Posts for: August, 2018
Perhaps you haven’t thought of it quite this way, but saliva is one of the true wonders of the human body. This unassuming fluid performs a variety of tasks to aid digestion and help protect your mouth from disease. And you hardly notice it — except when it’s not there.
That’s the case for millions of people in America who have a chronic condition called xerostomia or “dry mouth.” This happens when the salivary glands don’t secrete enough saliva, normally two to four pints daily.
Of course, we can experience mouth dryness when we first wake up (saliva flow ebbs while we sleep), feel stressed, use tobacco, or consume alcohol and certain foods like onions or spices. It becomes a problem, though, when periods of low saliva become chronic. Without its preventive capabilities, you’ll be at much higher risk for dental diseases like tooth decay or periodontal (gum) disease.
Chronic dry mouth can occur for various reasons: systemic diseases like cancer or autoimmune deficiencies can cause it, as well as radiation or chemotherapy treatments. One of the most common causes, though, is medication, both over-the-counter and prescription. The surgeon general identifies over 500 known drugs that may inhibit saliva production, including some antihistamines, diuretics and antidepressants. It’s often why older people who take more medications than younger people suffer more as a population from dry mouth.
Because of its long-term health effects, it’s important to try to boost saliva flow. If your mouth is consistently dry, try to drink more fluids during the day. If you suspect your medication, see if your physician can prescribe a different drug. It also helps to drink a little water before and after taking oral medication.
We may also recommend medication or other substances that stimulate saliva or temporarily substitute for it. Xylitol, a natural alcohol sugar that also inhibits bacterial growth, can help relieve dryness. You’ll often find it in gums or mints.
Chronic dry mouth is more than a minor irritation — it can lead to more serious conditions. In addition to these tips, be sure to also keep up your regular dental visits and maintain a daily schedule of oral hygiene to prevent dental disease.
If you would like more information on overcoming dry mouth, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can also learn more about this topic by reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “Dry Mouth: Learn about the Causes and Treatment of this Common Problem.”
One of the most important aspects of social interaction is smiling, showing others we’re confident and outgoing. Â Many people, though, are hesitant to use this important social skill because their teeth are unattractive.
But even the most unattractive teeth can be dramatically transformed through cosmetic dentistry. Here are 5 prominent ways we can restore beauty to your problem teeth.
Enamel shaping. Sometimes teeth can have an irregular shape that makes them stand out like a sore thumb. With this “sculpting” technique, we remove very small amounts of enamel, the outer protective layer of a tooth, which improves the tooth’s overall shape without harming it.
Bonding. Recent developments in acrylics now make it easier to repair chipped, broken or decayed teeth with minimal preparation. The acrylic material can be molded to resemble a natural tooth and colored to precisely match its shade and that of neighboring teeth. It’s then bonded to the tooth with a durability that can last through years of daily biting and chewing.
Veneers. These thin layers of dental porcelain are bonded to teeth to cover minor defects. Otherwise healthy teeth that are slightly chipped, stained or a bit out of alignment can get a more attractive “face” that’s durable and lasting.
Crowns and Bridgework. Sometimes teeth are too heavily decayed or lost altogether to use bonding or veneers. With porcelain dental restorations that have a strong inner core and an outer life-like appearance, we can completely cover an individual damaged tooth with a custom-made crown or replace one or more missing teeth with fixed bridgework.
Dental Implants. Introduced over thirty years ago, implants are a popular tooth replacement choice. Â Its inner titanium post is surgically inserted into the jaw where bone cells grow and adhere to it to form a strong, lasting bond. Implants can be used for single teeth or as supports for fixed bridgework or removable dentures.
Regardless of your teeth’s appearance problems, cosmetic dentistry has a solution. The first step is a comprehensive examination — from there we can advise you on the best options for turning your embarrassing smile into a more beautiful and confident one.
If you would like more information on the various techniques for smile transformation, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can also learn more about this topic by reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “Beautiful Smiles by Design.”
