Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Smile Protection: The Dental Connection!

If you participate in sports or other physical activities, it is wise to consider getting a mouthguard.  Also known as mouth protectors, mouthguards are a device worn over the teeth to lessen the impact of a blow to the face.

This reduces the chance that you might lose teeth or sustain other serious oral injuries.  It is recommended that all patients involved in a contact sport such as wrestling, football, basketball, or hockey wear a mouthguard because of the high risk of such injuries.

However, anyone involved in a physically demanding sport or activity should wear a mouthguard as well.  Can you imagine what it would be like to lose a few of your front teeth?  The way that you talk, eat, and smile would all change.  Potential injuries when you don't wear a mouthguard include chipped and broken teeth, fractured jaws, root damage, damage to crowns and bridgework, concussions, and/or injury to the lips, cheeks, or gums.

There are different kinds of mouthguards - typically made of a soft plastic material or laminate.   You can decide which works best for you in terms of budget, fit, and comfort.

STOCK MOUTHGUARDS are fabricated to a standard size.  They offer adequate protection, but you need to make sure that you find one that fits properly and comfortably.  Stock mouthguards are readily available at department stores, sporting goods stores, and online.

BOIL-AND-BITE MOUTHGUARDS are placed in boiling water to soften them, then into the mouth so they can conform to the shape of the teeth.  Boil-and-bite mouthguards are more expensive, but offer a more customized fit than stock ones.  You can find these in department stores, pharmacies, sporting good stores, and online.

CUSTOM-MADE MOUTHGUARDS are created and are a custom fit for your mouth and teeth. These offer the best fit and comfort of all of the options, but since they are usually the most expensive, we have decided to reduce the usual fee associated with the custom guards because the importance of guard in providing safety for your teeth truly outweighs the cost of the appliance.

The American Dental Association says a good mouthguard should be easy to clean, fit properly, be comfortable, and resist tearing or damage.  It should also not restrict speech or breathing.

If you have any questions or are in need of a dental appointment, call our office at 918-455-0123!

God Bless,

Friday, April 20, 2018

FIVE: The Dental Connection!

Most people know when they have a cavity because they can see it visually or by the sensation of discomfort! But there are certain things that many patients don't know about cavities that could save them from a trip for another dental restoration! Check out these FIVE things that can be associated with an elevated risk for cavities.

    • It is quite well known that eating dietary sugars in excess along with poor dental hygiene leads to dental decay such as cavities.  This is due to the fact that the bacteria in your mouth feed on these sugars and excrete acids as a byproduct of that process, which causes decay.  But xylitol, a sugar alcohol derived from birch or corn, actually prevents bacteria from converting sugar into acids.
    • Xylitol is available in the form of gum, mints, toothpaste, and even in a granulated form much like cane sugar.  You might consider trying some xylitol products between meals to keep your mouth clean and fresh.
    • Are you a grazer, always snacking between meals?  It is now known that this kind of eating can contribute to cavities and other oral health problems.
    • Every time you eat anything with carbohydrates in it, you are feeding the bacteria in your mouth, which in turn produce acids.  Constantly eating or sipping on sugar laden beverages does not allow your saliva time to bring the pH of your mouth back into a more alkaline, neutral state.  It takes about 20 minutes to neutralize the acids in your mouth after eating.
    • Although most patients are aware of the need to brush their teeth to prevent dental decay, many people view flossing as a technique that solely prevents gum disease.  While flossing does decrease the incidence of gum disease, it is also one of the easiest and best ways to remove food debris that remains between your teeth, which the bacteria convert to acid.  Brushing alone, does NOT remove any bacteria where the teeth contact.
    • The saliva is the best defense against tooth decay!  Saliva has a neutralizing effect on the acids that the bacteria produce.  So, if you have a dry mouth from either medications, medical conditions, or simple aging, it is best to sip on plain water.  Xylitol mints, gum or products like Biotene can also help with salivary production and lubrication.  Unfortunately, a dry mouth can quickly lead to non-restorable root decay!
    • Brushing like a construction worker with a jackhammer can cause more harm than good!  Brushing too hard can actually thin your teeth's enamel over time, which can leave them more susceptible to decay.   While it is now believed that it takes a full two minutes of correct brushing to remove the sticky bacterial film coating that forms daily on your teeth, most people brush for 30-45 seconds once daily.  The key is to brush longer, NOT harder for a full two minutes twice daily! 

If you have any questions or are in need a dental appointment, call our office at 918-455-0123!

God Bless,

Friday, April 6, 2018

Implants: Now & Later: The Dental Connection!

Implants are a common replacement option utilized in modern dentistry these days. However, the dental profession is strongly based on the notion that prevention is the best remedy! For instance, flossing daily helps reduce the risks for gum disease and cavities between the teeth.  And, brushing two minutes twice daily, decreases the overall bacterial count in the mouth, which also reduces the risks for tooth decay. With Prevention as the key...


If you have any questions or are in need of a dental appointment, call our office at 918-455-0123!

God Bless,

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Your Heart: The Dental Connection!

To celebrate American Heart Month this February, we pause and look at the recent studies that have shown a correlation between gum disease and heart disease, which underscores the importance of good oral health.

