Neglecting Dental Care is Madness

Are you feeling lucky? Do you think you can fill out a perfect March Madness bracket? The odds are 1 in 9 quintillion. March Madness is known for last second game winners and unexpected wins. Games will have your heart beating quickly and have you on your feet to see what’ll happen next.

We all know about the thrillers and defeat that takes place during the tournament. But what we don’t know is what happens behind the scenes. Some injuries are kept quiet; such as dental injuries. If a player were to go down with a torn ACL, ruptured Achilles, or sprained ankle it’s well broadcasted. The University of California conducted a study about dental injuries in sports and found that basketball players suffered the highest amount of dental damage compared to all other intercollegiate sports.

Believe it or not, basketball is considered a ‘non-contact’ sport. Mouth guards are only required in contact sports such as football, hockey, and boxing. The American Dental Association says that 1/3 of dental injuries are because of sports. The three most common types of tooth injuries are: cracked teeth, fractured roots, and tooth intrusions.

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While playing basketball it is common to catch an unexpected elbow to your face and mouth this can cause you to chip or lose teeth. During games, it’s important to communicate with your teammates which can be challenging while wearing a mouth guard. This is a possible reason why a mouth guard isn’t popular for basketball players. The University of California study also reveals that only 7% of collegiate basketball players use a mouth guard.

 

Basketball has a variety of protective gear for players. There are high top shoes to help support your ankle along with ankle braces. There are also padded compression shorts and shirts that are worn under your jersey to protect your body from any unpredictable falls. In a way, padded compression clothing is similar to a mouth guard. Both protect your body from experiencing the full force of a hit helping prevent greater injuries which can be expensive and time consuming to heal.

There are three different types of mouth guards: custom-made, Boil and Bite, and stock. A custom-made mouth guard is seen as the most comfortable and offers the best protection. They need to be manufactured by your dentist or in a specialized lab.  Most athletes prefer to have a custom fit one but one downside is they can be a pricey investment. You can think of the Boil and Bite as DIY custom fit mouth guards. The plastic pre-formed shape can be found in sporting stores. You simply boil it then bite into it for a custom fit. Stock mouth guards are the most inexpensive but don’t fit well and aren’t very comfortable. They can be bulky making breathing and talking a challenge.

The loss of a tooth or multiple teeth is not the only thing at risk for basketball players. Tooth loss can also cause bone damage to your jaw and tissues and rip your gum or lip. Their injuries can often lead to implants or root canals.

Over the years, wearing mouth guards have gained popularity throughout the sport. Top NBA stars like Lebron James, Kevin Durant, and Stephen Curry are known to wear mouth guards while playing. Did you know they have flavored mouth guards for better a better taste?

Injuries are unpredictable but the best way to protect yourself is by taking precautions. As we now know the importance of wearing mouth guards lets share our knowledge. Hopefully, we will begin to see more star athletes and players wearing them. Change always starts small! So we encourage you and your family to play with your health in mind!

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It’s going to be a heart-wrenching month of basketball. Here’s to our teams conquering the title or to us for that 1 in 9 quintillion!

Dental Health of San Francisco
2407 Noriega Street
San Francisco, CA 94122
Phone: (415) 682-2368

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Modern vs Historical Dental Practices

Did you know barbers were the go-to people for concerns about your teeth? In the past, they not only groomed your face but also extracted and whitened your teeth. It wasn’t until 1840 that the first college Baltimore College of Dental Surgery opened. Today, the United States has over 60 schools and dentistry is considered a specialized practice. Let’s take a look back and see how modern dentistry came to be.

Toothbrushes, Toothpaste, and Floss

  • In ancient times chew sticks were used to help keep the mouth clean, they believed that it would get rid of unwanted particles.
  • The first toothbrush was made in China in 1498, handles were made from animal bones or bamboo, and the bristles came from the back of a pigs neck.
  • In 1824 soap was put into toothpaste and in the 1850s chalk was added.

Nowadays toothbrushes are available in different sizes, shapes, and colors. The handles are plastic and the bristles are made of nylon. Which is a long way from bones and bristles!

