September: National Gum Health Month

As the leaves begin to change and the cool breeze of autumn sweeps in, it’s time to focus on something just as important as pumpkin spice lattes and cozy sweaters – your gum health. September is National Gum Health Month, offering us an excellent opportunity to dive into the world of gum disease, its prevention, symptoms, and overall importance. Here’s everything you need to know about gum disease this September:

Understanding Gum Disease

Gum disease, scientifically known as periodontal disease, is primarily caused by the accumulation of dental plaque. This sticky film is a mixture of food particles and oral bacteria that naturally reside in your mouth. However, when plaque buildup is left unchecked due to inadequate oral hygiene practices, the bacteria within it can launch an assault on your teeth, resulting in inflammation and infection. When these infections affect your gums, you’re dealing with gum disease.

Gum disease can have far-reaching consequences, beyond just oral discomfort. It can lead to loose or lost teeth, and the bacteria from gum disease may even enter your bloodstream through microscopic openings in your gums, potentially causing infections in other parts of your body.

Spotting the Symptoms

Recognizing the symptoms of gum disease is crucial, as early intervention can prevent its progression. Common signs of gingivitis (the milder form of gum disease) and periodontal infection include:

  1. Tooth Sensitivity or Pain: You may experience tooth sensitivity or discomfort.
  2. Bleeding Gums: Bleeding while brushing or flossing is a red flag.
  3. Swollen, Red, or Tender Gums: Healthy gums should appear pink and firm.
  4. Gum Recession: Your teeth might look longer than usual due to receding gums.
  5. Persistent Bad Breath: Chronic bad breath can be a sign of underlying gum issues.
  6. Tooth Pain While Chewing: Discomfort while eating can indicate gum problems.

It’s essential to note that some cases of gum disease may not manifest noticeable symptoms. Gingivitis, especially, often goes unnoticed by individuals and is typically diagnosed during routine dental checkups. This underscores the importance of regular dental visits, with professionals recommending at least two checkups per year.

Preventing Gum Disease

Preventing gum disease starts with practicing excellent oral hygiene. The American Dental Association advises brushing your teeth twice a day for two minutes using fluoridated toothpaste and daily flossing. These habits help remove excess plaque and bacteria from your teeth’s surface and along the gumline, reducing the risk of gum disease development.

Understanding your individual risk factors for gum disease is equally important. Certain medical conditions, such as diabetes, HIV/AIDS, and cancer, can increase your susceptibility to gum disease. Additionally, smoking or using tobacco products, as well as a family history of gum disease, can elevate your risk. If you fall into any of these categories, consult with your dentist to explore teeth cleaning treatments that can help prevent plaque-related damage to your teeth and gums.

This September, in honor of National Gum Health Month, make a commitment to prioritize your gum health. By understanding gum disease, recognizing its symptoms, and adopting effective preventive measures, you can maintain a healthy smile and overall well-being. Remember, a healthy mouth contributes to a healthier you!


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The Power of Dental X-Rays: Unveiling Hidden Tooth Infections

Dental X-rays: Illuminating the Unseen Dental Dangers

Dental X-rays are invaluable tools in the realm of dentistry, enabling practitioners to accurately diagnose infections and provide precise treatment for their patients. The routine use of dental X-rays has become a standard practice, ensuring that your dental health remains in optimal condition.

Exploring the Depths of Tooth Infections: How Dental X-Rays Reveal Hidden Dental Woes

Tooth Decay’s Sneak Attack: Picture this scenario – you’re in the dental chair, grappling with a nagging toothache. Your dentist not only addresses your discomfort but goes a step further to unearth the root cause of your pain. Dental X-rays play a crucial role in this diagnostic process. They have the ability to detect cavities that remain invisible to the naked eye, manifesting as dark spots on the teeth. These spots indicate the presence of holes caused by decay. By scrutinizing X-ray images, dentists can gauge alterations in tooth density and dentin. The dark spots on the X-ray results from the decayed material’s reduced density, allowing X-ray beams to penetrate the tooth and reveal the issue on film.

Unmasking Interproximal Cavities: The common misconception is that cavities only afflict molars, but the truth is that these insidious holes can form between teeth. Termed “interproximal cavities,” they manifest on dental X-rays as dark lines wedged between adjacent teeth. Surprisingly, these cavities are often deeper than what initially meets the eye.

