On this page, we have included answers for some of the most common concerns and questions we hear from patients. Explore the list below to learn how we can help keep your smile bright and healthy for years to come!

Is radiation from x-rays dangerous?

One of the most common questions in dentistry concerns radiation from x-rays. This document will explain the relative amounts of radiation we receive from natural sources and man-made sources. In the United States, the governing body that regulates radiation is called the Nuclear Regulatory Commission or the NRC. You can find them at www.NRC.gov on the web. You can also view this information on the Environmental Protection Agency website at www.epa.gov/radiation/understand/perspective.html. The average individual in the U.S. receives 620 milliRems or mRem per year. Over half of that amount comes from natural sources such as radon gas, space, soil, and even food. The other half comes from consumer products such as building materials, smoke detectors, exit signs, and medical procedures. The NRC has determined that the maximum yearly safe dose is 5000 mRem per year. The chart below will help you understand the amounts of radiation you receive from various sources. 

Being alive for 1 day 0.8 mRem Being alive 1 day
1 X-ray 0.3 mRem Being alive ½ day
Full mouth set of X-rays 5.4 mRem Being alive 7 days
Panographic X-ray 0.4 mRem Being alive ½ day
4 Bitewing X-rays 1.2 mRem Being alive 2 days
Full mouth set of X-rays 5.4 mRem Being alive 7 days
Chest X-ray 4 mRem Being alive 5 days
Mammogram 15 mRem per breast Being alive 19 days
CT Scan of Head 150 mRem Being alive 188 days
Typical Airline Crew 500 mRem per year
Additional Radiation Living in Denver 50 mRem
Average Radiation in Home (mostly Radon) 200 mRem

The average person gets 310 mRem per year just from being alive; you can have 5000 mRem per year as a maximum. The average American has 310 mRem per year from man-made sources. This means, if you had 310 from man-made sources all as dental x-rays, you would take 775 pans, 260 sets of bitewing x-rays, or 57 full sets of x-rays and you would still be at less than 10% of the 5000 mRem safe dose recommendation. So the bottom line is that dental radiation is very, very small, usually less than one half of one percent even when you are due for your full set of x-rays.

We have lead aprons and thyroid collars should you wish to use them. However, they are no longer required to use them.

What is gum disease?

Gum disease or periodontal disease is a chronic inflammation of the gums and surrounding tissue. It is a progressive disease that, if left untreated, can result in tooth loss. In order to prevent further progression of the disease, the bacterial plaque, which causes the disease, must be removed from the teeth. Then, the bacterial plaque must be controlled. In our office, we strive to educate our patients in order to prevent periodontal disease and half the progression of the disease in our patients who have been diagnosed with periodontal disease. 

Periodontal disease starts as bacterial plaque, a sticky, colorless film that is constantly forming on the surface of our teeth. If the plaque is not removed daily, it hardens into a rough, porous substance called “tartar”, also known as calculus. The body, in response to this foreign substance in the teeth sends white blood cells to fight the bacteria in the plaque and calculus. These white blood cells destroy the bacteria, but in the process, toxins are released which destroy the tissue and bone holding the teeth in their sockets. This increases the “pocket depths” around the teeth. If enough bone occurs, the teeth may become mobile and will eventually be lost.

Periodontal disease can affect anyone, but typically begins to affect adults when they are between 35 and 55. Once you have been diagnosed with periodontal disease, it will need to be treated. This treatment involves removing calculus and plaque from below the gumline. Then, it is essential to keep the teeth clean. Our dental team will provide you with periodontal therapy and will show you how to keep your teeth clean between visits.

At Amber Leaf Family Dental, we try to eliminate the disease causing bacteria and halt any further destruction of the bone surrounding the teeth. We do this through our periodontal therapy program, which includes active treatment to eliminate the bacteria and education to prevent any further destruction.

Can you keep me comfortable? I’m afraid of pain.

Comfort is important. Coming to the dentist should be a positive experience. However, we know that it can be a time of fear and anxiety. To avoid this, and to allow for a positive and comfortable experience, we will take the time to get to know you and work at a pace that suits your needs. We will not work until you are completely numb using anesthetic (Novocain) and we can provide you with nitrous oxide gas (laughing gas). We can also provide you with medication we can provide you before your appointment to help you relax (Valium). There are also some things that you can do to help you relax before and during your treatment: 

  1. Set aside a stress-free time such as a non-work day or an early morning.
  2. Get a good night’s sleep and eat a light breakfast.
  3. Wear comfortable clothes.
  4. Bring CD’s or tapes to listen to, which may help you relax. We have a CD player and a tape player for your use.
  5. We have nitrous oxide gas (laughing gas) and Novocain for your comfort, and for persistent discomfort, a pain reliever can be prescribed.
  6. Ask questions! We will explain any steps of the exam or procedure we are completing so you understand exactly what we are doing and why we are doing it.
  7. During your procedure, raise your hand or make a noise if you want us to stop for any reason.

