Oral Health and Diabetes in Mansfield

oral health and diabetesDid you know diabetes can affect your oral health? If you are one of the more than 24 million Americans living with diabetes, Mansfield dentists Dr. S. Blair Jones and Dr. Seth Harris want you to know about the correlation between chronic high blood sugar and oral health problems.

Diabetes is a lifelong disease that can cause blurry vision, excess thirst, fatigue, and frequent urination. It can affect the kidneys, nerves, and mouth.  According to the American Diabetes Association, diabetics are at a greater risk for tooth decay because there are more bacteria in their saliva when their diabetes isn’t controlled. Diabetes can also lower the body’s ability to fight infection and pave the way for periodontal disease to develop. Diabetic patients should call Mansfield Dental Associates if they observe red, swollen, or tender gums, chronic bad breath,  a bad taste in the mouth, teeth that are loose or separating, or changes in tooth alignment.

Diabetes can cause dry mouth, which increases the risk for tooth decay and gum disease, as well.  This is because there is less saliva to wash away germs and the acids they create. Chewing sugarless gum or drinking water can reduce dry mouth. While gum disease is the most common diabetes-related complication, Oral candidiasis, a fungal infection in the mouth, is also more prevalent in people with diabetes. If a diabetic patient smokes, has high blood glucose levels, or takes antibiotics, oral candidiasis is more likely. (more…)

Mini Dental Implants, an Alternative to Dentures

At Mansfield Dental Associates, Dr. Jones and Dr. Harris like to educate patients about preventive dentistry. Today, more people than ever are retaining their natural teeth for life. However, in some cases, teeth must be replaced. For some, this means having a permanent bridge or a removable partial. For others, it means wearing full dentures.

The Problem with Dentures

Upper dentures can be secured with natural suction on the roof of the mouth or with denture adhesive. Lower dentures rely on adhesive. The lining of a denture is custom fitted to the ridges on a patient’s gums. Over the years, friction between the denture linking and gums wears down ridges. Without stimulation from teeth roots, jawbone tissue degenerates, only compounding the problem. In most cases, a denture must be regularly relined to fit properly. When the gums become smooth and have no ridges, even properly fitted dentures can slip out of place. This is a common problem with lower dentures.

Implant-Retained Dentures

Dental implants provide an anchor for dentures. The base of an implant, the post, is secured into the jaw. Bone naturally fuses to the implant, effectively supporting the implant so that it mimics a natural tooth root. Typically, a denture is attached to four strategically-placed dental implant posts. When snapped in place, an implant-retained denture won’t slip, slide, or loosen. No adhesive is required, and with proper care, implants can last a lifetime. However, dental implants require healthy, dense jawbone tissue for successful integration. For patients who’ve experienced jawbone deterioration, bone grafts may be necessary prior to placement of traditional dental implants. At Mansfield Dental Associates, Dr. Jones offers another option: Mini Dental Implants, or MDIs. (more…)

Eat and Drink with Your Teeth in Mind

General knowledge dictates that candy and other sugary treats harm your teeth. But do you know what types of foods and drinks can help your teeth? Your Mansfield dentists, Dr. Jones and Dr. Harris, want you to know that plenty of delicious foods and drinks exist that will help your teeth stay strong!

Green Tea – Because it contains fluoride, this beverage helps protects teeth against decay. The tea leaves also possess an antioxidant plant compound called polyphenols, which stops plaque from sticking to your teeth, thus reducing your chance for cavities and gum disease.

Cheese – Its high calcium and phosphate content helps balance your mouth’s pH levels and strengthens tooth enamel. Plus, cheese promotes saliva flow and aids in the destruction of harmful oral bacteria.

Apples – Along with other crunchy fruits and vegetables, apples have a high water content, which offsets the effects of the sugars they contain. Apples also contain vitamin C, which helps maintain healthy gum tissue. (more…)

Test Your Oral Health Knowledge

As emerging research suggests a strong connection between oral health and total wellbeing, Dr. Jones and Dr. Harris strive to provide our patients with education on how to preserve their oral health. Are you an oral health whiz? If you’re a fan of trivia, take the short quiz below to test your knowledge.

Oral Health Quiz

1. How often should you visit the dentist?

a. When I have time

b. Once a year

c. Every six months

d. When I have a toothache

2. How long should you brush your teeth?

a. Thirty seconds

b. Two minutes

c. Five minutes

d. None of the above

3. Which of these symptoms may indicate gum disease?

a. Gums that bleed easily

b. Gum tissue that appears red or purple

c. Loose teeth

d. All of the above (more…)

Powerful Teeth Whitening from Your Mansfield Cosmetic Dentists

Is smiling more of a chore than a natural habit? If so, is it because your teeth are yellowed or stained? If you feel that your smile has an overall dull appearance, your Mansfield dentists, Dr. Jones and Dr. Harris, have a solution. With two different teeth-whitening options, they can help you achieve the bright white smile of your dreams.

Zoom! Whitening System

This revolutionary teeth whitening system is perfect for people who desire immediate results. Zoom! Whitening involves a light activated, hydrogen peroxide-based gel that safely removes stains from tooth enamel and dentin. Best of all, the whole process only takes about one hour, during which time you can watch television, listen to music, or even doze off! Once Zoom! has worked its magic, a five-minute fluoride treatment is all that’s left before you can go home—or back to work—with your beautiful pearly whites. (more…)

Dental Specialties

While regular dental visits are extremely important, sometimes your dentist may notice something that needs special attention. In this case, your dentist would refer you to one of the following dental specialists. Dr. Jones and Dr. Harris of Mansfield Dental Associates explain the different types of dental specialties below.

Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeon (OMS)

Oral and maxillofacial surgeons perform surgeries of the mouth, face, and jaw. Post-dental school, these specialists undergo four to seven years of medical and surgical training.

Periodontist

Periodontal is defined as surrounding or encasing a tooth and can refer to all of the structures that support the teeth, including the gums, cementum, periodontal ligaments, and jawbone. Thus, periodontists diagnose and treat gum disease. For example, if your gums had dramatically receded in a certain area, you may be referred to a periodontist for a graft. This is a procedure in which the missing gum tissue is replaced in order to prevent future tooth loss and uncomfortable sensitivity.

Endodontist

Have you ever had a root canal? If so, you may have gone to an endodontist, a dental specialist who treats abnormalities of dental pulp, which is the soft, nerve-filled tissue in the center of the tooth, and periapical tissues, which are found in the apex, or tip, of the tooth’s root where it meets the jawbone.

Orthodontist

The job of an orthodontist is to prevent mouth, teeth, and jaw problems from becoming worse by ensuring that the teeth stay straight and the jaws line up correctly. Orthodontists correct misaligned teeth and jaws by fitting their patients with helpful devices such as braces and retainers. (more…)

Dentures Restore the Smiles of Patients in Dallas-Fort Worth

Dentures are one of the most tried and true prosthetic dental appliances. Today, Mansfield dentist Dr. S. Blair Jones wants to discuss what dentures are, how they function, and how they can restore your smile.

What is a Denture?

A denture is a dental appliance that fits inside the mouth and replaces missing teeth while providing support for the cheeks, lips, and jaw. A complete denture replaces all of the teeth on the upper or lower dental arch, while a partial denture replaces missing teeth spread sporadically across a dental arch. A full set of dentures replaces all of the teeth on both the upper and lower dental arches. (more…)

High Blood Pressure and Your Oral Health

Dr. Jones and Dr. Harris are concerned with your overall wellbeing as well as your oral health, and that is why Mansfield Dental Associates is taking part in National High Blood Pressure Education Month. You may already know that gum disease can contribute to or worsen cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and dementia, but did you know that high blood pressure can lead to oral health problems? Your Mansfield dentists explain the link between high blood pressure, also known as hypertension, and the health of your teeth and gums.

What is hypertension?

Blood pressure refers to the force applied to the artery walls as your heart pumps blood to the rest of your body. When blood pressure is high, your heart must work harder to pump. Hypertension can cause injury to blood vessel walls, increase your risk of developing blood clots, damage your heart muscle, and cause damage to other organs by restricting the normal flow of oxygen-rich blood throughout the body.

What are the symptoms of high blood pressure?

Many patients exhibit no symptoms and do not know they have hypertension until it is discovered by a health care provider. Sometimes, high blood pressure is not discovered until it causes problems with the heart, eyes, or kidneys. Symptoms of extremely elevated blood pressure include headaches, blurred vision, shortness of breath, chest pain, nausea, and vomiting. If not treated, hypertension can lead to heart attack, stroke, kidney failure, and vision loss. (more…)

Porcelain Veneers: Frequently Asked Questions

How can porcelain veneers enhance my smile?

Porcelain veneers cover a variety of smile imperfections in one cosmetic procedure. Some benefits of porcelain veneers include:

  • Closing smile gaps and spaces
  • Correcting misshapen teeth
  • Smoothing jagged tooth edges
  • Adding size to small teeth
  • Correcting crooked teeth
  • Hiding stains and discolorations
  • Creating a more even smile
  • Covering chips

What makes up porcelain veneers?

Thin porcelain shells are fabricated by lab technicians out of a hard porcelain. Unlike dental bonding, porcelain veneers are not shaped from a liquid form, but rather sculpted from a hard substance. This method increases the restorations’ strength and stain resistance. The material is died to meet your smile needs and custom-shaped to fit securely over the front of your teeth. Additionally, veneers more closely mimic the coloration of a tooth since porcelain has a slight iridescence like natural teeth.

How long do porcelain veneers last?

Porcelain veneers can last for decades with proper dental care. The longevity of your cosmetic dental work depends on thorough oral hygiene and regular dental cleanings to keep your veneers from becoming damaged or stained. Porcelain veneers are mostly stain resistant, but some staining may occur on the edges of the tooth where the veneer is attached. To keep your veneers sparkling, floss daily and schedule a cleaning every six months. (more…)

Mansfield Dentist Answers Common Questions about Dental Implants

Is missing a tooth harmful to my oral health?

If you suffer from a missing tooth, you have probably experienced the discomfort of eating tougher foods, or the adjustment period for your speech. However, the problem with missing teeth does not stop at difficulty with eating and speaking. In fact, missing teeth create a domino effect of oral health problems.

What happens if I do not replace a missing tooth?

When a tooth does not hold its place in an arch, the surrounding teeth drift out of correct placement. Each of these teeth are attempting to replace the function of the tooth that was there before. When these remaining teeth move, it creates malocclusion, or a bad bite. Your jawbone also suffers from missing teeth. The alveolar bone needs chewing stimulation from each tooth to promote healthy bone regeneration and growth. Without the tooth attached to the jaw, the bone does not receive chewing stimulation, and the tissue deteriorates.

Why are dental implants better than dentures?

Dental implants offer a level of stability and discretion that dentures cannot. Because dental implants are fused to the jawbone, the restoration remains stable and moves with the natural movement of the jaw. This allows patients to chew and speak as if the dental implant is a natural tooth. Dentures rest on top of the gum line, creating problems with slipping and falling out. Dental implants allow patients to perform oral hygiene more easily, since the implant can be cleaned just like a natural tooth. Dentures must be regularly removed and placed in cleaning solutions. (more…)