7/10/2017 9:00:00 AM |
Often, a family trip to the dentist will feature the use of an x-ray camera. The dental hygienists will cover you or your children with a heavy apron and make you chomp on some bitewings, while the camera moves and clicks around you. Of course, the images produced by the x-rays have a purpose: cavities, jawbone degradation, and other oral health issues are made easily visible, allowing the dentist to address these issues directly. However, x-rays are a form of radiation, and some people are concerned with that exposing someone to dental x-rays will cause cancer. These concerns are especially strong for parents taking their children to the dentist.
X-rays are a type of ionizing radiation, and ionizing radiation has been shown to cause cancer. Ionizing radiation, upon passing through the body, strip electrons from the atoms this energy passes. The resulting protons, known as free radicals, then can damage the cells of the body. While these cells return to normal most of the time, on rare occasions the cells will heal with some abnormalities. These abnormal cells, consequently, can grow into cancer. From this alone, people believe that dental x-rays will cause cancer.
However, you’re always exposed to ionizing radiation. On average, your body is exposed to 3.1 millisieverts (mSv) of natural radiation alone per year. At .005 mSv, the radiation you receive from the aforementioned dental x-ray is less than 1.6% of your daily background radiation exposure. You are exposed to the same level of radiation just from sunlight each day. Additionally, each x-ray is an individual dose rather than constant exposure, which is another factor in the cancer risks of radiation exposure. X-rays only increase the odds of dying of cancer by 1 in 2,000; compare this to the natural 1 in 5 chance you have of dying of cancer.
Moreover, there are precautions in place for younger patients to help minimize their exposure. Technically, children do have a higher risk of developing cancer from radiation than adults, so dentists make up for it with stricter safety measures. Lead aprons are almost ubiquitous, but many doctors will also reduce the amount of radiation emitted by the camera when taking x-ray images of pediatric patients. The same precautions can be given to pregnant women, as fetuses are assumed to be just as vulnerable as children. Your children could be receiving special considerations regarding radiation exposure risks already.
Ultimately, the benefits of detecting an oral health issue as early as possible far outweighs the negligible cancer risk. Not only are healthy teeth and gums alone something worth keeping, but many recent studies have shown connections between oral health and overall bodily health as well. Being able to detect and address these issues is paramount to your health and your children’s health. So, the next time your dentist readies the bitewings and camera, don’t be afraid. The benefits are high, the risk is low, and the dentist is likely being extra careful with your children anyways.
4/5/2017 3:00:00 PM |
Knocking out a permanent tooth is a true dental emergency. Don’t be afraid to contact your dentist right away. If you knock out a permanent tooth, here is what to do.
1. Hold the tooth by the crown and not the root so as not to spread bacteria unto the root
2. Rinse dirt or any debris off with room temperature water but be gentle with the root.
3. Try to reinsert the tooth until you get to the dentist and hold it into place.
4. If reinserting is not an option, keep it moist by covering it with milk or water.
5. For optimal outcome, try to get to a dentist within 30 minutes.
1/18/2017 3:19:00 PM |
What It Is
Periodontal disease, known as gum disease or periodontitis, is one of the most common causes of tooth loss. In the United States, it is estimated that half of Americans aged 30 or older have advanced gum disease. While highly prevalent, this dental condition is preventable with a good oral health regimen.
Periodontal disease symptoms become apparent as bacteria and debris accumulate around teeth and below the gum line and hardens into tartar. If not removed by a professional, tartar and bacteria can cause inflammation of the gums and weakening of teeth.
There are variables that can increase your risk of periodontitis that range from genetic predisposition and underlying health conditions, to certain lifestyle habits. Diet, taking certain medications, decreased immunity, and hormonal changes can also increase your chances of developing gum disease.
Periodontitis begins with the onset of gingivitis. In this early stage, bacteria builds up, irritating the surrounding gums. As bacteria accumulate and plaque builds and hardens into tartar, there is a weakening of bone and connective tissue that keeps teeth in their sockets. As bacteria spreads, pockets that trap further bacteria begin to form around teeth and under soft tissue. In patients with advanced periodontal disease, teeth become loose and fall out.