We pride ourselves in providing quality dental care. Part of this quality is your comfort, and we will do our best to make your visit as comfortable as possible.

How can I improve my smile?

At Amber Leaf Family Dental, we offer the cosmetic services you need to achieve a bright, flawless smile. You can improve your smile with the following dental services: 

Whitening

Over time, your teeth may become stained by food, coffee, colas, wine or smoking. If your teeth and gums are healthy, you are probably a candidate for whitening.

Whitening your teeth is a relatively simple process. Impressions of your teeth are taken and custom whitening trays are made for you. The whitening material is place in the tray and the trays are kept in place for 15 minutes per day. This process is repeated for seven to fourteen days.

Whitening may cause your teeth to become temporarily sensitive. If this occurs, it is best to stop at-home whitening for a day or two until your teeth become less sensitive. Then you can continue whitening. Also, keep in mind that whitening your teeth will not lighten your crowns or tooth-colored fillings.

Whitening is not permanent, but the results normally last for two to three years. You can touch up your whitening by using your trays one or two nights every 12-18 months after the initial process. Touch up kits are available and are relatively inexpensive.

Some people are concerned about the effects of whitening on the enamel. In a 1995 study by Clinical Research Associates using scanning electron microscopy and x-ray photoelectron spectroscopy, evidence of adverse effects on enamel was not found. Furthermore, 84.2% of the subjects tested had whiter teeth.

Porcelain Veneers

Porcelain veneers can do many things for your smile. They can give teeth a nicer shape, make them more even, close spaces, and whiten teeth. It is a very conservative procedure that is relatively noninvasive for the patient. However, it requires a high degree of technical skill and artistic ability by the dentist. This means some planning time is required so the patient’s expectations can be met.

Four or five appointments will be needed to complete the procedure. This includes the exam and smile design, the preparation and impressioning appointment, the seating appointment, and a re-evaluation appointment.

If this sounds like something you might be interested in, please let us know. We will be glad to answer any questions you may have about veneers.

What are dental sealants?

An unsealed permanent molar is 23 times more likely to get a cavity during the first 2 years than one that has been sealed! Sealants are a safe, painless, and cost effective way to help protect your child’s back teeth from decay. A sealant is a thin plastic material that adheres to the chewing surface of the tooth. This thin covering keeps the plaque and food debris out of the small pits, fissures, and grooves found on the back teeth, which decreases the risk of decay. However, the sealants need to be checked at the regular dental visits to be sure they haven’t chipped or worn away. Although sealants help reduce the risk of tooth decay, they are not guaranteed to prevent tooth decay. Sealants are not an adequate substitution for proper oral hygiene habits and a healthy diet.

The Shark Jaw Story – A Tale of Tooth Decay

Did you know that oceans cover 71% of the planet? Dolphins have 96 teeth and some whales have more than 1,000 teeth. But when you say “ocean teeth”, most people will think of shark teeth. Not only do sharks have numerous rows of teeth, but they also have an inexhaustible supply. When one tooth is lost, it is replaced by a new tooth from the numerous rows of teeth forming behind. There are a few things sharks never do. They never brush, they never floss, they never see the hygienist, and they never get cavities! 

In fact, no living thing on Earth gets cavities, except human beings, their domestic pets, and bears.

There are two reasons for this. First is diet. Bears eat gallons of honey at a time. In over 22 countries, humans consume more than 120 pounds of sugar a year, per person! Dogs and cats in the wild never get a cavity. But, domesticated pets, fed human food, can get the same tooth decay their masters get. And guess which country in the whole world has the most cavities per person? You guessed it, the good old U.S.A.

The second reason why human beings get cavities, and why fish, including sharks, don’t is the fact that the ocean is one part per million fluoride solution. Fluoride is the 13th most common element on Earth. The fish and their teeth are constantly soaking in a fluoride solution! This is why cities around the world adjust the fluoride in their drinking water to that of the ocean.

