Mark J. Gordon, DDS
Did you know that poor oral hygiene could increase your chances of developing heart disease? Practicing good oral health habits isn’t just an important part of preventing tooth decay; it’s crucial in maintaining your overall health. But how are heart disease and oral health connected?
It is important to know that your oral health and your overall health are directly connected. You may be surprised to learn that heart disease presents itself with oral symptoms. If you’re experiencing swollen, bleeding or tender gums, or even chronic bad breath you may be at risk! That’s why it’s important to visit us regularly to keep a close eye on your oral health to spot potential problems early! We can help patients who have a history of heart disease by examining them for any signs of oral pain, infection or inflammation.
How could gum disease increase your chances of heart disease? What we’ve come to understand is that bacteria from infected gums can dislodge, enter the bloodstream and attach to blood vessels, which can increase atheromas/plaque formation. These deposits decrease blood flow to the heart and in turn cause an elevation in blood pressure thus increasing the risk of a heart attack. A specific virulent form of bacteria found in oral plaque has been correlated with low HDL (good) cholesterol and high triglycerides both factors of increased risk for cardio vascular disease. Leaving gum disease issues untreated can end up costing you a lot more than a routine visit to the dentist. Prevention through daily cleaning and regular office visits is the best for both your health and your budget. Follow these easy oral health tips to improve your oral health and decrease your risk of gum and heart disease:
- Brush your teeth twice a day for 2-3 minutes using small circles along the gum line
- Regularly use mouthwash to reduce plaque deposits
- Floss 1-2 times daily to remove plaque not reached by your toothbrush
- Eat a healthy diet full of fruit and vegetables
- Avoid alcohol and cigarettes
Practicing excellent dental care is essential to prevent gum disease for a lifetime of healthy hearts and smiles! Visit us to protect your oral health and learn even more about how preventative care can help you.
May 6th, 2015
Posted in Blog | Comments Off on Heart Disease – The Importance of Good Oral Hygiene
Can drinking coffee really help prevent oral cancer? What about different types of foods? Numerous studies have been published that claim certain foods and drinks can prevent oral cancer but when it comes to a disease that will affect 43,250 people this year, it’s important to get the facts.
Oral cancer, also referred to as mouth or head and neck cancer, occurs when there is a problem with the lifecycle of a normal, healthy cell. Cells are supposed to grow and divide into new cells as your body needs them but when this process is altered, your body may over produce cells. These extra cells can cause a tumor to form. Depending on the type of cells in the tumor, it could be cancerous or benign.
Some studies may say they have proof that a specific food or drink helps to prevent mouth cancer but in reality the best way to prevent the disease is to avoid certain risk factors like smoking and drinking. Alcohol consumption in excess accompanied by smoking makes you highly susceptible to the disease and should be avoided.
Most oral cancers start in the tongue in what are called the flat cells and they can spread to other parts of the body if they aren’t caught early (cancer of these flat cells is called squamous cell carcinoma). Interestingly, when these oral cancer cells spread to other parts of the body such as the lungs, they are still considered oral cancer cells rather than lung cancer cells. Where these abnormal cancer cells begin is what they will always be referred to as, regardless of where they spread.
Doctors still don’t know why one person gets oral cancer while another person does not, but it is important to note that oral cancer is NOT contagious. Avoiding risk factors and eating healthy can be important in preventing oral cancer. Make sure to visit us regularly so we can check for signs of oral cancer!
Apr 22nd, 2015
Posted in Blog | Comments Off on The Science Behind Oral Cancer
Regular head and neck exams are extremely important when it comes to diagnosing problems with the head and neck, such as cancer. A thorough head and neck examination is part of the service we provide when patients are seen for their regular teeth cleaning and examination checkups. If you have noticed anything strange or different on the inside or outside of your mouth or your neck please be sure to bring it to our attention. If you notice a change in between dental checkups, please call out office for an examination appointment: Mark J. Gordon, DDS Phone Number (913) 649-4042. It’s also good to perform a “self-check” from time to time. Let’s go over how to do an at-home check and what you should be looking out for.
