How Getting Biannual Oral Cancer Screenings Can Help Your Mouth Stay Healthy

Each year, as reported by the Oral Cancer Foundation, close to 50,000 cases of oral cancer are diagnosed in the United States.

Research has shown that approximately 1 in 5 people will die every hour due to this diagnosis. The good news is that if detected and diagnosed early, oral cancer is preventable.

The best way to accomplish this is by visiting the dentist at least twice a year for thorough examinations, professional cleanings, and biannual oral cancer screenings.

Risk Factors for Oral Cancers

Although everyone is at risk of developing some sort of oral cancer, some people are at higher risk than others. Genetics and certain lifestyles may play a role in your risk factor. Men are two times more likely to develop oral cancer; individuals age fifty-five and older have a greater risk factor of getting oral cancer; tobacco use, such as smoking, chewing, or vaping increases your risk for oral cancer; seven out of ten cancer patients drink heavily.

Also, oral cancer statistics have changed due to HPV. Individuals at a younger age are being diagnosed with some sort of oral cancer because of the greater exposure to the Human Papillomavirus.

Oral Cancer Signs & Symptoms

While some individuals will have an irritation or sore that does not go away, others may develop white or red patches, pain, numbness or tenderness in the lips and mouth.

Thickening or lumps in the tissues in the neck and head may sometimes develop with oral cancer. Some people may experience a feeling of something stuck in their throat; soreness or hoarseness of their throat; or change in their bite.

To ensure your mouth stays healthy, it is imperative to have biannual oral cancer screenings in addition to regular brushing and flossing. Contact us for more information on oral cancer and biannual oral cancer screenings.

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How Long Does A Crown Last?

Many people who were told they needed a crown to fix a tooth have wondered how long will that dental crown will last. The lifespan of a dental crown can range anywhere from  5-30 years, in some cases they have even lasted a lifetime. That is quite a range in the potential lifespan of a crown. My experience dictates that a crown should last at least 20 years. Should the crown fail, a new crown can replace it with the ultimate goal of keeping that tooth in your mouth until the end of your life. Keeping that tooth in your head is my definition of a successful restoration.

How do crowns fail?

How long does a crown last?

Ceramic Dental Crown

One way of a crown failing is when it breaks. Crowns are usually made out of ceramics which are essentially glass.  If stressed in just the right way they can fracture. Another failure is the breakdown of the tooth beyond the edge of the crown. This can be caused by decay or stress of the tooth. Crowns usually break down at the margin of the restoration. This is where there is a seam between the tooth and crown. Bacteria can make their way into this seam and cause breakdown. When decay starts it can sometimes be patched if it is in an accessible area. If you can keep food and plaque from sitting at the margin you can prevent decay from starting. Daily brushing, flossing and regular check ups at your dental office can help preserve the crown and catch any breakdown at an early stage.  By doing all of the should keep you out of trouble.

The keys to a long-lasting crown

It is the dentists responsibility to make sure you get a crown that can potentially last a lifetime. Having adequate tooth structure and having margins that are cleanable are two of the most important factors. The fit of the crown is extremely important. Margins that are well adapted to the tooth will help ensure a crown will be problem free for many years to come. The skill of the dentist and the quality of the laboratory used can combine to achieve a great result.

Alternatives to crowns

Ceramic Dental Onlay

Ceramic Dental Onlay

Today there are great alternatives to dental crowns. Bonded ceramic onlays can be used to restore teeth that in the past were crowned. These onlays can even be done on teeth that previously had root canal treatment. The benefit of an onlay is that good tooth structure is not sacrificed for the sake of the restoration. The sides of the tooth can be retained. The procedure is the same as a crown. Impressions are taken of the tooth and the laboratory makes the restoration which fits into your tooth like a puzzle piece. It is the design that is different. The cost is also the same as a crown.

There are even times that bonded composite filling can be used to restore broken down teeth. This is a less costly procedure, but there is an increased risk of failure as bonded fillings are not as strong as laboratory made restorations.

New materials and procedures in crown fabrication

Using newest technology crowns today are better than ever! Space age ceramics like Zirconia are stronger and more fracture resistant. They can and even bond to a tooth structure. Nowadays impressions can be taken using cameras with 3D technology.  This 3D technology creates super accurate representations of the teeth for the lab to make restorations. The benefit to you is no goopy impression material. Restorations are then designed on a computer screen and then sent to a milling machine to make your new restoration out of a block of ceramic. When these are delivered to you they are bonded to the tooth. The fit of these restorations is truly incredible.

So-How Long Does a Crown Last?

