Bad Breath (Halitosis)

Bad Breath (Halitosis)

An estimated sixty-five percent of Americans have bad breath. Over forty-million Americans have “chronic halitosis,” which is persistent bad breath. Ninety percent of all halitosis is of oral, not systemic, origin.

Americans spend more than $1 billion a year on over the counter halitosis products, many of which are ineffective because they only mask the problem.

What causes bad breath?
Bad breath is caused by a variety of factors. In most cases, it is caused by food remaining in the mouth – on the teeth, tongue, gums, and other structures, collecting bacteria. Dead and dying bacterial cells release a sulfur compound that gives your breath an unpleasant odor. Certain foods, such as garlic and onions, contribute to breath odor. Once the food is absorbed into the bloodstream, it is transferred to the lungs, where it is exhaled. Brushing, flossing and mouthwash only mask the odor. Dieters sometimes develop unpleasant breath from fasting.

Periodontal (gum) disease often causes persistent bad breath or a bad taste in the mouth, and persistent bad breath may mean a sign that you have gum disease.

Gum disease is caused by plaque – the sticky, often colorless, film of bacteria that constantly forms on teeth. Dry mouth or xerostomia may also cause bad breath due to decreased salivary flow. Saliva cleans your mouth and removes particles that may cause odor. Tobacco products cause bad breath, stain teeth, reduce your ability to taste foods and irritate your gum tissues. Bad breath may also be a sign that you have a serious health problem, such as a respiratory tract infection, chronic sinusitis, postnasal drip, chronic bronchitis, diabetes, gastrointestinal disturbance, liver or kidney ailment.

Bad breath may also be caused by medications you are taking, including central nervous system agents, anti-Parkinson drugs, antihistamines/decongestants, anti-psychotics, anti-cholinergics, narcotics, anti-hypertensives, and anti-depressants.

Caring for bad breath

Daily brushing and flossing, and regular professional cleanings, will normally take care of unpleasant breath. And don’t forget your often overlooked tongue as a culprit for bad breath. Bacterial plaque and food debris also can accumulate on the back of the tongue. The tongue’s surface is extremely rough and bacteria can accumulate easily in the cracks and crevices.

Eliminating periodontal disease and maintaining good oral health helps to reduce bad breath. If you have constant bad breath, make a list of the foods you eat and any medications you take. Some medications may contribute to bad breath.

Improperly cleaned dentures can also harbor odor-causing bacteria and food particles. If you wear removable dentures, take them out at night and clean them thoroughly before replacing them.

If your dentist determines that your mouth is healthy and that the odor is not oral in nature, you may be referred to your family physician or to a specialist to determine the cause of the odor and possible treatment. If the odor is due to gum disease, your dentist can either treat the disease or refer you to a periodontist, a specialist in treating gum tissues. Gum disease can cause gum tissues to pull away from the teeth and form pockets. When these pockets are deep, only a professional periodontal cleaning can remove the bacteria and plaque that accumulate.

Mouthwashes are generally ineffective on bad breath. If your bad breath persists even after good oral hygiene, there are special products your dentist may prescribe, including “Zytex,” which is a combination of zinc chloride, thymol and eucalyptus oil that neutralizes the sulfur compounds and kills the bacteria that causes them. In addition, a special antimicrobial mouth rinse may be prescribed. An example is chlorhexidine, but be careful not to use it for more than a few months as it can stain your teeth. Some antiseptic mouth rinses have been accepted by the American Dental Association for their breath freshening properties and therapeutic benefits in reducing plaque and gingivitis. Instead of simply masking breath odor, these products have been demonstrated to kill the germs that cause bad breath. Ask your dentist about trying some of these products.

Braces (Orthodontia)

Braces (Orthodontia)

Braces are applied to teeth for various reasons, including poorly aligned jaws, crooked, crowded and missing teeth, or a bad bite (also called malocclusion).

Various things can cause teeth to become crooked or jaws misaligned, including thumb-sucking or a traumatic injury. Some conditions are inherited.

Children between the ages of 7 and 14 are typical candidates for braces because their facial structures are still developing. Adult braces usually entail additional procedures because their faces
have already fully developed.

