The office of Mark C. Marchbanks, D.D.S. is committed to providing attentive, personalized dental care to you and your family. Through this blog, Dr Marchbanks will guide the people about few healthy dental tips.
On top of cleanings and cavity fillings, have you ever wondered what services are offered at Dr. Marchbanks’ office? Did you know there were cosmetic services that Dr. Marchbanks specializes in?
While we believe that preventative dental services are the key to having and maintaining a smile, we realize that even with the most diligent care, some of our patients are still disappointed with their smile.
Teeth are more than just a way to break down food—they are the first thing someone sees when you smile. For the millions of Americans who are self-conscious about their teeth, this can actually lead to poorer economic outcomes, fewer job opportunities and a lower feeling of self-worth. Study after study has found the correlation to an uncertain smile and less success in these buckets. And these are all things we want to help our patients overcome!
Through cosmetic dentistry, Dr. Marchbanks is able to restore and reshape smiles. Some patients have admitted to a certain apprehension about perusing cosmetic procedures for fear they may look vain or that they are unnecessary. We do believe those fears are needless. The procedures done in our office help to rebuild smiles that help to boost quality of life.
Below are some of the procedures that Dr. Marchbanks specializes in. If you feel like you are a candidate for one (or several), give our office a call today!
The foundation of cosmetic dentistry is to create positive changes to your mouth. Teeth whitening is one of the most basic ways to accomplish that goal. It’s estimated that 90% of dental patients have asked about tooth whitening at one point or another. Professional tooth whitening removes stains and brightens your smile, which results in a lighter shade of teeth. Many dentists note that patients come in for whitening before important interviews or big events like a wedding. This quick-and-easy procedure leaves patients more confident about their smiles and appearance, and in-office whitening can be completed in a single visit. Ask us next time about how you could benefit from this completely pain-free procedure.
Porcelain veneers are thin shells of medical-grade ceramic that are used to recreate the natural look of teeth while also strengthening each tooth individually. Each veneer is uniquely crafted for a patient, because only then do we ensure that your smile remains natural. Veneers allow for small adjustments to the color, tooth size or shape, and position of the tooth as well.
Severe tooth loss can lead to a host of issues that impact self-esteem, nutrition and oral health. Due to the severity of these issues, many of our patients are curious about dental implants, but just as many worry about the cost or pain associated with the procedure. Modern implants use titanium to form an artificial root of the tooth. Once surgically implanted into the jawbone, the titanium actually bonds with the jawbone and heals much quicker than previous iterations of the technology. This advancement has made the procedure easier and gives increased confidence and comfort to patients, so don’t hesitate to ask us for more information.
Millions of American adults are unhappy with the way their teeth look. Some have never had braces, and others had braces in their teenage years but have since seen their teeth shift around again. While many of us are familiar with traditional braces, their bulkiness and visibility are a turn-off for most of us in the professional world. Thankfully, due to progress in orthodontic technology, other products that straighten teeth have hit the market. One of the most popular options is Invisalign. Invisalign is a treatment process that relies on a series of removable trays that slowly move and correct alignment.
If you’re ready to take the first step to a more confident smile, call our office today to discuss options for cosmetic procedures!
The economy is Texas is booming. Companies are moving their headquarters here, and that not only increases jobs by tens of thousands a month but also brings more people, which generates more money into our local economy!
Unemployment has been under 4% for the last year and a half, and employers are fighting over the top talent here in the state. At a local level, Arlington has a lower unemployment rate than the state average and employment numbers have been ticking up over the past year.
As the seventh most populous county in the state, Arlington has been able to take advantage of the economic highs and invest back in the city. Both private and public developments are allowing Arlington, TX to expand, modernize and serve its population better.
Below are some of the changes and new additions to our community you may see popping up!
George W. Hawke Public Library
The new Arlington library located near City Hall downtown opened less than a month ago. This 80,000-square foot, state-of-the-art building features three floors of community spaces in addition to the library. Meeting and study rooms and places for teens and children are all housed in this space! The rooftop even features a garden.
Enter the library through the two-story, light-infused lobby that has seating and free wi-fi. Local restaurants will provide pop-up eateries, too, so you can enjoy a snack while you work.
