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How to Diagnose and Treat Mouth Sores and Infection

Have you noticed a sore on your mouth, and you don’t know what to do? There are many kinds of mouth sores. Some are painful and unsightly but harmless. Others seem benign but can lead to complications. Regardless of how it looks or feels, make a dental appointment with our Port Washington dental team if it is still there after 10 days or if you think it could be an infection. Serious complications can often be prevented if you act early.

What Are The Most Common Mouth Sores and Infections?

Burning Mouth Syndrome

Just as the name indicates, people with this condition feel oral burning sensations without any apparent lesions or blisters. Sufferers describe the feeling as similar to scalding from drinking a hot beverage.

Signs, Symptoms and Diagnosis

Areas affected include:

  • the tongue
  • the back of the throat
  • the palette
  • the gums
  • inside the cheeks

Diagnosis of this condition is a process of elimination. Blood tests, cultures, biopsies and a complete health history can be used to help pinpoint your condition.

Causes of Burning Mouth Syndrome

The causes are unknown, but this syndrome has been linked to certain conditions.

  • diabetes
  • menopause
  • malnutrition
  • oral thrush
  • nervous system disorders

According to the American Dental Association, this condition has even been linked to some cancer therapies and psychological disorders.

Treatment of Burning Mouth Syndrome

Because the exact cause is unknown, comfort measures are prescribed based on managing the related conditions. There are some things you can try at home.

  • Stop using mouthwash for two weeks to see if your symptoms improve.
  • Don’t chew gum, as this may be causing irritation.
  • Don’t smoke.
  • Stay away from acidic drinks like sodas, coffee and fruit juice.
  • Change your toothpaste, making sure to use an ADA-approved brand.

Prevention of Burning Mouth Syndrome

Although the cause is unknown, preventive measures include avoiding triggers that make your condition worse.

Candidiasis

Signs, Symptoms and Diagnosis

Also called “thrush”, Candidiasis is a fungal infection. If you get Candidiasis, you may experience:

  • white spots on the tongue or other oral surfaces
  • cracked skin at the corners of your mouth
  • a sore throat and problems swallowing

Candidiasis is a common infection. Your doctor or dentist will most likely diagnose you by the appearance of your mouth and your description of what you are feeling.

Causes of Candidiasis

Oral thrush is caused by an overabundance of yeast in the mouth or throat. This natural part of our body’s flora can grow out of control in people who wear dentures, those with a compromised immune system and people who suffer from dry mouth. Antibiotics also trigger oral thrush.

Treatment of of Candidiasis

It is treated with antifungal medications and medicated mouthwash. In addition, excellent oral hygiene is an important tool for keeping Candida at bay. If you wear dentures, make sure to clean them well and remove them at night.

Prevention of Candidiasis

Prevention is focused on good oral hygiene. Follow the suggestions above. If you have dry mouth, ask your dentist for prescription solutions that mimic natural saliva.

Canker sores

Signs, Symptoms and Diagnosis

These are shallow, round, painful lesions with red borders that can show up on the inside of the cheeks or lips, on your tongue or on your gums. They can appear one at a time, or you can have up to 10 or more at once.

If you get canker sores frequently, your doctor can run some blood tests to diagnose blood, skin or connective tissue disorders. You may also be tested for drug reactions.

Causes of Canker Sores

Their cause is unknown, but scientists suspect they are related to an immune disorder. They take 2-3 days to form, and usually go away after 2 weeks.

The larger ones can last longer and leave scars.

Treatment of Canker Sores

  • Specialized mouthwashes can reduce the pain.
  • Over-the-counter gels and creams help numb the area for pain relief.

Prevention of Canker Sores

Because the specific causes are unknown, prevention involves monitoring what seems to trigger your outbreaks and staying away from those triggers. To keep the cankers from worsening, try these steps.

  • Refrain from eating spicy, scalding or acidic foods. These can irritate the tissues even more.
  • Ask your dentist if antibiotics may help
  • Ask about oral bandages so that you can prevent secondary infections.

Following these suggestions can alleviate your symptoms and shorten their duration.

Cold Sores and Fever Blisters

Signs, Symptoms and Diagnosis

These are small, contagious blisters filled with fluid that break out around the lips, nose or chin. You may also experience:

  • burning, tingling or itching lips
  • oozing and crusting after the blisters burst

Usually your dentist can diagnose these lesions by their appearance. They may swab the sores and send the swab to a lab for confirmation of the diagnosis.

Causes of Cold Sores and Fever Blisters

They are caused by the herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV-1). Once a person is infected (usually in childhood), the virus remains in the body. It stays mainly dormant with occasional outbreaks.

When to See a Dentist About Cold Sores and Fever Blisters

If you are concerned about infection, consult with your dentist right away. Other signs that you should make a dental appointment include:

  • the lesions last more than 2 weeks
  • you have severe symptoms
  • the recurrences are frequent
  • your eyes are also irritated

Your dentist will evaluate you to determine the best therapeutic options.

Treatment of Cold Sores and Fever Blisters

Cold sores and fever blisters most often heal on their own within a week. Try these treatments to heal faster and minimize the frequency of outbreaks.

  • Cold compresses help speed healing, and reduce the associated crust and redness.
  • Over-the-counter pain creams can help with the discomfort. Look for creams that contain benzocaine or lidocaine, as these medications help numb the skin
  • Lip balms and creams containing zinc oxide help keep your lips moisturized and minimize cracking.
  • The Mayo Clinic recommends over-the-counter cold sore remedies that help dry out the lesions with alcohol.

In addition to the milder treatment options above, you may also get an antiviral prescription from the dentist to control the outbreaks and heal faster.

Antiviral medications you might get from your dental office include acyclovir, valacyclovir and famciclovir. These all target the herpes simplex virus.

Prevention of of Cold Sores and Fever Blisters

The Mayo Clinic reports that HSV-1 spreads through skin-to-skin contact, even if lesions are not visible. Because of this, prevention is difficult. Antiviral medications will not prevent contracting HSV-1, but they can reduce the frequency of outbreaks.

