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What Are Teeth Worth, Anyway?

Your teeth are a valuable and depreciating asset that you own, not all that dissimilar from your car or your home. They have an intrinsic value, not only in the priceless value of your bright smile, but an actual dollars and cents value. Visiting your dentist regularly is like protecting your investment, somewhat like visiting your mechanic regularly or having your home inspected to look for faults. But what are your teeth really worth, anyway?

Children will be excited to learn that the Tooth Fairy has raised her going rate over the last 15 years. According to survey data from Delta Dental released earlier this year, average Tooth Fairy deposits in the under-the-pillow bank have increased from about $1.25 per tooth to more than $4.25 in 2014. It turns out that if you could have invested money in the “tooth market” back in 1998, when Delta Dental started the survey, you would have seen your portfolio’s value rise more than similar investments in the S&P 500, though both have followed similar courses during the past decade and a half.

What about adults? For that we turn to lawyers, who for our intents and purposes are the “Tooth Fairy” for grown men and women. Tooth values here vary wildly, however, based on the circumstances of the tooth loss. AllLaw reports teeth damaged in an accident have a wide range of values. In the sample verdicts and settlement values offered in the site’s article, payouts ranged from $10,000 for a chipped front tooth in a liability claim in an accident on property to $98,000 in a settlement covering two broken teeth and permanent lip scarring incurred from a car accident.

Whether it’s childhood teeth or your adult chompers, it turns out that your teeth have some significant cash value. This is just one more reason that making sure you do all you can to keep them clean and protected is important. While no amount of prevention can protect you from life’s accidents, keeping up on your brushing and flossing routine at home and having regular dental appointments can ensure that your teeth stay in great shape and don’t end up costing you money in expensive replacements or extensive dental work. Schedule your next appointment with Genesee Dental online now or call us at 585-343-1113 to plan your next visit.

Should You Still Visit the Dentist While Pregnant?

One of the most common questions that expecting mothers have is whether they should continue to see their dentists. Pregnancy is a delicate time in a woman’s life, and the last thing that any expectant mother wants to do is any activity that could potentially be a risk to her or her child. Dental experts are on the same page, and only want to ensure that dental activities that are performed are noninvasive and won’t cause any health concerns for mother or baby.

Generally, women can continue to see their dentists as they normally would for routine cleanings and checkups throughout the term of their pregnancy. Regular dental care does not require any drugs or treatments that could affect the mother or the baby, and can help to identify any latent problems that might be a bigger concern. For example, some mothers can develop a form of periodontal disease known as a pregnancy gingivitis, notes WebMD. This condition is caused by the hormone changes that occur within the body and can cause tender, sensitive and even bleeding gums. Seeing your dentist regularly can help identify these problems and offer a noninvasive treatment option.

More extensive dental procedures or X-rays, however, should be generally avoided except in emergency cases. In most cases, procedures can easily be postponed until after childbirth, but if you have an extenuating case, dentists will work to provide every safeguard and protection to prevent any complications with the developing child. If you do have to have an emergency tooth extraction, filling or other work done, the American Pregnancy Association suggests that the second trimester is the best time. During the first trimester, the developing baby’s organs are forming, while the third trimester is often close enough to childbirth that procedures can still be delayed – plus lying down for an extended period can be difficult during these final months.

Taking care of your dental health during pregnancy is as much a part of your life as it is before and after. At Genesee Dental, we will work hard to put your mind at ease about any concerns you have and make sure that your dental appointment is as comfortable as possible. Plus, we can discuss when you need to plan your new son or daughter’s first appointment with you! Call us today at 585-343-1113 or schedule your next appointment online now.

Back to School, Back to the Dentist

As families start gearing up to head back to school for another year, now is the time to make sure to schedule your child’s next dental appointment. Heading back to school means that your schedule starts to fill up with the school day, afterschool activities and sports, plus any other extracurricular activities that your son or daughter may participate in, so planning your appointment now is key to keeping up with your child’s regular visits.

Baby TeethWe recommend that everyone see their dentist at least once every six months, especially children who are continuing to develop their teeth. Whether a young child who is still taking care of their baby teeth, a kid starting to grow their first permanent teeth or a teenager who is starting to develop their second set of molars – sometimes called “12-year molars” – or wisdom teeth, regular appointments are key to ensuring proper tooth growth and development. By having regular checkups and cleanings, your dentist can look for signs of improper growth or other issues that may require professional treatment to remedy. Catching these problems early are important to preventing pain, infection or other problems of the mouth.

