Paul Falvey DDS, MS, FAAID, AFICOI

A new smile in two weeks



Your smile sends messages to everyone you meet. Studies show that your teeth are the main physical characteristic that people notice first, and a friendly smile sets the tone for every relationship in your personal and business life. If you’re unhappy with the appearance of your teeth, dental veneers may offer a significant change you automatically share with everyone around you.

What are veneers?

Veneers provide the ultimate lift to a smile and offer a quick solution to many challenges that frustrate people of all ages. After we collaborate to plan your smile, ultra-thin pieces of porcelain are crafted by experienced technicians. Within a few days, your new smile is ready to share with the world… 24/7.

Today’s porcelain mimics a perfect layer of enamel, enhancing the color, shape, length, and texture of your teeth. Cracks and chips disappear, and years of wear and discoloration melt away. The ability to enjoy a stunning smile with durable, natural material has never been easier.

Dental Veneers are:

  • Ultra-thin: Blend into your smile
  • Strong: Replicate natural enamel
  • Beautiful: Ideal color and shape
  • Conservative: Preserve the healthy parts of your teeth
  • Life-changing: The smile you deserve brought to life

Are Veneers Right For Me?

Everyone benefits from a healthy, radiant smile. Studies show that people who smile are considered more trustworthy, friendly, and kind. If

you’re pleased with your smile, you feelmore confident and content.

If you look in the mirror and see any of the following problems, dental veneers may be right for you:

  • Chipped, broken bite edges
  • Yellowing, staining, or discolored spots
  • Crooked, rotated, or overlapping teeth
  • Narrow or short teeth
  • A smile you just find embarrassing

Dental veneers offer one of the most effective ways to transform a list of problems into a brilliant asset you’ll enjoy every day for the rest of your life. Sometimes referred to as “instant orthodontics,” veneers leave our patients amazed at how quickly they’ve improved their lives.

If veneers aren’t the best way to create your new smile, we can explore other innovative solutions to deliver the result you want with cosmetic dentistry. Our patients have found ways to uncover the smile of their dreams they never knew were possible.

How Can Veneers Help Me?

Your smile matters. In fact, it’s one of the most significant characteristics you possess. Studies consistently show positive effects on the following:

Self-esteem: When you’re happy with the appearance of your teeth, you smile more. When you smile more, your brain produces serotonin, endorphins, and dopamine. These neurotransmitters are responsible for reduced stress and feelings of happiness.

Success: No matter how you measure it, many studies have connected a nice smile with richer rewards. Smiling salespeople produce more sales and enjoy more career success, and those who smile also appreciate better relationships and are considered more trustworthy.

Influence: Your smile directly influences the feelings of others, adding to their wellness. People shown pictures of smiles and told to frown while looking at them struggle to suppress their own smile! You can change the mood of a room with a grin.

Your Smile Solution

Dental veneers provide benefits far beyond your teeth. By transforming the appearance of your smile with today’s natural porcelains, we can help you elevate the quality of your life inside and out. Veneers have given many people an advantage in their careers and social lives while boosting their sense of wellbeing.

Don’t you deserve to explore what cosmetic dentistry can do for you? Feel free to come in, bring your questions, and we’ll help you find your smile solution!

 


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Could A Healthy Mouth Save Your Life?


Have you ever stood beside a rushing river and watched the current carry wood and leaves quickly past? Your blood pulses through your body at a similar pace. Every twenty seconds, blood completes a round trip from head to toe. This closed system averages 100,000 miles of veins, arteries, and capillaries and delivers many vital components to sustain life.

Sometimes the system breaks open and dangerous invaders enter the bloodstream. While we often think of a cut or scrape on the skin as the entry point, the lining of the mouth offers an ideal backdoor. Over thirty square inches of tissue cover the mouth and provide a home to billions of bacteria. A unique collar of gum tissue surrounds each of the teeth, and a few potent strains of bacteria can take up residence in this hidden enclave. These microorganisms produce toxins, and the immune system reacts to them with a rush of inflammation. The delicate vessels of the gums deteriorate from the reaction, and bleeding begins.

