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…)
If you consider obesity and gum disease, you might naturally assume that the eating habits that contribute to one could lead to or exacerbate the other. You would be correct, but research suggests there may be an even more profound link between being overweight and developing gum disease. As part of our dedication to your oral and overall health, Astoria dentist, Dr. Jeffrey Leibowitz, explores this connection and what it may mean for your risk of developing damaging dental diseases.
What is Gum Disease?
While gum disease does not directly attack your tooth’s structure, it remains the number one cause of adult tooth loss in America and is typically a result of poor oral hygiene. Brushing and flossing your teeth is essential for controlling the bacterial buildup known as plaque. When this sticky biofilm accumulates along your gum line, some of the germs can manipulate your immune system, causing excessive inflammation in your gum tissue and paving the way for the onset of gum disease. Once it takes a hold, the disease works to destroy your gums and jawbone, deteriorating the supporting structures of your teeth. (more…)
Do you live with constant aches and pains in your head, face, neck, ears, or other craniofacial regions? Many people endure such discomfort for years without finding the correct diagnosis and treatment, often relying on prescribed and/or over-the-counter pain relievers. In many cases, the trouble originates with a dental issue, and therefore is often misdiagnosed or not diagnosed at all. Astoria dentist, Dr. Jeffrey Leibowitz, explains the condition known as TMJ disorder and how it can affect more than your teeth and gums.
A Troublesome Jaw
You are probably aware that keeping your mouth healthy by brushing and flossing every day is essential to maintaining its proper function. However, your mouth requires more than teeth and gums to operate. For instance, the joints that connect your lower jaw to your skull, called the temporomandibular joints (TMJs), also allow for your jaw’s diverse range of movements. Whether from excessive pressure, a misaligned bite, or a traumatic injury, these joints and the muscles that surround them can become damaged or improperly balanced. The resulting discomfort can manifest itself in more than your jaws, often leading to severe and frequent headaches, earaches, and facial pain. (more…)
At first glance, the tiny microbes that live in your mouth may not seem like much of a concern. After all, they naturally reside in your mouth, and as long as you brush and floss your teeth, they should remain controlled. Even the most diligent oral hygiene routine, however, is subject to human error, and one minimal mistake can allow harmful oral bacteria the chance to wreak havoc with your dental health. To exacerbate matters, a growing body of scientific research suggests that the same mechanisms responsible for jeopardizing your oral health may also be partly responsible for other chronic systemic illnesses, including various heart diseases. When your soft oral tissues are diseased, bacteria from your mouth can enter your bloodstream and travel throughout your body, potentially harming other tissues with their destructive behaviors. Astoria dentist, Dr. Jeffrey Leibowitz, examines two oral bacteria suspected in the oral-systemic connection and how they can fool your body into harming itself.
The Manipulative Gum Disease Germ
When the bacteria in your mouth multiply and congregate, they form a sticky biofilm called plaque that adheres to your teeth and gums. Among these microbes is Porphyromonas gingivalis, a key contributor to the development of gum disease. The germ manipulates your immune system to survive, interfering with its inflammatory response to invading microbes. (more…)
Recently, we discussed the social significance of your smile and the importance of keeping it healthy and beautiful. A smile that you’re proud of is one that you will show often, and you can benefit more from the subtle nuances of its expressions. Aside from enhancing your communication skills, though, your smile can also provide one important benefit to your dental and overall health. Astoria dentist, Dr. Leibowitz, explains how your smile can help you significantly lower your stress levels.
The Threat of Stress
You are likely aware that excessive stress can place your health at great risk. This is because your body’s stress response, commonly referred to as the fight-or-flight response, is like being on high alert. The phenomenon is a defense mechanism meant to protect you from harm, but in today’s hectic society, common everyday stresses can make you feel like you are always under attack. After a while, your mind and body can begin to wear down, and all aspects of your health can feel the effects, including your dental health. (more…)
At our Astoria dentist’s office, your oral health care is centered on you as a patient, rather than just on your teeth and gums. While keeping your mouth clean is always important, certain considerations must be taken into account when receiving professional dental care. For instance, you heart health, which is more related to your dental health than many people realize, can influence the care you can and should receive to correct your dental issues. Astoria dentist, Dr. Leibowitz, discusses some of the things you should know as a heart health patient undergoing dental treatment.
Special Considerations at the Dentist’s Office
A plethora of oral-systemic health studies suggest that the state of your oral health can affect your risk of endocarditis, an often life-threatening infection of the heart that occurs when bacteria in your bloodstream cling to damaged heart tissues. If you are undergoing dental treatment, there is a greater chance of the bacteria from your mouth entering your bloodstream and complicating your heart condition. Antibiotics may be necessary before your procedure, so be sure to inform Dr. Leibowitz of all existing conditions and current medications during your initial visit. (more…)