Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Gum Disease and the Heart

     Gum disease exists in about 80% of the population and is one of many risk factors associated with serious health concerns, such as heart disease. Researchers have found that people with gum disease are twice as likely to suffer from coronary artery disease. This type of heart disease occurs when deposits of fat, cholesterol, calcium, and other materials known as plaques form in the walls of the coronary arteries making them thicker. This limits the amount of oxygen and nutrients needed for the heart to function because blood cannot flow through the arteries easily.

     It is believed that bacteria from gum disease enters the bloodstream and connects to the plaques in the coronary arteries and causes blood clots to form. The bacteria from gum disease enter the bloodstream through compromised, infected gum tissue. Researchers have identified two oral pathogens associated with gum disease, known as Tannerella Forsynthesis and Preventella Intermedia, which may be associated with an increased risk of having a heart attack. The more of these pathogens that are present in the mouth the higher the risk; this is why it’s important to limit the amount of bacteria in the mouth.

     Patients with existing heart problems are at a greater risk if they also have gum disease. Bacterial endocarditis is a dangerous infection that involves the lining of the heart and is commonly caused when bacteria enters the blood during medical procedures. During dental treatment, a common organism found in the mouth known as Streptococcus Viridan can enter the bloodstream through the mouth and travel to the heart. This then causes blood clot formations that are able to travel to the brain, lungs, kidney, and spleen. This can result in dangerous medical conditions such as, blood clots, stroke, heart valve damage, irregular heartbeats, and arterial fibrillation. Patients with preexisting heart conditions are often prescribed pre-medications before dental treatment to prevent endocarditis from occurring.

     Treating and preventing gum disease is the safest way to avoid problems with the heart associated with gum disease. A dentist can help aid in keeping the mouth clean and healthy which in turn lowers the risk of future heart problems.

Visit Paducah Dental Care to learn more! 

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Benefits of Using Mouthwash

Brushing, flossing, and using a Waterpik are the best ways to avoid oral health problems like gingivitis. However, adding mouthwash to this routine gives many added benefits to your oral health. Mouthwash is an effective tool to fight against tooth decay, gingivitis, and helps promote healthy teeth and gums. Here are just a couple benefits from using mouthwash.

Mouthwash is a great way to help reduce bad breath. It works by killing the bacteria that causes bad breath, especially on the tongue. There are several varieties and flavors to choose from. Many people use mouthwash after brushing. It can also be used before to help remove loose particles in the mouth and make brushing and flossing more effective.

Some mouthwashes help prevent plaque build up on your gums, in-between teeth, and on the surface of your teeth in between brushing. Although it prevents the build up of plague, it cannot reduce the plaque that already exists on your teeth. So remember to always brush and floss to remove the plaque before it becomes a problem. Be sure to check the label to ensure it is a mouthwash that will help reduce plaque.

Using a fluoride mouthwash can help prevent cavities by strengthening the enamel. It is most effective when used after brushing. It is important to rinse for 60 seconds then spit out the excess and not to rinse the teeth. This dilutes the fluoride causing it to not be as effective. Being sure to rinse your mouth at night; leaves a protective coating of fluoride on your teeth to fight off bacteria while you sleep.

Mouthwash is a quick and effective way to give your mouth added protection and improve oral health. If you are unsure which type of mouthwash to use ask your dentist or dental hygienist. Your dentist or hygienist can help guide you to the one that will fit your needs the best.

 Visit Paducah Dental Care to learn more! 

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Oral Cancer

Know the Symptoms

Cancer is the uncontrollable growth of cells that invades and damages any tissue surrounding it. Oral cancer appears as a growth or sore in the mouth that does not go away within 2 weeks. Oral cancer can begin on the lips, tongue, cheeks, floor of the mouth, hard and soft palate, sinuses, and throat. Without early diagnosis oral cancer can be life threatening.

