The mere mention of a root canal procedure can make the mightiest of men cringe. Some people would rather risk the extreme tooth sensitivity taking their chances with a little mild tooth decay. Besides, your body fights infection, so as long as you keep brushing and flossing, the infection should go away, right? Wrong. Although discomfort can be experienced at the beginning stages of a cavity, the sensitivity can be a warning that the decay has already reached the center of your tooth, and you are in danger of losing that tooth. Also, tooth decay means microbes are essentially eating your tooth away into nothingness. In other words, it will not go away on its own, and treatment is necessary to stop it. These myths, along with the myth that root canal procedures are painful, are probably responsible for as much tooth loss as tooth decay itself. In order to clarify lies that may cost you your continued good oral health, Dr. Michael Young explains the need for a root canal procedure, and why neglecting one can cost you more than just the loss of one tooth.
Why Does My Tooth Hurt?
If the excruciating discomfort of a sensitive tooth is not enough reason to compel you to undergo a root canal procedure (if necessary), then let us consider why your tooth is sensitive and why the procedure would be needed. Tooth decay occurs when acids attack your teeth. The first line of defense, your tooth enamel, has no nerves, so you don’t feel these attacks. In fact, the only part of your tooth that has any nerves or blood vessels is the very center of your tooth, called the tooth pulp. If your tooth hurts, it could mean that the decay has already reached the center of your tooth and has infected the pulp, which can cause the tooth to form an abscess (a collection of infected material, or pus). The infection can continue to spread down through the canals of the tooth root that are anchored into the jawbone, leading to tooth loss, bone degradation, and further infection. (more…)
The bright sun, beautiful foliage, and relaxed atmosphere of July make it the ideal month for enjoying nature. That may be the reason why the powers that be have designated July as National Picnic Month. Before you pack your basket full of goodies, however, your Lafayette dentist, Dr. Michael Young, gives you some ideas for packing a healthy picnic meal that won’t wreak havoc with your oral health.
The Main Course
Although a large pizza or a bag full of burgers may be tempting, littering would contradict the wholesome ambience of a picnic. Besides, you have everything you need for the perfect picnic already in your kitchen, or not too far away at your local grocery store. The best food choices are chicken (or other meat), cheeses, nuts, and milk. These foods are rich in calcium and phosphate, which are the same minerals your tooth enamel is made of. When enamel is weakened by bacterial acid attack, which dissolves your tooth’s minerals in a process called demineralization, calcium and phosphate allow enamel to restrengthen itself through remineralization. Eating foods rich in these calcium and phosphate facilitates the remineralization process and strengthens your teeth quicker.
It should come as no surprise that candy, cookies, cakes, and pies are a bad choice as far as your dental health is concerned. Good snack choices include firm or crunchy fruits like apples and pears. These fruits have a high water content, which dilutes the sugars they contain. They also stimulate the flow of saliva, which further buffers the acid your oral bacteria produces from the sugars you eat. Acidic foods like oranges, tomatoes, and lemons, should be eaten as part of a larger meal to help neutralize decay-causing acid. (more…)
How often do you think about your oral health? If you are like most people, then the answer is probably “not very often.” Your teeth, however, are essential to everyday functions like eating and speaking and deserve at least a little consideration. Lafayette dentist Dr. Michael Young encourages you to take this Basics of Oral Health Quiz to gauge your knowledge of oral health.
Basics of Oral Health Quiz
1. What is the number one cause of adult tooth loss in America?
c. Gum disease
d. Tooth fairy
2. These teeth, commonly referred to as “wisdom teeth,” are believed to be relics of our ancient past, and no longer needed.
b. Third molars
c. Fourth molars
d. Milk teeth
3. This tissue is the strongest substance that your body produces, even stronger than bone, but is still susceptible to cracks and breaks.
d. Mucosa (more…)
Wisdom teeth have grown quite a notorious reputation, not just for the discomfort they cause, but because of their seemingly complete irrelevance to the function of the mouth. You may have had your wisdom teeth removed before they caused you any trouble. If you are like most people, however, you’ve experienced the discomfort of third molars trying to force their way into the space at the back of your mouth. While you were cursing your wisdom teeth, and possibly calling them every name in the book (and some that aren’t), did you ever wonder what was the point of wisdom teeth in the first place? Dr. Michael Young takes a closer look at wisdom teeth and why they appear at all.