Continue into what has been named ‘The Living Room’ of the library that features new and large-print books. The area also features an interactive art wall for children.
Finally, the children’s area was designed to foster a love of reading from an early age. Kids can climb through tunnels or cozy up on bean bags with their favorite books. It’s not too late to stop by and join the Summer Reading Program either!
Everyone in Arlington is familiar with the Cowboys Stadium and the ballpark, but what about the Esports arena? This new 100,000-square foot stadium will allow Esports in Arlington to be a leader in the nation in a new way.
For those that don’t know about esports, it’s most commonly described as video gaming at the professional level. Many times, these games are played on teams and require significant teamwork that is drilled (like other sports) before heading into competition. This form of entertainment has exploded over the last serval years, and venues to host events is the only thing holding back future growth. This arena will bring in thousands of spectators and visitors to Arlington each month.
Have you taken a ride on Milo, the self-driving shuttle that operates in the Entertainment District? The 100th operation of the vehicle is right around the corner, so Arlington is offering free rides to all residents. The shuttles are programmed to run along select off-street trails in Richard Greene Linear Park and Robert Cluck Linear Park between the AT&T Stadium and Globe Life Park, and will pick up and drop off passengers at designated stops.
Arlington will soon transition to on-street testing of autonomous vehicles, with service anticipated to be available in the Entertainment District for the general public this coming fall. Milo will be available for rides through August 2018.
In addition to Milo, the City of Arlington approved a resolution in June to show support and encouragement for private companies in the growing autonomous technology industry by coming to The American Dream City to test and deploy robotic delivery devices in a real-world environment. Arlington will continue to be on the cutting edge of technology for a long time to come!
July 4th is right around the corner, which means it is time to start finalizing your Independence Day plans! Living in Arlington affords you the opportunity to be a part of numerous community events, many of which the staff at Dr. Marchbanks’s office will also be at!
We like to think that our office is a staple in this community, and we strongly believe that it’s important we’re out in the community seeing our patients and their families over this Texas-favorite holiday.
Below are some of our favorite July 4th in Arlington events. Share with us on our Facebook page what you plan to do, and we hope to see you there! If you see us, come over and say “Hi!” or snag a picture for our social media pages. We hope to see you all celebrating!
Arlington 4th of July Parade: The oldest and longest running event in Arlington is the community Fourth of July parade. Started in 1965, it’s grown from kids on bicycles to professionally-built floats and marching bands. More than 75,000 people attend annually, and many residents host parties on their lawns for the spectators. Independence Day in Texas is the theme for this year, and it’s expected the floats will be bigger and better than years past! Parade organizers encourage everyone to share their photos on social media. If you do, don’t forget to tag us!
Light Up Arlington: If you can’t wait until the 4th for the festivities, then start the celebration on July 3rd with Light Up Arlington. This annual event hosted by the Arlington Parks & Recreation Department features Kid Zone activities, food trucks and live music. Finish the night with a fireworks show set to music. Bring your blankets, chairs and coolers for this all-day community event!
Take Me Out to Ball Park: What’s more American than baseball and hotdogs? Join the Texas Rangers for their Independence Day game against the Houston Astros. Tickets are cheap, and you can expect one of the best fireworks shows in the Metroplex after the game! Another added bonus: hotdogs are only $1! So come hungry!
July 4th Fest at Six Flags: If you aren’t afraid of the heat (or the roller coasters) then head to July 4th Fest at Six Flags that features festive food, fireworks and exclusive ride times. Tickets are currently available at a discount, so don’t delay!
Lone Stars and Stripes Celebration: In neighboring Grand Prairie, the horse racing track at Lone Star Park transforms into a two-day concert featuring live music by ‘70s, ‘80s and 90’s cover bands. There will also be kid-friendly activities, including a petting zoo, bounce houses and face painting. The night will conclude with a fireworks display after the races.
Panther Island Pavilion: To our west in Fort Worth is a huge annual event along the banks of the Trinity River. If the heat is too much for you to handle, life vests will be available to float the river. Enjoy music, pony rides, face painting and more as you celebrate Independence Day in Texas! There will be a F-16 fly over, a battle of the bands and tons of food including favorite local food trucks. Stay until dark to watch the fireworks display. You won’t disappointed to spend your day here!
