November 21st, 2017
Give Thanks to Your Teeth
Every November we take an entire Thursday to give thanks, spend time with friends and family, and eat. And eat, and eat. There’s also a tradition of sharing everything that you’re appreciative of. As you go around the dinner table sharing what you’re thankful for this Thanksgiving, let our Manchester dental office give you a few reasons why your teeth should be on that list.
Since we are close to Thanksgiving, and Thanksgiving means a lot of delicious food, we wanted to start with a reason you should give thanks to your teeth that relates to the occasion. Our teeth help us chew all of those treats spread across the dinner table. Certain types of teeth even have different purposes. The incisors (the front four teeth on top and front four on the bottom) start the process by biting off bits of food. The canines rip and tear while the molars mash, crush, and chew. Our full set of teeth work together to allow us to enjoy as much Thanksgiving food as we (or our pants) can handle.
Talk It Out
Our teeth not only help us eat, they also aid in helping us speak and pronounce words properly. Teeth allow us to form certain sounds and without them, we’d have a difficult time pronouncing any word that contains an ‘f,’ ‘v,’ ‘s,’ ‘th,’ or countless other sounds. When people have difficulty forming certain words or sounds, they may be helped by their dentist in Manchester, orthodontics, and a speech therapist.
Let Me Digest That
The digestion process is crucial in how our bodies function as proper digestion allows you to absorb all the nutrients and energize your body. While many may think digestion begins in the stomach, the truth is it begins in your mouth. While chewing, your mouth releases saliva. This saliva contains enzymes that begins the breakdown of food and starts the digestion process. This means chewing your food properly can aid in proper digestion and healthier body.
Smile, You’ll Feel Better
Research has supported a strong link between smiling and a boost in mood and reduction in stress. But not just any smile will do. A big smile that activates the muscles around the eyes is key to getting these mood-enhancing effects. If you’re someone who tends to hide your teeth behind a tight lipped grin because you don’t like your smile, consider cosmetic dentistry to transform both your smile and your mood.
Everyone at our dental office in Manchester wishes you and your family a very happy Thanksgiving!
November 8th, 2017
Prevent the Flu with These 5 Tips
‘Tis the season of sniffles and coughs, body aches and congestion. It’s officially the time of year when the flu can make for a miserable few days. But it doesn’t have to take its toll on you or your family. Our dental office in Manchester is here to help you prevent the flu this season with some helpful tips.
- Keep Your Hands Clean
This tried and true life lesson is probably one of the best ways to avoid the flu or the common cold. Make sure you wash your hands with warm, soapy water before meals, after using the restroom, or following shaking hands with another person. If soap and water isn’t readily available use an alcohol-based sanitizer.
- Protect Your Toothbrush
It may sound gross, but your toothbrush can harbor all sorts of germs. That’s why it’s important to take proper care of it. Thoroughly rinse your brush after each use, and make sure you store it in an upright position. Keep family members’ toothbrushes separated from each other to avoid cross contamination. And of course, never share your toothbrush.
- Stay Hydrated
A body that’s hydrated it also better at fighting off germs and bacteria since it’s operating optimally. It’s recommended to drink at least 8 glasses of water a day, but during flu season you may consider increasing your intake. Drinking plenty of H20 is not only great for your body, but it’s good for your oral health, too.
- Sanitize Your Space
Whether it’s your home or your office, having the areas where you spend the most time clean and sanitary is key to keeping germs away. Pay attention to things that get touched the most — doorknobs, your computer mouse, faucets, and toilets. Germs are invisible to the naked eye, so even if it seems clean it can’t hurt to give it a quick wipe down.
- Avoid Touching Your Face
The CDC states that one of the most common ways germs are spread is by touching a contaminated surface then touching your eyes, nose, or mouth. These body parts have mucus that can easily transport germs into the body and make you sick.
Following this these tips can go a long way in helping you prevent getting knocked down from the flu. However, if you happen to catch the bug, our Manchester dental office encourages you to use sugar-free medicines to help alleviate your symptoms. Not only will these medications help you feel a bit better, they’re safer for your teeth, too.
As always, having a healthy mouth can directly impact how healthy you are overall. Make sure you brush and floss every day and maintain visits with your dentist in Manchester at least every six months.
October 23rd, 2017
The Not So Scary Truth About Root Canals
So your dentist in Manchester told you that you need a root canal. And you’re a little bit scared because, let’s face it, a root canal doesn’t sound like much fun. After all, everything you’ve ever heard about root canals make them sound painful and scary. Root canals have had a bad reputation for years, but we’re here to set the record straight.
Root Canals Relieve Pain, Not Cause It
If you happen to need a root canal, chances are you’re suffering from some intense tooth pain, and the last thing you want is something that supposedly hurts even worse. However, the truth is, root canals stop the tooth pain and don’t contribute to it. A root canal is usually necessary if a tooth has severe decay or a deep infection, and the treatment itself removes the diseased part of the tooth, easing the pain.
How is a Root Canal Performed?
First and foremost, your root canal treatment will begin by numbing the area. It may take just a few minutes for the numbing agent to take effect, but once it kicks in, you shouldn’t feel anything. After you’re nice and numb, your dentist in Manchester will make a teeny, tiny hole in the infected tooth, allowing access to the inner tooth (known as the pulp chamber). This is where the root canals are located. Inside the root canals you’ll find pulp, nerves, and blood vessels. These inner workings of the tooth are removed, alleviating any feeling in that tooth. Your dental team will then thoroughly clean the area and seal the canals to keep anything from entering. Lastly, the tooth is capped with a dental crown restoration to further protect it.
Signs You May Need a Root Canal
One of the most obvious signs that may indicate the need for a root canal is tooth pain. But just because you have a toothache doesn’t automatically mean a root canal is the solution. Keep an eye out for other symptoms including:
- Increased pain while chewing or with applied pressure
- Sensitivity to heat or cold that doesn’t go away quickly
- A small, raised bump on the gums near the tooth that hurts
- Tooth discoloration
- Gum swelling or pain
If you notice any of these signs, we welcome you to call our dental office in Manchester to schedule an appointment. We’ll perform a thorough exam to find the cause of the problem. If you happen to need a root canal, we promise to recommend the best treatment possible so that you experience relief in no time.
October 9th, 2017
Top 7 Braces-Friendly Halloween Treats
October isn’t only when we celebrate Halloween, it’s also National Orthodontic Month. With this in mind, the team at our dental office in Manchester thought it’d be a great time to combine the two and talk a bit about which Halloween treats are safe for those with braces. Don’t worry, if you do have braces, you still have plenty of yummy options to choose from.
Best Candy for Braces
When searching for safe candy options for braces, consider the texture of the sweets. Anything that’s super sticky, gooey, or hard is probably best to avoid. Instead, look for these top braces-friendly choices.
- 3 Musketeers
- Peanut Butter Cups
- Peppermint Patties
- Hershey’s Kisses
- Milky Way
- Crunch Bar/Krackel Bar
- Pure Chocolate Bars
All of these delicious options are easy to bite and chew and don’t contain any ingredients that are hard enough to damage braces.
Worst Candy for Braces
At our Manchester dental office, we want all of our braces patients to have fun this Halloween and enjoy some treats. However, we also feel it’s important for them to be informed of what candy could potentially damage their brackets or wires so they also know what to avoid.
- Hard Candy
- Jelly Beans
- Nuts or anything containing nuts
Additionally, don’t attempt to eat any of the “safe foods” if they’ve been frozen. Freezing candy negates the soft texture that makes them safe for braces and biting into a rock hard candy bar can certainly cause some trouble. When you’re out in the neighborhood gathering your treats and maybe showing off some tricks, politely pass on any candy that may cause damage to your braces and rather pick the pieces that are both delicious and safe.
Most importantly, be safe, have fun, and Happy Halloween from your Manchester dentist!
September 19th, 2017
Workplace Habits That Are Damaging Your Teeth
Most of us spend a lot of time at work each and every day answering emails, taking phone calls, attending meetings, organizing spreadsheets, and doing countless other responsibilities. In between, or perhaps during some of these activities, we may be engaging in other behaviors that have now become everyday habits. Some of which may be damaging your teeth. Join the team at our dental office in Manchester as we cover some of the most common workplace habits that are harmful to smiles.
Chewing on Pencils or Pens
Nibbling on the end of a pen or pencil is usually done subconsciously or when deep in thought or nervous, but it’s a habit that can wreck teeth. The tough texture of writing utensils can break or crack teeth which can be painful and will most certainly require restorative dental care. If you find yourself putting your pencil or pen to your mouth regularly, consider replacing it with an alternative like carrots or celery. Keeping a small bag of these healthy veggies handy can help satisfy your need to nibble on something.
As we eat, the bacteria in our mouths break down the food particles left behind and then produce acid as a byproduct. This acid is what eats away at the protective tooth enamel and leads to decay. When we snack throughout the workday, it leaves teeth constantly exposed to this acid, especially if you don’t brush in between snack sessions, and increases the chance of cavities.
