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Dental News and Advice from Erlanger Kentucky

Darlene Henry DMD and her team are dedicated to helping each patient achieve the beautiful, confident smile that lasts a lifetime. We often write useful and practical content to help our patients in the Northern Kentucky and Cincinnati region have happy, healthy smiles. Please email us any feedback or questions at [email protected]

Erlanger KY Cosmetic Dentist Compares Professional Teeth Whitening with Store-Bought Whiteners

Are you unhappy with a dull or yellow smile? Do you want bright teeth that make you stand out? If so, you have probably considered whitening your teeth. But with so many products available claiming outstanding results, how do you know which one to choose? Your Erlanger KY dentist, Dr. Darlene Henry, is here to help. She compares professional teeth whitening treatment with store-bought whiteners and toothpastes below.

Professional Teeth Whitening vs. Store-Bought Whiteners

The main difference between professional whitening treatment and the toothpastes and strips that you can buy in stores is the power of the whitening agents used in each. The store-bought items are not able to match the power of the whiteners used in professional whitening treatment, and that fact tends to show in the results produced by both. While store-bought toothpastes and strips may lighten teeth a couple of shades, it may be difficult to notice the final results as they tend to be minimal changes. Professional whitening, on the other hand, can lighten teeth several shades in a shorter span of time (usually 2 weeks). The faster time frame and the more powerful whitening agents tend to show through when comparing the results of professional teeth whitening with those produced by store-bought whiteners.

Teeth Whitening Treatment from Your Erlanger KY Cosmetic Dentist

If you choose to whiten your teeth with your Erlanger KY cosmetic dentist, Dr. Henry, you will receive customized whitening trays and a whitening solution that you can apply to your teeth in the comfort and privacy of your own home. Whitening treatment plans generally call for 2 weeks of treatment that is capable of lifting stains without damaging your teeth.

Schedule a Visit with Your Erlanger KY Cosmetic Dentist

Would you like a smile that shines and stands out? Teeth whitening treatment can brighten your teeth several shades and do just that. Contact our 41018 dentist office today at 859-344-8500 to schedule an appointment or a consultation. We serve patients from Erlanger, Cincinnati, Crestview Hills, Fort Mitchell, Florence, Union, Independence, and Taylor Mill.

Erlanger KY Dentist: Can an Athletic Mouthguard Improve Your Performance?

Do you play a sport, such as football, hockey, or boxing, that could result in damage to your mouth from a jarring collision? If so, you probably wear a mouthguard to protect your teeth. But did you know that recent research suggests that an athletic mouthguard can actually improve your performance? To learn more about this research, read the explanation from your Erlanger KY dentist, Dr. Darlene Henry, below.

Mouthguards and Athletic Performance

It may seem like a strange claim, but research does seem to back up the idea that an athletic mouthguard can help improve athletic performance. The theory behind these mouthguards is that they help to align the tempormandibular joints (TMJs) properly, so that they experience no strain.

The TMJs are the joints that control the opening and closing of the mouth, and they are located on either side of the face, just below and forward of the earlobes. The TMJs are two very important joints that are typically involved in showing physical signs of stress because when people feel stressed, they tend to clench their jaws or grind their teeth. However, by adjusting the alignment of the TMJs, stress can be alleviated, which is the ultimate goal behind the athletic mouthguards. They are designed to keep the TMJs aligned properly so that stress is alleviated from the body. Without stress, the body will perform better, allowing athletes to give their absolute best on the field.

Other Benefits of Mouthguards

Wearing a mouthguard is absolutely imperative if you play a sport that can result in jarring collisions. During a collision, the jaw may snap closed, imparting significant force to the teeth. This impact can damage teeth or can result in a severely bitten lip or tongue. With a mouthguard, however, the impact can be absorbed protecting teeth and the rest of the mouth.

