Are Diabetics More Susceptible to Tooth Loss?

Diabetes and tooth lossAccording to the 2010 Diabetes Report Card issued by the Centers for Disease Control, 8.9% of all adults in California have been diagnosed with diabetes. Another 8% will be diagnosed with prediabetes (the precursor to diabetes) over the next year.  In addition to a slew of systemic health problems, diabetes can also lead to poor oral health and is a significant risk factor for permanent tooth loss. Today, we’re examining exactly how diabetes damages the health of your teeth and gums and offering suggestions for maintaining a healthy smile despite this life-altering disease. (more…)

How the Location of a Missing Tooth Impacts Your Oral Health

Man with Missing Bottom ToothLet’s get the harsh truth out of the way first: unless you’re still young enough to believe in the tooth fairy, losing a tooth is a serious problem. No matter whether you lose a molar or an incisor, one tooth or several teeth, a lack of proper dentition will have a negative impact on your oral health and overall well-being. Today, we’re looking at how location can impact the types of problems you can expect to experience. (more…)

So, It’s Been a While Since Your Last Dental Visit . . .

Man feels embarassed by his oral healthDentists and hygienists hear it all the time: “It’s been . . .  since my last trip to the dentist.” Often muttered with an air of embarrassment or stated outright with a sense of mild defiance, many people avoid visiting the dentist, sometimes for years. Some people avoid the dentist because they feel nervous or anxious about dental care. Others cite financial concerns or no insurance as the main reason that haven’t seen the dentist in years. Still others take an if-it-doesn’t-hurt-why-fix-it approach to professional dental care. Today, we’re discussing why seeking regular dental checkups is important and why you should schedule a new patient appointment immediately, no matter how long it’s been since you visited the dentist. (more…)

Is it a Dental Emergency or Can it Wait?

Shocking Dental EmergencyOnce the shock of an injury has passed, it’s best to remember that not all dental emergencies are created equally. Some dental emergencies demand immediate (or as immediate as possible) treatment in order to save a tooth or prevent the spread of infection. Other dental emergencies, while potentially embarrassing or annoying, don’t necessarily warrant an unscheduled stop at the emergency dentist’s office. Today, we’re taking a closer look at each type of dental emergency and offering a few tips for basic dental first aid. (more…)

What to Expect Before, During, and After IV Sedation

Man feels very relaxed about IV sedationPatients with moderate or severe dental fear or anxiety, patients with physical or neurological disabilities that make receiving dental care difficult, and those undergoing complex treatment plans make good candidates for intravenous (IV) sedation. This type of sedation dentistry delivers anti-anxiety medication directly to your bloodstream through a very small needle. Although IV sedation does not technically “put you to sleep,” it will leave you in a state of profound relaxation. To help patients feel more comfortable and well-informed on the subject, we’re taking a look at what to expect before, during and after IV sedation. (more…)

3 Techniques for Reducing Anxiety at the Dentist’s Office

Business YogaIt’s perfectly normal to feel nervous before a dental appointment. Maybe you feel a bit anxious because you don’t know what’s going to happen, because you’re afraid of what the dentist might discover, or because you find the sights and sounds of the dentist office unsettling. Rather than let your nerves get the best of you, give these relaxation techniques a try.

1. Meditation and Breathing Exercises

Meditation’s role in clinical dentistry was first recognized by the scientific community in the 1970s. Today, some dental schools even offer (more…)

Why are Some People Afraid of the Dentist?

Woman doesn;t need to fear thanks to sedation dentistryIf you’re like most people, you may not exactly look forward to visiting the dentist, but it also doesn’t cause you any overwhelming distress either. However, there is a smaller but significant portion of the U.S. population that has such negative emotions associated with the dentist that they avoid receiving dental care until a problem has reached an emergency stage. Today, we’re examining three commonly cited causes of dental fear and looking at how sedation dentistry can help alleviate those unpleasant emotions. (more…)

Porcelain Veneers: An In-Depth Look at a Cosmetic Superstar

Woman Smiling about her Porcelain VeneersThe very meaning of the word “veneer” seems to suggest something superficial and lacking in substance. In practice, this couldn’t be further from the truth. Porcelain dental veneers look beautiful, can disguise a wide range of esthetic flaws, and have the strength and durability to withstand constant use. Today, we’re taking an in-depth tour of this handy little cosmetic restoration to help you decide whether veneers might be the right treatment option for you. (more…)

Gum Disease and Bone Loss: A Destructive Relationship

Human Jawbone with TeethBy the time gum inflammation progresses into full blown periodontitis (literally “an infection of the area around the tooth), a serious bacterial infection has established itself far below your gum line. Your body – specifically, your immune system – senses the presence of infection and responds as it’s supposed to. It attempts to protect the body at large by destroying the infected part of the body, in this case the gums, connective tissues, and alveolar bone (the pocket of bone that anchors the teeth roots). In pictures taken with advanced dental imaging, like digital x-rays and CT scans, the atrophied bone visibly draws away from the tooth, revealing the darker tooth roots. (more…)

The Sounds of Science: Noises You May Encounter at Your Dentist’s Office

Woman Covering her Ears to Block Out Dental NoisesThe American Dental Association estimates that as many as 40 million Americans avoid receiving professional dental care because they find visiting the dentist extremely unpleasant. Dental fear and anxiety can be prompted by a number of factors, including unpleasant memories of the dentist, a fear of losing physical control, the influence of friends and family members who dislike dental care, and a general distaste for the sensations associated with dentistry. It may come as a surprise to people who don’t have a problem seeking out dental care, but even the sounds one encounters in a dental office can make some patients extremely uncomfortable. Today, we’re taking exploring a few potentially unsettling sounds you might hear at your next appointment, and what you can do to stay relaxed despite the noise. (more…)