One of the most difficult aspects of spotting periodontal disease without help from a dentist is that the condition can progress slowly in patients and may not always produce obvious signs. Patients may notice:
- Gum tenderness
- Gum recession
- Bad breath or bad taste in your mouth
- Loose teeth or a change in teeth alignment
Diagnosis of gum disease typically involves visiting a dentist for a visual examination of your oral condition, as well as charting pocket depths and using X-Rays to check bone loss in areas with deeper periodontal pockets.
Early diagnosis gives patients the greatest chance of reversing damage with nonsurgical treatments. These procedures include root scaling and planing, which removes tartar and bacteria from surfaces of teeth and beneath the gums and smooths root surfaces,. Antibiotics that are either taken orally or topically as a rinse, can also be used to reduce bacteria and inflammation.
For patients with advanced periodontitis, dental surgery may be the most effective option to reduce pocket size and restore the healthy appearance and supportive structure of soft tissue.
Periodontal disease is preventable by practicing consistent and good oral hygiene. As a rule of thumb, you should be taking between 3-5 minutes twice day to care for your teeth and gums by flossing first to loosen any food particles and bacteria, and brushing to clean all surfaces of teeth. You should also visit your dentist twice a year for thorough teeth cleanings. Patients displaying early signs of gum disease may require more frequent dental visits throughout the year.
If are exhibiting signs and symptoms of gum disease, you should contact your dentist as soon as possible. The sooner you can receive treatment, the more likely you will be able to reverse any damage caused by periodontal disease.
10/21/2016 9:51:00 AM |
Halloween is just around the corner carrying with it a common tradition to eat your weight in sugary sweets. While trick-or-treating in your neighborhood with your children dressed as your favorite ghoul or ghost can be one exciting night out of the year to indulge in fun, eating too much candy can cause a lifetime of dental problems. One day out of the year shouldn’t ruin all the hard work of maintaining good dental hygiene, so here are five tips to be aware of this Holiday season.
How does sugar cause cavities?
Before getting into these tips, we need to understand what causes dental caries, more commonly known as cavities. Contrary to popular belief, sugar doesn’t directly cause cavities. However, the bacteria living in the mouth sharing your leftover sweets produces an acid byproduct that causes plaque, in turn developing tooth decay as the acid eats away at the enamel creating the cavity.
Top 5 Tips to Prevent Cavities
#1: Remember to Brush and Floss
A good hygiene routines is essential to prevent the development of cavities, so it’s necessary to teach children at an early age how to care for their teeth. Brushing and flossing removes bacteria that potentially will harm teeth if left to form plaque. Practicing good dental hygiene this Halloween is your best bet for preventing a lifetime of dental ailments. It’s especially important to brush before bed as plaque can easily develop while you sleep.
#2: Rinse with Mouthwash
Some would say mouthwash can be overkill when a person already brushes and flosses, but cavity fighting rinse can help. Mouthwash cleans behind all the hard-to-reach areas a toothbrush or floss couldn’t reach, killing hidden germs that create plaque and tartar. Mouthwash that contains fluoride will also help to strengthen enamel to protect your teeth and gums.
#3: Eat in Moderation
While it can be tempting to eat all the sugary treasure you’ve collected from your neighbors, if there’s any time to start practicing moderation, Halloween is the perfect night. Nibbling on candy throughout the day gives the bacteria a thriving environment. Portion the treats to give your teeth a break and make sure that if you cannot brush right after, that you at least rinse your mouth with water or chew sugarless gum to help remove dangerous bacteria.
You don’t need to eat all that chocolate and candy. As a society addicted to sugar, we need finding ways to get rid of the excess sweets without eating or wasting them. Not only will your friends and family appreciate your consideration, your teeth will be thanking you over and over with a beautiful smile.
#5: Stay Hydrated
Dry mouth causes an increased production of bacteria in the mouth. Additionally, drinking water causes the bacteria and excess sugar residue to wash into the stomach, an area of the body that can easily break down and digest the material that would otherwise damage teeth’s enamel.
While it can be scary to think of all the cavities developed on Halloween, taking the proper precautions will help you prepare for the sugar overload and still allow you to enjoy the holiday. With these five tips to keep your mouth safe from bacteria, you can bravely go into Halloween properly equipped with your trusty toothbrush and anti-cavity dental floss.
