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Monday, September 16, 2019

How the food you eat can cause tooth decay

When you put food in your mouth, it immediately meets the bacteria that live there.
Plaque, for example, is a sticky film of bacteria.
These bacteria love the sugars found in many foods. So, when you don’t clean your teeth after eating, the bacteria and the sugar can combine to produce acids which can destroy the enamel – the hard surface of the tooth.
In time, this can lead to tooth decay. The more often you eat and the longer foods are in your mouth, the more damage occurs.
Many foods that are nutritious and important in our diet contain sugars – such as fruits, milk, bread, cereals and even vegetables.
So the key is not to try and avoid sugar but to think before you eat.
When you eat is also important because each time you eat food that contains sugars, the teeth are attacked by acids for 20 minutes or more.
This means that foods that are eaten as part of a meal cause less harm. More saliva is released during a meal, helping to wash foods from the mouth and reduce the effects of acids.
Here are some tips to follow when choosing your meals and snacks.
– Eat a variety of foods from different food groups
– Limit the number of snacks that you eat
– If you do snack, choose nutritious foods, such as cheese, raw vegetables, plain yogurt, or a piece of fruit
Its also important to brush your teeth twice a day and to clean between your teeth daily with floss or interdental cleaners.
And of course regular visits to your dentist will help prevent problems from occurring and catch those that do occur while they are easier to treat.

Monday, September 9, 2019

Oral cancer: Why early detection is so important

Although thousands of Americans die every year from oral cancer, there is a high chance it can be cured if it is caught early enough.
Each year, more than 30,000 Americans are diagnosed with oral cancer and only half of those diagnosed survive more than five years.
But nowadays, dentists have the skills and tools to ensure that early signs of cancer and pre-cancerous conditions are identified.
If it is caught early, there is a much higher chance that, with your dentists help, you could win a battle against oral cancer.
The key is to know the early signs and see your dentist regularly.
Oral cancer often starts as a tiny, unnoticed white or red spot or sore anywhere in the mouth.
It can affect any area of the oral cavity including the lips, gum tissue, cheek lining, tongue or the palate.
Other signs include:
– A sore that bleeds easily or does not heal
– A change in the color of the oral tissues
– A lump, thickening, rough spot, crust or small eroded area
– Pain, tenderness, or numbness anywhere in the mouth or on the lips
– Difficulty chewing, swallowing, speaking or moving the jaw or tongue
– A change in the way the teeth fit together
Oral Cancer most often occurs in those who use any form of tobacco. Smoking combined with alcohol use greatly increases the risk.
However, oral cancer which is most likely to strike after age 40 can occur in people who do not smoke and have no other known risk factors.
Diets with a lot of fruits and vegetables may help prevent its development.
Oral cancer screening is a routine part of a dental examination so regular checkups with an examination of the entire mouth are essential in the early detection of cancerous and pre-cancerous conditions.

Monday, September 2, 2019

Caring for people who have special needs

People at any age can have a condition that makes it difficult for them to look after their own dental health.
This could affect people who suffer from a wide range of conditons such as stroke, spinal cord injury, multiple sclerosis, mental retardation, Down syndrome, genetic disorders, Alzheimers disease or arthritis.
However, people in all of these categories have the same dental needs as everyone else – they need daily brushing and flossing, regular dental visits and a balanced diet.
There are some steps caregivers can take to make it easier to look after people in those categories.
If the person is uncooperative or uncontrollable, try to explain what you are about to do and schedule the task for a time of day when they are rested.
Move in a calm, slow, reassuring manner to avoid startling them. Give praise and encourage them when they help themselves.
Support the persons head, and take special care to prevent choking or gagging when the head is tilted back.
If the person is unable or unwilling to keep their mouth open, your dentist will explain how you can make and use a mouth prop.
Ask your dentist for advice on how to care for people with special needs and check if they have facilities for caring for these needs in the dental office.

Monday, August 26, 2019

How orthodontic treatment could help you

Orthodontic treatment is the process of straightening out crooked and crowded teeth, often using appliances such as braces.
Most dentists are trained to treat some minor orthodontic problems but, if they feel a patient needs specialist treatment, they will provide a referral to an orthodontist.
An orthodontist is a dentist who specializes in the diagnosis, prevention, and treatment of dental and facial irregularities.
One of the main aims of orthodontics is to straighten teeth and correct jaw alignment through braces, corrective procedures and other appliances.
Braces are the most common appliance and there are two types:
– Fixed, which are worn all the time and can only be removed by the dentist
– Removable, which the patient can take out of the mouth
Most patients wear braces for between one and three years, depending on what conditions need correcting. This is followed by a period of wearing a retainer that holds teeth in their new positions.
There may be a little discomfort during treatment but modern braces are more comfortable than ever before. They apply a constant, gentle force to move teeth and usually require fewer adjustments than older apparatus.
While braces work best when children are still growing, they can be effective at any age.

Monday, August 19, 2019

Why your routine dental cleaning is not routine

For many patients, the dental cleaning appointment may seem little more than a more complicated version of brushing your teeth.
However, this appoinment plays a crucial role in patient education and prevention of dental disease.
The appointment is called a dental prophylaxis, or prophy and it’s one of the most important steps in your dental care program.
Here are some of the elements that it may include, depending on your needs:
– Oral hygiene evaluation
– Tooth brushing and flossing instructions
– Scaling above the gum to remove plaque and tartar
– Debridement of tartar beneath the gum
– Polishing the teeth
– Periodontal charting
It’s important to remove plaque from the teeth as it ultimately forms a hard, rough sediment known as tartar or calculus, which must be removed by a dental professional to help prevent periodontal disease.
Polishing the teeth removes stains and creates a feeling of fresh breath and a clean mouth.
The hygienist or dentist may recommend a prophylaxis visit every two to six months.
Although insurance may only cover two prophies a year, recall frequency depends on many factors and should be based on individual needs.
These appointments can help you have much better dental health and could save you a great deal of time and money in the long run.

Monday, August 12, 2019

Your options if you have many missing or damaged teeth

People who have not followed adequate dental care for some years may have already lost most of their teeth and feel a little hopeless.
Sometimes they ask a dentist to remove the remaining teeth as they are often broken and have deep cavities.
It’s true that, sometimes, removal of the remaining teeth and replacing them with full dentures is the only option.
But more often there are other options available.
Some or all of the remaining teeth could be repaired and used in conjunction with a partial denture. While a full denture replaces all of the teeth on the upper or lower jaw, a partial denture replaces some of the teeth.
If only a few weak teeth remain on the upper jaw, it might be preferable to have them extracted and a full upper denture made. Full upper dentures can be more secure than lower ones as the upper denture gets added stability from the palate and is not easily dislodged by the tongue.
If only a few teeth remain on the lower jaw, however, the dentist will usually aim to save them and use a partial denture if necessary.
Ideally, all teeth that can be saved should be saved but this is not always possible – often due to finances.
In such cases, having teeth removed and dentures may be the only option.

Monday, August 5, 2019

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.