Archive for August, 2018

Why Your Dentist Needs Your Complete Health History

When you go to the dentist, he or she will ask questions not only about your teeth and gums but also about your overall health. Why does your dentist need to know about your other health problems? Although you may think that your health history is only of relevance to your primary care doctor, your dentist is a key player in your overall health team. Here are some of the conditions that your dentist can play a role in diagnosing and managing.

Heart Disease

Good heart health starts in your mouth. The plaque and bacteria that build up your teeth and gums cause decay and inflammation not only in your mouth but also throughout your body. This inflammation can affect your heart, as can the bacteria that is associated with poor oral health. If you have heart disease, you may need more frequent dental cleanings, and your dentist will want to monitor your periodontal health closely. He or she may also talk to you about your home hygiene regime so you can keep plaque under control between visits.

Sleep Apnea

Sleep apnea can increase your risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes, depression, and even car accidents. Many people think of CPAP therapy when they think of treating sleep apnea, but your dentist can offer an alternative solution that works even better for some patients: oral appliance therapy. With a custom-made oral appliance that you wear when you sleep, your chin can be pushed slightly forward to keep your airway open, so you breathe easier and get the rest you need.

Diabetes

Diabetes and gum disease are closely related. Diabetes increases the risk of gum disease, and gum disease increases the risk of poor blood glucose control—and in some cases, gum disease can be a symptom of diabetes in people who have not yet been diagnosed. Your dentist needs to know if you have diabetes so he or she can develop the appropriate care plan for reducing your risk of gum disease.

 

Don’t let your oral health compromise your wellbeing. Make an appointment with John Carson, DDS today! You can reach our dental office in Tucson at (520) 514-7203.

Understanding and Dealing with Smoker’s Mouth

Smoking is extremely damaging to your oral health. Smoker’s mouth is a catch-all term that refers to the range of oral health challenges that are triggered by smoking. Fortunately, if you have some of these side effects, you can reverse them as soon you stop smoking. Your dentist will help you identify and correct the oral health problems that were caused by your smoking, so you can move forward with a healthier, more attractive smile.

What exactly is smoker’s mouth?

A number of different oral health problems are caused by the toxins in cigarettes and from the heat of the cigarette itself. Smoking also creates the perfect environment for bacteria to grow in your mouth, which increases the risk of oral health problems. Some common issues smokers have with their oral health include:

  • Stained teeth
  • Cavities
  • Gum disease
  • Pain
  • Change in taste/inability to taste

Another side effect of smoking is oral cancer. Over 90% of people with mouth cancers used tobacco products. Because of the damage smoking does to your teeth and gums on a regular basis, you may not notice the signs of oral cancer until the disease has progressed.

How can smoker’s mouth be treated?

If you are a smoker, you may need to see your dentist more regularly for exams and cleanings, but the best way to treat smoker’s mouth is to stop smoking. Once you stop smoking, your dentist can more effectively treat cavities and gum disease. He or she can also perform teeth whitening treatments to reduce the appearance of stains, or for severe stains, apply veneers. Oral cancer screenings are also important.

After you stop smoking, you may notice an increase in tooth pain. The pain was likely always there but masked by your smoking, so it will become more noticeable when you stop. With treatment for your dental issues, this pain should subside.

 

Get the care you need for a healthy smile at the office of John Carson, DDS. From preventative to restorative dentistry, our office provides comprehensive care for a range of dental health issues. Schedule an appointment with our Tucson dentist today by calling (520) 514-7203.

Gummy Smiles 101

A gummy smile is one in which more gingival tissue is visible than is typical when someone smiles. The diagnosis of a gummy smile can be very subjective—some people don’t mind the appearance of their smiles while others with a similar amount of gingival tissue are very self-conscious. Are you concerned about having a gummy smile? Your dentist can help you evaluate your amount of gingival tissue and understand what treatments are available. This information will also help you get a better understanding this common condition.

How are gummy smiles diagnosed?

Your dentist can determine if you have a gummy smile by doing a visual exam. In most cases, a diagnosis is guided by the patient’s own preferences. In most cases, if you feel like you have an excessive amount of gum tissue visible when you are smiling, then your dentist will help you find a treatment that addresses your concern. He or she will also determine if any other conditions, such as gum disease, could be causing your gums to swell, making them look more prominent. When this is to blame, treating the underlying condition may resolve the issue.

What causes gummy smiles?

There are a number of potential causes of gummy smiles. Some of the causes have to do with the way your teeth are positioned in your mouth. Some people with gummy smiles have an overbite, overgrowth of the maxilla, and teeth that haven’t fully erupted. In other cases, the gum tissue may not recede as expected when teeth erupt. In other instances, excessive wear can make teeth appear smaller or the upper lip is too short or moves excessively.

How can gummy smiles be treated?

The right treatment for a gummy smile depends on the underlying cause and the patient’s preferences. The most popular treatments include:

  • Gingivectomy: A procedure in which the gum tissue is contoured, this is often done with a laser.
  • Lip repositioning: A surgical procedure in which a portion of the lip is removed so that the remaining skin can be stitched down lower, covering up more of the gingival tissue.
  • Crown lengthening: A procedure in which a portion of the gum is removed to expose more of the crowns of teeth.
  • Orthodontic treatment: Treatments designed to correct bite problems that contribute to gummy smiles.

 

Reclaim confidence in your smile with the help of John Carson, DDS. Our dentist Tucson offers extensive cosmetic dental procedures to address a wide range of conditions. To make an appointment, call (520) 514-7203.  

Do Women Get Sleep Apnea Too?

Do Women Get Sleep Apnea Too?

There is a stereotypical image of people who have sleep apnea. Most people picture overweight, middle-aged men with loud snoring that keeps their entire household up. Although some people with sleep apnea may fit this bill, not everyone does. One of the biggest misconceptions about sleep apnea is that it is a man’s disorder. While sleep apnea is more common in men, women can and do also get it. The stereotypical idea of a sleep apnea sufferer leads women to get diagnosed less often, which can put their health at risk.

Signs of Sleep Apnea in Women

Women do not always have the traditional symptoms of sleep apnea. Women are more likely to complain of fatigue, headaches, and restless legs at night than they are to say that their sleep partner is complaining about their snoring.

In reality, not everyone with sleep apnea snores, and of those who do, not everyone has a loud, distinctive snore. Not everyone with sleep apnea is overweight, either. Women who don’t snore and are at a healthy weight may still have the other symptoms of sleep apnea.

Delayed Diagnoses

Part of the reason that women are often diagnosed with sleep apnea later than men, or misdiagnosed with another condition, is because they frequently don’t have the traditional symptoms. Even when they do, assumptions about who gets sleep apnea leads doctors to look at other conditions before they consider sleep apnea as a diagnosis for female patients.

Treatment Options

CPAP therapy works for some women, but many find the masks and the air pressure uncomfortable. Oral appliance therapy, available from your dentist, uses a mouth guard to gently shift the jaw so that it is easier to breath when you sleep.

 

John Carson, DDS partners with your M.D. to offer sleep apnea treatments in Tucson using oral appliance therapy.  He can also partner with your MD to help you use CPAP machine better if needed. Make an appointment by calling (520) 514-7203.