Protecting Your Teeth With Mouthguards

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Injuries to the mouth and face are the number-one sports trauma, and a dental injury is not only painful and costly; it's also permanent. Fortunately, many mouth injuries can be prevented by wearing an athletic mouth protector—also called a mouthguard. 

A mouthguard is a soft plastic appliance that fits over the teeth. When a properly designed mouthguard is worn, the lips, cheek, tongue and jaws are protected, as well as the teeth. The American Dental Association estimates that mouthguards prevent 200,000 injuries each year in high-school and college sports alone. 

Most people are aware that sports mouthguards are mandatory for participation in high-contact sports such as football, boxing and hockey. But what many people don't realize is that the majority of mouth injuries occur in children between the ages of 7 and 14, often while participating in commonplace activities like skateboarding, rollerblading or bike riding! Mouthguards should be worn during all activities where there is a risk of falling or head contact, either with another player or a piece of equipment. The Academy for Sports Dentistry has identified 35 activities and sports in which mouthguards should be worn to prevent orofacial injury, including baseball, soccer, basketball, martial arts, skiing, volleyball and gymnastics.

The most common mouth injuries are broken or lost teeth, but a blow to the mouth or jaw can also cause: 

jaw fractures

concussions and cerebral hemorrhage

head and neck injuries

problems with the jaw joint

jaw dislocations

Choosing a mouthguard

There are three types of mouthguards available: 

 - ready-made stock mouthguards

 - boil-and-bite mouthguards

 - custom-made mouthguards

Stock mouthguards are used right off the shelf. No modifications are made to enhance or customize the fit, so they offer very little, if any, protection. They also tend to feel loose, bulky and uncomfortable, and interfere with breathing and speaking, so it's likely they'll just be left in the gym bag. 

Boil-and-bite mouthguards fit somewhat better, because after they are purchased, their fit is enhanced somewhat by softening them in boiling water, then shaping them around teeth and allowing them to harden. However, this type of mouthguard also hampers speech and breathing, because the fit is not optimal. Furthermore, they aren't thick enough to provide adequate protection, and they become brittle after awhile so they need to be replaced relatively frequently.

Custom-made mouthguards are by far the best choice. For about the cost of a good pair of athletic shoes, custom mouthguards offer: 

 - sufficient thickness in critical areas, so protection is maximized

 - the best possible fit and retention

 - greater durability, which means less frequent replacement

Custom mouthguards are created specifically for you by professional technicians, using a material that is resilient, odorless and tasteless. To fabricate a custom-made mouthguard, on the first appointment, impressions of your teeth are made. From these impressions, models of your teeth are created. The mouthguard is fabricated on these models to ensure that the fit is precise. Then, on your next appointment, your mouthguard is tried in and adjusted as necessary to make sure protection and comfort are optimized.

While any mouthguard is better than none at all, a custom mouthguard is far more comfortable, so it's less likely to be left lying in the locker or the gym bag. They are also much more effective in preventing injuries, since they conform precisely to an individual's teeth. A custom mouthguard costs a bit more than off-the-shelf varieties, but their precise fit, comfort and excellent quality make them well worth the additional cost.

 

Keeping Gums Healthy By Eating Healthy

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We have always been told about the importance of brushing and flossing in the promotion of healthy gums, and also that we should try to stay away from all the sugary foods that contribute to tooth decay. However, not too often are we told about that foods that are good for our teeth and gums!

There are a lot of food that are rich in the vitamins that are very essential for the growth of healthy bones and teeth:

Foods rich in Vitamin A:

Vitamin A is necessary for the maintenance of the the normal structure of the tissues found in the oral cavity. These tissues serve as protective barriers against the microorganisms that cause diseases. Vitamin A , can be found in eggs, liver, salmon, cheese and beef. We can also get Vitamin A from orange-colored vegetables, like carrots and pumpkins, and dark leafy vegetables, like spinach.

 

Foods rich in Vitamin C:  

Vitamin C helps prevent tissue damage and is vital in the promotion of healthier gums by preventing the gums from breaking down. Vitamin C can be found in all kinds of fresh fruits including citrus fruits, strawberries, apples and mangoes. It can also be found in onions, broccoli and radishes.

