DentiStar Tips for Adults in Glenview

ADULTS under 40

We are all at risk for tooth decay our entire life. Untreated dental disease can lead to serious health problems such as infection, damage to bone or nerve and tooth loss. Dental infections that are left untreated can even spread to other parts of the body. Mouth is the gateway of the body. Everything starts here !!!

Dental disease is preventable !!! You can practice preventive dentistry on yourself by adopting simple healthy habits: Always remember to brush your teeth twice a day, floss between teeth once a day, eat a balanced diet and limit between-meal snacks. And don't forget your regular dental visits. By following a healthy dental routine and making smart food choices, you can lower your risk for tooth decay.

Gum Disease / Periodontal Disease

Periodontal Disease, or commonly referred to as gum disease is an inflammation of the tissues [gum and bone] that hold your teeth in place. If it's severe, it can destroy the tissue and bone, leading to tooth pain, mobility, and loss. Gum disease is caused by plaque, a sticky film of bacteria that constantly forms on the teeth. When plaque is not removed it can harden into calculus (tartar). When tartar forms above and below the gumline, it becomes harder to brush and clean well between teeth. That buildup of plaque and tartar can harbor bacteria that lead to gum disease. The first stage of gum disease is called gingivitis, which is the only stage that is reversible.

If not treated, gingivitis may lead to a more serious, destructive form of gum/periodontal disease called periodontitis. It is possible to have periodontal disease and have no warning signs. That is one reason why regular dental checkups and periodontal examinations are so important. Treatment methods depend upon the type of disease and how far the condition has progressed. Good oral hygiene at home is essential to help keep periodontal disease from becoming more serious or recurring. Brush twice a day, clean between your teeth daily, eat a balanced diet, and schedule regular dental visits for a lifetime of healthy smiles.

Teeth Grinding

Teeth grinding, also called clenching/bruxism, often occurs unconsciously while you sleep or at high level of stress. It can cause serious damage to your teeth and jaw. Although it is often considered to be stress-related, teeth grinding can also be caused by sleep disorders. To provide treatment, we will try to identify reason for grinding then be fitted with a mouthguard to protect your teeth while you sleep.

TMJ

The temporomandibular joints, or TMJ, are among the more complex joints in your body. Any problem that prevents the TMJ from working properly may result in a painful disorder, also referred to as TMD, or temporaomandibular disorder. The exact cause of a TMJ disorder is often unclear, but possible causes can include arthritis, dislocation, injury and/or problems related to alignment or teeth grinding from stress.

Symptoms can include:

  • pain in or around the ear
  • tenderness of the jaw
  • clicking or popping noises when opening the mouth
  • headaches

If you're regularly experiencing facial or jaw pain, let us know. Exercise, muscle relaxants or physical therapy may help.

Sensitive teeth

If hot or cold foods make you wince, you may have a very common dental problem—sensitive teeth. Sensitivity in your teeth can happen for several reasons, including:

  • tooth decay (cavities)
  • fractured teeth
  • worn fillings
  • gum disease
  • worn tooth enamel
  • exposed tooth root

Sensitive teeth can be treated. Proper oral hygiene is the key to preventing tooth pain. Ask us if you have any questions about your daily oral hygiene routine or concerns about tooth sensitivity.

Missing Teeth

Did you know that the average adult between the ages of 20 and 64 has 3 or more decayed or missing teeth? If you are missing one or more teeth, there are plenty of reasons to correct the problem. Implants, bridges, removeable dentures are all available to restore your smile and your mouth.

Dry mouth

Everyone's mouth can be dry sometimes, but if you feel like your mouth is always dry, it may be time to seek treatment. Medications and certain health conditions can lead to dry mouth. We will check your teeth for signs of decay that can result from decreased salivary flow. A physician will test for any underlying disease or conditions that may be causing your dry mouth. Having a dry mouth is not itself serious but taking care of your teeth and gums and regular dental visits are important when living with dry mouth. Without the cleansing effects of saliva, tooth decay and other oral health problems become more common. Patients using oral inhalers for asthma often develop oral candidiasis, an oral fungal infection, and are encouraged to rinse their mouths with water after using the inhaler. Tell us what medications you are taking and any other information about your health that may help identify the cause of your dry mouth.

Oral Cancer

Ororpharyngeal cancer can affect any area of the oropharyngeal cavity including the lips, gum tissue, check lining, tongue, jaw the hard or soft palate and throat. It often starts as a tiny, unnoticed white or red spot or sore or swelling anywhere in the mouth or throat.

During your dental visit, we will discuss your health history and examine these areas for signs of mouth and/or throat cancer. Regular visits to your dentist can improve the chances that any suspicious changes in your oral health will be caught early, at a time when cancer can be treated more easily.

The symptoms of mouth or throat cancer can include:

  • sores that bleed easily or do not heal
  • a thick or hard spot or lump
  • a roughened or crusted area
  • numbness, pain or tenderness
  • a rapid change in the way your teeth fit together when you bite down.

Make sure to tell your dentist about any problems you have when chewing, swallowing, speaking or moving your tongue or jaw. Regular dental check-ups, including an examination of the entire mouth, are essential in the early detection of cancerous and pre-cancerous conditions.

