Dental Implants

Living With Dental Implants

Once you have dental implants placed, their success or failure depends largely on how well the implants are maintained. Many people wrongly believe once they get implants, they no longer need to see the dentist. Although dental implants are easy to care for, they do require a certain level of care to ensure their long-term success and to extend their lifespan.

Immediately following dental implant surgery it is critical to stick to your surgeon’s orders for recovery aftercare. Make sure to keep any follow-up appointments with your oral surgeon, and contact your doctor immediately if you have any complications or feel your implants are not healing properly.

First and foremost it’s vitally important to maintain regular dental visits. Disease and decay can affect teeth that aren’t cleaned properly. Left untreated, periodontal disease may lead to bone loss that can seriously affect the health of your dental implants. Routine visits to your dentist for cleanings and examinations can catch dental disease before it has a chance to harm the surrounding bone, leading to the failure of your implants.

Daily home care is also a critical component to extending the life of dental implants. Your dentist will recommend specific products to use for brushing and flossing and a home care cleaning plan that you should be careful to follow. Oral irrigation systems have proven highly successful in reducing plaque around implants and teeth. Your dentist may also suggest special mouth rinses, floss threaders, and specialized brushes to help avoid the decay that can damage your implants.

With excellent care, you can enjoy the many benefits of dental implants and improve both the look and function of your smile for many years.

If you live in the Shreveport, contact us today

Cosmetic Dentistry

Transform Your Special Day with a Smile Makeover in Shreveport

Life is full of special moments. Whether your upcoming special moment is a class reunion, a birthday or even your wedding day, you’re going to want to look your best. Part of presenting your best self is having a great smile. If your smile needs some sprucing up, you should consider a smile makeover to make your special day even better.

It seems like only a short time ago that photos were taken on rolls of film, in sets of 24 or 36 exposures. Sometimes the same roll of film would be utilized over an entire year, to be economic. In today’s world, photos are taken virtually each day. Selfies have become more popular than ever, and online photo sharing sites leave people wanting to create the most beautiful, the most perfect images possible.

Having a smile makeover can be as subtle as teeth whitening, or as far-reaching as dental veneers. Advancements in dental materials, methodology and technology have allowed patients to benefit from entire-mouth overhauls in less time and with less discomfort than in the past.

Possessing an even, attractive smile can benefit you professionally as well as personally. A great smile brings with it an internal self-confidence that others can recognize. This self-confidence is very attractive, and can lead to many exciting opportunities.

If you’ve been thinking about improving your smile, now is the time. Look ahead to all those special days in front of you, and make a plan with your cosmetic dentist to have a better, more beautiful smile in place before your day arrives.

We look forward to seeing you in our Shreveport dental office

Gum Disease

Things Your Family Dentist Will Tell You About Gum Health

Your family dentist knows a lot about you, even though he or she might only see you twice a year for regular checkups. The reason for this is that your gums and teeth tell a lot about your overall health, including whether or not you may be at increased risk for diseases such as diabetes or heart disease.

Research is beginning to show overwhelmingly that the condition of your mouth is an indication of the condition of your body overall. If you have excellent oral health, there is a greater likelihood that your overall health is good as well. Conversely, if you have poor oral health, you are likely to have other health problems elsewhere in your body. In fact, your family dentist can show you a growing body of research indicating that good oral health can actually protect your body from disease.

The Academy of General Dentistry acknowledges a link between gum disease (also known as periodontal disease) and serious health issues such as diabetes, heart disease and stroke. Your family dentist will tell you that women with gum disease have an increased risk for low-weight, pre-term babies.

Signs of gum disease are swollen, red or purple gum tissue, gums that bleed when you floss or brush, bad breath and gum recession. Signs may also include pain when chewing, loose teeth, and a visible build-up of calcified plaque or tartar along the gumlines.

If your family dentist advises you that you have mild to moderate gum disease, it’s possible to reverse the symptoms significantly within a week by brushing gently twice a day and flossing thoroughly around the tooth. Your family dentist will recommend additional routine cleanings for maintenance of the condition, generally every three months until the symptoms are managed.

Talk to your family dentist in Shreveport to get tips about how you can care for your gums, and thereby for your entire body. Stay healthy for life, starting with your gums!