Schedule a Visit with Your Erlanger KY Dentist

Do you play a sport? You can protect your teeth with an athletic mouthguard from your Erlanger KY dentist, Dr. Henry. Contact our 41018 dentist office today at 859-344-8500 to schedule an appointment or a consultation. We serve patients from Erlanger, Cincinnati, Crestview Hills, Fort Mitchell, Florence, Union, Independence, and Taylor Mill.

Erlanger KY Dentist: Is Your Popping Jaw a Symptom?

Does your jaw pop or click when you open and close your mouth? If it does, you probably find the noise distracting as the opening and closing of the mouth is a frequent occurrence throughout the day. In addition, a popping jaw may also be accompanied by soreness or outright pain in the jaw area. But what causes a popping jaw? Your Erlanger KY dentist explains below as she takes a closer look at the jaw joints.

The Jaw Joints and Stress

There are two identical joints on either side of the head that control the opening and closing of the mouth. These joints are called the temporomandibular joints, or TMJs for short. The TMJs are very important joints used frequently in chewing, drinking, and speech. However, despite their frequent use, they can be rather delicate, and they do not tend to react well to strain. Unfortunately, the TMJs can be subjected to strain in a variety of ways including bruxism (teeth grinding), malocclusion (a misaligned bite), and jaw misalignment. One indicator that the TMJs are experiencing strain is the development or a popping or clicking noise that occurs when the mouth opens and closes.

TMJ Disorders

TMJ disorders are much more than a manifestation of strain on the TMJs. They can be very debilitating and lower a person’s quality of life significantly. The long list of symptoms connected to TMJ disorders includes jaw pain, a locked jaw, facial pain, frequent headaches, migraines, and earaches. You may have noticed that some of these symptoms occur in parts of the body that are quite distant from the TMJs themselves. The reason behind this phenomenon is the trigeminal nerve, a major nerve which innervates most of the head and neck and allows the strain from the jaw to travel to many various parts of the head and face.

Schedule a Visit with Your Erlanger KY Dentist

Do you have a popping jaw? Your Erlanger KY dentist, Dr. Henry, can help. Contact our 41018 dentist office today at 859-344-8500 to schedule an appointment or a consultation. We serve patients from Erlanger, Cincinnati, Crestview Hills, Fort Mitchell, Florence, Union, Independence, and Taylor Mill.

Erlanger KY Family Dentist Challenges Parents to a Dental Quiz

As a parent, you shoulder the responsibility of caring for your child, and that means being informed and prepared to act in many situations. The same is true when it comes to your child’s oral health, so to help make sure you are prepared for the many dental scenarios your child may experience, your Erlanger KY dentist, Dr. Darlene Henry, has created this quiz.

The Quiz

  1. True or False: Baby teeth with cavities do not require dental fillings.
  2. True or False: If your child cracks or breaks a tooth, rinse his or her mouth with warm water.
  3. True or False: Teeth grinding generally does not require treatment in young children.

The Answer Key

  1. False. Any tooth that develops a cavity requires treatment. Without treatment, a cavity can worsen until bacteria are able to reach and infect a tooth’s pulp (the innermost, nerve-filled portion). When the pulp is infected, the tooth is in peril of dying. The infection can also spread into other teeth, the jaw, and the rest of the body, causing further dental problems and illness. Additionally, if a baby tooth dies and falls out too early, it cannot function as a placeholder for the developing secondary tooth, and nearby teeth may grow into the area, resulting in orthodontic problems.
  2. True. When a tooth is damaged, bacteria have an easier time accessing the tooth’s pulp. Thus, it is useful to rinse with warm water to remove some bacteria from the mouth and lower the risk of infection.
  3. True. A staggering 38 percent of children grind their teeth. Most of this bruxism (teeth grinding) begins around age three and ends at age six. At this age range, bruxism is not powerful enough to be a serious threat to teeth. Treatment is, therefore, rare.

