A regular and well-maintained oral hygiene and preventive care can help prevent the need for expensive treatments now and in the future. Dr. Christy Natsis and Associates provides a number of preventive dentistry services in Pembroke, Ontario for patients in communities throughout Renfrew and West Pontiac counties. Have questions? Contact us to learn more.
The participants involved in contact sports experience a great number and degree of injuries like running the gamut from lost teeth, fractured jaws and bone loss to tooth fragments embedded in the lips, soft tissue lacerations, and concussions. The long-term considerations of not wearing a mouthguard, including monetary costs and future additional treatment, can be significant.
A good-quality and properly fitted mouthguard can do more than just preventing chipped or broken teeth. It also protects the soft tissue around the mouth and can reduce the risk of a jaw fracture by absorbing some of the forces applied to the jaw. According to some studies, it is also indicated that there is a reduction of risk for concussion or severity of concussion when athletes wear mouthguards.
Preferably, a mouthguard provides maximum protection and is resilient, durable, and comfortable. Also, it should fit properly and shouldn't impede breathing or cause gagging.
There are 2 main types of athletic mouthguards available that vary in cost, comfort, and effectiveness:
Readymade/Boil and Bite – Store Bought
Custom Made at a Dental Office
Tooth sensitivity, also commonly known as dentin sensitivity, is not a disease but a dental condition that causes your teeth to ache when you eat or drink something cold, hot, sweet, or sour, or when you brush your teeth. Generally, 1 out 4 adults aged 20 to 50 years suffers from tooth sensitivity. The effects of sensitive teeth typically manifest as a short, sharp, or stabbing pain that passes quickly. Teeth sensitivity can be uncomfortable and make you want to change your eating and drinking habits or how you brush your teeth.
What Causes Tooth Sensitivity?
Enamel and gum tissue are intended to protect your teeth, but due to external factors, the natural protection can weaken. Over time, the protective enamel can wear out and expose the inner part of the tooth called dentin (it is porous and contains nerve endings). When dentin is exposed, the nerve can become irritated and cause discomfort.
Some of the causes of tooth sensitivity include:
Diet: Excessive intake of acidic foods and drinks like soda pop, certain alcoholic beverages, citrus fruits, and drinks, or pickled products can soften the enamel that covers the tooth surface.
Tooth Wear: Brushing too hard or teeth grinding can also wear away the enamel layer.
Gum Recession: After a certain age, many people experience gum recession. But brushing too hard can also affect your gums by pushing them back until they no longer cover the tooth at the natural gum line.
Here are a few helpful tips for coping with tooth sensitivity:
Reduce the amount of acidic foods in your diet.
If you are suffering from frequent vomiting or an eating disorder, stomach acids can also harm your teeth. We recommend talking to your physician and dentist.
Brush and floss your teeth thoroughly but gently every day using a soft-bristled brush and non-abrasive toothpaste.
Oral cancer is caused by some lifestyle factors, such as smoking, chewing tobacco, and alcohol intake. It can occur anywhere in the mouth from the lips to the throat. The most common areas where oral cancer develops are the sides and bottom of your tongue, and the floor of your mouth.
It is an aggressive disease that accounts for approximately 2% to 3% of all new cancer cases in Canada each year. Oral cancer has a higher mortality rate than either melanoma or cervical cancer. It has a low 5-year survival rate at just below 50%. However, early detection can raise the survival rate to as much as 80%. You can look for early signs of oral cancer such as a mouth sore or anything out of the ordinary that does not go away or heal after a couple of weeks. When you notice such changes, discuss it with your dentist. Maintaining good oral health is a lifelong commitment, whether you have your teeth or not.
The best way to detect oral cancer is during a regular dental exam. Our dentists have the medical training and expertise, and can easily detect oral cancer. During the examination, our dentist will inspect your mouth to detect any possible abnormal tissue changes. We will also check for signs of other cancers that can affect the head and neck. If the dentist identifies a suspicious lesion, we may recommend a tissue specimen (biopsy) be sent to the pathologist for analysis.
Periodontal disease is also referred to as gum disease which is a low-grade chronic bacterial infection. It is often painless and generally slow to develop; it is one of the most common dental problems. It is hard to notice any warning sign until the disease has become serious, and you are in danger of losing your teeth. Having periodontal disease is like having termites in your house. Above the ground the house looks fine, but the foundation is slowly being destroyed, possibly without you even knowing it. Just because it doesn't hurt doesn't mean all is well.
Over time, bacteria-harbouring plaque and tartar tends to get collected between the teeth and gums. If the debris is not frequently removed, it can migrate deeper under the gum line to create a pocket between the tooth and gum. Once these pockets are formed, it becomes hard to reach them with brushing and flossing, which in turn allows more debris and bacteria to accumulate. When the bacteria multiply, a variety of substances is released by the gum cells that aggravate and inflame the sensitive gum tissues. As a result, first, the gum tissues and then the supporting bones are slowly destroyed. Once enough bone tissue is destroyed, the teeth become loose and eventually will be lost.
If the cancer is detected at an early stage, further progression of gum disease is easier to prevent. So it is good practice to watch out for any abnormalities. Healthy gums do not bleed at all when brushed or flossed. If your gums bleed when you clean your teeth, your gums are inflamed. Bleeding is a strong indicator of gum inflammation. Treating gum disease will help control bacterial growth and inflammation and thus help prevent the progression of pockets.
Depending on the stage of the disease, treatment will require one or a combination of the following:
Scaling and Root Planing: This treatment can be performed by our dentist or dental hygienist. This treatment consists of removing (scaling) the plaque and tartar from above and below the gum line, smoothing away any rough spots (root planing) on the root of the tooth. During the process, we also remove bacteria and provide a clean, smooth surface for the gums to heal and reattach to the teeth.
Antibiotics: These are used to help control or reduce the amount of bacteria linked with gum disease. Antibiotics can also be used in combination with scaling and root planing. The antibiotic is applied locally by gently inserting it below the gum line into periodontal pockets where the bacteria thrive. A prescription for prolonged antibiotic use can be helpful in certain situations.
Surgery: If the tissues around your teeth are still unhealthy even after conservative treatments such as scaling and root planing or antibiotic medication, surgery is the only option. The whole purpose of surgical periodontal therapy is to eliminate the pathological changes in the pocket, creating a stable, maintainable environment and to promote pathological regeneration. Surgical techniques reduce the pocket depths, improve accessibility to previously hard-to-reach surfaces of the teeth, and make it possible for you to keep those surfaces free from plaque.
After the gum disease treatment, you will enter into a maintenance phase of care. This maintenance care will keep your gums free from inflammation. You’ll have to visit your dentist for regular checkups to ensure that gum inflammation does not return. It takes about 8 to 12 weeks for bacteria to migrate back under the gum line. In many cases, we see patients for maintenance care every 3 to 4 months. Other patients do not need to be seen as frequently as they have a lower risk profile. Your visits will be scheduled depending on your risk factors, as well as your previous treatment history and current findings.