At McDowell Family & Cosmetic Dentistry, our number one priority remains the patients’ oral health. Dr. McDowell and his friendly staff want to ensure that each of their patients not only enjoy strong teeth and healthy gums, but that they avoid other common oral health problems that can negatively affect their ability to enjoy a normal life.
While brushing and flossing daily, along with scheduling regular checkups with Dr. Johnson, remains an important part of preventing tooth decay and gum disease, other problems can occasionally occur that can impact your oral health. Here are a few of the most common types of oral health problems, and what you can do to help prevent them.
Also commonly referred to as a fever blister, you don’t actually develop cold sores from either a cold or a fever, but they can trigger an outbreak. Cold sores are actually caused by a virus that can be transmitted through kissing, sharing utensils, or other intimate contact. A variety of over-the-counter creams and ointments can speed along the healing of these types of sores, and may help to alleviate any discomfort you may experience as a result of the sore.
If you suffer from frequent cold sores, you may need a prescription to help reduce the number of breakouts you experience. Cold sores are considered a top of the mouth problem, a designation that also includes such oral health problems as TMJ, halitosis, oral cancer, and canker sores.
A condition caused by candida yeast, thrush is an infection of the mucus membrane that lines the mouth and tongue. An outbreak of thrush will often appear as whitish sores that develop on the mouth and tongue. Underneath the whitish texture lays red tissue that may bleed or become easily irritated when the yeast is removed. While anybody can develop thrush, the condition most commonly occurs in babies and seniors. The condition also frequently occurs in individuals who suffer from a weakened immune system, diabetes, or who take certain types of medication. You need to consult with Dr. McDowell to receive a clear diagnosis.
While doctors remain uncertain as to what causes these painful little blisters to form in the interior of the mouth, they do believe that infections, hormones, stress, hypersensitivity, and vitamin deficiency can trigger an outbreak. Unlike cold sores, canker sores appear inside the mouth on the tongue, cheek, or gums. The sores can last from a few days to a couple of weeks, and can be treated with numbing ointments, creams, prescription medication, and dental lasers. Talk with Dr. McDowell about which treatment option may be right for you.
A jaw problem known as temporomandibular joint syndrome, or TMJ, the condition can cause intense pain in the jaw, ear, face, and neck. While a head injury, jaw clenching, or tooth grinding can all lead to TMJ syndrome, the symptoms are often the same: dizziness, headaches, pain, and trouble swallowing. Treating the condition may require rest, medication, the use of a mouth guard, or surgery.
Chomping on ice or hard candies, grinding or clenching the teeth, using your teeth to tear open plastic bags or open bottles, and even exposure to hot or cold food and drink can cause your teeth to become chipped, cracked, or broken. While tiny chips or cracks may not cause a problem, more significant breaks in a tooth’s enamel may cause pain or permanent tooth damage. Dr. McDowell offers a wide range of dental bonding, porcelain veneers, crowns, and a variety of other cosmetic dental services that can fix broken or chipped teeth.
Mouths sore that never heal, numbness in the face, neck, or mouth that occurs without explanation, and problems swallowing, speaking, or chewing are all possible symptoms of oral cancer. Smoking cigarettes or using chewing tobacco, heavy consumption of alcohol, overexposure to sunlight, and a family history of cancer all increase your risk of developing oral cancer.
Fortunately, oral cancer can be successfully treated when caught early. However, the condition generally appears innocuous at first, and may escape your notice until it’s too late. Dr. McDowell performs routine oral cancer screenings as part of most oral health checkups, and can catch the disease at an early stage.