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What Your Dentist Knows About Your Health

A Southfield Michigan family dental practice, Aesthetic Dental Clinique.

best dentist near me southfield

During your routine dental check-up, your dentist can uncover important clues about your overall health.

If your tooth enamel is worn down, for example, that’s a sign that you may be suffering from stress and grinding your teeth at night. Swollen and receding gums can be an early sign of diabetes, and sores in your mouth that don’t heal can sometimes indicate oral cancer.

A dentist or periodontist may be the first to notice these symptoms and can tell you which additional tests or treatments you may need. In some cases, they’ll work closely with your primary care doctor to help manage your follow-up care.

“Dentists and periodontists are concerned about more than saving your teeth – they’re looking at how oral health fits into your overall well-being,” says Steven Offenbacher, DDS, PhD, chair of the department of periodontology and director of the Center for Oral and Systemic Diseases at the School of Dentistry at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.

Here are some of the most common conditions dentists look out for that can affect your oral health.

Diabetes

People with type 1 and type 2 diabetes are more likely to develop gum disease.

That’s because they may have a decreased ability to fight bacterial infections, including those that occur in the mouth. In addition, serious gum disease can make it more difficult for people with diabetes to control their blood sugar.

“When I see a patient with symptoms like frequent gum abscesses, swelling, a lot of bone loss in a short amount of time, and gum disease that doesn’t respond to normal treatment, those can be signs that they have diabetes,” says Sally Cram, DDS, a periodontist in Washington, D.C., and spokeswoman for the American Dental Association. “Over the years, I’ve had at least a dozen patients who I identified as diabetic and they didn’t know it.”

If your dentist suspects that you have undiagnosed diabetes, he or she will advise you to go to an endocrinologist or to your primary care doctor for testing.

Once you’ve been diagnosed as having prediabetes or diabetes, your dentist may send status reports to your doctor — letting him know, for instance, if they suspect your blood sugar is not well controlled because your gum disease has been difficult to treat.

Also, your dentist or periodontist may recommend that you schedule dental exams more frequently — for example, every three months — if you have a history of diabetes and gum disease.

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Dental Care for Seniors

Aesthetic Dental Clinique is located in Southfield Mi. Come and see us!

Advancing age puts many seniors at risk for a number of oral health problems, such as:

Darkened teeth . Caused, to some extent, by changes in dentin — the bone-like tissue that underlies the tooth enamel — and by a lifetime of consuming stain-causing foods and beverages. Also caused by thinning of the outer enamel layer that lets the darker yellower dentin show through.
Dry mouth. Dry mouth is caused by reduced saliva flow, which can be a result of cancer treatments that use radiation to the head and neck area, as well as certain diseases, such as Sjögren’s syndrome, and medication side effects. Many medicines can cause dry mouth.
Diminished sense of taste . While advancing age impairs the sense of taste, diseases, medications, and dentures can also contribute to this sensory loss.
Root decay . This is caused by exposure of the tooth root to decay-causing acids. The tooth roots become exposed as gum tissue recedes from the tooth. Roots do not have any enamel to protect them and are more prone to decay than the crown part of the tooth.
Gum disease. Caused by plaque and made worse by food left in teeth, use of tobacco products, poor-fitting bridges and dentures, poor diets, and certain diseases, such as anemia, cancer, and diabetes, this is often a problem for older adults.
Tooth loss . Gum disease is a leading cause of tooth loss.
Uneven jawbone . This is caused by tooth and then not replacing missing teeth. This allows the rest of the teeth to drift and shift into open spaces
Denture-induced stomatitis . Ill-fitting dentures, poor dental hygiene, or a buildup of the fungus Candida albicans cause this condition, which is inflammation of the tissue underlying a denture.
Thrush . Diseases or drugs that affect the immune system can trigger the overgrowth of the fungus Candida albicans in the mouth.
Age in and of itself is not a dominant or sole factor in determining oral health. However, certain medical conditions, such as arthritis in the hands and fingers, may make brushing or flossing teeth difficult to impossible to perform. Drugs can also affect oral health and may make a change in your dental treatment necessary.

