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ThatOddLookingSoreinYourMouthisNoCauseforAlarm

When you visit us for your regular checkup we're examining more than your teeth and gums. We're also checking to see if you're having problems with soft tissues in and around your mouth.

Besides canker sores, rashes or other types of abnormalities, our exam may uncover strange looking lesions known as lichen planus on the inside of the mouth. These purple-tinted bumps or rash-like discolorations are named for their similarity in appearance to lichen fungi found on trees or rocks. Although these mouth sores may look odd, they're fairly rare and usually do not cause concern.

Most people don't even know they have lichen planus until it's discovered during a dental exam. If there are any symptoms, it's usually a feeling of roughness, tenderness or itching. They may increase your sensitivity to spicy or acidic foods, but rarely cause extreme pain. If they're located around the gums, you may also notice a little soreness after brushing or eating.

To confirm it is lichen planus, we need to perform a biopsy. During this procedure, we remove a tiny amount of the affected tissue and have it examined microscopically. We do this not only to determine the correct diagnosis, but also to rule out more serious problems like pre-cancerous lesions or oral cancer.

Thankfully, though, this worst case scenario is quite rare, and although the condition can't be cured, there are some things you can do to keep any discomfort to a minimum. If the lesions are irritating, we recommend using a soft toothbrush with gentle brushing action. You may also want to limit or avoid spicy or acidic foods like citrus, tomatoes, hot peppers and caffeinated drinks. Managing stress can also help. For some extreme conditions, we can prescribe a topical steroid to help relieve discomfort.

If you notice any of the above symptoms, be sure to contact us or point it out at your next appointment. Once we know what we're dealing with, we can take steps to treat you.

If you would like more information on different types of mouth sores, 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 “Lichen Planus.”

PracticeCautionwithEnergyorSportsDrinkstoProtectYourEnamel

Although energy and sports drinks have different purposes, they have one thing in common: they often contain added citric and other acids to improve taste and prolong shelf life. Their high acid content can harm tooth enamel.

Although enamel is the strongest substance in the body, acid can dissolve its mineral content. And although saliva neutralizes acid after eating or drinking and helps restore lost minerals to the enamel, it may not be able to keep up if the mouth remains acidic for a prolonged period of time.

That could happen with both beverage types. While energy drinks have higher acid levels than sports drinks, both are high compared with other beverages.

A recent laboratory experiment studied the two beverages’ effect on tooth enamel. The researchers submerged samples of enamel in six different beverage brands (three from each category) for fifteen minutes, and then in artificial saliva for two hours to simulate mouth conditions. They repeated this cycle four times a day for five days.

At the end of the experiment the enamel in the energy drinks lost on average 3.1 % of their structure, while the sports drink samples lost 1.5%. Although energy drinks appeared more destructive, the acid in both beverages caused enamel damage. Although there are other factors to consider in real life, the experiment results do raise concerns about both beverages’ effect on dental health.

You can, however, minimize the potential harm to your enamel from energy or sports drinks. First, try other beverage choices lower in acid; water, for example, is a natural hydrator and neutral in pH. Try to only drink energy or sports beverages at mealtimes when your saliva is most active. And after drinking, rinse your mouth out with water to dilute any remaining acid.

And although it sounds counterintuitive, wait about an hour to brush your teeth after drinking one of these beverages. Your enamel can be in a softened state before saliva can re-mineralize it, so brushing earlier could remove tiny amounts of enamel minerals.

Taking these steps with energy or sports beverages could help you reduce the chances for enamel erosion. Doing so may help you avoid unnecessary damage to your teeth and overall dental health.

If you would like more information on the effect of sports and energy drinks on dental 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 “Think Before You Drink.”

FifthHarmonysCamilaCabelloChipsaToothbutConcertStillWorthIt

Everyone loves a concert where there's plenty of audience participation… until it starts to get out of hand.├é┬áRecently, the platinum-selling band Fifth Harmony was playing to a packed house in Atlanta when things went awry for vocalist Camila Cabello. Fans were batting around a big plastic ball, and one unfortunate swing sent the ball hurtling toward the stage — and directly into Cabello's face. Pushing the microphone into her mouth, it left the “Worth It” singer with a chipped front tooth.

Ouch! Cabello finished the show nevertheless, and didn't seem too upset. “Atlanta… u wild… love u,” she tweeted later that night. “Gotta get it fixed now tho lol.” Fortunately, dentistry offers a number of ways to make that chipped tooth look as good as new.

A small chip at the edge of the tooth can sometimes be polished with dental instruments to remove the sharp edges. If it's a little bigger, a procedure called dental bonding may be recommended. Here, the missing part is filled in with a mixture of plastic resin and glass fillers, which are then cured (hardened) with a special light. The tooth-colored bonding material provides a tough, lifelike restoration that's hard to tell apart from your natural teeth. While bonding can be performed in just one office visit, the material can stain over time and may eventually need to be replaced.

