The Practice of Dr. Michael Koumas

Porcelain Veneers: Lifespan, Pros, and Cons

before and after photos of patient who got porcelain veneers

Dental, or porcelain veneers are thin shells of ceramic that bond directly to the front surfaces of your teeth. They give you an instant, beautiful smile that lasts for years, which is why they have become so popular.

Pros of Porcelain Veneers

When bonded to the teeth, porcelain veneers are practically undetectable, this is one of the major benefits of having them. They are ultra-thin and stain resistant to things like coffee and cigarettes. (It is important to note, however, that this does not mean smoking is okay. Smoking can still seriously impact your mouth’s health and case oral cancer or gum disease.) When compared to other restorative options, porcelain veneers resemble healthy, white tooth enamel almost identically.

Cons of Porcelain Veneers

Porcelain veneers can be pricier than other dental restoration options. Alternatives to veneers can include crowns or bridges. Aside from the price, some people are wary about the fact that once porcelain veneers are bonded to the teeth, this process cannot be reversed. To avoid a chip or crack, or the entire veneer falling off, avoid using your veneers as a tool to open something or to bite your nails.

Durability of Porcelain Veneers

With proper care, porcelain veneers can last for well over a decade. This means taking care of your teeth by brushing twice a day, flossing and using mouth wash. Continuing to visit your dentist regularly is also encouraged. At Dr. Koumas’ office, we only craft porcelain veneers from the highest quality porcelain and use the most advanced and proven material available to bond them to your existing teeth.

For more information, or to make an appointment, contact local dentist in Newburgh, Dr. Michael Koumas.

The Benefits of a Dental Crown

dental crown

Dental crowns are a reliable solution to major dental problems caused by disease, accidents or poor habits over time. Fortunately for those who need them, a dental crown can look, feel and function like your natural tooth.

Key Benefits

Dental crowns can give you back your beautiful smile. They replace missing teeth, offer support to broken teeth, and can act as a long-term solution. When a tooth has a root canal, a dental crown can protect the tooth from future breakage. A dental crown is usually made out of either high-grade porcelain, or porcelain bonded to metal.

It is common for people to feel pain in teeth that have fillings in the back of their mouth, usually caused by a hairline crack. Placing a dental crown over the tooth with relieve the tooth of pain and allow you to chew and put pressure on it without causing any pain. For the front of the mouth, teeth that have become weakened by fillings or are chipped or discolored can be fixed with a porcelain crown or bridge.

The Procedure

In most cases, fitting a dental crown will require at least two visits to the dentist. During the first visit, your dentist will remove any decay that’s still present in the gum, then shape the tooth, and fit it with a temporary crown. On the next visit, the dentist will remove the temporary crown and replace it with the final crown, after fitting and adjusting it. The dental crown will be held in place with cement to make it look as natural as possible.

If you would like to schedule a dental appointment to learn more about dental crowns, contact local dentist in Newburgh, Dr. Michael Koumas.

Causes and Solutions for Sensitive Teeth

person biting into anchocolate ice cream bar with sensitive teeth

Nothing is worse than biting into an ice cream bar on a hot summer day and feeling sharp, sudden tooth pain. If you have experienced this before with cold or hot foods and liquids, you are experiencing tooth sensitivity. Tooth sensitivity occurs when your enamel becomes worn or you have exposed tooth roots.

Causes of Tooth Sensitivity

In some cases, tooth sensitivity may be minimal, and you will be unbothered by it. In other cases, tooth sensitivity can be severe and will cause a lot of pain and discomfort. Tooth sensitivity is caused by the wearing of enamel on your teeth. Enamel is the protective layer on your teeth. Not only can hot or cold foods and liquids trigger pain, but sweet and acidic foods have the tendency to do so too.

Keep in mind the following factors that may be contributing to your tooth sensitivity:

  • Teeth grinding
  • Forceful brushing
  • Gum disease
  • Cavities, cracked or chipped teeth

Solutions for Sensitive Teeth

Depending on the cause and severity of your tooth sensitivity, there a few solutions to consider. Keep in mind, enamel doesn’t naturally grow on your teeth, so once it’s gone, it’s not coming back. To save the enamel that is still present, consider using a softer bristled tooth brush and not using so much force when brushing. Additionally, choose a toothpaste formulated to protect enamel.

