5/8/2017 12:24:00 PM |
Often, a family trip to the dentist will feature the use of an x-ray camera. The dental hygienists will cover you or your children with a heavy apron and make you chomp on some bitewings, while the camera moves and clicks around you. Of course, the images produced by the x-rays have a purpose: cavities, jawbone degradation, and other oral health issues are made easily visible, allowing the dentist to address these issues directly. However, x-rays are a form of radiation, and some people are concerned with that exposing someone to dental x-rays will cause cancer. These concerns are especially strong for parents taking their children to the dentist.
X-rays are a type of ionizing radiation, and ionizing radiation has been shown to cause cancer. Ionizing radiation, upon passing through the body, strip electrons from the atoms this energy passes. The resulting protons, known as free radicals, then can damage the cells of the body. While these cells return to normal most of the time, on rare occasions the cells will heal with some abnormalities. These abnormal cells, consequently, can grow into cancer. From this alone, people believe that dental x-rays will cause cancer.
However, you’re always exposed to ionizing radiation. On average, your body is exposed to 3.1 millisieverts (mSv) of natural radiation alone per year. At .005 mSv, the radiation you receive from the aforementioned dental x-ray is less than 1.6% of your daily background radiation exposure. You are exposed to the same level of radiation just from sunlight each day. Additionally, each x-ray is an individual dose rather than constant exposure, which is another factor in the cancer risks of radiation exposure. X-rays only increase the odds of dying of cancer by 1 in 2,000; compare this to the natural 1 in 5 chance you have of dying of cancer.
Moreover, there are precautions in place for younger patients to help minimize their exposure. Technically, children do have a higher risk of developing cancer from radiation than adults, so dentists make up for it with stricter safety measures. Lead aprons are almost ubiquitous, but many doctors will also reduce the amount of radiation emitted by the camera when taking x-ray images of pediatric patients. The same precautions can be given to pregnant women, as fetuses are assumed to be just as vulnerable as children. Your children could be receiving special considerations regarding radiation exposure risks already.
Ultimately, the benefits of detecting an oral health issue as early as possible far outweighs the negligible cancer risk. Not only are healthy teeth and gums alone something worth keeping, but many recent studies have shown connections between oral health and overall bodily health as well. Being able to detect and address these issues is paramount to your health and your children’s health. So, the next time your dentist readies the bitewings and camera, don’t be afraid. The benefits are high, the risk is low, and the dentist is likely being extra careful with your children anyways.
2/9/2017 1:00:00 PM |
What It Is Periodontal disease, known as gum disease or periodontitis, is one of the most common causes of tooth loss. In the United States, it is estimated that half of Americans aged 30 or older have advanced gum disease. While highly prevalent, this dental condition is preventable with a good oral health regimen.
Cause: Periodontal disease symptoms become apparent as bacteria and debris accumulate around teeth and below the gum line and hardens into tartar. If not removed by a professional, tartar and bacteria can cause inflammation of the gums and weakening of teeth.
There are variables that can increase your risk of periodontitis that range from genetic predisposition and underlying health conditions, to certain lifestyle habits. Diet, taking certain medications, decreased immunity, and hormonal changes can also increase your chances of developing gum disease.
Stages Periodontitis begins with the onset of gingivitis. In this early stage, bacteria builds up, irritating the surrounding gums. As bacteria accumulate and plaque builds and hardens into tartar, there is a weakening of bone and connective tissue that keeps teeth in their sockets. As bacteria spreads, pockets that trap further bacteria begin to form around teeth and under soft tissue. In patients with advanced periodontal disease, teeth become loose and fall out.
Symptoms One of the most difficult aspects of spotting periodontal disease without help from a dentist is that the condition can progress slowly in patients and may not always produce obvious signs. Patients may notice: - Gum tenderness - Gum recession - Bad breath or bad taste in your mouth - Loose teeth or a change in teeth alignment
Diagnosis of gum disease typically involves visiting a dentist for a visual examination of your oral condition, as well as charting pocket depths and using X-Rays to check bone loss in areas with deeper periodontal pockets.