Step 1: Know what you’re looking for. Oral cancer signs include:
- A difference in color in one particular area
- A change in texture
- Lumps of any kind (especially if it’s something you haven’t noticed before)
- A sore that does not heal
- A lump or thickening of the lining of your mouth
- Loose teeth/Poorly fitting dentures
- Pain in the tongue or jaw
- Difficult chewing and/or swallowing
Step 2: Take a bright light such as a flashlight and while looking in a mirror, check the following:
- Cheek walls
- Top and bottom of mouth
- Back of throat
If you notice any of the above signs, give us a call immediately to schedule an appointment: Mark J. Gordon, DDS Phone Number (913) 649-4042. It’s also beneficial to perform an extra-oral screening. When performing an extra-oral exam on yourself, you want to feel for any lumps or bumps. Here are the steps for doing this exam at home:
Step 1: Place your hands on the back of each side of your jaw under your ears. Open and close your jaw while feeling for any bumps.
Step 2: With your hands in the same position work your way down your neck.
Step 3: Turn your head to the right and feel your left side-neck muscles. Turn your head left and feel your right side neck muscles.
Step 4: Grab your gullet (throat) and swallow.
Step 5: Put your chin down and with your palms facing away from you feel the underside of your jaw with your fingers.
We hope we don’t have to see you in the office if you’ve discovered something wrong but we are here to help. We can catch the early signs of oral cancer! If you feel anything strange, call us to schedule an appointment at Mark J. Gordon, DDS Phone Number (913) 649-4042 or use our online appointment request form.
Apr 8th, 2015
Posted in Blog | Comments Off on Head & Neck Cancer: Self Exam
Did you know that over 69% of adults in America are missing at least one tooth? Whether it is from an accident, neglect, or even being born without certain teeth, not everyone is supporting a full set of teeth. There are many solutions to replacing missing teeth, each with its own benefits. With the influx of technology and precision of modern dentistry, dental implants are becoming more affordable, and are the ideal long-term solution for missing teeth. Traditional tooth supported dental bridges; whether they are fixed or removable are alternative tooth replacements. They may be less expensive than implant tooth replacement, however adjacent natural teeth may need to be treated too. Over time a single dental implant may be the more cost-effective approach. Dental implants can last decades or even a lifetime, which allows a patient to treat the implant as they would their natural teeth, and continue on with life without having to worry about them. Whether you’re in the market for one tooth, or multiple teeth, dental implants not only can lower your overall healthcare costs, but also increase your quality of life as they are the most natural form of tooth replacement!
How the implant works:
In place of the original root a dental implant is placed in the existing bone and the area allowed to heal for several months. Once healed, the implant will serve to support the existing tooth replacement.
Am I a candidate for dental implants?
The quick answer is: “most likely yes.” Restrictions such as age do not apply to the possibility of receiving dental implants. There are very few restrictions that would prevent a patient from receiving dental implants and they include: Those who do not have enough existing bone in the jaw, and those who have had radiation to the jaw (from cancer or similar treatments), which could prevent fusion of implant to the bone. Recent studies have even shown that even patients with diabetes have little to no restrictions in the ability to receive dental implants.
If you are interested in dental implants, give us a call today and see how we can help you!
Mar 25th, 2015
Posted in Blog | Comments Off on Dental Implants: Learning the Basics
What’s involved in a dental implant? Do they hurt? Can anyone get them? There are a lot of questions surrounding dental implants but one thing is certain; they’ve been reconstructing smiles for over 35 years with amazing results. But what’s the fuss surrounding dental implants and are they really worth it? Lets answer some question to help you decide for yourself.
Can anyone get a dental implant? Anyone who is healthy enough to get a dental implant can get one placed as long as they have enough bone to support the implant. This is where bone grafting comes in for those who have been told their jawbone won’t hold an implant. Keeping up with regular oral hygiene is also an important factor and heavy smokers may be told it’s not a safe option.
What exactly is a dental implant? A dental implant replaces your tooth root usually with a biologically compatible metal post. It provides a solid structure on which to place a new crown that is made to match your real teeth. Dental implants not only improve the overall look of your smile but they’re durable, convenient, and easy to take care of.
