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Category: General Dentistry

March 20, 2017
5 days ago

Wisdom teeth are the last teeth to erupt in the mouth. They are the last molars on the upper and lower teeth and usually erupt in late teen years or the early twenties.

Since the wisdom teeth come in last, sometimes there is not enough room in the mouth to accommodate them. When there is not enough room it causes the wisdom teeth to become partially or fully impacted.

Impacted wisdom teeth can cause major problems for patients. These issues may not necessarily show signs that you can see but they can definitely cause pain.

Here are four indicators of problematic wisdom teeth that you should be aware of:

  • Pain in the Jaw: If you have jaw pain you may have a problem with your wisdom teeth. A commHow-to-decrease-pain-and-swelling-after-wisdom-tooth-removal-surgeryon sign is when the pain concentrates in the area around the gums.
  • Swelling: The area where the wisdom teeth are can become swollen and red. These swollen areas sometimes have heavy bleeding and can become very painful.
  • Bad Breath: Bad breath will often accompany infection in the wisdom teeth.
  • Headaches: Painful headaches are associated with problematic wisdom teeth. Especially if they arise at the same time as jaw pain and swelling, these headaches are also caused by the wisdom teeth.
  • Problems Chewing: If you feel that your bite has changed and the teeth are coming together differently while chewing, this can be caused by problematic wisdom teeth. Sometimes the mouth also will not open and close as much or as easily as it used to also.

If any of the symptoms are occurring you should let your dentist know right away. If there is infection present they will need to prescribe an antibiotic. Infections in the mouth affect your overall health and are important to address quickly.

If you or anyone you know would like their wisdom teeth evaluated, have them call 215-568-6222 to set up a free consultation with Dr. Ken Cirka and Dr. Jessica Meier. We look forward to meeting you soon!

March 6, 2017
3 weeks ago

Patients often come into the office complaining of dry mouth. Sometimes having a dry mouth can be so bad that it wakes patients up from their sleep and can be a constant struggle throughout the day.

Dry mouth is not only very uncomfortable; it can lead to serious health problems for you.

How do I know if I have Dry Mouth? What are the Symptoms?

  • A dry, almost sticky feel in your mouth8afb4ca8d87269e52d_skm6bh7td
  • Cracked lips
  • Trouble tasting
  • Trouble speaking
  • Trouble chewing and /or swallowing
  • Burning feeling in the mouth and throat
  • A dry feeling in the throat
  • Cracked lips
  • An infection in the mouth

Everyone can experience dry mouth from time to time. Dry mouth is only a problem if you have it very often or all of the time.

Dry mouth can be caused by:

  • Certain diseases– the salivary glands can be affected by some diseases including diabetes, HIV/AIDS, Parkinson’s, and Sjögren’s Syndrome
  • Medical treatments– different therapies such as chemotherapy and radiation therapy can decrease salivary flow
  • Medications– as many as 400 different medications can affect the salivary glands and decrease saliva flow
  • Damage to nerve endings– trauma to the head and neck region can affect salivary flow

It is important to see your dentist and your primary care physician to let them know that you are experiencing dry mouth so that they can help you diagnose the underlying reason why it is happening.

When the mouth is dry you will not have enough saliva to keep the mouth wet. It is very important to generate enough saliva to be able to:

  • Properly digest food
  • Protect teeth from cavities
  • Prevent infection by controlling bacteria in the mouth and throat
  • Help you chew and swallow comfortably

What Can be Done About Dry Mouth?

Depending on what is causing the problem, dry mouth is treated in different ways. Be sure to see your dentist and your primary care doctor so that they can determine what is causing the dry mouth syndrome and treat accordingly.

Treatment modalities include but are not limited to:

  • Saliva Stimulate- If saliva is being produced just not up to high enough levels, your doctor or dentist might give you a medication or a rinse that will increase salivary flow
  • Saliva Substitute- Your doctor or dentist might prescribe artificial saliva to help you
  • Medication Adjustment- If your dry mouth is caused by medications(s), your doctor might change your medicine or adjust the dosage

What can I do at Home?

  • Nighttime use of a humidifier
  • Chewing sugarless gum and using sugarless candy to increase saliva flow.
  • Sipping on water during meals and often during the day
  • Avoiding smoking and alcohol
  • Avoiding spicy and salty foods

Be sure to see your dentist and primary care physician regularly in order to help you if you are dealing with dry mouth. It is important not just for your oral health but for your overall heath as well.

Call us at 215.568.6222 to schedule a free consultation with Dr. Cirka and Dr. Meier today!

February 20, 2017
1 month ago

Different scenarios call for different action in a dental emergency. It is important to see your dentist ASAP; however, we know that this is not always possible.

Here are some tips to help you in the event you or a loved one is in a dental emergency and unable to get right into a dental office.