If you need a dentist in Shreveport, contact us today

Shreveport Dentist - Dr. Cooper

Meet Dr. Jennifer Cooper

A native of Arkansas, she received her Bachelor of Science degree in microbiology from the University of Arkansas, Fayetteville. She is a 2002 graduate of Louisiana State University School of Dentistry in New Orleans. Dr. Cooper began practicing in New Orleans. She moved to Shreveport in 2005 with her husband, Mike, who is a Shreveport native. She is a member of the American Dental Association, Louisiana Dental Association, Northwest Louisiana Dental Association, and Ark-La-Tex Academy of Dentistry.

Dr. Jennifer Cooper’s primary focus is getting to know her patients and making sure they feel comfortable while providing excellent dental care. She enjoys spending time with her three boys. She also enjoys running 5Ks and has recently completed the 2015 Boston Marathon.

Root Canal Therapy

Symptoms That Indicate You Might Need a Root Canal Procedure

If you have tooth pain or another issue, you might wonder what a visit to the dentist may reveal. You may need a root canal procedure. In order to properly evaluate your issue and to confirm the need for a procedure, a dentist will examine several factors. These typically include the symptoms you are experiencing, the signs observed, and any additional testing required to confirm an initial theory.

You may have noticed:

  • You experience average to severe pain that lingers, during or immediately after drinking hot liquids or food, or very cold liquids or foods.
  • You have pain, swelling, or sensitivity when biting or chewing on a certain tooth.
  • Your tooth pain disrupts your life, preventing you from sleeping through the night or conducting your daily business without taking an over-the-counter pain reliever.
  • You have a “bubble” on your gum, similar to a pimple. When irritated, it may release blood or pus that can smell or taste bad.
  • You have pain that radiates out from one tooth to other areas of your head or jaw. For example, a tooth pain can lead to a pain behind the eye like a headache or to the ear, resulting in earache symptoms.
  • You have a discolored tooth that is darker than the surrounding teeth. A grey tooth can indicate a “dead” tooth.
  • You have a broken or cracked tooth with obvious signs of damage or decay.

Your dentist may have noticed:

  • A tooth problem revealed by x-rays
  • A recurring or persistent gum pimple (also called “fistulous tracts”)
  • A tooth that has changed color

Additional testing:

  • X-ray examination – if x-rays did not reveal the problem, they can provide an extremely clear picture of tooth health
  • Percussion testing – a gentle tapping on the teeth to evaluate pain response
  • Thermal testing – a careful application of a hot or cold stimulus to evaluate sensitivity

Sometimes, teeth needing to undergo a root canal procedure have no symptoms discernible to the patient. It is important to visit your dentist in Shreveport regularly to ensure the proper diagnosis and treatment needed to maintain life-long oral health.

If you live in the Shreveport, contact us today

Shreveport Dentist - Dr. Banker

Meet Dr. Charlotte Banker –

Dr. Banker grew up all over the world, living in places such as England, Sweden, and Turkey, before permanently moving to the United States during high school. She earned her bachelor’s degree in biology from Marquette University in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and went on to earn her doctorate from the Marquette University School of Dentistry in 2007. After finishing dental school, she moved to Shreveport to be with her husband, while he completed his residency training in Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery. After living and working in Shreveport for several years, she decided to make it her permanent home.

Dr. Banker joined Broadmoor Family Dental Care in 2010 and her professional memberships include the American Dental Association, Louisiana Dental Association, and Northwest Louisiana Dental Association. She has a commitment to learning and keeps up with the latest dental developments through continuing education classes.

When she is out of the office, Dr. Banker enjoys reading, Pilates, traveling, and spending time with her husband, Andrew, and their three children.

Family Dentist

Getting Back-to-School Checkups

As summer winds down, parents and children will begin to prepare for school to start again. Usually, this process involves shopping for clothes, picking up supplies, and scheduling athletic physicals or required immunizations. Often, dental care falls by the wayside. Protecting your child’s healthy smile should be added to the top of your To Do list.

While most doctors, schools districts, and parents see the importance of vaccinating against whooping cough, measles, or chicken pox, few people consider the fact that tooth decay is an infectious disease that has no immunization. Estimates suggest that one-half of kids from five to nine years old have at least one cavity or filling. Chronic dental problems can impact a child’s ability to eat, speak, and even concentrate.

Having a consistent schedule for checkups can ensure that your child’s teeth and gums stay in good condition. Ideally, your child should visit the dentist at least twice a year. Some children may need more frequent visits because of additional concerns.

