Your body is a little bit like a puzzle. It gives you clues to help you figure out what’s going on within your body. Did you know your mouth can give you hints about things that may be happening elsewhere in your body? Here’s a list of some of the signs your mouth can give you to pay attention to certain other aspects of your health.
Worn teeth and headache
If your teeth are showing extensive wear, you may be grinding your teeth. This would be even a stronger possibility if you’re also experiencing regular headaches, which can be caused by the muscle tension related to teeth grinding. This condition also indicates that you are likely under too much stress, and that you are unconsciously coping with it by grinding your teeth.
Gums covering teeth
If your gums begin to grow over your teeth and you are on medication, it may mean that your medication is at fault. Some medicines can cause your gums to overgrow, and the dosage needs to be adjusted.
An open sore in your mouth that doesn’t go away in a couple of weeks can be an indicator of oral cancer. Numbness and unexplained bleeding in your mouth are other signs. Smokers and people over age 60 are at the most risk, but that doesn’t mean it doesn’t affect others too. See your dentist to make sure all is okay.
If your teeth begin to crack or wear extensively, you may have gastroesophogeal reflux disease (GERD). It’s a digestive disease that allows stomach acid to flow back into your food pipe and mouth. This acid can cause your teeth to deteriorate. Additional signs of GERD are acid reflux, heartburn, and dry mouth.
If you wear dentures, make sure you remove and clean them regularly. Inhaling food debris from your dentures that makes its way to your lungs can lead to pneum
There are a number of reasons that dentists or oral surgeons recommend surgery, but facial injuries are probably the most unexpected and alarming cause. Maxillofacial injury, or facial trauma, refers to any injury to the mouth, jaw, and face. Most of these injuries result from sports, car accidents, job accidents, violence, or an accident at home. Let’s learn about oral surgery resulting from facial trauma.
Broken bones are a common type of serious facial injury. Fractures can occur in the upper or lower jaw, cheekbones, palate, and eye sockets. Injuries in these locations may affect vision and the ability to eat, talk, and breathe. Hospitalization is often required for treatment, which is similar to that for fractures in other parts of the body. The bones must be lined up and held in place to allow time to heal them in the correct position. Because casts are not possible in facial injuries, the surgeon may use wires, screws, or plates to treat fractures. Sometimes healing takes as long as six weeks or more.
Even though some facial injuries are worse than others, all of them should be taken seriously. They affect an important area of the body, so it is recommended to seek treatment from an oral surgeon to make sure you receive optimum care. Even if stitches are all that’s required, it’s best to have them performed by an oral surgeon who can place them exactly as needed to produce the best results.
It’s no surprise that the best solution for facial injuries is to prevent them in the first place. Oral surgeons suggest consistent use of mouth guards, seat belts, and masks and helmets as required. Improvements have been made to safety gear to make these items more comfortable and efficient, so there should be no excuses for not using them to protect yourself and avoid injuries that can lead to oral surgery.
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Dentures have improved dramatically over the past several years. Whether it’s your first set of dentures or your fifth set, you probably have questions. Below are some commonly asked questions and answers about dentures:
- Will dentures change how I look? Today’s dentures are personalized to your mouth, making their appearance more natural than ever. Dentures also support your cheeks and lips, making you look years younger.
- Will dentures change how I feel? After a period of adjustment, dentures should make you feel more confident than ever.
- Will dentures alter my speech? While speaking may be difficult initially, with practice, your speech should quickly return to normal. Practicing reading and counting out loud will help to speed up the adjustment.
- Will dentures affect how I eat? Eating may take some practice, and you should start with a soft food diet while you adjust to the differences between eating with your natural teeth and dentures. Take small bites and try to chew on both sides of your mouth at the same time. Avoid hard, crunchy or chewy foods that can damage your dentures.
- How do I care for my dentures? Clean dentures daily, brushing immediately after every meal if possible. Use a soft brush and gentle cleanser, taking care to avoid hard abrasives. Be careful when they are out of your mouth not to drop them or clean them on hard surfaces.