It doesn’t take long for potent bacteria to enter the river of life. Within seconds, they’re reaching the fine vessels of the brain and slipping through the coronary arteries. They’re meandering into joints, organs, and fetuses of expectant mothers. In 2010, scientists at Case Western Reserve University were asked to investigate a stillborn case in a 35-year old mother who suffered from gum disease. Plaque samples from the woman’s teeth tested positive for the precise strain of oral bacteria discovered in the stomach and lungs of the fetus.

“Once the bacteria are in the blood, they can go almost anywhere,” Yiping Han, a Case Western Reserve professor of periodontics and pathology said. “The placenta is an immuno-suppressed organ, compared to other organs like the liver and the spleen. And that makes it easy for the bacteria to colonize the placenta.”

While this single case shouldn’t create anxiety for expectant mothers, it highlights the importance of dental health. Oral bacteria may aggravate the body in different ways, and damage may come in various forms. From a 30,000 foot view, chronic inflammation anywhere in the body can exacerbate other conditions. Diabetes is known to worsen gum disease, but the opposite is also true: Gum disease negatively influences control of blood sugar. On a microscopic level, oral bacteria have been identified in the lining of damaged coronary arteries.

CANCER, TOO?

As the search for a cancer cure intensifies, a preventive focus still promises the best defense against the disease. While many people don’t correlate unhealthy gums with cancer, recent research does draw a link. In a study of 48,000 men, those with a history of gum disease carried a 36 percent increased risk of lung cancer,

a 49 percent increased risk of kidney cancer, and a 54 percent higher risk of pancreatic cancer. We still don’t know all the reasons why, but saving your teeth could mean saving your life.

If bleeding gums could be patched together, they’d be equivalent to a 2×2 inch open wound on the skin. Saturated with bacteria, a gash of this size anywhere on the body needs attention. When gum disease remains uncontrolled in the mouth, the door stays open indefinitely as a large wound. As a result, a steady supply of bacteria ends up in areas of the body they don’t belong.

HERE’S TO YOUR HEALTH

Every effort you make to keep your mouth healthy helps ensure you’ll keep your teeth for the rest of your life. The evidence continues to build that a preventive focus may add years to your life, too. Dental care that combines your efforts with our periodic oversight will keep you smiling and active for years to come!

 

 


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What If Teeth Could Be Fixed This Way?


With winter upon us, the common cold shows us why it’s aptly named. Rhinoviruses, responsible for many episodes of congestion, coughs, and sore throats, transmit through the population during every season. But research suggests that this virus replicates better at a temperature a few degrees below the body’s core temperature. Plus, people tend to share closer spaces inside during colder weather. Cozy areas make virus transmission easier.

Many people are surprised to learn that tooth decay is the next most common disease afflicting the population. The bacteria that cause cavities thrive in the mouth, but babies aren’t born with them. They’re an infection that’s often passed from mothers or caregivers once teeth start to appear. Since 92% of adults report at least one cavity, dental fillings are familiar to just about everyone.

What if…

Exciting new research suggests that the way we repair teeth damaged from cavities could change in the years ahead. Consider this:

  • A British team discovered that aspirin enhances the function of stem cells found inside teeth. They found that low-dose aspirin significantly increased the expression of genes that help form dentin, the primary tooth structure usually damaged by decay. This influence helps the tooth create new structure to repair damaged portions.
  • Another research team found that a particular chemical could cause cells to heal small holes in mice teeth. Researchers placed a biodegradable sponge soaked in the drug inside the cavity. This step led to complete, natural repair of the damaged area!
  • Another study demonstrated that a small electrical current could be used to draw new minerals into teeth, producing a stronger outer layer that’s more resistant to bacterial acid.

