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There are three main types of tooth discoloration:

Extrinsic — This occurs when the outer layer of the tooth (the enamel) is stained. Coffee, wine, cola or other drinks or foods can stain teeth. Smoking also causes extrinsic stains.

Intrinsic — This is when the inner structure of the tooth (the dentin) darkens or gets a yellow tint. You can get this type of discoloration if:
You had too much exposure to fluoride during early childhood.
Your mother used tetracycline antibiotics during the second half of pregnancy.
You used tetracycline antibiotics when you were 8 years old or younger.
You had trauma that affected a tooth when you were a young child. A fall, for example, may damage the developing permanent tooth.
You had trauma in a permanent tooth, and internal bleeding discolored the tooth.
You were born with a rare condition called dentinogenesis imperfecta. This causes gray, amber or purple discolorations.

Age-related — This is a combination of extrinsic and intrinsic factors. Dentin naturally yellows over time. The enamel that covers the teeth gets thinner with age, which allows the dentin to show through. Foods and smoking also can stain teeth as people get older. Finally, chips or other injuries can discolor a tooth, especially when the pulp has been damaged.
Symptoms
Symptoms include stains on the enamel. They can range from white streaks to yellow tints or brown spots and pits. If the enamel has worn away, and dentin is showing through, you may notice a yellow tint.

Expected Duration
Some tooth discoloration can be removed with professional cleaning. An example would be the stains caused by coffee. Many stains are permanent, however. Teeth sometimes can be whitened with a bleaching gel. In some cases, if the discoloration is severe, a crown or veneer may be required to cover it.

Prevention
Brushing your teeth after every meal will help to prevent some stains. Dentists recommend that you rinse your mouth with water after having wine, coffee or other drinks or foods that can stain your teeth. Regular cleanings by a dental hygienist also will help to remove surface stains.

Intrinsic stains that are caused by damage to a nerve or blood vessel in a tooth sometimes can be prevented. You may need to have root canal treatment to remove the inner part of the tooth (the pulp) before it has a chance to decay and darken. However, teeth that have root canal treatment may darken anyway.

To prevent intrinsic stains in children, avoid too much early exposure to fluorides. Once the enamel is formed, fluoride will not discolor teeth.

Treatment
Many extrinsic stains caused by food and drink can be removed by regular professional cleanings and home care. Good home care includes brushing, flossing and rinsing after meals.

Discoloration often can be removed by applying a bleaching agent to the tooth enamel. One technique is called “power bleaching.” With this method, the dentist applies a light-activated bleaching gel. It causes the teeth to get significantly whiter in about 30 to 45 minutes. Several follow-up treatments may be needed, or take-home bleaching trays may be provided.

It’s also possible to remove discoloration at home. You will use a bleaching gel and a mouth guard given to you by your dentist. The bleaching gels designed for use at home aren’t as strong as those applied by your dentist. This means that the process takes longer — usually two to four weeks.

You also can buy whitening products over the counter. They contain a weaker bleach than the products you can get from your dentist. The whitening agent is applied as a gel placed in a mouthpiece or as a strip that sticks to your teeth. Over-the-counter mouthpieces fit less securely than the kind you get from your dentist, but they will lighten your teeth over time.

Whitening toothpastes may remove minor stains. They do not actually change the overall color of your teeth.

If your tooth has darkened after a root canal, bleaching the enamel won’t help. Your dentist can apply a bleaching material to the inside of the tooth, or you may consider a crown or veneer.

Bleaching will not lighten some stains, such as tetracycline stains. In this case, your dentist may recommend covering the discolored areas. This also may be useful when the tooth is chipped or badly damaged.

A tooth can be covered with a color-matched composite bonding material. Another option is to get veneers. These are thin ceramic shells that cover the outer surfaces of the teeth.

When To Call a Professional
Tooth discoloration is mainly a cosmetic problem. Visit a dentist if you’re unhappy with how your teeth look. Any change in a child’s normal tooth color should be evaluated by a dentist.

