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Monday, May 21, 2018

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 conditions 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, May 14, 2018

The facts about oral cancer

Oral cancer is not as well known as other types of cancer but it can represent a life-threatening risk if not identified early.
– It strikes an estimated 35,000 Americans each year
– More than 7,500 people (5,200 men and 2,307 women) die of these cancers each year
– More than 25% of Americans who get oral cancer will die of the disease
– On average, only half of those diagnosed with the disease will survive more than five years
– African-Americans are especially vulnerable; the incidence rate is 1/3 higher than whites and the mortality rate is almost twice as high
Although the use of tobacco and alcohol are risk factors in developing oral cancer, approximately 25% of oral cancer patients have no known risk factors.
There has been a nearly five-fold increase in incidence in oral cancer patients under age 40, many with no known risk factors.
The incidence of oral cancer in women has increased significantly, largely due to an increase in women smoking. In 1950 the male to female ratio was 6:1; by 2002, it was 2:1.
The best way to prevent oral cancer is to avoid tobacco and alcohol use.
Unusual red or white spots can form in and around the mouth. These are often harmless but they can be cancerous or pre-cancerous.
Identifying and removing these early enough is a major factor in reducing the incidence of cancer.
So knowing the risk factors and seeing your dentist for regular examinations can help prevent this deadly disease.

Monday, May 7, 2018

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 they'll 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.

Tuesday, May 1, 2018

How a bridge can bring back your smile even with missing teeth

If you’re missing one or more teeth, it probably affects your smile and you may also notice a difference in chewing and speaking.
But there are options available to help you restore your smile and limit other problems.
For example, a bridge – sometimes called a fixed partial denture – replaces missing teeth with artificial teeth.
Bridges help maintain the shape of your face, as well as reducing the stress in your bite by replacing missing teeth.
They literally bridge the gap where one or more teeth may have been previously.
The restoration can be made from gold, alloys, porcelain or a combination of these materials and it is bonded onto surrounding teeth for support.
Bridges can be removable so that you can take them out and clean them or fixed and so can only be removed by a dentist.
An implant bridge attaches artificial teeth directly to the jaw or under the gum tissue.
Your dentist will recommend which approach is best for you.
Whatever type of bridge you choose, its success depends on its foundation. So it’s very important to keep your remaining teeth healthy and strong.

Monday, April 23, 2018

Tips on choosing the best dentist for you

Choosing the right dentist for your needs is one way to give you the best chance of maximizing your oral health.
If you don’t already have a dentist – or want to find one better suited to your needs – here are a few points to consider.
– Get recommendations from family, friends, neighbors or co-workers
– Ask your physician or a local pharmacist
– If you are moving to a different area, ask your current dentist for recommendations in your new location
– Contact the local or state dental society
You can also use Yellow Pages or the American Dental Association directory at www.ADA.org.
Effective dental care depends on a great relationship between the dentist and the patient so you may want to visit more than one before making your decision.
To help decide if a dentist is right for you, consider:
Is the office easy to get to from your home or job?
Are the staff helpful and friendly?
Does the office appear to be clean, tidy and well organized?
Is the appointment schedule convenient for you?
What arrangements are made for handling emergencies outside of office hours?
Does it cater for any special needs you have?
As you’ll need to work closely with your dentist in caring for your oral health, it’s worth taking time to ask questions and take notes to make sure you choose the right one for your needs.

Monday, April 16, 2018

How medication and anesthesia can help make your visit to the dentist easier

Your dentist will do everything possible to make your visit as relaxed and comfortable as possible.
Depending on the treatment you are receiving, there are several medications available to help.
Some drugs control pain, some help you relax and others put you into a deep sleep during dental treatment.
The best approach will depend on the type of procedure being undertaken, your overall health – including any history of allergies – and the degree of anxiety you feel.
Some of the options your dentist might discuss include:
Analgesics: These are the most commonly used drugs for relief of toothache or pain following dental treatment. They includes aspirin, acetaminophen and anti-inflammatory drugs such as Ibuprofen. There is a separate category of narcotic analgesics – such as those containing codeine – which are used for more severe pain.
Local anesthesia: Topical anesthetics are applied to mouth tissues with a swab to prevent pain on the surface level. They may also be used to soothe mouth sores. Injectable local anesthetics prevent pain in a specific area of your mouth during treatment by blocking the nerves that sense or transmit pain and numbing mouth tissues.
In other cases, your dentist many recommend sedation or general anesthesia.
Your dentist will discuss the best approach to suit your needs.

Monday, April 9, 2018

The secrets of avoiding gum disease as an older adult

Gum disease also known as periodontal disease often progresses slowly, without pain, over a long period of time and thats one reason it is common among older adults.
The longer the disease goes undetected and uncontrolled, the more damage it causes to gums and other supporting tissues.
Although periodontal disease is caused by plaque, other factors can increase the risk or severity of the condition, including:
– Food left between the teeth
– Tobacco use smoking and smokeless tobacco
– Badly aligned teeth
– Ill-fitting bridges or partial dentures
– Poor diet
– Systemic diseases such as anemia
Although periodontal disease is common, it can be controlled and, if caught in its early stages, it can be reversed. However, in advanced stages, it may require surgery.
Look out for the following warning signs and see your dentist if you notice any of them:
– Bleeding gums when you brush
– Red, tender or swollen gums
– Gums that have pulled away from the teeth
– Pus between your teeth and gums when the gums are pressed
– Loose teeth or teeth moving apart
– Any change in your bite
– Any change in the fit of your partial dentures
– Constant bad breath or bad taste
Keeping an eye out for these problems and having regular dental checkups can help you stop gum disease becoming a major and expensive problem.