Using Teeth as Tools
Need to open a package that’s sealed a little too tight? Or maybe you need to send the package and need help ripping the tape to secure the box shut. Whatever you do, don’t use your teeth as tools. Using teeth to rip, tear, or hold objects can chip your teeth and wear away at enamel, leaving teeth exposed to decay.
We know you probably know this already but it’s worth repeating. Smoking is detrimental to both your overall health and oral health. Smoking as well as using smokeless tobacco greatly increases the risk of oral cancer, gum disease, and even tooth loss. Instead of a smoke break, consider taking a quick walk, chew sugarless gum, and talk with your doctor to learn several techniques that can help you quit.
The team at our Manchester dental office encourages you to work on becoming aware of these habits and try your best to avoid them. Like any habit, some of these may be difficult to break. If you’re looking for help, or perhaps a new dentist in Manchester, we always welcome you to give us call.
September 11th, 2017
4 Possible Explanations to Your Tooth Pain
Most of us will experience the unpleasant sensation of tooth pain at least once in our lives. And as anyone who has had a toothache before will tell you, it’s pretty unbearable. Tooth pain is unlike any other kind of pain. It can come on suddenly and sometimes it seems as if nothing can help relieve it. At our dental office in Manchester, we understand and are here to help you by listing some possible reasons your teeth hurt.
- You have a cavity.
Let’s start with the most obvious cause of tooth pain, a cavity. Once a tooth begins to decay and a cavity forms, you may not initially feel pain. However, if left untreated, the cavity can affect the inner tooth nerves, and that’s when the pain starts. It’s best to get a filling before the cavity has a chance to grow or leads to an abscess.
- Gums have started to recede.
So you brush everyday, twice a day and take great care of your teeth. Yet you’re experiencing tooth pain. What could be happening? There’s a chance that even though you’re brushing diligently, you may be brushing too hard. Applying pressure as you brush your teeth can seem like the best way to get your pearly whites as clean as possible, but in fact, it can damage your gums and cause them to recede. Once gums recede, the tooth’s roots become exposed and you can experience pain.
- Nighttime grinding is causing daytime pain.
Many people grind their teeth as a response to stress. Others may grind while they’re asleep and not even know it. Either way, tooth grinding can lead to pain. As your teeth repeatedly rub against each other, sometimes with quite a bit of force, your enamel can wear down and leave tooth roots exposed and cause sensitivity. Other times, chronic tooth grinding can lead to jaw pain or headaches. The best treatment if this is the cause behind your pain is usually a custom-fitted mouthguard.
- A tooth has cracked.
You may think that if a cracked tooth is the reason behind your pain, you’d know it. But that’s not always true. Symptoms of a cracked tooth have a way of creeping up on us, sometimes days after we actually did the damage. Cracked teeth could be a result of eating something particularly hard, teeth grinding, or an injury. Get to your dentist if you suspect a cracked tooth before it has a chance to get bigger.
While there are a variety of possible explanations as to why your teeth hurt, it’s important to remember that tooth pain is typically a sign there’s a problem and you should get to your dentist in Manchester as soon as you can.
If you’re looking for a compassionate dental team to take a closer look, we’re always happy to help. We welcome you to call our Manchester dental office at any time to schedule a visit.
August 27th, 2017
Probiotics & Oral Health
When we hear the word ‘probiotics,’ we don’t typically consider them beneficial for the mouth, but rather, the gut. While probiotics certainly have their place in digestive health, at our dental office in Manchester, we’ve come across some research that may suggest a link between certain types of probiotics and better overall oral health.
What Are Probiotics?
Talks about probiotics have been increasingly popular throughout the past couple of years. But what are probiotics and why are they good for you? Simply, probiotics are live microorganisms that help support our bodies. These microorganisms are usually bacteria, but not the bad bacteria that we normally think about and that make us sick. The bacteria we refer to when talking about probiotics are the good bacteria that help us stay healthy.
Different Probiotics Treat Different Things
You may remember some yogurt companies in particular mentioning probiotics in their advertisements. These probiotics specifically help with digestion and support gut health by keeping enough good bacteria around to fight off the bad bacteria off. There are other types of probiotics around that tend to help different areas of the body. In this case, we’re referring to oral probiotics.
Oral probiotics are ones that are being researched to study their effects on oral health. And there may be some exciting news in the future. Initial studies support the idea that there may be a positive correlation between specific types of probiotics and reducing the risk of gum disease, plaque, and bad breath.
Let’s Talk About Bifidobacterium & Lactobacillus
Don’t worry about how to pronounce them, let’s just focus on why we’re taking a closer look at them. Bifidobacterium and Lactobacillus are strains of probiotics and are the two that are mainly used in probiotic research in relation to oral health. Found naturally in both the bodies and mouths of mammals, Bifidobacterium and Lactobacillus have been studied closely to see if there was a connection between increasing the amount of them in test subjects and healthier mouths. While the amount of research we currently have is limited, and the evidence is not yet conclusive, there have been cases where Bifidobacterium and Lactobacillus have helped in the treatment of periodontal disease and halitosis, and has seemed to reduce the risk of cavities.
This is exciting news for the dental community. But while we’re waiting on researchers to continue studying the possible connection, we don’t recommend simply starting yourself on a probiotics routine before discussing it with your medical team, including your dentist in Manchester.
August 8th, 2017
Just a Teeth Cleaning? Think Again!
Every six months or so you come into our dental office in Manchester to have your bi-annual teeth cleaning. This typically means a little bit of gentle scraping to remove plaque buildup, a thorough flossing, and a finishing polish. While one purpose for these hygiene visits is indeed to get your teeth super clean, there are several other reasons why these twice a year appointments are so important.
X-Rays Provide a Detailed Picture
Your dental hygienist has a trained eye and knows what to look when performing your cleaning, but the human eye can only see so much. That’s why we rely on dental x-rays to get a closer view at your teeth and jaw bone. These images, often produced by safe, low-radiation x-rays, allow both your hygienist and your dentist in Manchester to see any cavities that are still too tiny to see with the naked eye. Some types of x-rays can also show any problems lurking below the actual teeth such as an abscess or bone loss.
We Look at More Than Just Teeth
At each one of your appointments, your hygienist and dentist aren’t only looking for any dental problems, they’re also on the lookout for signs of several systemic diseases. There have been many studies that support a link between oral health and overall health. In fact, sometimes diseases that can affect the whole body are first identified at a dental visit, according to the American Dental Hygienists’ Association. These diseases may include diabetes, oral cancer, and heart disease.
It’s the Best Time to Ask Questions
Over time, teeth may shift, gums may recede, or tooth sensitivity may increase. Your bi-annual dental hygiene appointments are a great time for you to discuss any changes to your oral health or any concerns you may have with your dentist. It’s also when you may choose to talk about any cosmetic dentistry or restorative dentistry treatments you’ve been debating on for awhile.
Keep Up with Your Oral Hygiene at Home
Regular cleanings and exams are a great way to catch and treat any problems before they become larger, more serious issues. But these cleanings alone won’t keep smiles healthy for long. It’s still important to maintain a proper oral hygiene routine at home. This means brushing twice a day and flossing once a day for optimal oral health.
We understand that sometimes it’s difficult to go to the dentist, especially if you aren’t experiencing any pain or suspect any problems. But regular appointments at our Manchester dental office can help prevent those issues from occurring the first place.
If it’s time for your dental cleaning, give us a call to schedule an appointment.
July 21st, 2017
How Your Exercise Routine is Affecting Your Smile
Like any other member of your medical team, the dental team at our dental office in Manchester are all for exercising. There are plenty of benefits behind regularly hitting the pavement for a run, grabbing the free weights for a strength training program, or joining a gym for group classes. Whichever exercise is your go-to workout, it will increase heart rate, get the blood flowing, and will help keep your whole body healthy… including your mouth. However, when it comes to oral health and exercise, there are a few potential problems.
Before we launch into talking about a few ways exercise can damage your smile, let’s talk about all the good exercising can do. First and foremost, exercise is essential for maintaining a healthy weight, keeping your lungs and heart in tip-top shape, and is overall really great for you. When it comes to how exercise can benefit your oral health, we look to the Third National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey (NHANES III) which is a long-term national health study.
Researchers found that those who exercised at a moderate intensity five days a week, or at a high intensity three days a week, were at lower risk for gum disease. This is good news for both your teeth and your whole body. Gum disease usually leads to other oral health problems such as bad breath, swollen & painful gums, and even tooth loss, and has also been linked to whole-body issues including certain cancers, heart disease, and stroke. So avoiding it is best for your overall health as well as the health of your mouth.
So obviously, exercising is good for everyone for plenty of reasons. But just like how working out too much can lead to injuries, it can also contribute to decay and an increase in cavities.
We aren’t trying to keep anyone from exercising as we believe the benefits outweigh the risks. But we do feel it’s necessary to talk about how exercising may have a negative effect on oral health so you can know what to try to avoid during your workouts.
There are two main contributors to oral health issues associated with working out. Let’s look at each one in more detail.