Sialadenitis

Signs, Symptoms and Diagnosis

People with this condition have one or more salivary glands that have suddenly become hard and painfully swollen. You may experience pain when eating or notice drainage from the salivary gland.

Your primary care doctor or dentist might order an ultrasound, CT (computed tomography) scan or MRI (magnetic resonance imaging) to diagnose this condition. A biopsy (tissue sample) may be taken as well.

Causes of Sialadenitis

One cause of acute sialadenitis is bacteria (most often Staphylococcus aureus) that blocks the opening of a salivary gland, causing infection. The infection can become systemic and cause flu-like symptoms. Other possible causes include:

  • mumps
  • HIV (human immunodeficiency virus)
  • tumors that can be benign or malignant
  • obstruction by a stone or duct narrowing

According to 2014 research published in the American Family Physician, some people are predisposed to getting this condition:

  • diabetics
  • people with hypothyroidism
  • people in renal (kidney) failure
  • people taking medications to treat allergies, urinary incontinence or Parkinson’s disease

Make sure your doctor knows your health history and the medications you take so they can offer the best treatment options.

Treatment of Sialadenitis

Your dentist may prescribe antibiotics for this condition. Other therapies include:

  • massaging the salivary glands
  • staying well-hydrated
  • sucking on lozenges that stimulate salivation (called sialagogues), like vitamin C lozenges or lemon drops
  • surgical removal of tumors, whether benign or malignant

Prevention of of Sialadenitis

The wide variety of causes makes prevention of this condition difficult. Taking care of underlying conditions and using the treatment methods listed above can reduce the frequency of occurrences.

Conclusion

The bottom line is that mouth tissue disorders and related conditions are common. The pain they can cause and their often unsightly appearance can make you want to hide away from other people.

But don’t lose hope!

The good news is that there are ways to combat them.

  • Work closely with your denstist
  • Maintain good dental hygiene
  • Educate yourself about the causes, prevention and treatment

Arming yourself in this way can help you prevent infection, keep related conditions at bay and treat them when they appear.

If you have questions about your oral health or mouth sores specifically, contact our dental team today for your consultation.

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tmj dentist port washington ny

TMJ – Temporomandibular Joint Disorder Treatment and Relief Options

TMJ – Temporomandibular Joint Disorder

Temporomandibular Joint Disorder or TMJ occurs when there are facial issues concerning the jaw and muscles. The TMJ joint is what connects the skull’s temporal bones to the jaw. The temporomandibular joint is similar to a sliding hinge. The TMJ is what enables the individual to open and close their mouth. When the TMJ is not performing correctly, the result is discomfort and pain.

According to the American Dental Association:

Diagnosis is an important step before treatment. Part of the dental examination includes checking the joints and muscles for tenderness, clicking, popping or difficulty moving. Depending on the diagnosis, the dentist may refer you to a physician or another dentist.

The Symptoms and Signs of TMJ

There are a lot of symptoms and signs experienced when an individual has TMJ. Determining if the individual has TMJ is not simple. This is because there are so many issues that can cause the exact same symptoms and signs. The best way to receive an accurate diagnosis is to see a dentist. The dentist will take the appropriate steps. This includes:

• Taking a complete dental and medical history

• Taking all necessary X-rays

• Completing a thorough clinical examination

The most common symptoms of temporomandibular joint disorder include:

• A jaw that is locked in place, goes out of place or becomes stuck

• Headaches impersonating migraines, pressure in the back of the eyes and earaches

• Facial swelling

• Tenderness in the muscles of the jaw

• Discomfort in facial areas including the ear and jaw

• Difficulty biting and chewing

• A popping or clicking noise when the mouth is opened or closed

• A swift change in dental occlusion or the way the upper and lower jaws come together

Diagnosing TMJ

The only way to diagnose TMJ accurately is for a dentist to perform a complete evaluation of the jaw joint, the surrounding structures and to look for an occlusion. The dentist may look for inflammation by checking the tissues and muscles of the neck and head. In most cases, panoramic X-rays are necessary. The dentist may recommend specific movements and exercises.

The individual may receive a referral to a maxillofacial surgeon for further diagnosis and evaluation.

Methods to Relieve the Discomfort of Temporomandibular Joint Disorder

In some cases, medication will be prescribed to offer the individual relief from the discomfort. Certain medications can be purchased over the counter. The dosage and type of medication are determined by the specific issue. The individual needs to discuss any medications they are currently using for safety. This includes vitamins, supplements and herbs. The most common medications for treating this condition include:

Analgesics and Anti-Inflammatories: Analgesics offer relief from rheumatoid arthritis, osteoarthritis and discomfort. Anti-inflammatories decrease discomfort, heat, swelling and pain while helping restore function. (NSAIDs) nonsteroidal anti-inflammatories relieve both discomfort and inflammation.

Antidepressants: This medication helps with (bruxism) teeth grinding and decreases discomfort. A higher dosage is often prescribed for the treatment of depression. Lower dosages offer relief from the symptoms of temporomandibular joint disorder. This can also decrease pain in the muscles. A body chemical shown to improve sleep called serotonin is increased. This is what helps with bruxism while the individual is sleeping.

Muscle Relaxants: These are for the treatment of myofascial pain. This discomfort is common in the muscles or soft tissues around the TMJ. Muscle relaxants help ease the tension in the muscles to decrease pressure on the TMJ resulting from tight jaw muscles.

TMJ Treatment Options

This type of therapy focuses on the TMJ. The joint can be treated in several different ways. This includes:

• Exercises to strengthen the jaw and facial muscles.

• Gently manipulation to restore motion and decrease discomfort. The medical profession will relax the ligaments and muscles surrounding the joint with their hands. These are often the cause of the discomfort.

• The individual can manage and treat their symptoms through a self-care program. This usually includes exercise. Heat and ice can be used to provide relief from pain.

• The sound waves emitted by ultrasound can decrease swelling and discomfort. This will also improve the swelling.

