At Minty Smile Dental, Our Team can find oral cancer before it becomes severe. We examine the tissue in your mouth and use OralID™ to help find any early presence of oral cancer.
Oral cancer includes cancer of the lips, tongue, floor of the mouth, cheeks, throat, sinuses, and hard or soft palate. Oral cancer is typically successfully treated when it is detected early. Most cases of oral cancer are not found until they have progressed into a serious stage. This becomes more difficult to treat.
Our office is dedicated to assisting you detect and treat oral cancer and other abnormalities during the early stages. During a routine dental cleaning and exam, we perform an oral cancer screening to check for signs of oral cancer.
Symptoms of Oral Cancer
Keep in mind that many of the symptoms of oral cancer are also symptoms of other health issues in many cases. It’s imperative that you learn to recognize the symptoms of this issue so that you can bring it to the attention of our staff. The health and safety of our patients is our first priority, and we do not feel that any question or concern regarding your oral health is too small or too silly.
We want our patients to come to us with issues, concerns or questions regarding oral health, especially as it pertains to oral cancer. That’s why we like our patients informed about the potential signs that oral cancer might be present so we can get to work identifying the problem in an effort to treat it right away.
- Sores that bleed very easily
- Sores that do not heal in the mouth
- A hard, crusty area in the mouth
- A rough area in the mouth
- A sudden difference in the way your teeth fit together when you bit down on something
- Problems or concerns chewing, swallowing, moving your tongue, moving your jaw, speaking
Each symptom by itself is not all that concerning. A rough area could be a sore you developed after biting the inside of your mouth repeatedly. Numbness or pain might be associated with recent dental work. Tenderness could be an infection or a tooth that needs to come out. Each of these signs could mean something entirely different, but none is good so please don’t hesitate to call our offices with your questions or concerns.
If you notice any of these symptoms, we recommend that you call our office immediately. We will perform an oral cancer screening and ensure that you are in good health.
Schedule a Consultation with Our Dental Expert
The best way to prevent oral cancer from developing into something worse is with an oral cancer screening. If you are someone at risk for oral cancer, call one of our dentists today to schedule a consultation. Our staff knows that your oral health is important to you, and it’s important to us for that reason. Don’t wait to see if your symptoms become worse. Call now to schedule a consultation to check out your mouth and look for a diagnosis. If oral cancer is detected in your screening, we work closely with you to come up with a treatment plan that fits your lifestyle, as your comfort is important to us. Call (469) 759-6964 to schedule an appointment today.
Improve Your Oral Health
Minty Smile Dental is are committed to helping improve your oral health. We treat you like family and are proud to offer services such as dental emergency care, gum disease treatment, and serious tooth damage or infection.
Our team can restore your beautiful smile with comprehensive general dentistry for residents in Duncanville, TX and all surrounding areas in Collins and Dallas County. General dentistry aims to help you achieve and maintain a healthy smile. Whether you need a simple checkup, or you are seeking complex restorative treatment, we are here to help you with your smile. Our Team provides comprehensive general dentistry.
We encourage all of our patients to see the dentist every six months. During your routine checkup, we will provide a thorough dental cleaning and exam to ensure your smile is healthy. Based on these results, we will recommend any preventative or restorative treatments you need. If you notice any dental pain or damage in between appointments, we urge you to contact us as soon as possible to receive high quality dental care.
Bad Breath (Halitosis)
Bad breath, or halitosis, is a very common oral health problem. People of any age may have halitosis, including:
- Those who practice poor dental hygiene.
- The elderly, disabled people and young children, who find dental hygiene difficult.
- People who use mouth appliances, including dental braces and dentures.
- Smokers are more prone to halitosis and periodontal disease (another contributor to bad breath).
- People with certain medical conditions, including tooth decay, impacted teeth, abscessed teeth, periodontal disease, alcoholism, uncontrolled diabetes, kidney disease, sinusitis, throat and lung infections (such as bronchitis), post-nasal drip, allergies and dry mouth. Dry mouth may result from a high-protein diet, non-fibrous diet or medical condition.
- People on certain medications, including certain vitamin supplements, antihistamines, calcium blockers, cardiac medications, blood pressure pharmaceuticals and psychiatric drugs. These substances can inhibit saliva flow or produce dry mouth, which may lead to halitosis. Dry mouth may also lead to excessive thirst and tooth decay – a good foundation for halitosis once again.
