Miami Beach Dentist | 9 Things You (Probably) Didn’t Know About the Tongue

Dentist in Miami Beach, FL

Dentist in 33139We use our tongues every day to talk, taste, and swallow, yet we rarely take time to think about this flexible organ. Here are 9 things you may not know about the tongue:

  1. The longest recorded tongue was more than 3.8 inches from back to tip; the widest measured over 3” across.
  2. The human tongue contains 8 separate muscles intertwined.
  3. A blue whale tongue weighs about 5,400 pounds and is roughly the size of an adult elephant!
  4. Tongues come in many shapes and have varying numbers of taste buds. This makes a human tongue imprint as unique as a fingerprint.
  5. The average person has about 10,000 taste buds in their mouth.
  6. A single taste bud contains between 50 and 100 taste cells, which may have sensors for multiple tastes.
  7. No individual taste cell can identify both bitter and sweet flavors.
  8. 1 milliliter of saliva contains about 1,000,000 bacteria.
  9. Using a tongue scraper to clean your tongue is proven to help prevent osteoporosis, pneumonia, heart attacks, premature births, diabetes, and male infertility.

Health issues involving the tongue are most commonly caused by bacteria or tobacco use. Proper cleaning of the tongue can help prevent these conditions from developing. However, if you notice sores, discoloration, or other symptoms, contact our office.

Some tongue-affecting illnesses include:

  • Leukoplakia – excessive cell growth characterized by white patches in the mouth and on the tongue. It is not dangerous, but can be a precursor to oral cancer.
  • Oral thrush – an oral yeast infection common after antibiotic use, often characterized by cottage-cheese like white patches on the surface of the tongue and mouth.
  • Red tongue – may be caused by a deficiency of folic acid and/or vitamin B-12.
  • Hairy tongue – black and/or hairy-feeling tongue can be caused by build-up of bacteria.
  • Canker sores – small ulcerous sores on the tongue, often associated with stress. These sores are not the same as cold sores and are not contagious.
  • Oral cancer – most sore tongue issues are not serious. However, if you have a sore or lump on your tongue that does not heal within a week or two, schedule a screening.

For more information about the tongue or to schedule a screening with our doctor, contact our office.

Miami Beach Dentist | What to Expect from Dental Bridges

Dentist in Miami Beach, FL

Dentist in 33139If you are missing one or more teeth, our dentist may recommend a dental bridge. To help you understand what to expect, we’ve assembled a short guide to bridges.

The Purpose of a Bridge

Bridges are just what you might expect: an appliance used to bridge a gap between two teeth. They are used in areas where one or more teeth are missing. Tooth loss may be a result from periodontal disease, injury, or extraction. When a space is left, your remaining teeth can begin to shift, leading to changes in your bite. This also leaves your gums more susceptible to damage and disease. Bridges help keep your remaining teeth and gums healthy, covered, and functioning properly.

What to Expect

Bridges usually require two visits. During your first visit, we will prepare the surrounding teeth and take an impression that will be used to accurately fabricate the dental bridge to fit your mouth. We may provide a temporary bridge to protect your teeth and gums from damage during the fabrication process.

During your second visit, we will fit your custom-made bridge into place. At this time, we will make any needed adjustments to ensure a proper fit and full comfort. We will also discuss a plan for future visits to ensure your bridge continues to fit properly.

Caring for Your Bridge

The best step you can take to ensuring your bridge lasts for years to come is to brush your teeth twice each day and floss regularly. Keeping your teeth healthy, clean, and free of decay will help your natural teeth to remain a strong foundation for your bridge.

Bridges restore your mouth and your teeth to their normal function. If you are missing teeth, schedule an appointment with our team. We will provide an examination and determine if you are an ideal candidate for a dental bridge.

Miami Beach Dentist | The Dangers of Grinding

Dentist in Miami Beach, FL

Dentist in 33139Teeth grinding, known as bruxism, is a habit many get into without even realizing it. Grinding your teeth can be damaging for several reasons. If you or your child have been struggling with teeth grinding, make an appointment to see us. We will assess the damage to the teeth, as well as assist you in addressing solutions. Here’s what you need to know about teeth grinding.

Why Do We Grind Our Teeth?

Teeth grinding does not have a single cause. Instead, it can occur for several different reasons. Stress and anxiety, an improper bite, and sleep disorders are all potential causes. If your teeth are not aligned properly, they can rub against each other while you bite or chew. Many people grind their teeth without even realizing what they are doing.

The Journal of the American Dental Association found that smoking and alcohol result in an increase in teeth grinding. In fact, smokers and people who drink alcohol were found to be twice as likely to experience bruxism as those who do not have these behaviors.

