Oral health is important no matter your age. It’s not just a part of maintaining a beautiful smile, but also a crucial element in overall wellness and quality of life. The health of your body and the health of your mouth are connected, and both require ongoing care. This is especially true for our older patients. Aging certainly doesn’t mean you have to resign yourself to dentures…with proper care, your teeth can last a lifetime. However, there are additional concerns that come up for patients over 60. To learn more, here are 5 tips from Dr. Brunacini and Dr. Karagiorgos.
1. Watch Out For Cavities As You Age
As we age, we become more prone to cavities. Dry mouth, also called xerostomia, is often the cause and is a side effect of many medications. Saliva is one of your mouth’s best defenses against tooth decay. Be sure to tell Dr. Brunacini or Dr. Karagiorgos about any medications you are taking or if you are experiencing dry mouth. They will have recommendations for how to restore moisture and work with you to help keep your mouth healthy.
2. Share Your Medical History with Dr. Brunacini and Dr. Karagiorgos
We are a part of your health care team. Beyond sharing what medications you are taking, it is important to share any medical conditions such as heart conditions. In such cases, Dr. Brunacini and Dr. Karagiorgos may recommend antibiotic prophylaxis, which is taking antibiotics prior to a dental procedure. We all have bacteria in our mouths, but for people with certain conditions when that bacteria enters the bloodstream it can cause infection elsewhere in the body. Talk to Dr. Brunacini or Dr. Karagiorgos if you have any questions or concerns about the interactions between your medical conditions and oral care.
3. Cosmetic Procedures Are For Patients of Every Age!
If you are self-conscious about your smile or wish you could improve the look of your teeth, let us know! There are several cosmetic options for patients of any age that can dramatically improve your smile. Examples include:
- Veneers: These can be done on aging teeth can help patients have more confidence in their smiles.
- Teeth Whitening: This works on natural teeth and can make teeth look more youthful. Please note that whitening does not work on crowns.
- Orthodontics: There are options that exist as long as teeth have good bone support. Our teeth become more crowded as we age which can result in some teeth becoming crooked over time.
4. Let Us Know if Your Dentures Are Loose
There have been many advances in recent years to help people with loose dentures. If you have discomfort or concerns about the fit of your dentures, talk to Dr. Brunacini or Dr. Karagiorgos. They can discuss possible choices for you such as implants which help dentures have a tighter fit, or implant-support bridges. The point is, there are options and we are here to help!
5. Don’t Forget Your Oral Health Care Basics
It’s important for all our patients, especially those over 60 to follow our recommended oral health care regimen: brush twice daily, floss daily, and schedule regular appointments with FDA. We hear from some patients with arthritis that brushing can be a literal pain. We recommend an electric toothbrush to help get to all parts of your teeth while limiting your arm movement. We also like to remind our patients to include healthy diet as part of their oral health care. For example older patients need to make sure they are getting enough calcium–not just from supplements, but from dairy products and leafy greens to support teeth health.
Thank you Dr. Brunacini and Dr. Karagiorgos! If you have more questions about your oral health or need to schedule an appointment, please give us a call at 207.781.5900. Our entire staff is dedicated to providing you with the most caring and comfortable environment possible while also providing top quality dental care for all ages.
*Image courtesy of www.cdc.gov
As a child, you may have disliked the constant reminders from mom and dad to brush your teeth before bed, but as we get older, we realize more and more how beneficial healthy oral hygiene is to the longevity of our pearly whites, and just how right mom and dad were.
With each meal, we invite sugars and starches to engage with the natural bacteria that exists within our mouths. This combination of bacteria is the sticky film we all know as plaque. When we brush our teeth, we’re cleaning the plaque from our teeth which in turn minimizes the likelihood of developing cavities and gum disease.
