Oral Health Concerns for Middle Aged Folks

As we age, our birthdays tend to bring new oral health issues along with them. It’s a fact of life that our teeth and gums are impacted by our age. Here are some common problems to watch for, and suggestions for treatment.

Gum disease:
Regular dental checkups and cleanings are vital to avoid gum disease. The first stage is called gingivitis and it’s reversible. If untreated, it can lead to a very serious advanced stage called periodontitis. You may not experience signs of gum disease, so practicing good oral hygiene and seeing your dentist are the best ways to keep it at bay.

Tooth sensitivity:
If cold or hot foods cause you discomfort, you have a common problem called tooth sensitivity. It can result from decay, worn fillings, gum disease, broken teeth, or exposed roots. Your dentist may recommend toothpastes designed to reduce sensitivity, or other treatments based on the cause of your problem. Good oral hygiene can help with sensitivity also.

Missing teeth:
If you are missing any teeth, it not only looks unappealing but it can also affect your ability to eat and speak. Your other teeth may move, and bone loss can occur. Discuss treatment options with your dentist because you might be able to restore your smile. Bridges, implants, and dentures are a few of the dental advances that might help.

Dry mouth:
Medicines and some health conditions often cause your mouth to be overly dry. Having a dry mouth is uncomfortable, but it also can seriously impact your teeth and gums. Without saliva to naturally clean your mouth, the risks of tooth decay and other problems increase. Ask your dentist to look for signs of decay, and to help you identify the cause for your dry mouth. Be sure to tell your dentist about your medical history and medications.

Oral cancer:
Oral cancer can include your gums, lips, cheeks, tongue, jaw, throat, or soft palate. It sometimes begins with just a tiny spot or swollen area, so regular dental checkups can help catch this disease early. A variety of treatment options are available, but early detection makes a difference.


Our dental office is located in Clinton NJ

What Does General Dentistry Include

What Does General Dentistry Include?

You might think that the point of going to your general dentist is for cleanings and maybe an occasional filling. But you are wrong if you believe that’s all your dentist can offer you! A wide variety of treatments is available at a typical general dentist’s office.

Most visits to your general dentist include an initial consultation, thorough examination, and diagnostic tests if needed like dental x-rays. You’ll have the opportunity to express any problems or concerns you have, and your dentist will identify any issues that you might not be aware you have. You can also expect a meticulous professional cleaning to eliminate tartar buildup and stains that you may not have been able to get rid of at home.

You can expect these common procedures at many general dentistry practices:

  • Fillings – to repair damage caused by tooth decay, often using composite resin material to provide a strong yet cosmetically appealing solution.
  • Bonding – using composite resin to repair issues like cracks, chips, gaps or stains.
  • Crowns – also called caps, these restorations are fitted over damaged or broken teeth to restore tooth structure and function, and to protect them from future damage.
  • Bridges – to replace missing teeth, a bridge structure anchors an artificial tooth or teeth. Crowns fit over natural teeth on both sides of a gap, in which the artificial tooth replaces a missing tooth to provide a natural appearance and functional replacement.
  • Dentures – if a number of teeth are missing, dentures are removable false teeth with the goal of functioning and looking like real teeth.
  • Root canal treatment – when the interior pulp of a tooth is badly damaged or infected, this procedure removes the faulty portion and completely restores the tooth to avoid tooth loss.
  • Teeth whitening – when teeth have become discolored with age, tobacco use, diet, or more, it can be very difficult to restore their white shade without the aid of professional whitening. General dentists may offer at-home kits or in-office whitening treatments.
  • Maxillofacial treatments – mouth, jaw, or facial procedures are sometimes offered, including options like TMJ treatment or dental implants.

We look forward to seeing you in our Clinton NJ dental office

dentures

How Dental Implants Changed Dentures Forever

If you’ve been wearing dentures for a while, you may have some complaints. They might fit poorly and shift or click when you talk or eat. Poor fit can lead to discomfort and sores in the mouth that worsen over time, or they can collect food underneath them, leading to bad breath.

