The Link Between Stress, Gum Disease & Damaged Teeth

stress teeth grinding nightguard in knoxville

Recent studies are showing a link between stress and gum disease. It is not yet known how this happens, but many believe stress limits the ability of the immune system to function fully and control the gum disease bacteria. There is also evidence that patients who are stressed develop more plaque than the average person.

Another concern is that people who have a lot of stress in their lives tend to clench or grind their teeth, especially at night. This can lead to extensive tooth damage as well as sensitivity.  In severe cases teeth can even be lost.

From what we see, most people have a lot of stress in their lives.  Here are a few tips that we hope will help you get yours under control.

Make a Choice – in stressful situations you generally have three options – avoid it, accept it, or change it. Understanding your choices and moving forward with one of them will help put you back in control.

Learn to Say No – a lot of stress is caused by having too many things to do. You will feel less stressed when you say yes to the priorities and filter out the things that are not that important.

Adopt a Stress Reducing Habit – exercise, yoga, meditation, relaxation exercises, and even listening to calming music at the end of the day are all great ways to release stressful tension and relax.

It is also important to talk to your dentist. If you find yourself clenching or grinding your teeth, especially at night, you may be a candidate for a nightguard appliance that will protect them from extra wear and tear. Your dentist can also support you in preventing or treating gum disease, the primary cause of adult tooth loss.

Stress is dangerous for your health and your teeth and we hope that you take it seriously. If you have any concerns about the impact it is having on your oral health or are looking for a new dentist, give us a call.  

Ron Smith DDS  (865) 922-1613

We promise to take great care of you!

Senior Dental Care: Keeping Teeth and Health for a Lifetime

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Losing teeth is not a natural part of the aging process. We lose teeth due to wear, injury, or poor oral health. We all have the potential to keep our teeth for our lifetimes with proper dental care.

Today, seniors are living longer and healthier lives but commonly delay going to the dentist. Many of them stop caring or take it for granted that they will lose their teeth. Others may start to have difficulty handling a toothbrush and floss, especially if they have tremors or arthritis in their hands. It is important for their families to encourage them and find support when they need it.

Our older population is at high risk for dental disease as they tend to take more medications that diminish saliva. This creates a dry mouth condition that can impact how well they digest food and cause multiple serious cavities in a short period of time. Seniors that feel like their mouth is dry most of  the time should talk to their doctor and dentist.

Another serious concern is periodontal disease. This condition, also known as gum disease, is an infection that can drain the immune system and cause other dental and medical problems. There is a growing body of research that says it can contribute to or worsen major medical conditions, like diabetes and heart disease.

Dental care is even more important as we age. In addition to health consequences and tooth loss, the financial expense of having dental emergencies can be very challenging in later years.

To protect their teeth and health, seniors should:

  • Brush their teeth twice a day
  • Floss once per day
  • See the dentist and hygienist at least twice a year, more often if recommended
  • Limit sugary snacks
  • Talk to their doctor and dentist if their mouth feels chronically dry
  • Consider fluoride treatments if they are prone to cavities
  • Ask for ideas if they have trouble handling floss or a tooth brush
  • Keep both their doctor and dentist informed of all dental and medical conditions and medications

If you or someone you love are having trouble caring for your teeth, having dental problems, or would like a dentist who understands the challenges of getting older, give us a call. We would love to help.

Ron Smith, DDS (865) 922-1613 Knoxville TN

Dental Holiday Gift Ideas

Dental Christmas gift ideasFrom Christmas stocking stuffers to dental care, we have some great holiday gift ideas for you.

Dental Treatment Gift Certificate – Many people are struggling to afford the dental care they need. Giving a gift of dentistry would be more meaningful than buying the latest thingamajig.

Toothbrush, Floss, and Toothpaste – try fun flavors or designs to make it more interesting.

Professional Level Electric Toothbrush – helping someone care for their teeth is also giving the gift of health.

Replacement Brush Head for an electric toothbrush they already own.

Dental or Smile Books or Coloring Books – here are some ideas.

Teeth Whitening – this can also be a gift that enhances confidence and self-esteem

Peace of Mind – make a payment toward their dental bill or pay the account off – this is also a great Secret Santa or Random Act of Kindness activity.

