Mouth guards: Sports equipment that protects the smile
With Spring Sports starting and National Children’s Dental Health Month coming to an end the ADA would like us to share some important information with you on their guidelines for sports equipment that can protect your smile.
It’s easy to take some things for granted until they’re suddenly gone. Have you ever thought about how it would feel if you lost one or two of your front teeth? You’d probably avoid smiling. It would be uncomfortable talking with someone face-to-face. It wouldn’t be easy pronouncing certain words. And how about eating an apple? Until your teeth are gone, you might not miss them.
Each year, thousands of teens get hurt on the playing field, the basketball court, or while skateboarding, biking or during other activities. Blows to the face in nearly every sport can injure your teeth, lips, cheeks and tongue.
A properly fitted mouth guard, or mouth protector, is an important piece of athletic gear that can protect your teeth and smile. You may have seen them used in contact sports, such as football, boxing, and ice hockey.
However, you don’t have to be on the football field to benefit from a mouth guard. New findings in sports dentistry show that even in non-contact sports such as gymnastics, rollerblading, and field hockey, mouth guards help protect teeth. Many experts recommend that a mouth guard be worn for any recreational activity that poses a risk of injury to the mouth. There are three types of mouth guards: The ready-made, or stock, mouth guard; the mouth- formed ―boil and bite‖mouth guard; and the custom-mademouth guard made by your dentist. All three mouth guards provide protection but vary in comfort and cost.
The most effective mouth guard should have several features: It should be resilient, tear- resistant and comfortable. It should fit properly, be durable and easy to clean, and not restrict your speech or breathing.
Generally, a mouth guard covers only the upper teeth, but in some cases the dentist will instead make a mouth guard for the lower teeth. Your dentist can suggest the right mouth guard for you.
Here are some suggestions for taking good care of your mouth guard:
Before and after each use, rinse it with cold water or with an antiseptic mouth rinse. You can clean it with toothpaste and a toothbrush, too. When it’s not used, place your mouth guard in a firm, perforated container. This permits air circulation and helps prevent damage.
Avoid high temperatures, such as hot water, hot surfaces or direct sunlight, which can distort the mouth guard.
Check it for tears, holes and poor fit. A mouth guard that’s torn or in bad shape can irritate your mouth and lessen the amount of protection it provides.
Have regular dental checkups and bring your mouth guard along so the dentist can make sure it’s still in good condition.
Don’t take your teeth for granted. Protect your smile with a mouth guard.
Brushing Your Teeth the Right Way
Proper brushing is probably the most important way to keep your mouth healthy. Brushing correctly and with the proper frequency can help you prevent problems before they appear. There are four important things you will need to properly brush your teeth: a toothbrush with soft bristles, toothpaste with fluoride, the correct angle of brushing, and brushing in a pattern. Use the following tips to help you get the most out of your brushing.
- It is important to brush at least twice a day, after breakfast and before bed.
- You should use a toothbrush with soft bristles. Soft bristles with rounded tips are gentler to your teeth and gums, and the also make it easier to remove plaque below the gum line where periodontal disease starts.
- Use about a pea-sized amount of toothpaste that contains fluoride. Fluoride hardens the outer enamel layer of the teeth. It can stop a cavity before it worsens as well as provide you with more resistance to future cavities.
- Angle the brush along the gum line at a 45-degree angle and apply firm pressure so that the bristles slide under the gum line.
- Vibrate the brush while you brush in short back and forth strokes and in small circular motions. Brush two or three teeth at a time and then move to the next two or three, allowing some overlap.
- Tilt the brush and use the tip to brush the backs of the front teeth.
- It is OK to brush in any regular pattern you choose but since the insides of the teeth tend to get less attention, you might start with the insides of the upper teeth and then move to the insides of the lower teeth. Then switch to the outsides of the upper teeth and then the outsides of the lower teeth. Brush the chewing surfaces of the upper teeth, then the same on the lower teeth. Complete your routine by gently brushing your tongue and the roof of your mouth. This will remove germs that can cause bad breath.
- Change your toothbrush at least every three months or when the bristles are worn or bent. Old bristles don’t clean well under the gum line and they host more plaque and disease-causing bacteria than new ones.
