Why cavities arent just for kids

Tooth decay or cavities result from destruction of the tooth enamel and can lead to a range of problems from toothache to bad breath.

Cavities occur when foods containing carbohydrates (sugars and starches) such as milk, sugared drinks, cakes or candy are frequently left on the teeth.

Bacteria that live in the mouth thrive on these foods, producing acids as a result. Over a period of time, these acids destroy tooth enamel, resulting in tooth decay.

Many people associate cavities with children but the changes that occur with aging make cavities an adult problem, too.

Recession of the gums away from the teeth, combined with an increased incidence of gum disease, can expose tooth roots to plaque.

Tooth roots are covered with cementum, a softer tissue than enamel. They are susceptible to decay and are more sensitive to touch and to hot and cold. The majority of people over age 50 have tooth-root decay.

Decay around the edges of fillings is also common to older adults. As many of them did not benefit from fluoride and modern preventive dental care when they were younger, they often have a number of dental fillings.

Over the years, these fillings may weaken, fracture and leak around the edges.

Bacteria accumulate in these tiny crevices causing acid to build up which leads to decay.

You can help prevent tooth decay by following these tips:

– Brush twice a day with fluoride toothpaste
– Clean between your teeth daily with floss or interdental cleaner
– Eat nutritious and balanced meals and limit snacking

Its also worth asking your dentist about supplemental fluoride, which strengthens your teeth, and about dental sealants, a plastic protective coating which is applied to the chewing surfaces of the back teeth to protect them from decay.

In addition, its important to visit your dentist regularly for professional cleanings and oral examination.

How to make visiting the dentist easy for kids

Your child should have their first trip to the dentist by the time they are 18 months old and it’s good to make the process as easy as possible for them from the start.

Dental staff are used to dealing with young children and they will know how to make them feel comfortable.

Sometimes, children under three may be treated on the parent’s lap. In this case, the parent sits in the dental chair facing the dentist, and the child is on their lap.

The dentist will tell the child what he or she is going to do in terms they can understand. They will usually have fun dental toys they can use to help.

They will start with an oral examination checking the teeth present and looking at the development of the jaw, gums and soft tissues.

Naturally, as in any new situation, some children are initially unsettled but this is usually short-lived as they get used to it.

Parents can help by ensuring they are calm and relaxed as any anxiety will transfer to the child.

With older children, the parents may stay in the background though sometimes children behave better when the parent is not in the room!

Work with your children and your dentist to find the best way of ensuring they get the treatment they need with minimum worries for everyone.

Your saliva and why its so important

You probably don’t give too much thought to the saliva in your mouth but, if you think of it like a bloodstream you’ll realize how important it is.

Like blood, saliva helps build and maintain the health of the soft and hard tissues.

It removes waste products from the mouth and offers first-line protection against microbial invasion that might lead to disease.

Saliva is derived from blood and therefore can also be used to detect disease.

Saliva enhances enamel protection by providing high levels of calcium and phosphate ions. It contains the minerals that maintain the integrity of the enamel surface and helps protect against caries.

When salivary flow is reduced, oral health deteriorates – much in the same way body tissues suffer if blood circulation is disrupted.

Patients with dry mouths (xerostomia) experience difficulty chewing, speaking and swallowing. A major cause of dry mouth is medication – almost eighty percent of the most commonly prescribed medications lead to dry mouth.

Chewing gum after a snack or meal stimulates salivary flow, clearing food from the mouth and neutralizing plaque acid.

Your saliva is important to your oral health both for preventing disease and in helping to diagnose problems.

How dental implants can give you a better smile

If you have missing teeth, you dont just have to rely on crowns, conventional bridges and dentures.

Many people are now choosing dental implants as the best way to restore their smile and solve dental problems.

Implants are placed below the gums during a series of appointments. They fuse to the jawbone and provide a base for individual replacement teeth, bridges or a denture.

As they are fused to the bone, they offer greater stability. And, because they are integrated into your jaw, your replacement teeth will feel more natural.

This secure fit often also makes them more comfortable than other solutions.

In order to have implants, you need to have healthy gums and adequate bone to support the implant.

To find out whether you could be a candidate for dental implants, talk to your dentist about what they could do for you.

How removable partial dentures can help you

Removable partial dentures usually involve replacement teeth attached to plastic bases, connected by metal framework.

They attach to your natural teeth with metal clasps or precision attachments. Precision attachments generally look better than metal clasps and are nearly invisible.

Crowns may be required on your natural teeth to improve the fit of a removable partial denture.

When you first get a partial denture, it may feel awkward or bulky. But you will gradually get used to wearing it.

