3904 South Lynn Court
Independence, MO 64055
Call Us Today: (816) 252-0055

June 15, 2017

Oral Hygiene More than Brushing and Flossing

Oral hygiene is imperative if you want to maintain your overall health. According to the Dr. David Schaefer from Schaefer Dental, practicing good oral hygiene can actually keep your heart healthy.

Although the jury is still out, researchers are beginning to see a link between gum disease and other health problems including stroke, heart disease, and even Alzheimer’s.

Brushing twice and flossing once each day is just part of good oral hygiene, however, good oral hygiene is much more than brushing and flossing.

What is Plaque?

Your dentist explains that bacteria cause tooth decay and gingivitis and lives in your mouth. Plaque, that layer of film that everyone has on their teeth, will eventually eat away at the enamel on your teeth causing cavities and gum disease.

What causes Plaque?

Your mouth is loaded with bacteria, both good and bad. The foods you eat will cause bacteria buildup in your mouth producing acids. Sugary and starchy foods are notorious for plaque accumulation. The substances that are produced by plaque will irritate your gums. If left untreated, plaque accumulation will cause gum recession forming pockets in between your teeth and gums. If you do not see a dentist for gum disease, the bone that surrounds your teeth could be destroyed, which will cause tooth loss.

How to Remove Plaque

The best way to get rid of your plaque is to brush and floss every day. Use a soft bristled brush and a good fluoride antimicrobial toothpaste that has been recommended by the American Dental Association, this will help with tooth decay. Floss first and brush second to remove all of the debris. Watch your diet as certain foods can cause plaque accumulation. Use a mouth rinse and schedule regular dental checkups and professional cleanings.

Oral hygiene is an important part of overall health, and if you cannot remember the last time that you saw your dentist, call or click and schedule an appointment with Dr. David Schaefer from Schaefer Dental today today.

September 15, 2016

Men and Womens Oral Health Differences

Men and Women’s oral health can be described in one word, different. One would assume because a man and woman’s mouth look exactly the same, lips, tongue, cheeks, teeth and gums, that oral health would be the same, but there are some differences. Just like means and women’s bodies differ, so do men and women’s mouths.

Dr. David Schaefer explains that noth men and women are susceptible to oral cancer, tooth decay, gum disease, and bad breath; however, the biggest men and women’s oral health differences lie in the female anatomy.

Unlike men, women go through life changes. Puberty, menstruation, pregnancy, and menopause affect all women and have a profound effect on oral health, and although men are less likely to look after their teeth and gums, research indicates that men don’t floss, as often, they don’t have to be concerned about women’s life changes and oral health.

Women need to brush at least twice each day. Floss daily or more if you need to. Make sure you use a good oral rinse and schedule regular checkups with your dentist. If you notice anything suspicious, get to the office as soon as you can. Research shows that oral cancer has a higher cure rate if detected early. During your regular checkups, ask your dentist to do an oral cancer screening.

Puberty

Puberty brings on the sex hormones and in girls and that means swollen gums. If you or someone you know is going through puberty watch for red and bleeding gums.

Menstruation

Some women suffer from Menstruation Gingivitis. This condition causes red, swollen, and bleeding gums a week before a period begins and usually stops after it starts.

Pregnancy

The only thing that changes in a man when his partner is pregnant is his stress levels. He may gain some weight and, “Pretend,” that he is expecting, but he won’t experience the gingivitis that occurs in a high percentage of pregnant women. If you are pregnant, pay close attention to your teeth and gums and if you notice any swelling or bleeding call your dentist. If left untreated, gingivitis and periodontal disease can cause premature and low weight births.

Post menopause

Women deal with serious hormonal fluctuations during post menopause including dry mouth, burning sensations and a change in taste. When women are in post menopause it can affect oral health. Schedule frequent dental appointments if you are affected by post menopause.

Both men and women need to take good care of their teeth and gums. Call or click and schedule an appointment with your dentist today.

June 15, 2015

Pulp Disease is More Serious than You Think

Pulp Disease is a serious condition that needs to be taken care of by your dentist as soon as possible. If you suffer from poor oral health, it could lead to pulp disease that may require a root canal or even tooth removal.

Web MD explains that poor oral hygiene is the number one contributor to tooth pain, tooth decay and other tooth and gum conditions. Without good oral hygiene, habits that include brushing twice and flossing once each day, plaque, that sticky film that comes from food particles and other debris, could begin to develop. Plaque will cause dental caries and gum disease.

If cavities are left untreated, the tooth decay can affect the pulp, or center of your tooth. Tooth pulp contains blood vessels, nerves and tissue and if infected will eventually result in pulp disease. If you do not schedule an appointment with your dentist for pulp disease, you could eventually suffer from tooth loss.

According to your dentist you may be suffering from pulp disease if you have any of the symptoms below, which could vary in intensity, however, if the nerves inside your tooth have already died, you may not have any symptoms at all. Symptoms include,

  • Tooth or teeth pain when eating or drinking something cold, hot, or sweet
  • Intense and sudden mouth pain
  • Mouth infections

If you have not seen your dentist for quite some time, it is a good idea to schedule an appointment with your dentist who can give you a clean bill of health when it comes to pulp disease.

