When your mouth fails to make the appropriate amount of saliva, dry mouth is the result. We often take our saliva for granted and fail to understand how important it is in keeping your mouth healthy. The saliva flushes food particles away from the teeth, reducing decay-causing acids, and when dry mouth occurs, your teeth are at risk. By better understanding dry mouth and what you can do about it, you’ll take the first steps in maintaining a healthy mouth.
Dry Mouth Causes
So now that you know a little more about what dry mouth is, you may be wondering what caused it. While each situation is different and unique, there are several reasons that you may have developed dry mouth:
-Part of the natural aging process. Dry mouth can be something that happens because of age, as dry mouth tends to worsen as you get older.
-Medications. There are many medications that can cause dry mouth as a side effect. These include both prescriptions and over-the-counter drugs. Among the most common to cause this side effect include medicines used to treat anxiety, high blood pressure, and depression, although decongestants and antihistamines are also culprits.
-Nerve damage. If you have suffered an injury that led to nerve damage in the neck or head, you may experience dry mouth. The same can be said if you’ve had surgery on this part of your body.
-Drug, tobacco, and alcohol use. Drinking and use of tobacco lead to a variety of oral health consequences, including dry mouth. These activities will increase your dry mouth symptoms and can exacerbate any oral health problems.
-Health conditions. In addition to the medication used to treat them, certain health conditions can cause dry mouth on their own. These include oral thrush, diabetes, Alzheimer’s, and autoimmune diseases like HIV/AIDS.
-Habits. If you snore at night or tend to breathe through your mouth instead of your nose, your risk of dry mouth symptoms will be much higher.
Regardless of the case of your dry mouth issue, complications will remain the same. Without enough saliva, you’ll be at risk for mouth sores, tooth decay, gum disease, cracked lips, and split skin in the corners of your mouth.
Symptoms of Dry Mouth
If your mouth fails to produce enough saliva, you may suffer from dry mouth and experience the following symptoms:
-A feeling of dryness or stickiness in your mouth
-Chronic bad breath
-Saliva that feels stringy or thick
-Problems with swallowing, speaking, and chewing
-A hoarse or sore throat
-Difficulty with fitting and wearing dentures
While you may not experience all of these symptoms, even some of them may be indicative of dry mouth.
Dry Mouth Treatment
There are several things you can do to control your dry mouth symptoms. Limiting your caffeine intake and avoiding alcohol-containing mouthwash can help. Sip water throughout the day, and try an over-the-counter saliva substitute that contains Xylitol. Speaking of Xylitol, sugar-free gum that contains it will also help to stimulate the flow of saliva in order to reduce your symptoms of dry mouth.
Other steps can help to protect your teeth if you suffer from dry mouth. Be sure to always brush with a fluoride toothpaste, and consider adding a fluoride rinse to your oral hygiene routine. Also avoid acidic or sugary foods and beverages because they will further increase your tooth decay risk.
If you suffer from dry mouth, it is important to identify the cause in order to determine the best solution. We can help you do this, and setting up an appointment in our office is the first step. You can use our convenient web-based form to request an appointment, or you can call our helpful office staff at 479-646-0706.
8 Reasons that You Should Invest in Dental Implants
If you are interested in dental implants, you may have heard good things about these restorations. However, the benefits likely far exceed any rumors that you may have encountered. These are some of the wonderful reasons that you should make an investment in dental implants to combat your tooth loss.
They Look Just Like the Natural Teeth
Dental implants are securely anchored into the jawbone, and after this happens, the tooth will look and feel just like a natural tooth. It will be indistinguishable from the rest of the teeth, allowing you to smile with complete confidence that it won’t slip out of place.
Dental Implants Prevent Bone Loss
You may not know that tooth loss inevitably leads to bone loss. This can change the shape of your face and leave your jaw vulnerable to fractures. A dental implant will stop the bone loss process by fusing into the jawbone and stabilizing it. This is the only tooth replacement option that offers this benefit.
They Are Long Lasting
Dental implants are a permanent tooth loss solution, which is a big way that they differ from bridges and removable dentures, which need replacement with time. For this reason, dental implants offer the greatest long-term value of any restoration, as they are intended to last for a lifetime as long as you care for them properly.
Dental Implants Are Safe for the Natural Teeth
Unlike bridgework, dental implants don’t have any effect on the health of the adjacent, natural teeth. Bridges use the natural teeth on either side of a gap to provide support for the framework. This can stress the teeth, leaving the more susceptible to cavities, decay, and other dental health troubles. Dental implants are stand-alone replacements, and they don’t use the support of the natural teeth to stay in place, which is better for the rest of your mouth.
They Help to Boost Your Confidence
Dental implants offer a natural appearance that is more attractive than other restorations. They look like natural teeth, and because they won’t loosen or shift out of place, they can leave you with improved confidence. You can perform all of your normal activities without fear of embarrassing movement, and you won’t need to take them out for any reason.
