As dentists, we often see other mouth problems besides those with teeth and gums. One of the most common is cracking around the corners of the mouth. Although usually not serious, it can be irritating and uncomfortable.
Medically known as angular cheilitis (literally “an inflammation of the angles of the lip”), it’s also called perleche, derived from the French lecher, “to lick.” The latter moniker aptly describes the tendency of sufferers to compulsively lick the sores to relieve irritation, which actually can make things worse.
Perleche has a number of possible causes, mostly from in or around the mouth (although systemic diseases or medications can cause it on rare occasions). It’s often found among younger people who drool during sleep or older people with deep wrinkles along the sides of the mouth that increase the chances of dryness and cracking. Long-term wind or cold exposure, ill-fitting dentures or a lack of back teeth (which help support facial structure) may also contribute to the condition.
Patients with perleche can also develop yeast infections from a strain called candida albicans. The infection can spread through the whole mouth, significantly increasing the chances of physical discomfort.
Treating perleche often involves topical ointments with inflammation-reducing steroids and zinc oxide, which has antifungal properties, to provide an environmental barrier during the healing process. If a yeast infection occurs, we may treat it with oral or topical antifungal medication like Nystatin for the whole mouth and chlorhexidine rinses, which has antibacterial properties.
It also helps to adopt a few preventive measures that can minimize the occurrence of perleche. If you wear dentures, for example, cleaning them often (including, if necessary, with chlorhexidine) and leaving them out at night reduces bacterial and fungal growth. We can also see if your dentures are fitting properly. Replacing missing teeth provides better facial support and could minimize wrinkling around the mouth. And, of course, keeping up daily brushing and flossing helps ensure a healthy and disease-free mouth.
If you’re experiencing cracked mouth corners, let us know at your next appointment. With our help and of other medical professionals we may be able to give you relief from this irritating condition.
If you would like more information on gaining relief from angular cheilitis, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can also learn more about this topic by reading the Dear Doctor article “Cracked Corners of the Mouth.”
Could that nagging pain in your teeth be a sign that there's something wrong with your tooth? Midtown Manhattan, NY, dentist Dr. Brandon Huang of New York Dental Studio shares a few signs and symptoms that may occur if you need a root canal.
You have a bad toothache
It's usually not possible to tell if pain in a tooth is caused by tooth decay or a more serious condition. That's why we recommend that you schedule a visit with our Midtown Manhattan office as soon as you notice pain. If you need a root canal, your pain can be traced to an inflammation or infection in your tooth pulp. The pulp is a collection of nerves, blood vessels and soft connective tissue found under the harder dentin and enamel layers of the tooth.
In the early stages of an infection or inflammation, pain may not be severe or may come and go. If you ignore your pain, it will only get worse as the infection or inflammation progresses. Have you noticed that the pain intensifies when you eat or drink? Due to the changes taking place in your pulp, your teeth may become more sensitive to temperature extremes. When you eat or drink hot or cold foods or beverages, you may experience a spike in pain that lasts 30 minutes or longer.
Pressure can also increase pain in your tooth. You may need a root canal if your tooth throbs after you eat or even push on your tooth.
Your gum is a little red
If you notice a little redness around your tooth, it's probably not your imagination. An inflammation or infection of your pulp can cause your gum to swell, turn red and feel tender. Because these symptoms may also occur if you have gum disease, it's important to bring any changes in your gums to our attention.
Your mouth is killing you, and you feel awful
You may have a dental abscess if your tooth hurts, you have a fever, and you feel terrible. The bacterial infection is a serious health problem. In fact, it's considered a dental emergency. Other abscess symptoms may include swelling in the lower part of your face, enlarged lymph nodes and a little bit of pus or a bump that looks like a pimple on your gum. If you have an abscess, you'll need antibiotic treatment in addition to a root canal.
Root canal treatment keeps your smile healthy. Call Midtown Manhattan, NY, dentist Dr. Brandon Huang of New York Dental Studio at (212) 588-1809 to schedule an appointment.
Porcelain veneers have become a popular way to transform a smile. They're ideal for stained, chipped or slightly misaligned teeth. But although they don't need as much tooth preparation as crowns or other bridgework, the traditional veneer still requires some permanent tooth alteration.
Now, there's an alternative: no-prep veneers. With this option we can avoid any tooth structure removal or keep it to a minimum. And it may not even require local anesthesia while applying them.
Veneers are as their name implies: a wafer-thin layer of tooth-colored porcelain that's bonded to the outside of a tooth, much like siding on a house. Although the traditional veneer is usually no more than a millimeter in width, they can still add an unnatural bulky look and feel to a tooth. To compensate, we remove portions of the enamel. A tooth permanently altered this way will henceforth require some form of restoration.