- Poor dieters who are dehydrated because of certain foods they eat may have bad breath. Foods that contribute to halitosis include diet soda, onions, spices, garlic, curry, cabbage and coffee. High-protein food debris lodged between the teeth can produce halitosis as well.
Researchers have determined that bad breath typically begins when the waste produced by bacteria in the mouth, nose or stomach comes into contact with the air.
Nasal dysfunction, including a genetic abnormality in the nasal passage, may inhibit proper mucus flow. The bacteria found in sinusitis, post-nasal drip and allergies may pass from the nose to the back of the tongue where it can lie dormant due to improper saliva flow or poor dental hygiene.
When bacterial plaque is not removed from the teeth, the gums or between the teeth, it continues to grow and ultimately may lead to halitosis, tooth decay and gum disease.
Biologists have found that numerous types of bacteria contribute to halitosis. All of these bacteria are found in other types of unpleasant odors, including corpse scent (a combination of oxygen and sulfur compounds and/or nitrogen-containing gases such as cadaverine), decayed meat (putrescine), rotten egg stench (hydrogen sulfide), smelly feet (isovaleric acid), as well as feces aroma (methyl mercaptan and skatole).
To think that such scents could be emanating from your mouth is unpleasant indeed, illustrating the importance of proper dental hygiene and regular dental check-ups.
Bad Breath Solutions: Hygiene, Diet and Breath Aids
Simply put, good dental hygiene prevents halitosis that originates in the mouth. Food debris between your teeth and around your gums creates an ideal environment for the bacteria that cause bad breath, so you need to remove it often.
Brush your teeth at least twice a day, and floss between each tooth daily, if not more often. Your dentist will tell you that brushing and flossing are particularly important after high-protein meals or other meals that trigger foul breath and dehydration.
Use antiseptic mouthwash in the morning, before bedtime and after eating, to reduce halitosis-causing bacteria growth. Antiseptic mouthwash ingredients vary from one product to another and may include chlorhexidine, chlorine dioxide, zinc chloride and oils (such as eucalyptus oil).
Tongue scrapers are also useful in managing bad breath. Scrape the mucus off the back of the tongue, where bacteria may be present; do it gently, to avoid damage to the tongue.
If you have dental braces, dentures or other dental appliances, follow your dental professional’s specific instructions for cleaning these appliances in order to avoid bad breath. This is especially true when it comes to appliances that you remove at night.
Maintain a Proper Diet
Diet plays a significant role in dental hygiene. Certain foods can promote saliva flow to limit the possibility of halitosis; one example is fibrous foods such as raw vegetables. And eating a healthy breakfast every morning starts saliva flow after a night’s sleep when bacteria and odor tend to build up in your mouth.
Staying hydrated through sufficient water intake is also important for bad breath prevention. Sodas, juices and other drinks that are high in sugar and acid, however, will encourage growth of bacteria that cause bad breath.
Use Bad Breath Aids
Mouthwashes, mints and gum can freshen breath in the short term, but they can’t prevent bad breath altogether. You may want to try these bad breath aids as well:
- Straws can send sugary or sticky liquids past the teeth and tongue, so they can’t stay in the mouth and house bacteria. Straws are especially useful for the elderly, small children and disabled people, for whom proper dental hygiene may be difficult.
- For dry mouth sufferers, over-the-counter and prescription medications can help. Certain toothpastes, toothbrushes, mouth rinses and breath sprays are also made to relieve dry mouth. Ask your dentist which ones would be best for you.
If you have bad breath, discolored mucus, colored blotches or bumps on your tongue, it may be a sign of a serious medical condition such as oral thrush, oral herpes or oral cancer. For more information about an oral cancer screening and health, or to schedule an appointment, fill out appointment form or contact us today at (469) 759-6964
Dental hygiene, also known as oral hygiene, is the process by which preventative dental care is provided to avoid dental emergencies. At the core of dental hygiene is the in-home dental care regimen you perform. Your at-home regimen is supplemented with professional preventative dental care provided by dentists and licensed dental hygienists.
While you are responsible for day-to-day dental maintenance, dental hygienists, along with general dentists, family dentists and cosmetic dentists, play an integral role in preventative oral care.
Tooth brushing is fundamentally important, though it alone will not remove the calculus (also called tartar or dental plaque) that builds up over time. Calculus must be removed to lower your risk of toothaches, cavities, periodontal disease or even the loss of all your teeth. By removing calculus, you can reduce your chances of needing root canals, tooth extractions, dental bridges, crowns and more.
