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Do Teeth Truly Last Forever?

Some things in this life can last forever and stand the test of time, like when you see a vintage Mustang rounding the corner of your street. What you don’t know about the owner of that Mustang is how much work he puts into that car to keep it in the pristine condition like it had in 1969. Like that car, your teeth can last a lifetime and stay in good shape if you take care of them.

There are so many factors that play into how well your teeth will stand the test of time. If you floss daily and brush your teeth twice daily your teeth will hold up much better than someone that doesn’t do the same. However, if you mistreat your teeth, you can also risk your teeth and dental work not lasting through your entire lifetime. Such factors as bad eating habits, chewing on hard items or – something we’ve all been guilty of at some point – opening things with our teeth.

Have you had dental work done in the past? Chances are that you have. Does dental work last forever you may ask? Well, just like your teeth themselves, it depends largely on how well you treat your mouth after the dental work is completed. If you are doing some of the aforementioned habits, your dental work may not last 30 or more years. You can have a higher risk of cracking a filling or losing a crown before their expected lifespan is up.

Another factor that can impact the longevity of your teeth is gum disease. Severe gum disease can cause your teeth to begin falling out. If you catch the signs of gum disease early enough, in the gingivitis phase, you still have time to reverse the condition with periodontal care and by improving overall dental hygiene habits.

So, can your teeth last forever? Yes, they actually can. All you have to do is stay on top of your dental care, regularly floss, brush your teeth and be responsible with what you are putting in your mouth. Of course, routine dental appointments are also a large part of maintaining your dental health. Schedule your next appointment today by calling Genesee Dental at 585-343-1113 or conveniently request your next appointment online now.

Evolution of the Toothbrush

Did you know that the toothbrush didn’t always look like it does today? Ever wonder where the idea came from? Well, you might be surprised to learn that people have been using toothbrushes since as early as 3500 B.C. – but they looked a little different in those days.

Old ToothbrushAncient civilizations didn’t turn to their electric toothbrush at the end of the day to freshen their breath and prevent cavities. Instead, they used chewing sticks made from twigs to clean their teeth, according to the Library of Congress. One end of the stick would be frayed slightly, and this end was used to brush excess food out of teeth.

The toothbrush as we know it was patented in America in 1857, says IncisorsAndMolars, but they weren’t mass-produced in the U.S. until 1885. It wasn’t until 1938 that manufacturers began making the bristles out of nylon rather than various animal parts.

What about the first electric toothbrush? Electric Teeth reports that an English doctor in the 1800s was the first person to claim to have produced an electric toothbrush—the only problem was that it didn’t actually use electricity. The handle was made of magnetized iron rods.

The first useable and properly electric toothbrush didn’t hit the market until 1954. This brush was invented by Dr. Woong in Switzerland, and was known as Broxodent here in the United States. It plugged into the wall, and was originally intended to be used by patients who had limited motor skills and had trouble taking care of their teeth. It didn’t become very popular until 1961, though, when General Electric introduced a cordless rechargeable brush.

Since GE’s introduction of the rechargeable cordless brush, modern technology has taken the electric toothbrush a long way, and many people choose this type of brush over a regular one. While we may still be debating which electric toothbrush or regular toothbrush is the best brand, we’ve definitely come a long way since the chewing sticks of ancient civilizations.

Of course, there’s no better way to take care of your teeth than brushing and flossing daily – and making regular visits to your dentist. Call Genesee Dental today at 585-343-1113 and speak with a member of our dental care team or schedule your next appointment online now.

So, What Exactly Is a Root Canal?

Any time you visit the dentist you likely hear at least a few terms around that you may be familiar with but may not completely understand. One of those terms is “root canal,” and it involves one of the most common dental procedures performed. Let’s take a brief look at what exactly a root canal is and why they’re needed.

Your teeth may feel hard on the outside, but did you know there is soft tissue inside the root of every tooth? A root canal is the space inside of each tooth that contains this soft tissue, otherwise known as pulp. Over time, this pulp can occasionally become inflamed from a variety of diseases. Whether you’re suffering from a cavity or even an injury like a cracked tooth, an inflammation of the tissue inside your teeth is something you don’t want to deal with. That’s where root canal treatments come in.

This relatively simple procedure involves removing the portion of infected pulp from inside your tooth. Once the diseased portion of the pulp has been extracted, the dentist will clean the area and seal the root canal, often with a crown or filling. This process ensures that the space inside the tooth can heal and further procedures aren’t needed. Removing infected pulp from a root canal is incredibly vital as if nothing is done, often the whole tooth will need to be removed.

