Let’s say you’re nearing the time when an ’empty nest’ in on the horizon. In anticipation of having extra space, you may have some ideas as to how free space could be reconfigured. A workout room? A media room? An office for a new in-home business?
Although designers and contractors could come in with a sketch pad and pencil, wouldn’t you be more assured with a visual proposal that gave a firsthand view of where, what, and how?
Today’s technology is designed to eliminate guesswork and provide the means to achieve goals without unexpected glitches.
This is true for dentistry as well. Advanced computerized technology has given dentists the tools to diagnose, treatment plan, and perform procedures with precision based on each individual’s needs and goals.
Dental offices can vary significantly when it comes to advanced technology. Not only does this equipment require a monetary commitment, most require intense training of the dentist and staff members in order to utilize each piece properly. While some of these advancements can seem rather intimidating, I’ve found that they can be of such benefit to our patients that the learning process becomes exciting.
Case in point – when I first invested in CEREC 3D technology, I took a couple of courses but avoided using it for months. When I decided to truly master it, I became so enthralled at the results that I pursued every advanced course I could take. Now, I am a proud Mentor for CEREC 3D, providing training assistance to other dentists who make this positive leap into the future of dentistry.
While my goal has always been to provide options that enhance patient comfort, save them time, and create optimal outcomes, it has also been important to select technology that is ‘green.’ At Smiles By Andrews, we have incorporated features that are environmentally-friendly, which minimize the use of chemicals, save water, and reduce waste.
We are proud of the environment we offer to our patients. Experience the benefits of these features yourself! We are always happy to welcome new patients to our office and even offer a free consult for those who wish to ‘check us out’ before committing to an appointment. Just call our friendly staff at 843-871-6351 or tap here to schedule.
While we are pleased to offer this technology, what our patients notice most is the respectful, friendly, compassionate environment we provide. Regardless of your need, we are committed to exceptional care with an emphasis on comfort.
I hope to meet you soon!Read More
Our patients enjoy one, comfortable office for nearly every dental need, from regular cleanings to dental implants and everything in-between. In addition to added relaxation options of Oral and I.V. Sedation, our office features some of the most advanced dental technology available to reduce treatment time and optimize comfort.
Just some of the advanced features you’ll find in our Summerville dental office include:
Dental Radiology With 3D Cone Beam Technology – This 3D imaging covers the whole dentition area (all teeth and jaws, from ear to ear), giving a clear view of the mandible and maxilla (upper and lower jaw). This provides an intricate review of diagnostic requirements and is ideal for treatment planning of endodontics (root canals), periodontics (treatment of gums), orthodontics (tooth realignment), dental implants, TMJ (jaw joints) and dental prosthetics (crowns, bridges, partials, dentures and teeth attached to implants). Cone beam images also pinpoint the lower jaw nerve canal for pre-surgical planning for ideal implant positioning. The imaging process is fast and comfortable and exposes patients to minimal levels of radiation.
One Appointment Crowns & Inlays – CEREC 3D creates beautiful, durable ceramic restorations using the latest in computerization, ready for placement. The tooth is prepared and, while the patient relaxes for a brief time, their ceramic crown or bridge is created and ready for placement — no dental lab needed (that takes weeks). CEREC 3D also eliminates the need for temporaries and reduces numbing requirements by fifty percent.
Laser Therapy – Treatment of gum tissues using our laser is ideal for precision gum contouring, bacteria removal, uncovering implants, repair of oral ulcers and other tissue related procedures. Additionally, the laser causes no bleeding and reduces numbing requirements.
‘Silent’ Drill – We use handpieces that sound like a gentle whirr – with no high-pitched sound of a drill. This handpiece also has better precision and is much quieter.
Digital X-Rays – This digital imaging (x-ray) system reduces exposure to radiation by up to 90% while providing enlarged, on-screen images instantly. Its magnification aids in early diagnosis, helping to reduce treatment time and costs. Patients also like that this fast process is more comfortable than traditional “bite wings”.
Oral Cancer Detection – As a standard part of a patient’s annual examination, we use the VELscope Early Detection System. This is a hand-held device that aids in early detection of oral cancer. The exam is non-invasive, painless and takes only minutes. This process gives a better visual of abnormal tissue that may be, or may lead to, oral cancer.
