Family & Cosmetic Care in a Comfortable, Relaxed Environment.

Serving Las Vegas and Henderson, Nevada since 1999.

For many people, eating disorders are part of every day life. These  abnormal eating habits may involve either insufficient or excessive food intake to the detriment of an individual’s physical and psychological health. The resulting effects of the dietary issues involved directly and indirectly relate to oral health problems.

Common Types Of Eating Disorders

-Anorexia Nervosa (commonly called,  ”anorexia”) -  This eating disorder is characterized by a refusal to maintain a healthy body weight, an obsessive fear of weight gain, and an unrealistic perception of current body weight. Anorexia can cause menstruation to stop, and often leads to bone loss, loss of skin integrity. It is a big stressor on the heart, there is an increase in the risk of heart attacks and related heart problems. This disorder also presents with an increased risk of death. Peer pressures play a role in an individuals’ obsession with their outer appearances. Recent research suggests it is not only about a person’s outward perception but genetics may play a role in the disease process.

-Bulimia Nervosa (commonly called, “bulimia”) – This eating disorder is characterized by recurrent binge eating followed by purging. The purging can include self induced vomiting, excessive use of laxatives/diuretics, or excessive exercise. Fasting may also be used as a method of purging (self inflicted vomiting) following a binge.

-Compulsive over-eating- This eating disorder is characterized by eating large quantities of food even when not feeling hunger. The food is generally consumed quickly and often with little to no regard for proper nutrition.

Dental Issues That Arise From An Eating Disorder

Tooth Enamel Erosion and Tooth Decay – It is quite common to see an increased incidence of tooth decay in all forms of eating disorder. It is also not unusual to see very extensive decay that leads to tooth loss. For bulimic and over-eaters, high calorie, high carbohydrate foods put the enamel at risk due to increased sugar levels in the mouth. Vomiting (either self inflicted or from eating an enormous amount of food) exacerbates the problem by incorporating stomach acid into the oral environment. Anorexics are also prone to regurgitation of stomach acid due to lack of food in the stomach.

It is quite common in patients with an eating disorder to need extensive dental work over and over again. This is especially true to the backs of the teeth, (facing the tongue) since these surfaces would be exposed the most to the stomach acids released from vomiting. The gum lines of teeth are also prone to decay when habits of snacking through the night and not brushing occur frequently.

Soft Tissue Damage – The force of repeated vomiting also takes a toll on the soft tissues in the mouth. This can result in swelling of the tonsils and the uvula in the back of the throat. Another indicator of an eating disorder may be a red and swollen tongue or a lacerated palate caused by vomiting induced by placing a finger into the back of your throat (fingernails and other implements will damage the palate).

Other Eating Disorder Dental Issues Include:

-Gum pain

-Chronic sore throat

-Inflamed esophagus

-Palatal hemorrhages

-Decreased saliva production - leading to dry mouth (xerostomia)

-Enlarged Parotid glands

-Problems swallowing

-Jaw alignment abnormalities

Dental Treatment Options

An eating disorder is a major health issue and create all kinds of problems both to our dental health and systemic health. Communication is important to not only get help to overcome the disease but also to get proper dental treatment.

Dental hygiene becomes extra important in patients with an eating disorder because some of the damage from stomach acids in the mouth can be minimized if patients brush, floss, and rinse following vomiting. This can lessen the effect of the acids on the teeth. Damage will still be done if the habits remain for long or short periods of time.

Standard dental treatment for an eating disorder can include:

-Dental Fillings

-Root Canal Therapy

-Tooth Extractions

-Periodontal Surgery

Eating Disorder Conclusion

An eating disorder is a very difficult disease to diagnose and treat. Dentists need to know the warning signs to be able to get patients in need to seek proper help. Eating disorders can ultimately kill and should not be taken lightly. The dentist should be able to speak openly about oral symptoms of eating disorders if signs are present. This is a difficult topic to discuss for most but is nevertheless important. The patient must feel comfortable enough with their dentist to tell them they think they have an eating disorder. The dentist should  be clear about everything, portray empathy and care at every opportunity. Body language is very important. Trust between the dentist and patient is very important to establish before moving on.