In addition, having a regular dental exam is vital for athletes who participate in contact sports. Students participating in sports like football or hockey are required to wear mouthguards which, as we discussed previously, are more for concussion prevention than dental protection. However, ill-fitting mouthguards can cause problems with your child’s teeth. Having a custom-fitted mouthguard made can ensure a proper feel and provide better protection for your child than a standard “boil and bite” model. This is especially important if your child is wearing braces or has other sensitive dental work, and provides the optimal comfort and protection.

While you’re checking off your school prep list, make sure to include contacting us to schedule your child’s next appointment. Call us today at 585-343-1113 to plan an appointment that works best for your busy schedule or request an appointment online now.

Don’t Fall for DIY Braces

Would you trust a YouTube user’s video to perform surgery on yourself? Not likely, which is one of the reasons we find it so surprising that so many people have watched – and potentially followed – the suggestions of myriad videos that are online about do-it-yourself braces.

In these videos, individuals place rubber bands around their teeth with the hope that doing so would be an effective DIY option to draw their teeth together in the same way as conventional braces. However, in almost every case, this can lead to irreversible damage to the mouth, notes a recent article on WIVB in Buffalo.

Braces Whereas braces keep the teeth in position and use precise adjustment to subtly shift the position of teeth into an exact position, rubber bands offer no control over movement of the teeth in other directions. This means that while braces control motion from side to side, forward and back and even up and down, rubber bands can lead to teeth moving unexpectedly, potentially even leading to teeth developing a crooked angle. Extreme cases could even damage the bone structure in the mouth or require teeth be removed altogether, says Indiana Dr. Karen Cottingham, an orthodontist in Indianapolis quoted in the article.

While it seems at first glance as though this might only be a passing trend, the situation was perceived to be serious enough for the American Journal of Orthodontics & Dentofacial Orthopedics to issue a consumer alert warning against this practice, and encouraging dentists to reinforce this with their patients and advise them against engaging in this kind of risky dental behavior.

The best way to address any concerns you may have with the appearance or positioning of your teeth is now – and always will be – through consulting with a dental professional. Our office works with countless patients to devise a carefully selected solution to minimize gaps or straighten teeth to improve their smile. Let us figure out the best option for you. Schedule an appointment with us online now, or call us today at 585-343-1113 to discuss your situation.

Filling You In About Fillings

No one likes having cavities. They can cause incredible amounts of pain and sensitivity, and even lead to worse issues in surrounding teeth as you start to avoid touching the affected tooth so as to not cause any sensations to flare up. However, most cavities can be easily repaired with the use of fillings.

Fillings have been around for more than 150 years, according to the Food and Drug Administration. This has helped save uncountable teeth – no doubt in the millions – during the past century and half. During the filling process, a dental amalgam is used to fill up the space where your tooth has formed a hole, closing off the access point to outside bacteria and food particles and preventing further nerve damage or tooth decay. With such a lengthy track record of use, we know within a reasonable level of certainty that fillings are a perfectly safe and sound way to fix cavity problems.

There are two main types of amalgam used in dental procedures today. The first is the most traditional – silver amalgam. So named for the silver color, these fillings don’t actually contain much silver. Instead, the filling materials is roughly 50 percent elemental mercury, with the balance a mixture of tin, copper and – unsurprisingly – silver. In modern procedures, these fillings are most commonly used for the back teeth, like molars and wisdom teeth, as the silver can be quite noticeable in teeth located toward the front of the mouth.

Fillings and Other Dental RepairsThe second option is composite filling, which was created to be a more cosmetically appealing alternative to silver amalgam. This filling has a tooth-like color, and is perfect for filling in cavities in teeth in the front of the mouth. This material is also often used to repair chipped, cracked or broken teeth, as well as creating artificial tooth material to close gaps between two widely spaced teeth.

With both materials, fillings can often be done in a single appointment. If closing a cavity – especially if the cavity has worked deep into the tooth – heat and cold sensitivity will be heightened for a few days to weeks after your filling, but will go away after your mouth gets used to the newly filled tooth. One of our dentists can answer any questions you have and go over your full range of options for your specific situation.

Don’t put off having a dentist check your sore or painful tooth. Acting now can prevent the problem from worsening and relieve the pain or problems you’re having faster. Call Genesee Dental at 585-343-1113 today to schedule your next appointment or use our convenient online request form to get in and see us!

Beating Bad Breath

Halitosis got your tongue? Everyone’s mouth gets a little funky from time to time, but if you are aware of the leading causes of bad breath, and actively work to prevent bacterial growth and tooth decay, you can overcome this smelly situation with ease.

Believe it or not, the culprit behind most bad breath isn’t the teeth - it’s the tongue!

Many people are unaware that the tongue requires attention during toothbrushing, as this mouthy muscle often ends up coated in a layer of bacteria. These living organisms multiply on your palate, excreting their own stinky emissions inside your mouth! Improper brushing and flossing also leaves behind food particles, which break down in the mouth and creates more odor issues.

