Posts for: June, 2016

By Thompson Lee & Chalothorn
June 23, 2016
Category: Oral Health
Tags: nutrition  

Learn how what you eat affects your teeth from you Lexington family dentist.

Smart food choices aren't just a good way to maintain your weight and stay healthy. The foods and beverages you consume also affectnutrition your teeth. Dr.William Lee and Dr. Pada Chalothorn, your Lexington, KY family dentists at Thompson Lee & Chalothorn, offer a few tips that will help you keep your smile healthy.

Munch on a natural plaque cleanser

Apples, carrots, celery and other crunchy fruits and vegetables provide an easy way to remove cavity-causing plaque from your teeth and improve your breath. If your teeth are damaged or weak, it's not a good to eat hard fruits and vegetables whole because taking a bite of these foods can crack a fragile tooth. Cut them into small pieces instead.

Choose foods high in calcium

Keep your teeth strong by eating foods rich in calcium every day. The mineral is found in milk, dairy products and calcium-fortified juices, but other foods also contain calcium, including spinach, broccoli, tofu, almonds and fortified cereals.

Prevent infections with vitamin C

Vitamin C, an antioxidant, combats free radicals, dangerous molecules that can harm your body's cells. Eating foods high in vitamin C, such as citrus fruits, bell peppers, berries, tomatoes, papaya, kiwi and peas, help you protect your gums from infections and cell damage.

Limit or avoid these foods and beverages

Some food and beverages can damage your teeth or increase your risk of cavities, including:

  • Ice: Chomping down on an ice cube is a good way to break or crack a tooth.
  • Hard candy and lollipops: These candies bathe your mouth in sugar for a long period of time, increasing your cavity risk.
  • Acidic drinks: Sodas and lemonade contain acid that can eat away at tooth enamel.
  • Sticky candy: Sticky candy, such as taffy, caramels and gummy candies, are bad for your teeth. After you indulge in one of these treats, tiny pieces of the sugary candy remain stuck in the nooks and crannies of your teeth. Sticky, sour candies are particularly bad for your smile because they expose your teeth to both acids and sugar while they remain stuck to your teeth.

Making smart food choices and visiting your dentist on a regular basis is the best way to keep your teeth healthy. If it's time for your next exam, call Drs. Lee and Chalothorn, your Lexington, KY family dentists at Thompson Lee & Chalothorn, at (859) 223-8987 to schedule an appointment. Maintain your smile by opting for healthy food options!

By Thompson Lee & Chalothorn
June 20, 2016
Category: Dental Procedures
Tags: tooth replacement  

While tooth loss can occur at any age, replacing one in a younger patient requires a different approach than for someone older. It’s actually better to hold off on a permanent restoration like a dental implant if the person is still in their teens.

This is because a teenager’s jaws won’t finish developing until after nineteen or in their early twenties. An implant set in the jawbone before then could end up out of alignment, making it appear out of place — and it also may not function properly. A temporary replacement improves form and function for now and leaves the door open for a permanent solution later.

The two most common choices for teens are a removable partial denture (RPD) or a bonded fixed bridge. RPDs consist of a plastic gum-colored base with an attached prosthetic (false) tooth matching the missing tooth’s type, shape and jaw position. Most dentists recommend an acrylic base for teens for its durability (although they should still be careful biting into something hard).

The fixed bridge option is not similar to one used commonly with adult teeth, as the adult version requires permanent alteration of the teeth on either side of the missing tooth to support the bridge. The version for teens, known as a “bonded” or “Maryland bridge,” uses tiny tabs of dental material bonded to the back of the false tooth with the extended portion then bonded to the back of the adjacent supporting teeth.

While bonded bridges don’t permanently alter healthy teeth, they also can’t withstand the same level of biting forces as a traditional bridge used for adults. The big drawback is if the bonding breaks free a new bonded bridge will likely be necessary with additional cost for the replacement.

The bridge option generally costs more than an RPD, but buys the most time and is most comfortable before installing a permanent restoration. Depending on your teen’s age and your financial ability, you may find it the most ideal — though not every teen is a good candidate. That will depend on how their bite, teeth-grinding habits or the health of surrounding gums might impact the bridge’s stability and durability.

A complete dental exam, then, is the first step toward determining which options are feasible. From there we can discuss the best choice that matches your teen’s long-term health, as well as your finances.

If you would like more information on tooth replacement solutions for younger patients, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation.

By Thompson Lee & Chalothorn
June 12, 2016
Category: Dental Procedures

Everyone has to face the music at some time — even John Lydon, former lead singer of The Sex Pistols, arguably England’s best known punk rock band. The 59-year old musician was once better known by his stage name, Johnny Rotten — a brash reference to the visibly degraded state of his teeth. But in the decades since his band broke up, Lydon’s lifelong deficiency in dental hygiene had begun to cause him serious problems.

In recent years, Lydon has had several dental surgeries — including one to resolve two serious abscesses in his mouth, which left him with stitches in his gums and a temporary speech impediment. Photos show that he also had missing teeth, which, sources say, he opted to replace with dental implants.

For Lydon (and many others in the same situation) that’s likely to be an excellent choice. Dental implants are the gold standard for tooth replacement today, for some very good reasons. The most natural-looking of all tooth replacements, implants also have a higher success rate than any other method: over 95 percent. They can be used to replace one tooth, several teeth, or an entire arch (top or bottom row) of teeth. And with only routine care, they can last for the rest of your life.

Like natural teeth, dental implants get support from the bone in your jaw. The implant itself — a screw-like titanium post — is inserted into the jaw in a minor surgical operation. The lifelike, visible part of the tooth — the crown — is attached to the implant by a sturdy connector called an abutment. In time, the titanium metal of the implant actually becomes fused with the living bone tissue. This not only provides a solid anchorage for the prosthetic, but it also prevents bone loss at the site of the missing tooth — which is something neither bridgework nor dentures can do.

It’s true that implants may have a higher initial cost than other tooth replacement methods; in the long run, however, they may prove more economical. Over time, the cost of repeated dental treatments and periodic replacement of shorter-lived tooth restorations (not to mention lost time and discomfort) can easily exceed the expense of implants.

That’s a lesson John Lydon has learned. “A lot of ill health came from neglecting my teeth,” he told a newspaper reporter. “I felt sick all the time, and I decided to do something about it… I’ve had all kinds of abscesses, jaw surgery. It costs money and is very painful. So Johnny says: ‘Get your brush!’”

We couldn’t agree more. But if brushing isn’t enough, it may be time to consider dental implants. If you would like more information about dental implants, please call our office to schedule a consultation. You can read more in the Dear Doctor magazine articles “Dental Implants” and “Save a Tooth or Get an Implant?

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