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Foods and Habits That Stain Your Teeth

Aesthetic Dental Clinique wants you to have clean, stain-free teeth, we are located in Southfield Mi. Come and see us!

If your smile isn’t as bright as you’d like, think about what you put in your mouth. You can stain your teeth if you smoke or if you eat or drink certain things, and it’s more likely to happen as you age.

But once you know what to eat — and what to avoid — you can keep your pearly whites bright and shiny.

What Causes Stains?

“Tooth enamel [changes] as you get older,” says Sally Cram, DDS. “Like a piece of pottery that gets fine lines [over time], the stain gets into the little cracks and crevices.”

You need to watch out for these three things:

Chromogens — compounds with strong pigments that cling to enamel
Tannins — plant-based compounds that make it easier for stains to stick to teeth
Acids — these make tooth enamel softer and rougher, so it’s easier for stains to set in
Coffee, Tea, or Neither?

You probably think the main cause of darkened teeth in the U.S. is a drink you brew for yourself in the morning. After all, more than half of Americans drink coffee every day. You can tell from its color that it’s high in chromogens, and it’s very acidic. Together, these factors help turn white teeth yellow over time.

But it’s not the worst culprit. That would be tea, which nearly half your fellow Americans drink every day. Not only is it full of acid, it also has tannins.

“Tea causes teeth to stain much worse than coffee,” says Mark S. Wolff, DDS, PhD, professor at the New York University College of Dentistry. “Iced tea or brewed tea — it doesn’t matter.”

If you have coffee or tea only after Sunday dinner, you’re less likely to have stained teeth than if you drink three cups every morning.

“To really have that big of an effect, it’s really the frequency of intake that’s going to make the stain,” Cram says.

What’s In Your Glass?

Red wine can be good for your health, but it’s not ideal for a bright smile. Wolff says three factors work against it: It’s very acidic, it has lots of tannins, and — as its deep purple color suggests — it’s high in chromogens, which land on your teeth and stick to them quickly Wolff says.
White wine has both acid and, despite its color, some tannins. It doesn’t have its own color to stain teeth, but the tannins and acids make your teeth fair game for other types of stains. They’re more likely to be stained by a tomato, a blueberry, or a strawberry, Wolff says.

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Dental Health and Toothaches

Aesthetic Dental Clinique wants you to live pain free, we are located in Southfield Mi. Come and see us!

A toothache is a pain in or around a tooth that may be caused by:

Tooth decay
Abscessed tooth
Tooth fracture
A damaged filling
Repetitive motions, such as chewing gum or grinding teeth
Infected gums
Symptoms of a toothache may include:

Tooth pain that may be sharp, throbbing, or constant. In some people, pain results only when pressure is applied to the tooth.
Swelling around the tooth
Fever or headache
Foul-tasting drainage from the infected tooth
When Should I See a Dentist About a Toothache?

See your dentist as soon as possible about your toothache if:

You have a toothache that lasts longer than 1 or 2 days
Your toothache is severe
You have a fever, earache, or pain upon opening your mouth wide

Proper identification and treatment of dental infections is important to prevent its spread to other parts of the face and skull and possibly even to the bloodstream.

What Happens When I Go to the Dentist for a Toothache?

To treat your toothache, your dentist will first obtain your medical history and conduct a physical exam. He or she will ask you questions about the pain, such as when the pain started, how severe it is, where the pain is located, what makes the pain worse, and what makes it better. Your dentist will examine your mouth, teeth, gums, jaws, tongue, throat, sinuses, ears, nose, and neck. X-rays may be taken as well as other tests, depending on what your dentist suspects is causing your toothache.

What Treatments Are Available for a Toothache?

