Sunday, September 30, 2012

Aging and Oral Health

Aging can affect your oral health, just as it does your overall health. With age, teeth may become darker or look dull and gums may begin to recede, which can lead to an increase in plaque. Learn more about the steps you can take to correct or minimize these and other age-related changes in your oral health.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Dentists: Doctors of Oral Health

A dentist is a doctor who specializes in oral health. They diagnose diseases of the mouth, create treatment plans, promote oral health, monitor development, perform surgical procedures and manage emergency care. Hear more about how dentists play an important role in helping you to maintain a beautiful and healthy mouth.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Root Canal Symptoms

A root canal is a common dental treatment that can repair and save decayed or infected teeth. Essentially, during this procedure, the nerve and pulp are removed from the inside of your tooth which is subsequently cleaned and sealed. "Root canal" is usually the term used to refer to the cavity that is naturally found in the centre of teeth, and a tooth's nerve is located within the root canal.
Somewhat surprisingly, the nerve of a tooth is not crucial to the health and function of said tooth after it has emerged in the gums. Indeed, the nerve provides only a sensory function so that you can feel hot and cold. As such, removing the nerve and pulp will not have an effect on the daily functioning of your teeth.
While root canal may refer to the natural cavity inside your teeth, it is also the common name for the procedure to remove the nerves and pulp from this cavity. While some patients have no symptoms that indicate a root canal procedure may be necessary, there are many signs that can help you decide if you need to see a dentist and ultimately undergo this procedure.
The main signs that you may need to have a procedure
  • Extreme tooth pain, especially when chewing or applying pressure to the tooth,
  • Extended sensitivity to hot or cold temperatures, even after the hot/cold stimuli have been removed,
  • Darkening or discoloration of the tooth,
  • Tenderness and swelling in the surrounding gums, and
  • A recurring pimple on the gums.
If you have experienced one or more of these symptoms, especially if the symptoms persist, you should visit your dentist. You may not need a procedure, but these signs are usually only present if there is something wrong with your teeth or gums.
What to Expect
Root canals have a very dubious reputation as being extremely painful procedures. However, most patients feel no more pain from a root canal than they report from getting a filling. Your dentist has likely completed hundreds or even thousands of procedures during his/her career, so you really have nothing to fear. Following your root canal your tooth may feel more sensitive due to your body's natural inflammatory response. Sensitivity and discomfort can usually be controlled with over-the-counter analgesics such as ibuprofen or naproxen; and you should expect to return to your normal daily activities immediately.
However, procedures may require more than one dental visit; as such, you should avoid chewing with the treated tooth until a permanent filling or crown has been placed. Once the procedure is complete, you can maintain your usual oral hygiene regimen which should include daily brushing and flossing.

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Friday, September 21, 2012

Tooth Whitening Is Not Equal to Tooth Brushing

Today's tooth whitening products are capable of giving you a beautiful white smile. However, tooth whitening is not equal to tooth brushing. Learn how brushing your teeth twice a day helps remove food particles and plaque that can cause tooth decay. Be sure to schedule regular visits with your dentist to keep a healthy smile for a lifetime.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Chronic Halitosis Or Just Bad Breath?

When bad breath lingers for more than a day, you're probably dealing with a case of Halitosis -- the medical term for an offensive, foul-smelling breath odor. Watch this to learn more! 

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Discovering Various Stages of Gum Disease

