Did you know there are five distinct stages of tooth decay? And, that in the first stage of decay, you can actually take steps to reverse the progression of the disease? Indeed, it’s true. In the first stage of decay, whether you’re a child or an adult, the application of fluoride via fluoride treatments, your toothpaste and even the local water supply can stop a cavity from penetrating through the enamel and reaching its second stage. Even the saliva in your mouth and the foods you eat help to re-mineralize a tooth in jeopardy. But that’s just the first stage! What about the rest? Understanding how a cavity progresses can assist you in preventing each successive stage from occurring in your children. There’s always a lot going on in that little mouth!

Stage One: White Spots In stage one, the tooth begins to show signs of strain from the attack of sugars and acids, and white spots will begin to materialize just below the surface of the enamel. These white spots are representative of the demineralization of the tooth and can be easy to miss because they’re likely to occur on your child’s molars. A dental exam, of course, is designed to catch such cavities! Can you see why regular visits to the dentist are recommended? As mentioned previously, at this stage, the cavity can be repaired without the need to excavate the tooth.

Stage Two: Enamel Decay Stage two marks the beginning of the end for the surface enamel that is being attacked. Initially, the tooth erodes from the underside outward, so the outer enamel will still be intact for the first half of this second stage. Once the cavity breaks through the surface of the enamel, there is no turning back, and your child will need to have the cavity corrected with a filling. 

Stage Three: Dentin Decay If a cavity in your child’s mouth were to progress beyond stage two without you knowing, you’d tend become aware of it when it started to hit stage three because it would probably start to cause some pain. At this level, the cavity begins to eat away at the second level of tooth material that lies beneath the enamel: the dentin. A filling can still be used to stop the onslaught of bacteria assaulting the tooth in order to prevent the cavity from reaching the tooth’s most critical component: the pulp.

Stage Four: Involvement of The Pulp Once the cavity reaches the pulp, it’s going to hurt. A lot. So if you’ve unfortunately missed all the signs to this point, a screaming child or moaning teenager will certainly let you know there is a big problem. Stage four is serious, and a root canal is the only option of treatment at this stage, save for a complete extraction.

Stage Five: Abscess Formation In the fifth and final stage of a cavity, the infection has reached the tip of the root and exited the tip of the tooth’s structure. This in turn infects the surrounding tissues and possibly the bone structure. Swelling would be commonplace and pain severe. In children (as well as adults) an abscess can be fatal if not dealt with immediately. Root canal or extraction would be the order of the day should decay reach this stage.  

As you can see, cavities don’t happen overnight. In the early stages, regular visits can stall and reverse the progression of these dastardly little devils, so it really does pay to visit the dentist at pre-selected intervals. You can keep your kids far from stage five their whole lives, and if a little bit of prodding to get them to the dentist accomplishes that, you can rest easy despite the griping.

Imagine it’s still winter … you’re standing at the door, ready to brave the cold. You’re layered-up with three shirts and a sweatshirt, your heavy winter coat, and two layers of socks underneath your waterproof winter boots. Then you’ve got those awesome jeans with the flannel on the inside, your comfy hat, scarf, and gloves. You’re set! But wait. As you step toward the door, you suddenly realize you have an itch … and it’s deep down … buried beneath all those layers. And, try as you may, every attempt to reach that bugger-of-an-itch fails. Defeated, you realize the only relief you’re ever gonna’ get is to remove each one of those layers. Where are we going with this?!

The Tongue

We’re going inside your mouth, of course, to your tongue – this is a dental article, after all! Because whether you know it or not, like you in the wintertime, your tongue is also “all covered up” – buried beneath layers of bacteria, fungi, and food residue that can inhibit your ability to taste, let alone cause your tongue to appear various shades of yellow, white, or green! Remove the bacteria, though, and your food will once again directly interact with those taste buds, and return to its natural hue. So how does one do that? With a tongue scraper, of course!

WHAT is a tongue scraper?

A tongue scraper is a U-shaped device designed to “scrape” the top layer of scum from yourtongue. They have been in use since ancient times, and have been made of everything from wood to whalebone. Nowadays, they are made of more hygienic material, and come in a variety of shapes, sizes, designs and colors.

WHY use a tongue scraper?

  • Reduce your risk of periodontal disease and cavities: Bad bacteria contribute to plaque and tartar on teeth, making them more susceptible to cavities. Bacteria build-up can also lead to inflammation of gum tissue (gingivitis). If left untreated, gingivitis can lead to periodontal disease, which means a more expensive dental visit (plus other unwanted consequences!). Speaking of avoiding an expensive dental visit, when was the last time you came in to see us? Come see us now if it’s been awhile, by calling in at 407-774-4433.

 • Make room for good bacteria and Reduce Bad Breath: see our article here on probiotics for your mouth.

Prevent heart disease? While the debate is still up in the air, some studies suggest there could be a correlation between gum disease and heart disease.

HOW does one use a tongue scraper? In general, make sure to rinse your tongue scraper before and after use. Apply the tongue scraper to the back of your tongue and drag it forward. Then, rinse and repeat.

Make sure to get the sides of your tongue as well, not just the center! Make sure not to press too hard or you can cause yourself to bleed. And, if you’re wondering if you should scrape your tongue while recovering from a dental procedure, that’s a good question … ask your dentist for the best advice particular to your situation. Still not sure how this thing really works? The next time you’re in ask Dr Halek or one of our Team Members for a quick tutorial!

WHERE do I buy one? Your first choice is, believe it or not, US! Tongue scrapers are relatively inexpensive, and can also be found at any local drugstore. It doesn’t matter the material, color, or brand – just find the one you like and get scraping!

