120 Office Park Drive, Mountain Brook, AL 35223, (205) 423-9140

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Mountain Brook, AL Gentle Dentist
Mountain Brook Smiles
120 Office Park Drive
Mountain Brook, AL 35223
(205) 423-9140
Mountain Brook Gentle Dentist
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Posts for: June, 2017

By Mountain Brook Smiles
June 26, 2017
Category: Oral Health

Keeping your gums healthy is an important part of maintaining good oral health. Our Mountain Brook, AL, gentle dentist, Dr. Wes gum diseaseSamford at Mountain Brook Smiles, shares a few tips that will help you protect your gums.

Why gum health is important

Your gums and roots work together to hold your teeth firmly in place. Severe gum disease can cause your gums to loosen. If the disease isn't treated, you may eventually lose teeth. Cleaning your gums regularly and addressing habits that increase your gum disease risk will help you avoid the consequences of gum disease.

How can I keep my gums healthy?

Good gum care will help you avoid gingivitis, the earliest stage of gum disease, and periodontitis, a serious gum infection. The following tips are essential for healthy gums.

  • Brush and Floss Daily: Brushing and flossing remove plaque from every surface of your teeth and your gums. When plaque remains on your teeth too long, it turns into tartar, a hard deposit. Although you can easily remove plaque by brushing twice daily and flossing once, tartar can only be chipped away with special dental instruments. Both plaque and tartar can irritate your gums and cause an infection.
  • Schedule Regular Dental Appointments: Visiting our Mountain Brook office every six months is a simple way to reduce your gum disease risk. During your appointment, you'll receive a thorough cleaning that will remove plaque and tartar. If you do happen to have periodontal disease, we'll recommend treatments that will restore the health of your gums.
  • Use Dental Products That Provide Extra Protection: When you shop for toothpaste and mouthwash, look for products that fight gingivitis and kill bacteria.
  • Stop Smoking: Smoking can increase your risk of periodontal disease. Smoking also interferes with your body's natural healing ability, which may make it more difficult to recover from gum disease.
  • Know the Warning Signs: Bleeding, swollen or receding gums, and bad breath are signs of gingivitis. If you have a more advanced form of the gum disease, you may notice increased pain, pockets around your teeth, pus on your gums, loose teeth or a change in the way your dentures fit. If you notice any of these signs, call us as soon as possible.

Protect your gums with regular dental visits and a good oral hygiene routine. If you have any of the signs of gum disease, call our Mountain Brook, AL, gentle dentist, Dr. Samford at Mountain Brook Smiles, at (205) 423-9140 to schedule an appointment.


ActressEmmaStoneRevealsHowThumbSuckingAffectedHerTeeth

It's no secret that many of Hollywood's brightest stars didn't start out with perfectly aligned, pearly-white teeth. And these days, plenty of celebs are willing to share their stories, showing how dentists help those megawatt smiles shine. In a recent interview with W magazine, Emma Stone, the stunning 28-year-old star of critically-acclaimed films like La La Land and Birdman, explained how orthodontic appliances helped her overcome problems caused by a harmful habit: persistent thumb sucking in childhood.

“I sucked my thumb until I was 11 years old,” she admitted, mischievously adding “It's still so soothing to do it.” Although it may have been comforting, the habit spelled trouble for her bite. “The roof of my mouth is so high-pitched that I had this huge overbite,” she said. “I got this gate when I was in second grade… I had braces, and then they put a gate.”

While her technical terminology isn't quite accurate, Stone is referring to a type of appliance worn in the mouth which dentists call a “tongue crib” or “thumb/finger appliance.” The purpose of these devices is to stop children from engaging in “parafunctional habits” — that is, behaviors like thumb sucking or tongue thrusting, which are unrelated to the normal function of the mouth and can cause serious bite problems. (Other parafunctional habits include nail biting, pencil chewing and teeth grinding.)

When kids develop the habit of regularly pushing the tongue against the front teeth (tongue thrusting) or sucking on an object placed inside the mouth (thumb sucking), the behavior can cause the front teeth to be pushed out of alignment. When the top teeth move forward, the condition is commonly referred to as an overbite. In some cases a more serious situation called an “open bite” may develop, which can be difficult to correct. Here, the top and bottom front teeth do not meet or overlap when the mouth is closed; instead, a vertical gap is left in between.

Orthodontic appliances are often recommended to stop harmful oral habits from causing further misalignment. Most appliances are designed with a block (or gate) that prevents the tongue or finger from pushing on the teeth; this is what the actress mentioned. Normally, when the appliance is worn for a period of months it can be expected to modify the child's behavior. Once the habit has been broken, other appliances like traditional braces or clear aligners can be used to bring the teeth into better alignment.

But in Stone's case, things didn't go so smoothly. “I'd take the gate down and suck my thumb underneath the mouth appliance,” she admitted, “because I was totally ignoring the rule to not suck your thumb while you're trying to straighten out your teeth.” That rule-breaking ended up costing the aspiring star lots of time: she spent a total of 7 years wearing braces.

Fortunately, things worked out for the best for Emma Stone: She now has a brilliant smile and a stellar career — plus a shiny new Golden Globe award! Does your child have a thumb sucking problem or another harmful oral habit? For more information about how to correct it, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can learn more in the Dear Doctor magazine article “How Thumb Sucking Affects the Bite.”


YouShouldBrushandFlossAroundYourImplanttoEnsureitsLongevity

With a 95%-plus success rate, dental implants are an effective and durable replacement for lost teeth. But we can't place them and forget them: if you don't clean and maintain them they could fail as a result of disease.

The inorganic materials that make up the implant aren't in danger of infection. But the living gums and bone that surround and support the implant are at risk. In fact, there's a particular periodontal (gum) disease involving implants called peri-implantitis (“peri” – around; implant “itis” – inflammation).

Peri-implantitis begins when the gum tissues around the implant become infected and inflamed. This happens most commonly because plaque, a thin film of bacteria and food particles, builds up on implant surfaces. Another less frequent cause is a buildup of excess cement used to bond the crown to the implant. We need to remove the built-up plaque or the excess cement during your dental visit.

If the infection isn't treated or you don't keep up effective, daily hygiene practices, the infection can grow and extend deeper into the tissues and finally the bone. This can destroy the all-important integration of bone and metal titanium post that has created the implant's strong hold. When that support becomes compromised the implant can lose its attachment and, if untreated, eventually fail.

It's important to keep an eye out for any indications you may have a gum infection around an implant. Look for redness, swelling, bleeding or pus formation. If the implant feels loose, this may mean that extensive bone loss has already occurred. If you encounter any of these signs, see us immediately for an examination.

The best approach, though, is to prevent peri-implantitis in the first place. So, brush and floss daily around your implant as you do your natural teeth. And be sure you keep up regular dental cleanings and checkups.

With proper care and maintenance you can avoid problems with disease that could affect your implant. Healthy gums and bone will ensure your implant will last for many decades to come.

If you would like more information on preventing disease involving your dental implants, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation.