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Oral Care

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Fixing Crooked Teeth

Most often crooked teeth, overbites, and underbites are inherited traits just as the color of your eyes or size of your hands.

Everybody wants a great smile, but a lot of us need help getting there. More and more people are having success with clear orthodontic devices called aligners.

If your child has crooked teeth or a misaligned jaw, it may be time to pay a visit to an orthodontist.

If you have crooked teeth and/or a misaligned bite (an underbite or overbite), there are a variety of treatments that can help straighten teeth, including braces and retainers.

Braces, wires, springs, rubber bands, and other appliances can attract food and plaque, which can stain teeth if not brushed away.

Surgical Treatments

Find out what conditions might require oral surgery and what to expect.

A root canal is a treatment used to repair and save a tooth that is badly decayed or becomes infected.

A tooth that is severely damaged may need to be removed. A surgeon who specializes in surgeries of the mouth (oral and maxillofacial surgeon) or your dentist can remove a tooth.

A gum graft may be necessary to protect your teeth from the damaging effects of gum recession, or you may choose to have one to improve the appearance of your smile.

Also called gum reshaping or tissue sculpting, this cosmetic dental procedure can even out an uneven gum line and give you a smile you can be proud of.

Other Dental Treatments

Any dental emergency like an injury to the teeth or gums can be potentially serious and should not be ignored.

Dental bonding is a procedure in which a tooth-colored resin material (a durable plastic material) is applied and hardened with a special light, which ultimately "bonds" the material to the tooth to restore or improve person's smile.

There are a variety of treatments for gum disease depending on the stage of disease, how you may have responded to earlier treatments, and your overall health.

Fillings are also used to repair cracked or broken teeth and teeth that have been worn down from misuse (such as from nail-biting or tooth grinding).

When used for "curing" a filling, the laser helps to strengthen the bond between the filling and the tooth. When used in teeth whitening procedures, the laser acts as a heat source and enhances the effect of tooth beaching agents.

Dental implants are replacement tooth roots. Implants provide a strong foundation for fixed (permanent) or removable replacement teeth that are made to match your natural teeth.

A dental crown is a tooth-shaped "cap" that is placed over a tooth -- to cover the tooth to restore its shape and size, strength, and improve its appearance.

Dental veneers (sometimes called porcelain veneers or dental porcelain laminates) are wafer-thin, custom-made shells of tooth-colored materials designed to cover the front surface of teeth to improve your appearance.

A bridge is made up of two crowns for the teeth on either side of the gap -- these two anchoring teeth are called abutment teeth -- and a false tooth/teeth in between.

Tooth restorations are the various ways your dentist can replace or restore missing teeth or missing parts of the tooth structure.

Air abrasion is a drill-less technique that is being used by some dentists to remove tooth decay and for other applications.

Treatment for dry mouth depends on what is causing the problem.

Recontouring or reshaping the teeth (also called odontoplasty, enameloplasty, stripping, or slenderizing) is a procedure in which small amounts of tooth enamel are removed to change a tooth's length, shape, or surface.

Although permanent teeth were meant to last a lifetime, there are a number of reasons why tooth extraction may be needed.

If your tooth is broken, chipped, or fractured, see your dentist as soon as possible. Otherwise your tooth could be damaged further or become infected, possibly causing you to end up losing the tooth.

Sealants are a thin, plastic coating painted on the chewing surfaces of teeth -- usually the back teeth (the premolars and molars) -- to prevent tooth decay.

Mouth guards are coverings worn over teeth, and often used to protect teeth from injury from teeth grinding and during sports.

How Do I Measure Up? Get the Facts Fast!

Number of Days Per Week I Floss

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You are currently

Only 18.5% of Americans never floss. You are missing out on a simple way to make a big difference in the health of your mouth. Regardless of how well you brush, plaque still forms between your teeth and along your gums. Floss removes food trapped between the teeth and removes the film of bacteria that forms there before it turns to plaque, which can cause inflamed gums (gingivitis), cavities, and tooth loss. Try flossing just one tooth to get started.

You are one of 31% of Americans who don't floss daily. You are missing out on a simple way to make a big difference in the health of your mouth. Regardless of how well you brush, plaque still forms between your teeth and along your gums. Toothbrush bristles alone cannot clean effectively between these tight spaces. Flossing removes up to 80% of the film that hardens to plaque, which can cause inflamed gums (gingivitis), cavities, and tooth loss. Aim for 3 more days!

You are one of 31% of Americans who don't floss daily, but you're well on your way to making a positive impact on your teeth and gums. Regardless of how well you brush, plaque still forms between your teeth and along your gums. Toothbrush bristles alone cannot clean effectively between these tight spaces. Flossing removes up to 80% of the film that hardens to plaque, which can cause inflamed gums (gingivitis), cavities, and tooth loss. Aim for all 7 days!

Only 50.5% of Americans floss daily, and good for you that you are one of them! Regardless of how well you brush, plaque still forms between your teeth and along your gums. Toothbrush bristles alone cannot clean effectively between these tight spaces. Flossing removes up to 80% of the film that hardens to plaque, which can cause inflamed gums (gingivitis), cavities, and tooth loss. Congratulations on your good oral health habit!

SOURCES:

American Dental Association, Healthy People 2010

This tool is intended only for adults 18 and older.

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