chipped tooth

​Why Does Water Hurt My Teeth? Tooth Sensitivity to Water

February 16th, 2017

​Why Does Water Hurt My Teeth? Tooth Sensitivity to Water

Have you ever taken a sip of water and felt a sharp pain in your teeth? This likely means that you have sensitive teeth, and that doing something simple, such as drinking a glass of water, or taking a deep breath through your mouth, can be painful.

So what causes this and how can you fix it?

Tooth Sensitivity

Tooth sensitivity occurs when the protective enamel on our teeth gets thinner, or when our gums recede. There are many reasons why this could be happening:

  • You might be brushing your teeth too hard. When you put too much pressure on your teeth while brushing, you can gradually start wearing down the protective layers of your teeth. When this occurs, the tubes or canals that lead to your nerves may become exposed, which can lead to pain or discomfort, especially when eating or drinking something hot or cold. Try using lighter strokes when brushing.
  • You could have cavities or loose fillings. Cavities are holes in your teeth that can grow bigger over time. The bigger the hole gets, the more sensitive your teeth can feel. If you think you might have a cavity, or one of your fillings may be loose, make sure to see your dentist right away.
  • You’re grinding your teeth. Grinding your teeth can wear down the protective enamel on your teeth, but many people may not even realize that they’re doing it. Oftentimes, people grind their teeth in their sleep.
  • You could have a cracked or broken tooth. A cracked or broken tooth can expose the tooth’s nerve, which can cause sensitivity or pain.
  • You may have gum disease. Gum disease is caused by plaque, the sticky bacteria that constantly forms on our teeth. If that plaque is not removed with brushing and flossing, it may harden and form “tartar,” which is then very difficult to remove. Teeth sensitivity can be a symptom of gum disease.
  • Your mouthwash or toothpaste could be causing it. Some teeth-whitening toothpastes and mouthwashes contain chemicals that your teeth may become sensitive to. Try switching to a mouthwash with less chemicals and a desensitizing toothpaste, such as Sensodyne.
  • The foods you’re eating might be too acidic. Excessive consumption of acidic foods or beverages can put your teeth at risk for tooth sensitivity.


Treatments For Sensitive Teeth

If you’re experiencing pain associated with sensitive teeth, there are a number of treatments a dentist can perform that may help, depending on the cause.

  • Desensitizing with Gluma is a dental treatment that can help your teeth become less sensitive by stopping by occluding (blocking) the microscopic tubules that compose dentin, thereby preventing the flow of fluid and decreasing sensitivity.
  • Gum Disease Treatment Therapy can help treat gum disease, a major contributor of teeth sensitivity, with targeted treatments designed just for you.
  • A crown, inlay or bonding can fix a broken tooth or decay that might be causing your teeth to be sensitive. Water Tower Dental Care is proud to offer porcelain crowns in just one visit with CEREC technology.

If you are experiencing tooth sensitivity or have any questions about it, please contact Water Tower Dental Care today.

Is Ice Good or Bad for Your Teeth?

June 9th, 2016

Is Ice Good or Bad for Your Teeth?The food and drink you put into your mouth can make all of the difference when it comes to your dental health. When some people drink water, soda, or other drinks with ice, they may experience tooth pain. Does this mean ice is bad for your teeth? Let’s take a look now.

Is ice good or bad for your teeth?

Since ice is just frozen water, the real question we should be asking is whether or not water is good for your teeth. The answer is yes! Since many American communities add fluoride to their public water, water can actually strengthen your teeth without you doing anything extra! The reason communities started adding more fluoride to water (since water already naturally contains fluoride) was to help reduce tooth decay. Your ice cubes should contain fluoride as well!
Like water, ice can also prevent you from having a dry mouth. What’s the problem with dry mouth? Well, saliva swishes away bacteria and food particles, and strengthens your teeth naturally with calcium, fluoride and phosphate. When you suck on ice or drink water, you keep your mouth moist.

When ice is bad for your teeth

Just because ice can be good for your teeth doesn’t mean it always is. Chewing on ice is a common habit that many people form. It can lead to a variety of serious dental issues, including a broken, cracked or chipped tooth, enamel damage, a sore jaw, and issues with fillings and crowns. These incidents tend to increase during the summer months.
Instead of chewing ice, it’s best that you let ice melt in your mouth or in your drink. If you have an addiction to chewing ice, we recommend that you carry carrots, celery, or apples with you when you’re feeling the urge to chew. Don’t hesitate to speak with us if you’re having trouble kicking your ice addiction.