 

(Information from Colgate.com)

 

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On November 1st, Dr. Todd M. Britten and the team at Britten Periodontics & Implant Dentistry held their 5th annual Day of Care for Veterans. Dr. Britten and his team are aware that dental coverage for veterans for major dental surgery can be very hard to attain, so they “hit the ground running” in 2015 trying to deliver periodontal care to as many veterans as they could. Dr. Britten says he owes the success of the event for the last 5 years to the help of local dentists, Clearwater Dental Associates (Dr. Nolan Allen, Dr. Matt Burton, Dr. Jim Hayslett and Dr. Keith Kiskaddon), Dr. Jeffrey Ellenberg, Dr. Ira Berger, Dr. Michael Podlusky and the local Community Dental Clinic.

Dr. Britten provides advanced periodontal surgical treatment and dental implant care for veterans in his Clearwater, Florida based periodontal practice. He offers sedation options and high-tech treatment, which can be very helpful to veterans that suffer from PTSD.

For Britten and his team this event is something they look forward to all year long. They keep in touch with veterans from previous events and this year they were able to provide follow up exams, x-rays and periodontal maintenance procedures, which help prevent reinfection of the gums following treatment. “It is always great to see them again and the progress they have made in their oral health. It is touching to be a part of something that has changed someone’s life in such a positive way,” said one of Dr. Britten’s volunteers.

Dr. Britten explained that local restorative dentists and their teams have volunteered each year to help provide comprehensive dental care to our veterans. As a periodontist, Dr. Britten’s specialty is the surrounding structures of the teeth; roots, gum and bone; i.e., the foundation. The restorative specialists have done fillings, crowns, and even full sets of dentures for veterans at no cost each year. “Our practice alone has provided over $50,000 in periodontal procedures for patient,” said a dental hygienist at Britten Periodontics who has helped to coordinate the event each year.

Dr. Britten says he would like to continue this event for the entirety of his career. “I have always respected the sacrifices that our veterans and their whole families had to make to ensure our safety and freedom. The sacrifices are really innumerable.”

A video of last year’s event:

The best way to prevent periodontal disease is to brush and clean between your teeth effectively every day. Regular dental checkups and professional cleanings every 3 or 4 or 6 months are also an important part of maintaining periodontal health; the instruments and techniques used in these cleanings can reach into areas that your toothbrush and floss can’t.

It is also possible to detect early forms of gum disease by evaluating your gingival (gum) tissues, both visually and by examining their attachment levels to the teeth. And the health of your tooth-supporting bone can be assessed by taking dental radiographs (x-rays pictures).

There are other steps you can take: Eating right, reducing stress in your life, and giving up unhealthy habits like smoking will also help ensure that you keep your teeth for a lifetime.

Watch this video about Healthy Gums from Spear Education

https://spearedu.co/gWHjot0

A diet high in sugar certainly promotes the formation of cavities, but sugar itself isn’t the only culprit behind tooth decay.

Cavities are formed when bacteria living in the mouth digest carbohydrates left on the teeth after you eat. This includes refined sugars found in cookies, candy or other treats, however they may also come from healthy foods like whole grains, vegetables and fruits.

When digesting carbohydrates, bacteria in your mouth produce an acid that combines with food debris and saliva and forms plaque.

It’s the plaque — not sugar — that directly leads to tooth decay. Plaque starts building up after every meal, and if it isn’t brushed away frequently, it can erode the hard, outer enamel of a tooth, resulting in tiny holes in the tooth’s surface. These holes mark the first stage of cavities and can do a lot of damage to a tooth if left untreated.

Eventually, acid and bacteria in plaque can eat through the other layers of your teeth, as well — from the softer layer of teeth under the enamel, known as dentin, to the third layer (the pulp), which contains your teeth’s blood vessels and nerves. Cavities affecting the pulp of a tooth, as well as the bone supporting the tooth, can cause severe toothaches, sensitivity, pain when eating and even abscesses in the mouth.

