Airport Road Dental Associates - 3465 Airport Road, Portage, Indiana 46368 - (219) 763-2727

While most people know that poor oral hygiene can cause gingivitis and cavities, many are unaware that systemic diseases can also have an effect on the oral cavity.

While oral manifestations of chronic illness or systemic diseases typically occur with poorly managed or long-standing illnesses, they can develop early on in the progression of diseases and may also occur when illnesses are well-managed. Here are some systemic diseases that can affect your mouth and what you can do about them.

Sjogren's Syndrome

Sjogren's syndrome is an autoimmune disorder that can cause dry eyes and a dry mouth, as well as painful and swollen salivary glands. According to the Mayo Clinic, the causes of Sjogren's syndrome are not fully understood; however, an infection may trigger this autoimmune disorder.

Sjogren's syndrome is more common in women, but it can also occur in men. When your salivary glands fail to produce enough saliva to wash away infection-causing oral bacteria, you may be at a higher risk for gum disease and cavities.

In addition, Sjogren's syndrome can also raise your risk for oral yeast or fungal infections such as candida, or thrush, which can cause white patches to develop inside your mouth. Oral fungal infections can also cause burning sensations inside your mouth, difficulty swallowing, and a bad taste inside your mouth.

Your dentist can prescribe an oral antifungal medication to treat your thrush infection, which should resolve in a couple weeks or so. If you have Sjogren's syndrome, work with both your primary physician and your dentist. When your autoimmune disorder is well-managed by your physician, you may be less likely to develop oral problems related to dry mouth or thrush infections.

Diabetes

Diabetes is another systemic medical condition that can cause oral problems. It can raise your risk for periodontal disease, also known as gum disease, which can cause excessive plaque buildup on your teeth, bleeding and inflamed gums, pain when eating, gum recession, and tooth loss.

If you don’t manage your diabetes well, your risk for gum disease may be especially high. If you have periodontal disease as a result of high blood glucose levels, maintain a strict regimen of brushing and flossing and see your dentist on a regular basis for routine examinations and professional cleanings.

These interventions will help heal your gum tissue and reduce your risk for oral infections, however, you will still need to get your blood sugar levels under control by taking your prescribed medication, maintaining a healthy weight, managing your stress levels, and getting enough exercise.

Acid Reflux Disease

Acid Reflux, or gastroesophageal reflux disease, can cause heartburn, a dry cough, frequent throat clearing, feeling as though acid is rising up in your throat, and a bad taste inside your mouth. If you have acid reflux disease, you may be at risk for acid erosion, especially of your back molars.

Stomach acid is very irritating and can dissolve or weaken your tooth enamel, which may raise your risk for cavities. When your enamel thins as a result of acid erosion, bacteria can get inside your tooth, causing an infection or cavity.

After a reflux episode, rinse your mouth out with water to help dilute the acid so that it is less likely to cause enamel erosion. Also, if you have acid reflux, visit your dentist regularly so that he or she can closely monitor the condition of your dental enamel.

Management of acid reflux disease includes avoiding your trigger foods, not smoking, sleeping with the head of your bed elevated, taking antacids or acid blocking medications, and losing excess weight.

To learn more about how systemic diseases such as autoimmune disorders, diabetes, and acid reflux can affect your oral health, today.

 
If you have a cavity that is too large to be corrected with a filling, you may be a good candidate for a crown. During a crown procedure, your dentist will shape your tooth with burs and then place a prosthetic over the remaining enamel. This restores its appearance, function, and occlusal anatomy.
 
Your dentist will also need to take an impression of the prepared tooth. This impression will be sent to a dental lab, where the negative space will be filled with gypsum to create a model of your tooth. Technicians at the dental lab will fabricate your crown from this model, so it must be extremely precise.
 
You may think there's not a lot that you can do to help the dentist capture this impression, but here are three tips to keep in mind.
 

1. Make Sure You Schedule Ample Time for Your Appointment

 
Although your dentist may only need about fifteen to twenty minutes to prepare your tooth, there are other aspects of the crown procedure, such as:
 
* Applying anesthetic
* Taking x-rays
* Cleaning out any remaining decay or old fillings
* Creating and fitting a temporary crown
 
Dentists and their assistants try to move as quickly as possible, but sometimes the impression material distorts, so they may need to take another one. Some dentists may also prefer to take more than one impression so that the laboratory technicians can choose the best version to work from.
 
Ultimately, it's important to schedule a good block of time so that your dental team can get the best impression possible.
 

2. Make Sure Your Dentist Is Up to Date on Your Medications and Health Conditions

 
In order to capture the margin — a ledge-like ring around the prepared tooth — your dentist will need to use a retraction cord. Retraction cords gently push gum tissue away from the edges of your tooth, so that the impression material can capture as much information of the tooth as possible.
 
However, some retraction cords are soaked in hemodent, a liquid that helps to restrict bleeding. This kind of drug is known as a vasoconstrictor and narrows blood vessels, so if you have any health conditions or take any medications, it's important to let your doctor know so they can decide if you have a contraindication or not.
 
