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No Cavities? Thank Your Parents

how to prevent cavities Royal Oak

At Gustafson Morningstar Dentistry in Royal Oak MI, we stay abreast of new discoveries in the exciting field of dentistry and like to share interesting facts with our patients. This blog post focuses on new findings in an intriguing field of research: genetic dentistry.

“About 60% of the risk for tooth decay appears to be due to genetic factors,” said Mary L. Marazita, director of the Center for Craniofacial and Dental Genetics at the University of Pittsburgh School of Dental Medicine.1

Whoa! Did she say 60%? That’s huge. You might be thinking: “That’s why I brush and floss but still get cavities.” Or, better yet, you might be thinking, “No wonder I have never had a cavity, even though I eat candy often and occasionally go to bed without brushing.”

A recent article on CNN.com highlights tooth decay risk factors that have a genetic link1:

Enamel Strength
Your genes play an important role in the composition of your tooth enamel. Soft enamel is more cavity prone.

Sugar Cravings
Whether or not you love sugar has a genetic basis. Now you can blame your parents if you pop M&Ms all day. (But it still isn’t good for your teeth or waistline!)

Chemical Composition of Saliva

Your saliva can protect against cavities – if it properly metabolizes essential minerals and vitamins like calcium, potassium, iron, and Vitamin C. Your genes impact your saliva’s ability to prevent decay.

Immune Response to Bacteria
We don’t like to think about the harmful bacteria in our mouth, but hopefully our immune system is ever-vigilant at fighting their constant attempts to cause decay and gum disease. The durability of your immune system is determined, in part, by genetics.

In the next few decades, scientists in the emerging specialty of genetic dentistry may play a key role in the development of new cavity prevention techniques.

The purpose of this article is not to encourage Gustafson Morningstar Dentistry patients to be lax about oral hygiene if their parents have strong teeth. Nor to cause those whose teeth decay easily to throw their hands up in despair and resign themselves to a toothless mouth.

Proper oral hygiene is critical for all of us, regardless of our genetic predisposition to tooth decay. You have the ability to be forward-thinking about your oral health, regardless of the genes you inherited. Whether you have frequent dental check-ups, consistent fluoride intake, effective brushing and flossing techniques, and proper nutrition, is up to you.

At Gustafson Morningstar Dentistry in Royal Oak MI, the health of your smile is our number one concern. Our services include general and cosmetic dentistry. Schedule your next checkup with us today.

1Paul Frysh, “Bad teeth? Blame your genes,” CNN, July 3, 2014, http://www.cnn.com/2014/07/03/health/tooth-decay-causes/, accessed on June 24, 2015

Contact Gustafson Morningstar Dentistry:

248-541-8770

Location (Tap to open in Google Maps):

940 E 11 Mile Rd
Royal Oak, Michigan
48067

 

ArticleID 6970

Questions To Ask Your Dentist

Questions To Ask Your Royal Oak DentistSometimes people research their mechanic or hairdresser more thoroughly than their dentists. Isn’t dental care more important than the condition of your car or the style of your hair? At Gustafson Morningstar Dentistry in Royal Oak MI, we love to answer questions about all facets of dentistry.

You probably have questions about the types of care your dentist offers. These may include crowns, braces, fillings, dental bridges, root canals, dental bonding, white fillings, and gum contouring. These services may not be critical to you now, but it is a good idea to have an understanding of your options.

If you are contemplating smile restoration, tooth implants, or tooth whitening, discuss cosmetic dentistry services with your dentist. Look at before and after pictures and ask your dentist which procedures may be right for you.

At Gustafson Morningstar Dentistry in Royal Oak MI, the dental health of our patients is always our top priority. We offer general and cosmetic dentistry. Schedule your next appointment today.

Contact Gustafson Morningstar Dentistry:

248-541-8770

Location (Tap to open in Google Maps):

940 E 11 Mile Rd
Royal Oak, Michigan
48067

 

ArticleID 425

The Future Of Tooth Decay

The Future Of Tooth Decay In Royal Oak

Dental patients may wonder what would happen if they didn’t seek quality dental care on a regular basis. From our perspective at Gustafson Morningstar Dentistry in Royal Oak MI, the answer isn’t pretty.

A common result of untreated cavities are abscesses. A tooth abscess is an infection near the root of the tooth or between the gum and the tooth. This collection of pus can be very uncomfortable, either causing a shooting pain or a dull throbbing pain. You may also experience bad breath, fever, swollen neck glands, and feelings of general discomfort associated with the infection.

