Friday, October 30, 2015

Sensitive Teeth

Teeth can become sensitive for man y reasons. Sometimes the sensitivity is an indication of a potentially serious problem. Other times, the dentally related problem may be small but effects (the sensitivity) are extremely aggravating. A tooth can become sensitive after it has been prepared (drilled) for a restoration (filling). You may have been anesthetized during the procedure, so you did not feel any discomfort when the nerve in the tooth reacted to the heat generated by the drill. The closer the drill comes to the nerve, the more likely it is to cause a sensitivity problem. The high-speed rotation of the bur in the drill generates heat, and the response of the nerve to heat is inflammation.  This inflammation is felt by you as a “sensitivity”. If the decay, fracture, or drilling was not too deep, this sensitivity will decrease over time. A week to a month or two is not an unusual length of time for the sensitivity to disappear. A good sign is the continued decrease of sensitivity. However, if the occlusion (bite) is off after the restoration has been placed, the tooth may either become sensitive or may stay sensitive. Once the bite is adjusted, though, the sensitivity should disappear.

Additional reasons for single sensitivity are decay, a defective restoration, or a fractured tooth. When a tooth is decayed, temperature changes and sweets will make it sensitive. If a filling is defective or failing, leakage around the filling may cause the tooth to become sensitive. In both of these cases, the solution can be as simple as removing the decay or defective filling and placing an appropriate restoration. If the tooth is fractured, you may be sensitive to temperature changes, or when chewing food. This fracture condition may be hard to diagnose. If you think you might have this type of sensitivity, please ask for the separate handout that explains the “cracked tooth syndrome” in much greater detail.

Tooth sensitivity can also be caused by a dying nerve. The can be the result of a deep cavity. Commonly, the sensitive tooth holds an old larger filling. The nerve may have been damages during the drilling and the nerve has been dying gradually ever since. If this is the problem, the tooth will need endodontic treatment.

Two other reasons for tooth sensitivity are related. One is an inadvertent notching of the tooth surface and/or recession of the gum tissue (exposing the root surface of the tooth) caused by improper brushing: either brushing too hard, brushing with a toothbrush that is too hard, or using an improper brushing technique. This sensitivity can range from mild to extreme; the degree of sensitivity does not appear to be related to the size of the root exposure or notch. Finally, purposeful repositioning of the gum tissue during gum surgery can also lead to tooth sensitivity. While recession from brushing is slow, gum recession following gun repositioning occurs very quickly. The portion of the tooth once covered with gum and bone may now be exposed. Root sensitivity in these instances can be quite severe and immediate. It can sometimes last for months or years if not treated.

Treatment Options

Treatment in these last instances is similar. If there is a notch is the tooth or the shape of the defect is appropriate, the defect is restored (filled in) with a bonded material. This can give immediate relief—sometimes fully. When there is no defect to be stored, the exposed and sensitive root surfaces are covered with a dentin-bonding or other material. This material is invisible and has very little thickness, so you do not notice any change in the appearance of the tooth; but it works. It may have to be reapplied after several months because the bonding material has worn away by toothbrushing.

Thursday, October 29, 2015

Bad Breath

At one time or another, everyone experiences bad breath. The occasional meal—heavy with garlic, onions, or spices—may leave a lingering odor, but it is a temporary problem. Chronic bad breath is another problem entirely. It can be caused by periodontal disease, decay in teeth, decay under fillings or crowns, as well as digestive system or sinus problems. Foul breath odor caused by any of these conditions needs to be corrected by your dentist or physician.

Although there can be medical and/or systemic problems that cause the breath odor, most of the time bad breath is the result of things left on and around your teeth. Your mouth is warm, moist, and dark—the perfect place for bacteria to grow and decompose. When this happens and the teeth are not cleaned properly on a daily basis, a chronic odor can result. Bad breath can be eliminated fairly easily, or at least controlled, by removal of food debris, plaque, or calculus; replacement of broken fillings causing a food trap; restoration of areas of decay; and/or eliminating gum disease. Plaque that accumulates at or along the gumline can also find its way into the deep recesses on the top surface of your tongue, contributing to mouth odor. 