Treatment Early diagnosis gives patients the greatest chance of reversing damage with nonsurgical treatments. These procedures include root scaling and planing, which removes tartar and bacteria from surfaces of teeth and beneath the gums and smooths root surfaces,. Antibiotics that are either taken orally or topically as a rinse, can also be used to reduce bacteria and inflammation
. For patients with advanced periodontitis, dental surgery may be the most effective option to reduce pocket size and restore the healthy appearance and supportive structure of soft tissue.
Prevention Periodontal disease is preventable by practicing consistent and good oral hygiene. As a rule of thumb, you should be taking between 3-5 minutes twice day to care for your teeth and gums by flossing first to loosen any food particles and bacteria, and brushing to clean all surfaces of teeth. You should also visit your dentist twice a year for thorough teeth cleanings. Patients displaying early signs of gum disease may require more frequent dental visits throughout the year.
If are exhibiting signs and symptoms of gum disease, you should contact your dentist as soon as possible. The sooner you can receive treatment, the more likely you will be able to reverse any damage caused by periodontal disease.
11/23/2016 3:28:00 PM |
Thanksgiving is one day out of the year where Americans find it socially acceptable to eat their weight in turkey and gravy. While it can be tempting to take a sample plate of everything at the buffet, choosing the right foods can help prevent your waistline from increasing as well as improve your dental hygiene.
Cheese and Yogurt
While heavy amounts of cheese is not recommended, eating some cheese, maybe as an appetizer, lowers the acidity in an individual’s mouth, which directly lowers their risk for developing cavities. Cheese and yogurt also contain calcium, a mineral that increases bone density and strengthens enamel. Furthermore, yogurt contains probiotics that take up the space harmful bacteria would otherwise occupy.
Kale, Spinach, and Broccoli
Leafy green vegetables, such as kale and spinach, contain high amounts of protein and calcium, materials your body utilizes to build bones and teeth. Furthermore, leafy green vegetables carry lots of micronutrients, products the body uses to make sure everything in your body runs efficiently, boosting your natural immune system.
Apples, Carrots, and Celery
Hard, fibrous foods act as a toothbrush, gently loosening plaque which can be washed away with saliva. Eating foods like apples, carrots, and celery does not replace brushing and flossing, but rather encourage good dental hygiene by maintaining a cycle of cleanliness. Eating these foods increases the effectiveness of brushing and flossing since it’s consistently removing old plaque, lessening the chance of plaque turning into tartar.
Sesame Seed Oil, Coconut Oil, and Olive Oil
Oil pulling, or simply rinsing the mouth with about a tablespoon of oil, is a great technique to reduce the amount of bacteria in the mouth and promote good dental health. Many dentists advise patients to practice this easy detoxification process at home; however, ingesting foods already containing sesame seed oil, coconut oil, or olive oil kills two birds with one stone.
While Thanksgiving can be a time when people overindulge in foods high in sugar content, being aware of the benefits foods can have on teeth and the body can encourage to put down that extra pint of gravy in favor of a healthier choice.
8/17/2016 12:18:00 PM |
Brushing everyday is one of the best ways to take care of your teeth. However, it's not just that simple. For optimal dental care, follow these six tips.
1. Pick the right brush - Not all brushes are the same, and you need to choose one that fits your mouth.
2. Brush the right way - You should hold your brush at a 45-F-degree angle to your gums and use an up-and-down motion with short strokes.
3. Take your time - While brushing twice a day is recommended, three times is probably best. Also, whenever you brush, make sure you do it for at least two minutes.
4. Don't overdo it - Conversely, don't brush too much or for too long, as this can wear down enamel and hurt your gums.
5. Keep it clean - Always rinse your brush, as germs can linger on it.
6. Let it go - Make sure to replace your toothbrush every three to four months or if the bristles are becoming frayed or broken.
6/3/2016 12:16:00 PM |
We've all heard the expression "an apple a day keeps the doctor away." But perhaps that should be changed to dentist. In addition to being good for your health, apples are also quite good for your teeth. In fact, if you find yourself without a toothbrush, an apple can fill in nicely.
Apples actually act like toothbrushes because of their fiber-rich flesh. This works like a scrub on not only your teeth, but your tongue and gums as well. An apple can also help remove food particles that are hiding out between your teeth and sticking to your gums.