What Grinding Does Your Teeth

Grinding wears down your teeth causing damage, increased sensitivity, and even loosening teeth. Teeth are like bones. They can crack or fracture, and grinding has been known to cause both issues. Your teeth can also be flattened from constantly rubbing against one another. Grinding not only damages your teeth, but it leaves you more susceptible to other complications in the future, as well. Beyond your teeth, grinding can lead to jaw pain and headaches. If you wake up with a sore, tired jaw on frequent occasions, this could be a sign that you grind or clench your teeth throughout the night.

What We Can Do

If grinding is an issue for you, make an appointment to see us. First, we will assess the extent of the damage that may have already occurred due to grinding. We will then work with you to identify a solution that will keep your teeth strong and healthy. In some cases, we may recommend wearing a mouth guard at night to prevent your teeth from pressing against one another. Though it can be challenging, if your grinding is caused by stress, the top priority will be to find ways to reduce stress and anxiety. Stress is a more common cause for adults than children. The primary cause of grinding in children is improper alignment.

If grinding your teeth has become an issue, please do not wait until it leads to sensitivity and pain. Schedule an appointment to see us for an evaluation and treatment plan. Our professional dental team will work with you to address the cause of your grinding, and determine a solution that will protect your teeth from any further damage.

For more information on keeping your teeth strong and healthy, please contact our office. We look forward to assisting you!

Miami Beach Dentist | Ow! Your Guide to Canker Sores

Dentist in Miami Beach

A canker sore can make eating, drinking, and talking difficult and even painful. Maintaining your oral health by brushing and flossing may also be difficult with a sore in your mouth, but keeping up with your daily oral hygiene routine is an important step in the healing process. We’ve put together a short guide to everything you need to know about canker sores.

What do they look like?

Canker sores are usually small, round reddish sores. You’ll find them on the soft tissues of your mouth, such as your tongue, the sides of your mouth, and at the base of your gums. Occasionally, a sore might have a yellow or white colored center.

What causes them?

Among the most common causes of canker sores are injuries. This can happen from biting your lip or cheek, an injury from sports, or even vigorous brushing. Certain people are sensitive to toothpastes containing sodium lauryl sulfate, leading to sores. Foods may also cause canker sores in certain people. Chocolate, eggs, nuts, and spicy foods have been known to cause the sores. At times, a diet that is deficient in vitamin B-12 or zinc is the culprit.

What can I do?

Your best defense is to keep your mouth healthy. This means keeping up with your twice-daily brushing and daily flossing. With a mouth sore, it may be tempting to avoid the area when brushing your teeth. This can lead to a buildup of plaque and bacteria. Aid the healing process by keeping your mouth clean and healthy. You may also try a mouthwash formulated for mouth sores. When in doubt, or if pain persists, talk to our team.

Brush thoroughly but gently around sores. Most canker sores heal within a week. If you find you are regularly getting sores, or they are taking longer than one week to heal, schedule a visit to our office. We will assess your oral health and provide you with our expert advice.

For more information about oral health or to schedule your next visit, please contact our office. We look forward to seeing you.

Miami Beach Dentist | 5 Ways Dental Implants Change Your Life

Dentist in Miami Beach

Dentist in Miami BeachThe American College of Prosthodontists reports that about 178 million American adults are missing at least one tooth. Nearly 40 million have lost all of their permanent teeth.

Regardless of the cause, tooth loss can have serious consequences on your oral health, diet, speech, appearance, and self-esteem. Dental implants provide a long-term solution for tooth loss that can improve more than just your smile. Here are 5 ways dental implant restorations can change your life:

  1. Improve your speech. Missing teeth can leave gaps that cause vocal impediments. Dentures can be bulky or loose, leading to discomfort, slurred speech, and embarrassment. Dental implants stay secure and do not take up additional space in the mouth, so you can speak naturally.
  2. Preserve your jawbone. The roots of teeth are naturally embedded in the jawbone. When the tooth and root are missing, your jaw’s bone structure can begin to deteriorate over time. Dental implants help to preserve and strengthen the bone, as natural teeth do.
  3. Keep your teeth in place. When a tooth is lost, surrounding teeth can shift into the opening, distorting the shape of your smile and bite. Dental implants fill the gap and hold your surrounding teeth in their correct positions.
  4. Look younger. During early adulthood, the teeth and jawbone work together to support facial features. When teeth are lost, facial skin can crease or droop near gaps. Jaw bone loss can lead to further loss of support, causing an unnaturally aged appearance. Dental implants restore your facial support and help preserve jaw bone structure.
  5. Improve your smile. Gaps in your smile can leave you feeling self-conscious about your appearance. Dental implants look like natural teeth, restoring the beauty of your smile. Studies show that feeling good about your smile boosts your confidence and self-esteem.

To learn more about the benefits of dental implant restoration, contact our office for your consultation.

