Care Accessories to Enhance Your Smile | Tyngsboro Dentist

In the ever-evolving technological age, there are a number of ways you can enhance the hygiene and aesthetic of your smile. There are also a number of gadgets on the market specifically designed to fill whatever gaps you feel are present as you strive to enhance your smile. These means essentially fall into two categories; hygienic and aesthetic. Of course, a well-rounded oral care routine is the first step towards attaining the smile you want, but if your hygiene is quite good, and you still aren’t seeing the results you want, aesthetic additions may do the trick.

Here are a few ways you can upgrade your existing tools or add to your care collection:

Hygienic

Electric Toothbrushes: Do you even complete your two-minute scrub and think “my teeth don’t feel very clean”? It may be because the traditional toothbrush just isn’t cutting it anymore. Electric toothbrushes have gained popularity because they are designed to provide brush strokes that work to give you a better clean in the same amount of time. It can go a long way to providing the basic care your teeth need.

Flossers: There are so many ways to floss available for your choosing. Traditional waxed or unwaxed threads are no longer the only options. Water flossers and plush threads are great alternatives (if not better alternatives) to the floss we commonly associate with.

Tongue Scraper: While there is no definitive rule that these need to be employed in your care routine, the benefit of incorporating one is the added removal of potentially harmful bacteria. Tongue scraping removes the same bacteria that feed on the sugars left between the teeth after a meal from the surface of the tongue, improving overall hygiene.

Aesthetic

At-Home Aligners: At-home aligners are an easy, effective means of straightening out your teeth for an enhanced aesthetic. While they aren’t meant for everyone, and you should speak with your dentist prior to incorporating at-home aligners into your oral care practices, they can gently move your teeth into their proper position and enhance your smile.

Whitening Trays: These work similarly to the teeth aligners mentioned above. Instead of working to straighten your teeth, however, you simply mold the trey to your teeth, brush on the included whitening solution to the inside of the tray and allow it to rest on your teeth for the prescribed amount of time. Kits are easily accessible and when done properly can make your smile up to a few shades whiter.

UV Light: This is another means of enhancing the color and brightness of your teeth. Typically, when you employ a UV light, you first brush on the whitening solution and allow the light to rest on that set of teeth for a number of minutes. The solution and light combination works to enhance your smile and can potentially do so up to a few shades whiter.

To learn more about our practice or view the beautiful smiles Dr. Yankowskas has created, visit us online at www.tyngsborocosmeticdentist.com.

Dr. Yankowskas proudly serves patients from Tyngsboro and all surrounding areas.

Three Ways to Make Flossing A Routine | Tyngsboro Dentist

teeth whitening

Flossing is a very important step for any oral care routine, and it’s usually one of the first questions posed during a visit. Routine flossing helps to ensure that the granules of residual food left after meals are removed to prevent cavities. When traces of food remain tucked away between our teeth, it becomes a source of food for corrosive sugars to feed on; over time, this becomes the source of pockets in the teeth for bacteria to settle and the problem to compound. Here are three ways you can make the habit of flossing a routine addition to your care routine.

  1. Find floss you enjoy

Waxed, non-waxed, plush, disposable picks, threaders, and water flossers are all available options. If one type of floss doesn’t make you want to floss, it’s less likely you will do it. It’s important to find a way to floss that suits your tastes. The tried-and-true thin waxed threads may irritate your gums, so trying a plush thread may alleviate your disregard. If the notion of putting thread between your teeth is off-putting, a water flosser that shoots a stream of high-pressure water may do the trick.

2. Set a reminder

If it’s not currently part of your routine, or you have so much going on it’s hard to remember, setting a reminder on your phone or a notecard by your sink may help you begin to incorporate this practice until its second nature. If the technique of flossing is something you struggle with, employ this practice as a means to check in with helpful guides that walk you through the proper steps until you get the hang of it.