Celebrating July 4th in Arlington and our neighboring communities is a great way to get out and interact with your neighbors and friends. We hope to see all of our patients and their families throughout the holiday week! Keep us updated on social media of all the fun you are having and don’t forget to say hi if you see us out and about. From everyone at Dr. Marchbanks’s office, we wish you as happy and safe fourth of July!
If you’ve been following along with us all month as we discuss the history and technology behind Invisalign, you might be wondering if this product is right for you. Deciding to begin an orthodontic treatment can be daunting yet life changing at the same time. If you are on the fence or unsure of what to ask Dr. Marchbanks at your next appointment, we’ve included a few conversation starters and questions that should help set the stage for a treatment option. Don’t let the fear of the conversation hold you back from a gaining the straight smile you have always wanted!
I’ve never had any orthodontic work done—can I jump straight into Invisalign, or do I need expanders, retainers or teeth pulled first?
This is a great question for Dr. Marchbanks who can evaluate your mouth and look for issues that could be too complex for Invisalign. Many patients ask, for example, if Invisalign corrects overbites or gapped or crowded teeth. Unfortunately, Invisalign is not designed to fix severe jaw problems. Dr. Marchbanks will perform an exam of your mouth and determine if Invisalign can correct the problems you are having or if you need other traditional orthodontic treatment.
Is there an age requirement? Is it possible to be too old or too young?
You are never too old to fix your teeth. Invisalign is generally recommended for older teenagers and adults. Since the treatment is dependent on adherence to wearing the aligners, it may be too much responsibility for small children. This is the perfect treatment, however, for teens who are concerned about the appearance of braces in high school. And adults of any age can benefit from the treatment.
I have TMJ. Am I still a candidate?
Unfortunately, TMJ and Invisalign have been proven incompatible. Since Invisalign can change a patient’s bite, it can worsen TMJ. For patients who suffer from TMJ symptoms like headaches, ear pain, popping in the jaw or chronic fatigue, Align Technologies (the makers of Invisalign) have recommended against the use of their product in the presence of these problems. Additional studies have shown that while Invisalign doesn’t cause TMJ, the aligners can bring about issues that your orthodontist was unaware of prior to starting Invisalign treatment. If you are suffering from TMJ, Dr. Marchbanks can help you get relief prior to moving on to any orthodontic treatments.
I’ve had gum disease in the past—is that ok?
Prior to beginning any orthodontic treatment it’s important that your teeth and gums are in good health. Ignoring underlying issues could cause additional problems in the future. Prior to getting Invisalign, it’s important to have a thorough teeth cleaning and receive a tooth and gum health sign-off from Dr. Marchbanks.
I had braces as a teenager, but now my teeth have shifted. Will Invisalign help me?
Upwards of 33% of Americans had braces as a teenager. Unfortunately, many of these now-adults have suffered from tooth movement, whether from less-than-diligent wearing of retainers or from other factors. Many times, Invisalign will be able to help because overcrowding and jaw issues have already been addressed in these patients’ original treatment. Just remember: adherence is key. If you don’t want your teeth to shift again, it’s important to wear the aligners exactly as directed.
If you have any additional questions for Dr. Marchbanks, make an appointment today! It takes an Invisalign-certified expert to determine who’s eligible, so don’t delay another day!
Many of us remember an age without cell phones, and even more remember a time when the only thing cell phones did was make calls. Now, thanks to technology, the tiny computer we carry in our pocket is more technologically advanced than the system that sent the first shuttle to space!
The same can be seen in the orthodontic technology. From ancient braces found on mummies in Egypt (that relied on animal skin attached to the teeth) to the traditional braces of the twentieth century (that relied on stainless steel), technology has evolved significantly.
What’s interesting about tracing the history of orthodontia back to ancient Egypt is that all the varying versions of braces relied heavily on the model of brackets and wires. While it’s obvious how modern elements and our growing medical knowledge shaped these changes, it’s shocking that it took thousands of years to completely throw out the old model and try something new.