The most common symptoms of oral cancer include:
  • Swelling, lumps or bumps, rough spots or crust around areas inside the mouth
  • The development of velvety white, red, or speckled (white and red) patches in the mouth
  • Unexplained bleeding in the mouth
  • Unexplained numbness, loss of feeling, or pain in any area of the face, mouth, or neck
  • Persistent sores on the face, neck, or mouth that bleed easily and do not heal within 2 weeks
  • A soreness or feeling that something is caught in the back of the throat
  • Difficulty chewing or swallowing, speaking, or moving the jaw or tongue
  • Hoarseness, chronic sore throat, or change in voice
  • Ear pain
  • A change in the way your teeth or dentures fit together
  • Dramatic weight loss
There are many risk factors that can cause oral cancer:
  • Smokers or smokeless tobacco users are 6 times more likely than non-tobacco users to develop oral cancer. Using smokeless tobacco makes a person 50 times more likely to develop cancer of the cheek, gums, and lining of the lips.
  • Excessive consumption of alcohol. Oral cancer is 6 times more common in drinkers than nondrinkers.
  • Family history of cancer
  • Excessive sun exposure
  • Human papilloma virus. (HPV)
According to the American Cancer Society, men are twice as likely to develop oral cancer as women, and men who are over age 50 face the greatest risk. Only 25% of oral cancer occurs in people that do not use tobacco or that only consume alcohol occasionally.

There are two ways to diagnose oral cancer. One is by a physical exam. A doctor or dentist will examine the lips and mouth to look for any abnormalities, such as sores and white patches. Another way is removal of tissue for testing. If a suspicious area is found, the doctor or dentist may remove a sample of cells for laboratory testing in a procedure called a biopsy. Unusual cells can be scraped away with a brush or cut away using a scalpel. In the laboratory, the cells are analyzed for cancer or precancerous changes that indicate a risk of future cancer.

Once diagnosed, the doctor can determine the stage of cancer the patient is in. This can be done during a procedure called endoscopy, the doctor may pass a lighted scope down the throat to look for signs that cancer has spread beyond the mouth. A variety of imaging tests can also be used. Imaging tests may include X-rays, computerized tomography (CT) scans, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) and positron emission tomography (PET) scans, among others. Not everyone needs each test. Mouth cancer stages are indicated using Roman numerals I through IV. A lower stage, such as stage I, indicates a smaller cancer confined to one area. A higher stage, such as stage IV, indicates a larger tumor or that cancer has spread to other areas of the head or neck, or to other areas of the body.

Oral cancer is treated the same way many other cancers are treated, with surgery to remove the cancerous growth, followed by radiation therapy and/or chemotherapy to destroy any remaining cancer cells. To help prevent oral cancer it is important to not smoke or use any tobacco products and drink alcohol in moderation. Repeated exposure to the sun increases the risk of cancer on the lip, especially the lower lip. When in the sun, use UV-A/B-blocking sun protective lotions on skin, as well as lips.

It is recommended to conduct a self-exam at least once a month. Using a bright light and a mirror, look and feel the lips and front of your gums, then tilt the head back and look at and feel the roof of the mouth. Pull the checks out to view the inside of the mouth, the lining of the cheeks, and the back gums. Pull out the tongue and look at all surfaces; examine the floor of the mouth. Look at the back of the throat. Feel for lumps or enlarged lymph nodes in both sides of the neck and under the lower jaw. Call a dentist's office immediately if any changes are noticed in the appearance of the mouth or any of the signs and symptoms mentioned above.

It’s important to see a dentist on a regular schedule sometimes dangerous spots or sores in the mouth can be very tiny and difficult to see. The American Cancer Society recommends oral cancer screening exams every 3 years for persons over age 20 and annually for those over age 40. During your next dental appointment, ask your dentist to perform an oral exam. Early detection can improve the chance of successful treatment.

 Visit Paducah Dental Care to learn more! 

Tuesday, May 31, 2016

Root Canals, Know the Facts!

Do you or have you had tooth pain that wakes you up at night? Or noticed an oozing sore on your gums? If so, you may need or have been told you need a root canal. But what exactly is a root canal. Many people have heard horror stories about how awful they are but with the advancements in dentistry root canals have gotten much better and much easier. Millions of teeth area treated and saved each year by this procedure alone.
Inside the tooth, under the enamel and dentin, is a soft tissue called the pulp. The pulp contains blood vessels, nerves and connective tissue. In a fully developed tooth, the tooth can survive without the pulp because the tooth continues to be nourished by the surrounding tissues. Depending on the condition of the tooth treatment can be done in one to two appointments with little to no discomfort.

Root canal treatment is done to the inside of the tooth where the pulp is located. It is necessary to have this treatment when the pulp becomes inflamed or infected. The inflammation or infection can be caused by deep decay, repeated dental procedures on the tooth, faulty crowns, or a crack or chip in the tooth. Trauma to a tooth may cause pulp damage even if the tooth has no visible chips or cracks. If left untreated, it can cause pain or lead to an abscess.
During a root canal, the inflamed or infected pulp is removed and the inside of the tooth is carefully cleaned and disinfected, then filled and sealed with a rubber-like material called gutta-percha. Afterwards, the tooth is restored with a crown. A crown is a tooth-shaped "cap" that is placed over a tooth to restore its shape and size, strength, and improve its appearance. The crowns fully encase the entire visible portion of a tooth that lies at and above the gum line.Once treatment is completed the tooth functions just like a normal tooth.
 Visit Paducah Dental Care to learn more! 