CASEY Patient Education – To enhance patient communication and their involvement in treatment decisions, we use wall-mounted video technology in treatment suites. These also feature step-by-step information on the latest dental procedures.
IntraOral Imaging – To enhance patient understanding of areas in need, this technology gives enlarged views of specific areas in the mouth that can be easily viewed by the patient while in the treatment chair.
Computerized Charting – At each visit, a patient’s oral health status is recorded and stored, providing easy retrieval for future comparisons. This not only measures the patient’s oral status, it helps in predicting vulnerable areas. This allows patients to be proactive so preventing problems in the first place can occur.
Sterilization System – In our office, all instruments used in patient care are heat sterilized. Our process meets or exceeds the guidelines set forth by OSHA and the Center for Disease Control (CDC).
We are also proud that many of the features in our office are environmentally-friendly, helping to preserve precious natural resources and reducing the use of chemicals.
For a firsthand look at our advanced features, and to learn more about the patient benefits of each, feel free to ask. We are also happy to help you understand your options!Read More
As the new year mark nears and many adults overindulge in holiday goodies, thoughts of New Year’s Resolutions are already being contemplated. Losing weight, getting better muscle tone and building stamina are common resolutions we tend to make — and remake, year after year.
As fitness centers and personal trainers become busier after January 1st, a very important part of our overall health doesn’t always get due attention — your smile. While we try to do everything we can to keep a healthy body, the health of the mouth is vital to our overall health and well-being. How? Read on…
One of the many benefits of your dental check-ups (exams and cleanings) is the ability to remove calculus buildup that has occurred between visits. Calculus (also known as ‘tartar’) is formed from plaque accumulation. This is the sticky film you feel on your teeth at the end of the day before your evening brushing.
Calculus is a hardened mass of plaque that attaches to teeth. As oral bacteria thrive in your mouth by subsisting on tender gum tissues, they reproduce rapidly. As they accumulate, oral bacteria can easily progress from gingivitis (an initial stage of periodontal disease) to full blown periodontal (gum) disease. Gum disease symptoms include persistent bad breath, tender gums that bleed easily when brushing, gums that turn red in color, receded gums, and pus pockets that form at the base of some teeth.
Gum disease is the leading cause of adult tooth loss in the U.S. Even worse, it can enter the bloodstream through weakened gum tissues. The infectious bacteria of gum disease has been found to trigger inflammation elsewhere in the body. Research has linked this to heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure, arthritis, diabetes, preterm babies, erectile dysfuntion (ED) and more.
Obviously, oral bacteria is potent stuff and potentially destructive to areas far beyond the mouth. Yet, keeping a healthy mouth takes mere minutes a day. Twice daily brushing, daily flossing, drinking plenty of water and limiting sweets are simple, effective ways to reduce risks. You’ll enjoy a clean mouth, fresher breath, and savings from avoiding treatment expenses of cavities and gum disease.
Your regular 6-month check-ups are a tremendous part of helping you avoid problems in the first place. Additionally, we provide Oral Cancer screenings with VelScope technology as part of annual exams at no additional cost. This quick and painless early detection process far surpasses what a visual exam can detect.
If you’re behind on your 6-month oral hygiene visits, call 1-877-966-9009 to schedule. These twice-a-year visits are a direct path to a healthy smile with minimal problems! Please note that we are highly experienced in treating patients who are afraid of dental visits and are a ‘lecture-free zone!’ You’ll be treated gently, respectfully and ethically.Read More
One of the most exciting developments in the realm of dentistry has been the advancements in dental technology. As computerization has advanced, dental technology has as well. For the patient, its cutting-edge capabilities provide faster, more precise results with exceptional durability and enhanced comfort levels.
Let’s start with the imaging. The old ‘x-rays’ once used in a dental office have been replaced by modern offices for digital imaging. These images provide a clearer view of problem spots and areas of vulnerability. The images can be easily enlarged for patient viewing, enabling them to have greater involvement in treatment decisions.