Toothbrushing, tongue cleaning, and flossing correctly, at least once a day, are the best prevention and cure for bad breath. Not only will these procedures prevent periodontal disease and decay by removal of bacteria but they will also remove all food debris. Manufactures of toothpastes, toothbrushes, floss, tongue scrapers, and mouthrinses do make claims to help prevent bad breath and may provide temporary relief of that symptom. No matter which product you use, be sure to thoroughly remove the bacterial plaque on a daily basis.

The key to preventing dental problems and preventing bad breath odor is to clean your teeth and tongue properly every day. The best way to learn how to clean your mouth is by visiting us. You have the ability to take good care of your mouth; it is just a matter of practicing the right hand skills best suited to your unique oral conditions. Whether you may have many fillings, crowns or bridges, removable partial or full dentures, implants, braces, or other appliances in your mouth, there is a method or tool that will work for you.
Also, to ensure fresh breath, have your teeth cleaned professionally, by us, on a regular basis. The goal here is not only to correct any disease-related problems but also to prevent any problems from beginning in the first place.

Your bad breath problem does not have to be a chronic source of embarrassment. Most often it is a sign of dental problem. The sooner it is treated, the easier and less expensive it will be to fix.

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Smile (Lip) Line

How many teeth you show when you smile or speak and how much of each tooth (length) is displayed when you smile broadly or (at the opposite end of the spectrum) when your lips are at rest functions of where your upper lip attaches to your face and how old you are.

There are three classifications of “lip line” that dentist use—low, medium, and high. A low lip line is one in which very little of your teeth are visible when you talk or smile. Someone with a low lip line will show, at most, a millimeter or two of the edge of the biting edge of the tooth. A medium lip line will allow most of the tooth, up to and including a millimeter or two of the gum tissue, to be visible. A person with a high lip line will show all the top front teeth and significant amount of gum tissue when speaking or smiling.

Dentists (and plastic surgeons) have not been very successful in surgically changing the low, medium, or high lip line. There are some dental “tricks” that can be used in limited situations to reduce the amount of gum display evident with a high smile line. Most of the corrective procedures to improve the esthetics of the situation require significant investments of both time and money. Periodontal (gum) surgery, alone or in conjunction with porcelain veneers or ceramic crowns, is more likely. In extreme cases the only option may be to surgically reposition the entire maxilla (with or without orthodontics). Conversely, the appearance of showing no teeth when talking or smiling is regarded as one associated with advanced aging.  

There is another component to how much of your teeth show when your lips are at rest, and it has to do with gravity and time. Your face and lips are composed of soft tissue that is under a constant gravity challenge. Gravity always wins, given enough time. The skin and subskin tissues drop over the years. If, with your lips at rest, you showed about 3 mm of the biting edges of the top two front teeth when you were 20 years old, by the time you are 40, you may show only 2 mm of edge. Someone 50 years of age would show 1 mm, and at 60 years, maybe not tooth is seen when the lips are at rest. The tissues of the human face will drop about 1 mm every 10 years, beginning around age 40. As the facial tissues lose elasticity, they slowly drop. Obviously, some lucky people have better genetics and their faces will stay tighter and the tissue drop will be slower. Correcting the age-related facial tissue drop can be done with plastic surgery—the common face lift.

Genetics or Gravity? If you are reading this, then you have either asked questions about your smile and lip line or this issue has been addressed in the broader context of cosmetic dentistry procedures you require. After a thorough examination, we will explain what situation you have and what corrective measures are possible.

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Early Signs of Periodontal Disease

The early warning signs of every disease occur at a microscopic level. The early warning signs cannot be seen, felt, touched, diagnosed, or discovered. They cannot be noted by their symptoms. The early changes might be able to be detected by sophisticated chemical or biological analysis, but not by normal diagnostic measures.

By the time you notice that your gums are bleeding (gingivitis), the disease has already been present for some time and it is not in its earliest stage. It is not unusual to hear “My gums have always bled like this” but treatment in not sought. Yet if our eyes started to bleed when we washed our faces, we would generally rush to seek medical treatment! Bleeding gums are not normal and healthy. Luckily, at this stage the periodontal disease is fairly easy to treat and is reversible. When the disease has progressed past the bleeding stage, you may notice some pain, gum recession, loosening, and bad breath. If you have ignored your bleeding gums (possibly the earliest sign of gum disease) because you think it is normal to have a little “pink” on your toothbrush, you will likely have additional symptoms and conditions associated with disease progression. At this point the bone and gum support for the teeth may be permanently altered and diminished.

