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Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Treating facial pain and jaw problems

Chronic facial pain is a problem faced by millions of Americans.
Common symptoms can include pain in or around the ear, tenderness of the jaw, clicking or popping noises when opening the mouth or even head and neck aches.
If you are suffering from this type of pain, your dentist can help identify its source with a thorough exam and appropriate x-rays.
Sometimes, the problem is a sinus or toothache or it could be an early stage of periodontal disease.
But for some pain, the cause is not so easily diagnosed.
There are two joints and several jaw muscles which make it possible to open and close the mouth. They work together when you chew, speak, and swallow.
These structures include muscles and ligaments, as well as the jaw bone, the mandible (lower jaw) with two joints, the TMJs.
Any problem that prevents this complex system of muscles, ligaments, discs and bones from working together properly may result in a painful TMJ disorder.
There are several ways the TMJ disorders may be treated.
Diagnosis is an important step before treatment.
Part of your clinical examination includes checking the joints and muscles for tenderness, clicking, popping or difficulty moving.
Your dentist may take x-rays and may make a cast of your teeth to see how your bite fits together.
To help you deal with this pain, your dentist will recommend what type of treatment you need and may refer you to a specialist.

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

The keys to keeping your mouth healthy

A healthy mouth is a good indication of your overall health and helps you to keep a great smile and continue eating what you want for many years to come.
There are a few steps you can take to make sure your mouth is as healthy as possible:
– Brush your teeth twice a day using a good quality toothbrush
– Renew your toothbrush regularly. It will only keep your mouth healthy if the brush is in good condition and the bristles are strong. You should replace it at least every three or four months
– Clean between your teeth. Your toothbrush can’t reach everywhere and bacteria can linger between the teeth so its important to clean between them every day using floss or an interdental cleaner
– Visit your dentist regularly for professional cleaning and oral examinations
Your dentist will be able to give you tips on what other products you should consider to help improve your oral health.
For example, antimicrobial mouth rinses and toothpastes can reduce the germs in your mouth and reduce the risk of gum disease.
Also, fluoride mouth rinses can help reduce and prevent tooth decay. Studies have shown that using mouth rinses provides valuable protection over and above that provided by fluoride toothpaste alone.
Look out for the ADA seal when buying toothbrushes and other dental products. This is a sign that the product has met American Dental Association standards for safety and effectiveness.
Following these steps can help ensure that you continue to enjoy great oral health.

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

How dental x-rays help improve your oral health

Many diseases of the teeth and surrounding tissues cannot be seen when your dentist examines your mouth so an X-ray examination can reveal important additional information:
For example, X-rays can help show:
– Small areas of decay between the teeth or below existing fillings
– Infections in the bone
– Gum disease
– Abscesses or cysts
– Developmental abnormalities
– Some types of tumors
The way they work is that more X-rays are absorbed by the denser parts (such as teeth and bone) than by soft tissues (such as cheeks and gums). This creates an image called a radiograph.
Tooth decay, infections and signs of gum disease appear darker because of more X-ray penetration. The interpretation of these radiographs allows the dentist to safely and accurately detect hidden abnormalities.
The frequency of X-rays (radiographs) will depend on your specific health needs.
Your dentist will review your history, examine your mouth and decide whether you need radiographs and what type.
When you are a new patient, the dentist may recommend radiographs to establish how the hidden areas of your mouth currently look to help identify changes that occur later.
X-rays can help identify and treat dental problems at an early stage and so can save time, money and unnecessary discomfort.

