Dental Blog

The Link Between Diabetes and Oral Health

Posted by on Nov 9, 2018 in diabetes | 0 comments

The Link Between Diabetes and Oral Health

November is National Diabetes Awareness Month, and according to the American Diabetes Association, “nearly 30 million Americans have diabetes.” People with diabetes are at an increased risk for serious gum disease because they are generally more susceptible to bacterial infection, and have a decreased ability to fight bacteria that invade the gums.  Diabetes affects your blood glucose levels, which can damage blood vessels that help your gums stay healthy. Uncontrolled diabetes weakens white blood cells, which are the body’s main defense against bacterial infections that can occur in the mouth. Diabetes and Oral Health Diabetes affects every part of your body, not just your teeth.  If left untreated, it can wreak havoc in your mouth, as follows: Gums may become inflamed and bleed when you brush your teeth (gingivitis). Your mouth might feel dry because diabetes may cause you to produce less saliva. Saliva protects your teeth and when you are producing less saliva it puts you at a higher risk for cavities. When your blood sugar levels are high, the amount of sugar in your saliva is also high, which creates an ideal environment for plaque to grow. You may have more infections inside of your mouth due to the bacteria present and slower healing due to diabetes.  Periodontal disease affects nearly 22 percent of those 30 million people diagnosed with diabetes. As with any infection, serious gum disease may cause blood sugar to rise. This makes diabetes harder to control because you are more susceptible to infections and are less able to fight the bacteria invading the gums. This is a vicious cycle that Dr. Terrance Wolbaum of Pioneer Hills Dental and his staff are prepared to treat.   Pioneer Hills Dental is a general and family dental practice, that focuses on prevention, tooth preservation, and awareness of what it takes to have a healthy mouth and teeth. They also strive to deliver the best diagnosis and treatment that dentistry has to offer!  Should You Tell Your Dentist That you Have Diabetes? Be sure to inform your dentist if you have diabetes because you are at greater risk for oral health problems. It’s also important for you to to tell your dentist how well your diabetes is controlled at each visit. Your dentist may recommend more preventive procedures, and more frequent evaluations to keep your oral health in check if your diabetes is not under control. Dental Health Action Plan for Diabetics Partner up with your dentist. You might even want to ask your doctor and your dentist to communicate with each other so they can be up-to-date about your condition. Professional care and continuous self-care will keep your smile healthy and may potentially slow the progression of diabetes.  The following are some oral health-related steps you can take to help control the negative effects diabetes has on your oral condition: Control your blood sugar levels. This will help your body fight any bacterial or fungal infections in your mouth and relieve dry mouth caused by diabetes. Avoid smoking. You may even consider talking to your doctor about a stop smoking program–especially if you want to keep your pearly whites intact. Make sure to brush your teeth with a soft-bristled toothbrush at least twice a day. Floss your teeth daily. Practice good oral hygiene by rinsing your mouth after eating or drinking...

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Health Problems that Stem from Gum Disease