Treatment for a toothache depends on the cause. If a cavity is causing the toothache, your dentist will fill the cavity or possibly extract the tooth, if necessary. A root canal might be needed if the cause of the toothache is determined to be an infection of the tooth’s nerve. Bacteria that have worked their way into the inner aspects of the tooth cause such an infection. An antibiotic may be prescribed if there is fever or swelling of the jaw. Occasionally, phototherapy with a cold laser, usually in conjunction with another treatment, may be used to reduce the pain and inflammation associated with the toothache.

How Can Toothaches Be Prevented?

Since most toothaches are the result of tooth decay, following good oral hygiene practices can prevent toothaches. Good oral hygiene practices consist of brushing regularly with a fluoride-containing toothpaste, flossing once daily, rinsing once or twice a day with an antiseptic mouthwash, and seeing your dentist twice a year for professional cleaning. In addition to these practices, eat foods low in sugar and ask your dentist about sealants and fluoride applications.

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Dental Health and Teeth Grinding

Aesthetic Dental Clinique wants you to enjoy healthy teeth for life, we are located in Southfield Mi. Come and see us!

Most people probably grind and clench their teeth from time to time. Occasional teeth grinding, medically called bruxism, does not usually cause harm, but when teeth grinding occurs on a regular basis the teeth can be damaged and other oral health complications can arise.

Why Do People Grind Their Teeth?

Although teeth grinding can be caused by stress and anxiety, it often occurs during sleep and is more likely caused by an abnormal bite or missing or crooked teeth. It can also be caused by a sleep disorder such as sleep apnea.

How Do I Find Out if I Grind My Teeth?

Because grinding often occurs during sleep, most people are unaware that they grind their teeth. However, a dull, constant headache or sore jaw when you wake up is a telltale symptom of bruxism. Many times people learn that they grind their teeth by their loved one who hears the grinding at night.

If you suspect you may be grinding your teeth, talk to your dentist. He or she can examine your mouth and jaw for signs of bruxism, such as jaw tenderness and excessive wear on your teeth.

Why Is Teeth Grinding Harmful?

In some cases, chronic teeth grinding can result in a fracturing, loosening, or loss of teeth. The chronic grinding may wear teeth down to stumps. When these events happen, bridges, crowns, root canals, implants, partial dentures, and even complete dentures may be needed.

Not only can severe grinding damage teeth and result in tooth loss, it can also affect your jaws, cause or worsen TMD/TMJ, and even change the appearance of your face.

What Can I Do to Stop Grinding My Teeth?

Your dentist can fit you with a mouth guard to protect your teeth from grinding during sleep.

If stress is causing you to grind your teeth, ask your doctor or dentist about options to reduce your stress. Attending stress counseling, starting an exercise program, seeing a physical therapist, or obtaining a prescription for muscle relaxants are among some of the options that may be offered.

If a sleeping disorder is causing the grinding, treating it may reduce or eliminate the grinding habit.
Other tips to help you stop teeth grinding include:

Avoid or cut back on foods and drinks that contain caffeine, such as colas, chocolate, and coffee.

Avoid alcohol. Grinding tends to intensify after alcohol consumption.
Do not chew on pencils or pens or anything that is not food. Avoid chewing gum as it allows your jaw muscles to get more used to clenching and makes you more likely to grind your teeth.
Train yourself not to clench or grind your teeth. If you notice that you clench or grind during the day, position the tip of your tongue between your teeth. This practice trains your jaw muscles to relax.
Relax your jaw muscles at night by holding a warm washcloth against your cheek in front of your earlobe.

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Whitening Your Not-So-Pearly Whites

Aesthetic Dental Clinique wants you to enjoy healthy teeth for life, we are located in Southfield Mi. Come and see us!

Your pearly whites not so pearly anymore? That can happen to any of us, for any number of reasons. The good news is that you don’t have to live with a smile you’re less than happy with. Tooth whitening can restore your teeth to their earlier brightness. But given the number of options and the cost and time involved with each one, how do you know which one is right for you?

As we age, the outer layer of enamel on our teeth is worn away, eventually revealing the darker tissue underneath, at the center of the tooth around the nerves and blood vessels. Our teeth may also become discolored from smoking, from drinking coffee, tea, and wine, and even from taking certain medications as a child such as tetracycline.

