Bite Problems and Your Dental Health

We know that bite problems can negatively affect the appearance of your smile but did you know that a malocclusion or misaligned bite can also cause a variety of dental health problems?  It is more than just a cosmetic problem.  When your bite is not properly aligned, it can lead to problems with the Temporomandibular Joint (TMJ) which can lead to severe headaches, ear pain and more.  A misaligned bite can also cause excess wear on your teeth, ultimately leading to tooth breakage and failure. In addition, when teeth are not properly aligned, they can be harder to clean.  This leaves room for bacteria to get in and cause problems such as gum disease and tooth decay.  So, what can be done about this serious problem?

There are a variety of treatments that can be used to treat a malocclusion or misaligned bite including night guards, tooth reshaping, orthodontics (braces and retainers), and tooth replacement or reconstruction.  The first step is to visit your dentist so that he or she can correctly diagnose the problem with your bite and then recommend the most appropriate treatment.

In most cases, your dentist will perform a physical evaluation of your teeth and will also use dental x-rays to evaluate your bite.  An underbite occurs when the lower teeth project beyond the upper teeth.  An overbite occurs when the upper teeth severely overlap the lower teeth.  A crossbite occurs when there is a lateral misalignment of the upper and lower arches of the teeth.  Each of these types of malocclusions can cause serious dental health issues.

If you are experiencing symptoms such as dizziness, ear pain or chronic headaches, or, if you have noticed undo wear and tear on the surfaces of your teeth where the teeth of the upper and lower arch meet, you may have a malocclusion or bite problem.  Schedule an appointment with your dentist today so he or she can correctly diagnose and treat the problem to protect your long-term dental health.

Posted on Behalf of Dr. Justin Scott, Pure Dental Health
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Replacing Missing Teeth

Are you feeling self conscious about your smile due to missing teeth? Have missing teeth taken the joy out of mealtime for you?  Missing teeth can cause you to feel self conscious about your smile and can also make it difficult to chew and speak correctly.  But did you know that a missing tooth or several missing teeth in your mouth can compromise the health of your remaining teeth?  This is because spaces left by missing teeth leave a place where bacteria can become trapped and this can lead to periodontal disease.  Also, when a tooth is missing, the teeth in the mouth will shift to fill the space and this can lead to bite problems.  Lastly, missing teeth can lead to irreversible bone loss in the jaw.

For all of the reasons listed above, it is very important to replace missing teeth.  There are a variety of different methods that can be used to replace missing teeth including dentures, a partial denture, a bridge and dental implant supported crowns, bridges or dentures.  Your dentist can recommend the best method for you, taking into consideration your lifestyle, your medical history and your budget.

There is no question that dental implants are the gold standard when it comes to replacing missing teeth.  However, this option is also the most expensive option of all tooth replacement solutions.  Dental implants provide a fixed, long-term solution to missing teeth that provide for replacement teeth that look and feel like natural teeth.  They also allow for replacement teeth that function like natural teeth.  For this reason, many patients choose to invest in this more expensive treatment.

Dental implants can be used to replace one, several or all of your teeth, or to add stability to your dentures.   The process involves attaching titanium screws permanently to the jawbone and then topping them with a crown or attachment.  Most patients with missing teeth are candidates for this advanced and highly effective tooth replacement system.

If missing teeth are destroying your confidence and negatively affecting you quality of life, talk to your dentist about dental implants today.

Posted on Behalf of Dr. Justin Scott, Pure Dental Health
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Calming Dental Fears With Sedation Dentistry

Do your palms sweat when you think about visiting the dentist?  Does your heart race?  Have you avoided getting needed dental care in the past due to dental fears and anxiety associated with visiting the dentist?  If so, you may be suffering from a dental phobia.  Studies have shown that a high percentage of the population has some level of fear or anxiety associated with visiting the dentist.  However, for most people, this fear does not prevent us from getting the dental treatment we need.  For a small percentage of the population, the fear and anxiety is so severe that it makes it very uncomfortable or even impossible to get the dental care they need to maintain good oral health.

Fortunately, Sedation Dentistry provides a good solution for patients with severe dental phobias.  It can also be a good option for patients who have a severe gag reflex, have trouble getting numb or are allergic to anesthetic medications.  Sedation Dentistry is also used for patients with developmental disabilities, medical problems or other issues that make it difficult to receive dental care.

There are a variety of different types of sedative medications that can be used in dentistry.  One of the most common forms is inhaled Nitrous Oxide (also known as laughing gas).  This form of sedation does not put you to sleep but causes a euphoric sensation.  One of the biggest advantages of laughing gas is the fact that it wears of very quickly once it is ceased and does not cause any after effects.  Oral sedatives are another form of sedation that can be used in dentistry, in the dental office setting.  Once administered, these oral medications produce a sleep-like state, but do not cause you to become unconscious.  You can still follow simple commands.  You may or may not remember anything about the time that you were under the oral sedative medications.  Intravenous sedative medications are another type of sedation that can be used in dentistry, however, this type is typically reserved for the most severe cases or in cases where several procedures are performed in one dental visit.