An added bonus of digital imaging versus x-rays is patient safety. Imaging emits about 90% less radiation than traditional x-rays of prior film methods. The images also appear faster and can be projected onto large monitors to show minute details. Plus, they’re greener for the environment — no more film or development chemicals!
Another asset in modern dental offices is CEREC 3D. This computerized technology does a number of functions that save treatment time, optimize results and enhance patient comfort. One of its most popular functions is the creation of single-visit crowns.
For many years, providing a patient with a crown (‘cap’) required two visits. In the first, the patient’s tooth was prepared and a mold taken. This mold was sent to a dental lab, who would spend 2 weeks to a month creating the porcelain replacement ‘restoration.’
In the meantime, the patient wore a ‘temporary’ over the prepared tooth. These were designed to be removed easily so the lab-created crown could be placed once completed. However, temporaries tend to detach rather easily, often at the worst of times! Typically while chewing, the temporary’s adhesive would give way and end up requiring an appointment to resecure it.
When the final crown was ready, the patient had to return to the office for another appointment. The area for the new crown was again numbed and the crown would be attached. However, if the lab failed to properly match the shade or the fit was not done according to the doctor’s specifications, the process had to begin all over. Another appointment, another numbing, etc.
CEREC 3D technology solves all the back-&-forth. It takes an image of the prepared tooth, then imports it into a computer that logs in the Doctor’s specifications. It then begins creating the final restoration while the patient relaxes.
In a brief time, the final crown is ready for placement, with no additional numbing or a second appointment needed! CEREC can also create inlays or onlays, bridges and dental implant attachment-teeth.
One of the most fascinating new additions to our office technology is our Cone-Beam imaging. This takes a ‘head view’ image that shows the entire mouth and surrounding sinus, jaw and head joint structures in intricate detail. These ‘space age’ images can be viewed from all sides using a single image. For example, the Doctor can turn the image to see a tooth from both sides, the front or the back.
These views are a tremendous asset when it comes to diagnosis and planning appropriate treatment. This means that the potential for over-treating or under-treating is virtually eliminated.
Other advanced features (in our office) include a dental laser, which gives a number of advantages for patients. Primarily used in oral tissue treatment, a laser causes no bleeding and reduces numbing requirements in gum contouring, bacteria removal, uncovering implants, repair of oral ulcers and other tissue related procedures.
We also use the VELscope System, which is a hand-held device that aids in early detection of oral cancer. The exam is non-invasive, painless and takes only minutes. The process gives Dr. Andrews a better visual of abnormal tissue that may be, or may lead to, oral cancer.
Computerized charting is another advanced feature. This measures and stores your oral status while predicting vulnerable areas as it compares data at each visit.
While not all dental offices feature this array of dental technology, we’ve found our patients prefer the higher level of comfort, time savings and optimized outcomes it all provides.
To see just some of the unique features in our office, visit: http://smilesbyandrews.com/comfort-advanced-features/Read More
While many people associate the month of April with the tax filing deadline, I’d like you to think of one more thing each April. The month of April has been designated as National Oral Cancer Awareness Month.
While colon, breast and prostrate cancer have received good publicity over the years, oral cancer has loomed in the background. This is probably why the deadly statistics of oral cancer have not improved in decades.
Yet, oral cancer has one of the worst survival rates of all cancers. It takes the life of one American every hour. Nearly 50,000 in the U.S. will be diagnosed with oral or pharyngeal cancer this year, resulting in about 10,000 deaths.
For those who are diagnosed with the disease, half will not survive more than 5 years. Treatment is often disfiguring.
The high death rate is blamed largely on the cancer being discovered after development is advanced. This is why we use advanced technology to detect oral cancer signs at early stages.
Using VelScope, we provide our patients with this early detection screening for oral cancer at no additional charge. The process is conducted during annual examinations. It is performed painlessly and quickly.
VelScope uses a special light source to illuminate suspicious areas in the mouth. If found, we can recommend biopsy and advise the patient on immediate steps to take.
Of course, we want each exam to reveal healthy tissues. The peace of mind knowing there are no signs is a valuable part of your overall well-being.
To learn more about VelScope, or if you have suspicious symptoms (see below), contact us.