Dental Abscess: For a comprehensive view of your tooth structure, dentists resort to periapical X-rays, which capture the entire span from crown to root. This method is particularly preferred when searching for underlying issues beneath the jawline, such as dental abscesses. If an abscess has expanded, it becomes discernible on the X-ray, facilitating the dentist in suggesting appropriate treatment.

Unveiling Cysts: Cysts, tiny sacs filled with fluids, can take root in your oral cavity. Dental X-rays expose these silent troublemakers as dark voids. While some cysts are benign, others can become infected, wreaking havoc in your mouth. It’s crucial to examine and potentially treat them, especially when they arise from trauma, genetic factors, or form near the nerve of a dead tooth.

Battling Bone Loss: When left untreated, periodontal disease often leads to bone loss. When hunting for hidden tooth infections in Westminster, CO, dentists employ bitewing X-rays to make this damage visible. These X-rays enable dentists to gauge the size of dental pockets, alerting them to the presence of bone loss due to the oral condition.

Locating Impacted Teeth: Wisdom teeth, typically emerging between the ages of 17 and 21, can sometimes remain concealed beneath the gum line, causing pain and other dental complications. Fortunately, dental X-rays are adept at detecting these hidden wisdom teeth. Dentists can then recommend their removal, sparing patients from potential oral complications.

Aiding Orthodontic Solutions: Orthodontists often utilize Cephalometric X-rays to capture side-view images of your head when devising treatment plans for teeth alignment. These X-rays reveal the angle of bite issues and jaw misalignment, aiding professionals in crafting the most suitable treatment to ensure proper teeth and jaw positioning.

Addressing Temporomandibular Joint Issues: The temporomandibular joint (TMJ) connects your lower jaw to your skull, facilitating biting and chewing. While TMJ disorders are generally not a cause for alarm and can resolve on their own, persistent discomfort during mouth movement or clicking and popping of the jaw warrants attention. Westminster dentists offer nonsurgical therapies and suggest exercises or physical therapy to alleviate these symptoms.

The X-ray Prescription: A Proactive Approach to Dental Health

Dentists recommend dental X-rays for all patients as a preventive measure. These X-rays unveil infections that remain invisible to the naked eye, helping prevent potential complications down the road. With the advent of digital X-rays, the process has become more comfortable and safer, as these images are radiation-free and don’t require development. Dentists can now visualize X-ray results on computer screens, allowing for faster treatment during shorter appointments.

Next time you visit Dilber Sraon DDS for your routine check-up and receive a recommendation for dental X-rays, consider it a proactive step in safeguarding your dental health. X-rays enable dentists to detect tooth infections early, facilitating timely interventions that can prevent more severe complications. Your oral health is worth the investment in this essential diagnostic tool.

Spring into Dental Hygiene

The extra daylight we’ve been soaking up is a sure sign that spring is here. And while we’ve reached the time of year when cheerful flowers have popped up everywhere, healthy smiles are always in bloom. 

It’s also a perfect time for the appropriately named ritual of spring cleaning. From your closets to your dresser to your bathroom sink and beyond, we’re here to help you start the new season with a fresh outlook and fresh mouth with the following tips for a happy healthy spring.

Keep your head up and your smile bright all season by maintaining your responsible hygiene no matter where in the world spring break takes you. If a trip to somewhere warm and dry after a winter of cold and unexpected weather is on your calendar, be sure to stick to your usual routine of flossing daily and brushing at least twice a day, in between sweet indulgences and tropical drinks. If you’re hoping to spend the day on the beach or by the pool without access to a sink, drinking plenty of water will wash away cavity-causing particles that could settle in between your teeth and cause build up. And staying hydrated is an added bonus!

When you break out your suitcase and start packing, make sure to pack your toothbrush with a toothbrush cover and floss along with some pocket flossers to eliminate any excuse for not having time to complete your routine amidst the fun. Electric toothbrushes with good battery life are also great travel companions, in addition to a tongue scraper, mouthwash, and your retainer case, if you have one, to make it easy to stick to your good habits everywhere you go. It’s also handy to throw some travel-sized mouthwash and sugar-free gum in your carry-on bag to keep your mouth fresh and aid with ear popping if your trip involves a flight. 