Sports drinks are great at helping your body recover after intense exercise. But they’re not so great for your teeth. A lot of the ingredients in sports drinks are known to cause decay and cavities. When you can, choose water during workouts or alternate sports drinks and water to limit your exposure to sugars and acidity found in most sports beverages.
When you’re doing any sort of physical activity that causes you to breathe a bit heavier, it’s common to start breathing with an open mouth. Open mouth breathing decreases saliva production, which not only makes your mouth feel uncomfortably dry, it also makes it the ideal environment for bacteria that damage teeth to thrive.
Still have questions about how exercise can affect your smile? We welcome you to call our dental office in Manchester. We’ll be happy to help.
July 6th, 2017
What Exactly is Occlusion?
At our dental office in Manchester, we’re often asked what certain technical dental terms mean, and we’re always happy to explain them. Which brings us to the topic of the day: Occlusion. What is occlusion? What are we looking at when we talk about it? Why does it matter? We’re glad you asked!
Occlusion is a simply a fancy name to describe the relationship between the way your upper teeth connect with your lower teeth when you chew, bite, or clench down. More commonly, occlusion is explained as your bite.
What Are We Looking At?
When your dentist in Manchester is evaluating your bite, he or she is looking for any areas where the two sets of teeth don’t line up well. A healthy bite is important for proper chewing, and if a bite is “bad,” the force placed on teeth isn’t distributed evenly. This can lead to several problems and the need for restorations or long-term treatment.
How Does a Bite Become “Bad?”
There are times when people develop a bad bite as they lose their baby teeth and their permanent ones erupt. Most commonly, these are classified as overbites, underbites, or crossbites (more on these in a minute). Other individuals see a shift in their once good bite as they get older thanks to accidents, clenching or grinding, or as a result of teeth shifting when a permanent tooth is lost and not replaced.
Signs of a Bad Bite
There aren’t one or two concrete signs of malocclusion (another fancy dental term used to say bad bite). In fact, there are several symptoms that may indicate an issue including:
- Excessive wear on tooth enamel
- Broken or chipped teeth
- Tooth loss
- Head or neck pain
- Pain in the jaw joint
- Upper teeth that fall behind the lower teeth when the mouth is closed (underbite)
- Top teeth that cover most or all of the bottom front teeth while biting (overbite)
If you’re experiencing any of these signs, we encourage you to call our dental office in Manchester. Treatment to correct a bite varies from person to person, so it’s best to evaluate your individual situation and recommend a personalized plan.
June 22nd, 2017
What Your Tongue Says About Your Health
At our dental office in Manchester, we spend a lot of time getting people to open up and say, “Ah!” It’s because your oral health can tell us a lot about what is going on in the rest of your body. Did you know that your tongue can also provide some pretty interesting clues about you too?
What Are You Looking At?
Your tongue is really quite marvelous and it says a mouthful about oral and overall health. It consists of eight muscles and never ever gets tired. The tongue is constantly at work. At any given moment this super strong muscle could be doing one (or more) of the following with or without you even being aware of it:
- Helping break down food
- Helping you speak clearly
- Filtering out bad germs
- Pushing saliva down the throat (even during sleep)
What Are You Looking For?
The next time you’re in front of a mirror, go ahead and stick out your tongue. Take a long look and note what you’re seeing. Are there red or white spots? Is it dark and almost hairy in appearance? Is there any redness? What you see could say a lot about what’s going on inside your mouth and inside your whole body. It’s important to keep a keen eye on anything that’s abnormal or feels suspicious so you can let your Manchester dentist do a thorough examination. Here are some examples of what you might find and what it means:
- White Patches – This could signify an overgrowth of candida (yeast) fungus. It’s common in babies and young children and is easily treated with a prescription anti-fungal rinse or pill.
- Black/Hairy Appearance – Diabetes, a yeast infection, poor oral hygiene, or cancer therapies could be to blame.
- White/Red Spots – These obvious spots are actually quite common. They are usually the result of worn down taste buds.
- Redness – Illnesses like strep throat or deficiencies in B-12, folic acid, and iron can also cause this kind of irritation.
- Bumps – Large bumps or sores on the tongue are often a sign of canker and cold sores.
- Webbing or Stripes – This can signal a chronic oral lichen planus which is a chronic condition that occurs when your immune system is attacking cells.
Be on the lookout for anything suspicious or anything your tongue might be trying to tell you. Please call our Manchester dental office and let us take a look. Together we can get to the bottom of the problem and decide what treatment (if any) will get you and your tongue healthy again.
June 12th, 2017
What’s Good and What’s Bad About Bottled Water?
These days you can’t go very far without seeing bottled water, whether you’re scanning the aisles at your favorite supermarket, cheering on your kids at their latest sporting event, or perhaps packing for a trip to your favorite vacation destination. Our dental office in Manchester wants you and your family to stay healthy and hydrated, which may mean drinking more bottled water. Let’s take a look at the pros and cons of the getting water from the bottle vs. the tap.
The Pros: Why is Bottled Water So Popular?
- It’s Readily Available
Bottled water is an excellent solution for having delicious drinking water anytime, anywhere. It’s portable and travels easily in briefcases, purses, gym bags, backpacks, and more. Sometimes, given your surroundings (i.e. camping or in a foreign country) it’s easier to have a bottle of water with you. It’s also able to be purchased conveniently.
- Easy to Store and Delicious to Drink
In the event of a disaster or other emergency, your dentist in Manchester knows that having bottled water on hand is definitely helpful and it can be a lifesaver depending on the circumstances. Because bottled water does not expire, it’s always a good idea to keep some stored away, just in case. Depending on the condition of your tap water, bottled H20 also tends to taste better too. This usually due, in part, to the purification process certain types of bottle water must undergo during the preparation process.
The Cons: What’s So Bad About Bottled Water?
- It Could Cost You More Money
Because there are so many additional necessary steps to ensure bottled water is safe to drink (purification, packaging, transporting, marketing, etc.), it can tend to be a bit more pricey than the water flowing from your tap.
- There Could Be Some Health Risks
Our Manchester dental office wants you to know about the possible health risks associated with bottled water. Did you know commercially produced bottled water does not contain fluoride, while tap water does? Fluoride is a naturally occurring mineral that helps keep teeth strong and healthy. It’s especially important that kids get enough fluoride for their growing teeth. Some plastic bottles also contain the chemical bisphenol A (BPA) which can seep into the water before you drink it. This risk increases significantly if your water is stored somewhere hot in direct sunlight.
We hope you learned a little bit about some of the benefits and some of the potential downfalls to drinking bottled H20! No matter what kind of water you choose either for yourself or your family, it’s always very important to stay hydrated each and every day. This helps your body function a peak performance, you feel good, and look great on the outside too! Do you have any questions about what we talked about in our blog? Give us a call or ask us your questions at your next visit!
May 16th, 2017
Negative Effects of Nail Biting
Nail biting is a bad habit that often begins early in life as a response to stress or boredom, or sometimes as a subconscious reaction to nervousness. While the habit tends to fade as we get older, it’s estimated that about 30% of people continue to gnaw on their nails into adulthood. At our dental office in Manchester, we know that nail biting is more than a bad habit. To us, it’s about all of the negative effects nail biting can have on teeth and overall oral health.
Risks to Overall Health
Your nails are one of the areas on your body where you can find tons of germs and bacteria. Usually wedged in between the nail and the skin of your finger, these germs and bacteria can be pretty harmful if ingested into your system. When someone puts their finger in their mouth and bites away at the nail, it’s an easy way for these bacteria to be released into the body which could lead to some serious illnesses.
Negative Effects on Oral Health
Besides the risk to overall health, nail biting can wreak havoc on teeth and gums. Your dentist in Manchester will tell you that chronic nail biting has been linked several oral health issues including chipped, cracked, or worn down teeth, damage to the gum tissue, and bruxism. Bruxism, more commonly known as tooth grinding, can lead to headaches, recessed gums, tooth sensitivity, and even tooth loss.
Tips on How to Stop
Like any habit, stopping nail biting can be difficult, but it’s not impossible. Trying to retrain yourself to quit nibbling on your nails takes a conscious effort. These tips can help.
- Paint your nails with an ill-tasting lacquer designed specifically for nail biters
- Find another release for stress like meditation, yoga, deep breathing, or exercise
- Check out close up photos of the bacteria that live under nails to remind you of what you could be putting in your mouth whenever you bite — spoiler alert: it’s gross!
- Keep nails trimmed as short as possible to give yourself less to bite
Start by trying one of the above methods to quit biting your nails. If it doesn’t work for you, try another one. It may take persistence but once you quit biting your nails, your overall health and oral health will thank you.
In the meantime, if you happen to chip or crack a tooth, have gum damage, or suspect bruxism we welcome you to schedule an appointment at our Manchester dental office. We’ll diagnose the damage and talk with you about the most appropriate treatment for you.
May 8th, 2017
“What’s it Mean When My Dentist Pokes My Gums and Says Numbers?”
