Basic Tongue Problems

AnnC

Ann Clark, RDH

Basic Tongue Problems

The tongue is often known as the “strongest muscle in the body”.  It is made up of a group of muscles and allows us to swallow, talk, taste, and clean the mouth.  A healthy tongue is pink and covered with small bumps we call taste buds or papillae.

When your tongue experiences soreness or discoloration it can be frustrating due to its constant use.  The majority of tongue problems are not serious and most can be cared for quickly; however, sometimes a discolored or painful tongue can be something more serious like a vitamin deficiency, oral cancer, or AIDS.  Any persisting concerns should have medical advice.

White tongue:
-Leukoplakia: this condition causes excessive cell growth in the mouth causing white patches to grow.  Although not always dangerous they can be a precursor to cancer so let your dentist be the judge.  It can develop from irritation and is more often found in those using tobacco products.
-Oral thrush: also known as candidiasis.  This is a yeast infection of the mouth.  It shows up as white patches like cottage-cheese.  It is more common in infants and the elderly, especially denture wearers or those with weakened immune systems.  Medical conditions like diabetes, or inhaled steroids for asthma or lung disease can increase your risk.  Antibiotics can kill off “good” bacteria resulting in this condition.  Eating plain yogurt and medications can combat this infection.
-Oral lichen planus: this manifests itself as lacey-white lines on your tongue.  Although hard to determine the cause, it often resolves on its own.  Keeping up good hygiene and avoiding tobacco can help the healing process.
Other Conditions: 
-Scarlet fever: contact a doctor if you have a red tongue along side a high fever.  An antibiotic is necessary for this condition.
-Geographic tongue: this is known dentally as benign migratory glossitis and looks like a map pattern of reddish spots with a white border;  their location often shifts.  They are usually harmless and acidic foods can often sting.  If discomfort persists you can be prescribed a topical medication.
-Red or strawberry tongue: many factors can cause a normally pink tongue to turn red or even look strawberry-like with enlarged, red taste buds.  Vitamin deficiencies like B12 and folic acid can cause such an appearance.
-Black hairy tongue: although this looks scary it is typically non-serious.  The small bumps on your tongue grow continually in your lifetime and in some people become excessively long, making it easier to harbor bacteria and cause a dark “hair-like” appearance to form.  This is more commonly found in those with poor hygiene, individuals on antibiotics or chemotherapy and those with diabetes.
-Sore or bumpy tongue:
*Trauma can usually occur from biting or burning your tongue. Grinding and clenching can irritate the sides
your tongue.
*Canker sores or ulcers cause soreness.  Their cause is unknown but stress can aid their development.
*Burning tongue syndrome can occur in post menopausal women.
*Smoking is an irritant to the tongue manifesting in soreness.
*Medical conditions like diabetes and anemia can result with a sore tongue.
*Enlarged papillae can result from irritated taste buds.
*Oral cancer- a spot that doesn’t resolve in a 2 week period needs to be checked.  Many oral cancers do not
hurt in the early stages so don’t assume a lack of pain means you are okay.

Please consult your friendly dental office for an evaluation if any of these conditions arise.  It’s better to be safe.

Want to learn more? Visit us at

http://www.shalimarfamilydentistry.com

http://www.northstapleydentalcare.com

http://www.alamedadentalaz.com

http://www.dentistingilbert.com

Sources:
http://www.webmd.com/oral-health/guide/tongue-problem-basics-sore-or-discolored-tongue-and-tongue-bumps?page=3
University of Maryland Medical Center: “Tongue Problems”
University of Maryland Medical Center: “Oral Cancer”
American Dental Association: “Common Mouth Sores”
Familydoctor.org: “Mouth Problems”
Familydoctor.org “Canker Sores:  What they are and what you can do about them”
Columbia University College of Dental Medicine:  “Black Hairy Tongue”
Columbia University College of Dental Medicine:  “Painful Papillae of the Tongue”

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Electric Toothbrushes, Are They Worth it?

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Wendy Parker, RDH

Electric Toothbrushes, Are They Worth it?

            I was never a believer of electric toothbrushes until I graduated hygiene school and I was given one for free.  Yes, I know, but I figured that since I was given one, I would at least give it a try and see what all the fuss was about.  For years I would go between my manual toothbrush and my electric one, leaving the electric one home when I traveled.  However, now, I have realized that I don’t leave home without it!  At first, I thought I am a pretty good at brushing and don’t really need it, but found that mid-afternoon, my teeth would get the fuzzy feeling on them.  When I totally committed and threw away my manual toothbrush, I found that no longer did I get the fuzzies on my teeth!  Oh man, I was so excited!

