Category Archives: General Dentistry

Malocclusion and Dental Crowding Appeared 12,000 Years Ago

Ever think back to Neolithic times, when humans were hunters and gatherers, and wonder what the human body looked like? How about what our teeth looked like? Did our ancestors have to worry about their oral health as much as we do now?

According to research conducted at the University College in Dublin, Ireland, “hunter-gatherers experienced almost no malocclusion (misalignment or incorrect relation between the teeth and the two dental arches) or dental crowding,” but this became increasingly more common 12,000 years ago in the farmers of Southwest Asia.

In this study specifically, the “lower jaws and teeth crown dimensions of 292 archaeological skeletons from Levant, Anatolia, and Europe, from between 28,000-6,000 years ago” were analyzed to see how our jaws changed. They found that the hunter-gatherers’ teeth were “in perfect harmony” but that began to change as humanity became a farming culture.

The hunter-gatherer’s meals were all based upon “hard foods” whereas the farmers ate more “soft foods.” Hunter-gatherer communities survived on uncooked vegetables and meat. Farmers ate legumes and cereals. One may think that the harder foods would have caused more issues rather than the soft ones, but in fact it was actually vice versa! When chewing the softer foods, there was less of a need to chew thoroughly, which caused the jaw size to lessen while teeth size stayed the same. And when that happened, we lost proper spacing for our too-big-teeth and malocclusion became a side effect of our cultural change.

Today it is stated that dental crowding and malocclusion affects 1 in 5 across the globe. It’s quite amazing that we are still dealing with the decisions of our Neolithic ancestors in the modern day!

Source

The Unexpected Tooth Sinus Connection

When you feel pain in your tooth you usually expect something to be wrong with your tooth. Quite often though tooth pain can be a result of pressure from the sinuses.

If you are having a bad cold or a sinus infection, or even if you just have narrow nasal passages in general, the pain may be coming from that. The buildup of mucous in the nasal passages presses on all of the muscle and tissue surrounding it resulting in pressure and pain on your upper teeth, the teeth closest to the sinuses.

If you feel any tooth pain it’s always best to consult with a dentist, but if you have a cold or sinus infection, it’s best to let the dentist know this relevant piece of information so that they can help you make the best choices for your care.

Source

What is Your Mouth Trying to Tell You?

You may not realize it, but your mouth is probably trying to tell you something pretty serious after you turn thirty. Past the age of thirty you have a fifty percent chance of suffering from some form of gum disease.

If you are experiencing chronic bad breath, bleeding gums while brushing, bleeding or sore gums while flossing, discolored gums, or gums that are moving away from your teeth, then your mouth is telling you that you have gum disease.

Be watchful for these signs of periodontal disease. Should you notice them, don’t wait too long to address the problems. If you see theses signs then you should call your dentist to book an appointment today.

Ways that you can stop the progression of gum disease is by sticking to a healthy diet, using a mouthwash with fluoride, and chewing sugarless gum. Chewing gum will help increase the amount of saliva in your mouth and wash away bacteria. These tips will help prevent gum disease so that you will not need further gum restoration and treatment.

Talk to your dentist to see if you are at risk for gum disease and for more information on how to prevent it.

Source.

Oral Health Tips for Those Aged 40-60

If you’re between 40-60 years old, you have unique concerns with regards to your oral health. Here’s what you should be paying attention to.

1. Gum Disease

Gingivitis is the first and only stage of gum disease that is reversible. If not treated properly, gingivitis can develop into periodontitis—a serious, destructive disease. Some people with gum disease show no visible signs until the damage has been done, which is why regular dental visits are crucial. Brushing properly and eating well is important as well.

2. Missing Teeth

Many adults have missing or decayed teeth, which is detrimental to oral health! If you have gaps between your teeth, it can affect how you speak and eat. Missing teeth can affect proper chewing, cause the other teeth to shift, and sometimes even bone loss can occur. Here at Flawless Dental we offer several solutions for missing teeth.

3. Sensitivity

Do hot or cold foods make you wince? This could be a sign of increased dental sensitivity. This could be because of cavities, fractured teeth, improper fillings, gum disease, enamel problems, or an exposed tooth root. All of these can be treated. There are desensitizing toothpaste options and other alternative treatments your dentist can suggest after determining the cause of your sensitivity.

4. Dry Mouth

Saliva is essential for oral health. Did you know saliva has enzymes that protect against cavities? If you have dry mouth, it’s a problem that should be addressed. There are ways to treat dry mouth!

5. Oropharyngeal Cancer

Oral cancer can happen in any area of the mouth cavity: lips, gums, cheeks, tongue, jaw, palate, and throat included. It usually appears as a small, almost unnoticeable spot or sore. Your dentist can check for any signs of cancer and discuss your health history. Many times suspicious changes will be unnoticeable to you, which is why a health care professional should check up your mouth regularly. Some symptoms of oral cancer are sores that bleed/don’t heal, a hard spot/lump, a roughened area, numbness in an area, tenderness in an area, or a change in the way your teeth feel when you bite. Tell your dentist or schedule an appointment if you have any problems with chewing, swallowing, speaking, or moving any part of your mouth/jaw.