If you have a medical issue, the team can use a retraction cord that isn't presoaked so they can still get a good impression and keep you safe.
 

3. Ask about Practice Bites if You're Sore or Numb

 
Dentists use local anesthetics, like lidocaine, so that you don't experience any discomfort during the procedure. Your dentist may also place a bite-block, or a wedge-shaped tool for you to rest your teeth on if you have trouble keeping your mouth open.
 
However, there is a hidden downside to these elements. When you bite down in the impression tray, the crown preparation may be accurate, but your bite may be inaccurate due to numbness and muscle soreness.
 
Believe it or not, how your upper and lower jaws come together is important for crown fabrication. When a dental lab designs a crown, they need to know the height and contours of cusps and fossa so that when a patient bites down, he or she doesn't place undue pressure in one area or another.
 
Dental technicians often work with less than one millimeter of clearance, so again, these bite impressions, or registrations, need to be accurate. Before the dentist places the impression material in your mouth, ask him or her if you can take a breather to massage your cheeks. And be sure to do some practice bites since the anesthetic may be making your favor one side or another when biting.
 
For more information about crown procedures, we at the Airport Road Dental Associates can help you out. Contact (https://www.airportroaddental.com/contact.html) Airport Road Dental Associates, PC, today for more details!

You have two chances a year to get your dental questions answered in person and by a professional. Even though talking and an exam don't go hand-in-hand, you'll still have plenty of time to discuss dental concerns. If you're not sure what to ask the dentist, take a look at some of the most common questions patients have.

How Many Appointments Do Patients Need Each Year?

According to the American Dental Association (ADA), the number of office visits a patient needs depends on their specific dental health status/history. While a twice annual appointment schedule is standard for many patients, it's possible your needs require more care. Some dental conditions, such as periodontal disease, may increase the number of yearly visits you need.

Some insurance carriers may limit appointments, either by number per year or by calendar date. Before scheduling multiple appointments, contact your insurance company to verify coverage. If your insurance doesn't cover the number of appointments necessary, talk to your dentist about alternative care or payment options.

Is There a Way to Whiten Stained Teeth?

Whether your teeth have a mild yellowing or are thoroughly stained, your dentist can help to brighten your smile. Talk to the professional about in-office and at-home whitening options before making any decisions. Again, you have individual dental needs. It's possible one whitening process won't work for your teeth or may irritate your mouth.

Along with meeting your oral health needs, different types of whitening offer different levels of strength. An in-office procedure provides a fast, effective way to turn food or beverage-stained teeth into a Hollywood-bright smile.

Even though in-office whitening can have dramatic results for many patients, it's not always enough. Patients with internal staining (from medication use or an injury) may require a physical correction method. Composite bonding and veneers are two common options that cover stains, giving you brilliantly white teeth.

Is There a Way to Prevent Tooth Decay?

Preventing dental decay is possible. If you have cavities, or you have concerns about developing them, talk to the dentist about at-home and in-office prevention strategies. The first step is to maintain a daily dental care routine. At its most basic, this should include brushing twice a day for at least two minutes and flossing twice a day as well. Your dentist may recommend brushing after meals as well.

Avoiding sugary drinks and foods is another step towards preventing dental decay. Sticky sugar-induced plaque buildup on your teeth feeds oral bacteria, resulting in cavity formation. Discuss your diet with the dentist during your next check-up. Ask about ways to change what you eat for maximum dental health.

Do All Cavities Require Immediate Care?

Despite your best efforts, you still have a cavity. Now what? If you're anxious about a drilling or filling procedure, talk to the dentist about what can happen if you ignore decay.

Failure to remove the area can result in the spread of decay. As the decay grows, you run the risk of destroying more of your natural tooth and weakening the enamel. Along with damaging the exterior (visible) part of the tooth, the decay can grow deeper into the root. This can affect the nerve, creating serious pain. Eventually the gradual growth of decay can prove fatal for your tooth, causing it to fall out. These problems also greatly increase the cost of restoring your tooth or replacing it if it is lost to neglect of a decayed area.

Severe untreated dental decay can eventually lead to an abscess. A tooth abscess is an infection that causes serious pain (the pain can radiate from the tooth to the jawbone, neck, or ear), dental sensitivity, facial swelling, swollen lymph nodes, or difficulty swallowing. This type of infection requires an immediate dental visit and prompt professional care.

Do you need a routine dental cleaning or preventative check-up? Contact Airport Road Dental Associates for more information.

That first loose tooth is part of your child's natural process of growth and dental maturity. If you have a child or grandchild that experiences a first loose tooth or is on the cusp of this big event, read on to find ways to help your child better cope with and enjoy this rite of passage.

Validate Their Feelings

Whether your own childhood experience with loose teeth was positive or scary, remember your child is about to experience this event for the very first time and will definitely have emotions! Validate their feelings and let them know you understand how they feel.