- Once I have dentures, will I still need to see the dentist? Regular dental examinations and professional denture cleanings are vital to maintaining your oral health. Have your dentist periodically check the fit of your dentures to ensure they are comfortable and last for as long as possible.
- When will I need to replace my dentures? With care, dentures typically last 5-10 years. Because your mouth continues to change shape as you age and denture teeth wear down, you should have them checked yearly to avoid any significant problems.
Consult with your dental professional about any additional questions or concerns you may have about your future with dentures and your potential for a bright, new smile.
We treat patients from Morehead City and the surrounding area
Nitrous oxide, otherwise known as laughing or happy gas, is a colorless and odorless gas that you inhale through your nose. The effects of nitrous oxide are a relaxed feeling and diminished pain, making it an ideal sedation option for many dental procedures. Advantages of sedation utilizing nitrous oxide include:
- The effects of nitrous oxide make their way to the brain in mere seconds, and the pain relieving properties develop in just minutes.
- Your sedation dentist can alter the level of sedation during treatment.
- Nitrous oxide can be administered for the exact amount of time it is needed to complete the procedure.
- Nitrous oxide has no negative after-effects because it is eliminated from the body within five minutes after the sedation is stopped.
- Your sedation dentist has complete control and is able to give incremental doses of nitrous oxide, eliminating the risk of accidentally overdosing.
- No injection is required, making nitrous oxide a very attractive option for patients with a fear of needles.
- The relaxing effects of sedation with nitrous oxide is known to eliminate or reduce gagging.
- Sedation with nitrous oxide is considered very safe and has no negative effects on other organs of the body.
There are a few potential disadvantages of sedation with nitrous oxide, including:
- Some patients may not achieve the desired level of sedation with the maximum amounts of nitrous oxide allowed.
- Patients who are mouth breathers, have claustrophobia, or have difficulty breathing through their nose may not be good candidates for nitrous oxide.
- If you are prone to nausea or a sensitive stomach, nitrous oxide may not be a good option.
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If you have tooth pain or another issue, you might wonder what a visit to the dentist may reveal. You may need a root canal procedure. In order to properly evaluate your issue and to confirm the need for a procedure, a dentist will examine several factors. These typically include the symptoms you are experiencing, the signs observed, and any additional testing required to confirm an initial theory.
You may have noticed:
- You experience average to severe pain that lingers, during or immediately after drinking hot liquids or food, or very cold liquids or foods.
- You have pain, swelling, or sensitivity when biting or chewing on a certain tooth.
- Your tooth pain disrupts your life, preventing you from sleeping through the night or conducting your daily business without taking an over-the-counter pain reliever.
- You have a “bubble” on your gum, similar to a pimple. When irritated, it may release blood or pus that can smell or taste bad.
- You have pain that radiates out from one tooth to other areas of your head or jaw. For example, a tooth pain can lead to a pain behind the eye like a headache or to the ear, resulting in earache symptoms.
- You have a discolored tooth that is darker than the surrounding teeth. A grey tooth can indicate a “dead” tooth.
- You have a broken or cracked tooth with obvious signs of damage or decay.
Your dentist may have noticed:
- A tooth problem revealed by x-rays
- A recurring or persistent gum pimple (also called “fistulous tracts”)
- A tooth that has changed color
- X-ray examination – if x-rays did not reveal the problem, they can provide an extremely clear picture of tooth health
- Percussion testing – a gentle tapping on the teeth to evaluate pain response
- Thermal testing – a careful application of a hot or cold stimulus to evaluate sensitivity
Sometimes, teeth needing to undergo a root canal procedure have no symptoms discernible to the patient. It is important to visit your dentist regularly to ensure the proper diagnosis and treatment needed to maintain life-long oral health.
If you need root canal treatment in the Morehead City area, contact our office today to schedule a consultation.