Schedule a Visit with Your Erlanger KY Family Dentist

Has your child attended a dental visit in the past six months? If not, the time has come for a checkup. Contact our 41018 dentist office today at 859-344-8500 to schedule an appointment with your Erlanger KY family dentist, Dr. Henry. We serve patients from Erlanger, Cincinnati, Crestview Hills, Fort Mitchell, Florence, Union, Independence, and Taylor Mill.

Erlanger KY General Dentist Shares Three Tips for Better Homecare

Although attending regular dental visits is important in ensuring good oral health, so much of cavity and gum disease prevention relies on proper homecare. Therefore, in order to make sure your homecare is at its best, your Erlanger KY dentist, Dr. Darlene Henry, is sharing three tips that can help boost your homecare.

Tips to Improve Your Homecare

  1. Divide brushing into three phases. When brushing your teeth, it is important that you clean every available surface of your teeth in order to remove as much harmful bacteria as possible. Therefore, it is sometimes helpful to divide your brushing into three phases, during which you clean a specific surface for all of your teeth. The three phases should include the front surface, the back surface, and the top (biting) surface. By dividing your brushing in this way, you will be less likely to skip over areas in your mouth.
  2. Angle the bristles of your toothbrush toward the gum line. Gum disease often begins because of the presence of bacteria on teeth near the gum line. You may, therefore, want to pay a little extra attention to these areas by angling the bristles of your toothbrush toward the gum line. By keep these areas clean, you can reduce your risk of developing gum disease.
  3. Don’t overbrush. Brushing too hard or too often can do more harm than good. Too much abrasion can strip teeth of their enamel, lowering their defenses against bacteria and making tooth decay more likely. Thus, brush two or three times per day and be sure to use gentle pressure instead of heavy force.

Schedule a Visit with Your Erlanger KY General Dentist

Are you due for a dental visit? If more than six months have passed since your last dental cleaning, the time has come for a checkup. Contact our 41018 dentist office today at 859-344-8500 to schedule an appointment with your Erlanger KY general dentist, Dr. Henry. We serve patients from Erlanger, Cincinnati, Crestview Hills, Fort Mitchell, Florence, Union, Independence, and Taylor Mill.

Erlanger KY Dentist: What’s Your Smile Type?

How would you classify your smile? Is it coy, enthusiastic, stunning? From a researcher’s perspective, it is none of the above. Researchers classify smiles according to two types, and the smile type that you wear most often may even predict how long you will live and the quality of your marriage. Read below as your Erlanger KY dentist, Dr. Darlene Henry, explains smile types and what they can tell you.

The Study of Smiles

The first forays into a scientific study of smiles were made by a French neurologist named Duchenne de Boulogne. De Boulogne recognized that not all smiles share a common purpose or even involve the same muscles. This observation has led researches to classify smiles according to two types called Duchenne and non-Duchenne smiles.

Duchenne vs. Non-Duchenne

Two key differences separate Duchenne smiles from non-Duchenne smiles: intent and muscular involvement. A Duchenne smile is an expression of joy on behalf of the smiler, and it involves muscles around the eyes. A non-Duchenne smile, on the other hand, is a smile of appeasement. It is intended to placate someone else and does not involve the muscles surrounding the eyes. Thus, when people say a smile never reached a person’s eyes, they are, in effect, telling you that the person smiled a non-Duchenne smile.

What Your Typical Smile Type Says about You

According to recent research, there is a correlation between increased longevity and Duchenne smiles. Researchers have also found that people who frequently smile Duchenne smiles experience lower divorce rates. Thus, if you find yourself hiding your smile because you are embarrassed about the appearance of your teeth, talk to your Erlanger KY cosmetic dentist, Dr. Henry. Her cosmetic treatmentscan give you a smile you’ll be dying to show off—Duchenne style.

Schedule a Visit with Your Erlanger KY Dentist

Are you unhappy with your smile? Contact our 41018 dentist office at 859-344-8500 to schedule an appointment with your Erlanger KY dentist, Dr. Henry. We serve patients from Erlanger, Cincinnati, Crestview Hills, Fort Mitchell, Florence, Union, Independence, and Taylor Mill.

