Monday, January 25, 2016

What Your Dentist Can Tell By Looking In Your Mouth

DENTISTS AREN’T JUST LOOKING FOR CAVITIES at your routine checkup. A quick examination of your mouth can reveal a lot more about your oral and overall health than you think. The dentist may even discover some of your quirky habits!

Here are a few things dentists may notice when they look inside your mouth:

#1: You Haven’t Been Flossing Regularly

That quick flossing session right before your appointment may make it more apparent to your dentist that you haven’t been flossing on a regular basis. When you only floss right before your dental checkup, your gums may still be bleeding and usually look damaged and inflamed. Healthy gums, on the other hand, appear tight and pink.

#2: You Have A Sinus Infection

Sinus infections are known for causing pain and pressure in your sinus cavity, but sometimes you can even feel it in your upper teeth!

Are you unsure whether you have a toothache or a sinus infection? Luckily, your dentist can tell the difference! A simple home test is to bend over and touch your toes. If the pressure or pain increases upon bending over, it is most likely not a toothache!

#3: You Bite Your Nails

Here’s one of those quirky habits that you can’t hide from your dentist! Nail biters have leveled off, flat front teeth. This is because of the grinding that occurs between the top and bottom teeth.

#4: You Have A Vitamin Deficiency

Dentists look at more than just your teeth—they examine the health of your whole mouth! Vitamin deficiencies in particular can manifest themselves in your mouth in various ways. Here are some examples:
Changes in the tongue
Tissue sloughing off
Delayed healing
Easily bleeding gums
Burning tongue syndrome
Dentists are often the first to discover a vitamin deficiency and can help get you back on track.

#5: You Used To Suck Your Thumb

If you had the habit of sucking your thumb or finger past the age of seven, there will be significant changes in your bite and the position of your teeth. Telltale signs may remain but these can be fixed through orthodontic treatment.

#6: You Have Another Serious Health Issue

Serious maladies such as oral cancer, diabetes, and heart disease show symptoms in the mouth.

Oral cancer, for example, is characterized by unexplained bleeding, discolored patches, swelling, bumps, or even eroded areas on the lips, gums, or other areas inside the mouth. Diabetes and heart disease visibly affect the health of the gums, shown by increased swelling, bleeding and sensitivity.

We Provide More Than Just A Cleaning

Your dental appointment is much more than just a cleaning! Beyond being able to tell that you bite your nails or don’t floss as often as you should, we can also detect other, more serious health problems and help you get your health back on track.

Your overall health is important to us. Trust us to catch any warning signs that may appear in your mouth. We're here to detect any problems and help you stay healthy and happy!

Thank you for placing your trust in our practice!

Image by Flickr user Tobias Scheck used under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 license. Image cropped and modified from original.

Monday, January 18, 2016

What To Expect At The Dentist... When You’re Expecting

IF YOU’RE PREGNANT, you’re probably worried about anything and everything that may affect your baby, especially if you’re a first-time mother. But when it comes to your dental care, there’s no need to worry!

Annual exams and preventive dental care during pregnancy are not only safe, but recommended. In fact, you need to pay special attention to your dental health while pregnant, as your teeth and gums can be affected by the hormonal changes that take place during pregnancy.

Watch Out For These Things During Pregnancy

Morning sickness and increased levels of progesterone can result in some dental problems for pregnant women. Here’s what you should be on the lookout for:
Pregnancy gingivitis—an inflammation of the gums—occurs because of changing hormone levels. Some women may experience bleeding when brushing or flossing and red, swollen gums.
Periodontal disease, or gum disease, is caused by bacterial infection that develops below the gum line. This disease damages the fibers that hold your teeth in place and can also affect the health of your baby. Studies have shown that expectant mothers with periodontal disease are at a higher risk of premature delivery and lower birth weights.
Dry mouth comes from a decrease in saliva caused by hormonal changes. Chewing sugarless gum can help increase saliva production.
Erosion of tooth enamel is always a risk associated with vomiting. As morning sickness and frequent vomiting are common during pregnancy, enamel erosion on the back of the front teeth is more likely to occur.

How To Care For Your Teeth When Expecting

So, how do you avoid the dental problems that can arise during pregnancy? Easy: be consistent in your normal oral care routine!
Eat healthy. Nutrition is important for your teeth, as well as the teeth of your developing baby. A nutrient-rich diet is the best thing you can do for your oral and overall health.
Brush regularly. As usual, brush at least two times a day for two minutes, and if possible, brush with toothpaste that contains fluoride.
Floss. Need we remind you? Flossing at least once a day helps prevent pregnancy gingivitis.
Use mouthwash. Antimicrobial mouthwash fights the bacteria that contribute to gingivitis and periodontal disease.
Tell your dentist you’re pregnant. If X-rays, medication, or anesthetics are being considered, your dentist can weigh the risks and do what’s best for you and your baby.
Visit your dentist. Preventive dental care while pregnant is essential to avoid oral infections. When you find out you’re pregnant, make an appointment and speak to your dentist about how you can avoid pregnancy-related dental problems.

Expectant Mothers Can Trust Our Practice

Visits to your dentist during your pregnancy are just as important as visits to your healthcare provider. We care about the dental and overall health of you and your child. So, between trips to the doctor and Babies-R-Us, don’t let visiting the dentist fall off of your pregnancy to-do list!

Thank you for being our valued patient and friend!

Image by Flickr user David Leo Veksler used under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 license. Image cropped and modified from original.

Monday, January 4, 2016

Why You May Need To See The Dentist More Frequently

GOING TO THE DENTIST TWICE A YEAR, while a good rule of thumb, is not necessarily fitting for everyone. Depending on certain lifestyle choices and medical conditions, some people need to see their dentist even more frequently.

Fifty years ago, there were really no instructions as to how often you should see a dentist. Back then, dentistry was more about fixing existing problems rather than preventing them from occurring. When dentists began recommending biannual check-ups and cleanings as a preventive measure against oral disease and infection, the American population’s dental health vastly improved. However, that doesn’t mean that this twice a year recommendation is a “one size fits all” umbrella.

Who Needs To Go More Than Twice A Year?

There are a number of conditions and circumstances that may require more frequent dental visits. Listed below are people who should talk to their dentist about going more than twice a year:
*Pregnant women
*People with gum disease
*People who have dry mouth
*People with a weak immune response to bacterial infection
*People who are more prone to cavities or plaque buildup
*People who do not keep up with their dental hygiene very well
*People whose diet is rich in sugary foods and/or drinks

Some people may need to go biannually one year and, due to changing circumstances, need to go more frequently the next. For example, as we get older and start to accumulate more health issues, we might be more prone to damage that bacteria can cause to our teeth and gums. Furthermore, many medications can cause dry mouth which makes it easier for bacteria to grow.

How often you need to make a dental visit is determined by your dentist and hygienist and is based on the health of your gums, as well as how committed you are to a good oral hygiene program. More frequent visits, especially for high-risk patients, can prevent tooth decay, gum disease, and other oral health conditions. The preventive care we provide will save you time, stress, and money.

You Are Unique

You are a unique individual! Keeping your smile healthy means addressing your unique needs. We are not interested in a “one size fits all” mentality. Our practice is devoted to providing you with the best and most specialized care.

Thanks for being our valued patients and friends!