Foods rich in Vitamin D:  

Vitamin D is essential in preventing the inflammation of gums which can lead to bleeding gums, and eventually periodontal disease. While plenty of sunlight aids in the body's production of Vitamin D, you can get additional Vitamin D from fortified milk, salmon and sardines.

For more questions about how you can maintain and promote healthy gums, make an appointment with Dr. Michael Kitchens at Russellville Family Dentistry today.

 

Invisalign - Straightening Your Teeth The Invisible Way

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Many adults, in the past, were very hesitant to, and even refused, to have their teeth straightened because they did not want to be seen with braces. Of course we all know that typically, braces are introduced at a younger age. Now, however, many adults have the chance to have their teeth straightened without the unsightly braces, and can feel more confident about themselves while doing so.

Invisalign eliminates the metal brackets and wires that so many people dislike. Instead, smooth clear, custom made aligners are used. There is no irritation to the gums and cheeks that is often found with braces. You even get to remove the aligners when you need to eat and brush your teeth - that is something one could only dream of when wearing braces! That is not even the icing on the cake. When you’re wearing Invisalign, no one ever have to know that you are straightening your teeth!

Maintaining Invisalign is also so much more easier than braces. There will be no need  to replace brackets that have fallen off and there is no need tighten wires. In fact, the aligners are replaced approximately every 2 weeks until results are achieved.

A major question that many people have when inquiring about Invisalign is the cost. Many will be surprised to know that the cost of the Invisalign treatment is usually comparable to that of traditional braces. Also, many insurance companies covers Invisalign just as they do the traditional braces. Many doctors also offer flexible payment plans to help their patients achieve their goals of having beautiful healthy smiles.

Your Russellville Dentist is an Invisalign Preferred Dentist and at our office, we are here to answer all of your questions. Please feel free to drop in for a consultation on the best treatment for you.

 

Rebuilding Your Smile With Porcelain Veneers

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Dental veneers are used as a form of cosmetic dentistry to correct tooth enamel that is worn, discolored, chipped or cracked, or uneven tooth spacing. While creating beautiful, bright smiles, they also protect the surface of the already damaged teeth which may eliminate the need for further treatments.

 

Veneers are made with different materials, including composite resin and porcelain. Porcelain veneers has been known to be used for the more serious cases of damaged teeth. these veneers has been proven to last up to 16-20 years.

Porcelain veneers  can be made as thin as a contact lens. They are more stain resistant than resin veneers, and are better able to  and are better at mimicking the light properties of natural teeth. Porcelain veneers are also very safe for sensitive patients since there is no drilling and no removal of the tooth structure - there is no pain involved!!

So, come on in and schedule a consultation with your Russellville Dentist, Michael Kitchens, DDS, and let us show you how we can improve your smile with Porcelain veneers.

 

Root Canal

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The words "root canal" are usually associated with pain and discomfort, and cause many of us to cringe when we hear of someone having one done, or when we are told that we need to have one. Of course we know and understand that the procedure is beneficial to our oral health, but the horror stories have already been told, and until we have a first hand experience, it will always be a dreaded procedure. 

Usually when the tooth has a small cavity, a filling may be all that is needed to restore the functionality of the tooth. However, there are times when the tooth is so badly decayed or infected, that the nerve of the tooth, and the pulp which is in the center of the tooth also becomes infected and/or damaged. This is when a root canal becomes necessary. If treatment is not sought at this time, then it will get to the point where extraction of the tooth is necessary. At Russellville Family Dentistry, our goal is to avoid extractions and save your natural teeth. Extractions lead to gaps in the mouth which causes the other teeth to shift, and eventually this can affect your bite and lead to other problems. 

So what exactly do we have to look forward to during a root canal? During the procedure, the pulp and the nerve of the tooth are removed, and the inside is then sealed and cleaned. Usually a crown is put on to protect the underlying tooth. Having a damaged nerve in the tooth alone does not suggest that a root canal is necessary. The nerve's only function is sensory - determining hot or cold. However, when the pulp and the nerve tissue become damaged, it breaks down and this causes bacteria to form in the pulp chamber. This can lead to one getting an abscessed tooth, and can eventually lead to swelling around the face and neck and severe toothache.

For more information on root canal, and how we may help you save your teeth, contact us at Russellville Family Dentistry, 479-968-1706, today!

Whoopi Speaks on Periodontal Disease

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