Why does ice hurt your teeth?

Since we already covered the fact that ice is good for your teeth, why do so many people experience pain when ice comes into contact with their mouth? This issue comes down to a problem with your mouth - not frozen water. You probably notice similar pain or discomfort when you eat anything cold, including ice cream and popsicles. This may be because you have sensitive teeth.
Sensitive teeth are usually nothing to be worried about. In fact, millions of people in the U.S. have sensitive teeth. You can work to make your teeth less sensitive by using toothpaste that is specifically designed for sensitive teeth, avoiding highly acidic foods and drinks, and making sure you’re not brushing your teeth too hard or with bristles that are too strong.
If you experience very sensitive teeth for three days or more, you may have a more serious problem. It’s best to contact your dentist at this point to see if you’re experiencing tooth decay or gum disease. If you’re in Chicago and are experiencing this problem, feel free to contact us today! We can help you figure out why your teeth are so sensitive.

What To Do If You Have a Dental Emergency in Chicago

May 5th, 2016

What To Do If You Have a Dental Emergency in ChicagoYou can’t always put off seeing the dentist. If you have a simple cavity, it’s easy to wait to see the dentist for a couple of days. A painful cracked tooth is another story. We’re here to help you figure out what you should do if you have a dental emergency in Chicago. The more prepared you are, the quicker you’ll be able to deal with any serious dental issues.

What Are Dental Emergencies?

Just because you experience a little tooth pain or discomfort doesn’t mean you need to drop everything and see the dentist right away. Some dental issues require more immediate attention, whereas others can wait a few days or weeks. Here are some potential teeth problems that may be considered dental emergencies:

  • Lost tooth
  • Knocked-out tooth
  • Loose tooth
  • Tooth that’s moved out of alignment
  • Chipped tooth that’s in pain
  • Fractured or cracked tooth
  • Serious tissue injury inside your mouth
  • Acute teeth, gum or tissue pain
  • Continuous bleeding from tissues inside your mouth
  • Infection inside your mouth

What To Do If You’re Experiencing a Dental Emergency in Chicago

If you have a dental emergency in Chicago, you need to see a dentist right away. This is why we Water Tower Dental Care offers 24/7 emergency dental care to our patients on The Magnificent Mile. All you have to do is give us a call and we’ll take care of the rest.  If you call us outside of normal office hours, please listen to the recording on our voicemail and follow the instructions. Emergency calls are answered at all hours of the day, as is emergency dental care.

CEREC One-Visit Crowns

One of the most common dental emergencies at Water Tower Dental Care is a cracked, chipped or fractured tooth. Whether you crack your tooth on food or knock your tooth against something, this type of injury can cause serious pain. A broken tooth can also cause your nerves to be exposed to dangerous bacteria, which can cause dangerous infection.
We can treat this issue quickly and effectively with a CEREC One-Visit Crown, alleviating your pain and providing you with a full tooth again. Using our CEREC technology, we can perfectly fit, craft and place your crown, inlay or onlay in just one hour. It’s the perfect solution to a painful dental emergency.
Experiencing a dental emergency? Call us right now. If you’re calling during us during our off-hours, please follow the simple instructions in the recording you hear. We provide emergency dental care in Chicago 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

How Chicago Winter Weather Affects Your Teeth and Mouth

December 10th, 2015

How Chicago Winter Weather Affects Your Teeth and MouthEveryone in Chicago knows that the city’s winter weather can be hard on your commute, skin and nose. But extremely cold weather can also affect your teeth and mouth. Many Chicagoans experience uncomfortable sensations or even extreme pain in their mouth while in icy weather. Let’s take a look at why that happens and what you can do to keep your teeth and mouth feeling great all winter long!

