Bad Breath Treatment
More than 90 million people struggle with chronic bad breath. Typically, poor oral hygiene habits leave decaying food particles, other debris, and bacteria in the mouth. These conditions produce volatile sulfur compounds just like those found in rotten eggs, resulting in foul-smelling breath. Chewing gum, mints, and normal mouthwash won't cure halitosis.
Bad breath is also one of the main symptoms of a serious underlying periodontal condition: gum disease. Many patients who come to us for help with halitosis don't realize they actually have some form of gum disease. Although gum disease is terribly pervasive, it's also preventable. When you visit our office because of halitosis, we will carefully check for the warning signs of gum disease: red, swollen, tender, or bleeding gums, gums pulling away from teeth, loose or separating teeth, pus between the gum and tooth, bite changes, and/or a change in the fit of partial dentures. If gum disease exists, treating it may also cure your halitosis.
Internal infections, diabetes, kidney failure, liver malfunction, and radiation treatment for cancer can contribute to halitosis. Lifestyle conditions such as stress, dieting, snoring, advancing age, and hormonal changes may also stimulate bad breath.
Hygiene, Rinses, & Relationships
Regardless of the cause, bad breath is treatable even if it is not associated with gum disease. First, institute effective oral hygiene: regular professional cleanings, brushing twice each day, daily flossing, and tongue cleaning. Effective tongue cleaning with a specially designed scraper will remove bacterial build-up 10 times more effectively than a toothbrush. If meticulous hygiene is insufficient for eliminating bad breath, invest in a professional breath kit such as the CloSYSII (available at www.rowpar.com), which includes a specially formulated toothpaste, a chlorine-stabilized rinse that destroys those odorous volatile sulfur compounds for up to 5 hours, and tongue scraper. Most people notice an immediate improvement. And better breath could mean better relationships!
The American Dental Association recommends you see your dentist at least twice each year for a checkup. At your checkup, we will inspect your soft tissues for oral cancer, periodontal disease, and other problems. The dentist will also look at each tooth in your mouth to assess problems like tooth decay or cracks, as well as old dental work. Sometimes old dental work wears out and needs to be replaced. We will be happy to replace metal fillings, inlays, onlays, and crowns with tooth-colored alternatives.
By looking for trouble every six months, we can often reduce your potential for large dental problems. For instance, left untreated, a small cavity can grow to destroy an entire tooth and spread to surrounding teeth. A cracked tooth can cause pain or break off and create additional problems. Furthermore, advanced gum disease is the primary cause of tooth loss for American adults, and oral cancer causes more than 7,500 deaths each year. Caught and treated early, these diseases can be controlled. Children as young as two should visit the dentist, and by age four or five, a child should attend regular checkups.
Our office regularly cares for the dental needs of children as young as three years old. However, if you notice that your child has a problem with his or her teeth or gums prior to this age, please schedule an appointment. You may also want to bring your child to your dental checkup when he or she is about two so that your child can become familiar with the sights, sounds, and friendly helpers in our dental office. We call this a Happy Visit. Your child's independent checkup at age three will involve a tooth-by-tooth inspection and periodontal exam. The dentist will check for proper development, as well as tooth decay and other areas of concern.
As your child grows, he or she will need regular checkups and hygiene visits to ensure optimal oral health. Our team will also teach oral homecare techniques so that your child can learn how to effectively brush and floss, with your help at first, then on his or her own. The dentist may recommend dental sealants or fluoride supplements. Sealants are thin, clear coatings that protect hard-to-clean back teeth from the sugars that cause tooth decay. Fluoride attracts other minerals to strengthen tooth enamel and ward off cavities. Because most bottled water does not contain fluoride, your child may be deficient in this essential mineral. Sealants and fluoride supplements are quick and easy protective measures that can save your little one from cavities.
Let us help your children learn the importance of optimal oral health from a young age. In some cases, we refer children to pedodontists, who are specialists in children's dentistry. We will help you make the best choices for your child's unique and precious personality.
