Thursday, October 30, 2014

The Dangers Of Chewing Ice

After you drink that refreshing Ice Coffee on that warm day the ice clinks around in the cup. The tempting nature of the “tink, tink” sound of the ice cubes is calling your name and before you think about it, you have begun to chew on the ice. However, according to Dr. Judith Strutz, “This is a very damaging habit that can impact your smile and cause you thousands of dollars to fix.”

The medical term for individuals that chew ice is called pagophagia.  It is part of a smaller medical term called Pica. Pica is a medical condition where individuals have a compulsion to eat food items that lack nutritional value.  While you are responding to a desire to chew on ice, what you may not realize is that you have a medical condition. For example, you may have an iron deficiency.  

Iron deficiencies that are left untreated can result in fatigue. Iron carries oxygen from the lungs throughout the body. Less oxygen in the body can reduce your ability to think clearly and solve those problems at work. While you may believe that grabbing that cup of ice can help replenish it, it is not a positive solution.

When you constantly chew on ice you are creating a hot-cold cycle in your mouth. This change in temperature can cause tiny fractures on your teeth, which can eventually lead to great damage to fillings and your overall tooth structure.

Furthermore, your gums are very sensitive and require protection. While chewing on a sharp piece of ice you can actually puncture the gums. This open hole in the mouth is then susceptible to bacteria as food particles are chewed.

One easy suggestion: if you are addicted to chewing on ice, try sugarless gum.

And of course, let your dentist or dental hygienist know so they can also help you come up with other solutions.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Bad Dental Habits

Bad dental habits may have become as routine as waking up at the same time everyday. However, over time these bad habits may be damaging your smile and you may not even realize it. While Dr. Judith Strutz can fix broken and chipped teeth, she recommends taking care of the first set in order to not need these services later on in life.  Take the short quiz below to see if you are putting your smile at risk.

1.     Do you brush and floss twice a day?

2.     Do you chew on pens?

3.     Do you use your teeth to open items?

4.     Do you chew on other items that are not food? (For example, hair, fabric, sticks)

5.     Do you chew ice?

If you answered yes to any of these questions you are putting your teeth in danger. While brushing and flossing removes bacteria from your teeth when not done on a routine basis, the enamel becomes damaged and deep pockets in the gum tissue may begin to develop. This process is the beginning stage of periodontal disease.

Chewing on pens or other non-food items can cause small fractures in your teeth. You are then more susceptible to fractures as you have weakened the tooth enamel. Chewing on an object that is hard can also cause a chip in the tooth. Once, a chip occurs it can be costly to repair the damage.

“There is a special tool that can be used to open up items,” says Dr. Judy Strutz. “While it is convenient to use your teeth as a pair of scissors, it is not worth the risk.”  You can cause a divot in your teeth from the plastic that you are opening. Any type of damage to the enamel of your teeth leaves you at risk for further damage.

After you have finished that ice cold drink you may be tempted to chew on the remaining ice cubes, especially on those warm summer days. However, this habit could cost you a crown to fix the broken tooth. There are multiple reasons why someone may choose to chew ice, but in the end, it isn’t work the risk.

If you or someone you love answered yes to any of the questions above, it’s time to visit your dentist for a complete exam. Call today to schedule your appointment.

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Partial And Complete Dentures

Partial dentures are appliances placed in the mouth that attach to your other teeth. While the process may sound easy, in order to get the correct restorative function your prosthodontist will spend significant time getting the process right.  Partial removable dentures are generally recommended if you are missing one or more of your teeth on both sides of your mouth, either upper or lower. They enhance your smile and improve chewing, speech and digestion.

When you visit Dr. Judy Strutz on the first visit she will complete an exam that assesses what type of denture is needed. There are two types of partial dentures one is removable and the other is fixed. Fixed partials are usually referred to as a bridge. Partial removable dentures are recommended when you only have a few teeth in an upper or lower arch remaining.

The removable partial denture is attached to your other teeth using clasps or attachments. These attachments may take some getting used to when you first begin wearing your denture. You may also need crowns added to other teeth in order to have enough structure to clasp your partial denture on to.  This requires a good fit in order for your smile to be functional as well as esthetic. You may also require other visits to adjust the partial’s fit as it settles into place. 

Partial dentures may also need to be adjusted after you have had them for a while. While they should last for several years, dentures can crack, break and shift. It is important to take care of your appliance once it is created to keep it in the best working condition.  So it truly is important to see your dentist at least twice a year. If you haven’t seen your dentist recently – call today and schedule an appointment.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Dentures & You

‘Dentures’ is a term that is thrown around a lot, especially in certain circumstances. Jokes about dentures falling out or being eaten by the dog are not new. However, secure and excellent fitting dentures are not made by accident, nor are they something to joke about. Dr. Judy Strutz, a Board Certified Prosthodontist in San Bernardino, California prides herself on taking the time to create dentures the right way. 

“Creating great looking and fitting dentures is a complicated procedure in that it requires multiple visits,” says Dr. Strutz. “There are also different types of dentures that can help rebuild your beautiful smile, and depending on which type you need or want, it will impact how long the procedure takes.”

From your first to your last visit with Dr. Strutz, her warm and friendly staff will greet you.  Your first visit will be an extensive exam that evaluates the health of your gums. “You do not want an appliance placed on gums that are infected,” says Dr. Strutz. “Treatment to control the infection might be the first step.” 

Once the exam is completed, and if your tissue is healthy, accurate impressions and measurements will be taken in order to allow for the proper fit of your dentures.  You may need to have several try-in appointments once they are created in order to ensure the right color, fit and shape. However, in the end you and Dr. Strutz will work together to build a beautiful, restorative smile that meets your needs.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Bonding A Tooth

 If Dr. Strutz is going to use a bond to restore a chipped tooth, she will first analyze your entire smile. She believes in a comprehensive plan to fixing your teeth, not just solving one problem at a time without understanding the cause behind the problem. After the root cause is determined she will determine the best color choice for the bond. The purpose will be to match the color of the bond to the rest of your teeth as closely as possible.

Bonding material is a hard resin that attaches to the enamel of the teeth. An etching gel will be placed on the teeth first. This gel allows for the bond to better attach to the tooth.  Then, a dental resin is placed and then bonding material is placed on the tooth and the area is shaped. You may need a few layers depending on the size of the area being bonded. Throughout the process an ultraviolent light is used to harden the bonding material. Shaping of the bonded area is required in order to make sure the occlusion / bite is correct. For example, if you had too much bonding, it would need to be taken down some to protect your bite.

This process does not take long and shortly after Dr. Strutz will have you well on your way to impressing everyone with a fantastic, restored smile.

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Restore Your Occlusion:

Prosthodontist are able to complete a variety of restorations in order to get your mouth back in working order.   Prosthodontist attend dental school and then receive an extra years of specialized schooling. Dr. Strutz is a graduate of Loma Linda and provides extensive support to you as a patient prior to any procedure.  When you first visit her office, with a chipped tooth, doesn’t panic she will work with you to provide the best fit.

When you have chipped teeth it usually means that your bite is off. This can occur for multiple reasons. Your jaw may not be lining up correctly, so when you bite down your biting down on top of other teeth. Your jaw should be in a state of rest when your mouth is closed.

When fixing your chipped tooth, Dr. Judy Strutz, recommends first taking a look at your bite. If she spends time fixing your chipped tooth but your bite is still “off” as soon as you leave the office, your run the risk of chipping that tooth again.  The idea is to not just fix one tooth, but to assure your bite is correct as well.

Once, Dr. Strutz has completed a full exam and has determined the best course of action, she may be able to re-contour, readjust or perhaps bond the tooth.