Although canker sores are often confused with cold sores, there is a difference.
Canker sores occur inside the mouth, and cold sores usually occur outside the mouth.
Canker sores are small ulcers with a white or gray base and a red border. There can be one or more sores in the mouth. They are very common and often recur. They usually heal in a week or two and rinsing with antimicrobial mouthrinses may help reduce the irritation.
Cold sores – also called fever blisters – are composed of groups of painful, fluid-filled blisters that often erupt around the lips and sometimes under the nose or chin. Cold sores are usually caused by herpes virus type I and are very contagious. They usually heal in about a week.
Over-the-counter topical anesthetics can provide temporary relief and prescription antiviral drugs may reduce these kinds of viral infections.
The sugar content in the food you eat has a big effect on your teeth and gums. When bacterial plaque comes into contact with sugar in the mouth, acid is produced, which attacks the teeth for 20 minutes or more. This can eventually result in tooth decay.
That’s why drinking sugar-filled sodas, sweetened fruit drinks, and non-nutritious snacks can take a toll on teeth. This is particularly true for children as their eating patterns and food choices affect how quickly they develop tooth decay.
Foods that contain sugars of any kind can contribute to tooth decay. However, almost all foods, including milk or vegetables, have some type of sugar. Many of them also contain important nutrients that are an important part in our diet.
To help control the amount of sugar you consume, read food labels and choose foods and beverages that are low in added sugars. Soft drinks, candy, cookies and pastries often contain added sugars.
Sealants are made from plastic material applied to the back teeth to protect the enamel from plaque and acids. The plastic bonds into the depressions and grooves (pits and fissures) of the chewing surfaces of the back teeth – premolars and molars.
Although thorough brushing and flossing can help remove food particles and plaque from smooth surfaces of teeth, the toothbrush bristles cannot reach all the way into the depressions and grooves to extract food and plaque. The benefit of sealants is that they protect these vulnerable areas by “sealing out” plaque and food.
Sealants can be applied quite easily and it takes only a few minutes to seal each tooth. The teeth being sealed will first be cleaned. Then the chewing surfaces are roughened which makes it easier for the sealant to stick to the tooth. The sealant is then ‘painted’ onto the tooth enamel, where it bonds directly to the tooth and hardens. A special curing light is used to help the sealant harden.
As long as the sealant remains intact, the tooth surface will be protected from decay. They usually last several years before a reapplication is needed. The condition of the sealants will be checked during your regular visits and they can be reapplied when necessary.
Sealants are ideal for children because the risk of developing pit and fissure decay starts early in life. However, many adults can benefit from sealants as well as they can prevent the need for larger fillings, crowns and more extensive dentistry in the future. Your dentist can tell you whether sealants would be helpful for your oral health.
Your oral health is an important part of your overall health, and this is never more true than during pregnancy. Good oral health habits not only help prevent oral problems during pregnancy, they also help the health of your unborn child. What you eat during your pregnancy affects the development of your unborn child — including teeth. Eating a balanced diet is necessary to provide the correct amounts of nutrients to nourish both you and your child. Your babys teeth begin to develop between the third and sixth month of pregnancy, so it is important that you receive sufficient nutrients, especially calcium, protein, phosphorous and vitamins A, C and D. There is a common myth that calcium is lost from the mothers teeth during pregnancy. In fact, the calcium your baby needs is provided by your diet, not by your teeth. If your diet does not provide enough calcium, your body will provide this mineral from stores in your bones. If you have an adequate intake of dairy products, the main source of calcium, or take any supplements your obstetrician recommends this will help you get the calcium you need. To help prevent tooth decay and periodontal disease, brush your teeth thoroughly twice a day with fluoride toothpaste to remove plaque. Be sure to clean between your teeth daily with floss or interdental cleaners. Make regular visits to your dentist during your pregnancy to ensure the best possible health for you and your baby.
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 toothpaste with fluoride.
If you have any kind of swelling in your gum tissue, it almost certainly indicates a serious infection that should be treated urgently. Dental abscesses result from a bacterial infection in the teeth or tissues.
For example, it may come from an untreated cavity. Cavities result when some of the bacteria in our mouths mix with sugars and starches in our diet to produce acid. This acid attacks the hard enamel coating of our teeth and, as the cavity gets deeper, it eventually infects the nerve and blood supply of the tooth.
In some cases, a dental abscess is caused by an infection of the gum tissue. Bone loss from gum disease can create a pocket between the tooth, gum and bone. When bacteria and other debris get into this pocket, an abscess can form.
