Posts for: August, 2016
Do your gums bleed easily? Bleeding gums are one of the symptoms of gingivitis, the mildest form of gum disease. Although bleeding gums may seem like a minor inconvenience, ignoring this and other gum disease signs can be detrimental to your oral health. Richard Linden, D.D.S. and Maria Linden, D.D.S., your Naples, FL, dentists at Linden Dental, P.A., share a few signs that may indicate that you have the disease.
What are the signs and symptoms of gum disease?
Common gum disease signs and symptoms include:
- Red, bleeding or swollen gums
- Bad breath
- Pain when you chew
- Loose teeth or dentures
- Sensitive teeth
What happens if I ignore my symptoms?
Gum disease can eventually cause pockets to form in your gums. Pockets develop when your gums pull away from your teeth, creating openings that soon become filled with bacteria. If you don't treat gum disease, it can damage your jawbone and even cause tooth loss. Gum disease is linked to rheumatoid arthritis, heart disease, dementia, premature birth and diabetes. Scientists think that those problems occur when the bacteria in your gums travel to other parts of your body.
How can I prevent gum disease?
Removing plaque by brushing and flossing daily is very important. If plaque remains on your teeth, it will eventually turn into a hard deposit called tartar that can only be removed by special dental instruments. When tartar forms on the gum line, it can cause gum disease.
Visiting your dentist every six months for cleanings and examinations will help reduce your risk and ensure that you'll receive prompt treatment if you do show signs of the disease. Regular dental exams are particularly important if certain factors increase your risk of developing gum disease, such as if you smoke or have diabetes, HIV/AIDS, a compromised immune system, nutritional deficiencies or a family history of gum disease.
Reduce your gum disease risk by visiting your dentist every six months. Call Drs. Richard Linden and Maria Linden, your Naples, FL, dentists at Linden Dental, P.A., at (239) 593-0777 to schedule an appointment.
When Entertainment Tonight host Nancy O’Dell set out to teach her young daughter Ashby how to brush her teeth, she knew the surest path to success would be to make it fun for the toddler.
“The best thing with kids is you have to make everything a game,” Nancy recently said in an interview with Dear Doctor TV. She bought Ashby a timer in the shape of a tooth that ticks for two minutes — the recommended amount of time that should be spent on brushing — and the little girl loved it. “She thought that was super fun, that she would turn the timer on and she would brush her teeth for that long,” Nancy said.
Ashby was also treated to a shopping trip for oral-hygiene supplies with Mom. “She got to go with me and choose the toothpaste that she wanted,” Nancy recalled. “They had some SpongeBob toothpaste that she really liked, so we made it into a fun activity.”
Seems like this savvy mom is on to something! Just because good oral hygiene is a must for your child’s health and dental development, that doesn’t mean it has to feel like a chore. Equally important to making oral-hygiene instruction fun is that it start as early as possible. It’s best to begin cleaning your child’s teeth as soon as they start to appear in infancy. Use a small, soft-bristled, child-sized brush or a clean, damp washcloth and just a thin smear of fluoride toothpaste, about the size of a grain of rice.
Once your child is old enough to hold the toothbrush and understand what the goal is, you can let him or her have a turn at brushing; but make sure you also take your turn, so that every tooth gets brushed — front, back and all chewing surfaces. After your child turns 3 and is capable of spitting out the toothpaste, you can increase the toothpaste amount to the size of a pea. Kids can usually take over the task of brushing by themselves around age 6, but may still need help with flossing.
Another great way to teach your children the best oral-hygiene practices is to model them yourself. If you brush and floss every day, and have regular cleanings and exams at the dental office, your child will come to understand what a normal, healthy and important routine this is. Ashby will certainly get this message from her mom.
“I’m very adamant about seeing the dentist regularly,” Nancy O’Dell said in her Dear Doctor interview. “I make sure that I go when I’m supposed to go.”
It’s no wonder that Nancy has such a beautiful, healthy-looking smile. And from the looks of things, her daughter is on track to have one, too. We would like to see every child get off to an equally good start!
If you have questions about your child’s oral health, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can learn more by reading the Dear Doctor magazine articles “Taking the Stress Out of Dentistry for Kids” and “Top 10 Oral Health Tips for Children.”
Your teeth and gums are filled with nerves that make the mouth one of the most sensitive areas in the body. But thanks to local anesthesia, you won't feel a thing during your next dental procedure.
The word anesthesia means “without feeling or pain.” General anesthesia accomplishes this with drugs that place the patient in an unconscious state. It's reserved for major surgery where the patient will be closely monitored for vital signs while in that state.
The other alternative is local anesthesia, which numbs the area that needs treatment, while allowing the patient to remain conscious. The anesthetics used in this way are applied either topically (with a swab, adhesive patch or spray) or injected with a needle.
In dentistry, we use both applications. Topical anesthesia is occasionally used for sensitive patients before superficial teeth cleaning, but most often as an “opening act” to injected anesthesia: the topical application numbs the gums so you can't feel the prick of the needle used for the injectable anesthetic. By using both types, you won't feel any pain at all during your visit.
Because of possible side effects, we're careful about what procedures will involve the use of local anesthesia. Placing a sealant on the exterior of a tooth or reshaping enamel doesn't require it because we're not making contact with the more sensitive dentin layer beneath. We've also seen advances in anesthetic drugs in which we can now better control the length of time numbness will persist after the procedure.
All in all, though, local anesthesia will make your dental care more comfortable — both for you and for us. Knowing you're relaxed and comfortable allows us to work with ease so we can be unhurried and thorough. By keeping pain out of the equation, your dental care has a better chance for a successful outcome.
If you would like more information on managing discomfort during dental care, 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 “Local Anesthesia for Pain-Free Dentistry.”