A Caring Dentist of Tampa

How Can I Improve My Smile?

If you’re feeling somewhat self-conscious about your teeth, or just want to improve your smile, cosmetic dental treatments may be the answer to a more beautiful, confident smile.

Cosmetic dentistry has become very popular in the last several years, not only due to the many advances in cosmetic dental procedures and materials available today, but also because patients are becoming more and more focused on improving their overall health. This includes dental prevention and having a healthier, whiter, more radiant smile.

There are many cosmetic dental procedures available to improve your teeth and enhance your smile. Depending on your particular needs, cosmetic dental treatments can change your smile dramatically, from restoring a single tooth to having a full mouth make-over. Ask your dentist how you can improve the health and beauty of your smile with cosmetic dentistry.

Cosmetic/Restorative Procedures:

Teeth Whitening Whitening lightens teeth that have been stained or discolored by age, food, drink, and smoking. Teeth darkened as a result of injury or taking certain medications can also be bleached, but the effectiveness depends on the degree of staining present.

Composite (tooth-colored) Fillings  Also known as bonding, composite fillings are now widely used instead of amalgam (silver) fillings to repair teeth with cavities, and also to replace old defective fillings. Tooth-colored fillings are also used to repair chipped, broken, or discolored teeth. This type of filling is also very useful to fill in gaps and to protect sensitive, exposed root surfaces caused by gum recession.

Porcelain Veneers Veneers are thin custom-made, tooth-colored shells that are bonded onto the fronts of teeth to create a beautiful individual smile. They can help restore or camouflage damaged, discolored, poorly shaped, or misaligned teeth. Unlike crowns, veneers require minimal tooth structure to be removed from the surface of the tooth.

Porcelain Crowns (caps)  A crown is a tooth-colored, custom-made covering that encases the entire tooth surface restoring it to its original shape and size. Crowns protect and strengthen teeth that cannot be restored with fillings or other types of restorations. They are ideal for teeth that have large, fractured or broken fillings and also for those that are badly decayed.

Dental Implants Dental implants are artificial roots that are surgically placed into the jaw to replace one or more missing teeth. Porcelain crowns, bridges, and dentures can be made specifically to fit and attach to implants, giving a patient a strong, stable, and durable solution to removable dental appliances.

Invisalign Orthodontic Aligners Less visible and more effective, Invisalign clear braces are making straightening teeth with orthodontics much more appealing to adult patients.

Thanks to the advances in modern dentistry, cosmetic treatments can make a difference in making your smile shine! Contact us today to explore your options at our Carrollwood or Wesley Chapel locations.

Dental Cleanings & Check Ups

Prophylaxis appointments, more commonly known as a dental cleaning and check-up appointment, are a standard preventive measure in dental medicine, which involves professionally cleaning your teeth and inspecting your mouth for signs of any issues. At-home oral care is very important. of course, but seeing Dr. Parasher at regular intervals is still recommended for continuing dental health. If you’re not familiar with dental prophylaxis, you may wonder exactly what it is and why you need it.

What to Expect During Your Dental Cleaning Appointment

A prophylaxis or dental cleaning appointment is a routine, preventive procedure. Your dental hygienist will update your medical history to see if there have been any changes in your health, such as pregnancy, new diagnosis, medications, or other updates. They will also do a physical and visual examination of your mouth to screen for oral cancer or anything else that might require medical attention.

X-Rays

X-rays help your dentist identify potential oral health problems that aren’t visible to the naked eye, like cavities or impacted wisdom teeth, for example. When your dental professional determines it’s time for you to get X-rays, you will probably get bite-wing X-rays of your molar and premolar teeth. Some dental practices also take pictures of the anterior incisor teeth, which are in the front of your bite. The ADA recommends that you and your dentist discuss their plan for X-rays so that you can make decisions together.

