Why Does Your Tooth Hurt?

hurt toothUnlike a headache, a toothache does not typically resolve itself, and although there are numerous reasons for your tooth to hurt, none of these causes are benign. Even if you were able to ignore the often-debilitating pain of a toothache, the underlying cause of it may lead to the loss of your tooth or more if left untreated. To help you find relief, Lafayette dentist Dr. Young explains some of the more common reasons behind tooth discomfort.

Causes of Tooth Discomfort

Tooth decay

Tooth decay, which leads to small holes in your tooth called cavities, is a common source of dental discomfort and affects the permanent teeth of over 90% of adults in America. Tooth decay begins with a process called enamel erosion, during which acid produced by oral bacteria weaken your tooth enamel and sap your teeth of essential minerals. While enamel is the strongest substance your body produces, the dentin underneath it is softer and porous, with small tubules that feed sensory information to the nerves at the center of your tooth (in a chamber called the pulp). Once enamel has sufficiently eroded, bacteria can access your tooth’s softer, more sensitive structures and cause your tooth to hurt as infection sets in. (more…)

Lafayette Dentist’s Advice for Fresh Breath

woman hiding her bad breathMost people can appreciate fresh breath from their own mouths as well as from those around them. Unfortunately, we all experience bad breath occasionally, usually upon waking in the morning. While brushing and flossing your teeth can typically rid your mouth of morning breath, sometimes the offensive odor can linger throughout the day, preventing you from interacting with others as confidently as you normally would. To help you prevent such embarrassment, Lafayette dentist, Dr. Michael Young, presents these tips for keeping your breath fresh throughout the day.

Make Your Mouth More Pleasant

  • Brush, floss…and scrape—You may already know that brushing and flossing your teeth is an essential ritual for preventing and eliminating bad breath. For optimal results, use your toothbrush, or preferably a tongue scraper, to clean the surface of your tongue, where many bad breath-causing bacteria tend to reside. (more…)

Lafayette Family Dentist: Teach Your Kids to Brush and Floss

little girl giving thumbs upAs a parent, you hope your children enjoy excellent health their entire lives. During their early years, you can help contribute to that by teaching them how to eat right, stay active, and stay vigilant about early warning signs. The same principles apply to helping your children enjoy healthy smiles throughout their lives, and considering the fact that tooth decay affects over 90% of adults in America, good dental health is essential. To help you prepare your children to care for their dental health, Lafayette family dentist, Dr. Michael Young, offers this list of proper dental hygiene practices.

Proper Dental Hygiene

  • Brushing—One of the most significant elements of a proper dental hygiene routine is brushing your teeth. The American Dental Association (ADA) recommends brushing your teeth at least twice a day, preferably when you wake in the morning and before bed at night, and after meals if possible. Brush your children’s teeth as soon as the first one erupts using a soft-bristled infant’s toothbrush so they grow accustomed to the ritual. Use only water until your child is old enough to not swallow toothpaste. (more…)

A Healthy Mouth for a Healthy Heart

happy healthy smileIf you pride yourself in your smile, then chances are that you brush and floss your teeth every day and attend your six-month dental checkups and cleanings. However, you may be pleasantly surprised to learn that your diligent dental care may also benefit your physical wellbeing by helping to keep your heart healthy and disease-free. Numerous studies have linked the presence of gum disease and the bacterial infections that cause it to the development of certain cardiovascular disease. As a dentist in Lafayette, LA, Dr. Michael Young has extensive experience treating the various stages of gum disease, and explains how ignoring it can jeopardize more than your teeth and gums.

The Transmission of Bacteria

Last week, we tested your knowledge of mouth germs with a brief quiz that mentioned one of the bacteria responsible for gum inflammation and disease. This microbe, known as Porphyromonas gingivalis, manipulates your immune system to prevent your body’s defenses from destroying it. As a result, uncontrolled inflammation can cause your gums to swell and bleed, offering a pathway for oral bacteria to enter your bloodstream. As it travels, P. gingivalis can potentially incite the same reaction in other areas of your body, such as your heart valves, arteries, and tissues. (more…)

Test Your Knowledge of Mouth Germs

cover your mouthDo you know why brushing and flossing your teeth helps protect them from infection and disease? The simple answer would be that daily dental maintenance keeps your mouth clean. The more detailed answer would describe the hordes of bacteria that gather to form dental plaque, then stick to your teeth and gums. Not all of these microbes are dangerous, but the ones that are undergo processes that, if left to their own devices, would thoroughly destroy your teeth and their supporting structures of soft tissue and bone. To help strengthen your knowledge of these malicious mouth dwellers, take the oral bacteria quiz below, provided by your Lafayette dentistDr. Michael Young.

The Oral Bacteria Quiz

Questions

Bacteria are a part of your mouth’s natural ecology. On average, how many different kinds of bacteria inhabit a healthy human mouth?

  1. 100
  2. 400
  3. 600
  4. Billions (more…)

How Many Ways Can Your Teeth Be Cleaned?

cleaning teethHopefully, you know that maintaining your oral health requires you to diligently brush and floss your teeth at least twice a day. It also requires you to attend your routine dental checkup and cleaning at least every six months. However, not everybody practices their dental hygiene with the same attentiveness, and every one’s oral health is unique. To accurately and efficiently clean your mouth, your dentist and/or dental hygienist can offer a professional dental cleaning specific to your needs. Lafayette dentistDr. Michael Young, explains the different kinds of dental cleanings and how each can benefit your oral health.