8/17/2016 11:51:00 AM |
Brushing everyday is one of the best ways to take care of your teeth. However, it's not just that simple. For optimal dental care, follow these six tips.
1. Pick the right brush - Not all brushes are the same, and you need to choose one that fits your mouth.
2. Brush the right way - You should hold your brush at a 45-F-degree angle to your gums and use an up-and-down motion with short strokes.
3. Take your time - While brushing twice a day is recommended, three times is probably best. Also, whenever you brush, make sure you do it for at least two minutes.
4. Don't overdo it - Conversely, don't brush too much or for too long, as this can wear down enamel and hurt your gums.
5. Keep it clean - Always rinse your brush, as germs can linger on it.
Make sure to replace your toothbrush every three to four months or if the bristles are becoming frayed or broken.
4/14/2016 8:30:00 AM |
Dental sealants are an effective tool for preventing tooth decay, especially for children. Sealants are made from a clear, plastic-like material and painted onto the surfaces of the teeth. Most often, sealants are applied where the majority of chewing is performed, on the premolars and molars. While regular brushing and flossing is imperative to good dental health, brushing and flossing alone can’t always protect the teeth from decay. Harmful particles can get trapped in the grooves of back teeth, however, sealants can prevent damage from occurring.
Sealants are applied by your dental professional following an exam and cleaning. Once teeth are thoroughly clean, they are dried and an absorbent material like cotton is placed around the teeth to absorb excess moisture. The surfaces of teeth are lightly roughed by an acidic solution, which helps the sealant grip the teeth. After being rinsed and dried, teeth are painted with the sealant. Some dentists use a special light to harden and cure the sealant.
Are Sealants Right for You?
Sealants are commonly applied to children’s teeth to prevent tooth decay. Young teeth are especially susceptible to tooth. Usually, kids between the ages of 6 and 14 are good candidates for sealants. However, children even younger may benefit in some cases. Even some adults are good candidates for sealants, that is, if they don’t have fillings or any current decay. The protective effects of sealants can last 10 years or even longer.
Modern Dentistry in Indianapolis
At the Indianapolis office of Dr. Richard Stuart, we not only apply sealants but offer comprehensive preventive and cosmetic dentistry services as well. Our Indianapolis dental office provides compassionate dental care from a highly experienced team of oral health professionals. Whether you need a routine cleaning or a more in-depth dental service, we can help. From restorations to implants, whitening services to laser dentistry — we do it all!
Get on the path to a healthier, more confident smile today. Don’t delay your dental health — good oral health is imperative to overall wellness. Dr. Stuart and his staff are eager to welcome you to the practice; call 317-660-6223
to schedule your appointment.
4/7/2016 4:31:00 PM |
The American Dentistry Association seal of approval is awarded to consumer oral hygiene products that meet ADA-defined standards. The seal is intended to help consumers make informed choices about the products they use.
Products that are ADA-approved have undergone extensive testing for safety and efficacy, to ensure that any claims made about them are factually correct. Companies that submit products for assessment have to submit ingredient lists and data from laboratory studies and clinical trials that support the product claims, and show that the product is being made using good manufacturing practices. Each product is assessed by around 100 consultants, from a variety of scientific disciplines relevant to oral health and hygiene. Once a product has been approved, the packaging is required to display the ADA seal.
So is it okay to use products that are not ADA-approved? If a product hasn't been approved, that doesn't automatically mean it's unsafe or ineffective—but using ADA-approved products takes the guesswork out of choosing and using effective products. For example, if an ADA-approved toothpaste claims to be effective at preventing tooth decay, the presence of the seal means you can be sure it's a valid claim. Many Crest, Aim, Listerine and Tom products are ADA approved, just to name a few.
4/4/2016 11:15:00 AM |
Halitosis — also known as bad breath — is an embarrassing problem no one wants to have. Bad breath can occur in people of all ages; some people may have more risk factors for bad breath than others. The first step to alleviating this problem is a thorough dental examination. There are a number of oral health issues that can cause or exacerbate bad breath.
