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Thursday, May 18, 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.

Thursday, May 11, 2017

Tips for people with difficulty handling a toothbrush

There are many people who find it difficult to look after their dental health properly because they have problems handling a toothbrush.
This can be due to a severe physical disability or simply basic dexterity problems.
There are a few simple steps you can take to make it easier for people who find it difficult to hold on to a toothbrush or dental floss.
Here are some simple ‘home remedies’:
– Use a wide elastic band to attach the brush to the hand
– Enlarge the brush handle with a sponge, rubber ball or bicycle handle grip
– Wind an elastic bandage or adhesive tape around the handle
– Lengthen the handle with a piece of wood or plastic such as a ruler, popsicle stick or tongue depressor
– Tie floss into a loop for easier handling
– Use an electric toothbrush or commercial floss holder
Your dentist will be able to provide specific guidance and further tips for people who need an easier way to handle a toothbrush and floss.

Friday, May 5, 2017

How removable partial dentures can help you

Removable partial dentures usually involve replacement teeth attached to plastic bases, connected by metal framework.
They attach to your natural teeth with metal clasps or precision attachments. Precision attachments generally look better than metal clasps and are nearly invisible.
Crowns may be required on your natural teeth to improve the fit of a removable partial denture.
When you first get a partial denture, it may feel awkward or bulky. But you will gradually get used to wearing it.
It will also take a bit of practice to get used to inserting and removing the denture. It should fit into place easily and you should never force it.
Your dentist may suggest that you wear your partial denture all the time at first. While it will be uncomfortable for a while, it will help you identify if any parts of the denture need adjustment.
After making adjustments, your dentist will probably recommend that you take the denture out of your mouth before going to bed and replace it in the morning.
With a denture, eating should become a more pleasant experience compared to having missing teeth.
But, initially, youll need to eat soft foods cut into small pieces. And avoid foods that are extremely sticky or hard.
Some people with missing teeth find it hard to speak clearly so wearing a partial denture may help. However, youll probably need to practice certain words at first to get completely comfortable.
While it can take a little geting used to initially, a partial denture can help you enjoy your food with less worries.

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

How older adults can handle dry mouth and taste problems

Reduced saliva flow that results in a dry mouth is a common problem among older adults.
It is caused by certain medical disorders and is often a side effect of medications such as antihistamines, decongestants, pain killers and diuretics.
Some of the common problems associated with dry mouth include:
– Constant sore throat
– Burning sensation
– Problems speaking
– Difficulty swallowing
– Hoarseness or dry nasal passages
Left untreated, dry mouth can damage your teeth. Without adequate saliva to lubricate your mouth, wash away food, and neutralize the acids produced by plaque, extensive cavities can form.
Your dentist can recommend various methods to restore moisture. For example, sugar-free candy or gum stimulates saliva flow, and moisture can be replaced by using artificial saliva and oral rinses.
Another issue that can affect older adults is a loss of appetite due to a change in your sense of taste. Besides an age-related decrease in the sense of taste and smell, certain diseases, medications and dentures can contribute to a decrease in your sense of taste.
Whether you are suffering from dry mouth or problems with your sense of taste, your dentist will be able to make suggestions to help.

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Crowns and how they improve your teeth

To make sure you have the best smile possible, you may need a crown to cover a tooth and restore it to its normal shape and size.
A crown is a tooth-shaped “cap” that is placed over a tooth to restore its shape, size and strength, or to improve its appearance.
The reasons you may need a crown include:
– Protecting a weak tooth
– Holding together parts of a cracked tooth
– Restoring an already broken tooth
– Supporting a tooth with a large filling when there isn’t a lot of tooth left
– Attaching a dental bridge
– Covering badly-shaped or severely discolored teeth
– Cover a dental implant
If your dentist recommends a crown, it’s probably to correct one of these conditions.
Your dentist’s primary concern, like yours, is helping you keep your teeth healthy and your smile bright.

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

How a baby’s first teeth develop

A newly born baby usually has no teeth visible but most have begun to develop primary or baby teeth.
These generally begin to appear about six months after birth.
Over their first few years, they will develop all 20 primary teeth and will usually have them all in place by age three.
The teething process is uncomfortable for many babies and they can become sleepless and irritable. They also might lose their appetite or drool more than usual.
If your infant has a fever or diarrhea while teething or continues to be cranky and uncomfortable, call your physician.
Sometimes when a tooth erupts, an eruption cyst may develop. The tooth will eventually rupture this as it pushes through the gums and these cysts are usually harmless and should be left alone.
If a baby has sore or tender gums when they are teething, it can help to gently rub the gum with a clean finger, a small, cool spoon or a wet gauze pad.
When this happens, your dentist or pediatrician may suggest a pacifier, teething ring or a special numbing salve for the gums.
When the teeth begin to erupt, you should brush them with a soft-bristled toothbrush and a little water to prevent tooth decay.
Toothpaste is not recommended until a child reaches age two. When a child begins using toothpaste, you need to supervise the brushing to make sure they don’t swallow it.
Regular dental checks should begin after your child’s first tooth appears or by their first birthday.

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

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.