The Effects of Chicago Winter Weather On Your Teeth & Mouth

Since teeth are naturally porous and sensitive, many people experience tooth sensitivity in the cold. Subtle irritation from time to time is normal and usually nothing to worry about. However, constant sensitivity in the same area of your mouth during the winter months may mean that the cold air is revealing a problem with your teeth.
If you have regular discomfort in the same area of your tooth, it could be caused by a variety of issues, including tiny fractures, bigger cracks, thin enamel, teeth clenching habits, or cavities. Each of these problems can lead to sensitive areas of your teeth being exposed, which in turn can cause teeth pain and discomfort all winter long.
Fillings, crowns or bridges that don’t fit your teeth anymore may also cause sensitivity.
Now let’s not let teeth take all of the spotlight here. Gum disease may be the culprit when it comes to your sensitive teeth and mouth. Gum disease can cause your gums to move away from your teeth, exposing your very sensitive roots. Two telltale signs of gum disease are sore and inflamed gums.
Surprisingly enough, a sinus infection can also be the source of your tooth pain. Swollen sinuses put pressure on the roots of your teeth, which can cause your teeth to hurt. This typically occurs in the back top teeth.
Finally, cold sores are known to wreak havoc during the winter thanks to the flu, stress, fatigue, and extreme weather conditions, according to Sitavig.

Tips To Keep Your Teeth & Mouth Feeling Better During The Winter

Now that you know what’s causing your teeth and mouth sensitivity during the winter, it’s time to get to the important part: how to make it better. If you’re experiencing regular irritation, you should visit a dentist to get to the root of your problem. It could be something serious, like gum disease. But until then, here are some tips to hold you over:

  • Breathe in through your nose as much as you can. This way, the cold air won’t be able to reach sensitive areas in your mouth and cause irritation.
  • Try not to clench your teeth when you are cold. Clenching can cause tooth erosion and more pain in cold weather.
  • Drinking something warm, like tea, when you’re out in the cold should help ease any pain caused by low temperatures.
  • Make sure you’re brushing your teeth properly twice a day and flossing once a day.
  • Try using a fluoride mouthwash and toothpaste designed for sensitive teeth twice a day to create extra protection from the cold air.
  • If you have allergies or think you might have a sinus infection, visit a doctor to find out how to treat it.
  • Avoid stress, keep your lips moisturized and wash your hands during the winter months to minimize cold sore breakouts, according to Sitavig. You can also receive laser therapy for cold sores at our offices in Chicago! Laser therapy will help reduce the number of breakouts you have by destroying the herpes simplex virus.
  • If your teeth sensitivity or mouth problems persist or feel abnormally bad, make time to visit your dentist. You may have a dental issue that needs to be addressed before it gets worse.

Want to get rid of your winter mouth and teeth issues once and for all? Visit Chicago’s top general and cosmetic dentistry! We’ll do everything we can to get to the root of your mouth discomfort and tooth sensitivity issues.

6 Unusual Teeth Tips Straight From Our Dentists

September 17th, 2015

6 Unusual Teeth Tips Straight From Our DentistsWhen it comes to taking care of our teeth, we generally hear the same kind of advice all of the time: brush and floss everyday and don’t eat too much candy. While this advice is extremely important, there are a lot of additional ways to keep your teeth healthy as well. We asked our dentists at Water Tower Dental Care to share some tips for taking care of your teeth that you probably haven’t heard before. Here are 6 unusual teeth tips straight from our dentists.

  1. Eat Cheese (In Moderation)

Believe it or not, cheese is good for your teeth! Like the peroxide-based teeth-whitening solutions we described earlier, cheese helps to neutralize acids in your mouth, increasing your pH levels for about 30 minutes, according to the Academy of General Dentistry. This means less bacteria breeding in your mouth and less teeth erosion. Cheese also causes salivation, which helps get rid harmful bacteria and food particles. Finally, cheese contains casein phosphate, which keeps your teeth strong. Unfortunately, this doesn’t mean you should eat all of the cheese that you possibly can. You only need about ⅓ of a slice to get these oral benefits.

  1. Whiten Your Teeth For Health & Cosmetic Reasons

While teeth whitening can make your teeth look better than ever, its benefits aren’t purely cosmetic. Teeth whitening can also help keep your teeth healthy by removing plaque and preventing tooth decay. Recent research has found that teeth whitening products that contain a peroxide-based solution can effectively get rid of plaque, reduce caries bacteria, and increase the pH level of your mouth, according to Professor Van B. Haywood.
When the pH level in your mouth becomes too low, this means that it is highly acidic. If your pH level is highly acidic, bacteria will begin to breed and your enamel will break down. Peroxide-based teeth-whitening solutions will neutralize your pH levels to a healthy 7 or 8, reducing the acidity in your mouth. This is especially helpful after you eat or drink highly acidic food, such as coffee, wine and citrus fruits. Ask us about our at-home teeth whitening kits to help your teeth look and feel healthier today!