Wednesday, March 2, 2016


Periodontitis, also known as, gumdisease or periodontal disease, begins with bacterial growth in the mouth and may end in tooth lose due to the destruction of tissue and bone that surrounds the teeth. Gingivitis, which is inflammation of the gum, usually begins before gum disease. When gingivitis is left untreated, it can advance to gum disease. In a person with gum disease, the inner layer of the gum and bone pull away from the teeth and form pockets. These small spaces between teeth and gums collect debris and can become infected. The body's immune system fights the bacteria as the plaque spreads and grows below the gum line. Plaque is the primary cause of gum disease, however, there are many other factors that contribute to gum disease.

Factors that contribute to gum disease

·        Dry mouth: there are over 3,000 prescriptions and over the counter products that cause dry mouth. Saliva is needed to protect the teeth and gums and to cleanse the mouth throughout the day. When there is not enough saliva a patient’s risk of tooth decay and gum disease increases. Patients with dry mouth will be placed on products designed to help lubricate and hydrate the mouth to help lower their risk. 

·        Grinding: this puts force on the fibers that hold the teeth in place and stress on the jawbone. People that clench during the day put 200 lbs. per square inch of pressure on the supporting structures of the teeth and jaw. People that grind at night create 900 lbs per square inch. This causes all these supporting structures to break down and allow bacteria to enter the gums and jaw. A night guard is used to help prevent this. 

·        Nutrition: nutrition is crucial to a strong immune system. The new recommendation for daily requirements of fruits and vegetables is 8-12 servings per day. Bone loss in the mouth can be caused by high cholesterol in the diet, eating fatty foods, low calcium, low vitamin C and D, menopause, and stress. Getting the proper vitamins and supplements throughout the day is important not only for dental health but for general health as well. A family doctor can help recommend what types of vitamins a person should be taking to fit their needs. 

·        Herbal Supplements: herbs that start with the letter “G” have side effects, one of which is acting as a mild blood thinner. If a person has to take any of these supplements it is important to see a dentist or hygienist more often in a year to help manage this side effect and prevent gum disease from occurring. 

·        Sleep: it is recommended to get 7 to 8 hours of sleep per night. People who get 6 hours or less are more susceptible to health problems and prone to infections. This means the body cannot fight the infection caused by gum disease as well. 

·        Stress: Stress is very harmful to general health. When a person is under stress the body produces cortisol, which affects inflammation. When someone is under a lot of stress they tend to not sleep well, eat well, or exercise. Stress also breaks down the immune system and prevents our body from fighting infection. A person under stress is 2 to 7 times more susceptible to get gum disease. Meditation and other stress reducing activities can help reduce stress. 

·        Drugs: this includes alcohol and illegal drugs. People who drink more than 5 alcoholic beverages per week increase their risk for gum disease by 30%. Illegal drug use can increase the risk by more than twenty times. 

·        Genetic: 30% of the population has the genetic gene for gum disease. These people have a 7 to 19 times increase in risk to develop gum disease by having this gene. These people tend have more bleeding form the gums and present with gum disease 20 years earlier in life. 

·        Hormones: this includes pregnancy, menopause, puberty, and menstruation. Hormonal changes cause and increase in gum inflammation and bleeding. It’s not understood the exact link between hormone changes and the gums. 

·        Aging: 75% to 85% of people 60 years old or older have gum disease. 

·        Communicable: the bacteria can be passed between parent and child, spouses, siblings, etc.

Unfortunately, gum disease has no cure but it is a treatable and manageable disease. It is important to have regular dental exams and cleanings to help limit these risk factors and prevent the start of gum disease. Oral hygiene is only a small part of battling gum disease and many of these factors are out of a person’s control. It’s important to not get discouraged when struggling with gum disease. With the help of a dentist and hygienist to get proper treatment the mouth can become healthy again.

Visit Paducah Dental Care to learn more! 

