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The Summer Smile Dangers Of Dehydration [BLOG]

June 18, 2017

Summer is finally here! That means barbecues, baseball games, picnics, and trips to the local swimming pool with the kids. With so much fun to be had in the fresh outdoors, it’s hard to remember that there could be risks to our oral health.

Dr. Landry and our team at Lapalco Family Dental have that covered in today’s blog, so you don’t have to worry about it. Today, we’re talking about the dangers that dehydration can pose to your healthy summer smile.

With a little help from our Marrero dental staff, you can better protect your oral health from dehydration while you’re out enjoying time with the family in the heat of the summer months.

All That Saliva Can Do

Being dehydrated is bad for your overall health, certainly. You know about the importance of staying hydrated to avoid things like dizziness or heat stroke. But many of us don’t know what dehydration can do to your teeth.

The most obvious problem is that it causes dry mouth. Saliva is definitely among the unsung heroes of your oral health. It’s easy to forget how important it is to a healthy smile. But let’s take a moment to ‘brush up’ (you’re welcome!) on all that saliva does for you:

Saliva Keeps Your Breath Fresh

Believe it or not, the human body comes equipped with its own mouthwash factory. Saliva production helps wash away debris that food and drinks leave behind to keep your teeth, gums, and tongue clean and your breath nice and fresh.

Saliva Keeps The Stains Away

Did you know that saliva is like a protective shield for your teeth? It’s true! It keeps a coating of protection on your enamel so that dark pigments from things like pasta sauce, coffee, and red wine aren’t able to stick to your teeth and stain them.

Saliva Keeps Your Enamel Strong

Another way your saliva protects your teeth is by shielding your enamel with its calcium and other trace minerals. This helps to keep your enamel healthy and strong.

Saliva Keeps Cavities And Gum Disease At Bay

As we mentioned before, saliva helps wash away debris left after you eat or drink, so along with keeping your mouth clean and your breath fresh, saliva gets rid of all that harmful bacteria that would otherwise feast on food particles and sugar, which would lead to things like decay, cavities, and gum disease.

All That Dehydration Can Do

Now that you know the ways saliva protects your healthy mouth, let’s take a look at how your smile could potentially suffer without it! Dehydration, and resulting dry mouth, could cause all sorts of problems for your teeth.

It Weakens Your Tooth Enamel

Along with strengthening your tooth enamel, saliva helps remineralize it and repair damage you don’t even see. But when you’re dehydrated, there isn’t enough saliva to do all of that. As a result, your enamel can erode, growing weaker as that happens.

It Gives You Bad Breath

Without saliva acting as your body’s natural mouthwash, all the debris from food and sugary drinks will just hang out in your mouth. If your teeth, gums, and tongue aren’t kept clean with enough saliva, your breath will start to smell bad.

It Leads To Gum Disease

Dry mouth can increase your risk of gum disease. This is because bacteria in your mouth feeds on the food particles and sugar left behind after you eat. Without saliva to wash those particles away, the bacteria will create acids as it feeds. Once the acids have eaten through your teeth, they move on and can attack your gums.

Gum disease can eventually lead to tooth loss if it goes untreated. That’s why the ripple effect of dehydration can lead to much more serious dental problems over time.

It Causes Cavities

In the same way dry mouth can lead to gum disease, it can lead to cavities. Again, the bacteria feeds off food particles and other debris, and the acids created from that process create holes, or cavities, in your teeth.

Make An Appointment!

Protecting your teeth and gums throughout the summer months is a team effort. Our Marrero dental staff is here to help you! Call us today at 504-264-6461 or fill out our online form to schedule an a routine dental cleaning and exam with Dr. Landry.

 

5 Healthy Smile Halloween Tips

October 24, 2016

Filed under: Blog — Tags: , , , , , — lapalcodental @ 3:09 pm

Here at Lapalco Family Dental, located in Marrero, LA, the health of our patients’ smiles is our number one priority! That means helping you get through the upcoming holiday season! Halloween is right around the corner, and it’s the “sweetest” holiday of the year.

But those sweets treats can cause problems for kids’ teeth (and yours, if you have a “sweet tooth”) if some basic rules of good oral hygiene aren’t followed. Those problems include tooth chipping or even breakage, loss of dental restorations, and dental plaque building up that can cause decay.

With that in mind, here are 5 tips for a healthy smile this Halloween season.  

Tip #1: Avoid sticky and hard candies.

We know that can be tough to do since a lot of families still prefer to grab a handful of those wrapped candies and drop in them in the goody bags of costumed kids.

Hard candies can chip or actually break teeth if your child (or you!) bites down hard enough. And few people have the willpower to continue to let the candy dissolve in the mouth. Better to avoid hard candies than to risk a healthy tooth! And if you have dental restorations such as crowns or bridges, you’d be better off giving the hard candies a pass, too.

Sticky candies won’t threaten your kids’ teeth or yours with breakage, but they’re notorious for getting in between teeth where brushing won’t remove the sugary stuff. And, if you or someone in your family has a filling or two, you could be putting those fillings at risk with sticky candy. Some people have actually pulled out part or all of a filling!