Getting to the Root of Dental Hygiene
Over time, calculus builds up on the teeth. If calculus forms below the gum line, bacteria can invade and create a host of other dental problems. Furthermore, the surfaces and areas between the teeth and under the gum line must be maintained and treated on a regular basis in order to ensure proper dental hygiene. These areas are impossible for you to examine yourself; they require a professional touch.
Dental hygienists are often responsible for performing professional tooth cleaning, scraping hardened plaque (tartar), removing calculus deposits, taking X-rays, identifying changes in the bite (occlusion), investigating components that relate to the bone and setting up the nitrous oxide (“laughing gas”) that is used, when necessary, to relax people requiring more invasive treatment.
Your dentist then works with your hygienist by further examining the teeth, mouth and gums to provide any necessary treatment for tooth decay or gum disease. Regular dental visits are critical at any age for the maintenance of dental hygiene. The American Dental Association recommends that patients visit with their dentist and dental hygienist a minimum of two times each year to maintain proper dental hygiene.
The Different Types of Teeth Cleanings
No matter how well you take care of your teeth at home, regular dental cleanings are a necessity. Not only will your dentist provide a much more thorough cleaning than you can achieve on your own, but they will also be able to check for any dental issues and treat them before significant problems arise.
Depending on the type of cleaning required, you may need to see your dentist more than twice a year. For example, high plaque developers often require more dental visits.
In your initial patient exam, our dentist at Minty Smile Dental will measure gums and bone to determine what kind of cleaning is necessary based on your specific needs:
A general teeth cleaning also known as a prophy removes stains, plaque, and tartar from the surface of your teeth. Your hygienist may follow these steps to complete a routine cleaning:
- Using a scaler, the hygienist will scrape off any tartar that has accumulated over time.
- A special motorized rubber toothbrush will be used to smooth and polish your teeth, making it harder for plaque to build up in the future. The polishing also eliminates surface stains and adds a shiny look to your smile.
- Your hygienist will floss in between all your teeth to massage your gums and ensure no food or harmful bacteria is left behind.
- You will be given a rinse to rid your mouth of any remaining bacteria.
- After your teeth are properly cleaned, a fluoride treatment will be applied, which aids in strong tooth enamel.
It is important to note that this type of cleaning only takes care of the crowns of your teeth. A routine dental cleaning is great for maintaining a smile in good oral health but will not be sufficient enough for those who suffer from dental issues such as gingivitis (gum disease).
Full Mouth Debridement
For those who may have skipped their last few dental cleanings, a full mouth debridement will likely be necessary. Standard dental cleanings remove plaque that accumulates over time, and not having one for a significant period results in more calculus buildup than the average cleaning can address.
Debridement eliminates excessive amounts of buildup caused by a lack of cleaning. Electric scalers are a preferred method for effectively removing the stubborn plaque and tartar buildup that occurs.
In extreme cases of calculus and plaque, oral debridement will be required before your dentist can accurately assess your full dental health status. After the buildup has been entirely removed, you will need to schedule a regular cleaning.
Deep cleaning is necessary for individuals with gum disease, as the method eliminates tartar, bacteria, and debris underneath the gum line. This intensive cleaning acts as an immediate treatment for gum disease, though further treatment may be required depending on the severity of your condition.
Your gum line can’t be accessed with regular brushing or flossing and is not typically addressed during a routine cleaning, which is why deep cleanings are essential for treating periodontal disease. If the harmful bacteria is not adequately removed from the gum line, infection and inflammation will worsen, which could lead to tooth or bone loss.
You may require a local anesthetic for the intensive treatment, as your dentist will remove all tartar and calculus from your gum line during a deep cleaning. Additionally, once your gum line is cleared, the root of your tooth will be planned to prevent bacteria from accumulating in the future.
Periodontal Maintenance Cleaning
Once you’ve addressed the symptoms of gum disease with a deep cleaning, periodontal maintenance will replace your standard cleanings. Maintenance visits are typically required every three months so your dentist can perform an ongoing assessment of your oral health and ensure gum disease is kept at bay. In addition to caring for your crowns, the cleaning also focuses on the gums, bones, and roots of your teeth. Patients with a genetic predisposition to gum disease may need to schedule additional maintenance cleanings to protect their smile.
No matter the state of your teeth, scheduling regular professional teeth cleanings is an integral part of caring for your oral health. Schedule an appointment with our Dentist today to see which type of teeth cleaning would be most beneficial for you.