Posts for: May, 2016
You may think your blood pressure is only important to your general health — but it can also affect your dental care. That’s why it’s increasingly common for dental providers to include blood pressure monitoring for patients during routine visits.
High blood pressure is a risk factor for several major health conditions including heart attack, stroke and diabetes, and is one of the most common diagnoses in the United States. Even so, many people don’t know their blood pressure is abnormally high. It may be discovered during an annual health visit, or not at all. Since many people visit their dentist twice a year for cleanings, taking a blood pressure reading during these visits increases the chance of detecting a high pressure.
In one study published in the Journal of the American Dental Association, the researchers looked at dental patients who had not seen a doctor in the previous twelve months and who underwent blood pressure screening during a regular dental visit. Seventeen percent of those studied learned they were at increased risk for cardiovascular disease.
High blood pressure can also have a direct effect on how we treat your teeth and gums. For example, we may have to adapt and become more diligent about preventing dental disease if you’re taking a blood pressure drug that could trigger reduced saliva flow (dry mouth), a factor in tooth decay. Certain local anesthetics may also contain substances like epinephrine that constrict blood vessels, which can increase blood pressure. To avoid this if you’re hypertensive, we may need to adjust the dosage of anesthetic drugs to lessen this effect.
Monitoring blood pressure in the dental office is a good example of how all healthcare services can interact with each other. At the very least, a blood pressure check at your next cleaning could alert you to a potentially dangerous condition you didn’t even know you had.
If you would like more information on the relationship of blood pressure and other medical issues to dental health, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can also learn more about this topic by reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “Monitoring Blood Pressure.”
Cavities can happen even before a baby has his first piece of candy. This was the difficult lesson actor David Ramsey of the TV shows Arrow and Dexter learned when his son DJ’s teeth were first emerging.
“His first teeth came in weak,” Ramsey recalled in a recent interview. “They had brown spots on them and they were brittle.” Those brown spots, he said, quickly turned into caviÂties. How did this happen?
Ramsey said DJ’s dentist suspected it had to do with the child’s feedings — not what he was being fed but how. DJ was often nursed to sleep, “so there were pools of breast milk that he could go to sleep with in his mouth,” Ramsey explained.
While breastfeeding offers an infant many health benefits, problems can occur when the natural sugars in breast milk are left in contact with teeth for long periods.Â Sugar feeds decay-causing oral bacteria, and these bacteria in turn release tooth-eroding acids. The softer teeth of a young child are particularly vulnerable to these acids; the end result can be tooth decay.
This condition, technically known as “early child caries,” is referred to in laymen’s terms as “baby bottle tooth decay.” However, it can result from nighttime feedings by bottle or breast. The best way to prevent this problem is to avoid nursing babies to sleep at night once they reach the teething stage; a bottle-fed baby should not be allowed to fall asleep with anything but water in their bottle or “sippy cup.”
Here are some other basics of infant dental care that every parent should know:
- Wipe your baby’s newly emerging teeth with a clean, moist washcloth after feedings.
- Brush teeth that have completely grown in with a soft-bristled, child-size toothbrush and a smear of fluoride toothpaste no bigger than a grain of rice.
- Start regular dental checkups by the first birthday.
Fortunately, Ramsey reports that his son is doing very well after an extended period of professional dental treatments and parental vigilance.
“It took a number of months, but his teeth are much, much better,” he said. “Right now we’re still helping him and we’re still really on top of the teeth situation.”
If you would like more information on dental care for babies and toddlers, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can also learn more by reading the Dear Doctor magazine articles “The Age One Dental Visit” and “Dentistry & Oral Health for Children.”
Having a beautiful smile may seem like an impossible goal if your smile is full of chipped, yellowed, stained, cracked or just plain missing teeth. However, with help from your Mount Pleasant, SC cosmetic dentist, you can achieve this goal and more. Porcelain dental veneers and dental implants can rejuvenate your smile and give you back the confidence and self-esteem you deserve.
What are veneers and implants?
Veneers are thin, porcelain shells which fit over the front of the teeth to cover imperfections. These customized dental restorations give your teeth a renewed appearance and feel, function and appear just like natural teeth. Dental implants replace a missing tooth’s root and the tooth itself. A small titanium post, called a fixture, surgically implanted into the jawbone underneath a missing tooth provides a sturdy foundation for the replacement tooth. A porcelain dental crown, which attaches to the fixture via an abutment, replaces the missing tooth itself.
How can veneers and implants work together?
Veneers give new life to your broken, chipped, cracked, stained, yellowed or misshapen teeth. With dental implants replacing the teeth which are missing, these two powerful cosmetic dentistry procedures work together to give you an entirely new smile. Aside from the obvious benefit of a full, perfect smile, replacing missing teeth gives you a better bite, allowing you to chew and eat with less difficulty. Proper bite also reduces the risk of jaw issues such as temporomandibular joint (TMJ) disorder.
How do I care for my dental restorations?
Veneers and implants are permanent dental restorations, meaning they may be cared for just like your natural teeth. Simply brush twice daily, splitting the mouth into quadrants and brushing each one for at least 30 seconds. Floss at least once a day. See your Mount Pleasant dentist at least twice a year for regular examinations and cleanings to keep your natural teeth and restorations alike healthy and clean.
For more information on cosmetic dentistry procedures, please contact Dr. Cynthia L. Holmes Garner at Garner Family Dentistry in Mount Pleasant, SC. Call (843)884-6002 to speak with an associate about scheduling your consultation for cosmetic dentistry today!