Avoid the need to ever have a root canal with some routine prevention. Brush your teeth and gums on a regular basis, and don’t forget to schedule regular checkups with your dentist. In the event you’re suffering from a sore or inflamed tooth, it can often be resolved in as little as one visit. For more information about root canals and what we can do to help, call Genesee Dental today at 585-343-1113 to speak with a member of our dental care team or schedule your next appointment online now.

Are Cavities Reversible?

They’re the dreaded words from the dentist no one wants to hear: “Well, it looks like you have a cavity.” A dental cavity is a hole in your tooth resulting from a tooth decaying process that occurs over time. While it would be great if we could reverse them, cavities represent permanent damage that cannot be reversed – only repaired. However, there are ways to prevent the tooth decay that causes cavities.

Cavity PreventionTooth decay is the result of an infection with certain types of bacteria that use sugars in food to make acids, which over time produce a cavity in the tooth. As we eat throughout the day, these bacteria use the sugars or starches from our diet to produce these acids, which begin to eat away at the tooth’s enamel, or hard outer surface. On the other hand, minerals in our saliva and fluoride from toothpaste, water and other sources work to help enamel repair itself by replacing minerals lost from the acid.

A cavity develops when a tooth is exposed to acid frequently, as the repeated cycle of bacteria producing acids causes the enamel to continue to lose minerals. A sign of early decay is a white spot on the tooth, showing a loss of minerals. In these early stages, decay can be stopped or reversed via minerals in saliva and fluoride from toothpaste.

However, as the tooth decay process continues and more minerals are lost, the enamel is weakened and destroyed, forming a cavity. While the damage wrought by a cavity is permanent, the hold can be repaired with fillings.

Ways to Prevent Cavities

There are many proactive measures you can take to keep cavities at bay. One way is using fluoride, a mineral that can prevent tooth decay from progressing sometimes going so far as to reverse or stop early tooth decay. This mineral prevents mineral loss in tooth enamel, replaces lost minerals and reduces the ability of bacteria to make acid. You most commonly drink fluoride in tap water, but you can also brush your teeth with fluoride toothpaste, use a fluoride mouth rinse and even take a fluoride supplement if you have unfluoridated well water at home.

Watching your diet may also help you prevent cavities. Avoiding foods and drinks containing a large amount of sugars and starches decreases the amount of acid bacteria in your mouth produces, limiting the acids that eat away at your tooth enamel.

Of course, regular brushing routine can eliminate the bacteria that cause cavities, while routine dental visits can also help detect early problems before they become full-blown cavities. To schedule your next appointment, give Genesee Dental a call today at 585-343-1113 or request an appointment online now.

Preventing Gum Disease – Know the Risk Factors

Bleeding gums are the first stage of gum disease, better known as gingivitis. While typically painless, gum disease can be a precursor to more serious diseases such as diabetes, heart disease, stroke and even cancer. In some ways, you can view bleeding gums as a sign that your body gives you to let you know that you need to improve your dental habits before more serious problems manifest.

Gum disease typically comes when plaque is not properly removed from teeth and gums, meaning a person needs to be more thorough when brushing or flossing. There are other factors that put people at risk for gum disease as well. Let’s take a look at a few of the other reasons that you may be at risk.

Age

Gum disease increases with age, and more than 50 percent of adults older than 30 and 70 percent of those older than 65 have gum disease.

Stress

As you know, stress can lead to a lot of health problems and gum disease can be one of them. Stress makes it more difficult for the body to fight infection, so mouth ailments, such as periodontal disease, do not get properly fought off.

Medication

Medicines are there to help you, but some have adverse side effects when it comes to gum disease, most commonly anti-depressants, certain heart medications and oral contraceptives. If you are taking a medicine that affects your gums, check with your doctor to look for other alternatives or ways to counteract the side effects.

Genetics

If you struggle with gum disease, you may be able to blame your parents – well, at least a little. Some people are predisposed to get gum disease and will need to take more preventative action to fight it off. Your dentist can perform a genetic test to determine your risk and how it may affect you down the road.

Other Factors

There are other risk factors for people to consider as well, including poor nutrition, grinding your teeth or tobacco use. While gum disease can be serious, the good news is that in a lot of cases it can be completely reversed with some behavioral changes.

