The Tooth, Mouth & Jaw Corner.
Here at 32 Dental Arts, we take pride in staying up to date with the latest dental industry news and information. We also take pride in educating our patients on their dental health & making sure each patient understands their available treatment options. We have established this portion of our website to help keep our patients informed. We invite you to browse the below articles and information.
As we lather ourselves in sunscreen at the pool or beaches this summer, don't forget to apply sunscreen to your lips to protect your lips from sun damage. Remember, part of our oral cancer screenings by Dr. Barakat and our hygienist Erin, involves checking our patients' lips for any discolorations, or changes in appearance. These days, there are plenty of options (and flavors!) on lip balms with SPF to choose from. Talk to your primary care physician or dermatologist for any additional guidance and enjoy your summer safely!
It's Oral Cancer Awareness Month:
"Roughly one person dies from oral cancer every hour per day while the rate of oral cancer diagnosis in America has been increasing each year for the last decade." * Since it is typically diagnosed in its late stages it can be fatal when discovered. Dr. Barakat and her hygienist Erin screen for oral cancer at first visits and routine check ups. With our new Vizilyte PRO screening technology, blue light is used to enhance our ability to screen for lesions. Risk factors are tobacco use, alcohol consumption, age over 40 years, Human Papillomavirus and poor diet. Remember, in dental and oral diseases, just because something doesn't hurt, doesn't always mean it's healthy. If you're overdue on your check up, schedule one and be screened!
* References are : The Academy of General Dentistry and the American Cancer Society.
Wisdom teeth are typically the last set of 4 molars to erupt in the mouth if they develop at all. Whether or not to remove them can depend on whether they are at risk of decay and periodontal disease or at risk of causing disease to adjacent teeth or one's jaws. Many patients have healthy wisdom teeth that they use to chew just like their other molars. If you have wisdom teeth, Dr. Barakat will evaluate them then discuss the risks and benefits of having them removed if keeping them is not an option.
What exactly are cavities? A cavity in a tooth refers to the dissolved part of a tooth, otherwise known as tooth decay, or caries, which is a preventable oral disease. When we eat foods, or consume liquids that are high in sugars, bacteria feed off those sugars and then release toxic byproducts that are acidic and dissolve healthy tooth structure. Frequent exposure to sugars and starches in both solid and liquid form can put patients at risk for tooth decay. Some patients believe that if they don't consume sweets and sugar based drinks, they are safe from tooth decay but that is not the case. As adults age, our medications, health status and gum recession can also contribute to increased risk of cavities. Even carbohydrates like breads and crackers can also lead to the breakdown of enamel and dentin over time. This is why fluoride in various forms like office varnish treatments, and certain prescription toothpastes are beneficial to strengthening the enamel and dentin and preventing the breakdown of healthy teeth even as we age. Dr. Barakat can determine your risk of tooth decay based not only on x rays and clinical exams, but by understanding your daily habits, and your medical status or medications that you may be taking.
Dental anxiety is completely understandable and common among patients, and the reasons for dental anxiety can be different for each patient. That's why our forms at 32 Dental Arts include questions about your dental history, or any anxiety that you may have so that we can better assist you with methods to help reduce that anxiety, whether it was due to financial reasons or past negative experiences. Delaying treatment because of anxiety is not recommended in order to prevent dental problems from progressing. Dr. Barakat takes extra time to listen to her anxious patients and discuss ways to help them with dental treatment options that involve anxiety reducing methods.
Fun Fact! Did you know that a giraffe’s tongue can be up to 20 inches long?! The tongue is an amazing group of muscles in the mouth with a remarkable way of tasting our foods. But it can also be a window into a patient’s health – marks and patterns on a tongue can indicate systemic or dental conditions such as clenching, as well as the riskier conditions such as oral cancer. Have your tongue checked today! Dr. Barakat and her hygienist, Erin, routinely check the tongue at regular checkups.
Congratulations! A new member of the family is on the way! While you’re preparing for their arrival, don’t forget to take care of yourself, too! Here are some common questions compiled by the ADA about pregnancy and your dental health: https://www.mouthhealthy.org/en/pregnancy-slideshow
Not all chewing gums are created equal and sometimes chewing certain types of gum can actually be of benefit to your oral health and your teeth. In fact, even certain kinds of hard candy can have benefits for some patients’ dental health. Many medications and medical conditions can cause dry mouth. For patients suffering from dry mouth or those who are at high risk of decay, Dr. Barakat will review over the counter products with them to identify which ones have the active agents that can help generate saliva and protect teeth from decay and which ones to avoid!
Sores can be commonly known as canker or cold sores, have various causes and some can spread to others. It's important to know how frequent these appear and what are the potential causes. Some are minor and heal on their own but some are indicative of more serious underlying medical conditions. So don't ignore them and discuss any sores you get with Dr. Barakat to help control flare ups and pain or discomfort with various treatment options as well as determine if you would need further medical evaluation.
“TMJ” refers to the 2 joints on either side of our heads that are responsible for holding and bracing our jaws against our heads. Our TMJs are an intricate system of ligaments, muscles, tendons and bones that work together to help hold our lower jaws in place and allow us to open and close our mouths and of course, to chew.
Clicking and popping are sounds that our jaw joints make when a band of tissue between the upper and lower jaw bones is moved out of place but then returns to the normal position when we either open or close our mouths. If you’ve ever yawned or opened your mouth widely to bite certain foods, you may have noticed your joints making sounds or moving out of place. Unless associated with pain, a locked jaw, or broken and worn teeth, this may not require treatment and many patients have clicking and popping of their joints with no pain or discomfort and with no necessary treatment. However, if you will need dental treatment, it is important to identify all joint noises and any other related TMJ condition in order to prevent a more serious joint problem or pain.
Dr. Barakat’s comprehensive dental examination will include checking your TMJs and your jaw muscles for tenderness, pain or other related problems such as broken or worn teeth and painful ears. She will take a complete history of your jaw and joint conditions as well as any history of trauma, headaches, neck pain or any impact to the face and head such as a motor vehicle or sports related accident.
Any history of sleep-related disorders, arthritis, teeth grinding, clenching, and excessive gum chewing can also be contributing factors to problems associated with our jaw joints and jaw muscles. Each will have its own treatment modality and preventive methods to reduce pain or damage to teeth or the structures around our joints. Dr. Barakat will evaluate your condition and determine which treatment, if needed, will be the most appropriate.