It is important to know that the kinds of foods and drinks you consume, and how you are consuming them is also important to oral health.

Sticky foods — like hard candy, breath mints, raisins and dry cereal — can get stuck in the grooves and crevices of your teeth, where they could cause decay. Fruit and yogurt, on the other hand, wash away easily with saliva and are, therefore, less likely to cause plaque buildup.

Quickly finishing a can of soda does less damage to your teeth than sipping on it throughout the day, because the acid created by mouth bacteria stays in the mouth around 20 minutes after eating or drinking. Every time you eat carbohydrates, sugary food, or take a sip of soda, you restart the plaque-production clock and increase your risk of developing cavities.

In addition to a high sugar content, soft drinks and sports drinks also contain phosphoric and citric acids that erode tooth enamel. Eating or drinking highly acidic foods — even healthy foods, like citrus fruits — can lead to tooth decay if oral hygiene is not properly maintained.

None of us can totally avoid eating all carbohydrates, sugars, or acidic foods all of the time but we can limit the amount and more importantly the frequency of consumption. And we can also work on effective and regular plaque control by using oral hygiene aids to remove the plaque colonies which are forming constantly on the teeth.

Dr. Britten recommends brushing at least twice a day with a power toothbrush for two minutes as well as cleaning between the teeth at least once a day using floss or other interdental aids.

For more information, contact us today!

 

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While regular brushing, flossing, and checkups allow many of us to maintain our natural smiles for a lifetime, sometimes our teeth just can’t keep up. If you’ve lost a tooth (or a few teeth) due to injury or disease, dental implants can rejuvenate both your smile and your oral health.
 
An implant is a synthetic tooth root in the shape of a post that is surgically placed into the jawbone. The “root” is usually made of titanium (the same material used in many replacement hips and knees), a metal that is well suited to pairing with human bone. A replacement tooth is then fixed to the post. The tooth can be either permanently attached or removable. Permanent teeth are more stable and feel more like natural teeth.
 
The ideal candidate for implants is a non­-smoker who has good oral health, including a sufficient amount of bone in the jaw and healthy gums with no sign of gum disease.
 
Dr. Todd Britten received his Bachelor of Science & Doctorate of Dental Surgery from University of Florida, a Master’s Degree and Certificate in Periodontology and Implant Dentistry; and completed extensive training at the Institute of Advanced Laser Dentistry. He is one of the only board-certified periodontists in Pinellas County. He is a member of the American Academy of Periodontology, American Dental Association, Florida Association of Periodontists, Upper Pinellas County Dental Association, Hillsborough County Dental Association, Hillsborough County Dental Research Association and Florida West Coast Dental Association.
 
To learn more about Dr. Britten and his dental services, call (727) 586-2681 or visit www.brittenperio.com
or contact us today at:
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When a tooth is removed, the bone shrinks away and the other teeth in the area will shift to fill the gap. This can sometimes lead to other problems like shifting of other teeth, causing bone loss or decay around the existing teeth as they become more difficult to clean.

Watch this great video from Spear Education about missing teeth and tooth loss!

Click here:
https://spearedu.co/l2DeZob

If you have questions about replacing teeth lost to fractures, decay or gum disease, contact us today

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We are seeing more and more advertisements for “affordable” dentures. What does “affordable” or “discount denture” mean? Are these dentures the same thing that for a lower, fairer price? Unfortunately, the answer is NO!

There is a big difference in the outcome of customized dentures and “discount” dentures. Here are some of the main differences:

1) Quality dentures take TIME. Multiple visits are necessary to create a totally customized, well-fitting dentures. Beware of advertisements for dentures which can be made in a day. Discount denture centers often tell patients they can get their dentures the “same-day”, but most likely the result will be poor due to a lack of customization. Quality dentures must be tried in to check the bite, fit, and appearance of the teeth (and approved by the patient) before they are finalized. Customized dentures may take more time, but this time in the creation process results in less adjustments, a better looking denture, AND a happier patient.