Cavities don’t stop when you grow up– they’re something that need to be prevented actively throughout your lifetime. Always brush your teeth twice a day and floss at least once a day, and make sure to schedule regular appointments with your local dentist!

Source.

Floss without Floss

When it comes to flossing, it’s not exactly the easiest thing to add organically to your routine. Sure, we are all told from childhood that flossing daily is crucial to oral health and preventing cavities/gum disease, and this is one hundred percent true. But in reality, how many of us truly floss at least once a day?

The truthful answer is ‘not many’ and the list of excuses is as long as, well, a piece of floss. “I just forget to”, “I don’t have any time”, “it hurts, and my gums bleed”, “I used up the whole sample you gave me last cleaning”, and so goes the list. But in this modern age of technological alternatives, there are some products that may help you add flossing to your routine:

“GUM” Soft-Picks

These are an excellent alternative for those who are looking for a gentler way to clean between teeth, and can be used on the go or in between meals. Essentially it’s just a soft-bristled toothpick that fits easily in the gaps of you teeth, allowing you to clean out bacteria and stimulate you gums to promote health. They are also an excellent alternative to floss for kids with braces, or that that wear a bridge/dental implant.

WaterPik Oral Irrigator

The WaterPik Oral Irrigator is an excellent alternative to flossing when used properly, and can be used by the whole family conveniently. Essentially it’s a sophisticated squirt gun that uses a tiny pulsating jet of water to remove plaque buildup and bacteria from teeth. The water jet is also said to promote healthy blood flow to the gums. Also, you can supplement the water in the reservoir with anti-bacterial or tartar controlling mouthwashes for a lasting clean.

Sonicare AirFloss

The Sonicare AirFloss machine works in a similar fashion to the WaterPik, but with minor tweaks. The AirFlosser uses a jet of air and super-fine water droplets to blast plaque and bacteria from the spaces between teeth. It also has a precision tip and trigger to allow for super-accurate cleaning in hard to reach areas.

Where these tools are excellent alternatives to flossing, most dentists would agree that traditional flossing is still the best way to prevent tooth decay. However, these gadgets can help you at least get closer to the ultimate goal of flossing every day!

Osteoporosis & Dental Health

Having osteoporosis can affect more than just your bones. The treatment for osteoporosis as well as the disease itself can harm your oral health.

If you suffer from osteoporosis, then it is important to let your doctor know about any medications that you may take. Many osteoporosis medicines (called antiresorptive agents) strive to strengthen bones, but can cause a rare condition to form. Some patients who take an antiresorptive medicine can develop osteonecrosis, which is a rare condition that can cause severe damage to the jawbone.

How osteonecrosis occurs is by a reduced blood flow to the bones in the joints. Without the appropriate level of blood flow the bone starts to die and may break down. With this rare condition the bone literally dies which can cause immense pain and structural problems in your mouth and with your teeth.

It is most common to develop osteonecrosis after a dental procedure or surgery, which is why it is important to share your medication list with your doctor before you opt for a procedure. Knowing your medication list and your medical history may lead your dentist to choose a different treatment plan, or another procedure.

Angular Cheilitis & What it Means for Your Dental Health

The cooler months are upon us, and along with them come dry, cracked, bleeding skin. In addition to keeping a tube of lotion or lip balm next to you at all times, you may want to read up on Angular Cheilitis, a condition that may be causing the corners of your mouth to be cracked, sore, and inflamed. Where would you read about such a thing? Right in this blog, of course!

The frequently dry-lipped among us probably experience Angular Cheilitis with some regularity. Contrary to what you might think, licking your lips to moisten them actually only dries them out further. Extra dry lips means that when we talk, laugh, or yawn—anything that causes us to open our mouths a little wider than usual—those parched corners of our mouths can split open. But did you know that these cracks may be indicative of something wrong with a dental appliance you may be wearing?

If you have braces, you may have a greater risk of all kinds of mouth sores and cracks, and Angular Cheilitis is no exception. Although pressing some orthodontic wax on parts of braces that are painful can help in the short-term, if you’re experiencing excessive mouth sores and cracking of your lips, pay your orthodontist a visit—your braces may need to be adjusted.

For many adults, Angular Cheilitis can also be caused by ill-fitting dentures. Whether they’re too old, too big, or just not quite right, if you’re dentures are rubbing against the corners of your mouth and causing them to split, something is wrong! Your best bet is to give your dentist a call, and determine together if a new set of dentures is right for you.

Of course, during chilly months, dryness and cracking is unfortunately common. Hydrate your lips and skin by drinking lots of water and using salves when possible, and if you’re experiencing excessive Angular Cheilitis, give us a call! We’re happy to help.

