Dupont Dental - Your Washington DC Dentist

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Archive for November 2015

Woman experiencing tooth sensitivity

Dealing with Tooth Sensitivity

The main cause of tooth sensitivity is fluid movement within the small tubes of the dentin, which is the layer of tissue beneath the top layer of enamel. The result of this movement in the dentin is nerve irritation/tooth sensitivity. Exposure of the dentin tubes is the result of worn down enamel, leaving the tooth more susceptible to the temperature changes of consuming cold and hot food and drink. Consuming acid-containing foods and drink wear down enamel as does acid reflux and bulimia that expose the teeth to stomach acids. Tooth sensitivity is a common condition that at least 40 million adults experience at some time, but thankfully, there are various ways to treat and reduce tooth sensitivity.

Simple treatments for tooth sensitivity

Patients with sensitive teeth may want to rethink their choice of toothpaste, as some contain abrasive ingredients. Whitening toothpaste and tartar-control kinds of toothpaste also contain ingredients that can increase tooth sensitivity. Switching to desensitizing toothpaste can help if there’s no other dental issue causing the discomfort, but it can take a month of regular use for them to alleviate pain. Dentists can treat sensitive teeth with dental sealants or fluoride and recommend reducing the number of foods that contain acid. Changing to a soft bristle brush and not brushing as hard can reduce sensitivity as hard bristles and brushing can wear down enamel and expose sensitive dentin.

Visiting the dentist

When a tooth or teeth become highly sensitive for several days and causes discomfort when exposed to hot and cold foods, it’s time to visit the dentist to find out what’s going on. Anyone experiencing tooth sensitivity should consult with their dentist first before trying treatments on their own, as they may not be effective in addressing the problem. Abscesses or cavities patients can’t see yet, but that a dentist can find during an exam, can cause tooth sensitivity.

Describing symptoms to the dentist

Tooth sensitivity can feel like a sharp pain followed by an aching and patients need to explain exactly what they’re feeling and what brought it on to their dentist. Patients should share what happens when they eat or drink hot or cold foods and what if anything helps ease the pain and sensitivity. Communicating symptoms with the dentist can help them make an accurate diagnosis.

Dental treatments for sensitive teeth

Dental treatments for sensitive teeth can include in-office treatments and products the patient applies at home. For patients diagnosed with dentin hypersensitivity, the dentist can apply a protective coating or desensitizing agent. Dentists also sometimes recommend desensitizing toothpaste or prescribe a stannous fluoride gel. If a dentist applies a desensitizing agent as treatment, the patient should avoid eating or drinking for a short period to eliminate irritation sources, and the dentist may recommend changing oral hygiene habits to prevent tooth abrasion.

It’s important to pay attention to any oral discomfort or pain as it can indicate a deeper problem that requires dental attention. Contact Dupont Dental to set up a regular exam and discuss any issues you’re experiencing.

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is oil pulling good

Is Oil Pulling Beneficial to Oral Health?

Although the practice of oil pulling existed as an Indian folk remedy for thousands of years, it’s recently grown in popularity in the United States and other countries. Many wonder if the practice of swishing coconut or sesame oil in the mouth is truly beneficial to oral health. If you’re considering taking up this practice, there are some important things you need to know.

Potential benefits

Swishing, pulling or sloshing the right type of oil around in the mouth for 20 minutes helps to eliminate bacteria in the mouth and can, therefore, improve overall health. A large majority of those who practice oil pulling also claim that their overall health has benefited along with their oral health. Improvements oil pullers have claimed include reductions in:

  • Headaches
  • Arthritis
  • Hormone imbalance
  • Infections
  • Liver issues
  • Asthma
  • Acne breakouts

Reported dental improvements from oil pulling include whiter teeth, gingivitis prevention, and plaque elimination. When people practice oil pulling using high-quality oils, the procedure is completely natural.

Theory behind oil pulling

The theory behind oil pulling is that swishing the oil around for 20 minutes pulls bacteria out of the mouth. Proponents recommend using coconut oil or sesame oil because they contain antibacterial properties and only pulling for 20 minutes because any longer and the body can reabsorb the oil. Removing bacteria from the mouth is beneficial because many harmful infections and bacteria can penetrate the blood through the mouth. By eliminating that bacteria before it reaches the bloodstream, people can potentially prevent or improve specific health conditions. Although not everyone experiences overall health improvements, even seeing dental health improvements can be beneficial.

Dental perspective

Dental professionals remind patients that no current scientific research supports the claimed benefits of oil pulling, but that doesn’t mean they recommend against the practice. People should consult with their dentist to gain his or her perspective. Oil pulling has no known side effects and the potential to make patients more interested in their oral health, which is a good thing, but it’s important to remember that oil pulling is not a substitution for thorough dental exams, cleanings, and treatments.

There’s nothing wrong with pursuing more homeopathic ways to promote good oral health, but it’s a good idea to consult with a dentist first to ensure you’re not risking damage to your teeth. Contact Dupont Dental today to find out more great ways to protect and improve the health of your teeth and gums.

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Porcelain Veneers DC

Maintaining Porcelain Veneers – DC

Porcelain veneers are a great option for improving or restoring the healthy appearance of a smile, and many people in DC opt for porcelain veneers. The lifetime of porcelain veneers depends on how well the patient takes care of them and with the right maintenance and dental care, porcelain veneers can last for many years. Reasons that porcelain veneers sometimes require replacement include decay, damage or cosmetic flaws, but delaying that replacement is often within the power of the patient.

Expected veneers lifespan

It’s impossible to predict precisely how long porcelain veneers will last because every patient is different. Some patients require replacement within a few years while others can go 30+ years without a problem that requires replacement. The average lifespan for porcelain veneers before they require replacement is 10-15 years.

Practice good oral hygiene

To ensure the longevity of any dental restoration, it’s vital that patients practice good oral hygiene. Although porcelain veneers don’t get cavities, a cavity in the tooth beneath a veneer requires removal of the restoration so the dentist can treat the decay. The dental cement dentists in DC use to place veneers can recede with time and bacteria can grow in the small spaces between the tooth and the veneer. By practicing good oral hygiene including brushing and flossing over and around the veneer and using a mouth rinse, porcelain veneers can last for years.

Avoid oral damage

The main reason that patients require porcelain veneer replacement is damage. The damage can be a sudden, large break or just gradual wear, but it’s possible to avoid damage by avoiding the following:

  • Sports trauma – Patients who play contact sports like hockey and football are at a higher risk of suffering oral trauma. Avoiding such trauma and damage to veneers requires wearing a mouthguard whenever playing.
  • Grinding teeth – For people who grind their teeth in their sleep, using a night guard can prevent damage to porcelain veneers and natural teeth.
  • Chewing on hard objects – Habits such as chewing on hard objects including ice, fingernails or pencils can damage porcelain veneers and natural teeth. Breaking these habits benefits oral health.

Discoloration issues

Porcelain resists stains, but patients still need to be aware of what causes tooth discoloration to ensure that their veneers maintain their bright appearance. Good oral hygiene helps prevent stains as does avoiding drinks such as wine or making sure to rinse after consumption. Another discoloration issue is when the natural teeth around the veneers fade in brightness, which means the veneers no longer match surrounding teeth. An in-office teeth whitening can restore natural teeth to their original brightness, so they match the veneers and is more affordable that replacing veneers.

If you’re wondering if porcelain veneers are right for you, contact Dupont Dental in DC and learn more about our cosmetic dentistry options, including porcelain veneers.

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