A vaccine to prevent cavities has been explored for over 40 years. In 1972, a British team reported they were testing one on mice, but fundamental challenges remain today. In the meantime, a host of new materials that mimic natural tooth structure allow us to restore damaged teeth and create healthy smiles. Scientists continue to produce advanced porcelains and resins that can be securely bonded into place. Sometimes the most trained eye can’t discern where the tooth ends, and the filling begins!

Solutions For Every Scenario

When enough damage leads to tooth loss, dental implants offer the ultimate solution for optimal function and confident smiling. Precise 3D imaging and advanced implant components set the foundation for predictable results. Whether replacing single teeth or securing loose dentures, implants can be life-changing!

In our evolving world, dental research continues to enhance the lives of our patients. We follow and evaluate advancements in dentistry, then choose those that serve you best. We’re here to be a resource for you and your family, so feel free to contact your team at Grass Valley Dental Care with any questions we can help you explore!

 


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How Much Sugar Are You Drinking?


Every time you step into a mini-mart, you’re faced with a host of options to squelch your thirst. A rainbow of colors in plastic bottles compete for your attention, and creative marketing often transforms sugared water into a fountain of youth. When it comes to your teeth, does it matter what you choose? How does a bottle of cola or a sports drink affect your teeth and general health?

Everybody knows most of these drinks include a lot of sugar, but it’s easy to overlook how much they carry. A little quick math can help you visualize the carbohydrate burst that occurs with the first sip. The nutritional label reports the number of grams of sugar in a serving, and there are 4 grams of sugar in a teaspoon. If a bottle shows 20 grams in a single serving, picture it as 5 teaspoons.

While a 12-ounce soda used to be the norm, 20-ounce bottles are now considered standard. But many of the labels show the grams of sugar for an 8-ounce serving, and they frequently report 2.5 servings in a bottle! Calculating the numbers on a typical label indicates you’ll consume over 19 teaspoons of sugar in this soft drink. Take a look at this one:

The bacteria that cause cavities use sugar for energy and produce acidic waste that erodes tooth enamel. Syrupy drinks provide an ideal power source to keep this population thriving while instigating an insulin spike in the bloodstream. The colossal sugar load also drives the liver to convert sugar into fat. Chronically elevated insulin creates insulin resistance, a condition that contributes to a range of diseases. From cavities to cancer, sugared drinks help fuel many of the health problems afflicting people today.

An Acid Problem

Sugar forms a vital part of the formula that produces tooth decay, but it’s the acid that ultimately causes enamel to dissolve. The normal pH of your mouth rests around 7, but tooth structure begins to erode when the acidity drops to 5.5. Soda can send the pH of the mouth into a nosedive, making the mouth 1000 times more acidic than needed to start damaging teeth. A review of many ingredient labels shows citric, phosphoric, and carbonic acids in the mix. It may take 15 minutes for the mouth’s pH to return to normal after the last sip, and that means a steady diet of sugary drinks can alter the mouth for hours each day.

Diet sodas often hover around a pH of 3.2, far into the range that damages teeth. It’s a good thing that sugar is missing, but a steady exposure to high acidity can still lead to a weakening of tooth enamel. Artificial sweeteners may have long-term general health effects that we’re yet to understand fully.

Limit The Damage

The best strategy for the sake of your teeth and overall health is to enjoy fresh water on a regular basis. If you’re going to drink soda, consider the following tips:

  • Drink soda or sports drinks through a straw to minimize your teeth’s exposure.
  • Rinse with water right after drinking one of these beverages.
  • Avoid brushing your teeth for 30 minutes after drinking the beverage. This practice allows your mouth to return to normal pH before the teeth undergo the light abrasion of brushing.
  • Avoid drinks that list acids on the ingredient label.

If you consume a sports drink during strenuous exercise or enjoy an occasional soda with a meal, there’s not a lot of reason to worry. Commit to keep sugar exposure to a minimum and drink more fresh water. Your teeth and your body will thank you!

