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Posts for: July, 2016


“The Freshman 15” is a popular way of referring to the phenomenon of new college students gaining weight during their freshman year (although the average is less than fifteen pounds). According to research, college students gain weight mainly due to an unhealthy diet and lack of exercise.

If you're experiencing this as a college student, you should also know poor diet and lifestyle choices harm your teeth and gums as well. If you don't want to encounter major dental problems, then you need to make some changes beginning with the same cause for your weight gain: what you eat and drink.

Like the rest of your body, your teeth and gums have the best chance for being healthy when you're eating a balanced, nutritional diet low in added sugar. And it's not just mealtime: constant snacking on sweets not only loads on the calories, it also feeds disease-causing oral bacteria. Sipping on acidic beverages like sodas, sports or energy drinks also increases the levels of acid that can erode tooth enamel.

Some lifestyle habits can also affect oral health. Using tobacco (smoked or smokeless) inhibits your mouth's natural healing properties and makes you more susceptible to dental disease. While it may be cool to get piercings in your lips, cheeks or tongue, the hardware can cause gum recession, chipped teeth and soft tissue cuts susceptible to infection. And unsafe sexual practices increase your risk for contracting the human papilloma virus (HPV16) that's been linked with oral cancer, among other serious health problems.

Last but not least, how you regularly care for your teeth and gums can make the biggest difference of all. You should brush and floss your teeth ideally twice a day to clean away plaque, a thin film of disease-causing bacteria and food particles. And twice-a-year dental cleanings and checkups will round out your prevention efforts against tooth decay or periodontal (gum) disease.

Making your own choices is a rite of passage into adulthood. Making good choices for your teeth and gums will help ensure they remain healthy for a long time to come.

If you would like more information on maintaining dental health during the college years, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can also learn more about this topic by reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “10 Health Tips for College Students.”

By Gary Belenski, DDS
July 08, 2016
Category: Oral Health
Tags: TMJ  

Sick and tired of being in pain? Discover the ways you can eliminate your TMJ problems.

It’s believed that as many as 10 million Americans are affected by TMJ disorders, a condition that affects the joints and muscles of the jaw that are responsible for movement. If you have been dealing with jaw pain learn more about this condition and how your TMJWestminster, CO dentist, Dr. Gary Belenski, recommends treating your symptoms.

What are TMJ disorders?

This grouping of disorders affects the temporomandibular joint, which connects the jaw to the skull. Opening and closing the jaw, as well as certain twisting motions may be difficult or painful if you suffer from this problem. Those with a TMJ disorder often experience these symptoms:

  • Jaw and/or facial pain (most often occurring in the morning)
  • Jaw stiffness
  • Tenderness in and around the jaw
  • A jaw that locks up
  • A clicking noise when opening your mouth
  • Pain when chewing or yawning

How do I treat my TMJ disorder?

While some people are fortunate enough to get rid of their TMJ disorder without treatment there are some people who experience chronic pain that requires attention. If this sounds like you, then you’ve come to the right place. Here are some of the best ways our Westminster family dentist recommends tackling your symptoms:

  • Apply towel-wrapped ice packs over the affected joint for about five minutes at a time several times a day to ease swelling and discomfort
  • Go to your local pharmacy and pick up some over-the-counter anti-inflammatory drugs like ibuprofen, which can temporarily alleviate your pain
  • Follow a soft diet as much as possible and avoid crunchy, hard or chewy foods Cut food into bite-sized pieces
  • Incorporate stretching exercises into your daily routine to strengthen your jaw muscles
  • Try meditation or other stress management techniques

Many times these conservative treatments are enough to ease your symptoms for good. However, if you find yourself still battling chronic or severe pain, then it’s time you did something about it. Call the office of Westminster, CO general dentist, Dr. Belenski, today to get the care you deserve.

By Gary Belenski, DDS
July 01, 2016
Category: Dental Procedures
Tags: celebrity smiles   bonding  

So you’re tearing up the dance floor at a friend’s wedding, when all of a sudden one of your pals lands an accidental blow to your face — chipping out part of your front tooth, which lands right on the floorboards! Meanwhile, your wife (who is nine months pregnant) is expecting you home in one piece, and you may have to pose for a picture with the baby at any moment. What will you do now?

Take a tip from Prince William of England. According to the British tabloid The Daily Mail, the future king found himself in just this situation in 2013. His solution: Pay a late-night visit to a discreet dentist and get it fixed up — then stay calm and carry on!

Actually, dental emergencies of this type are fairly common. While nobody at the palace is saying exactly what was done for the damaged tooth, there are several ways to remedy this dental dilemma.

If the broken part is relatively small, chances are the tooth can be repaired by bonding with composite resin. In this process, tooth-colored material is used to replace the damaged, chipped or discolored region. Composite resin is a super-strong mixture of plastic and glass components that not only looks quite natural, but bonds tightly to the natural tooth structure. Best of all, the bonding procedure can usually be accomplished in just one visit to the dental office — there’s no lab work involved. And while it won’t last forever, a bonded tooth should hold up well for at least several years with only routine dental care.

If a larger piece of the tooth is broken off and recovered, it is sometimes possible to reattach it via bonding. However, for more serious damage — like a severely fractured or broken tooth — a crown (cap) may be required. In this restoration process, the entire visible portion of the tooth may be capped with a sturdy covering made of porcelain, gold, or porcelain fused to a gold metal alloy.

A crown restoration is more involved than bonding. It begins with making a 3-D model of the damaged tooth and its neighbors. From this model, a tooth replica will be fabricated by a skilled technician; it will match the existing teeth closely and fit into the bite perfectly. Next, the damaged tooth will be prepared, and the crown will be securely attached to it. Crown restorations are strong, lifelike and permanent.

Was the future king “crowned” — or was his tooth bonded? We may never know for sure. But it’s good to know that even if we’ll never be royals, we still have several options for fixing a damaged tooth. If you would like more information, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can learn more by reading the Dear Doctor magazine articles “Repairing Chipped Teeth” and “Crowns and Bridgework.”