ORAL CANCER SYMPTOMS:
• Swelling, lumps, rough or crusty spots on the lips or inside the mouth
• White, red, or speckled spots in the mouth
• Difficulty swallowing or moving the tongue
• Numbness or pain on the face or in the mouth
• Persistent pain in the ear
• Sores that bleed easily and do not heal within 2 weeks
• Feeling something is caught in the the throat or having a persistent sore throat
• Hoarseness, chronic sore throat, or change in voice
Smokeless tobacco is a habit that is fairly common among Major League baseball players. Apparently, it reached such a level that the MLB had a survey conducted to determine just how rampant its use had become.
The survey revealed that nearly one-third of the League’s rookies were regular chewing and snuff users. When including all players, nearly 30% were smokeless tobacco users. Even more disturbing were findings that showed that once a user had the habit, very few were giving it up.
Since this growing trend could send a message to its young fans, the MLB set rules regarding the use of these products. However, there is obviously a long road ahead, as revealed in a 2012 study showing 11% of high school males used smokeless tobacco.
A sad illustration of these statistics is seen in the death of former Padres’ ball player and Hall of Famer Tony Gwynn. Gwynn passed away in 2014 from oral cancer with him attributing the cancer to years of using smokeless tobacco. Gwynn’s oral cancer was diagnosed in 2010, which began in his salivary glands.
What makes oral cancer such a terrible form of the disease is the disfiguring surgeries often needed for treatment. However, oral cancer can easily reach progression levels that are beyond treatment. Oral cancer has one of the worse survival rates of all cancers, taking the life of one American every hour.
While the hazards of cigarette smoke are better known, the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention warns that smokeless products contain 28 carcinogens and are a known cause of oral cancer.
It is also well-known that cigarettes are addictive, however, nicotine is part of smokeless tobacco products as well, being physically and emotionally addictive. Many don’t realize just how addictive these products are until they try to quit. Symptoms are similar to those experienced with giving up cigarettes, including depression, weight gain, irritability, headaches and dizziness.
Oral cancer’s warning signs are small and easy to ignore, which often enables the cancer to progress. Signs include a spot or sore in the mouth, tongue or lips that does not heal within 2 weeks. A persistent sore throat, hoarseness difficulty swallowing or change in the voice are also symptoms that should be checked immediately. When treated early, oral cancer can be survivable.
In our office, we use a quick, painless light source to reveal signs of oral cancer at the earliest stage possible. VelScope is a hand-held device that can detect warning signs that a visual exam can miss. For our patients, we provide this screening as part of annual hygiene check-ups as a complimentary service. It is that important to us that we help you to avoid the plight – and possible fate – that oral cancer can bring.
If you are a team coach with players who display signs of smokeless tobacco use, please share your concerns and these statistics. You could help save a life. For more information, call toll free 1-877-966-9009 or schedule an immediate appointment if you have any of the symptoms mentioned above. For more information, visit:Read More
As dental technology has advanced, I have been particularly drawn to the developments that save patients treatment time, help reduce treatment costs and enhance comfort.
I’m proud that our office features some of the most advanced technology available. Providing these features to our patients reassures them that their care here is at an exceptional level. They also know our choices of technology are based on the options that make their visits better experiences than they might find elsewhere.
A few of our advanced features include:
3D Cone Beam Radiology Technology – This 3D imaging gives a clear view of the entire dental region, including upper and lower jaw, in intricate detail. This enhances diagnostics for root canals, gum problems, misaligned teeth, Dental Implants, jaw joint disorders and procedures such as crown-&-bridge combinations. Cone beam images also pinpoint the lower jaw nerve for ideal implant positioning. The process is fast and comfortable with minimal radiation.
Single Appointment Crowns & Inlays – CEREC 3D creates beautiful, durable crowns, bridges, partials and implant replacement teeth using the latest in computerization, ready for placement in one visit. CEREC eliminates the need for temporaries and reduces numbing requirements by half.
Laser Therapy – When treating oral tissues, this laser eliminates bleeding and reduces numbing requirements. It is superior for precision gum contouring, bacteria removal, uncovering implants, repair of oral ulcers and other tissue-related procedures.
Digital Imaging (X-Rays) – Digital radiology reduces radiation by up to 90%, giving enlarged on-screen images instantly. Magnification aids in early diagnosis, which reduces treatment time and costs. This process is also more comfortable than traditional “bite wings.”