That’s exactly what Invisalign did in 1997. As we’ve previously discussed, Invisalign founder Zia Christi was able to revolutionize modern orthodontia by leaning on his background as an engineer—not a dentist!
Invisalign technology has shaken up the bracket and wire braces world and spurred one of the greatest dental advancements of our time.
What did Christi do?
Christi and his partners relied 3D imaging software to map out a patient’s mouth and create custom aligners that would slowly transform his or her mouth over time. This imaging software has helped propel the era of digital dentistry.
Previously, dentists relied on physical impressions that many patients dreaded and found uncomfortable. But by taking the treatment planning online through new software and computer programs, dentists are now able to ensure there are no human errors or botched physical impressions that could slow down the process and add time to a treatment schedule.
Before coming to market, this new retainer technology was tested for over three years. The plastic aligners used are called Smart Track. The design of Smart Track balances patient comfort with straightening ability using the design that allows the aligner to fit snuggly around your teeth to ensure they move into the correct position. To prevent pain, the aligners are built with light elasticity. This minimal “give” allows your teeth to not be moved too quickly (which is where pain sets in), but still fast enough that each tray generally lasts only two weeks. The gentle-yet-consistent force against your teeth improves tooth movement and has been scientifically proven to work 99.9% of the time.
What did they make it out of?
The trays themselves are made of medical-grade plastic. Since these devices are used in the body, the materials must pass strict safety requirements and inspections. The components in Invisalign have been proven to be biocompatible to use for human use in the mouth.
Finally, thanks to the us use of robots, each Invisalign tray is carved with laser precision. Invisalign technology is cutting-edge, which results in minimal mistakes or deviations from the designated treatment plan in each tray.
Since each tray is based on this fancy technology, not to mention mathematics and algorithms to predict tooth movement, fewer appointments and trips to the dentists are needed. Not only can you save time and money, but you can experience less pain compared to traditional braces.
Technology is the key component of Invisalign’s business model. It has allowed for the company to grow rapidly and service patients all around the world. If this seems like something you’re interested in, give our office a call today. We would love to be part of your journey to a straight smile!
The number of those who are retired in the Dallas/Ft. Worth metroplex continues to grow. Thanks to our easy access to great international airports, top-notch health care centers, culturally stimulating museums and international cuisine, there’s no doubt why those 65-and-up continue to call this area home.
If you or your retired parents are looking for the best activities in the area, we’ve created the perfect go-to list! Many of these tours and experiences also accommodate those with mobility issues, so don’t let walkers or wheelchairs stand in the way of getting out and about!
Locations with senior discounts
There is no reason to be ashamed that you now qualify for the senior discount. Saving a little money helps you save up for more adventures. Take a look at some of our favorite places that are wallet and retiree friendly that offer discounts you can take advantage of:
Dallas Arboretum ($9 for seniors): Sit in the gardens or elevate your heart rate with a walk around the 66 acres. The Arboretum also offers cooking, crafting, and horticultural classes, which are great for people with extra time on their hands!
Angelika Film Center ($8.50 for 60+): This iconic theater features current releases and indie films. Located right downtown, you can also visit local eateries and go shopping.
George Bush Presidential Library ($13 for seniors): Sit at the desk in the Oval Office and learn more about the history of President Bush’s time in office.
Dallas Museum of Arts ($14 for seniors): This summer, head to the DMA on the second Thursday of the month for live music and special programming!
Many experts believe that the way to keep a sharp mind is to never stop learning. To encourage that, many intuitions across the metroplex open their doors for seniors. Below are some the best, most affordable options:
College for all Texans is a program that joins with local universities and community colleges to offer free college classes to seniors. From health science to history, the course options are many!
The Parks and Recreation Departments in Dallas and in Fort Worth offer active senior adult programs at a discounted price. From book clubs to exercise classes, there’s something for everyone.
Central Market and other cooking stores offer a variety of cooking classes that are offered throughout the day. Learn a new cuisine at class and then perfect it at home!
Plain-O Seniors is and organization that does free home repairs and maintenance for seniors in the area. The best part is that many of the volunteers are retirees as well! A huge number of volunteers have lauded the program as a great way to give back to the community and to meet new neighbors.
