At Van Dyke General & Implant Dentistry, we take great pride in giving our patients a lifetime of quality dental care through care itself and education. That's why we've put together the following information on general dentistry and the many areas of its impact to your life. If you have questions or would like to schedule a dental appointment, contact a dentist in Gainesville, FL with Van Dyke General & Implant Dentistry today!
Oral Care For Adults
As children, we hear about how important it is to take care of our teeth and mouth. Once we reach adulthood, often our busy lives give us many reasons to let proper oral care and hygiene take a back seat. But, to assure yourself a healthy smile throughout your life, it’s important to practice proper oral care throughout adulthood.
Brush Twice A Day
When you brush, use a toothpaste with fluoride which helps prevent cavities in children and adults as well as strengthens weak spots in teeth and counters early stages of tooth decay.
Also called an interdental cleaner, flossing removes plaque, a sticky film made up of bacteria which builds on your teeth. The bacteria consume any leftover sugar or food in your mouth, releasing an acid strong enough to eat away the enamel, or outer shell, of your teeth. Once enamel is worn away, the tooth becomes weakened and cavities can develop.
Visiting with a dentist in Gainesville, FL at Van Dyke General & Implant Dentistry twice a year for regular checkups and cleanings are recommended for most people. For people with special conditions or high risk for developing a special condition may visit their dentist more frequently. Regular checkups and cleanings let your dentist look for signs of dental problems such as tooth decay and gum disease and removing calcified plaque, commonly known as tartar, from hard-to-reach places in your mouth.
Curb Sugary & Starchy Foods
People love their sugary and/or starchy foods, snacks or otherwise, but these go-to foods impact your oral health. As mentioned above, sugars are the food for bacteria which develop and cause plaque. Curbing your intake of them or not snacking throughout the day is one way to help reduce plaque buildup.
General Health Affects Oral Care & Health
Diligently practicing good oral hygiene and care does more than give you a healthy smile throughout your life. Your oral health plays a significant role in your general health and well-being. Any number of disorders, disease, and health-issues can be related to your oral health and vice versa.
Osteoporosis & Bone Density
Osteoporosis and bone density issues can be discovered during a routine dental exam based on your medical history and an x-ray of your mouth. The x-ray can reveal bone loss in your jaw and around your teeth which can cause tooth loss, gum disease, and ill-fitting dentures.
Anxiety-related disorders can impact your daily life and oral health at the same time. Some of the effects it can have on your oral health include canker sores, dry mouth, mouth ulcers, bruxism, and temporomandibular joint disorders.
Bruxism, or teeth grinding, is the name given to clenching your jaw when you concentrate and/or sleep. Stress and anxiety are common causes and signs include sore teeth and jaw muscles, dull headaches, and restless sleep. Your Gainesville dentist may notice wear on your teeth from bruxism and recommend a mouth guard to prevent further damage to your teeth.
Temporomandibular Joint Disorders
Though the exact cause of a temporomandibular joint disorder (TMJ) are often hard to determine, patients have pain in their jaw joint and throughout the muscles controlling jaw movement. TMJ can be caused by genetics, arthritis, jaw injury, or in some cases by bruxism. Most TMJ cases can be resolved with self-managed care or nonsurgical treatments.
Patients with diabetes are three to four times more likely to develop periodontal or gum disease. Because gum disease can make blood sugar levels more difficult to control, it’s important to work with your dentist at Van Dyke General & Implant Dentistry to prevent, treat, and resolve gum disease.
An iron deficiency affects your overall energy level, but also causes soreness, pain, redness, and/or swelling of your tongue and a pale appearance of your gums. Yet, it can indicate a serious illness or systemic problem.
Respiratory conditions affect your oral health, including any medications and treatments you may be taking for the condition. It’s important to keep your Gainesville dentist up-to-date on your medications to minimize drug interactions.
Corticosteroids used to treat asthma cause dry mouth for many patients and more likely to develop fungal infections in the mouth.
COPD, Bronchitis, Emphysema
While your mouth and teeth aren’t directly affected by these respiratory conditions, long-term steroid use may be part of your treatment, leading to dry mouth and thrush.
A common symptom of sinusitis is pain in the upper teeth. While it isn’t a genuine dental issue, any antihistamines taken to treat sinusitis can cause dry mouth, increasing the risk of tooth decay and infections in your mouth.
Cancer patients often find their treatments create side effects that affect their oral care and health. Because of an already weakened immune system, you may develop more mouth infections, sores, dry mouth, sensitive gums, and jaw pain.
Common Dental Conditions
Dental conditions can arise even though you’re brushing and flossing twice each day, limiting sugary foods and drinks, and visiting with Van Dyke General & Implant Dentistry twice a year. But if you develop any of these common dental conditions or one not listed, rest assured your Gainesville dentist will work with you to treat and resolve the condition.