Contrary to the popular belief, gum disease is not only a disease of gums. Rather, it is an inflammation and / or infection of the dental tissues that can affect teeth and, in severe cases, even the bone that holds your teeth in their sockets. Medically or clinically known as periodontal disease, the term "gum disease" is often synonymously used with the term "gingivitis" and "periodontitis".
The following article is intended to give you some basic insights of the gum disease and also focuses on the key differences between the various stages of the same. However, to better understand the development and progression of gum disease, it is crucial that you first understand the following basic terminologies that play a central role in all types and stages of gum disease:
Plaque: Also known as dental plaque, it is the thin, sticky layer film that consists of bacteria, debris and food particles. If not removed on regular basis, it will continue to accumulate on teeth surface and will cause gum disease and tooth decay.
Calculus (Tartar): It is the hardened and rigid form of plaque that may result if the gum disease is not treated early.
Causes and risk factors of gum disease
While plaque (and bacteria) is considered the main cause of gum disease, other risk factors such as chewing tobacco, malnutrition, alcohol consumption, smoking, higher levels of stress and certain drugs may also act as contributing or aggravating factors.
Classification of gum disease
On the basis of its severity, area involved and associated complications, gum disease can be further subdivided into the following stages or types:
1st stage (Gingivitis)
Clinically known as gingivitis (gingival = gums, itis = inflammation), the first stage of gum disease simply refers to the inflammation of your gums. In the early or first stage of gum disease, bacteria-laden plaque builds up gradually, eventually irritating the gums. It has been suggested that this irritation is caused due to the toxins released by the accumulated bacteria. As a result, gum becomes inflamed, may swell, redden and bleed quickly and easily while brushing the teeth.
Characteristics of 1st stage 
• Calculus along your sensitive gum line is changed into a rough surface on which plaque accumulates.
• Tender, red, sore, and bleeding gums
• Bad breath may or may not be present.
• Spaces between the gum and tooth (periodontal pockets) may exist (though not always) due to the damages caused to the periodontal fibers that hold the gums tightly against the teeth.
• No underlying bone is involved or damaged
• This is relatively a mild form of gum disease and is easily reversible if treated early and properly
Second stage (Periodontitis)
If the first stage is left untreated, the second stage often results in which the plaque turns into hard tartar which would not be removed by brushing alone. Also known as Periodontitis, it is a moderately severe form of gum disease which requires aggressive treatment.
Characteristics of 2nd stage 
• Unlike the first stage, plaque (and / or calculus) is not found "along" but "below" the gum line.
• Bad breath is present.
• Tender, red, sore and bleeding gums may also be present.
• Periodontal pockets are formed as the dental tissues (gums and supportive ligaments) begin to pull away from the teeth. These pockets act as a trap for infection.
• Bone starts to show damage, often leading to loose permanent teeth.
• While relatively hard to treat, this stage can be reversed if addressed early and properly.
Third stage (Advanced Periodontitis)
Also known as advanced or severe periodontitis, this stage represents the irreversible and complicated form of gum disease which is characterized by bone involvement, tooth decay and permanent tooth loss.
Characteristics of 3rd stage 
• Periodontal pockets deepen and create more space for even increased bacterial activity which creates until eventually the bones holding the teeth are damaged and destroyed, leading to tooth decay and loss.
• The deeper pockets may fill with pus. This pus exists between the teeth and gums and is more visible when the gums are pressed together.
• There may be swelling around the root which leads to even greater bone loss.
• Your bite is affected.
• Your permanent teeth may lose so much support that either they fall out or need to be removed forever.
• This third and the final; stage of gum disorder is irreversible.
All in all, periodontal disease is a common and serious oral disorder that needs to be addressed early and treated properly. Depending on the severity and its progression, gum disease can be divided into the mild (1st stage), moderate (2nd stage) and severe (3rd stage) forms. The third stage is irreversible and often results in permanent tooth loss. Therefore, the earlier you treat it, the simper and easier it is to manage and cure, and the greater chance you have of restoring the original condition and health of your oral cavity and saving your gums and teeth. Finally, you must also not forget that even if you don't notice any signs or clinical manifestations, you may still have some "silent or dormant" gum disorder. Therefore, regular dental and oral examination by your dentist or periodontist is the key for diagnosing the disease early and at a reversible stage.

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Wednesday, September 12, 2012

How Are Bad Breath and Dental Health Related?

Poor dental health can cause a variety of conditions ranging from mild to severe. Bad breath, called halitosis in medical circles, is one of the most common results. Unhealthy habits and diet can make halitosis even worse and this condition can indicate other health issues. Do not ignore bad breath because it may be the result of much more than a meal featuring pungent odors.

The mouth is the place where all food consumed begins to break down. The food is digested and the bloodstream absorbs it, carrying it to the lungs so it can be emitted during breathing. When foods with strong odors are consumed, the smell is only temporarily masked by flossing, brushing, and mouthwash. The odor will remain until the food has passed through the body.

People who do not floss and brush daily make the condition worse because they allow food particles to remain in the mouth, which promotes bacterial growth on the tongue, gums, and between teeth. As bacteria flourish, halitosis develops, but an antibacterial mouth rinse can help address the issue if used regularly. Other situations that may cause bad breath include chewing tobacco products and smoking. These habits can also irritate gums, stain teeth, and reduce the ability to taste food.

Halitosis is associated with numerous health problems. If it is persistent, it may indicate gum disease, a condition caused by plaque buildup on teeth. Untreated gum disease can damage both the gums and the jawbone. Yeast infections within the mouth may also cause this problem. Dental appliances that fit poorly or are not cleaned properly could lead to halitosis. Dry mouth, which is actually a medical condition, can cause bad breath because the lack of saliva prevents dead cells from being washed off the tongue.

Halitosis can also be caused by more severe illnesses and diseases including bronchitis, pneumonia, diabetes, kidney or liver issues, and respiratory tract infections. A dentist can treat many causes of bad breath. However, the patient may be referred to a physician if a non-dental medical condition is causing the condition.

Practicing good oral hygiene, visiting the dentist regularly, drinking sufficient amounts of water, and remaining aware of foods consumed can help prevent or reduce bad breath. Patients should discuss their diets and how to quit smoking or chewing tobacco products to prevent it. They should also consider using an antiseptic mouth rinse that will kill germs causing this condition.

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Sunday, September 9, 2012

Why Veneers?

Veneers can correct everything from stains to chips to or gaps in just a few dental appointments

Thursday, September 6, 2012

If I Have Dentures, Do I Still Need To See a Dentist?

