March 27, 2013

Looking Younger With Dentistry

In last week’s blog we began looking at how modern dentistry can make you look 15 years younger, and as promised, we are going to continue exploring this topic.

Did you know that sometimes people with temporomandibular disorder (TMD) will sometimes experience changes in the jaw joint that cause the chin and lower jaw to move to an abnormal position.  This can distort the normal appearance of the face.

Some patients can correct a TMD problem by wearing a splint – sometimes known as a night guard or a bite guard – when they sleep.  This is called occlusal splint therapy.  Splints made from a type of durable plastic, usually slip over all or some of the teeth.  They cause changes in the joint that can reposition the lower jaw and both relieve pain and restore a more normal appearance.

Splints are relatively inexpensive, but they can take years to work, and they don’t work for every patient.  It’s important to know not to bother with over-the-counter boil-and-bite splints.  They are not effective for a receding jaw.  You need a splint that is customized by a dentist to fit your specific teeth and jaw shape.  MRI or a CT scan may be needed during the diagnosis stage.

If you’re middle-aged or older, you probably have one or more silver amalgam fillings.  These don’t last forever.  The edges can open up and allow bacteria to get under the fillings, leading to decay, or eventually the need for root canal therapy.  Also, the metal fillings in teeth can darken and appear as gray shadows that are visible through the tooth enamel, imparting an old and unattractive appearance.  Depending on the size of the silver filling, the solution can be replacing silver fillings with tooth-colored composite fillings, or lab-processed porcelain “fillings” called inlays or onlays.  Inlays and onlays are needed when too much tooth structure needs to be replaced to use composite and have it be effective.  There is a great difference in the cost of the two types of restorations to replace silver fillings.  Composites can be a few hundred dollars a tooth, and porcelain can be over one thousand dollars a tooth.

We’ll continue exploring the youth restoring qualities of dentistry in our next blog.  For now, please visit for information about other dental topics.

March 20, 2013

Can Dentistry Make You Look 15 Years Younger?

Teeth show your age just as much as drooping muscles or sagging skin.  Even if you get regular dental care and keep your teeth white, you might want to consider other dental enhancements.  Age-related changes can dim your smile and even change your facial structure, making you look far older than your age.

What are some of the conditions in your mouth that can age you?  Decades of chewing or tooth-grinding or clenching can wear down the upper and lower teeth.  As the teeth get shorter, the distance between the chin and nose also shortens, resulting in a shorter face that makes you look older. 

The solution for worn teeth is veneers or crowns that restore natural tooth shapes and dimensions.  Veneers are ultrathin pieces of porcelain that, when attached to the surfaces of existing teeth, become extremely strong.  A crown goes over the entire tooth and is a better choice if your teeth are structurally weak because of fillings, root canal, etc.  Sometimes increasing the length of only the upper teeth can create a dramatic improvement.  Crowns and veneers can last at least 10 to 15 years and often longer.

Missing teeth can also age you.  People often don’t realize that the shape of the face partly is determined by the teeth.  This is particularly true in the cheek areas because the muscles are supported by the side teeth.  If you have one or more missing teeth, your cheeks can cave inward and create an older, drawn appearance.  Even one missing tooth can cause a “sunken” appearance if you have a small, narrow face.  It will be less apparent if you have a large, broad face.

A dental implant is ideal to replace a missing tooth, as long as the underlying bone is healthy and enough to hold the implant.  The dentist places a titanium cylinder in the dental bone.  This cylinder replaces the missing tooth root.  After the implant becomes part of your jawbone, a connector called an abutment is attached to the implant and then a crown is placed on the abutment.  Dental implants typically last just as long as your natural teeth, and in many cases, even longer.

We’ll continue exploring how dentistry can make you look younger in our next blog.  In the meantime, please visit for other dental information.

March 13, 2013

Famous People Were Dentists

We hope you found last week’s blog interesting, and, as promised, here are some more famous X-dentists!

Zane Grey is famous for writing Western novels.  Before writing over 80 books, Pearl Zane Grey was a practicing dentist in New York.  Unfortunately, he lost his love of dentistry – it just decayed, and he quickly abandoned the field when he became a published author.  Zane Grey went on to become one of history’s first millionaire authors.

This next famous person’s story is very interesting.  It may seem ironic that the creator of a company specializing in sugar-laden fruit juices was also a dentist, but it’s true.  Thomas Welch was the founder of Welch’s, and he was a dentist before he retired and became famous for inventing a pasteurization process for grape juice that kept it from fermenting.  Welch’s intention was to create a non-alcoholic wine that could be used at the sacrament in churches.

Paul Revere is famous as the Revolutionary War hero who made his midnight ride to warn people that “The British are coming!  The British are coming!”  He was a skilled silversmith who also advertised his services as a dentist and was known for making false teeth for his patients.

We hope you found this dental trivia interesting.  For information about a full range of dentalservices visit

March 5, 2013

What Is The Silent Killer?

Close to 40,000 Americans will be diagnosed with the silent killer this year.  It will cause over 8,000 deaths, killing about one person per hour, every hour of every day.  Of those 40,000 newly diagnosed individuals, only slightly more than half, or approximately 57%, will be alive in five years.

What is this silent killer?  Oral cancer!  The death rate for oral cancer is higher than that of cancers which we hear about routinely, such as cervical cancer, laryngeal cancer, or lung cancer, and so on.

Statistics show that a younger age group, including those who have never used any tobacco products, is being diagnosed with oral cancer.  There is a viral based cause, the human papilloma virus, particularly version 16, which has been shown to be sexually transmitted between partners, and is conclusively implicated in the increasing incidence of young non-smoking oral cancer patients.  This is the same virus, along with other similar viruses, that is the cause of 90% of cervical cancers.  The Oral Cancer Foundation’s data in the last few years suggests that this virus may even be replacing tobacco as the primary cause of oral cancer in people under the age of 50.

Early stage oral cancer is often painless and goes undetected.  If dentists and patients wait until symptoms arise, sadly it might be too late.  Over the last few years technology with oral cancer screening has become more advanced.  At Tavormina Dentistry we offer  the Vizilite oral cancer screening test.  Many of our patients tell us the small fee is worth the peace of mind and they appreciate that we offer this diagnostic life-saving tool.

For information about other dental topics visit