Erlanger KY Dentist Discusses the Progression of Tooth Decay

Thorough and consistent homecare can help keep tooth decay at bay. But do you know how tooth decay begins and progresses? Read below as your Erlanger KY dentist, Dr. Darlene Henry, discusses the progression of tooth decay.

Bacteria: The Beginning

Tooth decay is ultimately caused by certain bacteria in the mouth. These harmful bacteria create an acid byproduct when they feed on sugar in the mouth, and the acid they produce is capable of wearing down tooth enamel. Additionally, bacteria will adhere to teeth, creating plaque (a clear, sticky film) and tartar (hardened plaque). Once attached to teeth, the bacteria are difficult to remove, and they also begin to do damage to a concentrated area. As more and more damage is done, a cavity may develop, indicating a serious weakness in the tooth that requires dental care.

Cavities and Beyond

When a cavity develops, the tooth can be strengthened with a dental filling. When placing a dental filling, your Erlanger KY dentist, Dr. Henry, first removes the decayed material of the tooth and then fills the cavity with a tooth-colored composite resin that strengthens the tooth and prevents further decay. The composite resin is durable and offers a nice cosmetic result because of its natural color.

If, however, a cavity does not receive treatment, decay may continue until the bacteria reach the tooth’s pulp (the innermost, nerve-filled portion). Should bacteria reach the pulp, infection is likely, and the tooth is in peril of dying. It is, therefore, important that root canal treatment is performed to remove the infected pulp and fill the tooth against further decay and infection. Otherwise, tooth loss may be inevitable.

Schedule a Visit with Your Erlanger KY Dentist

Regular dental visits can help maintain your oral health. If more than six months have passed since your last dental cleaning, contact our 41018 dentist office at 859-344-8500 to schedule an appointment with your Erlanger KY dentist, Dr. Henry, today. We serve patients from Erlanger, Cincinnati, Crestview Hills, Fort Mitchell, Florence, Union, Independence, and Taylor Mill.

Erlanger Dentist: Is Your Smile Too “Gummy”?

Do you wish you would see a little less of your gums and a little more of your teeth when you smile? If so, you’re not alone. Many people feel that their smiles are too “gummy” and look to cosmetic dentistry to give them smiles they can show off with pride. In order to improve the ratio of gums to teeth, a procedure called gum contouring is utilized. Read below as your Erlanger dentist, Dr. Darlene Henry, tells you what to expect from a gum contouring procedure.

The Gum Contouring Procedure

Your Erlanger cosmetic dentist, Dr. Henry, uses a diode laser to perform her gum contouring procedures. This specially designed laser allows her to remove the precise amount of gum tissue quickly and as delicately as possible. When performing gum contouring, Dr. Henry first marks the gum tissue that will be removed. Next, she administers a local anesthetic to the treatment area. Once the anesthetic takes effect, she reshapes the gums with the diode laser. This laser simultaneously removes gum tissue while sealing it off, resulting in little or no bleeding and swelling. By contrast, gum surgery without a laser requires cuts and stitches as well as a significant recovery period.

Life after Gum Contouring

One of the best things about the gum contouring procedure is the minimal recovery period it requires. Because the diode laser is so gentle and minimizes bleeding and swelling, patients who undergo the gum contouring procedure are able to get back to their lives and show off their new smiles quickly. Although the work done by gum contouring may not seem like a drastic change, the transformations produced by the procedure can be quite dramatic. Sometimes the smallest changes make the biggest differences, and when you see your new smile for the first time, you may agree.

Schedule a Visit with Your Erlanger Dentist

Would you like to transform your smile with gum contouringContact our 41018 dentist office at 859-344-8500 to schedule an appointment with your Erlanger dentist, Dr. Henry. We serve patients from Erlanger, Cincinnati, Crestview Hills, Fort Mitchell, Florence, Union, Independence, and Taylor Mill.

