What To Do About Sensitive Teeth (Part 2)

For Sensitive Teeth

Treatment by applying bonding resin.

With local anesthesia, an exposed root surface can be treated by applying bonding resin to the sensitive root surfaces. 

Treatment via surgical gum graft.

A small amount of your own gum tissue is attached to the affected site that can protect an exposed root and reduce sensitivity. This is done If tooth root has lost gum tissue. 

Root canal treatment can work if other treatments fail.

This procedure removes the dental pulp with all its nerve endings. It’s considered the most successful technique for eliminating tooth sensitivity.

Proper Brushing and Flossing

Proper brushing and flossing can prevent sensitive teeth from coming back. Brush teeth twice a day with a soft-bristled toothbrush or electric toothbrush for 2 minutes, twice a day, using fluoride. Use gentle strokes, avoid vigorous brushing and harsh toothpaste.  

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Caring for Sensitive Teeth in Issaquah

If you are experiencing tooth sensitivity, see your Issaquah dentist and we’ll talk more about dentists’ recommendations and home tips.

What To Do About Sensitive Teeth (Part 1)

Dentist Recommendations For Sensitive Teeth 

Having sensitive teeth can be disruptive to everyday life. People with sensitive teeth can find distress in ordinary daily activities like eating, drinking, brushing, among others. Sharp, temporary pain or discomfort can be sudden or expected even, yet nonetheless very stressful.

Sensitive teeth are typically the result of worn tooth enamel or exposed tooth roots. A cavity, a cracked or chipped tooth, a filling that’s worn out, teeth grinding, or even gum disease can cause sensitive teeth. 

It is recommended that you see your dentist when you are bothered by sensitive teeth. After your dentist has ruled out any underlying reason for that pain or discomfort, depending on the situation, you get the following recommendations. 

Desensitizing Toothpaste

Use a desensitizing toothpaste that can block pain associated with sensitive teeth. As there are many such brands in the market, ask your dentist which might best suit you. 

Apply fluoride to the affected area.

Your dentist can do the first application for you showing how to apply using a custom tray. This can reduce some of the pain and, at the same time, strengthen the tooth enamel. Ask for a prescription fluoride that you can use at home with a tray.

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Is Gingivitis Serious and Can It Be Treated? (Part 2)

Gingivitis

Your dentist will determine if you have gingivitis. During a dental exam, your gums will be probed with a small ruler, which will check for inflammation, and the depths of pockets, if any.  A normal depth is 1 to 3 millimeters. X-rays will also be ordered to check for bone loss. 

Gingivitis Treatment

For treatment, you will have to undergo deep cleaning, not just routine of oral prophylaxis. You can have one of several techniques: scaling removes tartar from above and below the gum line,   root planing smooths rough spots and removes plaque and tartar from the root surface, while lasers may remove tartar with less pain and bleeding than scaling and root planing. 

You will also be prescribed antibiotics for the inflammation, such as doxycycline to keep away enzymes, antibiotic microspheres with minocycline inserted into pockets after scaling and planing or timed-release antiseptic chips containing chlorhexidine after planing, and an  antiseptic mouthwash. If pockets are too deep, flap surgery may be advised.

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Talk to our Issaquah Dentist about Gingivitis

One must always remember that proper dental hygiene plays a role in keeping gingivitis at bay and even after, and more so, after your gingivitis treatment. Visit your Issaquah dentist for more information. 

Is Gingivitis Serious and Can It Be Treated? (Part 1)

Everything You Need to Know About Gingivitis

Gingivitis is a non-destructive, inflammatory type of periodontal disease, but untreated gingivitis can progress to periodontitis which is a more serious periodontal condition. While it is non-destructive, it doesn’t mean it cannot do you harm. It is the first sign of gum disease and highly common among the populace, infecting people of all ages. It’s because the signs and symptoms are so mild, It gets easily ignored. You wouldn’t even know you have it.  

Signs and Symptoms of Gingivitis

Signs and symptoms include swollen or puffy gums, generally not painful, dark red gums, gums that bleed easily when brushing or flossing, and bad breath. Sometimes there may already be tooth movement and sensitivity.

Plaque is the main cause of gingivitis – the buildup of food, bacteria, acids and sweets that has hardened on teeth, caused usually by poor dental hygiene. It can extend below the gumline where it is not seen. It has become so hard, only your dentist can remove it. 

There are risk factors that increase your chances for developing gingivitis. They are: smoking, crooked teeth, poor-fitting dentures, broken fillings, certain medicines, dry mouth, diabetes, pregnancy, and genetic factors.

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How To Know If Your Gums Are Healthy (Part 2)

Possible Symptoms of Gum Infection

Healthy gums are also firm and feel snug around your teeth, not swollen, tender, or loose. Firm gums are different from a hardness in your gums. A hard area may indicate an abscess due to a bacterial infection caused by a small collection of pus. Oftentimes, it is softer than the surrounding tissue and may be painful to the touch.