The Treatment for Painful Muscles

One of the trigger points is tight muscles. These can be painful when touched, causing pain in other areas. The medical professional concentrates on trigger points through the use of:

Palpation: The application of pressure on specific areas of the face and jaw using the fingers.

Massage: Massage outside and inside the mouth is important for improving circulation and relaxation.

Stretching and Cold Spray: This is used to relax the muscles.

Pain Relief: Anesthetics may be injected by the dentist to relieve discomfort.

The Treatment for Inflammation

Movement is difficult to impossible once the joint becomes inflamed. The medical professional may recommend treatments including:

A Cold Pack: This decreases pain and reduces swelling. A cold pack is applied for between ten and twenty minutes. This process is repeated three to four times per day. A cold pack is made by putting ice cubes inside of a plastic bag with a seal. A thin cloth or towel is used for wrapping the bag. A cold pack should never be placed right onto the skin.

Gentle Exercise and Rest: This will increase motion. One of the most frequently used exercises is isometric exercise. The pressure is placed on the jaw while the movement is resisted.

Biofeedback: This is important for treating TMJ because it teaches the individual which muscle activities are inappropriate or excessive. The individual is taught skills for muscle relaxation for proper functioning of the TMJ. When the contraction and tightness of the muscle are decreased or eliminated, it can remove the pain. Sensors are used to monitor the heartbeat, breathing, brainwaves and blood pressure of the body.

Stretching May Help Your TMJ

Physical function and flexibility can be improved through stretching exercises. Two stretching exercises are defined below.

• Place your thumb beneath your chin while pressing downwards. Keep the force of your thumb at a moderate level. Open and close your mouth against this force. Hold your mouth open for five to ten seconds.

• Open your mouth as wide as possible without causing any discomfort. Place you index finger between your lower lip and chin.

Acupuncture as a Form of TMJ Treatment and Relief

Acupuncture has been effectively used for the treatment of TMJ. Acupuncture will not eliminate the cause of any structural anomalies including disc displacement or degenerative changes. Acupuncture can help decrease the discomfort and pain associated with temporomandibular joint disorder.

If you are experiencing pain due to TMJ, contact our office today and speak with your dental care associate.

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wisdom teeth and molar impaction extraction causes signs symtoms port washington new york

Wisdom Tooth Care and Treatment Tips You Should Know

What is a wisdom tooth exactly and why do you keep hearing about them? The wisdom tooth is the final (or third) molars located in each side of the mouth. Everyone has a wisdom tooth located on both the top and bottom portions of your gums, which means there are four wisdom teeth total. When you do not properly take care of your dental health, your wisdom teeth are just as likely to be impacted by symptoms of deterioration as any other tooth in your mouth will be.

Since this type of tooth is located at the very back of the mouth and is considered one of the chewing molars, food is actually more likely to be pushed into the back where hard to reach crevices lie. When there is buildup here, the results may end up being specialized extraction treatment wherein the wisdom teeth will need to be removed by a registered dentist.

Why Should Wisdom Teeth Be Removed?

Due to the fact that wisdom teeth are located so far back, it can be difficult to properly clean and floss them consistently over the years. It is not uncommon for food to get trapped in the furthest reaches of the mouth. From there, cavities will inevitably form from the build up. When cavities form what it does is cause deterioration to the tooth’s natural structure. This will end up with the impacted individual experiencing differing degrees of pain.

According to the American Dental Association:

Wisdom teeth can lead to problems if there isn’t enough space for them to surface or they come through in the wrong position. If your dentist says your wisdom teeth are impacted, he or she means they are trapped in your jaw or under your gums.

Wisdom Teeth & Molar Extraction to Prevent Further Issues

Signs that your wisdom teeth have developed cavities and need treatment from your 3V Dental dentist include pain, irritation at the gum site surrounding the tooth, visible decay or graying of the tooth, and an odor to the breath caused by this dental decay. To prevent this type of decay from occurring, it is best to take ultimate care of the area where the final molars are located through special concentration to that area when brushing and flossing. Doing so will help prevent the symptoms of damage due to plaque build up and food pushed against the tooth for too long.

Aside from poor dental health, the number one reason why wisdom teeth are commonly removed by your 3V Dental Associates dentist is due to overcrowding within the mouth. As our teeth grow in, the last molars in the very back are also the last to grow in. When they do, for the vast majority of adults, there is simply not enough room to accommodate the new teeth. It is more common than not that our mouth cannot sustain the amount of teeth we naturally have, which means that something has to go in order to make up for this overcrowding. When a person’s final molars start to grow in they will usually make an appointment for a dentist to examine them in order to decide whether they should be removed or not.

When your dentist decides that the back molar is not going to make the cut, the patient will seek to make more room in the gum line by having these unnecessary back molars removed. In rare cases a patient may be able to keep these molars if their dentist feels that they do actually have enough room for them to comfortably fit. This will depend on the individual patient and what their needs are. If the signs are there that extraction is needed, you will move forward to the planning stages with your 3v Dental dentist.

Depending on the cause of why these molars will be removed your dental specialist, or oral maxillofacial surgeon, will decide the best type of anesthesia for you to use during surgery. The same applies to the details surrounding the best plan that works for you.

Think you may have issues with your molars or wisdom teeth? If you’re located in or around Port Washington, New York, we’d love to meet you at our Main St. dental clinic. Our patients travel from all around the 5 boroughs and Long Island to meet with our Port Washington dental team. All it takes is a quick phone call to schedule your wisdom teeth consultation, so what are you waiting for? Call today!

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cracked tooth syndrome

Cracked Tooth Syndrome: Symptoms, Causes, Treatment

Some people are plagued with a bothersome, pain and potentially debilitating dental malady known as cracked tooth syndrome. The following information will offer a brief overview of this condition.

The Definition Of Cracked Tooth Syndrome

This oral ailment happens when a tooth develops a crack that is too minuscule to be detected by the naked eye or an X-Ray apparatus. In many instances, these abnormalities occur in the molars and present under the gum line or in other tooth regions that are difficult to examine.