If you have excellent oral health and regularly see your dental professional, your dentist may recommend X-rays less often than if you’re at risk for oral health issues. Factors that dental professionals consider when determining the frequency at which you should get X-rays include the following:

  • Age
  • Oral health
  • Risk for disease
  • If you already have signs of oral disease
  • Discomfort in your mouth

Periodontal Probing

Once your dental hygienist updates your medical history, they will visually examine your gum tissue and conduct a periodontal probing. This involves measuring the depth of your gum tissue with a tool known as a periodontal probe. It’s crucial to measure gum tissue because our gums should fit snug around our teeth. Due to poor oral hygiene, age, or medical conditions, our gums may pull away from our teeth, creating pockets where food particles and bacteria can get stuck.

Teeth Inspection & Cleaning

Besides periodontal probing, your dental hygienist will inspect your teeth. This is to alert your dentist of any areas that should be checked for potential tooth decay. Lastly, they will perform a dental cleaning using special instruments (ultrasonic and hand) to remove plaque and tartar from your teeth and beneath your gumline. Your hygienist will also polish your teeth to remove tooth stains and then clean between your teeth with floss (also known as interdental cleaning).

Ongoing Oral Care Recommendations

Your dental hygienist and dentist are a good source of knowledge for questions and concerns surrounding at-home oral care. They can make recommendations for taking better care of your mouth and demonstrate proper oral care techniques. They’ll remind you to rinse after eating and to brush your teeth twice per day, floss once per day, and use a mouthwash.

Full Mouth Examination

Following your dental hygienist’s work, your dentist will then perform a full examination of your mouth. This includes examining your teeth, gums, and the rest of your mouth for signs of disease, and reviewing any X-rays that were taken.

Why Regular Professional Dental Cleaning is Necessary

If you take good care of your teeth at home, you may be wondering why your dentist says you need regular cleanings. The primary reason is dental problems may go unnoticed in their early stages. They may not cause pain or have visible signs. However, a dental prophylaxis appointment can help your dental professionals diagnose these problems earlier, before they become more serious issues.  For example, it’s common not to feel pain from a cavity when it first forms but your dentist will likely spot that forming cavity in your prophylaxis appointment and repair it before it gets larger and causes you discomfort and potentially more expense.

How Often to Do Dental Prophylaxis

The frequency of attending dental prophylaxis treatments is not a “one size fits all” situation. Insurance plans generally cover two cleaning visits per year but the American Dental Association (ADA) simply recommends adults see their dentist at least once per year, with twice annual visits being ideal.

However, If you have a history of periodontal disease, you should get your teeth cleaned every three or four months to prevent the recurrence of infections or disease. You should also have your teeth cleaned more often if you suffer from chronic conditions such as diabetes or heart disease due to their link to dental problems. Other groups that may need more frequent prophylaxis include people who smoke, people who often get cavities, pregnant women and those with weakened immune systems.

The American Dental Association (ADA) recommends children get a teeth cleaning and checkup every six months due to their rapidly changing dentition. Kids should start going to the dentist soon after their first tooth erupts or around their first birthday, whichever happens first.

A dental prophylaxis appointment is meant to serve as a preventive measure helping to keep your mouth healthy and your smile bright, while spotting any issues before they escalate to serious problems. With an oral examination, X-rays, periodontal probing, teeth cleaning, and a comfortable relationship with your dental professional in which discuss your questions and concerns, you are on the right track for great dental health!

Call our Carrollwood or Wesley Chapel location to schedule your dental cleaning and check up today!

Are Silver Amalgam Fillings Safe?

Over the years there has been some concern as to whether silver amalgam fillings are safe. An amalgam is a blend of copper, silver, tin and zinc, bound by elemental mercury. Dentists have used this blended metal to fill teeth for more than 100 years. The controversy is due to claims that the exposure to the vapor and minute particles from the mercury can cause a variety of health problems.

According to the American Dental Association (ADA), up to 76% of dentists use silver containing mercury to fill teeth. The ADA also states that silver fillings are safe and that studies have failed to find any link between silver containing mercury and any medical disorder.