If not attended to, the area can swell. It may be a gum boil, usually at the root ends; it is still an infection. Sometimes gums can lose their firmness, become wobbly, meaning its attachment is no longer snug. It is early periodontal disease when bone becomes weakened or brittle, the gums pull back from bone creating pockets for more debris to enter.

Most importantly, healthy gums don’t bleed easily. Occasionally, gums bleed because of brushing too vigorously or wearing dentures that don’t fit correctly. Bleeding gums are quite common but that doesn’t mean you should ignore them. If gums bleed frequently, it may indicate more serious conditions, including periodontitis, leukemia (cancer of the blood), thrombocytopenia (lack of platelets so that blood doesn’t coagulate), lack of vitamin C or vitamin K. You must have to visit your dentist right away.

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Concerned With Gum Health in Issaquah

Be sure to make a visit at Meadow Creek Dental in Issaquah. If you experience any changes in gum health, your Issaquah dentist and staff are welcoming and can surely help. 

How To Know If Your Gums Are Healthy (Part 1)

Signs of Healthy and Unhealthy Gums

When you look at your gums in the mirror, say after brushing your teeth, are you noticing anything different? You wonder if your gums are not deceased. But before going to your dentist, be sure you know a few bits of information just so you are aware.

What do healthy gums look like?

Look at the color. Healthy gums are usually a light or coral shade of pink; not pale, red or white. It should be a relatively consistent shade of pink. The shade may be slightly lighter around the teeth and darker around the sides of the mouth.

Not everyone has the same shade of pink. Depending on your ethnicity, some gums may be darker or paler than others because of the presence of pigments. If gum color has changed to pale, you might consider anemia, leukoplakia (white patches on gums), oral lichen planus (web-like, raised white threads on gums), or you may be entering menopause. If gums turned white, consider the same above conditions, plus oral candidiasis or oral cancer.

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How Important Is Oral Health to Overall Health for Seniors? (Part 2)

What about pain, tooth loss and dementia?

Tooth loss is not just esthetics. It leads to decreased self-confidence, disrupting the vertical dimension of the jaw, which has pathophysiological implications. It affects nutrition, manifests as TMJ disorders, headaches, and orofacial pain. There are also broader reaching implications, such as neck and back pain and negative effects on overall posture and balance. 

Especially with Alzheimer’s disease, research links neurodegenerative disorders and tooth loss. Then there’s dementia and care of the teeth, as the patient’s cognitive functions decrease, there follows the neglect of dental hygiene or substandard home care. As a preventive measure, there’s the need for proper oral health care, the need for adequate education for patients and caregivers, as well as training on the link between oral health and systemic conditions.

Then there is the Denture Debate.

We say that dentures should be removed at bedtime to prevent accelerated bone loss, gum inflammation and even aspiration pneumonia. It promotes better dental hygiene through adequate cleaning of the dentures and oral tissues. This is not to mention that the oral tissues can relax and become distressed.

However, there is an interesting caution. A study of seniors who are toothless/edentulous and who experience obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) found that when wearing complete dentures during sleep, the majority experienced an improvement in their condition. Again, there is a greater need for communication between medical and dental professionals with regard to denture-wearing seniors who experience or may be at risk for OSA. Without better communication, we risk patients being given conflicting information because of an incomplete picture of their health. 

All of these issues and interactions point to the deep need for an interprofessional approach to geriatric patient care. There is a gap in the knowledge and training for caregivers. If the links between oral, physical, psychological, and social health are not obvious to patients or the caregivers, how can we expect them to give dental hygiene the care it deserves? Additionally, caregivers may feel inadequate in providing proper dental care. There’s a need to make sure that our family-member caregivers, nursing, and elder caregiving staff feel confident to carry out these tasks.

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How Important Is Oral Health to Overall Health for Seniors? (Part 1)

Why We Need An Interprofessional Approach 

Advances in healthcare has enabled people to live longer, healthier lives. We ought to focus attention on the elderly population to ensure that longevity is abreast with good health. Geriatric medicine looks into the unique needs and medical conditions found in the elderly. Dentistry can also have a geriatric focus, seeing as we do, an increase in dental caries, periodontal disease, tooth loss, dry mouth, and oral cancer as our patients advance in age.

There are links between poor oral health and strokes and Alzheimer’s disease.

There is research connecting poor oral health and “low self-esteem, decreased social interactions, malnutrition,dysphagia, and aspiration pneumonia.” Yet we do not automatically link them to dental hygiene. 

Medical and dental expertise must push for an interprofessional approach to geriatric oral health and existing elder care practices.  Better oral health not only contributes to overall well-being, but it can also act as a preventive measure for common conditions among elderly patients. Furthermore, other medical conditions may result in compromised oral health. 

What is the link between quality of life (QOL) and oral care?