If you’ve ever been to your dentist in Manchester and experienced several gentle pokes to your gums followed by hearing some numbers, you’ve had what’s called a periodontal charting. This charting is helpful when evaluating overall oral health and can give your dental team some insight to a proper treatment plan.
What’s Periodontal Charting Do?
What we do at our dental office in Manchester during periodontal charting is measure gum tissue around each tooth. There are six sides per tooth to measure, that’s why you’ll hear so many numbers being called out.
What Do The Numbers Mean?
During the measuring process, you’ll hear us say numbers ranging from 1 to 7, and sometimes more. These numbers reflect how deep your gum pockets are in millimeters. Anything between 1 and 3 is a good indicator that your gums are healthy. However, if you bleed during the process, your gums may be in beginning stages of a more severe problem, even if your measurements are between the target of 1 and 3. Higher measurements than 3 could be a sign of a serious concern. Explore the guidelines below to see what’s commonly interpreted from each depth.
3 mm – 5mm with no bleeding: Gum pockets of this depth could indicate a likelihood of gum disease.
3 mm – 5 mm with bleeding: It’s very likely that gums with these measurements have early gum disease.
5 mm – 7 mm with bleeding: Besides almost certain gum disease, bone loss and tissue damage are also possible.
7 mm+ with bleeding: Pockets deeper than 7 mm means advanced gum disease is certain. Surgical intervention may be appropriate to resolve the disease.
If your measurement are any of the above, it may be recommended that you have professional cleanings at least every 3-4 months in order to improve both your gum health and overall oral health. If they’re deeper than 7 mm, surgery may be required.
Other Signs of Gum Disease
Gum disease is a serious problem that can lead to tooth loss and has been linked to several whole-body concerns including heart disease and stroke. Besides having periodontal charting complete, you should look for other signs of gum disease like bleeding gums, chronic bad breath, or receding or tender gums.
If you notice any signs of gum disease, call our Manchester dental office to schedule an appointment. We’ll evaluate your overall oral health and determine the most appropriate treatment plan to get your smile in its best shape ever.
April 21st, 2017
The Oral Health Dangers of Smokeless Tobacco
April is recognized as Oral Cancer Awareness Month, and while many people know the risks associated with smoking tobacco, the team at our dental office in Manchester want to make sure our patients and neighbors know that just because smokeless tobacco is, well, smokeless, doesn’t mean it doesn’t have its own fair share of risks.
The most serious concern associated with smokeless tobacco use is oral cancer. Oral cancer is a serious disease that affects the lives of nearly 50,000 newly diagnosed people every year. If not caught early, oral cancer can lead to death. While anyone can get oral cancer, tobacco use (of any kind) is the top risk factor for developing the disease.
Know the Signs
Pain while swallowing, chewing, or speaking
Changes in voice
A white, scaly patch on the inside of the cheek or lip
A lump inside the mouth or neck
If you notice any of the signs above, contact your dentist in Manchester to schedule an appointment as soon as you can.
Chewing tobacco can also cause gums to recede, mostly because the tobacco (and everything else found in it) is left on the gums for prolonged periods of time which irritates the tissues. Once gums have receded, the tooth roots become exposed, and that’s when the problems start. Without the protection of the gums, the roots are at increased risk for sustaining damage from foods, drinks, and more tobacco. Not only does this make cavities more likely, it also tends to lead to tooth sensitivity, which can be pretty painful.
Thanks to the ingredients found in all forms of tobacco, specifically tar and nicotine, tobacco users tend to suffer from a yellow smile. The good news is this discoloration can be reversed through a professional smile whitening or cosmetic dentistry treatment like veneers. But if a patient continues to use tobacco after treatment, the teeth can be easily stained again.
Regular visits to the dentist are important for everyone, but especially for tobacco users, smokeless or not. If you’re looking for a dentist, we welcome you to call our Manchester dental office to schedule an appointment. We’re here to help keep our patients healthy and we’re always happy to see new patients. Give us a call today.
April 6th, 2017
All about frenectomies
Frenectomies aren’t all that common in adults, but there are specific instances when the team at our Manchester dental office may recommend one to an adult patient. But why exactly would a frenectomy be needed, and what is it? We’re here to talk all about frenectomies and the benefits behind getting one.
Let’s have a quick lesson on the mouth’s anatomy, specifically the thin, taut pieces of muscle called frena (frenum when referring to one). There are two of these little muscles that are the common culprits behind needing a frenectomy: the lingual frenum and the maxillary labial frenum. First, the lingual frenum is the tight piece of tissue that connects the underside of your tongue to the floor of your mouth. The maxillary labial frenum can be felt if you run your tongue under your top lip in front of your teeth. When either one of these muscular attachments affect proper function, a frenectomy may be recommended.
What is a Frenectomy?
A frenectomy is a fairly simple dental procedure that removes or shortens the frenum that’s causing trouble. First, the area is numbed for comfort. Then, your Manchester dentist will cut the frenum away from either the upper gum line or the base of the mouth. After sealing the cut with stitches, you should be all set. Some dentists can even perform a frenectomy with a laser, eliminating the need for stitches.
How Can a Frenectomy be Beneficial?
Benefits of a frenectomy can vary depending on which frenum is causing the trouble. A lingual frenum frenectomy is recommended if the frenum is too long and extends out too close to the tip of the tongue. When this happens, speaking, swallowing, and eating can be difficult. A frenectomy can help with all of those. This type of frenectomy is usually caught early and is typically performed on young children.
A frenectomy on the maxillary labial frenum is the procedure that’s usually reserved for those with permanent adult teeth. The most common complaint from individuals where this type of treatment is appropriate is a gap between the front two teeth. Usually, patients who are unhappy with a gap in their smile undergo orthodontic treatment, and that can help squeeze the teeth tightly together. However, once orthodontic treatment is complete, there’s a chance those two front teeth can separate once again. If this happens, it could mean the maxillary labial frenum is too long and is actually pulling those two teeth apart. A frenectomy can resolve that issue once and for all.
If you think a frenectomy may be appropriate for you, we welcome you to call our dental office in Manchester. We’ll be happy to help.
March 15th, 2017
Words of wisdom on wisdom teeth
Getting your wisdom teeth taken out is such a common procedure that over 90% of Americans undergo the surgery. But why is it important that these late-blooming teeth come out? Can’t they just stay in there? Well, sometimes they can, but if it’s recommended that they be removed, it’s to keep you from additional problems. At our dental office in Manchester, we want to make sure all of our patients understand that there are important reasons we often recommend wisdom teeth extraction.
There’s No Space!
The top reason most wisdom teeth need to be removed is the lack of room remaining in the mouth. If there isn’t enough space for the teeth to fully erupt, other teeth may shift and your bite may suffer. When problems with the bite occur, a whole host of other issues can follow including TMJ pain, headaches, neck and shoulder pain, and loose teeth.
Proper Care is Difficult
Another reason wisdom teeth need to be removed is that these teeth are waaay back there, making them difficult to care for properly. This means that your wisdom teeth are at increased risk for things like gum disease and cavities. If your wisdom teeth have already erupted, it’s important that you see a dentist so they can check for any decay or disease. If anything troublesome is found, the most logical solution may be to remove them and avoid continued issues.
Impacted Wisdom Teeth
Another problem with not having enough space for the teeth to erupt properly is that they can get stuck in the bone. This is referred to as having impacted wisdom teeth. Once the teeth are impacted, treatment tends to become more complicated, so it’s best to catch any potential problems with wisdom teeth and remove them early. If your wisdom teeth do become impacted, your Manchester dentist will talk to you about the most appropriate treatment to help.
The only way you should keep your wisdom teeth is if you have plenty of room, they’re healthy, and you’re able to care for them properly. If checkups at our dental office in Manchester show that your fully erupted wisdom teeth are becoming unhealthy, or that your yet-to-erupt teeth will not have enough room, we will probably recommend getting them removed to keep your mouth in its best, healthiest shape.
March 6th, 2017
Top 4 Causes of Tooth Sensitivity
Having sensitive teeth can be brutal. The sharp, shooting pain that often accompanies tooth sensitivity can put a damper on enjoying favorite foods. At our dental office in Manchester, we don’t want any of our patients to suffer from sensitive teeth, but we understand that a lot of them do. We’d like to explain some of the most common causes of tooth sensitivity and talk about some possible remedies.
Eating Acidic Foods
Certain foods can directly affect oral health. We all know that sugary foods can eat away at tooth enamel and lead to cavities, but acidic foods can also cause some dental problems. A diet packed with acidic treats like citrus fruit, tomato sauce, and wine also causes enamel erosion and weakened teeth. Once the middle part of the tooth known as the dentin becomes exposed, teeth can become painfully sensitive.
Too Much Brushing
That’s right, your dentist in Manchester just said there’s such a thing as too much brushing. While we encourage our patients to brush, we don’t want them to cause damage by doing it. Damage from over-brushing can be caused by either doing it too often or using a rough, scrubbing technique. You should use a soft-bristled toothbrush two times a day in soft, gentle circles to protect your grin against sensitivity.