It will also take a bit of practice to get used to inserting and removing the denture. It should fit into place easily and you should never force it.

Your dentist may suggest that you wear your partial denture all the time at first. While it will be uncomfortable for a while, it will help you identify if any parts of the denture need adjustment.

After making adjustments, your dentist will probably recommend that you take the denture out of your mouth before going to bed and replace it in the morning.

With a denture, eating should become a more pleasant experience compared to having missing teeth.

But, initially, youll need to eat soft foods cut into small pieces. And avoid foods that are extremely sticky or hard.

Some people with missing teeth find it hard to speak clearly so wearing a partial denture may help. However, youll probably need to practice certain words at first to get completely comfortable.

While it can take a little geting used to initially, a partial denture can help you enjoy your food with less worries.

What to do When a Tooth is Knocked Out

Today’s subject describes how to respond to an unexpected tooth fracture or injury.  Mouth guards are the best way to protect teeth and avoid oral injury during sports and recreational activity, but accidents do happen on and off the playing field. What you do in the first 30 minutes following a mouth injury can make all the difference in whether you can save or loose a tooth which has been knocked out (“avulsed”).

If a tooth is knocked out, call me immediately (248) 419-4508 to make an emergency appointment.  If you are out of town or too far away from Southfield, locate the closest dentist or emergency room and get there as quickly as possible.  Time is of the essence!  If we can get the tooth reimplanted within 1 hour of the time it was knocked out there is a good chance it can reattach itself to the supporting tissues successfully. After an hour out of the mouth the success rate drops off rapidly.

Following an accident, retrieve the tooth and you may or may not rinse it very gently and briefly with water to remove dirt but do not clean the tooth. Be careful hold the tooth by the crown (the part you can see in the mouth) and avoid touching the root end (the part that is under the gum) of the tooth. Wrap the tooth in damp gauze or a clean piece of damp cloth and drop it into a small container with a lid. Cover the tooth with saline (salt water) or milk and secure the lid’s container to keep the tooth moist and secure on the way to the ER or dentist’s office. Sometimes you can place the tooth back in the socket where it may have a better chance of surviving.  A last resort is to just place it in your mouth and tuck it between your gum and your cheek.

Oral injuries can bleed profusely. Use pressure from a towel, washcloth or clean T-shirt to stop the blood flow. Do not swish water vigorously or touch the site of the avulsed (missing) tooth.  Ibuprofen (Motrin) or Tylenol and an icepack will help with pain and control swelling.  Larger cuts and lacerations will need assessment and may require stitches.

When you need help call my Southfield Dentist office at (248) 419-4508.  If additional physical injury is involved, call 911 for emergency assistance.

That’s all for today,

Mark w Langberg, DDS
26206 West 12 Mile Road #303, Southfield, MI 48034
(248) 419-4508

164 Million hours of work lost in US due to dental disease

National health studies estimate that up to 57% of people in the U.S. don’t see a dentist regularly.  The Washington Department of Health states that 164 million hours of work are lost each year in the U.S. due to dental disease.  These lost wages and the overall effect on the nation’s economy runs into the billions of dollars.  Additionally, according to a study by Western Reserve University, 51 million school days are lost by students due to tooth/oral pain.

I Mark W Langberg, DDS, FAGD have been highly trained to make adult oral sedation dentistry treatment available at my office to help treat the estimated 30% of the population who avoids dental care due to fear.  Most of these people can be safely and effectively treated with the assistance of oral sedatives.  Patients who were once anxious and fearful — and put off having their dental work completed — can receive their dental care while they are totally relaxed and comfortable.

Oral sedation dentistry can help reduce the mounting economic costs and repercussions of untreated dental disease.  It enables patients to overcome their dental fear and allows them to receive care in the most comfortable and efficient way possible.  Additionally, oral sedation enables me to perform more dentistry in a single visit, meaning fearful patients don’t have to return as many times to complete their treatment, saving time, money, and anxiety!

Feel free to contact me for more information if you or someone you know is staying away from the dentist due to fear or anxiety.  There is a growing number of adults who have conquered their dental fears through the calming and relaxing effects of oral sedation dentistry, and we are ready and able to help!

Until next time,

Mark w Langberg, DDS
26206 West 12 Mile Road #303, Southfield, MI 48034
(248) 419-4508

New Treatment for Denture-Wearers: Mini Dental Implants

An estimated 37 million Americans are edentulous–without teeth in one or both arches.  Despite this high number, however, many denture wearers can feel isolated and alone, suffering from self-consciousness and insecurity when socializing or eating due to fear of their dentures slipping out of place.