3. Reward yourself

Marking off days on a calendar, watching an episode of your favorite show, or brewing a cup of your favorite tea are all great ways to reward yourself for remembering to floss. As you go along, allow yourself a special treat once a week, every two weeks, or once a month to reinforce the good hygiene habit you are forming. It takes about 21 days to form a habit, so whatever you do to encourage yourself to keep practicing for at least that long, will go a long way toward a lifetime of proper oral care.

To learn more about our practice or view the beautiful smiles Dr. Yankowskas has created, visit us online at www.tyngsborocosmeticdentist.com.

Dr. Yankowskas proudly serves patients from Tyngsboro and all surrounding areas.

Make the Most of Your Dental Visit | Tyngsboro Dentist

Visiting the dentist is an essential part of your oral health. Many people are timid about regular cleanings and check-ins, but they help you notice warning signs sooner. Here are some ways you can prepare for your next dental visit to get the most out of it. 

Discuss Your Concerns:

It’s important to remember that your dentist is on your team; they are open to answering your questions with knowledge and experience. If you have any concerns about your teeth, gums, jaw, or are experiencing any pain it is important to share that with your dentist. It’s easy to turn to the internet for answers to these concerns, but lifestyle habits among other things are factors your dentist can consider with you. If any of the following apply to you, it is important to discuss them with your dentist before they potentially get worse:

  • Bleeding gums
  • Sores in the mouth that do not heal
  • Sensitivity or pain
  • Clenching your jaws
  • Grinding your teeth
  • Problems with brushing or flossing

Share Health and Lifestyle Changes:

If you make changes to your lifestyle, such as reducing or increasing medications or the consumption of coffee or nicotine, it’s important to let your dentist know. These seemingly nominal changes can have a huge impact on your oral health over time. The acid in coffee may weaken your enamel over time, whereas reducing consumption may allow it to remain intact. The potential impact of nicotine from cigarettes or chewing tobacco on your oral health is another important thing to share so your dentist can look for signs of change.

To learn more about our practice or view the beautiful smiles Dr. Yankowskas has created, visit us online at www.tyngsborocosmeticdentist.com.

Dr. Yankowskas proudly serves patients from Tyngsboro and all surrounding areas.

Oral Care Myths and Misconceptions | Tyngsboro Dentist

Oral care and hygiene are paramount to our ability to maintain and retain our teeth as we age. With so much information about oral care practices online, we felt it was important to demystify some of the most common dental myths and misconceptions we hear and offer advice on how to move forward.

Myth 1. Hard Brushing Cleans Better.

This action is counter-productive, as excess pressure on your teeth can work to damage enamel rather than support it. Hard brushing also hurts our gums and can lead to a recessed gum lining over time. We recommend taking care to brush gently with a soft-bristle brush.

Myth 2. Chewing Gum Helps Clean Teeth.

Chewing gum is certainly not a replacement for brushing. Chewing gum can be a great way to combat sugar cravings or a candy habit, but while it makes your breath smell better, it cannot replace the benefits of brushing.

Myth 3. Baby Teeth Don’t Need Brushing.

Good oral care practices begin when we are young and proper oral care for a child’s first set of teeth matters. Tooth decay in a baby tooth can lead to complications as an adult, so we recommend a twice-daily brushing routine as soon as the child has teeth.

Myth 4. Sugar Causes Cavities.

Sugar itself is not the cause of cavities, though the bacteria that eat the sugar can be. The starches and sugar themselves attract bacteria that thrive on the surface of your teeth and release an acidic compound that promotes tooth decay. Regular brushing and rinsing after eating particular sugary foods will go a long way toward preventing decay.

Myth 5. Enamel Loss Causes Sensitivity.

We may experience sensitivity for many reasons, and enamel loss doesn’t happen overnight. Tooth grinding, abrasive toothpaste, aggressive brushing and lack of regular proper oral hygiene all contribute to both sensitivity and a loss of enamel. Should you lose your enamel, however, you will likely experience tooth sensitivity as well.

Interested in learning more about proper oral care or if you may be experiencing an infection? Visit us online at www.tyngsborocosmeticdentist.com.

