Sometimes dental conditions point to health problems beyond the teeth and gums. An astute dentist may even be able to discern that a person’s oral problems actually arise from issues with their emotional well-being.Â In fact, a visit to the dentist could uncover the presence of two of the most prominent eating disorders, bulimia nervosa or anorexia nervosa.
Here are 3 signs dentists look for that may indicate an eating disorder.
Dental Erosion. Ninety percent of patients with bulimia and twenty percent with anorexia have some form of enamel erosion. This occurs because stomach acid — which can soften and erode enamel — enters the mouth during self-induced vomiting (purging), a prominent behavior with bulimics and somewhat with anorexics. This erosion looks different from other causes because the tongue rests against the back of the bottom teeth during vomiting, shielding them from much of the stomach acid. As a result, erosion is usually more severe on the upper front teeth, particularly on the tongue side and biting edges.
Enlarged Salivary Glands. A person induces vomiting during purging by using their fingers or other objects. This irritates soft tissues in the back of the throat like the salivary glands and causes them to swell. A dentist or hygienist may notice redness on the inside of the throat or puffiness on the outside of the face just below the ears.
Over-Aggressive Brushing. Bulimics are acutely aware of their appearance and often practice diligent hygiene habits. This includes brushing the teeth, especially after a purging episode. In doing so they may become too aggressive and, coupled with brushing right after purging when the minerals in enamel are softened, cause even greater erosion.
Uncovering a family member’s eating disorder can be stressful for all involved. In the long run, it’s best to seek out professional help and guidance — a good place to start is the National Eating Disorders Association (www.nationaleatingdisorders.org). While you’re seeking help, you can also minimize dental damage by encouraging the person to rinse with water (or a little baking soda) after purging to neutralize any acid in the mouth, as well as avoid brushing for an hour.
If you would like more information on the effect of eating disorders on oral health, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can also learn more about this topic by reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “Bulimia, Anorexia & Oral Health.”
Find out the root cause of your toothache and what to do about it.
It seems like the whole world stops when you are dealing with a toothache. It’s amazing how much the throbbing and aching can be enough to stop you from enjoying your lunch let alone get anything done at work. What could be causing this incessant pain? Our Woodstock, Kennesaw and Marietta, GA, dentists are here to tell you what your toothache is trying to tell you.
Do you experience sensitivity to hot or cold foods?
If you notice brief pains in one or more teeth when eating ice cream or indulging in a steaming-hot cup of coffee, it could be a cavity or it could simply be that you have tooth sensitivity. This usually happens when enough enamel has been worn away from the tooth (this is common in those who grind their teeth). If you are noticing this issue it’s a good time to turn to our Woodstock, Kennesaw and Marietta general dentists to make sure that you don’t have a cavity and to find out ways to address your sensitivity.
When does a toothache signify something more serious?
Sometimes the pain you are experiencing isn’t due to decay at all. Of course, it could mean a myriad of things, from gum disease to an infection inside the tooth. If you notice that you experience pain when chewing or biting down, this could have a cracked or fractured tooth.
Depending on the severity of the fracture, we will need to shave away the crack or fracture and then place either a crown or filling over the tooth to restore it. If the pain is due to an infection, in many cases root canal treatment will be required to remove the inflamed or infected dental pulp and to preserve as much of the natural tooth structure as possible.
If in doubt, call your dentist right away at the first signs of dental pain. 1st Choice Dental Care in Woodstock, Kennesaw and Marietta, GA, is ready to provide you with the immediate dental care you need. Call us today and let us know if you are dealing with dental pain. We’ll try and get you in as soon as possible.
Are you looking for other ways to safeguard your child’s smile from decay?
With the amount of sugar that sneaks into our diets, it’s not too surprising that our Woodstock, Kennesaw and Marietta, GA, dentists see a lot of children dealing with cavities. Perhaps kids aren’t brushing as well as they should or they are choosing foods and drinks that damage teeth and gums rather than promote a healthy smile. If you are concerned that your child may be at risk for cavities, find out how dental sealants could help.
What are dental sealants?
While nothing will take the place of proper brushing and flossing, there is another safeguard that you can take to protect your child’s smile from decay. Dental sealants, which are made from tooth-colored plastic, are bonded to the chewing surfaces of your child’s molars to reduce your child’s risk of cavities.
How do dental sealants work?
While all teeth are prone to decay if they aren’t properly cared for, back teeth tend to be most at risk for decay. Why? All you have to do is open your mouth and take a look at the chewing surfaces of those teeth. Do you notice a lot of crevices and grooves in those teeth? These areas can easily trap food and bacteria, which can be challenging for your children to thoroughly remove through brushing. By sealing these grooves with dental sealants, we can prevent bacteria from getting stuck in these hard-to-clean regions.
How are sealants placed?
Most parents think about their children getting dental procedures and they worry that it will lead to anxiety or even a tantrum, but you’ll be happy to hear that getting sealants is completely painless. After our Woodstock, Kennesaw and Marietta family dentist cleans your child’s teeth we will then apply a gel over the teeth that will etch the surface of the tooth to make the sealant stick better. Then we will paint the plastic over the surfaces of your child’s back teeth. Once we have applied the sealant, we will harden the sealant with a special light.
