That Ache May Not Be A Cavity

When a patient comes in because of a tooth ache, it’s most likely due to a cavity. However, in a number of cases, we find that other reasons are creating an ache that is not always INSIDE the tooth.

It’s not unusual for the first sign of gingivitis to be a sore feeling. Especially with back teeth, this can create the sensation of a deep ache.  Soreness may also be accompanied by some bleeding when brushing or flossing in the area. When caught early, you can combat gingivitis with a thorough oral hygiene cleaning and proper home care. If not resolved fully, however, gingivitis can develop into gum disease. This requires more time and expense to treat so catching this early is advantageous in a number of ways.

An ache can also be caused by gum recession. This is when the gums pull away from the base of the tooth, exposing sensitive, darker areas that are actually the tooth root. Because tooth roots don’t have the protective enamel like your teeth, these areas are much more sensitive. Gum recession can cause an ache (or sometime a ‘jolt’) when you eat or drink anything hot or cold. Receded gums also leave you more vulnerable to developing gum disease.

When gum tissue is exposed to irritants or harsh treatment, gum recession may occur.  Other causes may include brushing too rigorously, tooth grinding (which may ’tilt’ the tooth’s position), consumption of too much sugar or acidic foods and smoking. Overuse of mouthwash or over-the-counter tooth whiteners may also cause irritation leading to gums recession.

Typically, an examination of the gums will reveal signs of gum recession or the presence of gingivitis (or more advanced levels of gum disease).  If these indications are not present, you likely have a cavity, crack in the tooth or dead tooth nerve (which requires a root canal). An ‘x-ray’ (actually, we do digital imaging for a clearer view) will show precisely where the problem lies.

Regardless of the origin, the sooner you have the problem treated, the more you’ll save in time and treatment costs. Like Benjamin Franklin once said, “A stitch in time saves nine!”

An ache is your body’s warning signal that something is wrong. We’re here to help you enjoy a healthy confident smile regardless of your need. Begin with an exam and learn how you can avoid problems in the first place! Call toll free 1-866-9-Smiles.

Denture Price Tag Keeps Many From Modern Alternative

For people who have worn dentures for years, the complaint is common. A denture that once fit well now moves when eating and causes embarrassing slips. Relines help for a time but the denture will slip again eventually. With modern advancements in dentistry, it’s not unusual to be asked why a better denture can’t be designed since the alternative is the more expensive option of Dental Implants. People want eating confidence and comfort but are lured by a denture’s lower price tag.

Trying to improve something like a denture reminds me of why people no longer wash clothes on a wash board. Even though this will accomplish the job much cheaper than a washing machine, the washing machine works more efficiently and is more practical for today’s fabrics.

The reality is dentures aren’t a good substitute for natural teeth. While they may seem better than no teeth at all, denture wearers actually endure all sorts of problems. Some of these problems are familiar to most denture wearers and others are not.

A major problem of denture wearers is the unstable fit. This is the result of the ever-decreasing jaw bone that once held natural tooth roots. Without tooth roots to stimulate the jaw bone, the bone begins to shrink, or “resorb.” The pressure from wearing dentures actually accelerates this process. When denture wearers sleep in their dentures, bone loss occurs on a 24/7 rate from the constant pressure on the jaw bone.

This is the reason you see a “granny look” on long-time denture wearers. This is when the face has a collapsed look and the chin takes on a pointed shape. Jowls form as facial muscles become detached. The entire face appears far older than the actual years of the person.

Another challenge is the difficulty in eating a healthy diet with dentures. When dentures do not fit securely due to bone loss, the constant rubbing and discomfort causes the person to opt for a soft diet of foods that dissolve easily in the mouth. These foods often lack protein and fiber. They may bypass fresh, vitamin rich fruits and vegetables along with crunchy nuts, seeded berries and delicious meats that are important to good health as well as eating satisfaction.

Not only is what you eat necessary to maintaining good health, being able to chew thoroughly and comfortably is important. We all know that digestion begins in the mouth. It is a fact that denture wearers experience a higher level of gastrointestinal problems than non-denture wearers and take more medications.

In our society, food is the centerpiece of many social occasions. Being socially active is an important part of our happiness level and overall well-being. People who are not comfortable eating or speaking because of unstable dentures often find themselves declining invitations because they fear embarrassing moments.

No matter how many advancements are made in the construction of dentures, they are simply outdated. No denture adhesive or paste and no reline will ever make a denture a good substitute for natural teeth – and certainly not a good value considering they only make matters worse by contributing to bone loss. Dental advancements have focused on implant dentistry because they provide a dependable, reliable means of tooth replacement that makes more sense.

The options in today’s implant dentistry are many. There are variations in systems at many levels and treatment costs. Learn the options best for your needs during a free Consultation. Call toll free 1-866-9-Smiles to arrange a time.

Migraines May Stem From TMJ & Bite Problems

For people who suffer with  migraines, the problem seems to impact many aspects of work, life at home, and interaction with friends and family. Like any chronic pain (pain that has a consistent presence), migraines are among the top 20 disabling illnesses, according to the World Health Organization.

