Chances are you have heard of gum disease and one point or another, but are you aware of its seriousness? If you choose to ignore the early signs of gum disease, you put yourself at risk for periodontal disease, which could cause such devastation as losing your natural teeth and suffering from bone loss. These little known facts about this disease can help you to save your teeth in the long run.
- There are not always obvious signs that you have gum disease. Some people have bleeding or puffy gums as an early sign, but not everyone does. You might have gum disease and not even know it until you come in for your appointment.
- If you have gum disease, there are simple remedies to keep it from progressing into periodontal disease. One such remedy is the scaling and root planing procedure which cleans your roots and eliminates the disease.
- If you have diagnosed gum disease, it is sometimes recommended that you come in once every 4 months instead of 6 months in order to ensure that the gum disease does not return.
- Aside from the obvious bleeding or puffy gums, bad breath, loose teeth, and receding gums are all signs of progressed gum disease.
- Gum disease can be prevented with regular brushing and flossing on a daily basis as well as visiting the dentist for a regular cleaning once every 6 months.
- Not flossing at least once a day can put you at high risk for gum disease because the bacteria between your teeth is left to grow and damage your gums.
- Smoking can greatly increase your chance to contact gum disease.
- Stress can not only negatively impact your physical health, but your oral health as well. It has been shown to be a factor in gum disease.
- Poor diet can contribute to gum disease, especially when it is in combination with poor oral hygiene habits.
- Gum disease is a not a required part of aging – if you have it, you need to get treated right away.
Gum disease is nothing to take lightly; if you exhibit any signs of this disease, you should be seen right away. Even if you do not think that you have any signs of this disease, having a professional evaluate your oral health is the only way to know for sure that your gums are healthy and free from the risk of gum disease.
If the words “dental cleaning” send shivers down your spine, you are not alone. Almost 15 percent of Americans are afraid of the dentist in some way, shape, or form. The problem is not in your phobia, but in the fact that you are avoiding the very important dental cleanings that need to be performed twice a year. With these regular cleanings comes an exam that helps to determine if there are any warning signs of diseases or issues in your mouth that need to be stopped early on in order to avoid more invasive procedures being required. If the sound of the dental tools send you running, here are a few simple tips to get you through:
- Wear ear plugs – For many people it is the sound of the tools (maybe not even those being used on them) that make them want to jump right out of the dentist’s chair. Rather than gripping the chair and wishing you were somewhere else, put a pair of earplugs in your ears. This will help you to block out the noise and hopefully allow you to get a little rest while your teeth are cleaned.
- Wear headphones – If ear plugs do not make you relaxed, try bringing your iPod and headphones. It is best if you play relaxing music so as not to stimulate your nerves even more during the cleaning, but any music that will take your mind off of your phobia will work.
- Talk to us– Don’t make the mistake of hiding your fear; let us know. There might be simple adjustments he can make in order to make you feel more comfortable. Maybe you do not want the chair reclined all of the way, or you do not like the water sprayed in your mouth unless you know ahead of time. Whatever your fears may be, we can find ways to work around them.
- Relax before your appointment – Before you come in for your cleaning, take some time to practice a relaxation technique to calm your nerves. Whether you prefer yoga, meditation or any other form of relaxation, participate in what works for you to allow you to be calm enough to sit for your cleaning.
Your dental cleaning is one of the most important things you can do for your health, both dental and physical. If you are truly afraid, do not be afraid to let your feelings be known. There are a large number of advances in technology making dental work much less painful and less anxiety provoking for many.
If you suddenly find that you bit down on something that was too hard or you have been involved in an accident and chipped a tooth, you might wonder what your options are. Will the tooth need to be pulled? Are you stuck with fake teeth for the rest of your life? These are all thoughts that go through many people’s minds. The good news is that you are not stuck with artificial teeth; today there are many options to help restore the look of a chipped tooth without any major procedures taking place.
If your cracked tooth is in the rear portion of your mouth and is minor, as can sometimes occur when you chew on something that was not meant to be chewed on (ice, pencils), a dental filling can sometimes be applied. This is not your traditional amalgam (silver) filling; it is a tooth colored filling that blends in with the rest of your mouth. The structure of your tooth is then replenished and you are able to keep your natural teeth.
If the chipped tooth happens to be a front tooth, dental bonding might be an option for you. This virtually painless procedure simply requires removing a very small fraction of your enamel and adhering a bonding to it. The bonding is shaped to look just like your surrounding teeth and has the same color. This helps to strengthen the structure of your tooth while enhancing its appearance, making it look as if the chip was never there. Once the appropriate shape is created, the dental bonding is hardened with an ultraviolet ray. This makes your tooth look like new!
If the chip is excessive and the tooth cannot be saved with a simple filling or dental bonding, a dental crown might be necessary. This is a more invasive procedure, but it helps to save your natural tooth. This allows you to retain your natural tooth’s roots, while having an artificial tooth at the crown. The benefit to the dental crown is the fact that your jawbone still gets the stimulation of your natural tooth’s roots, enabling the bone to go through its natural cycle of dying and growing again without the risk of getting that sunken in look. The dental crown takes on the same appearance as your surrounding teeth, making it unnoticeable that you ever had a problem at all.
Your teeth were meant to help you chew food for easy digestion; they are not meant for use on non-edible objects as many people have the bad habit of doing. When you use your teeth as a “tool” you put them at risk for unsightly chips that can be embarrassing and require dental work.
Here are some of the worst dental habits that will leave you with teeth that could be unpleasant looking or even cause you some pain:
- Chewing ice – Ice was meant to be used to cool your drink down, not to chew on. Not only can chewing on ice wear down your enamel, it can downright fracture your teeth if they are already worn down.
- Using your teeth as tools – Do you use your teeth to open a stubborn package? This somewhat innocent act could cause your tooth to chip or break altogether, requiring you to need a root canal and bridge or crown to replace the now missing part of your tooth.
- Avoiding the use of a mouth guard – If you play any type of sport that could put your teeth at risk, you need to wear a mouth guard to prevent chips. This is true for any type of sport aside from the obvious, like football and wrestling. A mouth guard should also be worn during basketball, hockey, lacrosse, and racquetball.
- Oral piercings – Your mouth was not meant to be pierced. If you pierce your tongue or lip, the jewelry will cause excessive wear and tear on your enamel and even put your teeth at risk for chips or breakage depending on the type of jewelry you wear and its exact location.
- Grinding your teeth – If you have bruxism, otherwise known as teeth grinding, you could cause wear and tear on your teeth, making them weak over time. Eventually, your teeth could start to break because they can only withstand a certain amount of pressure. In order to avoid this, you should find out the reason why you grind your teeth as well as the appropriate measures to stop it, such as wearing a mouth guard or having orthodontic treatment to straighten your teeth.
If you are guilty of any of the above habits, it is time to pay close attention to your dental health. You only get one chance at your permanent teeth, which means if you damage them, you are subjected to artificial teeth or various cosmetic dental procedures to enhance the teeth that are left. Use the appropriate tools and avoid putting things in your mouth that do not belong in order to ensure optimal oral health for many years to come.