Gum Disease Therapy
The most common disease in the United States is not what you may think. Heart disease, stroke, or cancer come to mind, but actually gum disease is the single most prevalent disease in America. In fact, it affects more people than heart disease, stroke, Alzheimer's, and cancer combined. About 80% of the population has some form of gum disease, also known as periodontal disease, periodontitis (advanced), and gingivitis (mild).
What is Gum Disease?
Gum disease is an infection of the gums and bone that support teeth, and it usually starts early in life, then progresses as a person ages. It all starts when plaque hardens into tartar (also called calculus) below the gum line. This irritates vulnerable soft tissues and infection can set in. Combined with decaying food particles lodged between teeth and bacteria emitted by plaque, the infection can spread quickly. Symptoms are so mild in the early phase, many patients don't recognize them: red, tender, swollen gums, bleeding when brushing teeth.
As the condition progresses, gums recede from teeth and pockets of bacteria form. The bacteria can destroy gum tissue and bone, causing tooth and bone loss.
Why is Gum Disease so Serious?
Recent research reveals that gum disease is linked to increased risk for major overall health problems, including but not limited to stroke, heart disease, respiratory problems, osteoporosis, diabetes complications, low birth weight, and most recently, dementia. Because of these findings, research continues. We may learn much more in the next few years.
It makes perfect sense, though – gum disease linked to overall health problems. Everything that enters or is present in the mouth has access to the whole body. The mouth is like a portal to the body. That's why regular checkups and hygiene visits are vital to not only oral health, but also overall health.
Is Gum Disease Curable?
Unfortunately, gum disease is not curable. However, we can detect early warning signs of gum disease at your regular dental checkups. At this stage, prevention might be as simple as changing your brushing technique, improving your flossing routine, or changing the products you use for oral care at home.
Once gum disease sets in, we can often treat it with non-surgical therapy including:
- Scaling – to remove hardened plaque from below the gum line
- Root Planing – to reduce rough areas on teeth roots
- Antibiotic Therapy – to battle infection
- Laser Treatment – to remove bacteria and promote gum reattachment
- Surgery – advanced cases may require the care of a periodontist, in which case we will refer you to a trusted colleague
Expect to attend more frequent hygiene visits so that a dentist or hygienist can monitor your condition and make sure that recovery is on track.
What is Laser Treatment for Gum Disease?
Combined with comprehensive periodontal therapy, a diode laser for soft tissue procedures can remove and reduce some periodontal infection. This type of treatment also promotes reattachment of gum tissue to teeth. Laser dentistry is precise and conservative in comparison to traditional therapies. Some patients do not even need anesthesia during laser therapy.
The Crux of Bruxism
Some patients react to stress by grinding their teeth unconsciously during the day or, more commonly, while sleeping. The constant pressure and motion can harm teeth, as well as muscles and tissues in and around the jaw. The condition, known as bruxism, can be remedied with a nightguard.
The Facts About Clenching & Grinding
Common symptoms of bruxism include a sore jaw, headaches, or earaches. Causes vary, but may include stress, anxiety, tension, misaligned teeth, posture, diet, sleeping habits, and other factors. Bruxism is most prevalent in women and generally found in about one-third of the population.
Individuals who react to stress with anger, pain, frustration, aggression, or competition are most commonly affected. People with bruxism may have other biting habits, such as biting fingernails, pencils, lips, or the insides of their cheeks.
Constant clenching and grinding of the teeth can cause not only the aforementioned symptoms, but it may also contribute to TMJ (temporomandibular joint) dysfunction, which has a long list of side effects associated with pain in the head and neck. Teeth rubbing together consistently will result in surface wear over time, which will cause dental problems. Insomnia, eating disorders, and depression can result from bruxism if left untreated.
