Flemingsburg Dental Care Announces Special Offers for Families Suffering from Unemployment

Parade Magazine had an interesting article recently:  “Don’t Let the Economy Endanger Your Health.”   The article said that 57% of people say that the economy has affected their ability to take care of their health.  As part of the article, Parade quoted Kathleen Sebelius, the U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services, saying that U.S. health care needs to shift its focus away from treating illnesses and problems and move toward prevention instead.  “We cannot achieve our ultimate goal—a healthier nation—unless we shift away from a sick-care system,” she said at a Senate hearing earlier this spring. “We pay for emergencies, not the care that prevents them, with little emphasis on the responsibility each of us has in keeping ourselves and our families well.”  In tough economic times, we sometimes place our health and dental needs on the back burner.  And sometimes this causes expensive problems later.

At Flemingsburg Dental Care, we recognize that these choices are not easy.  That’s why we’re offering to do something special.  For the remainder of 2009, if you or someone in your family is unemployed, we will provide our examinations and x-rays for your family at no charge.  We’re making this offer available to our existing patients and for new patients as well.

We hope this can help make dentistry affordable.  For a typical preventive (“cleaning”) appointment, this offer will cut costs to less than half.  We’ll also work with you to prioritize problems and look for interim solutions that can help to reduce problems and avoid expensive repairs later.

For patients with urgent problems and no financial resources, we’re also announcing that we will offer a special summer edition of our Dentistry With A Heart.  On Friday, July 31st, our office will be open to provide free dental treatment specifically for families suffering from unemployment.  We first did an “Unemployment Day” in July, 1982, when the unemployment rate was so high, and have continued doing so every Christmas for the past twenty-six years.

Watch this website for more information about our Free Treatment Day on July 31st.   And if you or a family member is unemployed and wish to take advantage of our special offer, call us at 606-845-2273 (or toll-free 888-917-2273) to set up your appointment.

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Local Phone: (606) 845-CARE (2273)

Toll Free (From the 606, 859, and 937 area codes): 1-888-917-CARE (2273)

Physical Location: 303 South Main Cross, Flemingsburg, KY

Mailing address: P.O. Box 474, Flemingsburg, KY 41041

Alcohol in Mouthwash Linked to Oral Cancer

I read the following article regarding mouthwash use.  I think you’ll find it interesting:

Australian researchers have linked alcohol, an ingredient found in many mouthwashes, to oral cancer and are calling for them to be pulled immediately from supermarket shelves. The review, published in the Dental Journal of Australia, says there is “sufficient evidence” that “alcohol-containing mouthwashes contribute to the increased risk of development of oral cancer.”

The alcohol is believed to allow carcinogenic substances to enter the lining of the mouth more easily. In addition, acetaldehyde, which is a toxic byproduct of alcohol that can build up in the mouth when mouthwash is swished around, is also thought to cause cancer.   Some brands, such as Listerine, contain over 25 percent alcohol.

Lead author Professor Michael McCullough believes mouthwashes that contain alcohol should be available only by prescription. McCullough, who is chair of the Australian Dental Association is urging the organization to consider withdrawing their seal of approval for mouthwashes that contain alcohol. (The American Dental Association also gives mouthwashes containing alcohol its seal of approval.)
“We see people with oral cancer who have no other risk factors than the use of alcohol-containing mouthwash,” he told News.com.au. McCullough’s review found that using alcohol-containing mouthwashes daily raised the risk of developing cancers of the mouth, pharynx, and larynx 400 to 500 percent. Those who smoked and used alcohol mouthwashes had a 900 percent increase in risk.
McCullough believes mouthwashes are more risky than alcohol or beer because they usually contain higher concentrations of alcohol than wine or beer and are kept in the mouth longer. “If you have a glass of wine, you tend to swallow it,” he said. “With mouthwash, you have a higher level of alcohol and spend longer swishing it around your mouth. The alcohol that is present in your mouth is turned into acetaldehyde.”
McCullough recommends switching to an alcohol-free mouthwash.

This article is one more reason we recommend Tooth and Gum Tonic.   In addition to not being as effective in controlling periodontal inflammation, Listerine and other mouthrinses containing alcohol are being implicated in oral cancer. Listerine is 25% alcohol.
Tooth and Gum Tonic is the best sweet breath freshener you can find because it not only kills the most dangerous bacteria that cause periodontal disease, it also kills the volatile sulfur compounds which cause bad breath.
Tooth and Gum Tonic products are available in our office.