Tip #2: Eat your candy with meals.

One thing about candy is that it’s addictive – almost literally so. It’s amazingly easy to dip into the goody bag between meals and before you know it, your children have eaten a third of what’s in there! And, that sugary stuff usually stays on the teeth and gums until bedtime, feeding the decay-causing plaque that’s trying to grow there.

Save Halloween candy as a special dessert for after dinner. That way, your kids won’t overeat and it’ll be just a few hours before they brush away the remains of their indulgence.

Tip #3: Don’t forget to brush!

This may sound like a “doh!” tip, but you’d be surprised how much the Halloween season disrupts people’s schedules. Your kids may attend Halloween parties and come back home bouncing off the walls. Or, they may sneak some of that delicious sugary stuff in spite of your best efforts.

That’s what makes regular brushing and flossing even more important at Halloween. There are way more temptations than usual out there, and the energy with which kids embrace the season (and candy!) can disrupt schedules. Make a special effort at this time of year to never let the kids go to bed without caring for their teeth.

Tip #4: Drink lots of water.

Water used to be known as the “universal solvent” because so many things dissolve in it. It’s not usually called that anymore, but it’s still true that sugars are water-soluble – given them enough exposure to water, and they’ll dissolve.

The more often your kids drink plain water during the season, the better chance that the residue from sugary over-indulgence will dissolve and wash away. And that can save you a lot of time, aggravation, and money down the road.

Tip #5: Maintain a healthy diet.

This might be the hardest of the 5 tips to follow at this time of year. We can probably all remember when we were kids and not wanting supper because we dug into the candy stash.

Growing children need a balanced, healthy diet just as much if not more as adults. The Halloween season requires parents to be ever-vigilant in not letting their children replace healthy meals with handfuls of candy.

A Check-up Might Just be a Good Idea

At Lapalco Family Dental, we appreciate the fact that so many of our families schedule regular checkups for themselves and their children. But with the negative effects of massive candy use on young teeth this time of year, why not schedule a quick checkup? If you have the slightest doubt about how well your child’s teeth have weathered the season, let us put your mind at ease.

Make an appointment at Lapalco Family Dental. To schedule a visit at our dentist office in Marrero, LA, call 504-264-6461 or fill out our online form.

Clean Up Your Smile This Spring

March 22, 2016

Filed under: Blog — Tags: , , — lapalcodental @ 8:00 am

Spring has arrived.

This means a lot of things, but for many families, it’s time for spring cleaning. This is a good time of year to go through our homes and garages to figure out what to keep and what to let go.

Many people also use this as a time to remove the accumulated dirt from the past year (or more) on the outside of their homes.

So, why not take a similar approach to your oral care? (We are assuming that you want to keep your teeth.)

If you haven’t already scheduled your next cleaning and examination at Lapalco Family Dental, call our dentist office in Marrero, LA, today. When you do, why not take your cleaning one step further and have your teeth whitened at the same time?

Start With The Basics

Dental hygiene is essential for your oral health.

You need to brush your teeth twice per day every day, and you need to brush for two minutes every time you brush. You should floss your teeth every day, too, to remove as many bacteria and as much plaque as possible.

You should also make plans to visit our office at least twice a year for cleanings and examinations.

No matter how well you brush and floss, it’s always a good idea to have professional cleanings, too. We will remove any plaque or tartar buildup that you may have missed.

We also will take X-rays of your teeth to check for any changes in your alignment and to identify places where cavities may be forming.

Keep in mind that your visits are about fixing problems when they are small and preventing them whenever possible. This is why we offer fluoride treatments as well.

Fluoride helps to keep your teeth healthy. It strengthens the enamel on the outside of your teeth, and it can repair enamel that has received minor damage.

Take Your Smile To The Next Level

Even if your teeth are perfectly healthy they may not be perfectly white.

As we get older, our teeth naturally will become less bright and less white. Every cup of coffee, every glass of tea, every meal that you eat has a small effect on your teeth.

Those stains can build slowly and gradually for decades until you realize your pearly white aren’t so white anymore.

To help your teeth look as healthy as they can, we offer professional teeth whitening in our office. You can schedule your whitening while you are already visiting us for your next cleaning.

We use Boost whitening products in our office.

If you told us today that your teeth needed to be whiter for an event tomorrow, than Boost in-office treatments would be the way to go. You will notice a significant improvement to your smile in a single visit to our office.

To take your whitening to the next level, we can provide you with one of Boost’s take-home products. These include a bleaching agent and trays that you can wear overnight.

That’s right. You can whiten your teeth while you sleep.

What About Commercial Whitening?

Can commercial products work? Some work better than others, but none of them work as well as professional whitening products.

The difference is sort of like the difference between a fire hose and your garden hose. Both of them use water, but one gets a lot more power out of it.

Professional and commercial whitening products often use the same active ingredients, but professional products have a much higher concentration of that ingredient. This is why they are available through dentists and not at the grocery store.