Miami Beach Dentist on Cosmetic Dentistry: Common Questions Answered

Dentist in Miami Beach

Dentist in Miami BeachTo help patients and visitors gain a better understanding of cosmetic dentistry, we decided to share some of the most common questions we are asked.

What is cosmetic dentistry?

Cosmetic dentistry includes treatments that are designed to improve the appearance of your smile, in addition to improving your oral health and function.

What treatments will be offered to me?

Your cosmetic dental solution will be tailored to your unique smile, but may include cosmetic bonding, porcelain dental veneers, whitening, dental crowns, or other treatment options.

How do I know what treatment I should have?

Our expert doctor is trained and experienced in many cosmetic dental treatments. Before you make any decisions regarding your treatment plan, we will take time with you to discuss your goals and priorities, our recommendations, and your options.

How do I know if you are right the cosmetic dentist for me?

Our cosmetic dentist is highly skilled and experienced. We invite you to look at the before and after photos and patient reviews on our website to see the beautiful results our patients have achieved. If you have any questions or concerns, we are happy to take time to talk with you.

Does cosmetic dentistry have any benefit besides appearance?

Great cosmetic dentistry provides a wide range of benefits to you. Some of these include:

  • Improving confidence
  • Boosting self-esteem
  • Creating a healthier appearance
  • Making hygiene habits more effective
  • Increasing function (in some cases)
  • Providing a younger appearance
  • Giving you a beautiful smile

For more information or to schedule your cosmetic dentistry consultation, contact our office.

 

What You Need to Know About Using Mouthwash

Dentist Miami Beach

Mouthwash can be helpful in decreasing the amount of bacteria in your mouth. It can also be a useful way of combating decay. But not everyone needs to use a mouthwash. If you are wondering whether you should be using a mouthwash, here’s what you need to know.

Types of Mouthwash

Not all mouthwashes are made equal. Antiseptic mouthwashes work to fight bacteria, helping to reduce your risk of developing gingivitis, plaque build-up, or bad breath. More specialized mouthwashes for those with periodontal disease or dry mouth are also available with a prescription.

Do I Need to Use Mouthwash?

Talk to our experienced, oral health team about your daily brushing and flossing habits to hear our suggestions. Generally, if you are brushing twice each day and keeping up with flossing, you likely don’t need to use mouthwash. However, if you develop decay easily, it is best to consider an anti-cavity rinse. According to the Academy of General Dentistry (AGD), these mouthwashes are able to combat an additional 50% of decay-causing germs.

Mouthwash can also be effective at diffusing bad breath odors, so you can use it after eating strong smelling foods.

Tips on Using Mouthwash

If our dentist suggests you use a mouthwash, follow this advice. You should rinse your mouth after brushing and flossing. When doing so, your lips should be tightly closed as you swish the wash around. You will want to continue this for about 30 seconds. Make sure you spit the mouthwash out completely. Avoid rinsing your mouth out, as well as eating for the following 30 minutes.

Does Mouthwash Have any Side Effects?

When using an alcohol-based mouthwash regularly, you may feel burning in your mouth. Changes in taste are another effect to be aware of. If your mouth is beginning to develop sores, mouth ulcers, or increased sensitivity, stop using the mouthwash and schedule a visit to our office. For children, it is important that you supervise their brushing, as swallowing mouthwash, particularly with fluoride, can be dangerous.

Mouthwash can be a useful tool for anyone fighting bad breath, as well as those at an increased risk of developing oral issues such as gingivitis. If you will be using mouthwash, know how to use it the right way for maximum impact. If you keep up with your daily oral hygiene routine, mouthwash is not necessary. You can talk to our team during your next visit to learn more.

For more tips on keeping your mouth healthy or to schedule your next appointment, please contact our office.

X-Rays: What You Need to Know When You Visit the Dentist

Dentist in Miami Beach, FL

X-rays provide useful visual data for dentists to utilize when treating you. Occasionally, guests to our office ask about the radiation from x-rays and the dangers associated with high-exposure. Rest assured, a dental x-ray is one of the safest medical imaging procedures there is. Here’s what you need to know about getting a dental x-ray.

The Purpose of Oral X-Rays

X-ray imaging of the mouth can show our dental team damage to your teeth as well as disease. They can also show incoming teeth that could be problematic. X-rays allow our team to prevent problems by addressing them early. Rather than wait for excessive tooth damage to become visible, a simple x-ray procedure can identify it before it becomes painful.

Dangers of X-Ray Radiation

Excessive radiation exposure has been linked to increasing the risk of cancer. However, not all radiation sources are the same. It matters greatly where the radiation is coming from, how much you are exposed to, and for what length of time. X-rays have not been shown to present a significant increase in cancer development.