Posted by on Nov 1, 2018 in gum disease, periodontal disease | 0 comments

Health Problems that Stem from Gum Disease

Did you know that some low-grade health problems can stem from gum disease?  Chronic conditions, poor nutrition, oral hygiene habits and more can affect not only your overall health, but your oral health and vice versa. Find out how! Health Problems that Are Linked with Gum Disease Did you know that research has shown that certain serious conditions are linked to gum disease? “Besides what it does to the mouth, gum disease has been linked to conditions such as diabetes, heart disease, stroke, and premature births or low birth weight. According to Sally Cram, DDS, PC, consumer advisor for the American Dental Association, emerging research pinpoints inflammation. “They’re finding the role of inflammation in the body is very critical to a lot of these different diseases,” Cram tells WebMD. “And that’s essentially what gum disease is: infection and inflammation in the oral cavity.” “Research suggests a connection between periodontal health and systemic health. In light of these findings, understanding the relationships between periodontal disease and other systemic diseases in the adult U.S population is more crucial than ever,” said Paul Eke, MPH, PhD, epidemiologist at the CDC. Taking time for your oral care is important for your whole body–not just your smile. The Silent Disease “A tooth lost to gum disease is a tooth lost forever,” says the American Academy of Periodontology (AAP).  “Three out of four Americans suffer from some form of gum disease – from mild cases of gingivitis, to the more severe form known as periodontitis. However, despite this prevalence, approximately only three percent seek treatment for their gum disease.” Why is this? Part of the issue is that gum disease is painless until it is in its more serious stages. Patients don’t realize that their teeth are in peril until irreversible damage has occurred. Watch for the Signs of Trouble It is imperative that patients stay clued into the health of their gums. Not just those pearly whites! The health of your gums really tells you the health of your mouth.  Do you have swollen, red or irritated gums? Do they bleed when you brush or floss? Are they sensitive to temperatures (hot and cold) or to sweets? If any of these apply to you, it is time to book an appointment with Dr. Wolbaum. Get Your Teeth Professionally Cleaned You may practice exceptional oral care–you brush at least twice a day and floss–but that doesn’t allow you to get all the plaque off your teeth or between your teeth. Your 6-month, in-office cleanings allow for just that! Using our advanced dental cleaning tools, we can get all the that tough tartar off vital tooth enamel surfaces, protecting your teeth and your gums from decay and disease. Tobacco use has also been shown to greatly increase your chance of developing gum disease. Stress (increased levels of cortisol, released when experiencing stress intensify the destruction of the gums and bone due to periodontal disease), poor diet, and genetics, can also play a role in the health of your gums. Call for a Dental Health Consultation Pioneer Hills Dental offers comprehensive care for your dental needs in a relaxed and efficient atmosphere. We are conveniently located at 5492 South Parker Road in Aurora, CO, 80015 with easy access from both Parker & Centennial. Our goal is to...

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Why Is Sugar Bad for Your Teeth?

Posted by on Oct 27, 2018 in sugar and your teeth | 0 comments

Why Is Sugar Bad for Your Teeth?

Sugar and teeth are not a good combination. Sugar is directly related to your risk for tooth decay, but many people don’t know how exactly. Sugar is found in many foods you can buy at the store, and it’s the food that bacteria needs to make plaque. That plaque is what erodes and decays your teeth over time through a specific process. The key is to eliminate that plaque when it forms and to limit your sugar intake. Find out how sugar is related to tooth decay, how that decay forms and what you can do about sugar to have good oral health. Sugar and Teeth When it comes to sugar and teeth, it isn’t as much the quantity of sugar in your diet, but the frequency of having it. (And, what you do after you eat it.) Sugar that comes in juices or sodas slides between your teeth sticking to areas that can only be cleaned with a thorough flossing. Sometimes, even with dedicated brushing and flossing, sugars can be difficult to remove.   Dedicated oral hygiene helps, but those hard-to-reach sugars feed hungry bacteria triggering tooth decay and cavities. Foods high in sugar also leave large amounts of sugar remnants on your teeth that won’t dissolve easily with your natural saliva production.  These sugars, when left to fester, allow bacteria to grow which eats away at your vital tooth enamel. Weakened tooth enamel allows holes to develop in the teeth and cavities.  Sugar Today According to the American Heart Association (AHA), men should not have more than 38 grams of sugar per day and women should not have more than 25 grams. Children should only be having up to 6 grams of added sugars and infants should have little to none, if possible. Adjusting how we think about sugar is also important. Contrary to popular thought, sugar isn’t limited to sweets and treats.  Common sources of sugar are in those foods that seem harmless like bread, peanut butter and jelly, applesauce, graham crackers and other snacks that parents think are healthy. Sugar Facts: 30-50% of children now get Type II Diabetes and up to 92% of people have tooth decay, in large part to not monitoring the intake of sugar. The National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey found that children 3 and under get at least 12 grams of sugar a day. 4 to 8 year-olds get an average of 21 grams a day. Children up to 18 years old get around 34 grams or more. The average American gets about 22 teaspoons or more of sugar throughout their day that is usually hidden in the foods they eat. Ideas for How to Approach Sugar and the Daily Diet Developing healthy eating patterns that reduce the amount of sugar in your child’s diet takes planning and monitoring, but it is worth it! Here are some tips for limiting sugar intake and for helping your child take care of their teeth: Schedule dental visits from the time your child is one year old, or within 6 months of getting their first tooth. Children should see a dentist at least twice a year, just like adults need to do. Pay attention to food labels. Check the sugar content.  Avoid all foods that have more than a few grams of added sugars in...