The general consensus is that amalgam (silver) fillings are safe. Along with the ADA’s position, the Center for Disease Control (CDC), the World Health Organization, the FDA, and others support the use of silver fillings as safe, durable, and cost effective. The U.S. Public Health Service says that the only reason not to use silver fillings is when a patient has an allergy to any component of this type of filling. The ADA has had fewer than 100 reported incidents of an allergy to components of silver fillings, and this is out of countless millions of silver fillings over the decades.

Although studies indicate that there are no measurable health risks to patients who have silver fillings, we do know that mercury is a toxic material when we are exposed at high, unsafe levels. For instance, we have been warned to limit the consumption of certain types of fish that carry high levels of mercury in them. However, with respect to amalgam fillings, the ADA maintains that when the mercury combines with the other components of the filling, it becomes an inactive substance that is safe.

There are numerous options to silver fillings, including composite (tooth-colored), porcelain, and gold fillings. We encourage you to discuss these options with Dr. Patel or Dr Parasher at our Carrollwood or Wesley Chapel dental care locations so you can determine which is the best option for you.

Why Do I Have Bad Breath?

Bad breath (halitosis) can be an unpleasant and embarrassing condition. Many of us may not realize that we have halitosis, but everyone has it from time to time, especially in the morning.

There are various reasons one may have bad breath, but in healthy people, the most common reason is due to deposits of microbes on the tongue, particularly the back of the tongue. Studies have shown that brushing the tongue or using a tongue scraper can reduce halitosis by as much as 70 percent.

Other Potential Causes of Bad Breath

  • Morning mouth – Saliva flow almost stops during sleep and without salivary cleansing action, bacteria grows unhindered, causing halitosis.
  • Certain foods – Garlic, onions, etc. Foods containing odor-causing compounds enter the blood stream and are transferred to the lungs, where they are exhaled & shared with those around you.
  • Poor oral hygiene habits – Food particles left in the mouth promote bacterial growth, which contributes to foul breath. Regular brushing and flossing is key!
  • Periodontal (gum) disease – Colonies of bacteria & food debris cause calculus under the gumline. This damages gums and emits a telltale unpleasant smell.
  • Dental cavities and improperly fitted dental appliances.
  • Dry mouth (Xerostomia) – This condition can be caused by certain medications, salivary gland problems, or continuous mouth breathing.
  • Tobacco products – These products dry your mouth, which contributes to unpleasant breath.
  • Dieting – Chemicals called ketones are released in the breath as the body burns fat. This is more common with high protein ketogenic diets.
  • Dehydration and missed meals – Drinking water and chewing food increases saliva flow which helps wash away bacteria.
  • Certain medical conditions and illnesses – Diabetes, kidney and liver problems, bronchitis, sinus infections and pneumonia are conditions that may contribute to halitosis.
  • Tonsil stones — Tonsil stones, also known as tonsilloliths, are mineralizations of debris within the crevices of the tonsils. The primary symptom is bad breath.

If you’re concerned that a dental condition may be causing your bad breath, we can evaluate your oral health at our Carrollwood or Wesley Chapel locations. Make an appointment today!

Composite Fillings

A composite (tooth colored) filling is used to repair a tooth that is affected by decay, cracks, fractures, etc. The decayed or affected portion of the tooth will be removed and then filled with a composite filling.

There are many types of filling materials available, each with their own advantages and disadvantages. You and your dentist can discuss the best options for restoring your teeth. Composite fillings, along with silver amalgam fillings, are the most widely used today. Because composite fillings are tooth colored, they can be closely matched to the color of existing teeth, and are more aesthetically suited for use in front teeth or the more visible areas of the teeth.

As with most dental restorations, composite fillings are not permanent and may someday have to be replaced. They are very durable, and will last many years, giving you a long lasting, beautiful smile.

Reasons for composite fillings:

  • Chipped teeth
  • Closing space between two teeth
  • Cracked or broken teeth
  • Decayed teeth
  • Worn teeth

How are composite fillings placed?

