Baby on the way? Why dental care may be more important than ever

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We are always delighted when our patients share their good news – especially when there’s a new baby on the way. Lidiana, one of our fantastic hygienists, just went out on maternity leave, bringing us a real life reminder about the importance of dental care during pregnancy.

While some might lean towards postponing routine dental care until after giving birth, the right course is really quite the opposite – in fact, oral care is extremely important for your healthy teeth and your overall wellbeing.

Here are some suggestions I have gathered from Dr. Yolanda, Dr. Joe, and our assistants:

Let us know if you are pregnant. We can offer you a great deal of education about extra attentive home care, as well as what procedures we would recommend taking care of or postponing until post childbirth.

Before coming in for your appointment, check in with your obstetrician to see if he/she has any special instructions for you or for us.

Fill us in our what medications or prenatal vitamins your ob/gyn has prescribed. We may alter any treatment based on this information.

You may be surprised to know that routine dental x-rays can be done during pregnancy. Rest assured that you will be well shielded, and advances in x-ray technology have made them much safer than in the past. And of course, if they’re not absolutely necessary, we can hold off if you prefer.

Please keep your regular dental checkup appointment. Now more than ever, regular periodontal (gum) exams are so important because pregnancy causes hormonal changes that put you at increased risk for periodontal disease and tender gums that may bleed easily – a condition called pregnancy gingivitis.

If you notice any changes in your gum or teeth, for example tenderness, bleeding or gum swelling, please let us know.

Finally, continue to be vigilant about your oral hygiene routine to prevent or reduce oral health issues during your pregnancy.

Oh, one more thing – please keep us in the loop when your baby is born! As a member of our extended Mitchell Dentistry family, we love to hear your good news and to see your photos.

And as always, please contact us with any questions about caring for your teeth, mouth, and gums during your pregnancy or any other time.

All the best from our family to yours,

Dr. Jim

 

 

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Wedding Season is Upon Us: Is Your Smile Camera Ready?

imagesAt Mitchell Dentistry, we get a special thrill out of helping wedding couples and their families ensure that they feel great about their smiles as they lead up to the big day. We start hearing the wedding bell buzz as the summer months approach, but we always advise our patients to get a head start in case they want to proceed with any special treatments or procedures. We have had a lot of experience with brides, grooms, their families, and their wedding parties, so we’ve put together a few suggestions here along with some recommendations from the American Dental Academy:

Schedule a Dental Appointment Early On 
Regular dental appointments go a long way to making sure you have a healthy smile in time for the wedding. Schedule an appointment a few months out to see if you might require any restorative or cosmetic dentistry. We also want to check wisdom teeth, any indication of infection, or trouble spots to avoid a dental emergency at the last minute.

Wearing White

Many couples want to make sure they have sparkling white smiles to accompany the white dress. We provide several options for sparkling smiles and would be happy to share all the details. For some, teeth whitening may cause sensitivity, so we recommend getting that done about one month before the wedding day. If patients prefer to whiten more gradually, we have a tray system that can be done at home.

Worry-Free Wedding Day

We recommend that if your wedding party is putting together an emergency kit that they include dental floss, a compact mirror and travel toothpaste/toothbrush. That way you can rest assured no one has anything in his/her teeth, and that you can keep your breath fresh. Some sugarless gum can also give you a boost, as well as avoiding onions or garlic on that day.

Say” I Do” to a Daily Dental Routine

Even after your wedding, you will want keep your smile white and bright. Commit to a lifelong dental routine that includes brushing and flossing at least twice a day.  It’s also nice to have someone to remind you to schedule your regular dental appointments and cleanings.

Let us know if a wedding is in your near future – there may be some surprises in store for our patients. And as always, please contact us with any questions about caring for your teeth, mouth, and gums.

All the best from our family to yours,

Dr. Jim

 

 

Why Replace Missing Teeth?

Everyone should feel confident when it comes to their smile, but this might not always be the case if they have missing teeth. Other than just appearance, lost teeth affect other aspects of your dental anatomy as well, which is why it is so important to replace them. At Mitchell Dentistry, our Fort Myers dentist provides patients with the following information to why it is essential to restore missing teeth and the best treatments for their dental issues.

Impacts Jawbone Mass

When a tooth is completely lost, the root is no longer within the jaw to maintain healthy density. A process known as resorption may begin to occur, where the adjacent bone is used to close the gap left by the missing tooth root. This can cause a patient to look prematurely aged, as the jaw may appear shrunken.

One of the best long-term treatments for jawbone resorption is dental implants. Implant-supported prosthetics are surgically placed into the jaw, mimicking a natural tooth root and preserving patient’s dental anatomy.