Do you have questions about dental sealants? Do you want to find out how your child can get them? If so, call 1st Choice Dental Care in Woodstock, Kennesaw and Marietta, GA, today to learn more.
Cosmetic smile imperfections don’t always have to be difficult to fix with your Kennesaw, Woodstock and Marietta, GA, dentist.
Are you dealing with a chipped front tooth that throws the rest of your smile out of whack? Do you hate that you have extremely long, pointed canines that make your smile look odd and uneven? There are many issues that can affect the overall shape and size of your smile, but there are a variety of options that our Kennesaw, Woodstock and Marietta, GA, cosmetic dentists offers to even out your smile.
If you find that one tooth is just a bit longer than the rest, then you may want to even your smile out. Fortunately, this is a pretty easy task that doesn’t require much more than for our Marietta, GA, dentist to shave off a very small amount of enamel from the tooth so that it’s the same length as the rest of your smile. Reshaping is painless and completely non-invasive.
For more mild-to-moderate shaping issues, dental bonding may be the best approach. In many cases, tooth reshaping and dental bonding go hand-in-hand. During dental bonding, our dentist will apply a tooth-colored resin over a tooth that perhaps needs to be longer than it is or is chipped or cracked. We will contour, shape, trim and mold the resin until we have the ideal shape. Once it’s been fully shaped, we will harden the resin into place.
Sometimes there are more serious imperfections or multiple issues that need to be addressed at once in order to get a uniformed smile. If this is the case, reshaping and bonding may just not be enough; luckily, dental veneers make it possible to get the smile you’ve always wanted when other options just aren’t ideal.
Veneers are uniquely made tooth-colored shells. These thin translucent shells are adhered to the front of one or more teeth to alter the size, shape and even color of your smile. Since some tooth enamel must be removed from the teeth prior to placing your veneers, this restoration is meant to last the rest of your life.
1st Choice Dental Care in Kennesaw, Woodstock and Marietta, GA, is ready to help you get the smile of your dreams. Whether you want to make only minor adjustments or you are ready to completely change the way your smile looks, we are here to make sure you always get the smile you want through cosmetic dentistry. Schedule your consultation today!
It's no secret that many of Hollywood's brightest stars didn't start out with perfectly aligned, pearly-white teeth. And these days, plenty of celebs are willing to share their stories, showing how dentists help those megawatt smiles shine. In a recent interview with W magazine, Emma Stone, the stunning 28-year-old star of critically-acclaimed films like La La Land and Birdman, explained how orthodontic appliances helped her overcome problems caused by a harmful habit: persistent thumb sucking in childhood.
“I sucked my thumb until I was 11 years old,” she admitted, mischievously adding “It's still so soothing to do it.” Although it may have been comforting, the habit spelled trouble for her bite. “The roof of my mouth is so high-pitched that I had this huge overbite,” she said. “I got this gate when I was in second grade… I had braces, and then they put a gate.”
While her technical terminology isn't quite accurate, Stone is referring to a type of appliance worn in the mouth which dentists call a “tongue crib” or “thumb/finger appliance.” The purpose of these devices is to stop children from engaging in “parafunctional habits” — that is, behaviors like thumb sucking or tongue thrusting, which are unrelated to the normal function of the mouth and can cause serious bite problems. (Other parafunctional habits include nail biting, pencil chewing and teeth grinding.)
When kids develop the habit of regularly pushing the tongue against the front teeth (tongue thrusting) or sucking on an object placed inside the mouth (thumb sucking), the behavior can cause the front teeth to be pushed out of alignment. When the top teeth move forward, the condition is commonly referred to as an overbite. In some cases a more serious situation called an “open bite” may develop, which can be difficult to correct. Here, the top and bottom front teeth do not meet or overlap when the mouth is closed; instead, a vertical gap is left in between.
Orthodontic appliances are often recommended to stop harmful oral habits from causing further misalignment. Most appliances are designed with a block (or gate) that prevents the tongue or finger from pushing on the teeth; this is what the actress mentioned. Normally, when the appliance is worn for a period of months it can be expected to modify the child's behavior. Once the habit has been broken, other appliances like traditional braces or clear aligners can be used to bring the teeth into better alignment.
But in Stone's case, things didn't go so smoothly. “I'd take the gate down and suck my thumb underneath the mouth appliance,” she admitted, “because I was totally ignoring the rule to not suck your thumb while you're trying to straighten out your teeth.” That rule-breaking ended up costing the aspiring star lots of time: she spent a total of 7 years wearing braces.
Fortunately, things worked out for the best for Emma Stone: She now has a brilliant smile and a stellar career — plus a shiny new Golden Globe award! Does your child have a thumb sucking problem or another harmful oral habit? For more information about how to correct it, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can learn more in the Dear Doctor magazine article “How Thumb Sucking Affects the Bite.”
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