Conditions & Diseases
Of the Gums
Gingivitis: Gingivitis is a chronic inflammation of the gum tissue (gingiva). Typically associated with poor oral hygiene, gingivitis is the early stage of gum disease (also called periodontal disease and periodontitis). Many people are not even be aware that they have gingivitis, because it is usually not painful. (Read More)
Gum Disease: Gum disease (also known as periodontal disease and periodontitis) is an inflammatory condition affecting the tissues surrounding a tooth, and is the leading cause of tooth loss. There are a number of causes of gum disease, each of which can be corrected and controlled.
Gum Disease Treatments: There are a number of treatments available for gum disease sufferers, each of which varies depending on the severity of the condition. In order to determine the treatment modality that best meets your needs, your dentist will evaluate the extent of the damage caused by gum disease to develop a conservative initial plan. (Read More)
Gummy Smile: Gummy smile can have a negative affect on the esthetics of your smile. The optimal smile line appearance should reveal the least amount of gum tissue possible. Gum tissue visible in the smile line should have balanced, even contours that are in harmony with the upper lip. It is for this reason that many people with a gummy smile or excessive gingival display feel their smile to be unattractive, oftentimes feeling reluctant to smile at all. (Read More).
Trench Mouth: Necrotizing ulcerative gingivitis, better known as trench mouth, is an acute gingival infection caused by bacterial plaque. Although trench mouth is uncommon, certain people – such as malnourished children and young adults, smokers and people with immunodeficiencies – are more susceptible to this gum disease. (Read More)
Of the Mouth
Bad Breath (Halitosis): Bad breath, otherwise known as halitosis, is a very common oral health issue. People of most any age may suffer from halitosis. Researchers have determined that bad breath typically originates during open-air interaction with bacteria in the mouth, the nose or the stomach. (Read More)
Bad Breath Solutions: Simply put, good dental hygiene prevents halitosis that originates in the mouth. Food debris between your teeth and around your gums creates an ideal environment for the bacteria that cause bad breath, so you need to remove it often.
Burning Mouth Syndrome: Burning mouth syndrome (BMS) is a chronic, painful condition characterized by burning sensations in the tongue, lips, palate (roof of the mouth), gums, inside of the cheeks and the back of the mouth or throat. Burning mouth syndrome may also be called burning tongue syndrome, burning lips syndrome, glossodynia, stomatodynia and scalded mouth syndrome. (Read More)
Canker Sores: Canker sores (known by dentists and medical professionals as aphthous ulcers) are one of the most common oral conditions affecting people everywhere. Up to 25 percent of the population has these small, painful, persistent sores, with recurrence rates of up to 50 percent. Simply stated, their cause is unknown; however, there are a number of common canker sore triggers. (Read More)
Dry Mouth Syndrome: Dry mouth syndrome, also known as xerostomia, is a dry, uncomfortable feeling in your mouth that results from a decrease in the amount of your saliva. Dry mouth syndrome can be temporary or a chronic problem. A number of symptoms are commonly attributed to dry mouth syndrome, each of which can be classified as mild, moderate or severe. If you experience any of the following symptoms on an ongoing basis, you should talk to your dentist about xerostomia. (Read More)
Oral Cancer: More than 28,000 cases of oral cancer are diagnosed annually, with more than 7,000 of these cases resulting in death. Since oral cancer often begins with an asymptomatic stage during which symptoms may not be obvious, it is often painless initially and therefore difficult to detect. (Read More)
Oral Cancer Treatment and Prevention: To treat oral cancer, doctors may administer one or more of three primary treatment modalities: surgery, radiation therapy or chemotherapy. Any irritation of the mouth, gums or tongue may increase the risk of oral cancer. You are advised to perform periodic self-examinations of your mouth, gums, tongue and cheeks to check for the presence of any abnormalities.