  1. Keep Your Mouth Healthy With Coconut Oil

Coconut oil has a ton of health benefits, from decreasing cholesterol levels to helping diabetes. It turns out that coconut oil is great for your oral health too. Through a method called oil pulling, coconut oil can actually help pull bacteria off of your teeth for a healthier and cleaner smile. All you have to do is swish around a teaspoon of coconut oil in your mouth for about 20 minutes. Of course, you should still keep up with your regular routine of brushing, flossing and using mouthwash.
If you’re questioning the validity of this claim, good for you. You shouldn’t believe everything you read on the Internet, especially when it comes to oral health. Thankfully, there are various studies, including the following three, that have proved that oil pulling effectively fights off bacteria: Study 1Study 2Study 3You can read more about oil pulling for your teeth here.

  1. Use Oral Probiotics For Your Mouth

In the past, probiotics were thought to only help digestive and immune health. But recently, probiotics designed specifically for oral health have been found to naturally support gum and tooth health, make your breath fresh and whiten your teeth. Effective probiotics trigger the production of healthy bacteria that work to keep your mouth and gums healthy. They also reduce the nutrients for bacteria that cause bad breath, and produce low doses of hydrogen peroxide to gently whiten your teeth. Learn more about oral probiotics from Evora.

  1. Don’t Use Your Teeth As Tools

While it may be more convenient to open that bag of chips with your teeth rather than finding scissors, using your teeth as tools can have serious (and expensive) consequences. Many of our patients have come in with broken, cracked or chipped teeth because they tried using their teeth to cut or open something. Your teeth are meant for chewing food in your mouth - Not for anything else. It’s not worth the pain or the price to fix your teeth.

  1. You Can Use A Reversal Agent for Mouth Numbing

Some patients avoid important dental procedures because of the irritating and sometimes damaging numbing sensation that they experience hours afterwards. While it’s great to be numb in the dentist’s chair, it’s not so great when you’re hungry a couple hours afterwards. At worst, some patients chew their lip and gums because they can’t feel what their teeth are doing. Many patients may drool and not be able to talk properly, smile, or eat and drink because their mouths are numb. Thankfully, at Water Tower Dental Care, we offer reversal agents for teeth numbing, so that you can return to feeling your mouth much faster, and avoid the painful and embarrassing after effects.
We hope these unusual tips from our dentists, along with your normal health routine, help you to make your teeth even healthier. If you would like any more tips, reach out to us on our Facebook page. We’re full of helpful and creative ways to keep your teeth looking and feeling as good as new!

Minimal Prep & Prep: Which Type of Dental Veneers Are Best For You?

June 25th, 2015

Minimal Prep & Prep: Which Type of Dental Veneers Are Best For YouA smile says a lot about you. A sparkling and straight grin will tell people that you take the time to take care of yourself and your teeth, and can give you a serious confidence boost. Unfortunately, not all of us have the teeth we wish we had. Genetics and accidents can leave us with chipped, stained or crooked teeth that we’re unhappy with. But there’s a solution. Dental veneers can cover up your dental imperfections in a quick and efficient way for years to come.

When you decide to transform your smile with dental veneers in our Chicago office, you’ll have two different options to choose from: minimal prep veneers and traditional porcelain veneers, which require some preparation. You may be wondering which is best for you. We’re here to help.

Traditional Porcelain Veneers vs. Minimal Prep Veneers

Though minimal prep and traditional veneers have similar results, they improve your teeth in different ways. Both solutions fix chipped, stained, oddly-shaped or awkwardly-spaced teeth. The more permanent veneers that require some preparation are typically best for teeth with severe problems, while minimal prep solutions are a great choice for those who have less time to spend in the dentist’s office.