Flossing is Important!
Why is flossing so important? Because even with proper brushing, the areas between your teeth don’t get completely cleaned. And most cavities start between your teeth! To keep your teeth and gums healthy you must use dental floss to remove the plaque between your teeth at least once a day.
How to use dental floss
First, take about eighteen inches of floss and wind the two ends of it around your middle fingers, leaving about five inches between your hands. Pinch the floss between your thumbs and index fingers and leave about one inch in between to work with. Gently guide the floss between the first two teeth using a side-to-side motion.
Pull the floss tightly in a C shape around the side of one tooth and slide it under the gum line. Clean the surface of the tooth by using and up-and-down motion not the side-to-side motion you used to guide the floss between the teeth. Repeat on the adjacent tooth. Then remove the floss, wind it to an unused section and repeat the process to clean both sides of every tooth.
If you are just beginning to floss for the first time, your gums will probably bleed a little. The bleeding should stop after about a week of regular flossing. If the bleeding continues after a couple of weeks let us know right away. It might indicate problems or it might just be that your technique needs adjusting. We can help either way. Also, if you have trouble getting the floss between your teeth or if it catches or tears, let us know as soon as possible. It could indicate a problem that needs to be corrected.
Basic Dental Lingo
Ever hear all those dental words being thrown around and feel out of the loop? Here is a guide to common dental terms that you may need to know.
Cuspid Your teeth that come to a point (right next to your front teeth) are called cuspids. Sometimes they are called canines as well. Teeth that come to two points are called bicuspids.
Molar Your back teeth behind your bicuspids.
Crown The part of your tooth above the gum. (The visible part of your tooth).
Root The part of your tooth in your gums.
Enamel The hard surface of your teeth that protects the root of your tooth.
Gingivae Another name for your gums.
Pulp The soft inner structure of your tooth housing nerves and blood vessels.
Antiseptic A chemical that can be applied to your mouth to destroy germs.
Aspirator A straw like vacuum the dentist uses to suck all the saliva from your mouth.
Caries Another name for a cavity.
Fluoride A chemical that hardens your teeth and prevents tooth decay.
Labial and Lingual Anything having to do with your lips or tongue respectively.
Mandible Your lower jaw
Tartar Bacteria on your teeth than can lead to periodontal disease.
Plaque A sticky film that can form on the surface of your teeth that can turn into tartar.
12.20.17We wish everyone a wonderful Holiday. While we hope you indulge in many treats and feasts, we ask that you keep your oral hygiene in mind. Acids found in food and liquids can have a harmful affect on your teeth. Each tooth has a hard protective layer called the enamel. When acids come in contact with the enamel, the acids can make it soft. When this happens repeatedly, your enamel can wear away and can never be restored naturally.
The chance of getting cavities increases for those whose teeth are regularly exposed to food with high acid contents. It is impossible to make a complete list, as acidic foods are found everywhere, but following are some of the more common acidic food and beverages: Beer, Beef, Soft drinks, Coffee, Fish, Lamb, Pasta, White Flour, Table Salt, Pork and White Bread. Even grazing on fruits and vegetables slowly throughout the day can expose your teeth to acid damage.
Bacteria in your mouth, which feeds on sugars, can also create acid. The best way to avoid acid damage is to avoid snacking continuously throughout the day. Rinsing and flossing, and chewing sugar free gum after eating during the day can be helpful. Brushing right after eating acidic foods though, can actually damage the teeth, because the enamel is soft from the acid. Nuts and dairy are also good acid balancing foods.
Do you find yourself frustrated by reoccurring cavities? Many people look to Xylitol products to finally find a solution to becoming cavity free. Xylitol is a sugar substitute, occurring naturally in the fibers of foods like berries and mushrooms, which just happens to prevent cavities as well. Because Xylitol isn’t actually a sugar, it doesn’t feed the natural bacteria in our mouth. We get cavities, because the sugar we eat gives energy to the bacteria allowing it to multiply and increase the acid (PH balance) of our mouths. Thus, Xylitol prevents the bacteria growth that causes the acid attack on our teeth and promotes saliva, which is a natural tooth protector. Cavity fighting Xylitol products include mouthwash, mints, toothpaste and gum. Because most of us are on the go all day and don’t always have access to our tooth brush and floss, Xylitol products become a convenient supplement for fighting cavities. Additionally, since Xylitol occurs naturally in foods and is produced in small amounts by the human body, it’s also safe.