By Spa Touch Dentistry
May 04, 2018
Category: Oral Cancer
Tags: Oral Cancer  

If there were a quick and painless way to identify pre-cancerous cells in the mouth of someone you loved, would you want them to try it? What if that person were you? The truth is, as uncomfortable as it may be to even think of the word “cancer,” thinking about it, and thus detecting it early, is key. That’s why, if you haven’t been to the dentist in a while, you should schedule a visit, because while the oral exam that accompanies your cleaning may not be noticeable to you, it’s often your earliest line of defense in the detection of oral cancer. Lets take a quick look at a few of the risk factors and symptoms, and consider a few options you may have to help reduce risk. Keep in mind that no list is exhaustive, and to always share with each of your health care providers your concerns and strategies regarding your oral health.

Those at Risk for Oral Cancer

Passing certain age thresholds and engaging in certain lifestyle habits can place you at increased risk for oral cancer. For example, men tend to have higher rates of oral cancers than women. Here is the short list:

· Patients age 40 and older (95% of all oral cancer cases)

· Patients age 18-39 who use tobacco, are heavy drinkers, or may have a previously diagnosed oral HPV infection.

Warning Signs

If you experience any of the below symptoms lasting more than 7-10 days, please seek the advice of your doctor. Also, keep in mind that aside from an obviously sore throat, the below symptoms can present themselves in the absence of pain. Look out for changes that can be detected on the lips, inside the cheeks, palate, and gum tissue surrounding your teeth and tongue. At Spa touch Dentistry, we occasionally run across such concerns a few times a year, and are able to help patients get treatment early.

  • Reddish or whitish patches in the mouth
  • A sore that fails to heal and bleeds easily
  • A lump or thickening on the skin lining the inside of the mouth • Chronic sore throator hoarseness
  • Difficulty chewing or swallowing

 

Reducing risk If you do not visit the dentist regularly, you could be missing out on the benefits of early cancer detection. Currently, just over half of all those diagnosed with oral cancer survive more than five years – a statistic driven by late diagnosis – so please visit your dentist and get an oral exam at least once a year. If you are considered “high risk,” (see list above) you should be receiving an oral exam at least every six months, if not more frequently.

Below is a short list of healthy habits you can start doing now, which may reduce your risk.

  • Avoid all tobacco products
  • Avoid or reduce your consumption of alcohol
  • Consume more fruits and vegetables (good for everything, of course)
  • Avoid excessive sun exposure that can result in cancer of the lip (using lip balm with an SPF of at least 30 can be helpful)
  • Avoid exposure to environmental hazards (wood dust, formaldehyde, printing chemicals)
  • Conduct a self-exam monthly so you can catch any of the symptoms listed above. Use a small hand-held mirror so you can see the back of your mouth and tongue. Denise, is a great person to ask for instructions on this sort of home exam. If you haven’t been in to see us in a while, give us a ring at 407-774-4433, and we’ll show you how to perform this exam in between visits.

Oral cancer is serious business. Yet, it can be managed when caught early. So, do the right thing and visit your dentist regularly, and get that screening.

 

By Spa Touch Dentistry
September 12, 2014
Category: Dental Treatment
Tags: Dentist   Spa  
Are you someone that can’t get enough of the spa? Do you love a good massage? Perhaps, you ask for a massage whenever your birthday comes around. Why shouldn’t more things in life feel like a day at the spa? That’s the same way we feel! Why shouldn’t our patients feel like they are coming to a spa when they come in for their dental cleaning? Sure, the idea might sound a bit weird, but patients love their relaxing dental visit. If you want to combine the spa treatment with your next dental cleaning, then consider getting spa touch dentistry in Apopka.
 

Going to the Dentist Should be Relaxful!

 
We want our patients to feel comfortable coming to the dentist. It’s not surprising that a lot of people feel anxious and nervous when they come in for their appointment. Dr. Mark Halek, our Apopka, FL dentist, wants to remove all those negative feelings and transport you to a soothing world outside the dentist’s chair. We want you to feel like you just had a day at the spa. We value compassionate care here at our office, and we practice spa touch dentistry in Apopka with a gentle touch.
 
Before your cleaning begins, your Apopka spa touch dentist will place a warm, comforting eye wrap on you to cover and soothe your tired eyes. While the calming warmth of the wrap takes over, enjoy a relaxing massage from one of our dental chairs. Your back deserves some TLC!
 
Dr. Mark Halek also offers relaxing music and essential oils, which only help to enhance your spa touch dentistry experience. We want you to feel like royalty when you sit back in our dental chairs! Just because you are at your dentist’s office doesn’t mean it needs to feel like it. We believe your dental experience should be comforting every step of the way.
 
Additionally, Dr. Halek also offers a complimentary extra oral exam, offered with the use of gentle touch therapy. This exam is similar to a mini facial massage, and it’s the ideal way to end your dental appointment. You’ll feel rejuvenated and ready to tackle that laundry list of daily tasks when you leave our office. Not only that, but you’ll also be leaving with a sparkling, clean smile. We want all our patients to maintain healthy smiles that last a lifetime, and through spa touch dentistry in Apopka, we now have a comforting way to do just that.
 

Call Spa Touch Dentistry for Any Questions!

 
If you’re interested in having a dental cleaning that feels like a trip to the spa, call us today at (407) 774-4433 to setup an appointment.
 
Have you experienced our spa touch dentistry in Apopka? Were you amazed at how relaxing and calming the whole process was? We would love to hear your feedback! We’re here to make all our patients as comfortable as possible.




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