My Blog

Posts for: January, 2015

By Gary W. Machiko, DMD
January 29, 2015
Category: Oral Health

We are often asked about the role the tongue plays with bad breath or halitosis, as it is known medically. The truth is that everyone will experience it at some point in life; however, there can be a number of reasons for its cause. Some of these include:

  • Consuming odorous foods and/or drinks such as coffee, onions and garlic. This is usually just a temporary condition that can be resolved by brushing and flossing your teeth and using mouthwash. Also consider chewing gum containing xylitol, a sugar-free gum that both promotes saliva flow and reduces tooth decay.
  • Diabetes, a disease caused by a faulty metabolism of sugar, as well as diseases of the liver and kidneys can also cause bad breath. Be sure to always let all your health care professionals know if you have any unusual symptoms or you been diagnosed with any of these or other illnesses.
  • Poor oral hygiene, which causes gingivitis (gum disease), is one of the most common reasons for bad breath. And if your gum disease is progressive, you could eventually lose your teeth.
  • If you use tobacco and regularly drink large amounts of alcohol, you are dramatically increasing the likelihood of having halitosis.
  • And lastly, if you do not drink enough water to maintain proper hydration, you can develop bad breath.

There are more than 600 types of bacteria found in the average mouth, many of which can cause bad breath. And the back of the tongue is where these bacteria typically produce Volatile Sulfur Compounds (VSC), the culprits responsible for the worst odors attributed to halitosis.

As for cleaning your tongue, there are two common methods. You can use your toothbrush to brush your tongue, or you can use a tongue-scraper. The latter can generally be purchased at a drug or discount store. The keys to remember are that a clean, healthy tongue should be pink in color and not have a yellow or brownish coating.

By Gary W. Machiko, DMD
January 14, 2015
Category: Dental Procedures

Before she began hosting the long-running TV competition Top Chef, Padma Lakshmi was a well-known model and successful cookbook author. (Appropriately, she is said to have been “discovered” by a modeling agent while sitting in a café in Madrid.) Yet the Indian-born beauty's striking look — at once exotic and familiar — doesn't come from any cookie-cutter mold.

So when Lakshmi had cosmetic work done on her teeth, early in her career, her dentist didn't use a cookie-cutter approach either: Instead, her smile was carefully designed, using small amounts of bonding material to brighten her teeth and to bring their shape and spacing into harmony with her facial features.

Dentistry by Design
What exactly is smile design — and what could it do for you? Essentially, it's the process of evaluating your smile in concert with the appearance of your entire face, and visualizing the changes — some dramatic and some subtle — that will make it really shine. Some aspects we consider include the face's shape, the proportion or “balance” of facial features, the complexion, eye and lip color and form, and the overall dimensions of the smile.

Based on dental aesthetics and clinical experience, we will probably have a number of suggestions to make on how you can improve your smile. Your input will also be very important; while some individuals prefer perfectly even teeth and a sparkling “Hollywood white” smile, others are looking for a result that's more in keeping with a “natural” look: slight irregularities in tooth shape, spacing, and even color.

There's no right or wrong answer here: Having a “perfect” smile means what's perfect for you, so it's very important for dentists and patients to communicate openly during the smile design process. But sometimes, words alone just aren't enough to convey the subtle dimensions of beauty.

The Trial Smile
Fortunately, it's now possible to preview your “perfect” smile using a number of different techniques. Advances in computer imaging make this the first step in previewing your new smile — you can see the changes before a single tooth is touched! Still, many people find that having a more concrete picture is helpful. The next step is to make a 3-D mock-up the proposed dental work on an actual model of your mouth. That way, you can see a physical representation of the final results — and even turn it around and hold it in your hands.

There's still one more way to really experience the difference cosmetic treatments can make without committing to a permanent change: the provisional restoration. Here, tooth-colored bonding material and other techniques are used to actually create the new smile — temporarily. This gives you time to “live with it,” and see if the proposed changes work for you. If everything goes well with the provisional work, the permanent restoration is guaranteed to please.

So if you want holiday treats, get out the cookie cutter — but if you're looking for a smile that's uniquely yours, and one that enhances your own individual appearance… call our office and ask about a smile design consultation. You can learn more in the Dear Doctor magazine articles “Great Expectations — Perceptions in Smile Design” and “Beautiful Smiles by Design.”

By Gary W. Machiko, DMD
January 05, 2015
Category: Dental Procedures
Tags: veneers  

If you're looking forward to visiting Gary W. Machiko, DMD for quality veneers in Pittsburgh, you probably already know that veneers are an excellent way to improve your appearance and to gain the beautiful smile you have always dreamed of. What you may not realize, however, is that veneers offer a number of additional and unexpected benefits as well. Here are four of them.Veneers

1. Fuller Lips

Your teeth aren't the only part of your body veneers can help improve. Even though veneers are quite thin, because they are applied to the front of your teeth, they do take up a little extra room. The extra thickness pushes out on the lips, which make them look fuller and sexier.

2. Reduced Sensitivity

If you've been dealing with tooth sensitivity, Pittsburgh veneers can help! Veneers cover part of the teeth, and they can act as a barrier that keeps cold and hot foods off of your teeth and their roots, relieving your painful sensitivity.

3. Improved Quality of Life

No one wants to go through life feeling self-conscious and uncomfortable with their appearance. New veneers from Pittsburgh's own Dr. Machiko are a great way to improve your looks, increase your self-confidence and finally live the life your poor self-esteem was holding you back from.

4. Better Relationships

New veneers won't just help you like yourself more; they can help others like you more as well. It's true! When you are ashamed or embarrassed of your teeth, you are more likely to avoid smiling, to talk less and even to miss out on social occasions. With new Pittsburgh veneers, however, you'll smile more, laugh more and have a great time forming great relationships with friends both old and new!

Don't miss out on all the great benefits Pittsburgh veneers have to offer. Call Dr. Machiko to set up an appointment today!