 


 

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Oral Bacteria: We Are Not Alone


The jury’s still out on the count, but up to 700 types of bacteria call your mouth their home. About 20 billion of these organisms linger on teeth, in your saliva, and on the lining of your mouth at any given time. In dramatic fashion, they’re able to double their population every 5 hours. That helps explain why your teeth feel like they’ve grown a shag carpet in the morning. Saliva washes bacteria away when you’re awake, but your saliva output drops at night. Without the buffering and cleansing of this protective liquid, the micro-organisms flourish.

Not all of the bacteria in your mouth stir up problems. The majority of them play a role in a balanced ecosystem and coexist with viruses, fungi, and protozoa. But like any community, a few bad characters create the majority of the issues afflicting patients. Many people are surprised to learn that both cavities and gum disease are actually an infection, spurred on by a few strains of harmful bacteria.

It Starts With Sugar

Like any living organism, bacteria need energy to survive. Fermentable carbohydrates deliver their favorite fuel, and various forms of sugar provide the ideal power source to metabolize into energy. These bacteria then flood the surfaces of the teeth and gums with a toxic mix of acidic waste.

If you’ve ever seen acid poured on concrete, you have an idea of what the bacterial waste does to your teeth. The hard outer layer of enamel erodes away over time as a steady supply of acid attacks the heavily mineralized surface. A cavity starts to open in the tooth, and a lot of damage often occurs before anyone knows what’s happening.

Other types of bacteria prefer settling deeper under the gums. Their waste damages the gum lining and causes a rush of inflammation from the immune system. Bleeding gums are like an open door that invites bacteria deeper into the body. The whole toxic, inflammatory mix can cause the bone to dissolve around teeth and aggravate general health problems.

Why Doesn’t Everyone Get Cavities?

It’s not unusual to find families with various levels of tooth decay despite similar diets and oral hygiene habits. Different people have different bacterial populations, and not everyone has been infected with the same organisms. Furthermore, some people produce critical antibodies that destroy these disease-causing bacteria. On the oral battlefield, the organisms don’t get much of a chance to thrive when the right immune system factors attack them.

Regardless of the bacterial mix, anyone can develop a plan to control the destructive organisms responsible for cavities and gum disease. While basic habits like toothbrushing and flossing form the cornerstone to disrupting bacterial plaque, many other strategies fit individual situations. Adding prescription rinses, xylitol products, water irrigators, protective varnishes, fluoride trays, and other innovative methods can make a dramatic difference in a person’s dental story.

Helping You Fight The Good Fight

At Paul I. Falvey, DDS, we’re focused on developing a preventive approach that’s as unique as you are. By partnering with our dental hygiene team, you’ll gain an advantage that helps you overcome bacteria, genetics, and past history.

With the right approach, you can send harmful bacteria on their way and enjoy a lifetime of good dental health!

 


 

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What If Your Teeth Give You An Icy Reception?


Enjoying a cold drink usually involves a little ice. Sometimes larger pieces are hard to resist as teeth crunch them into smaller fragments. The sound of ice crystals shattering reverberates across a room unlike any other chewing activity; up to 250 pounds of force may be needed to break ice cubes with your teeth! Some people who chew ice may suffer from an iron deficiency and inflammation of the tongue. But ice-chewing often becomes a habit that simply needs to be broken.

This unique chewing habit carries a higher risk of damage to your teeth than chewing many other types of hard foods. Your teeth are made of mineralized layers that protect the soft inner nerve and blood supply found at the center of each one. Enamel, the hardest substance in your body, provides a unique armor as the outer layer. Intricate crystal rods comprise this remarkable covering, although it’s relatively brittle without the support of the layer underneath it.

If you compress firmly on an ice cube, an extreme temperature change occurs in the crystallized enamel. As the temperature suddenly drops, the crystal expands slightly. The temporary tension releases as the temperature rises again, a process amplified by the jaw force crushing the ice. Microfractures often form in teeth after thousands of normal chewing cycles. Ice accelerates the process.

