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Monday, April 9, 2018

Treating Sensitive Teeth

Sensitive teeth is a common problem that causes many people to feel discomfort with hot or cold foods and drinks.
It can also make it uncomfortable to brush or floss the teeth and therefore can lead to further oral problems.
However, sensitive teeth can be treated.
If you suffer from this, your dentist may suggest that you try a desensitizing toothpaste, which contains compounds that help block transmission of sensation from the tooth surface to the nerve.
For desensitizing toothpaste to work, you normally have to make several applications.
If the desensitizing toothpaste does not help, your dentist may suggest further solutions.
For example, fluoride gel – which strengthens tooth enamel and reduces the transmission of sensations – may be applied to the sensitive areas of the teeth.
If the sensitivity is caused by receding gums, your dentist may use bonding agents that “seal” the sensitive teeth.
The sealer is usually made of a plastic material.
If there is severe hypersensitivity which cannot be treated by other means, there is the option of endodontic (root canal) treatment.
Sensitive teeth is a problem that can stop you enjoying your food but is one that can often be solved.

Tuesday, April 3, 2018

Preventing tooth decay in babies and infants

The habits of good dental care should begin as early as possible and it’s 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.

Monday, March 26, 2018

The facts about oral cancer

Oral cancer is not as well known as other types of cancer but it can represent a life-threatening risk if not identified early.
– It strikes an estimated 35,000 Americans each year
– More than 7,500 people (5,200 men and 2,307 women) die of these cancers each year
– More than 25% of Americans who get oral cancer will die of the disease
– On average, only half of those diagnosed with the disease will survive more than five years
– African-Americans are especially vulnerable; the incidence rate is 1/3 higher than whites and the mortality rate is almost twice as high
Although the use of tobacco and alcohol are risk factors in developing oral cancer, approximately 25% of oral cancer patients have no known risk factors.
There has been a nearly five-fold increase in incidence in oral cancer patients under age 40, many with no known risk factors.
The incidence of oral cancer in women has increased significantly, largely due to an increase in women smoking. In 1950 the male to female ratio was 6:1; by 2002, it was 2:1.
The best way to prevent oral cancer is to avoid tobacco and alcohol use.
Unusual red or white spots can form in and around the mouth. These are often harmless but they can be cancerous or pre-cancerous.
Identifying and removing these early enough is a major factor in reducing the incidence of cancer.
So knowing the risk factors and seeing your dentist for regular examinations can help prevent this deadly disease.

Monday, March 19, 2018

Root canal treatment

Root canal therapy is an important treatment that can save a tooth with a diseased nerve and which in the past would probably have needed to be removed.
Inside each tooth is the ‘pulp’ which runs like a thread down through the root and provides nutrients and nerves to the tooth. It is the soft tissue that contains nerves, blood vessels and connective tissue.
If the pulp is diseased or injured, the pulp tissue dies.
The most common cause of pulp death is a cracked tooth or a deep cavity. Both of these problems can let bacteria enter the pulp.
So, if you don’t remove it, your tooth gets infected and you could lose it.
After the dentist – or endodontist (a dentist who specializes in problems of the pulp) – removes the pulp, the root canal is cleaned and sealed off to protect it. Then your dentist places a crown over the tooth to help make it stronger.
Most of the time, a root canal is a relatively simple procedure involving one to three visits with little or no discomfort.
Your restored tooth could last a lifetime, if you continue to care for your teeth and gums and enjoy regular checkups.

Monday, March 12, 2018

Diabetes and your dental health: How your diet can affect your teeth

When diabetes is not controlled properly, high glucose levels in saliva may create problems that lead to an increased risk of tooth decay.
Your teeth are covered with plaque, a sticky film of bacteria. After you eat food that contains sugars or starches, the bacteria react with these sugars to release acids that attack tooth enamel. This can cause the enamel to break down and may eventually result in cavities.
Brushing twice a day with fluoride toothpaste and cleaning between your teeth with floss or an interdental cleaner helps remove decay-causing plaque.
Plaque that is not removed can eventually harden into calculus, or tartar. When tartar collects above the gumline, it becomes more difficult to clean thoroughly between teeth. This can lead to chronic inflammation and infection in the mouth.
Because diabetes reduces the bodys resistance to infection, the gums are among the tissues likely to be affected.
Periodontal diseases are infections of the gum and bone that hold your teeth in place. Patients with inadequate blood sugar control appear to develop periodontal disease more often and more severely, and they lose more teeth than those who have good control of their diabetes.
Because of the lower resistance and longer healing process, periodontal diseases often appear to be more frequent and more severe among persons with diabetes.
You can help reduce these risks through good maintenance of blood sugar levels, a well-balanced diet, good oral care at home and regular dental checkups.

Monday, March 5, 2018

The causes of bad breath

Bad breath – also known as halitosis – is an unpleasant condition that can cause a great deal of embarrassment.
And, for many people, its made even worse by the fact they don’t even know that they have it.
There are many possible causes for bad breath so, if you think you might have the problem, talk to your dentist.
What you eat affects what you breathe out. Certain foods, such as garlic and onions, contribute to objectionable breath odor and even dieters may develop unpleasant breath from infrequent eating.
If you don’t brush and floss daily, particles of food remain in the mouth, collecting bacteria, which can cause bad breath.
Bad breath can also be caused by dry mouth (xerostomia) which occurs when the flow of saliva decreases.
One of the reasons why its especially important to talk to your dentist about bad breath is that it may be a sign of an underlying medical problem such as respiratory tract infection or gastrointestinal problems.
Persistent bad breath or a bad taste in the mouth can also be a warning signs of gum disease.
Smoking can also cause bad breath, stain teeth and reduce your ability to taste foods.
For all these reasons, you shouldn’t put up with the problem of bad breath. Talk to your dentist and find out what might be causing the problem.

Monday, February 26, 2018

Maintaining proper nutrition as an older adult

Maintaining proper nutrition is important for everyone, young or old but many older adults find it difficult to eat a balanced diet.
They may avoid meats, raw vegetables and fresh fruits because they have trouble chewing or swallowing.
These problems can be caused by painful teeth, ill-fitting dentures, dry mouth or changes in facial muscles.
Others find their sense of taste has changed, sometimes due to a disease or certain medications.
As a result, older adults often have diets lacking in calcium, protein and other nutrients essential to dental and overall health.
A balanced diet has to be based on the five food groups:
– Milk and dairy products
– Breads and cereals
– Meats and dried beans
– Fruits
– Vegetables
Sometimes a multi-vitamin or mineral supplement will help but its best to use supplements only after discussion with your physician.
If your teeth are stopping you from eating the food you enjoy or that you need for good health your dentist will be able to help you find a solution.