“It’s like wearing a great outfit or wonderful accessory,” says Wynn Okuda, DMD, national president of the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry (AACD). “Having your teeth whitened makes you feel good.”

Almost everyone wants whiter teeth these days, adds Melissa Ing, DMD, associate professor of prosthodontics at the University of Connecticut Health Center. “It’s the number one aesthetic concern of my patients,” she says.

Ing is not alone in noticing the upsurge in requests for a brighter smile.

That may be because it’s fairly easy to accommodate those requests, says Ing. “Tooth whitening or bleaching works for most people and my patients who have done it are happy with the results.”

Two Ways to Tooth Whitening

Tooth whitening can be achieved in two ways. A product can bleach the tooth. That means it actually changes the natural tooth color, usually anywhere from five to seven — but even up to twelve — shades brighter, which is how dentists assess tooth color. Bleaching products contain peroxides that help remove both deep and surface stains. The second whitening process uses non-bleaching products that work by physical or chemical action to help remove surface stains only.
A newcomer to the world of tooth whitening is known as chairside bleaching. This may require more than one visit, with each visit lasting 30 to 60 minutes. During chairside bleaching, your dentist applies either a protective gel to your gums or a rubber shield to protect the soft tissues in the mouth. A bleaching agent is then applied to the teeth, and a special light may be used to enhance the action of the agent.

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Wisdom Tooth Extraction

Aesthetic Dental Clinique, located in Southfield Michigan, can help you with your wisdom teeth!

Surgery Overview

An oral and maxillofacial surgeon or your dentist can remove (extract) a wisdom tooth. The procedure often can be done in the dentist’s or surgeon’s office. You may have the surgery in the hospital, especially if you are having all your wisdom teeth pulled at one time or if you are at high risk for complications.

If you have any infections, surgery will usually be delayed until the infection has cleared up. Your doctor or dentist may have you take antibiotics to help heal the infection.

Before removing a wisdom tooth, your dentist will give you a local anesthetic to numb the area where the tooth will be removed. A general anesthetic may be used, especially if several or all of your wisdom teeth will be removed at the same time. A general anesthetic prevents pain in the whole body and will cause you to sleep through the procedure. Your dentist will probably recommend that you don’t eat or drink after midnight on the night before surgery so that you are prepared for the anesthetic.

To remove the wisdom tooth, your dentist will open up the gum tissue over the tooth and take out any bone that is covering the tooth. He or she will separate the tissue connecting the tooth to the bone and then remove the tooth. Sometimes the dentist will cut the tooth into smaller pieces to make it easier to remove.

After the tooth is removed, you may need stitches. Some stitches dissolve over time and some have to be removed after a few days. Your dentist will tell you whether your stitches need to be removed. A folded cotton gauze pad placed over the wound will help stop the bleeding.

What To Expect After Surgery

In most cases, the recovery period lasts only a few days. Take painkillers as prescribed by your dentist or oral surgeon. The following tips will help speed your recovery.

Bite gently on the gauze pad periodically, and change pads as they become soaked with blood. Call your dentist or oral surgeon if you still have bleeding 24 hours after your surgery.
While your mouth is numb, be careful not to bite the inside of your cheek or lip, or your tongue.
Do not lie flat. This may prolong bleeding. Prop up your head with pillows.
Try using an ice pack on the outside of your cheek. Apply for 15 to 20 minutes at a time for the first 24 hours. You can use moist heat-such as a washcloth soaked in warm water and wrung out-for the following 2 or 3 days.
Relax after surgery. Physical activity may increase bleeding.
Eat soft foods, such as gelatin, pudding, or a thin soup. Gradually add solid foods to your diet as healing progresses.
Do not use a straw for the first few days. Sucking on a straw can loosen the blood clot and delay healing.
After the first day, gently rinse your mouth with warm salt water several times a day to reduce swelling and relieve pain. You can make your own salt water by mixing 1 tsp (5 g) of salt in a medium-sized glass [8 fl oz (240 mL)] of warm water. Do not rinse hard. This can loosen the blood clot and delay healing.
Do not smoke for at least 24 hours after your surgery. The sucking motion can loosen the clot and delay healing. Also, smoking decreases the blood supply and can bring germs and contaminants to the surgery area.
Avoid rubbing the area with your tongue or touching it with your fingers.
Continue to brush your teeth and tongue carefully.
Your dentist will remove the stitches after a few days, if needed.

