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Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Common mouth sores: causes and cures

Mouth sores can be very annoying and painful and can have many causes.
The causes can range from infections – bacterial, viral or fungal – to a loose orthodontic wire or a denture that doesn’t fit or a sharp edge from a broken tooth or filling.
But mouth sores may be symptoms of an underlying disease or problem.
So, if you’ve had any mouth sore that lasts a week or longer, its a good idea to get your dentist to check it out.
Here are some of the most common mouth sores:
Canker sores: These are small ulcers with a white or gray base and a red border. They appear inside the mouth and are not contagious though they often return. Problems such as poor immune systems, viruses or fatigue and stress may be involved. They usually heal on their own after a week or two.
Cold sores: Cold sores are annoying and painful. They are also known as fever blisters or Herpes simplex and are groups of fluid-filled blisters. They often erupt around the lips and sometimes under the nose or around the chin. Cold sores caused by herpes virus type 1 are very contagious and the virus stays in the body. Cold sore blisters usually heal in a week by themselves.
Candidiasis: This fungal infection (also called moniliasis or oral thrush) occurs when the yeast Candida albicans reproduce in large numbers. It is common among denture wearers and people who have dry mouth syndrome are very susceptible to it. The focus is on preventing it or controlling the conditions that caused the outbreak.
Any mouth sores that last more than a few days should be checked with your dentist.

Monday, December 4, 2017

How older adults can handle dry mouth and taste problems

Reduced saliva flow that results in a dry mouth is a common problem among older adults.
It is caused by certain medical disorders and is often a side effect of medications such as antihistamines, decongestants, pain killers and diuretics.
Some of the common problems associated with dry mouth include:
– Constant sore throat
– Burning sensation
– Problems speaking
– Difficulty swallowing
– Hoarseness or dry nasal passages
Left untreated, dry mouth can damage your teeth. Without adequate saliva to lubricate your mouth, wash away food, and neutralize the acids produced by plaque, extensive cavities can form.
Your dentist can recommend various methods to restore moisture. For example, sugar-free candy or gum stimulates saliva flow, and moisture can be replaced by using artificial saliva and oral rinses.
Another issue that can affect older adults is a loss of appetite due to a change in your sense of taste. Besides an age-related decrease in the sense of taste and smell, certain diseases, medications and dentures can contribute to a decrease in your sense of taste.
Whether you are suffering from dry mouth or problems with your sense of taste, your dentist will be able to make suggestions to help.

Friday, November 24, 2017

How sedation and general anesthesia can make your visit to the dentist easier

While local anesthetics are often used in dental treatment, there is sometimes a need for anti-anxiety agents – such as nitrous oxide – or sedatives to help people relax during dental visits.
Dentists may use these agents to induce “minimal or moderate sedation”.
In this case, the patient reaches a relaxed state during treatment but can respond to speech or touch.
Sedatives can be administered before, during or after dental procedures by mouth, inhalation or injection.
More complex treatments may require drugs that can induce “deep sedation”.
This reduces consciousness and causes a loss of feeling which helps to reduce both pain and anxiety.
Sometimes patients undergo “general anesthesia” where the drugs lead to a temporary loss of consciousness.
A dentist may recommend deep sedation or general anesthesia for certain procedures with children or with adults who have severe anxiety or for people who have difficulty controlling their movements.
While these techniques to control pain and anxiety are used to treat tens of millions of patients safely every year, its important that you let your dentist know anything that might affect your ability to benefit from them for example, tell them about any illnesses or health conditions, whether you are taking any medications and if you’ve had any problems with allergic reactions to medications.

Friday, November 17, 2017

What to do if you have problems with your dentist

Choosing the right dentist for your needs is an important part of giving yourself the best oral health possible.
Sometimes you may find that things are not working out for the best and it’s important to take steps to resolve any problems rather than just put off your dental care.
First, talk to your dentist about any concerns. They will probably be able to accomodate your needs if you tell them what you are looking for.
In some situations, you may feel that you want to look around at alternative options – maybe there are other dentists who meet your needs better, taking into account factors such as location, office hours, fees and emergency arrangements.
If you are comparing fees, ask for estimates on full-mouth x-rays and a preventive dental visit that includes an oral exam and tooth cleaning.
If you have any doubts about treatment your dentist has recommended, it may be a good idea to set your mind at rest by getting a second opinion from another dentist.
However, even in the best dentist-patient relationship, problems can sometimes occur. If your dentist is not able to resolve your concerns, you can contact your state or local dental association.
They have established systems of peer review that provide an impartial and easy way to resolving misunderstandings regarding the appropriateness or quality of care.
If you are not completely staisfied with the dental treatment you are getting, it’s important ot take steps to put it right – whether you sort it out with your own dentist or find another one.