Your food can also cause bad breath post-digestion due to certain compounds that travel through the bloodstream into the lungs and affect the odor. Practicing effective brushing techniques and flossing regularly will improve your breath and overall dental health, so be sure to ask your dentist to demonstrate proper dental self-care.

Smoking is another common cause of unsavory breath, for many reasons. Between the damage to your teeth, the notorious smokers’ stink that comes with cigarettes, and the digestive issues that smoking can cause, smoking is just a bad idea if you want fresh breath. Whether or not you smoke, if you suffer from dry mouth, you may also find you have an issue with bad breath, because the lack of saliva leads to increased bacterial growth in the mouth.

Of course, the foods you eat will also affect your breath, says WebMD, with strongly odored foods being more likely to ruin your romantic advances. Getting close to someone after consuming strongly flavored foods like garlic, onions, curry and other boldly flavored foods can be very uncomfortable if you aren’t aware of your own breath.

Likewise, poor digestive health can contribute to bad breath, with acid reflux being among the leading causes of smelly breath. Infections in the mouth, throat and digestive track will also cause your breath to change for the worse.

Remember, too, that some medications may also adversely affect your breath. TheraBreath offers an extensive list of medications that can impact your breath. While this side effect may be annoying, it can be made less noticeable by practicing good dental care.

Fortunately, there are many ways to combat the many causes of this stinky situation. If you are preemptive about caring for your body, especially your teeth, brushing and flossing twice or more a day will improve your breath overall, and awareness about the things you put into your body will keep your breath fresh all day long.

For more help or tips to help improve your breath – and your oral health! – talk with your dentist to determine the best course of action for your case. Contact Genesee Dental at 585-343-1113 to plan your next visit or schedule your next dental appointment online today!

A Child’s First Dental Visit

While you may have been seeing your dentist regularly for years, when you have a child, one of the new experiences for them will be their first dental appointment. Sometimes this can seem like a scary process to a young child, especially with the strange-looking tools, the masks the doctors and dental hygienists wear, and the screeching noises of drills and other dental machines. Getting your child comfortable with their dentist visits, though, is important to helping them develop a healthy mindset about their appointments later in life.

Child Brushing TeethA child’s first dental appointment should generally be scheduled before their first birthday, or six months after their first tooth emerges. The initial childhood appointments are generally brief, and include initial discussions with you about your child’s habits (thumb sucking or other habits), as well as their teething process. Our dentists will also discuss good dental hygiene practices for toddler-age kids, as well as perform an early assessment of how their teeth are coming in to identify any issues or concerns.

More thorough cleanings and X-rays will generally be scheduled after your child’s first few appointments, unless there are concerns found during the initial assessment. By the time your child gets old enough to walk and talk on their own, they should have had several dental appointments, and by the time they reach school age, most children have become comfortable and familiar with both dental appointments and our friendly, personable dental staff.

At Genesee Dental, we love kids, and we do everything we can to make your son or daughter feel comfortable and at ease during their first and early childhood appointments. Our patient room for children is decorated with fun animals and provides extra space for you to stay in the room with them in case they get scared or are nervous. Plus, with our flexible scheduling, we can help accommodate your child’s appointment within your busy schedule.

Start your child off early on a path to a lifetime of dental health. Call us today at 585-343-1113 to discuss your child’s first appointment, or schedule a visit online today!

How Does Dental Hygiene Affect Your Overall Health?

For a long time, medical professionals suspected that having good oral hygiene was connected to overall body health. Recent studies have continued to provide evidence in support of this, with reports coming out that having excellent dental health can also promote overall body health. While the connection between heart disease and diabetes in relation to dental health has been well researched, new studies are connecting cardiovascular disease to poor dental health practices.

In a study published earlier this year in Trends in Endocrinology and Metabolism, researchers found that bacteria found in the mouth and oral infections could lead to an increased risk of cardiovascular disease. According to coverage published by Medical Daily, these infections of the mouth are the access point for oral bacteria to travel into the body, where it then grows and exacerbates problems with cholesterol and triggering inflammation, most commonly worsening periodontitis.

This disease of the mouth is also one of the leading infections that can allow these bacteria into the body. A largely preventable disease, periodontitis can eat away at the soft tissues of the gums and ultimately destroy bone as well. This infection has been connected to both diabetes and heart disease previously, and this latest research only strengthens the connection. Truly, paying attention to your dental health is vital to maintaining a healthy body.