GERIATRIC DENTAL CARE

Just 20-30 years ago, it was an assumption that as we age we would lose our natural teeth. But, that's not the case for today's older adults who are keeping their natural teeth longer than ever before. A healthy mouth and teeth help you look good, eat delicious and nutritious foods, and speak clearly and confidently. Being mouth healthy is essential for good quality of life.

Your mouth is the gateway to your body.

Maintaining good oral health habits now is especially important because unhealthy bacteria in the mouth harm your teeth and gums but also associated with serious medical conditions. Research has shown that infections in the mouth may be associated with heart disease, stroke, diabetes, pneumonia and other health problems that are common in older adults. It really only takes a few simple steps, brushing and flossing daily, visiting your dentist regularly and eating nutritious foods to be Mouth Healthy for Life.

The Link Between Medications and Cavities

You may wonder why you're suddenly getting cavities when you haven't had them in years. As we get older, we enter a second round of cavity prone years. One common cause of cavities in older adults is dry mouth. Dry mouth is not a normal part of aging. However, it is a side-effect in more than 500 medications, including those for allergies or asthma, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, pain, anxiety or depression, Parkinson's and Alzheimer's diseases. Based on your medical and medication history, we will make recommendations to help relieve your dry mouth symptoms and prevent cavities.

  • Over-the-counter oral moisturizers, such as a spray or mouthwash.
  • Consult with your physician on whether to change the medication or dosage.
  • Drink / sip more water. Carry a water bottle with you to provide constant lubrication.
  • Use sugar-free gum or mints to stimulate saliva production.
  • Get a humidifier to help keep moisture in the air especially during winter months
  • Avoid foods and beverages that dry mouths, like coffee, alcohol, carbonated soft drinks, and acidic fruit juices.
  • Topical fluoride gel or varnish to remineralize and protect your teeth from cavities.

Gum Disease

Many older adults have gum, or periodontal disease, caused by the bacteria in plaque, which irritate the gums, making them swollen, red and more likely to bleed. One reason gum disease is so widespread among adults is that it's often a painless condition until the advanced stage. If left untreated, gums can begin to pull away from the teeth and form deepened spaces called pockets where food particles and more plaque may collect. Advanced gum disease can eventually destroy the gums, bone and ligaments supporting the teeth leading to tooth loss. The good news is that with regular dental visits gum disease can be treated or prevented entirely.

Oral Cancer

According to the American Cancer Society, there are about 35,000 cases of mouth, throat and tongue cancer diagnosed each year. The average age of most people diagnosed with these cancers is 62. During dental visits, your dentist will check for any signs of oral cancer. Regular dental visits are important because in the early stages oral cancer typically does not cause pain and early detection saves lives. Some symptoms you may see include open sores, white or reddish patches, and changes in the lips, tongue and lining of the mouth that lasts for more than two weeks.

Do I Need Antibiotics before a Dental Procedure?

In 2008, the American Heart Association updated its recommendations for the use of preventive antibiotics before certain dental procedures, including teeth cleaning and extractions, for people with specific heart problems.

The use of preventive antibiotics prior to certain dental procedures is recommended for patients with:

  • artificial heart valves
  • a history of infective endocarditis (an infection of the lining inside the heart or the heart valves)
  • a cardiac (heart) transplant that develops a heart valve problem
  • suffer from a congenital (present from birth) heart condition:
  • unrepaired or incompletely repaired cyanotic congenital heart disease, including those with palliative shunts and conduits;
  • a completely repaired congenital heart defect with prosthetic material or device, whether placed by surgery or by catheter intervention, during the first six months after the procedure;
  • any repaired congenital heart defect with residual defect at the site or adjacent to the site of a prosthetic patch or a prosthetic device.

People who may have taken prophylactic antibiotics before but no longer need them include those with:

  • mitral valve prolapse (may have been identified as a heart murmur)
  • rheumatic heart disease
  • bicuspid valve disease
  • calcified aortic stenosis
  • congenital (present from birth) heart conditions such as ventricular septal defect, atrial septal defect and hypertrophic cardiomyopathy

Caregiving for a Disabled or Elderly Loved One

You may have a parent, spouse or friend who has difficulty maintaining a healthy mouth on their own. How can you help? Two things are critical:

1) Help them keep their mouth clean with reminders to brush and floss daily.

2) Make sure they come see us regularly.

These steps can prevent many problems, but tasks that once seemed so simple can become very challenging. If your loved one is having difficulty with brushing and flossing, we can provide helpful tips or a different approach. For those who wear dentures, pay close attention to their eating habits. If they're having difficulty eating or are not eating as much as usual, denture problems could be the cause.

Paying for Dental Care after Retirement

Many retirees don't realize that Medicare does not cover routine dental care. Begin to plan for your dental expenses in advance of retirement so you don't have to let your dental health suffer once you're on a fixed income. Organizations like AARP offer supplemental dental insurance plans for their members. You can also search for a dental plan at the National Association of Dental Plans website.

We offer no interest or low interest financing plans through Care Credit that may be a better option than paying for your dental work on a household credit card with a higher interest rate. If you have concerns about continuing your dental care due to a limited income, talk to us. We may be able to offer solutions.

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