A dental sealant is a thin film that is painted on the chewing surfaces of the back teeth to fill in the cavity-prone grooves and pits. Sealants have been shown to be highly effective in preventing of cavities. Children receive the greatest benefit from sealants when placed on the chewing surfaces of their newly erupted teeth. Adult patients also can benefit from sealant placement in areas that have pits and grooves that appear susceptible to decay.
Bad Breath (Halitosis)
Bad Breath, or Halitosis, can be due to many things. Food or debris that builds up on the teeth, gums, or tongue can cause bad breath, and the bacteria that collect on that debris can cause an odor as well. Certain foods, diets, tobacco products, vitamins, and medications can also cause the breath to have an unpleasant odor. Some serious health conditions or deficiencies can contribute to halitosis so please mention your concerns at your next dental visit so that one of our dentists can help you to address the issue appropriately.
Dry Mouth (Xerostomia)
Saliva is one way that he body naturally helps to control the amount of plaque and cavity-causing bacteria under control. A condition called Dry Mouth, or Xerostomia, can occur when the salivary glands do not produce saliva in normal amounts. This condition can be caused by certain foods, tobacco products, medical conditions or medications. If you feel that you may have Dry Mouth, please mention it to one of our dentists at your next visit.
Accidents happen, and knowing what to do when one occurs can mean the difference between saving and losing a tooth.
If a dental emergency, such as a traumatic blow to the mouth or face occurs, it is extremely important that one of our dentists is contacted immediately. They are ALWAYS available to help our active patients or anyone else who may be having an emergency. Please call immediately and provide as much detail as possible about your condition.
It is also important that the patient and any available parent or friend stay calm. Instructions may be given to apply pressure to control bleeding, apply ice to areas of swelling, or carefully contain any knocked out teeth in an appropriate solution. If you think that a situation is an emergency, please do not hesitate to call or go to your nearest emergency room as soon as possible.
Teeth grinding, or Bruxing, can have severe effects on teeth, the jaw muscles, and the actual joint that connects the upper and lower jaws. Many patients are unaware that they are clenching or grinding their teeth but may suffer from headaches, joint pain, muscle soreness or fatigue, neck pain, or pain in their teeth. The teeth can appear worn down, the jaw may click or pop, or small hairline fractures can appear on the teeth. Our dentists treat patients are able to successfully treat bruxers with simple, non-invasive splints that protect the jaws, joints and teeth. These splints provide patients with long term relief if the habit is recognized early. In severe cases, it may be recommended to restore the damaged teeth and bite relationship with dental work like crowns in addition to splint therapy.
A Dry Socket is a painful inflammation that can develop in the open tooth socket after a tooth has been removed (extracted). Dry sockets often develop 3-4 days after an extraction. It occurs when the blood clot is lost from an extraction site prematurely from disintegration or dislodgment. This condition can cause severe pain extending up to the ear and the socket may smell bad.
There are some activities which may make a patient more prone to dry socket formation such as smoking, drinking carbonated beverages in the first 24 hours after surgery, spitting or drinking through a straw in that same time period…but “dry sockets” can also occur for no reason at all.
Dental anxiety is very common in dental patients. Anxiety can come from many different sources. Patients also differ in degrees of anxiety. Thanks to modern dentistry, we can treat this accordingly with a high level of success. The most common reason for dental anxiety is a past bad experience. This is often from childhood experiences before modern anesthesia and techniques were available. Patients may also feel anxious in the chair due to the sights and sounds of the dental office.
Methods such as administering Nitrous Oxide, also known as “Laughing Gas” or prescription drugs to eliminate or minimize anxiety, or even treating patients in an appropriate setting for IV sedation are all options for our patients. Dental anxiety is treated on an individual basis by our dentists to ensure that our patients are comfortable during their dental visits.
Tooth decay is the disease that causes cavities. Tooth decay occurs when your teeth are frequently exposed to foods containing carbohydrates (starches and sugars) like sodas, candy, ice cream, milk, cakes, and even fruits, vegetables and juices. Bacteria in the mouth can digest the sugary and starchy foods, producing acids which eventually produce tooth decay. Cavities most often begin in hard-to-clean areas like between teeth and in groves and pits of the teeth. During our patients’ hygiene visits, patients will have their teeth examined and any tooth decay clinically present or present on their digital radiographs will be diagnosed by one of our dentists.
Fluoride is a mineral that can strengthen tooth enamel and help to prevent decay. Fluoride is found in toothpastes, water systems that may be naturally fluoridated or those that have had fluoride added, topical gels or foams that are applied to the teeth at dental visits, or can be given in prescription form for patients who suffer from high levels of cavities. Fluoride must be applied or ingested in appropriate amounts so that teeth are not damaged. If you have any concerns about having an inadequate level of fluoride in your community water system, one of our dentists will make sure that your family’s oral health is taken care of properly.
Periodontal Disease, or “gum disease” is an infection in the foundation of the teeth. If the disease is not treated, it can lead to premature tooth loss. The most common cause of Periodontal Disease is poor oral hygiene, specifically lack of flossing. Medical conditions, diet, tobacco use, genetics can also be major contributors to Periodontal Disease. If not kept clean by daily brushing/flossing and regular professional cleanings, teeth can accumulates the plaque and calculus (tartar) around the gum lines. The bacteria in the plaque and calculus are damaging to the gums and bone below the gums. Severe infections of the bone can present if the disease is not controlled.
Once patients have been diagnosed with Periodontal Disease, it is important to know that they must be treated periodically by one of our hygienists to keep the infection arrested. For patients who only have small areas of periodontal problems, our team of hygienists performs regular cleanings with special attention to those areas around the teeth that may be showing signs of bone loss. If the disease appears to have progressed to a more severe stage, the cleanings will be deeper to make sure that the root surfaces are smoothed of the buildup. Our dental professionals will together decide how often the periodontal disease therapy should be maintained based upon the stage of the disease.