Part of our dedication to helping our patients maintain beautiful, healthy, and fully-functional smiles is educating them about their oral health, the dangers it faces, and the most efficient ways of protecting and treating your smile. As one of the most devastating events that can affect your mouth, tooth loss is especially dangerous because it influences the state of your entire oral health when ignored or inadequately treated. In the past, we’ve spoken about the continuing damages of tooth loss, and how dental implants can help preserve your oral health. Today, your Astoria dentist, Dr. Jeffrey Leibowitz, quizzes your knowledge about the consequences of tooth loss and the benefits of dental implants.
Crash Course on Tooth Loss and Dental Implants
Your remaining teeth react to the loss of their brethren. What phenomenon can occur after tooth loss, and can be prevented by replacing the crowns (top, visible parts) of your teeth? (more…)
There’s no denying the fact that you simply can’t keep your teeth and gums as clean as your dentist can. However, you can ward off destructive dental plaque long enough to keep your smile clean and disease-free in between your dental checkups and cleanings. Even if plaque happens to get the best of your hygiene routine and manages to gain a foot hold, its calcified and more stubborn counterpart, called tartar, is no match for our advanced hygiene tools and techniques. Your Astoria dentist, Dr. Leibowitz, examines the different levels of dental cleanings that can be employed to remove the danger from your smile.
Heavy-Duty Teeth Cleaning
Your regular, run-of-the-mill dental cleaning, and the one most people are familiar with, involves removing traces of plaque and tartar from your teeth that you may have missed. The danger of plaque lies in the germs that it carries, which are responsible for the development of tooth decay and gum disease. (more…)
Although your teeth were meant to last a lifetime, there are a number of ways for you to lend them a hand against harmful acids and tooth decay. Among those methods is the application of fluoride, which can be introduced in myriad ways, including through tap water and most toothpaste products. So how did an obscure mineral become one of dental hygiene’s most effective weapons, and how does it help protect your teeth? Your Astoria general dentist, Dr. Jeffrey Leibowitz, explores the discovery of fluoride’s dental benefits, and how it works on a molecular level to fortify your teeth’s natural defenses.
An Amazing Anomaly
The discovery of fluoride’s benefits actually occurred as a result of an investigation into a wide-spread dental problem. In the early 1900s, when Frederick McKay traveled to Colorado Springs, Colorado, to open his practice, the young dental school graduate was astonished to notice grotesque brown stains on the teeth of most of the town’s residents. (more…)
Clenching your teeth is common when you’re angry, aggravated, in pain, or otherwise agitated. Tapping your foot and drumming your fingers are frequent signs of nervousness, and humming is a popular tic for some people. Only one of these habits, though, can prove detrimental if allowed to continue without intervention. Habitual teeth-grinding, known as bruxism, can be more than annoying; it can signify a more serious dental condition that can threaten your mouth’s foundation, and it can destroy your teeth through constant pressure and friction. Astoria dentist, Dr. Jeffrey Leibowitz, explains how bruxism can be your teeth’s worst enemy, and explores the habit’s connection to the severe discomfort of TMJ disorder.
More than Your Teeth were Meant to Take
Your mouth is like an intricate machine, designed to accomplish its goals with minimal strain and wear on its various components. To put that into perspective, the human bite can exert up to 200 pounds of pressure on its back molars. While not every bite will be so powerful, your mouth is the most used part of your body, and the continuous stress can take a toll on the teeth that bear it. (more…)
We’ve discussed TMJ disorder, or TMD, and its diverse range of effects at length in the past, including ways to find relief from jaw pain until you can treat it professionally. The varying symptoms often make TMD diagnosis difficult, but regardless of the exact pattern of discomfort, the majority of cases result from an imbalanced bite, which can strain and damage your jaw’s joints and muscles. So how does a jaw problem result in sometimes-unbearable migraines, earaches, neck and back pain, and many other forms of agony? Your Astoria dentist, Dr. Jeffrey Leibowitz, explains the complexities of TMJ disorder by taking a very close look at the mechanisms that make your mouth work and how the dysfunction affects them.
The Joints That Make it Happen
TMJ disorder owes its name to the temporomandibular joints, or TMJs, that connect your lower jaw to your skull. These joints allow your mandible (the lower, moveable part of your jaw) to glide smoothly along its socket, displacing the pressure of your bite evenly instead of concentrating it on a single area. If your jaw is imbalanced, or your bite is thrown off by malocclusion (crooked teeth), the muscles and joints have to work harder to keep your mouth straight as it opens and closes. The strain can damage the joints or cause them to become misaligned, leading to severe TMJ discomfort that can affect a wide area of your head, face, neck, shoulders, and back, as well as the proper function of your mouth. (more…)
While losing one or more teeth can be unsettling, losing most or all of your teeth can be devastating. Even if you didn’t mind a small gap in your smile, chances are you’d feel differently if the gap extended to cover your entire dental ridge. Luckily, you don’t have to spend the rest of your life dealing with the loss of your chewing ability. With partial or full dentures (depending on the extent of your tooth loss), you can regain your beautiful, fully-functioning smile and the confidence that goes with it. As your Astoria dentist warns, however, traditional dentures are not flawless, and there are extenuating circumstances to severe tooth loss that they may not be able to address. Dr. Leibowitz discusses these circumstances, and the innovative dental procedure that can boost your denture’s effectiveness at restoring your oral health.