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Sensitive Teeth

      Does brushing or flossing cause you to have pain in your teeth? Does drinking or eating hot or cold foods become a painful experience for you? If so you may be experiencing signs of sensitive teeth. Tooth sensitivity is a common dental problem that involves discomfort or pain when encountering certain substances and temperature. The pain is often sharp and sudden, but it is temporary.
     Tooth sensitivity results from irritation of the nerves in the tooth, which leads to pain or discomfort when teeth are exposed to hot, cold, and sweet or acidic foods and drinks. Healthy teeth have two outer layers that protect them. The top layer covers the crown of the tooth, which is the portion above the gum, and is called enamel. The lower layer protects the portion of the tooth below the gums and is called cementum. Underneath the enamel and cementum is a softer layer known as dentin. The dentin is filled with many microscopic tubules that run to the nerve of the tooth known as the pulp. When dentin loses it protective covering of enamel or cementum it exposes the tubules which contain the nerve endings of the pulp.  This exposure is what causes the pain and discomfort because the nerve is no longer being protected.
     There are many factors that can cause teeth to become sensitive. They range form brushing to hard or using a hard-bristled toothbrush, clenching and grinding, whitening, gum disease or poor oral hygiene, and having teeth with cavities or cracks. As we discuss each of these topics you find that there is more than one cause of sensitive teeth.
     Tooth sensitivity can come from brushing with too much force or with a hard-bristled toothbrush. Over time, it can wear down the protective layers of the teeth and expose the tubules that lead to the nerve of the tooth. When these tubules are exposed to hot or cold or to acidic or sticky foods, tooth sensitivity and discomfort can be the result. The simplest solution is to switch to a toothbrush with softer bristles and to be gentler when brushing.
     Clenching and grinding teeth together can wear down the enamel. By doing so the dentin becomes exposed. It is important to talk to a dentist about finding a mouth guard that can stop the teeth from touching during clenching and grinding. The best guards are custom made to fit each individual.
     Mouthwashes and whitening toothpaste have alcohol and other chemicals that can cause sensitivity for some people. If this occurs it is important to switch to a more neutral or alcohol free toothpaste and mouthwash.
     Gum disease and poor oral hygiene can cause gum recession. This recession exposes the root surfaces of the teeth. There are many dental procedure that can be done to improve the damage done to the teeth and gums due to gum disease. Gum disease usually begins as a build up of plaque. The plaque contains bacteria that cause the enamel to wear away exposing the dentin. As the disease progresses it destroys the ligaments that attach the gums firmly to the teeth allowing the root surface to also become exposed. It is important to practice good oral hygiene at home as well as visit a dentist regularly for cleaning and exams to prevent this from occurring.
     If a tooth has a cavity or crack, tooth sensitivity may occur. The dentist will evaluate the area to see what type of dental procedure is needed to fix the problem. Often people experience tooth sensitivity even after a procedure is done. This can last several months after the procedure, but does eventually improve with time. Many dentists will recommend fluoride treatments and sensitive toothpaste to help while the tooth is adjusting to treatment. 
     The good news is there are many ways to control sensitive teeth. Brushing and flossing regularly while using proper brushing and flossing techniques to thoroughly clean all parts of your teeth and mouth is an easy way to start.  Be sure to use a soft-bristled toothbrush and brush gently and carefully around the gum line. Use toothpaste designed for sensitive teeth, there are several brands available. Regular use should make teeth less sensitive over time. You may need to try several brands to find the product that works best for you. Make changes to your diet avoiding acidic, sticky, and sweet foods and dinks. Use fluoridated dental products. Using a fluoridated mouth rinse daily can decrease sensitivity. Ask your dentist about products available for home use and see your dentist every 6 months or sooner, depending on your condition.
Visit Paducah Dental Care to learn more!  

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Frequently Asked Questions About Dentures

      At PaducahDental Care, we are dedicated to helping you keep your teeth healthy. In some cases, a patient may need a partial denture or a full denture. Dentures are appliances that replace missing teeth. All dentures are removable and made to fit your mouth.
      A partial denture replaces missing teeth while several natural teeth remain in the mouth. A full denture, standard or immediate, replaces all of your natural teeth. The standard denture is made after extractions and several months of healing. The immediate denture is made before extractions and placed the same day teeth are removed. You never have to go without teeth with an immediate denture.
     With each custom made denture, several appointments are scheduled to ensure the denture is made to fit only you.

