Dental Tips Blog

Mar
29

What is an Intraoral Camera?

An intra-oral camera is used in many dental practices to help better visualize the mouth, teeth, and gum lines.  Using an intra-oral camera has many advantages to the patient and dentist.

This camera is a tiny camera, usually a small 1 to 2 inches in size that will easily fit inside of your mouth.  By using the camera, the dentist can then see on a larger screen between your teeth, your gumline, and other areas of your mouth.  These pictures are of a high quality and resolution, and will allow your dentist to know much quicker if there are any problems such as cavities or periodontal disease that need to be addressed.

The other advantage to an intra-oral camera is that any pictures taken inside your mouth can then be saved to your permanent dental record.  This will allow comparison to previous pictures at a later date, and allow your dentist to keep an eye on areas that may be cause for concern.  It also allows pictures to be taken of areas that may need specialty treatment, and to easily transfer these images between practices.  This saves you both time and money in the long run.

A final advantage of using intra-oral cameras is that this allows images to be sent to your insurance company if needed.  Using an intra-oral camera allows for permanent documentation of treatments performed in a faster, more comfortable manner.  Intra-oral cameras also limit the amount of radiation exposure you may receive.

If you are curious about what your dentist may see, ask to see the pictures of your teeth that the intra-oral camera has taken.  Looking at the images together, you and your dentist can determine a course of treatment that is best for you, your mouth, and your smile!

Posted on behalf of Prime Dental Care

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Jan
29

What Causes Bad Breath?

Posted in Gum Disease

Bad breath, also known as halitosis, is not only embarrassing but can also be a sign of something more serious.  There are many different things that can cause bad breath.

The most common cause of bad breath is an easy fix:  something you ate.  If you had a meal with heavy spices such as garlic or onions, hours later you may notice an unpleasant taste or breath odor.  Brushing and flossing well should help remove this problem.

Bad breath that stays for a long time can be a sign of plaque build-up and gum disease (also called periodontal disease).  This bad breath is usually accompanied by a bad or funny taste in the mouth.  See your dentist for periodontal disease treatment.

Sometimes bad breath is from medications that you may be on or from mouth breathing. This results in dry mouth, which can cause food to remain trapped in your gums and mouth. Increasing your fluid intake or using artificial saliva may help with this.

If you are a smoker or use tobacco products, you are more likely to have bad breath and stained teeth.  Tobacco will irritate your gums, and you are then more likely to have gum disease. Oral cancers are more frequent in tobacco users, which will also cause bad breath.

If none of these items are the cause of your bad breath, it is possible that you have another medical condition such as kidney disease or diabetes. Your dentist can help you determine the source of your bad breath, and refer you as appropriate to another provider if needed.

If you are concerned about bad breath, make an appointment to see your dentist.

Jan
14

Why is Gum Disease Such a Big Deal?

Posted in Gum Disease

You hear it everywhere: gingivitis, gum disease, periodontal disease and tooth loss. Is it really as big of a deal as it’s made out to be? An estimated 90% of adults in the US have some form of gum disease, but gum disease can include a broad spectrum of conditions and vary in the severity of disease conditions.

Symptoms include:

  • Bleeding gums
  • Sore gums
  • Swelling
  • Red or purple gums
  • Food packing
  • Bad breath

Gum disease starts as simple gingivitis, but when left untreated can turn into periodontal disease (a condition linked with systemic diseases), which causes loss of the teeth. Gingivitis is simply the inflammation, redness and swelling along the margin of the gumlines near the dental crowns. Not brushing efficiently, properly, or avoiding flossing can lead to the development of gingivitis. This inflammation is due to the body’s immune response to plaque biofilm along the gumlines around each tooth.

If plaque biofilm is allowed to persist, it calcifies into tartar. Tartar is impossible to brush or floss off and can only be removed by your dentist or dental hygienist. The development of tartar triggers a more severe immune response as it develops farther down under the gumlines, creating deep pockets of unattached gums around the tooth. These areas typically bleed during brushing or flossing, but may be totally asymptomatic in individuals that smoke or use tobacco products.

Untreated, this bone loss is known as periodontal disease and will cause teeth to become loose or even fall out. If treatment is received in a timely manner, periodontal disease can be treated or even reversed, saving the health and life of the teeth.

Oct
19

Diabetes and Your Teeth

Posted in Gum Disease

Many systemic health conditions affect your teeth, but did you know that your teeth can affect your systemic health conditions?  Patients with diabetes may have an increased rate of periodontal disease (also called gum disease) when their blood sugar levels are uncontrolled. Likewise, it is also more difficult for diabetic patients to control their blood sugar levels when their periodontal disease goes untreated.

When periodontal disease progresses or is left untreated, it ultimately leads to the destruction of bone in the mouth, as well as the loss of teeth. In order to effectively treat the oral disease conditions, it is important for diabetic patients to stick to a routine preventive care routine that involves cleanings and disease screening with their dentist or hygienist.

Oral hygiene habits should include flossing or water flossing to effectively remove plaque biofilm that congregates under the gum tissue. When plaque is removed effectively, it prevents the build up of tartar deposits under the gums. Once calcified, tartar can only be removed by your dental hygienist or dentist during a professional cleaning. If tartar forms and is allowed to persist, then the immune system becomes strained as it destroys disease bacteria along with the structural support tissues around the diseased tooth.

Most preventive care appointments are scheduled every 6 months for routine deposit removal. Patients that experience a higher rate of buildup or have active gum disease may be seen more frequently such as every 3 or 4 months. If gum disease is moderate to severe, a deep cleaning may first be needed to assist in the disease reversal process. Dental patients with diabetes have an even bigger reason to be proactive in their preventive dental care.

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