Do You Have a Dental Disorder?

The range of possible dental disorders is wide and many and some are more easily recognized than others. It could be a bit perplexing to consider you may have a dental disorder without realizing it, but it’s actually more common than you might think. Some disorders have obvious symptoms that may have you running to our office. Others can be more subtle. Do you feel tired, easily irritable, or have difficulty focusing? Do you have facial soreness or pain? Surprisingly, these may be the result of a dental disorder. Our goal is to educate our patients on common and uncommon symptoms that may be a sign to visit our office and receive the required care to remedy these conditions.

A dental disorder is a disruption of your body’s natural process relating to your oral health. Despite its origins, it is important to understand symptoms may be experienced elsewhere in the body. For this reason, many suffer from ailments they don’t consider relevant to tell their dentist. However, as we are a medical provider we encourage you to share things that may not seem related – you never know! Here are a few to keep on the lookout, so you can better identify signs should something be amiss.

Dentist Looking Glass TeethRedness and swelling of the gums may indicate the presence of gingivitis, or early-stage gum disease. Left untreated, it can progress into full blown periodontitis that can threaten your smile and even cause tooth loss. Bleeding from the gums, tooth mobility, and soreness are all signs of periodontitis and should be checked.

Simple bad breath, or halitosis, is very common among adults and teens. While it usually isn’t cause for too much concern, we understand it can weigh on your self-esteem. We care about your health and happiness, and would love to work with you to address the root of the issue. Restoring healthy smiles is what we do; restoring confidence is a happy side effect.

Additionally, a dry mouth may not seem like a dire situation. However, if your mouth constantly feels dry it can lead to an increased risk of tooth decay. Saliva plays an important role in ridding your mouth of bacteria, it also aids in digestion meaning it can evolve into issues that transcend the health of your smile.

While scary to confront, oral growths are a condition that can emerge as serious. It is possible for oral growths to be completely benign and harmless, but in other cases they can be the beginning stages of cancer. For this reason it’s important a medical professional diagnose and treat the growths accordingly. Even if you are certain it’s harmless (for example, perhaps you suffered trauma to the face that injured your mouth), it’s still worth an appointment to ensure you’re not at an increased risk for infection or other potential issues.

We understand some conditions may seem complex. Rest assured we are here to work with you to find a solution to your unique needs. If you feel one or more of these conditions may apply to you or a family member, call our office to begin seeking relief today. We are here for you.

CARQUINEZ DENTAL GROUP

Dr. David Shafer D.D.S.,
Dr. Brian Houston, D.D.S., and
Sukhmani Singh, D.D.S.

142 East D St
Benicia, CA 94510
Call Us (707)745-8002

Do You Have a Dental Disorder?

Keep Calm and Floss On

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On August 2nd, this New York Times article was published and caused quite a bit of controversy in both the dental community and with the general public. While it is not conclusive in its findings, the overarching claim is that flossing may not be as beneficial as once thought. As dental professionals, we take very seriously the responsibility we have ensuring our patients receive the best possible education and care regarding the health of their smiles. For this reason, we feel compelled to express our disagreement with the suggestion that flossing may be overrated, and why that’s a harmful position to propagate.

Let’s first look at the article, which uses a lot of language such as:

  • “…flossing may be
  • “…most of the current evidence fell short…”
  • “That flossing has the same benefit is a hunch that has never been proved.”
  • “…there is some mediocre evidence that flossing does reduce bloody gums and inflammation known asgingivitis.”

There is a stark difference between something ‘not having been proved’ and something being ‘disproved’. Please know that there is no evidence remotely close to suggesting the latter. In fact whether the evidence is “mediocre” or not, the only evidence the article does mention (quoted above) is in favor of flossing. A lack of ability to prove something is not cause to discourage an entire population from participating in a highly beneficial component of their health care. This is particularly true because evidence is acquired by conducting large-scale studies, which are extremely costly. It would hardly be economical to spend the research funding to prove something we already have no doubt offers a variety of benefit for your oral and overall health.

We do not agree with the article’s brash call to action, or more accurately, call to inaction, and we fear how this may increase the number of people inflicted with preventable damage to their smile. Looking again at the line “…there is some mediocre evidence that flossing does reduce bloody gums and inflammation known as gingivitis.” Gingivitis is the first stage in periodontal disease – the very condition flossing aims to combat. To reduce gingivitis is to reduce your chances of progressing into advanced gum disease, a condition more than half of Americans already suffer from (CDC).

