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Monday, September 2, 2019

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.

Monday, August 26, 2019

Is it safe to have an X-ray while pregnant?

Some women worry about whether its safe to have an X-ray exam while they are pregnant.
This can cause them to put off treatment they need.
However, untreated dental infections can pose a risk to the fetus, and dental treatment may be necessary to maintain the health of the mother and child. Sometimes this will mean an X-ray is necessary.
Radiation from dental X-rays is extremely low but every precaution is taken to minimize radiation exposure.
For example, a leaded apron reduces exposure to the abdomen and should be used when a dental radiograph is taken.
In addition, a leaded thyroid collar can protect the thyroid from radiation, and should be used whenever possible. The use of a leaded thyroid collar is strongly recommended for women of childbearing age, pregnant women and children.
Overall there is no reason to avoid dental radiographs (X-rays) while pregnant, breastfeeding or trying to become pregnant.
Follow your dentists advice and ask questions if you have any concerns.

Monday, August 19, 2019

Taking care of your dentures

Your dentures are designed to last a very long time so its important that you take care of them as you would take care of your own teeth.
They are very delicate and may break easily if dropped even a few inches. So its a good idea to stand over a folded towel or a basin of water when handling dentures.
When you are not wearing your dentures, store them away from children and pets.
Like natural teeth, dentures must be brushed daily to remove food deposits and plaque.
Brushing helps prevent dentures from becoming permanently stained and helps your mouth stay healthy.
There are special brushes designed for cleaning dentures but a toothbrush with soft bristles can also be used. Avoid using hard-bristled brushes as these can damage your dentures.
Some denture wearers also use hand soap or mild dish washing liquid for cleaning and thats fine. But avoid using powdered household cleansers, which may be too abrasive. Also, avoid using bleach, as this may whiten the pink portion of the denture.
The first step in cleaning dentures is to rinse away loose food particles thoroughly. Moisten the brush and apply denture cleanser. Brush every surface, scrubbing gently to avoid damage.
Dentures may lose their shape if they are allowed to dry out. When they are not worn, dentures should be placed in a denture cleanser soaking solution or in water. Never place dentures in hot water, which could cause them to warp.
Ultrasonic cleaners are also used to care for dentures. However, using an ultrasonic cleaner does not replace a thorough daily brushing.
You can seriously damage your dentures by trying to adjust or repair them yourself. So see your dentist if your dentures break, crack, chip or if one of the teeth becomes loose.
Over time, dentures will need to be relined, rebased, or remade due to normal wear. They may also need to be replaced if they become loose and the teeth show signs of significant wear.
You need to make regular visits to your dentist to make sure the dentures are working as well as possible for you and to check for more serious problems in your mouth such as oral cancer.

Monday, August 12, 2019

The secrets of brushing and flossing your teeth effectively

Though many of us say we brush our teeth regularly, you get the best results by making sure you brush properly.
Here are the steps you should follow:
First, place the toothbrush at a 45-degree angle to your gums.
Then, move the brush back and forth gently in short (tooth-wide) strokes.
Brush the outer tooth surfaces, the inner tooth surfaces, and the chewing surfaces of the teeth.
Use the “toe” of the brush to clean the inside surfaces of the front teeth, using a gentle up-and-down stroke.
Finally, brush your tongue to remove bacteria and freshen your breath.
As well as brushing your teeth, you should floss them every day. Heres how to floss for best results.
Break off about 18 inches of floss and wind most of it around one of your middle fingers.
Then wind the remaining floss around the same finger on the opposite hand. This finger will take up the floss as it becomes dirty.
Hold the floss tightly between your thumbs and forefingers.
Guide the floss between your teeth using a gentle rubbing motion. Never snap the floss into the gums.
When the floss reaches the gum line, curve it into a C shape against one tooth. Gently slide it into the space between the gum and the tooth.
Hold the floss tightly against the tooth. Gently rub the side of the tooth, moving the floss away from the gum with up and down motions.
Repeat this method on the rest of your teeth.
Don’t forget the back side of your last tooth.
If you have difficulty handling dental floss, consider other types of interdental cleaner such as special brushes, picks or sticks.
Your dentist or hygienist will be able to give your further tips on how to brush and floss for best results.

Monday, August 5, 2019

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.

Monday, July 29, 2019

How sealants can give your teeth extra protection

Sealants are made from plastic material applied to the back teeth to protect the enamel from plaque and acids.
The plastic bonds into the depressions and grooves (pits and fissures) of the chewing surfaces of the back teeth – premolars and molars.
Although thorough brushing and flossing can help remove food particles and plaque from smooth surfaces of teeth, the toothbrush bristles cannot reach all the way into the depressions and grooves to extract food and plaque.
The benefit of sealants is that they protect these vulnerable areas by “sealing out” plaque and food.
Your dentist can apply sealants quite easily and it takes only a few minutes to seal each tooth.
The teeth being sealed will first be cleaned. Then the chewing surfaces are roughened with an acid solution which makes it easier for the sealant to stick to the tooth.
The sealant is then ‘painted’ onto the tooth enamel, where it bonds directly to the tooth and hardens.
Sometimes a special curing light is used to help the sealant harden.
As long as the sealant remains intact, the tooth surface will be protected from decay.
They usually last several years before a reapplication is needed. Your dentist will check the condition of the sealants during your regular visits and reapply them when necessary.
Sealants are ideal for children because the risk of developing pit and fissure decay starts early in life. However, many adults can benefit from sealants as well.
Your dentist can tell you whether sealants would help your oral hygiene program.

Monday, July 22, 2019

How a healthy diet can help you have healthy teeth

Eating the right food plays an important role in developing healthy teeth and gums.
If your diet lacks certain nutrients, it may be more difficult for tissues in your mouth to fight infection and this can contribute to gum disease.
Although poor nutrition does not cause gum disease directly, the disease may progress faster and could be more severe in people with diets which are low in nutrients.
The U.S. Department of Agriculture makes recommendations on the nutrients, vitamins and minerals needed by your body – including your teeth and gums – to promote health and prevent disease.
We have different needs at various stages life and depending on our physical activity. The DOA website provides more information and your dentist will be able to discuss how your diet affects your teeth.
Here are some steps you can take to make sure what you eat doesn’t harm your teeth.
– Maintain a healthy diet
– Drink plenty water
– Limit the number of between-meal snacks. When you must snack, choose nutritious foods that are low in sugar
– Keep a food diary for a week recording every item you eat and drink
It will also help if you brush your teeth twice a day and floss regularly. Schedule regular dental checkups and professional cleanings and talk to your dentist about how your diet affects your teeth.