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Do You Have A Salivary Stone?

A healthy flow of saliva is critical for chewing and digestion, bathing gums, and bacterial control. And we owe it all to salivary glands, three pairs of organs in the cheek and floor of the mouth. Each gland secretes saliva into the mouth via a tube, and this is where trouble can begin. Sialolithiasis—whew—names the condition that results from a small calcified stone blocking the salivary duct. Clearly, a kink in the duct will cause swelling of the gland itself. And swelling usually means a measure of pain. X-rays, ultrasound or an MRI will reveal any salivary gland blockage. In some people, stones recur again and again and may warrant minor surgery. Or a dentist, by fairly simple manual manipulation, [...]

By |2022-07-12T16:35:58+00:00August 9th, 2022|Patient Education|Comments Off on Do You Have A Salivary Stone?

Alcohol and Your Health…

Just the Facts There's so much conflicting information regarding drinking alcohol blasting at us these days. A glass of red wine is good? Is even drinking at all a good idea? It's a matter of proportion. The facts are these. First, alcohol affects women more than men. Because men tend to be heavier in muscle mass, their bodies can process slightly more alcohol with fewer negative consequences than women's. But there's something else: the amount of an enzyme known as gastric alcohol dehydrogenase that's produced. Women naturally produce less of this than men and, thus, are less likely to break down alcohol. Because of this difference, it's important that women take extra caution with alcohol consumption. It's a fact that [...]

By |2022-07-12T16:34:33+00:00August 2nd, 2022|Patient Education|Comments Off on Alcohol and Your Health…

Diabetes

The first clue to diabetes may be in your mouth! In many cases it's the dentist–and not the physician–who has the first opportunity in the early detection of diabetes, because diabetics are especially prone to dental problems. Swollen, tender, bleeding and receding gums, loose teeth, and a sore tongue may not just be signs of poor dental health. They may be danger signals for diabetes, too. If you have any of these symptoms, you may be one of the millions of Americans who has diabetes. Diabetes occurs when a gland called the pancreas fails to produce sufficient amounts of the hormone, insulin, to regulate blood sugar levels. In other words: Diabetics have too little insulin and too much sugar in [...]

By |2022-01-27T19:28:42+00:00July 5th, 2022|Patient Education|Comments Off on Diabetes

Tongue Piercing

A Bit on Body Art In every big city—and down on a lot of farms—"body art" is all the rage. While we begged our parents for discreet earrings, our children are piercing various body parts in surprising places. Lips, tongue, cheeks, even the uvula (the dangling thingie in the back of the throat) are fair game in and around the mouth. Aesthetics aside, how dangerous is piercing, really? First, the downside Piercing usually happens at a salon or, more often, a tattoo parlor. Though some states regulate such businesses, few piercers are licensed, most self-taught. The tongue, in particular, has veins that mustn't be disturbed. We hope your piercer knows where they are. Sterilization standards must be in place or [...]

By |2022-01-10T22:54:24+00:00May 17th, 2022|Patient Education|Comments Off on Tongue Piercing

Impression Material

What is that goo? Whether you need a new denture, braces, or a single inlay restoration, you'll encounter the "goo" dentists use to make an impression - the first step to a perfect likeness of your mouth. In effect, the material you bite into registers a "negative" image, like a photograph. To make a positive model, a plaster-like "stone" is poured into the impression and allowed to set. And there you are. Impression material, to work properly, must reproduce oral structures accurately, and be strong enough to hang together while it's removed - without sucking out anything in the vicinity by accident. It can't shrink or expand, either, or the end product (your new bridge, for instance) won't fit. And, [...]

By |2022-01-10T22:53:57+00:00May 3rd, 2022|Patient Education|Comments Off on Impression Material

Energy… Not!

"Meal Replacement" alternatives...How much of the hype is science—and how much is fiction? Like personal aircraft, elixirs offering all the necessary nutrients in a single dose have been a staple of science fiction. For good reason. Athletes seek a power surge. Seniors dream of a healthy dinner which needs no cooking before and no clean-up after. We all hope to control our weight. With the introduction of MR "meal replacement" alternatives and energy supplements (bars, drinks, and powders), we stepped into the future. But how much of the hype is science—and how much is fiction? Weight loss: maybe. An active and highly disciplined person can shed pounds by replacing one meal a day with an MR. But replacement is the [...]

By |2022-01-04T20:41:46+00:00March 1st, 2022|Patient Education|Comments Off on Energy… Not!

When it Comes to Toothpaste

Choosing the right toothpaste for yourself—or your family—goes beyond the coupon you may have in hand, or bright displays in the marketplace. For your health, you have to think like a dentist. At different times in our lives, dental strategies change, toothpaste requirements change. And product name isn't half as important as the basic components of the paste. Key word: ingredients. Besides fluoride, which every adult should use in one form or another (less for children), consider the options: Say you have sensitive teeth. Look for a toothpaste with strontium chloride or potassium nitrate. Such compounds block the microscopic tubes that lead to nerves within the tooth. And most people need to brush a month before they gain relief. With [...]

By |2021-10-20T19:44:47+00:00January 25th, 2022|Patient Education|Comments Off on When it Comes to Toothpaste

When Prescriptions and Dentistry Don’t Mix

Some prescribed drugs and dental surgery may not be a good mix. You might not think that what your MD prescribes—and what your dentist does for your mouth's well-being—are closely related. But both are significant. If you are contemplating upcoming dentistry like a tooth extraction or an implant, it may be helpful to review which prescribed drugs you are taking for other problems. Two red flags, here: prescription drugs for osteoporosis and certain drugs used in association with chemotherapy against cancers. The big word is bisphosphonates. That means a drug used in treating bone disease. They limit activity in bone cells which remove old or injured bone. Good, if the problem is bone thinning or cancer. But they might also [...]

By |2021-10-20T19:37:32+00:00January 18th, 2022|Patient Education|Comments Off on When Prescriptions and Dentistry Don’t Mix

Dead Toothbrushes

A really dead toothbrush—one badly worn and frayed, not necessarily just old—is like having no toothbrush at all. In fact, you're probably doing more harm than good if your brush has seen better days. All dead toothbrushes should be given a decent burial. If you have doubts about the life left in your toothbrush, bring it in at your next appointment, and we can assess the damage. We've seen a lot of sorry-looking brushes, but maybe yours will take the prize. Why they should R.I.P. Plaque will stick with you. A dead toothbrush doesn't stand up to plaque, which means you simply won't get your teeth so clean. And a new brush works more quickly at plaque tasks. You can [...]

By |2021-10-20T19:34:19+00:00January 4th, 2022|Patient Education|Comments Off on Dead Toothbrushes

The War on Germs: Are We Winning? Should we be?

Homicide: bad word. It means killing another human being. Germicide? For many, good word. It promises to kill what are hated and feared most in this super-sanitary era: germs. Germ is sort of a catchall that refers to any microorganism we can't actually see. That's sort of like referring to every non-human living thing as an animal: elephants, mosquitoes, salmon, vultures. Fact is, there are only a few bad actors in the world of microorganisms, and we pretty much know who they are. Take streptococcus mutans. It's a bacteria linked with tooth decay. But wait! That's only one strain of bacteria that live in the mouth, many of which are helpful. Saliva alone contains roughly a trillion bacteria. Humans couldn't [...]

By |2021-10-20T19:31:54+00:00December 28th, 2021|Patient Education|Comments Off on The War on Germs: Are We Winning? Should we be?