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Have a great day!

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Local Phone: (606) 845-CARE (2273)

Toll Free (From the 606, 859, and 937 area codes): 1-888-917-CARE (2273)

Physical Location: 303 South Main Cross, Flemingsburg, KY

Mailing address: P.O. Box 474, Flemingsburg, KY 41041

Lock Tight Dentures – Dentures That Never Move

If you’ve been always had problems with dentures moving around or causing gagging problems, Lock Tight Dentures are for you. The unique Mini Dental Implants hold your dentures secure for a fabulously comfortable fit.

What Are Lock Tight Dentures?
Lock Tight Dentures are a unique denture support system that uses Mini Dental Implants (MDI) to support a complete denture. They can be used on upper or lower dentures, allowing your denture to lock tight into place. This means a lower denture that no longer moves around, or an upper denture that doesn’t cover the palate, which can eliminate gagging problems.

What Are Mini Dental Implants?
The MDI System consists of a miniature titanium implant that acts like the root of your tooth and a retaining fixture that is incorporated into the base of your denture, The head of the implant is shaped like a ball and the retaining fixture acts like a socket that contains a rubber O-ring. The O-ring snaps over the ball when the denture is seated and holds the denture at a predetermined level of force. When seated, the denture gently rests on the gum tissue. The implant fixtures allow for micro-mobility while withstanding natural lifting forces.

Is the Mini Dental Implant FDA approved?
Yes. After providing satisfactory technical and clinical evidence to that agency that the product was safe for public use and in fact had beneficial attributes, the FDA granted its formal consent to market the Mini Dental Implant device not only as a transitional or temporary dental product, but significantly, as a long-term item.

When can Mini Dental Implants be used?
When critically needed for support purposes, and where solid bony adaptation (integration) has clearly occurred, mini implants can function as long-term supporting structures rather than as short-term or medium term devices. In fact, some have been successfully functioning in patients’ jaws for several decades. In the past several years, some clinicians have been utilizing MDI’s for single tooth replacements and in crown and bridge cases.

What’s the primary and most effective use for Mini Dental Implants?
The most effective use of this unique dental product is stabilization of a lower denture. There are approximately 50,000,000 people in the United States who are “edentulous” (literally meaning lacking teeth) who struggle daily with prosthetic devices. A majority suffer a great deal of discomfort as a result of lose or ill-fitting dentures. Many denture wearers simply withdraw from any type of social engagement as a result of being compelled to wear them. Moreover, it’s not uncommon for family members to complain about a denture wearer’s disagreeable breath as a result of food being trapped and decaying under their denture prosthesis. Successful placement of the Mini Dental Implant addresses and solves all of these social and practical problems. Denture patients all over the world have experienced relief from loose or ill-fitting dentures from doctors who are trained to place the MDI. Uniquely, the MDI can be utilized to stabilize a denture in a couple of hours by Dr. Moorhead, with the patient leaving the clinic with a stabilized prosthesis..

How Do Lock-Tight Dentures with Mini Dental Implants help denture wearers?
The standard insertion protocol for mini dental implants calls for four of them to be gently screwed into the front of a patient’s lower jaw. This is a relatively painless procedure that can be performed by a general dentist, requiring only a mild anesthesia. The mini dental implants, which are approximately the size of wooden toothpicks, are placed about five millimeters apart in the patient’s mandible. The patient’s denture is then carefully adjusted by the dentist to allow it to snap onto the four mini implants. The result? A tight fitting, completely reliable system that allows a patient to speak and eat with confidence. The Mini Dental Implants are placed in about an hour’s time. Because of the unique, minimally invasive procedure, the minute size of the implants, and the characteristic placement area, the typical Mini Dental Implant patient can enjoy a light meal an hour or so after having the mini implants placed. Further, a denture patient who has had his or her prosthesis stabilized with MDI can remove and replace the denture easily after a little practice, and can easily utilize good dental hygiene. All in all, the MDI is quite satisfying.