  • About Braces

Orthodontics is a field of dentistry that deals with corrections involving jaw and teeth alignment. An orthodontist is a specialist who diagnoses and applies braces.
Braces employ the use of wires and are usually one of three types:

  1. Old-fashioned, conventional braces, which employ the use of metal strips, or bands.
  2. Metal or plastic brackets that are cemented or bonded to teeth.
  3. Brackets that attach to the back teeth (also called “lingual” braces)
  • Invisalign™ Invisible Braces

Revolutionary is the only way to describe the Invisalign™ technology. With Invisalign® there are no metal wires or brackets, only clear, surgical grade aligners that are worn (much like whitening trays). Comfortable and convenient, easy to maintain your hygiene, they are a great way to straighten teeth and have a beautiful smile.

  • Procedures

Orthodontic procedures, also called “orthodontia,” are complex processes.

In most cases, a dentist will need to make a plaster cast of the individual’s teeth and perform full X-rays of the head and mouth.

After orthodontic appliances are placed, they need to be adjusted from time to time to ensure that they continue to move the teeth into their correct position.

Retainers are used following braces to ensure that teeth remain in position.

  • Aesthetic and Comfort Issues

Advances in technology have vastly improved appearance issues with orthodontia.

Braces today are made from extremely lightweight and natural-colored materials. The materials that braces attach to-brackets-are bonded to the surfaces of teeth but can be later removed.

People can expect to wear braces for about two years-less or more in some cases. Adults are usually required to wear braces for longer periods of time.

Because orthodontic appliances need to be adjusted from time to time to ensure they continue to move the teeth into their correct position, they can create pressure on the teeth and jaws. This mild discomfort usually subsides following each orthodontia adjustment.

Hygiene issues

People who wear braces must be diligent in ensuring that food particles and other debris do not get trapped in the network of brackets and wires. In addition, brackets can leave stains on enamel if the area surrounding them is not cleaned on a daily basis.

Daily oral hygiene such as brushing, flossing and rinsing are a necessity. Some people with orthodontic appliances can benefit from using water picks, which emit small pressurized bursts of water that can effectively rinse away such debris.

Another caveat: Braces and sticky foods don’t mix. Crunchy snacks and chewy substances should be avoided at all costs because they can cause orthodontia to be loosened or damaged

Space Maintainers

Space maintainers are nifty devices that can help teeth grow in normally following premature tooth loss, injury or other problems.

The devices can help ensure that proper spaces are maintained to allow future permanent teeth to erupt.

If your child loses a baby tooth early through decay or injury, his or her other teeth could shift and begin to fill the vacant space. When your child’s permanent teeth emerge, there’s not enough room for them. The result is crooked or crowded teeth and difficulties with chewing or speaking.

Brushing

The following are helpful recommendations:

 

• Flossing is the foundation for healthy gums, so floss your teeth once a day. Dental floss will get into areas between your teeth and under your gums that your toothbrush cannot. Slide the floss between your teeth and wrap it into a “C” shape around the base of the tooth and gently under the gumline. Wipe the tooth from base to tip two or three times. Be sure to floss both sides of every tooth.

 

• Brush your teeth twice a day, and make sure to brush your teeth after you floss, as this is a more effective method of cleaning your teeth. Use a soft bristled tooth brush (safer on your gums) and a circular motion that moves the brush bristles ‘away’* from the gums ( *on the top arch, this would mean you are brushing in a circular direction which is top-down; on the bottom arch, you would be brushing in a bottom-to-top circular motion. Use care to not speed through brushing, taking at least 2-3 minutes to do a thorough job.

 

• Eat a well balanced diet, avoiding excessive snacking between meals, especially sticky, sugary foods.

Use either a fluoride or antiseptic rinse as directed by the dentist or hygienist.

 

• Avoid smoking

 

Twice-daily brushings and regular flossing are excellent for maintenance between office visits, but a healthy mouth and beautiful smile require routine general and preventive care to stay that way. Our practice offers hygiene care that includes regular oral examinations and cleanings. Our preventive hygiene services include fluoride, professional breath control, and periodontal (gum disease) treatments designed to help you maintain your smile’s health and beauty. Keep your teeth and gums strong and disease-free. Contact our office today to schedule a cleaning or consultation.

Abscessed Tooth

Abscessed Tooth

An abscessed tooth is a pocket of pus, usually caused by some kind of infection and the spread of bacteria from the root of the tooth to the tissue just below or near the tooth.

In general, a tooth that has become abscessed is one whose underlying pulp (the tooths soft core) has become infected or swollen. The pulp contains nerves, blood vessels and connective tissue, and lies within the tooth. It extends from the crown of the tooth, to the tip of the root, in the bone of the jaws.