Comparing X-Ray Radiation

Dental x-rays are among the lowest dose of radiation producing procedures in medical imaging. It would take roughly 1,200 panoramic x-rays of your mouth to equal one CT Scan. Did you know that when you fly in an airplane you are exposed to a small amount of radiation? A panoramic x-ray of your mouth is only half of the radiation you’re exposed to on a 7-hour plane ride. The amount of radiation is even lower for a routine x-ray exam. A routine procedure including 4 intraoral images is about the same dose of radiation from a 1-2 hour plane ride. A dental x-ray provides less than the amount of radiation you are exposed to in the average day from natural radiation.

Safety First

Even though dental x-rays are safe and expose you to a small amount of radiation, our office takes additional measures to keep you safe. First, state laws and regulations set the limit of radiation patients can be exposed to. We never exceed these restrictions. Our experienced team is also trained to use the x-ray equipment. Visitors are provided with a shield or bib that provides additional protection.

What You Can Do

Communication is key. If you are a new patient, please provide us with your medical records so that our team knows about any previous medical imaging you have had. Talk to our dentist about your concerns. Together we’ll work with you to ensure you are treated in a safe environment.

Dental x-rays are a safe and incredibly helpful procedure. They allow our dentist to detect problems and develop solutions specific to your mouth. Dental x-rays provide a significantly lower dose of radiation than other safe medical imaging methods. We strive to create an atmosphere where our guests are comfortable. If you have any concerns, please let us know.

If you have any questions or would like to schedule your next examination, please contact our office.

Gum Health and Alzheimer’s Disease

Dentist in Miami Beach

Your gum health may have an impact on your cognitive function. One recent study found a correlation between gum disease and increased cognitive decline for people living with early stages of Alzheimer’s disease. While more studies are needed to make a definitive connection, this study illustrates the importance of continuing the conversation about oral health and its impact on your entire body.

Details of the Study

The study was administered by King’s College London and the University of Southampton. It observed 59 patients with early stages of Alzheimer’s disease. Blood tests were utilized to examine inflammatory markers present in the bloodstream, while patients’ dental health was examined by dental hygienists.

What it Found

The study found that patients with gum disease experienced cognitive decline at a rate 6 times faster than those without gum disease. The study suggested that the body’s reaction to inflammation may be responsible for causing the rapid decrease in brain function.

Importance of Healthy Gums

Previous studies have determined that gum disease can increase your risk of developing complications such as heart disease and stroke. Maintaining healthy gums is essential to staying healthy overall. You can keep your gums healthy by following good daily oral hygiene habits. This includes brushing twice each day for two minutes, as well as flossing regularly.

For those living with Alzheimer’s disease, it is imperative to maintain good oral health. If you are a caregiver of someone with the disease, make sure they are following an effective daily oral hygiene routine, as well as visiting our office for regular examinations. Keeping your gums healthy may be one key to keeping your body and brain healthy throughout your lifetime.

For more information about gum health, or to schedule your next visit to our office, please contact us.

Tobacco and Oral Health

Whether you use smokeless tobacco or smoke cigars, cigarettes, or a pipe, tobacco use poses a serious threat to both your oral health and your overall health. In addition to the effects smoking has on your respiratory health, pregnancy, and heart health, a recent study has found profound connections between smoking and periodontal (gum) disease.

Most people are aware that tobacco use commonly causes a wide range of unpleasant side effects. Some of these include the following:

  • Bad breath
  • Dry mouth
  • Stained teeth
  • Mouth sores
  • Loss of taste and smell

While these may seem like minor issues, they can lead to serious oral health complications. For example, chronic dry mouth will increase your risk of developing tooth decay. Additionally, the presence of frequent mouth sores raises your chances of developing an infection that can lead to periodontal (gum) disease.

Even more seriously, tobacco use greatly increases your risks of dangerous oral health complications. Dental implant failure is significantly more common among patients who smoke. Oral cancers are 6 times as likely to develop in smokers than non-smokers. Immune system suppression from smoking can lead to slowed healing and worsening gum disease, and even limit the benefits you receive from periodontal treatments.

Gum disease is 3-6 times more likely in smokers than non-smokers, depending on the daily intake. Gum disease in smokers can be more challenging to recognize in early stages because smokers are less likely to have bleeding gums. This is due to the blood vessel constriction common to smokers, and not an indication of healthy gums.

By breaking the tobacco habit you can significantly reduce your risks of damage to your gums and teeth. Former smokers who stop for at least 11 years have no higher risk of periodontal disease than non-smokers. Even reducing your tobacco intake can help reduce your risks of the serious health complications that smoking and tobacco use can cause.

For information on ways to quit smoking or smokeless tobacco use, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) offers a number of resources that can help. Visit http://www.cdc.gov/tobacco/campaign/tips/quit-smoking/quitting-resources.html.

For more information about periodontal disease or to schedule a periodontal examination, contact our office.