I’m somewhat aware of the tremendous forces the human jaw usually endures during normal chewing of food. How can these tiny Mini Dental Implants withstand that?
It’s true that what the dental profession calls occlusal forces create dynamic pressures on the human jaw. Our jaws are marvelously designed to adequately withstand those forces. It’s also true that mankind has been struggling for centuries to come up with some type of metal or metallic element that can efficiently withstand those forces. Most have been outright failures. However, approximately twenty-five years ago some doctors around the world began experimenting with titanium as a potential dental medium. Titanium is an extremely strong metal used in the construction of aircraft and aircraft engines. The metal, in its commercial form, is incredibly strong and durable. The Sendax Mini Dental Implants takes that metallurgical concept to the next level by adapting an industry approved alloy of titanium. The result is the strongest metal on earth, now commonly referred to as titanium alloy. In fact, extensive tests conducted several years ago by the University of Alabama-Birmingham School of Orthopedics revealed that the particular titanium alloy implants used in the IMTEC Sendax Mini Dental Implants are 64% stronger than ones constructed of commercially pure titanium. The bottom line of this discussion area is simple: If a denture patient has sufficient bone mass to create a rock hard placement of the tiny implant, which an experienced dentist can usually determine by an initial examination, the mini dental implants will generally withstand normal chewing forces just like natural teeth. Fractures are extremely rare, but as the case with a person’s normal teeth, can certainly occur.

What about failures with Mini Dental Implants?
It must be recognized that all implant systems as well as natural teeth are subject to potential failure due to natural causes, including osteoporosis, poor oral hygiene, wear and tear attrition, poor health, heavy, stressful biting habits, and lack of follow-up dental maintenance care. Mini implants similarly do not carry any actual or implied guarantee as to longevity. However, the loss of a Mini Dental Implant is a far less critical event to the patient since it may be replaced at relatively minimal cost compared to conventional implants, and with minimal associated bone or gum deterioration.

How are Mini Dental Implants different?
As a revolutionary departure from routine dental implant methods, Mini Dental Implants are so narrow they are typically inserted directly through the overlying gum tissue and into the bone underneath. Consequently the need to surgically cut and “flap” open the gum tissue, routinely required for standard implant systems, is avoided in most Mini Dental Implant applications. As a result, post-insertion patient irritation and soreness is significantly reduced. While all dental implants require care during insertion to avoid encroaching on vulnerable nerve, sinus or bony structures, the ultra small width of the mini implants offers a much more comfortable margin of safety.

What type surgery is involved with Mini Dental Implants?
A single procedure is needed for insertion of the Mini Dental Implants. The implants are then put into immediate biting or “loading” function thanks to their “self-tapping” design, thereby anchoring a fixed bridge system. As a result, it is often possible to provide the complete mini implant service in a single office visit. Mini dental implants clearly represent an enormous breakthrough for the dental implant specialty as the most patient-friendly, cost-effective, proven dental implant system available today.

What will my first day be like with Mini Dental Implants?
Leave the denture in place until bedtime. You should not experience any excessive bleeding. There will be some mild discomfort but this should be minimal and controlled by recommended pain medication. The denture should feel secure. You may eat as soon as you wish to avoid excessively hard or sticky foods at first. Upon removing the denture, rinse your mouth with an antiseptic mouthwash and carefully clean around each implant fixture with a cotton swab and toothpaste. Use a cotton swab for three days. After that, use your ACCESS toothbrush. It has been specially designed to clean your implants and gently stimulate the surrounding gum tissue.

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Local Phone: (606) 845-CARE (2273)

Toll Free (From the 606, 859, and 937 area codes): 1-888-917-CARE (2273)

Physical Location: 303 South Main Cross, Flemingsburg, KY

Mailing address: P.O. Box 474, Flemingsburg, KY 41041

The Most Natural Looking Dentures Available

We hear from a lot of denture wearers that tell us stories about having a lot of difficulty eating the foods that they want and need to eat, in speaking clearly, and with their appearance.

To solve these problems, we use a more involved denture technique called the Branching Technique.  Less than 1% of dentists in the United States use this technique because of the great amount of training required to learn it, as well as more time spent on working with the patient.  The Branching Technique differs from the traditional method by use of a “training denture” to treat the inflamed gum tissue, establish the bite, develop the aesthetics, and make an impression that perfectly fits the gums before the final denture is made.