Not Enough Flossing
We typically recommend flossing about once a day, every day, and for good reason. If you only brush your teeth, you’re not cleaning two sides of each tooth which can lead to plaque buildup. Plaque that’s not removed by regular brushing, flossing, and professional dental cleanings can damage enamel and leave teeth feeling a bit sensitive.
Grinding tooth against tooth is a great way to not only cause chips and breaks that will require restorative dentistry to fix, it’s also a top contributor of sensitivity. Grinding files down the enamel which, as we know, leaves the inside of the tooth exposed. Usually a bruxism mouthguard can be custom fitted to prevent grinding and damage that comes with it.
If you’re experiencing the pain associated with having sensitive teeth, you don’t need to continue to suffer. Call our Manchester dental office to schedule an appointment and get relief.
February 21st, 2017
Top 4 Ways to Stop Biting Your Cheeks
Cheek biting is a common habit and is actually very similar to nail biting. Typically brought on by stress or when nervous, biting the inside of the cheek — or the lips or tongue — can be painful, and in certain cases, concerning for the dental team at our Manchester dental office. We’re here to explain why and offer up some of the best ways to stop.
Identify the Cause
Before we discuss why biting any of the tissues in your mouth is bad for you, we should identify why it happens in the first place. If you catch your cheek in between your teeth while chewing and talking only on occasion, there’s probably nothing to be too concerned about. However, if this happens to you chronically, or if you nibble on your cheek constantly throughout the day, there may be reason for concern.
Why is It Bad?
First, any continued trauma to oral tissues can result in painful mouth sores which can become infected. Infection in the mouth is never a good thing and can actually be quite serious. Second, if you bite yourself quite often while eating, you may suffer from a misaligned bite (malocclusion). Malocclusion can lead to more serious problems like chronic headaches, a sore jaw, TMJ (temporomandibular disorder), and shifting of teeth. When your teeth don’t fit together neatly, there’s a greater chance of your cheek, lip, or tongue finding its way in between them causing you to crunch down on it (Ouch!).
Ways to Stop
No matter what the cause may be behind biting your cheeks, there are a few tips you can try to help stop it.
Figure out when you do it. If your lip or cheek biting is a result of stress or nerves as opposed to a bad bite, start paying attention to when you’re doing it and work to either avoid those triggers or work to consciously stop yourself.
Find a support system. Sometimes, you may not realize you’re biting so often. Talk with trusted friends or coworkers about trying to stop the habit and ask them to help you identify when you do it.
Do something! Another common reason behind biting is boredom. If you find yourself nibbling away while watching TV, get up, get active, and do something!
See your dentist. If you believe your bite may be contributing to your chronic biting, talk with your dentist in Manchester for advice on how to help.
If you suffer from chronically biting your cheeks, lip, or tongue, schedule an appointment at our dental office in Manchester. We’ll check any active sores you have for infection and help treat them if necessary, and work with you to determine not only what’s causing you to bite so often, but also the best ways to help you stop.
February 10th, 2017
5 ways to reduce sugar intake
Sugar is every dentist’s worst enemy. It negatively affects oral health and puts teeth at increased risk for decay, cavities, and can lead to more serious dental and overall health problems. At our dental office in Manchester, we care about our patients’ smiles and well being, which why we’re strong believers in limiting the amount of sugar they ingest. In this blog, we talk about the top ways reduce your family’s sugar intake for a healthier, happier smile and body.
Sugar: It’s Not Just a Tooth Problem
When most people think of sugar, they immediately think of its negative effect on teeth. And while that’s definitely a fact, too much sugar can be dangerous to overall health too. An abundance of sugar in one’s diet can cause headaches, lead to overeating, obesity, Type 2 diabetes, and contribute to cardiovascular disease.
How Much Is Too Much?
You shouldn’t cut sugar out of your diet entirely as it’s necessary for proper body function. But how much do you really need? The recommended amount of sugar intake varies from age to age and between genders. According to the American Heart Association, maximum daily sugar intake for adults is 37.5 grams for men and 25 grams for women.
Ways to Lower Sugar Intake
Eliminate sweets. Sounds easier said than done, but there are other healthier ways to get the recommended amount of sugar, like fruits, for example.
Check out labels. Sugar can hide in some surprising places such as yogurt and cereal. Read the labels and know what you’re buying.
Remove sugary drinks. Soda is the obvious one, but teas, flavored waters, and sports drinks can also pack a sugary punch. Stick to water.
Cook at home. By making your own meals, you’re in control of what ingredients you include.
Choose unsweetened. Satisfy cravings for treats by selecting unsweetened versions of common baked goods.
Reducing the amount of sugar in your family’s diet can do a lot to protect oral and overall health. We know it may be challenging, but we know you can do it! Remember, diet is only part of what makes smiles and bodies happy. Always keep appointments with your Manchester dentist at least twice a year.
If you’re looking for a new dentist or it’s time for your checkup, give our Manchester dental office a call today!
January 20th, 2017
Dental Care is Important for pets too
At our dental office in Manchester, we have a soft spot for fuzzy animals. Which is why we think it’s important to talk about dental care for pets. Dental care for our furry family members is just as important as dental care for humans. And while we don’t accept four-legged patients in this office, we do want to provide you with tips for proper pet dental care.
Signs of a Problem
Before we discuss how to keep your pet healthy, it’s extremely important to know the signs of some serious dental concerns. Keep a lookout for the following:
Refusal to let you near his mouth
If you notice any of these symptoms, please contact your vet as soon as possible as they may be signs of something serious.
Brush Your Pet’s Teeth
You heard us correctly. Pick up a toothbrush that’s right for your animal at your local pet supply store, apply some pet toothpaste (do NOT use human toothpaste — it can cause stomach issues in animals), and scrub gently in soft circles. It may take some practice, but brushing your pet’s teeth two or three times a week can be beneficial to his dental and overall health. It’s also recommended that all pets receive professional cleanings at the vet once a year.
Allow Puppies to Chew
It’s an unavoidable reality — puppies chew everything. From shoes, to table legs, and even clothes, there’s nothing a new puppy won’t sink its teeth into. Part of the natural desire to chew has to do with teething, and it’s actually beneficial. It helps strengthen teeth, massage gums, and scrape away tartar. So stock up on chew toys and encourage your pup to chew only on those toys, not only for the health of his teeth, but also for the health of your shoe collection.
Pick an Appropriate Diet
Your pet’s diet can affect his dental health, just like your food and drink choices can affect yours. There are a variety of pet foods available to help reduce tartar and plaque buildup. Talk with your vet to see what’s best for your buddy.
Following the advice above can help keep your pet’s teeth healthy for a lifetime. But don’t forget about your own oral health. Brush twice a day, floss once a day, and maintain visits to our Manchester dental office at least every six months. Don’t let dental problems plague you or your pet. Make the commitment to proper oral health for you both.
January 12, 2017
Why are there so many different types of mouthwash?
As you probably already know, there are several types of mouthwash available — some minty, some a bit fruity, some that claim to kill germs, and some that protect against gum disease and gingivitis. But do we really need so many? At our dental office in Manchester, we know choosing a mouthwash can be overwhelming, which is why we’d like to explain the differences between them so you can pick the right one for you.
Problem: Bad Breath & Oral Infection
Solution: Antiseptic Mouthwash
Antiseptic mouthwash is the most recommended choice for those battling bad breath or fighting off an infection. These types of mouthwashes contain chlorhexidine gluconate, which is incredibly effective at killing dangerous bacteria and bad breath. However, if antiseptic mouthwash is overused, the teeth may become discolored.
Problem: Not Enough Fluoride
Solution: Fluoride Mouthwash
While most people receive a sufficient amount of fluoride through their tap water or toothpaste, some individuals can benefit from an additional supply. This is when a fluoride mouthwash may be recommended. Fluoride mouthwash can help make teeth stronger and protect them from decay. It’s definitely not appropriate for everyone, especially those under six, but your dentist in Manchester will be able to help determine if it’s right for you.
Problem: Just a Bit of Bad Breath
Solution: Cosmetic Mouthwash
Similarly to antiseptic mouthwash, cosmetic mouthwashes can help freshen breath. What makes them different, however, is they really don’t help protect teeth or fight off bacteria. If used in addition to brushing, a cosmetic mouthwash can be effective at giving you a burst of freshness, but that’s about it.
Mouthwash Alone Isn’t Enough
Even if you choose the mouthwash that helps your specific dental concerns, swishing with it once or twice a day isn’t enough. In order to really help your mouth get and stay healthy, mouthwash should only be used as an additional step in your oral hygiene routine. Keep brushing twice a day, maintain flossing at least once a day, and don’t forego checkups with your dentist in Manchester.
Still have questions about which mouthwash is right for you? Schedule an appointment at our Manchester dental office. We’ll be happy to help.
December 20th, 2016
Does baking soda really whiten teeth?
Baking soda is advertised as a multi-purpose household staple that can be used to mask smells, brighten your clothes, and yes, even whiten your teeth. While we can’t speak on its effectiveness in any other form, my dental office in Manchester can support the claim that baking soda can, in fact, whiten teeth. But before you head out to buy a box and begin brushing with it, there are some things you need to know.