TOOTHACHE

  • Rinse your mouth vigorously with warm waterurl-1
  • Use floss to remove any food particles stuck between the teeth. If there happens to be swelling present then apply cold pressure on the outside of the cheek
  • Do no place aspirin on the aching teeth or gums because it will burn the tissue
  • See your dentist as soon as possible

OBJECT STUCK BETWEEN THE TEETH

  • Use dental floss to try and remove the object
  • Guide the floss carefully so you do not cut the gums or wedge the object further down into the tissue
  • Do not use a sharp or pointed instrument as it may cause more harm than good

BITTEN LIP OR TONGUE

  • Take medication for pain relief
  • If there is bleeding then apply direct pressure to the area
  • To relieve swelling use ice every 10-15 minutes
  • If the bleeding persists then call your dentist or go to the emergency room

missing-teethKNOCKED-OUT TOOTH

  • Apply direct pressure to the bleeding area for about 20-30 minutes
  • If the bleeding still does not stop, call your dentist immediately or visit the emergency room
  • Gently rinse the tooth with warm water, do not scrub it
  • If it is a baby tooth do not try and insert it back into the socket
  • If it is a permanent tooth you can try to gently insert the tooth back into the socket. If this is not possible then place the tooth in a container of milk or cool water
  • Go to your dentist immediately and bring the tooth with you

BROKEN TOOTH

  • If the broken piece is easy to remove then go ahead and do so
  • Use a clean cloth to apply direct pressure to the area
  • Use cold pressure on the face to minimize swelling in the area of the broken tooth
  • Clean the area gently if needed with warm water
  • If the edges are sharp use chewing gum or soft wax to cover these edges
  • Go to your dentist immediately

In dentistry it is important to act fast to avoid problems getting even worse. For example, although your broken tooth may not hurt, it is important to have a dentist evaluate it as soon as possible because there still may be an issue although it is not causing you pain.dental-visit-300x200

In dentistry prevention is key. Even if you are not experiencing discomfort or problems it is very important to see your dentist regularly for six month check-ups. By going for regular check-ups it is possible to avoid many emergencies that can arise.

Schedule your free consultation with Dr. Ken Cirka and Dr. Jessica Meier to see if you are at risk for any dental emergencies and learn what you can do to prevent them from happening.

February 6, 2017
2 months ago

Invest in a Good Electric Toothbrush

A good electric toothbrush will immediately improve your dental health. While at the store you will likely be able to tell which electric toothbrushes are superior. Look for brands “Sonicare” and “Oral-B” when in the dental aisle. They will cost more but they will do a much better job and last you longer. Your dentist may even have already slipped you a coupon for $10 off one of these at a recent check-up.11-electric-toothbrushes1

The key to these is that they are guaranteed to improve your brushing and oral health. And they will do this quite quickly too. Another benefit is that they have a timer which sets the toothbrush to work for 2 minutes. The American Dental Association (ADA) recommends brushing for 2 minutes twice daily, so this will help keep you honest with timing for brushing.

Ask your dentist and dental hygienist for tips on which electric toothbrush to purchase based on your oral health and also ask them specifics on how to use them.

 

Floss Every Single Day

Never skip a day of flossing. No if’s, and’s, or but’s.

Flossing helps to prevent gum disease, to freshen your breath, and also will prevent cavities too.

For most people it is a matter of finding a convenient time to floss because in order to do it properly it requires some attention to detail. I often tell patients that in the morning you may be in a hurry, and at night you might be too tired.

The time that works for me is right after I eat lunch. Maybe that could also work for you, but see what works with your schedule,floss and just do that.
Patients will often ask if they should floss then brush, or brush first then floss. According to the ADA this actually does not even matter!  The most important thing is that you are flossing every day and brushing twice a day, and doing this with the proper technique.

Crooked or crowded teeth can often make flossing difficult.  Treatments like Invisalign are a huge help in resolving this issue.

Ask your dentist and dental hygienist for tips on how to floss properly. You could even watch a YouTube video on flossing if you are unsure if you are doing it the right way.

Also, avoid using the flossers that are disposable. These ones you usually see on checkout lines at the grocery store and convenience store. These end up costing patients more money and also do not do as good of a job as traditional floss.

Brush your Tongue

Make sure to brush your tongue each time that you are brushing your teeth. The same bacteria that causes gum disease and cavities will start to build-up on your tongue in addition to your teeth and your gums. Not only is this gross, but this is the number one cause of bad breath.

By brushing your tongue you can get rid of bad breath. The tricky part is that the bacteria like to hide on the most posterior aspect of the tongue so it will usually stimulate the gag reflex. Here are some tips to help you brush your tongue and avoid gagging:

  • urlUse your left hand and make a fist and grip the toothbrush tightly. For some reason by doing this, the gag reflex is suppressed. We aren’t sure why but if it helps, use it.
  • While brushing your tongue, concentrate on exhaling out of your mouth
  • Use motions that go side to side rather than back and forth with the brush

These tips will help you brush your tongue with your tooth brush. Keep in mind that at the convenience store they also sell a tool known as a tongue scraper. You will find it in the dental aisle and many patients find that using them works and they avoid the gag reflex entirely. Another tool you can try is a piece of dental floss to scrape the bacteria off.  Use whatever tool works, as long as you are doing it daily.