Compromise Your Dental Anatomy

Patients who have had missing teeth for a long period of time are at risk for the domino effects that occur due to the dental concern. When a lost tooth is left unaddressed, the empty space in your dental anatomy cause surrounding teeth to shift to fill the gap. This causes complications such as crowding, gaps, and crooked teeth. These malocclusions can affect your bite, interfering with your ability to properly chew foods, resulting in poor digestion.

Depending on the number of missing teeth, our dentists will recommend a teeth replacement option that best meets your needs. A crown and bridge address one or more missing teeth and partials or dentures have the ability to restore full arches of teeth. These prosthetics do well to help patients gain a stronger bite and eat the foods they enjoy.

Aesthetics are Affected

Patients with missing teeth may feel self-conscious about their smiles as they feel it may not be aesthetically pleasing. Replacing lost teeth may boost patient confidence and allow them to seize the opportunities that they come across.

Dental implants or traditional prosthetics do well to restore the visual aspects of the smile, giving patients the opportunity to live out their daily lives with improved self-esteem.

To learn more about why you should restore missing teeth contact Mitchell Dentistry today! Our Fort Myers dentists want to help you regain a healthy, beautiful smile so you can showcase it to others, and feel like your natural self.

Take Good Care: April is Oral Cancer Awareness Month

UnknownAt Mitchell Dentistry, we don’t wait for April to come around to create awareness about the dangers of oral cancer. In fact, every time you come in for a cleaning or a treatment, we are taking a good look inside your mouth to make sure all is well. And if it is not, we provide you with guidance on the next steps for further investigation.

But since April is Oral Cancer Awareness Month, we want you to be even more vigilant. More than 21,000 men and 9,000 women in the United States annually receive oral cancer diagnoses, according to the National Cancer Institute.

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Oral cancer can strike in the mouth and throat with most of these cancers beginning in the flat cells—squamous cells—that cover the surfaces of the mouth, tongue and lips. Some of the risk factors for oral cancer include tobacco use, heavy alcohol consumption, infection with human papillomavirus, sun exposure, diet, betel nut use, and personal history of oral cancer.

Symptoms to watch for include patches inside the mouth or on the lips, a sore on the mouth or lips that doesn’t heal, bleeding in the mouth, loose teeth, pain or difficulty swallowing, lump in the neck, numbness of lower lip and chin, difficulty wearing dentures and a persistent earache.

Call our office or your physician for an appointment immediately if you have any of these symptoms.

We are very concerned about the prevalence of oral cancer and we are involved in the community’s fight to end this insidious disease. Throughout the year, I am a guest speaker at local support groups, providing guidance to those who are suffering with head and neck cancers.

And for the past five years, our entire staff has created a team to participate in the annual Head & Neck Cancer 5K –  this year it takes place on Saturday, April 28. Please call our office if you would like to join our team (T-shirt included!).

As always, please contact us with any questions about caring for your teeth, mouth, and gums.

We welcome your feedback, so feel free to send your comments our way.

All the best from our family to yours,

Dr. Yolanda

 

 

What are the Benefits of Straight Teeth?

An aligned smile has multiple cosmetic and functional advantages. Our Fort Myers dental team wants to educate patients on how certain dental issues, such as malocclusion, impact their oral health.

Reduce the Ache

Misalignment can put stress on a patient’s jaw and surrounding facial structures, causing discomfort. Straightening teeth helps prevent this issue and avoids complications with the temporomandibular joint (TMJ).

Those with a TMJ disorder have frequent headaches and limited movement of the jaw. Problems with your temporomandibular joint also consist of tension in the neck, back, and temples, as well as occasional dizziness and vertigo.

Preserve Your Dental Anatomy

Since pressure is distributed unevenly, misaligned teeth are more susceptible to damage when chewing food. This can lead to teeth becoming prematurely worn and chipped, while an inability to properly chew food can also inhibit a person’s digestive system. Receiving orthodontic intervention protects patients’ smiles and helps stop future issues from arising.

Gums are also vulnerable to developing periodontal disease when teeth are not in their correct position. Misaligned teeth can be more difficult to effectively clean during your daily dental care routine, making it easier for harmful bacteria to spread. Depending on the severity of misalignment, those with very crooked teeth are susceptible to periodontal pockets forming beneath the gum line.

How can I achieve straight teeth?

Invisalign® clear aligners allow you to improve and maintain your oral health, as well as preserve your smile’s beauty.

These clear braces are known for their ability to go unnoticed by others. The Invisalign orthodontic system is a series of invisible trays that gradually shift teeth into improved positions. The clear aligners are custom-made to fit the unique contours of your teeth and require you to wear them for 22 hours a day. Invisalign trays do not place any dietary restrictions on patients as they are conveniently removable, simply take them out before eating.