Once habits are addressed, treatment and restoration of healthy teeth and smile go hand in hand.. The power of a beautiful, healthy smile can do wonders do our emotional well being. A positive self-image and self-esteem are critical for recovery from bulimia and a restored, healthy smile is evidence of those feelings. Does having a new smile help that process? Absolutely. It has been shown time and again to be life changing. Even more important is restoration of the teeth to a healthy state so that the patient can eat without pain and regain health.

Many people assume that a baby’s teeth  are not important to care for because they will fall out eventually. This is simply not so. Not only can breakdown of these primary teeth cause severe discomfort and infection to your child, they can also have far reaching consequences into adulthood. As a matter of fact, in many ways, the primary teeth are just as important as the permanent teeth. Below are the top reasons why!

Caring For Your Child’s Teeth

-Function. The primary function for any tooth whether it be primary or permanent is to chew and break down food for nutrition. Without teeth, it becomes extremely difficult to eat most hard, crunchy, healthy foods. No one wants their child to suffer the pain or embarrassment of tooth loss due to decay or infection. It may take years for the next tooth to emerge and allow him or her to eat properly again.

-Development. Our teeth are essential in the development of a growing child. The growth of the jaws are triggered by the teeth. The teeth give the body a guide with which to grow from. Without this guide, there could be significant growth issues of the face, jaw, and bite. Also, without the primary teeth as space holders, the permanent teeth will have no room to enter into the mouth and cause crowding issues which can lead to periodontal disease, tooth decay, and occlusion issues. Some of these problems may be correctable with orthodontics (braces) and possibly a retainer, but some require further tooth loss, and possibly surgery. Most of these corrective measures are quite expensive. Taking the time to care for the baby teeth to prevent these problems is a far less costly and helps keep your child healthy.

-Preventing Pain and Discomfort. Tooth decay is quite prevalent in today’s American child. This can be easily prevented with proper dental hygiene maintenance and a healthy diet. When tooth decay does occur, it is best to get it fixed right away,when it is small, and before the child even notices it. Tooth decay can progress quite quickly if left untreated, especially in primary(baby) teeth. If left untreated, tooth decay will cause pain, infection, and discomfort to your child as well as a more expensive option to repair (like tooth extraction, baby root canal or a stainless steel crown).

Infections in the baby teeth can lead to long term problems in the gums.  Infections can also  cause problems with the development of the permanent teeth.

-Learning Tool. Baby teeth are the ultimate training ground for your children. It gives them a chance to learn good oral hygiene that will carry over into adulthood. Teaching them proper techniques and habits will be a lesson that will serve them well as they grow older into adulthood and beyond. These habits should include brushing, flossing, rinsing with an anti bacterial mouthwash, choosing healthy snack and meal options, and visiting the dentist at least twice a year.

Conclusion

Baby teeth are often misunderstood in their role of development. They are very important in a child’s development and should be treated with the utmost care. With proper care, a child will be proud of their smile, and have easy, fun, informative dental visits. If issues do arise, they should be treated early. The dentist and parents should be partners in a child’s dental care.

Dental implants have evolved over time and become an ideal replacement for a lost tooth or teeth. The long term success rate of dental implants is well over 95%. What once was a product offered to very few has now become a mainstream dental care service available to most.

Options For Dental Implants

Depending on each, unique, individual person, each dental implants case will be personalized. Depending on how many teeth are missing as well as the available quantity and quality of bone present. Below are some of the situations where dental implants can replace lost teeth:

-Loss Of A Single Tooth. At one time, this meant wearing a removable appliance (commonly called a “flipper”) or removing natural tooth structure from surrounding teeth to create a fixed bridge of dental crowns. The flipper tends to be uncomfortable to wear and may affect speech. The 3 unit bridge compromises the support teeth by having them do the work of the lost tooth, and by making them more susceptible to decay. The long term success rate is lowered due to difficulties in cleaning under and around the bridge. A single tooth dental implant, when completed properly, will last a lifetime and function just like a natural tooth.