There are several types of pulp disease,

  • Reversible Pulpitis
  • Irreversible Pulp Disease
  • Dental Pulp Calcification
  • Dental Pulp Exposure

A mild inflammation, also known as reversible pulpitis can be offset with good oral hygiene; however, a filling may be necessary.

Severe inflammation is a sign of irreversible pulpitis and usually needs a root canal. If a root canal is unsuccessful, tooth removal may be necessary.

Dental nerve compression causes dental pulp calcification. Also called dental pulp stones, root canals are usually the only treatment for this type of pulp disease.

If you have damaged the external covering of your tooth because of a crack or cavity, the pulp may be exposed to bacteria and food particles. A trip to the dentist is imperative to avoid a serious infection.

Although some pulp disease is caused by trauma or injury because of a broken tooth, the majority of pulp disease is normally caused by poor oral hygiene. If you see your dentist regularly, eat a healthy diet rich in fruits and veggies and brush and floss regularly, you may be able to avoid pulp disease all together.

May 15, 2015

Kick the Habit for Healthy Teeth and Gums

Kicking the habit is not just good for your body, but good for your teeth and gums as well.

According to your dentist, smoking and using tobacco products will cause bad breathe and tooth discoloration. If you are a heavy smoker and have nicotine stained fingers, you can only imagine what smoking is doing to your teeth.

Tobacco products can inflame the salivary glands on the roof of your mouth, and increase plaque and tartar buildup. Continued use of tobacco products can also cause jawbone loss. If you smoke cigars, cigarettes, pipes, hookah pipes or chew tobacco, you are increasing the risk of white patches, or leukoplakia inside of your mouth. Tobacco use can also delay the healing process if you are having any type of oral surgery including tooth extractions, periodontal treatment, or dental implants. In fact, the success rate of dental implants is considerably lower for people who smoke or chew tobacco. Not only does tobacco increase your risk for oral cancer, but can also cause gum disease, which if left untreated, can lead to tooth loss.

Tobacco can cause gum disease as it affects the soft tissue and bone attachment to your teeth. The American Dental Association explains that smoking affects the normal functions of your gum tissue cells. This interference makes tobacco users more susceptible to periodontal disease and other infections. Because smoking and chewing tobacco impairs the flow of blood to your gums, it can also slow the healing process.

Just like cigarettes, pipes, cigars and hookah pipes will eventually lead to all sorts of oral health problems. A 23-year study showed tooth and bone loss in cigar and pipe smokers that was equivalent to cigarette smokers. Although cigar smokers do not inhale, they are still subject to other oral health problems including gum disease, stained teeth, bad breath, and oral cancer.

If you thought you were safe with smokeless tobacco products, think again. Because snuff and chewing tobacco contain over 28 chemicals they will increase your risk of throat and oral cancer. It’s a fact that chewing tobacco has more nicotine than cigarettes making it difficult to kick the chewing habit. One pinch will deliver more dangerous nicotine than 60 cigarettes.

Chewing tobacco irritates your gum tissue causing recession. Once the roots of your teeth are exposed, you are increasing the risk of dental caries. Exposed roots will also cause tooth sensitivity. If that isn’t bad enough, sugar is sometime added to enhance the flavor of chewing tobacco that can also put you at risk for tooth decay.

The best way to prevent tooth decay and gum disease is to stop smoking and practice good oral hygiene that includes brushing twice and flossing once each day and enjoying a good health diet that is full of fruits and vegetables. Of course, regular checkups with your dentist should also be included in your oral health regime.

For more information regarding tobacco use and your oral health, schedule an appointment with your dentist today.

February 15, 2015

Root Planing and Scaling For Healthy Gums

Gum disease is reversible as long as you take care of it immediately. If your gums are red and swollen and bleed when you brush, floss, or take a bite out of an apple, it’s time to schedule an appointment with your dentist for a professional cleaning.

Gingivitis is the first stage of gum disease and can be nipped in the bud with a professional cleaning from your dentist, but if it has progressed to the more serious periodontal disease, Root Planing and Scaling may be recommended to help your gums heal.

According to Web MD, a stubborn case of gum disease can be reversed with Root Planing and Scaling. This procedure will remove the tartar and plaque from your teeth to help your gums become pink and firm.

During the Scaling portion of the procedure, your dentist may or may not numb your gums and the roots of your teeth using a local anesthetic. Although the procedure is not painful, it can be uncomfortable.

After your gums are numb, your dentist will use tools to remove the buildup of plaque and tartar from your teeth both below and above your gum line. This is called Root Scaling. Some dentists may use an ultrasonic tool or a combination of the two.

Once the Root Scaling has been completed, your dentist will begin Root Planing. This involves smoothing out the rough spots on your teeth and the roots in order to prevent the bacteria and plaque from adhering to your teeth.

