Dentist Blog

Posts for: January, 2017

January 30, 2017
Category: Oral Health
Tags: oral hygiene   dental visits  

Gum disease and tooth decay are signs of an unhealthy mouth. Fortunately, there are several habits you can implement that will keep oral hygieneyour smile healthy. One of those habits is to see a dentist regularly for a dental checkup and professional teeth cleaning. A dentist can spot the early warning signs of gum disease and decay and take steps to prevent further decay. Dr. Paul Culver, your Brookfield, WI, dentist, can help you achieve and maintain good oral health while keeping your smile healthy.

Developing Healthy Habits

Developing healthy oral and dental habits is a great way to maintain a healthy smile that looks great and is free of gum disease and tooth decay. Good habits that will help keep your smile healthy include:

  • Scheduling dental checkups every six months
  • Brushing teeth at least twice a day
  • Flossing teeth daily
  • Rinsing with a fluoride mouthwash daily
  • Maintaining a healthy diet
  • Limiting consumption of sugar-laden food and beverages
  • Drinking several glasses of water daily
  • Not smoking, since tobacco stains teeth over time

Tips for Brushing Properly

Just about everyone knows that it’s important to brush your teeth daily. Brushing in itself may not be enough, though. At least, not if you aren’t brushing the right way. For brushing to be effective, it has to be done properly. When brushing, it isn’t enough to just brush the teeth. You should also brush the entire interior of your mouth, including the tongue, gums and roof of your mouth. It is also important to brush twice daily with a toothpaste that contains fluoride, which helps prevent cavities by preventing plaque buildup.

Brushing properly also includes using the right toothbrush. The American Dental Association recommends using a toothbrush with soft bristles that fits comfortably in your mouth. In other words, the shape and size of the toothbrush should be appropriate for your mouth. Toothbrushes should be replaced every three or four months or as soon as the bristles begin fraying. Your Brookfield dentist can provide additional guidance regarding the right toothbrush for your needs.

You can keep your smile healthy by practicing good oral hygiene at home and by visiting your dentist regularly for a checkup and professional cleaning. To schedule your next dental checkup with Dr. Culver, your Brookfield, WI, dentist, call (262) 782-1655.

By Paul G. Culver, DDS
January 19, 2017
Category: Dental Procedures
Tags: celebrity smiles   bonding  

So you’re tearing up the dance floor at a friend’s wedding, when all of a sudden one of your pals lands an accidental blow to your face — chipping out part of your front tooth, which lands right on the floorboards! Meanwhile, your wife (who is nine months pregnant) is expecting you home in one piece, and you may have to pose for a picture with the baby at any moment. What will you do now?

Take a tip from Prince William of England. According to the British tabloid The Daily Mail, the future king found himself in just this situation in 2013. His solution: Pay a late-night visit to a discreet dentist and get it fixed up — then stay calm and carry on!

Actually, dental emergencies of this type are fairly common. While nobody at the palace is saying exactly what was done for the damaged tooth, there are several ways to remedy this dental dilemma.

If the broken part is relatively small, chances are the tooth can be repaired by bonding with composite resin. In this process, tooth-colored material is used to replace the damaged, chipped or discolored region. Composite resin is a super-strong mixture of plastic and glass components that not only looks quite natural, but bonds tightly to the natural tooth structure. Best of all, the bonding procedure can usually be accomplished in just one visit to the dental office — there’s no lab work involved. And while it won’t last forever, a bonded tooth should hold up well for at least several years with only routine dental care.

If a larger piece of the tooth is broken off and recovered, it is sometimes possible to reattach it via bonding. However, for more serious damage — like a severely fractured or broken tooth — a crown (cap) may be required. In this restoration process, the entire visible portion of the tooth may be capped with a sturdy covering made of porcelain, gold, or porcelain fused to a gold metal alloy.

A crown restoration is more involved than bonding. It begins with making a 3-D model of the damaged tooth and its neighbors. From this model, a tooth replica will be fabricated by a skilled technician; it will match the existing teeth closely and fit into the bite perfectly. Next, the damaged tooth will be prepared, and the crown will be securely attached to it. Crown restorations are strong, lifelike and permanent.

Was the future king “crowned” — or was his tooth bonded? We may never know for sure. But it’s good to know that even if we’ll never be royals, we still have several options for fixing a damaged tooth. If you would like more information, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can learn more by reading the Dear Doctor magazine articles “Repairing Chipped Teeth” and “Crowns and Bridgework.”

By Paul G. Culver, DDS
January 04, 2017
Category: Oral Health
Tags: geographic tongue  

If you've ever been alarmed to find oddly-shaped red patches on your tongue, you can relax for the most part. Most likely, you're part of a small fraction of the population with a condition known as geographic tongue.

The name comes from the irregular shape of the patches that seem to resemble land formations on a map. Its medical name is benign migratory glossitis, which actually describes a lot about the condition. The patches are actually areas of inflammation on the tongue (“glossus” – tongue; “itis” – swelling) that appear to move around or migrate. They're actually made up of areas where the tiny bumps (papillae) you normally feel have disappeared: the patches feel flat and smooth compared to the rest of the tongue.

We're not sure why geographic tongue occurs. It often runs in families and seems to occur mostly in middle-aged adults, particularly women and non-smokers. It's believed to have a number of triggers like emotional stress, hormonal disturbances or vitamin or mineral deficiencies. There may also be a link between it and the skin condition psoriasis. Under a microscope the red patchiness of both appears to be very similar in pattern; the two conditions often appear together.

The bad news is we can't cure geographic tongue. But the good news is the condition is benign, meaning it's not cancerous; it's also not contagious. It poses no real health threat, although outbreaks can be uncomfortable causing your tongue to feel a little sensitive to the touch with a burning or stinging sensation. Some people may also experience numbness.

Although we can't make geographic tongue go away permanently, you should come by for an examination to confirm that is the correct diagnosis. Once we know for sure that you do have migratory glossitis, we can effectively manage discomfort when it flares up. You should limit your intake of foods with high acidity like tomatoes or citrus fruits, as well as astringents like alcohol or certain mouthrinses. We can also prescribe anesthetic mouthrinses, antihistamines or steroid ointments if the discomfort becomes more bothersome.

It may look strange, but geographic tongue is harmless. With the right care it can be nothing more than a minor annoyance.

If you would like more information on benign migratory glossitis, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can also learn more about this topic by reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “Geographic Tongue.”