If you notice bleeding of the gums or any other irregular concern in the mouth, consult with your dentist as soon as possible. Call Genesee Dental today at 585-343-1113 or request an appointment online now to get started.

The Health Benefits of Getting Teeth Straightened

Straight TeethHaving your teeth straightened and spaced is often believed to be a cosmetic procedure, intended to give people a more full and even smile. However, did you know that there are actually several health benefits to having straight teeth? Let’s take a look at a few of the ways that having straight teeth is good for your overall dental health.

Healthier Gums

First, teeth that are straight and evenly spaced are a great benefit to your gums. If teeth are incorrectly spaced, your gums can become more easily inflamed or infected. Too much space can leave them more open and exposed to food and drink, while teeth that are too close can create areas that are difficult to clean with brushing and flossing, creating an almost protected space for bacteria to flourish.

Decreased Likelihood of Broken Teeth

Another benefit of correctly spaced and straightened teeth is that they are less susceptible to cracking and breakage in case of an accident. While teeth – like bones or any other part of the body – can be injured with an accidental impact, those who have crooked, overlapping or crowded teeth are at a greater risk. With the proper spacing, teeth don’t have too much space that can allow them to move freely out of place. Too little space can cause teeth to press into one another, leading to broken, fractured or cracked teeth. Similarly, teeth that are spaced too far apart can move more freely, making them more likely to be knocked out entirely if there’s an accidental impact.

Easier Cleaning

Last, correct spacing means that teeth can be more effectively cleaned. When teeth are correctly aligned, brushing and flossing can easily keep your mouth healthy, with bristles and floss able to reach the spaces between teeth to remove unwanted plaque and bacteria. Overcrowded teeth may not have enough space for these implements to reach, meaning that bacteria can grow, leading to cavities, gum diseases and much more.

If you’ve been considering talking to your dentist about teeth straightening, there are so many more reasons to do so. To find out more, call Genesee Dental at 585-343-1113 today or request an appointment online now.

Improve Oral Health With This Thanksgiving Side Dish

Thanksgiving is a seriously risky holiday for your figure, between the snacking, grazing, leftovers and – of course – pies, cookies and cakes. But it can also be a bad time for your dental health as well, as the foods you munch on can create a hospitable environment for the bacteria that causes bad breath or creates plaque. However, a bit of research conducted over at the University of Rochester Medical Center a few years back showed a surprising benefit of one of your dinner table’s holiday dishes – cranberries.

Cranberry SauceBack in 2010, U of R researchers discovered that the microbe S. mutans – a form of streptococcus – is disrupted when coming into contact with enzymes found in cranberries. The S. mutans bacteria is like a professional builder, though instead of laying bricks, it lays glucans – the substance that forms the gunky, whiteish plaque that builds up on teeth. This protects bacteria behind the glucans, allowing them to populate and produce acids and more bacteria.

In the presence of cranberry enzymes, however, the bacteria’s ability to create glucans is disrupted. This leaves bacteria in the mouth less protected, unable to build the glucans that serve as a wall for bacteria to thrive. With less ability to protect itself, your regular brushing, flossing and swishing with mouthwash has a greater impact and helps keep these bacteria from causing serious dental problems.

During Thanksgiving, we often enjoy starchy and sweet foods, like yams, mashed potatoes and pies. These great tastes may sate your sweet tooth, but starches and sugars are like coal for oral bacteria’s furnaces, allowing them to thrive. While the cranberry sauce can help, there’s no substitute for proper dental care. Bring along your toothbrush, and a travel bottle of mouthwash, and be sure to clean your mouth after you’ve finished your dinner to make sure that you keep your sweet tooth – and all the rest – to enjoy your leftovers and meals pain- and problem-free in the future.

Don’t forget to keep up with your regular dental appointments, as well. With the holiday season upon us, you want to make sure that you’re ready to enjoy the candies, feasts and everything else that the end of the year brings. Call Genesee Dental at 585-343-1113 today to schedule your next visit or request an appointment now with our convenient online booking system.

How Long Do Dental Implants Need to Heal?

If you’re in need of a dental implant, you probably are worried about how long the healing process takes or how extensive the work will be. While the specifics are different in every case – depending on the extent of the work being done and your individual bone structures – the process often takes several months. Here’s a look at a few of the stages of having dental implants placed.

Pre-Operation

After determining you’re a candidate for a dental implant surgery, your dentist will review your X-rays and take molds of your jaw and teeth to get the best possible look at the structures of your mouth. This includes your current teeth positioning and spacing, as well as the condition of your jaw bones and gum tissues.

