Teeth Cleaning, Gum Disease, Sensitive Teeth, TMJ, Canker Sores, Halitosis
Take Great Care of Your Smile
Preventative dental care is the key to holding on to the smile you love for as long as possible.
Taking a Proactive Approach to Your Oral Health
Good dental care begins with regular teeth cleanings and examinations, and continued home oral health routines. We are here to help you achieve your best dental health and to guide you along the way for a lifetime of proper dental care. A healthy mouth helps lead to a healthy body. Your dental health can make an impact on your overall body health. Our goal is to help you achieve the best health possible.
Gum disease, also known as periodontal disease, is an infection of the gums that surround your teeth. It is one of the primary causes of tooth loss in adults. Because it is virtually pain-free, many patients do not know they have the disease. During each regular checkup, we will check for signs of periodontal disease by measuring the space between your teeth and gums.
What Causes Gum Disease?
Gum disease is caused by a buildup of plaque, a sticky form of bacteria that forms on the teeth. If the plaque is not removed by flossing, brushing, and regular dental checkups, it will continue to build up and create toxins that can damage the gums.
Periodontal disease forms just below the gum line and creates small pockets that separate the gums from the teeth. It has two stages: gingivitis and periodontitis.
• Gingivitis — This is the early stage of gum disease, when the gums become red and swollen, and bleed easily. At this stage, the disease is treatable and can usually be eliminated by daily brushing and flossing.
• Periodontitis — If left untreated, gingivitis will advance into periodontitis. The gums and bone that support the teeth will become seriously and irreversibly damaged. Gums infected with periodontitis can cause teeth to become loose, fall out, or require removed by a dentist.
While it’s possible to have periodontal disease and not know it, symptoms can include:
Red, swollen, tender gums
Gums that have pulled away from the teeth
Persistent bad breath or unpleasant taste in the mouth
Pus between your teeth and gums
Loose or separating permanent teeth
Any change in the way your teeth fit together when you bite
Any change in the fit of partial dentures
Treating Gum Disease
Treatments for gum disease can vary, depending on the severity of each individual case. Typical treatments include dental implants, periodontal surgery and laser gum surgery, and non-surgical treatments such as at-home periodontal trays, and scaling and root planning (deep cleaning).
Preventing Gum Disease
important for maintaining your health and the health of your smile. You don’t have to lose teeth to periodontal disease. By practicing good oral hygiene at home, you can significantly reduce your chances of ever getting it. Research shows that bacteria associated with gum disease are also part of or play a role in many other medical problems including heart disease and diabetes. Remember to brush regularly, clean between your teeth, eat a balanced diet, and schedule regular dental visits to help keep your smile healthy.
The American Dental Association recommends that you have your teeth cleaned and examined at least once every six months beginning at age 1. During this visit, a licensed dental hygienist will remove plaque, tartar, and stains from your teeth. We will screen the health of your gums and teeth looking for any signs of gum disease and tooth decay. At each teeth cleaning, we also perform a complimentary oral cancer screening. We look and feel for swellings, lumps and lesions within the mouth and also look for swellings and lumps in the head and neck region. The teeth are also polished to remove stains and fluoride is applied to help strengthen your teeth and prevent tooth decay. Routine dental x-rays are taken as needed and the Dr. will perform an oral exam at each teeth cleaning.
We cater to cowards and we offer complimentary laughing gas and numbing gel to make your teeth cleanings as pleasant and comfortable as possible. If you are due for your teeth cleaning, please call our office to schedule an appointment.
Teeth expand and contract in reaction to changes in temperature. Hot and cold food and beverages can cause pain or irritation. For some, tooth enamel can be worn down, gums may recede or teeth may develop microscopic cracks, exposing the interior of the tooth and irritating nerve endings. Just breathing cold air can be painful for those with extremely sensitive teeth. We can help sensitivity by prescribing prescription strength toothpaste, placing coatings or even covering areas of the teeth that are causing sensitivity. Call today so we can help your teeth feel comfortable when eating and drinking.
Halitosis (Bad Breath)
Halitosis is also known as having consistent bad breath. Daily brushing and flossing helps to prevent the build-up of food particles, plaque and bacteria in your mouth. Food particles left in the mouth deteriorate and cause bad breath. While certain foods, such as garlic or anchovies, may create temporary bad breath, consistent bad breath may be a sign of gum disease or another dental problem. If brushing, flossing, and brushing of your tongue do not alleviate halitosis, please contact the office so we can check for any other causes of bad breath including early signs of gum disease.
The “Temporomandibular Joint,” more commonly referred to as the “jaw joint,” assists in the basic opening and closing movements of the jaw. Unfortunately, this joint is a common area for recurring pain. Although conventional wisdom suggests that “popping” sounds in the jaw indicates a TMJ dysfunction, this is not always true. Many times, your jaw is functioning properly even if a “popping” sound is present when chewing or talking.
We offer a TMJ exam that evaluates the joint tissue in the “hinge” of the jaw. Possible problems include swelling, deterioration of the joint tissue or damaged joint tissue, which cushions the jaw bones during the opening and closing movement of the mouth.
For more serious cases of TMJ, we will recommend alternate treatments. Depending on the cause of the pain, we may suggest using a mouth appliance to relieve teeth grinding. In some cases, we will instruct you to use orthodontic appliances or retainers to alleviate discomfort or redirect the positioning of the TMJ joint. For the most severe cases of TMJ, we may recommend other procedures. If you are having pain in the jaw area, please contact our office and our Drs will be happy to help you find a technique to relieve your pain.
A bite that does not meet properly (a malocclusion) can be inherited, or some types may be acquired. Some causes of malocclusion include missing or extra teeth, crowded teeth or misaligned jaws. Accidents or developmental issues, such as finger or thumb sucking over an extended period of time, may cause malocclusions. Call for an evaluation. We are able to perform Invisalign in some cases to straighten crowded teeth.
Canker sores (aphthous ulcers) are small sores inside the mouth that often recur. Generally lasting one or two weeks, the duration of canker sores can be reduced by the use of antimicrobial mouthwashes or topical agents. A canker sore has a white or gray base surrounded by a red border. Canker sores can be caused by stress, trauma, or from certain foods. Please call if the sore persists for longer than 14 days.
To screen for oral cancer or pre-cancerous spots, our office uses the technology of VELscope VX. It is a hand held device that emits a safe blue light into the oral cavity. The VELscope makes visualization possible by enhancing the contrast between normal and abnormal tissue. The VELscope offers a way to accurately find an area of abnormal tissue at a stage that is more easily treatable.
A Few Facts About Oral Cancer:
Over 43,000 Americans will be diagnosed with oral cancer this year
Oral cancer kills 1 person per hour, 24 hours per day
Survivor rate is less than 50% when not found in early stage
Oral cancer is deadlier than other cancers including cervical, thyroid and skin
We believe that early detection saves lives and truly hope that VELscope VX will make a mark in the world of oral cancer. When found early, oral cancer’s 5-year survival rate is approximately 80-90 percent; when found late, that number drops to around 20-30 percent.
Leading Causes of Oral Cancer
• HPV16, the same virus responsible for over 90% of cervical cancers
• Tobacco and excessive alcohol use
• Genetics (A family history of oral cancer or any type of cancer)
Signs and Symptoms of Oral Cancer
• A white or red patch of tissue in the mouth which looks like a canker sore
• Lump or mass that can be felt inside the mouth or on the outside of the neck
• A wart like mass
• Numbness in the mouth or face
• Pain or difficulty swallowing, speaking, or chewing