Dr. Yankowskas proudly serves patients from Tyngsboro and all surrounding areas.

Dry Mouth Causes and Symptoms | Tyngsboro Dentist

Dry mouth can be caused by a natural inability for your glands to produce sufficient saliva, medication, aging issues or as a result of radiation therapy. Dry mouth is a condition in which one’s salivary glands produce an insufficient amount of saliva to keep your mouth wet.

Saliva is important because it naturally prevents tooth decay by neutralizing acids, limits bacterial growth and washing away food particles throughout the day. It also makes the consumption of food easier as enzymes in the saliva aid in the breakdown of food. While dry mouth is an inconvenience, it can also have a notable impact on your general and oral health.

Common symptoms include:

– Dryness or sticky mouth feel

– Bad breath

– Dry or grooved tongue

– Difficulty chewing, speaking and swallowing

Dry mouth complications:

– Increased plaque

– Mouth sores

– Tooth decay

– Gum disease

– Sores or split skin around the mouth

Due to the variety of causes for dry mouth, it’s important to discuss any concerns you may have with your doctor. Your dentist however may be a good resource for suggestions about how to protect your teeth.

Some suggestions may include a fluoride tray or rinse to prevent cavities. There are also  prescription or over-the-counter artificial saliva or moisturizers to lubricate your mouth. These can be effective means of alleviating discomfort in addition to suggestions made by your physician.

At-home remedies:

– Sip water or chew ice chips during the day and during meals

– Chew sugar-free gum

– Over-the-counter saliva substitutes

– Breathe through your nose

– Utilize a humidifier

Dry mouth habits:

  – Consumption of caffeine and alcohol

– The use of tobacco, antihistamines, and decongestants

– Consumption of sugary, acidic, spicy or salty foods

If you are curious about whether or not these symptoms apply to you, or have dry mouth and would like suggestions from a dental professional, visit us online at www.tyngsborocosmeticdentist.com.

Dr. Yankowskas proudly serves patients from Tyngsboro and all surrounding areas.

Dental Specialists and You | Tyngsboro Dentist

Dentistry, like many healthcare fields, allows practitioners to specialize in a given aspect of their craft. It is important to understand these differences, and to seek the appropriate care for any concerns you may have regarding your oral health.

It’s important to recognize these differences, and seek our directories that bridge the gap between dental specialists and you.

Endodontists diagnose, treat and prevent infections and injuries to the pulp or nerves of teeth. You may seek the opinion of an endodontist if you experience acute pain in your tooth, injure a tooth or notice swelling around the teeth and gums. They perform root canals, treat traumatic dental injuries and apply dental implants.

Orthodontics. An orthodontist specializes in the diagnosis, prevention and correction of misaligned bites, and the neuromuscular and skeletal abnormalities of orofacial structures. You may visit an orthodontist to evaluate jaw alignment, straighten teeth, close gaps or improve speech. If you are referred to an orthodontist by your dentist, it is important to make a visit to better understand how you may improve your oral alignment as misalignment can lead to serious health concerns later on.

Periodontists are experts on gum health. Your dentist will recommend a periodontist if you show signs of gingivitis (gum disease), have a complex case of gingivitis or are at risk of tooth loss. Periodontists will aid in the prevention of gum disease, and support your natural or manmade teeth as they monitor your soft oral tissues.

Prosthodontist. A Prosthodontist repairs deficient teeth and replaces missing ones. As their name suggests, they work with prosthetics and custom fit dentures and crowns as permanent replacements for missing teeth. 

Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeon. Oral surgeons treat diseases, injuries and defects of hard and soft oral tissues. They may work with patients whose cases require work on the jaw, face, and mouth with issues ranging from misalignment to tumors and cysts within this region.

To learn more about the services Dr. Yankowskas provides, or schedule an appointment today, visit us online at www.tyngsborocosmeticdentist.com.

Dr. Yankowskas proudly serves patients from Tyngsboro and all surrounding areas.