The “training denture” is a temporary denture that contains a soft, conforming material inside that is worn for several weeks while chewing food, smiling, talking etc. The impression is much more accurate, and makes an ideal and more practical impression of the gums and surrounding tissues. It basically provides a perfect blueprint for your final denture.

This method has given us tremendous success for our patients.  We spend a great deal of time designing the teeth for their overall look.  Dentures have to look and feel natural, they’ve got to fit the gums properly, and the bite must be flawless.

The cosmetics on our dentures are amazing.  Patients tell us their friends think they’ve had a smile makeover, instead of thinking they now wear dentures.

This technique takes a bit more time to complete, but the results are worth it. In the case of dentures, quality time means quality comfort and natural appearance.

If you would like to know more about the Branching Technique, give us a call today at 606-845-2273, or toll-free at 888-917-2273.  Thanks for visiting, and have a great day!

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Local Phone: (606) 845-CARE (2273)

Toll Free (From the 606, 859, and 937 area codes): 1-888-917-CARE (2273)

Physical Location: 303 South Main Cross, Flemingsburg, KY

Mailing address: P.O. Box 474, Flemingsburg, KY 41041

News for Expectant Moms & New Parents

One of my team members found an interesting research article this week that is definitely worth sharing.  Doctors from Yale & Case Western Reserve have just recently released a study that discovered new bacteria that may be responsible for most premature labor.  The Discovery Channel report says that this previously undiscovered bacteria usually found in the mouth may be responsible for up to 80 percent of early pre-term labors.  Most importantly, the research indicates that preterm births can be prevented by improved oral hygiene and by the use of targeted antibiotics.

We’ve known for several years now that pregnant women with gum disease problems were at a very high risk for premature labor.  Obstetricians and insurance companies have been encouraging expectant mothers to see their dentist at least by their second trimester to have their teeth cleaned and treat any problems with swollen gums.

There is also interesting news to share with new parents.  We’ve all seen studies that show how breast feeding helps infants be more healthy.  Regarding dental decay on teeth of a newborn, research shows that breast feeding not only does not cause cavities, but it actually deposits calcium and other useful nutrients onto the enamel.  It has helps prevent decay!

In our community, we still see too many children that have very high decay rates.  We learned about seven to eight years ago that if either parent has a high decay rate when their child’s first teeth erupt, their child will have a much greater chance of always having decay problems.  All of us understand that parents are going to be in close contact with their baby – including kisses and hugs.  The close contact causes the bacteria in a parent’s mouth to get spread to their child.  So if the parent has bacteria that have caused lots of cavities, that bacteria gets spread to the child.  This information shows how important it is for parents to see their dentist – for their child’s sake.

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Local Phone: (606) 845-CARE (2273)

Toll Free (From the 606, 859, and 937 area codes): 1-888-917-CARE (2273)

Physical Location: 303 South Main Cross, Flemingsburg, KY

Mailing address: P.O. Box 474, Flemingsburg, KY 41041

What are Tori and Exostoses?

In about five percent of patients, bony growths are found that are normal variants.  An exostosis is a thickening of bone around the teeth.  A torus (plural tori) is a larger area of bone, and can appear in two forms:

  • Found on the middle of the hard palate or

  • On the gums adjacent to the tongue.

These bony growths appear to have a genetic link, but environmental situations tend to make them larger.  Bruxism (tooth grinding) and ice chewing especially seem to make them worse.

Exostoses, the growths directly adjacent to the teeth, can make it more difficult to keep the teeth clean, since the bone’s overgrowth makes it more difficult to position a toothbrush and floss properly around the teeth for good home care.

Tori are generally not a problem, except when a removable prosthesis, such as a partial denture or complete denture has to be fabricated.  Tori can cause these problems with a prosthesis:

  • Tori have very thin gingiva over them, and movement of a prosthesis can rub sore spots.
  • The position of the bone gets in the way of the prosthesis.
  • A palatal torus keeps a complete denture from accomplishing a tight suction.

For these reasons, it is especially important for patients that have tori to keep their teeth and gums in excellent shape.  Many people have had tori most of their life with no problem, and just assumed everyone had the same thing!

In cases where tori or exostoses are in the way for a prosthesis, a minor surgical procedure is used to remove them so that the complete denture or partial denture can be fabricated without problems.  Mandibular tori and exostoses can be removed by most general dentists, while a palatal torus is often referred to an oral surgeon when a complete denture is needed.