 


Heed The Warning

Sometimes a cracked tooth gives you warning signs. But in other cases, the first clue is when a large chunk of tooth breaks off. Many of these teeth have large silver fillings in them and may appear dark from the amalgam staining that occurs over time. A broken tooth may be sensitive to cold and hot or have sharp edges that annoy the tongue, although they rarely ache. Don’t be fooled: a broken tooth needs attention to prevent further problems from developing down the road.

In other cases, a tooth sends you warning signals that it’s cracked and in danger of getting worse. If your tooth twinges with a cold drink but feels fine to chew on, it’s probably not damaged. If you’ve tried a sensitivity toothpaste for a couple of weeks without any change, you still might want to find out the cause. But if you bite down on certain foods and experience a sharp, sudden pain in the same area, you’d better schedule to see us. Usually, this means the crack is expanding slightly under pressure and will likely worsen over time.

 


What Do I Do?

A cracked tooth can usually be saved even when a piece breaks off. But if you’re experiencing bite pain and wait too long, the tooth may split and need to be removed. Teeth that ache for an extended period of time after chewing or hurt out-of-the-blue may have deeper cracks. Many of them can still be salvaged.

Your teeth handle a lot of use and abuse. But chewing ice leads to extra stress and possible problems that you just don’t need. Crunching on ice or hard candies may also damage porcelain restorations or other types of fillings. Many of these materials mimic tooth structure and can break if they’re misused.

If you’re experiencing any of the alarm bells mentioned above, we’ll help you sort out the reasons and the most conservative options for care.

A couple of simple tests by Paul I. Falvey, DDS helps confirm a crack and the best ways to limit the damage. So next time you’re tempted to break an ice cube in half with your teeth, let it melt…your teeth will thank you for it!

 


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Cancer Care and Oral Health

 


Cancer afflicts more than 1.6 million people every year, along with loved ones who share the journey. Fortunately, successful treatment modalities continue to emerge and more people than ever are winning the battle. But often the powerful medications used to target cancer cells also deliver challenging side effects. And while radiation techniques have become more precise in recent years, patients sometimes find themselves dealing with residual damage from their treatment.

Chemotherapy medications destroy cancer cells, but the fragile tissues of the mouth may also suffer from the exposure. Even though a particular cancer may be far from the head and neck region, a patient may find their treatment affecting the mouth. Chemotherapy agents can result in ulcers developing in the mucosal lining of the oral cavity and throat. If you’ve ever had a mouth or cold sore, you know just how miserable these raw areas become.

If you or someone you know experiences mouth pain during chemotherapy, options for comfort care exist. While a product like Oragel can be applied to mouth sores, it’s often ineffective if multiple areas break down. We may be able to prescribe a mouth rinse formulated to soothe and coat painful lesions. Designed as a swish and spit formula, a simple prescription could help make life a little easier during treatment.

Comfort and Protection

Radiation therapy doesn’t typically alter the mouth. But if it’s targeted around the head and neck region, the negative effects can be dramatic. The saliva glands constantly pump out fluid that coats the mouth, protects the teeth, and aids in digestion. Radiation that includes these vital glands can leave permanent scarring that reduces or eliminates saliva output for years to come. While there’s no easy solution to radiation-induced salivary output, cancer patients deserve every option to improve their quality of life.

Dry mouth, known as xerostomia, leaves the mouth parched and uncomfortable. In addition, saliva plays a protective role against tooth decay. We help patients struggling with xerostomia find ways to increase their comfort while decreasing their risk of major dental problems. Specialty rinses, toothpastes, Xyli-melt lozenges, and other strategies can make a significant difference for cancer patients affected by xerostomia.