It is unfortunate the scale of damage this article has the potential to incite; too many readers will take this “lack of evidence” as being evidence to the contrary, and feel it gives them permission to neglect a very essential part of their oral health care.

We can only do our best to keep our patients like you educated and on the path to a lifelong happy and healthy smile – a path that certainly includes consistent flossing.

CDC: “Periodontal Disease.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 10 Mar. 2015. Web.

CARQUINEZ DENTAL GROUP

Dr. David Shafer D.D.S.,
Dr. Brian Houston, D.D.S., and
Sukhmani Singh, D.D.S.

142 East D St
Benicia, CA 94510
Call Us (707)745-8002

Keep Calm and Floss On

Pre-Medication for Dental Work After Joint Replacement

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What is pre-medicating? What do artificial joints have to do with dental treatment? Why is this related to my oral health and not just overall health?

Good questions! Although artificial joints can seem like a far cry from concerns with your dental health, the two are more related than one may think. When it comes to artificial joints, there is an increased risk of infection due to the inorganic material in the body that should be taken into consideration. This is true from the time of placement, but it may also play a role with future medical treatments. It has long been suggested that pre-medicating should be a standard prerequisite to dental and other procedures, but what is pre-medicating and why would it help?

Pre-Medication Before Dental Procedures

Pre-medicating is the act of giving medication prior to a medical or dental procedure, which is done with the intention of staying ahead of potential infection problems. The theory is that bacteria from the mouth can enter the blood stream, and those with artificial joints are already more susceptible to infection. Pre-medication is meant to help mitigate this risk prior to the procedure to keep your overall health in check from start to finish.

Sounds simple – what’s the dilemma?

Your replacement joints may not affect treatments at all! Many question pre-medication as it does not appear to be necessary. In fact, the ADA directly states “In general, for patients with prosthetic joint implants, prophylactic antibiotics are not recommended prior to dental procedures to prevent prosthetic joint infection.” That being said, as is often the case with medical procedures: effective treatment truly is developed on an individual basis. In order to ensure our office meets your personal needs, we strongly encourage you to ask the medical doctor who placed the artificial joint if they recommend we pre-medicate before dental procedures. We are happy to send them any necessary paperwork so they can let us know the appropriate course of action to take. In this way, we can be confident you are receiving quality treatment from all your medical providers.

Please be sure to let us know if you have artificial joints, or any out of the ordinary medical circumstances. We will be sure to take them into consideration when it comes to developing your treatment plan. For the most part, your artificial joints will not require special treatment on your end – we can treat you as we would any other patient to keep your smile looking sharp!

CARQUINEZ DENTAL GROUP
Dr. David Shafer D.D.S.,
Dr. Brian Houston, D.D.S., and
Sukhmani Singh, D.D.S.
142 East D St
Benicia, CA 94510
Call Us (707)745-8002

Pre-Medication for Dental Work After Joint Replacement

Effects of Osteoporosis on your Oral Health

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Osteoporosis isn’t a new discovery, or a disease unheard of by many. That being said, many people don’t realize how closely tied to your oral health it can actually be.
In short, osteoporosis is caused by an insufficient consumption of calcium and vitamin D. It affects the bones, making them less dense and thus more likely to break. Osteoporosis is directly tied to your long-term dental health as this weakening of the bones may heavily compromise the jaw bone. A weakened jawbone can have a host of detrimental consequences for your teeth, including increased tooth mobility, or complete tooth loss.

The best cure for the degradation of the jawbone is avoiding it all together with a balanced diet high in vitamin D and calcium, and getting a sufficient amount of exercise. Barring that, be sure to attend your dental appointments regularly so that way the structure and health of your mouth can be monitored, and any problems that may develop are addressed immediately and not permitted to deteriorate.

As it is, due to hormone imbalances and changes over life, women are most at risk to developing osteoporosis, but it can absolutely develop in either gender depending on a host of lifestyle variables, not limited to diet and exercise.

Symptoms to pay attention to that may be indicative of osteoporosis affecting the jaw include: pain and/or swelling in the gums or jaw, as well as infection; injured gums not healing in a timely fashion; teeth that become loose for no reason or after only minor strain; numbness or discomfort in the jaw; or at worst, exposed bone. If you experience any of these symptoms, don’t hesitate contacting your dentist to prevent exacerbating the issue.