Oral Cancer Detection – The VELscope System is a hand-held device that aids in early detection of oral cancer. The exam is painless and takes only minutes. The process provides a better visual of abnormal tissue that may be, or may lead to, oral cancer.
‘Silent’ Drill – These handpieces are used with a gentle whirr – without the high-pitched sound of a drill. This handpiece has better precision and is much quieter.
CASEY Patient Education – These wall-mounted video education monitors help explain and illustrate certain dental procedures.
IntraOral Imaging – Provides enlarged views of specific areas in the mouth as the patient relaxes in the chair. This gives our patients greater involvement in treatment decisions.
Computerized Charting – This process measures and stores your oral status while predicting vulnerable areas with easy retrieval for future comparisons. This is an ideal way to catch problems at their earliest stages or prevent them altogether.
Advanced Sterilization – All instruments are heat sterilized in a process that meets or exceeds guidelines set forth by OSHA and the Center for Disease Control.
Additionally, many of our features are environmentally-friendly, helping to preserve our natural resources and reduce the use of chemicals.
Today’s dental technology has amazing features. However, it’s your safety, comfort and overall outcome that draws us to one technology over another. We are always happy to show patients the unique technology we provide, even if from mere curiosity rather than need. Just ask at your next visit!Read More
While many dental offices charge a fee for high-tech oral cancer screening, we choose to provide this service to our patients at no charge.
Advanced screening devices can reveal signs that are not visible to the naked eye during a visual oral cancer examination. We use a device called VelScope. The process is quick and painless. Patients swish with a liquid and a light is used to illuminate any suspicious signs of oral cancer.
Why should you worry about oral cancer?
Oral cancer is one of the deadliest cancers of all due to its poor survival rate — about fifty percent after five years. The disfiguring surgeries required to treat some levels of oral cancer are jolting. You may recall the dramatic disfigurement of the popular film critic Roger Ebert who eventually succumbed to oral cancer.
Oral cancer can easily progress to aggressive levels because initial warning signs are often ignored. For example, a red or white spot on the lips, tongue or inside of the mouth that does not heal on its own in a few weeks should be examined without delay. Because these spots typically don’t hurt when they appear, they are often ignored. This merely allows oral cancer to progress further.
With all the progress being made to lower the growth of other cancers, oral cancer’s growth rate has taken a turn for the worse among adolescents. This is largely due to its connections to HPV (human papilloma virus). HPV is the most common of all sexually transmitted infections. It effects about all sexually active people at some time in their lives. HPV typically resolves on its own, however, symptoms can develop long after being infected. It’s connection to oral cancer creates a concerning risk among younger ages once deemed unlikely candidates for oral cancer.
The connection between HPV and oral cancer is not common knowledge to the public. Nor are the symptoms of oral cancer and the need to react quickly to signs. This is why we believe it is highly important to screen patients to catch the earliest signs as well as help them to understand its seriousness.
Common warning signs of oral cancer include:
• A mouth sore that does not heal
• White or red patch on the tongue or inside the mouth
• Difficulty swallowing
• A lump or mass in the mouth or neck
• A long period of hoarseness or ear pain
• Pain or numbness in or around the mouth
• A change in voice
Remember, your regular dental check-ups allow us to monitor suspicious areas. Take advantage of this no-cost feature to help patients avoid oral cancer or catch it while it can be easily treated. Call toll free 1-877-966-9009 to schedule or learn more about VelScope Oral Cancer screening at:
Mouthwash is a common component of many oral hygiene routines at home. For many patients, we recommend certain mouthwashes for their ability to kill oral bacteria, add fluoride, and treat particular mouth sores. Too, some mouthwashes are advised following extraction of teeth to curtail bacteria in areas where brushing must be postponed.
While many people assume mouthwash is a beneficial conclusion to proper brushing and flossing, not all are recommended by our office. Some mouthwashes contain alcohol, which dries out oral tissues. Even though alcohol kills oral bacteria, it also serves as a drying agent. This actually increases your potential for cavities and bad breath since alcohol decreases saliva flow.