Source.

Let’s Talk Gingivitis

When we think about oral health, one of the major parts of our mouth that can cause problems is the gum. If gums become red and often bleed, it may be an indication of gum disease. There are two different types of gum disease. One is called gingivitis and the other, periodontitis. Periodontitis is the result of untreated gingivitis, and it is a serious condition. Without proper treatment, gingivitis (and subsequent periodontitis) could potentially lead to tooth loss and damage to the jawbone.

Trying to determine if this is what’s causing your mouth issues? Some of the symptoms associated with gingivitis include: bleeding gums, bad breath, swelling, frequent mouth sores, tender or painful gums, or loose teeth. It’s important to note that there are other causes of gingivitis not limited to poor oral hygiene. Ill-fitting braces or dentures, improperly aligned teeth, tobacco use, pregnancy, and even certain medications can cause gingivitis.

So if you have some of the symptoms, where do you go from there? After going to see your dentist and confirming that you indeed have this issue, the dentist will clean your teeth in order to attack the bacteria and reduce inflammation. And how to prevent yourself from ending up in the dentist’s chair like this? Thoroughly brush and floss every day. Eat a healthy diet, watch your sugars, and schedule regular dental cleanings!

Caring for Cleft Lip & Palate

cleft lip and cleft palate patient dental care blog image flawless dental newton massachusetts

Patients who have a cleft lip or palate will face dental issues regarding the number, shape, size, and position of their teeth. Often times children with a cleft require more dental work to help correct teeth that may have come in in malformed or malpositioned. Adults with cleft palate typically do not have a normally formed teeth and roots which requires the additional work of multiple specialists to correct the problem.

An orthodontist will likely be brought in as well as an oral surgeon, maxillofacial prosthodontist, and a general dentist. This unique team will work together to create teeth that look natural and function normally for the patient.

Many patients with cleft have issues eating and speaking. Typically, many procedures and trips to both the dentist and doctor will go into repairing a cleft. Dental extractions are often needed as well as braces to help align the teeth. A maxillofacial prosthodontist uses artificial teeth and dental appliances to help with the speaking and eating functionality of teeth. It can seem daunting to patients and to their loved ones but all the work helps to create a functional and normal appearance.

Cleft lip and palate patients should also follow a regular oral health routine that includes flossing, brushing, and fluoride use along with regular visits to a dentist. Doing this helps them ward off potential gum disease or gum infections.

If you or someone in your family has cleft lip or palate, don’t hesitate to give Flawless Dental a call or to schedule an appointment to see what we can do to help achieve the smile you deserve.

Source.

What You’re Doing Wrong With Your Child’s Oral Health

It’s no secret that kids don’t always have what’s best for their teeth at the forefront of their minds – which can lead to a toothache for them and a headache for parents. Between eating too much sugar, not brushing and flossing enough, and skipping brushings, kids run a high risk of cavities and oral health issues. But have no fear! Here is a list of classic mistakes parents make when it comes to oral health, and tips on how you can avoid them.

1.Letting kids brush alone.
While it might feel easier to send them to the bathroom alone to brush their teeth before bed, a little parental supervision can save time and money in the long run. Kids are brushing their teeth, especially those new to the habit, need pointers, and kids younger than 8 actually lack the motor skills necessary to brush effectively.
Tip: Make brushing part of your family routine. Try to have everyone brush together before a group activity like story time. This is a great way to watch your kids brush while getting some family time with them before bed. It also helps that they will see you brushing at the same time so that they can pick up tips from you.

2.Not taking regular trips to the dentist.
Kids need to visit the dentist regularly just like adults do. The trick to starting your child off on the right foot when it comes to oral health is to schedule the first dentist appointment early. If you don’t start bringing your child to the dentist until they are 2 or 3 years old, they are more likely to have a myriad of unaddressed oral health issues, potentially making the visit more difficult for both you and your child.
Tip: The first trip to the dentist should happen six months after the eruption of their first tooth. This is ideal timing because it allows for early detection of any oral health issues. If you wait until they are 2 years old to bring them to the dentist, they may already have decay and cavities. If their first trip is filled with pain and bad news, your child is more likely to have ongoing fear and anxiety around dental visits. By starting early, you’re encouraging a positive and happy association with the dentist’s office for your child.

3.Not using fluoride.
Not only does the American Dental Association recommend fluoride – studies show that it is the best way to prevent cavities, so take advantage of it! However, families who drink a lot of bottled water or don’t use a fluoride toothpaste may be missing out on the benefits.
Tip: Talk to your dentist about how much fluoride your child needs to keep them cavity-free and which toothpastes may be right for them.

The best thing parents can do for their children’s oral health to start healthy habits early. Just like healthy eating or exercise, good oral hygiene can become second nature with a little practice!

Source.