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Your options if you have many missing or damaged teeth

People who have not followed adequate dental care for some years may have already lost most of their teeth and feel a little hopeless. Sometimes they ask a dentist to remove the remaining teeth as they are often broken and have deep cavities. It’s true that, sometimes, removal of the remaining teeth and replacing them with full dentures is the only option. But more often there are other options available. Some or all of the remaining teeth could be repaired and used in conjunction with a partial denture. While a full denture replaces all of the teeth on the upper or lower jaw, a partial denture replaces some of the teeth. If only a few weak teeth remain on the upper jaw, it might be preferable to have them extracted and a full upper denture made. Full upper dentures can be more secure than lower ones as the upper denture gets added stability from the palate and is not easily dislodged by the tongue. If only a few teeth remain on the lower jaw, however, the dentist will usually aim to…

Some tips on overcoming nerves when going to the dentist

Some people get a bit nervous about the idea of going to the dentist. As a result of the major progress that has been made in diagnosis and treatment, the process gets more comfortable all the time. So you may be worrying unnecessarily. But, if you’re in any way tense or anxious, tell your dentist and the dental staff. They will understand and will be able to adapt the treatment to your needs. It can also help if you choose a time for your dental visit when you’re less likely to be rushed or under pressure. Dashing out from a busy day at work may make you feel more stressed. For many people, that means making an early-morning or a Saturday appointment helps a great deal. There are also other steps than can help. If the sound of the drill bothers you, take a portable audio player and headset so you can listen to your favorite music. You can also help to relax by simply visualizing yourself somewhere you feel relaxed. Sometimes these simple steps can help you feel a lot better. So why …

Taking steps to stop oral cancer before its too late

Oral cancer hits more than 30,000 Americans every year but you can minimize the risk by taking steps to ensure its caught early enough. The first indications of oral cancer may be a very small, but dangerous, oral spot or sore that you are not even aware of. In a routine examination, your dentist will carefully examine the inside of your mouth and tongue. If they notice a flat, painless, white or red spot or a small sore, this may be completely harmless. But harmful spots or sores often look the same as harmless ones. To ensure that a spot or sore is not dangerous, your dentist may choose to perform a simple test, such as a brush test. This collects cells from the lesion which can them be analyzed. Any positive results from a brush test must usually be confirmed by a biopsy before deciding the next step. If precancerous cells are found, the lesion can be surgically removed if necessary during a separate procedure. When caught early enough, the chances of preventing the cancer develop…

Is bottled or tap water better for your teeth?

With many people concerned about the taste and purity of tap water, the sales of bottled water have increased significantly in recent years. Tap water goes through a process of purification designed to eliminate suspended materials, remove tastes and odors and kill microorganisms. Fluoride is added to most tap water supplies with the aim of reducing cavities. Fluoride becomes incorporated into our teeth as they develop and makes them more resistant to decay. It can reverse the progress of early cavities and reduce the need for dental treatment. Mass water fluoridation has played an important role in reducing tooth decay. The problem with bottled waters is that they usually don’t contain fluoride. So there is a risk that drinking bottled water can increase the risk of cavities for some people. If you drink a lot of bottled water, you can make up for this by using fluoride toothpaste and mouth rinse. Your dentist may even suggest a fluoride supplement if they notice an increase in cavi…

How sedation and general anesthesia can make your visit to the dentist easier

While local anesthetics are often used in dental treatment, there is sometimes a need for anti-anxiety agents – such as nitrous oxide – or sedatives to help people relax during dental visits. Dentists may use these agents to induce “minimal or moderate sedation”. In this case, the patient reaches a relaxed state during treatment but can respond to speech or touch. Sedatives can be administered before, during or after dental procedures by mouth, inhalation or injection. More complex treatments may require drugs that can induce “deep sedation”. This reduces consciousness and causes a loss of feeling which helps to reduce both pain and anxiety. Sometimes patients undergo “general anesthesia” where the drugs lead to a temporary loss of consciousness. A dentist may recommend deep sedation or general anesthesia for certain procedures with children or with adults who have severe anxiety or for people who have difficulty controlling their movements. While these techniques to control pain and…

How the food you eat can cause tooth decay

When you put food in your mouth, it immediately meets the bacteria that live there. Plaque, for example, is a sticky film of bacteria. These bacteria love the sugars found in many foods. So, when you don’t clean your teeth after eating, the bacteria and the sugar can combine to produce acids which can destroy the enamel – the hard surface of the tooth. In time, this can lead to tooth decay. The more often you eat and the longer foods are in your mouth, the more damage occurs. Many foods that are nutritious and important in our diet contain sugars – such as fruits, milk, bread, cereals and even vegetables. So the key is not to try and avoid sugar but to think before you eat. When you eat is also important because each time you eat food that contains sugars, the teeth are attacked by acids for 20 minutes or more. This means that foods that are eaten as part of a meal cause less harm. More saliva is released during a meal, helping to wash foods from the mouth and reduce the effects of a…

How to take care of your teeth with braces

Braces are orthodontic apparatus used to help fix crooked and crowded teeth. While modern braces can be comfortable and inconspicuous, you may have to take extra steps to care for your teeth when wearing them. Its important that you continue good oral hygiene practices while wearing braces. You need to continue brushing regularly, following the approach suggested by your dentist, as well as flossing daily and making regular visits to the dentist. People with braces should stick to a balanced diet and limit the number of snacks between meals. Your dentist may suggest that you avoid certain foods that could interfere with braces or accidentally bend the wires. This can include nuts, popcorn, hard candy, ice and sticky foods such as chewing gum or caramel. You can still continue to enjoy sports and other activities but a protective mouth guard is often recommended to reduce the risk of injury to the mouth or jaw. Your dentist will suggest an appropriate mouth guard when the braces are i…