Posts for: December, 2015

By Kyle Weedon, DDS
December 25, 2015
Category: Oral Health

Are bleeding gums something you should be concerned about? Dear Doctor magazine recently posed that question to Dr. Travis Stork, an emergency room physician and host of the syndicated TV show The Doctors. He answered with two questions of his own: “If you started bleeding from your eyeball, would you seek medical attention?” Needless to say, most everyone would. “So,” he asked, “why is it that when we bleed all the time when we floss that we think it’s no big deal?” As it turns out, that’s an excellent question — and one that’s often misunderstood.

First of all, let’s clarify what we mean by “bleeding all the time.” As many as 90 percent of people occasionally experience bleeding gums when they clean their teeth — particularly if they don’t do it often, or are just starting a flossing routine. But if your gums bleed regularly when you brush or floss, it almost certainly means there’s a problem. Many think bleeding gums is a sign they are brushing too hard; this is possible, but unlikely. It’s much more probable that irritated and bleeding gums are a sign of periodontal (gum) disease.

How common is this malady? According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, nearly half of all  Americans over age 30 have mild, moderate or severe gum disease — and that number increases to 70.1 percent for those over 65! Periodontal disease can occur when a bacteria-rich biofilm in the mouth (also called plaque) is allowed to build up on tooth and gum surfaces. Plaque causes the gums to become inflamed, as the immune system responds to the bacteria. Eventually, this can cause gum tissue to pull away from the teeth, forming bacteria-filled “pockets” under the gum surface. If left untreated, it can lead to more serious infection, and even tooth loss.

What should you do if your gums bleed regularly when brushing or flossing? The first step is to come in for a thorough examination. In combination with a regular oral exam (and possibly x-rays or other diagnostic tests), a simple (and painless) instrument called a periodontal probe can be used to determine how far any periodontal disease may have progressed. Armed with this information, we can determine the most effective way to fight the battle against gum disease.

Above all, don’t wait too long to come in for an exam! As Dr. Stork notes, bleeding gums are “a sign that things aren’t quite right.”  If you would like more information about bleeding gums, please contact us or schedule an appointment. You can read more in the Dear Doctor magazine article “Bleeding Gums.” You can read the entire interview with Dr. Travis Stork in Dear Doctor magazine.

By Kyle Weedon, DDS
December 10, 2015
Category: Oral Health
Tags: medicine  

Dental work isn’t performed in a vacuum — the state of your general health can have an impact on procedures and vice-versa. This is especially true if you’re taking certain medications like blood thinners.

Blood thinners such as Warfarin or Clopidogrel are used for a number of medical conditions as an anti-coagulant (inhibiting blood from clotting). They’re commonly part of a stroke or heart attack prevention strategy in patients with cardiovascular disease, or those with tendencies for thrombosis (blood clot formation within blood vessels) or pulmonary embolisms (blood clots within the lungs). They’re also used with patients with artificial heart valves or on a temporary basis with patients who’ve recently undergone knee replacement or similar surgical procedures.

In most cases, dental work won’t be affected by your use of a blood thinner. An issue might arise, however, if an invasive procedure has the potential to cause bleeding, like a tooth extraction or gum surgery. Because the blood doesn’t clot normally it may be difficult to stop the bleeding during such procedures.

To avoid undue complications, it’s always best to let your dentist or oral surgeon know what medications you’re taking, especially blood thinners (this includes low-dose aspirin, a common over-the-counter drug that’s often prescribed as a mild blood thinner). Depending on the procedure and your dosage, they may consult with your prescribing doctor to see if temporarily stopping the medication or reducing the dosage is an acceptable precautionary measure for your dental treatment. Your dentist may also take precautions during the procedure to help reduce bleeding such as using haemostatic agents around the wound site to help stabilize blood clotting, while carefully suturing the wound to avoid disrupting smaller blood vessels (capillaries) that easily bleed.

If your dosage has been temporarily stopped or reduced, you’ll usually be able to resume blood thinners immediately after the dental procedure. Working together, your dentist and doctor will help ensure that your health won’t be at risk and your dental procedure will occur without undue complications.

If you would like more information on dental work precautions with medications, 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 “Oral Surgery & Blood Thinners.”

By Kyle Weedon, DDS, PLLC
December 08, 2015
Category: Dental Procedures
Tags: Cavities  

Cavities aren't an inevitable part of life. With proper oral hygiene and regular dental care, you can prevent tooth decay. Kyle Weedon, DDS, your general dentist in Mineola, TX shares a few strategies that will help you avoid cavities.

Brush often

Toothbrush bristles remove food particles that can become stuck between teeth and help brush away cavity-causing plaque. Brushing at least twice per day is recommended, but that doesn't mean you can't brush more often. Brushing your teeth after you eat or drink anything is the best way to prevent cavities. If you can't brush your teeth during the day, be sure to rinse your mouth with water after you eat or drink. Although rinsing isn't as effective as brushing, it will help wash away sugar and food particles from your teeth.

Use toothpaste and mouthwash that contains fluoride

Fluoride helps keep your tooth enamel strong, making it more difficult for tooth decay to occur. Brushing with toothpaste containing fluoride can even help repair weak spots in your teeth.

Don't skip dental exams

See your dentist every six months for a thorough cleaning and examination. It's difficult to remove every speck of plaque at home, particularly in difficult-to-reach areas. If plaque isn't removed periodically, it turns into a harder substance called tartar that can cause gum disease. During your visit, your dentist will also look for signs of tooth decay or other problems.

Try dental sealants

Dental sealants protect your molars from tooth decay. Your dentist applies a plastic coating to these teeth, which prevents plaque and acids from eating through your enamel. The sealants are only applied to back teeth, because these teeth contain nooks and crannies that can trap food particles. Although sealants are most often applied to children's teeth, adults can also benefit from them.

Make good snack choices

Pieces of crackers, chips, cookies and candy can get stuck on and between your teeth. If those food particles aren't removed promptly, the sugars in them convert to acids that can cause tooth decay. Choose apples, carrots or other healthy snacks instead to help prevent cavities.

Want to improve your oral health and avoid tooth decay? Call Kyle Weedon, DDS, your Mineola, TX general dentist, at (903) 569-5818 to schedule an exam and cleaning. Don't let a cavity ruin your smile!

Kyle Weedon, DDS, PLLC
620 E. Broad Street, Suite 1
Mineola, TX 75773

(The white building next to the Mineola Post Office.)