Causes of Cracked Tooth Syndrome

Medical and dental researchers opine that, in certain cases, no specific reason can be found explaining why impacted teeth develop these tiny breaks. However, said professionals believe the condition might be precipitated by the continual grinding of the teeth, repeated jaw clenching, the abnormal development and placement of teeth, dental procedures such as root canals or teeth equipped with large fillings.

Symptoms of Cracked Tooth Syndrome

The most common physical manifestation someone possessing a cracked tooth might experience is pain. In many instances, said discomfort will intensify when the stricken individual consumes food or the offending tooth is exposed to excessively hot or cold temperatures such as bubbling soup or ice.

That said, dental professionals suggest that discomfort associated with cracked tooth syndrome will be intermittent and not likely as severe as it may be with other oral maladies like cavities or dental infections.

Potential Complications from Cracked Tooth Syndrome

If cracked tooth syndrome is not detected early, the break could progress and eventually result in a chipped tooth or one where a portion breaks away entirely. Chipped or partial teeth could render tasks such as speaking or eating difficult.

Moreover, cracks that appear in or around the gum line are at increased risk of contracting infections. Dental infections, which often present as abscesses (pus filled sacs) require dental intervention. If left untreated, said infections could travel within the mouth or possibly spread to other bodily regions causing potential serious or life-threatening illness.

Diagnosis of Cracked Tooth Syndrome

It is important to reiterate that the breakages associated with cracked tooth syndrome are quite small and cannot be seen by an oral care professionals eye or even through an X-Ray from time to time. On numerous occasions, afflicted persons cope with the associated symptoms for extended duration because their oral care professionals simply cannot detect the abnormality.

That said, should a dentist suspect cracked tooth syndrome, said professional will likely perform a thorough dental examination, as well as employ the use of a tiny device capable of capturing radiographic images of the teeth that could show these little abnormalities.

Oral care experts also caution that, should a cracked tooth syndrome diagnosis be made in one tooth, the chances are significantly increased that the condition will be detected in other teeth as well.

Potential Treatment Options for Cracked Tooth Syndrome

Cracked teeth typically do not heal on their own and typically require some type of dental procedure to fix the breakage or prevent said issue from expanding into a bigger problem. Specific procedures a dentist might employ include root canal, crown insertion or bonding. In the most severe manifestations, said professional may opt to pull the tooth.

Prior to deciding upon the most appropriate form of treatment, an oral care professional will typically weight several factors including but not necessarily limited to the break’s location, its severity, as well as the presenting symptoms and the severity of said occurrences.

Cracked Tooth Syndrome Prevention

Preventing cracked tooth syndrome might be challenging. However, by employing certain oral care measures, said condition may be avoided. Such measures include:

Brushing And Flossing Several Times Daily

Obviously, maintaining individual care of one’s teeth is a critical step in helping maintaining their strength and vitality. Dental professionals urge their patients to brush at least twice per day and floss between meals.

Use Fluoride Toothpastes

The chemical fluoride is known to preserve and strengthen a tooth’s enamel, the structure’s outer covering.

Rinse With Mouthwash

Many mouthwash preparations contain bacteria-killing chemicals. Said agents could prevent potential cracked tooth syndrome complications such as infections.

Refrain From Excessive Sugar Intake

Foods with excessive quantities of sugar could damage teeth and precipitate tooth decay.

Cease Grinding Teeth

Tooth grinding, or bruxism, can place added pressure on teeth and possibly elicit small breakages. Individuals who either grind their teeth or clench their jaw with any regularity are strongly encouraged to stop this potentially detrimental habit.

Receive Regular Professional Care

Frequent dental checkups often go a long way towards preventing oral care problems. Moreover, if any untoward symptoms arise, said occurrences should be immediately evaluated by your dentist at 3V Dental Associates.

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tooth sensitivity

Tooth Sensitivity: Diagnosis, Treatment, Relief & More

Sensitive teeth are a common dental health issue that most people experience at least once in their life. While your first thought may be that you have cavities when you feel pain as you eat or drink something cold, hot or sweet, the truth is that there are many different reasons for tooth sensitivity. Understanding why this sensitivity happens helps you work with your dentist to find the best treatment to bring you relief.

What Do Sensitive Teeth Feel Like?

In most cases, pain as you eat or breathe through your mouth are the first signs of sensitivity. Unlike severe dental pain, you will most likely feel a brief instance of discomfort that quickly goes away once the irritating factor is removed.

Hot, cold and acidic foods are the most common irritants for to a sensitive tooth, but you may also feel pain if cold air hits your teeth. People often complain that they briefly feel pain when they first bite into something with an extreme temperature such as ice cream or very hot coffee.

What Makes Teeth Sensitive?

Approximately half of the adult population has tooth sensitivity, and your risk of developing it goes up with age. This condition has several different causes that your dentist will look for during your appointment. Gum recession, enamel erosion, tooth decay and cracks in your teeth are a few of the most common reasons why you may suddenly be dealing with sensitivity in your teeth.

According to the American Dental Association:

In healthy teeth, a layer of enamel protects the crowns of your teeth—the part above the gum line. Under the gum line a layer called cementum protects the tooth root. Underneath both the enamel and the cementum is dentin.

Dentin is less dense than enamel and cementum and contains microscopic tubules (small hollow tubes or canals). When dentin loses its protective covering of enamel or cementum these tubules allow heat and cold or acidic or sticky foods to reach the nerves and cells inside the tooth. Dentin may also be exposed when gums recede. The result can be hypersensitivity.

What is Gum Recession?

Your gums are made up of soft tissue that responds to changes in your overall health and lifestyle. Gum disease is the primary cause of recession since the tissue naturally begins to erode and pull away from the teeth as infection sets in. You can also irritate your gums by being too aggressive with your oral hygiene routine. Brushing too rough or using a brush with hard bristles can cause your gums to recede.