Why Do We Have Wisdom Teeth?
Our third molars, or wisdom teeth, are the last teeth to form and usually do not erupt (rise out of the gums) until the late teen years. Because of the discomfort and oral issues associated with these teeth, many people choose to extract them as soon as they appear, even if they have not caused trouble at that point. So why would we grow a set of teeth just to take them out as soon as they show up? Scientists believe the third molars did serve a purpose at one point. The diets of our early ancestors consisted of tougher, coarser food, such as raw plants and roots. Excessive chewing was needed to grind this food into something digestible, and constant tooth wear may have been a common problem. The extra molars provided the additional chewing power our ancestors required. These early humans are believed to have had wider jaws as well, so crowding due to third molar eruption must have been much less common than it is today. As we evolved and began cooking food to soften it, the third molars became unnecessary, and today evolutionary biologists consider wisdom teeth vestigial organs (no longer needed due to evolution). (more…)
Thirst is strongly associated with summertime. With the sun blaring down at full capacity, not much time passes between stepping outside and feeling like you need to rehydrate. Doctors recommend drinking at least 8-12 cups of water a day, possibly more due to excessive moisture loss from constant sweat. Many people, however, prefer flavored drinks, like sweet tea or sodas, for their pleasurable taste. Dr. Michael Young explains the folly of relying on sugar-loaded drinks to quench your thirst this summer.
The Usual Suspects
Some drinks are naturally associated with summer. Iced tea and lemonade scream summer every time they are poured into a glass. While refreshing and, in most cases, exceptionally tasty, both of these beverages contain large amounts of sugar that can damage your teeth. Most sugars today are refined. When refined sugars and fermentable carbohydrates interact with plaque, oral bacteria become acidic and attack your tooth enamel. Acidic bacteria weaken your teeth by sapping your enamel of crucial minerals, like calcium, that it needs to remain strong. When the enamel is weakened or damaged, your teeth are essentially defenseless to bacterial attack and tooth decay.
Lemonade and lemon iced tea hold extra risks because of citric acid, which also attacks tooth enamel. The urge to slowly sip lemonade and iced tea to savor their sweet flavor exacerbates the risk, because the longer your teeth are exposed to sugar and acid, the greater the chance of tooth decay. (more…)
When seeking to improve your smile, you have numerous options to suit your specific needs. At the office of Dr. Michael Young, you’ll receive detailed information about the cosmetic dental procedures we offer. We believe an educated patient is better prepared to make decisions concerning his or her oral health. Today, Dr. Young explains two popular cosmetic procedures: porcelain veneers and lumineers.
What are Porcelain Veneers?
If you have a number of dental issues that you wish to correct, Dr. Young may recommend porcelain veneers for an esthetically-pleasing solution to them all. Veneers are thin layers of dental porcelain that Dr. Young bonds to the front of your teeth. The porcelain is custom fabricated to fit the area you wish to cover (veneers are only applied to the teeth that are visible while smiling and talking). The procedure requires removing a small, thin section from the fronts of the teeth and then bonding the custom-fabricated veneers to the surface. Stains, chips, cracks, and slightly misshapen teeth can be covered all at once with porcelain veneers. (more…)
National Men’s Health Month highlights preventable health issues in men and boys and emphasizes the importance of early detection for treatment of diseases. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, 11.9% of men 18 years and older are considered to have fair or poor health. Men are not doing too well with dental health, either. Only 49% of men take proper care of their teeth by brushing and flossing at least twice a day, as opposed to 57% of women. Dr. Young knows that your mouth has an important impact on your physical wellbeing, and he is dedicated to helping you establish and maintain good health.