Tooth abscesses can also be caused by a chip or a crack in the tooth that allows bacteria to enter.

To avoid unpleasant dental problems like abscesses, have regular check-ups and cleanings at Gustafson Morningstar Dentistry. That way, you can keep your mouth in peak health.

At Gustafson Morningstar Dentistry in Royal Oak MI, our services include general and cosmetic dentistry. Schedule an appointment with us today.

Contact Gustafson Morningstar Dentistry:

248-284-4879

Location (Tap to open in Google Maps):

940 E 11 Mile Rd
Royal Oak, Michigan
48067

 

ArticleID 4071

Infancy Through Childhood: Instill Good Brushing Habits

infant dental exam Royal Oak

New parents may be surprised by the American Dental Association’s recommendations on infant oral care. Parents are advised to begin brushing their baby’s teeth as soon as the first ones emerge. At Gustafson Morningstar Dentistry in Royal Oak MI we endorse that recommdation, and remind new parents that brand-new teeth are just as vulnerable to tooth decay as older teeth.

Parents are encouraged to use a cloth and a smidgen of toothpaste (about the size of a grain of rice) to wipe each tooth. As more teeth come through, it’s even more important for them to be brushed after each meal or, at least twice a day.

It is essential to select the proper toothbrush, in order to make brushing time as pleasant as possible. You can buy an infant-sized, soft-bristled brush at most grocery stores. Also, there are circle and triangular-shaped brushes that allow your toddler to walk around with their brush with less chance of injury in case of a fall.

If your toddler doesn’t like the taste of toothpaste, brush with water for a while. The goal is to remove food bits that will create bacteria followed by plaque and then cavities.

When two teeth touch, it’s time to floss. Flossing is important to make sure no food is lodged between the teeth. Proper flossing requires fine motor skills which most kids don’t develop until about the age six or seven. Parents need to assist with flossing until they are sure their child can do it effectively.

Until the child is old enough to properly brush his or her teeth, they should receive adult supervision and guidance. Instilling the proper brushing and flossing practices will reap lifelong benefits. It may be time-consuming, but remember that it’s making a daily habit that will protect their dental health for a lifetime. Also, dental expenses related to poor oral hygiene will be avoided.

Your child’s first dental visit should be within six months of the first tooth appearing and no later than their first birthday. It may seem early, but most parents bring their child to the pediatrician at that age, and teeth are no different. You can count on us to look out for potential problems and guide you about how to help your child keep a healthy smile.

At Gustafson Morningstar Dentistry in Royal Oak MI, we provide general dentistry for the entire family. Services also include cosmetic dentistry. Schedule an appointment with us today.

Contact Gustafson Morningstar Dentistry:

248-541-8770

Location (Tap to open in Google Maps):

940 E 11 Mile Rd
Royal Oak, Michigan
48067

 

ArticleID 7101

Replace Old Silver Fillings

white fillings Royal Oak

Superficial cuts in the skin subside without a trace, infections are killed with antibiotics, broken bones mend, and inflamed tissues subside. Our teeth, unfortunately, can’t regenerate. Decay can be halted in its progress, but scientists are still years away from actual enamel regeneration. That’s why the team at Gustafson Morningstar Dentistry strongly emphasizes preventative dentistry.

The healthiest mouths have all teeth intact and free of current or former dental caries. But how many smiles can boast such an admirable record? Very few.

The stark reality is that most people get one or more cavities over the course of their lifetime.

In fact, most individuals probably don’t even know someone who has never had a cavity. Tooth decay is second only to the common cold as the most prevalent health issue in childhood. When we reach middle age, many of us have even had a root canal or two.

Restorations Have Come a Long Way
Modern restorations have many advantages over those in years past. There are stronger and more natural-looking materials. Many of our patients who have not had a filling for a while, are not aware that white fillings are available. You can even replace old amalgam fillings with white fillings and give your mouth a makeover!

As we said before, when a tooth is by injury or decay, it is never exactly the way it was before. But now, with modern fillings and crowns, it can regain strength and beauty.

At Gustafson Morningstar Dentistry in Royal Oak, services include general and cosmetic dentistry. Schedule an appointment with us today.

Contact Gustafson Morningstar Dentistry:

248-541-8770

Location (Tap to open in Google Maps):

940 E 11 Mile Rd
Royal Oak, Michigan
48067

 

ArticleID 7296

Does Your Teen Have Unique Dental Challenges?

adolescent dental health

When it comes to oral health, the team at Gustafson Morningstar Dentistry in Royal Oak MI considers adolescence is a pivotal time. On the upside, the last of the permanent teeth come in providing young men and women with their adult smile. Good habits can be forged and reinforced. Teeth can be corrected with orthodontia, providing increased confidence when it is often sorely needed.