In a second report covered in London’s Daily Mail, poor dental health was connected to overall problems with inflammation in the body. In a two-part BBC series, an individual went without brushing part of his teeth for two weeks to determine the effect on his oral hygiene. At the end of the test period, he discovered that not only had he developed a mild case of gum disease, but he also had wreaked havoc on the ability of his body’s white blood cells to attack infections. Tests on the individual’s blood performed at University of Birmingham School of Dentistry showed that the blood cells were moving in seemingly random and slow, ineffective ways in the presence of infectious bacteria.

The cause of this was chronic inflammation, caused as part of the body’s response to invading bacteria coming through the infection of the gums. This damage, according to the report, is reversible if a short-term issue, but left for long periods of time it can lead to irreversible damage to the body. Alongside other potential problems already known – not to mention the damages that poor dental health can cause in the mouth to teeth and gums – the clear solution is to brush, floss and rinse your mouth regularly to prevent infections and bacteria from growing.

These are excellent preventative and maintenance measures, but nothing compares to a full dental exam and thorough cleaning at the dentist. An office cleaning can get into hard to reach areas and provides dentists and dental technicians an opportunity to discuss your dental health with you and alert you to any problems or potential problems before they become an issue. Don’t risk your health – call us at 585-343-1113 or schedule your next appointment online today!

Taking a Closer Look With X-Rays

If you’ve kept up on your dental visits growing up or through adulthood, you’ve surely had X-rays taken of your teeth. A routine procedure for many, this examination of the dental area can help your dentist get a clearer picture of hard to see problems or even discover hidden issues that may be occurring out of visual sight.

Wisdom Teeth X-RayX-rays, or dental radiographs in dentist’s terms, are an incredibly useful tool in your dentist’s kit. They can be used to help identify impacted teeth, emerging molars or wisdom teeth or other potential concerns below the gum line, like abscesses, cysts or even cancerous growths. They can also give a dentist a look at potential problems with teeth formation in children and young adults, allowing doctors to develop a preventative treatment option or plan of action to ensure proper dental development.

The X-rays used in dental settings are no more harmful than the natural radiation each of us receives everyday. Even so, every precaution is taken – including lead aprons and modern, fast-exposure film – to minimize the amount of radiation used. Plus, the latest available technology, digital X-rays, reduces these already low radiation levels to 80 to 90 percent of conventional technology. In addition, these digital X-rays are stored electronically, allowing dentists to more rapidly view the scans and even zoom in for a closer look than was possible with existing X-ray technology.

Typically new patients should have a full-mouth series of X-rays taken at their first appointment and again every three to five years to provide a complete comparison of how teeth have progresses to look for any new developments, signs of change or abnormalities. Additionally, bite-wing X-rays should be taken at least annually to provide an ongoing check of your dental health. Despite what you may have thought, X-rays are a nearly harmless and noninvasive way dentists can paint a more complete picture of your overall dental health.

Find out more about X-rays and how they’re used to at your next dental checkup or cleaning session. We’re also accepting new patients, and the best time to see your dentist is before a problem occurs – not after! Call us today at 585-343-1113 or request an appointment online now!

Modern Braces Offer Subtle Ways to Change Your Smile

Everyone has a mental picture of someone wearing braces. Typically thought of as a person with a mouth filled with metal brackets and wiring between the teeth, that stereotype has changed dramatically in recent years with continued advances in materials and technologies. Today, it’s even possible in some cases for teeth alignment to be done without any lasting fixtures!

Traditionally, braces are thought of as the metal and ceramic brackets that are places on teeth and connected with wires that are tightened periodically to draw the teeth to new positions over time. Many years ago, bands were also used that wrapped around each individual tooth, which also created the more traditional “metal mouth” look. There are also lingual brackets, which draw teeth together like traditional brackets, but are placed on the back of teeth instead to offer a more discreet method of tightening a person’s smile.

Different Styles of BracesIn addition, mini-braces are a newer and smaller option – as the name implies – that may be a viable option for some individuals. These work the same way as brackets, but use a smaller form factor. Lastly, one of the newest methods is invisible alignment options, which use a clear and removable mold to correct minor spacing issues.

With new design methods, braces are far less noticeable than they were even a decade ago. Transparent and tooth-colored brackets that are more effective are now available, and wiring has been made to be far less visible than they had traditionally been. In turn, this has helped encourage more people to consider getting their teeth aligned who had opted not to in the past. Plus, new Invisalign alignment options – which are made of clear, removable plastic – can be used in many cases and offers a practically unnoticeable option to tighten any spaces or gaps.

As these improvements have made braces less obtrusive to a person’s smile, patients young and old are looking to improve their smile. Braces can be used at any age, so if you’ve ever thought about doing something to change your look, the time to do it is now. Call Genesee Dental at 585-343-1113 or schedule your next appointment online today to talk to your dentist about your options!

 

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