CARQUINEZ DENTAL GROUP
Dr. David Shafer D.D.S.,
Dr. Brian Houston, D.D.S., and
Sukhmani Singh, D.D.S.
142 East D St
Benicia, CA 94510
Call Us (707)745-8002

Effects of Osteoporosis on your Oral Health

To Trick Or To Treat?  That Is The Question!

HalloweenBlog

Halloween is a night full of spook-tacular thrills and terrifying fun!  It can also be a dreaded nightmare with the overload of candy that can spark the start of a cavity!  This year, why not try something new?  When you are gathering your cauldron full of trick or treat goodies, try and opt for some alternatives to the sugar jitters that are bound to commence!  There is no written rule that you HAVE to give out candy.  This year, let’s stand out from the crowd and spice it up a little bit.

Here are some unique alternatives:

  • Mini Play Doh
  • Snack Packs (pretzels, popcorn… etc.)
  • Temporary tattoos or stickers
  • Spooky vampire teeth
  • Halloween themed goodies (pencils, rings, toys, activity books… etc.)
  • Glow sticks
  • Mini juices or waters
  • Small chalk packs
  • Costume jewelry
  • Mini bubbles
  • Travel size floss and toothbrushes 😉

A couple of tips to keep in mind before the kiddos are ready to hit the town:

– Feed your child a well balanced meal before they go trick or treating.
– Use smaller candy loot bags instead of pillow cases or large grocery bags

Now, let’s be real, we all know that Halloween is a time to indulge, a little (or a lot) in the sugary goodness.  Let this be a special day that your child can have a couple of pieces of candy out of their loot bag.  But limit the amount they consume.  Not to mention, no one likes a belly ache after too many sweets.  Just keep in mind, when your child comes home from the wicked Halloween trick or treating, go through their candy.  If there are any candy wrappers that are open or look to be tampered with, throw away without hesitation.  And don’t let your kids keep their candy stash!  If you are in control of it, you can monitor when they have a piece and how much they are eating.

If you only want to allow for a couple of pieces of candy, and get rid of the rest, consider these options:

  • Dental Office Candy Buy Backs
  • Donating the candy to the troops
  • Make your child a deal. For every piece of candy they hand over, give them a dime and then let them pick something special they would like to do with their earnings! Instant allowance! Perhaps a movie of their choice?  A dinner date with Mom and/or Dad?  Or a new toy?

No matter what the decision you choose to go with this year, we hope you have a safe and frightfully fun filled Halloween!

CARQUINEZ DENTAL GROUP
Dr. David Shafer D.D.S.,
Dr. Brian Houston, D.D.S., and
Sukhmani Singh, D.D.S.
142 East D St
Benicia, CA 94510
Call Us (707)745-8002

To Trick Or To Treat?  That Is The Question!

All you need to know about WISDOM… Teeth!

Wisdom Teeth

Wisdom teeth are considered to be a third set (upper and lower jaw) of molars.  They typically appear during your last few teen years and early twenties.  There are some people who are lucky enough to experience no problems what-so-ever with their wisdom teeth.  If they are developing in the proper position and not causing pain or problems, there is no need to pursue any sort of treatment or extraction.

There are three main reasons as to why your wisdom teeth would need to be surgically removed:

  1.  There is not enough room for them to fully erupt.
    When there is not enough space for your wisdom teeth to pop through the surface of your gums, you run a higher risk of them being impacted.  Most commonly, this means that your wisdom teeth have made it through the bone but cannot get through the gums.
    Sometimes symptoms come along with this type of impaction.  Other times, one may not experience a single symptom.  This is one of the reasons why frequent visits to our office are very important.  In order to look in to this, an x-ray is required.
  2. The wisdom teeth are not coming in at the proper vertical angle.
    A lot of times wisdom teeth develop in different positions.  They could even be developing facing towards your other teeth instead of growing upwards.   When this occurs, people face problems with their other fully developed teeth, crowding and can even cause poor bite and jaw alignment.  As stated above, in order to see how your wisdom teeth are growing, which direction or any other abnormality, x-rays will need to be taken.
  3. Partially erupted wisdom teeth.
    Sometimes the wisdom teeth are able to poke through the top of the gum but cannot fully erupt.  If this happens, there is an elevated chance that infection may occur.  This infection is called Pericoronitis.  This occurs when bacteria from plaque or food get trapped between the partially erupted tooth and the gum surrounding it.