Why It Is Done

A wisdom tooth is extracted to correct an actual problem or to prevent problems that may come up in the future. Some of the problems that can occur when wisdom teeth come in are:

Your jaw may not be large enough for them, and they may become impacted and unable to break through your gums.
Your wisdom teeth may break partway through your gums, causing a flap of gum tissue to grow over them. Food and germs can get trapped under the flap and cause your gums to become red, swollen, and painful. These are signs of infection.
More serious problems can develop from impacted teeth, such as infection, damage to other teeth and bone, or a cyst.
One or more of your wisdom teeth may come in at an awkward angle, with the top of the tooth facing forward, backward, or to either side.
How Well It Works

Wisdom tooth removal usually is effective in preventing:

Crowding of the back teeth.
A wisdom tooth becoming stuck in the jaw (impacted) and never breaking through the gums.
Red, swollen, and painful gums caused by a flap of skin around a wisdom tooth that has only partially come in.
Gum disease and tooth decay in the wisdom tooth, which may be harder to clean than other teeth, or in the teeth and jaw in the area of the wisdom tooth.
Risks

After a wisdom tooth is removed, you may experience:

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Dental Health and Bridges

Aesthetic Dental Clinique wants to help you with dental bridges, we are located in Southfield Mi. Come and see us!

Dental bridges literally bridge the gap created by one or more missing teeth.

A bridge is made up of two or more crowns for the teeth on either side of the gap — these two or more anchoring teeth are called abutment teeth — and a false tooth/teeth in between. These false teeth are called pontics and can be made from gold, alloys, porcelain, or a combination of these materials. Dental bridges are supported by natural teeth or implants.

What Are the Benefits of Dental Bridges?

Bridges can:

Restore your smile
Restore the ability to properly chew and speak
Maintain the shape of your face
Distribute the forces in your bite properly by replacing missing teeth
Prevent remaining teeth from drifting out of position
What Types of Dental Bridges Are Available?

There are three main types of dental bridges:

Traditional bridges involve creating a crown for the tooth or implant on either side of the missing tooth, with a pontic in between. Traditional bridges are the most common type of bridge and are made of either porcelain fused to metal or ceramics.
Cantilever bridges are used when there are adjacent teeth on only one side of the missing tooth or teeth. This is not very common any more and is not recommended in the back of the mouth where it can put too much force on other teeth and damage them.
Maryland bonded bridges (also called a resin-bonded bridge or a Maryland bridge) are made of porcelain, porcelain fused to metal, or plastic teeth and gums supported by a metal or porcelain framework. Metal or porcelain wings often on just one side of the bridge are bonded to your existing teeth.

What Is the Process for Getting a Dental Bridge?

During the first visit for getting a dental bridge, the abutment teeth are prepared. Preparation involves recontouring these teeth by removing a portion of enamel to allow room for a crown to be placed over them. Next, impressions of the teeth are made, which serve as a model from which the bridge, pontic, and crowns will be made by a dental lab. Your dentist will make a temporary bridge to wear to protect the exposed teeth and gums while the bridge is being made.

During the second visit, your temporary bridge will be removed and the new porcelain or metal bridge will be checked and adjusted, as necessary, to achieve a proper fit. Multiple visits may be required to check the fit of the metal framework and bite. This is dependent on each individual’s case. If the dental bridge is a fixed bridge, your dentist may temporarily cement it in place for a couple of weeks to make sure it is fitting properly. After a couple weeks, the bridge is cemented into place.