The Need for a Dental Prosthesis
The need for a complete set of teeth becomes more apparent as more teeth are lost. One of the most obvious inhibitions created by tooth loss is the reduced ability to bite and chew your food. The first, and perhaps most important, step to digestion begins when you rip, tear, crush, and grind your food into something that your esophagus can safely transport to your stomach. If you can’t adequately chew your food, you’ll have to readjust your diet, and you may not receive an ample supply of the nutrients your body needs to operate properly. By replenishing your dental ridge with a set of dental prosthetics (artificial teeth), dentures can restore this ability and help prevent health complications resulting from malnutrition. (more…)
Not many people would be excited at the prospect of needing root canal treatment. In fact, the procedure has gained a foul reputation mainly due to misreports and exaggerations among those who’ve never had one. The truth, however, is that root canal therapy is designed to relieve your dental discomfort, not cause it, and if you’ve been told you require one, then the treatment may be your tooth’s last chance at survival. Astoria dentist, Dr. Jeffrey Leibowitz, explains the science of root canal treatment and the conditions that lead to its necessity.
Tooth Decay at a Glance
Tooth decay is a progressive disease that begins with an often-unnoticed bacterial process called acid erosion. When you consume sugar and other carbs, some of the bacteria in your mouth convert them into lactic acid, which depletes your teeth of essential minerals and weakens protective tooth enamel. Once your enamel is too weak to repel bacteria from its more vulnerable main structure, tooth decay soon sets in and treating it becomes essential to retaining your tooth. (more…)
Today’s toothbrushes feature ergonomic designs for hard-to-reach places and motors that do the manual work for you. Toothpaste contains ingredients like fluoride and baking soda that provide an extra kick to your hygiene routine’s cleaning abilities. Yet, the most advanced hygiene tools on the market are no substitute for the professional maintenance and care that you receive at your regularly scheduled dental checkup and cleaning. The idea to skip your dental exam can be tempting, especially when you strictly adhere to your dental hygiene routine and your teeth are bright and clean. Your Astoria dentist, Dr. Leibowitz, explains why you should reign in that temptation for the good of your oral health.
A Different Kind of Spring Cleaning
Brushing and flossing your teeth is like dusting and sweeping your house; doing it every day helps prevent the excessive buildup of plaque on and between your teeth to keep your mouth clean and tidy. Instead of dust mites, however, dental plaque is made of hundreds of different kinds of oral bacteria that can threaten the sanctity of your oral health. If you miss a spot, you can risk more than a dirty corner; after 48 hours, plaque hardens into tartar, which is too stubborn for a toothbrush to remove (even a motorized one). (more…)
Protecting your smile from infection and disease is fairly straight-forward; brush and floss your teeth at least twice a day to help control plaque buildup, and maintain a healthy diet to limit feeding the bacteria within dental plaque. Topped off with a regular schedule of dental checkups and cleanings (at least once every six months or sooner), these tenets can help keep your smile healthy and bright. Protecting your teeth from structural damage, however, is not as simple, considering dental trauma can often signal an emergency situation. Luckily, your smile isn’t helpless against damage; with a little preparation, quick action, and the help of your Astoria dentist, you can increase your chances of saving your smile in a dental emergency.
When Your Tooth Hurts
Not all dental emergencies are the same, but regardless of the situation, your participation can help determine the outcome. If an injury is the source of your emergency, then your tooth’s trouble is likely no mystery. However, if your tooth aches suddenly, finding out why is a priority. If no damage is visible, carefully floss around the tooth to remove any potentially lodged debris. Call our office and schedule a visit with Dr. Leibowitz if the discomfort continues. In the meantime, an ice pack or cold compress can help relieve aching and reduce swelling. (more…)
You’ve probably heard of tooth enamel before, but do you know what it is? As your teeth’s first and foremost defense against infection and decay, understanding enamel can help you better protect it from damage and the bacterial processes that erode it, thereby protecting your tooth from decay and possible annihilation. Although enamel is amazingly strong and resilient (it is the hardest substance that your body produces), it is still vulnerable. Astoria dentist, Dr. Leibowitz, takes a close look at enamel to uncover its impressive construction and its vital weakness that you can help protect.
The Strongest Substance Your Body Produces
Tooth enamel is not only the strongest substance that your body produces; it is also one of the strongest known substances on earth, second only to diamonds. The secret to enamel’s strength lies in its structure, which is comprised almost entirely of minerals, such as calcium and phosphate. This mineral composition contributes to the confusion that teeth are the same substance as bone, which also contains these minerals. However, the proteins that help shape your enamel, known as amelogenins, sculpt these minerals differently than those of your bones, forming strands that are thousands of times longer and stronger. (more…)