Family Cosmetic Dentist Blog
Posts for: October, 2020
Despite momentous strides in recent years in the fight against cancer, treatments can still disrupt normal life. Both radiation and chemotherapy have side effects that can cause problems in other areas of health—particularly the teeth and gums.
If you or a loved one are undergoing cancer treatment, it's important to get ahead of any potential side effects it may have on dental health. Here are 4 things that can help protect teeth and gums while undergoing cancer treatment.
Get a preliminary dental exam. Before beginning treatment, patients should have their dentist examine their teeth and gums to establish a baseline for current dental health and to treat any problems that may already exist. However, patients should only undergo dental procedures in which the recovery time can be completed before starting radiation or chemotherapy.
Be meticulous about oral hygiene. Undergoing cancer treatment can increase the risks for developing tooth decay or gum disease. That's why it's important that patients thoroughly brush and floss everyday to reduce bacterial plaque buildup that causes disease. Patients should also reduce sugar in their diets, a prime food source for bacteria, and eat “teeth-friendly” foods filled with minerals like calcium and phosphorous to keep teeth strong.
Keep up regular dental visits. The physical toll that results from cancer treatment often makes it difficult to carry on routine activities. Even so, patients should try to keep up regular dental visits during their treatment. Besides the extra disease prevention offered by dental cleanings, the dentist can also monitor for any changes in oral health and provide treatment if appropriate.
Minimize dry mouth. Undergoing cancer treatment can interfere with saliva production and flow. This can lead to chronic dry mouth and, without the full protection of saliva against dental disease, could increase the risk of tooth decay or gum disease. Patients can minimize dry mouth by drinking more water, using saliva boosters and discussing medication alternatives with their doctor.
It may not be possible to fully avoid harm to your oral health during cancer treatment, and some form of dental restoration may be necessary later. But following these guidelines could minimize the damage and make it easier to regain your dental health afterward.
If you would like more information on dental care during cancer treatment, 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 “Oral Health During Cancer Treatment.”
The top cause for adult tooth loss isn't decay or trauma—it's periodontal (gum) disease. The disease may begin with the gums, but it can ultimately damage underlying bone enough to weaken its support of teeth, causing them to loosen and fall out.
But that's not the end of the havoc gum disease can wreak. The consequences of an uncontrolled infection can ripple beyond the mouth and worsen other health problems like diabetes, heart disease or arthritis.
The common link between gum disease and these other conditions is the inflammatory response, a natural mechanism to fight infection caused by disease or trauma. This mechanism changes blood vessels to increase blood flow to hasten the travel of protective white blood cells to the injury or disease location.
But if this mechanism that supports healing becomes chronic, it can actually do harm. The chronic inflammation that occurs with gum disease can damage mouth structures, just as inflammation from diabetes or arthritis can damage other parts of the body. And any form of chronic inflammation, even that found in gum disease, can worsen other inflammatory diseases.
You can lessen this link between gum disease and other conditions—as well as improve your oral health—by preventing or seeking prompt treatment for any periodontal infection in the following ways:
- Practice daily brushing and flossing to clear away bacterial dental plaque, the main cause of gum disease;
- See your dentist regularly for more thorough dental cleanings and checkups;
- See your dentist promptly if you notice red, swollen or bleeding gums, common signs of a gum infection;
- Stop smoking to lower your risk for both gum disease and tooth decay;
- Adopt a healthy diet, which can help you lose weight (a factor in diabetes and other inflammatory diseases) and strengthen your immune system;
- Manage other inflammatory conditions to lessen their effect on your gum disease risk.
Taking these steps can help you avoid the inflammation caused by gum disease that might also affect the rest your body. Seeking prompt treatment at the first sign of an infection will also minimize the damage to your teeth and gums and the effect it could have on the rest of your health.
If you would like more information on prevention and treatment of gum disease, 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 “Gum Disease & Systemic Health.”
As the old Fifties song goes, “Little things mean a lot.” They can also be the most irritating, like a hangnail, a papercut—or a certain kind of oral sore. Although rarely concerning to health, this particular kind of “bump” in the mouth can be unnerving.
Although known as a traumatic fibroma, it's not as dire as it sounds: It's simply a small wound created when your inside cheek gets in the “line of fire” between your teeth while biting or chewing. It's an experience most of us have had, and though it's a minor occurrence, it can make us wince with pain.
But the pain usually lasts only a few seconds—until the next time, which is a distinct possibility. The body creates a protective callous over the wound made of fibers (hence the name fibroma) of a protein called collagen. This creates a rise in the skin surface that increases the chances the area will again get in the way of the teeth and be bitten. Each bite leads to another layer of collagen, a more prominent rise and even greater probability of another bite.