Once your gums recede enough, you can begin to see the yellowish part of your tooth root peeking through. This has less enamel and more dentin at the surface, which is sensitive to temperatures and acids in your food. Sadly, your gums do not grow back once they are gone or receded. However, your dentist does have treatment options that can stop the recession and help cover any exposed tooth roots. Gum treatment and health are important for overall healthy oral health.

Can Sensitivity Come and Go?

One of the most confusing aspects of tooth sensitivity is that it can come and go. This can cause you to think that the problem is over until it comes back again. Your mouth is constantly undergoing changes as it is bombarded by things such as the food you eat and even the environment in which you are living. You may not feel sensitivity for a few days if food particles or plaque temporarily blocks an exposed root or fills in a cavity. Alternatively, you may just not feel pain because you haven’t eaten anything hot or cold enough in the past few days. If your sensitivity is caused by something such as nighttime tooth grinding, then it may also go away during periods when you are not engaging in the behavior.

Is Tooth Sensitivity Preventable?

As with many dental health conditions, prevention is your best bet toward avoiding long term pain. Although you cannot stop the natural recession that occurs with aging, you can develop lifestyle habits that helps to slow the process. For instance, you may need to have your dentist check your tooth-brushing technique to make sure that you are not putting unnecessary pressure on the sensitive gum tissue. You can also make sure to treat tooth decay and the signs of gum disease as early as possible so that they do not lead to lingering pain.

How Do Dentists Treat Sensitive Teeth?

A diagnosis for a sensitivity tooth is often done after a thorough exam that identities all possible causes. Your treatment plan is developed to address each potential cause for the pain you feel in your teeth. In some cases, your dentist may recommend getting cavities filled or having a special cleaning to halt gum disease in its tracks. You may also be prescribed a special mouth rinse or toothpaste that helps to reduce sensitivity along the gum line and tooth root. If you grind your teeth at night, then you might need to wear a mouthguard as you sleep.

Getting to the bottom of tooth sensitivity requires you to work closely with your dentist to identify the cause so that you receive the appropriate treatment. Remember that pain should never be considered normal when you eat or breathe, so be sure to mention it at your next appointment. If your tooth sensitivity is mild, then it could be as simple as using a prescribed toothpaste or switching up your technique to bring back your comfort.

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teeth grinding | dentist port washington ny

What Causes Bruxism and Teeth Grinding?

Bruxism, defined as habitual teeth grinding and clenching, is estimated to affect 30-40 million Americans. It impacts some individuals exclusively at night, known as nocturnal bruxism, while others struggle at various times of the day. It is listed in the International Classification of Sleep Disorders (ICSD) and represents the third most common sleep dysfunction.

How Is Bruxism Identified?

The symptoms of bruxism vary based upon the individual, causes and severity of the involvement. Many individuals who infrequently grind or clench their teeth have no symptoms. Others will only discover their bruxism from their dentist during routine dental care. Sometimes it is a sleep partner that hears you grind at night.

In more severe cases, headaches, a sore jaw and tooth pain upon waking may indicate nighttime grinding. Having these symptoms should prompt a consult with your dental professional. Chronic or extreme grinding may cause teeth to fracture, fillings to loosen and even a loss of teeth. Ensuring proper evaluation by your dentist will ensure proper management to prevent this damage. Unchecked, bruxism may cause Temporomandibular Joint Dysfunction, tooth loss and change your facial appearance.

Causes of Bruxism:

The etiology of grinding can be simple or complex, depending on the individual. In many, it is a cluster of reasons that trigger a person to grind or clench teeth. Some of the more common causes include:

  • Stress or Anxiety
  • Subconscious habit
  • Malocclusion or improper bite alignment
  • Side Effects of Medications such as Prozac, Zoloft and Paxil
  • Alcohol Use
  • Amphetamine Use
  • Parkinson’s or other Neurological Disease

Establishing a early diagnosis is advantageous, as unchecked continued grinding and clenching has been shown to impact quality of life and can lead to potential tooth, jaw and facial damage. Identifying the reasons for your teeth grinding is only the first step your dentist will take in evaluating this disorder. Confirming the cause of grinding helps to outline the best treatment option.

What Will the Dentist Find in Cases of Chronic Grinding?

Bruxism is a problem dentists see routinely due to its frequency rate. During a dental examination, abnormal tooth wear or tightness in the masseter jaw muscles are early signs. With prolonged tightness of these muscles, a bump may occur on the inner aspect of the mandible or maxillary bones, known as Torus Maxillaris and/or Torus Mandibularis. Gum recession or limited ability to open the mouth may be present. Late symptoms include direct tooth damage such as breakage or mobility of the teeth.

How is Bruxism Treated?

Treatment tends to coordinate with the cause of the grinding. One of the first steps is typically the use of a mouth appliance to protect the teeth. At times, these appliances are utilized exclusively at night; however, daytime grinding and clenching can trigger the need for use during the day.

  • Stress or Anxiety: Work with your healthcare specialist to identify the cause of stress or anxiety. Professional counseling or biofeedback are techniques utilized to resolve the triggers.
  • Malocclusion: Correction of tooth alignment and bite may require reshaping of the teeth, improvements to alignment and even physical therapy. More severe cases may require orthodontia to correct optimally.
  • Medicines: Medicines have been shown to be a trigger. Eliminating or changing these medications will provide a resolution. Medicines are also treatment tools. Anti-anxiety medications, muscle relaxants and even Botox may be utilized when necessary to treat bruxism.
  • Habits: Habitual clenching or grinding tends to respond best to retraining methods such as biofeedback and physical therapy. Tools are utilized to provide alternate focus, distracting from the damaging behaviors. Modifications to alcohol and caffeine use, recreational drug rehabilitation, and cessation of gum chewing will target the exact etiology.
  • Sleep Disorder: Sleep apnea is a common concurrent problem. Correction, often via the use of a CPAP machine, has been demonstrated to be a viable treatment option.

If you suspect you grind or clench your teeth, contact 3V Dental Associates today to schedule you consultation with our amazing team. Treatment options are optimal when utilized early.

