October 27th, 2021
If you have never had a crown before, you might be wondering why crown treatment is best, what the procedure involves, and which type of crown to choose. Let’s get down to the basics of crowns!
A crown is the best way to treat many dental conditions, either to strengthen and save the tooth or to improve its appearance. We might suggest a crown if you have any of the following conditions:
- A filling that needs to be replaced, without enough tooth structure left to fill properly
- A tooth that is fractured or broken, or so weak that it might fracture
- A recent root canal
- An implant
- A bridge which needs a crown to serve as the base for attachment
- A tooth that is discolored or irregularly shaped
On your first visit to our Greeley, CO office, Dr. Kunzman will prepare the tooth that will be receiving a crown. A tooth might have to be built up if there isn’t enough of the original tooth left, or the top and sides of the tooth will be shaped down so that the crown fits smoothly and evenly with your other teeth. An impression will be made and sent to a dental lab so that a crown with the perfect fit for your tooth and mouth can be created. A temporary crown will be put in place to protect your tooth while the final crown is fabricated.
The permanent crown is a cap which covers your tooth. It can be made of various materials, which all offer different advantages:
- Metal Crowns—made of gold, platinum or base metal alloys, these are the longest lasting. Because of their metallic color, they are often chosen for back molars where they are less visible.
- Porcelain Over Metal—because the color of the porcelain is matched to your natural teeth, these crowns look very realistic. Porcelain is more fragile than metal, so there is the possibility that they won’t be as durable.
- Resin—less expensive than other options, but these crowns are more fragile and do not wear as well.
- All Porcelain/All Ceramic—the most realistic looking option, especially for front teeth, and also suitable for anyone with a metal allergy. They are, again, not as strong as metal crowns, and can be subject to damage.
- Stainless Steel—often used for baby teeth or as a temporary crown for adult teeth.
We’ll discuss your options and help you decide on the best type of crown for you. When the crown is finished at the dental lab, you will have one more visit where the crown will be secured in place. We will make sure your bite is comfortable and the color and appearance of the crown are satisfactory. We will also give you instructions for the next few days following the procedure, and can make adjustments if needed.
A crown is a perfect example of form and function working together: a crown maintains the beauty of your smile and preserves the health of your tooth. If you need a crown, we will be happy to talk to you about your best options for a strong, long-lasting, and natural smile.
October 20th, 2021
“Shouldn’t that be healthy gums,” you’re thinking? And, of course, you’re correct. Healthy gums are extremely important not only for our dental well-being, but for our overall physical health.
But that’s a subject for another blog! Today, we’re talking about healthy gum—chewing gum, that is. Because choosing the right chewing gum can actually improve your dental health.
Oral bacteria use the foods we eat, especially sugars and simple carbs, as fuel to produce acid. These acids attack our tooth enamel, gradually weakening the minerals in the tooth surface and allowing cavities to develop. Clearly, we want to reduce these acids to help prevent decay. Luckily, our bodies have a natural defense against acid attacks—saliva.
Saliva works to protect our enamel in three ways:
- It helps neutralize and wash away acids in the mouth.
- It rinses away the food particles which bacteria feed on.
- It strengthens teeth by providing the necessary minerals our enamel needs to “remineralize” after acids have weakened the tooth surface.
Studies have concluded that chewing sugarless gum for 20 minute after a meal can help prevent cavities. Why? Because chewing gum increases saliva production. You are actually reducing the effects of harmful acids, washing food particles away from your teeth, and strengthening weakened enamel with every stick! Some artificial sweeteners are even thought to inhibit the growth of the bacteria that lead to decay.
With all that in mind, it’s also healthy to know when you shouldn’t chew gum:
- When the gum contains sugar. Even with an increase in saliva production, bathing your teeth in sugar as you chew does your enamel no favors!
- When you wear braces. Gum can stick to your brackets and between your brackets and your wires. And while trying to clean gum from your appliance is no one’s idea of fun, an even more unpleasant possibility is the chance that gum might bend your wires out of shape. Sugarless gum is not quite as sticky as regular gum, but before you open that first pack, check with your orthodontist to see if you might be putting your orthodontic work at risk.
- When you have jaw problems such as TMD, TMJ or other temporomandibular concerns, or if you develop jaw pain while chewing gum.
