Tips for Maintaining Your New Dental Work

You are proud of your new smile–the even teeth, the sparkling white color, the way it makes you look. But is it hard to maintain?

“Taking care of restored teeth is not difficult, but you may have to change a few habits,” says Dr. Carol Ford from her Phoenix cosmetic dentistry office. “Motivating yourself to make the change in habits is easier if you see that smile in the mirror and want the new look to stay,” she adds.

What will make your new, restored teeth keep their new look?

Maintaining_Oral_Health1. Don’t chew ice. Ice is cold, which can shock and fracture teeth. Ice is also hard, which can chip veneers or crowns. The Website WebMD reminds you, “And if your mindless chomping irritates the soft tissue inside a tooth, regular toothaches may follow. Hot foods and cold foods may trigger quick, sharp jabs of pain or a lingering toothache.”

2. Give up chewing on pencils. Wood is softer than ice, but it’s no better for your new veneers or crowns. Chewing on wood can drive splinters into your gum or between your teeth, chipping your dental work. If you have to chew, use sugarless gum, which stimulates saliva flow and helps flush plaque out of your mouth.

3. Avoid foods that stain your teeth. While it’s true that veneers are made of high-tech materials that resist stains, why risk dulling the new look that gives you such a wonderful smile? Steer clear of coffee, red wine, tea, and blueberries—all of which have compounds that can stain. If you must drink staining drinks, use a straw—it keeps the liquid from the front of your teeth. And yes, berries are healthy, so when you do eat them, plan on brushing your teeth afterwards.

4. Don’t use your teeth to open packaging. Stubborn packaging is better opened with scissors. That tough plastic packaging can break your teeth, cut your gums, and loosen restorative work, including veneers. The easiest way to open plastic packaging is to use a manual can opener, grip an edge or corner, and turn the handle to cut open enough of the plastic to make the package easy to open.

“Your new veneers give you a sparkling smile. To keep them in that great shape, leave the hard work to the tools designed for it,” says Dr. Ford, smiling.

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