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long island dentist

3V Dental: Your Local Long Island Dentist

Full-Service Dentistry Expertise and Care from Long Island’s 3V Dental Associates

The excellent dentistry services provided by 3V Dental Associates in Port Washington, Long Island, NY include a full spectrum of expert professional dentist’s treatments and care. In order to satisfy the needs of every patient, we offer ultimate quality cosmetic dentistry, general dentistry, teeth cleaning and hygiene and a variety of specialty dentist’s services at our attractive, modern offices and clinic. With a number-one ranking among dentistry practices serving Port Washington and greater Long Island on Google and Yelp, our primary focus and intent is to ensure each patient’s complete comfort and ease during all of our expert dentist’s procedures and personalized care.

At 3V Dental Associates, a local Long Island favorite, our comprehensive dentistry practice is headed by Dr. Steven Volk and Dr. Irina Kellerman-Volk, esteemed general and cosmetic dentists, and Dr. Bliss Baek, general dentist. Our top-rated services are enhanced by use of the latest advanced dentistry technology and techniques. We receive top ratings, thanks and praise from our patients, and they always look forward to their next scheduled appointments with our highly experienced dentistry professionals. Our exceptional staff of dentistry specialists offers a total treatment clinic venue in which a wide variety of the best dentistry practices and procedures are performed to improve and maintain quality dental health for our patients.

Top Quality Contemporary Dentistry Services from 3V Professionals on Long Island

Superior quality dentistry procedures and services provided by our highly accomplished and experienced professionals at 3V Dental Associates include the following:

• Gentle Dental Cleanings on Long Island

During your appointment for teeth cleaning and a checkup at 3V dentistry experts at our Long Island clinic location, your teeth and gums will be thoroughly examined. X-rays may be taken if recommended, and your dentistry professional will examine your mouth carefully to ensure that no signs of oral cancer are present. Your dentistry expert will also evaluate your bite, and an expert cleaning will be performed by the dentist or a dental hygienist to remove any buildup of plaque or tartar.

Gingivitis, the first stage of major gum disease, can often be reversed by regular teeth cleanings and proactive oral health care. Thorough teeth cleaning can also prevent gingivitis from advancing into the more serious gum disease of periodontitis, which can cause permanent damage to gum tissues. Cavities can also be identified during their early stages by careful teeth cleanings. Having your teeth well cleaned at least twice annually can improve and maintain the health of your teeth.

• Cosmetic Dentistry Long Island

Our Long Island cosmetic dentistry specialists can convert a less than perfect smile into a dazzling smile of radiance. Expert cosmetic dentistry can correct countless flaws in the appearance of your teeth. The coloration, spacing, alignment and regularity of tooth formation all contribute to the overall appearance of a smile. Fortunately, tooth and gum flaws and irregularities can now be repaired or alleviated for a renewed, bright appearance. The best options that are available in cosmetic dentistry to improve the look of your teeth include smile redesign, tooth re-contouring, tooth implants, bonding and use of ceramic or porcelain crowns.

• The Best Zoom Teeth Whitening on Long Island

During a Zoom Teeth Whitening procedure, a highly effective peroxide gel will be applied to your teeth. Your dentistry expert may initiate the whitening action by directing a light on this gel, and the entire process requires about one hour. The methods of passive tray whitening and professional strength white strips are both used by 3V dentistry experts for Zoom! Teeth Whitening treatments.

With application of the whitening gel activated by light, teeth usually whiten by no less than six to ten shades of white. Trays with gel following this treatment will ensure optimal degrees and maintenance of whitening. The tray method involves use of a carbamide peroxide gel and requires three to four weeks of daily use for best results. It costs about half the price of the Zoom Teeth Whitening, although this method often brings more effective and lasting results than the tray method.

• Your Local Long Island Invisalign Team

Straightening your teeth with Invisalign® involves the use of a series of clear, customized aligners that are specifically molded to fit your teeth and mouth. These aligners will realign your teeth gradually for the best beautiful smile. No more metal brackets to affix or wires to tighten like old, cumbersome braces required. About every two weeks, you simply put a new set of aligners in your mouth for the duration of your treatment.

Believe it or not, most of your Long Island neighbors will not even be aware of your discreet, transparent aligners. Just remember to remove your aligners before you eat, floss and brush your teeth, and change aligners every two weeks. You will see results within six months to one year. Invisalign® is very popular with dentist’s patients in Port Washington and throughout Long Island.

• Expert Dental Veneer Applications on Long Island

This dentistry procedure is used to correct or improve the appearance of chipped, stained, crooked or decayed teeth. During this procedure at our clinic, the visible area of a tooth is covered with a thin porcelain or resin shell, and this process can be direct or indirect. The direct method typically uses bonding to position composite resin on the exterior of the tooth. The indirect method involves two separate treatment sessions, and during the first appointment, impressions of the tooth or teeth are taken and these teeth receive a temporary cover.

When the veneers arrive from the lab two or three weeks later, the temporary coverings are removed and the veneers are then affixed to your teeth by bonding. These veneers that are produced in the laboratory are frequently composed of porcelain or pressed most-ceramic, providing a dazzling smile. Veneers are often preferred over crowns since a much smaller amount of tooth is removed to affix veneers, and placement of veneers on teeth causes less discomfort. Veneers are also usually the preferred choice for covering teeth with large size fillings or limited structure.

• Emergency Dentistry Long Island

Our dental specialists at 3V Dental Associates offer emergency dentistry care for Long Island patients for emergency tooth extractions, tooth loss or trauma, repair of broken teeth, loose of damaged crowns and many other emergencies. Serious dentistry issues caused by accidents or injuries can be extremely painful and lead to more serious conditions and complications.

If a tooth is damaged by an unexpected and traumatic incident, it will need stabilizing, which involves re-positioning in proper alignment. This and other emergent occurrences like abscessed gums or teeth need immediate attention from expert dentistry professionals like our excellent staff of leading treatment specialists at 3V dentistry.

