Discover the benefits associated with preventive dental care.
Preventive dentistry is incredibly important for maintaining healthy teeth and gums. Did you know that gum disease and decay, two of the most common dental diseases, are actually preventable with the proper care? Along with visiting our Charlottesville, VA, dentist Dr. Michael Tisdelle every six months for routine checkups and cleanings, it’s also important that you are practicing good preventive dental care from the comfort of your own home. Here’s what that entails,
Brushing your teeth is one of the most important things you can do to keep your teeth and gums clean. Brushing with a soft-bristled toothbrush can remove food particles, germs and plaque from the front and back surfaces of your teeth. It’s important that you are brushing twice a day with fluoridated toothpaste to keep plaque buildup at bay.
Along with brushing twice a day, it’s also just as important that you do not skip out on flossing. While brushing can remove plaque from most spaces, it cannot get between teeth the way that floss can. You wouldn’t want to leave full sections of your smile dirty, and flossing ensures that you remove as much plaque and food from your smile as possible. Simply floss once a day, ideally before bedtime, to ensure that you give your smile a thorough at-home cleaning.
What you eat can also play a critical role in your health, including the health of your teeth and gums. By now, you’ve probably heard our Charlottesville, VA, general dentist tell you to cut down on sweets. That’s because high-sugar diets can increase your risk for cavities and gum disease so it’s important to enjoy these treats in moderation. You should opt for a varied diet rich in fruits and vegetables, as well as whole grains, low-fat dairy, lean protein sources, nuts and legumes.
When was the last time you visited our Charlottesville, VA, family dentist for a dental cleaning? If it’s been more than six months since your last visit, then it’s high time you came into our practice. While it’s important that you are doing your part to keep your smile healthy while at home, it’s also crucial that you visit us twice a year. These dental checkups are one of the easiest ways to prevent oral health problems from happening.
If you need to schedule your next six-month cleaning with our dentist in Charlottesville, VA, then simply call us at (434) 977-4101. We can work with your schedule to find a time that will work best with your schedule so you can get the preventive dental care you need.
Tooth decay is perhaps the biggest danger your child's teeth can face. Not only can it rob them of primary teeth now, but the loss of teeth at this early age could also lead to future bite problems.
That's why it's important to reduce the risk of tooth decay through daily brushing and flossing and regular dental cleanings. You child may also benefit from another measure that enhances those other hygiene efforts—topical fluoride applied directly to tooth surfaces.
Fluoride is a naturally occurring chemical that's been demonstrated to strengthen tooth enamel against contact with acid, the main cause of tooth decay. Today, fluoride is added not only to toothpastes and other dental hygiene products, but also in minute amounts to drinking water supplies across the country.
Even if your child takes in fluoride through one or more of these sources, there may still be a benefit to a topical application. For one, topical applications are usually stronger than fluoride toothpaste or fluoridated water supplies and can have greater effect. And because fluoridated water is ingested first before traveling through the bloodstream to the teeth, directly applied fluoride can strengthen them much faster.
But are these stronger concentrations of topical fluoride safe? Studies have shown no long-term health risk, but there can be temporary side effects like stomach pain, vomiting or headaches if the patient accidently swallows too much of the solution during the application. These side effects, however, can be minimized through safety measures dentists put in place during the procedure.
One study by the Cochrane Oral Health Research Group seems to show that the long-term benefit of topical fluoride is well worth this minor risk of side effects. After reviewing several scientific studies involving thousands of patients, the group found an overall 28% reduction in decayed, filled or missing teeth over a number of years among those who received a topical fluoride treatment.
Because of these and other forms of evidence, fluoride applications in either gel, foam or varnish forms have become a routine part of preventive care for children. Discussing it with your dentist, you may find it could be an extra weapon for your child in fighting tooth decay.
If you would like more information on how to protect your child's teeth from decay, 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 “Fluoride Gels Reduce Decay.”
Daily oral hygiene and regular dental cleanings help keep your natural teeth and gums healthy and disease-free. But they're also a priority with dental implants. Here's why.
Unlike other restorations, an implant replaces both a tooth's crown and root, the latter by way of a titanium metal post imbedded into the jawbone. Bone cells grow and adhere to the metal surface, forming a secure and lasting hold.
But although quite durable, this hold differs significantly from natural teeth, which are actually held in place by a tough, elastic tissue called the periodontal ligament. The attachment of the ligament's tiny fibers to both tooth and bone secure the tooth in place, as well as supply it and the surrounding gums with nutrients and defensive antibodies to fight infection.
Implants don't have this relationship with the periodontal ligament. The tissues around an implant are thus susceptible to an aggressive form of periodontal (gum) disease called peri-implantitis. This kind of gum infection can progress rapidly, leading eventually to bone loss and possible failure of the implant.
Daily brushing and flossing of both natural and implant-supported teeth lowers the risk of gum disease, particularly peri-implantitis. It's also imperative that you undergo regular cleanings, at least every six months, with your dentist or dental hygienist.
