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Friday, May 19, 2017

How cancer treatment can affect your oral health

More than 1 million Americans are diagnosed with cancer each year and many of them will develop problems with their oral health as a result of their cancer treatment.
While its natural that theyll be focused on their cancer treatment, its important not to overlook the importance of a dental examination as part of the process of maintaining overall health.
For example, radiation therapy of the head and neck area may lead to certain complications such as dry mouth, sensitive lesions in the oral cavity, hypersensitive teeth, rapid tooth decay and difficulty swallowing.
Chemotherapy and other medication can also have significant effects in the mouth.
To help prevent, minimize and manage such problems, the dentist and oncologist can work together before and during cancer treatment.
Many medications lead to dry mouth, which can lead to a higher risk of gum disease and other problems. The dentist may therefore recommend a saliva replacement, an artificial saliva that is available over-the-counter at pharmacies.
Frequent fluoride applications may also be recommended.
If you are receiving treatment, schedule regular screenings with your dentist and contact your dentist or physician immediately on any sign of mouth infection. This may have serious implications for your overall health.
Your dentist and physician both want your treatment to be as safe and effective as possible.

Friday, May 12, 2017

Why a dental abscess should be treated quickly

If you have any kind of swelling in your gum, it almost certainly indicates a serious infection that should be treated urgently.
Dental abscesses result from a bacterial infection in the teeth or gums.
For example, it may come from an untreated cavity. Cavities result when some of the bacteria in our mouths mix with sugars and starches in our diet to produce acid.
This acid attacks the hard enamel coating of our teeth and, as the cavity gets deeper, it eventually infects the nerve and blood supply of the tooth.
In some cases, a dental abscess is caused by an infection of the gum. Bone loss from gum disease can create a pocket between the tooth, gum and bone.
When bacteria and other debris get into this pocket, an abscess can form.
The treatment for an abscess depends on how severe the infection is.
If the abscess has been caused by decay, root canal treatment may be needed or the tooth may even have to be removed.
If the abscess has been caused by the gum, the gum will need deep cleaning or surgical treatment. Again the tooth may need to be removed.
Sometimes, a small incision may be made into the gum to drain the abscess. If this happens, antibiotics and pain medication may be used to relieve discomfort.
If you wait until the gum is severely swollen before seeking treatment, the situation can become very serious.
The abscess at this stage can prevent you breathing properly and can be life-threatenting.
So if you have any signs of swelling in your gum, contact your dentist immediately.

Friday, May 5, 2017

Tips on choosing the best dentist for you

Choosing the right dentist for your needs is one way to give you the best chance of maximizing your oral health.
If you don’t already have a dentist – or want to find one better suited to your needs – here are a few points to consider.
– Get recommendations from family, friends, neighbors or co-workers
– Ask your physician or a local pharmacist
– If you are moving to a different area, ask your current dentist for recommendations in your new location
– Contact the local or state dental society
You can also use Yellow Pages or the American Dental Association directory at www.ADA.org.
Effective dental care depends on a great relationship between the dentist and the patient so you may want to visit more than one before making your decision.
To help decide if a dentist is right for you, consider:
Is the office easy to get to from your home or job?
Are the staff helpful and friendly?
Does the office appear to be clean, tidy and well organized?
Is the appointment schedule convenient for you?
What arrangements are made for handling emergencies outside of office hours?
Does it cater for any special needs you have?
As you’ll need to work closely with your dentist in caring for your oral health, it’s worth taking time to ask questions and take notes to make sure you choose the right one for your needs.

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Diagnosing jaw problems and pains – TMD and TMJ

More than fifteen percent of American adults suffer from chronic facial pain.
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.
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.
The TM joint is one of the most complex joints in the body. Located on each side of the head, these joints work together and can make many different movements, including a combination of rotating and gliding action when chewing and speaking.
Several muscles help open and close the mouth. They control the lower jaw (mandible) as it moves forward, backward, and side-to-side.
Both TM joints are involved in these movements. Each TM joint has a disc between the ball and socket. The disc cushions the load while enabling the jaw to open widely and perform rotating and translocational movements.
Any problem that prevents this complex system of muscles, ligaments, discs and bones from working together properly may result in a painful TMJ disorder.
If you are suffering from this type of pain, your dentist can help identify its source with a thorough exam and appropriate x-rays.
Often, 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.
The pain could be related to the facial muscles, the jaw or temporomandibular joint, located in the front of the ear.
Treatments for this pain may include stress reducing exercises, muscle relaxants, or wearing a mouth protector to prevent teeth grinding.
They’ve been successful for many and your dentist can recommend which is best for you.

Thursday, April 20, 2017

The power of panormaic x-rays

X-rays are extremely valuable for helping dentists identify issues that may not show up on normal oral examination.
The three most common types of dental X-rays are the bitewing, periapical and panoramic X-rays.
Panoramic X-rays give a broad overview of the entire mouth – supplying information about the teeth, upper and lower jawbone, sinuses, and other hard and soft tissues of the head and neck.
Unlike other X-rays, where the film is placed inside the patients mouth, the panoramic film is contained in a machine that moves around the patient’s head. So they are very easy to use.
Panoramic X-rays are often used to check wisdom teeth but they will also reveal deep cavities and gum disease. They are also useful to help patients with past or present jaw problems or those who require full or partial removable dentures, dental implants, or braces.
They can also be valuable in assisting people who are suspected of having oral cancer or have had recent trauma to the face or teeth.
Panoramic X-rays play an important role in thorough dental examinations and are recommended at least every five years or so for most patients.

Tuesday, April 11, 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.

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

How cancer treatment can affect your oral health

More than 1 million Americans are diagnosed with cancer each year and many of them will develop problems with their oral health as a result of their cancer treatment.
While its natural that theyll be focused on their cancer treatment, its important not to overlook the importance of a dental examination as part of the process of maintaining overall health.
For example, radiation therapy of the head and neck area may lead to certain complications such as dry mouth, sensitive lesions in the oral cavity, hypersensitive teeth, rapid tooth decay and difficulty swallowing.
Chemotherapy and other medication can also have significant effects in the mouth.
To help prevent, minimize and manage such problems, the dentist and oncologist can work together before and during cancer treatment.
Many medications lead to dry mouth, which can lead to a higher risk of gum disease and other problems. The dentist may therefore recommend a saliva replacement, an artificial saliva that is available over-the-counter at pharmacies.
Frequent fluoride applications may also be recommended.
If you are receiving treatment, schedule regular screenings with your dentist and contact your dentist or physician immediately on any sign of mouth infection. This may have serious implications for your overall health.
Your dentist and physician both want your treatment to be as safe and effective as possible.