Different Dental Cleanings

Prophylaxis—This is a routine dental cleaning that is necessary at least every six months for continuing dental maintenance. Ideal patients for a prophylaxis have healthy mouths, possibly with localized area of gingivitis (mildest form of gum disease), but no signs of periodontal disease (severe form of gum disease). (more…)

Need to Fix Your Teeth? You Have Options

beautiful woman with bright smileLast week, we discussed the difference between dental fillings and dental crowns, explaining the dental issues that each addresses. Both can resolve similar problems, but deciding which treatment is the better option determines on the severity of your condition. This is true for any dental issue, and today’s dentistry focuses on offering patients different options, each of them optimal for specific cases. As we continue to explore the diversity of dentistry, Lafayette dentist, Dr. Michael Young explains two more common procedures that he employs to create masterpiece smiles for his patients.

Fix Discolored or Chipped Teeth with Dental Bonding

If your tooth is lightly to mildly stained, then professional tooth-whitening treatments can typically resolve the issue. Sometimes, however, a stain can be more stubborn than the whitening agent, or it may originate from within the tooth. Either way, stains may not always react favorably to chemical bleaching, in which case your smile requires an innovative solution. Using the same white composite resin material used for dental fillings, Dr. Young can apply the resin to surface of your tooth, mold the material to the precisely correct shape, and harden the material with a special curing light. The resin closely matches the natural color and tint of your smile, offering a restoration that discretely completes your smile. Dental bonding is most popular for correcting chipped teeth, craze lines (small cracks in your tooth’s enamel), odd spaces between teeth, and many other cosmetic dental issues. (more…)

Tooth Filling or Dental Crown? Lafayette Dentist Explains the Difference

beautiful girl showcasing her smileTeeth are strong. In fact, their outer layer (tooth enamel) is the strongest material your body produces. Teeth are not, however, indestructible, nor are they immune to disease and infection. Luckily, the field of dentistry has advanced considerably since its humble beginnings (which, so far, have been traced as far back as 7000 BC). Even if your resilient chompers do fall victim to misfortune, you have plenty of options for restoring the beauty and function of any afflicted tooth. Today, your Lafayette dentist, Dr. Michael Young, explains two of the most common recourses for treating and protecting ill teeth—tooth fillings and dental crowns.

Replacing Decayed Tooth Material

One of the most common afflictions to befall human teeth is decay. Indeed, over 90% of adults in America have had at least one cavity in their permanent teeth. The standard operating procedure for treating tooth decay is to remove the decayed tissue before the infection spreads any more. Like most oral health issues, tooth decay is progressive, and if not stopped, the decay will eat away the structure of your tooth until it falls out or requires extraction. Before it reaches the center of your tooth (called the pulp), decay can typically be treated by removing the decay and replacing the extracted tooth tissue with a manmade dental filling. Made from composite resin, these innovative fillings are dyed to match the color of your teeth, providing a discrete solution while reinforcing and strengthening your tooth. (more…)

Don’t Wait Until the New Year to Make Dental Health a Resolution

new years resolutions, incompleteAs the year approaches its end, and its successor draws nearer, reflection is common. It is a time to ponder things you’ve yet to do, and make resolutions to achieve the most important of those goals in the year to come. Eating healthier, exercising more, and taking better care of yourself overall is always an excellent resolution. However, if your dental health is among the things you wish to improve, than your Lafayette dentist warns that you shouldn’t wait until the New Year to seek tooth decay treatment. Dr. Michael Young explains how, when it comes to your oral health, time can be a greater enemy than you may realize.

Tooth Decay Waits for No Man (or Woman)

The decaying of a tooth begins with acid. Dental plaque, which accumulates on your teeth and along your gum line, contains certain bacteria that convert sugars and carbs into lactic acid, which erodes your tooth enamel (the strong, highly-mineralized layer that surrounds and protects your teeth). To inhibit enamel from reinforcing itself, acid also saps minerals from your tooth, leaving enamel no resource for strength. As time progresses, enamel erosion will dissolve your tooth’s protection, making the path easy for bacteria to reach your softer underlying tooth structure. The longer you wait to treat tooth decay, the greater the destruction to your tooth and the less chance you’ll have of saving it. (more…)

True or false: Bad Breath Quiz from Your Lafayette Dentist

It’s the moment you’ve been waiting for. Your date is heading straight for the mistletoe, and you’re going to get your big moment to steal a kiss. After all, it’s tradition, right? Unfortunately, if you have halitosis (chronic bad breath) the thought of being caught under the mistletoe with the object of your affection might sound like a nightmare. Your Lafayette dentist has a true or false quiz to see if you’re prepared to deal with bad breath.

Questions:

Q1. True or false –  Bad breath is a sign of internal health problems; not poor dental health.

Q2. True or false – Brushing your teeth after foods that bring about pungent breath (like garlic and onions, for example) will make the offensive odors go away.

Q3. True or false – Antibacterial mouthwash can reduce the bacteria that contribute to tooth decay, gum disease, and bad breath.

Q4. True or false – Chronic bad breath can be a sign of gum disease. (more…)