It is recommended that you adhere to the suggested time intervals for your dental cleaning appointments. We will examine your gums during your periodic dental cleaning appointments for early signs of periodontal disease. While we clean your teeth, we will note areas where it is difficult for you to remove plaque or where calculus forms and areas of gum tissue inflammation and will record probing depths, which will measure your gum tissue for signs of periodontal disease. We can then demonstrate effective oral self-care to prevent these areas from progressing into periodontal disease.

We want to stress prevention. Don’t wait for the warning signs of gum disease to occur before you schedule your dental hygiene appointment. If you have very few fillings, have not lost any permanent teeth (other than wisdom teeth), and have very thorough oral self-care daily, a yearly cleaning and exam by the dental hygienist and dentist may be adequate. If you have had a great deal of dental work performed (bridges, crowns, fillings) or if you have missing teeth that have not been replaced and you don’t spend time with adequate oral self-care, visiting the dental office three or four times a year might be necessary. We will let you know what is appropriate for your individual oral condition.

If you have any questions about Periodontal disease, please call Omni Dental Group @ (512) 250-5012.

Monday, October 26, 2015

Tips and Tricks for Avoiding Scary Halloween Treats

  1. Offer healthy alternatives to candy.
Image result for halloween candyEating sweets causes damaging acids to form in the mouth. These acids continue to affect the teeth for at least 20 minutes before they are neutralized. Sugar-free gum containing the artificial sweetener xylitol is effective in combating the bacteria in plaque and fighting the acid that eats away at enamel. The chewing motion also stimulates the flow of saliva, which helps cleanse the teeth. That makes sugar-free gum a smart choice to drop into Halloween bags.

  2. Limit the amount of time that sugar is in contact with your child’s    teeth.
When buying candy for Halloween, look for treats that can be eaten quickly, like miniature candy bars. When you get home from trick-or-treating, discard hard or sticky candies like sugared fruit snacks, caramels or lollipops, as they increase the period of time in which teeth are exposed to sugar. Encourage your child to eat a small amount of candy in one sitting followed by a glass of water and thorough tooth brushing. It is not a good idea to allow your child to graze on candy as this will increase the amount of time sugar in contact with teeth.

  3. Teach your child to eat all foods in moderation.
Although sweets are blamed for much tooth decay, all foods – even healthy alternatives to candy, such as fruit and nuts – can promote tooth decay if eaten in excess. Children (like adults) should eat all foods in moderation. Read nutrition labels to avoid food and drinks loaded with sugar, fructose and other sweeteners.

  4. Set up a candy bank.
Allow your child to make daily withdrawals from the bank and monitor the progress. This way, you can control how much candy your child consumes.

  5. Take time during Halloween to brush up on your child’s oral health habits.
What a better time than Halloween to treat your kids to a little reminder about the importance of healthy teeth and gums? Just a quick reminder of the importance of brushing, flossing and visiting the dentist is all that’s needed to help your child understand the importance of oral health. Treat your child to a special, new toothbrush and some flavored floss to reinforce that habit of proper dental care.

  6. Use fluoride to fight cavities.
The use of fluoride has been demonstrated to dramatically reduce the damage caused by tooth decay. The most common ways to use fluoride for cavity prevention arte by using fluoridated toothpaste and other products and drinking fluoridated water.
Children should brush at least twice a day for two minutes with a small (pea-sized) amount of fluoridated toothpaste and rinse with a fluoridated mouth rinse. Fluoridated water generally is delivered through a community’s water supply. If your area does not have fluoridated water, consider buying fluoridated bottled water or asking your dentist for fluoride supplements for your children.

Source: Academy of Dental Dentistry        

Friday, October 23, 2015

12 Signs You Need to See a Dentist

1. You Have Pain
Pain or swelling in your mouth, face or neck can mean a number of things.

2. Your Gums Are Acting Up
If your gums are puffy, they bleed when you brush or floss, or you have a family history of gum disease, it's time to make an appointment.

