streptococcus mutans are the bacteria most closely associated with tooth decay. These bacteria feed off any sugar in your mouth, producing a potent acid that breaks down your tooth layer by layer.
Similarly, T. denticola and P. gingivalis are the top culprits for gum disease or periodontal disease. The toxins produced by these bacteria can severely harm your gum tissue.
8. Babies don’t have any.
Directly after their birth, babies don’t have any harmful oral bacteria present. However, that clean slate doesn’t last too long.
It usually takes only hours for that microbiome to begin, usually due to their mothers kissing them! As they grow, their oral microbiome is also built by other saliva-sharing behaviors, such as blowing on food or testing it on a spoon before feeding.
This is one of the many reasons why it’s smart to schedule your baby’s first dental checkup within six months of their first tooth erupting or by their first birthday.
9. They reproduce quickly.
Have you ever wondered why you need to brush at least twice a day? Oral bacteria multiply in number every four to five hours, so cleaning once simply isn’t enough to keep their numbers down.
Let’s talk numbers. Say you begin the day with 20 billion bacteria. If you go 24 hours without picking up a toothbrush, that number will be nearly 100 billion by the next day.
10. You can control and maintain your oral microbiome.
Want to keep your oral microbiome healthy and balanced? You have the power to do so!
First, limit the amount of sugar you eat. Instead, snack on crunchy veggies like carrots and celery. Not only are these better for your overall health, but they can stimulate your gums and help wash away bad bacteria from your teeth. Certain acidic fruits, like apples, can also stimulate saliva production for a similar effect.
In addition to eating healthy, remember to stay on top of your at-home brushing and flossing routine. It’s also important to partner with your dentist to take a proactive approach to your dental health.
Optimize your oral health.
Our office is committed to helping you learn as much as possible about your teeth and gums, including the bacteria that live within them. We’re also here to keep them clean and help prevent or reverse any damage.
With the right approach, you can enjoy a lifetime of healthy, vibrant smiles.
From general dentistry to cosmetic or restorative treatments, we can help. Schedule an appointment today!
Make teeth brushing a healthy habit for your children.
Your children might be little, but it’s never too early to teach them the importance of a great dental care routine. This includes brushing and flossing their teeth twice per day, along with eating healthy foods and staying up to date on their visits to the dentist.
Of course, your kiddos are likely focused on a million other things besides perfecting their brushing skills. There are superheroes to imitate, cartoons to watch, and pillow forts to build. They may be a challenging audience, but you’re up to the task!
Wondering how to encourage this habit and help it stick? As your trusted kids’ dentist, we’re here to share 8 helpful ways you can show your brood that brushing their teeth isn’t just important, it can also be fun!
1. Brushing Their Teeth to a Song
You don’t have to suds up in silence! Encourage your child to brush their teeth while playing a favorite song, even if it’s the same one you’ve heard Alexa play all day long.
You can also download a digital brush timer set to music, such as the Disney Magic Timer by Oral-B. According to the Apple App Store, 90% of kids surveyed brushed for a longer period of time when this app was playing.
2. Lead by Example
We don’t have to tell you that your children love to mimic every little thing you do. Sometimes, it’s absolutely precious. Other times, it’s mortifying.
However, you can use their innocent tendency to emulate to your advantage. Let them “catch” you brushing your teeth in the morning and evening. Then, explain to them why this step is so important and how much you enjoy it.
You can even take turns brushing each other’s teeth, giving them extra time to scrub yours clean. Later on, let them eavesdrop while you make appointments with the family dentist. You may be amazed at how much weight your example holds.
No, you don’t have to go out and buy your daughter a new doll every time she remembers to brush twice a day. Yet, research shows that kids are highly motivated by even the smallest rewards.
Wondering how to get kids to brush their teeth? Start by creating a sticker chart. Add a new sticker for every day that they stick to their dental routine. At the end of the month, reward them with something small, such as allowing them to pick the flick for family movie night.
If you need a little inspiration, here’s a list of free or low-cost reward ideas that kids love. As your children begin to notice their healthy teeth and gums, they’ll start to become intrinsically motivated to keep up the good work, and you can slowly phase out the extrinsic incentives.
4. Brushing Your Teeth With Them
Nothing makes a child feel more like a grown-up than pulling up a stool and spending time together at the bathroom sink. Set a designated time at morning and night, and brush alongside one another.
Especially if your child is still very young, you’ll need to be on hand anyway to brush their teeth yourself. However, even if they’re a little bigger, they’ll still appreciate the one-on-one time and the memories you create.
5. Let Them Choose a Fun Toothbrush
There will be plenty of time for plain, solid-colored toothbrushes when they’re grown! For now, let your children run wild with their imagination and pick out the brightest, shiniest, loudest toothbrush on the aisle.
Today, you can even find ones that include little countdown lights that turn bright green in the beginning, yellow in the middle, and red when the designated two minutes are up. Resist the urge to stifle their creativity and instead, praise their unique choices. They’ll be more likely to use their toothbrush on a regular basis if it appeals to them visually.