Initial Operation

An initial surgery will be performed to place an implant or post into the bone of your jaw. This can sometimes require two separate surgeries, depending on the extent of the work being performed and the strength of your jaw bones. In some extreme instances, a bone graft may be required, using bone structures from elsewhere in the mouth or even another place on the body. These additional steps will often require a lengthier healing time as the bones go through osseointegration, says the Mayo Clinic. This portion will often take up to six months of healing time to be fully repaired, or as long as nine months for grafts.

Dental ImplantFitting and Anchoring

Once your mouth has healed from the initial operation (and any subsequent work needed), your artificial teeth will be installed and fitted to the implant. Depending on how well the new teeth fit, this may take several weeks to complete perfectly. However, once your implants are permanently affixed and properly fitted, your replacements are ready to restore your mouth to its previous state of comfort and function.

It’s important to remember that every case is different, so your results may vary dramatically depending on your oral health and your surgical needs. Your dentist can give you a more accurate assessment and idea of what kind of recovery time may be required in your circumstances. If you’re considering dental implants or would like to learn more, call Genesee Dental today at 585-343-1113 to schedule a consultation or request an appointment online now.

Top Tips for Cleaning Dentures

If you have or are considering getting dentures, one of your top questions is probably how you keep them clean. Unlike your natural teeth, dentures shouldn’t be brushed with a toothbrush; they require special care to keep them looking good and lasting for years of use. Here are a few tips for keeping your dentures in great shape.

Wash and Rinse

After eating, you should remove your dentures and rinse them off to get rid of any loose food particles that may have gotten stuck to them during your meal. As dentures can be fragile, be careful while handling them near the sink. Putting down a towel on or near the sink is a great way to help keep a good spot for them to dry handy, plus offers a bit of cushioning in case you lose your grip.

Brush Them Off

Although using a toothbrush is problematic as we mentioned above, you should still brush your dentures daily. Toothpaste has small particles that are great for cleaning teeth, but these abrasive elements can scratch and wear dentures. Use a specially formulated denture paste or other cleaner and a soft-bristled brush that’s designed to clean dentures for the best results. Hand soap or even mild dishwashing soap can be a good option, notes WebMD.

Soak Overnight

Just as you’ve always seen in sitcoms and other programs, you should remove your dentures overnight and soak them in a cleaning solution. Each set of dentures is different, so the exact method that’s best will depend on your dentist’s recommendations and the manufacturer’s directions. This keeps dentures moist, preventing them from losing their shape. Make sure to follow the guidance you’re given to keep dentures looking great, but don’t forget to rinse them off before putting them back in. Some solutions contain chemicals that are great for your dentures, but can cause irritation or nausea if you accidentally ingest the fluid.

A dentist can give you even more care directions and help you determine the best course of action for your dentures. Contact Genesee Dental today at 585-343-1113 to learn more or schedule your next appointment now online.

Importance of Flossing

Be honest: you hate flossing, right? It’s a bit time consuming, you usually forget about it, and it’s not a lot of fun to stick your fingers all the way in your mouth to reach between your molars. Well, we’re here to tell you that you better start flossing!

Importance of FlossingYou’re probably used to the lectures that your dentist gives you on the importance of flossing every time you visit the office for a cleaning, but it really is so important to floss to keep your teeth in good health. Flossing removes the sticky plaque from between your teeth that causes cavities and irritated gums, which can lead to far more serious problems like gum disease. Plaque buildup can even cause other problems in your body, as we discussed in a previous post. To totally protect your teeth from cavities and gum disease, brushing is simply not enough.

The American Dental Association suggests that you floss at least once a day, but twice if you really want to take good care of your teeth and gums. It doesn’t matter whether you do it before or after you brush; flossing helps to get rid of this gunk in places that brush bristles simply can’t reach.

If you’re not a fan of traditional dental floss, there are some other options available at your local drug store that you can try, such as a pre-threaded flosser that’s a little bit easier to maneuver in your mouth, or a dental pick that can be used to clean between your teeth.

Talk to your dentist if you need tips on how to floss more thoroughly, but remember: the first step is to get started. The faster you introduce flossing into your daily routine, the sooner it’ll become a habit, and the healthier your teeth will be for your next visit to the dentist. Discuss your options and get tips from your dentist at your next appointment. Call today Genesee Dental today at 585-343-1113 to schedule a visit or request an appointment online now.

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