The Dallas Public Library has a diverse selection of volunteer jobs that range from reading with kids to shelving books, all of which are enormously popular for seniors who want to spend more time around books.
If you’re an animal lover, look no further for volunteer opportunities than the Dallas Zoo. Volunteers are needed year-round to prepare foods for the animals and to tend gardens.
Staying engaged mentally and physically as we age is important. Thankfully we live in the best place to keep our mind and body active! Take advantage of the metroplex and live it up in your retirement.
Do you ever have those great ideas that you think could change lives, but aren’t sure where to start? Or maybe you’re nervous it won’t get traction…
That’s exactly what Invisalign company founder Zia Chishti did. He envisioned the technology used today while he, personally, was suffering from pain associated with orthodontic work. He thought, “There has to be a better way to accomplish the same outcome.”
Chishti drew inspiration from the retainer he was wearing and hypothesized that it, with the right design, could leverage a similar design to focus on tiny movements before the “maintenance” period of the classic retainer was ever reached. From there he began his work.
With Chishti’s background in engineering, he created a medical device technology company. Working with Kelsey Wirth, the two of them developed a product as they brought in more partners over time. In 1997, the then-four partners cofounded Align Technology. And this is where the Invisalign history begins. The goal was to create a product that could mimic braces without the cost (and many of the hassles) of traditional orthodontia. In addition, they wanted to make it almost invisible in the mouth—which, with the state of braces at the time, was a pretty radical idea.
Using sophisticated computer technology coupled with 3D printing, these entrepreneurs were able to create alignment trays that were changed slightly over the course of a treatment. With their first models build, they decided to get approval for sales in the United States through the federal government. Invisalign was approved by the Food and Drug Administration in 1998 and sales on the new product began the following year.
Just like with any new technology, it took time for the appeal of the new product to catch on. Orthodontists were hesitant to try something new since the results had not been proven to be more effective than traditional braces. After an aggressive ad campaign that far outdid what is typically seen in the dental profession, the technology began to take off. By 2001, 75% of orthodontists had been trained in the Invisalign system. At the same time, the company made the product available to dentists, which only grew its reach.
In 2004 alone, 175,000 patients were treated with Invisalign. This was a huge accomplishment for a company that was still trying to convince practitioners that their product was just as good, if not better, than traditional braces. And thanks to this interest, the Harvard School of Dental Medicine began requiring all practitioners to be certified in Invisalign prior to graduation. In addition, the Academy of General Dentistry approved Align Technology’s continuing education class on Invisalign. This educated professionals who hadn’t yet used the technology and further broadened the reach of Invisalign.
In the last 20 years, the Invisalign device has gone through numerous redesigns to ensure that the materials used and the technology itself remain cutting edge. While other competitors have entered the market, Invisalign remains the most used by dentists and orthodontists. Some experts expect Invisalign to continue to reinvent itself as a technological leader well into the future. Many assume that, while the current technology is only meant for moderate or mild tooth alignment issues, AlignTechnology will continue to push the envelope and develop a product for even severe cases. There could be a day in the future that traditional metal braces become completely obsolete.
Next time you have that great idea, think about Zia Chishti who was able to take the pain he felt from him braces and turn it into a multimillion dollar company.
And in the meantime, if you do have alignment issues or think Invisalign might be for you, call Dr. Marchbanks and take advantage of this miraculous technology!
If you’ve ever looked at your smile in the mirror and wished it was straighter, but will never consider the “eye sore” of braces, we completely understand. Many of our patients come to us wanting a vibrant and straight smile, but are concerned not only about the look but about the lifestyle limitations of braces.
One of the best alternatives to traditional metal braces is Invisalign. And since patients of all ages come to us with a variety of Invisalign questions, we’ve compiled a FAQ to answer everything in one place. We’ll be discussing Invisalign all month, so come back every week through June to read more about how an Invisalign retainer can benefit you!
What is Invisalign?
Invisalign has been on the market for almost 20 years, and due to that has built quite the reputation. The technology is based on a treatment process that relies on removable trays that provide alignment correction for teeth. Each tray is specially made to allow for incremental movements of your teeth, exactly as they are. And while the idea behind the incremental movements wasn’t solely discovered by Invisalign, they were the first company to harness its use and bring it to market.