As well as cleaning your teeth, because they are mildly acidic and slightly astringent, apples can also help get rid of plaque and stains. On top of that, apples can freshen breath. Is there nothing this super fruit can't do? The next time you have an after lunch meeting and forgot your toothbrush, head down to the cafeteria and grab an apple instead.
3/16/2016 12:00:00 PM |
Botox® at dental offices is a relatively new service inclusion that helps professionals like Dr. Wright more effectively treat a variety of patient concerns. Many of our patients ask about this popular service and what it can do to benefit their health and wellness. We provide answers to some of our most frequently asked questions below:
Can a Dentist Offer Botox?
A trained health professional with the right experience can effectively administer Botox®. While it may seem unusual that a dentist offers Botox® -- most patients are accustomed to seeing this service at medical spas or cosmetic surgery offices -- Dr. Wright has the experience and training to offer Botox® treatment to his dental patients. Dr. Wright’s understanding of facial muscle structure, and particularly in how jaw joint health and function impact facial pain and dental health, allow him to effectively offer this treatment. By applying Botox®, Dr. Wright can help alleviate jaw and facial discomfort and provide a cosmetic boost to the area around your smile.
Why Should I Get Botox from a Dentist?
Most patients seek Botox® in a dental office for the purpose of relieving facial pain associated with teeth grinding and temporomandibular joint disorder. However the advantages of receiving Botox® for cosmetic reasons from a dentist include familiarity of your care provider and setting, and being able to receive more treatments in one location. Patients seeking Botox® for aesthetics do not have to visit an outside office or familiarize themselves with a new health professional. Dr. Wright is able to provide dental care and Botox® in one office.
How Does Dental Botox Help with Teeth Grinding and Bruxism?
While there are many treatments available for patients who grind their teeth and experience dental pain because of it, Botox® offers a solution that does not require bulky oral trays. Patients with sensitive gag reflexes, who find it difficult to wear mouth guards, may want to consider Botox® to minimize the persistent muscle clenching that leads to teeth grinding.
Should I Get Botox before My Dental Restorations?
If you grind your teeth persistently, it’s a good idea to get this condition under control before any restorations are applied to help create the smile you want. Frequent grinding can wear down and damage many varieties of dental restoration, or shorten the life of even the most resilient dental prosthetic. See Dr. Wright for Botox® injections to alleviate TMJ problems before cosmetic or restorative dental work to help prolong results.
Ask us Your Dental Botox Questions – Contact Dr. Wright
For more information on Botox® for TMJ and smile aesthetics in Colorado Springs, contact our office for your consultation.
3/7/2016 12:00:00 PM |
With so many options available for cosmetically appealing braces, it can be hard to determine which option will best suit your needs and integrate with your lifestyle. Clear removable aligner therapy has become popular, but it may not be ideal for every patient. For those who want predictably straighter teeth without the appearance of silver metal braces, Six Month Smiles® offers an attractive alternative.
Patients seeking tooth-colored braces should know that Six Months Smiles® offer the following benefits over clear, removable aligner therapy:
Patient Compliance - While clear aligners can certainly be effective at straightening teeth, patients can affect final results by not wearing their aligners for the recommended time. Because the trays are removable, it’s tempting to leave them out more often or to forget to replace them after meal times. Because Six Month Smiles® utilizes tooth-colored brackets that are bonded to teeth, your appliances are working consistently toward your goal smile and still look as low-profile as possible. Patient compliance in wearing appliances for the recommended time is not a factor with Six Month Smiles®.
Speedy Treatment Time - Because brackets are non-removable, your tooth-colored braces are doing their job day and night of re-aligning your teeth. As Six Month Smiles® focuses on realignment to benefit aesthetics, treatment can take as little as six months. Compared to a full treatment of metal braces that are utilized to correct bite alignment for functional reasons, Six Month Smiles® correction of mild to moderate orthodontic issues helps you see a more attractive smile in less time. Patients also cannot negatively impact their treatment timeline by removing their appliances and preventing them from doing their job.