Oral Herpes: Oral herpes is a common and generally benign viral condition that produces painful and frequently unsightly sores on the lips or adjacent skin. The virus may also cause sores on the bone-bearing tissues such as the gums and the roof of the mouth. In the U.S., up to 60 percent of children are exposed to the virus by late puberty and nearly 90 percent of adults carry the virus by age sixty. (Read More)
Oral Thrush: Oral thrush – or oral candidiasis – is a fungal infection of the mouth common among denture wearers, infants and people with weakened or compromised immune systems. Oral thrush is caused primarily when there is an overgrowth of Candida albicans, a yeast normally present in the mouth in small quantities and kept in balance by helpful bacteria in the body. This allows an unhealthy overgrowth of Candida to occur that results in oral thrush. (Read More)
Of the Teeth
Dental Plaque: Dental plaque is a sticky, colorless film that continually forms in between and on the surface of the teeth. If dental plaque accumulates and is not removed, it can harden and turn into calculus or tartar. Continued plaque accumulation can contribute to structural damage to your teeth and the bone supporting the teeth and gums, as well as other health complications. (Read More)
Root Canal: The thought of a root canal can shoot quivers up one’s spine. It makes sense, after all, since a root canal is often warranted after a period of relentless pain. The good news is that root canals today not only provide dental pain relief, but an average of 17 million teeth per year are restored and saved because of root canals. Sounds better than a tooth extraction, right?
Root Canal Procedure: At the first dental visit, you may be prescribed antibiotic treatment for a number of days before the root canal procedure is performed. At the beginning of the procedure, your dentist will anesthetize the tooth sufficiently to prevent pain while performing the root canal procedure. (Read More)
Teeth Grinding: In the past, grinding (sideways movements of the jaws, with the teeth just touching) and clenching (clamping the uppers and lowers together) were believed to be caused by malocclusion (a bad bite). However, the latest research sees lifestyle reflexes – our ways of dealing with anxiety and stress – as the primary cause, with sleep disturbances and malocclusion serving as secondary and tertiary causes. Your dentist is in the best position to evaluate the extent of wear and tear on your teeth, gums and jaw, and to provide a practical remedy to offset further damage. (Read More)
Toothache: Studies have demonstrated that heart attacks may be signaled by the sensation of pain on the left side of the jaw. Soreness in the jaw and cheekbones or difficulty in chewing may also be the first sign of temporomandibular joint disorder (TMD), a serious maxillofacial condition. You should consult your dentist if you have a chronic or extremely painful toothache. (Read More)
Toothache Causes and Solutions: Treatment for toothaches varies significantly depending on the severity of the pain and its cause. Your dentist may advise you to take ibuprofen, acetaminophen or aspirin to dull the pain. Over-the-counter medications containing benzocaine may reduce pain in the affected tooth, or surrounding gum area. However, aspirin applied directly to the tooth is not recommended, because it can burn the gums or cheek.
Tooth Abscess: Tooth abscesses occur when bacteria invade the dental pulp, the soft inner part of the tooth that contains blood vessels, nerves and tissue. Bacteria enter through a dental cavity, chip or crack in the tooth and spread to the root, causing swelling and the formation of pus (bacteria, dead tissue and white blood cells). If unchecked, the bacterial infection can spread from the tooth root to different parts of the body. (Read More)
Tooth Decay: Tooth decay is a degenerative oral health condition that results from the breakdown of tooth enamel. If decay is detected before it reaches the nerve of the tooth, a dentist can restore the tooth by removing the decay and replacing it with a dental filling. (Read More)
Tooth Loss: Edentulism, or tooth loss, can rob you of much more than the ability to chew and properly digest food. Tooth loss has serious social, psychological and emotional consequences, impacting your quality of life, self-image and self-esteem. (Read More)
Tooth Pain & Sinuses: Studies have indicated that in many cases, a correlation exists between sinus infections and caries (cavities), impacted wisdom teeth, incomplete dental work, and tooth or crown fracture. Untreated sinus infections may make it difficult to maintain dental hygiene. (Read More)
Tooth Sensitivity: Roughly 45 million Americans experience tooth sensitivity, a condition characterized by a tingly feeling or a flash pinch of pain affecting all teeth, certain areas of certain teeth or all of one or more teeth. It is best to see a dentist about sensitive teeth to determine the true nature of the sensitivity. (Read More)
Wisdom Teeth: Wisdom teeth molars typically develop at age 10 and may begin to surface any time during adolescence or in a person’s twenties. Impacted wisdom teeth may become painful and problematic, at which point they are often extracted through minor oral surgery. (Read More)
Wisdom Teeth Challenges: The dental community knows more than ever before about the consequences of not extracting impacted wisdom teeth. If impacted wisdom teeth are not extracted, a variety of issues may occur.