You can keep your child’s smile looking and feeling great by:

  • Considering dental sealants. These thin, plastic coatings cover the pits and grooves of back teeth, which are more susceptible to decay.
  • Purchasing a mouth guard. Injuries to the face and mouth can cause serious damage, so buy a mouth guard if your child participates in activities such as football, basketball, soccer, skateboarding, or even horseback riding.
  • Replacing old toothbrushes. According to the American Dental Association, you should replace your child’s toothbrush every three to four months and sooner if it starts to wear out.
  • Supervising brushing efforts. Though most kids can brush on their own by six or seven, you may need to inspect their work until they reach about 10 years of age.

We look forward to seeing you in our Shreveport dental office

Cosmetic Dentistry

Reasons to Consider Cosmetic Dentistry

Today’s cosmetic dentistry offers an extensive array of treatments and procedures to help restore a beautiful and healthy smile. While you may never have considered cosmetic dental procedures as a solution to your dental concerns, there are quite a few reasons you may want to consider for seeking cosmetic dental treatment:

  • Crooked, cracked or decayed teeth can be corrected through bonding, crowns, and veneers, returning your smile to its once vibrant and healthy appearance.
  • Decay and disease can cause you to lose teeth, creating gaps that hollow your face and age your appearance. Cosmetic dentistry offers a wide variety of options such as dental implants for restoring missing teeth, keeping your smile and face younger looking.
  • Teeth that have yellowed or discolored over time due to wine, tobacco or staining foods can be lightened up to ten shades with professional teeth whitening treatments performed by a qualified cosmetic dentist.
  • “Horsey” looking teeth or “gummy” smiles can be corrected through gum re-contouring or restructuring to create a younger, more appealing smile.
  • Misaligned or gapped teeth can be straightened through orthodontia such as Invisalign that is virtually invisible and pain and hassle-free.

Some cosmetic treatments may be offered by your family dentist, but you may want to consider a consultation with a qualified cosmetic dentist to find out more about the full array of treatments available to address your cosmetic dental concerns. Many procedures are quick and painless, and can be combined with other cosmetic treatments to achieve the results you desire. With the help of cosmetic dentistry and proper oral care, you can be assured a confident, more perfect smile.

If you live in the Shreveport, contact us today

Dentures

Rules for the First Days of Wearing Dentures

Once you’ve received dentures to restore missing teeth, it will take some time to get accustomed to them. There’s no reason to be alarmed or frightened about wearing dentures, because most patients go through the same adjustment period. If you’re aware of the potential issues and how to react to them, the process will be easier for you. Here are some rules to follow as you begin wearing dentures.

Don’t try to fix them yourself.

Even though dentures are customized just for you, that doesn’t mean they always fit perfectly right away. There might be some molding defects or other minor flaws that cause the dentures not to fit exactly right or rub sores on your gums. If this happens, don’t try to correct the problem yourself. Take your dentures back to your dentist to explain what’s bothering you, and give your dentist a chance to properly and safely adjust them without damaging the dentures.

Watch your diet.

Similar to getting braces at first, you’ll want to stick to eating soft foods for the first few days of denture wear. Avoid foods that are sticky or hard to chew. Focus on chewing with your back teeth instead of the front part of your dentures, and cut your food into small bites.

Soak your dentures.

Soaking your dentures in a solution recommended by your dentist can help keep them hydrated. This will avoid dryness, which causes friction between your dentures and gums and can lead to mouth sores.

You’re going to unintentionally bite yourself.

It’s part of wearing dentures at first; you’ll probably bite the insides of your cheeks. It’s a natural part of adjusting to the appliance in your mouth, and it will subside as you get used to wearing them. Gargling with a fluoride rinse or other mouthwash provided by your dentist may provide relief.

If you need a dentist in Shreveport, contact us today

Dental Surgeon

Three Things to Know About Root Canal Treatment

Dental SurgeonIf your dental professional has recommended the treatment of an infected tooth with root canal therapy, you may be harboring some fears about the procedure. Many myths exist regarding root canal therapy, most all of which are unfounded. To help address your concerns, consider the following:

  • Root canal treatment is generally considered no more painful than a standard cavity filling. While you may have heard horror stories about root canal pain, in truth it is extremely rare. Advances in sedation technology make any pain associated with a root canal procedure virtually nonexistent.
  • Root canal therapy can take one to two dental visits and usually lasts one to two hours. Initially your dentist will take x-rays of your infected tooth, make a diagnosis and often refer you to an endodontist. At the endodontist, the actual root canal procedure usually takes one to two hours to complete.
  • The standard effects you feel with other dental procedures are essentially the same as with root canal treatment. Expect to hear drill sounds and feel vibration to the inner bone for extended periods of time. You will also feel vigorous movement of files, and possibly smell chemicals.