Friday, November 10, 2017

Things to look out for during pregnancy

Every woman wants to maintain their own health during pregnancy and to take whatever steps are necessary to give the baby the best possible start.
There are a few factors in your oral health to look out for during this time.
One consideration is that its common for pregnant women to have the urge to eat between meals. The risk is that frequent snacking on carbohydrate-containing foods can encourage tooth decay.
Bacteria in your mouth called plaque can convert the sugar and starch in your mouth into an acid that attacks tooth enamel. After repeated attacks, tooth decay can result.
So, when you need a snack, try to choose foods that are nutritious for you and your baby such as raw fruits and vegetables and dairy products.
During pregnancy, your bodys hormone levels rise considerably. Gum problems, such as gingivitis, are especially common during the second to eighth months of pregnancy. They may cause red, puffy or tender gums that bleed when you brush.
This is an exaggerated response to plaque caused by higher levels of progesterone in your system. Your dentist may recommend more frequent cleanings at some stages to help you avoid problems.
Occasionally overgrowths of gum tissue, called pregnancy tumors, appear on the gums during the second trimester. These localized growths or swellings are usually found between the teeth and are thought to be related to excess plaque.
They bleed easily and are often surgically removed after the baby is born.
Studies indicate that pregnant women who have severe periodontal (gum) disease may be at increased risk for pre-term delivery, which in turn increases the risk of having a low-birth-weight baby.
So its particularly important to maintain good oral health during pregnancy. Make sure you clean your teeth carefully and visit your dentist regularly.

Friday, November 3, 2017

Building a strong relationship with your dentist

You’ll give yourself the best chance of good oral health if you build a strong relationship with your dentist.
That can sometimes mean asking the right questions and helping them to assist you in the best way possible.
So you want to make sure you have a dentist who will first of all explain techniques that you should use to help prevent dental health problems. They should be willing to show you step-by-step what you need to do.
You should also choose a dentist who is willing to take time to answer your questions, especially when they are recommending a course of treatment.
If you don’t understand any part of what your dentist recommends, don’t be afraid to ask for more information.
You may want to ask if there are other options to the solution they recommend. For example:
– How do the options differ in cost?
– Which solution will last the longest?
– Do all the options solve the problem?
Ask the dentist which treatments are absolutely necessary, which are elective and Which are cosmetic.
Ask which procedures are urgently needed, and which ones are less urgent. Your dentist will help you prioritize between problems which need immediate attention and those that are less urgent.
Often, treatment can be planned over a period of time but make sure you understand any consequences of delaying treatment.
It’s naturally also important to make sure that you are given full information about fees and payment plans before treatment is scheduled.

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

Preventing tooth decay in babies and infants

The habits of good dental care should begin as early as possible and its important to take steps to avoid problems with infants and children.
Children need strong, healthy teeth to chew their food and baby teeth also keep a space in the jaw for the adult teeth.
If a baby tooth is lost too early, the teeth beside it may drift into the empty space. So, when it’s time for the adult teeth to come in, there may not be enough room. This can make the teeth crooked or crowded.
The name given to decay in infants and children is baby bottle tooth decay.
It can destroy the teeth and most often occurs in the upper front teeth – though other teeth may also be affected.
Decay can happen when sweetened liquids are given to an infant and are then left clinging to their teeth for long periods. Many sweet liquids cause problems, including milk, formula and fruit juice.
What happens is that bacteria in the mouth use these sugars as food and then produce acids that attack the teeth.
It’s not just what you put in your child’s bottle that causes decay, but how often. Giving your child a bottle of sweetened liquid many times a day isn’t a good idea.
Here are some tips to avoid baby bottle tooth decay in your children:
– After each feeding, wipe the baby’s gums with a clean gauze pad. Begin brushing your child’s teeth when the first tooth erupts. Clean and massage gums in areas that remain toothless, and begin flossing when all the baby teeth have erupted, usually by age 2 or 2.
– Never allow your child to fall asleep with a bottle containing milk, formula, fruit juice or sweetened liquids.
– If your child needs a comforter between regular feedings, at night, or during naps, give them a clean pacifier recommended by your dentist or physician. Never give your child a pacifier dipped in any sweet liquid.
– Avoid filling your child’s bottle with liquids such as sugar water and soft drinks.
– If your local water supply does not contain fluoride (a substance that helps prevent tooth decay), ask your dentist how your child should get it.
Start dental visits by the child’s first birthday and make visits regularly.
If you think your child has dental problems, take the child to the dentist as soon as possible.