Posts for: February, 2019

By Kevin M Brown, DMD, PC
February 19, 2019
Category: Oral Health
Tags: canker sores  

Canker sores, known medically as aphthous ulcers, are fairly common among people. Lasting for about a week or so, these mouth sores are usually more irritating than painful. But about a quarter of the population, especially women, frequently suffer from an acute form that doesn't often respond well to over-the-counter remedies.

A typical canker sore is usually round with a yellow-gray center ringed by a reddened "halo." They can be preceded by tingling or painful sensations at the site a few hours or so before breaking out. Recurrent aphthous stomatitis (RAS) is the more severe form of canker sore, often with outbreaks of multiple painful sores. While the more common sore is usually less than a centimeter in diameter, RAS sores are often much larger.

Canker sores often arise during periods of stress or anxiety, and seem to be connected with eating certain acidic foods like tomato sauce, citrus fruits or spicy dishes. RAS also seems to be related to underlying systemic conditions like vitamin deficiencies, anemia or digestive disorders. Besides managing diet and stress, people with regular canker sores and milder cases of RAS can often find relief with non-prescription numbing agents often found in stores and pharmacies.

For more severe RAS, though, you may need the help of your dentist or physician with treatments like prescription steroids or other medications that come in gel or rinse form or through injections. The goal of any treatment approach is to decrease pain severity and shorten healing times after an outbreak.

While most mouth sores, including RAS, aren't dangerous to your health, you should still take any sore seriously. You should especially seek medical evaluation if a sore doesn't heal after a couple of weeks, if they seem to come more frequently and are more severe, or if you don't seem to ever be without a sore in your mouth. These could indicate a serious underlying problem that needs to be addressed.

One thing's for sure: there are ways to ease your suffering if you have frequent bouts with regular canker sores or even RAS. Talk to your dentist about ways to minimize your discomfort from these irritating mouth sores.

If you would like more information on aphthous ulcers or canker sores, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can also learn more about this topic by reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “Mouth Sores.”

By Kevin M Brown, DMD, PC
February 09, 2019
Category: Dental Procedures
Tags: toothache  

A toothache might mean you have tooth decay—or maybe not. It could also be a sign of other problems that will take a dental exam to uncover. But we can get some initial clues about the underlying cause from how much it hurts, when and for how long it hurts and where you feel the pain most.

Let's say, for instance, you have a sharp pain while consuming something cold or hot, but only for a second or two. This could indicate isolated tooth decay or a loose filling. But it could also mean your gums have receded and exposed some of the tooth's hypersensitive root surface.

While over-aggressive brushing can be the culprit, gum recession is most often caused by periodontal (gum) disease. Untreated, this bacterial infection triggered by accumulated dental plaque could eventually cause tooth and bone loss, so the sooner it's attended to the better.

On the other hand, if the pain seems to linger after encountering hot or cold foods and liquids, or you have a continuous throbbing pain, you could have advanced tooth decay that's entered the inner pulp where infected tooth nerves are reacting painfully. If so, you may need a root canal treatment to remove the diseased pulp tissue and fill the empty pulp and root canals to prevent further infection.

If you have this kind of pain, see a dentist as soon as possible, even if the pain stops. Cessation of pain may only mean the nerves have died and can no longer transmit pain; the infection, on the other hand, is still active and will continue to advance to the roots and bone.

Tooth pain could also indicate other situations: a cracked tooth, an abscess or even a sinus problem where you're feeling the pain radiating through the teeth. So whatever kind of pain you're feeling, it's your body's alarm signal that something's wrong. Promptly seeing your dentist is the best course of action for preserving your health.

If you would like more information on treating tooth pain, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can also learn more about this topic by reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “Tooth Pain? Don't Wait!

By Kevin M Brown, DMD, PC
February 06, 2019
Category: Dental Procedures

Next to tooth decay, periodontal disease is one of the most concerning dental problems that dentists look for when they check your teeth. Due to the seriousness of this condition, we have listed all of the signs that you may have developed the disease. If you see one or more of these signs, the safest bet is to get a checkup with our Periodontist,  Dr. Kevin Guze,  at Kevin M. Brown, DMD and Associates in Ayer, MA.

What Is Periodontal Disease?
Periodontitis is a disease that involves the gum and bone tissue inside of the mouth, and it affects close to half of all American adults according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Severe periodontitis, which is the more advanced form of this condition, affects roughly 8.5 percent of American adults. While most patients don’t have this dental problem until they’re 50 or older, some young people have gum disease due to poor oral hygiene and, in some cases, heredity.

Do You Have Gum Disease?
If you notice certain changes happening in your mouth that do not seem right, it could be related to gum disease. Here are a few key signs that you should visit your Ayer dentist for a periodontics checkup soon:

- Blood on your toothbrush (bleeding gums).
- Heavy buildup of tartar on the teeth.
- Red, irritated gums that appear to be separating from the teeth.
- Loose teeth.
- Bad mouth odor that can’t be brushed or rinsed away.

Periodontal Therapy
The best course of therapy for periodontal disease will depend on how advanced it is—mild, moderate, or severe. For example, if it is in the early stages of inflammation, scaling and root planing (also called root debridement) could provide ample results. In the more advanced stages of this dental disease, you may need to receive antibiotic therapy to fight infection and undergo periodontal gum surgery to remove diseased tissue.

Save Your Smile
Untreated periodontal disease can lead to painful gum inflammation, bone loss, or tooth loss. Call (978) 772-3747 today to schedule an appointment with our Periodontist, Dr. Kevin Guze at Kevin M. Brown, DMD and Associates in Ayer, MA.