Individuals who have healthy gums and teeth are currently recommended to visit their dentist twice a year for regular checkups; however, often the question is asked, "How often, or if ever, should a person with dentures or false teeth see his family dentist?" Edentulous individuals or people with dentures are recommended to have annual exams.

During a dentist's periodic oral dental exam, many aspects of oral health are evaluated. The dental screening evaluates not only the proper fit of the denture, but an oral cancer inspection is also performed. This exam evaluates the health of the patient's gums and soft tissues. The patient's dentures are also thoroughly inspected so that potential mechanical problems are avoided. Also, the dentures are cleaned to remove any accumulated stain and hard deposit. Finally, necessary x-rays should be taken every couple of years to assess and to monitor bone loss.

Dentures that fit are imperative for an individual's comfort and proper function. If dentures are properly fitting, the need for over-the-counter pastes and adhesives is not necessary. Often dentures that have lost suction can be repaired or improved by the dentist. Relining the inner portion of the denture does help regain proper suction; thus, the individual is more comfortable and is able to eat and to speak with more confidence. A reline is needed because the bone under the denture resorbs over time so that the denture doesn't fit well. A reline or rebase can be done to restore optimal fit.

If the acrylic portion of the denture needs to be replaced and the teeth have minimal wear, a denture can be rebased so that stability and function are restored. Relining or rebasing an existing denture can add longevity to the denture and can help reduce the cost that would be incurred with having to replace a denture.

A common misconception is that a set of dentures should last an individual for a lifetime. Dentures, like any artificial or man-made device, have a typical lifespan. The teeth on a denture will wear with time, and the acrylic will age and become more brittle and lose its natural color. It is expected that a denture should be replaced every 10 to 12 years. Individuals who keep a denture longer, run a potential risk of increased complicating factors.

If a denture is not remade periodically, the teeth will wear and become shorter and shorter. This can cause the loss of VDO or vertical dimension opening of the jaw. The loss of VDO often causes stress on the temporomandibular joint. There are other complicating factors such as combination syndrome or unbalanced arch discrepancies that can occur if proper balance and fit are not maintained. Dentures that are older than 12 years which are eventually remade are often extremely difficult for the patient to get used to wearing. Allowing the artificial appliance to overly age and become thin creates problems when a new, adequate denture is made. The new denture often feels bulky and cumbersome, and the patient needlessly struggles to adapt to his new denture.

Although a person may no longer have natural teeth in his mouth, there are many benefits from yearly exams. The relationship and care gained by having one's dentist partner with an individual to maintain his best oral health is priceless. Healthcare professionals are there to help one gain and keep the best health possible. Dental health is often a key indicator of overall health. Visiting one's dentist yearly, even when one has dentures, is a step to maintaining one's best general health possible.

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Monday, September 3, 2012

10 Things That Give You Bad Breath

Halitosis, is a problem that nobody would ever want to have. Although most of the people get bad breath from time to time, there are cases when it takes on a more serious turn especially when it is caused by a medical condition. Having bad breath is an embarrassing problem and to be able to know what treatments should be done, one must know the reasons why they occur. Here are the most reasons why people have foul-smelling breath.
  1. Morning breath can be offensive. This is because of the decreased flow of saliva when you are asleep. Since your salivary glands produce less saliva which is an essential tool in flushing food particles and plaque, you get bad breath.
  2. Your diet can be a major cause as well. Foods such as garlic, onions, fish, coffee, and some spices such as curry can contribute to bad breath.
  3. Aside from being generally bad for your health, smoking can also cause your mouth to stink. It also adds up to other dental problems because it stains the teeth and aggravate tooth decay.
  4. Dry mouth means there is less saliva in your mouth. Make sure that you keep you and your mouth hydrated by drinking lots of water.
  5. Bits of food stuck in between the teeth can also lead to bad breath.
  6. Dentures and braces can result to having faul breath mainly because there is a high possibility that they are not cleaned thoroughly, leaving food particles in it.
  7. Gum disease or periodontal infection can also be the culprit.
  8. Throat infections such as tonsillitis and pharyngitis
  9. Gastroesophageal reflux or GERD
  10. Other diseases such as diabetes, chronic bronchitis, and liver and kidney illnesses
There are preventive measures and halitosis treatments that people can do. More often than not, unclean mouth and teeth are the main reasons why this happens. It is important that you observe good oral hygiene by brushing your teeth at least twice a day. You have to know the proper technique to ensure that you are effectively cleaning it. Remember to floss in between the teeth so that plaque and small food particles are removed. Clean your tongue using a tongue cleaner because plaque build-up on the tongue can greatly affect the scent of your breath.
You can also try using home-made remedies such as gargling with apple cider vinegar once a day instead of using a mouthwash. You can chew on parsley or drink green tea which has natural properties that prevents bad breath for an instant fresh breath fix. Include fruits high in vitamin C in your diet such as berries and oranges. When all else fails, it would be best to consult your doctor just in case a more serious medical condition is behind it.

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