An abscessed tooth can be an extremely painful condition.

In some cases, antibiotics are administered in an attempt to kill an infection. If antibiotics are ineffective and an abscess is shown to be damaging the pulp or lower bony structures, a root canal procedure may be needed to remove the dead pulp and restore the tooth to a healthy state.

Advantages of Dental Implants

Advantages of Dental Implants

The least costly and most commonly used method by dentists to restore a patient’s dentition is the removable denture. The downside of the removable denture is the inconvenience of daily removal and maintenance. Dental implants on the contrary are securely anchored to your jaw and look and feel more like your real teeth, with the added durability of being resistant to decay and comfortable with which to chew.

The dental implant itself is made of Titanium, a very strong, corrosion-resistant, natural element that is perfectly biocompatible with bone. It therefore makes an ideal root replacement (anchor) for your missing tooth. The implant is placed within the upper and/or lower jaw to act as a direct or indirect anchor for the replacement teeth.

  1. More Natural. Teeth replaced with dental implants offer a more natural look and feel for the patient. As the implant fuses with the bone in the jaw, the prosthesis is securely anchored with no chance of embarrassing movement of the replacement teeth. With dental implants, your teeth look, feel and function in a healthy and stronger manner.
  2. No Movement. Due to this enhanced anchorage offered by dental implants, patients develop improved confidence that they would not necessarily attain from a removable prosthesis (no need for messy adhesives). With dental implants, a person can feel secure that their teeth will not move. There are no limits to your activities for fear of embarrassment of your denture moving.
  3. No Sore Spots. Because your implant supported replacement teeth are not resting directly on the tissue of your mouth, you don’t develop uncomfortable sore spots. On the other hand, removable dentures can cause inflammation of the mouth tissues that are under the denture itself, primarily if not removed every night when sleeping and if not cleaned on a daily basis.
  4. Stimulation of bone growth: Keeping your teeth helps to preserve your jaw bones. Once a tooth is lost, one of the major problems that face dentists that treat edentulous patients is the continuing loss of jaw bone. The result of all this bone loss over time is that removable dentures start fitting less and less well. As the tissue under the denture starts to shrink and pull away from the underside of the denture, it leaves less and less support underneath the removable prosthesis. This is when all the problems associated with an ill-fitting denture start to show. Dental implants, like natural teeth, help to stimulate bone growth. One of the most fascinating and important properties of titanium, the material from which dental implants are made, is that it attracts the growth of bone cells.
  5. Improved Chewing Function: Due to the lack of permanent anchorage, removable dentures can move or slip  while eating, therefore making eating a difficult and less than desirable task. The ability to chew foods improves dramatically with dental implants.
  6. Improved Taste Sensation: A complete upper removable denture covers the entire roof of the mouth. Your tongue and the roof of your mouth are covered with thousands of tiny taste buds. Once the roof of the mouth is covered with the removable denture, food becomes less easy to taste, more difficult to sample and enjoy. With an implant-supported prosthesis, the roof of the mouth is not covered and food can be tasted by all the taste receptors in the mouth.
  7. Long Lasting: With proper care, implants can last a lifetime.
  8. Enhanced Phonetics. Removable dentures can slip and slide around in the mouth. A complete, upper denture, and some designs of upper partial dentures, cover the roof of the mouth. Both can result in interference with the normal phonetic movements of the tongue, causing difficulty in normal speech. Implant supported teeth normalize speech and allow the person to regain confidence when speaking in social settings.
  9. Improved nutritional uptake by digestive system. Digestion begins in the mouth. Teeth subject food to the mechanical process of grinding, breaking it down into smaller and smaller pieces. Almost simultaneous with the  smelling and chewing of food, saliva secretes onto and mixes with it. The enzymes in the saliva begin the further digestive breakdown of food. Now, if the step of mastication (grinding) of food were to be reduced due to inefficiency of a removable denture, the digestive process would be altered and food would not get properly digested further along the digestive tract. This improper digestion directly leads to fewer vital nutrients being absorbed later on in the digestive system.Nutritional balance is further indirectly enhanced by the stability of an implant-supported prosthesis. As one is more confident to enjoy a varied and healthy diet, and you are not restricted to what you can eat due to unstable removable dentures, then overall nutritional balance of the person is improved.
  10. Reduction in the loss of the prosthesis. Removable dentures can easily be misplaced and lost. There are ample stories of domestic pets ‘eating’ the patients prosthesis (dogs and cats are attracted to the saliva that coats the prosthesis. However, with a fixed, implant-supported prosthesis , your likelihood of loss is next to nil.