There Are Times When it Won’t Work
Unfortunately, baking soda doesn’t work for everyone or every situation. While it’s abrasive texture can remove some minor surface stains, it’s not as successful at eliminating deeper staining. When tooth discoloration seeps below the surface, baking soda won’t touch it and you’ll need to explore alternative whitening options to get rid of it. But don’t worry, there are solutions for everyone. Whether it’s a professional in-office whitening treatment, at-home trays and whitening gel, or cosmetic dentistry like veneers, you can get a bright, white smile that you’ll want to show off. Talk with your dentist in Manchester to find out which is most appropriate solution for you.
How to Use It
If you’d like to give baking soda a shot at whitening your smile, there’s a right way to do it to limit damage. Make sure you follow the steps below.
Mix the baking soda with water. This takes a bit of the abrasiveness away, yet keeps it effective.
Don’t brush hard, maintain your normal brushing technique of small, gentle circles.
Limit its use to once or twice a week, maximum.
Don’t replace your traditional toothpaste with baking soda — it’s not an effective substitute as it doesn’t protect against bacteria, decay, or gum disease.
There Are Some Risks
What can be risky about baking soda, you ask? If used incorrectly, it may actually do more harm than good. The same abrasive texture that makes it an effective way to erase staining is also the same thing that can lead to more serious concerns. When baking soda is used too often or if brushing is too rough, it can damage tooth enamel, leaving teeth exposed to decay. Decreased enamel also increases the likelihood of tooth sensitivity, which can be pretty painful. Baking soda shouldn’t be used if you have braces as there is a chance the baking soda can weaken the glue.
Are you looking to get a whiter smile and want to check out your options? Give my Manchester dental office a call to schedule an appointment. We’ll look into what may be causing your discoloration and explore which treatment options would be most effective for you.
December 12th, 2016
is your smile making you look older?
Your smile can say a lot of things about you — you’re happy, you’re confident, you’re professional, you’re… old? Nobody wants people to think that, but the unfortunate truth is, your smile may be aging you in the eyes of others. At my dental office in Manchester, we hear many patients express concern over the appearance of their teeth and how some aspects of their smile make them look older than they really are. But thanks to modern dentistry, there are several treatments available to remedy any dental concern.
Concern #1: “My teeth aren’t as white as they used to be.”
Everyone wants a bright, white smile. But sometimes lifestyle factors like smoking, beverage choices like coffee and red wine, or old, metal dental work can keep someone from having pearly whites that are, well, pearly white. No matter what the reason is behind the discoloration, there’s a solution. Treatment options include:
Replacing metal restorations with tooth-colored alternatives
Concern #2: “My teeth look longer and it makes me self conscious”
Teeth that are longer in appearance are usually a result of gum recession. Gum recession is typically a result of brushing too hard, gum disease, or grinding and clenching. When the gums recede, parts of the teeth that are usually hidden under the gum line become visible, causing them to look longer, and, in turn, the person look older. Some common solutions from your Manchester dentist may include:
Changes in brushing behavior — small, gentle circles are best
Scaling and root planing
Concern #3: “I’m experiencing more chips and cracks. What’s going on?”
As we age, our tooth enamel is constantly exposed to different elements and can become weakened. When this happens, the teeth are more susceptible to damage like chips and cracks. But don’t worry, advancements in dental technology allow for virtually undetectable restorations like:
Inlays or onlys
If you’re concerned that your smile may be aging you, give my Manchester dental office a call to schedule an appointment today. We’ll identify your specific areas of concern and determine the most appropriate solution for you.
November 21st, 2016
How to protect teeth from diabetes
Did you know that an estimated 30 million Americans are living with diabetes? At our Manchester dental office, we have helped patients of all ages diagnosed with diabetes maintain their oral health. This is important because diabetes can leave you more susceptible to other issues such as periodontal (gum) disease, infections, poor healing, and dry mouth. There are a few key steps you can take to keep you and your mouth healthy.
Regular, routine at-home care is a great way to ensure your teeth, gums, and even tongue stay healthy. Your Manchester dentist has probably told you about all of the benefits that come from regular brushing twice a day. Here are a few other tips:
We recommend using a fluoride toothpaste to protect against tooth decay.
Try brushing when you wake up and then before bed.
A soft brush and soft circular motions tend to work best to achieve maximum cleanliness.
Don’t forget to floss at least once a day to avoid plaque build up.
If you have dentures, keep them clean, take them out nightly, and have them adjusted if they’re loose or uncomfortable.
Having a diet consisting of healthy foods that are good for you will help keep teeth clean and your blood sugar balanced. Even patients who do not have diabetes should limit their sugar intake because it’s bad for teeth and overall health. Make plenty of veggies, fruits, and whole grains a part of your diet. Always be sure to work with your doctor and discuss a dietary plan that will work best for you!
Everyone living with diabetes knows just how important it is to maintain their blood glucose levels. Did you know that keeping these numbers stable also helps oral health too? It’s true! If you’re numbers are not controlled properly, there’s an elevated chance of developing loose teeth, gum disease, and other issues — compared to non-diabetics. Like any other infection, serious gum disease may be a factor in causing blood sugar to rise, making diabetes more difficult to control.
At our dental office in Manchester, our patients’ oral and overall health are of the utmost importance. We strive everyday to make sure they’re healthy, especially our patients who have diabetes. If you ever notice anything unusual happening with your mouth or teeth, please give my office a call right away. We’re always happy to help you and answer any questions you may have. We’d be happy to make an appointment for you too!
November 7th, 2016
Is there a link between gum disease and dementia?
At our Manchester dental office, we take gum (or periodontal) health seriously. Gum disease is avoidable, but can lead to bigger problems if left untreated. This month is National Alzheimer’s Disease and Awareness Month, and we want to remind patients who may be in charge of caring for aging loved ones struggling with dementia not to allow oral health to fall by the wayside. Unfortunately, older patients with dementia-related conditions are more susceptible to tooth decay and gum disease due to a decline in personal hygiene and possible side effects from medication.
Here are a some of the things we know about the relationship between gum disease and dementia:
1. Studies Show
According to a recent study in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease, there is a chance people with poor oral hygiene or elevated gum disease could possibly be at a greater risk of developing dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. If you or if you suspect someone in your family may be experiencing the signs of gum disease (i.e. red, swollen, bleeding gums and discomfort), visit your Manchester dentist right away, so we can assess your symptoms and start any necessary treatment.
2. Ongoing Research
Scientists and doctors are still conducting tests and studies to definitively verify a link between gum disease and dementia. Some of the most recent research shows gum disease bacteria was found in brain tissue samples taken from dementia patients, but the same bacteria was not present in non-dementia patients. It’s still too early to say for sure whether gum disease causes or is linked to dementia.
3. Bacterial Breakdown
Bad bacteria is the main reason for concern when it comes to gum disease. Why? Because the bacteria can enter our bloodstream, which could be a possible cause or link to dementia or even other physical illness such as diabetes or heart disease. The truth is: bacteria are always present in our mouths. When gums are in ill health due to disease, routine tasks such as eating, chewing, and brushing can send the bacteria to the bloodstream.
To help keep you and your teeth in excellent health, it’s important to visit our dental office in Manchester for your regular checkups and oral hygiene cleanings. We are always available to help answer your questions and make sure you have all the necessary knowledge and tools to keep your smile in the best shape possible!
October 17, 2016
How Dental implants can bring your smile back from the dead
We may be celebrating Halloween and all things spooky this month, but your smile shouldn’t be scary. My dental office in Manchester is dedicated to getting rid of your dead tooth or teeth once and for all with magical solution known as a dental implant.
A Step-By-Step Guide to How the Magic Happens
My Manchester dental office is here to share some secrets about the hidden powers of dental implants. They are truly magical at making your smile look complete and feel natural. No one will even know you’ve had work done on your teeth. Don’t worry, your secret is safe with us.
Step 1 – Diagnosis
The dentist will take a look at how your dead or missing tooth may be killing your smile. While not everyone is a candidate for an implant procedure, a consultation will be your best bet to see if it’s appropriate for you.
Step 2 – How An Implant Works
Not only can an implant make a smile look whole again, it can also restore function as if the natural tooth and its root never even left. The implant post, made of titanium, actually mimics your tooth root and helps to prevent facial bone loss. Implants are anchored to the bone to create a solid, permanent foundation. Once healed, a porcelain crown, bridge, or a set of dentures covers the post for a natural look that functions like your original tooth.
Step 3 – Enjoy The Benefits
When you’re missing a tooth or teeth, your entire mouth may suffer. A missing tooth could lead to bone loss in the jaw, an imbalanced bite which could create problems with your jaw joint, and your self-confidence may suffer. Dental implants can fix all of that.
The titanium posts play a large role in helping to keep your jaw bone strong. Not only is titanium a super-strong metal that’s resistant to corrosion, it’s actually pretty compatible with our bodies too. After it’s placed into the bone, it’s highly likely that the body will successfully integrate it, creating a strong, durable base for a porcelain crown or other dental restoration. Once a tooth is replaced with an implant, chewing functions and confidence are renewed.
