You finally decided to take the plunge and makeover your smile. Depending on the restoration method you chose, the process of altering your smile may not have always been easy. But, now you have a new smile that brightens your entire face. You’re so ecstatic with the new you that you can’t help but look in the mirror every chance you get or smiling at everyone you pass on the street. Your new smile is everything you imagined it would be and you couldn’t be happier.
With this new smile, you are determined to never go back to the way it was before. After everything, you would do anything to preserve the smile you have for as long as possible. While modern dental restorations can withstand a lot, they are certainly not infallible to eventual decline. With that being said, I have to break the myth that dental restorations require no maintenance.
The truth is if you want your flawless smile to last, then your dental restorations require the same amount of maintenance as natural teeth. Gasp! Okay, now that the dust has settled from that truth bomb, let’s take a look at the specific dental care that is required to keep that smile of yours glowing.
Regular dental care required to maintain your dental restorations can be broken down into two main categories: your daily dental routine and your seasonal dental routine. We’ll begin with the more extensive of the two, your daily dental routine.
Starting with the basics, you will need to brush your teeth at least twice a day for two minutes at a time. If you have consumed highly pigmented foods or beverages that can stain your teeth, such as coffee or ketchup, then you may want to consider brushing after their consumption to prevent your restoration from staining. Although many dental restorations are stain-resistant, this doesn’t necessarily mean that they are immune to stains entirely.
When you brush, you will also want to pay attention to the toothpaste and toothbrush you use. An ideal toothpaste is both fluoridated and approved by the American Dental Association. You can find ADA approved toothpastes by looking for the ADA seal of approval. In some cases, Drs. Lerner and Lemongello may recommend using a specialized type of toothpaste, such as a toothpaste for sensitive teeth.
Additionally, the type of toothbrush you use is also an important aspect of your daily dental routine. The ideal toothbrush has soft, but firm bristles and is long enough to reach the back of your mouth. Again, you should look for toothbrushes that are ADA approved, because these toothbrushes will not cause harm to your natural teeth or dental restoration. Conversely, toothbrushes that are too hard may be excessively abrasive to your teeth, gums, and dental restoration.
While brushing, it is important to use the best technique so that you can get the most out of your daily brushing routine. The ideal tooth brushing technique starts with the toothbrush at a 45 degree angle to your gums. You will then proceed to brush your teeth by gently, but firmly moving the brush back and forth with short strokes.
The next part of your daily routine is flossing at least once a day. Flossing is an essential part of your daily dental routine because it removes plaque, food particles, and bacteria from hard to reach places you often miss while brushing, like between your teeth. When flossing, you will want to start with about 18 inches of floss wrapped around one of your middle fingers and the remainder wrapped on the other middle finger. You will then hold about an inch of floss between your index fingers and work this piece up and down along the sides of your teeth. You should take special care not to smack the floss against your gums. You will also want to gently floss around your restoration, but should avoid getting too far underneath it.
Part of your daily dental routine is also paying attention to the foods you eat and your overall habits. While many dental restorations offer strength and durability, they can still be damaged by excessively hard foods. Additionally, detrimental behaviors such as smoking, chewing ice, biting your nails, or using your teeth to open packages can also cause your natural teeth, as well as your restorations, to become damaged.
The final part of your daily dental routine is to wear your mouthguard or night guard if you have been given one. Mouthguards are often used during sports to protect your teeth against damage from a possible impact. Night guards are also used to protect your teeth, however are only worn at night to protect against teeth grinding and clenching. Again, although dental restorations are strong, the wear and tear of constant teeth grinding or clenching will eventually take its toll.
Phew! Even though this may sound like a lot, once you start working these things into your daily routine, it becomes easy. Now, let’s move on to your seasonal dental routine. First and foremost, one of the most important parts of your seasonal dental routine is to visit Drs. Lerner and Lemongello for your dental checkup and professional teeth cleaning. On average, you should have a dental checkup and professional teeth cleaning at least once every six months, however in some cases they may need to be more frequent.
This is such an important part of your seasonal dental routine because it offers you the chance to have professional maintenance on your dental restoration. Even though daily brushing and flossing help to remove plaque, there will inevitably be places that you have missed. When left on the teeth, plaque turns into tartar and can only be removed with special dental tools. Professional teeth cleanings are important because they remove far more plaque, tartar, and bacteria than brushing or flossing alone.
Dental checkups are also important because they allow Drs. Lerner and Lemongello to make sure you are still in the best possible dental health. Regular checkups allow for the early detection and resolution of possible dental issues. They also allow you the opportunity to discuss your concerns and have any questions you may have answered. At this point if you are still reading, you are probably committed to your oral health and will benefit from regular dental checkups.
Another part of your seasonal dental routine is to change out your toothbrush every three to four months. This is because your toothbrush will naturally wear out. Additionally, it can harbor millions of bacteria that you don’t want to reintroduce into your mouth. For this reason, you should also switch toothbrushes after you are sick.
By following these suggested guidelines on how to maintain your dental restoration with regular dental care, you will be able to enjoy your beautiful smile for as long as possible. Your new dental restoration has given you the gift of a new smile, but it is one that requires careful cultivation in order to thrive. And at Lerner & Lemongello of South Florida, we want nothing less than for you, and your smile, to thrive.