Some chemotherapy drugs create a small but serious risk of jawbone damage, known as osteonecrosis (ONJ). This condition is most likely to develop if a tooth requires removal, a dental infection develops, or gum disease is present. The best way to guard against this potential side effect is to have a dental evaluation prior to starting any chemotherapy treatment. Discussing oral health with an oncologist and dentist prior to treatment can help eliminate unnecessary complications.

Standing With You

Facing cancer involves many challenges, but our team is here to help you manage your oral health before, during, and after your therapy. Healthy teeth will add to the richness of the years beyond your treatment, so together we can develop short and long-term strategies for optimal wellness. Please feel free to discuss any concerns or questions you may have, and encourage your loved ones to maintain their oral health through their cancer care.

 

 


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5 Habits That Damage a Smile

 


Teeth are essential players in digestion, central to our appearance, and even help us form our words properly.  Enamel, the hardest substance in our bodies, provides a tough outer layer made of intricate crystal rods. And a solid foundation of bone and gum surround the teeth and hold them firmly in place.  As resilient as teeth are, our habits can compromise our smile and leave us with damage that’s challenging to repair.

 

Here are 5 habits that you need to be careful to avoid:


Ice can damage teeth.

1. ICE CHEWING

We’ve all crunched on ice on a hot summer day.  But chewing on a chunk of ice puts tremendous strain on the crystal structure of your teeth.  The combination of hardness and extreme temperature stress enamel in a way few things do. Microfractures develop in the enamel, and they may eventually expand to form deeper cracks.  Teeth with large fillings are especially susceptible, and large pieces of tooth may eventually break away.  In some cases, a tooth may split in half and be impossible to save.

SOLUTION: Use ice for drinks, not as a crunchy treat.


Soda and sports drinks are loaded with sugar that can damage teeth over time.

2. SODA AND SPORTS DRINKS

You probably know that soda is loaded with sugar.  A typical can delivers 9 teaspoons on average, and sugar provides an ideal energy source for the bacteria that cause cavities.  But did you know many sports drinks hold just as much and often get consumed in larger quantities?    To top it off, many carbonated beverages contain different types of acid that erode the mineral in your teeth.  Even diet sodas can dramatically change the acidity of your mouth and weaken the surface of the teeth.

SOLUTION: Reach for cold water with a splash of lemon and use sports drinks only with strenuous activities.


Unintentional teeth grinding can wear down a tooth’s bite surface and cause sensitivity.

3. TEETH GRINDING

Stress finds many ways to express itself and gnashing of the teeth is just one of them. Teeth grinding, also known as bruxism, slowly thins away enamel, chips fillings and porcelain, and stresses the gums.  Worn teeth often look like sandpaper has been run across the biting surface, and replacing missing enamel often involves extensive, full-mouth dental treatment.

SOLUTION: Consider a custom-fit nightguard to save your teeth, jaw, and gums from major problems.


Basketball is the number 1 sport for mouth injuries.

4. SPORTS WITHOUT MOUTHGUARDS

An elbow to the chops happens in a split second, but the damage can be life-changing.  Many athletic activities carry the risk of tooth fracture, and most participants don’t consider mouth protection.  Do you know the #1 sport for mouth injuries?  Basketball!  Few players wear a mouthguard, which leads to unnecessary danger. Any close contact sport carries risk worth eliminating.

SOLUTION:  Consider a custom athletic guard designed for your particular activity level.  Multiple layers of protection can be added for maximum safety.


Chewing tobacco and snuff can cause damage to teeth and gums.

5. CHEWING TOBACCO

While smoking has declined in recent years, the use of snuff has continued to climb over the past 15 years.  Nearly 50,000 people in the U.S. will be diagnosed with oral cancer every year, and many more will suffer from adverse effects of this highly addictive habit.  Gum recession, bad breath, and tooth decay are just a few of the problems resulting from the nearly 3000 chemicals found in chewing tobacco.