Before and After Porcelain Veneers at Water Tower Dental Care in Chicago

Preparation for traditional porcelain veneers is all about making sure that the end result will be the teeth of your dreams. The entire preparation process typically takes a few weeks, and is pretty easy and straightforward.
At our dental offices in Chicago, the first step is giving your teeth a photo shoot. We take digital pictures of your teeth and alter them to show you how the veneers will change your smile for the better by hiding your teeth’s chips, stains and odd shaping. Next up is your trial smile! We create a temporary acrylic mold that looks exactly like your veneers will. You’ll wear these for a week to make sure you’re happy with your smile-to-be. If you’re satisfied with what you see, we’ll remove some of your teeth enamel and fix your veneers snugly onto your teeth. Take a look at our patients before and after they got their porcelain veneers here!
Before and After Minimal Prep Veneers
Minimal prep veneers can be designed and fixed over your teeth in just a couple of visits, since very little preparation is necessary. This means less time in the office and more time doing what you love most. Another major reason people choose minimal prep veneers over traditional porcelain ones is that your dentist doesn’t need to remove enamel. Instead, the paper-thin veneers are placed over your teeth, preserving your original smile underneath. Check out before and after pictures of our minimal prep veneer patients here!
Along with these differences in preparation and fixing, traditional veneers typically last years longer than minimal prep veneers and are more resistant to chipping and stains. Since preparation is longer, they also cost more than minimal prep veneers.

Which Treatment Should I Choose?

If you want to cover very crooked or severely stained teeth, traditional veneers are definitely the way to go. Since minimal prep veneers are paper thin, they don’t do the best job at covering up extremely noticeable problems. Traditional veneers are also guaranteed to last longer than and are much more resistant to damage. If, on the other hand, you only have small stains, minimal chips or slightly crowded teeth, minimal prep veneers might make more sense for you.
Whichever you choose, you’re sure to end up with a smile you’re proud of. Both treatments require artistry and skill, so make sure to look at before and after photos and reviews before choosing a dentist to design and place your veneers.
Our skilled cosmetic dentists at Water Tower Dental Care work with you to choose the shape, shade and style of your veneers to match your facial structure and desires. We then design and craft them with extreme detail to match your style and cover up the features you don’t want to see. When you combine our dentists’ artistry with the most advanced veneer material available, which we always use, you’re sure to leave our office with a smile that’s genuine, bright and brilliantly white.
The only way to truly find out which type of dental veneers are best for you is to come visit us at our office! We’ll set you on the right path to a beautiful smile with dental veneers. You can find us at the world-famous Water Tower Place Building on Chicago’s Magnificent Mile, or feel free to give us a call at 312-787-2131.
 

What Happens When Your Teeth Get Old?

April 2nd, 2015

What Happens When Your Teeth Get Old?Just as you might expect, as the rest of your body ages, your teeth age as well. So what exactly happens to your teeth as they get older and what can you do now to help them out?

The Biggest Threat to Your Teeth

From the first day a tooth pops out of your gums as a child to the last day you have them, the biggest threat to your teeth is acid erosion. This is caused by the sugars and carbohydrates in your mouth that provide food for the bacteria in your mouth. In turn, that bacteria produce acids that can easily wear away the enamel of your teeth. The result of this process is the tiny pits that can widen to become cavities.
As a kid, this might not seem like a big deal, but as you grow older, you’ll want to work at preserving your teeth as much as possible for old age.
While candy and its sugar is a top offender, beware of sweetened carbonated drinks and starchy carbohydrates. All of these foods can cause serious wear to the enamel of your teeth.

Preventing Chips and Cracks

Surprisingly, as you age, your teeth do not become more brittle. They stay as strong as ever. However, if something happens to your tooth that requires medical attention, it could take longer to heal. For example, you could accidentally crack your tooth by biting into ice. Replacing or capping an elderly person’s tooth can cause more pain for extended time compared to a younger person.
This doesn’t mean an older person should start eating mush. It just means they need to be careful and conscious of what they eat.

Keeping Teeth White

Some older patients experience stained teeth. This is mostly a cosmetic issue, though if enough organic compounds from the stain build up, it can cause enamel wear. It’s important to keep your teeth looking as white as possible, at least for their own protection. Make sure to avoid foods that can stain your teeth as much as possible along with using whitening toothpaste every so often. As well, you can visit your dentist for cleanings that will help with the color of your teeth.