Causes of Bad Breath
There are numerous reasons why bad breath may occur. One of the most obvious is from food. Although smelly foods like onions and garlic can make your breath temporarily smell bad, so can eating too infrequently. In addition, food particles can get stuck between teeth and decay there — causing a rotten odor. Another cause of bad breath is dry mouth — a condition caused by certain medications, tobacco use, and aging. Saliva washes away the odor-causing bacteria; when enough saliva isn’t produced the particles can build up and cause the unpleasant smell. Smokers often suffer from bad breath, not only caused by the cigarettes themselves but also the dry mouth that smoking can cause. In some cases, an underlying medical condition can cause bad breath. Your dentist can determine whether or not a visit to your medical doctor is in order following an examination. Conditions that may affect breath odor include but aren’t limited to sinusitis, respiratory tract infections and kidney or liver problems.
How to Help Prevent Bad Breath at Home
Good oral health habits can help prevent bad breath. In addition to getting regular checkups from a dental professional, it’s important to brush and floss daily. If bad breath is a problem for you, consider adding a tongue scraper to your home care routine. Your dentist can educate you further on caring for your dentition at home; they can recommend which products are best and show you the right techniques for oral health care.
Schedule Your Checkup Today
At the Indianapolis office of Dr. Richard Stuart, every patient is given personalized dental care based on their unique needs. Services offered include not only preventive dentistry such as exams and cleanings, but also cosmetic restorations as well. Schedule your appointment today by calling 317-660-6223. Dr. Stuart and his experienced, friendly staff are waiting to provide you with the superior dental care you deserve!
3/23/2016 9:51:00 AM |
A cavity is a hole in the tooth left behind after the removal of tooth decay. Cavities are caused by bacteria in the mouth that will build up over time. Culprits to the development of cavities are the absence or lack of proper daily oral hygiene routines, skipping biyearly dental cleaning visits and poor eating habits. Both children and adults are susceptible to the development of cavities.
How a Cavity Develops
Everyone needs food to survive. Unfortunately, the bacteria contained in your mouth also need food — to produce the harmful acids that erode tooth enamel. You’ve probably heard that sugary foods and sweets are bad for your teeth; however, it’s actually any carbohydrate that’s the culprit. Simple carbs known as fermentable carbohydrates are found in foods like bread, crackers, cereal, chips — even bananas. The sugars react with the bacteria and begin to dissolve the protective layer of the teeth.
In its earliest stages, tooth decay manifests with a white spot. At this stage, further damage can be prevented by professional fluoride treatments. If left unchecked, the acids will continue to eat through the tooth enamel — causing lasting damage to the tooth. The only thing left to do at this point is remove the decay and fill the cavity. The longer the problem goes untreated, the more severe it can become; decay can reach all the way to the nerve of the tooth.
Risk Factors for Cavities
Some people are more likely to get cavities than others. For example, young children are susceptible because their new teeth don’t have strong enamel. Baby bottle tooth decay, as its known, is very common in youngsters and can cause serious cavities within a short period of time.
For adults, cavities are often caused by periodontal disease. Dry mouth and certain medications can cause this problem. Saliva is important because it washes away harmful bacteria and acids, so anything that causes a decrease in saliva production can contribute to tooth decay.
Sometimes, tooth decay occurs underneath fillings, crowns, or other restorations — especially if the restoration is cracked or placed incorrectly.
Regular dental examinations and cleanings can prevent cavities from forming. For patients of all ages, early detection is key. Although home dental care such as regular brushing and flossing is important, only a professional cleaning can remove harmful tartar buildup. In addition, your dentist can protect your teeth with fluoride treatments and sealants — minimizing your risk of developing cavities.
Schedule Your Appointment
Don’t take your chances with cavities — schedule your appointment
with Dr. Richard Stuart today by calling 317-660-6223
. Dr. Stuart and his friendly staff are proud to serve Indianapolis; services offered include preventive dentistry and cosmetic dentistry for patients of all ages.
3/10/2016 8:56:00 AM |
If you have lost most or all of your teeth, denture options can range from traditional, adhesive-based dentures and bridges, to the stable, fixed implant-supported dentures. One of the most reliable denture options, and growing in popularity are hybrid dentures.
