Family Dentistry Clemmons NC - General Dentistry - Dental Treatment Questions - Preventive Dental Care North Carolina
12-year-old likes to chew ice. Is this harmful?
Tooth enamel is very hard, but that doesn't mean you
can't break it. Try to avoid eating -hard foods- such as
popcorn. Don't crack nut shells with your teeth or chew
on ice. Opening packages with your teeth can also damage
Why are soft drinks
bad for your teeth?
Sugar and acids are your teeth's worst enemies. What are
we talking about? Soft drinks, energy drinks, fruit
juices, and candy. Because of the acid content, Mountain
Dew seems to be the worst of the worst. Dentists even
have a name for the damage it does - they call it -Dew
Mouth. These soften the tooth enamel, making it highly
susceptible to decay. Parents, watch your kid's
consumption of these, because young children's enamel
hasn't developed fully. This makes these drinks even
more damaging for kids. As well as eliminating the above
(or at least reducing their consumption), use a
sugar-free xylitol chewing gum after meals. Also, rinse
your mouth with a high-quality dental mouthwash.
seem to be a very bad idea. How bad?
Yes, they can look cool, but they can also fracture your
teeth as well as make it much easier to get a nasty
infection of the tongue and lips. Dentists have
estimated that up to 40% of people who have metal rings
or other oral piercings have had big problems from tooth
fractures and infection.
Is fluoride bad for
Fluoride is fine...in small amounts. Excessive fluoride
can cause tooth enamel irregularities. Young children,
especially, often swallow too much toothpaste while
brushing. So parents, supervise your young kids while
they brush. Kids (and even adults) often use way too
much toothpaste (a pea-size drop is plenty). A little
goes a long way.
I think I grind my
teeth at night. What can I do about this?
Do you wake up with pain in your jaws or a persistent
headache? If so, you may be grinding (called bruxing)
while you sleep. Persistent bruxing can damage teeth and
cause them to get shorter and shorter. It can also
damage your temporomandibular (jaw) joints and even
affect your hearing. If you suspect that you are a
bruxer, tell your dentist. He or she may recommend a
night guard or other oral appliance.
What's so bad about
losing a tooth?
Teeth can be lost due to an accident or other trauma,
but the most common reason people lose a tooth is
because of gum disease and/or decay. So, is it a big
deal to lose a tooth? I mean you can't die from it,
right? No, you can't, but losing even a single tooth can
cause the other teeth to shift and move around - not
good. This can affect chewing and your ability to absorb
nutrients from your food. Other bad things can happen;
your face will change shape, often looking "sunken."
This can make you look much older than you really are.
Your speech can be affected. Because it's harder to chew
with missing teeth, you may find yourself favoring
softer foods and more carbohydrates, which can cause you
to gain weight. The best way to treat a missing tooth
(or missing teeth) is with dental implants. An implant
can replace one tooth or many. They can be made to look
so natural that even a dentist has to look hard to tell
the doctor check for oral cancer?
Yes, we do. Dentists and hygienists are your first line
of defense in detecting and treating oral cancer. Each
year in the US, approximately 30,000 people are newly
diagnosed with oral cancer. Worldwide, the problem is
far greater, with new cases annually approaching
300,000. In the US alone, a person dies from oral cancer
every hour of every day. If you add the sub category of
laryngeal cancers, the rates of occurrence (about 10,000
additional new cases per year) and death are
significantly higher. However, the good news is, when
found early, oral cancers have an 80 to 90% cure rate.
Our office uses the VELscope Vx, the most powerful tool
available for assisting in the discovery of oral
abnormalities. The VELscope's distinctive blue-spectrum
light causes the soft tissues of the mouth to naturally
fluoresce. Healthy tissues fluoresce in distinctive
patterns - patterns that are visibly disrupted by trauma
or disease. Using the VELscope, a wide variety of oral
abnormalities can be discovered — often before they're
visible to the unassisted eye.
Discovering soft tissue abnormalities is particularly
important in the fight against oral cancer. Because the
VELscope Vx assists in early detection, cancer can be
caught before it has time to spread, potentially saving
lives through less invasive, more effective treatment.
What causes people
to lose their teeth?
Many people assume that tooth loss is due to decay. It's
not. It's because of gum disease. And it can be
completely painless right up until you lose your teeth.
Symptoms include bleeding gums when you brush or floss
and loose or shifting teeth. If you've been told you
need gum surgery, you will be glad to know that it's
possible to control gum disease with a variety of
I've read that gum
disease can contribute to heart disease and even stroke.
Is this true?
Yes. Recent medical research has caused many doctors to
reach a startling conclusion: gum disease, stroke, and
heart disease are linked. Since heart disease is usually
fatal, it is clear that gum disease is a serious matter.
The American Dental Association estimates that 8 out of
10 Americans have periodontal (gum) disease. If this
were any other affliction, such as AIDS or tuberculosis,
it would be considered an epidemic! Most dentists think
it is just that. They also knew that gum disease would
never be labeled epidemic because "no one ever dies from
it." The worst is that you lose your teeth. Not pleasant
– but certainly not life threatening. But that's all
The American Academy of Periodontology reports: "studies
found periodontal infection may contribute to the
development of heart disease, increase the risk of
premature, underweight births, and pose a serious threat
to people whose health is already compromised due to
diabetes and respiratory diseases." Periodontal disease
is characterized by bacterial infection of the gums.
These bacteria can travel into the bloodstream –
straight to the heart.
Now the Good News
With advanced periodontal disease, the treatment is
surgical. Gum surgery is never fun, but it is almost
always successful in controlling the condition, and it's
usually covered by common insurance plans. With mild
periodontal disease, there are very effective
NON-surgical procedures which, coupled with improved
dental hygiene, can virtually halt the spread of the
disease. This, too, is usually covered under most dental
What is a TMJ
TMJ stands for temporomandibular joint, your jaw joints.
The pain, discomfort, or tenderness in or around the jaw
joints is called a TMJ disorder.
Signs that you might have a TMJ disorder are:
• Facial pain or tenderness
• Jaw pain
• Pain in or around the ears
• Neck pain
• Jaw stiffness
• Discomfort while chewing
• Difficulty opening and closing the mouth
• Jaw "locking up"
• Jaw makes a clicking sound
• Teeth that don't come together properly when eating or
There are a variety of treatment options for TMJ. Be
sure to ask your dentist about these.