These, however, won't be the typical cleanings performed on natural teeth. Hygienists don't use metal cleaning implements to remove plaque and tartar deposits because they can scratch the metal materials of the implant and crown. These microscopic scratches can then attract bacteria that trigger gum infections. Instead, they'll use instruments made of plastics or resins.
Hygienists also rely heavily on ultrasonic equipment that vibrates plaque loose on or around implants, which are then flushed away with water. The tips used with these instruments are also typically made of nylon or plastic sheathing.
Even with the extra hygiene care needed, implants still enjoy a 95% or higher survival rate after ten years. You can ensure your implants achieve that level of durability by keeping them clean and seeing your dentist at the first sign of a gum infection.
If you would like more information on maintaining dental implants, 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 “Dental Implant Maintenance.”
Fans everywhere were recently saddened by the news of musical legend Eddie Van Halen's death. Co-founder and lead guitarist for the iconic rock group Van Halen, the 65-year-old superstar passed away from oral cancer.
Van Halen's rise to worldwide fame began in the 1970s with his unique guitar style and energetic performances, but behind the scenes, he struggled with his health. In 2000, he was successfully treated for tongue cancer. He remained cancer-free until 2018 when he was diagnosed with throat cancer to which he succumbed this past October.
Van Halen claimed the metal guitar picks he habitually held in his mouth caused his tongue cancer. It's more likely, though, that his heavy cigarette smoking and alcohol use had more to do with his cancers.
According to the American Cancer Society, most oral cancer patients are smokers and, as in Van Halen's case, are more likely to beat one form of oral cancer only to have another form arise in another part of the mouth. Add in heavy alcohol consumption, and the combined habits can increase the risk of oral cancer a hundredfold.
But there are ways to reduce that risk by making some important lifestyle changes. Here's how:
Quit tobacco. Giving up tobacco, whether smoked or smokeless, vastly lowers your oral cancer risk. It's not easy to kick the habit solo, but a medically supervised cessation program or support group can help.
Limit alcohol. If you drink heavily, consider giving up alcohol or limiting yourself to just one or two drinks a day. As with tobacco, it can be difficult doing it alone, so speak with a health professional for assistance.
Eat healthy. You can reduce your cancer risk by avoiding processed foods with nitrites or other known carcinogens. Instead, eat fresh fruits and vegetables with antioxidants that fight cancer. A healthy diet also boosts your overall dental and bodily health.
Practice hygiene. Keeping teeth and gums healthy also lowers oral cancer risk. Brush and floss daily to remove dental plaque, the bacterial film on teeth most responsible for dental disease. You should also visit us every six months for more thorough dental cleanings and checkups.
One last thing: Because oral cancer is often diagnosed in its advanced stages, be sure you see us if you notice any persistent sores or other abnormalities on your tongue or the inside of your mouth. An earlier diagnosis of oral cancer can vastly improve the long-term prognosis.
Although not as prevalent as other forms of cancer, oral cancer is among the deadliest with only a 60% five-year survival rate. Making these changes toward a healthier lifestyle can help you avoid this serious disease.
If you would like more information about preventing oral cancer, please contact us or schedule a consultation. To learn more, read the Dear Doctor magazine articles “How a Routine Dental Visit Saved My Life” and “Strategies to Stop Smoking.”
A root canal could help save your inflamed or infected tooth. The procedure, one of the many treatments offered by your Charlottesville, VA, dentist, Dr. Michael Tisdelle, eliminates your pain and helps you avoid the loss of your tooth.
Why root canals are needed
Root canals treat inflammation in your tooth pulp caused by extensive decay, injuries, and bacterial infections. If the pulp isn't removed and replaced during root canal therapy, you'll eventually lose your tooth.
Root canals also protect your health if you have an abscess. The bacterial infection that caused the abscess can enter your bloodstream and travel to your heart, brain, and other organs without prompt treatment. In addition to receiving a root canal, you'll also need to take antibiotics if you have an abscess.
What happens during a root canal?
Root canal therapy doesn't have a very good reputation. In fact, 57 percent of adults surveyed by the American Association of Endodontists in 2019 reported that they were more afraid of root canals than spiders. Although receiving a root canal may have been a painful experience many years ago, that's no longer the case. Advances in dental technology and pain control have made the procedure no more difficult than getting a dental filling.
Before the root canal begins, your dentist will use a local anesthetic to numb your mouth. The procedure won't start until you're comfortably numb and can't feel any pain.
After your tooth is opened, your dentist will remove the pulp and clean the interior of the tooth, including the root canals that extend from the top of the tooth to the roots. Tiny files make cleaning and shaping the narrow canals much easier. He may also add an antibiotic to the tooth to kill any lingering bacteria before adding a temporary filling to the tooth.
You'll return to the office in a week or two to receive your permanent filling. Gutta-percha, a rubber-based filling material, is often used to permanently fill teeth treated with root canal therapy. A dental crown may also be recommended to strengthen your treated tooth. You'll visit the Charlottesville dental office at a later date to receive your crown.
After your root canal, your tooth will function normally and you'll no longer have to live with tooth pain.
Do you think you may need a root canal? Call your dentist in Charlottesville, VA, Dr. Michael Tisdelle, at (434) 977-4101 to schedule your appointment.
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