Posts for: March, 2015
If you’ve noticed a small sore in your mouth, it’s possible you have a non-contagious disease known as lichen planus. Although usually benign, it’s still a good idea to have it examined and monitored.
The condition is so named because its lesions are similar in appearance to lichen, the algae and fungi organism often found on rocks and trees. It’s believed to be a type of autoimmune disease, in which the body treats some of its own cells as foreign and reacts adversely to them. Certain medications and substances may also cause a lichenoid reaction. Besides the inner cheeks, gums or tongue, lichen planus may also appear on other skin or mucous surfaces on the wrists, legs or fingernails.
When it appears inside the mouth it usually resembles a lacy pattern of white lines or ulceration. Gum tissues may become red and inflamed, with some soreness after brushing or eating. Although there’s no known cure for lichen planus, it rarely causes serious problems — in fact, you may not even be aware you have the condition unless pointed out during a dental exam. It may, in time, fade away.
If the lesions do become bothersome (painful, itchy or overly-sensitive), there are some ways to ease discomfort: brushing with a soft toothbrush (to minimize irritation), flossing, and avoiding acidic or spicy foods and beverages which have been known to cause flare-ups. Managing stress is also helpful, and a topical steroid may be prescribed for more severe outbreaks.
Perhaps the greatest concern with lichen planus, though, is it may resemble more serious conditions, particularly oral cancer. The only way to be certain that it is a benign condition is to perform a biopsy on some of the affected tissue. If you notice a problem, be sure to visit us for a complete examination. And regardless of whether you have the condition or not, regular oral cancer screenings, as well as limits on alcohol consumption and stopping use of tobacco, will also reduce your risk of oral cancer.
Odds are if you have a case of lichen planus it isn’t causing you any problems. If it does cause you discomfort, though, you can take steps to ease your symptoms.
When Cat Cora is not doing battle as the first female chef on the Food Network's hit series Iron Chef America, she is busy caring for the needs of her four active young sons. This includes monitoring the food they eat and their oral hygiene habits.
The busy chef, restaurateur, author, philanthropist and television personality recently revealed in an interview with Dear Doctor magazine that it all started when her four sons were little. She got rid of bottles and sippy cups as soon as possible to prevent tooth decay. She also started exposing her boys to a wide variety of spices and foods when they were infants — for example, by putting cinnamon in their baby cereal. Cat limits the amount of sugar in their diet by using fruit puree in baked goods and BBQ sauces, or the natural sugar substitute Stevia. Furthermore, Cat reports, “my kids have never had fast food.”
Cat is right on target with her approach to her children's oral health. In fact, we are often asked, when is the right time to schedule a child's first dental appointment? Our answer surprises some people — especially those expecting their first child.
The ideal time to take your child to the dentist is around age 1. Why so young? A baby's first visit to the dentist sets the stage for lifelong oral health. Besides, tooth decay can start very early. Baby Bottle Tooth Decay (BBTD), as the name suggests, impacts children who often go to sleep sipping a bottle filled with a liquid containing natural or added sugars, such as formula, fruit juice or a fruity drink mix. Another condition, Early Childhood Caries (ECC), is often found in children who continuously use sippy cups (again, filled with sugary liquids), children who breast feed at will throughout the night, children who use a sweetened pacifier, and children who regularly take sugar-based oral medicine to treat chronic illness.
To learn more about this topic, continue reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “Age One Dental Visit.” Or you can contact us today to schedule an appointment. And to read the entire interview with Cat Cora, please see the article “Cat Cora.”
If you are missing one or more teeth, your smile may be suffering in more ways than one. You may have difficulty chewing, or even speaking. But removable dentures can offer an affordable solution to help restore your smile and your bite.
What are Removable Dentures?
Removable dentures are replacement teeth fixed onto a plastic base. The dentures can either be partial, when you still have natural teeth in your mouth, or full dentures, when you need to replace all your teeth. Unlike implants or bridges, dentures are removable for easy cleaning and storage.
Advantages of Removable Dentures
Removable dentures are one of the most inexpensive ways to replace missing teeth. The removable denture restores function to your mouth and can also help preserve the contour of your face. Custom dentures can be made and worn within a few weeks of your first dental visit, which helps you smile and chew sooner.
What To Expect with Dentures
When you first receive your denture, you may need several fittings and adjustments before it will feel exactly right. This is normal. It may take some time to get used to eating with your new denture. Start with smaller bites and softer food. As you become accustomed to the feeling of your denture, you may move on to more complex foods.
Caring for your Removable Denture
Your denture will be durable but could break or crack if not handled properly. When removing and handling your denture, always place a towel under your work surface in case you drop your denture. Always clean your dentures daily with a toothbrush and a toothpaste specially formulated to clean dentures. Take care not to use abrasive cleaners on the dentures and make sure to keep your dentures in a denture bath overnight.
If you're missing teeth or if your dentist feels that you need to have teeth removed, talk to them about a removable denture to help restore your smile and bite. Be sure to use a dentist who specializes in dentures. Linden Dental, P.A. of Naples, FL offers several types of dentures to meet your individual needs. Schedule an appointment today to find out if removable dentures are right for you!