Gross Fake Teeth – kids really love these.

Gag Gifts – like these walking teeth make great stocking stuffers.

The most important thing of all is that we want to wish you Happy Holidays!

Ron Smith DDS (865) 922-1613 Knoxville, TN

Your Dental Health: Planning Ahead for Retirement

woman preparing for retirement

If you are considering retiring in the next few years or any other life change that may impact your dental benefits, it is important to plan ahead for your dental needs. Even when you have been promised future benefits, they are often not as comprehensive as the ones you have now.

Looking at the long term picture and being proactive can prevent the cost and hardship of dentistry in your later years when you likely will have less income. It is also much easier to handle treatment while you are young and healthy. Having to face major dental work when you are older and more frail could be very difficult.

Dental restorations over 10 years old may have problems without your experiencing any symptoms.  For example, new cavities that don’t show on x-rays are often found under old dental crowns.  Not because there is a problem with the crown, but because the cements available during that time period are washing out, letting new bacteria in.

If you may be retiring or losing insurance, let us know so that Dr. Smith can help you plan ahead and use the benefits you have paid for wisely. If you have dentistry over 10 years old or a lot of work to do, starting 2-4 years before you retire will help us maximize your insurance by spreading the cost over several years of benefits.

Don’t let your dentistry control you – think proactively and use your benefits before you lose them.

You can make an appointment with Dr. Smith by calling:

(865) 922-1613   Knoxville, TN

Cosmetic Dentistry Can Increase Confidence, Happiness and Success

cosmetic dentistry in Knoxville

Providing beautiful new smiles for our patients is about more than just teeth. When we reveal their new smiles we can see our patients light up. Some even shed tears of joy.

We have witnessed the profound results a smile makeover can provide over and over again and it’s one of our favorite things to do.

Our cosmetic dentistry patients would tell you the benefits are not all visible on the surface. They would want you to know:

You Will Feel More Confident – Anything is possible when your confidence soars. Not having to be self-conscious about your smile can help you achieve more of what you want and feel good about yourself along the way. Just imagine nailing a job interview, approaching someone you are attracted to, or walking confidently into a room. It can all happen for you.

You Will Seem More Attractive, Approachable, and Professional – While we are not fans of judging people based on their looks, studies show that having a nice smile can help you give a great first impression.

You Can Feel Calmer and Happier – Smiles have super powers. They lower blood pressure and reduce stress as well as lift your mood. When you feel comfortable smiling more, you will be improving your health and enhancing how you feel.

Sharing Your Smile Will Help the People Around You – Smiles are contagious. When you smile at someone they are likely to start smiling too. Soon everyone will be sharing in the benefits smiling brings. There can be an endless ripple effect of happier, healthier people that all started with you.

If the appearance of your smile is preventing you from feeling good about yourself and interacting in the world in a positive way, give us a call. We can help.

Ron Smith, DDS – Knoxville TN – (865) 922-1613

Three Important Reasons Why You Should Replace Missing Teeth

 

Generally, when you have a tooth removed the dentist will talk to you about replacing it. At that point, spending more money and having more dental work done is likely the last thing on your mind. Some of you may even wonder if it is just a “sales pitch” so the dentist can make more money.

The truth is that replacing a tooth that has been lost is very important and protects your remaining teeth, as well as the joint that works your jaw. Here are a few of the reasons why you may want to take the dentist’s recommendations seriously:

Missing Teeth Put Other Teeth in Jeopardy: Dentists will tell you that when you lose one tooth, the neighboring teeth are likely to be next. Upper teeth will literally grow out of the bone looking for the missing tooth they were meant to chew against. Teeth on either side of a space where a tooth has been removed will tip into the space, pulling their roots out of the jaw bone. Your teeth all work together in a balanced system and replacing lost teeth will restore and protect that healthy balance.

Missing Teeth Can Cause TMJ and Joint Problems: Teeth that have shifted or are not in alignment can cause stress and strain on the joint that works your jaw. Patients with these joint issues often suffer with chronic pain and treatment can be complicated and expensive.