The most obvious solution to sensitive teeth is to avoid the foods that cause pain. This can be ice cream, candy, soda or juice and instead, replace it with snacks like yogurt, cheese and vegetables. Next, if you know that you grind your teeth at night, consider wearing a mouthguard to protect your teeth. Most importantly, if you think you have a cavity or you have a cracked tooth, schedule an appointment with your dentist at your earliest convenience.

If you would like to schedule a dental appointment to learn more about your tooth sensitivity, contact local dentist in Newburgh, Dr. Michael Koumas.

Tooth Fairy Ideas and Planning

little girl with missing front teeth

As a parent, you have a big job. Once your not-so-little one turns five years old, you should be prepared to begin your duties as the Tooth Fairy. In the United States, it is common to leave money under the pillow when your child loses a tooth. Have some fun with it and get creative, consider these ideas that will have your child excited to tell their friends at school:

Outside-the-box Ideas

While leaving money under the pillow is the norm, consider leaving something else!

  • Small toys
  • A healthy snack
  • A new toothbrush

Along with the item, write a note from the Tooth Fairy that explains what is going to happen with the tooth and encourage your child to keep taking care of their teeth. Here are some fables of what the tooth fairy does with teeth:

  • Use as bricks to build her castle
  • Send them into the night sky to become stars
  • Share them with babies who are growing new teeth (great for kids with little siblings)

Be sure to use creative handwriting so your child doesn’t suspect a thing!

Purchasing a special tooth pillow or making one is another great idea. These “tooth pillows” have a special pocket for the lost tooth, so the tooth fairy knows just where to find it.

If you’re worried about waking your child while performing Tooth Fairy duties, consider going the Scandinavian route. In Sweden and Norway, children put their tooth in a glass of water, so the Tooth Fairy can find it more easily. In the morning, children wake to find the glass has been emptied of water and replaced with coins.

Tooth Fairy Missing in Action

Sometimes, the Tooth Fairy becomes extra busy or is short-handed a few bucks and can’t make a visit the same night. Letting your child know that thousands of other kids lost their teeth on the same day will help them understand, and just make sure the Tooth Fairy visits the night after to pick up the tooth.

Unexpected Tooth Loss

For times when a tooth unexpectedly gets knocked out or a dental procedure requires a tooth extraction, the Tooth Fairy can play a part in these situations as well. Leaving a note that congratulates the child for being brave and strong is a great way to let them know they did a great job at the dentist.

To schedule your child’s first dental appointment, contact local Newburgh, NY dentist Dr. Michael Koumas.

Source:

Colgate

Is Gum Disease Contagious and How Do I Prevent It?

normal tooth vs periodontitis also known as gum disease

Gum disease, or periodontitis, is much more common than you may think. To put it in perspective, one out of two American adults over the age of thirty have some form of gum disease according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. That’s 64.7 million Americans. Now, you might be concerned and asking yourself, is gum disease contagious? Let’s get to the bottom of this!

Cause of gum disease

Gum disease develops when bacteria finds its way below the gum line and the tooth and gum become detached from each other. Unfortunately, gum disease is often painless and silent, which means you can have it and may not even know it. When left untreated, a mild form of gum disease (gingivitis) can eventually become severe and result in tooth loss and infection.

Is gum disease contagious?

According to the American Academy of Periodontology, gum disease is not technically contagious because it is an inflammatory reaction to the bacteria under your gums. On the other hand, if a friend or family member has gum disease, it is recommended that you avoid contact with their saliva as the bacteria can be contagious. This means avoid sharing utensils, using the same dental equipment, and kissing to keep you away from risk of coming in contact with their saliva.

How do I prevent gum disease?

Taking care of your mouth is the first step. This includes brushing, flossing and using mouth wash daily, and getting regular checkups at the dentist. Next, look out for warning signs of gum disease which include red, swollen or bleeding gums and bad breath. If you notice any of these signs, make it a point to schedule an appointment with your dentist soon. Afterall, treating gum disease in its earliest stages can save you a lot of time, money and pain in the long run.