SOLUTION: If you’re not a user, don’t start. If you’re struggling with quitting, ask us about ideas to support your effort. It’s worth it.


Most people want to enjoy a lifetime with their own teeth, but just one bad habit can undermine the best intentions.  Fortunately, the Paul Falvey, DDS team has solutions to lower many risks, and we’re here to provide support for any lifestyle changes you’d like to make.

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How many years should you keep your teeth?

Excitement abounds when kids lose their first tooth. A series of fly-ins from the tooth fairy result in a little extra spending money and lifetime memories. The visits start to wind down by age 12 when most of the adult teeth have emerged. Wisdom teeth may even move into place a few years later, although many teenagers benefit from having these third molars removed.

Teeth That Go The Distance

A focus on prevention has helped more people keep their teeth throughout their lives than ever before. In 1960, nearly half of adults between the ages of 65-74 had lost all of their teeth. In 2012, the number of people experiencing complete tooth loss had plummeted to just over 13%. This equates to millions of additional lives that benefit from natural chewing with their own teeth.

The Silent Battle

While general dental health has improved in the U.S. population, many people struggle to maintain their teeth. The Center for Disease Control released a retrospective study in 2012 that highlighted these facts:

  • Among adults between the ages of 20-64, 91% had experienced tooth decay, and 27% had untreated tooth decay.
  • Adults between the ages of 40-64 were twice as likely to have lost all their teeth (67%) compared with those between the ages of 20-39 (34%).
  • About 20% of adults age 65 and older had untreated tooth decay.

Education, access to care, and improved treatment options have reduced the number of people afflicted with dental problems. Yet too many people continue to suffer from cavities and gum disease. In fact, tooth decay ranks as the most prevalent childhood disease in the U.S. Cavities result from harmful oral bacteria usually passed from mother to child. Without preventive intervention, the destructive process marches into the new adult teeth during the teen years.

Gum disease is another bacterial affliction that dramatically increases the risk of tooth loss over time. About 30% of the population battle gum disease, and it’s the number one reason adults lose their teeth. Just one missing tooth can disrupt the complex function of chewing, stress the remaining teeth, and lead to more fractured or missing teeth.

What Can You Do?

Widespread public health measures have helped improve general dental health across the country, although not always without controversy. Water fluoridation, professionally sealing grooves in molars, and school outreach programs make up part of the preventive formula. But there’s no substitute for individuals who emphasize their own wellness. Consistent oral hygiene habits and a periodic routine with a dental team lead to results that are hard to beat.

While everyone knows they should brush and floss, a personalized strategy that weighs your history, health, age, and budget leads to the most effective results. Some of the options that we may blend to create an individual’s plan include:

  • Daily doses of Xylitol natural sweetener
  • Prescription anti-bacterial rinses
  • Professional application of varnishes to harden teeth
  • Prescription-strength toothpaste
  • Waterpik use with or without water additives
  • Custom trays to apply medicines at home
  • Saliva stimulants
  • Analysis of current medications affecting your mouth

Many patients want to keep their teeth through every stage of life, but they’re not sure how to accurately control the complex biology that frequently leads to dental disease. Short and long-term care plans consider many critical factors, from saliva volume and pH to general health and medications.

Age-related changes are inevitable, but tooth loss doesn’t have to be part of the process. At Paul I. Falvey, DDS, we help patients maintain their teeth for a lifetime of wellness. A personalized strategy for dental health can be created with ongoing monitoring and coaching by our team. Enjoy years of comfortable chewing, a brilliant smile, and the confidence that comes with it!

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The Mouth Sore Affliction

You feel it coming on: A spot in your mouth starts to burn or tingle, and you know what’s about to happen. By tomorrow you’ll have a nagging sore cratered into the lining of your cheek. Aphthous ulcers afflict 20% of the population, recurring intermittently and often without a distinct pattern. After a week or two, the pain disappears and your mouth feels whole again.