While root canal therapy is obviously a much more involved procedure than filling a cavity, the experience should not be any more traumatic or stressful. Discuss with your dentist or endodontist any specific concerns regarding your root canal procedure, and be sure you have all your questions answered satisfactorily before proceeding with treatment. In cooperation with your dental professional, you should be able to confidently undergo root canal therapy and restore your healthy smile.

Our dental office is located in Shreveport

Dental Bridges

How to Make Your Dental Crowns and Bridges Last

Dental crowns and bridges are extremely common and popular restoration techniques, and are designed to last for many years, if not a lifetime. There are times, however, when a crown or bridge can become loose due to changes in tooth, bone or gum health. The most positive steps you can take toward ensuring that your restorative work lasts as long as possible starts with excellent oral hygiene habits.

  • Dentists recommend that you brush your teeth a minimum of two times a day, or following each meal to remove harmful plaque that traps bacteria on your teeth, producing toxins and leading to infection.
  • Floss each day, especially around your dental crowns or bridges. Because it is essential that you clean between the anchor teeth of a bridge and underneath the bridge itself, a waterpik or specialized floss can be used.
  • Sonic-powered toothbrushes can be extremely helpful as a plaque remover by vibrating at a high velocity, allowing the brush to break down the plaque build-up and food debris that brushing leaves beneath the gumline.
  • Antibacterial mouthwash can also help reduce bacterial build-up.
  • Be sure your teeth are clean when you go to sleep at night. Don’t let bacteria and plaque take hold while you’re in bed. Sleep with a clean mouth and wake up to healthy teeth in the morning.
  • Eat the right foods to maintain the nutrients your body needs to ensure healthy gums, bones and teeth. Avoid very hard or very sticky foods, such as ice or chewy candies. Keep foreign items out of your mouth, such as pens, pencils or your fingernails. Chewing these can lead to damage to your restorative work.
  • See your dental professional regularly for checkups and cleanings.

Your restorative dental crown or bridge work can last for years to come if you take these simple steps toward protecting them, and protecting your overall dental health.

Schedule your appointment at our Shreveport dental office

Making Dental Visits a Regular Part of your Routine

It’s sometimes easy to forget about going to the dentist, especially when your oral health seems fine and there’s no nagging issue prompting you to go. However, the important thing to remember about dentistry is that it provides preventative care instead of just dealing with problems that already exist.

Here are some good reasons to consistently visit the dentist every six months or so.

Hidden problems

Even if you practice good oral care at home, there are some things that you can’t do on your own. Your dentist can examine areas of your mouth that you can’t see or reach yourself. Additionally, your dentist has special equipment designed for thorough examination. X-rays are helpful to look for disease and bone issues. Sometimes problems are hiding that you can’t see or feel, but your dentist can identify issues before they become more serious.

Avoiding pain

If you don’t want to go to the dentist for preventative care when you’re not experiencing any pain or other problems, what makes you think you’d rather go when you have a toothache? It’s better to have regular checkups and identify any conditions that can be treated before symptoms begin. Don’t wait until you are having problems to see your dentist. Instead, maintain a healthy mouth so that you have a better chance of avoiding pain later.

Need for a specialist

During a dental checkup, you may learn that there is another kind of dental professional who can help you. Perhaps your jaw alignment needs correction, or your wisdom teeth should be removed. Oral surgeons and orthodontists are examples of specialists who can provide treatment if your dentist determines it might help you in the long run.

Schedule your dental check up today at our Shreveport dental office.

Dental Issues During Pregnancy

It is important for both an expectant mother and her unborn baby to maintain healthy teeth and gums during pregnancy. This means practicing good oral hygiene and having regular visits to the dentist during this special time in a mother’s life. There are some common problems that pregnant women face involving their oral health.

Here are some dental issues to watch out for during pregnancy.

Pregnancy gingivitis

Changes in hormone levels can irritate the gums, increase sensitivity, and trigger gum disease. Pregnancy gingivitis is a common issue that triggers bleeding gums during brushing and flossing. The condition can advance to serious periodontal disease if not treated, and end up harming the bones that secure teeth in place. Therefore, tooth loss is possible for serious cases. Tooth decay and infection are other effects of pregnancy gingivitis, and it can even cause the baby to be born with low birth weight.