What is the answer to the question, “how long does a crown last?” The best answer is it that it lasts longer when effort is put into making it and maintaining it.  When done well that new crown you get today has the potential to last a lifetime. One of the biggest factors in how long your crown will last is related to seeing a skilled dentist who really cares about you. Realizing that a crown is not always the best option is important for both the dentist and the patient. I often believe that the least amount of dentistry is the best dentistry. Preserving tooth structure is always at the top of my list. Just because your insurance will cover the cost of a crown does not mean that it is the best choice. Recently I had a new patient report to me that her previous dentist encouraged her to replace a 5 year old crown because her insurance will cover it again. Wow! Not a reason to replace for my patients. My motto is “Don’t fix it if it’s not broke.”   Always learn your options and please have dentistry done for you, not to you.

For a related post on “How Long Should a Composite Fillings Last” Click Here

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Acid Damage to Your Teeth Can Leave Your Teeth Suffering

Woman suffering from acid damage to Eric teethAcids can damage your teeth and not only make them look bad, but hurt you too. This is why you need to know as much as you can about acid damage, or erosion, and how to avoid it. We can help you as well if you need a dentist.

If your teeth are suffering from acid damage, here are some things you can do to help with this problem. You can also call us for the help you need with this.

What Causes Acid Damage to Your Teeth?

Your diet can cause acid damage to your teeth and cause them to suffer, in return, causing you to suffer as well. Acid decalcifies your teeth and can be painful. Because of this, you need to change your diet.

The foods to avoid include anything with citrus in it and foods that are acidity. Another culprit for acid damage is soda. They contain phosphoric acid. If you already have acid damage to your teeth, call us for an appointment right away so we can help you.

Health Conditions Can Cause Problems with Acid Damage

If you have certain health conditions, believe it or not, they can cause you to suffer from acid damage to your teeth. Those who suffer from gastroesophageal acid reflux disease, or GERD, can have problems with enamel erosion. This is because this is a health condition that causes you to belch up acid from your stomach.

Things You Can do To Prevent Enamel Erosion

You will want to cut back on soda and citrus. Anything with citrus in it can cause acid to form on your teeth, eroding the enamel and causing tooth sensitivity. Drinking more water, and less of everything else you usually drink can help you too. Seeing us for help with your acid damage, or enamel erosion problems can help you too.

Learning everything you can about acid damage or enamel erosion can help your tooth sensitivity and reduce your pain. Call us and make an appointment right away as well so we can help you too.

 

 

Are Porcelain Dental Veneers Permanent?

Before porcelain dental veneers

My patient’s smile before treatment

In nearly all cases, once well fabricated porcelain dental veneers are put on teeth they will not come off. Veneers are typically adhered to teeth that have been trimmed down, allowing for the veneer to fit tightly against the natural tooth.

This gives the veneer a more natural and seamless appearance. There are a select few who are able to get veneers put on without any type of preparation ahead of time. Attempting veneers without reshaping can often result in bulky opaque looking teeth which are not esthetically desirable.

You Should Expect to Maintain Your Porcelain Dental Veneers After You Get Them Placed

Ten porcelain dental veneers

Ten porcelain dental veneers done by Dr. Shapiro

Porcelain dental veneers are put on typically as a cosmetic cover, but they are a very strong cover when well bonded.  They can be a great answer for a wide variety of issues, including stained teeth, teeth that have cracks or chips, or even teeth with unsightly gaps between them. However, they are also adhered to a tooth that has been trimmed, or shaved, down slightly. That minor trimming allows the veneer to fit up against the tooth more securely, giving you the most natural outcome.

They typically last anywhere from 15-25  years, when cared for properly. Well maintained veneers can potentially last a lifetime. Only a very small percentage of people who opt for veneers are able to get the kind that require no tooth preparation. If you are one of this tiny percentage, then you may have veneers that can be removed without any problems with your teeth. However, only your dentist can tell you if this is the case.

For more information on the options you have to improve your smile please contact our office. We can take a look at your teeth, and give you a really good idea on what options would work best for your mouth. Then, you can make the choice as to what procedures you want done to beautify your smile.

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Picture of the Day

This post is the start of something I’ve been thinking about for a long time. Putting up photos of my work up on a regular basis. Showing off some of my dental art work and showing some of the less desirable dentistry that comes into my office and how we get our patients smiles back.

These first photos are of a molar tooth that had root canal treatment. I decided to keep most of the existing tooth structure by doing a ceramic onlay. The onlay is fused to the tooth and creates a very durable tooth.

Lots of dentists would crown this tooth, a crown covers all the tooth above the gum line. An onlay is my preferred way to restore a tooth like this. I feel it is more conservative and gives the patient a less invasive restoration. I believe these onlays allow me to be the best dentist I can be.

Molar prepped for onlay

Tooth shaped for porcelain onlay

Porcelain onlay

The ceramic restoration before bonding to the tooth

Bonded Porcelain Onlay

The final seamless restoration

These ceramic restorations are made through CAD CAM technology.

The onlays are cut out of a block of very hard ceramic material which has the ability to bond to tooth structure. I have been successfully using this technique of restoring teeth for the last 25 years. Dental materials have evolved during that time. I feel that these current materials may have the ability to last my patients a lifetime.

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