If a dental phobia is making your dental experience unpleasant or is preventing you from seeking needed dental care, talk to a certified sedation dentist in your local area today.

Posted on Behalf of Dr. Justin Scott, Pure Dental Health

 
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Do Sealants Really Work in Preventing Cavities?

If you have children and they are under the care of a dentist, you have probably heard of dental sealants.  Dental sealants are one component of a preventive dental health plan and are designed to prevent tooth decay (cavities) on the chewing surfaces of the teeth in the back of the mouth.  But do they really work in preventing cavities?  Research shows that they do.

A dental sealant is a thin, plastic coating that is painted on the chewing surfaces of the teeth in the back of the mouth (molars and premolars) to prevent tooth decay.  After it is applied, the sealant quickly bonds to the depressions and grooves of the teeth and forms a protective shield over the tooth’s enamel.  This protective shield serves to seal out plaque and food, the two major causes of tooth decay.  Typically, sealants are used on children.  Most children get sealants on their permanent molars and premolars as soon as these teeth come in. That way, the sealants can protect the teeth through the cavity-prone years of ages 6 to 14. In some cases, sealants can also be used for adults.  Adults without decay or fillings in their molars can also benefit from sealants.

While sealants are effective in preventing tooth decay in the molars and premolars, they do not take the place of good dental hygiene.  Thorough daily brushing and flossing is still needed to prevent cavities from developing.  In addition to sealants, fluoride treatments are also used to strengthen teeth and make them more resistant to decay.

If you would like to get more information about dental sealants or to find out if you are a candidate for this preventive dental treatment, talk to your dentist today.

Posted on Behalf of Dr. Justin Scott, Pure Dental Health
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What Do My Red and Swollen Gums Mean?

Are your gums red and swollen. Do they bleed easily when brushing or flossing your teeth. Are they pulling away from your teeth and exposing the roots? All these things are signs of periodontal disease: a chronic infection of the tissues and bone supporting your teeth. If not treated properly, periodontal disease can lead to serious dental health problems, including tooth loss. In fact, periodontal disease is currently the most common reason for tooth loss. So, what should you do?

If you have the symptoms above, it is important for you to see your dentist as soon as possible. He or she can properly diagnose the problem and recommend the most appropriate treatment based on the severity of the infection. If you have mild periodontal disease (Gingivitis), your dentist may recommend a professional cleaning and/or an anti-microbial rinse. If your disease is more advanced, he or she may recommend scaling and root planing. This is a very deep cleaning process that can be used to remove harmful bacteria from below your gum line. If your periodontal disease is extremely advanced (periodontitis), your dentist may prescribe stronger anti-microbial medications or recommend surgery.

Since periodontal disease is progressive in nature, it is important to diagnose it and treat it as soon as possible. Ignoring the signs of periodontal disease will only lead to more serious dental health problems. The best way to treat periodontal disease is to prevent it from occurring in the first place. This can be done by practicing good daily oral hygiene including thorough brushing and flossing. However, certain factors such as smoking and pregnancy can put you more at risk for periodontal disease. Smokers and women who are pregnant may need to visit the dentist more often for professional dental cleanings to prevent periodontal disease. For more information about preventing periodontal disease and the available treatments, talk to your dentist today.

Posted on Behalf of Dr. Justin Scott, Pure Dental Health
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Have You Skipped Your Regular Dental Checkup?

Have you skipped your regular dental checkup?  If so, you are not alone.  In fact, in a Gallup poll conducted in 2013, one third of Americans said they did not visit the dentist at all in the past year.  This is unfortunate because regular dental visits provide an opportunity for your dentist to spot oral health problems early on when treatment is likely to be simpler and more affordable.  That is why the American Dental Association (ADA) recommends visiting your dentist regularly:  every six months for most people.  However, if you have dental health problems such as periodontal disease or tooth decay, you may need to visit the dentist more frequently.

The same Gallup poll showed that women are more likely to visit the dentist than men.  It also found marked differences between different age groups and races.  For example, fifty-five percent of both African Americans and Hispanics reported visiting the dentist at least once during the last year while the percentage of whites and Asians was seventy.  Adults between the ages of eighteen and twenty-nine were the least likely to have visited the dentist during the last year.  Interestingly, married adults are more likely to visit the dentist than single adults.  Perhaps the most dramatic differences in dental habits were among the different income groups.  This makes sense because access to care is mainly determined by financial resources and/or employer provided dental insurance.  Those who earn $120,000 or more annually are about twice as likely as those who earn $12,000.00 or less to visit the dentist each year.

The bottom line is that getting regular dental care including visiting your dentist for regularly scheduled dental cleanings and exams is very important.  Getting good dental care now can prevent you from needing more costly and painful dental care in the future.  If you skipped your last dental appointment, call and schedule an appointment with your dentist today.

Posted on Behalf of Dr. Justin Scott, Pure Dental Health
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