6. Brushing Their Teeth Along With Stuffed Friends
Does your child have a beloved teddy bear? What about a glittery unicorn? Invite them to join your toothbrushing party so they can see for themselves what all the fun is about.
Encourage your child to practice their brushing techniques on their stuffed pals. Not only is this silly fun, but it’s a good way to make sure they know all of the right steps to follow.
7. Turn It Into a Story
There’s a reason why kids are so naturally drawn to fairytales. They’re magical, imaginative, and creative—just like them! Why not tell one of your own to help them remember to brush?
Could there be a maiden waiting behind their molars, looking for someone to come rescue her? Her knight will have to travel across and between every tooth to get there, but when he does, they can live happily ever after.
Feel free to get as funny or nonsensical as you need to, here. You aren’t vying for the Pulitzer Prize, but you do need to make the tale entertaining enough that your child cares about the outcome. You can even play the role of a friendly dentist.
8. Use Age-appropriate Tools for Brushing Teeth
When you’re setting your child up with the toothbrush and floss they need, make sure that everything is child-sized. A too-big brush can be bulky and difficult to grab. It also can’t clean around their little teeth as thoroughly as a smaller one can.
One experience trying to wield those cumbersome items, and your tot won’t want to pick them up again. When they’re just the right proportions, however, they’ll be excited about using them.
The same goes for any other dental tool you purchase for your little ones. Steer clear of sharp-edged flossers and opt for power toothbrushes if your children lack the dexterity to effectively use a manual one.
Your Local Kids’ Dentist: Building Healthy Pint-Sized Habits
Have you ever heard the expression that children are like little sponges? They’re constantly absorbing and retaining everything they see and experience.
As a parent, you play a very important role in helping them set healthy habits at a young age. In our experience as a kids’ dentist, we cannot stress enough how valuable this early involvement is in setting the stage for a firm dental foundation.
In addition to developing great brushing habits, we also encourage you to schedule routine preventative care services for your kids. These visits help our dentist clean their teeth, check their mouth and ensure they have healthy gums.
The link between oral health and physical wellness has been well-researched and documented. However, did you know that a strong dental care routine can also benefit your mental health?
When your teeth and gums look and feel their best, you’re less prone to experiencing the emotional and mental stressors that many dental issues can trigger.
Today, we’re taking a closer look at this correlation, exploring how your mental and oral health are related and sharing ways to optimize both.
How does oral health affect your mental health?
The connection between your mouth and your mind is more powerful than you might realize. For one, conditions such as periodontitis or misaligned teeth can cause your self-esteem to lower. They can also catalyze feelings of depression and anxiety.
In one peer-reviewed study, researchers set out to investigate this association more carefully, using data extracted over a five-year period for the U.S. National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. Each participant in the survey was at least 30 years old and voluntarily underwent a periodontal examination and depression screening.
The key finding? A significant 22% of participants reported moderate depressive symptoms. Of those, more than half were suffering from periodontal disease. In addition, more than one-third had untreated dental caries.
Yet, it’s important to realize that the connection works both ways.
In the same study, researchers also investigated whether or not an onset of depression could lead to the development of periodontal disease. They confirmed that this was the case, citing that survey participants who experienced severe depressive symptoms had an overall higher risk of developing mild periodontitis than their peers.
How is the oral health connection formed?
There are both behavioral and biological factors at work within this relationship. Let’s take a look at each one in greater detail.
When someone is in the throes of depression, anxiety, or elevated stress, studies show that they’re less likely to prioritize certain aspects of their personal care, including their oral health. They’re also less likely to take advantage of dental services, such as preventative cleanings offered by their dentist.
One recent study of more than 96,000 participants found that 73% of adults had used some form of oral health services in the past year. However, researchers noted that the rate of non-use for such services was “significantly higher” among participants suffering from:
- Current depression.
- Lifetime diagnosed depression.
- Lifetime diagnosed anxiety.
Specifically, they found that adults with these illnesses were nearly two times more likely to have not had a dental or cleaning visit in the past year.
These findings underscore the mental and physical toll that depression and anxiety can take. In addition to causing feelings of stress and sadness, these conditions can also lead to:
- Decreased energy levels.
- Difficulty concentrating or making decisions.
- Physical aches and pains.
- Gastrointestinal distress.
- Difficulty sleeping .
- Appetite and weight changes.
When these symptoms take hold, it can be difficult to focus on oral health habits, such as brushing and flossing. It can be even more daunting to attend preventative visits or schedule treatments for dental issues, such as gum disease. This can cause the condition to exacerbate and develop into more severe periodontitis.
In the same vein, research shows that people who follow an unhealthy diet could also be at a higher risk of developing mental health conditions, including depression.
They’re also more likely to self-medicate by smoking. In a review of 148 individual studies, researchers found that 71% of the reports indicated that baseline depression leads to a subsequent onset of smoking. Both unhealthy diets and cigarette use are linked to poor oral health.
In addition to the behavioral link between oral health and mental health, the connection is also a biological one.
The chief way this link forms is through the production of a hormone called cortisol.