Cosmetic Dentistry | Tyngsboro Dentist

Cosmetic dentistry can transform the appearance of your teeth while retaining or enhancing your oral health. According to AACD.com “…cosmetic procedures can range from basic color correction to replacing missing teeth, and everything in between.” While cosmetic dentists may employ the use of anesthesia for a surgical improvement, most procedures are non-invasive. Here are a few procedures cosmetic dentists perform.

Teeth Whitening – a common procedure for cosmetic dentists is teeth whitening. Coffee, tobacco, alcohol, predisposition and many other things can contribute to a less-than-white smile. If over the counter methods haven’t quite worked to bring back your pearly whites, you may consider speaking with a cosmetic dentist for a more intense treatment.

Dental Bonding– for chipped, cracked or gapped teeth, your dentist will apply a tooth colored resin to the chipped area. They will layer resin, utilizing a UV light to harden it as they go, in order to build back the original look of the chipped tooth or teeth.

Veneer Application – you can think of a veneer as a thin shell that fits over the surface of your existing teeth to improve the color, shape, size or length of teeth. Veneers are made of porcelain or a resin composite and permanently bonded to the teeth.

Gum Reshaping – when your gums appear more pronounced than your teeth, or your gemlike is uneven, a cosmetic dentist may recommend gum reshaping. Essentially, a small amount of gum or bone tissue is removed or contoured to even out the appearance of your gum line or tooth ratio.

Crowns – similar to a veneer, dental crowns are a porcelain or ceramic tooth look-alike that fits over a weak or damaged tooth. Crowns are made to fully encase the tooth and can last between five to 15 years depending on how well they are cared for.

Braces – these are within the realm of cosmetic dentistry because braces shift the teeth into optimal position for your bite and mouth size. Braces are one of the most common procedures a cosmetic dentist may perform, as tooth alignment is just as much about oral health as it is aesthetics.

To learn more about cosmetic procedures, or to schedule an appointment today, visit us online at www.tyngsborocosmeticdentist.com.

Dr. Yankowskas proudly serves patients from Tyngsboro and all surrounding areas.

Mouthwash for Oral Health | Tyngsboro Dentist

oral cancer

For many, mouthwash is an unnecessary extra step and added cost to their oral care routine. Mouthwash isn’t exactly the first thing a dentist will mention when reviewing your regimen, but it shouldn’t be overlooked. Mouthwash, after proper brushing and flossing, can provide peace of mind to individuals who struggle to keep cavities at bay, despite their best efforts.

Mouthwash is advertised to kill bacteria and give you fresh breath, but that isn’t the whole story. Mouthwash reduces the bacteria in your mouth and reduce the amount of plaque it forms. Regular use helps prevent periodontal disease, and those with fluoride work to reduce cavities when used as directed.

What ingredients in mouthwash make it effective?

The bacteria-fighting active ingredient(s) in mouthwash are what make it an effective addition to your routine. Ingredients such as cetylpyridinium chloride, zinc gluconate, or quaternary ammonium are commonly found in washes. Just one of these will provide the bacteria fighting benefits that enhance your routine.

Are natural mouthwashes effective?

Some people advocate for fluoride, and others want little to do with it. Many brands make natural alternatives, utilizing essential oils or harvested ingredients like garlic as an astringent. Whatever the formula, natural mouthwashes have been shown to be effective at preventing gum disease without adding to the rise of antibacterial- resistant bacteria.

Is mouthwash safe for children?

Children under the age of 6 should not be utilizing mouthwash, as they are likely to consume it. Once your child has developed the muscle reflexes necessary to swish and spit the wash, with adult supervision, they can begin to incorporate it into their care routine.

While mouthwash isn’t going to make-or-break your oral hygiene, it is a great way to round out your routine. Mouthwash may bring you peace of mind between visits or be an effective way to keep bacteria at bay for cavity-prone teeth.

To learn more about oral care practices, or to schedule an appointment today, visit us online at www.tyngsborocosmeticdentist.com.