Protect Your Gums

The biggest issue that can arise from older age is gum disease. It can happen at any age, but the older you get, the more likely it will happen. When you’re older, your gums are weakened, and there are often more pockets for bacteria to hide. Left untreated, bacterial infections can cause inflamed gums and even bleeding. To prevent gum disease, make sure to floss once a day, brush at least twice, use an antibacterial mouthwash, and eat foods that are good for your gums.
Old age doesn’t mean your teeth are going to fall out and you’ll need dentures. Bad oral health care can lead to your teeth falling out. If you care for your teeth and gums by brushing and flossing, eating the right foods, avoiding sugars, and visiting your dentist on a regular basis, you can have a healthy smile for your entire life.

How to Repair a Chipped Tooth

March 26th, 2015

How to Repair a Chipped ToothRepairing a chipped tooth is usually not as hard as one would imagine. Through several different processes, depending on the severity of the chipped tooth, a dentist can make your smile look good as new.
It all starts with the chip. While enamel is the strongest mineralized tissue of the body, it can still be broken. You could be eating a hard candy or chewing ice, you could fall or take a blow to the face; whatever it is, it can damage your tooth and require immediate attention.

What To Do If You Chip Your Tooth

Before anything else, you should know what to do right after you chip your tooth:

  • First, make an appointment to see your dentist as soon as possible. Chips and fractures can become a lot worse, either by fracturing more or developing an infection, if left unattended.
  • If the tooth causes you pain, use an over the counter pain reliever and rinse your mouth with salt water.
  • If the tooth has a sharp edge resulting from the fracture, use gum or a paraffin wax to cover the tooth and protect your gums.
  • Avoid hard foods, and if you must eat before your dentist appointment, choose soft foods: smoothies, mashed potatoes, and the like, to avoid biting down on your gums.

Treatment for a Broken Tooth

There are several types of treatment for a chipped tooth, depending on the severity of the fracture. If it’s a small crack or chip, it usually takes one visit to the dentist to solve, while more severe fractures can take several visits.
For small cracks and chips, a procedure called “bonding” is performed. Bonding does not require numbing the tooth. To bond a tooth, the dentist will add a liquid or gel to prepare the tooth for the bonding material. Next, the dentist applies an adhesive and attaches the bonding material. The material is shaped to look like a natural tooth, then dried by applying an ultraviolet light to harden the material.
For larger fractures, a crown can be placed over the teeth. This requires filing down enough of the tooth to then place a cap over it and cement it down. This protects the exposed underside of the tooth while allowing you the ability to chew and smile normally. Crowns involve taking an X-ray and impressions of your teeth for a crown to be made. On a second visit, with a permanent crown made, your dentist will use a composite cement to permanently place the crown over your tooth.
If the fracture of the tooth is so large that it exposes the root or pulp of the tooth (the center which contains nerves and blood vessels), a root canal is needed. This treatment involves removing the remaining pieces of tooth along with the dead pulp. The dentist then cleans out the empty root canal and seals it to avoid infection.
There are many options for chipped, broken, and fractured teeth, but only a medical professional can determine the right solution for you. If you are experiencing pain from a chipped tooth, contact Water Tower Dental, Chicago’s #1 rated dentist office set the path for a better, brighter smile.

Cosmetic Dental Veneers: What They Are and How They Help

February 19th, 2015

Cosmetic Dental Veneers: What They Are and How They HelpWhen the word cosmetic is used, most people immediately think of vanity, and changing your appearance for aesthetic reasons, rather than functional ones. However, when it comes to cosmetic veneers, there are many helpful reasons why one would want them, other than cosmetic reasons. Here’s how cosmetic veneers can do more than give you a better-looking smile.

What Are Cosmetic Dental Veneers?

Veneers are paper-thin shells custom made to be placed over your teeth to improve their appearance. Depending on the condition of your teeth, this can add a variety of benefits.

What Do Cosmetic Dental Veneers Do?