Dental Implants Will Easy Fit Into Your Lifestyle
Dental implants are low maintenance, and they will easily fit into your lifestyle. You will still need to brush and floss daily just like with your natural teeth, but you won’t need any special supplies, creams, or adhesives. If you have questions about how to care for them, feel free to contact our office.
They Make it Easier to Eat
Compared to removable dentures, dental implants dramatically improve your ability to chew foods. A prosthetic supported by a dental implant will function just like the natural teeth, making eating an easy and enjoyable experience. Plus, since the roof of the mouth isn’t covered like it would be with dentures, the taste of food isn’t impacted.
Dental Implants Can Improve Your Speech
Another reason that some people avoid traditional dentures is the way that they alter their speech. Dental implants won’t leave you with the garbled speech that can result with shifting teeth. You can rest assured that your teeth will stay in place as you converse with others.
Are you ready to learn more about dental implants? If it is time for you to make a stand against your tooth loss, we are here to help. Feel free to fill out our easy-to-use web form to request an appointment, or call us at 479-646-0706. We can’t wait to help you restore your smile.
Have we recommended that you replace your dental filling, or have you noticed a problem with an existing filling? If so, it is important that you learn more about replacement and what options might be available to you.
Why Might You Need to Replace a Filling?
Your fillings are designed to be durable and long lasting, but some signs may indicate they require replacement. Some of the most common are outlined below:
You see a crack. A cracked filling can take years to develop, but if you tend to grind or clench your teeth, it may result sooner. A crack in a filling will allow bacteria to enter the tooth, causing decay. You might be able to see a crack on your own, or a dental X-ray could spot the problem.
You feel pain in the filled tooth. If your filled tooth is the source of a toothache, you may need a filling replacement. This could indicate there is a crack in the filling, and a leaky filling could also lead to sensitivity to cold or hot temperatures. A filling that is no longer adhering tightly to the tooth could also cause tooth pain.
The filling falls out. This is an obvious sign that you need a new filling, but if your filling falls out entirely or in part, you need a replacement right away.
Your filling looks different. A tooth-colored composite filling that turns colors or looks darker is a good candidate for replacement. Replacing the filling will protect your tooth and restore its appearance.
Even without these problems, if your filling reaches the end of its life expectancy and is starting to show signs of wear, we may recommend replacement. You can take this time to upgrade to a more aesthetically-pleasing material.
What Are Your Replacement Options?
If we determine that it is time to replace your fillings, there are several replacement options available. Longevity, durability, and performance will all be factors in which filling model you choose and how the material is placed. Options include the following:
Composite. Composite fillings are made from acrylic resin that can produce a tooth-colored restoration. They offer fracture resistance and durability, and they are best suited for small or mid-sized restorations. They can support and withstand moderate chewing pressure, but might not be a good option for the molars.
Amalgam. An amalgam filling involves a mixture of copper, silver, mercury, and tin, all of which create a very strong material. Amalgam is durable, resistant to wear, and easy to place. Compared to some of the other options, it is also quite affordable.
Glass ionomers. Glass ionomers are tooth-colored materials that are made with glass powder that contains fine fluoride particles. Also combined with an organic acid, these materials create a solid restoration that releases fluoride.
We will help you to select the filling material that is right for your unique teeth and needs.
How Long Do Fillings Last?
Different types of dental fillings have different life expectancies. Composite fillings, for example, are usually good for 7-10 years in patients with healthy mouths. When cared for properly, they can last for up to 12 years, which is closer to the life expectancy for amalgam fillings, which often last for over a decade. Silver fillings are arguably the most durable, as they can last for 10-15 years, but they are often avoided due to aesthetic concerns.
Remember that while dental fillings are long-lasting, they won’t last forever, so you’ll eventually need a replacement or an upgrade. Our office is here to help, offering suggestions on the most affordable and durable options for your unique teeth. Call us today at 479-646-0706 to evaluate the health of your fillings, or feel free to request an appointment using our convenient online request form.
A little bit of stress in your life is a good thing, but too much stress can lead to a variety of health problems. This includes issues with your oral health. Read on to find out how your stress level might be affecting your mouth.
Stress May Lead to Dry Mouth
When you are stressed, you may produce less saliva in your mouth, causing the oral tissues to dry out. While you may wonder why, exactly, that is such a problem, it is important to understand just how crucial the saliva is for a healthy mouth. The saliva keeps the oral tissues lubricated and works to wash away food particles, bacteria, and acids before they have a chance to damage the teeth and gums.
Dry mouth tends to present itself the same way in anyone who experiences it. Some of the most common symptoms include the following:
-A dry or sticky feeling in the mouth
-Chronic halitosis or bad breath
-Thick or stringy saliva
-Difficulty chewing, speaking, or swallowing
-Feelings of constant thirst
-Problems with dentures and other oral appliances fitting properly
-A hoarse or dry throat
To prevent oral health issues, it is important that you manage your stress level and get your dry mouth under control.