On the downside, some teenagers take up habits that are harmful to their teeth. Adolescents often don’t understand the importance of proper dental hygiene and how it affects lifelong oral health. Some young folks develop cavities that can cause recurring dental troubles in later years.

Unfortunately, eating disorders are far too common among teenagers. Bulimia can cause enamel erosion, decay, and even complete tooth loss. We strongly advise parents to intervene immediately and seek appropriate medical care if they suspect their teen has an eating disorder.

The importance of diet cannot be overstated. Adolescence is a time when many young men and women decrease their calcium intake—a danger to both bones and teeth. The consumption of energy drinks and sugared soda also contribute to tooth and gum problems in teenagers.

In addition, youth that use tobacco and illegal drugs have an increased risk of dental caries and oral cancer. Oral piercings can be extremely harmful. The health risks include tooth and gum damage, infection, allergic reactions, nerve damage, and excessive swelling that can block airways.

Teens who are undergoing orthodontic treatment often have a difficult time thoroughly cleaning their teeth. It is a challenge to fit toothbrush bristles and floss under dental hardware. Toothbrushes and flossing devices that squirt water can help adolescents with braces adequately clean their teeth and gums.

Gustafson Morningstar Dentistry in Royal Oak MI advises parents to make sure their adolescents receive twice-yearly dental exams and cleanings. We provide general and cosmetic dentistry. Schedule an appointment today.

Contact Gustafson Morningstar Dentistry:

248-541-8770

Location (Tap to open in Google Maps):

940 E 11 Mile Rd
Royal Oak, Michigan
48067

 

ArticleID 6685

Let’s Talk About It

cosmetic dental Royal Oak

Few physical improvements have such a dramatic impact on your attractiveness and self-confidence as a smile makeover. Excellent oral health and a pleasing smile contribute to overall physical health and a high quality of life. At Gustafson Morningstar Dentistry in Royal Oak, we can help you with both.

If you have ever wondered how cosmetic dentistry could change your life, we invite you to schedule a consultation so we can talk about it. We are sure that the initial consultation is the most crucial part of any treatment plan. During your smile redesign consultation we will talk about the following issues:

  • Your goals for how you want your smile to look and feel after the makeover.
  • The condition of your oral health.
  • The individual features of your teeth and gums that you wish to fix.
  • Which individual treatments are needed.
  • A detailed explanation of each required treatment (e.g. porcelain veneers, dental crowns, inlays/onlays, gum contouring, crown lengthening, tooth implants, braces, or teeth whitening).
  • You can see before and after pictures of cosmetic dental smile makeover patients.
  • Your options for how to schedule the care (all at once or over time).
  • Information about sleep dentistry.
  • Answers to any questions or concerns.
  • Cosmetic dentistry rates and financing options.

Cosmetic dentistry from Gustafson Morningstar Dentistry in Royal Oak can make an enormous difference in your life. Schedule an appointment with us today.

Contact Gustafson Morningstar Dentistry:

248-541-8770

Location (Tap to open in Google Maps):

940 E 11 Mile Rd
Royal Oak, Michigan
48067

 

ArticleID 7290

All About Toothpaste

We urge all of our patients at Gustafson Morningstar Dentistry in Royal Oak MI to brush and floss their teeth at least twice a day. This very good habit is the single most important thing you can do to maintain your dental health.

What kind of toothpaste should you use? There is no one-size-fits-all product on the market. One patient might be interested in whitening toothpaste, and another may need something for sensitive teeth.

There’s an almost bewildering selection of toothpastes in the oral care section of any grocery store, from those aimed at children to so-called natural toothpastes. You want to make the best choice for your teeth, but it isn’t always easy to make up your mind.

Different types of toothpastes have specific active ingredients that make them work. Fluoride is by far the most important thing to look for. But there are many other ingredients; what follows is a rundown of the more common ones.

