October 20th, 2014
Oral cancer is largely viewed as a disease that affects those over the age of 40, but it can affect all ages, even non-tobacco and alcohol users. Oral cancer can occur on the lips, gums, tongue, inside lining of the cheeks, roof of the mouth, and the floor of the mouth. Our team at Dental Associates of Cedar Rapids recently put together some facts and figures to illustrate the importance of visiting our Cedar Rapids, IA office.
Our friends at the American Cancer Society recommend an oral cancer screening exam every three years for people over the age of 20 and annually for those over age 40. Because early detection can improve the chance of successful treatment, be sure to ask Drs. Karen Besler and Cooper and our team to conduct an oral exam during your next visit to our Cedar Rapids, IA office.
- Symptoms of oral cancer may include a sore in the throat or mouth that bleeds easily and does not heal, a red or white patch that persists, a lump or thickening, ear pain, a neck mass, or coughing up blood. Difficulties in chewing, swallowing, or moving the tongue or jaws are often late symptoms.
- The primary risk factors for oral cancer in American men and women are tobacco (including smokeless tobacco) and alcohol use. Risk rises dramatically (30%) for people who both smoke and consume alcohol regularly.
- Oral cancers are part of a group of cancers commonly referred to as head and neck cancers, and of all head and neck cancers they comprise about 85% of that category.
- Oral cancer is the sixth most common cancer among men.
- Oral cancer is more likely to affect people over 40 years of age, though an increasing number of young people are developing the condition.
- Death rates have been decreasing over the past three decades; from 2004 to 2008, rates decreased by 1.2% per year in men and by 2.2% per year in women, according to the American Cancer Society.
- About 75% to 80% of people with oral cavity and pharynx cancer consume alcohol.
- The risk of developing oral cavity and pharynx cancers increases both with the amount as well as the length of time tobacco and alcohol products are used.
- For all stages combined, about 84% of people with oral cancer survive one year after diagnosis. The five- and ten-year relative survival rates are 61% and 50%, respectively.
- It is estimated that approximately $3.2 billion is spent in the United States annually on treatment of head and neck cancers.
Cancer can affect any part of the oral cavity, including the lip, tongue, mouth, and throat. Through visual inspection, Drs. Karen Besler and Cooper and our team at Dental Associates of Cedar Rapids can often detect premalignant abnormalities and cancer at an early stage, when treatment is both less extensive and more successful.
Please let us now if you have any questions about your oral health either during your next scheduled appointment, by giving us a call or asking us on Facebook.
October 13th, 2014
Whether it’s a dull and throbbing ache or a sharp pain, toothaches can come in many different forms. Chances are you’ve had the discomforting experience once or twice in your life. It’s the type of experience that nobody wants to have, because a toothache can be as annoying as fingernails scratching a chalkboard.
What’s a good way to describe a toothache? Let’s see … your mouth feels as if it’s being besieged by one of those Loony Tunes-style jackhammers. As fate would have it, toothaches always seem to occur over the weekend or after-office hours, leaving you to suffer and forcing you to cancel your reservation at that high-end restaurant you’ve been anticipating all week.
Not so fast!
While you’re probably going to want to skip the rib-eye steak, there are numerous tried-and-true home remedies you can use to ease the pain until you can make an appointment with our office. Here’s a look at four ways to soothe a toothache.
- Don’t underestimate the power of salt water. Rinsing your mouth with warm salt water will both soothe your toothache and disinfect your mouth. However, make sure the water is warm; cold water can further exacerbate a sensitive tooth. Follow up the saltwater rinse by swishing your mouth with hydrogen peroxide.
- Clove oil, eucalyptus oil, peppermint oil, and vanilla extract are proven to be comforting elixirs. Dip a cotton swab in one of these mixtures and apply it to your tooth and gums. These substances, which you may even have in your kitchen cupboards, are known to have pain-relieving qualities. For the best results, repeat the application throughout the day.
- Eating yogurt is good for toothaches and mouth pain. Yogurt is filled with healthy bacteria that combat pain. Afterward, place a cold compress on your jaw.
- Try flossing. Your toothache might be throbbing and severe, but there’s always a chance the pain is caused by a piece of food awkwardly lodged in your teeth.
We hope that helps! Give Dental Associates of Cedar Rapids a call to learn more!
September 29th, 2014
Do you have a space where a tooth used to be? Were you born with a missing tooth? Are you getting ready for dentures? You may be a good candidate for a dental implant. Metal dental implants were invented in 1965. Technology continues to advance with millions of implants placed in the United States and Canada. Placing implants has become mainstream and a common practice for offices like ours.
A dental implant is a small titanium post, which resembles a screw with threads. The post also has holes for bone to integrate. A dental implant is placed into the jawbone during a short dental procedure. It is relatively painless with very little post-operative pain. The threads on the implant post allow for the bone to fill in and integrate. To facilitate this process the implant is re-covered with gum tissue and allowed to heal and integrate for nearly three months. The implant acts as the root for the tooth to provide solid and stable support for the crown that’s yet to be placed.
The next step in the dental procedure is to uncover the implant and place a healing cap to allow the gum tissue to heal. After a short period of healing, an impression is taken to fabricate a crown to fully restore the missing tooth. The crown is then cemented on top of the post, at which point you can resume normal eating activities.
Dental implants do require some special care, but that is easily managed when you follow the directions outlined by Drs. Karen Besler and Cooper. During your regularly scheduled cleaning, special instruments are used to clean implants. While a dental implant cannot get a cavity, a condition known as peri-implantitis can occur. This is very similar to periodontal disease as the end result is dental implant loss and loss of bone structure. Be sure to floss the dental implant daily and run the floss under the implant crown as far as it can go to remove food and plaque. If you use any picks or small brushes to go in between your teeth, make sure they are plastic. Metal will scratch the implant making it more susceptible to infection. Be sure to keep your regular dental visits and cleanings to monitor the implant and help preserve your investment.
September 22nd, 2014
Drs. Karen Besler and Cooper and our team at Dental Associates of Cedar Rapids hear this question all the time. Millions of people have dental crowns that artificially restore the chewing surface of a tooth. Also known as caps, these restorations surround the entire portion of the tooth that is above the gum line. Crowns are custom fabricated to match the color, shape, and size of other teeth and are visually undetectable to others. Several types of materials can be used to create crowns, including stainless steel, resin, metal alloys, porcelain fused to metal, or ceramic. When properly cared for and accurately fit, crowns can stay in place for a decade or more.
There are many reasons to get a dental crown, including:
- To restore a broken or cracked tooth
- To protect a tooth after a root canal
- To restore a severely decayed tooth
- To help anchor a dental bridge
- To complete a dental implant
- To protect a tooth that is at high risk for developing decay
- For cosmetic purposes
Getting a dental crown
The process of getting a dental crown begins at our Cedar Rapids, IA office. X-rays are used to ensure the teeth are healthy enough to receive a crown. If the roots and surrounding bone are in satisfactory condition, the tooth will be numbed, filed, and reshaped in preparation for the crown. If the tooth root is not healthy, a root canal may be necessary first.
After the tooth is prepared, a special paste is placed over the upper and lower teeth to make impressions. These impressions serve as blueprints for the dental laboratory responsible for making the crown. They also help ensure the position of the new crown will not negatively affect a patient’s bite. The prepared tooth is protected by a temporary crown while the permanent one is made. When ready, the permanent crown replaces the temporary crown and is cemented in place.
To learn more about crowns, or to schedule an appointment with Drs. Karen Besler and Cooper, please give us a call at our convenient Cedar Rapids, IA office!