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The Mouth-Body Connection

Aesthetic Dental Clinique wants you to enjoy a healthy life, we are located in Southfield Mi. Come and see us!

Taking good care of your mouth — teeth and gums — does more than help ensure you have a bright, white smile.

A healthy mouth and healthy body go hand in hand. Good oral hygiene and oral health can improve your overall health, reducing the risk of serious disease and perhaps even preserving your memory in your golden years. The phrase “healthy mouth, healthy you” really is true — and backed by growing scientific evidence.

It’s never too early to start teaching your children to take care of their teeth and gums: Healthy habits learned in childhood can pay off in adulthood. And, if you’re tempted to shrug off your good oral hygiene habits — brushing, flossing, rinsing with an antiseptic mouthwash, and seeing your dentist regularly — remember that you’re a role model for your kids. Keep in mind these six ways that healthy teeth and gums boost overall health.

Boosts Your Self-esteem and Confidence

Decayed teeth and gum disease are often associated not only with an unsightly mouth but very bad breath — so bad it can affect your confidence, self-image, and self-esteem. With a healthy mouth that’s free of gum disease and cavities, your quality of life is also bound to be better — you can eat properly, sleep better, and concentrate with no aching teeth or mouth infections to distract you.

May Lower Risk of Heart Disease

Chronic inflammation from gum disease has been associated with the development of cardiovascular problems such as heart disease, blockages of blood vessels, and strokes.

Experts stop short of saying there is a cause-and-effect between gum disease and these other serious health problems, but the link has shown up in numerous studies. The findings of these studies may suggest that maintaining oral health can help protect overall health.

Preserves Your Memory

Adults with gingivitis (swollen, bleeding gums) performed worse on tests of memory and other cognitive skills than did those with healthier gums and mouths, according to a report in the Journal of Neurology, Neurosurgery & Psychiatry.

Those with gingivitis were more likely to perform poorly on two tests: delayed verbal recall and subtraction — both skills used in everyday life.
Using an antibacterial mouthwash or toothpaste can help reduce bacteria in the mouth that can cause gingivitis.

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Dental Health and Tooth Fillings

Aesthetic Dental Clinique wants to help you with dental fillings, we are located in Southfield Mi. Come and see us!

To treat a cavity your dentist will remove the decayed portion of the tooth and then “fill” the area on the tooth where the decayed material was removed.

Fillings are also used to repair cracked or broken teeth and teeth that have been worn down from misuse (such as from nail-biting or tooth grinding).

What Steps Are Involved in Filling a Tooth?

First, the dentist will use a local anesthetic to numb the area around the tooth to be filled. Next, a drill, air abrasion instrument, or laser will be used to remove the decayed area. The choice of instrument depends on the individual dentist’s comfort level, training, and investment in the particular piece of equipment as well as location and extent of the decay.

Next, your dentist will probe or test the area to determine if all the decay has been removed. Once the decay has been removed, the dentist will prepare the space for the filling by cleaning the cavity of bacteria and debris. If the decay is near the root, your dentist may first put in a liner made of glass ionomer, composite resin, or other material to protect the nerve. Generally, after the filling is in, your dentist will finish and polish it.

Several additional steps are required for tooth-colored fillings and are as follows. After your dentist has removed the decay and cleaned the area, the tooth-colored material is applied in layers. Next, a special light that “cures” or hardens each layer is applied. When the multilayering process is completed, the dentist will shape the composite material to the desired result, trim off any excess material, and polish the final restoration.

What Types of Filling Materials Are Available?

Today, several dental filling materials are available. Teeth can be filled with gold; porcelain; silver amalgam (which consists of mercury mixed with silver, tin, zinc, and copper); or tooth-colored, plastic, and materials called composite resin fillings. There is also a material that contains glass particles and is known as glass ionomer. This material is used in ways similar to the use of composite resin fillings.

The location and extent of the decay, cost of filling material, your insurance coverage, and your dentist’s recommendation assist in determining the type of filling best for you.

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