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Monday, July 17, 2017

Oral cancer: Why early detection is so important

Although thousands of Americans die every year from oral cancer, there is a high chance it can be cured if it is caught early enough.
Each year, more than 30,000 Americans are diagnosed with oral cancer and only half of those diagnosed survive more than five years.
But nowadays, dentists have the skills and tools to ensure that early signs of cancer and pre-cancerous conditions are identified.
If it is caught early, there is a much higher chance that, with your dentists help, you could win a battle against oral cancer.
The key is to know the early signs and see your dentist regularly.
Oral cancer often starts as a tiny, unnoticed white or red spot or sore anywhere in the mouth.
It can affect any area of the oral cavity including the lips, gum tissue, cheek lining, tongue or the palate.
Other signs include:
– A sore that bleeds easily or does not heal
– A change in the color of the oral tissues
– A lump, thickening, rough spot, crust or small eroded area
– Pain, tenderness, or numbness anywhere in the mouth or on the lips
– Difficulty chewing, swallowing, speaking or moving the jaw or tongue
– A change in the way the teeth fit together
Oral Cancer most often occurs in those who use any form of tobacco. Smoking combined with alcohol use greatly increases the risk.
However, oral cancer which is most likely to strike after age 40 can occur in people who do not smoke and have no other known risk factors.
Diets with a lot of fruits and vegetables may help prevent its development.
Oral cancer screening is a routine part of a dental examination so regular checkups with an examination of the entire mouth are essential in the early detection of cancerous and pre-cancerous conditions.

Thursday, July 6, 2017

What dentists are doing to improve services for older adults

As people are living longer and enjoying good health for many years, dentists are increasingly offering improved services to recognize the special needs of older adults.
This growing segment of the population is wearing fewer dentures and they are keeping their natural teeth longer. They are also concerned to maintain good health and a great smile for many years.
However, patients in this group sometimes require special consideration because reduced mobility and dexterity may make daily oral hygiene difficult.
And certain medical conditions and impairment may make them more anxious when visiting the dentist.
For example, problems with vision or hearing loss may cause worry. Always let the dentist and staff know if you have any concerns so that they can adjust their treatment and their pace to meet your needs.
Older patients can sometimes put up with problems such as toothaches, bleeding gums and clicking dentures because they are not aware of the wide range of treatments and techniques now available.
Dentists are increasingly sensitive to the special needs of and the importance of dental health in the older patient.
As many older patients are more health conscious than ever before, regular visits to the dentist ensure their oral health is an important part of their overall health.

Monday, June 26, 2017

Tips on choosing the best dentist for you

Choosing the right dentist for your needs is one way to give you the best chance of maximizing your oral health.
If you don’t already have a dentist – or want to find one better suited to your needs – here are a few points to consider.
– Get recommendations from family, friends, neighbors or co-workers
– Ask your physician or a local pharmacist
– If you are moving to a different area, ask your current dentist for recommendations in your new location
– Contact the local or state dental society
You can also use Yellow Pages or the American Dental Association directory at www.ADA.org.
Effective dental care depends on a great relationship between the dentist and the patient so you may want to visit more than one before making your decision.
To help decide if a dentist is right for you, consider:
Is the office easy to get to from your home or job?
Are the staff helpful and friendly?
Does the office appear to be clean, tidy and well organized?
Is the appointment schedule convenient for you?
What arrangements are made for handling emergencies outside of office hours?
Does it cater for any special needs you have?
As you’ll need to work closely with your dentist in caring for your oral health, it’s worth taking time to ask questions and take notes to make sure you choose the right one for your needs.

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

How braces help both children and adults

Crowded or crooked teeth known as malocclusion not only spoil your smile, they also increase your risk of dental health problems.
Corrective procedures and appliances such as braces straighten teeth and correct jaw alignment.
Malocclusions are often noticed around ages 6 12, when the adult teeth begin to erupt.
The process of straightening out teeth, known as orthodontic treatment, often begins between ages 8 and 14. The best results are obtained when a child begins treatment while they are still growing.
This means its a good idea for a child to have an orthodontic evaluation by age 7. At this stage, they have a mix of baby teeth and adult teeth.
Its possible for braces to work later and even in adults but there are many advantages in starting as soon as possible.
Your dentist will be able to spot problems with emerging teeth and jaw growth early on, while the primary teeth are present.
That's why regular dental examinations are important.
For adults, its not too late to correct problems such as crooked or crowded teeth, overbites, underbites, incorrect jaw position or jaw-joint disorders. The biological process involved in moving teeth is the same at any age.
The difference is that adult treatment takes a little longer than a child’s treatment. As an adult’s facial bones are no longer growing, certain corrections may not be accomplished with braces alone.
But, whatever your age, it’s never too late to improve your dental health and improve your smile.

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

How space maintainers help children have healthy teeth

Space maintainers can be crucial to the dental health of a child.
When a child loses a baby tooth early through decay or injury, the other teeth can shift and begin to fill the vacant space.
If this happens, the problem is that, when the permanent teeth emerge, there’s not enough room for them.
This can lead to crooked or crowded teeth and difficulties with chewing or speaking.
To prevent that, the dentist can insert a space maintainer.
This holds the space left by the lost tooth until the permanent tooth emerges.
Space maintainers might be a band or a temporary crown attached to one side of the space.
When the permanent tooth emerges, the dentist removes the device and protects the child’s future smile.

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

The power of panormaic x-rays

X-rays are extremely valuable for helping dentists identify issues that may not show up on normal oral examination.
The three most common types of dental X-rays are the bitewing, periapical and panoramic X-rays.
Panoramic X-rays give a broad overview of the entire mouth – supplying information about the teeth, upper and lower jawbone, sinuses, and other hard and soft tissues of the head and neck.
Unlike other X-rays, where the film is placed inside the patients mouth, the panoramic film is contained in a machine that moves around the patient’s head. So they are very easy to use.
Panoramic X-rays are often used to check wisdom teeth but they will also reveal deep cavities and gum disease. They are also useful to help patients with past or present jaw problems or those who require full or partial removable dentures, dental implants, or braces.
They can also be valuable in assisting people who are suspected of having oral cancer or have had recent trauma to the face or teeth.
Panoramic X-rays play an important role in thorough dental examinations and are recommended at least every five years or so for most patients.

Friday, June 2, 2017

How smoking affects your teeth

While the general effects of smoking on your health are well-known, it can also have significant effects on your oral health.
Here are some of the ways smoking can harm your oral health and hygiene:
– Oral Cancer
– Periodontal (gum) disease
– Delayed healing after a tooth extraction or other oral surgery
– Bad breath
– Stained teeth and tongue
– Diminished sense of taste and smell
Research suggests that smoking may be responsible for almost 75% of adult gum disease.
Tobacco products damage your gum tissue by affecting the attachment of bone and soft tissue to your teeth. One effect is receding gums which expose the tooth roots and increase your risk of tooth decay or to sensitivity to hot and cold in these unprotected areas.
Cigar smoking is equally a major risk and even smokeless tobacco products contain a variety of toxins associated with cancer. Smokeless tobacco can also irritate your gum tissue.
Giving up smoking will provide a significant boost to your oral health as well as giving you the chance to live longer.