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Your Teeth Age Too!

Special Concerns for Older Adults

Along with those gray hairs and inevitable smile lines, your mouth undergoes natural changes over the years, as well. Among them:

Cutting edge of teeth are worn flat by chewing or grinding.

Remember to keep regularly scheduled hygiene appointments to check for cavities. Consider dental sealants to prevent decay, or a nighttime mouthguard if you experience grinding (bruxism).

Jawbones supporting teeth or dentures can shrink by as much as two-thirds!

Loss of bone mass is a fact of aging, especially in women. When teeth are missing, osteoporosis (bone thinning) is accelerated. A diet rich in calcium (milk, green leafy vegetables, citrus fruits) can help put the brakes on bone loss.

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An Ounce of Prevention...

A Little Prevention can Stop Future Problems

An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. You've heard that a million times—because it's so true! Our office really wants you to avoid painful, costly dental procedures. The way you can do this is through regularly scheduled dental exams. The idea is to discover a problem when it's large enough to be observed—and small enough to be contained!

Two dental visits a year are average. But you—are not average! More appointments may need to be scheduled when mouths build tartar fast, cavities multiply, or teeth and gums experience change.

The American Heart Association has reported that the BEST indicator of your chance of having a stroke is your number of teeth. Not cholesterol, blood pressure, or bad diet. The more teeth you lose, the higher your risk of stroke.

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The Long & Short of Gum Disease

Information on Gum Disease

Surprising but true: the major cause of tooth loss in adults is not decay, but periodontal disease. More than half of all people over age 18 have at least the early stage of periodontal disease. After age 35, about three out of four adults are affected.

Some people seem to be more susceptible to gum disease than others. Anything from pregnancy, systemic disease (like diabetes), and certain medications can contribute to its development. Smoking increases the likelihood dramatically (and renders treatment less effective). Some unlucky folks are inherently more susceptible because of unique bacterial/chemical mixes in the mouth that encourage plaque.

The results of gum disease aren't pretty. Early stages of disease show up as persistent bad breath and red, swollen gums. Eventually, if the disease progresses without treatment, tooth loss is inevitable.

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Dental Myths, Fabrications, and Falsehoods

Some Myths Have a Basis in Reality

Originally, these ideas held because no one really knew how to maintain a great smile over a lifetime. Unfortunately, "popular wisdom" still prevents some people from recognizing how modern dentistry can keep teeth natural, attractive and pain free. Do any of the following notions sound familiar? If so, get ready for a little relief!

A woman can expect to lose a tooth for every child

The Reality: This myth used to be true in many cases, but thankfully with modern medicine and dentistry, there's no longer need for you to lose a single tooth.

The Reason: Moms used to lose teeth partly because their calcium was being diverted during pregnancy for fetal development. Chances were, she wasn't taking enough vitamin C "for two"—or maintaining her normal level of daily oral hygiene. We strongly encourage moms-to-be to make an appointment for a tooth-preserving hygiene and oral examination.

Protecting your teeth may be important for baby as well. A recent clinical study suggests there is a link between gum disease in pregnant mothers and low birth weight or premature babies. Treating your perio early in pregnancy just might benefit the newest family member!

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Crown and Bridge Treatment

Restoring Your Teeth with Crowns & Bridges

Teeth are tough. Formed from the hardest substances in the body, they're harder even than bone. But they're not indestructible. Throughout life teeth are subject to injury—maybe it will be a blow from a hockey puck in your twenties. Or a luckless chomp on an unseen popcorn kernel in your thirties. Or a molar that's had one too many fillings in your forties.

Whatever the scenario, at some point most of us will need repair for a weakened or broken tooth. For such situations, crowns and bridges are the workhorses of restorative dental care...

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When Diseases Cause Oral Complications

Potential Warning Signs

We have come a long way in the treatment of serious, life-threatening systemic diseases. Part and parcel of healing more aggressive diseases are—more aggressive therapies. And sometimes as a result of forceful care, complications arise that demand attention of their own: oral problems.

When an individual is very sick, nutrition becomes more important than ever. Oral problems can interfere with normal function—eating, speaking, swallowing—just when the patient needs it most. Early evaluation by a dentist can help preserve a patient's oral health. So please, be aware of the possibility of oral disorders in those you care for and care about.

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Protect Baby's Teeth

Preventing Cavities in Your Baby's Teeth

Eating & Drinking

  • Don't let it continue throughout the day. Limit to 4 or 5 periods.
  • This especially includes apple juice, raisins. Residual fruit sugars easily damage baby teeth.
  • Restricting unlimited contact between food and teeth is the most important factor in preventing cavities!

Brushing

  • Remember: thorough brushing is more important than frequent brushing.
  • Thorough flossing is just as important...

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Mystery Pain & Phantom Toothache

Do You Have a Mystery Pain?

There's only one good thing about a visibly damaged tooth: here, clearly, is where the pain's coming from and where our response will be focused.

But complaints of "tooth pain" without a clear source or origin—now, that's something else entirely.

Say you've been good with your hygiene, faithful in your checkups, and you wake up one morning with a vague pain. You can't see a crack or cavity, but something's just not right, so you schedule an appointment with our team.

What gives? A morning toothache might not even come from damage. Could be the aftermath of all-night grinding (bruxism). Usually treatable with a simple sleeping appliance.

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Bruxism, the Unknown Habit

What is Bruxism and Why is it Harmful?

It's such a common habit, yet most of the time we never know we're doing it. Not cracking your knuckles or biting fingernails, but intense clenching and grinding of your teeth—known in dental terminology as bruxism. The reason this phenomenon goes unnoticed so often is that "grinders" usually perform when they're sleeping.

Most research agrees that nighttime clenching is just a way of releasing tension.

From what we see in the office, there's more than a few tense people out there.

The most common signs and symptoms of bruxism appear as clicking or sore jaw joint (located in front of the ear, known as the TMJ) and abnormal wearing of teeth enamel.

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Have You Knocked Out a Tooth?

What To Do With a Knocked Out Tooth

We sure can try, but your help is needed, and the most important word is TIME.

When a permanent tooth is knocked out, the less time it is out of the mouth the better. In fact, the best results are obtained when the tooth is replaced within 30 minutes!

A parent or friend can place the tooth back into the socket or place it in a wet issue and bring the patient, and the tooth to the dentist at once.

Don't attempt to clean the tooth—that may damage it. If you re-implant the tooth yourself, come to the office as soon as possible, anyway, because the tooth may need to be wired or otherwise stabilized in position for a couple of weeks.

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Our Office

The Dental Touch
Dr. Dennis Prat
4215 Piedmont Ave.
Oakland, CA 94611

Phone:
Current Patients: (510) 658-0110
New Patients: (510) 849-6560

About Us

Oakland dentist Dr. Dennis A. Prat provides a wide range of dental treatments including: preventative, restorative, cosmetic, pediatric, sedation and minimally invasive dentistry. Schedule a free dental implant or gum surgery consultation today!

Office Hours

  • Monday: 9:00 AM – 5:00 PM
  • Tuesday: 9:00 AM – 7:00 PM
  • Wednesday: 9:00 AM – 7:00 PM
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