Tooth decay

Morning sickness not only makes an expectant mother feel terrible, it can actually cause tooth decay and damage teeth. These results are linked to the increased acid in a mother’s mouth during morning sickness. Sometimes switching toothpastes helps relieve feelings of sickness, so dentists may have suggestions about specific toothpastes to try that might reduce morning sickness.

Pregnancy tumors

Possible at any time during pregnancy, a large red lump can form on irritated gums. It may bleed, become crusty, cause discomfort, and impact speaking and eating. This growth is called a pregnancy tumor and requires treatment from a dental health professional.

The Success Rate of Dental Implants

Dental implants have become a great solution for many people who have suffered tooth loss. Implants involve surgically placing an artificial root in your jaw to anchor a replacement tooth or crown. These are used to replace one or more teeth, and do not impact neighboring teeth. Now that dental implants have been used for some time in dental care, what is their success rate?

Studies show that dental implants are one of the most successful restoration procedures. There is a 95 percent success rate after five years for lower jaw implants, and 90 percent for upper jaw. This difference in success is likely due to the lower jaw being denser than the upper jaw, which makes it more difficult for the implant to integrate with the upper jaw bone.

A successful implant requires the patient, dentist, and oral surgeon to work together to create and follow a treatment plan. It’s important for this teamwork to continue after the implant and crown have been placed, so that the chances for success are best. You should consult with your dentist before getting implants to make sure you are a good candidate, because many failures can be avoided by making sure you have the best opportunities for success from the beginning.

After receiving dental implants, some of the reasons they may fail include:

  • Implants sometimes break or fracture.
  • Infection or inflammation in the gums or bone may occur.
  • Implants may not integrate with the bone properly if the implant is not placed appropriately.
  • Poor oral hygiene can lead to a condition similar to gum disease around the implant.
  • Smoking can reduce the body’s ability to heal.

If you are carefully evaluated and determined to be a good candidate for implants, and if you follow the instructions for after care, you should be able to achieve the high success rates like most patients do.

Choosing the Right Cosmetic Dentistry Procedures for You

The field of cosmetic dentistry offers many treatments options that can transform your smile into what you’ve always hoped it could be. These oral health specialists offer ways to correct discoloration, chips, gaps, holes, and other flaws that negatively affect your smile. Even though the list of procedures is long, not every one of them is the right one for every patient.

Before selecting a cosmetic dentistry procedure, make sure it’s the best to meet your needs.

Teeth whitening

Professionally brightening your smile in your dentist’s office can provide dramatic and fast results. Treatment involves having a special bleaching gel placed on your teeth and then a laser light being shined on them to complete the process. It may be too uncomfortable though for patients who have highly sensitive teeth and gums, and it’s not approved for pregnant or nursing mothers.

Dental implants

Missing teeth can be replaced with dental implants, which are basically artificial tooth roots with a dental crown on top to complete the look. Implants are permanently secured directly into your jawbone to provide a very natural and durable solution. This is not a good option for patients who have significant bone loss from conditions like periodontal disease, unless bone graft surgery is done to correct the problem. Patients who have a history of head and neck radiation therapy also need to be examined thoroughly to ensure implants are an option.

Veneers

Dental veneers hide all sorts of imperfections by covering the fronts of damaged teeth with thin shells. Because some tooth enamel often requires removal during treatment, teeth sensitivity can be an issue for some patients. Those who grind or clench their teeth also may not be candidates for veneers because the pressure can damage them.

Braces

Orthodontic problems are often resolved by cosmetic dentists using braces. Patients with metal allergies or periodontal disease no longer have to forego braces, because traditional treatment is not the only choice. Clear plastic braces are now a great choice for many patients.

The In’s and Out’s of Cosmetic Dentistry

If you are unhappy with your smile, cosmetic dentistry may be able to turn that frown upside down. The appearance and function of your teeth and gums can be improved, along with the added benefits of enhancing your self-esteem and making you confident to show your smile.

Here are some general guidelines about cosmetic dentistry.

Restorations

Advancements are being made all the time to provide natural-looking ways to restore your smile. Cosmetic dentistry includes a variety of techniques that can correct problems. Some of these include porcelain veneers, bonding, crowns, implants, and gum grafts. Cosmetic dentists can restore missing teeth, correct gaps in your smile, restore comfortable mouth function, and help improve your overall health.

Orthodontics

This specialty concentrates on aligning your teeth properly so that your mouth functions well and appears proportioned. Orthodontic treatment through the use of braces or other appliances provides a straight and appealing smile, while also giving you a well-aligned jaw.