Saliva is your mouth’s natural cleanser, keeping oral tissues moist and moving bacteria (and food particles that cause bacterial growth) out of the mouth. Some medications, smoking and drinking alcoholic beverages can also lead to dry mouth.
Additionally, it is suspected that regular use of mouthwash containing alcohol can lead to dental erosion.
Mouthwashes that contain alcohol have also come under fire for increasing one’s risk for oral cancer. Although there is no scientific consensus on these findings, it is suspected that the alcohol becomes a carcinogen in the mouth, which is a cancer causing agent. Researchers have found that oral cancer risk is five times higher for those using alcohol-containing mouthwashes, even if they are non-smokers.
Like any product, check the label of mouthwash before purchasing. Look for alcohol-free types and those with fluoride additives. Use after brushing and flossing and practice a gargling action to get the mouthwash to the back of your mouth. Since the back of your tongue harbors more oral bacteria than the front, consider using a tongue scraper prior to mouthwash. This loosens oral bacteria that are embedded in the tongue’s surface. You can also brush your tongue with your toothbrush following teeth brushing.
Remember, any mouthwash use is an addition to brushing and flossing. It should never be used as a replacement. However, certain mouthwashes can help keep your breath fresher, decrease your risk for cavities and support your oral health overall. Swish away!
If you have questions about which mouthwashes are recommended, call toll free 1-877-966-9009.Read More
Because of the devastating statistics associated with oral cancer, any sore or unusual spot in the mouth should be monitored carefully. However, some sores that occur inside the mouth can be canker sores.
A canker sore is a painful spot that appears on the tongue, inside of cheek or on the soft palate. Canker sores are white or gray circles with a red outline. They may begin with a tingling or burning sensation before the sore appears.
While stress or tissue injury is often suspected to be the reason canker sores arise, their exact cause is actually unknown. Tissue damage can occur from things like wearing braces, biting the inside of the cheek or a tooth that cuts into tender oral tissue. Citrus or acidic fruits and vegetables can also be a possible cause of canker sores.
Canker sores may also be caused by a compromised immune system, B vitamin or iron deficiency, or diseases such as Crohn’s disease.
Fortunately, a canker sore doesn’t last long with discomfort subsiding in just a few days. They typically heal completely in less than two weeks. To speed healing, a prescription mouth rinse or ointment can be provided. Discomfort can also be lessened by some over-the-counter medications.
For people who have reoccurring canker sores, they should avoid citrus, spicy or acidic foods. Using a soft-bristled tooth brush is also advised.
A dentist should be contacted when canker sores seem unusually large, are multiplying or last longer than two weeks. Also, see a dentist when canker sore pain becomes extreme or is accompanied by a high fever. Call toll free 1-877-966-9009 promptly.Read More
Smokers already know they are taking health risks. However, many are unaware of the negative oral health issues when it comes to tobacco use.
For example, research shows that smokers lose more teeth than nonsmokers. According to the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention, about 20% of people over age 65 who have never smoked are toothless, while over 41% of daily smokers over age 65 are toothless.
It’s no surprise to dentists that following gum treatment or any type of oral surgery (including implant placement) patients who smoke have longer healing times with less predictable treatment outcomes. Other oral problems include a heightened risk for oral cancer, bad breath, stained teeth, loss of taste, gum recession, mouth sores, tooth loss and deep wrinkling around the mouth.
As a smoker, you also have a far greater increase for periodontal disease. Smokers have an increased susceptibility to calculus, which is the plaque that hardens on teeth and can only be removed through a professional cleaning.
When calculus is not removed, the bacteria it harbors can destroy gum tissue and cause gums to pull away from teeth. As a result, teeth look longer and are more vulnerable to bacteria. As bacteria growth develops into periodontal disease, sore pockets form between teeth and fill with bacteria, destroying tissues and supporting bone. Eventually, the teeth become loose and require removal.
Cigarette smoke contains more than 7,000 chemicals and harms nearly every organ of the body. Nearly 50% of those who don’t quit smoking will die of smoking-related problems.
Quitting is not easy but the benefits are almost immediate. Your circulation improves, your blood pressure starts to return to normal and breathing becomes easier. You’ll also have a healthier mouth and avoid many oral problems.