Make sure that your children’s growing teeth are not deprived of fluoride’s benefits. Reverse osmosis home water filters take all the fluoride out of water, but activated charcoal filters leave it in. If you are not sure about the exact level of fluoride in your own water, bring a sample in to our office and we will check it for you. You can also buy water with fluoride in it, or get fluoride supplements from us or from your pediatrician.

Once your teeth are formed, don’t forget your fluoride treatments every six months at the time of your regular cleaning appointments. This can help to reduce decay significantly.

In conclusion, remember that you and your family don’t have “bad teeth.” Rather, the environment in your mouth is conducive to the development of tooth decay.

The dentist can fix your tooth, but only you can change the behavior that led to the cavity in the first place. So, cut back on the sugary soft drinks, candy and gum, and work hard on your home care and you will most likely see a set of healthy teeth in your mouth.

Do you take my dental insurance?

At Amber Leaf Family Dental the patient comes first. Our treatment plans are designed to provide you with the quality dental care you need. We do not believe in “fix it when it hurts.” This is usually more costly in the long term. Rather, we encourage patients to invest in their complete oral health. If you are one of the fortunate individuals who will have a portion of their treatment covered by insurance, there are some important issues that you should understand. 

Most plans are made available to employees through companies, unions, and associations and each plan varies considerably. Your employer, who purchases the plan, determines the range of benefits. Most insurance plans emphasize preventive care and maintenance in their coverage. Unfortunately, many patients have comprehensive dental needs.

To ensure you receive maximum benefits, our office will gladly write narratives explaining your needs in detail to help you gain the coverage you are entitled. However, we cannot guarantee that this will give you coverage. We recommend you become familiar with your specific plan. If you feel your benefits are inadequate, discuss this matter with your employer so that alternatives can be investigated.

We require payment at the time of treatment. Your insurance company will pay you directly. Our office will be happy to help you process your insurance claims. If you bring your insurance information, we can answer any questions that you may have, and your claims can be sent the day treatment has been completed.

How do you protect my health? Is your office OSHA compliant?

In order to protect you, as well as ourselves, we at Amber Leaf Family Dental maintain the strictest compliance with infection control standards set forth by OSHA. 

To protect your health and ours, we use “standard precautions.” This means that the same protective measures are utilized with every patient to prevent the transmission of infectious disease. These procedures include:

  • Wearing gloves, masks, protective eyewear, and gowns
  • Washing hands before every treatment
  • Changing gloves after each patient
  • Sterilizing dental instruments after each use
  • Disinfecting equipment and surfaces in the treatment rooms after each patient
  • Placing all disposable items in special biohazard bags
  • Placing all disposable needles and instruments in specially marked “sharp container”
  • Our office uses various methods to sterilize and disinfect in order to kill bacteria and viruses:
  • All dental instruments are cleaned in an ultrasonic cleaner and then heat sterilized under pressure in an autoclave after every use. The autoclave kills bacteria and viruses and it is constantly monitored with biological testing.
  • Equipment that cannot be removed such as counter tops, drawer handles, x-ray, unit heads, and light handles is disinfected between after each patient’s visit to assure that the treatment room is clean for every patient.
  • Finally, we use many disposable items to help us maintain a clean and safe office. Gloves, masks, wipes, paper drapes, needles, and scalpel blades are used only once and then disposed of properly.

OSHA requirements and the cost of these new and continued infection control procedures have been significant. It costs about $25 – $30 just to prepare a room for each patient visit. Obviously, the costs are passed on to you, as patients. We do not charge a separate fee for these procedures, but rather we have incorporated these costs into our regular fee structure.

We are constantly monitoring updates from OSHA, the American Dental Association, and Clinical Research Associates for the latest advances in infection control.

We hope that this information addressed some of your questions about infection control. If you have any other concerns, please feel comfortable bringing them to our attention. We want you to be assured that you are getting the very best and safest care we can provide. Please remember, your health is our number one concern!

My teeth have always been a problem!

Thank you for choosing Amber Leaf Family Dental to serve your dental health needs. By listening to your concerns and dental needs, we can begin to help you achieve your individual dental goals.In order to optimally meet your goals, a thorough examination is needed. The mouth is a complex collection of hard and soft tissues that are interdependent on each other for normal function and health. By combining a comprehensive exam with your individual dental goals, we can then provide you with a complete list of treatment options.