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Oral Hygiene Routine: Why You Need One!

Posted by on Oct 19, 2018 in oral care, oral hygiene | 0 comments

Oral Hygiene Routine: Why You Need One!

Do you have an oral hygiene routine? Many patients know that brushing and flossing the teeth are important, but they don’t know all the oral hygiene guidelines they should be following. This is just one reason so many patients have tooth decay and gum disease. Find out what a great oral hygiene routine looks like and how you can keep your teeth intact and healthy throughout life! Preventive Care with Oral Hygiene Habits When it comes to brushing and flossing your teeth, how long and with what frequency should you perform these actions? Consider the following directions for your daily oral hygiene routine: Brushing Your Teeth Strive to brush at least twice a day Brush your teeth for 2 minutes, spending about (30 seconds) in each quadrant of your mouth Hold your brush at a 45 degree angle pointed towards the gums Brush all the surfaces of your teeth (the sides and the chewing surface on top) Flossing Your Teeth Floss your teeth once a day Make sure to floss the teeth at the back of your mouth too Use 18 in of floss—wrap each end around your fingers and gently lower it in between your teeth Follow the curve of your teeth to avoid damaging your gums Repeat this for every tooth, as you move to the next tooth take the dirty floss with one finger and unwind the clean floss from the other finger The ADA provides the following diagram/instructions for flossing that you can refer to Use Mouthwash Rinse your mouth with mouthwash after you brush and floss your teeth Take in a small amount of mouthwash, then swish for 30-40 seconds, making sure your lips are tightly closed. Do not swallow. Spit it out Don’t Forget to Clean Your Tongue Using a toothbrush, deposit a small amount of toothpaste on your toothbrush and then brush your tongue in rotating motions. Rinse your mouth. Consider using a tongue scraper or specific tongue cleanser. Additional Oral Hygiene Tips Strive to eat a healthy balanced diet Don’t go to bed without brushing your teeth Schedule regular check-ups and cleanings with your dentist Examine your mouth during your oral hygiene routine to make sure there are no abnormalities that could signal oral cancer Your Unique Oral Health Needs Every patient we see has different needs to support their best oral health needs. Through an examination with Dr. Wolbaum, you can ascertain if there are things you should be doing regularly beyond what has been discussed in this article.  Patients that suffer from periodontal disease, dry mouth, bad breath, oral lesions, or that have implants or dentures may require a different daily oral hygiene routine. Make the Effort to Keep Your Mouth and Body Healthy “A healthy mouth and healthy body go hand in hand. Good oral hygiene and oral health can improve your overall health, reducing the risk of serious disease and perhaps even preserving your memory in your golden years. The phrase “healthy mouth, healthy you” really is true — and backed by growing scientific evidence,” reports WebMD. Maintaining good oral hygiene is one of the most important things you can do for your teeth and gums. Healthy teeth not only enable you to look and feel good, they make it possible to eat and speak properly. Good...

