Are Dental X-Rays Safe?

If you’ve been going to your dentist in Charleston on a regular basis, you know that x-rays are frequently part of your visit. X-rays help your Charleston dentist to detect and diagnose dental health problems. They also factor in what kinds of treatment your dentist can provide. However, health-conscious people often ask, are dental X-rays safe? Here’s what you need to know about the safety of dental X-rays.

What Are Dental X-Rays?

Dental X-rays are radiographic images of your teeth, jawbone, and tissues. X-rays use low-level radiation to “see” beyond the surface level. Dental X-rays enable your dentist in Charleston to find issues like deteriorating jawbone, shrinking gums, impacted teeth, and more. Dental X-rays have been in use now for several decades and they are considered safe as long as they are done using safety protocols.

Risks of X-Rays

There are some risks associated with radiation, in general, that should be understood. Severe and chronic radiation exposure has been linked to an increased risk of developing cancer, brain tumors, and thyroid problems. In addition, in pregnant women, severe and chronic radiation exposure has been linked to birth defects.

Now, it’s important to understand that the dental X-rays you receive at the dentist’s office do not expose you to high levels of radiation or chronic levels of radiation. So essentially, there are little to no risks of radiation exposure from dental X-rays.

How Your Dentist in Charleston Protects You

When you get dental X-rays, your dentist takes several precautionary steps to protect you. First of all, your dentist never gives you X-rays unless they are needed. X-rays are not a “routine,” and they are only used to help your dentist to understand the condition of your oral health. Second, your dental team places a lead blanket over the susceptible areas of your body, including your thyroid gland and torso. Finally, dental X-rays are not done on women who are expecting which is why your dentist asks about that situation when you come in for a visit.

Your dentist in Charleston uses only high quality X-ray equipment to help to ensure your safety. If you have any questions about dental X-rays or our X-rays protocol in the future, please feel free to contact us.

 

Easy Ways to Keep Gums Healthy

Your Charleston dentist wants you to know that oral health can be achieved with consistent habits and proper, routine dental care. The foundation to healthy teeth and a beautiful smile is healthy gums. Here are the easiest ways to keep gums healthy for a lifetime.

Floss Regularly

Every time you eat, tiny bits of food get trapped in between teeth and at the gumline. Regular brushing and rinsing can help, but often, there are still bits of food that can’t be reached. Regular flossing ensures that you remove these tiny bits of food so that bacteria doesn’t buildup and destroy your oral health.

Get Professional Dental Cleanings

Dental cleanings go beyond brushing, rinsing, and flossing. Your dental hygienist not only cleans above and below the gum line; they also look for signs that can lead to gum disease. That way, preventative treatments can be done to help protect your teeth. Dentists recommend cleanings at least every six months.

Avoid Smoking

Smoking is one of the leading causes of teeth and gum disease. Even though it may be hard to believe that smoke can cause gum problems, it most certainly does. One reason is that smoking lowers your immune system so that your gums have a harder time fighting off harmful bacteria. Try to quit smoking using ideas your doctor recommends, such as nicotine patches.

Don’t Drink From the Mouthwash Bottle

Many people, especially single folks, assume that it’s okay to drink from the mouthwash bottle since they are the only ones in the household. However, bacteria from your mouth can get into the bottle when you drink from it, thereby rendering the sterilized mouthwash contaminated with bacteria. Instead, use disposable paper cups and use them each time you use your mouthwash.

Use Therapeutic Mouthwash

Everyone wants to have fresh breath, but some of the nice-smelling mouthwashes don’t offer germ-killing benefits. Make sure you choose a therapeutic mouthwash that’s recommended by your dentist. Many of them now come in refreshing flavors that also leave your breath smelling nice.

Contact your Charleston dentist whenever you have concerns about the health of your teeth and gums. And remember, regular dentist appointments are your best defense against gum disease.

 

Why Do I Have a Toothache? Underlying Toothache Causes

A toothache is an oral symptom that may seem common. You can even purchase over-the-counter solutions to ease the pain and go on with your day. But that doesn’t mean it’s something you should ignore and think everything’s fine with your oral health. A toothache can have various underlying causes, and it’s important to figure out if treatment is needed to solve a dental problem and prevent it from worsening.

Minor Toothaches

Sometimes, the toothache truly isn’t a big deal. Generally, this is when the pain is caused from gum irritation that quickly goes away. It could be from a piece of food that got stuck in the gum or some other temporary source of irritation. With this type, good oral hygiene, time to heal and possibly home remedies can help.

Toothaches That Need Treatment

Once a toothache has stayed around for longer than a day or two, it’s time to see your dentist. This is also the case if you have severe pain or the toothache is accompanied by other symptoms of earache, fever or pain when opening your mouth. Most likely, you won’t want to wait for a visit anyway because of the difficult symptoms you’re experiencing.

A toothache could be a sign of an underlying cause such as:

  • Tooth decay
  • Damage to a tooth’s filling
  • A broken tooth
  • Repetitive tooth grinding, clenching or chewing
  • Infection of the gums
  • An abscessed tooth, which has an infection inside it

These underlying toothache causes require treatment. Without it, the symptoms will persist and the problem will likely worsen. If you have an infection, it’s especially important to get quick treatment. Infection can become dangerous if it spreads to other parts of the head or the bloodstream.