If this sounds familiar to you, there might be alternatives for you. One of the newest developments in dentures is the pairing of standard dentures with dental implants. The dental implants are placed directly into your jawbone, providing the kind of stability only previously offered by natural teeth. Dentures fixed in the mouth with dental implants become something new: hybrid dentures.

Dentures that utilize dental implants as their anchors are very stable. They enable denture wearers to enjoy foods previously denied them, such as crisp, healthy foods or chewy cuts of meat. Eliminating the food restrictions present for many denture wearers allows them to eat a wider variety of foods, helping to reduce the risk of poor nutrition and the poor health associated with it, including digestion difficulties.

Because of this increased stability, the denture itself can be made smaller. A standard denture covers the roof of the mouth completely, inhibiting the taste and texture of foods. A denture designed around dental implants, however, has an open roof and facilitates a greater enjoyment of foods of all kinds, as well as a more natural feel for your tongue.

Dental implants also stimulate bone by mimicking natural tooth roots. This stimulation allows the bone to continue to be strong and alive, whereas the bones of the face can begin to shrink once a tooth has been extracted. This bone shrinkage leads directly to poor denture fit. Dental implants used with dentures avoid this issue.

If you are a denture wearer and you’d like to see some changes in how your dentures fit, talk to your dentist to see how using dental implants can improve your denture experience.

If you live in the Clinton NJ area contact us today

When to Choose Mini Dental Implants

Dental implants are used to replace individual or missing teeth or to anchor loose dentures. For many patients with these issues, traditional dental implants may not a viable option. For example, a patient who does not possess adequate bone levels to anchor the implants would not be a good candidate for traditional dental implants. With mini dental implants, the bone required to anchor the implant successfully is much less.

Thanks to advances in implant dentistry, these patients have other options. Mini dental implants have emerged as an attractive choice for cases that are not conducive to the placement of traditional implants. For the patient who has inadequate bone, the bone required to successfully anchor mini dental implants is much less. Unlike traditional implants, the placement procedure for mini dental implants is a minimally invasive procedure that can be completed in one appointment by a specially trained general or family dentist. Because the procedure is less involved, the pain and length of recovery is greatly diminished.

Patients who have existing health conditions that would preclude them from more invasive surgery may find mini dental implants an extremely appealing option. Mini implants are also a perfect choice for restoring one missing or damaged tooth. Should implant failure occur, grafting procedures would not be necessary because of the small size with mini dental implants.

Most importantly, mini dental implants maintain the look, feel and function of your natural teeth. While you have to wait months for traditional implants to fuse with the bone, mini dental implants are ready for immediate use. Talk to your dentist to determine if mini dental implants would be a good option for your dental restorations and get ready to face the world with a confident new smile.

Schedule your appointment at our Clinton NJ dental office

Who Can Benefit from Dental Veneers?

One of the most popular treatments in cosmetic dentistry is veneers. These thin shells made of porcelain or composite resin are bonded to the fronts of your teeth to hide the flaws of your real teeth. They look natural, resist stains, and are a durable way to restore smiles. Veneers offer a solution for patients with a variety of dental problems.

Fractured teeth:
Teeth that are broken or chipped can be hidden behind veneers, fully restoring your smile.

Discolored teeth:
Stained or yellowed teeth may result from a number of things. Some discoloration such as from foods or age can be improved with teeth whitening treatments. However, stains resulting from things like drugs, large resin fillings, or too much fluoride may not respond to whitening methods. Veneers provide the ability to choose the shade of white you like and get your bright smile back.

Small teeth:
Sometimes teeth are just too small for a person’s facial features. It is difficult for orthodontists to close gaps between teeth that are too small, and gum recession is also often an issue with small teeth. Veneers can take care of both of these problems.

Worn teeth:
When the edges of teeth become worn, it can make you look older than you actually are. Veneers can lengthen teeth that are shortened with wear so that your smile looks brand new.

Crooked teeth:
Misaligned and crooked teeth can be hidden under dental veneers. This gives your smile a uniform and appealing look.