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Healthy Teeth for Fall

Posted by on Oct 13, 2018 in healthy teeth | 0 comments

Healthy Teeth for Fall

Fall is here and many holidays are on the horizon that could impact healthy teeth. Halloween, Christmas and Thanksgiving are all major times for lots of sugary treats and busy schedules. This can leave patients open to more oral health problems such as tooth decay. You can have healthy teeth throughout the fall, winter, holidays and busy times with the right oral hygiene practices. Use these tips for protecting your teeth against decay, tooth sensitivity with cold temperatures, damage from sugar and more! Educate Yourself About Sugar Sugar doesn’t get the bad rap it deserves, most of the time. But as more and more are being educated to the dangers of it, the hope is that habits will change. “Here in the United States, the average person consumes more than 126 grams of sugar per day, which is slightly more than three 12-ounce cans of Coca-Cola. That’s more than twice the average sugar intake of all 54 countries observed by Euromonitor. It’s also more than twice what the World Health Organization recommends for daily intake, which is roughly 50 grams of sugar for someone of normal weight,” writes Roberto A. Ferdman in the Washington Post. Sugar Does More than Encourage Cavity Formation A form of sugar is in almost everything we eat, but taking an active role in knowing how to monitor your sugar consumption will boost both your oral health and your overall health as well. While a little bit of sugar doesn’t do much harm, too much can negatively impact your health and not just by the formation of cavities.  Sugar consumption can lead to coronary heart disease, type II diabetes, metabolic syndrome, high blood pressure, cancer and obesity. So with everything that we know about sugar, why can’t we leave it alone? According to brain scans, sugar is just as addictive as cocaine. Tip for that Halloween Candy – Out of Sight Out of Mind Don’t keep Halloween candy out where it is easily seen. This causes more consumption of sugars than if the candy is put away for special treat nights. Keep fruits and vegetables on display to encourage your children to reach for them instead! Brush After Sweets Retain healthy teeth this Halloween by brushing and flossing teeth after sweets are consumed. Brushing teeth immediately after sweets can reduce the growth of plaque and bacteria on susceptible teeth. Foods with a high sugar content deposit large amounts of sugar residue on your teeth that is hard to remove with your natural saliva production. Brushing offers you a tool to extract the plaque more efficiently. Tooth Sensitivity with Colder Temperatures – What Do You Do? If you find that your teeth are more sensitive to cold temperatures, you may be suffering symptoms from exposed nerves which can happen with tooth decay or gum disease. Other common triggers for tooth sensitivity include: Brushing/flossing to hard Grinding teeth and stress Exposed nerve roots Cracks in teeth Receding gums The first thing you will want to do when these symptoms present is schedule an appointment with Dr. Wolbaum to make sure that your symptoms aren’t related to tooth decay or gum disease. Other steps you can take to keep healthy teeth include: Avoiding cold and acidic foods Using a soft toothbrush Use a toothpaste for sensitive teeth Call...

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Gum Disease Planing and Root Scaling

Posted by on Oct 5, 2018 in gum disease | 0 comments

Gum Disease Planing and Root Scaling

Gum disease affects more than 64.7 million Americans. This condition is a chronic disease that stems from poor oral hygiene habits. If plaque sits on the teeth, it’s acidic content causes the gums to recede and can lead to gum infections and tooth loss. If you have gum problems, root planing and scaling is a service that can help soothe your affected gums. This is a removal of infection and debris in gum pockets that can help patients combat the effects of this disease to reverse it. Gingivitis Many people know that taking care of the teeth is incredibly important if they want to keep them. However, studies show that the majority of people aren’t brushing and flossing their teeth enough. This can lead to both low-grade and major dental problems. The American Dental Association recommends brushing your teeth at least twice a day for 2 minutes at a time. Are you following this recommendation? If you’re like 44% of women and 51% of men, then you’re probably not. Of those percentages, many brush once a day, and some don’t brush every day These habits are even worse in millenials as some studies suggest that only about 3 in 10 millennials are brushing their teeth each day. Three in ten! That can lead to major health diseases like cavities. And yes, cavities—known as “tooth decay—actually are considered a disease. This stems from not brushing and flossing the teeth enough. Another highly prevalent dental condition is gingivitis. You will known this condition by it’s characterizing red gums. Natural, healthy gums have a softer pink shade to them. However, when your oral hygiene is lacking, you will not only experience dental problems, but your gums will start to inflame, becoming dark red in patches or all over. Gingivitis is also characterized by swollen gums and bleeding gums, especially when you actually do brush and floss your teeth. Gum Disease: Scope and Statistics Brushing and flossing the teeth are so important to avoid gingivitis, as it can lead to a worse disease of your gums called gum disease. Don’t think you will know that you have gum disease because your mouth is in pain, because it won’t be. You could have gingivitis for years and not know it if you didn’t look for or pay attention to the signs. When you eat, sugars in your food and drink mix with bacteria in your mouth to form a sticky, acidic film called plaque. That is the crud that sticks to your teeth. Because it’s acidic, it breaks up the minerals in your teeth, making your enamel weak and your teeth with start to decay. Gums don’t want to be anywhere near that acidic plaque, and they actually get really irritated by it. That is why gingivitis happens with irritated gums that change color and get swollen and inflammed. That’s also why they bleed easier. If you don’t pay attention to those signs, your gums will take matters into their own hands and will start to pull away from plaque. That pulling away is called gum recession, and it can destroy your smile. Gum recession is a sign that you definitely have gum disease. This recession can also be a doozy, as you may not be able to reverse that recession, especially in later...