Missing Teeth Can Impact Your Health: Chewing is the first phase of the digestive process. When your food is not chewed properly you may not be able to absorb it’s nutrients and will be more at risk for digestive upsets.

Replacing missing teeth is easy with the many options that are now available:

We encourage you to restore balance to your mouth by replacing any teeth that have been removed. If you are in the Knoxville area, we would love to help you.  (865) 922-1613

The Benefits of Dental Crowns

dental crownWe understand that you may not get excited when we recommend a crown for one of your teeth, but it can be one of the best things you can do for it. We think of crowning a tooth as protecting it with a suit of armor as it will be wrapped in dental materials that are very strong and will keep it safe.

Dental crowns are usually recommended for teeth that have serious damage or are at risk of breaking. We are very grateful that we can protect and save your teeth because without crowns these teeth would likely be lost.

The main reasons we recommend crowns are to:

  • Hold a cracked or fractured tooth together
  • Protect a tooth that has been severely damaged
  • Improve the appearance of a tooth in your smile
  • Protect a tooth that has had a root canal
  • Help replace a missing adjacent tooth
  • Create a natural looking and functioning tooth over a dental implant

We encourage you to ask any questions you have about your recommended dental treatment. We want to be sure that you are clear and comfortable before moving forward.

If you do not already have a dentist you love in the Knoxville area, we would love to welcome you into our patient family. Please contact us at the number below to learn more or schedule an appointment. We promise to take great care of you and your family.

Ron Smith, DDS – Knoxville TN – (865) 922-1613

How to Prevent Cavities in 7 Easy Steps

prevent cavities Knoxville

  1. Brush and floss daily – brushing twice a day is ideal
  2. When you can’t brush, chew sugarless gum with xylitol
  3. Avoid sweet sticky foods that stay on your teeth
  4. Stop drinking carbonated drinks that erode enamel
  5. Be careful with throat lozenges or hard candies that soak your teeth in sugar
  6. Keep your mouth moist – ask us for help if you experience dry mouth
  7. Come in regularly for professional cleanings and dental check ups

If you are due or overdue for a dental check up and cleaning, give us a call.

Ron Smith, DDS  (865) 922-1613

8 Reasons You May Be at Risk for Gum Disease

Gum disease, also known as periodontal disease, periodontitis, or gingivitis is a bacterial infection that affects the gums and bone that support your teeth.

Believe us. You really don’t want it. It is the number one cause of tooth loss and the bacteria can wreck havoc on your medical health as well. Periodontal disease has been linked to conditions like heart disease, cancer, diabetes, Alzheimer’s, and many more.

Could you be at risk? Primary risk factors for gum disease include:

  1. Smoking
  2. Diabetes
  3. Hormonal changes
  4. Stress
  5. Medications or illness
  6. Not brushing and flossing regularly
  7. Genetic predisposition
  8. Not seeing the dentist or having a professional teeth cleaning in the last year

If you are concerned about periodontal disease and it’s potential consequences for you or someone you love, we would be happy to help.

Give us a call at (865) 922-1613. We promise we won’t bite. Knoxville, TN

Inflammation: The Link Between Gum Disease & Heart Disease

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Current research is focusing on chronic inflammation as one of the key contributing factors for heart disease.  Patients with high levels of inflammation are more likely to develop the disease, have recurrent coronary events, and less chance of survival when they happen.  They are also more susceptible to other conditions including diabetes, Alzheimer’s and cancer, which are also linked to inflammation.

Why are you reading about this in a dental blog?  Periodontal gum disease is one of the most common sources of chronic inflammation.  It is a bacterial infection that is present in almost 80% of the population.  Gum disease and other oral infections get into your blood stream easily through the thin tissues of your mouth and swallowing.  It is now clear why taking good care of your teeth and gums is an important step in caring for your overall health as well.

How can you minimize the effects of inflammation?

  • Brush and floss regularly.
  • Consider an anti-inflammation diet.
  • See your dentist and hygienist several times a year.
  • Let your medical doctor know if you have periodontal disease and keep your dentist informed about your health issues.  Taking care of your health is a team effort.

If you are concerned about periodontal gum disease and are in the Knoxville area, we would be happy to help. (865) 922-1613