Ask us for more information on how you can get some Xylitol samples or order Xylitol products
Invisalign® Frequently Asked Questions
What are aligners made out of, and what do they look like?
The virtually invisible aligners, made of a thermoplastic material uniquely developed for the Invisalign treatment plan, look similar to teeth-whitening trays. A series of Invisalign aligners are custom-made for you, to move your teeth in sequence determined by Dr. Valle. ssd
How do the aligners straighten teeth?
Over the course of treatment, you will be supplied with a series of aligners. Each will make slight adjustments to tooth position, a process that is mapped out in advance specifically for you. When the aligners are placed on your teeth, they cause them to shift gradually from their current position. After approximately two weeks, you will begin to use the next set of aligners, which will continue the teeth-straightening process.
How long will treatment take?
The length of treatment depends on your case; however, the average case takes about 12 months for adults. The length of time necessary for teen patients may vary.
How often must I wear my aligners?
We find that aligners are most effective when worn 20 to 22 hours per day and removed only for eating, brushing, and flossing.
If you are interested in starting Invisalign treatments, call the office for a no-charge consultation with Dr. Valle.
FAQ’s Regarding Your Insurance
FAQ’s regarding your BC/BS plan:
Some of our patients have been calling and asking some great questions regarding Dr. Valle’s decision to no longer participate with Carefirst, Blue Cross/Blue Shield. We have come up with the following to answer many of the questions we have been asked:
Q: If you no longer take my insurance, can I still come to you?
A: Yes, you absolutely can! We will still submit your insurance claims for you, and you would still receive benefits from your plan.
Q: Will my insurance pay anything even though you no longer participate with my plan?
A: Yes, they will! You would still receive payment from your carrier. The amount of reimbursement may be different; it all depends on your individual plan.
Q: Are there any alternatives?
A: Yes, there are! Dr. Valle has established an in-office dental plan. With this low-cost plan, there are no maximums, deductibles, or waiting periods, and you can get all the dentistry you need. Please call to inquire about this savings plan.
Q: I love your office, I want to stay! Will you work with me to make financial arrangements?
A: Yes, we absolutely will. Dr. Valle is committed to providing excellent care to all his patients by serving their best interest to promote ideal dental health. He never wants insurance to be a roadblock to the care you need and certainly deserve. There are a number of options. What we have found with the majority of our patients is that we can find a way to make your financial responsibility comfortable for you so you can move forward with treatment. We certainly want you to continue to receive the best treatment available, to which you have become accustomed.
In the past year, 16.9 million adults and 6.7 million children were diagnosed with seasonal allergies. One of the worst symptoms of this malady is sinus pressure. Sinuses are pockets of bone lined with mucous membranes, the most “famous” of which lie in our face. When congestion develops in our maxillary sinuses (so named for their location directly above our top molars), this puts pressure on the roots of the teeth, which can mimic a toothache. Antihistamine use may alleviate the pressure, but if the ache persists, please call our office for assistance! A common side effect of taking antihistamines is dry mouth. Since saliva is the mouth’s own cleaner, reduced amounts of it puts you at greater risk for cavities, halitosis, and gum disease.
What’s in Your Drink?
We all know sugary soda is hard on our teeth, but here are a few things that might surprise you. According to a study in the Journal of General Dentistry, all soft drinks contain enough acidity to damage tooth enamel, and result in weaker teeth, sensitivity, and cavities. Researchers found that the non-colas such as Mountain Dew and 7-Up caused the most damage, due to the citrus flavor additives (citric and malic acids), which are more corrosive to teeth. What’s the safer choice? Mug Root Beer. This soda contains neither phosphoric nor citric acids. To keep teeth healthy, it is best to limit or avoid soft drinks. Another helpful practice is to use a straw so harmful acids have less contact with your teeth ... and brush after every meal!
Can Your Teeth Take the Pressure?