Prevention seems to be the best solution against poor oral health associated with several dental and non-dental conditions. Government and health organization-led programs are engineered toward improving the quality of life for senior citizens by maintaining adequate dental care. This way we can help protect them against many other medical issues. Malnutrition among the elderly is another area that impacts QOL. Tooth loss or ill-fitting dentures that affects chewing and the taste of food can lead to malnutrition, which also impacts the psychological and social well-being of the aged. 

There is also the impact of dry mouth.

Studies have shown that dry mouth has the most significant impact on quality of life. The most common cause in geriatric patients is polypharmacy. More than 400 drugs list xerostomia (dry mouth) as a side effect. Dry mouth can cause problems in both oral tissues and function, including difficulty with chewing, swallowing, speech, and taste, and also increase the chances for dental caries and gingivitis. But not much is being done to help patients.

There is a lack of patient knowledge about treatment. Doctors prescribe these drugs, yet dentists see the effects on oral tissues. It’s a vicious cycle.  Hence, an interprofessional approach could create a world of difference. All it requires is adequate education for patients and caregivers about xerostomia as a side effect of polypharmacy and its potential oral-systemic effects.

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Oral Health Facts At Your Fingertips

The More Important Details 

Oral health is essential to general health and well-being. This is clearly evidenced by studies. For example, medical conditions like heart disease and stroke are linked to inflammation caused by poor oral hygiene. Hence, daily oral care can keep mouth bacteria from causing infections that can affect other areas of the body.

The oral conditions that most affect overall health and quality of life are cavities, severe gum disease, and severe tooth loss. If simple cavities and gingivitis are not properly addressed early, these conditions become worse and that is when overall wellbeing is jeopardized.

About half of children (52%), by the age of 8 years, have had a cavity in their primary teeth. Since children are unable to brush well by themselves until about 6 years old, they should be well taught and monitored. This also includes proper flossing. A diet rich in sugar and starch contributes to early cavities.

Children from low-income families are twice as likely to have cavities as higher-income children. This can be due to lack of dental instructions and access to dental treatment. 

The prevalence of untreated tooth decay is said to be declining; however there is 1 in 4 adults aged 20 to 64 who currently has cavities. 

To prevent cavities, drinking fluoridated water and getting dental sealants in childhood are effective measures. The use of fluoride is well studied. Not only does it prevent cavities, it also saves money by avoiding expensive dental care.

Two of the biggest risk factors for gum disease are tobacco use and diabetes. Unplanned emergency dental care resulted in 34 million school hours lost each year on the average. Likewise, over $45 billion in US productivity is lost each year due to untreated dental disease.

To benefit patients and save resources, medical-dental integration is essential between oral health and chronic disease prevention programs.

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More Facts of (Oral) Life in Issaquah

Visit your dentist in Issaquah at Meadow Creek Dental for more informative and helpful oral health care tips. 

Understanding Periodontal Disease

Oral Health

According to a CDC report, published recently, relating to the prevalence of periodontitis in the United States, 47.2% of adults aged 30 years and older have some form of periodontal disease, and that 70.1% of adults 65 years and older have it. It is more common in adult men(56.4% vs 38.4% women), those living below the federal poverty level (65.4%), those with less than a high school education (66.9%), and current smokers (64.2%)

In its early stage, periodontal disease is termed as ‘gingivitis,’ the swelling and inflammation of the gums which may or may not bleed. Periodontitis is the more serious form when the gums pull away from the root, exposing it, teeth may loosen owing to some jaw bone destruction, and may lead to loss of the tooth. The condition is mainly the result of infections and inflammation of the gums and bone that surround and support the teeth. 

What causes periodontitis?

Bacteria in the mouth infect tissue surrounding the tooth, causing inflammation around the tooth leading to periodontal disease. When bacteria stay on the teeth long enough, they form a film called plaque, which eventually hardens to tartar, also called calculus. Tartar build-up can spread below the gum line, which makes the teeth harder to clean. 

These warning signs should not be ignored: red or swollen gums, tender or bleeding gums, sensitive or loose teeth, pain on chewing, bad breath or bad taste that won’t go away, gums pulling away or tooth seemingly elongated, any change in the bite or any change in the fit of partial dentures.

Factors that increase the risk for periodontitis: heredity, stress, smoking, poor oral hygiene, crooked teeth, diabetes, HIV/AIDS, dry mouth, defective fillings, ill-fitting bridges, and female hormonal changes, such as with pregnancy or the use of oral contraceptives

How do you prevent and treat periodontitis?

Control gingivitis with good oral hygiene and regular professional cleaning. The condition can still be reversed. However, a more extensive treatment may be required in moderate to severe forms of periodontal disease. Deep cleaning of the tooth root surfaces below the gums, medications prescribed, and sometimes corrective surgery may be needed. More frequent dentist visits are necessary to manage or treat periodontal disease.

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Treating Periodontal Disease in Issaquah

See your Issaquah dentist for regular checkups, or more frequently if you have any of the warning signs or risk factors for periodontal disease.