Treating the Cause

It’s best to have a dentist evaluate your mouth to determine the cause of the toothache. The treatment will vary depending on the cause. For example, you might need a filling for tooth decay, a crown for a broken tooth, antibiotics for an infection or a root canal for an infection inside the tooth. Your dentist will talk to you about the best treatment to solve the underlying problem and relieve the pain in or around the tooth. 

Why do My Teeth Have Ridges?

You might be concerned about the ridges that form on the edge of your teeth. This condition, known as a mamelon tooth, usually appear as three small but prominent ridges or protuberances on central and lateral incisors, creating a scalloped or even wavy edge to the tooth similar to a serrated knife. The word mamelon is of French derivation,” describing their small, bumpy appearance. Mamelons are made up of enamel, just like the rest of your tooth’s coating. Mamelons don’t have any health implications or other importance, but many people find them visually unappealing. Most dentists believe that the main reason for mamelons is to help new permanent teeth break through the gums. However, there is no critical importance for them once a child’s full set of permanent teeth come in.

How are Ridges Formed?

Mamelons are found most frequently on children as their permanent teeth grow in, but they do get worn out over time which is why they are less frequently seen on adult teeth. They may start as very distinctive, larger bumps, and then lessen to a mild wavy texture over time. Occasionally, mamelons can also be found on children’s baby teeth. While mamelons usually get worn down naturally through typical everyday biting, chewing, and coming into contact between your upper and lower incisors, sometimes mamelons do not get eroded on their own and you may choose to see a dentist to smooth out the mamelon ridges if you find them unsightly. Adults may also find that their mamelons have not worn away if they have an open bite, where their front top and front bottom teeth do not come into contact, or if they have other jaw misalignment issues.

How to Fix Ridged Teeth

A simple dentist appointment is a typical path to remove mamelons if you don’t like the look of ridges on your teeth. Make an appointment with your dentist to discuss whether tooth reshaping, contouring, or shaving might be possible for you. Smoothing down mamelons is quick and non-invasive. It’s considered a basic dental procedure that doesn’t impact nerve endings or causes any excess discomfort. Book an appointment with your dentist now if you have ridges on your teeth that you would like to have removed.

 

Help! My Teeth Are Moving! Find Out Why

Even though most people expect that their smile will always be the same, the teeth can actually shift places in the gums and jawline. When this starts to happen, it can be rather alarming to see, especially if the shifts are leaving gaps or misalignment. Here is a look at some of the common reasons teeth can shift from their usual position.

The issue may be due to changes in the mandible.

The mandible is the lower jaw bone, and it does have the potential to both grow and shrink over the years, even in older adults. These changes can cause your teeth to appear as if they have shifted, but the change will be a very gradual thing. For example, if you notice that the teeth on your lower jaw are getting more crowded than they have ever been, this could be a sign that the width of your lower jaw is changing.

You could be grinding your teeth while you sleep.

Bruxism is the medical term given to teeth grinding, and a lot of people do this without even realizing that they are. One of the unfortunate side effects of tooth grinding is the undue stress on the teeth can cause them to shift and move. If you feel like you have sore jaws in the morning or notice your teeth seem to be moving, talk to your dentist to determine if teeth grinding could be to blame.

You may have issues with bone loss.

Bone loss is actually bone breaking down and becoming less dense, and your jawbones can be affected. If your jaws are suffering from bone loss, it can definitely cause the teeth to shift and move. You may notice that your teeth seem to have sunken downward or tilted back. Even though bone loss can be age-related, it can also be related to certain medical conditions.

Get More Information About Tooth Shifting

It is never a good thing to see your teeth shifting positions in your mouth, and professional attention to the matter is always best. If you have started to notice changes in your teeth and where they are positioned in your mouth, contact us at the office of Dr. Michael J. Tupta DDS.

Why Has My Bite Changed?

Have you ever bitten down and felt like your teeth aren’t lining up the way they used to? Or have you ever been surprised to discover that your back teeth don’t meet up anymore when you clench your jaw? These are indicators that your bite has changed. Your bite is the term for the position of your upper and lower teeth when you close your mouth and bring your upper and lower jaw together. The alignment of your bite is important as far as your ability to speak and chew food, but it’s also important for your overall dental health. Persons with a severe underbite or overbite get important treatment to remedy the situation. If your bite has changed, you will also need to get dental treatment. Here are some reasons why your bite may have changed.

Periodontal Disease

Periodontal disease is a very serious condition in which the mouth is overrun by bacteria, gum tissues have loosened away from the edges of the teeth, and bone loss may have occurred. Due to the extreme nature of periodontal disease and its way of loosening teeth, the bite is usually affected as well. If you feel that you have one or more loose teeth and your bite has changed, see your dentist right away to find out if you have developed periodontal disease.

Jaw Hinges

If you’re an older adult with relatively healthy teeth and gums but your bite has changed, your jaw hinges may be wearing down. Don’t worry – this happens to many people as they age. Certain other conditions can speed up this process, such as arthritis and grinding the teeth at night. Your dentist can do some diagnostic tests to determine if this is the cause, and recommend treatment options for you.

Wisdom Teeth

If you’re a younger adult, you might experience a change in your bite when your wisdom teeth grow in. As you can imagine, room must be made for more teeth at the back of your mouth. The change should be subtle, but if it’s not, or if it’s causing a problem, you may need to have your wisdom teeth removed.

If you notice that your bite has changed, don’t try to figure out the reason by yourself. Make a dentist appointment so you can get a professional opinion on the cause, as well as available treatment options.