A comprehensive exam consists of:

  • Patient information. This is a review of your medical and dental histories necessary to formulate an accurate diagnosis.
  • Clinical exam of the hard and soft tissues of the head and neck. This includes an examination of each tooth, the gums – a “periodontal” exam, an oral cancer screening, TMJ pathology, and any discrepancies in the bite.
  • Full mouth set of radiographs. Radiographs are used to identify decay, evaluate the bone around the teeth, check the roots, identify abscesses, and evaluate previous restorative work such as crowns and fillings.
  • Panographic radiograph. This radiograph looks for hidden cysts or other abnormal conditions of the jaw and sinus cavities.
  • Diagnostic Models. Provide a three-dimensional duplicate of your teeth to assist in treatment planning.
  • Diagnostic Photos and Intraoral Camera Images. Provide information necessary to evaluate colors, sizes, shapes, and proportions of your face, teeth, and gums.

Prevention is the cornerstone of the dental practice. After all, if oral disease is not able to gain the advantage, chances are we, as a team, will be able to maintain the integrity of your teeth. Furthermore, studies show time and time again that emphasis on preventative dentistry leads to the discovery of problems when they are small. When this happens, dentistry is less expensive, less complex, and there is less tooth loss.

Health care delivery, including dentistry, involves two models, the surgical model and the medical model. The surgical model involves the restoration of the damage which a particular disease has done to a part of the body. An example of this is a filling to repair a decayed tooth. The medical model involves the recognition of an at risk patient, the diagnosis of a disease and the subsequent steps taken to eradicate and prevent further proliferation of the disease. More simply stated, this means steps can be taken to prevent further destruction of your teeth and gums.

Once a patient understands that cavities and gum disease are infections of the mouth, the battle to control the infection can begin. At Amber Leaf Family Dental, we not only restore the teeth that are affected by dental disease, but more importantly, we look for ways to eliminate and prevent further disease. Here is a list of several preventative services available to you at our practice:

  1. Regular cleanings and exams. We may recommend an interval of three, four, or six months between your visits depending on the current state of your oral health. This is the single most important preventative service we provide.
  2. At our office, we strive to educate our patients. By understanding the disease process, you can more easily help eliminate the problems it may cause. We will teach you proper home care, plaque control, and the role of diet in dental disease. We can also recommend other tools you can use in your prevention plan.
  3. If your teeth are at risk for decay, sealants are an excellent way to protect the surfaces of your teeth containing pits, fissures, and grooves. Sealants are considered the most effective way to prevent pit and fissure decay. This preventative procedure involves applying a tooth-colored material to the biting surfaces of the teeth at risk. It is especially useful for children.
  4. Prescription fluoride. Topical prescription fluoride can prevent decay by incorporating into tooth structure, kill bacteria, and reduce sensitivity in teeth.
  5. Antimicrobial rinses or antibiotics. There several treatments available which target the microbes responsible for causing tooth decay and periodontal disease.

How can I keep my teeth for life?

Prevention is the cornerstone of the dental practice. After all, if oral disease is not able to gain the advantage, chances are we, as a team, will be able to maintain the integrity of your teeth. Furthermore, studies show time and time again that emphasis on preventative dentistry leads to the discovery of problems when they are small. When this happens, dentistry is less expensive, less complex, and there is less tooth loss. 

Health care delivery, including dentistry, involves two models, the surgical model and the medical model. The surgical model involves the restoration of the damage which a particular disease has done to a part of the body. An example of this is a filling to repair a decayed tooth. The medical model involves the recognition of an at risk patient, the diagnosis of a disease and the subsequent steps taken to eradicate and prevent further proliferation of the disease. More simply stated, this means steps can be taken to prevent further destruction of your teeth and gums.

Once a patient understands that cavities and gum disease are infections of the mouth, the battle to control the infection can begin. At Amber Leaf Family Dental, we not only restore the teeth that are affected by dental disease, but more importantly, we look for ways to eliminate and prevent further disease. Here is a list of several preventative services available to you at our practice:

  1. Regular cleanings and exams. We may recommend an interval of three, four, or six months between your visits depending on the current state of your oral health. This is the single most important preventative service we provide.
  2. At our office, we strive to educate our patients. By understanding the disease process, you can more easily help eliminate the problems it may cause. We will teach you proper home care, plaque control, and the role of diet in dental disease. We can also recommend other tools you can use in your prevention plan.
  3. If your teeth are at risk for decay, sealants are an excellent way to protect the surfaces of your teeth containing pits, fissures, and grooves. Sealants are considered the most effective way to prevent pit and fissure decay. This preventative procedure involves applying a tooth-colored material to the biting surfaces of the teeth at risk. It is especially useful for children.
  4. Prescription fluoride. Topical prescription fluoride can prevent decay by incorporating into tooth structure, kill bacteria, and reduce sensitivity in teeth.
  5. Antimicrobial rinses or antibiotics. There several treatments available which target the microbes responsible for causing tooth decay and periodontal disease.