It is also possible to have a bony growth that doesn’t belong there.  Cancers called osteomas and sarcomas can form cause unusual bone growth in the mouth.  In virtually all cases, these growths lack symmetry, growing on just one side of the mouth or notably large on one side than the other.

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Have a great day!

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Local Phone: (606) 845-CARE (2273)

Toll Free (From the 606, 859, and 937 area codes): 1-888-917-CARE (2273)

Physical Location: 303 South Main Cross, Flemingsburg, KY

Mailing address: P.O. Box 474, Flemingsburg, KY 41041

Treatment for Periodontal Disease

As mentioned in last week’s article, periodontal disease is the number one cause of tooth loss in adults.  Periodontal disease, or so called “gum and bone disease” acts much like termites on the foundation of your house.  And like termites, the disease is silent until it is very advanced.

Below are photos of one of our patients before and after periodontal treatment.  In the left photo, notice the swollen, red gums and the thick tartar on the teeth.

Periodontal Disease - Before and After Treatment

Periodontal Disease - Before and After Treatment

 
When she first came to our office, this patient had periodontal pockets that extended up to 6 mm (1/4”) under the edge of her gums.  In addition to improving her appearance, her breath also dramatically improved.

Bacteria thrive in the deep periodontal pockets.  The bacteria and its by-products create plaque, and the plaque eventually absorbs calcium from the mouth to form calculus, or in lay terms, tartar.  Calculus leaves a very rough surface on the root of the tooth, and even allows the bacteria to imbed itself onto the root surface. 

Treatment for periodontal disease is primarily aimed at removing the bacteria that cause the disease.  One of the primary treatments for periodontal disease is root planing, where the hard deposits of calculus are removed from the root surface, then the root surface is smoothed to remove infected tooth structure.  Unlike an ordinary cleaning appointment, root planing is performed in a very detailed fashion under the gums. 

Root planing can be done comfortably, either by numbing the treated area, or with a product called “Oraqix” that delivers topical anesthetic gel gently into the periodontal pockets to numb the gums without injections.  To keep patients even more comfortable, we recommend they take a non-steroidal medication like Advil or Aleve before the root planing, which results in a dramatic decrease in inflammation and discomfort from the procedure.

Our office is one of a few in the United States that has ozonated water available to aid in treatment during root planning.  In it’s July 2008 edition, the Journal of Contemporary Dental Practice stated that “ozonated water strongly inhibited the formation of dental plaque…(showing that) ozonated water is useful in reducing infections caused by microorganisms present in dental plaque.”
Improved home care is also a must in treating periodontal disease.  Different tooth brushing techniques are taught to provide additional gentle massage for the infected gums, and daily use of floss or floss substitutes also greatly improve healing.

When periodontal pockets are especially deep, a referral to a periodontist, a specialist in gum surgery, may be needed to improve the chances of saving teeth.
Because your toothbrush and floss cannot reach further than 3mm (1/8”) below the gums, patients with periodontal disease usually require more frequent cleanings.  Only a dental professional can reach these deep areas.  By allowing your dental hygienist to perform this gentle cleaning every three months, harmful bacteria are disturbed before they can cause additional damage.

If you’re concerned you may have periodontal disease, call us today to schedule an examination.  Click here to learn about a special offer for our web readers.  You can reach us at Flemingsburg Dental Care at 845-2273, or toll-free 888-917-2273.

Periodontal Disease – The Silent Tooth Killer

Of the three ways you can lose teeth, periodontal disease – also referred to gum disease or gum and bone disease – causes the most tooth loss in adults.  Periodontal disease is a silent disease until it reaches advances stages, so without a routine dental exam, you could have it but not know it.  Of the half of adult’s that don’t go to the dentist regularly, 80% have serious periodontal disease by age 40.

The word “periodontal” describes the structures around that tooth that give it support – the gingival (gums), the bone, and the fibers in-between.  Signs that show you may have periodontal disease include:

  • Bleeding when brushing
  • Breath problems
  • Gums that are puffy and swollen
  • Receding gums 
  • Loose teeth

 First, let’s take a look at the stages of periodontal disease.  This photo shows an example of healthy gums.  The gingival is light pink and flat, and the diagram shows the bone in-between teeth with proper support.