Convenience - Some patients find removable clear aligners to be the ultimate in tooth-colored orthodontics; however it’s important to keep in mind that, because clear aligners can be removed throughout the day, patients must take good care of them and remember to wear them at least 22 hours each day. It’s not uncommon for patients to forget their aligners at home, accidentally throw them away, or lose them by taking them out too frequently. Clear aligners can also become scuffed or scratched if not cared for properly, making them less invisible on teeth. Six Month Smiles® is a hassle-free way to straighten teeth that does not involve babysitting your removable aligners all day.
Six Month Smiles with Dr. Wright
For minor to moderate misalignment issues, Six Month Smiles® provides a different kind of patient convenience and remains natural-looking for those who are concerned about the aesthetic quality of traditional braces. If you have questions about tooth-colored braces from our Colorado Springs Six Month Smiles dentist, please contact our office today.
2/24/2016 12:00:00 PM |
Dentures can be a lifesaver for people who suffer from tooth loss, but without ensuring a proper fit and stability, they can quickly turn into an inconvenience.
Dentures that are unstable, and move or shift in your mouth, can cause a slew of problems ranging from sore gums, impaired speech, an inability to eat certain foods, and a lack of confidence in your smile. When your dentures are uncomfortable to wear, your entire quality of life can suffer.
But dental implants provide a secure anchor for dentures that eliminates all of these troublesome denture issues.
What are Dental Implants?
A dental implant is an artificial tooth root that is surgically placed in your jaw to support a replacement tooth or full arch of teeth. Dental implants are used to support and make traditional dentures more secure. With dental implants, your dentures will not rest on or irritate soft tissue in your mouth, ensuring a more comfortable, pain-free denture wearing experience.
Dental implants bond with your bone during a process called osseointegration. Since your dental implant will become one with jaw bone, your dentures will become incredibly secure and will be sure to stay in place all day, comfortably.
Happily, this can be accomplished in as little as two implants, making the process quick and easy.
Perks of Dental Implants and Dentures
Dental implants offer several benefits for denture wearers, including increased security for your dental restoration, improved speech, a fuller, more youthful facial structure, an ability to eat all of your favorite foods, and a more permanent solution to tooth loss that can reasonably last the remainder of your life.
Our implant dentist, Dr. Mark Wright, has years of experience in restoring dental implants with dentures and can help patients achieve improvements in health and function with these prosthetics.
Questions about Implant Dentures?
If you suffer from tooth loss and are looking for a permanent solution, contact our team to learn more about this restorative treatment. We will be happy to schedule a consultation, answer any questions, and guide you through the process.
2/19/2016 10:28:00 AM |
Wine lovers everywhere, rejoice! Already known for its health benefits, research shows red wine protects against cavities, too! A recent study published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry explores the effect a selection of red wines and grape-seed extract has on communities of disease-causing bacteria, called biofilms. Biofilms erode the teeth causing gum disease. Gum disease is a result of the build up of plaque and tartar on the teeth, and in the soft tissue of the gums – pockets of infection cause inflammation and discomfort and pain. But some treatments can be abrasive, and side effects of some mouthwashes include discoloration of the gums, and altering taste.
In order to understand how effective red wine is in preventing the growth of biofilm, researchers developed a biofilm model of plaque that combined five types of bacteria most commonly found in gum disease and tooth decay. The biofilm cultures were then dipped in numerous varieties of wine – with and without alcohol – for a couple of minutes. The results showed that all red wine and red wine containing grape seed extract were more likely to get rid of the bacteria. Of course, the study wasn't designed with excessive drinking in mind; everything in moderation! Rather, as the researchers said, "these findings contribute to existing knowledge about the beneficial effect of red wines (one of the most important products of agriculture and food industries) on human health." We'll drink to that – cheers!
12/4/2015 1:56:00 PM |
We're excited to announce the official launch of our Mark Wright, DDS. blog.
We'll be posting helpful dental tips, news from the dental industry, news from our practice, and more about the latest in dentistry.
We built our practice on the notion that we're there for our patients when they need us and we want our online presence to be a reflection of that principle. We hope this blog provides an extra level of service to our current and future patients.
If you would like to stay up to date on the latest from Mark Wright, DDS., simply click the RSS “Subscribe to feed” link located on our website and subscribe. Our subscribers will be updated when we make a new blog post.
Here's to your best oral health ever!