But now, we are offering denture patients in the metropolitan Detroit area a new treatment that can immediately increase denture stability in just 2-3 hours.  Recently, I have become certified by 3MTM in the placement of Mini dental implants (MDIs) which provide an affordable and minimally invasive way for denture-wearers to anchor their dentures in their mouths so they can regain confidence and feel comfortable eating, talking and smiling.

In the past, denture wearers had few options for how to increase the stability of their dentures.  They could use adhesives, which were messy and not always effective or they could have a new denture made but that didn’t always work, especially if the dental ridges in their mouths were flat or difficult.  The other option was full-size dental implants, which, while effective, are often prohibitively expensive for many patients.  In addition, many patients are not good candidates for the procedure due to lack of adequate bone to support full sized implants.

Mini dental implants, however, are different from full -size implants.  Ranging in size form just 1.8 millimeters to 2.4 millimeters, these implants can be placed in the dental office in a very simple 2 hours procedure.  The patient’s existing denture can be adapted to snap on to the implants.  Unlike full-size implants, which require significant integration (fusing to the bone) time, MDIs can be immediately put to use keeping the patient’s denture in place, so the patient can walk out of the dental office transformed after just 2 hours.  Because the treatment is minimally invasive, mini dental implants can be an option for patients who are not good candidates for full-size implants.  Best of all, the treatment is much more affordable than full-size implant options.

I am now certified in the placement of 3MTM MDI Mini Dental Implants, and I am always available to consult with you to discuss whether this treatment is right for you.  For more information, call our Southfield office at (248) 419-4508 or visit Mark W Langberg, DDS, FAGD .

That’s all for now, until next time,

Mark w Langberg, DDS
26206 West 12 Mile Road #303, Southfield, MI 48034
(248) 419-4508

Replacing a Missing Back Tooth with a Fixed Bridge

It’s easy to see why people would be anxious to replace a missing front tooth where the gap is embarrassingly noticeable when they smile.

But what about a missing back tooth?

Did you know that each time you lose a tooth, about 10% of your chewing ability is lost with it? To fill that space, the teeth surrounding it tend to tilt over toward that gap. As they fall over, the adjacent teeth spread apart so decay and gum disease can more easily set in. In addition, the collapse in the bite can be associated with changes in facial profile and TMJ or bite problems.

Replacing that tooth not only restores your chewing ability, it prevents all those other potential dental, functional, and cosmetic problems.

Three solutions to replace a missing back tooth include a removable partial denture (the replacement teeth come out at night!) , an implant (a non-removable artificial titanium root with a crown attached), and a fixed bridge. The subject of this blog is the fixed bridge option, which is a non-removable porcelain restoration custom made to replace the missing tooth or teeth. It is fitted in the gap and anchored on both sides to the supporting teeth, thus forming a “bridge”.

A fixed bridge can replace more than one tooth. The bridge’s design is affected by the position and strength of the surrounding teeth. That’s why, the design of each bridge needs to be engineered to support all the teeth involved as well as serve exacting cosmetic and functional requirements.

The supporting teeth (abutments) are prepared to be anchors. Then an impression is created and sent to the lab for the final restoration. A sturdy temporary bridge is affixed while the permanent one is being fabricated at a dental lab. Once the final bridge is cemented, it can last for decades in most cases.

Call our office in Southfield at (248) 419-4508 if you have missing back teeth. I will be glad to answer all your questions and help you determine if a bridge might be the right choice for you to improve your dental health. Installing a well-made bridge now can save you much trouble in the future!

So until next time,

Mark W Langberg, DDS, FAGD
26206 West 12 Mile Road #303, Southfield, MI 48034
(248) 419-4508

How older adults can handle dry mouth and taste problems

Reduced saliva flow that results in a dry mouth is a common problem among older adults.

It is caused by certain medical disorders and is often a side effect of medications such as antihistamines, decongestants, pain killers and diuretics.

Some of the common problems associated with dry mouth include:
– Constant sore throat
– Burning sensation
– Problems speaking
– Difficulty swallowing
– Hoarseness or dry nasal passages

Left untreated, dry mouth can damage your teeth. Without adequate saliva to lubricate your mouth, wash away food, and neutralize the acids produced by plaque, extensive cavities can form.

Your dentist can recommend various methods to restore moisture. For example, sugar-free candy or gum stimulates saliva flow, and moisture can be replaced by using artificial saliva and oral rinses.

Another issue that can affect older adults is a loss of appetite due to a change in your sense of taste. Besides an age-related decrease in the sense of taste and smell, certain diseases, medications and dentures can contribute to a decrease in your sense of taste.

Whether you are suffering from dry mouth or problems with your sense of taste, your dentist will be able to make suggestions to help.