Posts for: August, 2016
Are bleeding gums something you should be concerned about? Dear Doctor magazine recently posed that question to Dr. Travis Stork, an emergency room physician and host of the syndicated TV show The Doctors. He answered with two questions of his own: “If you started bleeding from your eyeball, would you seek medical attention?” Needless to say, most everyone would. “So,” he asked, “why is it that when we bleed all the time when we floss that we think it’s no big deal?” As it turns out, that’s an excellent question — and one that’s often misunderstood.
First of all, let’s clarify what we mean by “bleeding all the time.” As many as 90 percent of people occasionally experience bleeding gums when they clean their teeth — particularly if they don’t do it often, or are just starting a flossing routine. But if your gums bleed regularly when you brush or floss, it almost certainly means there’s a problem. Many think bleeding gums is a sign they are brushing too hard; this is possible, but unlikely. It’s much more probable that irritated and bleeding gums are a sign of periodontal (gum) disease.
How common is this malady? According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, nearly half of allÂ Americans over age 30 have mild, moderate or severe gum disease — and that number increases to 70.1 percent for those over 65! Periodontal disease can occur when a bacteria-rich biofilm in the mouth (also called plaque) is allowed to build up on tooth and gum surfaces. Plaque causes the gums to become inflamed, as the immune system responds to the bacteria. Eventually, this can cause gum tissue to pull away from the teeth, forming bacteria-filled “pockets” under the gum surface. If left untreated, it can lead to more serious infection, and even tooth loss.
What should you do if your gums bleed regularly when brushing or flossing? The first step is to come in for a thorough examination. In combination with a regular oral exam (and possibly x-rays or other diagnostic tests), a simple (and painless) instrument called a periodontal probe can be used to determine how far any periodontal disease may have progressed. Armed with this information, we can determine the most effective way to fight the battle against gum disease.
Above all, don’t wait too long to come in for an exam! As Dr. Stork notes, bleeding gums are “a sign that things aren’t quite right.” Â If you would like more information about bleeding gums, please contact us or schedule an appointment. You can read more in the Dear Doctor magazine article “Bleeding Gums.” You can read the entire interview with Dr. Travis Stork in Dear Doctor magazine.
Dental veneers are designed to handle normal biting and chewing, but there are still a few foods you should avoid, particularly when wearing temporary veneers. Stephen R. Harris, D.D.S., P.C., your Farmington, MI, dentist, is here to explain which foods you should skip.
Foods to avoid if you have temporary veneers
During the first step of the veneer process, your dentist files the fronts of your teeth and make molds of them. The dental laboratory uses these molds to create your custom veneers, which should be ready in about two to three weeks. In the meantime, you'll probably wear temporary veneers. Since these veneers aren't permanently attached to your teeth, they can move or become damaged if you aren't careful. Avoiding the following foods can help you prevent problems:
- Meat that requires substantial chewing, such as steak
- Ice, hard candy, apples and other hard foods
- Toast and breads with hard crusts
- Sticky candies
- Nut, potato chips, pretzels, seeds and other crunchy foods
- Foods that can stain teeth, such as coffee, tea, wine, cola, ketchup, tomatoes and berries
Once you receive your permanent veneers, you may want to avoid or limit these types of foods and actions:
- Hard Foods: It's never a good idea to bite into hard candies or biting close to the bone when eating foods like pork chops and chicken legs. Things like these can chip the porcelain..
- Ice: Biting down on ice cubes can chip or break your veneers.
- Using teeth like a tool: biting open a bag of chips. Avoid biting your nails or anything with exessive vertical force.
Dental veneers offer a simple way to change your smile and will last for years with proper care. Interested in learning if veneers are a good choice for you? Call Stephen R. Harris, D.D.S., P.C., your Farmington, MI, dentist, at (248) 478-4755 to schedule an appointment. Transform your smile with veneers!
Since the late 19th Century, dentists have used established protocols to successfully prevent and treat tooth decay. But there've been changes to this approach the last few years to improve its effectiveness, changes we now refer to as Minimally Invasive Dentistry or MID.
The older approach for treating dental caries (tooth decay) follows the protocols established by Dr. G.V. Black, considered the father of modern dentistry. Black advocated removing not only decayed structure but also some of the healthier but vulnerable portions of a tooth, to avoid further decay and make the tooth easier to clean. This resulted in larger fillings, although they've become smaller as dental techniques have advanced.
MID, on the other hand, aims to remove as little tooth structure as possible while still effectively treating and preventing future decay. To achieve that goal we begin first with a complete assessment of a patient's individual decay risk, known as Caries Management By Risk Assessment (CAMBRA).
With CAMBRA, we're looking at other factors besides individual tooth health: a patient's hygiene, lifestyle and dietary habits; the types and amount of bacteria present; and the quality of saliva flow, needed to neutralize mouth acid. With these the results we develop a customized prevention and treatment strategy.
MID also focuses on detecting dental caries as early as possible. Besides traditional x-rays, we're beginning to use other methods like dental microscopes, laser fluorescence, infrared photography or optical scanning. Early detection leads to early intervention, and with techniques that are much less invasive than the traditional approach.
The new approach also changes how we repair decayed teeth. We're increasingly using air abrasion, a technology that uses fine particles in a pressurized air stream to remove softer decayed tooth material and less healthy structure than the traditional dental drill. We're also using composite resin and other advanced materials for filings: these tooth-colored materials are stronger than previous versions and are quickly taking the place of metal amalgam, requiring less structural removal to accommodate them.
MID's core principles are early disease detection, proactive prevention and treatment with less structural removal. With this enhanced approach to effective dentistry, we're keeping your teeth healthy with minimal discomfort, lower costs and less long-term impact.