Gum disease, or periodontal disease, ranges in severity from inflammation of the gums to damage to the soft tissues and bone supporting your teeth. It’s caused when plaque which forms on your teeth isn’t remove through proper and regular brushing and flossing and by tartar buildup. Gum disease has two main levels of severity, gingivitis and periodontitis.
When bacteria cause inflammation of your gums, it’s called gingivitis. Your gums may be red in appearance, swollen, and bleed easily, but these symptoms are reversible with daily brushing and flossing. Gingivitis is a mild form of gum disease.
If left untreated, gingivitis may progress into periodontitis, a severe form of gum disease. With periodontitis, your gums will pull away from the teeth and develop infected pockets. As your immune system begins to fight the infection, the bone and connective tissue holding your teeth in place start to break down.
Tooth & Root Decay
Tooth decay begins when plaque on your teeth creates acids which then slowly wears away the tooth enamel. The decay then continues to work through the tooth layers, causing more pain and sensitivity.
Root decay forms from cavities on the root surface. Gum disease, receding gums, improper brushing, and age-related gum changes can all cause root decay. Due to the lack of protective enamel on the roots of your teeth, root decay occurs much more quickly than tooth decay.
When the dentin, microscopic tubules full of nerve endings inside your teeth, becomes exposed, sensitive teeth develops. This condition affects 40 million adults in the United States though the cause varies for every person. Your Gainesville dentist will work with you to determine the cause of the sensitivity and recommend treatments.
Dry mouth, or xerostomia, happens when your body is unable to make enough saliva to keep your mouth moist. Along with being uncomfortable, dry mouth can cause oral health issues such as gum disease, tooth decay, and mouth infections. Causes often include side effects of medications, diseases, infections, and medical treatments; dehydration, and tobacco use.
The hardest tissue in your body, tooth enamel is porous and can chip and crack over time. Enamel degradation can be caused from everyday food and drinks and health issues, including:
- Excessive soda and fruit drinks consumption;
- A diet high in sugars and starches;
- Acid reflux disease and other gastrointestinal problems;
- Medications; and
Once the tooth enamel is gone, it won’t grow back. Depending on the stage of the degradation, you may notice your teeth are more sensitive to certain foods and temperatures; discoloration with your teeth appearing more yellow; and cupping or indentations on the tooth’s surface.
Chronic bad breath, or halitosis, is the kind of bad breath you can’t get rid of with a mint or brushing your teeth. The cause for bad breath can be due to:
- Dental issues such as cavities;
- Mouth, nose, and/or throat infection;
- Dry mouth;
- Smoking or other tobacco use; and/or
- A chronic condition such as diabetes or gastric reflux.
The dentists at Van Dyke General & Implant Dentistry will work with you to discover the cause of halitosis and create a personal solution to the issue.
Tips For Better Oral Health
When it comes to better oral health throughout your life, consistency is key among all the information you may receive. Van Dyke General & Implant Dentistry recommend also keeping in mind these tips for better oral health.
Visit Your Gainesville Dentist Regularly
One of the best ways to have better oral health is to regularly schedule a cleaning and checkup appointment with Van Dyke General & Implant Dentistry. During your appointment, your dentist in Gainesville, FL professionally cleans and examines your teeth while discussing your health history. Your overall health plays a considerable role in your dental health.
A professional cleaning leaves you with a fresh feeling mouth and the surface of your teeth smooth. A scaler, a small metal instrument with a bladelike end, scrapes tartar above and below your gum line. Your dentist may use an ultrasonic device to loosen plaque and tartar before rinsing it away with water. Once the plaque and tartar are removed, your teeth are polished and flossed.
During the teeth examination, your dentist will check for signs of decay, gum disease, tooth grinding, and other dental conditions, including oral cancer.
Limit Alcohol, Coffee & Soda
The next time you reach for the afternoon pick-me-up cup of coffee or soda or any alcoholic beverage during the weekend, think twice. Soda combines sugar and acid and frequent consumption can allow bacteria to flourish and your tooth enamel to deteriorate over time. Coffee and alcohol mix acid, sugars, and dehydration to give you bad breath, dry mouth, and eroded enamel.
Any form of tobacco should be avoided. It’s linked to an increased risk of mouth and throat cancer, along with other serious conditions. Tobacco use lowers your immune system’s ability to fight infection and tiny particles are abrasive to teeth, wearing them down over time.
Mind Your Vitamins
Vitamins are important to your general health and minding them throughout your life will help keep your teeth and smile healthy throughout your life. Calcium, Vitamin D, Vitamin B complex, and other minerals like iron and potassium are needed for good oral health.