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Your Child’s First Dental Visit

Posted by on Sep 26, 2018 in brushing and flossing, First Dental Visit | 0 comments

Your Child’s First Dental Visit

Did you know that the American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommends that children see a dentist within 6 months of getting their first tooth, or their first birthday? An early dental visit is a great way for dentists to see how the baby teeth are coming into the mouth. Many infants also struggle with baby bottle tooth decay, which is the decay of the delicate baby teeth due to sugars from milk and food. Find out how to avoid that decay and what to expect for your infant’s first dental visit! The First Dental Visit Scheduling your child’s first dental visit by his first birthday or when you see the first tooth emerge is essential.  You can prevent most tooth conditions and problems by helping your child establish a foundation of oral wellness early on. This begins with early treatment and assessment and continues with regular home treatment and biannual visits to our office. Oral Health Risk Assessment The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommends that every child have an oral health risk assessment by 6 months of age. Dr. Wolbaum visually assesses the health of your child’s teeth and conducts a thorough interview with the parents to identify any conditions your child may be predisposed to through genetics. Tooth decay is a disease that is preventable. When we have all the information, we can get ahead of issues.   First Dental Visit: Exams, Fluoride and Cleanings Depending on the age and comfort level of your child, he may have his first cleaning at his first dental visit, or you may schedule the cleaning for a time soon to follow.  After his teeth are cleaned, a fluoride application will be put on the teeth to help keep the enamel strong and prevent cavities.   Dr. Wolbaum will then explain the home treatment process.  We will give you the chance to ask any questions you may have about toddler teething, thumbsucking, tooth-friendly foods, or anything else that pertains to your toddler’s oral health during your visit with us. We also recommend that you prepare a list of questions you may have before your child’s first dental visit so you can make sure you get your answers from Dr. Wolbaum before you leave. To help you keep tooth decay way, and to treat any that your child may already have, Pioneer Hills Dental provides the following services: Sealants ( to prevent decay) Tooth-colored fillings Emergency / trauma care Preventive care including oral hygiene instruction, diet counseling, fluoride treatment and cleanings Orthodontic evaluations and referrals Nitrous Oxide (option) to use for restorative procedures During your child’s first dental visit, one of our friendly Pioneer Hills Dental team will give you an overview of all the services that we offer your child and answer any questions you may have. At-Home Care Well-established oral-hygiene habits in your home help you prevent tooth decay and are an essential part of your role with your child’s oral health. Don’t underestimate the steps you take at home to safeguard your child’s smile and overall body health. Learn how basic oral hygiene can make a difference in your life: Flossing Teeth Start flossing your child’s teeth once a day as soon as two teeth emerge that touch. The use of floss sticks or picks instead of regular string...

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Why Do You Need a Dental Cleaning?

Posted by on Sep 22, 2018 in oral hygiene, teeth cleanings | 0 comments

Why Do You Need a Dental Cleaning?