Warning signs and symptom to look out for include:

  • Red, swollen, tender gums
  • Jaw pain
  • Pain while trying to eat
  • Bad breath
  • Unpleasant taste in your mouth

If you are experiencing any of these symptoms, please give our office a call to schedule an appointment and x-rays to see exactly what is going and what steps need to be taken in order to get the problem treated and relieve any discomfort you may be experiencing. Wisdom teeth extractions are typically done by an oral surgeon, however, in some cases a certified dentist can extract them.  Local anesthesia is most commonly administered.  Healing time is usually less than 1 week.

Post oral surgery instructions will be explained and given to you.  It is imperative that you continue to practice good oral health care during this time and to follow those instructions carefully.  Having your wisdom teeth removed will not hinder the functionality of your mouth.  (For example being able to eat, chew, speak or your bite position.)   When an extraction is required, the younger you are when it is discovered, the better.  Wisdom teeth extractions are considerably easier to extract while the teeth are still in development.  If you are interested in your wisdom teeth and their current stage or any other information you are curious about, give us a ring today!
CARQUINEZ DENTAL GROUP
Dr. David Shafer D.D.S.,
Dr. Brian Houston, D.D.S., and
Sukhmani Singh, D.D.S.
142 East D St
Benicia, CA 94510
Call Us (707)745-8002

All you need to know about WISDOM… Teeth!

The Importance of Dental Hygiene and Back to School

importanceAh, the hustle and bustle of going back to school!

As we head back into school mode, there are lots of things on the “to do” list to get done before the first day rolls around.  Every student should be equipped with these essentials:

  • Backpack
  • Notebooks
  • Markers, pens, pencils
  • Dental cleaning

Dental cleaning?!?  Yes!  Healthy teeth, gums and proper dental hygiene are as crucial as everything else on the list in preparation for the coming school year.

Studies have shown dental related issues are a main reason that children miss school. If you maintain and stay on top of your oral health care you are setting yourself up for future success! There is no age limit when it comes to having a healthy mouth and smile.*

As your first day of school swiftly approaches, no matter what grade you are going into, first impressions are always looming in the back of your mind.  And first impressions are huge!  No one needs to have a big chunk of cereal in their teeth or stinky breath on their first day back. Your buddies will never let you live it down. When your teeth are well taken care of, brushed, flossed, with clean fresh breath, you are well on your way to a GREAT first impression!

A friendly smile says a lot about a person.  When you have a clean, attractive smile  you’ll exude confidence. When you are feeling confident, you promote a positive sense of self which can help spark a conversation or attract another person’s attention.  You’ll have a lunch buddy in no time!

Not to mention, those school pictures that wind up being a permanent fixture in the yearbook (and on your fridge at home). With a dashing smile, you will have no regrets when you look back years later and think, “Man!  That is one good looking smile!”

If you are due for a dental cleaning and polish, now is the perfect time to go in for an appointment!  This goes above and beyond your daily standard brushing and flossing.  A good dental cleaning will remove all of the plaque or tartar buildup that may have accumulated over the past few months.  Any sort of gingivitis will be examined and taken care of. A nice polishing of your teeth will finish up your look.  Afterwards, your teeth will feel AMAZING!  Your teeth will literally be squeaky clean!  There is no better feeling than a smooth fresh tooth surface.

We all get those first-day jitters when going back to school.  It’s completely natural.  But when your alarm clock goes off the morning of your first day back, you eat your breakfast, gather your belongings, and you brush and floss your teeth, you will have one less thing to worry about before you get to class!

So just remember, before you walk out the door for your first day of school, make sure that you have spent at least two minutes brushing those pearly whites, flossed each and every tooth, and maybe even given a quick once over with some mouth rinse.  You are bound to have a great first day back with smiles all around!

*Source:  HTTP://WWW.NCBI.NLM.NIH.GOV/PUBMED/21330579

CARQUINEZ DENTAL GROUP
Dr. David Shafer D.D.S.,
Dr. Brian Houston, D.D.S., and
Sukhmani Singh, D.D.S.
142 East D St
Benicia, CA 94510
Call Us (707)745-8002

The Importance of Dental Hygiene and Back to School