No-prep veneers are much thinner; they also don't extend under the gum line like traditional veneers. At the most the new veneers may only require us to perform some minor reshaping of the enamel, but not to the extent of traditional veneers. And because your tooth isn't permanently altered, we could presumably remove the veneer and return the tooth to its natural state and appearance (although removing the bonding might not be that easy).
There are some situations where some tooth alteration may still be necessary, like oversized or forward-jutting teeth. A bad bite (malocclusion) may require orthodontic treatment first — which in some cases could be an alternative treatment to veneers altogether.
To find out if you're a candidate for no-prep veneers, visit us for a complete examination. From there we can discuss your options and whether we can transform your smile with little change to your teeth.
There’s a lot to like about dental implants for replacing missing teeth. Not only are they life-like, but because they replace the root they also function much like a natural tooth. They also have another unique benefit: a track record for long-lasting durability. It’s estimated more than 95% of implants survive at least ten years, with a potential longevity of more than 40 years.
But even with this impressive record, we should still look at the few that didn’t and determine the reasons why they failed. We’ll soon find that a great number of those reasons will have to do with both oral and general health.
For example, implants rely on adequate bone structure for support. Over time bone cells grow and adhere to the implant’s titanium surface to create the durable hold responsible for their longevity. But if conditions like periodontal (gum) disease have damaged the bone, there might not be enough to support an implant.
We may be able to address this inadequacy at the outset with a bone graft to encourage growth, gaining enough perhaps to eventually support an implant. But if bone loss is too extensive, it may be necessary to opt for a different type of restoration.
Slower healing conditions caused by diseases like diabetes, osteoporosis or compromised immune systems can also impact implant success. If healing is impeded after placement surgery the implant may not integrate well with the bone. An infection that existed before surgery or resulted afterward could also have much the same effect.
Oral diseases, especially gum disease, can contribute to later implant failures. Although the implant’s materials won’t be affected by the infection, the surrounding gum tissues and bone can. An infection can quickly develop into a condition known as peri-implantitis that can weaken these supporting structures and cause the implant to loosen and give way. That’s why prompt treatment of gum disease is vital for an affected implant.
The bottom line: maintaining good oral and general health, or improving it, can help keep your implant out of the failure column. Perform daily brushing and flossing (even after you receive your implant) and see your dentist regularly to help stop dental disease. Don’t delay treatment for gum disease or other dental conditions. And seek medical care to bring any systemic diseases like diabetes under control.
If you would like more information on dental implants, 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 “Dental Implants: A Tooth-Replacement Method that Rarely Fails.”
Learn about gum disease from your Midtown Manhattan dentist.
Early detection and treatment of periodontal (gum) disease can help you avoid the painful effects of this common disease. Our Midtown Manhattan, NY, dentist, Dr. Brandon Huang of New York Dental Studio, shares a few gum disease signs you should never ignore.
Most of us would be understandably concerned if our scalps bled when we brushed our hair. Unfortunately, too many people accept bleeding gums as a normal part of the toothbrushing experience. Bleeding is a warning sign that may mean that you have gingivitis, the mildest phase of gum disease. If you ignore this symptom, the disease may soon progress to the more severe, damaging form of the disease. Luckily, it's easy to treat gingivitis with a dental cleaning or deep cleaning and improved oral hygiene.
Everyone has bad breath from time. Breath odor is common when you first wake up or your mouth is dry, or if you've eaten stinky foods, like onions or salami. When bad breath becomes a constant problem, periodontal disease may be the cause.
Swollen or receding gums
Healthy gums are pink and firmly attached to your teeth. If your gums are red, swollen, covered in pus or have begun to recede, you may have periodontal disease.
Not surprisingly, swollen, bleeding gums tend to be painful. If you experience pain when you chew or press on your gums, call our Midtown Manhattan office to schedule an appointment.
Severe gum disease can loosen teeth and eventually cause them to fall out. Loose teeth are never normal if you're an adult.
As periodontal disease progresses, the gums pull away from your teeth and form open spaces called pockets. Pockets provide the perfect environment for bacteria to thrive. Bacteria not only destroys gum tissue, but may also damage your jawbone and the ligaments that help hold your teeth in place. Fortunately, several effective treatments can be used to reduce the pockets, clear your infection and restore your gum tissue.
Prompt treatment is essential if you have any of these gum disease signs. If you're concerned about the health of your gums, call Midtown Manhattan, NY, dentist, Dr. Huang of New York Dental Studio, at (212) 588-1809 to schedule an appointment.
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