Face photos? I never had to take photos of my face at a dentist’s office??

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Yes, at Esthetic Dentistry, we will ask to take photos of your face. And it’s not just because we think you are so good-looking!  Our dental assistants will take 3 “face” photos. A smiling photo, a non-smiling photo, and a profile photo. It may feel like a mug shot, but there are truly  good reasons for each of these images.

“Well, what are they?” you ask.

The smiling photo shows us exactly how your smile fits on your face. It shows us if you show top and bottom teeth, or top teeth only. It shows the shape of your teeth and how it complements your face shape. We can see if you have a low lip line or a “gummy” smile. We can see if your teeth are very worn down, or if they appear normal.   There are so many things we can see by looking at this smiling photo.

The non-smiling photo is important too. “But you can’t even see my teeth!” Maybe not, but it helps to see how your “resting” face position may be influenced by the position of your teeth. For example, a patient may complain that he has “buck” teeth. In the non-smiling photo, his upper lip may stick out, because his upper teeth are positioned too far forward. Or another patient may say her upper lip is too”flat,” perhaps because at the resting position, her upper teeth may be angled too far back, and not giving enough lip support.

The profile photo, or the what patients like to call, “the mug shot” gives us a great visual on the position of your head, neck, and shoulders. If a person has tension in the jaw and neck, often due to teeth grinding and stress, it may show up in a postural change. The head may seem to stick out, or seem positioned forward.  We can also get a good overview of the shape of the patient’s jaw, which helps when orthodontic treatment is indicated.  It is also very valuable to assess how the nose and mouth line up in relation to the jaw.

“Are you going to splash my photos all over the internet?” Patients ask this all the time. Of course, because of patient privacy laws we would never share your photos. In fact, the only time that could occur is with YOUR permission.  These photos are strictly for our comprehensive exam and assessment during your initial visit to our office.

So are you ready to flash your pearly whites? We promise to keep it confidential! 🙂

 

What’s the deal with flossing?

Let’s face it, many people don’t floss. A hygienist’s mantra might as well be “You must floss daily! Or your teeth will fall out!” How many of us actually heed this advice? Most think, “Come on, that’s not going to happen.”

There is truth to this mantra. Is it an exaggeration? Perhaps. The point is this, brushing alone cannot reach all those “in-between” spots. That’s where floss comes in. Why should you care about those spots? Let’s go back to the basics.

Q: Why do we brush in the first place?

A: It is to remove PLAQUE, a biofilm that forms on your teeth daily. It is white and soft, but sticky.

Q: Why do we need to remove plaque from our teeth?

A: If plaque is not removed, it will soon become hardened by minerals in your saliva. The plaque changes into something called, TARTAR, or CALCULUS (no, not the dreaded math class).

Q: Why should I care if my plaque turns into tartar?

A: While plaque is easily removed by brushing and flossing, tartar is not. Once it is stuck to your teeth, it cannot be removed, except by a dentist or hygienist. Tartar is a breeding ground of bacteria and minerals. Overtime, it causes inflammation, bleeding, and eventually, loss of bone around the teeth if not removed. Most of these symptoms will go unnoticed by the patient, because it doesn’t cause pain in the initial stages.

Q: Are there other benefits to flossing?

A: YES! It helps with bad breath, believe it or not! The more plaque you can remove on a daily basis, with brushing your teeth and tongue, in addition to flossing, the fresher your breath will be!