A Tip for the Sweet Tooth

A Tip for the Sweet Tooth

Everyone knows that sweets are bad for your teeth. But, did you know that the amount of sweet food you eat is not as important as the length of time your teeth are exposed to sweets? Eat sweets at mealtime rather than between meals. The amount of saliva produced at that time will help protect your teeth.

If you cannot avoid sweets between meals, choose something with less sugar like nuts and seeds, peanut butter, popcorn, plain yogurt. Sticky sweets that stay in your mouth for longer periods of time like toffee or hard candies should be avoided as snacks.

Vitamins, Minerals and Your Teeth
Just like our bodies, our teeth and gums need certain essential vitamins and minerals to stay healthy and strong. Babies, children and adults all need ample amounts of the minerals calcium and phosphorous, and the vitamins A, C and D to ensure proper tooth development and strength.

Calcium, aided by phosphorous and vitamin D, is the main component of teeth and bones. It’s what helps keep them strong. Vitamin A is necessary for the formation of tooth enamel, and vitamin C is essential for healthy gums.

Nursing mothers should keep in mind that their diet may influence the growth of the newly-forming teeth of their baby. A nursing mother’s diet should include foods from all of the food groups.

An adequate intake of the proper vitamins and minerals helps in the development of healthy teeth. A lack or absence of these minerals can lead to disease.

Fluoride is an important mineral for tooth decay prevention. Fluoride strengthens the enamel of young developing teeth, and acts with calcium and phosphorous to restore and harden enamel in mature teeth. Fortunately for our teeth, fluoride has been added to almost half of the drinking water in Canada. If your drinking water comes from a well, you may want to have your water tested for the presence of natural fluoride. Contact your local health unit for more information.

As with the overall health of our body, a good diet is the best way to ensure dental nutrition. Strong teeth need a variety of whole grain breads and cereals, fruits and vegetables and lean meats, in addition to milk products. Toothhealthy snacks also include nuts and seeds, peanut butter, cheese, plain yogurt and popcorn.

Allergy to Latex

Allergy to Latex

Latex allergy is a hypersensitivity to the naturally occurring protein found in rubber which may cause symptoms to arise. These symptoms may be as mild as skin irritations (contact dermatitis), hives, itchy eyes, runny nose, to more severe occurrences such as asthma and life-threatening anaphylaxis.

The symptoms and signs associated with anaphylaxis include:

  • Difficulty breathing
  • Dizziness
  • Confusion
  • Wheezing
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Rapid or weak pulse
  • Loss of consciousness
  • Shock
  • Respiratory failure
  • Circulatory failure

Many medical and dental supplies contain latex, including gloves, blood pressure cuffs, urinary catheters, dental dams and material used to fill root canals, as well as tourniquets and equipment for resuscitation. The tendency to develop allergies to latex appears to be an inherited trait, and as with other allergies, the more intense and frequent the exposure to latex, the more likely one is to develop an allergy to it. Healthcare workers have a greater chance (up to 10%) to develop a latex allergy due to their repeated exposure to rubber based products. However, in recent years, there has been a move to decrease the addition of powder in these gloves (powder was used to ease the ability to put on the gloves and decrease perspiration of the hands within the latex gloves), and this appears to have decreased the occurrence amongst healthcare professionals of latex allergies.

Other groups at risk include those who have had various surgeries, especially those involving the nervous system and genitourinary tract system. Children with spina bifida also appear to have a higher occurrence of developing latex allergies.

If you have a known sensitivity or allergy to latex or any related items, please notify our office. Non-latex substitutes can be found for all of the latex-containing items that are normally used.

Patient Education Library

Patient Education Library

Our team of dental specialists and staff strive to improve the overall health of our patients by focusing on preventing, diagnosing and treating conditions associated with your teeth and gums. Please use our dental library to learn more about dental problems and treatments available.

Implant Restoration

Implant Restoration

Whites Road Dental performs dental implant restoration by attaching artificial teeth to implants anchored in the bone below the gum line. After the anchor has been surgically placed in the jawbone, excess bone and gum grow around the implant, holding it firmly in place.

An artificial tooth can then be attached to the implant. The end result is a strong, secure tooth that is virtually indistinguishable from natural teeth.