How is it different than braces?
The braces that many of us remember from high schools relied on a system of brackets and wires that were tightened or manipulated by an orthodontist. While braces have become more streamlined through the years, they’re still bulky and result in limitations with what you can and can’t eat. The Invisalign retainer is made from clear, flexible plastic that fits snuggly over your teeth. This product is FDA-approved and is made from a patented thermoplastic. Unlike metal braces, you can remove the trays to eat. No more worries about food stuck in the wires or having to avoid favorites like popcorn!
What’s the timeline?
After an initial consult with an Invisalign provider to ensure you’re a candidate, your dentist will create a customized treatment plan. First, 3-D images of your teeth will be taken to help map out the movement that will occur over the course of Invisalign’s use. These images will then be used to make aligners that mold perfectly to your mouth. The duration of time you could be expected to wear the Invisalign retainers is similar to what you would experience with normal braces. Most patients can expect for treatment plans to last anywhere from six months to two years. The severity of the corrections to be made in addition to how diligent you are about the retainers’ use will factor in when determining your treatment duration.
Does it hurt?
Anytime you realign teeth, it’s expected to be less-than-comfortable at times. However, most patients would describe the feeling of Invisalign retainers as pressure instead of pain. If you are experiencing pain, it’s important to contact your dentist.
What is day–to–day life like?
Unlike traditional braces that easily collect food, you can take your Invisalign trays out when you eat! This means you don’t have to give up favorites that have been known to break brackets. To ensure your aligners stay fresh, brush them every morning and night. Many wearers forget they have them on during the day because they’re so discreet. In fact, many professionals wear them to meetings and presentations without anyone knowing.
What do I do when I finish?
After finishing your treatment course, your orthodontist may recommend retainers. This is important so your teeth don’t shift back to their original position. Unlike the retainers of yesteryear that are bulky and give you a speech impediment, there are new retainers made from the same technology as the Invisalign aligners. Low-profile retainers ensure you finish your treatment plan entirely and have a straight smile that lasts forever!
If you are looking for straighter teeth, but are concerned about the look of traditional braces, then Invisalign may be the best treatment option for you. Take the first step today by giving us a call!
The harmful side effects of drug addiction are far reaching. From neurological side effects to those effecting the musculoskeletal system, drugs can severely damage most parts of the body quickly. Drug abuse can also cause significant damage to your mouth and teeth, including severe tooth decay and gum disease. Many times, the mouth is the first indicator that a person has a severe addiction. This is a result of the drug’s side-effects in addition to lack of oral hygiene.
While all drugs lead to oral health issues, some cause more issues than others. For example, methamphetamines and the teeth are commonly associated due to the obvious destruction it can do. However, it shouldn’t be just limited to that. All drugs do damage to your teeth.
How drugs damage teeth
Diverse drugs ultimately react the same way in the mouth, causing issues that can lead to severe tooth decay, gum disease or loss of teeth. Dry mouth is commonly associated with drug use and can lead to an increase in acid in the mouth, which leads to the destruction of enamel. Once enamel is gone, it can’t be replaced. This leads to tooth discoloration and an increased likelihood of developing cavities. In addition, drug use restricts blood vessels, which decreases blood flow to the mouth. Less blood flow results in root and gum damage. Finally, stomach ulcers are also common in those who abuse drugs, and a lack of oral hygiene combined by continued drug use can cause these ulcers to become infected. These infections can spread to the rest of the body and become dangerous for the patient.
The most common association of poor oral health and drugs occurs when someone abuses meth. Colloquially known as meth mouth, meth and teeth do not coexist well together. Meth causes the blood vessels all over the body to shrink and shrivel, and in the mouth this can lead to tooth loss. In addition, dry mouth is common, which leads to an increase in acids in the mouth. As previously mentioned, this leads quickly to tooth discoloration. Many times, when you see someone who is addicted to meth, their teeth have a grey or brown tint. This is due to the loss of enamel. Studies have shown that 96% those who struggle with a meth addition have a cavity, while 58% have tooth decay and at third had at least one missing tooth.
