My Blog

Posts for: August, 2015

By Phil Hart, DDS
August 29, 2015
Category: Oral Health
Tags: oral hygiene  

Brushing and flossing are foundational to good oral health and an essential part of daily life. Practicing both these habits removes most disease-causing bacterial plaque from tooth and gum surfaces.

It doesn’t take much to manually perform them — a quality soft-bristle toothbrush, fluoride toothpaste and string floss. But what if you have a physical impairment that makes performing these tasks difficult to perform — or your mouth condition requires a little more “power” to adequately access and clean surfaces?

You do have power options for both brushing and flossing. Electric toothbrushes, of course, have been available since the 1950s. As with other technology, they’ve improved in quality and affordability over the last few decades. They’re available in various sizes, rechargeable or battery, and each with their own claims of cleaning ability.

The ultimate question, though, is: are they as effective at removing plaque as manual brushing? That’s been the subject of a number of comprehensive studies, including one conducted by the Cochrane Collaboration, a research organization. They evaluated a number of powered toothbrushes over various lengths of time. They concluded that some powered toothbrushes with a rotation-oscillation action had a statistically significant (though modest) reduction in plaque compared with manual toothbrushes.

As to flossing, admittedly it does take some dexterity to accomplish effectively. Traditional string flossing is also difficult if not impossible for people with braces or similar access restrictions to the teeth. An oral irrigator (or water flosser) is a viable alternative. Water flossers work by pulsating water at high pressure through special tips at the end of a handheld or countertop device. The pressurized stream penetrates between teeth and below the gums to flush away plaque.

Are water flossers effective? According to one recent study orthodontic patients were able to remove up to five times the plaque between teeth as those who used only a manual toothbrush.

When considering alternatives to your manual toothbrush or string floss, speak with us first. We’ll be happy to guide you toward the best form of brushing and flossing to do the most good in your situation.

If you would like more information on oral hygiene options, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation.

By Office of Philip W. Hart, DDS
August 24, 2015
Category: Dental Procedures
Tags: teeth whitening  

So, you got your teeth professionally whitened, and you are pleased with the results. However, you wonder how to keep your teeth sparkling and white as time goes on.

Most cosmetic dentists offer at-home touch-up kits for use after a whitening procedure, but also, Philip W. Hart, family dentist in Bartlett,Teeth Whitening TN, recommends his patients follow simple dental hygiene practices and healthy diet guidelines to keep tooth enamel bright.

Take Care of Your Teeth

Brush, floss and get regular professional dental care. Keeping your teeth white is not difficult, it just takes disciplined habits that you probably already have - routines such as:

  1. Brushing for 2 minutes 2 times a day. The American Dental Association recommends this at-home practice to reduce plaque and ward-off decay and gum disease. Fortunately, quality fluoride toothpastes usually contain a percentage of whitening hydrogen peroxide, the same bleaching agent found in professional whitening gels.
  2. Floss once a day. How does this relate to keeping your teeth white? Flossing eliminates plaque and tartar that hold stains, and also bacteria that softens enamel, making it discolor more easily.
  3. Get semi-annual exams and cleanings with Dr. Hart. Hygienic cleanings remove plaque and tartar and also polish teeth for a smooth, bright look.
  4. Apply teeth whitening touch-up gel as directed by Dr. Hart.

Change Dietary Habits

Some foods and beverages stain tooth enamel, including:

  • blueberries, blackberries, pomegranates
  • tea, coffee, red wine, colas, root beer, sports drinks
  • curry, soy sauce
  • processed foods with artificial colors such as hard candies and popsicles

Starchy foods such as white bread, breakfast cereals, potatoes and rice encourage plaque build-up and its acid-secreting micro-organisms. More acid in the mouth equals softer enamel and more cavities and stains.

When consuming staining drinks, use a straw to help bypass tooth enamel. Brush your teeth right after eating, or at least rinse well with water. Good hydration not only cleanses tooth surfaces, it also encourages saliva production for cleaner, whiter teeth and healthier gums.

Add healthy food choices. Hard, high-fiber fruits and vegetables scrape teeth clean, reducing the chance of stains going deep into enamel. Try celery, apples, cauliflower, broccoli and pineapple at meals and at snack time. Also, hard cheeses, low-fat milk and yogurt have a high calcium content which strengthens tooth enamel.

Get Rid of Tobacco Products

If you smoke or chew tobacco, stop. Your overall health will improve along with your oral health. Tobacco is notorious for staining teeth. To get the most out of your professional teeth whitening, ask Dr. Hart or your primary care physician for help in kicking the habit.

Call Dr. Hart With Questions

If you have additional concerns about keeping your whitened smile bright, contact Dr. Hart and his staff at his Bartlett area office for more tips. Patient teaching is a passion of Dr. Hart. He wants your smile to always be at its healthiest and whitest best! Call (901) 386-9299.