Hybrid dentures offer the strength and stability of a fixed denture restoration, as well as the advantages of a removable denture. The denture is fixed in place using dental implants, but can be removed by the dentist or hygienist for professional cleanings. Hybrid dentures are a great solution when there is significant bone loss in the jaw, but patients want the convenience of having a “fixed” denture.
Advantages of Hybrid Dentures
- Comfort: Hybrid dentures are customized to fit the natural face shape and jaw line. Because they replace the natural teeth without covering the palate, dentures don’t cause the mouth shape to alter and don’t feel bulky or too big.
- Stability: Hybrid dentures are fixed in place using biocompatible and durable titanium or zirconium implants that fuse to existing jaw bone. Once the implants have been surgically placed and given time to heal, the implants are fitted with an abutment upon which the dentures are securely fitted.
- Minimally-Invasive: Although implants are surgically placed below the gum line, they take the place of the natural root and the procedure usually requires minor sedation and pain relief. The process itself can take as little as a couple of hours from start to finish, and recovery from the procedure is rapid.
- Health: Hybrid dentures replaces gum tissue with pink acrylic between the teeth to allow for correct positioning and appearance. This means the dentures are often indistinguishable from natural teeth when it comes to everyday activities, including eating and drinking, speaking and smiling. Hybrid dentures allow patients to bite and chew without restriction, which stimulates the remaining bone and prevents further loss to bone and tissue.
- Aesthetics: Hybrid dentures are created using resilient, durable and natural-looking materials, and are customized to fit the individual. Because they are retained using dental implants that are below the gum line and not visible, the new dentures look natural and fit closely to the gum line.
- Dental Well-being: Hybrid dentures can help patients regain control of their dental health. Hybrid dentures must be kept clean through daily brushing and with the help of regular visits to the dentist for a thorough, professional cleaning.
Hybrid dentures are not for everyone, and a full analysis of the jaw bone, existing mouth structure and dental health will be required before establishing a treatment plan. And though they are durable and resilient, hybrid dentures may need to be repaired after years of wear. However, if you are interested in hybrid dentures as a permanent solution for missing teeth, ask your dentist whether you would be a good candidate for this remarkable and reliable denture option.Contact Dr. Richard J Stuart
to schedule an appointment and find out more about hybrid dentures.
2/29/2016 12:11:00 PM |
Mouthwash, or mouth rinse, can be effective for many reasons. According to the American Dental Association (ADA) mouthwashes are often relied upon to tackle bad breath, to reinforce brushing and flossing, and to help rid the mouth of harmful bacteria.
Mouthwash contains active ingredients, such as fluoride, which help reduce plaque and significantly delay the development of tartar. Although rinsing with a mouthwash can help remove debris from the mouth and reduce the risk of infection and cavities, mouthwash should not be used as a substitute for brushing or flossing teeth.
- Improve the freshness of your mouth: Bad breath is often caused by the accumulation of residue in tiny crevices and folds in the tongue and teeth/gum line, or the presence of bacterial infection. When bacteria breaks down the residue and is allowed to colonize, it produces sulfur compounds to include hydrogen sulfide, which is the same chemical that gives rotten eggs their nasty odor. Mouth rinses can work by masking the odor, or by neutralizing the bacteria.
- Fight gum disease: In many cases, the key to effectively preventing gum disease is to stay on top of your dental hygiene habits. That means brushing teeth twice a day, flossing daily to remove debris between the teeth and around the gum line, and keeping up with your regular dental visits. But, you can improve your chances of staying disease-free by using an antimicrobial mouthwash to remove or neutralize disease-causing bacteria.
- Prevent cavities: Mouthwash and rinses that contain fluoride offer a fantastic opportunity to help protect your teeth’s enamel from tooth decay. Fluoride strengthens the teeth’s enamel and delays the buildup of tartar that causes decay.
Most mouthwash can be bought without a prescription. However, your dentist may prescribe a specific chemotherapeutic, or antibacterial mouth rinse to treat dental issues such as gingivitis, or advanced gum disease.
Caring for your teeth and gums should always include using dental floss and brushing your teeth. Dental well being can also be improved by keeping your tongue clean (gently brush it after brushing your teeth), drinking plenty of (sugarless) fluids, remaining tobacco-free, and maintaining a healthy diet.