Cosmetic issues:
Veneers can be provided simply for cosmetic purposes to change the shape and appearance of your teeth. You and your cosmetic dentist can design the veneers together so that your teeth might look more curved, flatter, bigger, or longer as you choose.

We treat patients from Clinton NJ and the surrounding area

Teeth Whitening Options

A brighter smile can make a big difference in your appearance. There are lots of choices today for improving your tooth color. Here are details about some of the options so you can decide which way you may want to whiten your smile.

Eliminating the need:
One way to eliminate the need for teeth whitening is to avoid foods and drinks that are known to cause stains. These include items like coffee, tea, red wine, berries, soy sauce, balsamic vinegar, and curry. If you do consume foods that stain, try to brush your teeth as soon as possible before stains can attach to your teeth.

Whitening at home:
There are many products available at your drugstore to help you brighten your smile at home. Whitening toothpastes and mouthwashes are two types of options, although it can take a while to see results from these methods. Whitening strips are a popular choice, which are covered in a bleaching solution and attached to the fronts of your teeth. Depending on the brand and strength, they might be in place from 5 to 30 minutes daily for a week or two in order to achieve the desired results. Overuse of these strips can increase teeth sensitivity, so be careful not to use them too often.

Professional whitening:
Whitening procedures performed at your dentist’s office are usually the fastest and most effective way to spruce up your smile. Custom trays filled with a higher strength bleaching gel may be made to be worn either in the office or at home later. Another method that must be administered in the office involves a bleaching agent applied to your teeth’s surface and then a bright light to speed up the process. You can typically expect dramatic results from this type of professional whitening.


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Oral Cancer Explained

Oral Cancer Explained

Most people have friends or family who have had to deal with the disease cancer in some area of the body. Cancer can be described as uncontrollable cell growth that invades and damages surrounding tissue. Oral cancer often shows up as a persistent sore or growth in the mouth, but also includes cancers of the tongue, lips, cheeks, palate, throat, and sinuses. Like most cancers, it can be life threatening without early detection and treatment.

Symptoms

Common symptoms of oral cancer include:

  • Swelling, lumps, or rough spots on your lips, gums, or other mouth areas
  • White or red patches in your mouth
  • Numbness or tenderness in your mouth, neck, or face
  • Unexplained bleeding in your mouth
  • Sore throat or feeling that something is stuck in your throat
  • Persistent sores in the mouth, neck or face that bleed easily and do not heal in two weeks
  • Hoarseness or chronic sore throat
  • Difficulty swallowing, chewing, talking, or moving your jaw or tongue
  • Earache
  • Substantial weight loss

Risk factors

Men are at twice as high risk for oral cancer than women, and men over 50 are at greatest risk. The biggest risk factors include any kind of smoking or using smokeless tobacco, excessive alcohol consumption, excessive sun exposure, or family history of cancer. However, it’s important to know that more than 25 percent of oral cancers occur in people who do not smoke or only drink alcohol occasionally.

Diagnosis

Routine dental checkups include an examination for signs of oral cancer. A biopsy may be performed on any suspicious areas. Regular checkups are important so that tests can identify oral cancer early, before it can spread or progress.

Treatment

Oral cancer is often treated similarly to other types of cancers. It may include surgery to remove the growth, followed by radiation or chemotherapy to destroy remaining cancer cells.


Our dental office is located in Clinton NJ

Answers to Your Questions About Dental Crowns and Bridges

What is a dental bridge?

  • Dental bridges make a bridge between two anchor teeth and are meant to fill a space left by a missing tooth. Teeth can be missing due to trauma, decay or some type of natural loss. Dental crowns cap the anchor teeth, giving the bridge stability and giving the replacement tooth the strength to function as a natural tooth.

What is a dental crown?

  • Dental crowns are a restorative treatment meant to protect a tooth that has gone bad due to cracking, acute decay, or has received root canal therapy. A crown is crafted to fit in your mouth and to function exactly as your natural tooth would. They work by covering the damaged tooth entirely and can change the shape or alignment of the prior natural tooth.

Isn’t a dental crown the same thing as a dental cap?