What are the steps to getting a dental implant? As your dentist, we will want to develop an individualized treatment plan that focuses on your specific needs. Once we have agreed on a treatment plan, the next step will be the placement of the implant in your jaw. The implant is made of titanium and once placed the jawbone will actually begin to grow around it. In about six to twelve weeks the implant will have completely bonded to your jaw and it will be time to attach a small custom made post (abutment) that connects your new tooth to the implant. We create an impression of your mouth that allows us to create your new tooth. This replacement tooth is then attached to the post and the implant process is complete!
Lastly, how painful are dental implants and are they difficult to take care of? Most patients have said they experienced very little discomfort when receiving their implant. Many have even said the process is much less painful than a tooth extraction. Mild pain that may occur for a few days after you receive your implant can be treated with over-the-counter pain medication. Dental implants require the same attention and care as your own teeth. Maintaining healthy gum attachment and bone support are important for attaining long term implant success.
We hope this answers some of the questions surrounding dental implants. If you’re missing a tooth or teeth and would like more information please feel free to call our office. We’ve see many patients leave happy and comfortable with their improved smile!
Mar 11th, 2015
Posted in Blog | Comments Off on Are Dental Implants Worth It?
We are always pleased to pass along any oral health information to our patients and their families as we come across it in our various news sources. Simply put: we love it when we find teeth in the news!
While we don’t spend significant time in hospitals ourselves, we were still happy to hear about a recent study that suggests that patients in the intensive care unit (ICU) of a hospital benefit from enhanced dental care in more ways than you would expect!
Typically, in an ICU setting, patients receive routine oral hygiene treatments from the nurse staff. However, when researchers assigned half of the patients to receive enhanced dental care from a dentist that included brushing, tongue scraping, calculus removal and more, they found that those patients were 56% less likely to develop a respiratory tract infection during their ICU stay.
This is significant because hospital-acquired infections such as respiratory infections are not uncommon due to the nature of the hospital environment and can be dangerous for vulnerable patients. You may be wondering “What is the connection between oral hygiene and respiratory infections?” In fact, infections such as these often originate in the oral cavity. Catching them early before they get into the major organs of the body may be one way to combat healthcare-associated infections.
This is just another example of how your oral health affects the health of your whole body! Be sure to employ excellent brushing and flossing habits at home while you are well to avoid additional problems in your body down the road!
Feb 25th, 2015
Posted in Blog | Comments Off on Teeth in the News- Dental Care Reduces Respiratory Infections in the ICU
Over the last decade, at-home tooth whitening systems have become more abundant, more varied, and more affordable. A quick walk through your local drug store is all you need to do to know that there is an endless supply of teeth bleaching treatments that you can do at home to achieve a whiter smile.
You may be wondering, “If it’s so easy to access these products in a store, why would I want to spend the time and money to have my teeth whitened in my dentist’s office?”
Here are the top five reasons that we recommend that you come see us first if you are interested in whitening your smile:
- Whiter whitening: Over the counter bleaching products can only contain 10% peroxide, while our in-office treatments can contain 25-40% peroxide, offering a whiter white!
- Quicker: The higher concentration of peroxide combined with other safety and acceleration tools like lasers allow us to whiten your teeth much more quickly than can be done at home.
- Fewer Side Effects: At home, some people experience damage to the tooth or surrounding gum area when whitening their teeth, causing pain or sensitivity. By contrast, in the office, we have access to preventative tools that can protect your gums and teeth from damage from bleaching.
- Always Examine First! It is always wise to have an oral exam prior to your whitening procedure, as we can detect potential problems, areas that are prone to sensitivity, and even help you choose your best path to a whiter smile.
- Best of Both Worlds: If you still want to try at-home treatments, give us a call. We can send you home with approved whitening treatments to give you the protection, convenience and the whiter smile that you desire.
Feb 11th, 2015
Posted in Blog | Comments Off on Teeth Whitening- At Home vs In-Office Treatments
You may have heard the recent claim that a mixture of fruit and baking soda applied to the teeth will whiten them dramatically, inexpensively and in a much more “organic” way than traditional bleaching methods.