They Can Close Spaces Between Teeth
When teeth are spaced too far apart, food and bacteria can easily stick between the teeth and wedge itself into the upper or lower gums, creating feeding areas and open pockets for bacteria to thrive. This is one of the main causes of gum disease. Cosmetic dental veneers can make it harder for food to find itself in between your teeth.
Before and After Cosmetic Dental VeneersThey Can Repair Chipped Teeth
While never an immediate problem, a chipped tooth can lead to more complicated issues. If the tooth chips and becomes jagged, it can cut the tongue or gums very easily. If the chip is more severe, it can make the tooth more prone to a fracture, which can seriously damage it. A chipped tooth is easily covered and protected with veneers.
They Can Protect from Discoloration
While this may sound like a cosmetic issue, often teeth are discolored because of a buildup of plaque or from the wearing away of enamel. Both reasons are bad for your teeth. Plaque buildup can lead to tooth decay and gum disease while loss of enamel can damage the under layer of a tooth known as dentin. Covering the teeth with veneers (after a thorough cleaning, of course) can help protect the teeth from these issues.
They Can Help with Minor Misalignment of Teeth
While extremely misaligned teeth may need braces, minimal misalignment with minor issues can often be fixed with veneers. When the dentist molds a custom set of veneers for your teeth, they can often work to correct the minor issues of misalignment. This is helpful because misalignment, even if minor, can often offer areas of exposed gums for food and bacteria to wedge themselves into, another cause of periodontal and gum disease.
All of these are helpful ways that veneers can help your teeth, not to mention they can change a faded smile into a fresh looking pearly whites.

How Do They Work?

Cosmetic dental veneers are actually quite simple and can be prepared and placed on a patient’s teeth in a matter of weeks. Digital photos are taken of the teeth and altered to show how veneers would look over them. A temporary acrylic mold is made to mimic the look of the veneers for the patient to wear. Once approved, a permanent version of the veneers are made from porcelain and placed on the patient’s teeth. Simple as that!
If you’re interested in porcelain cosmetic dental veneers for cosmetic or functional reasons, do not hesitate to contact Water Tower Dental. We would be happy to have you in for a consultation that can help you get on the path to a better smile.

Common Causes for Chipped Teeth

September 26th, 2013

common causes chipped toothLast week we listed the solutions for fixing a chipped tooth. Today we'd like to get a little more in depth on some of the harmful foods and activities that can crack, chip, or fracture a tooth.
When the enamel of your tooth is worn down, or if your tooth is already fairly decayed, your teeth have much higher potential of chipping. To guarantee you are the least likely to chip a tooth, we recommend, first, to practice proper dental hygiene by brushing your teeth after meals, flossing once a day, and visiting the dentist for cleanings and check-ups on a regular basis.
However, even with proper care for your teeth, a chipped or cracked tooth is still possible. Here are some of the main causes for chipped teeth.

1. Dangerous Foods

While your teeth can often bite down on some tough meals, they're not an invincible force. Often, if you bite down too hard on the wrong food, you'll have to say goodbye to a piece of your tooth. Here are three of the biggest culprits:
Popcorn: Make sure to leave the last few kernels in that bowl of popcorn alone.
Hard Candies: We all find ourselves biting down on a hard candy much earlier than we hoped. Break the mistake by avoiding these dangerous treats.
Ice: Chewing on ice is bad news for teeth. Try switching to sugar-free gum, or better yet, carrots and celery.

2. Dangerous Habits

Nervous ticks and bad habits such as biting your nails or chewing on the back of your pencil can often harm the front of your teeth. Kick those nasty habits before its too late.

3. Grinding In Your Sleep

Many of our patients are doing everything to keep great oral hygiene yet see their tooth enamel wearing down. That is because, whether they know it or not, they are grinding their teeth in their sleep. Some do it when they have a lot of stress in their lives or during a scary dream; others do it for no reason at all. No matter why, it's a leading cause for tooth enamel wear down and potential cracked teeth.
If you suspect you grind your teeth at night, or a significant other has claimed you do, see a specialist that can fit you for a mouth guard that can help stop the problem before its too late.

4. Absent Mouth guard

Speaking of mouth guards, many sports players chip teeth when they don't wear their protective mouth gear. A mouth guard is a safe and easy way to keep your teeth intact. For any sport with physical contact, one should consider using a mouth guard.

5. Using Your Teeth Incorrectly

Ever try to open a bottle or a stubborn potato chip bag with your teeth? Unfortunately this is a very easy way to hurt yourself and crack a tooth. Using your teeth for unintended uses is highly discouraged. Rather, grab scissors, pliers, a knife, or the many other tools man has created to open those frustrating packages.