  • A dental cap and a dental crown are two different terms for the same thing.

What are dental crowns made of?

  • Dental crowns can be made of 100% ceramic (porcelain), porcelain-fused-to-metal, or gold or other metal alloy, including zirconia. Metal alloy dental crowns are typically stronger and more suited for back teeth.

Do dental crowns look natural?

  • Crowns made from porcelain or ceramic can be very natural looking. Many materials have excellent translucency, and mimic your natural teeth very well.

Is a dental bridge an option for me?

  • Are you missing a tooth? Are your adjacent teeth healthy and stable? If so, dental bridge treatment may be right for you.

Are there options available to me other than dental bridges to replace missing teeth?

  • The best alternative option to replace a missing tooth is a dental implant. Dental implants can restore one or more teeth by being placed directly into the jawbone, fusing securely over time.

If you’re considering moving forward to replace your missing tooth or teeth, discuss options with your cosmetic dentist. Get the answers you need to determine if dental crowns or dental bridges can help you reach your smile goals.

Schedule your appointment at our Clinton NJ dental office

What Alternatives Do I have to a Root Canal Treatment?

If you suspect you have an infected tooth, you might wonder if root canal treatment might be in your future. Do you have another option? Yes! One such alternative has been in existence for decades, but has only recently come to be more effective due to advancements in materials. This process is called pulp capping.

Pulp capping can help patients whose root infections have not yet reached the tooth’s nerve. Root infections begin when bacteria enters the pulp of the tooth through a crack or a large cavity. In a standard root canal procedure, the pulp and nerve of the tooth is hollowed out, cleaned and sealed, typically with a crown restoration.

With pulp capping, the nerve is preserved and the tooth is often repaired with a filling instead of a crown. Pulp capping allows the dentist to clean and protect the pulp, defending it from infection with medicine. With a successful pulp cap, the dentin of the tooth begins to regrow over the pulp cap. Advancements in the sealants used during these types of procedures has allowed for a greater percentage of success.

If you have a toothache, it’s important to see your dentist immediately. Pulp capping has a narrow window in which it can be performed. If your tooth is too infected, the pulp and nerve of your tooth may already be infected, and it’s too late for pulp capping to be effective.

A pulp cap is a far less invasive procedure than a root canal treatment or a tooth extraction, and there is less recovery time and tooth sensitivity following the treatment.

If you suspect you may have a tooth in trouble, talk to your dentist now. You might be able to save yourself a root canal treatment.


Our dental office is located in Clinton NJ

Long Term Dental Implant Care

Dental implants can last a lifetime with proper care. Like natural teeth, dental implants require vigilant oral care to maintain their usefulness and prevent problems. Once the implant has fused to the jaw bone, it is important to follow some general guidelines to ensure the continued success of your dental implant and restoration.

A condition known as peri-implantitis is a common cause of implant failure. This occurs when an accumulation of plaque leads to damage of the tissues and infection of the bone around the implant. While the implant itself is not susceptible to decay, if plaque is not removed with thorough brushing and flossing at least twice per day the resulting periodontal disease can lead to implant failure.

Your dental professional may also recommend the use of additional oral hygiene products such as special brushes or oral irrigation devices to aid in the removal of food debris and plaque around the areas of the implant supported restorations. Your dentist or hygienist can assist in teaching you to utilize these devices to improve your implant care.

Regular dental visits and examinations are vital to detect and prevent any issues that may present problems for your dental implants. Expect to visit your dentist every 3 months for the first year after implant placement, and then every six months for the life of your implants. Your dentist will also provide special care instructions if your implants are being used to support a removable denture. It is important to know how to place and remove the appliance without causing damage to either the denture or your implant.

Avoid applying excessive pressure or eating hard foods that could cause damage to the restoration and implant area. If you suffer from conditions like teeth grinding or clenching, discuss with your dentist the option of being fitted for a night guard to prevent the problems these habits can cause your implants. Taking excellent care of your oral health will help to ensure years of dental implant success.

Schedule your appointment at our Clinton NJ dental office