Porcelain veneers are a more long-lasting solution. These wafer-thin coverings go over the entire front surface of the tooth, and can resolve a number of defects — including chips, discoloration, and even minor size or spacing irregularities. You can get a single veneer or have your whole smile redone, in shades ranging from a pearly luster to an ultra-bright white; that's why veneers are a favorite of Hollywood stars. Getting veneers is a procedure that takes several office visits, but the beautiful results can last for many years.

If a chip or crack extends into the inner part of a tooth, you'll probably need a crown (or cap) to restore the tooth's function and appearance. As long as the roots are healthy, the entire part of the tooth above the gum line can be replaced with a natural-looking restoration. You may also need a root canal to remove the damaged pulp material and prevent infection if the fracture went too far. While small chips or cracks aren't usually an emergency (unless accompanied by pain), damage to the tooth's pulp requires prompt attention.

If you have questions about smile restoration, please contact us and schedule an appointment. You can read more in the Dear Doctor magazine articles “Porcelain Veneers: Strength & Beauty As Never Before” and “Porcelain Crowns & Veneers.”

By Western Slope Dental Center
October 29, 2018
Category: Dental Procedures

Dental ImplantHave you lost a tooth? Grand Junction, CO, dentists Drs. Brandon and William Berguin and Kira Funderburk of Western Slope Dental Center help their patients restore their smiles with dental implants. These implants will fill the gap in your smile and improve your biting ability! Although most people are good candidates for implants, there are a few things you'll need to consider before starting the implant process.

Is Your Jawbone Strong and Deep?

Dental implants are small titanium posts placed in openings made in your jawbone. The implants bond to your jawbone over the course of several months and are topped with dental crowns that fill in the spaces between your teeth.

Good jawbone depth and strength is particularly important, as your implant may fail if your jawbone cannot adequately support it. Luckily, it's often possible to build up weak or shallow jawbones with bone grafts.

Do You Have Any Health Problems?

Although most health problems won't prevent you from getting an implant, any condition or disease that slows your body's ability to heal may prevent you from restoring your smile with an implant. If you have an immune system disorder or take medications that suppress your immune system function, implants may not be a good idea for you. Smoking or uncontrolled diabetes may also interfere with your body's ability to heal quickly.

Have You Had Gum Disease or Another Oral Health Problem?

Dental implants offer an excellent restoration option if you've lost teeth due to gum disease. However, before you can receive your implant, your Grand Junction dentist must be satisfied that you've healed completely. They may also suggest beginning the implant process after treating other oral health issues.

Are You Looking for an Alternative to Removable Dentures?

In addition to restoring one or two missing teeth, dental implants can also help make your dentures more comfortable. Given that implants are securely anchored to your jawbone, your dentures won't slip or slide when you eat. Implant-supported dentures also don't significantly decrease your biting power as removable dentures can, which means that you won't have to give up your favorite foods.

Interested? Call Today!

Restore your smile with dental implants! Call Grand Junction, CO, dentists Drs. Brandon and William Berguin and Kira Funderburk of Western Slope Dental Center at (970) 241-3483 to schedule your appointment.

By Western Slope Dental Center
August 28, 2018
Category: Dental Procedures
Tags: Extractions   Wisdom Teeth  

Wisdom Tooth ExtractionWhat your dentists in Grand Junction, Colorado want you to know

 

If your tooth hurts, should it be extracted? This is an important question to think about before removing a tooth. There are some definite signs and symptoms which indicate you may need a tooth extracted. The dentists at Western Slope Dental Center in Grand Junction, Colorado want to share the facts about when a tooth extraction might be necessary.

One of the most obvious symptoms indicating you might need a tooth extracted is from dental pain. You may need your tooth extracted if it is:

  • Becoming infected due to periodontal disease
  • Too badly damaged to be restored by a filling or crown
  • Too painful even after a filling, crown or root canal treatment

There may be other non-painful reasons you can benefit from a tooth extraction. You may need a tooth extracted because:

  • There is not enough room for the tooth
  • It is crowding and putting pressure on other teeth
  • Removing the tooth will make orthodontic treatment easier

If you aren’t practicing excellent oral hygiene habits including brushing and flossing, you can suffer gum and periodontal disease. Bacteria can begin to destroy the bone supporting your teeth. Eventually, your teeth can become loose and ineffective for chewing your food. The infection can spread to other teeth.

You may need a tooth extracted because it is:

  • Mobile and not strongly supported by bone
  • Abscessed and causing infection to soft tissue, bone and your other teeth

One of the most common reasons to have teeth extracted is if they are wisdom teeth. Many people don’t have enough room for wisdom teeth to erupt normally. In many cases, the teeth are poorly-positioned, crowded, and difficult to clean. In some cases, the wisdom teeth don’t erupt at all, staying embedded in bone. These are known as impacted wisdom teeth.

You may need wisdom teeth extracted if they are:

  • Damaged, decayed, or infected
  • Not erupting normally or are crowded
  • Unable to be brushed or flossed thoroughly
  • Not a fully functioning part of your bite

To find out more call the dentists at Western Slope Dental Center in Grand Junction, Colorado. Call today!





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