This is your body’s stress hormone, and it rises when depression and anxiety set in. Over time, elevated levels of cortisol can weaken your immune system, leaving your body more susceptible to disease. When that natural immune response is compromised, it becomes more difficult to ward off dental conditions including gum inflammation and gum disease.
Yet, that is only one of the ways your bodily reactions can negatively impact your oral health. Studies show that people suffering from anxiety are also more likely to develop bruxism, or teeth grinding, at night. Such behavior is a physical manifestation of both stress and anxiety, and can lead to dental conditions such as tooth damage or temporomandibular disorders (TMD).
Consider, as well, the side effects commonly associated with many medications prescribed to help treat anxiety and depression. This includes antidepressant medications that fall into the following categories:
- Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors (SSRIs).
- Serotonin Norepinephrine Reuptake Inhibitor (SNRIs).
- Atypical antidepressants.
Over the course of 99 separate trials involving more than 20,000 adults, researchers found that all three of the above medication types were associated with a higher risk of dry mouth. Specifically, SNRIs tend to be the top contributors.
When your mouth is chronically dry, your saliva levels drop significantly. This allows bacteria, plaque, and food debris to stick to your teeth more easily. Over time, this can lead to tooth decay and gum disease. Dry mouth is also associated with mouth sores, oral thrush, and cracked lips, among other conditions.
Prioritize and Optimize Your Oral Health
In your quest to stay well physically and mentally, remember to keep your oral health top of mind. When you take the time to brush and floss twice a day, as well as stay up-to-date on your dentist visits, you can feel great from the inside out.
Our office is here to help you on this journey, every step of the way! Contact us to schedule an appointment.
Myths About Dental Implants
Tooth loss is surprisingly widespread. In fact, by age 50, Americans have lost an average of 12 teeth. So why don’t we see a bunch of people walking around with gaps in their smiles?
It’s all thanks to the wonderful world of modern dentistry. There are several effective tooth replacement options for people to choose from, but the one that looks and functions the most like natural teeth is dental implants.
However, people aren’t as aware of dental implants as they are of other options, such as crowns, bridges, and dentures. Let’s clear up a few of the erroneous expectations floating around so you have a better understanding of what dental implants can do for you.
Expectation #1: Dental implants are rare.
Reality: About 3 million people in the U.S. have dental implants. This number is projected to grow by about 500,000 per year. More people are turning toward implants over the traditional dentures, crowns, and bridges to replace their missing teeth.
Why? People are seeing them as a better long-term tooth replacement option. Once implants are inserted, the titanium root fuses to the jawbone, creating a bond very similar to the patient’s natural tooth roots. Once this process has had a chance to heal, a crown is mounted on top of the implant.
At this point, with proper dental hygiene and care, the implant will stay firmly rooted in the patient’s mouth for the rest of their life. Dentures and other options have to be redone as they wear down or as the fit changes over time.
Expectation #2: Dental implants are too expensive.
Reality: At first glance, dental implants can seem more expensive than other tooth replacement options. However, when compared over the long term, dental implants often end up being cheaper.
As we just mentioned, dental implants can last the rest of the patient’s life without needing to be redone. Other methods have to be redone or refitted perhaps a few times depending on the length of the patient’s life. This costs both time and money to have the procedures done all over again. Once an implant has been successfully placed, the patient generally never has to worry about it again.
On top of that, there are various methods that can help patients cover the cost of their implants. First, they may be able to take out a loan. Some dental offices directly offer financing to cover this important procedure.
In some cases, the patient’s insurance may cover a portion of the expense. People think that insurance won’t cover cosmetic procedures, and while implants do improve the look of your smile, they are not strictly cosmetic. They also support the structure of your face and help maintain overall oral health.
Finally, many dentist offices offer payment plans to spread the cost of the procedure out over a few months.
Expectation #3: The dental implant process is super complicated.
Reality: When people first hear about the implant restoration process, it can sound complicated. Some patients may need bone grafting to prepare the site, everyone will require the implant surgery, and several months later, everyone will have to come back to mount the crown.
On paper, it sounds like a lot, but in reality, it is only a two- to three-step process. Sometimes bone grafts can be done at the same time as the implant surgery, and many people don’t require bone grafts at all. The implant surgery is generally quick, and mounting the crown is often even quicker.
Expectations #4: A dental implant is only about chewing.
Reality: While it’s true that dental implants provide a stronger bite and more chewing power, that isn’t all they do. Missing teeth cause problems in many ways, such as inhibiting one’s ability to speak properly and potentially affecting one’s self-confidence. Many people don’t like walking around with gaps in their smile.
Additionally, without teeth to support the jawbone, the patient may experience bone loss over time. This can be severe enough to affect their facial structure and features.
Dental implants make all those problems go away. The process can even stimulate bone growth in patients who have already experienced bone loss. Plus, because they look and feel like natural teeth, speaking, eating, kissing, and everything else is exactly the same as it was before.
Interested in getting an implant?
We hope this article has helped answer some of your questions about dental implant restorations. If you have any more questions or are looking for comfortable and caring dental health professionals in Greensboro, NC, don’t hesitate to reach out to us. We understand that living life with missing teeth isn’t ideal for your sense of style or your oral health. We’re happy to help in any way we can.