Erlanger Dentist Shares Three Benefits of Implant-Secured Dentures

Denture wearers sometimes complain that their dentures have a tendency to slide around their mouths. Sliding dentures can lead to embarrassment as well as discomfort. Oftentimes, by improving the fit of dentures, comfort and stability can be improved. However, even with a proper fit, the occasional slip is possible. Dental implants, on the other hand, can ensure that dentures never slip again. They can be used to secure the dentures and provide a stable base that keeps the dentures from moving. Dental implants can be so beneficial for dentures, in fact, that your Erlanger dentist, Dr. Darlene Henry, is sharing three major benefits of implant-secured dentures.

Benefits of Implant-Secured Dentures

  1. Improved speech. When dentures are unstable and slide around the mouth, the facial muscles attempt to keep them in place by tensing. Unfortunately, when these muscles become tense, it is difficult to speak. Thus, denture wearers sometimes slur their words or mumble. However, with dental implants to secure the dentures, the facial muscles can relax, allowing for clearer speech.
  2. Improved sense of taste. Traditional dentures cover the palate to create the suction necessary to hold the dentures in place. However, with implant-secured dentures, it is not necessary for the palate to be covered because suction does not need to be created or sustained. Thus, with the palate uncovered, denture wearers should notice their sense of taste improve.
  3. A more natural feel. Natural teeth are rooted into the jawbone, which supports and stabilizes the teeth. The posts of dental implants create the same situation for implant-supported dentures, with the jawbone acting as the source of support and stability for the prosthetic teeth. Implant-secured dentures, therefore, provide denture wearers with a more natural feel than traditional dentures, which rest on the gums.

Implant-Secured Dentures from Your Erlanger Dentist

Are ill-fitting dentures causing you embarrassment and frustration? Dental implants can stabilize your dentures and improve your quality of life. Contact our 41018 dentist office at 859-344-8500 to schedule an appointment with your Erlanger dentist, Dr. Henry. We serve patients from Erlanger, Cincinnati, Crestview Hills, Fort Mitchell, Florence, Union, Independence, and Taylor Mill.

Erlanger Dentist: Filling Gaps with a Dental Bridge

A gap in a smile can mean serious problems, and not just cosmetic ones. If a gap forms as a result of tooth loss, the remaining teeth may see a decline in health. Thus, it is vital that gaps be filled, and filling a gap means the placement of a dental bridge. Below, your Erlangerdentist, Dr. Darlene Henry, discusses the many problems that can stem from missing teeth as well as what patients can expect from the placement of a dental bridge.

Why Gaps Are Such a Problem

When teeth are aligned properly, they function like a fence, protecting each other and the gums. However, when a gap develops because of tooth loss, the fence is no longer as effective, and tooth decay and gum disease are more likely. In addition to a higher risk of tooth decay and gum disease, gaps can also cause teeth to shift and become misaligned. As teeth shift out of alignment, the risk of developing a temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorder also increases. Highly painful with symptoms of frequent headaches, earaches, migraines and facial pain, TMJ disorders can make life very miserable. Who knew a gap could cause so many problems?

Dental Bridges

Dental bridges are made up of prosthetic teeth attached to dental crowns. The crowns are placed over the top of the teeth on either edge of the gap called abutment teeth, which provide the necessary stability to hold the bridge in place. In order to place a dental bridge, your Erlanger dentist, Dr. Henry, first shapes the abutment teeth for the crowns and takes an impression of them. She then sends the impression to a dental lab, which creates the bridge. Once the bridge is complete, she attaches it with dental cement.

Schedule a Visit with Your Erlanger Dentist

Has tooth loss formed a gap in your smile? A dental bridge can close the gap. Contact our 41018 dentist office at 859-344-8500 to schedule an appointment with your Erlanger dentist, Dr. Henry. We serve patients from Erlanger, Cincinnati, Crestview Hills, Fort Mitchell, Florence, Union, Independence, and Taylor Mill.

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