Composite fillings are usually placed in one appointment. While the tooth is numb, your dentist will remove decay as necessary. The space will then be thoroughly cleaned and carefully prepared before the new filling is placed. If the decay was near the nerve of the tooth, a special medication will be applied for added protection. The composite filling will then be precisely placed, shaped, and polished, restoring your tooth to its original shape and function.

It is normal to experience sensitivity to hot and cold when composite fillings are first placed, however this will subside shortly after your tooth acclimates to the new filling.

You will be given care instructions at the conclusion of your treatment. Good oral hygiene practices, eating habits, and regular dental visits will aid in the life of your new fillings.

ZOOM Teeth Whitening

Your smile is important. It’s one of the first things you notice upon meeting someone. A whiter, brighter smile is beautiful – it can help you feel better about yourself and make a memorable impression.

Your lifestyle and the aging process can stain and darken your teeth. Many things we do on a regular basis can contribute to stained teeth, such as drinking coffee, tea, cola and red wine or smoking.

Whitening can get your smile looking its best. You should look for a whitening procedure that is:

  • Fast and convenient
  • Long lasting
  • Low sensitivity
  • Proven to be safe and effective
  • Performed by a Dental Professional

The Zoom2! In-Office Whitening System is a revolutionary tooth whitening procedure. It’s safe effective and very fast. In just under an hour, your teeth will be dramatically whiter. Whitening is ideal for anyone looking for immediate results. The convenience of Zoom2! in comparison to days of wearing trays and gradual whitening makes it the perfect choice for the busy patient.

The Zoom2! light activated gel was developed after years of research by Discus Dental, the leaders in professional take-home tooth whitening. The gel is a scientifically formulated, pH balanced Hydrogen Peroxide that, when activated by the Zoom2! light, gently penetrates the teeth to remove deep stains and discoloration. With proper care and an occasional touch-up at home, your whiter smile will sparkle for years.

Other whitening systems don’t compare to the Zoom! Chairside Whitening System. Nothing whitens better or faster.

Sealants

A sealant is a thin, plastic coating applied to the chewing surface of molars, premolars and any deep grooves (called pits and fissures) of teeth. More than 75% of dental decay begins in these deep grooves. Teeth with these conditions are hard to clean and are very susceptible to decay. A sealant protects the tooth by sealing deep grooves, creating a smooth, easy to clean surface.

Sealants can protect teeth from decay for many years, but need to be checked for wear and chipping at your regular dental visits.

Reasons for Sealants:

  • Children and teenagers As soon as the six-year molars (the first permanent back teeth) appear or any time throughout the cavity prone years of 6-16
  • Adults Tooth surfaces without decay that have deep grooves or depressions
  • Baby teeth occasionally done if teeth have deep grooves or depressions and child is cavity prone

What Do Sealants Involve?

Sealants are easily applied by your dentist or dental hygienist and the process takes only a couple of minutes per tooth. The teeth to be sealed are thoroughly cleaned and then surrounded with cotton to keep the area dry. A special solution is applied to the enamel surface to help the sealant bond to the teeth. The teeth are then rinsed and dried. Sealant material is carefully painted onto the enamel surface to cover the deep grooves or depressions. Depending on the type of sealant used, the material will either harden automatically or with a special curing light.

Proper home care, a balanced diet, and regular dental visits will aid in the life of your new sealants.

Fluoride Treatment

Fluoride is the most effective agent available to help prevent tooth decay. It is a mineral that is naturally present in varying amounts in almost all foods and water supplies. The benefits of fluoride have been well known for over 50 years and are supported by many health and professional organizations.

Fluoride works in two ways:

Topical fluoride strengthens the teeth once they have erupted by seeping into the outer surface of the tooth enamel, making the teeth more resistant to decay. We gain topical fluoride by using fluoride containing dental products such as toothpaste, mouth rinses, and gels. Dentists and dental hygienists generally recommend that children have a professional application of fluoride twice a year during dental check-ups.

