Posts for: April, 2018
Are bleeding gums something you should be concerned about? Dear Doctor magazine recently posed that question to Dr. Travis Stork, an emergency room physician and host of the syndicated TV show The Doctors. He answered with two questions of his own: “If you started bleeding from your eyeball, would you seek medical attention?” Needless to say, most everyone would. “So,” he asked, “why is it that when we bleed all the time when we floss that we think it’s no big deal?” As it turns out, that’s an excellent question — and one that’s often misunderstood.
First of all, let’s clarify what we mean by “bleeding all the time.” As many as 90 percent of people occasionally experience bleeding gums when they clean their teeth — particularly if they don’t do it often, or are just starting a flossing routine. But if your gums bleed regularly when you brush or floss, it almost certainly means there’s a problem. Many think bleeding gums is a sign they are brushing too hard; this is possible, but unlikely. It’s much more probable that irritated and bleeding gums are a sign of periodontal (gum) disease.
How common is this malady? According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, nearly half of allÂ Americans over age 30 have mild, moderate or severe gum disease — and that number increases to 70.1 percent for those over 65! Periodontal disease can occur when a bacteria-rich biofilm in the mouth (also called plaque) is allowed to build up on tooth and gum surfaces. Plaque causes the gums to become inflamed, as the immune system responds to the bacteria. Eventually, this can cause gum tissue to pull away from the teeth, forming bacteria-filled “pockets” under the gum surface. If left untreated, it can lead to more serious infection, and even tooth loss.
What should you do if your gums bleed regularly when brushing or flossing? The first step is to come in for a thorough examination. In combination with a regular oral exam (and possibly x-rays or other diagnostic tests), a simple (and painless) instrument called a periodontal probe can be used to determine how far any periodontal disease may have progressed. Armed with this information, we can determine the most effective way to fight the battle against gum disease.
Above all, don’t wait too long to come in for an exam! As Dr. Stork notes, bleeding gums are “a sign that things aren’t quite right.” Â If you would like more information about bleeding gums, please contact us or schedule an appointment. You can read more in the Dear Doctor magazine article “Bleeding Gums.” You can read the entire interview with Dr. Travis Stork in Dear Doctor magazine.
Accidents happen. And if an accident causes an injury to your jaws or surrounding facial area, it could result in serious damage. Without prompt treatment, that damage could be permanent.
You’ll usually know, of course, if something is wrong from the extreme pain near or around a jaw joint that won’t subside. If you have such symptoms, we need to see you as soon as possible to specifically diagnose the injury, which will in turn determine how we’ll treat it.
This is important because there are a number of injury possibilities behind the pain. It could mean you’ve loosened or displaced one or more teeth. The joint and its connective muscle may also have been bruised resulting in swelling within the joint space or a dislocation of the condyle (the bone ball at the end of the jaw), either of which can be extremely painful.
These injuries also cause muscle spasms, the body’s response for keeping the jaw from moving and incurring more damage (a natural splint, if you will). After examining to see that everything is functioning normally, we can usually treat it with mild to moderate anti-inflammatory drugs to reduce swelling and pain and muscle relaxers to ease the spasms. We may also need to gently manipulate and ease a dislocated jaw into its proper position.
In the worst case, though, you may actually have fractured the jaw bone. The most common break is known as a sub-condylar fracture that occurs just below the head of the joint with pain and discomfort usually more severe than what’s experienced from tissue bruising or dislocation. As with other fractures, we’ll need to reposition the broken bone and immobilize it until it’s healed. This can be done by temporarily joining the upper and lower teeth together for several weeks to keep the jaw from moving, or with a surgical procedure for more severe breaks that stabilizes the jawbone independently.
It’s important with any persistent jaw or mouth pain after an accident that you see us as soon as possible — you may have an injury that needs immediate attention for proper healing. At the very least, we can help alleviate the pain and discomfort until you’re back to normal.
If you would like more information on treating jaw injuries, 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 “Jaw Pain — What’s the Cause?”
You have several goals this year. One is to get your teeth whitened so your smile is bright and youthful-looking. You wonder if you should select a drugstore product such as strips or toothpaste or if professional treatments are better. Hands down, teeth whitening supervised by Dr. Samantha Shaver in Louisville, KY is better.
How it happens
Over time, tooth enamel naturally thins, exposing inner, yellow dentin. More importantly, teeth accumulate organic matter from the foods we eat. Darkly pigmented choices, such as blueberries and soy sauce, and dark beverages, such as coffee, tea, and cola, leave staining residues behind. Smoking changes tooth color, too.
Professional whitening is safe
Because teeth whitening at is fully supervised by Dr. Shaver and her team, you know it's safe. A thorough oral examination is performed beforehand to determine if your teeth and gums are healthy enough for this popular aesthetic service. Most adults in good oral health qualify for teeth whitening, but pregnant or lactating women should post this cosmetic treatment.
Plus, when your teeth are whitened on premises at Dynamic Dental, the powerful hydrogen peroxide gel goes directly onto your teeth. Your dentist carefully protects your cheeks, gums and other soft oral tissues with a plastic retractor, avoiding any sensitivity.
If you choose the at-home option, you'll use whitening trays custom-fitted by Dr. Shaver. When filled with peroxide gel and worn daily, these comfortable appliances place the active ingredient right where it is needed.
Professional whitening is effective
Whatever method you choose, professional teeth whitening delivers amazing results. Most patients see improvement by 8 shades or more. Your renewed smile will stay white indefinitely if you:
- Brush twice daily
- Floss every day
- Get semi-annual check-ups and hygienic cleanings at Dynamic Dental
- Reduce your consumption of staining foods and beverages
- Stop smoking or chewing smokeless tobacco (and reduce your risk for oral cancer and other serious health problems)
A white smile made easy
Teeth whitening in Louisville, KY is just one of many cosmetic dental services Dr. Shaver offers. Why not arrange your personal consultation at Dynamic Dental so you can learn your options for a bright, rejuvenated smile? Call today for an appointment: (502) 968-1412.