At Kathleen Nichols Dentistry, we strongly believe in preventive dentistry as the best possible means of maintaining optimum oral health. Preventive dental care can help maintain a beautiful, healthy smile by safeguarding against oral diseases, like dental decay, gum disease, or periodontal disease. Our approach to preventive dental care includes routine gentle dental cleanings and checkups as well as education and advice that can help you practice good oral hygiene at home.
In our office we use digital radiography which allows us to take x-rays using 90 percent less radiation than conventional x-rays. This digital technique also allows us to enhance the images for better diagnosis of any dental concerns.X-rays are a focused beam of x-ray particles which passes through bone and tissue and produces an image on special film. This gives the familiar black and white image that doctors and dentists use to diagnose problems. X-rays are a necessary part of the diagnostic process. Without an x-ray of the tooth and the supporting bone and gum tissues, there is no real way to detect infection or pathology that requires attention.
At the office of Kathleen Nichols DDS, we take pride in using the latest technologies to ensure our patience get their best care ever. In our office we use an intraoral camera to take actual photos of teeth for patient education.
In some cases, the tooth structure has fine grooves or pits which accumulate plaque, not because the person doesn't brush, but because they are too narrow or small to allow even one bristle of a toothbrush into them. These areas will develop decay if they are not cleaned. Sealants are used to prevent decay by filling in these pits and grooves. This coating seals the grooves and pits, making it possible to brush off all the plaque and keep your teeth healthy.
Saliva testing provides information on 11 different species of bacteria known to trigger periodontal disease. In addition to identifying the bacterial pathogens, the test provides a bacterial-related risk of disease progression and suggestions for suitable antibiotic and periodontal therapy protocols.
Periodontal disease is a chronic inflammatory disease that affects the gum tissue and other structures supporting the teeth. If left untreated, it can lead to tooth loss. Besides helping with tooth retention, successful periodontal treatment can help patients with diabetes to better control their disease.1,2 About 50% of Americans have gingival bleeding, the more common but less severe form of periodontal disease.3
Several research studies have associated gum disease with other chronic inflammatory diseases such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and rheumatoid arthritis.4,5
For more information regarding saliva testing, or to schedule an appointment, call Kathleen Nichols Dentistry @ 806-698-6684.
Gum disease (Periodontal Disease) is responsible for about 70 percent of adult tooth loss. It is characterized by swollen, inflamed gums surrounding the teeth.
Plaque, a sticky substance that forms in the mouth from food, saliva, and bacteria, gets inside the space between the gum line and the tooth. If not removed, plaque hardens into a substance called calculus, or tarter, that is very difficult to remove. Eventually, the bacteria in the plaque and tartar eat away at the fibers that hold the gums to the teeth, creating deep pockets. As bacteria spread, the pockets become deeper until the bacteria finally eat away the bone that holds the tooth in place.
Gum disease is diagnosed through a process that measures the depth of the pockets around each tooth. Pockets that are greater than 3 millimeters in depth are considered hazardous and will generally require treatment.
The early detection and prevention of gum disease is another reason to see your dentist regularly.
Gum disease is treated by carefully removing the bacteria and substances that form in the pockets around the teeth. The removal of this material occurs on a microscopic level and requires great skill. Our dental team has had advanced training regarding how to effectively remove all of the bacteria.
This process of removing the bacteria usually requires several visits to our office. Once the bacteria has been removed, the pockets must be cleaned and maintained on a regular basis by a registered hygienist. Otherwise, the bacteria will return.
Grinding and clenching your teeth, known as bruxism, can lead to cracked teeth, pain, and even tooth loss. Temporomandibular joint disorders (TMJ/TMD) can develop from bruxism and are extremely uncomfortable disorders of the jaw. Night guards and splints help to treat both these conditions.
Bruxism and temporomandibular joint disorders (TMJ/TMD) are two painful conditions that can affect your quality of life. If you are suffering from either of these conditions, give us a call. We can create a treatment plan for you to help your condition and make your life more comfortable.
Bruxism is the medical name for teeth grinding or clenching. Some people who suffer from bruxism are not even aware of the exact problem. You might have dental problems, an aching jaw, or even a cracked tooth and not realize that the problem is that you have been grinding your teeth.
While some teeth grinding and clenching is caused by stress or anxiety, most teeth grinding occurs at night. If left untreated, the results can be quite problematic including:
Many people with bruxism use a night guard while they are sleeping. This is a custom-fitted appliance that will help protect your teeth from the grinding.
Temporomandibular joint disorders occur when the temporomandibular joint of the jaw, the place where your lower jaw is hinged to your skull, becomes injured or inflamed. This condition may be referred to as either TMJ or TMD.
TMJ/TMD can have multiple causes. Some of the most common are:
This condition is quite painful. If you are suffering from any of the following symptoms, you should be evaluated for TMJ/TMD:
Like bruxism, night guards are helpful for people with TMJ/TMD. The guard keeps your teeth slightly separated and prevents them from clenching, which can exacerbate the condition. If your condition is more severe, you may require a splint to hold your jaw in place so that the joint can heal. As the name implies, night guards are worn while you are sleeping. Splints are worn all day.
Accidents can happen during any physical activity. The advantage of using a mouthguard during sports is that it can help limit the risk of mouth injuries to your lips, tongue, and the soft tissues of your mouth. Mouthguards also help avoid chipped or broken teeth, nerve damage to a tooth and tooth loss.
Anyone who plays a sport where there is a risk of collision with another person or a hard surface should wear a mouthguard. The obvious sports are football, rugby, lacrosse, hockey (ice, field, roller), martial arts, boxing, wrestling, MMA and basketball. Not as obvious but just as important are baseball, volleyball, soccer, water polo, gymnastics, softball, skiing, snowboarding, BMX bicycling, racquetball, acrobatics and skateboarding. All these sports have the potential for facial and oral injuries, and a mouthguard is recommended.
Mouthguards come in two varities, manufactured and custom fitted.
The best mouthguard is one that has been custom made for your mouth by your dentist. However, if you can’t afford a custom-fitted mouthguard, you should still wear a stock mouthguard or a boil-and-bite mouthguard from the drugstore. If you wear braces or another fixed dental appliance on your lower jaw, your dentist may suggest a mouth protector for these teeth as well.
A properly fitted mouthguard may be especially important for people who wear braces or have fixed bridge work. A blow to the face could damage the brackets or other fixed orthodontic appliances. A mouthguard also provides a barrier between the braces and your cheek or lips, limiting the risk of soft tissue injuries.