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Do adults need fluoride treatments?

November 17th, 2017

Many dentists and hygienists recommend fluoride treatments for their adult patients. You might ask yourself, “Do I really need a fluoride treatment? I thought those were just for my kids.” After all, most insurance plans cover fluoride treatments only up to the age of 18.

What you need to know as a dental consumer is that studies have shown topical fluoride applications performed by a dental professional create a significant benefit for adults who have moderate to high risk for cavities.

There are several circumstances that warrant extra fluoride protection among adults. Many prescription medications reduce saliva flow or otherwise create dry mouth. A reduction in saliva increases cavity risk.

Adults often experience gum recession, which exposes part of the root surface of teeth. These areas are softer than the hard enamel at the top of the tooth, which makes them more susceptible to decay.

In addition, adults often get restorative work such as crowns or bridges. Fluoride can help protect the margins of these restorations, ultimately protecting your investment.

Today many people opt for orthodontic treatment (braces) as adults. Braces make it more challenging for patients to maintain good oral hygiene. Just ask your kids! Fluoride can keep the teeth strong and cavity-free even with the obstacle of orthodontic appliances.

Have you had a restoration done within the last year due to new decay? If you have, that puts you at a higher risk for cavities. Fluoride treatments are a great way to prevent more cavities in patients who are already prone to them.

How is that flossing coming along? You know you should floss daily, but do you? If your oral hygiene is not ideal, fluoride could be just the thing to keep your neglect from leading to cavities between your teeth.

Fluoride can also help with the growing problem of sensitive teeth. Diets high in acidic foods and beverages, general gum recession, and increased use of whitening products all tend to produce sensitive teeth. Fluoride treatments re-mineralize tooth enamel and reduce that sensitivity.

Patients who undergo radiation treatment for cancer also benefit from topical fluoride applications. Radiation damages saliva glands, thus greatly reducing the flow of saliva. Saliva acts as a buffer against the foods we eat and beverages we drink. Once again, less saliva greatly increases the risk of cavities.

If one or more of these conditions applies to you, consider requesting a topical fluoride treatment. Be sure to ask Dr. Dale Scharine and Dr. Alissa Edwards at your next appointment whether you might benefit from a topical fluoride application.

Elite Smiles Gives Back

November 14th, 2017

At Elite Smiles Dental, we pride ourselves on giving back to the community who has given so much to us. We’re so grateful for our families and our health, and the patients that make our practice so great.

This year, as we reflect on the wonderful people we are surrounded by (in and out of the office), we’re excited to share that we will be participating in Toys for Tots again! This will be our third year and we could not be more excited. Our office will serve as a drop off location for toys, so please feel free to start bringing some toys in on your next visit!

Per our office tradition, we will also be conducting presentations about oral hygiene to community schools in an effort to help out families in need. We believe education is everything and that everyone should have the tools they need to keep their smiles healthy and cavity free.

Do you have ways in which you like to give back during the holiday season? We’d love to hear about them! We hope everyone is enjoying the season and look forward to seeing some of you in the office soon.

Women’s Medications and Dry Mouth

November 10th, 2017

Women using medication to treat a variety of medical conditions are often unaware of the potential side effects. One common side effect of medications such as blood pressure medication, birth control pills, antidepressants, and cancer treatments is dry mouth. The technical term for dry mouth is xerostomia.

Xerostomia can lead to undesirable effects in the oral cavity including periodontal disease and a high rate of decay. Many women who have not had a cavity in years will return for their routine exam and suddenly be plagued with a multitude of cavities around crowns and at the gum line, or have active periodontal disease. The only thing that the patient may have changed in the past six months is starting a new medication.

Saliva washes away bacteria and cleans the oral cavity, and when saliva flow is diminished harmful bacteria can flourish in the mouth leading to decay and gum disease. Many medications can reduce the flow of saliva without the patient realizing the side effect. Birth control pills can also lead to a higher risk of inflammation and bleeding gums. Patients undergoing cancer treatments, especially radiation to the head and neck region, are at a greatly heightened risk of oral complications due to the possibility of damage to the saliva glands.

There are many over the counter saliva substitutes and products to temporarily increase saliva production and help manage xerostomia. One great option for a woman with severe dry mouth or high decay rate is home fluoride treatments. These work in a number of ways, including custom fluoride trays that are worn for a short period of time daily at home, a prescription strength fluoride toothpaste, or an over the counter fluoride rinse. If you have more questions on fluoride treatments, make sure to ask Dr. Dale Scharine and Dr. Alissa Edwards at your next visit to our office.

The benefits of many of the medications on the market outweigh the risks associated with xerostomia, however, with regular exams you can manage the risk and prevent many oral consequences of medications.

When was your last dental checkup?

November 3rd, 2017

While Dr. Dale Scharine and Dr. Alissa Edwards and our team tell you daily oral hygiene habits, such as brushing and flossing, are essential to optimal oral health, regular dental checkups at Elite Smiles Dental ensure your teeth are treated to a deeper level of cleaning.

We recommend for most of our patients to have a cleaning at our Appleton, WI office at least every six months. In addition to a thorough cleaning and polishing of your teeth, visits with Dr. Dale Scharine and Dr. Alissa Edwards help us detect and prevent the onset of tooth decay and gum disease, also known as periodontal disease. During your visit, we will check the health of your mouth, teeth, gums, cheeks, and tongue for signs of any decay or disease. We will also check old fillings and restorations as these can wear away over time due to chewing, clenching, or grinding.

If you are predisposed to any oral diseases, Dr. Dale Scharine and Dr. Alissa Edwards may recommend checking in with us more often than every six months. We want your teeth to get the professional attention they deserve! If you are overdue for your next cleaning, give us a call at our Appleton, WI office to schedule a checkup! See you soon!

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