The treatment for an abscess depends on the severity of the infection. If the abscess has been caused by decay, root canal treatment may be needed or the tooth may even have to be removed. If the abscess has been caused by the gum, deep cleaning or surgical treatment may be needed. Again the tooth may need to be removed.
Sometimes, a small incision may be made into the gum tissue to drain the abscess. If this happens, antibiotics and pain medication may be used to relieve discomfort. If you wait until the gum is severely swollen before seeking treatment, the situation can become very serious. The abscess at this stage can prevent you breathing properly and can be life-threatenting. So, if you have any signs of swelling in your gum tissue, contact your dentist immediately.
Chronic facial pain is a problem faced by millions of Americans. Common symptoms can include pain in or around the ear, tenderness of the jaw, clicking or popping noises when opening the mouth or even head and neck aches.
If you are suffering from this type of pain, your dentist can help identify its source with a thorough exam and appropriate x-rays. Sometimes, the problem is a sinus or toothache or it could be an early stage of periodontal disease. But for some pain, the cause is not so easily diagnosed. There are two joints and several jaw muscles which make it possible to open and close the mouth. They work together when you chew, speak, and swallow. These structures include muscles and ligaments, as well as the maxilla (upper jaw), the mandible (lower jaw) with two joints, the TMJs. Any problem that prevents this complex system of muscles, ligaments, discs and bones from working together properly may result in a painful TMJ disorder.
There are several ways the TMJ disorders may be treated. Diagnosis is an important step before treatment. Part of your clinical examination includes checking the joints and muscles for tenderness, clicking, popping or difficulty moving. Your dentist may take x-rays and may make a cast of your teeth to see how your bite fits together. To help you with this pain, your dentist will recommend what type of treatment you need. Dr. Gatti has a great deal of experience with this type of treatment. Please call if you are experiencing any of these symptoms.
Maintaining proper nutrition is important for everyone, young or old, but many older adults find it difficult to eat a balanced diet. They may avoid meats, raw vegetables and fresh fruits because they have trouble chewing or swallowing. These problems can be caused by painful teeth, ill-fitting dentures, dry mouth or changes in facial muscles. Others find their sense of taste has changed, sometimes due to a disease or certain medications. As a result, older adults often have diets lacking in calcium, protein and other nutrients essential to dental and overall health.
A balanced diet has to be based on the five food groups:
- Milk and dairy products
- Breads and cereals
- Meats and dried beans
Sometimes a multi-vitamin or mineral supplement will help, but it’s best to use supplements only after discussion with your physician.
If your teeth are stopping you from eating the food you enjoy or that you need for good health, we can help you find a solution.
Bad breath – which is also known as halitosis – is a worrying problem that can also be embarrassing, but there is no need to put up with it. If you suffer from bad breath, we can help. We will be able to spot problems such as gum disease, dry mouth or other disorders. That’s why it is important to maintain good oral hygiene, schedule regular visits to the dentist and have professional cleaning.
Make sure you brush your teeth twice a day and clean between your teeth each day using floss or interdental cleaners. Don’t forget to brush your tongue, or better yet, we can educate you about how to scrape your tongue to remove debris and something called volatile sulfuric compounds.
If your dental check up shows that your mouth is healthy, we may refer you to your family physician as sometimes bad breath can be a sign of other health problems.
If the odor is due to periodontal (gum) disease, sometimes professional periodontal cleaning is needed to remove the bacteria and plaque that accumulate. We may also recommend a special antimicrobial mouth rinse. Keeping your mouth healthy and stopping periodontal disease are essential to reducing bad breath.
So make sure you schedule regular dental visits for a professional cleaning and checkup.
Modern cosmetic dentistry has created many opportunities that did not exist before for people to improve their appearance and change the way they feel about themselves. Although cosmetic dentistry really did not exist a few years ago, it now attracts interest from a wide range of people. There are few people who don’t want to improve their appearance by making their teeth straighter and whiter so that they look better when they smile.
New technology and procedures have created many more opportunities for dentists to help patients look better. One of the most important opportunities for doing this is porcelain veneers. These are custom-made wafers that the dentist places over the front of the teeth to repair damage and make them look better. They can overcome many cosmetic dental problems such as whitening stained or discolored teeth, closing gaps between teeth or correcting a crooked smile without the need for braces. They can also cover up chips and imperfections so that the smile looks much better.
Another important cosmetic trend is the increased use of white fillings. White fillings now are more lifelike than ever and they last longer than previously. They have become the material of choice for many dentists as they blend in with teeth and look better.
If you feel your smile is less than perfect, talk with us about how it could be better.