To schedule your dental appointment, contact local Newburgh, NY dentist Dr. Michael Koumas.

Sources:

https://www.perio.org/node/224

https://www.perio.org/consumer/cdc-study.htm

What are the Oil Pulling Side Effects?

oil used for oil pulling

Interestingly enough, oil pulling has roots in ancient India as a traditional remedy that could cure over thirty diseases in the body, not just the mouth. Due to the millions of microorganisms and bacteria that live in the mouth, it is believed that the mouth is a “mirror” to the body’s overall health.

What is Oil Pulling?

Oil pulling is the process of swishing around about two teaspoons or so of oil to collect and pull the bacteria from your body and mouth. Oil pulling is intended to whiten teeth and remove plaque, as well as help keep gums healthy.

The Process of Oil Pulling

Common household oils such as sunflower oil, coconut oil and sesame oil are often used for oil pulling. The oil is believed to activate salivary enzymes which absorb harmful toxins in the blood streams and are removed through the tongue. In the past, we discussed the use of coconut oil for oil pulling and while not much research exists that can back the potential benefits and risks, it has become widely popular. A handful of studies do exist and have reported positive results from oil pulling. The results include a decrease in plaque formation and plaque-induced gingivitis.

Oil Pulling Side Effects

When it comes to oil pulling, there are a few things to consider. The first thing is that you should avoid swallowing any of the oil because of the high amount of bacteria it may contain after being swished around in the mouth. The American Dental Association has warned in the past that oil pulling could potentially cause an upset stomach and diarrhea if swallowed, and even lipid pneumonia if the oil finds its way into the lungs. Currently their stance is that since there is no scientific consensus on the idea that oil pulling reduces cavities, so it does not recommend oil pulling as a dental hygiene practice. A side effect oil pullers commonly experience is that other more effective dental habits fall off their radar, which can cause issues down the line.

It has been argued that oil pulling is not effective because the mucous membrane lining does not allow the harmful toxins to pass through. A proven way to whiten your teeth at home is using a toothpaste infused with hydrogen peroxide or just leave it up to your dentist to give you a professional whitening treatment. In terms of having a clean mouth, brushing, flossing and using mouth wash daily is the recommended process, as well as regular professional cleanings at your dentist.

To schedule your dental appointment, contact local Newburgh, NY dentist Dr. Michael Koumas.

Causes, Prevention and Removal of Dental Plaque

dentist removing plaque from teeth

Dental plaque is a soft, sticky substance that builds up on your teeth. It can be colorless or yellow in color and it naturally forms on teeth. Though it builds up naturally, this does not mean it is good to have. Dental plaque forms from the foods, drinks and saliva in our mouth and collect in the deposits where our teeth and gums meet. If left untreated, plaque can lead to gum disease, tooth decay and tartar buildup.

Causes of Dental Plaque

Food, drinks and saliva create the perfect environment for bacteria to grow and flourish in your mouth, leading to dental plaque. Foods that are high in carbohydrates or sugar are particularly good at causing plaque buildup.

Prevention

To prevent dental plaque from building up, the easiest thing you can do is take care of your mouth and visiting your dentist twice a year. Brush your teeth, floss and use mouth wash daily to help fight everyday dental plaque buildup. Second, make sure to regularly visit your dentist for a teeth cleaning and checkup. Other prevention tips include using toothpaste with anti-plaque features, using an electric toothbrush, and avoiding tobacco products.

Removal

Using an electronic toothbrush can be an effective way to avoid plaque buildup at home. Remember, each brushing session should last two minutes and should be done twice a day. Consider choosing an anti-plaque toothpaste designed to help prevent dental plaque, and make sure to include flossing and mouthwash in your routine. Of course, the most important step in plaque removal is visiting your dentist regularly so they can make sure your mouth is dental plaque free.

If you would like to schedule a dental appointment, contact local dentist in Newburgh, Dr. Michael Koumas.