June is Migraine Awareness Month. This is a good time to consider the causes and treatment for a health issue that affects about 12% of the population and costs more than $20 billion a year in medical expenses and lost productivity from work.

Let’s first look at the symptoms that make for a true migraine: pain that causes you to miss work or other activities; head pain that lasts longer than 4 hours; pain that seems unbearable; being sensitive to light, odors and/or noise; pain that causes nausea or vomiting; throbbing head pain that is often located on one side of the head; and, pain that seems to worsen with any movement or physical activity.

While there is no ‘cure’ for migraines, they can be resolved by finding their origin and making proper adjustments. Rather than throw drugs or unending therapy at the problem, migraine pain may be stopped in its tracks by a dentist trained in NeuroMuscular Dentistry.

A NeuroMuscular Dentist has extensive training in the complex integration of head and neck muscles, jaw joint alignment, facial structure and muscles, bite alignment and the harmonious function necessary for all components. Without unity in function, stress and strain, over time, can evolve into reactions such as frequent headaches and migraines.

This source of migraine pain actually makes perfect sense, although many sufferers never associate their problem with muscular strain or jaw joints. Yet, when you consider the imbalance that can result, it is a logical solution for many.

Think about it – if one leg is shorter than the other, you may not be aware of the stress this creates for the hip joints or back muscles. Eventually, lower back pain or pain in the hip joints or knees may seem to emerge out of nowhere. Although your body had altered your gait for many years, the wear and tear will make its presence known over time.

We often see migraine sufferers who’ve spent years, and thousands of dollars, going from doctor to doctor seeking relief. Yet, using sophisticated diagnostic equipment and a unique understanding of the culprits that contribute to migraines, we often pinpoint the cause of migraines in one visit.

Occasionally, the solution is as simple as minor tooth reshaping to adjust bite alignment. In some cases, adjusting crown height or replacing improperly positioned dental restorations can solve the problem. Some patients need orthodontic realignment to adequately correct the disparity in bite alignment, which leads to jaw joint disorders and muscle strain.

We had one patient who traveled from North Carolina to seek successful treatment after enduring a decade of debilitating migraines. A day of testing revealed the problem, which was fully resolved within two weeks. I’ll always remember her words after treatment, “I woke up the next day without a headache for the first time in ten years. “

As a dentist, creating a better life for every patient is the most satisfying part of each day. I am just as pleased as our patients, whether it’s replacing lost teeth so an elderly man can eat comfortably again, creating a beautiful smile that reflects a mother-of-the-bride’s inner beauty, or helping a long-time migraine sufferer overcome chronic pain attributable to NeuroMuscular components.

If you suffer from migraines, you may have been prescribed medications that are costly and leave you drowsy and foggy. Or, you may be spending hours each month having physical therapy that provides only temporary relief. However, the solution may be just a phone call away – to a NeuroMuscular dentist!

Begin with a free consultation. During this time, we’ll discuss your headache and migraine history. I’ll explain our diagnosis process and answer your questions thoroughly so you can decide how you wish to proceed. Although NeuroMuscular dentistry is not the solution for every migraine sufferer, it IS the final step for the majority of patients we’ve seen in overcoming frequent headaches and debilitating migraines – for good!

Call toll free 1-866-9-Smiles to schedule your free consultation.

How Dental Fear Leads To MORE Dental Fear

For people who have a fear of dogs, many can’t explain why it hangs on, even after being exposed to many docile, friendly dogs. They may know how it originated but are unaware of why it remains so strong after many years. When these people find themselves in unexpected situations with dogs, this can even accentuate their fear.

This is also the case for adults with dental fear or dental phobia. When fear causes patients to avoid regular dental care, they often end up forced into treatment because of an emergency need. These visits are typically more complex procedures that require lengthy time in the chair.  This simply reinforces their fears rather than motivates them into regular care to prevent problems in the first place.

Unfortunately, dental fear is widespread. An estimated 75% of adults in the U.S. experience some level of dental fear. Approximately 5 – 10% can be classified as dental phobics. These are people who are so fearful they seek dental care only when an emergency occurs.

Regular dental check-ups can help patients avoid problems or resolve those that occur while treatment needs are minimal. However, because dental fear can be as uncontrollable as shivering in the cold, we understand their needs are unique.

Many high fear patients begin their care while relaxing with Oral Sedation. This provides a totally serene state and eliminates most (or all) memory of treatment afterwards. I.V. Sedation (twilight sleep) is also available for those who desire a deeper level of sedation. Throughout your treatment, you’ll be monitored by specially trained staff using advanced safety equipment.

In addition to a gentle touch, we utilize advanced technology to enhance comfort and reduce treatment time. While we make comfort a high priority for all patients, we are happy to pace treatment so it is comfortable for each individual.

Sadly, most dental fear is the result of a past encounter with a rushed, uncaring dentist. Fortunately, many of today’s dental offices are designed to create a positive, relaxing experience. In our office, we take pride in the many patients who have overcome their dental fears and are now relaxed throughout every visit.

Begin with a free Consultation. During this time, you can explain your dental history and concerns and I’ll answer your questions thoroughly. You CAN overcome dental fear and have a smile you love to share! Call toll free 1-866-9-Smiles to schedule a Consultation.