A Guide To Oral Infections | Tyngsboro Dentist

We all know that brushing our teeth for two minutes, twice a day along with regular dental visits contribute to positive oral health. You may not know the infections that can occur as a result of not practicing consistent oral hygiene routines. Here are some of the most common oral infections that may result from poor oral hygiene.

Gingivitis– Simply put, Gingivitis is inflammation of the gums. It is the precursor to Periodontitis, the escalation of Gingivitis should it go untreated. Gingivitis is the result of plaque buildup that spreads from the gums to the ligaments that support the teeth.

Periodontal Disease– When left untreated, Gingivitis may spread below the gum line, affecting the supportive tissues and bone of our teeth. This progression is known as Periodontal Disease which deteriorates these supports leading to the potential loss of teeth and may even spread to the lungs causing pneumonia.

Canker Sores– These are cuts that develop on the gums and other mouth tissues and are common in children and teens. Vigorous brushing, cheek bites and sports injuries – as well as hormones and immune problems may lead to canker sores.

Oral Herpes– According to centerforbeautifulsmiles.com, “50-80 percent of American adults” carry the Herpes Simlex Virus. This can lead to “blisters and ulcers on the gums and tongue, flu-like symptoms, or no symptoms at all.” While there are things individuals can do to keep the virus dormant, an outbreak may last ten days to two weeks.

Hand, Foot and Mouth Disease– Toddlers and school aged children are the most susceptible to Hand, Foot and Mouth Disease. The virus Coxsackie A16 is spread by direct contact with saliva and mucus; children are particularly unconscious of their direct exposure to these fluids. Children may experience fever, sore throat, and the development of painful blisters on their body but should only last a few days.

Herpangina– Similar to Hand, Foot and Mouth Disease, Herpangina typically affects children and presents itself with fever symptoms and difficulty swallowing. Yet, unlike Hand, Foot and Mouth Disease, it forms blisters on the back of the mouth that once ruptured, become ulcers. Symptoms typically only last a few days.

Interested in learning more about proper oral care or if you may be experiencing an infection? Visit us online at www.tyngsborocosmeticdentist.com.

Dr. Yankowskas proudly serves patients from Tyngsboro and all surrounding areas.

What To Know About Fluoride | Tyngsboro Dentist

Believe it or not, fluoride is a controversial mineral. Proponents of fluoride tout its ability to aid in the fight against cavities and tooth decay. Opponents say fluoride is a harmful neurotoxin that has been pumped into our community’s water without express permission by the people. Here is what we feel you should know about fluoride.

While trace amounts of fluoride have been added to public water for decades, it has yet to cause widespread neurological issues. According to smiledentalcenterct.com, “research has shown that by adding fluoride to public water supplies, tooth decay-related conditions decline by 25 percent among adults and children.” The addition of fluoride is meant to be a public health benefit, rather than a source of controversy.

As with anything, there is such thing as too much fluoride; two dental visits a year and drinking community water however, isn’t likely to cause harm. Too much fluoride can cause dental fluorosis that changes the color of tooth enamel and is likely to impact children ages eight and younger as their teeth grow in. As a result, it is not recommended to give children fluoride toothpaste- especially as they develop the motor skills to properly brush and not swallow the paste.

A dentist may dissuade a patient from using fluoride toothpaste if they experience an allergic reaction, or if the individual feels strongly about the amount of fluoride in their daily lives. Fluoride-free formulas offer the same cleaning power and is recommended over not using toothpaste; the difference is that on average, fluoride formulas reduce the number of cavities and occurrence of tooth decay one may experience over their lifetime.

In general, trace amounts of fluoride in drinking water works to improve the oral health of our communities and the use of fluoride toothpaste is safe for adults. The decision to use fluoride toothpaste lies with the individual, but he or she may need to take extra steps such as mouthwash and flossing to ensure they receive the cavity fighting benefits normally provided by fluoride formulas.

To learn more about oral care practices, or to schedule an appointment today, visit us online at www.tyngsborocosmeticdentist.com.

Dr. Yankowskas proudly serves patients from Tyngsboro and all surrounding areas.