When should I bring my child in for their first visit?

We suggest that you schedule your child’s first dental examination at the age of 1. The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommends the following: first dental visit by 1st birthday. As soon as we get additional information on your child we will update your records and provide you with a reminder at that time. 

We hope that this information is helpful to you. If you have any questions, please call us at any time.

Tobacco Use and Your Oral Health

Twenty-six percent of the adult population in the United States smokes cigarettes. This can affect your oral health significantly. Smoking, whether it is cigarettes, cigars, or smokeless tobacco, appears to be a major risk factor for periodontal disease and for oral cancer.

We, at Amber Leaf Family Dental, understand the dangers of smoking. We also realize that most people are aware of these dangers and do not want to be “lectured.” Rather than lecture, we offer complete exams at your visits, education, and a smoking cessation program if you are interested. This program involves many options including an assessment of your tobacco use, referral to the University of Minnesota, the use of the “patch”, and the support and follow-up necessary to help you stop smoking.

We understand that quitting smoking is not easy. However, the rewards to your health are well worth our efforts. Please contact one of our doctors or hygienists if you are interested in obtaining information on our programs.

Remember, we are here to support you and your total oral health.

Are braces right for me?

If you look around, you will see more and more adults getting braces. An improved appearance through orthodontic treatment can greatly enhance an adult smile by correcting poor jaw profile or crooked teeth. Orthodontic treatment can also benefit your overall dental health. Poorly aligned teeth can make proper plaque and tartar removal difficult. Furthermore, a poor bite may result in fractured teeth, excessively worn teeth, or contribute to bone loss around the teeth.

Orthodontic treatment for adults often needs to be coordinated with other dental treatment to restore damaged teeth, missing teeth, or teeth that have been affected by periodontal disease. Treatment lengths and fees will vary depending on the severity of the problem.

If your problems are relatively minor, you may be a candidate for the “invisible braces.” This treatment consists of wearing plastic “mouthguards” which are changed at regular intervals. However, this treatment can only be used by people with mild orthodontic problems. If you have any questions about braces, please feel free to ask. We would be happy to provide you with a referral.
What is cracked tooth syndrome?

If the thought of accidentally biting your tongue or cheek makes you wince, there’s good reason why. Jaw muscles can close the teeth with a force as great as 55 pounds on the incisors (front teeth) and 200 pounds on the molars (back teeth). In fact, forces greater than 268 pounds for molars have been reported.

Power chewing also results in a lot of wear and tear on our teeth. Sometimes, the stress of chewing causes teeth to crack, especially when subjected to the stress of chewing hard foods or ice, or by biting on an unexpected hard object. Occasionally, the crack extends into the pulp (nerve) of the tooth.

Symptoms that signal signs of a cracked tooth can include pain when chewing or exposure to cold air and unsolicited pain.

Most cracked teeth can be restored by placing a crown on the tooth. If you need a crown, the procedure will typically require two appointments. The first step is to take impressions, prepare the tooth for the crown, and place a temporary crown over the prepared tooth. The permanent crown will be fabricated and then cemented at your next appointment.

It is important to realize that most cracks will not show up on an x-ray. If pain persists after placement of the temporary crown, the crack may extend into the nerve chamber of the tooth. Please be sure to tell us right away. This tooth may require endodontic treatment (root canal therapy) before the crown is placed.

In rare instances, your tooth cannot be saved. If the tooth crack extends into the root of the tooth below the level of the bone, the tooth may need to be extracted.

What do I do if my jaw hurts?

Noises in the jaw joint, the TMJ, are extremely common in the general population. Joint problems, involving the TMJ, are slightly more common in women than men. Like any joint, such as the hip, shoulder, or wrist, the TMJ muscles in your jaw can be strained or injured. The injury can be the result of a specific trauma to the jaw or can result from prolonged microtrauma from oral habits. There are also other causes for jaw problems as well.

