Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Why Does Your Dentist Take X-Rays?

Dental x-rays are a important part of dental treatment because they can detect damage to the teeth and gums that are not visible during a routine visual exam.

Some of the most common reason for x-rays are listed below:

  • Looking for decay between the teeth - sometimes decay is not visible to the naked eye.
  • Checking for bone loss associated with gum disease - Gum disease can cause bone loss and the x-ray can show how advanced it is.
  • Checking for decay under fillings - Sometime decay under the fillings can occur and the only way to detect this is by x-rays.
  • Looking for infection at the tip of the root - Infections can appear at the bottom of the teeth where the bone is, which x-rays are needed to confirm.
  • Examine before procedures - Dentist need a full view of the area they will be working on, whether it is braces, fillings and tooth extractions.

So next time you get upset about having another set of x-rays taken, remember this is for your own oral health!

Would you rather take the x-rays and see potential problems or be blindsided?

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Periodontal Disease - Facts

If your hands bled when you scrubbed them chances are you'd be worried, yet many people believe its normal for your teeth to bleed when you brush or floss. The truth is, these could be symptoms of a very serious disease: Periodontal Disease.

Periodontal disease, also known as "gum disease," currently affects an estimated 85% of the population. There are different forms of the disease. Gingivitis, the mildest form of gum disease, is caused by bacteria from tartar and plaque and leads to swelling, redness, and bleeding of the gums. If left untreated, gingivitis can advance in to "periodontitis." Periodontitis is a more severe form of gum disease and can lead to "pockets" or areas where the gums separate from the tooth, infection, bone loss, as well as other serious health related problems (which we will discuss next week in part 2).

What's the scariest part of all this? Many people have this disease and don't even know it. So, are YOU at risk? Sadly, anyone can get the disease, but here is a list of things that increase your chances of getting periodontal disease:

-Do you smoke? It's proven that smoking is one of the most significant risk factors associated with the development of gum disease, not to mention smoking may also hinder a successful treatment.

-Do you have diabetes? People with diabetes are at a higher risk of developing infections, including gum disease.

-On meds? Many prescription medications reduce the flow of saliva, your mouth's natural cleaning agent that wards off unwanted bacteria. Decreased saliva leaves the mouth vulnerable to infections such as gum disease. Also, certain medications cause overgrowth of gum tissue making it difficult to keep the gums clean.

-Do you suffer from an illness? Illnesses such as HIV/AIDS or any other illnesses which reduce immune system production make your body extremely vulnerable to infections, including your mouth, and also make recovery and treatment difficult.

-Does it run in your family? Yes, it can be linked to genetics. If your family has a history of gum disease, you might be more susceptible than others.

If this information isn't enough to send you straight to the dentist for a check up, join me next week for part 2 where we will discuss the possible consequences of ignoring the symptoms of periodontal disease, including the very serious health risks involved which may surprise you.

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

The Growing Practice Of Dental Sleep Medicine

By definition, according to the American Academy of Dental Sleep Medicine,  Dental Sleep Medicine is an area of practice that focuses on the management of sleep-related breathing disorders including snoring and obstructive sleep apnea through the use of oral appliance therapy and/or upper airway surgery.

More and more dentists are entering into this field of treatment.  The way it works is this: A qualified physician diagnoses the condition through a series of studies done on the patient,  then the dentist provides treatment; ( i.e. usually a custom fitted oral device, worn during sleep and designed to keep the airway open by supporting the jaw and tongue.)

A loved one may notice heavy snoring or interrupted breathing patterns that can happen many times during the sleep cycle, however, if you live alone the following signs could be an indication that you may need to be checked out:

                  Mild to heavy daytime sleepiness
                  Morning headaches
                  Decreased libido
                  Inability to concentrate

Additionally, if you are overweight  you may have a higher risk for sleep apnea.  Essentially, through oxygen deprivation and lack of refreshing sleep, this disorder can wreak havoc on your body over time. It can put you at risk for high blood pressure, stroke and even heart attack, not to mention the risk of sudden death while sleeping due to the closing of the airway.

Many people have this disorder and are unaware of the danger it poses.  It is effectively a silent killer.  If you think you or a loved one may have this, contact your healthcare provider and arrange for a screening.  It could save your life!

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Cocaine/Crack Cocaine Vs. Oral Health

Cocaine/Crack Cocaine is labeled as one of the most addictive drugs on the streets today.

Whether someone snorts or smokes this drug, it can cause serious damage to the body and mouth.

Stimulants like Cocaine/Crack Cocaine, can cause individuals to clench and grind their teeth while under the influence. Grinding can cause serious problems like wearing down, fracturing and loosening the teeth.

Using Cocaine/Crack Cocaine can also cause chronic dry mouth, this is because the drugs reduce the flow of saliva. Once someone has dry mouth they are going to feel thirsty and will most likely grab sugary drinks. Combining dry mouth and sugary drinks just increased the risk of tooth decay.

It can take just a few months of using Cocaine/Crack Cocaine to reach the point your teeth are so damaged that they either are falling our or have to be pulled.

If you or someone you love is suffering from drug abuse please call the National Helpline.

Information found here.

Thursday, September 15, 2016

Can Green Tea Help to Promote Oral Health?

It's a commonly known fact that green tea has many health benefits.  It's a natural antioxidant and it's great for your digestive system but who knew that it could provide oral health benefits as well?

The following are some benefits you may not have known about.

Green Tea may help to:
1. Reduce Periodontal Inflammation
2. Kill Oral Cancer Cells
3. Inhibit the Formation of Dental Plaque
4. Repel Odor-Causing Bacteria
If you are a green tea drinker, you are already getting the benefits of this!  If not, then it may be a good time to start! 
Keep Smiling!

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

What Is Ankyloglossia?

Ankyloglossia is also known as tongue- tie or anchored tongue.

Tongue-tie is a short, thick band of tissue that is connected to the bottom of the tongues tip to the floor of the mouth. This condition limits the tongues range of motion.

Image result for tongue tied

Being tongue-tied in some cases can have serious affects on a person, by affecting the way a person eats, speaks and even swallow. Not all cases are that way, some non-serious problems can be having difficulty sticking out his/her tongue or simply eating an ice cream cone.

Tongue-tie can be fix by a simple surgical procedure and the recovery time is only about 24 hours.

I personally am tongue-tied and I experience the non-serious problems such as; I can not lick an ice cream cone very well and I can not stick out my tongue past my lips. I have thought about getting the tongue release surgery but since i'm not having serious problems I don't see why I need that done at this point.