2) It is wise to use the very best materials from start to finish when creating a denture. Quality dentures cannot be made with cheap materials or by cutting corners. Expert dental lab technicians should be involved in fabricating dentures along with the use of quality materials. This can mean the difference between a denture that looks natural versus one that looks fake, as well as how they fit and how long they last. Many “affordable” or discount dentures broken after just a few months due to the use of cheaper and less durable materials. As the saying goes: You get what you pay for.

3) Also beware, most discount denture centers do not back up their product with quality service and will charge for each and every adjustment, which quickly brings their cost up. Many patients are forced to choose not to have adjustments to their discount dentures because of the price, and they must put up with horrible pain or just leave their dentures in a drawer and go without teeth.

4) Lower dentures can be very difficult to wear. Lower denture treatment discussions, when possible, should include the option of at least two lower dental implants. Not everyone will choose implants due to cost, but everyone deserves to have this option presented. Often in an “affordable denture” situation this is not even offered and the difficulties of wearing a lower denture are not fully explained.

5) Dentures need regular maintenance such as relines from time to time. Customized dentures are easier to maintain, reline, repair and adjust due to the better quality of their material.

While our main goal is to save teeth and avoid dentures, our office is fortunate to work with many restorative dentists who are extensively trained and talented in the creation quality dentures. Dr. Britten is also an implant specialist trained in placing implants to retain dentures. For more questions about dentures, implant – supported dentures, or avoiding dentures, contact us today

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The AADSM (The American Academy of Dental Sleep Medicine) recommends dentists evaluate patients for the following conditions as possible indicators of Sleep Apnea:

• A thick neck (greater than 16 inches in a woman or 17 inches in a man)

• A short neck

• Lower-face abnormalities, which may include:

* A large tongue

• A crowded posterior airway (such as caused by an enlarged, floppy uvula or enlarged tonsils)

• An enlarged soft palate that rests on the base of the tongue

• Obesity

• Complaints of being overly tired during the day, low on energy, depressed, or moody

• Falling asleep in dental chair

• Trouble opening mouth wide during dental examination

The most successful treatment for Obstructive Sleep Apnea is a CPA appliance, however, 60% to 83% percent of users cannot tolerate this device.

With the high rejection rate of the CPAP, the American Academy of Sleep Medicine designated dental sleep oral appliances as the No. 1 nonsurgical alternative for the CPAP intolerant. Numerous sleep appliances are available to the public and distributed through dentists.

Your dental professional can help you identify if a sleep appliance may help you.

 

Treating Worn Teeth – Fortunately, modern dentistry can restore the normal shape, appearance and function of worn teeth — beautifully and successfully!

The cause of tooth wear must be determined during an oral examination at the dental office. Once the cause has been identified, the stresses on your teeth can be reduced if need be. For example, you may need instruction on gentle, effective tooth brushing techniques; or some changes to your diet. If you have a clenching or grinding habit, a mouthguard can be custom-made for you that will protect your teeth during sleep or periods of high stress.

Lost tooth structure sometimes needs to be replaced so your bite functions properly and your teeth look great once again. Depending on the situation, this can be done with bonding, veneers, or crowns.

Watch this video from Spear Education

https://spearedu.co/OMYgKcH

The human mouth is filled with bacteria. These bacteria, along with mucous and other particles form a sticky film called plaque is constantly forming and which adheres to the teeth. This plaque can be removed by brushing and flossing. When the plaque is allowed to remain on the teeth, the bacteria involved become more harmful, and more difficult to remove, creating an environment that is more toxic to the tissue. The plaque itself can harden creating a cement like substance (calculus) that cannot be removed with brushing and flossing alone.

This leads to inflammation and gum disease.

Good oral hygiene can drastically reduce the incidence of gum disease and tooth decay…

Watch this fabulous video from Spear Education