-Loss Of Multiple Teeth. When missing multiple teeth in a single area, dental implants can be used to form a fixed bridge. The beauty of this arrangement is stability and the ability not to affect the natural teeth in any way.

-Replacing All Teeth. In the past, the only way to restore function was to fabricate a removable denture. With dental implants, dentists have the ability to restore natural function and esthetics.

Complementary Procedures To Dental Implants

There are times when other dental procedures are necessary to successfully complete the placement of dental implants. These include:

-Sinus Lift. When you have a large sinus area that impinges on available bone depth, the sinus lift is a common surgical procedure. Sinus lifts are needed to elevate the sinus membrane and thicken a part of the upper jaw with a bone graft. This helps give  a dental implant enough bone depth to place it properly in the area you need it. Dental implants need a good quantity of bone along with good, dense quality of bone to succeed. The upper jaw is known to have poorer quantity and quality bone structure as opposed to the lower jaw. The maxillary sinus also plays a role in increasing difficulty in this area. Sinus augmentation can remedy these issues by raising the sinus floor and placing bone grafts in the area to aid in dental implant placement.

-Bone Grafting. When the bone is not 100% adequate for dental implant placement, dentists are able to add to it by performing a dental bone graft. A bone graft is the placement of bone or bone-like materials in the jaw to to build it up. This gives an excellent platform for dental implants. Modification of the bone in this fashion has been shown to improve both appearance and long term success of dental implants. Typically, dentists try to place implants at least as deeply into bone as the crown or tooth will be above the bone. This is called a 1:1 crown to root ratio. This ratio serves as a guide for bone grafting in most situations.

Can A Dental Implant Fail?

It is quite rare for a dental implant to fail but when it does the dental implant must be removed. Then re evaluated as to why the failure occurred and to see if a new dental implant may be placed. Some of the common reasons for dental implant failure include:

-Failed Integration of Dental Implants - This occurs when the bone does not grow and fuse between the threads of the implant. This fusion of bone to dental implant is called osseointegration. If this does not occur, the dental implants will not function properly,will become uncomfortable, become loose, or come out completely. To reduce this risk, your dental surgeon will evaluate the quality and density of the jaw bone prior to surgery. This will help to only place dental implants in areas where there is a highly predictable success rate. If osseointegration does not take place, the dental implants can be removed, and surgery can be attempted again once the area has fully healed.

-Infection –  This is the most common complication of dental implant surgery. The surrounding bone and gums can get infected during the surgical procedure. This can happen due to non-sterile technique, a contaminated implant, poor healing ability(diabetic, smoker, osteoporosis medications), or pre-existing infection. The most likely time for this to occur would be during the surgical placement of the dental implant into the bone. Implant infection can occur after placement as well. Poor hygiene, too much force placed on the implant, or excess cement can cause the support tissue to breakdown. Implant infection is a condition referred to as peri-implantitis. Peri-implantitis is characterized by inflammation or swelling of the tissues surrounding the implant area. Peri-implantitis can also present as a secondary infection later on is a form of periodontal disease that can lead to inflammation, bone loss and implant failure if not treated quickly and properly. Although implant infections are usually caused by the presence of bacteria during or immediately after the oral surgery for the placement of the dental implants, an implant infection can occur months or years after surgery.

-Post Surgical Bleeding - Some bleeding following surgery is normal and should be expected for about 1-2 days. Biting gently on a gauze pad placed over the surgery area for 30 minutes should normally stop the bleeding. Excessive bleeding is not normal and you should notify your dentist immediately if you have concerns about your dental implants.

-Damage To Surrounding Tissues - Dental implant complications related with surgical errors affecting adjacent teeth, nerves or sinus are directly correlated with the experience and skills of the dentist or surgeon. An experienced and skilled implant dentist is able to identify potential problems by examining x-rays or CT scan (computer tomography), design the proper surgical plan for ideal location and angle, and execute it successfully without complications. Even with the most skilled implant dentist there is always a possibility of dental implant complications. The complications can be limited by choosing an implant dentist with the skills and experience necessary to handle any complications if they arise.