A new year is an ideal time to kick the habit. The American Cancer Society’s web site, www.cancer.org, is an excellent resource for smokers who are trying to quit. If you are a smoker and past due for your 6-month dental exam and cleaning, call us toll free 1-877-966-9009. We are always happy to welcome new patients and are a ‘lecture-free’ zone! If you do not have dental insurance, be sure to ask about payment discounts.Read More
We always urge patients to react to any unusual sore or discoloration in the mouth or on the lips. Oral cancer is one of the most deadly of all cancers when not caught early. However, this time of year, it seems that canker and cold sores are more prevalent.
Do you have a Canker or Cold Sore? Typically, if the sore is located inside your mouth, it’s likely a canker sore. If it’s on the outside, it is probably a cold sore.
Canker sores (mouth ulcers) generally occur inside the mouth and are bacterial in nature. They are often triggered by trauma such as biting your cheek, jabbing your gum with your toothbrush or even overzealous tooth cleaning.
Cold sores are tiny, clear, fluid-filled blisters that form around the mouth and are caused by the herpes simplex virus living inside nerve tissues. (It is not the same virus that causes genital herpes.) Here are some guidelines:
A cold sore occurs outside the mouth. A canker sore is on the inside of your mouth.
A cold sore appears as tiny, clear fever blisters. A canker sore is a small white or gray ulcer on the lips or under the nose base, often with a red border.
A cold sore will last about a week while a canker sore may hang around for one or two weeks. Keep in mind a cold sore is not contagious, but a canker sore is.
A cold sore can be treated with Aloe Vera or over-the-counter topical anesthetics to cut pain and discomfort. You can also rinse with an antimicrobial mouthwash or salt dissolved in warm water.
Canker sores require over-the-counter medications or prescription antiviral drugs to prevent outbreak, especially if they are frequent. Over-the-counter oral anesthetics may help with pain relief. To speed healing, we can also use our dental laser to greatly reduce discomfort and quicken the pace of getting rid of it. This is especially helpful for brides, people preparing for group presentations, etc.
Please remember that any sore or unusual spot that doesn’t get better in two weeks should be examined IMMEDIATELY. Oral cancer can take on many shapes and colors and is a serious, and even deadly, disease that requires early treatment.
Call toll free 1-877-966-9009 if you have questions or need an examination.Read More
There was sad news for baseball fans recently. Tony Gwynn of the Padres and a Hall of Famer died of oral cancer, something Gwynn blamed on his use of smokeless tobacco. Apparently, the habit is rampant throughout Major League baseball.
A 1999 survey found that nearly a third of Major League rookies were regular smokeless tobacco users (primarily chewing and snuff). Other studies found that approximately 30% of all players were smokeless tobacco users. Recognizing the growing trend and the message it sent to young fans, the MLB set rules regarding the use of the products. Still, in 2012, approximately 11% of high school boys were using smokeless tobacco.
Users typically tuck chewing tobacco or snuff in the side of their mouths and spit out the juices. Snuff is occasionally inhaled (snorted) through the nose. The Centers for Disease Control & Prevention states that these products contain 28 carcinogens, a known cause of oral cancer.
Gwynn was diagnosed with cancer in 2010, which began in his salivary gland. He underwent chemotherapy and radiation to fight this aggressive cancer. Unfortunately, it had progressed too far. Oral cancer has one of the worst survival rates of all cancers and takes the life of one American every hour.
Smokeless tobacco users become physically dependent on and emotionally addicted to nicotine. Nicotine, the addictive substance found in cigarettes, occurs naturally in all tobacco. Those who try to quit experience withdrawal, which can cause weeks of depression, headaches, irritability, weight gain and dizziness.
As hard as it may be to quit, reducing the risk of oral cancer is worth it. Users should immediately react to any spot or sore in the mouth or on the lips. Also, a persistent sore throat or difficulty swallowing are symptoms that should also be checked immediately. When treated early, oral cancer can be survivable.
In our office as part of regular hygiene examinations, we provide an annual oral cancer screening using VelScope technology. The process is painless and takes just minutes. It provides a far better visual of any suspicious lesions than can be seen with the eye. This can help in early detection so treatment can begin at the earliest stage.