A Solid Solution
How can you stop an unconscious habit? A thorough evaluation will allow us to check your teeth, tissues, and muscles. If we determine that you suffer from bruxism, we'll create an orthodontic appliance, also called a nightguard or splint, to prevent grinding and clenching. Many types of nightguards exist, and patients react differently to the various styles. If one appliance does not work, another may. In many cases, simply wearing a nightguard will eliminate the problem. However, if the condition persists, we can prescribe alternative therapies to correct the issue.
Some practices that can relieve symptoms of bruxism include stress and anxiety management, focused facial relaxation, massage and stretching of face and neck muscles, applying ice or wet heat, proper rest, eating soft foods, and hydrating the body. If your teeth were damaged because of bruxism, or if we find TMJ to be a factor, our team will repair and treat you to provide complete relief.
At Mountainside Family Dental, our dentists are equipped and trained to handle virtually all of your oral healthcare needs, including tooth extractions and oral surgery. As our patient, you won't need to see a specialist for your laser gum lift, extraction of an irreparably damaged tooth, or dental implant placement. Instead, you'll receive quality dental care in a place where you feel comfortable, cared for, and familiar. In addition to the services listed above, we perform:
Removal of impacted or erupted wisdom teeth (third molars)
- Root canal therapy
- Soft-tissue grafts performed with a laser
- Tooth extractions to eliminate crowding
- Crown lengthening
- Laser gum lifts
Should you have questions or concerns about any dental procedure that we recommend, please ask. Our team is always available to share information and educational materials. The more you understand about your dental treatment plan, the wiser your decisions.
Sleep Apnea & Snoring
Are you tired, stressed out, and moody because of interrupted sleep? Sleep apnea, a condition in which breathing stops for periods of 10 seconds or longer, can interrupt deep sleep that makes people feel rested. Non-surgical dental appliances have proven more effective than surgery for many sleep apnea patients.
What is Sleep Apnea?
When a sleeping person stops breathing for 10 or more seconds, they have "apnea." OSAS, or obstructive sleep apnea syndrome, is one type of sleep apnea. Lack of adequate breath during sleep reduces airflow, causing the brain to tell the body to wake up and breathe. In some cases, sleep apnea patients only move into a lighter stage of sleep, while other times, patients wake completely.
What's the Problem?
Many factors may contribute to airway blockage, from the size of passages and oral or airway structures, to swelling of passageways or position of the tongue. Disrupted deep sleep can affect mood, health, and cause daytime sleepiness. The added stress and fatigue can cause lack of concentration, loss of memory, and accidents in the workplace or while driving. Other health risks include high blood pressure and heart problems, and even a risk of premature death. The sleep apnea patient's snores can disturb a sleeping partner's rest, too.
Non-Surgical Sleep Apnea Therapies
A few tests can determine whether you suffer from OSAS, and non-surgical therapies may alleviate the problem. A nasal mask (cPAP) can deliver air to keep nasal passages open during sleep. Even more effective, patients may now wear dental appliances that reposition the tongue or mandible (lower jawbone). A Swedish study showed that the anterior mandibular positioning dental device (AMP) is actually more effective than surgical therapies. The same study stated that adverse health effects and appliance repairs were rare.
According to experts, sleep apnea is an under-diagnosed condition, and more men than women suffer; a sleep apnea device may improve your quality of life. It's just another way your dentist can help you smile.
Managing Stress to Help Your Jaw Rest
You may spend most of your life unaware of the important little triangular-shaped joints located in front of your ears. Lined with cartilage, these joints move with a smooth, gliding motion. Under normal conditions, they join your lower jaw and temporal bone, allowing your mouth to open and close easily. However, stress or an improper bite can cause the joints to dysfunction, exposing nerve endings to create pain. In fact, the temporomandibular joint is highly sensitive to overall physical, emotional, and psychological stress. It is affected by the mechanics of your bite and the condition of your jaw muscles. A little extra stress, a little extra fatigue, a little change in your bite, and you may temporarily knock the whole system out of balance. The resulting TMJ disorder, or TMD, can create a variety of mild to severe symptoms, from jaw clicking and minor discomfort to sharp pain in your temple, ear, neck, and shoulders.