If activity-filled outdoor adventures are on your vacation or weekend agenda, swap any sugary snacks (like sticky candy or sugar-filled energy bars) and drinks (like soda or energy drinks) in your backpack with healthy tooth-friendly snacks that won’t cause bacteria build up or enamel erosion. Fuel your time outside with plenty of water and nutrient-rich snacks like carrots, celery, apples that give teeth an extra brush with their crunchy texture, and cheese, yogurt, and plain nuts that are rich in calcium and phosphorus, which help repair tooth enamel. 

Whether you’re staying home or taking a dream vacation, make sure to find time to call us to schedule your routine cleaning and exam to make sure the whole year is as cheerful and healthy as the first days of spring.

Sturdy Smiles

Change is a part of nature: from the world around us all the way down to the intricacies of our mouths. With time and as we age, our teeth can shift. Sometimes it goes unnoticed but in other cases it must be addressed for the sake of a person’s overall health.

For adults and teenagers looking for a solution to a smile that has shifted over time—or was never cosmetically altered to begin with—Invisalign has become an exceedingly popular solution. Invisalign aligners are a desirable alternative to traditional metal braces because they are sleek, easy to wear, and, as the name implies, nearly invisible.

Wondering if you’re a good candidate? Invisalign is geared towards moderate cases, like gapped or crowded teeth and mild overbites. In order to determine if a patient is a good candidate, we’ll schedule a consultation to gather photographs of your teeth and face, a digital scan of your teeth using an iTero scanner, and a collection of digital x-rays.

Following the consultation, we’ll send the information and images to Invisalign with detailed instructions for how we want your teeth to be moved. Then, we’ll use advanced 3D computer imaging technology to create a complete treatment plan from the initial position of your teeth to their final desired position.

Once the plan is in place, it takes about 4-5 weeks for the aligners to arrive, and then the straightening process can begin.

Each set of Invisalign aligners is designed to be worn for 1-2 weeks at a time for about 22 hours a day, moving the teeth in small increments to eventually match each aligner until eventually they’ve reached their final position.

In order for the process to work as intended, it’s crucial that the aligners are worn consistently, but also that they stay clean. To prevent bacteria build up, you’ll need to take your aligners out to eat and to drink anything other than water. They should also be removed to brush and floss thoroughly twice a day, cleaning the aligner with a toothbrush at the same time.

A similar tool to use to keep teeth in place is a night guard. Night guards can be used following straightening treatment to keep your teeth from moving, but they have many other benefits as well.

A night guard is a structured plastic device that’s molded to your teeth and gums that prevents your top and bottom teeth from making contact. Wearing a night guard while you sleep minimizes the negative effects of grinding teeth, clenching teeth, and putting stress on your jaw which can cause headaches and worse.

In addition to headaches and soreness that can last all day and interrupt your sleeping patterns, grinding and clenching can cause costly and long-lasting damage to your teeth like chipping, spacing, cracking, excessive wear, and compromised fillings.

Night guards relieve your jaw of unnecessary stress and protect the enamel on your teeth from erosion. If not addressed, erosion could cause the unprotected layers of your teeth to be exposed and cause extreme pain and discomfort. By keeping your top and bottom teeth from touching during the night, a night guard will help avoid severe damage that could lead to the loss of teeth and require expensive repairs.

If you are aware that you tend to grind your teeth at night, you may already know that you have bruxism. Bruxism is a condition in which you grind, gnash, or clench your teeth both at night (sleep bruxism) and in the daytime (awake bruxism). Sleeping with a custom night guard will decrease the stress and destructiveness caused by clenching and grinding that come with bruxism.

Keeping your teeth intact by wearing a night guard will also maintain the attractiveness of your smile and ultimately boost your self esteem. A healthy smile is one of the first things that people notice in others, so keeping yours aligned and chip-free will give you the confidence you need to go about your personal and professional life with your head up and your pearly whites on display.

On top of alleviating discomfort, wearing a night guard can help relax your jaw by guiding it to a comfortable resting position. A relaxed jaw will make it easier to fall asleep, stay asleep, and breathe easily which in turn will help your partner sleep soundly as well.

If you think you might be a candidate for Invisalign or a custom night guard, give us a call to set up an appointment. We typically recommend a lower night guard with metal framework because wearing a night guard on your lower teeth tends to make speaking and functioning easier on a day-to-day and night-to-night basis.

We look forward to helping you create and maintain a beautiful smile, and to keep your teeth, gums, and mouth protected from the harms of grinding and clenching. Call us today to learn more and get started!