Tupelo Smiles

YOUR DENTAL HEALTH – Biofilm Management


 

Dental biofilm, also known as plaque, is the sticky bacterial film that adheres to the surface of your teeth. Plaque forms when the sugars and starches from the food you eat are left on your teeth. Bacteria that live in your mouth thrive on the plaque and produce acids that lead to cavities and gum disease. The longer the plaque stays on your teeth, the greater your risk of developing oral problems. Plaque cannot be removed by rinsing with water. That is why it is so important that you brush your teeth twice daily and visit your dentist every six months for professional cleanings. To further keep plaque under control, make sure you are using a toothpaste that contains fluoride, and floss between your teeth at least once a day to remove food particals and bacteria. You may also consider an antibacterial mouth rinse.

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Pacemakers

 

Pacemakers are lifesavers in cardiac care, but when it comes to dentistry, you must take special precautions. Patients with pacemakers or similar cardiac devices can still visit the dentist. When you arrive for your appointment, tell your dentist and hygienist about your device immediately. Since pacemakers use electrical impulses to help the heart stay in rhythm, your dentist may avoid using certain equipment that might interfere with the pacemaker’s efficiency. The best way to avoid an issue with your pacemaker is to be thorough and honest about your health condition with your dentist. You can receive high quality care without affecting your device.

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Osteonecrosis

 

More than 3 million Americans are diagnosed with osteoporosis each year. While very uncommon, sometimes medications used to treat osteoporosis, called anti-resorptive agents, have been known to cause osteonecrosis. This causes severe damage to the jaw. It is important to let your dentist know if you are taking these medications because modifications to your dental treatment plan may be needed. Cases of osteonecrosis most commonly occur after a procedure that affects the jaw and surrounding tissues, like pulling a tooth. But don’t worry. Even if you need dental treatments while taking these medications, your dentist will know how to tailor you treatment plan to keep your mouth healthy. It is important to keep regular visits with your dentist, and let your dentist know of any unusual symptoms you may experience.

Botox and Fillers

Did you know that many dentists are starting to offer Botox, and facial fillers, in their offices? Dentists who are members of the Academy of Facial Aesthetics, are trained to provide facial injections to reduce and prevent wrinkles, or fill and plump the skin. But is it safe to get these injections at the same time you get your teeth cleaned? The F-D-A says yes! Dentists have extensive training in the structure of the face, and specialized knowledge to expertly give these injections. Plus, many patients are able to get their injections when their mouth and face are already numb for a dental procedure, thus reducing the possibility of pain. If you are thinking about Botox or other facial injections, talk with your dentist.

Gingivitis

Periodontal disease is the infection of the tissues around your teeth. The beginning stage of periodontal disease is call gingivitis and is caused by a buildup of plaque. Some of the most common causes of gingivitis are poor dental care, tobacco use, hormone fluctuations, diabetes, certain medications, and even genetics. Some warning signs of gingivitis are red, swollen gums that easily bleed, and persistent bad breath. Though periodontal disease is very serious, don’t worry. Gingivitis can be reversed before it develops into more serious disease. Most cases of gingivitis can be treated by a thorough cleaning at your dentist office, and diligent oral care at home including brushing twice a day, and flossing once per day. Many people with gingivitis do not know they have it, so it is important to see your dentist every 6 months for regular cleanings and checkups.

Dental Bonding

If you want to improve the cosmetic appearance of your teeth, but are on a budget, you may be interested in dental bonding. In this treatment, a dentist will skillfully apply a tooth-colored resin to each tooth you wish to treat. The resin is cured with a light, then filed and polished to blend flawlessly with your natural tooth. Dental bonding can be a great solution to correct small cracks or chips, to fill gaps between teeth, to elongate worn teeth, or to cover stains. Bonding is a more affordable option than veneers. Dental bonding can be done in one office visit with immediate cosmetic results. However, since plastic resin is not as strong as your natural teeth, the bonding is more prone to chips, cracks, or breaks. Usually, dental bonding lasts for three to ten years before it needs to be reapplied. Talk with your dentist to find out if bonding is the right solution for your chipped, cracked, or discolored teeth.

3D Printing


 

One of the newest pieces of dental technology is a 3D printer. Many dentists and dental labs are using 3D printers to make everything from mouth guards and crowns, to retainers and other orthodontics. This new technology reduces the time it takes to make these dental products, while providing more precision, and patient customization. While it used to take weeks to make a retainer, they are now made by a 3D printer in just a few hours. Another application for dental 3D printing is the creation of models to aid in dental surgery techniques. While traditional methods are still common, the use of 3D printing technology in dentistry is expected to rapidly increase.