You may not know it, but your teeth are like a ruler that can be bent back and forth until it breaks. Constant pressure on your teeth can cause them to crack, splinter, and break. This condition is called “abfraction.” An abfraction looks like a notch in the top of a tooth.
Your teeth are amazingly strong; however, if you put incorrect pressure on them, over time they may begin to cause you problems. The neck of a tooth, which is typically hidden by your gums, flexes when you brux (clench and grind your teeth), or if you have a misaligned bite called a malocclusion. This flexing weakens the tooth and eventually causes the enamel to break. Once this happens, a tooth becomes highly susceptible to decay, acid erosion, and sensitivity.
When we see a patient with abfractions, we have several options. Above all, we must address whatever caused the abfraction. Once we get the cause under control, we can perhaps fill the notches with a strong but flexible restorative material that is color-matched to your teeth.
If you notice tooth sensitivity, especially if you know you clench or grind your teeth, please see us right away. If our examination shows you have abfractions, the earlier we can correct their cause, the better you will be in the long run.
Our goal is to restore and preserve your dental health to help your teeth last a lifetime.
Oral Health and Heart Disease
Everyone knows exercise is good for the heart and mind, but you may not be aware that poor oral hygiene can cause heart disease. If you have poor oral hygiene, you can end up with bleeding gum tissue. Bleeding tissue in the gums provides an entry point 700 for bacteria found in our mouth to enter into the bloodstream. When these dangerous bacteria enter the bloodstream, they encounter tiny fragments called platelets that clot blood. Bacteria stick to the platelets, which causes them to clot inside the blood vessel, and partially block it. These blockages prevent blood flow back to the heart and increase the risk of suffering a heart attack. Flossing daily, brushing three times a day, and keeping your regular checkups will help you keep a healthy smile and a healthy heart.
Why Do We Go to the Dentist?
Of course it’s to keep your teeth clean and healthy. But there’s more to it than that. You want to look your best: clean and healthy teeth and gums make you look great … for yourself, and everyone you meet. But you don’t just want to look better; you want to feel better too.
Our unique “whole mouth” approach can take your dental health to another level. It literally turns back the clock on an aging mouth. Because you look and feel better, you also act differently. If you think about it, your mouth contains not only teeth and gums, but muscles and joints too. They all have to work in harmony. And, strange as this may sound, few dentists focus on, or even study, this system known as the masticatory system.
Dr. Valle uses a variety of therapeutic methods to relax the muscles of your mouth. This eliminates both jaw pain and headaches. Plus, it reduces the stress on your teeth that can require more costly — and invasive — treatments over the long haul. Dr. Valle strongly believes that the best kind of dentistry is the least amount of dentistry. We make sure your whole mouth is working right. And if it does, you get some important real life benefits:
You look great
You feel great
And your whole mouth is healthy
People of all ages can improve the health of their mouth through our approach. Contact us today for a consultation.
Concerns About Dental X-Rays
Some of our patients have voiced concerns regarding dental X-rays. Their concerns may involve anything from exposure to cost. Keep in mind that we only make X-rays when they are necessary for proper diagnosis and/or treatment. We take them during your cleaning appointment to diagnose problems early.
Early diagnosis enables us to treat small problems before they become big ones, and hopefully to avoid painful situations. In addition, most insurance companies require X-rays before payment will be made on most procedures. The exposure rate for dental X-rays is minimal.
If you have concerns, please let us know. We will be happy to discuss them with you. Remember, you chose us to provide you with the best dental care. There will be times that an X-ray will b necessary to give you what you have come to expect from us: quality dental care!
Free To Choose …
Care Credit and Chase Health
These are convenient, monthly payment programs for yourself and your family that are specifically designed to pay for healthcare expenses not covered by insurance, including co-payments, deductibles, and elective treatment and care.
With CareCredit or Chase, you can start treatment immediately and pay over time in low minimum monthly payments. Or you can pay for treatment and care over three, six, 12, 18, or 24 months with no interest ... as long as you pay the minimum monthly payment each month when due and the balance in full by the end of the agreed period.
Applying is quick and easy. Ask us for an application. Complete and sign the application and return to our office for submission. Please ask us for more information, and we’ll be happy to help in any way we can.