We look forward to seeing you at your next appointment!  If you ever have any questions, do not hesitate to ask us.

November 27, 2016
4 months ago

Nutrition is key when it comes to the health of your teeth. If your diet is full of sugary and acidic foods then you bet your teeth will be full of cavities. On the other hand if you are eating foods rich in certain nutrients you can protect your teeth and gums from harmful bacteria.

Here are seven foods that you should be eating that can help you keep your teeth strong and healthy:

Carrotsbeautifies-skin-1

Carrots are great because they are full of fiber and vitamin A. If you eat a few raw carrots after a meal it will stimulate the salivary glands and this increase in saliva is protective and will help to prevent cavities.

Almonds

Eating almonds is a great addition to your diet. They are rich in protein and calcium which help both your teeth and your overall body to stay healthy. By adding a quarter cup at dinner time or lunch time you can make a difference.

Leafy Greens

These greens are not only low in calories, they are also full of minerals and vitamins. Foods like kale and spinach are also great sources of calcium which enriches oral health. What’s more is they contain a B vitamin called folic acid which has lots of benefits for your health. Try making a fresh juice or smoothie with them to ensure you get these benefits.

woman-eating-apple-depositphotos-optApples

Fruits like apples have a high water and fiber content. Like carrots they are also great at producing saliva which reduces the risk of cavities. The fiber in the apples will help the gums too by stimulating the areas acting as a natural toothbrush. This is not a replacement for using a toothbrush however it will help give the teeth a good scrub after eating.

Cheese

Research shows that when you eat cheese the pH level in your mouth will rise. The pH level is important because the lower it goes when we eat acidic foods, the more the bacteria are able to grow and multiply. Cheese also contains calcium and protein which are nutrients that strengthen the enamel.

Celery

Celery can seem annoying to eat because of all the strings it contains, however these fibers bristles will act like a natural toothbrush similar to an apple. They will scrap the particles of what you eat and this action removes bacteria too. Celery is a source of vitamins A and C which will boost the health of your gums since they are powerful antioxidants. The high water content is also good for your general health.

imgresYogurt

Similar to cheese, yogurt has calcium and protein which make the teeth stronger and healthier. The probiotics in yogurt also will benefit the gums because these bacteria will try to take over from the bad bacteria which can help avoid cavities. Make sure to check the label however because some brands will add sugar.

Your diet makes a big difference when it comes to a healthy smile. If there is something you are eating that you are not sure is protective or harmful, be sure to ask your dentist at your next checkup and cleaning. In addition to keeping your teeth and gums healthy, Dr. Cirka and Dr. Meier can answer nutritional questions for you.

Be sure to schedule your next appointment with us!

October 2, 2016
6 months ago

The American Dental Association recommends using floss once a day. Patients will often ask if this should be done in the morning or at night. What we find is that as long as you are flossing around the same time each day, then you will be less likely to forget to do it. It’s more about forming a habit and once it is part of your routine you are much less likely to forget.woman-flossing-close-up-oral-health

Without being given proper instructions, it can be tricky to know if you’re doing a good job flossing. Here is a list of Do’s and Don’ts about flossing that will help you stay on track: (more…)

September 19, 2016
6 months ago

 Have you even been in the dental aisle at the drug store and completely overwhelmed by all of the different choices of toothpaste there are? It can be tricky knowing which toothpaste is People at the gymthe best for your health when there are so many options!

This article will help you navigate the dental aisle more easily in order to make the best decision possible. Here are 9 tips for picking the best toothpaste for you: (more…)

June 26, 2016
9 months ago

What are the warning signs of Gum Disease?

Often patients are suffering from Gum Disease and they do not even know it. Gum Disease, also know as Periodontal Disease, is infection and chronic inflammation of the gums and surrounding tissues. Since it is painless in the majority of cases, patients are unaware of what is happening until they are in late stages of the disease.
(more…)

June 16, 2016
9 months ago

Over-the-Counter Nightguards: Why Can’t I just Do-It-Myself?

woman in painIt is important to have a dental professional make an appliance that will protect you from clenching and grinding your teeth. Some patients clench and others grind. Only a dentist can provide a proper diagnosis and the type of nightguard which will work best. Using the incorrect nightguard, wearing it improperly, and not following up with your dentist after its placement can all cause problems for you, the patient. Grinding causes fractured teeth resulting in root canals and crowns, bridges or even implants. (more…)

April 6, 2016
12 months ago

Is Brushing Alone Enough?

brushing-teeth
Brushing twice daily with fluoride toothpaste is an extremely important way to prevent tooth decay and gum disease. If you are doing this now, that is wonderful news to hear! (more…)

Try us out at no risk by scheduling your FREE first visit! 215-568-6222

or contact us today for a free consultation with Dr. Cirka or Dr. Meier in our Center City, Philadelphia office.

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