- You should never give gum to a child too young to understand that it should not be swallowed. Beyond acting as a choking hazard, continual gum swallowing can lead to diarrhea, blockages, abdominal pain and other serious problems. Talk to your Dr. Kunzman about the right age for chewing gum.
While chewing sugarless gum has the potential to improve dental health, remember it should never take the place of regular brushing and flossing—still the best way to prevent cavities at home. Talk to Dr. Kunzman about the possible benefits of sugarless gum at your next visit to our Greeley, CO office, and we can make recommendations based on your individual dental history. Because whether it’s healthy gums or healthy gum, we’re here to help.
October 13th, 2021
Halitosis is the fancy, scientific word for “bad breath.” Dr. Kunzman and our team know there are several reasons why you may have halitosis; let’s look at a few:
- Gum disease (also known as periodontal disease) – There are five main types of gum disease, and each one can range from mild to severe. For example the most common one is gingivitis; it is caused by bacteria in the plaque that has been allowed to build up, usually as a result of poor oral hygiene. A more serious and uncommon type of gum disease is called necrotizing periodontal disease. It is most common in people who have a suppressed immune system.
- Dry Mouth – This can be caused by something as simple as a medication you take.
- Food – Of course, if you eat something that is potent like garlic, it is going to give you bad breath.
- Diseases of the Body – Some diseases such as sinus infections and diabetes, among a few other types of infections, can also cause you to have halitosis.
How to Get Rid of Halitosis
The most obvious answer to how to get rid of halitosis is to practice good oral hygiene, although, depending on the cause of halitosis it may not be that simple. If you have an infection that is causing the halitosis then you may need an antibiotic to clear up the infection and then the bad breath will go away. Here are more tips:
- Brush your teeth after every meal and before bed.
- Floss your teeth. The more plaque you get out of your teeth, the better chance you have of not getting cavities or bad breath.
- Address any medical conditions that are not related to your teeth that can be causing the halitosis.
- Ask Dr. Kunzman for a prescription mouthwash that kills bacteria.
Halitosis (bad breath) can be an embarrassing condition to live with, but there are plenty of ways to get rid of it permanently. Start by talking to a member of our team at our Greeley, CO office.
October 6th, 2021
We all want to live our healthiest lives. We know that part of keeping ourselves healthy is regular visits to our Greeley, CO office for checkups and necessary dental work. And that dental work might require an X-ray. Should the amount of radiation in an X-ray concern us?
First, it is helpful to know that the radiation you are exposed to from a dental X-ray is very small. A set of most bitewing X-rays, for example, produces an amount of exposure about equal to the amount of background radiation we get from our normal surroundings in a typical day. We also take care to minimize your exposure even further by using specially designed equipment and protective shielding, and taking only necessary X-rays. If your child is very young, if you are pregnant, or if you have other health concerns, talk to us about the advisability of X-rays and whether they are essential to treatment.
Second, much of our careful general examination will be done visually. Dr. Kunzman can check for cavities and other problems and assess tooth and gum health. But sometimes, there are conditions which can’t be detected without an X-ray.
- Decay that isn’t visible in an oral exam—if a small cavity develops between teeth, or is hidden underneath a filling, an X-ray will catch it before more damage can take place.
- Infection—An X-ray will reveal infections such as abscesses that can damage both bone and tooth, and gum disease that has harmed bone and connective tissue.
- Orthodontic and periodontal issues—We might need an X-ray to determine the spacing and development of your child’s incoming teeth and maturing jaw structure, to properly create braces for adults or children, or to place an implant within the jawbone.
- If you are a new patient, it is helpful to have complete X-rays taken as a baseline of your current dental health and previous dental work. This baseline allows us to track tooth and jaw development, if necessary, and to evaluate any future changes that might be a concern. (If you have had X-rays taken in another office, we can help you have them transferred so we have a background of your dental history.)
Even though the radiation from a dental X-ray is minimal, be assured that we will never request any unnecessary procedure. When we recommend an X-ray, we do so to make sure there is no decay or infection threatening the health of your gums and teeth, and that we have the essential knowledge we need to treat any dental, periodontal, or orthodontic condition. Because we all want to live our healthiest lives—and part of that healthy life is both active and proactive dental care.