By Office of Philip W. Hart, DDS
August 21, 2015
Category: Dental Procedures
Tags: bonding  

No matter how well you take care of your teeth through regular brushing, flossing and trips to your dentist in Barlett, TN, the occasional accident is bound to happen. When it does, visiting Phil W. Hart, DDS for dental bonding can make your chipped teethBonding look like new once again.

What is Dental Bonding?

Dental bonding is a dental procedure similar to filling a cavity, except that instead of filling in a spot that has decay, the tooth-colored resin is used to fill in a chip, crack or gap. The result is a beautiful tooth that looks, feels and acts just like new!

When is Dental Bonding Needed?

The most common use for dental bonding is to repair minor tooth chips. This is not the only purpose, however. Dental bonding can also be used to fill cavities, improve tooth appearance, make teeth look longer, close gaps between teeth, and change the shape of a tooth. Dental bonding fills in the spaces where dental patients wish they had a little more tooth material.

How Does Dental Bonding Work?

The dental bonding procedure is surprisingly simple and does not usually even require anesthesia. First, your Barlett, TN dentist will choose the material that best matches your existing tooth. Then, he or she will use a special liquid to roughen up the surface of your tooth to make the adhering process easier.

Once the tooth is prepared, your dentist will apply and mold a tooth-colored resin into the desired space and shape. Your dentist will harden the resin with a special light and then trim and shape it to just the right size, shape, color and texture.

What are the Advantages of Dental Bonding?

Dental bonding is a quick, easy and hassle-free in-office procedure. You don't have to wait for your tooth to come back from the lab, and you shouldn't need any type of sedation. Dental bonding is inexpensive, and the results look fantastic!

Whether your teeth are chipped, misshapen or gapped, dental bonding from a Barlett, TN dentist may be just the procedure you need to restore your smile once again. Call Dr. Hart to schedule an appointment to discuss your treatment options today!

By Phil Hart, DDS
August 21, 2015
Category: Oral Health
Tags: gum disease  

Dental implants are the ideal tooth replacement with their life-like appearance, high success rate and durability. If you have significant dental issues, they may seem like the perfect answer. But before you choose to replace a problem tooth with an implant, it might be to your benefit — financially and health-wise — to consider saving the tooth first.

Tooth decay can be a formidable enemy, destroying both tooth structure and the tooth’s connectivity to the jaw. But there are treatment options even for heavily decayed teeth, including cavity filling with composite resins or porcelain that look and function like natural teeth. For decay deep within a tooth’s interior, root canal therapy can rid the pulp chamber and root canals of decay and seal them from future occurrences. The treatment’s success rate is comparable to and less expensive than implants.

While decay damage can be significant, adult teeth are more at risk from periodontal (gum) disease, a gum infection caused by bacterial plaque on tooth surfaces. This disease can weaken gum tissues until they eventually detach from the teeth and lead to loss. Gum disease, though, can often be brought under control by techniques called scaling and root planing that deep clean tooth and root surfaces of plaque and calculus (hardened plaque deposits).

Scaling may require multiple sessions and will require a greater effort from the patient in performing daily oral hygiene and visiting the dentist regularly to closely monitor gum health. And more advanced cases may require surgery to access deep pockets of infection or repair damaged tissues. But even with this effort, treating gum disease rather than replacing a tooth could be much less costly — and you’ll be able to preserve your own teeth.

On the other hand, the disease process may have gone on too long and caused too much damage for the tooth to be saved. In these cases, the best option is to remove it and install a restoration like an implant. By first completing a complete dental examination, we’ll be better able to advise you whether your best course is a “tooth rescue” or a replacement.

If you would like more information on dental repair or replacement options, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation.

By Office of Philip W. Hart, DDS
August 20, 2015
Category: Dental Procedures

Dentures If you have gaping holes where teeth used to be, you already know the effect it can take on your smile and self-confidence. Unfortunately, that's not all missing teeth can cause, as empty spaces can even raise your risk for nutritional issues and other systemic health problems later in life.

But at Phillip W. Hart, D.D.S., Family Dentistry, you'll realize firsthand why your smile, confidence, and a full row of teeth can be completely restored using the helpful dental techniques of the oral professionals on site.

How Can Dentures Fill the Gaps?

One of the most reliable methods for undoing the unattractive look caused by missing teeth is partial dentures. There are two kinds of partial dentures, transitional and removable. While transitional partial dentures are removable plastic dentures that act as a tooth replacement and space maintainer in the interim until your mouth has fully healed from tooth extraction surgery, removable partial dentures (RPDs) provide a lighter and a more accompanying feel to your mouth.

Typically made from cast vitallium, RPDs also fit your dental profile better than plastic dentures. Plus, they are very reasonably-priced, serving as the lasting solution for your empty smile when paired with the helping hands of Dr. Hart and his associate dental technicians. And keep in mind, even if you are missing a full row of teeth, there are always complete dentures available.

For more information on how removal partial dentures could fulfill your needs, give Dr. Hart or one of his fully-trained dental assistants a call today at (901) 386-9299 for the answers you've been searching for right here in Bartlett, TN!