What’s the difference between a cavity and gum disease? A cavity is the result of tooth decay, and gum disease is when there’s an infection in the tissues that surround and support our teeth. The term gum disease can sound pretty scary to some, but it’s actually a condition that can be very subtle and easily treatable in its early stages. Let’s review the three stages of gum disease and their side effects.
This is the earliest stage of gum disease, and is best defined as inflammation of the gums. If you’re experiencing gum line inflammation, that may be a strong indicator that there is plaque buildup within the actual gums. A side effect to gingivitis (if inflammation is not prominent) is bleeding of the gums while brushing or flossing. Gingivitis is nothing to be too shook up about if caught in early stages, as the tissue and bone have yet to be affected.
If gingivitis goes untreated the infection can begin to progress into a more moderate case. Periodontitis can destroy the tissue and bone surrounding the teeth. Side effects in addition to those of gingivitis are receding gum lines, spaces forming between teeth, an unpleasant mouth odor or taste, and a pus between the teeth and gums. Real tooth and gum damage are a concern with periodontitis, so treatment to prevent any further damage is highly recommended at this stage.
This stage can bring an abnormally rapid deterioration of the teeth and gums. In this acute case of gum disease, tooth loss becomes an actual concern. A visit to the dentist is necessary in an effort to save the teeth and the function of chewing.
As you can see, gum disease can go from being something as mild as gum tenderness to a larger oral condition in just a few stages; however, prevention is simple and treatment options are available. Preventative care is as easy as (1) choosing the right toothbrush for your gums, (2) brushing twice a day, (3) flossing once a day, (4) monitoring sugar intake, and (5) keeping up with routine cleanings.
We understand oral health is a sensitive matter, so if after reading this you have questions regarding gum disease, Dr. Brunacini and Dr. Karagiorgos are here to help you. Please do not hesitate to call our office to schedule an appointment at 207-781-5900.
We all know how packed candies are with sugars, but during Halloween the temptation for sweet treats is too great to resist. A few pieces here and there are fine to eat in moderation, but too many candies will load devilish sugars on our teeth and eat away at our enamel if we don’t follow a proper brushing and flossing routine. How can we enjoy Halloween’s customary perks of eating candy while maintaining good oral health? There are several ways you can do both during this year’s festive night.
- Limit time eating candy. The amount of time your teeth are exposed to sugary candies plays a big role in maintaining proper oral health. If you eat a meal and treat yourself to a piece or two of candy immediately after, your teeth are better off. This is because saliva production increases when you eat meals and cancels out the acid bacteria produces in your mouth. By eating candy directly after a meal, your saliva will help rinse away food particles and candy sugars quickly.
- Choose candies sensibly. Hard candies are the absolute worst. The amount of time they linger in your mouth, spreading sugars along your teeth, can contribute to tooth decay. Similarly, if you bite down on a hard sucker you may risk cracking a molar. To be safe, choose candies like chocolates that disappear quickly. Your teeth will be exposed to sugars much shorter this way.
- Avoid sticky candies. Candy like taffy, caramel, and gummies stick to your teeth relentlessly. Long after you’ve finished chewing, particles of these sticky treats may remain stuck to your molars, eating away at your enamel. You want to be sure you avoid these dental threats as best you can to reduce the chances of getting tooth decay.
- Brush, floss, and drink water. Of course, if you can’t avoid sneaking in a few candies during October’s customary holiday, remember to take care of your teeth after snacking. Brush well, floss, and drink water. Following this routine after consuming sugary snacks (or any meal) is good practice to maintain optimal oral health.
This Halloween, try out some of our tips to enjoy a tooth-friendly holiday. Don’t forget to schedule your next cleaning, if it’s not on the calendar already. Call us at (207) 781-5900 to book an appointment.
Many of us are familiar with ozone, the triple bonded oxygen molecule, because of the role it plays in our atmosphere. When used in dentistry, ozone therapy can have amazing oral health benefits and it is one of a handful of holistic options we offer at Falmouth Dental Arts.