While some states have chosen to legalize the use of marijuana, it’s important to remember that this doesn’t mean there aren’t adverse health events that can occur with its use. Those who smoke marijuana have an increased likelihood of developing oral cancer. In addition, and just like smoking cigarettes, this can cause severe dry mouth which leads to a destabilization of oral acids. Finally, marijuana can cause vomiting, which increases the amount of acid in the mouth as well. None of this is good for your teeth.
Drug users addicted to cocaine ingest the drug in a variety of ways. For those who rub the powder on their gum lines, there is a greatly increased likelihood of developing mouth sores. Not only are they painful, but these sores can easily become infected and lead to other infections in the body. Since cocaine is a stimulant, it may also lead to movement disorders that can result in jaw and muscle spasms. Grinding of the teeth is also common, which can cause significant damage to the enamel and wear down the teeth.
Drug abuse can lead to significant oral health problems such as losing teeth, gum disease and even oral cancers. If you or someone you love is struggling with an addition, please give us a call and we can help identify resources available in our community.
Just like professionals in every field of work, sometimes dentists disagree on medical theories. One of the most popular areas of disagreement and lively engagement surrounds the theory that dental genetics plays a leading role in the likelihood someone will have cavities.
Some patients deflect the perceived embarrassment of poor teeth on that they are more “prone” to cavities since their parents also suffered. Therefore, it’s not a reflection on their oral hygiene skills, but instead more of a result of genetic tooth decay.
However, does anecdotal experience outweigh data from dental studies? Stay tuned and we’ll dig into the research and let you decide for yourself if you think dental genetics weigh heavily on the health of your teeth!
First, what are cavities?
A cavity is another way to say “tooth decay.” The cavity itself is a hole that can grow deeper over time—which is why it’s so important to seek treatment if you think you have a cavity.
Cavities can affect people of all ages. In fact, 90% of adults are walking around with tooth decay at this moment and one in four people currently have an untreated cavity. Cavities are a result of plaque, which results from eating excess sugars and carbohydrates and not cleaning your teeth well. When the plaque attacks the enamel, it eventually wears it down leaving your tooth vulnerable to bacteria and acid. If left unresolved, the bacteria move through the layers of your teeth causing decay at every level.
So, are these cavities caused by poor oral hygiene or bad dental genetics?
Certain populations are more cavity prone
New data from the CDC shows that African Americans and Hispanics have a higher incident of tooth decay and of cavities. Experts have concluded that there are three overarching factors that contribute to oral health: biology, social conditions, and behavior. Related studies have shown some African Americans are missing a variant form of salivary protein that helps stop cavity-causing bacteria. And while outstanding oral health might be able to compensate for the lack of that protein, this biological difference creates an additional hurdle for patients in preventing tooth decay.
Additionally, there are certain DNA strands that make teeth able to absorb more fluoride, creating harder enamel on the surface of the tooth. Those lacking this strand may have weaker enamel, which can result in more cavities. Individuals who produce more saliva also benefit from that genetic quirk, since saliva is one way to eliminate harmful bacteria in the mouth while allowing healthy bacteria a warm, moist place to thrive. Saliva also helps to neutralize the pH of the mouth and prevent excess acids from wearing away enamel.
Both the shape of your mouth and the shape of your teeth are two factors that contribute to the likelihood of you getting cavities. First, small mouths make it harder to brush and floss and reach all the nooks-and-crannies in your mouth. If you know you have a small mouth, take extra time and be diligent on brushing all the hard-to-reach places. Next, teeth that naturally have deep grooves are more susceptible to cavities since food can easily become lodged. Food lodged in these deep groves can be difficult to reach, and since it’s closer to the root any erosion will be more likely to cause extensive and painful damage. Decay in the grooves is very likely to cause cavities, so visiting the dentist to ensure they remain clean and healthy is important. Diligent brushing and flossing is the best way to safeguard against bacteria buildup and tooth decay.
To summarize, there are many genetic factors that can lead to a higher likelihood of having cavities. Whether it be the shape of your mouth or the makeup of your DNA, tiny genetic factors can cause serious oral health issues if you don’t take the best care of your mouth possible. If you are concerned about cavities that haven’t been treated, call our office today!