For more information concerning dentistry, please visit the website for the American Dental Association.
The American Dental Association (ADA) recommends visits to the dentist at least once every six months for a professional exam and cleaning. Regular dental visits are necessary for the maintenance of healthy gums and teeth. Your dentist may recommend more frequent visits, depending on the status of your oral health.
According to the American Dental Association (ADA), oral cancer kills more people nationwide than either cervical cancer or melanoma (skin cancer). Currently only half of all patients diagnosed with oral cancer survive more than five years. Good news is that it is now easier than ever to detect oral cancer early, when the opportunity for a cure is great.
Regular dental check-ups are essential in the early detection of cancerous and pre-cancerous conditions. You may have a very small, but dangerous, oral spot or sore and not be aware of it. In about 10% of patients, the dentist may notice a flat, painless, white or red spot or a small sore. Although most of these are harmless, some are not. To ensure that a spot or sore is not dangerous, your dentist may choose to perform a simple test, a biopsy, which can detect potentially dangerous cells when the disease is still at an early stage.
Signs of oral cancer that you may want to be aware of may include:
- a sore that bleeds easily or does not heal
- a color change of the oral tissue
- a lump, thickening, rough spot, rust or small eroded area
- pain, tenderness, or numbness anywhere in the mouth or on the lips
Although oral cancer occurs most often in those who use tobacco in any form, more than 25% of oral cancers occur in people who do not smoke and have no other risk factors.
Remember to see your dentist regularly because in many parts of the mouth you may not be able to see a small spot or sore yourself. If you do notice any of the above signs, you should call your dentist as soon as possible.
Bonding restores chipped, cracked, miscolored or misaligned teeth by rebuilding the surface with a resin material. To place the bond, your dentist prepares your tooth with an etching solution. Then special resin materials are blended in colors carefully chosen to match your own teeth. These materials are applied to your teeth, then shaped into just the right contours. Finally, they're hardened or bonded in place. Bonding provides wonderful results at an affordable cost.
A crown can be used to cover a fractured tooth, a tooth with a large, old filling, or a tooth that is severely damaged by decay. Crowns strengthen and protect the remaining tooth structure and can improve the appearance of your smile. Crowns are also used to cover teeth that are discolored or badly shaped or to cover a dental implant. Types of crowns include the full porcelain crown, the porcelain-fused-to-metal crown and the all-metal crown. Your dentist can recommend the crown that is best for you.
Fitting a crown requires at least two visits to your dentist. Initially, the dentist removes decay and shapes the tooth. Then he makes an impression and fits a temporary or transitional crown of plastic or metal. On the next visit your dentist will remove the temporary crown, fit and adjust the final crown, then cement it into place.
Tooth loss can have an effect on your dental health and personal appearance if not dealt with properly. When you lose or have one or more permanent teeth extracted, your remaining teeth can drift out of position. This can lead to a change in your bite, and/or decay and gum disease, not to mention a change in your personal appearance.
Dental implants are an effective method in replacing one or several teeth. Each implant consists of a metal post that is inserted into the jawbone under your gums. During a healing period, the bone grows around the implant. Then the post is outfitted with an artificial tooth, which is similar to your natural tooth. Implants can also support a bridge, replace a partial denture or secure a fixed denture.