Your Manchester dentist is always here for you and your teeth. If you have questions about how to bring life back to your smile, please let us know.
October 5, 2016
Smile! it’s national dental hygiene month
October is National Dental Hygiene Month, and at our dental office in Manchester we’re going to take a moment to recognize our hygienists for all the hard work that they do, the variety of services they provide to patients, and their wealth of dental knowledge.
Dental Hygienist Qualifications
Did you know hygienists have excellent training and education to help teach patients about the importance of keeping teeth healthy and clean? Most hygienists attend local community colleges, technical colleges, dental schools, or university programs. Typically after two years of schooling, hygienists earn an associate degree and then take a state, local, or regional licensing test. Some hygienists choose to attend four-year degree program too!
Dental Hygienist Duties
At our Manchester dental office, we see so many patients who have a lot of great questions about their oral health. That’s where hygienists are so helpful! Hygienists are usually a dentist’s right-hand person, helping to treat teeth and tell patients all about the importance of keeping teeth healthy. Depending on what state a hygienist works in, their duties around the office could vary. Here are just a few of the fun things they do:
1) Making Teeth Clean – To get teeth looking and feeling great, most hygienists will give your smile a good cleaning by scraping away tartar and plaque from surface of all teeth.
2) Learning All About Patients – Hygienists are usually responsible for talking with patients to get an oral health assessment, reviewing health history, performing an oral cancer screening, and taking blood pressure.
3) Serving Up Healthy Tips – Hygienists are also really good at speaking with patients about the importance of good nutrition and how it relates to maintaining excellent oral and overall health.
4) Prevention Intervention – During a checkup and cleaning, hygienists may also apply fluoride or sealants to teeth to help keep acids, bacteria, and cavities from damaging teeth.
5) Making An Impression That Lasts – If an impression of a patient’s teeth needs to be made in order to better determine what treatment may be appropriate for them, hygienists can help. Many hygienists are trained and qualified to take impressions, and keep patients comfortable during the process.
When you visit the dentist in Manchester, we hope you give your hygienist a high five for all they they do to keep you and your teeth healthy. Hygienists truly care about your oral and overall health. If you have questions, don’t hesitate to ask. Hygienists are always happy to help!
September 14, 2016
“Why does my jaw get stuck sometimes?”
You’re feeling tired, and you know a yawn is working its way out. As your mouth opens involuntarily and the yawn escapes, you wait for your jaw to slowly close shut. But it doesn’t. It’s stuck. It’s scary. It’s painful. At our Manchester dental office, we know just how terrifying this can be, especially if it’s never happened before. We’d like to give you some advice on what to do if it happens again and also educate you on what may have caused it in the first place.
Why Does it Happen?
There a few possible explanations to what causes the jaw to feel locked. First, your bite may be placing unnecessary pressure on facial, neck, and jaw muscles. When the top teeth don’t line up with the bottom teeth the way they’re supposed to (malocclusion), nearby muscles can become irritated, inflamed, and tight. This makes them unable to function properly and results in the locking sensation.
Your jaw itself may also be causing the problem. The anatomy of the jaw includes not only the bone and muscles, but also cartilage that keeps the jaw bone from rubbing against the skull. Sometimes this cartilage becomes damaged either because of an accident or, more often, as a result of clenching or grinding. Once damaged, it can slip over the bone blocking the hinge joint from functioning.
What to Do When it Happens
There are several things you can try to relax the joint and get some relief.
Apply heat to loosen muscles
Take an anti-inflammatory medication to reduce the swelling
Consider an appliance to limit damage caused by grinding, like a nightguard
Lower stress levels to minimize clenching
If this is an ongoing problem for you, see your Manchester dentist.
Signs & Symptoms
While symptoms can differ from person to person, and not everyone experiences jaw lock, there are a few common signs you should be aware of.
Pain while chewing, yawning, or opening your mouth
Earaches or headaches
Clicking/popping sensation or sound when opening and closing your mouth
You don’t need to live in fear of worrying if the next yawn or the next meal is going to cause your jaw to get stuck. There are ways to help. Call our dental office in Manchester to schedule an appointment. We’ll discuss some of the symptoms you’re having, how often you experience them, and evaluate your jaw for any problems. After we’re able to diagnose the situation, we’ll work with you to determine the best treatment plan for you.
September 6, 2016
How does your oral health routine measure up?
We’ve all been told about the importance of oral health from the day we were old enough to pick up a toothbrush. But when you have something you have to do every single day (seriously, every day is a lot!) it’s easy to get complacent and rush through the necessities. At our Manchester dental office, we want to give our patients a few reminders on how to get the best, cleanest mouth possible.
Choose the Right Things
Toothbrush? Check. Toothpaste? Check. Floss? Check. Good to go, right? Well, not necessarily. Each person has unique needs and their dental tools should be selected accordingly.
Toothbrush – This tool doesn’t vary so much from person to person, but there are some common traits you should look for unless otherwise told by your dentist. Pick a toothbrush with a medium-sized head for easier use. Soft bristles are also usually recommended to avoid damage to enamel or gums.
Toothpaste – Toothpaste needs are pretty individualized. There are options out there that cater to those with sensitive teeth, others for people who want an extra fresh breath boost, and others for increased enamel protection. Talk with your dentist to find what’s right for you.
Floss – First and foremost, floss is necessary for everyone, but like toothpaste, there are a variety of types for different needs. Teeth that are tighter and closer together need a floss that’s easy to slide in between them. These people should choose a waxed floss. If your teeth are not super tight, regular floss should be just fine.
Use Them the Right Way
Don’t get caught in the habit of mindlessly brushing and flossing your teeth. Brushing often enough, long enough, and correctly is crucial to ensuring your mouth is bacteria free. Take two minutes twice a day and gently scrub in small circles, hitting every surface of the teeth. Also make sure you’re removing particles between teeth by flossing once a day between each tooth and up under the gums.
Visit Your Dentist Every Six Months
Visits to your Manchester dentist every six months are a necessary part of a healthy mouth. Not only will your dental team perform a deep, professional cleaning, they’ll also check your mouth for any potential problems like cavities, gum disease, or oral cancer. Your routine visit is also a perfect time to talk with your dentist about any cosmetic dentistry you may be interested in like teeth whitening, cosmetic bonding, or veneers.
No matter how great your oral health routine is at home, if you’re missing regular visits with your dentist, your mouth isn’t the healthiest it can be. Don’t avoid the dentist, schedule an appointment at our dental office in Manchester today.
August 1, 2016
What a smile can do for you, and others
Believe it or not, a smile can do more for you than just help you look good in your latest Instagram picture, although that’s a nice benefit too. At our Manchester dental office, we love to see our patients show off their smiles, not just because it boosts their self confidence, but because it’s actually keeping them healthy and happy.
There are actually several scientifically proven ways smiling can make you a healthier, happier person. A simple smile boosts the number of antibodies and white blood cells in your body – which may help support your immune system and keep you from getting sick. What’s more, every time you grin, blood flow surges to the frontal lobes of your brain, increasing the release of the “feel-good” chemical dopamine. But the benefits don’t stop there. Smiling also helps you relax by surging serotonin, a natural known stress-reducer, levels.
You know when you pass a stranger on the sidewalk and he smiles and you smile back? Turns out, it may not just be your politeness that’s making you return the gesture. Numerous studies show that smiling is contagious, and our reaction to smile back to someone is natural and subconscious.
A smile also means the same thing in every language, every culture, and every country in the world. That makes it an incredibly powerful thing. Because if we know smiling can help us feel happier, more relaxed, and even boost our health, and we know that a smile is universal and contagious, we can use smiling to spread joy and wellness all around us.
Are You Hiding Your Smile?
Sometimes people are too embarrassed to smile because of the way their teeth look. Maybe they’re a little discolored, slightly crooked, or damaged from an accident. No matter what the reason is, you shouldn’t have to hide your smile. The good news is, cosmetic dentistry from your dentist in Manchester can help. Some forms of cosmetic dentistry include:
Bonding to correct chips or breaks
Whitening to make your smile pop
Tooth-colored fillings instead of silver amalgams
Veneers to change tooth shape, size, color, and even straighten
Don’t let embarrassment keep you from smiling and experiencing the power it holds. Call our dental office in Manchester to explore all the options available to help get you a smile you’re proud of.
August 1, 2016
3 Dental Health Facts All MEN should know
While it’s typically recommended that everyone has a preventive dental care appointment and dental cleaning at least twice a year, men are less likely to visit their dentist in Manchester regularly than women. Many men skip these important check ups and rather only schedule an appointment once they have a problem. The truth is, seeing the dentist every six months can keep these problems from occurring in the first place and help keep mouths and bodies healthy.
