Posts for: September, 2011
Having someone tell you that you have bad breath can be humiliating, but it can also be a sign that you need to see your dentist. Bad breath (or halitosis) can be a sign of an underlying dental or health problem, so before you run out and stock up on breath mints, make an appointment with our office. Using breath fresheners will only disguise the problem and not treat the root cause.
It's important to remember that if you have bad breath, you're not alone — it's the third most common reason people seek a dental consult. We use a systematic approach to determine the cause of your halitosis and offer a solution.
Causes: Ninety percent of mouth odors come from mouth itself — either from the food you eat or bacteria that may be present. Most unpleasant odors originate from proteins trapped in the mouth that are processed by oral bacteria. When left on the tongue, these bacteria can cause an unpleasant smell. Dry mouth, sinus problems, diet and poor oral hygiene can also cause bad breath. In rare cases, a medical condition may be the cause.
Treatment: The best solution will depend on determining the real cause of your halitosis. If bad breath emanates from the mouth, it most commonly is caused by gum disease or even tooth decay, which need to be treated to correct the problem. If halitosis is of systemic (general body) origin, a more detailed examination might be needed from a physician. But the solution may also be as simple as demonstrating how to effectively remove bacterial plaque from your teeth, or offer instruction on proper tongue cleaning. If the cause is gum disease, we may suggest a deep cleaning and possible antibiotic therapy.
Contact us today to schedule an appointment to discuss any questions you may have regarding bad breath. Read more about this topic in the Dear Doctor magazine article “Bad Breath: More Than Just Embarrassing.”
How much do you know about dental implants? Test yourself with this quiz.
- Earliest recorded attempts at using dental implants were from
- Medieval England
- The ancient Mayans
- U.S.A. in the 1950s
- Dental implants are called endosseous. What does this mean?
- They fuse with the bone
- They are inside the mouth
- They are not real teeth
- What are most dental implants made of?
- What part of the tooth does an implant replace?
- The implant is the root replacement
- The implant is the root plus the crown
- The implant is the crown
- What is the success rate of dental implants?
- 50 percent or less
- 75 percent
- 95 percent or more
- What could cause an implant to fail?
- Smoking or drug use
- Poor bone quality and quantity at the implant site
- Both of the above
- What is a tooth's emergence profile?
- The implant and crown's shape as it emerges from beneath the gum line
- A measure of the urgency of the tooth replacement
- A measure of the time it takes for you to be able to chew on the new implant
- What are some of the factors that go into the aesthetics of designing the crown?
- Choice of materials
- Color matching
- Both of the above
- b. The concept of dental implants goes back to the Mayan civilization in 600 AD.
- a. The word endosseous (from endo meaning within and osseo meaning bone) refers to the implant's ability to fuse with or integrate with the bone in which it is placed.
- b. Most implants are made of a titanium alloy, a metallic substance that is not rejected by the body and is able to fuse with the bone.
- a. The term “implant” refers to the root replacement, which is anchored in the gum and bone. A crown is put around the implant where it emerges from the gumline.
- c. The majority of studies have shown long term success rates of over 95 percent.
- c. Factors that could cause an implant to fail include general health concerns such as smoking and drug use, osteoporosis, or a compromised immune system; poor bone quality or quantity; and poor maintenance such as lack of proper brushing and flossing.
- a. The emergence profile has a lot to do with the implant's natural appearance. It involves the way the crown, which attaches to the implant, seemingly emerges through the gum tissue like a natural tooth.
- c. Choices such as materials, color, and position can be worked out in the design of a customized temporary crown, which acts as a template or blueprint for a final crown.
If you fear a visit to the dentist, you are not alone. Studies have shown that up to 75% of people surveyed have some fear of dental visits, and 10 to 15% fear the dentist so much that they avoid any dental treatment. This can have serious repercussions, leading to toothaches, infections, and loss of teeth. Poor oral health can even negatively affect your general state of health.
Here's the good news. Even people who are the most afraid of the dentist can learn to reduce their fear and feel calm and safe during a dental visit.
Dental fears develop when people have bad dental experiences. For many, the problem is a sense of loss of control. Sometimes, fears are based on stories people have heard or even movies they have seen.
The feeling of being afraid reinforces your fear. If you experience the rapid heartbeat, sweaty palms, tensed muscles, and other symptoms of fear while in the dentist chair, you are likely to remember these unpleasant feelings afterward and become even more fearful. In order to reverse this process, you need to begin to associate dental visits with good experiences and a sense of control. Here's how we can help you do this:
- Know that you are not alone and we are here to help you.
- Talk to us about your fears. We are sure to listen and not be judgmental. If you don't talk about it, you can't get over it.
- We will start by doing things that cause only mild or no anxiety. We want each visit to be a good experience, so you are able to leave our office with a feeling that it was okay, and you can do it again.
- Our goal is for you to overcome your fear. We will make this a priority and that priority is as important as “fixing your teeth.” We will be happy to talk about the time and fees associated with your treatment so that you can overcome your fear and gain a sense of control of the situation.
- It took a while for your fears to develop, so you should realize that it will also take a while to get over them. We will spend as much time as you need to get over your fears and will not rush you into doing anything for which you are not ready.
Contact us today to schedule an appointment to discuss your questions about any fears you may have. You can also learn more by reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “Overcoming Dental Fear & Anxiety.”