Aphthous ulcers are sometimes confused with cold sores, but they’re only related by their discomfort and proximity to each other.  Cold sores occur on the lips and surrounding skin as a result of the Herpes Simplex Virus.  Aphthous ulcers don’t have such a clear cause.  These lesions show up on movable tissue surfaces inside the mouth and may be difficult to pin to a single instigator.  We understand that the body’s immune system sends inflammatory cells into an area and destroys its own tissue, but what triggers the assault?

 

Where Do They Come From?

Mouth sores may show up one at a time or in groups spread across multiple areas.  Many patients feel frustrated by their inability to control these painful ulcers, but understanding possible causes may help you take steps to eliminate or reduce outbreaks.  Here are a few triggers to consider:

  • Stress | If we started a list of all the maladies stress creates in our bodies, we’d need to buy a ream of paper to finish it.  Aphthous ulcers often erupt when we’re experiencing a high level of stress.
  • Hormone Changes | Some women experience outbreaks before their period, while others are ulcer-free until after menopause.
  • Vitamin and Mineral Deficiencies | Low levels of iron, vitamin B12, calcium, selenium, or folic acid are just a few nutrients linked to aphthous ulcers.
  • Genetics | A lot of health conditions run in the genes, and mouth ulcers seem to be one to add to the list.
  • Toothpaste | Most toothpastes contain a foaming agent called sodium lauryl sulfate (SLS). This ingredient is linked to mouth ulcers in some patients.  Sensitivity to mint flavoring may also lead to a similar problem.
  • Systemic Diseases | Crohn’s Disease, Coeliac Disease, Reactive Arthritis, and Behcet’s Disease are a few conditions that might also include mouth sores.
  • Medications | Some people find that non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, like ibuprofen, lead to mouth sores.  Beta-blockers, used to treat high blood pressure and certain heart conditions, along with chemotherapy agents, are also culprits.
  • Foods | When a sore shows up, consider certain foods in your diet in the previous 24 hours. Chocolate, coffee, spicy foods, peanuts, almonds, strawberries, cheese, and wheat flour are known initiators.

Most episodes of aphthous ulcers clear up and move on within a couple of weeks.  If you have a sore that doesn’t resolve within a month, it’s time to see the team at Paul I. Falvey, DDS . In these cases, a closer analysis of the area should be done.

While identifying a cause may lead to a lifestyle adjustment that eliminates sores, many patients end up enduring the discomfort until they heal. Here are a few tips to minimize the disruption:

  • Be Gentle | Stay away from spicy or acidic foods during an outbreak. Use a soft toothbrush and consider an SLS-free toothpaste for awhile.
  • Numb It | Grab a tube of a numbing or coating agent like Oragel, Kanka, or zilactin-B. Carry it in your pocket and apply as needed to cut the pain.
  • Rinse | You might try mixing ¼ cup hydrogen peroxide, ¼ cup water, 1 tsp baking soda, and 1 tsp salt to create a rinse that disinfects and neutralizes sore spots. This mix is particularly useful if you’re suffering from multiple ulcers. Rincinol PRN is a commercial rinse available at many retailers that draws strong reviews from users.
  • Try Tea | Some patients get relief by applying a damp tea bag to a mouth sore for a few minutes at a time. You may also find that sipping licorice tea helps.
  • Bump B-12 | A well-designed research project showed that patients taking 1000 mg of sublingual B-12 experienced a significant reduction in mouth ulcers and pain levels. Regardless of initial B12 blood levels, 74% of patients were ulcer-free after six months compared to 32% in the control group.  Definitely worth considering!
  • Chat With Us | If you’re dealing with mouth ulcers, talk to us the next time you’re in our office. We may be able to personalize our recommendations and offer other management suggestions.

At Paul Falvey, DDS, we want to help you find answers to every question you have about your dental health. Aphthous ulcers frustrate many people, but sometimes just one tip contributes to reducing your pain. We look forward to discussing all your concerns at your next visit!