Gingivitis, shown in this photo, is a completely reversible disease.  The gums are red and swollen, but there is no damage to the bone support.

In this third photo, an early stage of periodontitis is shown.  You can see the gums pulling away from the teeth as they are losing their bone support.  The teeth are sometimes more sensitive where the roots are partially exposed, but often there are no symptoms even at this stage of the disease.

Symptoms usually don’t develop until severe bone involvement, so shown here, when the teeth become loose and sore.  By this time, it’s often too late to save the involved teeth.

To check the health of your gums, your dentist gently slides a measuring probe under your gums.  Measurements are made several places around each tooth to show where the gums attach to your tooth, and if there is any bleeding or pus present.  If the periodontal support around your tooth is in good shape, the farthest that the probe should be able to measure is 3 mm, or 1/8 inch.  This is the farthest that a toothbrush and floss can clean under the gums adequately.  A measurement of 4mm or greater demonstrates evidence of periodontal disease.  Dentists refer to these areas as “periodontal pockets.”  Other signs of periodontal disease include bleeding gums and receding gums.

The actual cause of periodontal disease is bacteria that live in these periodontal pockets.  In areas this far below the gums, a breeding ground develops for particular types of bacteria called anaerobes, a type of bacteria that thrives where there is no oxygen.  These bacteria release toxins that slowly cause destruction of the bone and periodontal fibers that support your teeth. 

Periodontal disease can be treated if it is caught early enough.  Much like a patient with high blood pressure, a patient with periodontal disease cannot be completely “healed” from the damage that has already been caused, but the disease can be controlled so that further damage doesn’t occur.  Treatment for periodontal disease will be covered next week.

If you’re concerned you may have periodontal disease, why not call us today to schedule an examination.  Click here to learn about a special offer for our web readers.  You can reach us at Flemingsburg Dental Care at 845-2273, or toll-free 888-917-2273.

 

How to Select a Good Dentist

Questions and Observations That Will Help You Choose a Dentist

Many situations can occur that may require finding a new dentist, such as moving, having a dentist retire, or needing special services your present dentist can’t provide. Although we all know that proper dental care is vital to good health, most of us don’t know how to choose a good dentist. It can be difficult to know what questions to ask and what things to observe in the process of choosing a good dentist. You will want to know both how the dentist treats you as a person and how he treats your mouth. Following are some key questions to ask and observations to make in the process of making your choice.

QUESTIONS TO ASK YOUR PROSPECTIVE DENTIST

  1. Will the dentist listen to me, and answer my questions? Rather than just telling you what to do, the dentist should explain the results of the exam and work with you to develop a total treatment plan based on the big picture of your oral health and wellness. The dentist should make recommendations based on your needs not just on insurance availability. Remember, you want a dentist who can offer enough information in language you can understand so you can help to make an informed decision.
  2. Does the dentist keep up with the latest techniques in dentistry? Dentists that are dedicated keep up with the latest developments in their field. They will likely appreciate the opportunity to tell you about the courses or conferences they have attended.
  3. Do you comply with OSHA and American Dental Association guidelines for infection control? This includes such things as wearing gloves and a mask and sterilizing handpieces.
  4. Do you maintain a thorough record of my dental problems? The dentist should maintain a record that tells all of the work that has already been completed on your teeth and what work still needs to be done. You should be allowed to see your probing chart, your x-rays and the record of your dental problems.
  5. What dental services do you offer that may meet special needs in the future? What areas does the dentist excel in? Most dentists are general practitioners, but some dentists have more areas of expertise. For instance, only 10% of dentists have a thorough understanding of bite-related problems. Can the office provide cosmetic dentistry, sedation dentistry, dental implants, help with headaches, teeth straightening, or laser dentistry.  Can they treat all members of the family?  While you may not need all of these services, it is helpful to know how broad the dentist’s training is to meet special needs that may arise in the future.