Advanced Dental Treatments. Since we now know that many men don’t maintain regular dental care to help keep small concerns from getting more serious, it should come as no surprise that the likelihood for needed advanced dental treatment in men is higher. One of the common dental problems across all ages and genders is decay. When decay is left untreated, there’s a higher risk for a necessary root canal and dental crown. When it’s really bad, teeth may fall out or need to be extracted then replaced with a dental bridge, dentures, or dental implants.
Gum Disease. The American Dental Association (ADA) and Academy of General Dentistry (AGD) report that men are more likely to suffer from gum disease than women. In fact, between the ages of 30-54, 34% of men have gum disease compared to 23% of women. Gum disease is a serious condition that not only affects the mouth, but can contribute to other problems throughout the rest of the body. There’s evidence to support that gum disease may lead to heart disease, respiratory disease, and even certain types of cancer. Regular visits to the dentist help diagnose gum disease early before it has a chance to affect whole-body health.
Oral Cancer. The word cancer itself always insinuates fear. Oral cancer is no different and actually kills more than 8,000 people a year. When caught early, treatment can be very successful. When it’s not, there’s a whole host of issues that can result. If facial surgery is needed to remove the cancer, there’s a chance for disfigurement. Oral cancer can also spread to other areas of your body, making treatment more complex. Your dentist will check for oral cancer at every preventive care appointment and get treatment started as soon as possible if there’s a problem.
If it’s time for you to take care of your smile and see a dentist, call my dental office in Manchester to schedule an appointment today.
July 18, 2016
Can an Oral Piercing be Bad for Oral Health?
Piercings of any kind can look cool, and some people feel they help them express themselves. As with any piercing, oral piercings also come with their own set of risks. At our Manchester dental office, we’re here not to discourage patients from getting a piercing if that’s what they want, but to educate them on the several potential problems associated with oral piercings.
What’s Got Us Worried?
Oral piercings can lead to a whole host of oral health issues. Before you make a decision to get one, we encourage to know the risks.
General Difficulties. Introducing a piercing to your mouth, whether in the form of a tongue, cheek, or lip piercing, can affect your daily activities like eating and talking.
Tooth Damage. Piercings come with jewelry. Jewelry is hard in texture. When something hard is introduced to the mouth and banged off teeth repeatedly, damage will occur. Whether it’s a little chip or a big break, tooth damage allows bacteria to enter the tooth and leads to decay. Decay may then require a filling or, if left alone, even a root canal.
Gum Disease. Again, since there is something hard in the mouth, the chance for trauma to the teeth or gums is greatly increased. If your piercing irritates the gums, leading to damage, gum disease is a real possibility. An opening the gums allows bacteria to get below the teeth, leading to gum disease.
Infection. Perhaps the most serious concern of an oral piercing, like any piercing, is infection. But what makes oral infections a little more serious is that they are in the mouth. The mouth is wet and warm, which is the perfect place for bacteria to multiply. If a piercing leads to infection, the fact that the mouth is already home to millions of bacteria isn’t good. Infections that become serious can even cause the tongue to swell, blocking the airway and making it hard to breathe.
Decrease Your Risk
Taking care of your oral piercing can really help decrease the likelihood of a problem. Make sure you clean the area thoroughly and often, and rinse your mouth after eating to lower the chance of infection. Ensure the jewelry is secure to avoid a piece coming loose, causing you bite it and crack a tooth. Remember the signs of infection like redness, fever, chills, or swelling and seek medical attention immediately if you have any symptoms.
If you do decide to get an oral piercing, or if you already have one, and notice signs of infection or your teeth become damaged, call our dental office in Manchester as soon as you can. We’ll get you in for an appointment and talk about the best treatment options to help.
July 7, 2016
4 Surprising Things Your Manchester Dentist Knows
A quick peek into your mouth can reveal a lot about you, and we’re not just talking about your oral health. Your mouth can say a lot about your overall health too, and may even tell your team at our Manchester dental office a few things about your daily habits.
Your Flossing Habits
If you flossed right before your appointment and that’s really the only time, we can tell. Gums may be a bit bloody or swollen — both qualities that aren’t apparent in those who floss regularly. While we’re happy you gave it shot, we can’t stress enough how important flossing at least once a day, everyday, is for your oral health.
You’re a Nail Biter
Nail biting may be a nervous habit of yours, and your dentist may be able to tell without even seeing your fingers. Nail biters usually have slight chips and cracks, and the teeth can become uneven. This can affect your bite. If your bite is out of alignment, symptoms of TMD (temporomandibular disorder), like jaw pain, may occur.
You Have Oral Cancer
At each appointment, we aren’t only looking for signs of decay and cavities, we’re also checking for any signs of oral cancer. Some indicators can include white or red patches in the mouth, lumps on the lips, gums, or cheeks, and bleeding that seems to happen without cause. If caught early, oral cancer treatment can be very successful, which is just another reason to keep your dental appointments.
Your Bad Breath is a Sign of Something More
Sometimes those who suffer from bad breath don’t even know it. And while nobody likes to hear that their breath is a little less than fresh, diagnosing it and talking to your dentist about it is important. Bad breath can be a sign of something serious. A fruity stench could indicate diabetes, a fishy smell could mean liver or kidney failure, and bad breath in general could be a sign of gum disease. Gum disease is very serious and can actually affect your heart health in addition to your oral health.
Regular appointments with your dentist in Manchester are an important part to getting and keeping your smile healthy. Dental exams every six months help catch oral health problems like cavities early, but they can also aid in identifying other concerns.
If you’re experiencing any symptoms above, or you’re overdue for your dental cleaning and exam, call our dental office in Manchester to schedule an appointment. We’ll make sure to evaluate any concerns you have and get you started on an individualized treatment plan for a healthy mouth, and healthy body.
June 20, 2016
Can Migraines Be Dental Related?
Nearly one out of eight Americans suffer from recurring headaches or migraines. To educate the public on the reality of these painful and sometimes debilitating disorders, the American Headache & Migraine Association (AHMA) observes Migraine & Headache Awareness Month every June. While this cause may seem unrelated to dentistry, the team at my Manchester dental office want to share just how connected the two can be.
Migraine vs. Headache
Before we dive into how dental health can contribute to migraines, it’s important to differentiate headaches and migraines. Although similar, headaches and migraines tend to have different symptoms, some of which can affect everyday life for the duration of the episode. Let’s examine the two.
The Migraine-Dentistry Connection
Research supports the theory that a bad bite (malocclusion) can contribute to recurring migraines. When teeth don’t align from top to bottom, your ideal bite is thrown off, causing issues to your TMJ (jaw joint). Anatomically, your head is attached to your jaw, and the two share muscles. When the muscles in your jaw become strained due to a bad bite, it can affect your head, thus leading to a migraine. Your dentist in Manchester may be able to help diagnose and treat this misalignment, giving you relief from migraines.
Don’t continue to live your life managing your migraines without exploring a possible solution to rid yourself of the pain. If you’re ready to see if your migraines could be caused by a bad bite, call my dental office in Manchester to schedule an appointment today. We’ll look at your bite, teeth wear, and other factors to recommend the best treatment for you. Don’t keep suffering, call us today.
June 08, 2016
Are Sports Drinks Bad for Teeth?
When we think of drinks that are terrible for smiles, we usually automatically turn to soda. And while these sugary, carbonated beverages are absolutely bad for our teeth, there’s another type of drink that may be just as concerning. We’re talking about sports drinks, and at our Manchester dental office, we want you to know just how damaging they can actually be.
Sports Drinks Are NOT a Healthier Alternative to Soda
One of the common misconceptions is that sports beverages are a better choice than soda because of the typically lower sugar content. However, this isn’t necessarily the case. While many of the sports drinks of choice don’t contain a whole lot of sugar, they are pretty acidic, and that’s the part that’s concerning.
Acid is a large contributor to dental decay and cavities. When sports drinks are consumed regularly, teeth are exposed to a lot of acid which damages the protective tooth enamel. Why is that bad? Well, once enamel is damaged, it’s damaged, and teeth are left exposed. Without enamel, bacteria are able to wiggle into tooth crevices, feed off sugars from food, and, as a result, produce even more damaging acid. It’s an ongoing cycle that can lead to decay. But that’s not all.
But Wait, There’s More
If decay is left untreated, the possibility for more advanced treatment may be necessary. For example, decay that reaches the root of a tooth may require a root canal and crown to relieve the pain and save the tooth. Many patients are concerned and sometimes even fearful when they hear the term root canal, but it’s important to know that a root canal itself isn’t painful, it’s the damage the root canal treatment is fixing that hurts. If left alone, it will become more painful and may even lead to an infection known as an abscess, which also doesn’t feel very good.
Signs of a Problem
When a problem does occur, it’s important to recognize the symptoms so you can catch and treat it early. If you notice any of the signs of decay below, see your dentist in Manchester as soon as possible.
Pain with hot, cold, or sweet food or drinks
A change in tooth color
Noticeable pits or holes
Prevention is always preferred over treatment. This is why we recommend dental cleanings and checkups at our Manchester dental office at least every six months. This way if something does occur, we can catch it and treat it early before more advanced treatment is needed. If you haven’t seen us for awhile, call to schedule your appointment today.