Posts for: December, 2015
Are bleeding gums something you should be concerned about? Dear Doctor magazine recently posed that question to Dr. Travis Stork, an emergency room physician and host of the syndicated TV show The Doctors. He answered with two questions of his own: “If you started bleeding from your eyeball, would you seek medical attention?” Needless to say, most everyone would. “So,” he asked, “why is it that when we bleed all the time when we floss that we think it’s no big deal?” As it turns out, that’s an excellent question — and one that’s often misunderstood.
First of all, let’s clarify what we mean by “bleeding all the time.” As many as 90 percent of people occasionally experience bleeding gums when they clean their teeth — particularly if they don’t do it often, or are just starting a flossing routine. But if your gums bleed regularly when you brush or floss, it almost certainly means there’s a problem. Many think bleeding gums is a sign they are brushing too hard; this is possible, but unlikely. It’s much more probable that irritated and bleeding gums are a sign of periodontal (gum) disease.
How common is this malady? According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, nearly half of allÂ Americans over age 30 have mild, moderate or severe gum disease — and that number increases to 70.1 percent for those over 65! Periodontal disease can occur when a bacteria-rich biofilm in the mouth (also called plaque) is allowed to build up on tooth and gum surfaces. Plaque causes the gums to become inflamed, as the immune system responds to the bacteria. Eventually, this can cause gum tissue to pull away from the teeth, forming bacteria-filled “pockets” under the gum surface. If left untreated, it can lead to more serious infection, and even tooth loss.
What should you do if your gums bleed regularly when brushing or flossing? The first step is to come in for a thorough examination. In combination with a regular oral exam (and possibly x-rays or other diagnostic tests), a simple (and painless) instrument called a periodontal probe can be used to determine how far any periodontal disease may have progressed. Armed with this information, we can determine the most effective way to fight the battle against gum disease.
Above all, don’t wait too long to come in for an exam! As Dr. Stork notes, bleeding gums are “a sign that things aren’t quite right.” Â If you would like more information about bleeding gums, please contact us or schedule an appointment. You can read more in the Dear Doctor magazine article “Bleeding Gums.” You can read the entire interview with Dr. Travis Stork in Dear Doctor magazine.
My Teeth Are So Crooked! Are Metal Braces My Only Choice?
Invisalign-the new modern choice to straighten your teeth
When you think of orthodontics (braces) you probably think of metal brackets and wires, but there is a new, much more comfortable way to straighten your teeth. The dentists at Cohasset Dental in Cohasset, Massachusetts, are experts in Invisalign, the future of orthodontics.
Your dentist at Cohasset Dental can discuss the many advantages of Invisalign over conventional braces to help you decide if Invisalign is right for you. According to the makers of Invisalign some of the benefits you will experience include:
- Virtually invisible teeth-straightening
- A smooth, comfortable plastic appliance instead of metal
- A normal brushing and flossing experience for better dental health
- Eating whatever foods you want
- Office visits only every four to six weeks
- Removing the appliance when you want
Your Invisalign treatment begins with a set of aligners, which are clear plastic appliances custom-made to fit your teeth. Your dentist will customize a treatment schedule just for you. As you wear the trays, they will gradually shift your teeth into alignment, gently and comfortably.
Every few weeks, you will be given a new set of aligners to wear until your treatment is complete and your teeth are straight.
Invisalign can be used if you have:
- Crowded or poorly aligned teeth
- Gaps between your teeth
- An overbite- your upper teeth bite over your lower teeth
- An underbite- your lower teeth stick out in front of your upper teeth
- A crossbite- your upper and lower jaws can’t close together
- An open bite- your upper and lower front teeth don’t bite together
To find out more about Invisalign, the virtually invisible treatment for badly aligned, crooked teeth, contact your dentist at Cohasset Dental in Cohasset, Massachusetts, for a consultation. Call today and learn how Invisalign can comfortably help give you a straight and beautiful smile.
As many as 36 million adults in the U.S. suffer from some form of chronic jaw pain. What’s more, many of these may also experience other painful conditions like arthritis or chronic fatigue in other parts of their body.
Chronic jaw pain is actually a group of difficult to define disorders collectively referred to as temporomandibular joint disorders (TMJD or also TMD). TMD not only refers to pain symptoms of the temporomandibular (jaw) joints but also of the jaw muscles and surrounding connective tissue. Most physicians and dentists agree TMD arises from a complex range of conditions involving inheritable factors, gender (many sufferers are women of childbearing age), environment and behavior.
A recent survey of approximately 1,500 TMD patients found that nearly two-thirds of them also suffered from three or more related health problems like fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue syndrome, rheumatoid arthritis, headaches, depression and problems sleeping. The understanding of TMD’s connection with these other conditions is in its early stages of research, but there’s avid interest among healthcare providers to learn more and possibly devise new treatments for TMD in coordination with these other related conditions.
In the meantime, TMD patients continue to respond best with the traditional approach to treatment, including physical therapy, thermal (hot or cold) compresses to the area of pain, medication and modifying the diet with more easier to chew foods. In extreme cases, jaw surgery may be recommended; however, success with this approach has been mixed, so it’s advisable to get a second opinion before choosing to undergo a surgical procedure.
Hopefully, further study about TMD and its connection with other conditions may yield newer treatments to ease the pain and discomfort of all these conditions, including TMD. You can stay up to date on these and other developments for coping with the discomfort of TMD at www.tmj.org and through your healthcare provider team.
If you would like more information on TMD, 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 “Chronic Jaw Pain and Associated Conditions.”