OBSERVATIONS TO MAKE

Some things can only be learned by observation or by asking former or present patients for their opinions. Here are some things that are important to learn:

  1. Does the dentist ask for a complete medical history? Your detailed medical history will be important for many reasons including determining allergies and possible drug interactions or tolerances.
  2. Does the dentist do an oral cancer screening? This should be routine at your initial exam and then there should be a follow-up during every cleaning appointment. Your dentist needs to look not only at your teeth, but at your entire mouth.
  3. Does the dentist use the most up-to-date tools for detecting dental decay, such as dental lasers and digital x-ray equipment? Dental lasers can detect decay in the grooves of teeth without the guess work and picking that was once associated with the procedure. Newer digital radiographs greatly reduce x-ray exposure for the patient, and can help your dentist show you any problems present on the computer screen.
  4. Does the dentist check thoroughly for gum disease, decay, and correct bite? A thorough initial exam includes using a periodontal probe to check six points on each tooth – three on the cheek side and three on the tongue side to check for the depth of possible bone loss caused by gum disease. As a follow-up, periodontal probing should be done by the dental hygienist at every cleaning. Also, at the first exam, the jaw and teeth relationship and the contact points in your bite should be checked. This is important because changes in your bite can cause stress and cracked teeth.
  5. Does the dentist take the proper number of x-rays for your individual case? The number of x-rays taken should be personalized for your individual case. The x-rays are necessary to make sure your mouth is examined for decay between each tooth, and to check for bone disease, cysts or any other type of problem.

Many dentists will provide a free consultation prior to providing service. Consider all of these questions and observations as you visit and also assess how you are treated by the staff and doctor.  With this, you should be well on your way to finding a great dentist that can serve you well.

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Local Phone: (606) 845-CARE (2273)

Toll Free (From the 606, 859, and 937 area codes): 1-888-917-CARE (2273)

Physical Location: 303 South Main Cross, Flemingsburg, KY

Mailing address: P.O. Box 474, Flemingsburg, KY 41041

Bruxism – “Tooth Grinding”

Of the three causes for tooth loss, the one that surprises most people is excessive bite forces.  The American Dental Association says that approximately one in three adults grind their teeth when they sleep.  The condition, called bruxism, places unhealthy forces on teeth that can cause flattened or worn-down teeth, chipped areas at the gumline, loose teeth, and damages to your jaw joint.

The most frequent causes of bruxism are stress and bite discrepancies.  In a healthy bite, the teeth come together in harmony to protect the teeth and your jaw joint.  That harmony can be lost when you have periodontal disease, tooth crowding, or missing teeth that have allowed the remaining teeth to shift or tilt.  Even if your bite is perfect, stress can cause you to grind your teeth.  Of people that are restless sleepers, 95% grind their teeth.  The same brain activity that causes you to toss and turn also causes the bruxing.

Let’s look at an example of bruxism.  In this photo, the teeth have already been shortened by at least one-fourth of their length.  Often patients with problems even this severe are not aware that they are bruxing, and many will even deny it when shown the severity of the problem.   And if your spouse sleeps more soundly that you, he or she may also be unaware of the problem.

As a dentist, I hear patients make comments like “I sleep with my mouth open, so that can’t be happening.”  Bruxing doesn’t occur constantly when you sleep, but if it’s happening, it still will cause damage.

Below are some questions that may tell you a problem is present:

  • Have you noticed worn teeth that seem to be getting gradually worse?
  • Do your teeth feel like they have more than one place that feels like a “home base” to touch when all of the teeth come together?
  • Do your jaws feel tired at the end of the day or when you awaken in the morning?
  • Do you sometimes awaken with headaches?
  • Do you avoid eating foods like bagels because it’s not comfortable?

One treatment for bruxism is the use of a bite guard.  A bite guard is a plastic appliance that fits over your teeth and protects them from damaged that’s caused by grinding.  The kind of bite guards sold at the pharmacy can actually make things worse.  Custom nightguards can be made that are extremely comfortable, and the newest designs, like the one shown here, actually have a relaxing effect on the muscles.

If the arrangement of your teeth lacks harmony, there may be advantages to changing how your bite comes together.  Orthodontic treatment (“braces”) can make dramatic changes, or your dentist can use a process called equilibration to reshape the biting surfaces of your teeth to improve the way they come together.

If you’re suffering headaches, or see tooth wear that you’re concerned about, give us a call at 845-2273 (or toll-free 888-917-2273).  Your teeth and your mouth will thank you!

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Local Phone: (606) 845-CARE (2273)

Toll Free (From the 606, 859, and 937 area codes): 1-888-917-CARE (2273)

Physical Location: 303 South Main Cross, Flemingsburg, KY

Mailing address: P.O. Box 474, Flemingsburg, KY 41041