The condition is very common in our culture, so we evaluate every patient for TMJ dysfunction at their regular dental exam. If we detect a problem, our goals are to arrest it, protect teeth from further damage, and correct underlying bite misalignment. Therapy may involve fitting you with a physiologic bite appliance, suggesting ways to alleviate stress, and recommending symptom relief measures. Typically, TMJ patients need to avoid chewing gum or hard, chewy food, take small bites, and alternate chewing between both sides of the mouth. Good nutrition will help the joint heal more quickly; good posture will also help relieve discomfort. A straight back, relaxed neck, and side-sleeping position are also helpful. To relieve soreness, light temple and jaw massage will stimulate circulation and relax the muscles. If pain is present, we suggest alternating moist heat and cold for 20 minutes to further increase circulation. Over-the-counter anti-inflammatories or analgesics can be very helpful as well.
Straight teeth, while attractive, contribute to good oral health. Orthodontics is the dental science of repositioning teeth into a proper bite. We do this with braces, retainers, spacers, clear aligners, and other mechanisms. Many people relate metal braces with adolescence. However, children as well as adults can benefit from orthodontic treatment.
In children, it is sometimes necessary to begin orthodontic treatment before the jaw and gums fully form; for this reason, we recommend that you bring your child in for an orthodontic consultation by age seven. This way, we can proactively treat potential problems from habits such as thumb sucking and mouth breathing, or genetic issues like crowding, underbite, or overbite. Our interceptive approach enables us to nip teeth alignment issues before they escalate, gently expanding and reshaping a young person's smile. When all the permanent teeth emerge during adolescence, some children may need a second treatment phase, which can include comprehensive orthodontics and an appliance, like a retainer, to maintain teeth position.
More adults than ever wear braces these days – one in five orthodontic patients is an adult* – but not exclusively for cosmetic reasons. The savvy consumer knows that you're never too old to enjoy the health benefits of a straight smile. For instance, symptoms like earaches, dizziness, headaches, and neck pain can all be associated with a misaligned jaw. Correcting the bite will alleviate these symptoms and improve function and comfort, while reducing the potential for tooth wear. In addition, straight teeth are less prone to decay and gum disease.
For adults, we offer discreet alternatives to traditional metal braces. You can now opt for clear brackets (the part of braces that bond to the teeth and are spaced along the arc wire). Lingual braces adhere to the inner side of teeth, rather than the front, so no one will know that you're wearing braces. We may decide together that removable appliances such as Invisalign or Red, White & Blue custom aligners, also called clear braces, will work best for you.
You deserve a straight smile! So do your children!
*American Association of Orthodontists
Under Armour Performance Mouthwear™
Would you like to increase your strength, speed, and balance without any training? Sounds too good to be true, right? Professional athletes across the nation are stepping up their game with the Under Armour Performance Mouthwear. More than just a mouthguard, Under Armour Performance Mouthwear is custom designed to reduce jaw tension, allowing you to focus on what's important – smearing the competition!
The Under Armour Performance Mouthwear does more than protect your mouth and teeth from sports-related injuries. Clenching, the body's natural reaction to stress, releases the hormone cortisol, which can cause fatigue and distraction. The Under Armour Performance Mouthwear prevents clenching and also pivots the jaw forward, alleviates jaw pressure, enlarges airway openings, and increasing oxygen flow to the body.
As an Under Armour Performance Mouthwear provider, the dentist can fit you for the appliance in one visit. First, we'll take impressions of your teeth and register your bite. The entire process takes about 20 minutes, and you'll receive your Under Armour Performance Mouthwear in about 10 days.
Hundreds of athletes currently use the Under Armour Performance Mouthwear to improve their sports performance. It's recommended for adults and children eight and older who play contact, no-contact, and limited-contact sports, including football, baseball, soccer, tennis, and golf.