Toothbrush

In 1873, Colgate produced the first toothpaste in a jar and by the 1890’s toothpaste was packaged in tubes. Imagine dipping your toothbrush into a jar. Now imagine everyone in your house dipping their toothbrush into that same jar. Doesn’t it just make you appreciate the growth in this field?

Source: Colgate

In 1815 silk thread was recommended for cleaning in between teeth and by the 1940’s nylon became the standard.

Source: Oral-B

Modern Dental Techniques

Modernized dentistry has greatly reduced the risk for infections and implants, crowns, and bridges, are now common cosmetic procedures.  Modern crowns are made of composite, porcelain, and metals. They strengthen damaged teeth and can improve your tooth’s overall shape. Bridges are used to fill the tooth gaps and are secured with a neighboring crown on each side.

Dental implants are now the standard of care for missing teeth. These titanium roots are placed into your jawbone and fuse over time. Implants can anchor crowns, bridges, and dentures. They’ve gained popularity as they look and feel natural like your own teeth.

Implants

  • Crowns/Bridges
  • Crowns were made of human teeth, gold, ivory, and bone.
  • Bridges were gold and a sign of wealth.

Gold Crown

  • Implants
  • Whole tooth implants were from deceased lower class citizens, slaves or animals, and infections were common.
  • Seashells, sculpted bamboo, and copper were also used.
  • Iron pins supported a gold tooth to showcase your riches.

Do you consider using people’s teeth to replace yours as resourceful or gross?

In the 1970’s orthodontists said goodbye to headgear and wiring and hello to stainless steel brackets. To fix your bite hooks are placed in your mouth and you will get a pack of rubber bands, slowly adjusting your jaw position with tension over many months.

Giving thanks to new technology we have another option called Invisalign. Packaged as a set of clear plastic aligners, every two weeks you change the tray. There are slight changes to each aligner and your teeth will slowly adjust into the perfect smile of your dreams. Besides not having metal in your mouth, Invisalign is taken out before every meal and snack. Is remembering to take them on and off too much of a hassle?

Ortho

  • Orthodontics
  • One of the first forms of teeth straightening had animal intestines as cords and it wrapped around each individual tooth.
  • Gold bands were also used and preferred because they didn’t rust. Silver was also used and wasn’t as expensive.
  • Ivory and wood were also used.

Can you believe that current teeth whitening procedures were accidentally discovered? In the past, peroxide was used to help strengthen patient’s gums but they got whiter teeth. Today teeth whitening can be done in office or with a take-home whitening kit from your dentist.

  • Whitening
  • Ancient Romans used human urine because the ammonia is an amazing stain remover.
  • Ancient Egyptians used ground pumice stone and white vinegar to make a whitening paste.
  • Barbers could file your teeth down and spread acid on them to help you have a whiter smile.

Putting someone else’s teeth to replace yours is unheard of today because of our modern resources and technologies. Today dentistry is a specialized practice and after earning a dental degree, dentists are required to annually continue their education. Reflecting back to where dentistry once was, we can remember where this field started and appreciate its success.

Dental Health of San Francisco
2407 Noriega Street
San Francisco, CA 94122
Phone: (415) 682-2368