Regular teeth cleanings do more than you might think! Did you know that your oral health can affect your overall health? That is why it’s so important to take those few minutes each day caring for your teeth and gums. One way to know how well you are doing with your oral health is to get a dental cleaning. This teeth cleaning is recommended every 6 months by the American Dental Association and dental professionals. Find out how this dental cleaning is different from the cleaning you do at home and why you need one twice a year! Support Good Health with Regular Teeth Cleanings A dental cleaning every six months can do more than just keep your teeth and gums healthy. Recent studies have linked heart attacks and strokes to gum disease–a result of poor oral hygiene. Gum disease is an infection in the gum tissues and bone that keep your teeth in place and is one of the leading causes of adult tooth loss. If diagnosed early, it can be treated and reversed. If treatment is not received, a more serious and advanced stage of gum disease may follow. Regular teeth cleanings, check-ups, flossing daily and brushing twice a day are key steps for preventing gum disease. Because of the high levels of bacteria found in infected areas of the mouth when gum disease or periodontal disease is present, the risks of cardiovascular disease increases. Other studies have suggested that the inflammation in the gums may create a chronic inflammatory response in other parts of the body which has also been implicated in increasing the risk of heart disease and stroke. 75% of Americans suffer from some kind of gum disease and are putting themselves at higher risk for these dangerous conditions. Don’t be part of that statistic and get schedule teeth cleanings regularly. Prevent Cavities and Dental Conditions Do you know what plaque is and how it is formed? The whitish film that builds up on your teeth is plaque. Plaque forms from leftover food particles and saliva that mix in your mouth. If you don’t brush properly after meals, it begins to build up on your teeth.  Plaque is the leading cause of tooth decay. This acidic substance eats away at the tooth enamel and, if left unattended, can lead to cavities. Plaque can be removed by brushing, flossing and teeth cleanings. Regular teeth cleanings can also prevent unnecessary tooth loss.  Gum disease, which starts with built-up plaque, is the most common cause of tooth loss in adults. As gum disease advances, plaque moves further down the tooth where it can destroy the supporting bone in your jaw, causing teeth to loosen and fall out. Good oral hygiene habits coupled with regular teeth cleanings can help you keep all your teeth.   Teeth cleanings also help you treat bad breath. Even if you brush and floss regularly, getting a teeth cleaning is a great way to keep your mouth healthy and odor-free. If you have persistent bad breath, you may be suffering from gingivitis. Dr. Wolbaum can help you treat the cause of your bad breath and return your mouth to freshness. Brighten Your Smile, Boost Your Confidence Even if you are great about regularly brushing and flossing your teeth, genetics, diet, and lifestyle habits...

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How Is Dental Botox Different than Regular Botox?

Posted by on Sep 15, 2018 in dental botox, TMJ | 0 comments

How Is Dental Botox Different than Regular Botox?

The American Society of Plastic Surgeons report that over 7.2 million Americans received Botox injections in 2017. This statistics could be even larger when you consider the small shops and amateurs that offer Botox injections to clients. This is a substance that can help get rid of fine lines and wrinkles, but it can be dangerous and cause nerve damage and injuries when it is used incorrectly. That is why you should consider Dental Botox from a dental professional, trained to know all the intricate nerves and tissues of the face. How Does Botox Work? “Botox is a neurotoxin that inhibits the release of acetylcholine (ACH), a neurotransmitter responsible for the activation of muscle contraction and glandular secretion, and its administration results in reduction of tone in the injected muscle,” explains the National Institute of Health (NIH). There is no loss of sensory feeling in the muscles when Botox is injected, but by interrupting the motor nerve endings, the muscle cannot contract. This allows tense or overactive areas a break from stress or overuse symptoms. Why Botox Delivered from a Dentist is Ideal When it comes to the architecture of the face, dentists are experts of the muscle and bone structures. During their dental training, dentists study the oral and maxillofacial (areas from the chin to the forehead) in detail. What does this mean for you? It means that you can trust their Botox injections to be precise and to offer you natural-looking results. Keep frozen, strange, or awkward Botox results away by enlisting a dental professional for your botox treatments. How Botox is Used in Dental Treatment The NIH agrees that the dental health benefits Botox can offer is substantial: “The use of Botox is a minimally invasive procedure and is showing quite promising results in management of muscle-generated dental diseases like Temporomandibular disorders, bruxism, clenching, masseter hypertrophy and used to treat functional or esthetic dental conditions like deep nasolabial folds, radial lip lines, high lip line and black triangles between teeth.” Botox treatments offer dental health benefits that most haven’t considered.  If you have any of the following conditions, dental botox treatment may be for you: A “gummy” smiles due to over-retracted upper lips Upside-down smiles (as it takes more muscles to frown compared to smiling) Lip lines and puckered chins Headache pain resulting from muscle tension in the head, face, and neck Headaches resulting from bite issues such as TMJ (Temporomandibular Joint) Syndrome Persistent clenching and grinding of the teeth Headaches Seeing your dentist when you are suffering from headaches may not seem like the first course of action, but if you are experiencing frequent headaches (especially in the morning), the cause of your headaches may be related to grinding your teeth or teeth clenching in the night. Dr. Wolbaum can provide you with a nightguard that you wear when you are sleeping that can help alleviate your chronic headaches. Clinical Uses of Dental Botox If you suffer from chronic TMJ and facial pain, botox has been found to help ease your symptoms. It is also used as an alternative to invasive surgical procedures for the treatment of high lip line cases, denture patients who have trouble adjusting to new dentures, lip augmentation, and even in orthodontic cases where retraining of the facial muscles is necessary....

