Oral Cancer

Every year, approximately 35,000 Americans are diagnosed with oral cancer, a largely preventable form of cancer affecting the mouth and/or part of the throat.  Many oral cancers are related to alcohol use, the use of tobacco products, or both.  Drinking alcohol only in moderation and avoiding all tobacco products can help reduce your risk of developing this serious disease.

Early detection of oral cancer is very important as oral cancer can spread quickly if it is not treated. It is very important to communicate with your Physician or Dentist if you notice continued changes in your mouth or throat.   A thorough oral cancer exam performed by a qualified Dentist can identify the early signs of oral cancer.

The following can be signs at the beginning of a pathological process or cancerous growth:

  • Reddish or whitish patches in the mouth
  • A sore that fails to heal and bleeds easily
  • A lump or thickening on the skin lining inside the mouth
  • Chronic sore throat or hoarseness
  • Difficulty in chewing or swallowing

If you experience any of these warning signs, you should notify your Physician or your Dentist immediately.

Facial and/or oral pain without an obvious cause or reason can be a warning sign of oral cancer, however, it is important to note that pain does not always occur with pathology, and is often not associated with oral cancer. Many Dentists perform an Oral Cancer screening as part of your regular dental exams.  You may also request an oral cancer screening from you Dentist or Physician.

Posted on the Behalf of Pure Dental Health.

Periodontal Disease

According to the most recent (1999-2004) National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES), 8.52% of American adults aged 20-64 have periodontal (gum) disease.  Periodontal disease involves a chronic bacterial infection that destroys the tissues that support the teeth including the gums, the periodontal ligaments and the tooth sockets (alveolar bone).  If left untreated, periodontal disease can lead to serious dental health problems.  In fact, periodontal disease is the most common cause of tooth loss among adults.

Many cases of periodontal disease are the result of poor oral hygiene and inadequate brushing and flossing.  Smoking or using other types of tobacco products is also a significant risk factor for developing periodontal disease.  Finally, general illness, pregnancy, and uncontrolled diabetes can also increase your risk for developing gum disease.

The symptoms of periodontal disease include the following:

  • Bleeding gums
  • Bright red or purple appearance to gums
  • Gums that are tender when touched
  • Mouth sores
  • Swollen gums
  • Shiny appearance to gums

Treatment for periodontal disease ranges from professional deep cleaning and medications to oral surgery, depending on the severity.  Getting regular dental check-ups, brushing and flossing daily, and eliminating smoking and tobacco use are the best defense against periodontal disease.

If you are experiencing any of the symptoms above, or if you think you might have periodontal disease, it is important to be seen by a qualified Dentist as soon as possible.  An experienced Dentist can examine your mouth and teeth and determine if you are suffering from periodontal disease.  If so, he or she can develop a plan to eliminate the infection and prevent further damage to your teeth and gums.

Posted on the Behalf of Pure Dental Health.


Alternatives to Traditional Braces

If you want straighter, more attractive teeth but you don’t want to spend the time it takes for traditional braces to work, you are not alone.  Traditional braces and clear trays like Invisalign can take years.  This is not an attractive option for many adults.  But what are the alternatives?

If you want to improve the appearance of your smile and don’t need major bite changes, porcelain veneers may be an option.  Porcelain veneers are very thin porcelain shells that are laminated to a tooth to create a new surface. The thin, custom-made pieces of porcelain are permanently bonded to the front surface of a tooth to restore or improve the tooth’s position. If done well, they can dramatically improve a person’s smile and overall facial appearance.

Six-month braces are another option for patients who desire straighter, more attractive teeth but do not want to go through the time involved with traditional braces.  With six-month braces, patients can get the esthetic, straightened look that they desire in just six months.  This can be achieved by mainly focusing on correcting just the teeth in the front and not making major changes to your bite.  The system is similar to traditional braces but uses white wire and white brackets.  Six-month braces are the fastest way to achieve the straightened look you desire without doing veneers.

Many cosmetic dental practices offer both porcelain veneers and six-month braces.  If you want a straighter more attractive smile, but do not want traditional braces, contact a qualified cosmetic Dentist in your area to get more information about these procedures and how they may benefit you.

Posted on the Behalf of Pure Dental Health.

Dental Emergencies

It is Friday afternoon and you fall and break one of your teeth.  You have an important social event to attend on Saturday night.  What do you do?  Do you cancel your event and hide out at home for the entire weekend until you can get to a dental office to have your tooth fixed on Monday?  Or maybe you have a throbbing toothache and a weekend full of activities planned with the kids.  They simply will not understand why you cannot attend their championship soccer game.

