Posts for: February, 2019
If you notice a small sore or a change in the appearance of the tissues inside your mouth, don’t panic. It’s likely a common, minor ailment that appears on a lot of skin surfaces (like the wrists or legs) besides the cheeks, gums, or tongue.
These small sores or lesions are called lichen planus, named so because their coloration and patterns (white, lacy lines) look a lot like lichen that grow on trees or rocks. They’re only similar in appearance to the algae or fungi growing in the forest — these are lesions thought to be a form of auto-immune disease. Although they can affect anyone, they’re more common in women than men and with middle-aged or older people.
Most people aren’t even aware they have the condition, although some can produce itching or mild discomfort. They’re often discovered during dental checkups, and although they’re usually benign, we’ll often consider a biopsy of them to make sure the lesion isn’t a symptom of something more serious.
There currently isn’t a cure for the condition, but it can be managed to reduce symptoms; for most people, the lesions will go away on their own. You may need to avoid spicy or acidic foods like citrus, tomatoes, hot peppers or caffeinated drinks that tend to worsen the symptoms. If chronic stress is a problem, finding ways to reduce it can also help alleviate symptoms as well as quitting tobacco and reducing your alcohol intake.
Our biggest concern is to first assure the lesion isn’t cancerous. Even after confirming it’s not, we still want to keep a close eye on the lesion, so regular monitoring is a good precaution. Just keep up with the basics — good oral hygiene and regular checkups — to ensure you have the most optimum oral health possible.
If you would like more information on lichen planus lesions, 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 “Lichen Planus: Mouth Lesions that are Usually Benign.”
Some people have smile irregularities which don't threaten their oral health and function. Still, these issues may make someone embarrassed to show their smiles publicly. If this sounds like your situation, why not consult The Scarsdale Dentist, Dr. Jeffrey Pike, in Scarsdale, NY? He offers many cosmetic dentistry treatments which radically improve smile aesthetics. One of them is porcelain veneers.
Your best smile
You want to return to the white, even smile you once had. A few chips and some deep stains definitely need correction. During an individualized consultation with Dr. Pike, you can learn how to meet your smile goals.
For defects too large for teeth whitening processes, cosmetic contouring or composite resin bonding, Dr. Pike may suggest smile enhancement with porcelain veneers. Veneers cover defects beautifully, but they do not require substantial enamel reduction the way dental crowns do. In fact, the dentist only removes a thin sliver of hard structure in order to place these customized shells of thin, translucent ceramic.
Do you qualify for porcelain veneers?
You do if you have healthy teeth and gums and wish to disguise flaws such as:
- Small gaps
- Mild crowding
- Odd tooth shape or length
- Dark, intractable stains
- Surface pitting
Dr. Pike will evaluate your smile with visual inspection and X-rays. Then, he'll work up a treatment plan to place veneers which look perfect for your smile width and height, for your overall facial appearance and for your smile preferences. (For instance, some people like their teeth to look more square at the corners while others prefer rounded edges.)
The veneer treatment
It takes three appointments with The Scarsdale Dentist: one for evaluation and treatment planning, one for enamel reduction, oral impressions and placement of temporary veneers, and a third to bond the permanent veneers on your teeth. Dr. Pike uses a strong, tooth-colored cement and hardens it with a curing light. The bonding process actually strengthens the natural enamel besides giving it beautiful shape, shade and texture.
Additionally, your finished veneers are stain- and chip-resistant. However, you should avoid chewing ice and hard foods or tearing packages open with your teeth. Routine flossing and brushing at home, along with your six-month check-ups and cleanings at the office, are a must to maintain the health of your veneers and your smile overall.
Look like you--only better!
The American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry praises porcelain veneers for their customized contours, color and realism. Change your smile and your personal outlook with porcelain veneers from Dr. Jeffrey Pike at The Scarsdale Dentist. For more information, call the office at (914) 725-0707.
Eating disorders cause more than psychological harm. The binge-purge cycle of bulimia or the self-starvation patterns of anorexia can also injure the physical body, especially the mouth.
For example, nine in ten people with bulimia will experience tooth enamel erosion from stomach acid entering the mouth from induced vomiting. Although purging is less frequent with anorexic patients, one in five will also develop erosion.
An eating disorder isn't the only reason for enamel erosion: you can have high acid levels from over-consuming sodas, energy drinks or certain foods, or not properly brushing and flossing every day. But erosion related to an eating disorder does produce a distinct pattern in the teeth. When a person vomits, the tongue moves forward and presses against the bottom teeth, which somewhat shields them from acid contact. This can create less erosion in the lower front teeth than in others.
Eating disorders can cause other oral effects. Stomach acid contact can eventually burn and damage the mouth's soft tissues. The salivary glands may become enlarged and cause puffiness along the sides of the face. The use of fingers or other objects to induce gagging can injure and redden the back of the throat, the tongue and other soft tissues.
It's important to stop or at least slow the damage as soon as possible. To do so requires both a short– and long-term strategy. In the short-term, we want to neutralize mouth acid as soon as possible after it enters the mouth, especially after purging. Rather than brushing, it's better to rinse out the mouth with water or with a little added baking soda to neutralize the acid. This will at least help reduce the potential damage to enamel.
In the long-term, though, we need to address the disorder itself for the sake of both the person's overall well-being and their oral health. You can speak with us or your family physician about options for counseling and therapy to overcome an eating disorder. You may also find it helpful to visit the website for the National Eating Disorders Association (nationaleatingdisorders.org) for information and a referral network.
If you would like more information on how eating disorders can affect health, 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 “Bulimia, Anorexia & Oral Health.”