  • Detergents. Sodium lauryl sulfate is nearly ubiquitous, not only in toothpaste, but in other personal care products like shampoo. (Sometimes it’s called Sodium laureth sulfate or sodium lauryl ether sulfate. It’s the stuff that makes products foamy. Some people are sensitive to it, and some consumer advocacy groups say it can be hazardous. There are toothpastes that don’t have it.
  • Whiteners. The most common toothpaste whitener is hydrogen peroxide, but there are others, like polyphosphates. While they do a modest job whitening teeth, many experts agree that the whitening agents aren’t strong enough, or in contact with the teeth long enough, to do a really good job. To get really white teeth, try professional whitening from a dentist.
  • Desensitizers. Some people’s teeth are more sensitive to hot and cold foods than others. And some are more tactile-sensitive. Used on a regular basis, desensitizing toothpastes can be very effective, but it’s a good idea to get a dentist’s recommendation first.
  • Plaque fighters. A toothpaste ingredient called triclosan is believed to fight plaque and gum inflammation. While it seemed promising at first more recent studies indicate triclosan may contribute to antibiotic resistance, and disrupt hormones and the immune system.

We suggest you ask us for our recommendations, and what might be best for your particular set of teeth. Always read the label, and make sure the toothpaste you’re considering has the American Dental Association label. If you see it, it means the ADA considers it safe and effective. Whatever you choose, brush and floss twice each day!

Gustafson Morningstar Dentistry in Royal Oak MI offers general and cosmetic dentistry. Schedule your next cleaning and checkup with us today.

Contact Gustafson Morningstar Dentistry:

248-541-8770

Location (Tap to open in Google Maps):

940 E 11 Mile Rd
Royal Oak, Michigan
48067


The Importance of Six Month Checkups

When you leave Gustafson Morningstar Dentistry in Royal Oak MI after a cleaning and checkup, we always make sure to schedule your next appointment with us, six months down the road. Is that really necessary? Isn’t having the dentist look inside your mouth once a year enough?

The short answer is: no. An unfortunate reality of dental health is that it doesn’t take very long for new problems to appear, and the sooner we identify and treat them, the better. You don’t want to give a cavity an extra six months to eat away at the enamel of your teeth.

We understand that no one really likes going to the dentist. Even when you’re confident that your teeth are in great shape, do you really want to sit for an hour while a hygienist pokes and scrapes your teeth and gum line?

But as the saying goes, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. Benjamin Franklin said that more than two hundred years ago, and it’s as true now as it was in his day. If you don’t have cleanings and checkups on a regular basis, you’re gambling with your dental health – and that can result in other health complications.

By now, we think you get the point. But here are three very good reasons to see us every six months:

  • Plaque and tarter. Even brushing and flossing twice a day won’t get everything. There are areas that simply won’t be reached. Plaque and tartar has a way of settling into those areas, and should be removed frequently.
  • Bad habits. When you see us on a regular basis, we have the chance to identify new problems that may appear. Additional stress in life may lead to teeth grinding or jaw clenching; the early stages of gum disease, not noticeable six months ago, may be plain to see. No matter the issue, early detection and early treatment are the best ways to treat it.
  • Oral cancer check. You don’t have to be a smoker to get oral cancer, although tobacco use increases your risk. Once again, the sooner it is found, the better the chances of successful treatment and recovery.

During those six months between cleanings and checkups, remember to brush and floss your teeth twice a day. It’s essential!

At Gustafson Morningstar Dentistry in Royal Oak MI, we provide general and cosmetic dentistry. If you haven’t scheduled that next checkup yet, pick up the phone and give us a call.

Contact Gustafson Morningstar Dentistry:

248-541-8770

Location (Tap to open in Google Maps):

940 E 11 Mile Rd
Royal Oak, Michigan
48067

 


Cosmetic Dental Artistry

Cosmetic dentistry is part science and part art. At Gustafson Morningstar Dentistry in Royal Oak, we use it to create positive changes to your teeth and to your smile.

In order to achieve an attractive, yet natural looking result, we do more than recommend specific procedures. We consider the shape, alignment, color and condition of the teeth. In order to create a balanced look, the facial shape and coloring is taken into account. The patient’s age, health condition and lifestyle all influence the plan.

At Gustafson Morningstar Dentistry, there is no one-size-fits-all treatment plan.

Smile enhancement through cosmetic dentistry can have dramatic results in your overall appearance. Even one procedure, such as teeth whitening, can make a big difference in how you see yourself.

Your teeth take a lot of wear and tear over the years. But cosmetic dentistry from Gustafson Morningstar Dentistry in Royal Oak can restore your smile to its youthful appearance. Call us today to schedule a consultation!

Contact Gustafson Morningstar Dentistry:

248-541-8770

Location (Tap to open in Google Maps):

940 E 11 Mile Rd
Royal Oak, Michigan
48067

 


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