In particular, young adults and teens have shown themselves to be susceptible to this advice. They readily experiment with it and spread the idea throughout their community because the materials involved are so easily accessible.
While the claim has some merit and certainly comes from well-meaning sources, we feel that we should set the record straight. New research done on the subject from Professor So Ran Kwon of the University of Iowa shows that while the mixture does brighten the smile a bit, it does so merely by removing superficial debris. So although the teeth may look whiter, the effect is short-lived. As plaque and debris build up again, the teeth will darken.
In addition to that, the fruit and baking soda mixture method may reduce the surface hardness of your teeth, leaving them vulnerable to decay.
To achieve a permanently whiter smile, what you really need is a substance that penetrates into teeth and breaks down stain molecules, whitening teeth from the inside out for better and longer-lasting results.
If you want whiter teeth, we urge you to use ADA approved methods for achieving that brighter smile!
Jan 28th, 2015
Posted in Blog | Comments Off on Strawberries and Baking Soda for Whiter Teeth
Some patients come to us loving their smile but wanting just a little bit more in terms of aesthetics. To perfect an already great smile, we may suggest porcelain veneers. Porcelain veneers are often our go-to tool to correct minor imperfections on the surface of teeth or spacing issues.
Here are some frequently asked questions and answers about veneers:
Q: Are veneers heavy or thick? Will I feel them in my mouth?
A: No, in fact veneers are thinner than a fingernail, once they are in place you won’t even know they are there!
Q: How long do they last?
A: Properly installed, veneers can last from 10-20 years. A great investment for an enhanced smile!
Q: How are they attached? Can they fall off?
A: Veneers are attached to your tooth with a very strong bonding compound. They do not fall off and provide years of durable use.
Q: Do veneers look like natural teeth?
A: Porcelain is the perfect material to copy tooth enamel, as it is incorporates luster, shine and translucence to look just like your natural teeth.
Q: What if the surrounding teeth are a different color?
A: Generally what we recommend is that we use a whiter shade of porcelain for the veneer and perform tooth whitening in conjunction with the veneer process to give you a perfect match throughout your mouth.
Q: Do veneers stain?
A: No, porcelain veneers do not stain, even over time.
If you want to take your smile from “okay” to “stunning”, ask us if veneers are a good option for you!
Jan 14th, 2015
Posted in Blog | Comments Off on Porcelain Veneers for a Flawless Smile
One of the most important jobs we have in our practice is to examine, monitor and diagnose head and neck pathology in our patients. What we are really looking for is any sign of oral cancer. Each year, about 42,000 Americans are newly diagnosed with oral cancer. Unfortunately, more than 8,000 of those people will die from the disease because too often it is caught in a late, incurable stage.
To help you stay healthy and educated about your oral health needs, we have compiled a list of the most important things you should know about oral cancer:
- Oral cancer affects more than just the mouth. Any cancer in the mouth, lips, throat or back of the mouth is considered oral cancer.
- Since 90% of oral cancers begin in the surface area of the mouth, tongue and lips, we recommend regular self-exams.
- Largest risk factors: Not surprisingly, tobacco and alcohol use top the list of biggest risk factors for oral cancer.
- Other risk factors: Human papilloma virus (HPV), pre-cancerous oral lesion, betel quid use (common in Asia), excessive UV/sun exposure, certain drugs and genetic syndromes.
- To diagnose oral cancer, we will examine the mouth and neck, ask about your risk factors, and possibly order biopsies and imaging of the head (CT, MRI, etc).
- Pain is not associated with cancer in its early stages. Usually pain does not occur until the cancer has progressed to a later stage.
- The most common oral cancer symptoms warrant a call to our office. They include: sores that don’t heal, lumps inside the mouth, white or red patches on soft tissues in the mouth, bleeding, pain when swallowing or chewing, numbness, difficulty moving the jaw or tongue, lumps in the neck, hoarseness, and more.
Don’t hesitate to us if you are experiencing any of these symptoms of oral cancer.
Dec 31st, 2014
Posted in Blog | Comments Off on Oral Cancer- What you Need to Know