HELP YOUR DENTIST HELP YOU1. See your dentist regularly. Doing so can help ensure that problems are taken care of before they become more serious and expensive. 2. Choose a dentist who belongs to your plan's network. Switching from a dentist who isn't in the plan to one who is enrolled will likely save you money. 3. Take advantage of any exams, teeth cleanings or X-rays your insurance may cover. Getting regular dental check-ups, such as cleanings and exams, will help prevent dental complications or worsening of dental problems such as cavities.4. Become a partner in your dental health. Tell your dentist about yourself and your concerns, and ask questions about caring for your teeth. Make sure you also understand any treatment options your dentist recommends.See your dentist right away if your gums bleed often or pull away from your teeth, your teeth are loose or separating, you see red or white patches on gums, tongue or mouth floor, your mouth or jaw pain persists, your mouth sores don't heal in two weeks or you have any problems swallowing or chewing.
HEALTHY GUMS FOR HEALTHY SMILESGum disease is a chronic bacterial infection that affects gums and bone supporting the teeth. Major risk factors for gum disease are poor dental hygiene and smoking. Diabetes, unhealthy diet and stress can also increase your chance of developing gum disease.
What You Need to Know About Gum DiseaseIn early gum disease, called gingivitis, your gums may be red, swollen and bleeding. At this stage, the condition is still usually reversible when treated with daily brushing and flossing, as well as regular dental cleanings. In a later-stage disease, called periodontitis, your gums may be seriously damaged and begin to pull away from the teeth. You may also lose supporting bone. This stage of the disease may require surgical treatment and is not reversible.When Your Gums RecedePeriodontal disease is by far the most serious cause of gum recession. If gum recession leaves the roots of your teeth exposed, your teeth may become more sensitive to hot, cold, sweet or sour foods and drinks. Your dentist may recommend using a soft toothbrush, special toothpaste, or a fluoride rinse. Here are some smart ways to help minimize the effects of periodontal disease:1. Brush your teeth gently, at least twice a day, with special attention to the gum line. Use a fluoride toothpaste.2. Replace your toothbrush every three to four months or sooner if the bristles begin to fray.3. Floss at least once a day. Your teeth aren't truly clean until they're brushed and flossed.4. Visit the dentist routinely for a checkup and professional cleaning.5. Eat a nutritious diet, avoid sugary drinks and food, and snack wisely.6. Avoid smoking and all tobacco products.
SENSITIVE SMILE?Do you cringe from discomfort or pain when you drink a hot beverage or bite into a popsicle? If so, you may be suffering from sensitive teeth. Tooth sensitivity is a fairly common problem triggered by hot or cold foods and drinks, or even by breathing cold air.What Causes Sensitive Teeth?Exposed dentin is usually to blame. Dentin is the tissue that makes up the core of each tooth. On the crown of the tooth a protective coating of enamel covers the dentin - when the enamel wears away or decays, the dentin becomes exposed and vulnerable to sensations, including pain. Periodontal (gum) disease - an infection of the gums and bone that support the teeth - may also be responsible. Gum disease, or even too vigorous brushing, can cause the gums to recede, leaving the root surfaces exposed, and causing pain. If gum disease isn't treated, it can progress until the bone and other tooth supporting the tissues are damaged.How Your Dentist Can Help You Manage SensitivityYour dentist will examine your teeth, look for causes of sensitivity, and make treatment recommendations. A dentist can measure the severity of your sensitive teeth by spraying air across each area of your teeth to determine the exact location of sensitivity.1. If your sensitivity is cause by clenching or grinding, your dentist may recommend a mouth guard. 2. Products for home use include desensitizing toothpastes and mouth rinses.3. In-office procedures include application of desensitizing agents or protective sealants.4. If gum tissue has been lost from the root (gum recession), your dentist may recommend a surgical gum graft to cover the root, protect the tooth and reduce the sensitivity.5. In cases in which hypersensitivity is severe, persistent and cannot be treated by other means, your dentist may recommend a filling to eliminate the problem.
STOP THE GRIND, SAVE YOUR SMILEIf you're grinding your teeth while you sleep, if you gnash and gnaw in your slumber, you most likely have what's called sleep bruxism, or night grinding. Grinding your teeth and clenching your jaw at night can wear down your teeth, causing serious damage. It can even harm the temporomandibular joint (TMJ) in your jaw. Not sure if you're giving your teeth a rest or not? You may be grinding your teeth at night if you have:1. Headaches2. A sore jaw3. Unexplained facial pain4. Neck Aches5. EarachesIf you're concerned about your teeth grinding, talk with your dentist. A nighttime mouthguard may help you prevent tooth damage and pain.Minimize Stress, Maximize RestStress may worsen teeth grinding, so try not to let it sink its jaws into you. Problems at work, at home, in relationships and just from day-to-day life can have a negative effect on nearly anyone. Bruxism is linked to stress. Nighttime mouthguards can help significantly reduce the impact of grinding on your teeth, but not stop the grinding itself. Relaxation techniques such as deep breathing and meditation may help to reduce your stress levels and help reduce bruxism. Exercise is key to helping alleviate stress and minimizing its negative effects on your body. Prescription medications and counseling may also help you address the issues that are causing your stress.
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