Dental fillings

To correct cavities or similar problems, dental fillings are used. Improvements have been made so that fillings are less noticeable and very durable. Often, resin or porcelain may be used to provide a seamless look.

Teeth whitening

Transforming stained or discolored teeth into whiter, more appealing smiles has become increasingly popular in cosmetic dentistry. There are a variety of simple techniques available that can give you a more youthful, bright smile.

Kids’ Ages and their Dental Care

Teaching your kids good dental habits and making sure they get dental care are some of the most important things you can do for them. Guidelines for helping your child improve their oral health depend upon their ages.

Here are some oral health tips for various stages of childhood.

Infants (up to 2 years)

It’s never too early to begin oral care! Clean your baby’s gums with a damp cloth after feedings to remove bacteria. Once the first tooth erupts, use a soft toothbrush for babies to gently brush the teeth and gums. Use a pea-sized dab of toothpaste and brush at least twice a day. Around the first birthday, begin taking your child to the dentist for regular checkups.

Preschoolers (2-4 years)

This age group has the highest incidence of tooth decay, because most preschoolers love sugary foods but may not love brushing their teeth. Brush your child’s teeth yourself until they are old enough to do it well, but continue supervising the process to make sure all areas are clean. Consider flavored or character fluoride toothpastes if it encourages your child to brush. Also, limit the amount of sugary foods and drinks your child consumes.

Young elementary (5-7 years)

As more and more teeth grow in, your child needs to brush carefully with fluoride toothpaste. Make sure all areas of your child’s mouth are being reached, and help your child use dental floss to clean between teeth and gums. Continue helping your child make healthy diet choices.

Older kids (over 8 years)

Most children should be able to brush on their own by age 8, but performing spot checks is a good idea to make sure they are doing a good job. Teach your child to brush after meals, especially when eating sugary or sticky foods, and emphasize the importance of flossing every day. Continue taking your child for regular dental checkups every six months, which will help create a life-long habit of good oral care.

Healthy Smiles for Seniors

As people get older, their bodies change. One area that can be affected is oral health. To protect the longevity and beauty of your smile, you need to be aware of problems like gum disease and dry mouth.

The following tips will help you enjoy strong teeth and optimal dental health.

Keep up with dental visits

Plan to see your dentist every six months for checkups. During these appointments, your dentist can assess your oral health and make recommendations for any necessary treatment.

Stay vigilant about home care

Older patients can be susceptible to increased plaque development. Brushing twice daily and flossing regularly will help protect your mouth from problems like cavities and gum disease.

Find the right products

Sometimes, mobility becomes an issue as you age. Consider purchasing an electronic toothbrush and/or extended flossers to make your oral hygiene routine easier.

Protect your dental appliances

If you wear dentures, treat them with care. Make sure to remove and clean them regularly to keep them in good condition and prevent odor build-up. It is also important to schedule periodic appointments, which will allow your dentist to check the fit and make any adjustments.

Be honest with your dentist

Make sure your provider stays up-to-date on your current medications and any health conditions, such as diabetes or heart disease. Having the big picture of your whole body will allow the dentist to tailor a dental care plan that will produce the best results and preserve your fabulous smile.

Smile Makeovers Can Make a Good Impression

If you have a well-maintained exterior, you’re more likely to have a self-confident interior. And if you are self-confident and looking good, you are more likely to achieve things like that job you’re seeking or that date you’re wanting. One way to achieve these goals and make a good impression is to undergo a smile makeover.

Cosmetic dentistry has become increasingly popular in recent years because people are realizing the role that a healthy, attractive smile plays. Others even tend to judge you based on your teeth, making assumptions about your lifestyle or your hygiene habits. When you have dental problems like chipped teeth, discolorations, cavities, missing teeth, or uneven gums, these issues can hinder the way you look and feel. Luckily, cosmetic dentistry offers a variety of procedures that can renew your smile.

The first step in a smile makeover is making a consultation appointment with a qualified, experienced cosmetic dentist. You can explain your goals for your smile, and learn about the procedures your dentist recommends for you. You may receive suggestions for a single procedure or multiple enhancements, with the ultimate goal of making your teeth look as natural and healthy as possible.

Some common cosmetic dentistry options include:

  • Teeth whitening to brighten your tooth color
  • Veneers to cover imperfections on your teeth
  • Implants to restore missing teeth
  • Gum or tooth contouring to reshape areas
  • Bonding to correct imperfections like tooth chips
  • Orthodontic appliances to realign teeth and jaws

No matter which procedures are right for you, advances in cosmetic dentistry allow you to achieve a winning smile that will allow you to make a good impression on others, as well as improve your self-esteem.

