Posts for: October, 2017
When you visit us for your regular checkup we're examining more than your teeth and gums. We're also checking to see if you're having problems with soft tissues in and around your mouth.
Besides canker sores, rashes or other types of abnormalities, our exam may uncover strange looking lesions known as lichen planus on the inside of the mouth. These purple-tinted bumps or rash-like discolorations are named for their similarity in appearance to lichen fungi found on trees or rocks. Although these mouth sores may look odd, they're fairly rare and usually do not cause concern.
Most people don't even know they have lichen planus until it's discovered during a dental exam. If there are any symptoms, it's usually a feeling of roughness, tenderness or itching. They may increase your sensitivity to spicy or acidic foods, but rarely cause extreme pain. If they're located around the gums, you may also notice a little soreness after brushing or eating.
To confirm it is lichen planus, we need to perform a biopsy. During this procedure, we remove a tiny amount of the affected tissue and have it examined microscopically. We do this not only to determine the correct diagnosis, but also to rule out more serious problems like pre-cancerous lesions or oral cancer.
Thankfully, though, this worst case scenario is quite rare, and although the condition can't be cured, there are some things you can do to keep any discomfort to a minimum. If the lesions are irritating, we recommend using a soft toothbrush with gentle brushing action. You may also want to limit or avoid spicy or acidic foods like citrus, tomatoes, hot peppers and caffeinated drinks. Managing stress can also help. For some extreme conditions, we can prescribe a topical steroid to help relieve discomfort.
If you notice any of the above symptoms, be sure to contact us or point it out at your next appointment. Once we know what we're dealing with, we can take steps to treat you.
If you would like more information on different types of mouth sores, 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 “Lichen Planus.”
Your gums not only support and protect your teeth they also help present them in a visually attractive way. But some people’s gums seem to stand out too much — what’s commonly called a gummy smile — which diminishes their smile appeal. There’s no precise definition, but as a rule of thumb we consider a smile too gummy if four or more millimeters (about an eighth of an inch) of the gums show.
Fortunately, there are some techniques to improve a gummy smile. Which technique is best for you, though, will depend on why the gums are prominent — and causes vary. For example, you could have a gummy smile because your teeth appear too short compared to your gums.
Permanent teeth normally erupt to about 10 mm of visible length. But less than that, say 8 mm, could skew the visible proportion of gums to teeth too much toward the gums. Teeth can also appear shorter due to accelerated wear caused by grinding habits. Another cause could be the amount of upper lip rise when you smile. The lip may rise too high in a condition called hypermobility. This could reveal too much of the gums when you smile.
It’s important then to match the treatment to the cause. For example, we can enhance the appearance of shorter teeth through a surgical procedure known as crown lengthening.Â During this procedure a surgeon reshapes the gum tissues and underlying bone to expose more of the tooth’s length.
For upper lip hypermobility, we can restrict movement with Botox, a drug that paralyzes tiny parts of the involved muscles. This approach, though, will wear off in a few months — a more permanent solution is surgery to reposition the muscle attachments so as to prevent excessive movement.
If you’re concerned about a gummy smile, see us for a full examination and consultation. Once we know the reason why, we can offer a solution that will make your smile more attractive.
If you would like more information on enhancing the appearance of your gums, 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 “Gummy Smiles.”
The American Dental Association (ADA) recommends scheduling a dental exam and professional cleaning every six months to help prevent tooth decay and gum disease, and to maintain healthy teeth and gums. But coordinating regular appointments for every member of the family can be challenging. Although general and family dentists receive the same training and generally provide most of the same services, some general dentists offer services exclusively to adult patients, making it necessary to find an additional dentist if you have children. A family dentist treats patients of all ages, making it easier for everyone in the family to get the care they need in one place. Dr. Kevin Thomas and Dr. Aaron Chenette offer a range of family dentistry services at Cohasset Dental in Cohasset, MA.
One Dentist for the Whole Family in Cohasset, MA
Many busy adults struggle to find the time to make dental appointments for preventive care, despite how important they are to oral and overall health. If you work full time and have school-aged children, getting everyone in the family to the dentist when something goes wrong, let alone for preventive care, can seem impossible. Taking care of everyone's dental needs at the same practice can cut down on costs and time spent getting to and from multiple dental appointments for individual family members.
Services Offered By a Family Dentist
A family dentist can treat school-aged children, their parents, and grandparents. From routine check-ups and dental cleanings to fillings, cosmetic treatments, and dentures, a family dentist is a one-stop shop for the oral health needs of patients of all ages.
Find a Family Dentist in Cohasset, MA
Get your family the dental care they need in one place at Cohasset Dental. For more information, contact our office by calling (781) 383-9393 to schedule an appointment with Dr. Thomas or Dr. Chenette today.