Your oral health is a very personal thing. It impacts how you look, how your body functions, how confident you feel. Don't your teeth and gums deserve consistent, accurate, and compassionate care? To receive all this and more, visit your Kissimmee, FL, dentist, Dr. Vincent Grosso, on a regular basis. You'll reap the benefits of a great smile.
How often should I see my dentist?
First of all, routine dental care should start as soon as that first baby tooth arrives. Of course, as an adult, you're far past tooth and jaw development and probably have encountered a filling or two along the way.
Yet, the American Dental Association (ADA) recommends that patients of all ages see their dentists every six months. Why? Prophylaxis is key to smile health, longevity, and even personal appearance. In other words, your visits to your Kissimmee dentist keep your smile in good repair, spot problems before they spiral out of control, and move you forward on a treatment plan which addresses all your preventive, restorative, and cosmetic needs.
Is every six months enough?
For many people it is, says the ADA. However, this well-respected organization also recognizes the need for some people to see the dentist more often--say, every three to four months--because their teeth decay easily or they need more frequent cleanings to maintain optimal gum health.
In fact, research studies through the University of Michigan School of Dentistry bear this out. They also show that the percentage of patients who experience tooth loss is higher when routine dental visits are less frequent.
What your dental team does
All research and scientific conclusions aside, it just makes sense to see Dr. Grosso and his friendly team twice a year at their Kissimmee office. And, here are the services you'll receive:
- A thorough hygienic cleaning and tooth polishing to remove bacteria-filled plaque and tartar from between teeth and at the gum line
- A periodontal assessment (measurement of gum pockets)
- Oral cancer screening (the Oral Cancer Foundation says when these cancers are caught early, cure rates rise)
- Digital X-rays as needed
- Visual inspection for decay, gum disease, dental bite, condition of fillings, and other restorations, signs of excessive wear due to teeth grinding
- Fluoride treatments or plastic sealants as needed to protect against decay
- A personalized care plan outlining your preventive needs, restorations if required, and cosmetic dental goals
Dr. Grosso and his staff stress individualized patient care--not cookie-cutter treatments. Also, comfort and a kind listening ear are keys to ongoing treatment at Dr. Grosso's office.
A word about emergencies
Contact Dr. Grosso right away if you encounter a serious and sudden oral health problem such as a knocked out tooth, throbbing toothache or other matter which cannot wait. We're here to help relieve your pain and repair your smile.
If you need a routine cleaning and examination, please call Dr. Gross's office team in Kissimmee, FL, for an appointment today. Preventive dental care is the best path to a healthy smile. Phone (407) 350-5969.
For most dental procedures you’re usually back to your regular routine in no more than a day or two (or even hours) afterward. For the most part, the mouth heals rather quickly.
But there may still be a short period of discomfort after tooth extraction, gum surgery or similar invasive procedures. The good news is you will most likely have no need for strong narcotic painkillers — milder, over-the-counter pain relievers are usually sufficient to manage your discomfort.
The most common of these are known as non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). This group of pain relievers — which include aspirin and ibuprofen — block the release of substances in the body known as prostaglandins that stimulate inflammation that increases pain in damaged tissues. They’re much preferred for mild to moderate pain because they don’t have the side effects of steroids or narcotics like morphine or codeine. They also tend to be less costly than these other prescription drugs.
But while they’re reasonably safe, they can cause problems if you exceed the recommended dosage or use them for prolonged periods. Their blockage of certain chemicals reduces the clotting mechanism in blood leading to a blood-thinning effect. Not only will this increase bleeding, it can also damage the stomach lining and cause ulcers if used over a period of weeks. Improper dosage of NSAIDs has also been linked to miscarriages and repeat heart attacks, which is why they’re not recommended for use during pregnancy or with patients with a history of heart or intestinal problems.
But if taken as directed by your physician or dentist — usually no more than 2,400 milligrams a day and only for a few days — such side effects are quite rare. The benefit is much more common: about five hours of pain relief from a single dose for most people. With the help of ibuprofen or similar drugs, you’ll be on your feet after your dental work in no time.Â
If you would like more information on managing pain after a procedure, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can also learn more about this topic by reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “Treating Pain with Ibuprofen.”