What Your Teeth Say about Your Health

A definite link exists between your oral health and overall wellbeing. In fact, your teeth can actually tell you and your health care providers a lot about what’s going on with your body.

Look through the following symptoms and contact a doctor if you have concerns:

Flat or Worn Teeth

– Often, people grind their teeth, a condition called bruxism, without even realizing it. This clenching and grinding can serve as an indication of the stress in your life. Headaches and jaw pain are other symptoms of teeth grinding. To stop the discomfort and wear on your teeth, your dentist may suggest a mouth guard.

Cracking or Crumbling Teeth

– When a person exhibits cracking or crumbling teeth, it usually indicates a problem with gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD), which is also refereed to as acid reflux disease. With GERD, the stomach acid comes back up into the esophagus and can then reach your teeth. In younger people, disintegrating teeth can also point towards bulimia, a serious eating disorder.

Sores that Don’t Heal

– Sometimes, people may accidentally bite their gums or chew on the inside of their cheeks as a nervous habit. These sores usually heal quickly. If you have an area that doesn’t clear up with one to two weeks, contact your dentist for an exam to rule out oral cancer. In fact, oral cancer kills one person every hour. Early detection improves treatment options and long-term prognosis.

Dry Mouth

– Allergies, smoking, dehydration, and certain medications can all lead to dry mouth. However, not having enough saliva can indicate other medical conditions such as Sjogren’s syndrome and diabetes.

Schedule a visit at our Shreveport dentists office today!

Simple Rules to Keep Your Teeth Healthy

You only get one smile, so you need to protect its beauty and longevity. Caring for your teeth and gums is relatively easy. Once you incorporate these practices into your life, you will reap the benefits of a healthy, lasting smile.

Brush and floss consistently

Plan to brush in the morning, which removes bacteria and germs from overnight. In the evening, you need to brush because this step eliminates food accumulated during the day. Flossing will remove plaque and food particles caught between teeth, reducing your risk of cavities and gum disease.

Rinse after you eat

The longer food and bacteria sit on your teeth, the greater the risk for decalcification, which can lead to cavities. Once you finish eating, rinse with water to keep teeth in good condition.

Choose a balanced diet

If you make sure to eat right, which means choosing to have fruits, veggies, and lean protein, you will improve your dental health and overall wellness. Getting vital nutrients will promote healthy teeth and gums.

See the dentist regularly

Routine exams allow your dentist to assess your oral health and create a treatment plan for any necessary repairs. If you don’t address the issue, small problems, such as cavities, can lead to larger issues, like the need for root canal therapy. Your dentist will also use these appointments to look for signs of more serious oral health concerns, such as oral cancer or periodontal disease.

Give up bad habits

If you chew ice, smoke, or bite your nails, these habits can cause damage to your teeth and gums. Curbing these actions can ensure that your teeth and gums stay strong over your lifetime.

 

Finding a Doctor for Dental Implants

There are few things worse than going through life with holes in your mouth due to missing teeth. Traditionally, the only solution dentists offered was dentures. There is a newer technology available that has given hope to many people wanting to permanently restore their smiles in a natural-looking way.

Dental implants are surgically placed into your jaw bone. These durable titanium rods eventually fuse with your bone, literally becoming a permanent part of your body. Once the implants have healed, replacement teeth are placed on top to complete the restoration. The end result are teeth that look and feel like real ones. Implants do not have the problems often associated with dentures such as shifting, loosening, or affecting speech or diet.

If you are thinking about dental implants, it is important to find a dentist who is trained and experienced in this procedure. Not every dentist is skilled in implants, so do your research to find a suitable dentist who you trust. First, ask your general dentist for recommendations. Also ask friends, family, and coworkers for suggestions for dentists they know of who are qualified in dental implants.

Do your own research on the internet or phone book to find reputable dentists in your area. Then call or go by the dental offices. A visit to a dentist is always a good idea so that you can see first-hand what the office is like, meet the staff, learn about the dentist’s credentials, and see how the office is run. You not only want a dentist who is trained to perform implants, but also runs a caring and efficient office.

Once you find a dentist you are considering for your implants, make an appointment for a consultation. Ask all of the questions you might have, ask to see photographs, and get all of the details you need about treatment, costs, and recovery. If you are uncomfortable with any aspect of what you find out at your consultation, continue interviewing other dentists until you find the right one to meet your dental implant needs.