Cardiovascular disease remains American's leading killer, claiming more lives than all other major causes of death, according to the American Heart Association.  Not surprisingly, an estimated 80 percent of American adults currently have some form of gum disease, also known as periodontal disease.

Studies suggest that people with gum disease are believed to have an elevated risk of heart attack and stroke.  Since most patients are not regularly visiting a heart specialist, regular dental visits can help detect early warning signs of heart issues, prevent gum disease, or at the very least catch it at its early stage.

Know your numbers:

Blood pressure: less than 120/80
Cholesterol: less than 200
BMI: less than 25
Healthy Periodontal Pocket Range: 1-4MM

If you have any questions or are in need of an appointment, call our office at 918-455-0123!

God Bless,

Friday, February 2, 2018

Periodontal Prevention: The Dental Connection!

Periodontal disease is one of the most prevalent health issues in America, with the Center for Disease Control reporting that it affects approximately 65 million people, or roughly 47 percent of the population. People with periodontal disease have bacteria beneath the surface of the gums, which are responsible for tissue inflammation that can lead to pain, bleeding, gum recession, and even permanent tooth loss.  Unfortunately, the chances of developing gingivitis and periodontitis only increase with age, with 70 percent of adults over the age of 65 having at least some degree of gum disease.  However, a lot can be done to prevent periodontal disease and keep teeth and gums healthy.

Daily Hygiene.  The process you take each day to clean your teeth and gums goes a long way towards preventing periodontal disease.  Since gingivitis and periodontitis are caused by plaque build-up, the most important steps you can take to prevent them involve cleaning your teeth each morning, night and 20 minutes after meals.  Start by brushing your teeth and tongue, and follow up with mouthwash to kill any lingering bacteria.  At least once per day, take time to floss throughly along the gum line to prevent gum infections from occurring in between the teeth.

Periodontal Exams.  In addition to caring for your teeth and gums at home, it is also important to have comprehensive dental exams.  Our dental team can detect gingivitis in its earliest stages and treat it before it has a chance to progress.  Although everyone needs periodic periodontal exams, some people with certain risk factors may required them more often.  Examples include individuals who smoke or have a personal family history of gum disease.

Treatment.  If you suspect that you may be experiencing the warning signs of periodontal disease, it is important that you have an assessment as soon as possible.  Symptoms may include red, swollen, or bleeding gums, gum recession, pockets that have formed between the teeth and the gums, and even tooth loss.  If you are diagnosed with periodontal disease, treatments are available to help restore your oral health depending on how advanced the gum disease may have progressed.  For example, gingivitis may require only a thorough cleaning and topical antibiotic.  On the other hand, periodontal disease that has been allowed to progress may require scaling and root planing, and in some cases, surgery to prevent tooth, bone, and gum loss.

If you have any questions or are in need of an appointment, call our office at 918-455-0123!

God Bless,

Friday, January 26, 2018

Rheumatoid Arthritis: The Dental Connection!

Researchers have new evidence that suggests that microorganisms responsible for chronic inflammatory gingival infections may also trigger rheumatoid arthritis (RA).  The latest research from Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine in Baltimore has implications for prevention and treatment of RA.  The findings point to a certain oral bacteria as causing a cascade of inflammatory events, which links the periodontal infection to the autoimmunity in RA.

Periodontal disease and RA may be closely associated, as researchers feel that common factors may link the conditions.  The John Hopkins team discovered that a process found in the joints of patients with RA was also noted in the gingiva of patients with periodontitis.  Furthermore, the oral bacteria in periodontitis that is responsible for the inflammatory cascade, is the only pathogen that could trigger the process that attacks tissues.

Prevention of all forms of gum disease is the key.  Regular cleanings and early treatment of periodontitis can reduce the abundance of the destructive pathogens that have been linked to RA. If you have any questions or are in need of an appointment, call our office at 918-455-0123!

God Bless,

Friday, January 12, 2018

X-ray Safety: The Dental Connection!

It is not uncommon to be concerned about your safety when you have dental x-rays performed.  Putting on a heavy lead vest may make you apprehensive.  The benefits of dental X-rays far out weigh the risks when safety procedures are followed and the number of X-rays is limited to the required number.

Intra-oral X-rays are the most common pictures of the teeth used in dentistry. These allow for the detection of cavities as well as to check the health of the bone and root structure.  Extra-oral X-rays provide the information that is needed to monitor your jaw and TMJ, as well as look for impacted teeth and tooth development.

Guidelines from the American Dental Association have been established in order to achieve the most detection for disease in the safest manner.  Digital radiography (X-rays), which is utilized by our office, is one of the most important new advances that the dental profession has seen in quite some time.  The capability to even further reduce the exposure to radiation to the patient while increasing the diagnostic proficiency has been astounding.  Digital radiography has reduced radiation exposure to patients by up to 80 percent as compared to conventional methods.  The reduction in the need for harsh chemicals and other waste materials associated with traditional radiography is also an added benefit to our environment that digital X-rays provide.

If you have any questions or are in need of a dental appointment, call our office at 918-455-0123!

God Bless,