The Dangers of Crunchy Munchies

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Easter means many things to different families everywhere, but one thing that remains consistent is the appearance of candy! Whether it’s hidden in eggs or just passed around, it comes at a nice nearly halfway mark in the year from Halloween. Sweets make for some excellent treats, and there is no reason not to indulge (in moderation of course)! However, all candies are not created equal, and it may be worth knowing which ones you can have relatively guilt free, and which could spell trouble for your wonderful smile.
When it comes to Easter indulgences, chocolate may make it onto the nice list – we know, this is great news to many of you. The less forgiving candies are the ones that make that all-too-familiar CRUNCH! Hard candies, like lollipops or jolly ranchers, can be an awfully tempting treat to bite. But best case scenario is they can pack hard-to-reach pieces of sugar into your gums that end up sitting there, as saliva can have a difficult time breaking them down. Worst case scenario, that crunch sound may be coming from a broken tooth, and sending you straight from your Sunday activities into our office.
We do love seeing our patients, but not at the expense of their healthy smile! It happens more often than you think, and it’s not just because of the sugar – even some who are prone to absentmindedly crunching on ice have discovered the dangers of biting down on crunchy munchies when they find a piece of their tooth broken off. Your teeth are durable for normal eating and chewing, but anything that causes too much stress can run the risk of chipping or breaking one of your pearly whites. Before you try to impress your friends with breaking that jaw breaker in half, remember that it’s earned that name for a pretty good reason.
Even if you resist that satisfying crunch, there are still a few other points of concern for hard candies that you don’t run into with other options (like chocolate!). Hard candies that you suck on tend to spend a concentrated period of time in a single location, which over-exposes particular areas of your mouth to sugar and lead to a very concentrated build-up of acid, which can be a quick way to damage the enamel. Consider this next time you find yourself unwrapping that tootsie pop or after-meal mint, and perhaps enjoy a stick of gum instead. It’s not often that the solution for a sweet treat is yet another sweet treat, but you’re in luck because this time it is! After enjoying your holiday treats, consider enjoying a piece of sugar-free gum – the increased saliva productions while chewing can actually help dislodge and break down the remaining sugar in your mouth.
Overall, we don’t want to take the enjoyment out of candy-filled holidays – enjoy your time with your friends and family, and definitely don’t be afraid to pop open that plastic egg and see what treats hide inside. If you do find yourself going crazy for the crunchy candies, we hope you chew safely…and if things go wrong, you always have your friends at our office to set things straight (:

Dental Health of San Francisco
2407 Noriega Street
San Francisco, CA 94122
Phone: (415) 682-2368

Effects of Osteoporosis on your Oral Health

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Osteoporosis isn’t a new discovery, or a disease unheard of by many. That being said, many people don’t realize how closely tied to your oral health it can actually be.
In short, osteoporosis is caused by an insufficient consumption of calcium and vitamin D. It affects the bones, making them less dense and thus more likely to break. Osteoporosis is directly tied to your long-term dental health as this weakening of the bones may heavily compromise the jaw bone. A weakened jawbone can have a host of detrimental consequences for your teeth, including increased tooth mobility, or complete tooth loss.
The best cure for the degradation of the jawbone is avoiding it all together with a balanced diet high in vitamin D and calcium, and getting a sufficient amount of exercise. Barring that, be sure to attend your dental appointments regularly so that way the structure and health of your mouth can be monitored, and any problems that may develop are addressed immediately and not permitted to deteriorate.
As it is, due to hormone imbalances and changes over life, women are most at risk to developing osteoporosis, but it can absolutely develop in either gender depending on a host of lifestyle variables, not limited to diet and exercise.
Symptoms to pay attention to that may be indicative of osteoporosis affecting the jaw include: pain and/or swelling in the gums or jaw, as well as infection; injured gums not healing in a timely fashion; teeth that become loose for no reason or after only minor strain; numbness or discomfort in the jaw; or at worst, exposed bone. If you experience any of these symptoms, don’t hesitate contacting your dentist to prevent exacerbating the issue.