Although Root Planing and Scaling can usually be taken care of in a single visit, your dentist may prefer to do a quarter, or quadrant, or half of your month during each dental appointment.

Root Planing and Scaling is a simple procedure, but it is important that you let your dentist know your health history as the treatment can introduce certain bacteria into your bloodstream. This is especially true if you have liver disease, a systemic illness, heart problems, or an immune system that has been compromised.

For more information regarding gum disease and Root Planing and Scaling, schedule an appointment with your dentist who can determine if your teeth and gums are healthy.

January 15, 2015

Tips for a More Appealing Smile

An attractive smile not only boosts your self-confidence but can also make you more appealing to others. In fact, in a recent survey conducted by the American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry, 96 percent of those who responded felt that an attractive smile made the person more appealing.

Of course, your dentist explains that good oral health goes beyond your smile. Your mouth is literally the gateway to your entire body meaning that the condition of your teeth and gums will affect your overall health.

Brushing regularly is the first step when it comes to good oral health as it helps remove the bacteria loving food particles, freshens breath, and cleans your teeth. Use a fluoride toothpaste recommended by the American Dental Association and be sure to brush at least two minutes twice each day. If you have a tough time, consider purchasing an electric toothbrush with a built in timer.

Flossing once a day helps to remove the bacteria that your toothbrush can’t get to. Flossing helps prevent gum disease and when you floss before bedtime, you are helping your mouth become less vulnerable to bacteria. When you sleep, your mouth produces less saliva making you more susceptible to tooth decay and gum disease.

Only your dentist can spot gum disease in its earliest stages. Schedule twice-yearly cleanings and checkups with your dentist. If you are more prone to cavities and gingivitis or periodontal disease, consider seeing your dentist quarterly. In addition, if you have diabetes, cancer or other immune disorders, ask your dentist how often you should schedule appointments.

Examine your mouth regularly checking for any irregularities. If you have a sore that just won’t heal, bleeding or sensitive gums schedule an appointment with your dentist as quickly as possible.

Eating a diet rich in calcium and vitamin C can help boost your immune system. Because your teeth are mostly made up of calcium, dairy foods and other calcium rich foods such as kale and sardines can keep your tooth enamel strong. In addition, vitamin C can help prevent gingivitis as it helps keep your gums healthy.

Avoid sticky and sugary foods and keep starchy foods to a minimum as they can stick to the crevices in your teeth. Bacteria will feed off the sugars while releasing cavity-causing acids. If you must indulge, rinse or brush as soon as you can.

Kick the habit and you are less likely to be diagnosed with gum disease. Your teeth will be noticeable whiter and your breath won’t scare others away if you give up tobacco products.

Your dentist also recommends tooth whitening, dental veneers, and other cosmetic restoration procedures for a healthier and more attractive smile.

For more information regarding cosmetic dental restorations or a total mouth makeover, schedule an appointment with your dentist today.

September 15, 2014

Talk to Your Dentist Before You Have Your Tongue Pierced

If you or someone in your family has been toying with the idea of lip, tongue, cheek, or uvula piercing, schedule an appointment with your dentist who may be able to persuade you or your kids otherwise.

According to Web MD, oral piercings can cause serious health issues to your entire body, including your teeth and gums.

The actual wound that is created by the needle can easily become infected, as your mouth is already home to millions of bacterium. If additional bacteria are introduced from the open wound or the jewelry itself, your dentist will tell you that you could be asking for an infection.

Lip, cheek, uvula, and tongue piercing could put you at risk when it comes to the transmission of blood borne diseases including Hepatitis B, C, D and G and the Herpes Simplex Virus.

If you have undiagnosed heart problems, your dentist explains that you could be setting yourself up for an inflammation of the heart or the heart valves. Known as Endocarditis, it is caused by bacteria entering your bloodstream through the oral piercing wound.

Some loss of sensation or numbness is normal after cheek, lip, tongue, or uvula piercing, but if the person who performs the oral piercing accidentally hits a nerve, it could become permanent.

If one of the blood vessels accidentally is punctured, you could be in for prolonged bleeding, or worse yet, severe blood loss.

Some dentists have seen cases where the tongue has swelled up so severely it restricted the air passageways making breathing next to impossible.

Jewelry Aspiration occurs if you accidentally breathe in part of the stud, ring, or barbell. If swallowed that jewelry could make you to choke or cause injuries to your lungs or digestive track.

Oral piercing can cause problems with chewing, eating, and speaking. Excessive saliva production is also a consideration, and could make uncontrollable drooling permanent.

People tend to play with mouth jewelry, which could cause gum disease and damage to your gum tissue. Once gum recession begins, it is very difficult to stop and may eventually lead to tooth loss.

According to a recent study, over 47 percent of people who wear mouth jewelry have cracked or chipped at least one tooth.

If you would like more information regarding oral piercing, schedule an appointment with your dentist who may be able to convince you that ear piercing is a much safer option.

3904 South Lynn Court, Independence, MO 64055 USA
David A. Schaefer, DDS Independence MO dentist (816) 252-0055