3. You Try to Hide Your Smile
Whether you're self-conscious about a missing tooth or hoping for a brighter smile, don't be shy about talking to your dentist.

4. You've Had Work Done
If you have fillings, crowns, dental implants or dentures, see your dentist regularly to make sure everything is in great shape.

5. You Have Ongoing Medical Issues
Make your dentist part of your team if you have a medical condition (such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease, eating disorders or are HIV positive), or you are undergoing medical treatment (such as radiation, chemotherapy or hormone replacement therapy).

6. You're Pregnant
It's safe to go to the dentist while pregnant. In fact, pregnancy can make some dental problems worse, so don't miss your regular checkup.

7. You're Having Trouble Eating
Difficulty chewing or swallowing is not the norm. Try eating soft or liquefied foods until you can see your dentist.

8. You Have Dry Mouth
Always feeling parched could be the sign of a medical issue or a medication side effect.

9. You Use Any Kind of Tobacco
From bad breath to oral cancer, cigarettes and chewing tobacco are harmful to your overall and dental health.

10. You're Having Jaw Pain
Make an appointment if your jaw sometimes pops or is painful when opening and closing, chewing or when you first wake up. See a dentist also if you have an uneven bite.

11. Your Mouth Has Spots and Sores
If there's something that doesn’t look or feel right in your mouth, your dentist should examine any mouth sore that lasts a week or longer. Types of mouth sores include canker sores, cold sores, leukoplakia and candidiasis. They vary in their severity and causes. Mouth sores could be the symptom of a disease or disorder; infection from bacteria, viruses or fungus or result from irritation caused by braces, dentures or the sharp edge of a broken tooth or filling.

12. It's Time For Your Checkup
Even if you don’t have any symptoms, checkups are important because they can help prevent problems from developing and treat existing symptoms before they become more advanced.

Source: American Dental Association 

Thursday, October 22, 2015

Teeth That Grind in the Night

You’re supposed to be sound asleep…so why are you clenching and crunching your teeth together? If you gnash and gnaw in your slumber, you have what’s called sleep bruxism.
Grinding your teeth and clenching your jaws at night can wear down your teeth, causing serious damage, such as tooth fractures. Sleep bruxism also can harm the temporomandibular joint (TMJ) in your jaw.

Image result for mouth guardNot sure if you’re giving your teeth a rest or not? You may be grinding your teeth at night if you have:
·         Headaches
·         Unexplained facial pain
·         A sore jaw
·         Neck aches
·         Earaches

If you’re concerned about your teeth grinding, talk with your dentist. A nighttime mouth guard may help you prevent tooth damage and pain. Other advice to chew on: Stress may worsen teeth grinding, so try not to let it sink its jaws into you.

Source: Delta Dental

Monday, October 19, 2015

A Dry Mouth Deserves Attention

Does your mouth ever feel dry? Almost everyone experiences this sensation, which can stem from any number of conditions. This condition may seem innocent enough, but it can cause dental problems.

Besides making your mouth uncomfortable, not having enough saliva can affect your oral health. You need good saliva flow to lubricate your oral tissues, cleanse your mouth of food particles, neutralize acid from plaque bacteria, and help the digestive process.
Not having enough saliva in your mouth can put you at risk for tooth decay and periodontal (gum) disease. If not treated, gum disease can lead to more serious oral health complications, such as swollen or bleeding gums, loose teeth, or even tooth loss.

Stress, anxiety, or nervousness can trigger brief periods of dry mouth. There are more than 400 medications, both prescription and over-the-counter, that list dry mouth as a side effect, including allergy medicines, blood pressure medications, and antidepressants.

Cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy or radiation may also experience dry mouth because the treatment causes either a decrease in salivary secretion or thicker saliva. Other culprits include salivary gland disease, diabetes, hormonal alterations during pregnancy and menopause, and aging.
Increasing your fluid intake may moisten your mouth. Other recommendations include:
·         Sipping water or sugarless drinks
·         Chewing sugarless gum or sucking on sugarless candy to stimulate salivary flow
·         Using alcohol-free oral rinses
·         Avoiding tobacco, alcohol, and caffeinated beverages
·         Using a humidifier while you sleep if your mouth is dry at night
What if your dry mouth persists? Talk with your dentist about prescription saliva substitutes or medications that stimulate saliva. If a medication or herbal supplement is the cause, a different prescription might help. Ask your dentist if you should see a physician.
Because patients with dry mouth are prone to oral health complications, it is critical that they brush gently with a soft-bristled toothbrush at least twice a day, with special attention to the gum line, and gently floss at least once a day. It’s also important to see your dental professional regularly in an effort to avoid serious oral health problems.