A Time To Give Thanks

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As Thanksgiving swiftly approaches, here is a little insight as to how to not over indulge when turkey day hits! We all know the famous expression “Your eyes are bigger than your stomach!” or “You eat with your eyes first!” This is usually the case with most of us when it comes to sitting down to eat Thanksgiving dinner. Let’s just put this out there… Gorging yourself on snacks, cakes, pies, and starches just means a really big stomach-ache and a miserable rest of the night, not to mention the potential for damage that it can have on your teeth and gums!
This year, why not give your smile the attention that it deserves?
Instead of the incessant snacking on all of the empty calories, head over to the veggie tray! A variety of veggies can do wonders for you! Not only for your oral health, but also for your health in general. Reaching for a nice healthy snack is a great decision!
When you are loading up your plate with all those delicious foods, try and plan out your plate. Be mindful of the items you are scooping on as well as how much of what, you are dishing. Instead of piling on mashed potatoes, rolls, stuffing and marshmallow covered yams, try this combination instead; A bigger scoop of green beans, some turkey, yams (minus the marshmallow), a smaller portion of the potatoes (minus that extra butter) and a little fruit salad on the side without the whipped topping. Your plate will be well balanced with more appropriate portions and without all of the sticky, bad-for-your-teeth toppings.
Thanksgiving desserts are a must for most! After you have yourself a small slice, if you are able to excuse yourself and go rinse your mouth and (if at all possible) brush and floss your teeth, you will be well on your way to a happier and healthier smile! If you brush those teeth and gums after eating the sweets and dinner, they are not able to sit on your teeth allowing time for bacteria build-up and all that comes along with the damaging sugar ingredients that cause harm.
With proper oral health care and limited portion control when eating, you CAN quite literally “Have your cake, and eat it too!”
Aside from eating, here’s something fun to do. Sit down with a friend or loved one and think about a couple of specific moments when someone’s smile impacted you, or when your smile meant something to someone else; even as little as holding a door open for a stranger and the exchange of smiles that was made at that point in time. This will open up a conversation about smiles and positivity! And really, what could be better than that?!

All-in-all, we hope you have a wonderful and love-filled Thanksgiving!

Dental Health of San Francisco

2407 Noriega Street
San Francisco, CA 94122
Phone: (415) 682-2368

All you need to know about WISDOM… Teeth!

WisdWisdome Tooth 3Dom teeth are considered to be a third set (upper and lower jaw) of molars.

They typically appear during your last few teen years and early twenties. There are some people who are lucky enough to experience no problems what-so-ever with their wisdom teeth. If they are developing in the proper position and not causing pain or problems, there is no need to pursue any sort of treatment or extraction.

There are three main reasons as to why your wisdom teeth would need to be surgically removed:
1. There is not enough room for them to fully erupt.
When there is not enough space for your wisdom teeth to pop through the surface of your gums, you run a higher risk of them being impacted. Most commonly, this means that your wisdom teeth have made it through the bone but cannot get through the gums.
Sometimes symptoms come along with this type of impaction. Other times, one may not experience a single symptom. This is one of the reasons why frequent visits to our office are very important. In order to look in to this, an x-ray is required.
2. The wisdom teeth are not coming in at the proper vertical angle.
A lot of times wisdom teeth develop in different positions. They could even be developing facing towards your other teeth instead of growing upwards. When this occurs, people face problems with their other fully developed teeth, crowding and can even cause poor bite and jaw alignment. As stated above, in order to see how your wisdom teeth are growing, which direction or any other abnormality, x-rays will need to be taken.
3. Partially erupted wisdom teeth.
Sometimes the wisdom teeth are able to poke through the top of the gum but cannot fully erupt. If this happens, there is an elevated chance that infection may occur. This infection is called Pericoronitis. This occurs when bacteria from plaque or food get trapped between the partially erupted tooth and the gum surrounding it.
Warning signs and symptom to look out for include:
• Red, swollen, tender gums
• Jaw pain
• Pain while trying to eat
• Bad breath
• Unpleasant taste in your mouth
If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, please give our office a call to schedule an appointment and x-rays to see exactly what is going and what steps need to be taken in order to get the problem treated and relieve any discomfort you may be experiencing. Wisdom teeth extractions are typically done by an oral surgeon, however, in some cases a certified dentist can extract them. Local anesthesia is most commonly administered. Healing time is usually less than 1 week.

Post oral surgery instructions will be explained and given to you. It is imperative that you continue to practice good oral health care during this time and to follow those instructions carefully. Having your wisdom teeth removed will not hinder the functionality of your mouth. (For example being able to eat, chew, speak or your bite position.) When an extraction is required, the younger you are when it is discovered, the better. Wisdom teeth extractions are considerably easier to extract while the teeth are still in development. If you are interested in your wisdom teeth and their current stage or any other information you are curious about, give us a ring today!

Dental Health of San Francisco
2407 Noriega Street
San Francisco, CA 94122
Phone: (415) 682-2368