Appointment procedures

Standard Denture:  
Appointment 1: Impressions.
            A series of impressions are taken. The impressions are used to make a replica of your mouth.
Appointment 2: Bite relationship.
            At this appointment, multiple measurements are taken. These measurements include the center of your smile being set as well as making sure you are not closed or open too far. The size, shape, and color of your denture teeth are chosen as well.
Appointment 3: Wax Try In/ Viewing
            During this appointment, you are able to see what your denture will look like before the final product. You will be able to try in the wax denture and make any changes before the denture is sent to be completed.
Appointment 4: Deliver Denture.
            The day has come for you to receive your custom denture. At this time, the denture is placed and minor adjustments can be made for fit and comfort. All at home instruction and tips are given to you as well.
Immediate Dentures
            The series of appointments are the same for an immediate denture up until you reach the day of delivery.
Appointment 1: Impression
Appointment 2: Bite Relationship
Appointment 3: Was Try In/ Viewing
Appointment 4: Delivery Denture
            On this day, you receive your denture and remove all remaining teeth. After extractions are complete, the denture is then seated over the top of the extraction sites after adjustments are made. The patient is expected to wear the denture until the following appointment on the next day.
Appointment 5: Post Op- Next Day Appointment
            On this day, the denture is removed by the dental staff and adjustments are made if there are any sore spots.
Appointment 6: Suture Removal
            This appointment is one week from the day the teeth are extracted. During this appointment, any sutures that were placed during appointment 4 are removed. Healing is checked and any adjustments needed are made. Multiple adjustments may be made to relieve sore spots. Temporary liners may be needed to accommodate the healing process. With an immediate denture, it is necessary to have a permanent reline to ensure proper fit and many changes may occur during the healing process. This reline can occur about 6 months after extractions, depending on the time it takes for complete healing.

What to Expect the First Month

Day 1: Your journey begins. There will be a lot of adjusting and challenges. Don’t worry! You are not the only one.
Day 2-14: Your mouth is adjusting to dentures. You will experience differences such as more salivation and you may experience sore spots. Rinse with warm salt water if soreness continues, adjustments can be made in our office to help relieve and sore areas. Expect longer healing time if teeth were just extracted.
Day 15-29: You are still learning how to live with dentures. Eating and talking with dentures are big changes. The more you wear your denture, the quicker you will adjust to it.
Day 30: You have made it one month with your denture! Reward yourself. Remember to visit us regularly for your denture to be checked.

At Home Care and Tips
            After you have received your new denture, you will need to cleanse and care for it at home. Below are some tips for keeping your denture and mouth clean.
*Clean your denture everyday with a denture brush and denture cleaner followed by rinsing with warm water.
*NEVER clean your denture with bleach.
*Brush your tongue, gums, and remaining teeth with fluoride toothpaste and rinse with mouthwash.
*Never adjust your denture yourself. Schedule an appointment.
* Visit your dentist yearly for cleanings and exams even if you do not have natural teeth.
* Wear your denture as much as possible.
* Distribute adhesive evenly and remove excess.
*Remove your dentures before going to bed and place them in a moist environment.

Eating with Dentures
            One thing you look forward to after getting a new denture is eating and enjoying your favorite foods. Adjusting can be difficult at first, but with a little practice, you should be eating your favorite foods in no time. There are many things to remember when eating with dentures. As you adjust to your dentures, you might have trouble sensing hot foods and drinks. Be careful not to burn your mouth. A good rule to remember is to start with soft foods and take small bites. You want to ease your way back into eating what you love. You also want to distribute food evenly on both sides of your back teeth and chew in an up and down motion. As a new denture wearer, be confident in yourself. Having a new denture comes with learning new habits. With the right mindset, you will conquer each stepping stone you come upon.

Dentures and Implants

            Those who have been wearing dentures for many years, along with those who are new to wearing dentures, may find it difficult to keep their dentures in place. The lower denture, or what may be called a floating denture, can be the most difficult to wear. Many will often lack confidence when speaking and eating when their denture is not firmly seated in the mouth.
            Denture stabilization implants are also known as mini dental implants. They are small titanium posts that provide a secure fit for a denture. There are also standard size implants that can be used if there is enough bone to allow proper fit. With both types of implants they are gently placed into the bone of the upper or lower jaw. It’s a relatively painless procedure that can be done in little time and results in a tight fitting denture. The denture is still removable to allow for proper cleaning of the implants, as well as the gums, tissue, and tongue. There are many benefits of having implant dentures, including the ability to eat and speak with confidence. You can eat things you once couldn’t before and there is no worry of the denture dislodging while speaking. Dentureimplants also eliminate the need for a messy adhesive.

Visit Paducah Dental Care to learn more!