Posts for: May, 2016
You may think your blood pressure is only important to your general health — but it can also affect your dental care. That’s why it’s increasingly common for dental providers to include blood pressure monitoring for patients during routine visits.
High blood pressure is a risk factor for several major health conditions including heart attack, stroke and diabetes, and is one of the most common diagnoses in the United States. Even so, many people don’t know their blood pressure is abnormally high. It may be discovered during an annual health visit, or not at all. Since many people visit their dentist twice a year for cleanings, taking a blood pressure reading during these visits increases the chance of detecting a high pressure.
In one study published in the Journal of the American Dental Association, the researchers looked at dental patients who had not seen a doctor in the previous twelve months and who underwent blood pressure screening during a regular dental visit. Seventeen percent of those studied learned they were at increased risk for cardiovascular disease.
High blood pressure can also have a direct effect on how we treat your teeth and gums. For example, we may have to adapt and become more diligent about preventing dental disease if you’re taking a blood pressure drug that could trigger reduced saliva flow (dry mouth), a factor in tooth decay. Certain local anesthetics may also contain substances like epinephrine that constrict blood vessels, which can increase blood pressure. To avoid this if you’re hypertensive, we may need to adjust the dosage of anesthetic drugs to lessen this effect.
Monitoring blood pressure in the dental office is a good example of how all healthcare services can interact with each other. At the very least, a blood pressure check at your next cleaning could alert you to a potentially dangerous condition you didn’t even know you had.
If you would like more information on the relationship of blood pressure and other medical issues to dental health, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can also learn more about this topic by reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “Monitoring Blood Pressure.”
The facts about gum disease and how you can reverse it from your Fremont dentist
No matter how nice your teeth may look, if you have gum disease, that’s what people will notice. Your red, swollen gums will take center stage and can hijack your smile. But you don’t have to let gum disease control your smile. Dr. Richard Ta in Fremont, California wants you to know how to reverse gum disease and take back your smile.
Gum disease is also called gingivitis. Dr. Ta wants you to know it is completely reversible because only your soft tissue is involved. You can recognize gum disease by these signs and symptoms:
- Painful, swollen gums
- Red, bleeding gums
- Pain and gum irritation when you eat
- Frequent bad breath
If you have gum disease, you can reverse it! You need to practice excellent oral hygiene habits like these:
- Flossing at least once a day
- Brushing after meals and before bed
- Visiting Dr. Ta every 6 months for check-ups, x-rays and professional cleanings
If you let gum disease take hold and don’t try to reverse it, you will also begin to lose bone, a condition called periodontal disease. Periodontal disease is not reversible, but it can be managed by Dr. Ta with aggressive periodontal therapy.
You may have periodontal disease if you experience the signs and symptoms of gum disease and you also have exposed tooth roots and increasing tooth sensitivity. With periodontal disease, your teeth can become loose and move, or shift out of position as you lose more bone.
Periodontal disease is not something you can treat yourself; you need help! Dr. Ta may suggest periodontal therapy including intensive cleanings every 3 to 4 months. Periodontal cleanings typically involve root planing, a thorough, systematic cleaning of tooth roots and deep periodontal pockets around your teeth.
Don’t let gum disease control your smile; take control of your smile by practicing excellent oral hygiene and visiting Dr. Ta regularly. For more information on gum disease and how you can reverse it, call Dr. Ta in Fremont, California. He wants to partner with you and help you achieve excellent dental and oral health. Call today at (510)573-3286 and get started!
A woman as gorgeous and funny as Sofia Vergara surely planned to be a model and actress from the get-go, right? Wrong! Sofia’s first career choice actually was to be… a dentist! That’s right, the sexy star of TV’s Modern Family actually was only two semesters shy of finishing a dental degree in her native Columbia when she traded dental school for the small screen. Still, dental health remains a top priority for the actress and her son, Manolo.
“I’m obsessed,” she recently told People magazine. “My son thinks I’m crazy because I make him do a cleaning every three months. I try to bribe the dentist to make him to do it sooner!”
That’s what we call a healthy obsession (teeth-cleaning, not bribery). And while coming in for a professional cleaning every three months may not be necessary for everyone, some people — especially those who are particularly susceptible to gum disease — may benefit from professional cleanings on a three-month schedule. In fact, there is no one-size-fits-all approach to having professional teeth cleanings — but everyone needs this beneficial procedure on a regular basis.
Even if you are meticulous about your daily oral hygiene routine at home, there are plenty of reasons for regular checkups. They include:
- Dental exam. Oral health problems such as tooth decay and gum disease are much easier — and less expensive — to treat in the earliest stages. You may not have symptoms of either disease early on, but we can spot the warning signs and take appropriate preventive or restorative measures.
- Oral cancer screening. Oral cancer is not just a concern of the middle aged and elderly — young adults can be affected as well (even those who do not smoke). The survival rate for this deadly disease goes up tremendously if it is detected quickly, and an oral cancer screening is part of every routine dental visit.
- Professional teeth cleaning. Calcified (hardened) dental plaque (tartar or calculus) can build up near the gum line over time — even if you brush and floss every day. These deposits can irritate your gums and create favorable conditions for tooth decay. You can’t remove tartar by flossing or brushing, but we can clear it away — and leave you with a bright, fresh-feeling smile!
So take a tip from Sofia Vergara, and don’t skimp on professional cleanings and checkups. If you want to know how often you should come in for routine dental checkups, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can learn more in the Dear Doctor articles “Dental Hygiene Visit” and “Dental Cleanings Using Ultrasonic Scalers.”