There’s another way to look at the difference between professional and commercial whitening products. Imagine each product is a long distance runner.

In a little over two hours, a world-class runner can complete the entire marathon. Recreational runners may only cover half, one-third, or even less of that distance in that same amount of time.

That’s sort of the same way professional whitening products, like Boost, can give you better results in the same amount of time (and often in less time) when compared to commercial products.

Do Something For Your Teeth

You can’t deny that your teeth have been an important part of your life. As long as you have had them, they have helped you bite into and chew up the foods that you eat.

Your teeth are the main attraction in your smile, so why not include them in this year’s spring cleaning.

Call 504-264-6461 or fill out our online form to schedule a professional cleaning and professional teeth whitening at Lapalco Family Dental in Marrero, LA.

CEREC: The Next Generation in Dental Crowns

June 1, 2015

Would it surprise you that we use something in our dental practice (Lapalco Family Dental in Marrero, LA) that is 2,000 years old on an almost daily basis? It’s true! We use porcelain to make our crowns. Why porcelain? Porcelain is very durable, stain-resistant, and is also the material that most closely approximates the appearance of your natural teeth. Porcelain was invented during the Han Dynasty in China, and made its way to Europe in the 16th century. The word “porcelain” comes from the Italian word porcellana, a type of translucent sea shell. In dentistry, porcelain has never been surpassed in terms of performance and aesthetic value.

It’s somewhat ironic then that to make our porcelain crowns, we use some of the most advanced technology available in dentistry. The CEREC Same Day Crowns system combines the advantages of porcelain which have been known for millennia with cutting edge advancements in the fields of digital imaging, automated manufacturing, and software. The crowns that are made using CEREC are more accurately designed and more durable, capable of saving teeth that at one time could only be addressed with an extraction by an oral surgeon.

On top of all these advantages, CEREC Same Day Crowns are fast. Traditionally, getting a dental crown place was a procedure that would take weeks to complete. You’d need two appointments: one to have your dental impression made (which is used to design the crown for your teeth) and one to have it placed. During the weeks in between, your crown would be fabricated at a specialized lab outside of the practice.

Besides being inconvenient for patients, all that waiting is dangerous. Because crowns usually take so long to make, you would have a temporary crown placed to provide basic protection for your tooth. These temporary crowns are very prone to breakage, and if this happens (more often than you might think) your tooth is now vulnerable to infection. This usually can only be treated with a root canal (which is likely why you’re getting the crown in the first place)!

How Does CEREC Make Crowns So Fast?

CEREC cuts out all the time it usually takes a crown; a procedure that took weeks now only takes a single appointment with CEREC. CEREC is an acronym (like AWOL, NAFTA, or SWOT) that stands for Chairside Economical Restoration of Esthetic Ceramics. It’s a bit of a mouthful, so here’s what it means in plain English:

Chairside Economical Restoration: The entire fabrication (or “milling”) process takes place in your dentist’s office. There is no need to send away for a crown to be made. It is economical in terms of time and the materials needed to fabricate the crown, which is technically referred to as a dental restoration.

Esthetic Ceramics: simply refers to the porcelain from which CEREC Same Day Crowns are made. Porcelain is a type of ceramic, and it is unmatched in terms of performing the functions of your natural teeth, as well as how it looks in relation to your natural teeth.

How Your CEREC Crown is Designed

CEREC Same Day Crowns are custom made for your specific teeth, like all other crowns. However, CEREC achieves this in a way that is very different from traditional methods.

In a traditional crown placement, the first thing that your dentist will do is create an impression; similar to a mold, an impression is a physical “picture” of your oral cavity and teeth in three dimensions. These are useful, but the chance for error is high (for example, if the mold is taken incorrectly) and because the impressions are solid objects (and are relatively large in size) they usually cannot be stored, in case your crown is damaged due to injury.

CEREC uses advanced imaging technology to create a digital impression. Digital impressions are much more accurate than physical ones, can be stored, duplicated, and transmitted easily. Most importantly, a digital impression can be read by a computer.

The digital impression is sent to a computer, where powerful CAD/CAM software (Computer Aided Design/Computer Aided Manufacturing) interprets the impression, and generates a design for your crown. This process produces designs that are so accurate, we are now able to save teeth that were once considered unsalvageable; even teeth that have been injured and are broken very near the gum line.

Automated “Fast-Milling”

Once your dentist has gone over the design and made any necessary changes or additions, the final design is sent to an automatic fast-milling machine. Instead of a human spending hours doing painstaking, slow work, the automatic fast-milling machine quickly turns a block of porcelain into your crown in minutes. Once the milling process is complete, your crown can be placed immediately.

All of this saves you precious time and protects you from the risk of a tooth infection.

Are You Ready for the Next Generation of Dental Technology?

If your tooth has been damaged due to injury, tooth decay, or if it is recommended that you receive endodontic therapy (root canal), you need to get a crown. Don’t settle for waiting weeks when it can be done in an hour!

Call us to make an appointment at 504-264-6461, or click here to reach our online appointment form and book your visit right now!