Learn more about VelScope at: http://smilesbyandrews.com/general-dentistry/Read More
If one of your New Year’s Resolutions is to quit smoking, here are some added reasons to stick to your commitment. Your smile — teeth, gums, throat, lips, all soft tissues in the mouth — will thank you as much as your lungs!
Publicity campaigns have helped to make the American population more aware of the deadly and debilitating effects of smoking. Lung cancer is widely associated with cigarette smoking. However, oral cancer takes the life of one person every hour. Oral cancer also has one of the worst survival rates, but is curable if detected in early stages.
Smoking doesn’t just cause bad breath and stained teeth, other problems include a higher risk for gum disease, tooth loss, cavities, breakdown in dental work, and slower healing after dental procedures.
You may already know that plaque is cause of dental decay, however, smoking boosts plaque buildup on teeth, leading to decay. The tar and nicotine in cigarettes stick to gums, teeth and other places in the mouth. This is one reason that smokers often have bad breath.
Smoking also has a drying effect to the mouth, decreasing the flow of saliva. This creates an environment where bacteria breed and thrive. Smoking also causes many challenges to the gums. The results of tobacco use cause a decrease in blood flow, throughout the body as well as to oral tissues. This can cause serious problems to the gum tissue as well as the bones of the mouth’s structure.
Gums can become severely inflamed and send bacteria into the bloodstream through tears in oral tissues. Once this inflammation penetrates areas below the gum line, it becomes a difficult process to treat and eliminate. Gum disease is the nation’s leading cause of tooth loss.
Every dentist wants their patient to enjoy a successful outcome for dental treatments. For smokers, we discourage smoking during healing times since they risk a lower rate of success and higher risk for complications than non-smokers.
The good news is, once you quit smoking, the health of your gums will increase tremendously, which you should notice in a year or less after quitting.
Remember, your gums and teeth are vital parts of your body. They deserve just as much respect and care as other parts of the body. Stick to your resolution by knowing your smile will improve greatly along with the rest of you!
We welcome new patients and treat them respectfully and make comfort a priority. Begin with a free consultation so we can discuss ways to make your smile its best as you kick the habit! Call toll free 1-877-966-9009.Read More
The mouth is like a door to the entire body. So, it’s not surprising that occasional symptoms are indications of some common problems, such as:
•Bad Breath: This typically occurs from an overload of bacteria in the mouth.
The bacteria that break down food in your mouth excrete odor-producing materials. If not thoroughly cleansed away, the build-up becomes obvious in your breath odor. What to do? Naturally, brush and floss twice daily and use a tongue scraper to clear embedded bacteria in the tongue. Chew sugarless gum after meals to aid saliva flow, which washes away germs. And, drink plenty of water.
•Canker Sores: These painful mouth sores often occur during times of fatigue or stress.
When your immune system is vulnerable, an added helping of stress can trigger a canker sore. While over-the-counter medications help to numb the pain, swishing with warm, salty water may help just as well. Generally, canker sores last a week to ten days. Dr. Andrews can use a dental laser to treat canker sores for quick relief and rapid healing.
•Very Sensitive Teeth: This often indicates too-rigorous brushing or using a hard bristle toothbrush.
While you want to be thorough in brushing your teeth, overdoing it can damage enamel and gum tissue. When the gum tissue surrounding teeth is damaged, tooth roots become exposed to heat and cold. Damaged enamel and worn gum tissue doesn’t heal itself. Use a light hand and toothpaste for sensitive teeth. Dr. Andrews can assess if your damage needs to be repaired by gum therapy or root desensitizing treatments.
•Sores, Red or White Patches, Etc.: When an unusual oral problem does not go away in 10 days to 2 weeks, make arrangements to be seen promptly!
Some unusual spots or soreness in the mouth could be a symptom of oral cancer. Although some are painless, it doesn’t mean they are harmless. Oral cancer is one of the deadliest of all cancers and has the worst survival rate if not caught in earliest stages. Dr. Andrews uses a painless oral cancer detection device to determine if your oral symptom needs further review.
For any oral problem or need, call Dr. Andrews’ office at 1-877-966-9009 to request a consultation.Read More