Posts for: January, 2017
It takes only a short time neglecting your oral hygiene before you begin to notice some unpleasant things with your gums: swelling, redness or even bleeding. These are all signs of gingivitis, a periodontal (gum) disease that arises from bacterial plaque, a thin biofilm that builds up on tooth surfaces when a person doesn't brush or floss.
Fortunately, early stages of gingivitis can be treated effectively with comprehensive plaque removal during one or more office visits. If, however, it's not dealt with early, it can develop into something much more serious: acute necrotizing ulcerative gingivitis (ANUG). This form does more than leave you with unattractive teeth and gums and terrible breath — it could eventually cause you to lose your teeth.
ANUG is also known as trench mouth, a common ailment among front line World War I soldiers without access to proper dental care and hygiene. It's most prevalent today among individuals who are under a great deal of stress, not sleeping or eating well and haven't cleaned or properly cared for their teeth for an extended period of time. Tobacco smokers also seem more susceptible than non-smokers to the disease, perhaps because smoke dries the mouth and changes the bacterial environment.
Unlike common gingivitis, ANUG can be quite painful. In effect, the gum tissues begin to die (necrotize), especially the triangular peaks between teeth known as papillae. Besides the other symptoms of gingivitis, the tissues may become yellowish.
ANUG can be treated effectively. The first step is to relieve the symptoms of pain and inflammation through medication. The focus then shifts to treating the underlying cause, bacterial plaque. Besides plaque removal common in any treatment for gum disease, we may also need to initiate antibiotic therapy. Metronidazole is a common antibiotic that's been demonstrated effective against the specific bacterial strain associated with ANUG. We might also combine this with an antibacterial mouth rinse containing chlorhexidine.
The final step belongs to you: to keep ANUG or any other gum disease from reoccurring, it's important for you to adopt a daily regimen of brushing and flossing, along with regular dental visits for thorough teeth cleaning and checkups. Taking this proactive approach will help ensure you won't suffer from this painful and unattractive form of gingivitis again.
If you would like more information on acute gingivitis, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can also learn more about this topic by reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “Painful Gums in Teens & Adults.”
There are a number of cosmetic dental procedures that can give you the smile you want. Procedures such as Invisalign, dental implants, veneers, sealants and teeth whitening can all dramatically improve the appearance of your teeth and your smile. A dentist who specializes in cosmetic dentistry can help you determine which procedures will best suit your needs. At Norwich Aesthetic Dentistry, Dr. Edward Yates, is your Norwich, CT, cosmetic dentistry expert.
Invisalign is a modern alternative to traditional metal braces for straightening teeth. Instead of metal brackets and wires, Invisalign uses clear trays made of soft plastic. Since the trays are clear, they are practically invisible. Additionally, unlike metal braces, which are glued or cemented onto the teeth, Invisalign trays are removable. Patients can remove the clear trays when eating to prevent food particles from getting stuck. The trays can also be removed when brushing and flossing, making it easier to thoroughly clean teeth.
Dental implants replace missing teeth and their roots. Unlike other tooth replacement options, like dentures, dental implants are permanently affixed in place and will not come loose or slip out of place. There are three parts to a dental implant: implant, abutment and crown. The implant serves as the tooth’s root and is drilled into the jawbone below the gum line. The crown serves as a replacement tooth and sits above the gum line. The abutment joins the two together and is not visible once everything has been installed.
Veneers are thin covers attached to the front surface of a tooth to conceal chips, stains and other imperfections. Dental veneers are typically made from porcelain or plastic that is color matched to a patient’s surrounding teeth so that the veneers blend in. Veneers are custom made for each patient by taking a mold of the patient’s teeth. When the veneers are ready, they are applied to the teeth with a permanent dental adhesive so that they will not fall off. Once installed, veneers look just like natural teeth
Another cosmetic dentistry option in Norwich is a dental sealant. A dental sealant is a clear thin coating that is applied to the surfaces of molars or the back teeth. The sealant functions as a protective cover that prevents food particles from getting stuck in the grooves of teeth, which would ultimately lead to tooth decay.
Professional teeth whitening is an excellent method for brightening up teeth that have become dull, discolored or stained. In as little as one or two professional treatments, patients can achieve the desired level of whitening. Further, results can last for several years before additional treatments are needed.
There are many cosmetic dentistry procedures available to correct a variety of dental problems. Some patients need just one specific procedure, while others can benefit from undergoing several cosmetic dentistry procedures. Dr. Yates is your cosmetic dentistry expert in Norwich, CT. To schedule an appointment with him, contact Norwich Aesthetic Dentistry at (860) 889-6445.
Is having good oral hygiene important to kissing? Who's better to answer that question than Vivica A. Fox? Among her other achievements, the versatile actress won the “Best Kiss” honor at the MTV Movie Awards, for a memorable scene with Will Smith in the 1996 blockbuster Independence Day. When Dear Doctor magazine asked her, Ms. Fox said that proper oral hygiene was indeed essential. Actually, she said:
"Ooooh, yes, yes, yes, Honey, 'cause Baby, if you kiss somebody with a dragon mouth, my God, it's the worst experience ever as an actor to try to act like you enjoy it!"
And even if you're not on stage, it's no fun to kiss someone whose oral hygiene isn't what it should be. So what's the best way to step up your game? Here's how Vivica does it:
“I visit my dentist every three months and get my teeth cleaned, I floss, I brush, I just spent two hundred bucks on an electronic toothbrush — I'm into dental hygiene for sure.”
Well, we might add that you don't need to spend tons of money on a toothbrush — after all, it's not the brush that keeps your mouth healthy, but the hand that holds it. And not everyone needs to come in as often every three months. But her tips are generally right on.
For proper at-home oral care, nothing beats brushing twice a day for two minutes each time, and flossing once a day. Brushing removes the sticky, bacteria-laden plaque that clings to your teeth and causes tooth decay and gum disease — not to mention malodorous breath. Don't forget to brush your tongue as well — it can also harbor those bad-breath bacteria.
While brushing is effective, it can't reach the tiny spaces in between teeth and under gums where plaque bacteria can hide. But floss can: That's what makes it so important to getting your mouth really clean.
Finally, regular professional checkups and cleanings are an essential part of good oral hygiene. Why? Because even the most dutiful brushing and flossing can't remove the hardened coating called tartar that eventually forms on tooth surfaces. Only a trained health care provider with the right dental tools can! And when you come in for a routine office visit, you'll also get a thorough checkup that can detect tooth decay, gum disease, and other threats to your oral health.
Bad breath isn't just a turn-off for kissing — It can indicate a possible problem in your mouth. So listen to what award-winning kisser Vivica Fox says: Paying attention to your oral hygiene can really pay off! For more information, contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can read the entire interview with Vivica A. Fox in Dear Doctor's latest issue.