Source: Delta Dental

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Sensitive Teeth

Is the taste of ice cream or a sip of hot coffee sometimes a painful experience for you? Does brushing or flossing make you wince occasionally? If so, you may have sensitive teeth.
Possible causes include:
  • Tooth decay (cavities)
  • Fractured teeth
  • Worn fillings
  • Gum disease
  • Worn tooth enamel
  • Exposed tooth root
In healthy teeth, a layer of enamel protects the crowns of your teeth—the part above the gum line. Under the gum line a layer called cementum protects the tooth root. Underneath both the enamel and the cementum is dentin. Dentin is less dense than enamel and cementum and contains microscopic tubules (small hollow tubes or canals). When dentin loses its protective covering of enamel or cementum these tubules allow heat and cold or acidic or sticky foods to reach the nerves and cells inside the tooth. Dentin may also be exposed when gums recede. The result can be hypersensitivity.

Sensitive teeth can be treated. The type of treatment will depend on what is causing the sensitivity. Your dentist may suggest one of a variety of treatments:
  • Desensitizing toothpaste. This contains compounds that help block transmission of sensation from the tooth surface to the nerve, and usually requires several applications before the sensitivity is reduced.
  • Fluoride gel. An in-office technique which strengthens tooth enamel and reduces the transmission of sensations.
  • A crown, inlay or bonding. These may be used to correct a flaw or decay that results in sensitivity.
  • Surgical gum graft. If gum tissue has been lost from the root, this will protect the root and reduce sensitivity.
  • Root canal. If sensitivity is severe and persistent and cannot be treated by other means, your dentist may recommend this treatment to eliminate the problem.

Proper oral hygiene is the key to preventing sensitive-tooth pain. Ask your dentist if you have any questions about your daily oral hygiene routine or concerns about tooth sensitivity.

Source: American Dental Association 

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Brush Up on Oral Health

Good oral health means more than having pretty teeth. It includes your teeth, gums, jawbone, and supporting tissues.
Image result for bad breathThe health of your mouth can be a sign of your body's health. Mouth problems aren't just cavities, toothaches, and crooked or stained teeth. Many conditions-such as diabetes, HIV, cancer, and some eating disorders-can cause oral health problems.
For instance, people with diabetes can develop tooth and gum problems if their blood sugar stays high. Regular dental exams help you maintain good oral health and avoid related health problems.
To keep your mouth healthy:
  • Drink fluoridated water and use a fluoride toothpaste. Fluoride's protection against tooth decay works at all ages.
  • Thoroughly floss and brush your teeth. Doing so reduces dental plaque and can help prevent gingivitis, the mildest form of gum disease.
  • Avoid tobacco. Tobacco use in any form increases the risk for gum disease, oral and throat cancers, and fungal infections.
Oral cancer often goes undetected until the late stages, so it's important to ask your dentist to check for signs of oral cancer during your regular checkup. Oral cancer often starts as a tiny white or red spot or sore anywhere in the mouth that becomes chronic. Other signs include a sore that bleeds easily or does not heal; a color change in the mouth; a lump, rough spot, or other change; or pain, tenderness, or numbness anywhere in the mouth or on the lips.
Here are three ways to reduce your risk for oral cancer:
  • Avoid tobacco and alcohol. Tobacco use in any form is the biggest risk factor for oral cancer. When alcohol and tobacco are used together, the risk for oral cancers is even greater.
  • Eat a healthy diet. Avoid snacks full of sugars and starches. Getting the recommended five servings a day of fruits and vegetables can help prevent the development of lesions that may be cancerous.
  • Visit the dentist regularly. Checkups can detect early signs of oral health problems and can lead to treatments that will prevent further damage.
Source: Delta Dental