6. Crooked Teeth

Last, untreated, crooked teeth can cause harm to your teeth by kicking or damaging areas while chewing or other activities. We recommend braces or Invisalign to straighten teeth and ensure that a crooked tooth doesn't cause further damage to your teeth.
We can't encourage you enough to practice proper oral hygiene to save your teeth from becoming chipped, cracked, or fractured among other serious issues. While there's no one to completely guarantee the prevention of dental accidents, the healthier your teeth are, the stronger they are, and subsequently the better they are at fighting against damage.
If you recently chipped a tooth, refer to our post last week on how to repair everything from a small chip to a serious fracture. If you have any more questions, call Water Tower Dental, we're happy to help.

What do I do about a chipped tooth?

September 19th, 2013

chipped toothWhether you took a bite into something too hard for your tooth, or took a nasty spill, the potential to crack, fracture or chip your tooth is possible. Thankfully, there are several ways to fix a chipped tooth depending on the severity of the accident.
Chipped teeth come in all shapes and sizes. While the enamel on your tooth is one of the strongest tissues of the body, it still can be broken especially if a tooth already has a good amount of decay. While it's less likely for a tooth to chip from eating, harmful snacks like ice, chewy and hard candy, and popcorn can cause a break. However, it's much more likely you'd receive a chipped or fractured tooth from falling over, playing a sport without a mouth guard, or involving yourself in a rowdy bar fight- all of which we advise you to avoid.

If you do experience a chipped tooth, we recommend you call your dentist right away and get your tooth fixed as quickly as you can. Often a chipped tooth can escalate to further damage, infection, and serious injury.
After an appointment has been set, we recommend covering your chipped tooth with wax paraffin or sugar-free gum to keep the jagged ends from cutting your gums, lips, or cheeks. If the tooth is painful, take an over the counter pain reliever to help minimize the discomfort. A cold press can also help the area from swelling.

Treating Your Chipped Tooth

Fixing a chipped tooth is often a very simple procedure. There are several ways to treat a chipped tooth depending on the severity of the break. While a simple crack or chip can be fixed during an office visit, other cases may need several doctors visit to make sure the tooth is safe from infection and further damage.

Resin Bonding

If only a small chip or break is present on the tooth, resin bonding can be used to repair it. Bonding uses a tooth-colored composite resin that fills the gap in the tooth.
This procedure is rather simple, using a flexible cement-like material; the dentist applies an adhesive material to the tooth then adds the bonding filler. The doctor then shapes the bonding to resemble the missing shape of the tooth. When just right, an ultraviolet light is used to adhere the bonding to the tooth and harden it enough to withstand the daily activities of a tooth.

Cap or Crown

For a more severe fracture, the dentist can choose to use a cap or crown to cover a tooth completely. First, the dentist will grind away a portion of the tooth. Next, they fit a tooth-shaped cap and adhere it to the remaining piece of tooth. If there is minimal tooth left, the dentist may place a post into the root of the tooth to build enough foundation for the cap to be placed on securely. Different materials can be used which usually depend on which tooth is being replaced. For less visible teeth, gold can be used, as it is a stronger material. Porcelain crowns can look much more similar to the original tooth which make them more useful for visible teeth.
In the past crowns could take several visits to complete. At Water Tower Dental Care they can now be completed in one visit with CEREC technology.

Veneers

Minimal Prep Veneers and Porcelain Veneers can be used for front chipped teeth. Similar to a cap, it is an exterior body resembling a tooth that is placed over your teeth. With veneers though, only a small amount of tooth enamel is filed down for the veneer to fit over the tooth. After filing the tooth, the dentist will make an impression of your teeth and color, then have veneers specially made. On a second visit, the veneers are cemented to your teeth.

Root Canals

In most severe cases, a tooth can fracture and expose the center of the tooth where nerves and blood vessels are. This area is known as the pulp and it is very sensitive. If exposed, the pulp can easily become infected. When this happens, the pulp must be extracted through a root canal procedure. The dentist removes the dead pulp and cleans out the emptied area. Next the canal is sealed to prevent future infection. Once sealed, a cap is placed over the remaining tooth.
Most chipped teeth happen from simple accidents. However, tooth decay can weaken a tooth to make it more likely to chip. Proper care and hygiene of your teeth is crucial. If you have any problems with a chipped tooth or would like to keep your teeth free of decay, contact Water Tower Dental to set up an appointment. We'd be happy to help.