A recent study revealed the majority of children felt positively regarding tooth loss. That first wiggle of change brought excitement and pride. Only about one child in five felt afraid or anxious. You can encourage your child to have a more positive experience when you are sympathetic and supportive rather than critical or worried.

Use This Moment to Teach

Whether children are anxious or excited about a loose tooth, you can use this life event to teach them about the process. Teaching them will communicate the importance of teeth and raise their interest in teeth and dental hygiene, prompting them to better tooth care.

You might show them baby teeth charts that illustrate approximate ages when teeth first appear and are lost. If possible, provide a small dental mirror so they can check out all their other teeth from different angles.

Show them a diagram of the different parts of the tooth and explain how they are important. Most children love to see photos of x-rays that display both temporary and permanent teeth.

Include the Tooth Fairy

Parents agree a visit from the Tooth Fairy is one of the best motivators for reluctant 6-year-olds to accept the loss of a tooth. Regardless of what personality your child has, the Tooth Fairy is an entertaining tradition.

Decide beforehand what kind of incentive you will choose to leave from the fairy and how much. The standard rate for a lost tooth is between $1.50 and $2.50. However, you can instruct the Tooth Fairy to leave gifts, toys, or other rewards instead of cash.

Some parents leave notes to their child from the fairy with words of praise, instruction, or encouragement. Not only do children love this type of communication, but it can help them continue good dental habits.

Stay Vigilant

That shaky tooth still needs dental care just like the rest of the mouth. Make sure your child still brushes regularly. Remind him or her that the Tooth Fairy loves healthy teeth and might even increase the tooth compensation.

Be prepared for and advise your child regarding changes like a bleeding tooth, pain, or the early appearance of a permanent tooth. Visit your dentist if:

  • Your child has extreme pain or swollen gums
  • You see crowding or crooked teeth
  • Your child won't eat to avoid using the tooth and won't let the tooth naturally fall out

Keep in mind that a loose tooth can take weeks or even months to fall out on its own. Encourage your child to wiggle it with their tongue or a clean finger to help it along. Accidentally swallowing a tooth is not cause for alarm as it will naturally pass on its own. However, make sure the Tooth Fairy still makes a special delivery.

If you are concerned about your child's loose tooth or the condition of his or her other teeth, visit us at Airport Road Dental Associates. Our caring dentists will make sure your little one and all of their teeth are taken care of.

Although professional tooth cleaning is vitally important to avoid cavities, home cleaning is the daily maintenance that you must have if you want to keep your teeth and gums healthy. Your dentist may show you the correct way to brush and floss, but you might it all too easy to revert to previous habits or to allow technique to become sloppy.

Checking your technique and your overall hygiene on a regular basis may help avoid relapses or laziness from creeping in. This can also help you keep an eye on things in your mouth so you're more likely to notice a problem early. Here are three ways to see how effective, successful, and thorough your oral hygiene habits are.

1. Use Plaque-Disclosing Dye

Whether you use tablets, toothpaste, or even floss with added plaque-disclosing dye, this brightly colored substance helps you to literally see where the plaque is. The dye sticks to the plaque so that you can see where it likes to hide on your teeth.

You have a couple of ways to utilize this dye. You could use it daily as you brush so that you can instantly see any spots you missed and go back for them. You can also use it once a week to monitor how effective your tooth-cleaning routine is. You could even use the dye between brushing and flossing to see for yourself how much plaque flossing can remove that brushing can't.

2. Use a Mouth Map

When you go to the dentist, they clean your teeth and look for any concerning spots of damage that may need filling. However, the dentist alone should not look at the inside of your mouth. You can also open up wide to inspect your own teeth. This way, you can monitor health and appearance of teeth and gums on a weekly or monthly basis.

You can use a worksheet such as a mouth map to help you monitor various criteria such as bleeding gums, tooth sensitivity, or visible plaque and tartar. You can even keep an eye out for white spots that look like eroded enamel, which might indicate that you should go to the dentist early and ask if you need a filling.

3. Take Photographs

Photographing your teeth may not be the easiest task but can provide a brilliant way to compare the state of your teeth with how they looked a month or two ago. If you're worried that your teeth have started to look a little more transparent than they used to, for example, you could start taking pictures once every month or two and then compare them. 

Although no substitute for x-rays, photographing your teeth can help you record exactly what your teeth look like for next month. This way, you don't have to rely on your memory to decide whether something's changed that may require professional dental care. You may even be able to get a smartphone app to help you compare your teeth with how they looked before.

The trick here is making sure the environment and conditions are the same, or the photos may give inaccurate results. Make sure you take all the pictures at the same time of day with the same lighting and from the same angle and distance (and brush your teeth beforehand) so they truly compare how the teeth look rather than comparing, say, the quality of the photos.

These three strategies can help you get a feel for how your teeth are supposed to look and give you a baseline to compare and contrast how they normally do with how they look today. They can also help you visualize the effectiveness of your daily routine so you add more effective techniques (such as an electric toothbrush) if needed.

Call Airport Road Dental Associates today to schedule an appointment if you're due for a checkup or if you're experiencing worrying symptoms.





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