• Long Island Sedation Dentistry

Using our choice of the best well-known dentistry anesthetic is safe, pleasant and effective in making your dentist’s treatments and procedures more comfortable and less stressful. We use nitrous oxide and sedation dentistry for many patient procedures in our relaxed local Long Island dentistry office and clinic. Before your dentist’s work begins, you will use a mask that enables you to inhale through your nose and exhale out your mouth. You will soon experience a sedate, soothing sensation as your cheek and gums start to numb. Afterward, a local anesthetic may be applied as needed prior to your treatment.

Following your dentistry procedure, you will breathe pure oxygen to lessen the effects of the nitrous oxide, returning you to your normal state. Our dentistry professionals at 3V dentistry on Long Island are known for providing the best comprehensive, innovative dentistry with gentle care using the latest top-tier equipment and methods. With the many advancements in sedation dentistry today, you can schedule dentist’s procedures without anxieties about pain or discomfort. You can relax during your treatment and return to your normal state afterward without lingering after-effects.

• Gentle Root Canal Procedures

Long Island patients need root canal treatment (root canal therapy or endodontic therapy) if a cavity is neglected until it affects the pulp. Root canal therapy may also be necessary due to trauma caused to a tooth or deep restorations. If the nerve is damaged by either of these occurrences, root canal is needed to prevent infection of the pulp, which can spread through the root tip and damage bone tissue, causing an abscess.

A root canal can repair one or more teeth that are seriously infected or decayed while preventing other severe health conditions from developing, such as immune system weakening. By seeing your dentistry expert for a checkup every six months, any health issues affecting your teeth and gums can be detected and treated early to ensure that you retain a healthy mouth and brilliant smile.

• The Best TMJ Treatments on Long Island

Numerous TMJ symptoms may occur that cause discomfort or acute pain. These symptoms include teeth grinding, sensitivity or pain in the jaw or temporomandibular joints, facial aches, earaches, chewing problems and jaw locking. A popping or clicking sound may also be present when you open or close your mouth.

There are varied treatments for TMJ, dependent on the type and severity of symptoms that each patient is experiencing. These treatments include teeth replacement, re-positioning of teeth, bite adjustment, use of a plastic mouthpiece, muscle relaxants, exercises and surgery. TMJ surgeries performed by the dentistry specialists at the Port Washington Office of 3V dentistry include Arthrocentesis, Arthroscopy and Total Joint Replacement.

• Gum Treatments

Non-surgical gum treatments can be performed by our dentistry professionals at 3V Dental Associates in Port Washington. The gums, ligaments and bones that support your teeth (the periodontium) form the foundation for your teeth. If any part of this supporting foundation becomes weakened, gum disease may result with red, bleeding gum tissues, loose teeth and changes in your bite. Deep cleaning or root planing by your dentistry expert with use of a local anesthetic and antibiotics can alleviate this condition. More serious problems may require surgery or tooth extraction.

Periodontal laser gum treatment is also offered by our 3V dentistry experts as an alternative gum therapy. By offering our patients this laser gum treatment in conjunction with scaling and root planing, our specialists are providing the most advanced therapeutic gum treatment currently available.

Contact our advanced, modern Long Island office of 3V Dental Associates today for further information and to schedule your consultation appointment. Whether you need a thorough checkup and teeth cleaning, non-surgical gum treatment, evaluation for veneers or possible root canal treatment, our friendly, helpful and caring staff is always ready to assist you. As part of your Long Island community, we are here to provide you with ultimate quality dentistry care to ensure that you always have your attractive, natural and radiant smile. Contact us today by phone, by email or by completing a contact form on our website. We await your call or contact and look forward to speaking with you soon!

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dental bridge port washington ny

What Are Dental Bridges?

Losing a tooth for any reason can bring both oral health and quality of life consequences. Luckily, today’s dental medicine has devised many options to help your mouth and jaw adjust and give you a cosmetic fix to remedy missing teeth. At 3V Dental Associates in Port Washington, we’re proud to be the leader in dental bridge technology in Port Washington, and the Long Island area.

A dental bridge is one such tool that your dentist may recommend after loss of one or more teeth. This dental device can work in a number of ways to accommodate tooth loss based on your personal situation.

In this article, learn what is a dental bridge for teeth, how does a bridge work to close gaps when a tooth is missing, different types of bridges, how to care for a bridge and more.

What Is a Dental Bridge?

This is a permanent prosthetic device that is designed to fill in gaps left by missing teeth.

According to the American Dental Association:

Sometimes called a fixed partial denture, a bridge replaces missing teeth with artificial teeth and literally “bridges” the gap where one or more teeth used to be. Bridges can be made from gold, alloys, porcelain or a combination of these materials and are attached to surrounding teeth for support. Unlike a removable bridge, which you can take out and clean, a fixed bridge can only be removed by a dentist.

The device has two main parts: the pontic and the abutment.

The pontic is a type of fake tooth that is positioned to fit into the place where the missing tooth (or teeth) used to be – literally “bridging” the gap and filling it in.

The abutment is a type of hook or wing structure that secures the device into place.

Why Are Dental Bridges Needed?

Bridges offer many benefits beyond simply restoring your smile.

They help to ensure structural integrity of your jaw, prevent tooth movement around the area of the gap, make it easier to chew and speak, guard against dental decay and gum disease and help safeguard the health of existing teeth.

They can also be faster and more economical to install than implants and they do not require any bone grafting prior to installation.

How Is a Dental Bridge Installed?

There are three different device types that can be used depending on how and where the tooth loss has occurred. Each device is permanent and cannot be removed (except by a dentist) once placed in the mouth.

Your dentist will be able to advise you on the best prosthetic type for your cosmetic and oral health needs.

What Are the Different Types of Dental Bridges?

The three different device types are as follows:

1. Standard Dental Bridge

This is the original device type, which is designed to be cemented to the two teeth on either side of the gap. It is also called a traditional or double-abutted device.

In the middle of the area of the gap there is a pontic to fill in the missing space.