Unfortunately, dental emergencies have a way of occurring at the most inopportune times.  Dental emergencies such as cracked or broken teeth, lost fillings, loose implants and throbbing toothaches can really throw a kink in our plans.  For most of us, waiting until a dental appointment can be scheduled is a not a good option.  When dental emergencies occur, we want help now!

To respond to this need, some progressive dental practices are changing the way they practice.  By offering same day appointments and extended hours, these practices enable patients with dental emergencies to get the care they need right away.  Extended hours also allow working professionals to get the dental care they need without taking precious time away from work.  This can save patients both time and money!

Before you choose a Dentist, it is important to find out how his/her practice handles dental emergencies and whether or not they offer extended hours to accommodate working professionals.  If you do this research ahead of time, you will be in a better position if you experience a dental emergency.

Posted on the Behalf of Pure Dental Health.

Dental Phobia and Oral Health

Many Americans suffer from fear of the Dentist or dental phobia. Dental phobias can rage in severity from mild anxiety to full-scale panic attacks.  Fear of the Dentist may stem from prior painful or negative experiences, feeling embarrassed about neglecting your teeth, feeling helpless or out of control in a dental office situation or some other reason.  Whatever the reason, dental phobia causes many patients to avoid getting regular and needed dental care.  This can lead to a host of serious oral health problems including tooth decay, tooth infections, gum disease and even tooth loss.

Seeing a Dentist regularly and practicing good hygiene at home can help to prevent problems such as tooth decay, tooth infections and gum disease.  However, if any of these problems do occur, it is equally important to get the appropriate dental treatment as soon as possible.  Failing to treat decayed teeth or infected teeth and gums can lead to more serious and painful dental problems such as further tooth decay, abscesses and tooth loss.  Often times, patients with dental phobia will only visit the Dentist when they are in extreme pain.  By this time, a problem that could have been easily prevented or handled with a simple procedure such as a filling may require more a more serious procedure such as a root canal or an extraction.

If you suffer from dental phobia, there are several things you can do to make the experience of going to the Dentist less stressful.  The first is to find a qualified Dentist who understands dental phobia and provides compassionate dental care in a warm and caring environment.  You many also want to find a Dentist who offers Sedation Dentistry.  Sedation Dentistry involves administering oral sedative medications to keep patients relaxed and comfortable during dental procedures.  Some Dentists are highly trained to provide this type of Sedation in a traditional dental office setting.

Don’t risk your oral health by avoiding the Dentist.  If you have not been to a Dentist in a while or if you are experiencing dental pain, make an appointment with a qualified Dentist in your local area today.

Posted on the Behalf of Pure Dental Health.

Your Smile and Your Appearance

Your smile is one of your biggest assets and has a great affect on your overall appearance.  Your smile is often the first thing people notice upon meeting you, and a healthy, attractive smile creates a great first impression!  This can be useful in a variety of social interactions including job interviews, first dates, business presentations, business meetings, sales calls and more.  However, not everyone is lucky enough to be born with a perfect smile.  Crooked, chipped, broken, discolored or misaligned teeth can negatively affect the appearance of your smile leaving you feeling less confident about your overall appearance.  The good news is that advances in Cosmetic Dentistry now make it possible for virtually everyone to have the smile of their dreams.

Bonding, shaping and porcelain veneers are all cosmetic dental procedures that can be used to improve the appearance of teeth that are broken, chipped, discolored or misaligned.  These advanced procedures require the expertise of an experienced cosmetic Dentist and can have a dramatic effect on the appearance of your smile.

Teeth whitening is a popular cosmetic dental procedure that can be used to whiten teeth that have become stained and/or discolored due to age, foods and beverages such as coffee or red wine.  Many cosmetic dental offices offer custom trays that can be used at home with a whitening solution supplied by the Dentist.  Although over-the-counter tooth whitening kits are available, whitening your teeth under the supervision of a cosmetic Dentist is a good idea.  A qualified cosmetic Dentist can help ensure that your teeth are whitened both safely and effectively.

If you have crooked teeth but do not need a major bite change, you may be a candidate for six-month braces.  This procedure differs from traditional braces in that the it uses clear braces and tooth colored wires and only takes from four to nine months to improve the appearance of your smile.  Most patients finish this treatment within six months.

You don’t have to live with an unattractive smile.  If the appearance of your smile is negatively affecting your overall appearance as well as your confidence, schedule a consultation with an experienced, qualified Cosmetic Dentist in your area.  You will be glad you did!

Posted on the behalf of Pure Dental Health.