2/22/2016 9:21:00 AM |
Bleeding gums are usually a sign the soft tissue is damaged or inflamed. If you notice your gums are bleeding while brushing or flossing your teeth, it’s a good idea to take note and take action. The cause may be straight forward and temporary; however, even serious problems can be easily and effectively treated.
Why are my gums bleeding?
Here are five common reason why your gums bleed: Gingivitis – The first stage of gum disease is known as gingivitis. It develops when the sticky bacterial film, known as plaque, is allowed to take up residence along the gum line, irritating the soft tissue, and potentially causing inflammation and swelling of the soft tissue. Gingivitis can be prevented and treated with regular and thorough brushing and flossing, and by going for regular dental cleanings. Pregnancy Gingivitis – Hormonal changes during pregnancy can wreak havoc with your skin, hair, and yes, even teeth! Higher levels of progesterone actually diminish the pregnant woman’s ability to fight off disease-causing bacteria, and may make gum tissue more sensitive to the effect of plaque. Although this phenomena only lasts during the pregnancy, it must be treated by increasing oral hygiene and professional cleanings from a dentist to prevent long-term damage. Medication – Some medications, such as blood thinners, can cause the gums to bleed. These medications prevent blood from clotting, which means gums can bleed more easily if scraped or punctured while brushing. By using a soft-bristled brush and a very soft floss, it is still possible to keep plaque at bay without causing yourself and your gums any further harm. Poor Dental Hygiene Habits – the American Dental Association recommends brushing twice a day for two minutes each time, and daily flossing will remove any bacterial buildup from between the teeth and along the gum line. The ADA also recommends visiting the dentist for regular cleanings. While many of us do try to stay the course, even a slight lapse can open the door to gum disease and inflammation. The Tools – Selecting the right toothbrush and floss can make all the difference when it comes to gum health. For instance, switching to using a hard-bristled toothbrush after using a soft-bristled toothbrush can certainly hurt the gum and may cause it to bleed. The same is true with dental floss, which is available in many different forms. If your gums are bleeding when you floss, try using a softer thread or thinner floss designed for sensitive gums. Bleeding gums can be an indicator that professional help is needed. If your gums bleed for more than a couple of days without any sign of improving, it is time to see your dentist. Contact our Indianapolis dental office to schedule an appointment with Dr. Stuart. Prevention and early detection is the most comfortable way to maintaining a healthy smile.
2/19/2016 10:43:00 AM |
Wine lovers everywhere, rejoice! Already known for its health benefits, research shows red wine protects against cavities, too! A recent study published in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry explores the effect a selection of red wines and grape-seed extract has on communities of disease-causing bacteria, called biofilms. Biofilms erode the teeth causing gum disease. Gum disease is a result of the build up of plaque and tartar on the teeth, and in the soft tissue of the gums – pockets of infection cause inflammation and discomfort and pain. But some treatments can be abrasive, and side effects of some mouthwashes include discoloration of the gums, and altering taste.
In order to understand how effective red wine is in preventing the growth of biofilm, researchers developed a biofilm model of plaque that combined five types of bacteria most commonly found in gum disease and tooth decay. The biofilm cultures were then dipped in numerous varieties of wine – with and without alcohol – for a couple of minutes. The results showed that all red wine and red wine containing grape seed extract were more likely to get rid of the bacteria. Of course, the study wasn't designed with excessive drinking in mind; everything in moderation! Rather, as the researchers said, "these findings contribute to existing knowledge about the beneficial effect of red wines (one of the most important products of agriculture and food industries) on human health." We'll drink to that – cheers!
10/6/2015 11:30:00 AM |
We're excited to announce the official launch of our Dr. Richard J. Stuart blog.
We'll be posting helpful dental tips, news from the dental industry, news from our practice, and more about the latest in dentistry.
We built our practice on the notion that we're there for our patients when they need us and we want our online presence to be a reflection of that principle. We hope this blog provides an extra level of service to our current and future patients.
If you would like to stay up to date on the latest from Dr. Richard J. Stuart, simply click the RSS “Subscribe to feed” link located on our website and subscribe. Our subscribers will be updated when we make a new blog post.
Here's to your best oral health ever!