So, the question remains…is it worth it?  YES!  And here’s the great thing about it….there is a 30 day money back guarantee from Oral-B and Sonicare that if you don’t like the product, you take it back and get your money back!  These are the top two selling brands for electric toothbrushes and they are awesome!  Both companies will tell you that their product is superior but when it comes down to it, it is a personal preference.  So next time you’re in the dental isle, take a minute and compare them side by side and see which one looks more appealing to you.  The average price is about $90-$120 dollars. (Please also asked us, when you come in to the office, we sell electric toothbrushes here for a great price!)  Yes, it seems a lot for a toothbrush, but you will be amazed (and so will we) with the change in your oral health!   So try one out and let’s keep on smiling!

Want to learn more? Visit us at

http://www.shalimarfamilydentistry.com

http://www.northstapleydentalcare.com

http://www.alamedadentalaz.com

http://www.dentistingilbert.com

IV Sedation Dentistry

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Andra Mahoney, BS RDH

IV Sedation Dentistry

It is very common that people are nervous at the dentist office.  While we do everything we can to make your appointments run quickly and smoothly, sometimes people need a little extra help.  We offer several different options to make your appointments easier.  If applicable, you can be prescribed a medication to help calm your nerves.  You can be given Nitrous Oxide, also know as laughing gas.  And finally, IV conscious sedation.  All of our Signature Dental Offices offer IV sedation dentistry.

What is IV Sedation?

IV stands for intravenous. Medication is administered through the veins and because of its rapid effects, many patients prefer this option.

How does IV Sedation work?

IV sedation medication is delivered through a very small needle placed in either the top of your hand or within your inner elbow.

Some people have a fear of needles, that is not uncommon.  Due to that, some patients are not able to tolerate IV sedation. However, most people describe the sensation as a small pinch or prick. Also, dentists can further reduce the feeling by giving you an oral sedative beforehand and/or applying a topical anesthetic where the needle will be placed.

What are the benefits to IV sedation?

Just like other forms of sedation dentistry, IV sedation is designed to relax you and make you completely comfortable. IV sedation also eliminates your anxiety and pain. Although you may lie back in the dental chair with your eyes closed, you will not be asleep during your appointment and will still be able to respond to verbal cues from your dentist. Because you are completely relaxed, your dentist can accomplish more high-quality dentistry in less time. IV sedation can benefit you if you have a sensitive gag reflex or difficulty sitting in a dental chair for long periods of time. You’ll be so relaxed that you’ll be unaware of the sights, smells, and sounds of the dental office. Patients remember little-to-nothing of their appointment by the next day.

IV sedation gives your dentist optimal control of the amount of medication administered and allows them to readily increase or decrease your level of sedation as needed, quickly and comfortably.

An additional benefit of IV sedation includes faster onset of the sedation medications, meaning you’ll be able to feel the effects of the medication quickly.

What dental procedures are recommended for IV sedation?

Mainly, people prefer to use it for taking out wisdom teeth and appointments that need to have a lot of treatment accomplished in one sitting.  Those that have high dental anxiety also prefer IV sedation.  However, IV sedation can be an option for any treatment that needs to done!

What is the recovery time after IV sedation?

There is no set amount of recovery time because every patient is different. However, many patients begin to feel more alert soon after the IV medication is stopped. You should not drive or operate heavy machinery for at least 24 hours after the end of your appointment. If you experience any nausea after treatment, your dentist can usually provide a prescription to help. Patients are encouraged to sleep and drink plenty of water and clear fluids for the remainder of the day. In regards to recovery from the actual dental work itself, your dentist will give you individualized instructions for aftercare. Many sedation patients report significantly reduced pain levels the day after their treatment. There are multiple theories for why this is, but the common thought is that because a sedation patient is relaxed and not tense during their appointment, the dentist can often use less force as well as access the mouth more easily.

Does Dental Insurance cover IV sedation?

Patients have different insurance plans, so there is no single answer. Generally speaking, most dental insurance plans do cover part or sometimes even all of the cost of IV sedation. It’s best to check with your insurance provider prior to your appointment to confirm your plan’s benefits.

If this is something that interests you, your dentist can review your particular needs and your medical history to see if you are a good candidate.

 

Want to learn more? Visit us at

http://www.shalimarfamilydentistry.com

http://www.northstapleydentalcare.com

http://www.alamedadentalaz.com

http://www.dentistingilbert.com

Sources:

http://evsedation.com