Posts for: October, 2017
As a cancer patient, you know how important radiation and chemotherapy are to overcoming the disease. But these treatments often come at a price to other aspects of your health, including your teeth and gums if the treatment target includes the head or neck regions.
Radiation and chemotherapy are effective because they target and destroy cancer cells. Unfortunately, they may also kill non-cancerous, healthy cells; in the mouth, for example, they can damage the cells in the salivary glands and disrupt their ability to produce adequate saliva flow, leading to xerostomia (dry mouth).
This could seriously affect your teeth’s protective enamel shell. As we eat or drink, our mouth’s pH level can become too acidic. Acid is your enamel’s primary enemy because it causes the minerals in the enamel to soften and dissolve (de-mineralization). Saliva neutralizes acid and replaces much of the enamel’s minerals.
Without adequate saliva flow, the enamel will tend to erode over time. You can further aggravate the situation if you routinely consume acidic foods and drinks, like sipping energy drinks or soda during the day. Once the enamel is gone it can’t be replaced naturally, and the teeth will be in serious danger of tooth decay and eventual loss of function and appearance.
To avoid these consequences you should take steps during cancer treatment to reduce your risk for xerostomia or other unhealthy mouth conditions: limit your consumption of acidic foods and beverages; use mouth rinses to counteract acidity and inhibit bacterial growth; and promote saliva flow through medication.
It may be, though, that enamel erosion and subsequent tooth damage is unavoidable. In this case, you may need to consider restorative options with artificial crowns or other cosmetic enhancements — not only to improve your appearance but also to protect your natural teeth from further damage.
Before considering the latter, you should undergo a complete dental examination to assess your condition and make sure you have adequate bone and gum support, and any dental disease under control. From here, we can go about restoring the attractive smile that may have faded during your battle with cancer.
Would you rather not call attention to the fact that you're improving your smile? Invisalign offers a much more discreet option than metal braces. Arlington, TX, dentist Dr. Joseph Reed of Arlington Dental explains several benefits of Invisalign.
Same results, different method
All brace systems rely on pressure to realign the teeth. Traditional braces use wires threaded through brackets, while aligner trays perform the same function in the Invisalign system. Your removable aligner trays are molded to fit your upper and lower teeth and provide constant, gentle pressure needed to straighten them or correct bite or other orthodontic issues.
Invisalign is an excellent choice if you have crooked teeth or gaps in your smile or an underbite, overbite, crossbite or open bite. Most people who need braces can take advantage of Invisalign. If you have severe or complicated orthodontic issues, traditional braces may be needed.
Invisalign aligner trays won't change your appearance, unlike metal or ceramic braces. The trays are made of clear plastic designed to make them practically invisible.
A practically pain-free option
There are no adjustments needed with Invisalign. Each set of aligner trays is designed to perform a different straightening function. At the end of two weeks. you'll simply swap one set of trays for another.
You may experience a little irritation when you first begin wearing your trays. Luckily, the irritation quickly fades as your mouth adjusts to the presence of the trays. If it continues, we can make a few adjustments in our Arlington office. You may also notice a little pressure when you wear the trays, although most people don't find the sensation painful.
No food restrictions
Want to eat popcorn, enjoy an ear of corn or chomp on a raw carrot? You can do all of these things when you wear Invisalign aligner trays. Although all of those foods are off-limits to traditional brace wearers, you won't face the same food restrictions. Every time you eat, you'll remove your aligners, which will allow you to eat anything you want. Although you can drink water while wearing your aligners, it's best to remove them when consuming other drinks, particularly those that may stain the clear plastic.
Straighten your smile discreetly with Invisalign. Call Arlington, TX, dentist Dr. Joseph Reed of Arlington Dental at (817) 303-5700 to schedule your appointment.
October is National Dental Hygiene Month. It’s a great time to talk about your first line of dental defense: your toothbrush.
Are you getting the most out of your tooth-brushing routine at home? Your toothbrush is the primary tool to maintain oral health on a daily basis, so here are some tips to keep in mind:
- Brush gently twice a day, every day, for two minutes each time using a soft toothbrush. Scrubbing with too much force or with hard bristles can damage gums and tooth enamel.
- Use fluoride toothpaste to prevent tooth decay. Fluoride is a mineral that builds tooth enamel to prevent tooth decay.
- Replace your toothbrush every 3 to 4 months or when the bristles start to look frayed, curled, or worn.
- Rinse out your mouth thoroughly after brushing to get rid of bacteria and food debris that you worked loose from your teeth.
- Also rinse your toothbrush well after each use to wash away the debris and bacteria you just brushed from your teeth.
- Let your toothbrush dry out between uses. A toothbrush that is stored in a closed container can become a breeding ground for bacteria.
- Keep your toothbrush to yourself. Sharing toothbrushes is a way to share disease-causing germs as well.
Follow these pointers and come in for regular dental visits to help ensure healthy teeth and a bright smile. If you have any questions about your dental hygiene routine, be sure to ask us.