If you would like to know more information about how straight teeth benefits you, contact Mitchell Dentistry! Dr. Mitchell enjoys helping patients enhance their smiles with treatments that bring them closer to reaching their dental goals. Call or visit our Fort Myers dental practice today!

Am I Too Old for Braces?

Braces are typically the best way to correct tooth alignment problems and most often kids and teens are seen wearing them. However, even though many adults would benefit from having straighter teeth, they feel they’re too old to wear braces. The truth is, you’re almost never too old to wear braces, and definitely not too old to enjoy the benefits of having straighter teeth.

One reason why children are seen wearing braces more often than adults is because it’s easier to correct tooth alignment problems in childhood rather than in adulthood, as alignment issues tend to become worse over time. The main reason, however, is that it’s better to prevent orthodontic problems in childhood than it is to treat those problems—and the oral health issues they cause—later on. Wearing braces as a child or teen means that teeth are properly aligned, and aren’t overcrowded upon entering adulthood. This prevents bite problems and makes it easier to keep teeth and gums healthy.

Why Age isn’t the Most Important Factor

While it’s definitely better to receive braces earlier rather than later, health is also a major factor that makes a patients a good candidate for braces.

If you want to have orthodontic work, it’s important that your teeth and gums are in good shape. This means no tooth decay, gum disease, or missing teeth. If you have problems with decay or gum disease, it’s necessary to treat those problems first before having orthodontic treatment. And unfortunately, if you’re missing several teeth, orthodontic work is unlikely to provide much benefit.

So, it’s not age that is the limiting factor for wearing braces, it’s your oral health. If your teeth and gums are in good condition, you can be a good candidate for braces at almost any age.

Your Options for Orthodontic Treatment

Modern braces are much more comfortable than they used to be. Thinner wires and smaller brackets make them easier to wear, and much less obtrusive. There are also options for tooth-colored or clear ceramic braces that are even less noticeable, so there are plenty of options for adults who want to correct tooth alignment problems.

While children generally wear braces, teens and adults have an additional option—clear aligners. These are customized oral devices that you wear around 22 to 23 hours a day. This treatment gradually straightens teeth over the course of 6 to 18 months. Clear aligners are suitable for correcting minor to moderate alignment problems and preferred by many people because they’re almost undetectable when worn.

No matter what your age, there is likely to be an orthodontic treatment that will work for you. For more information about orthodontic treatment and your options for braces or aligners, talk to your dentist today.

Children & Checkups: The magic age of 3 and a half

 

February is National Children’s Dental Health Month, the perfect time to share our thoughts on dental care for our littlest patients.

Our patients who are new parents often ask, “At what age should we start bringing our child to the dentist?” I don’t hesitate for a second – three and a half. Why three and a half you might ask? Why not three? Or four? After practicing dentistry for about three and a half decades, I can assure you – three and a half is the perfect age to start a child’s lifelong relationship with dentistry in a fun and positive way.

That is the magic age when the child understands what’s happening at the dentist’s office. A simple explanation of why they are here and what they can expect immediately allays any fear they may be experiencing. They are also at an age when they want to cooperate, responding well to the request, ”Please open wide…like an alligator.”

 

Parents also want to know what will happen at this first visit. Our goal is to make their first appointment fun, laying the groundwork for a positive relationship and the knowledge that they will grow up in a dental practice that is always free of pain or stress. For some children, that means simply counting their teeth and calling it a day. For others, “Mr. Thirsty” may seem like a fun diversion while teaching children that this tool is used for “buzzing” cavity bugs off their teeth.

If all is still going well, we proceed with polishing those tiny pearly whites. Before the visit ends, we help parents learn to look for any signs of tooth decay or other oral health issues, and we provide parents with the best methods to help their children brush effectively.

What about a pediatric dentist you might ask? We support that option if your child has special needs like cavities at a very early age or any unusual issues – but for the most part, 80 to 90 percent of kids do great in our practice. As parents and grandparents, we are very kid focused, giving out child friendly toothbrushes and an invitation to our “Cavity-Free Club” where kids can put their name in a drawing for a Target gift card if their check-up is cavity-free. We also offer a selection of little toys to choose from after appointments – but no candy!

One of our greatest joys is watching children grown up in our practice, learning about their achievements, and seeing them become teachers, doctors, lawyers, and yes, even dentists. We give children a continuity of care so they never grow out of our practice. We are thrilled when the next generation comes along, and suddenly, we are caring for all three generations of a family. It gives special meaning to having a family practice.

As always, please call us with any questions or concerns about caring for the beautiful smiles of your children and grandchildren.

We love your feedback, so feel free to send your comments our way.

All the best from our family to yours,

Dr. Jim