Gum Disease Creates Serious Concerns

Estimates suggest that at least 75 to 80 percent of adults have some level of gum disease. Because the initial symptoms are mild, like swollen or bleeding gums, many people don’t realize they have a problem until gum disease causes damage to their oral health. Understanding the signs and the seriousness of gum disease can help you protect your smile.

Myth: Gingivitis is no big deal.

Truth: The mildest form of gum disease, gingivitis will get worse without treatment. If you practice excellent dental care and see the dentist as directed, you won’t sustain any lasting problems.

Myth: Everyone’s gums bleed when they brush.

Truth: Just as your arm bleeds if you get cut, your gums bleed when you have a problem. Swollen and bleeding gums are often an indication of gum disease. If you notice pink in the sink, mention it to your dentist.

Myth: Gum disease is curable.

Truth: Although your dentist can stop the progression and promote healthy gum tissue, gum disease is only treatable, not curable. Good home hygiene and regular dental appointments will keep your gums in good condition and prevent further problems

Myth: As people age, they naturally lose their teeth.

Truth: Ideally, your teeth are meant to last a lifetime. The number one cause of adult tooth loss is gum disease. So if you take good care of your mouth, with regular dental care and routine home care, you should enjoy a complete smile for life.

 

Root Canals are Sometimes the Best Solution

If your dentist gives you the news that you need a root canal, it’s likely that you might cringe. However, sometimes a root canal is the absolute best way to save your tooth. Finding out more details about the procedure, its purpose, and what you can expect may make you feel better about following your dentist’s advice.

Purpose

The goal of a root canal is to repair a tooth that is acutely decayed or infected. The nerve and pulp of your tooth are taken out so the inside of your tooth can be cleaned. Often, a root canal is your only choice for a tooth that is in such poor condition. Without treatment, infection is likely and an abscess can develop. This painful complication occurs when the infection spreads deep into your tooth beyond the ends of the roots.

Procedure

The process of getting a root canal takes several dental office visits. It is sometimes performed at your regular dentist, or you may see a specialist called an endodontist. First, an X-ray will help the doctor determine the exact requirements of your case. Anesthesia or topical numbing may be used, depending on your procedure. Often patients choose anesthesia to be more at ease during the root canal. The doctor will then drill an access hole into your tooth, and begin the thorough process of cleaning out the tooth. The pulp, bacteria, nerve tissue, and any other debris will be removed. After cleaning is complete, the tooth will be sealed and a temporary filling placed to keep the area clean until the next appointment. At that time, the interior of your tooth will be filled and sealed, and a final filling will be placed on top. The last step may include a restoration like a crown to restore complete function and protect the tooth from further damage.

Expectations

Although you’ve probably heard root canals are very painful, many patients say it’s no worse than having a cavity filled. Your tooth may be sensitive for a few days, which ibuprofen should control. You should be able to return to your regular activities the day after your procedure.

Cosmetic Dental Procedures Summarized

Years of wear and tear on your teeth are not always kind to your smile, so that’s when cosmetic dentistry can save the day. This branch of dentistry provides a way to overcome problems with your smile that you dislike, giving you a look that you’ve always wanted.

There are a variety of treatments available through cosmetic dentists.

Teeth whitening

A very popular cosmetic technique is teeth whitening or bleaching. Whitening stained teeth may be quickly accomplished using highly concentrated products at your dentist’s office, or at home with customized methods available under your dentist’s supervision. Either way, teeth whitening can boost your self-esteem and noticeably improve your smile.

Bonding

A simple and fast way to restore chipped, broken, stained, or decayed teeth is bonding. In a single trip to the dentist, tooth-colored composite resin material is placed on your damaged teeth and shaped to look natural and appealing. Even gaps between your teeth can be filled.

Veneers

Thin porcelain shells adhered to the fronts of your teeth are called veneers. They hide imperfections like chipped, crooked, stained, or uneven teeth. The process takes two to three visits to your dentist because the veneers are created in a separate dental lab. They are durable and stain resistant.

Inlays and onlays

Used for large cavities or cracks in your teeth, inlays and onlays are created in a dental lab and then glued to your teeth. This allows them to fit perfectly with no rough edges, and they match your natural teeth.

Composite fillings

Minor problems like chips all the way up to more serious issues like worn molars can be repaired with composite resin fillings. This organic material is used to restore decayed teeth or reshape damaged teeth, providing a natural and attractive appearance.