Systemic fluoride strengthens the teeth that have erupted as well as those that are developing under the gums. We gain systemic fluoride from most foods and our community water supplies. It is also available as a supplement in drop or gel form and can be prescribed by your dentist or physician. Generally, fluoride drops are recommended for infants, and tablets are best suited for children up through the teen years. It is very important to monitor the amounts of fluoride a child ingests. If too much fluoride is consumed while the teeth are developing, a condition called fluorosis (white spots on the teeth) may result.

Although most people receive fluoride from food and water, sometimes it is not enough to help prevent decay. Your dentist or dental hygienist may recommend the use of home and/or professional fluoride treatments for the following reasons:

  • Deep pits and fissures on the chewing surfaces of teeth.
  • Exposed and sensitive root surfaces.
  • Fair to poor oral hygiene habits.
  • Frequent sugar and carbohydrate intake.
  • Inadequate exposure to fluorides.
  • Inadequate saliva flow due to medical conditions, medical treatments or medications.
  • Recent history of dental decay.

Remember, fluoride alone will not prevent tooth decay! It is important to brush at least twice a day, floss regularly, eat balanced meals, reduce sugary snacks, and visit your dentist on a regular basis.

Dental Crowns or Caps

A crown (or cap) is a covering that encases the entire tooth surface restoring it to its original shape and size. A crown protects and strengthens tooth structure that cannot be restored with fillings or other types of restorations.

Although there are several types of crowns, porcelain (tooth colored crown) are the most popular. They are highly durable and will last many years, but like most dental restorations, they may eventually need to be replaced. Porcelain crowns are made to match the shape, size, and color or your teeth giving you a natural, long-lasting beautiful smile.

Reasons for crowns:

  • Broken or fractured teeth
  • Cosmetic enhancement
  • Decayed teeth
  • Fractured fillings
  • Large fillings
  • Tooth has a root canal

What does getting a crown involve?

A crown procedure usually requires two appointments. Your first appointment will include taking several highly accurate molds (or impressions) that will be used to create your custom crown. A mold will also be used to create a temporary crown which will stay on your tooth for approximately two weeks until your new crown is fabricated by a dental laboratory.

While the tooth is numb, the dentist will prepare the tooth by removing any decay and shaping the surface to properly fit the crown. Once these details are accomplished, your temporary crown will be placed with temporary cement and your bite will be checked to ensure you are biting properly.

At your second appointment your temporary crown will be removed, the tooth will be cleaned, and your new crown will be carefully placed to ensure the spacing and bite are accurate.

You will be given care instructions and encouraged to have regular dental visits to check your new crown.

Porcelain Fixed Bridges

A dental bridge is a fixed (non-removable) appliance and is an excellent way to replace missing teeth.

There are several types of bridges. You and your dentist will discuss the best options for your particular case. The traditional bridge is the most popular type and is usually made of porcelain fused to metal. Porcelain fixed bridges are most popular because they resemble your natural teeth. This type of bridge consists to two crowns that go over two anchoring teeth (abutment teeth) and are attached to pontics (artificial teeth), filling the gap created by one or more missing teeth.

Dental bridges are highly durable and will last many years, however they may need replacement or need to be re-cemented due to normal wear.

Reasons for a fixed bridge:

  • Fill space of missing teeth
  • Maintain facial shape
  • Prevent remaining teeth from drifting out of position
  • Restore chewing and speaking ability
  • Restore your smile
  • Upgrade from a removable partial denture to a permanent dental appliance

What does getting a fixed bridge involve?

Getting a bridge usually requires two or more visits. While the teeth are numb, the two anchoring teeth are prepared by removing a portion of enamel to allow for a crown. Next, a highly accurate impression (mold) is made which will be sent to a dental laboratory where the bridge will be fabricated. In addition, a temporary bridge will be made and worn for several weeks until your next appointment.

At the second visit, you permanent bridge will be carefully checked, adjusted, and cemented to achieve a proper fit. Occasionally your dentist may only temporarily cement the bridge, allowing your teeth and tissue time to get used to the new bridge. The new bridge will be permanently cemented at a later time.

You will receive care instructions at the conclusion of your treatment. Proper brushing, flossing and regular dental visits will aid in the life of your new permanent bridge.

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