Cleft Lip and Cleft Palate: In the United States, an estimated one in 700 babies each year – and possibly as many as one in 500 – are born with one or both of the birth defects known as cleft lip and cleft palate. Meaning “split” or “opening,” clefts are among the most common major birth defects. (Read More)
Dental Anxiety and Phobia: Dental anxiety and phobia are disorders causing people to avoid dentists and important dental treatments. People suffering with dental anxiety experience increased stress and nervousness when at the dental office and are therefore reluctant to visit the dentist. Those suffering from dental phobia, a more serious condition characterized by a severe, unreasonable fear, are actually panic-stricken and would rather suffer from gum disease, tooth pain, tooth loss or unsightly teeth, than visit the dentist. (Read More)
Genetic Dental Abnormalities: Genetic mouth/dental abnormalities (anomalies) are problems, dysfunctions and diseases of oral tissues and dentition caused by defective genes. Many genetic dental/oral abnormalities indicate more complex disorders and are linked to inherited traits and defects, or result from spontaneous genetic mutations. (Read More)
Genetic Dental Abnormality Treatments: Symptoms and complications of genetic abnormalities affecting dentition and oral tissues range from mild to severe and even can be life threatening. People with certain genetic oral/dental abnormalities are at risk for early death, cancer and psychiatric disorders. Therefore, seeking evaluation and treatment at the first signs or indication of a genetic oral/dental abnormality is important. (Read More)
Medication Side Effects: Dentists have learned that certain medications may negatively impact oral health. The good news is that the dental community has developed some tips aimed at helping you avoid medication-induced oral side effects. (Read More)
Medication Types: Not all medications are associated with oral health side effects. In addition, the drugs that can elicit side effects may be used in such a manner that either prevents or manages their occurrence. (Read More)
Osteonecrosis of the Jaw: Osteonecrosis of the jaw (ONJ), also known as “dead jaw syndrome,” Avascular Necrosis and Aseptic Necrosis, is a rare but serious condition involving severe loss or destruction of the jawbone. ONJ disrupts the blood supply to the jawbone. This causes tiny breaks that can lead to total bone collapse and significant damage, including tooth loss. If you have ONJ, you may not show symptoms for weeks or months. ONJ may only become evident when the bone is exposed in the jaw. (Read More)
Sleep Apnea: Sleep apnea is a common problem that affects both adults and children. The National Institutes of Health estimate that more than 12 million Americans have sleep apnea, most often undetected or misdiagnosed. Sleep apnea may contribute to high blood pressure, cardiovascular disease and erectile dysfunction, as well as to memory and concentration impairment. (Read More)
Sleep Apnea Diagnosis and Treatment: Sleep apnea is difficult to diagnose and treat, partly because the medical community is still learning about sleep. We suggest involving specialists in various areas of medicine and dentistry in an integrated approach to the diagnosis of sleep apnea.
Temporomandibular Joint Disorder (TMJ/TMD): Temporomandibular disorder (TMJ, TMJD or TMD) affects the temporomandibular joint, an area that includes the hinge jaw joint (the bridge for the lower jaw or mandible) and the temporal bone of the skull located in front of each ear, the muscles surrounding the jaw and the jaw itself. The pain and discomfort caused by TMJ disorder may be severe, can be either intermittent or constant and may last for many years. TMJ disorder has often been portrayed as psycho-stress related, but in truth there are many different types of TMJ, any one of which may result from multiple causes.
TMJ Causes, Symptoms and Diagnosis: There are several TMJ disorders, any one of which can result from multiple causes. The most common factor contributing to TMD is a bite problem affecting the joint itself. The most common symptom of TMD is pain in the chewing muscles or jaw joint, the onset of which is typically the first step toward diagnosis. (Read More)
TMJ Treatments: There are a number of treatment options available to correct TMJ disorder. Your particular TMD treatment should be determined through consultation with a dental professional highly experienced in temporomandibular joint problems. “Conservative” is the key word when it comes to TMJ treatment. (Read More)