-Rejection – An extremely rare complication for dental implants but it has been noted in the research literature. The dental implants can sometimes be viewed as a foreign body.

-Unusable Dental Implants – An implant that has successfully integrated with bone, but the area or extreme angle of placement deem it unrestorable.

Dental Implants Conclusion

Dental implants have been the solution for many. They come with risks but with proper treatment planning from a well qualified dentist they can be a successful tooth replacement for a lifetime of smiles.

 

 

Summer is finally here! As the weather begins to heat up, most of us spend more time participating in outdoor activities. Different activities like Tennis, horseback riding, basketball, and swimming. As we have all of this fun, there are a few precautions one should take to protect their oral health. Protecting yourself will make the summer safer and much more fun.

Summer Smile Protection Tips

1. Sports Mouthguards – As we do more physical activities, we need to think about our teeth, just like our skin needs protection from the sun, our teeth need protection from trauma. Approximately 40% of all sports related injuries involve the head, more precisely, the face.Having your dentist fabricate a custom made athletic mouthguard, will decrease your risk of tooth loss from trauma significantly. Research has also shown that these athletic mouthguards can also lower the risks of a concussion, as well as, enhance your athletic performance by helping maintain airway and more efficient breathing.

2. Sports Drinks – Sports drinks (like gatorade) have become extremely popular beverages even for non athletes, but they can also be damaging to our smiles. Most sport drinks contain a high content of sugar and are highly acidic. Consumption of too many sports drinks can lead to tooth decay and tooth enamel erosion. If you choose to drink sports drinks during activity, keep a limit on them, drink plain water in between, and practice proper oral hygiene to keep the acids and sugars from attacking your teeth. Remember, sport drinks are made to replace what your body loses during extreme sweating and exertion, they are not meant to be a beverage consumed with lunch. Use them properly and you will not suffer the damage that they can incur.

3. Drinking Water – Water is great for your body, skin,and your teeth. Choose pure water with no added flavors or carbonation and you will not have to worry about demineralizing your teeth, many of the additives can cause tooth enamel breakdown. Water can also help by flushing away food particles and bacteria, keeping your mouth clean and fresh. The simple act of drinking water helps to maintain oral hygiene.  Maintaining good oral hygiene also includes proper brushing, flossing, and use of an antibacterial mouthrinse. Following a good oral hygiene program should always include staying properly hydrated. The best part about water is you can drink it any time with no side effects. It is truly the perfect drink for your entire body.

4. Swimming and chlorine- Swimming in your pool is a great way to exercise and spend time with your family and friends. The swimming pool contains chlorine, a very hazardous chemical, which can cause damage to your teeth even when levels are properly monitored.  Spending a lot of time in a pool with poorly maintained chemical levels can cause permanent damage to your teeth’s enamel. Water that is over chlorinated (such as many community pools) may cause tooth enamel erosion and  permanent staining of teeth. The tooth surface is directly affected by harsh chemicals, such as acid, causing the enamel to erode, thin, breakdown, and stain. When there are high levels of chlorine in the pool, the water becomes more acidic. Continuous exposure to acid can cause the damage to begin and subsequently progress.

5. Chewing Gum - Chewing a sugar free gum containing xylitol is a great way to protect your teeth. Gum chewing helps to increase the production of saliva in the mouth. Saliva helps keep the mouth neutral, or balanced. The addition of xylitol to the saliva helps this balance at another level.  Xylitol  cannot be converted to acids by oral bacteria, so it helps to maintain a proper alkaline/acid balance in your mouth. Chewing gum also helps satisfy your snacking desire, which may be a great way to decrease the intake of junk food snacks for you and your children.

Conclusion

We all look forward to Summer and enjoying the great weather. Now it is time to enjoy it fully, without suffering from it for the rest of the year. Be aware of the hazards, and be prepared for you and your family. Taking care of you and your family will make this the best summer yet!  Have a happy, healthy summer!