Sources:

Crest

How to Clean Your Tongue the Right Way

tongue out

A dirty tongue may very well be the cause of your bad breath. Getting into the habit of brushing your tongue during your daily routine is a good idea. The American Dental Association recommends we brush our tongue each time we brush our teeth, once in the morning and once at night. Using mouthwash after you clean your tongue not only kills any lingering bacteria, but moisturizes the mouth too. The lesson here is that a healthy mouth does not just entail brushing your teeth.

Using a Tongue Scraper

There is a specific tool made for cleaning your tongue, and though it is not necessary, it can be helpful. It is usually a soft plastic handheld tool that scrapes away the mucus-based layer that sits on top of your tongue, you may not even notice it. After each swipe, rinse the tool with warm water and use again. Using the bristles of your toothbrush will work just fine too, and many toothbrushes today have a built-in tongue scraper on the back of the head.

Keep in mind, you should not be using it to the point where your tongue becomes sore or even bleeds. Use light pressure when scraping to avoid soreness and focus on the center of the tongue where the bulk of the bacteria lies. After working tongue cleaning into your daily routine, you should begin to notice your breath start to become fresher.

If you would like to schedule a dental appointment, contact local dentist in Newburgh, Dr. Michael Koumas.

Source:

Colgate

The Right Way to Floss

Floss written with floss on a blue background

The American Dental Association recommends we floss once a day. It doesn’t matter if you floss before or after you brush but incorporate it into your routine at least once daily. In the morning, midday or before bed, remembering to floss can save you from cavities and gum disease.

Flossing removes debris and plaque that builds up between your teeth, which isn’t always removed from just brushing. The type of floss you use is based on your preferences, so find what works for you. If using traditional dental floss, consider the following:

  1. Start by pulling out about 18 inches of floss and wrapping it loosely around your index or middle finger on one hand. For the other hand, wrap about 2 or 3 inches around your finger, just enough to hold it in place. The reason for putting so much on one hand is that you’ll want to use a clean section as you make your way through your mouth.

 

  1. Next, measure out about 2 to 3 inches of floss to start with in between your hands. Start at one end of your mouth and place the floss in between the 2 teeth. Wrap the floss around your tooth in the shape of a C and use a zig zag motion to pull the floss.

 

  1. As you move from one tooth to the next, continue to expose a fresh section of the floss to each new tooth. Make sure you are getting underneath the gum line to help avoid gum disease.

 

If you would like to schedule a dental appointment and learn more about flossing, contact local dentist in Newburgh, Dr. Michael Koumas.

Sources:

American Dental Association

Oral-B

Teeth Whitening Methods

before and after teeth whitening

As people age, it is inevitable that our teeth will lose their white color because the outer layer of enamel becomes thinner and thinner. For many people, a beautiful smile means having bright and shiny white teeth. Along with aging, other factors that affect teeth color are food and drink stains, smoking and tartar buildup. There are many products on the market that claim to whiten teeth, but many are not safe.

Professional Whitening

The safest route to take when wanting to whiten your teeth is through your dentist. At our office, we use the latest in bleaching technology to give you that beautiful smile. We offer two different types of whitening methods, Boost and GLO Science. The difference between the two whitening treatments is that GLO Science includes a take home option and risk of sensitivity is at a minimum. With just a 75-minute appointment, you can notice significant whitening improvements. For those with severe staining or aged teeth, crowns and veneers may be a better option.

Whitening Toothpastes

Whitening toothpastes are best for removing stains on your teeth but not for changing the natural color of them. You may still notice improvements in your teeth’s color, and using whitening toothpaste can be a great alternative to having them professionally whitened. If you do have your teeth professionally whitened, using a whitening toothpaste can be helpful to make the white color last.

Unsafe Whitening Methods

Many products available over-the-counter claim to whiten your teeth but can be very unsafe. In fact, most of these products are not regulated by the FDA and can damage your teeth. These products include charcoal, whitening strips, gels and lights.

To schedule your dental appointment, contact local Newburgh, NY dentist Dr. Michael Koumas.

Before and After patients:

Before and after yellow diseased teeth to bright white teeth

Before and after yellow, aged teeth to bright white teeth

Before and after yellow and brown crooked teeth to white straight teeth with veneers

Sources:

Dental Health

WebMD