Thursday, September 28, 2017

How the food you eat can cause tooth decay

When you put food in your mouth, it immediately meets the bacteria that live there.
Plaque, for example, is a sticky film of bacteria.
These bacteria love the sugars found in many foods. So, when you don’t clean your teeth after eating, the bacteria and the sugar can combine to produce acids which can destroy the enamel – the hard surface of the tooth.
In time, this can lead to tooth decay. The more often you eat and the longer foods are in your mouth, the more damage occurs.
Many foods that are nutritious and important in our diet contain sugars – such as fruits, milk, bread, cereals and even vegetables.
So the key is not to try and avoid sugar but to think before you eat.
When you eat is also important because each time you eat food that contains sugars, the teeth are attacked by acids for 20 minutes or more.
This means that foods that are eaten as part of a meal cause less harm. More saliva is released during a meal, helping to wash foods from the mouth and reduce the effects of acids.
Here are some tips to follow when choosing your meals and snacks.
– Eat a variety of foods from different food groups
– Limit the number of snacks that you eat
– If you do snack, choose nutritious foods, such as cheese, raw vegetables, plain yogurt, or a piece of fruit
Its also important to brush your teeth twice a day and to clean between your teeth daily with floss or interdental cleaners.
And of course regular visits to your dentist will help prevent problems from occurring and catch those that do occur while they are easier to treat.

Friday, September 22, 2017

Your saliva and why its so important

You probably don’t give too much thought to the saliva in your mouth but, if you think of it like a bloodstream you’ll realize how important it is.
Like blood, saliva helps build and maintain the health of the soft and hard tissues.
It removes waste products from the mouth and offers first-line protection against microbial invasion that might lead to disease.
Saliva is derived from blood and therefore can also be used to detect disease.
Saliva enhances enamel protection by providing high levels of calcium and phosphate ions. It contains the minerals that maintain the integrity of the enamel surface and helps protect against caries.
When salivary flow is reduced, oral health deteriorates – much in the same way body tissues suffer if blood circulation is disrupted.
Patients with dry mouths (xerostomia) experience difficulty chewing, speaking and swallowing. A major cause of dry mouth is medication – almost eighty percent of the most commonly prescribed medications lead to dry mouth.
Chewing gum after a snack or meal stimulates salivary flow, clearing food from the mouth and neutralizing plaque acid.
Your saliva is important to your oral health both for preventing disease and in helping to diagnose problems.

Friday, September 15, 2017

You might have gum disease without even knowing it

Gum disease also known as periodontal disease – is an infection of the tissues surrounding and supporting the teeth and its a major cause of tooth loss in adults.
But its usually painless so you may not even know you have it.
Its caused by plaque a sticky film of bacteria that constantly forms on the teeth. These bacteria create toxins that can damage the gums.
The early stage of gum disease is called gingivitis. In this stage, the gums can become red, swollen and bleed easily. At this stage, you can usually still reverse the disease by daily brushing and flossing.
The more advanced stage of gum disease is known as periodontitis. At this stage, the gums and bone that support the teeth can become seriously damaged. The teeth may then become loose, fall out or have to be removed by a dentist.
Its therefore very important to look out for any signs of gum disease. These signs include:
– Gums that bleed when you brush your teeth
– Red, swollen or tender gums
– Gums that have pulled away from the teeth
– Bad breath that doesn’t go away
– Pus between your teeth and gums
– Loose teeth
– Change in the way your teeth fit together when you bite
– Change in the fit of partial dentures
If you notice any of these signs, contact you dentist quickly and theyll help you take action to make improvements.

Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Taking steps to stop oral cancer before its too late

Oral cancer hits more than 30,000 Americans every year but you can minimize the risk by taking steps to ensure its caught early enough.
The first indications of oral cancer may be a very small, but dangerous, oral spot or sore that you are not even aware of.
In a routine examination, your dentist will carefully examine the inside of your mouth and tongue.
If they notice a flat, painless, white or red spot or a small sore, this may be completely harmless. But harmful spots or sores often look the same as harmless ones.
To ensure that a spot or sore is not dangerous, your dentist may choose to perform a simple test, such as a brush test. This collects cells from the lesion which can them be analyzed.
Any positive results from a brush test must usually be confirmed by a biopsy before deciding the next step.
If precancerous cells are found, the lesion can be surgically removed if necessary during a separate procedure.
When caught early enough, the chances of preventing the cancer developing are high but only half of those diagnosed survive more than five years.
Thats why regular dental examinations are so important for your overall health and not just to have good teeth.