2. Cantilever Dental Bridge

A cantilever device is quite rare and in most cases a dentist will recommend an implant over this type of device because implants are more secure.

However, if there is just one abutment tooth available around the gap (such as at the very back of the mouth or if multiple teeth are missing) a cantilever device can be used to fill in the gap.

3. Maryland Dental Bridge

A Maryland device is typically only recommended for areas of the mouth which do not bear the full brunt of bite and chew strength (such as at the front of the mouth).

This device has a pontic with “wings” on either side that are made of porcelain, resin or metal. These wings are what bond to the abutments on either side of the gap.

How Are These Dental Bridge Devices Placed in the Mouth?

Before one of these devices can be installed to fill in the gap left by a missing tooth, the teeth on either side of the gap must be prepared by your 3V Dental Associates dentist.

This is done by filing each one down and then placing a crown over each. This makes room for the pontic to fit into the gap and gives the abutment something stable and secure to attach to.

Taking the step to file down and crown any tooth that will help secure the device is important to safeguard the health of that tooth. Otherwise, the device may place unnecessary pressure on that tooth and cause stress that will eventually lead to cracks or even tooth loss.

Who Is a Good Candidate for a Dental Bridge?

A person who is a good candidate for this type of dental prosthetic device usually has overall good oral health and not more than three consecutive missing teeth in the area where the device will be placed.

Any serious dental health issues such as widespread decay or gum disease must be remedied before the prosthetic can be placed.

It is also important that each tooth the device will attach to is healthy and strong or can be made to be so by use of a crown or even a dental implant.

If you have significant bone loss in your jaw in the area where the device is to be placed, you may need to have bone grafting and an implant placed before the prosthetic can be secured. This can add time and expense to the process but will greatly increase the odds of a successful placement.

Why Not Just Get Dental Implants Instead of a Dental Bridge?

This is a great question and is one that only your dentist is qualified to answer. In some cases, you may need both to ensure the device has secure and stable support on each side of the pontic.

And in other cases, one or more implants may better serve your oral health needs or gap issues over the long term.

Your dentist will be able to examine your mouth and recommend the best approach.

Caring for Dental Prosthetics and Dental Bridges

Your dentist here at 3V Dental Associates in Port Washington will give you specific instructions to care for this permanent prosthetic device after it is placed.

Because the device is permanent, you won’t be able to remove it for cleaning or inspection. Luckily, lots of different basic tooth care aids exist to help you clean and care for your new prosthetic at home.

There are flossing and brushing aids plus mouth gargles to deal with plaque, tartar and germs such as bacteria. Daily care will ensure your mouth stays healthy once the device is in place.

To schedule your dental bridge appointment with 3V Dental Associates here at our lovely Port Washington dental clinic, contact our helpful staff today.

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Invisalign FAQs

What is Invisalign® treatment?

Invisalign treatment is a cosmetic dental process of wearing a series of clear, removable aligners that gradually straighten your teeth. No brackets and wires, and none of the restrictions that come with metal braces.

What are Invisalign clear aligners made of and what do they look like?

Invisalign clear aligners are made of flexible plastic — specifically, a patented thermoplastic material called SmartTrack® created exclusively for Invisalign treatment.   Invisalign clear aligners are FDA-approved and contain no BPA, BPS, latex, or gluten. They are thin, clear, and fit snugly over your teeth, making them virtually invisible.

How will Invisalign treatment straighten my teeth?

Your doctor will create a unique, digital treatment plan that maps out the exact movements of your teeth. Your Invisalign clear dental aligners are then designed to apply the right amount of force to the right place at the right time based on your plan. Your doctor will be with you every step of the way to monitor your progress and ensure your aligners fit correctly.

What are the primary benefits of Invisalign treatment?

Invisalign clear aligners are virtually invisible or clear braces — people may not even notice you’re wearing them. You can remove them to eat and drink, to brush and floss, or for special occasions. There are no metal brackets or wires that could irritate your mouth or break, sending you to your doctor for an emergency visit.

Who is Invisalign treatment for?

Invisalign treatment can be a great solution for both adults and teens looking for a virtually invisible method to improve their smile. Our innovations and technological advancements make it possible to fix nearly all common teeth-straightening and bite issues, from simple to complex — all without interrupting your busy life. And, thanks to a discreet blue dot on the outside of teen aligners, parents can be sure their child is wearing their clear aligners enough.

What is the treatment process?

Invisalign treatment starts with a consultation with an Invisalign-trained doctor. Your doctor will evaluate your smile and then map out a precise, customized digital treatment plan that showcases the step-by-step transformation of your smile.

Once you approve your plan, your unique aligners will be created. You will wear each set of aligners for 20 to 22 hours a day, changing to a new set of aligners every 1 to 2 weeks, as directed by your doctor. Each set of aligners will gently and gradually shift your teeth into place, according to your treatment plan, until you reach your beautiful new smile.

How much does Invisalign treatment cost and what are the payment options?

In most cases, the cost of Invisalign treatment is similar to the cost of braces. Your doctor will determine the cost of your treatment based on how complex your case is and how many aligners you need.

There are several options to make Invisalign treatment more affordable for you, from using insurance and tax-free dollars to a monthly payment plan.

What if I’ve had braces or other types of dental work?

Invisalign clear aligners can treat nearly all common teeth-straightening issues, from simple to complex. Many people who formerly had braces choose Invisalign treatment as the discrete solution to improve their smile when they find that their teeth have shifted back.

How do I take care of my aligners?

The best way to clean your aligners is to use the Invisalign Cleaning System, available online or from your doctor. You can also brush them with a toothbrush and toothpaste and rinse them in lukewarm water. Never use hot water on your aligners — it could permanently warp the plastic.   What happens when I’m done with Invisalign treatment?   Most doctors recommend that anyone who has completed orthodontic treatment, whether with braces or Invisalign treatment, use a retainer to prevent teeth from gradually shifting back toward their initial position. Every case is different, so ask your doctor if you need retainers.  

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