Posts for: January, 2015
Acetylsalicylic acid (ASA), better known as aspirin, is an effective pain reliever and fever reducer. More recently, its anti-inflammatory properties have become part of the management of cardiovascular disease. But while regular use may benefit your general health, it could complicate your dental care.
Aspirin helps reduce inflammatory pain or fever by blocking the body’s formation of prostaglandins, chemicals that contribute to inflammation after trauma or injury. It also prevents blood platelets from sticking and clumping together. While this can prolong normal bleeding and bruising, it also helps the blood move freely through narrowed or damaged blood vessels, which reduces the risk of heart attack or stroke in at-risk cardiovascular patients. Due to side effects from prolonged aspirin use like kidney damage, stomach bleeding, or ulceration, physicians normally prescribe a low aspirin dosage (81 milligrams) to minimize these effects.
Because of its effect on bleeding and clotting, it’s important that every member of your healthcare team — including your dentist — knows how much and how often you take aspirin. The change it causes in your body’s clotting mechanism may also affect how dental procedures are carried out; by knowing you take aspirin regularly we can take extra precautions to ensure your safety.
In fact, if you’ve been prescribed aspirin for a heart condition, you may be tempted to stop taking it before a dental procedure out of fear of profuse bleeding. This is highly unadvisable — the sudden discontinuation could increase your risk of heart attack, stroke or even death. You should only discontinue aspirin treatment at the direction of your prescribing physician.
Another aspirin-related effect may involve your gums and other soft tissues. You may notice gum tissue bleeding after brushing or flossing; while this is normally a sign of periodontal gum disease, it could also be the result of your aspirin therapy. The only way to know for sure is to schedule a visit with us to examine your gums.
When it comes to aspirin or other blood-related therapies, the key is to communicate your health status with us, including all medications you are taking. With that knowledge we can provide you with the most informed and safest dental care we can.
If you would like more information on the effects of aspirin on your dental care, 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 “Aspirin: Friend or Foe?”
How Can Non-Surgical Periodontal Treatment Help You?
Periodontitis is a chronic inflammatory gum disease that causes deterioration of bone and tissues in the mouth. If your dentist has diagnosed you with this condition, you may be concerned that surgery is the only way to correct the problem. However, in many cases, the following in-office and at-home procedures can treat periodontal infection without the pain, expense and inconvenience of surgery:
Scaling and root planing
Removing hardened tartar, also called calculus, from your tooth surfaces and below the gumline is often the first step in treating periodontal disease. Calculus harbors the harmful bacteria that causes periodontitis and cannot be treated with normal brushing or flossing. This removal process, called scaling and root planing, is performed at Rockledge Dentistry by a dental hygienist, who will use a narrow tool to scrape the calculus off the teeth and away from the gums. Because the gums are often inflamed and sensitive, Paul Herrera, DDS, may order local anesthesia to minimize discomfort. Depending on the severity of your condition, this procedure may be divided into several appointments to concentrate on one area of the mouth at a time.
Oral or locally applied antibiotics are occasionally prescribed to patients. They work to inhibit bone and tissue loss and reduce inflammation as other treatments are implemented to clear the mouth of the disease-causing pathogens. Antibiotics may include a tablet taken by mouth or may be placed into the gum pocket. There are also antibiotic mouthwashes. The Doctor and Dental Hygienist will determine which is best for you.
It is essential that brushing, flossing, and the use of inter-dental cleaners become a regular habit. Brushing at least twice a day is recommended. With gum recession and bone loss, the use of inter-dental cleaners, e.g., tooth picks or small brushes that fit in between the teeth in addition to flossing is recommended. It boils down to removing food particles and plaque from all areas of the teeth.
In advanced cases of periodontal disease, surgery may yield the best results. Making it a point to see your Lawrence dentist twice yearly will ensure an early diagnosis of all oral health problems and prevent their recurrence. Call Rockledge Dentistry at(785) 331-0027 to schedule an appointment today, or visit our contact us page!
As a member of the best-selling pop group Spice Girls, Mel C (AKA Sporty Spice) enjoyed her share of musical superstardom. At the band’s peak in the Nineties, the young singer’s signature look featured baggy sweatpants, an assortment of tattoos, a nose stud and a gold-capped incisor, front and center in her mouth. Today, Melanie Chisholm is still singing — but now she’s a mom, an amateur triathlete… and that gold tooth is just a memory. Not only that, her smile looks more evenly spaced and whiter than it did when she was referred to as the “tomboy” of the group.
What happened? In our view, it all boils down to changing tastes — plus a little bit of help from dental professionals. As the “wannabe” singer proves, there’s no single standard when it comes to making your teeth look their best. Your own look is unique to you — and your smile can reflect that individuality.
For example, crowns (caps) are substantial coverings that may be placed on teeth when they are being restored. They are available in three types: gold, all-porcelain, or porcelain-fused-to-metal. The latter two are tooth-colored, while the gold is — well, shiny like gold bling. Which one is right for you? In many cases, it’s your choice.
Likewise, dental veneers — wafer-thin shells that can correct cosmetic issues by covering the surface of your teeth — can be made in a variety of shades. Their hues may range from natural ivory to Hollywood white, and everything in between. What’s the best color for you? Only you can say.
Some people opt for a “smile makeover” that uses small irregularities in the spacing and color of teeth to create a more “natural” look. Other folks want a perfectly even, brilliant white smile that dazzles the eye. Still others are looking to match or restore the smile they once had — perhaps even re-creating a signature gap between the teeth. As long as there are no other dental issues involved, the choice is yours.
So if you’re unhappy with your smile — or if you feel it doesn’t reflect the person you “wannabe” — why not talk to us about a smile makeover? Just call our office to schedule a consultation. You can learn more about this topic in the Dear Doctor magazine articles “Beautiful Smiles by Design” and “The Impact of a Smile Makeover.”