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Understanding Dental Terms

Posted by on Sep 4, 2018 in dental terms | 0 comments

Understanding Dental Terms

Do you find yourself often confused by terms you hear in a dental office? Many patients do! What is an abscess? What is dental caries? The dentist says “posterior”, “anterior”, “occlusion” and other terms—what do they mean? Don’t get lost in dental terms used during your appointment! Here are some of the most common terms and services talked about in a dental office and what they mean. Dental Terms about Dental Conditions Cavities are known by many terms such as “dental caries”, “dental decay” and “tooth decay”. When you eat, sugars in your food mix with mouth bacteria to create plaque. That plaque is an acidic substance that sits on your teeth (because it doesn’t wash away with water) and decays them. Basically, plaque is super harsh on your teeth and even though the teeth themselves are hard, it’s like a solution that wears away the layers a little at a time. It works similar to nail polish remover, with plaque slowly taking away your tooth enamel. When you brush and floss it away, plaque can’t hurt you. However, when your oral hygiene is lacking, plaque will start to wear away and decay areas of your teeth. Decay creates a “cavity”—or open space—in your teeth. You may also hear the term “gum disease”. That means that plaque has been around long enough to irritate your gums. The gums also swell up, turn more red and may even bleed. Your gums try to move away from plaque, which means they “recede” from the teeth and more of your tooth root starts to show. That recession can lead to gum disease, which leads to tooth loss. Basic Dental Work Many dental problems are found during cleanings and exams: Dental Cleaning – The most basic dental service, this is recommended every 6 months. We meticulously clean, floss, buff, and polish your teeth to remove any stuck-on substances. We also provide a fluoride treatment, which is an element that helps coat the teeth in a protective layer that’s more resistant to plaque and acids. Comprehensive Exam – After your dental cleaning, you will get x-rays on your face to find internal areas of tooth decay. The dentist will look at everything in your mouth, as well as the individual teeth for any decay, infections or signs of disease. That examination is also an oral cancer screening, which checks for lumps and abnormalities. Dental Terms and Services Cavity Filling – A dentist drills out decayed areas of your teeth, cleans out any infection, and fills the area with composite resin and other materials. That material is shaped to look like your tooth and keeps your teeth functioning like normal. Tooth-colored fillings are ones made from white material. Dental Sealant – Wish you could prevent cavities in the first place? Besides good oral hygiene, you can get a dental sealant, which means the dentist paints a plastic dental coating on your tooth to seal it from food and other substances. This reduces your risk for tooth decay. Tooth Extraction – When decay is severe or a dental injury is too large, we may take out a tooth, which is an “extraction” of the tooth. We then prep the area for a dental implant by placing a screw in the jaw area immediately, or by letting...

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