Rather than let this irritating situation repeat itself, you can undergo a minor surgical procedure to remove the fibroma. Usually performed be an oral surgeon or periodontist, the area is numbed first with a local anesthetic and the fibroma removed with a scalpel; the resulting wound is then closed with a few stitches or a laser, in which case no stitches are necessary. As a result, the cheek surface flattens out and becomes less likely to get in between the teeth.
The dentist may also preserve some of the removed tissue and submit it for a biopsy to check for any cancer cells or other abnormalities. You shouldn't be concerned about this: Examining excised tissue is a routine step performed for a variety of surgical procedures. It's used to verify the tissue in question is benign, which in this case is the vast majority of the time.
After the procedure, you might experience some minor discomfort for a few days, usually manageable with a mild pain reliever like aspirin or ibuprofen. The procedure itself only takes about fifteen minutes, but it can provide you lasting relief from that bedeviling little sore in your mouth.
If you would like more information on treating mouth sores, 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 “Common Lumps and Bumps in the Mouth.”
Could your toothache be a sign that you need a root canal?
Needing a root canal is needed once our Cincinnati, OH, family dentists Dr. Ron Solomon and Dr. Angela Burleson-Ott have told you that your tooth has deep decay. This procedure is meant to preserve the tooth by removing the infected or inflamed tissue within the tooth before it has a chance to wreak serious havoc on your smile. Here are the reasons you might need a root canal,
- There is deep decay that has broken through the hard, outer layers of the tooth and bacteria has entered the inside of the tooth
- You have a large filling that is weakening the tooth or is no longer able to support the tooth structure
- You are dealing with a chipped, cracked or broken tooth
- You’ve had multiple procedures performed on a single tooth and it has weakened the tooth over time
Can I put off a root canal?
This is certainly something that you don’t want to ignore. Your tooth is infected and it needs to be treated right away in order to prevent deeper infection or damage to neighboring teeth and gums. The bacteria will eventually kill your tooth, and our goal is to perform root canal therapy in order to save what’s left of your natural tooth so you don’t need to have the tooth pulled. This problem will not go away on its own, and you may notice the pain just intensifies the longer you leave it. So, if you suspect that you need a root canal, you should act fast.
What are the warning signs?
Sometimes you won’t be able to tell that you need a root canal, which is why keeping up with dental checkups with our Cincinnati, OH, dental team will go a long way to protecting the health of your smile.
Even if you don’t notice any changes, we are trained to spot even small changes in the appearance of a tooth that could tip us off to the fact that you need a root canal. Of course, sometimes an infected or inflamed dental pulp can cause problems such as,
- Severe and sudden dental pain that gets worse when chewing or putting pressure on the tooth
- Prolonged and sudden tooth sensitivity to hot and cold, or sugar
- Swollen, red gums localized around the infected tooth
- A tooth that suddenly darkens in color
- A visibly cracked or damaged tooth
- A pimple-like bump develops on the gums around the tooth (known as an abscess)
Do you have questions about root canal treatment? Need to schedule a checkup with our Cincinnati, OH, dental team? If so, call Cornerstone Dental Group today at (513) 631-8920.
Find out how a dental crown could improve the health and appearance of your smile.
We wear helmets to protect our heads from injury when riding a bike and sometimes we need something that acts like a helmet for a damaged tooth. More often than not, a dental crown is used to preserve and strengthen a tooth by covering the entire visible part of a tooth. A dental crown has many uses, which makes them one of the most commonly placed dental restorations offered by our Cincinnati, OH, family dentists Dr. Ron Solomon and Dr. Angela Burleson-Ott.
Feel Confident in Your Smile
If you are dealing with a weak or damaged tooth, chances are fairly good that you don’t feel confident in your smile. If you find yourself offering up close-lipped smiles or stifling laughter because of a discolored, misshapen or damaged tooth then it’s time you turned to our Cincinnati, OH, family dentists for restorative dentistry.
Preserve Your Real Smile
A dental crown, sometimes referred to as a “cap”, is placed over the natural crown of a tooth to protect it. This crown now becomes the tooth’s new outer layer, meant to protect it from further damage. After all, weak teeth are more likely to sustain further damage if left untreated. By getting a dental crown we can prevent further issues from happening to the tooth. A crown is most often used to,
- Restore strength and resiliency back into your natural tooth
- Restore full chewing strength back into your mouth so you can eat what you want without concern
- Preserve a tooth that has severe decay for which a dental filling just won’t provide enough support
- Improve the appearance of a discolored, malformed or oddly shaped tooth
- Cover a dental implant to replace a single missing tooth
- Hold a dental bridge firmly in place
Our goal is to maintain your natural teeth whenever possible as this promotes optimal oral health. Our highest priority is to save and protect your beautiful teeth with the help of high-quality restorations such as dental crowns.
Do you have questions about getting a dental crown here in Cincinnati, OH? Need to schedule an evaluation with our family dentist? If so, give Cornerstone Dental Group a call at (513) 631-8920.