Common Dental Procedures
The dentists with Van Dyke General & Implant Dentistry have years of experience performing a number of common dental procedures. You can be assured you’ll receive a full consultation before, during, and after the procedure.
Dental bonding is done to restore or improve your smile, often due to decayed, chipped, or cracked teeth; to close gaps between teeth; and to change the shape of teeth. A tooth-colored resin is used to mimic the color of the natural teeth and is bonded to your natural teeth. A dentist in Gainesville, FL will advise you as to whether bonding is appropriate for your situation or if another dental procedure would be a better fit.
A veneer is a custom-made shell designed to cover the front of a tooth to improve its appearance. They’re commonly made from porcelain or resin composite material and will change the color, shape, size, or length of the tooth. Veneers repair discolored, worn down, chipped, and/or broken teeth, and are used to close gaps between teeth. The dentists at Van Dyke General & Implant Dentistry will discuss your options for veneers, such as which material is best for your situation.
Teeth whitening is the most common cosmetic dental procedure done. Though there are many over-the-counter toothpaste and teeth whitening kits, an in-office whitening uses stronger products to whiten more quickly. Teeth whitening usually takes around an hour to complete.
Invisible braces function in the same manner as traditional metal braces but instead are attached to the back of your teeth. They still follow the contour of your teeth and mouth and are fully customizable.
Bridges & Crowns
Bridges and crowns are fixed dental prosthesis. A bridge spans the space where a tooth or teeth used to be and is made of two parts. The natural teeth on either side of the space are called abutments and anchor the pontic, or replacement tooth, to the crowns. A crown covers a damaged tooth for its protection and to improve the appearance, shape, and/or alignment. Crowns are made from several different materials including porcelain, ceramic, gold and metal alloys.
A dental exam could be considered the most common dental procedure any dentist in Gainesville, FL performs on a daily basis. Along with checking your overall oral health, a dental exam may include checking for issues with your bite and jaw and giving you a demonstration of proper at-home cleaning techniques. The dentists at Van Dyke General & Implant Dentistry take pride in giving every patient a comprehensive and personalized exam during their appointment.
Oral Cancer Screenings
When discovered and treated early, oral cancer has high survival rates. Unfortunately, many cases aren’t discovered early until cancer has spread beyond your mouth, head, and neck. Van Dyke General & Implant Dentistry performs oral cancer screenings for all patients during your biannual oral checkup and cleaning appointment. Screening techniques include:
- Examining your teeth and gums;
- X-rays; and
- Reviewing your medical history.
Root canals are procedures used to repair and save teeth that have become infected and/or decayed. The name refers to the cavity inside the tooth’s center, holding the pulp and tooth nerve. During a root canal, the tooth pulp is removed and the tooth is fully cleaned before being sealed. Sometimes more dental work is needed after a root canal, but your Gainesville dentist will tell you of this before a root canal.
Tooth extraction or tooth removal is removing a tooth from the bone socket in your jaw. It’s generally the last resort after other methods to repair a damaged tooth are unsuccessful. Other reasons include a crowded mouth which occurs when teeth are too big for your mouth or if an emerging tooth can’t do so because of a lack of room. During an extraction, local anesthesia is used to numb the area if a single tooth is being removed. General anesthesia is used if more than one tooth is being removed or if the tooth is impacted.
With a 98 percent success rate, it's understandable why more and more people are turning to dental implants to restore their smile.
What Is A Dental Implant?
If you’ve lost a tooth or multiple teeth, your Gainesville dentist will recommend a dental prosthesis as a replacement. The implant itself is a cylindrical or tapered post, usually titanium, that acts as the tooth root in the jawbone. An abutment, or connector, sits on top of the implant and connects it to the replacement tooth. A crown, or replacement tooth, is then connected to the abutment to complete the dental implant. Not only are dental implants a permanent solution to traditional tooth replacement options, but they're made to match your natural teeth.
Who Can Benefit From Dental Implants
Anyone who is missing a single tooth or multiple teeth can benefit from dental implants. You can lose or not have teeth for any number of reasons, including decay, gum disease, infection, injury, or the tooth didn’t develop during childhood. Dental implants provide the feel, fit, and function of a natural tooth, characteristics other dental options such as dentures can’t because they are customized to your mouth. Generally, the procedure is done after a person turns 17-years-old after the jaw is done growing and developing.
Dentists In Gainesville, FL
Since 1987 Van Dyke General & Implant Dentistry has been providing quality and compassionate dental care to the Gainesville, FL area. Our dentists and staff take great pride in providing preventive care along with cosmetic and implant dentistry to give you the smile you want. To schedule a dental appointment, contact our office today!