What is the Mouth-Body Connection?
The mouth-body connection, or oral-systemic health, describes the connection between your oral health and the health of your whole body. Plaque and bacteria continuously form around your teeth and gums. When left alone, these elements weaken tooth enamel and sap teeth of essential nutrients and minerals. Bacteria also attack your gums, erode the connective tissue that holds your gums to your teeth, and ultimately cause tooth loss. Studies show that oral infections, like tooth decay and periodontal (gum) disease, have been linked to potentially fatal systemic diseases. The bad bacteria that attack your mouth’s defenses can also enter into your bloodstream through the infected soft gum tissue. Once in your bloodstream, the bacteria travel throughout your body and can contribute to heart disease, diabetes, dementia, and other diseases. (more…)
We all know a smile is important for social interaction, showing emotion, and making relationships. However, you may not know about the many other benefits that come along with flashing a big smile. Psychologists and sociologists have been studying the health benefits of smiling for decades, and our Lafayette dentist would like to share some of their findings with you.
How Smiling Improves Your Health
Scientists discovered that the body releases endorphins every time a person smiles. Endorphins are important neurotransmitters that help relieve discomfort and improve your mood. If you’re having a crummy day, forcing a smile will lift your spirits. In addition, smiling provides a relaxing effect on the body. People who smile frequently have lower stress levels. Excessive stress wreaks havoc on the body and contributes to a diverse range of health problems.
Smiling Improves Your Professional and Social Life
If you need to diffuse a tense situation at work or at home, a warm, welcoming smile might just do the trick. Smiling puts others at ease. It is also the most common form of non-verbal communication that is reciprocated by others. It’s simple! If you smile at others, they will smile back. A smile may even improve your professional life. Did you know that employees who smile often are more likely to receive promotions? Smiles are also perceived as attractive. If you’re looking to date, wearing a big smile will show potential suitors that you’re welcoming and accepting.
Dr. Michael Young and his team would like to remind you that May 31st marks World No Tobacco Day. While we strongly encourage patients to abstain from all forms of tobacco on that day, Dr. Young encourages abstinence every day, all year round. It is well documented that tobacco use is harmful to your health, but many people still ignore the avalanche of information available today. To help you be mindful of the dangers, here are a few interesting facts that illustrate how tobacco harms your dental health.
- A single cigarette contains over 4,000 harmful chemicals. The main ingredient, nicotine, is a substance also found in bug spray.
- Other ingredients found in cigarettes include tar, the same substance used to pave roads, and formaldehyde, which is used to embalm and preserve deceased animals and humans. Also included are cyanide–the main ingredient in rat poison–lead, acetone, ammonia, and carbon monoxide
- Smoking not only causes bad breath and destroys your teeth, but it can also compromise your dental implants, weakening their attachment to your jaw by affecting the bone and soft tissues around them.
- Smoking causes severe inflammation of the salivary glands, reducing a smoker’s ability to smell and taste.
- Tobacco smoke can lead to gum disease by weakening the bone and soft tissues of your mouth. Smoking can also cause oral cancer. (more…)
About 74 percent of women and 57 percent of men would be embarrassed by a missing tooth. As an adult, you may lose teeth due to periodontal disease, injury, infection, or another tragic event. Missing teeth leave holes in your smile and create alignment problems and make it difficult to function properly. Fortunately, Dr. Young offers dentures, bridges, and implants to replace missing teeth and restore your smile.
What are Dentures?
If you’re missing several teeth and have a lot of bone loss, Dr. Young may recommend dentures. Dentures fit over or around remaining teeth and are usually removable. Traditional dentures involve adhesives, slipping, irritation, and frequent re-adjustments. However, your Lafayette dentist will take impressions of your mouth and create a set of dentures that fits securely and comfortably for your smile.