Medications for Stress May Cause Oral Health Issues
Medications for stress go along with the issue of dry mouth. Certain anti-anxiety and depression medications may make you feel better, but a potential side effect is dry mouth. While you certainly shouldn’t stop taking these medications if you need them, be sure to talk to us about how to protect your mouth from dry mouth.
Stress May Prevent You from Keeping Up with Your Oral Hygiene Regimen
When you are stressed, do you find it difficult to keep up with your normal activities? If so, this may include your typical oral hygiene routine, including brushing and flossing. While it makes sense that your mind is focused elsewhere, you should never let your stress level get so out of hand that you forget to brush your teeth. Even missing a few brushing sessions can have a major impact on your oral health.
Forgotten or Missed Dental Appointments Lead to Poor Oral Health
Stress can leave you feeling forgetful, and activities that may have once been important suddenly fall off your radar. Your dental appointment may be one of those things. Perhaps you miss your appointment completely or simply don’t think it is important when you have so much going on in your life. However, preventive dentistry is essential in maintaining a healthy mouth and preventing bigger oral health problems in the future, so make sure you attend your appointments.
Stress Can Trigger Other Oral Conditions
Dry mouth isn’t the only oral health condition that can be triggered by stress. Jaw issues are also prevalent when people suffer from stress, and this can lead to pain around the face or ear. If you deal with stress by clenching or grinding your teeth, you could suffer from worn teeth, cracks, or damage that requires a root canal or other invasive treatment to correct. Other stress-related oral health issues include cold sores, canker sores, oral infections, and a decreased immune response, which may lead to symptoms of gum disease.
Good oral health is essential for overall wellness, and our office wants to help you maintain a healthy mouth. That’s why we offer convenient appointment times, affordable services, and a friendly staff – to make it easier than ever to maintain good oral health. Call us today at 479-646-0706 to set up your next appointment, or take advantage of our convenient web form to request one.
Do you have a dental appointment coming up but are considering canceling since your teeth feel fine? Has it been awhile since your last dental visit, but you simply don’t see the benefit of seeing us until you actually experience a problem? Are you afraid of what your dental visit might uncover, or do you have dental anxiety that keeps you out of our office? If any of these scenarios sound like you, we want to help, and we’ve outlined some of the important reasons that you should keep up with your regular dental visits.
Identify and Treat Problems in their Earliest Stages
Arguably the biggest reason that you should keep up with your regular dental appointments is so that we can identify and treat problems in their earliest stages. Even the most diligent of brushers and flossers may sometimes develop a cavity, and when you visit our office regularly, we can spot them when they are in their earliest stages. At this point, they are still relatively easy – and inexpensive – to treat. The longer that you wait to visit us, the more complicated that the treatment will become, so you will ultimately save money by coming in to your six-month dental checkups.
Another important issue that we will look for in your mouth is oral cancer. This disease affects many people, especially those who use or have used tobacco. The only way to make sure that you aren’t living with oral cancer is to visit our office, as you may not experience symptoms until the disease is in an advanced stage. We provide thorough oral cancer checks to make sure that you don’t have signs of the disease.
Prevent Future Oral Health Issues
Another important component of a regularly-scheduled dental exam is the dental cleaning. During your cleaning, a hygienist will clean your teeth thoroughly, removing plaque and tartar accumulations. While you can keep plaque levels under control at home, once it forms tartar, you’ll need a professional to remove it before it leads to decay and other problems. This hard substance cannot be removed with a traditional toothbrush, and it requires the specialized tools in your dental office to clean it.
Enjoy a Beautiful Smile
If you want to maintain a beautiful, white smile, you need to keep up with your regular dental appointments. Regular dental cleanings involve a polishing process that will remove some surface stains, but cosmetic dentistry procedures can further keep your smile looking healthy and bright. Veneers, teeth whitening, and bonding are all great options to help you get the beautiful smile of your dreams.
Detect Problems Hidden Under the Surface
Typically, we recommend dental x-rays once a year, as these images provide vital information about what is going on under the surfaces of your mouth. Dental x-rays allow us to detect problems that might not be visible during a standard exam, including impacted teeth, infections, and decay. These tests are especially at detecting destructive diseases that may not show any outward symptoms but progress quickly.
Another benefit of dental x-rays is to examine the health of the jawbone. X-ray images can pinpoint jawbone damage, bone decay, cysts, or tumors. Finding these oral issues in their earliest stages are crucial in order to treat them properly.
Preventive dentistry is one of our specialties, and we feel strongly about examining your teeth every six months. Whether you are a new patient or someone who has been in our office before, you can schedule by calling 479-646-0706 or using our convenient online appointment request form. We are here to help, and we look forward to meeting with you to discuss your dental health concerns and needs.