Ozone is a very effective oxidizer: the molecule itself carries a strong negative charge. This negative charge is attracted to the positive charges found on many harmful pathogens, such as bacteria, amoebas, and fungi. When bonded to a negatively charged cell membrane, the ozone causes a rupture which kills the pathogen, as illustrated here. Compared to chlorine, one molecule of ozone kills pathogens 3,000 to 10,000 times more efficiently and 3,500 times faster.
The cell membranes of our own cells and helpful parasites contain antioxidants that do not react with ozone. Therefore, ozone therapy has no effect on the cells we want to keep intact. In this way, ozone therapy is a great tool for treating oral infection and disease with a naturally occurring, broad spectrum substance with no toxicity or side effects.
We’ve outlined specific uses of ozone in dentistry. Feel free to give us a call to make your next holistic dental appointment.
Ozone gas can be used to treat cavities. The gas allows ozone to seep into the deepest grooves and pits of the teeth. In addition to killing bacteria on contact, ozone promotes the re-calcification of tooth structure, which increases tooth strength and reduced sensitivity. If a cavity has developed and needs a restoration, a tooth-colored composite filling will be placed after the cavity has been removed and the tooth has been sterilized with ozone.
Used in combinations of gas and liquid, ozone is an ideal adjunct treatment for gum disease, which is often caused by bacteria. Ozone gas and ozonated water can be applied to gum tissue and the gum pockets where it will oxidize and kill the “bad” bacteria that are destroying connective tissues. This will promote healing and increase the treatment’s success rate.
Root Canal Therapy
Root canal therapy is a routine procedure used to treat an infection within the pulp chamber of a tooth. Ozonated water or ozone gas can be used during the root canal procedure to kill existing bacteria, sterilize the root canal tubules and accessory canals, and promote faster healing. In gas form, ozone can reach places other techniques and products cannot. This ensures successful treatment in the long term.
Teeth that have become weakened, worn down, or have receding gums may become overly sensitive. Ozone gas can be used to harden the existing tooth structure and close off the pores on the root surface, which decreases the tooth’s sensitivity. This treatment has a high success rate and can mean the end of avoiding favorite foods or drink.
Ozone for All!
Here in the office we are able to generate ozone by using pure medical grade oxygen passed through a corona discharge generator. This will produce therapeutic ozone in the form of liquid or gas. Our ozone generator allows us to produce pure, contaminate free, predictable and precise concentrations of therapeutic ozone. Ozone is safe, effective, and produces no byproducts. It simply breaks down into oxygen and water.
Ozone has no associated medical complications. We are therefore able to use ozone on all of our patients regardless of age, health, or medication use. It is a wonderful adjunct treatment that helps boost the success rate of almost any dental treatment. Give us a call to learn more about using ozone at your next appointment.
Americans have seen an overall improvement in their oral health ever since we started adding fluoride to our daily intake of water, but in other ways, fluoridation has led to a hidden problem, what we in the industry refer to as “hidden caries.” Our tooth enamel has become harder and more durable due to the fluoride we receive, but sometimes this causes tooth decay to travel below the surface, where it can go undetected and wreak havoc on a patient’s oral health and on our ability to diagnose the problem.
Our solution? The DIAGNOdent Laser. This tool allows dentists to see below the surface of a tooth in order to know exactly what the ‘root’ cause is. In the past, dentists had to occasionally guess and perform procedures without knowing if they were targeting the correct issue. With our DIAGNOdent laser, the guesswork is gone, allowing us to make the right diagnosis for your optimal dental health.
The laser emits a specific wavelength of light (655 nanometers to be exact) that targets the problem area. Healthy tooth material won’t react at all, but decaying material, even below the surface, will reflect a fluorescence that is measured by the laser. The higher the fluorescence, the more tooth decay there is.
If you’re experiencing dental problems and are unsure of the cause, it’s possible that we can detect the issue with the DIAGNOdent laser. Call our office at 207-781-5900 and tell us your story.