Once a joint or muscle is strained, it can be easily re-injured (like a sprained ankle which is subsequently more prone to injury). Because we use the jaw for so many activities (talking, eating, yawning, and laughing), the joint and the muscles are constantly moving. Therefore, total relaxation of the jaw joint and surrounding muscles is difficult. Holding the jaw muscles and joints in a relaxed position is, however, very manageable with practice. Regular attempts to relax the jaw muscles, and avoidance of activities that would overwork the area, will be helpful to reduce pain and prevent additional strain to the area. The following suggestions should help:

  1. Apply moist heat for 15-20 minute two to four times each day to the painful area. For example, microwave a gel pack or hot water bottle and a wet towel until they are very warm. Wrap the towel around the gel pack/ hot water bottle and put it on both sides of your jaw going under your chin, or to one side and then the other side of your jaw. This should feel very warm but comfortable. Also, try using ice wrapped in a very thin cloth (or no cloth) for 5-10 minutes two to four times each day. The ice may initially give you a “burning” sensation. This is normal. Keep the ice on the painful area only until you first feel some numbness, and then remove it. Heat or ice can reduce joint or muscle pains and relaxes the muscles. You may also find that cold followed with heat is useful. Experiment.
  2. Eat a pain-free diet. Avoid hard foods, such as French bread or bagels.
  3. Avoid chewy foods, such as steak or candy. Cut fruit into small pieces and steam vegetables. Chew with your back teeth rather than biting with your front teeth.
  4. Chew your food on both sides at the same time to reduce strain on one side.
  5. Avoid caffeine. Caffeine is a muscle-tensing drug that can make your muscles feel tighter. Caffeine or caffeine-like drugs are in coffee, tea, soda, chocolate and some aspirins. Decaffeinated coffee typically has half as much caffeine as regular coffee.
  6. Avoid oral habits that put strain on the jaw muscles and joints. These include:
    1. Teeth clenching
    2. Teeth grinding
    3. Touching or holding the teeth gently together
    4. Biting cheeks/lips
    5. Pushing your tongue against teeth
    6. Jaw muscle tensing
    7. Avoid biting objects like pens or pencils. DO NOT CHEW GUM.
  7. Avoid resting your jaw on your hand.
  8. When you feel like yawning, put your tongue hard against the top of your mouth and let your mouth open as far as it can without letting your tongue off the top of your mouth. You can also put your hand under your jaw to limit the opening.
  9. Avoid stomach sleeping since this puts strain on the jaw and neck muscles. Sleeping on your side is okay as long as you do not put a force on your jaw. Sleeping on your back is the best.

Recognize that this is not a life-threatening situation, even though it can be very uncomfortable. Injury to the TMJ and jaw muscles is extremely common, and locking of the jaw is not uncommon. Most often, these symptoms will improve over time. Changing habits, relaxing the area, avoiding additional strain or injury and doing the above should speed up your recovery considerably.

What are abfractions?

Forces on teeth are very strong. Muscles in the face and jaw can generate the force equivalent to 55 pounds on the incisors (front teeth) and 200 pounds on the molars (back teeth). Recently, research has taught us that the force generated by the teeth can be transmitted to the neck of the tooth, near the gumline. In some individuals, this causes small “crevices” at the gumline.

For years, dentists and researchers thought this was toothbrush abrasion. However, now we know that this is not toothbrush abrasion. Rather, the forces from the biting surfaces of the teeth causing this breakage in the tooth are called abfractions. These abfractions can also cause sensitivity at the gumline.

This problem can be solved rather easily. A bonded filling material is placed in the area where the tooth is broken. Then, we check the bite to be sure that the affected tooth or teeth are not hitting too hard. This bonded filling material helps to reduce sensitivity that might be present and help to prevent further breakage of tooth structure.

What are Sjogren’s Syndrome and Dry Mouth?

Sjogren’s syndrome is a condition that may affect any or all of the moisture producing glands of the body. From an oral health perspective, the effects of compromised salivary gland function can be profound. A dry mouth can cause an increase in plaque, tooth decay, chapped lips, mouth sores sensitivity of the tongue, soreness of the throat, fungal infections, changes in the sense of taste, and difficulty in swallowing and speaking.

Maintaining excellent oral hygiene is a priority in order to prevent the problems associated with this condition. The following is a suggested regimen in order to optimally maintain your oral health:

  • Three or more dental check-ups per year.
  • Brushing after each meal with a soft bristled toothbrush.
  • Daily flossing of the teeth.
  • Daily use of a topical fluoride supplement.
  • Saliva supplements to aid mouth dryness.
  • Keep a glass of water next to your bed as you sleep.
  • Avoid alcohol, caffeine, and tobacco.
  • Suck on sugar-free hard candy or chew sugar-free gum.