What is Tooth Bonding?

Tooth bonding is a very straightforward procedure where a tooth-colored resin is applied to areas of a damaged tooth and then hardened using a special light. It is one of the most affordable cosmetic dentistry procedures available. If you have a chipped or cracked tooth, chances are that you would benefit from tooth bonding.

What Conditions Can Tooth Bonding Treat?

Tooth bonding can help fix issues such as repairing chipped or cracked teeth, improving discolored teeth, closing gaps between teeth, making teeth seem longer, changing the shape of teeth, and even protecting roots that have been exposed by gum recession. Your dentist will be able to tell you if tooth bonding is an appropriate solution for your dental issues.

How Long Does Tooth Bonding Treatment Take?

Tooth bonding is one of the easiest procedures available to those looking to improve the appearance of their smile. It’s a treatment that can usually be done in one 30 to 60-minute visit. Further, if you get tooth bonding during a workweek, there’s no reason to think you can’t return to work immediately after your dentist visit.

How Tooth Bonding Works

First, your dentist will choose a resin color that closely matches your existing tooth color. Your dentist can mix up a custom shade that matches your teeth color exactly. Next, the dentist will make a certain area of the tooth rougher so it can receive an application of a conditioning liquid. This liquid is like a primer that helps the bonding resin adhere to your tooth better. The dentist will then apply the resin to the tooth, sculpt it to the right shape and then use a UV light or laser to harden the material. The hardening process only takes a short while. Once the resin is fully hardened the dentist will touch it up and polish it so it blends in well with the rest of the teeth.

How to Care For Tooth Bonding

The beauty of tooth bonding is that no special care is required once the treatment is completed. You can literally leave the dentist’s office and go out for lunch. As long as you continue brushing and flossing your teeth, that’s all that’s required to care for your tooth bonding.

If you have one or more teeth that are cracked or could use some cosmetic adjustment, speak to your dentist about tooth bonding. Chances are, you can benefit from this simple and straightforward dental treatment option.

 

5 Tips to Prevent Stained Teeth

Stained teeth not only look unsightly; they also make you look older and can inhibit your self-confidence. Almost everyone experiences stained teeth at one time or another. However, some people have more problems with staining of the teeth than others. If you suffer from chronically stained teeth, chances are there’s something in your life that’s specifically leading to this condition. Here are four tips to prevent stained teeth.

1. Review Side Effects of Medication

Consider all the prescription medication that you take. Review the side effects of each one. There are many prescription medications that have stained teeth as a side effect. If you’re taking something that causes this condition and it’s serious enough to impact your self-confidence, ask your doctor if they can help. You may be able to use a different medication that doesn’t carry that particular side effect.

2. Quit Smoking

The tar and nicotine in tobacco products stain teeth and tongue as well as your fingers. Smoking is harmful to your health, but the teeth staining is also very harmful. Do what you can to stop smoking. The positive results on your health and your teeth will be well worth the effort.

3. Brush After Drinking Red Wine

Since red wine is made from grapes and red grapes cause a stain, it stands to reason you should avoid red wine because it will stain teeth. Consider switching to white wine. Otherwise, simply make it a habit to brush your teeth after having red wine to drink.

4. Brush Regularly

Surprisingly, simply brushing your teeth on a regular basis will also help to prevent stained teeth. Chances are that you’ve consumed something during the day that may lead to teeth staining. If you just make it a habit to brush frequently, the amount of staining will be lessened.

5. Use a Straw

If you’re super serious about avoiding stained teeth at all costs, use a straw when drinking things like iced tea and cranberry juice. The straw will ensure that the stain-inducing liquid will bypass your teeth, thereby preventing stains from occurring in the first place.

Finally, regular dentist visits are always recommended. Your dentist can thoroughly clean your teeth and remove any visible stains. Book your appointment today.

FAQs About Dental Sealants

Dental sealants are one of the greatest weapons against tooth decay. Yet, many people are unclear about what dental sealants are and what they can accomplish. Here are some of the most commonly asked questions about dental sealants.

1. What Are Dental Sealants?

Dental sealants are comprised of a clear coating that is applied to the surface area of the teeth.

2. How Long Do Dental Sealants Last?

Dental sealants can last between two and four years, with gradually decreasing protection as time goes on.

3. Does It Hurt to Get Dental Sealants?

Dental sealants are a non-invasive treatment. There is zero pain or discomfort involved in the application. In fact, some patients say that the treatment is so fast and pain-free that they didn’t even realize when it was over.

4. How Are Dental Sealants Applied?

Dental sealants are applied with a brush applicator. The dentist essentially “paints on” the dental sealant to each tooth.

5. Do Dental Sealants Discolor Teeth?

Some dental sealants dry clear. There is no visible sign that you have dental sealants on your teeth. You can also get white or slightly tinted dental sealants that brighten the appearance of the teeth. Even if you get tinted dental sealants, the appearance is completely natural and others will not know that you have dental sealants on your teeth.

6. Who Can Get Dental Sealants?

Dental sealants are considered to be 100% safe and effective for people of all ages. Even children with baby teeth who have not yet gotten in their permanent teeth can get dental sealants. In fact, dental sealants are often recommended for children and teenagers specifically because of the amount of sugar they consume and the higher possibility for cavities.

7. Do Dental Sealants Change The Way Teeth Feel?

Dental sealants may make your teeth feel smoother. This is because dental sealants fill in pits and grooves in the teeth. This results in a smoother surface that can enhance the surface texture of the teeth.

8. Can Dental Sealants Be Reapplied?

Yes, you can have repeat treatments of dental sealants indefinitely, as long as your dentist recommends it.

For more information about dental sealants, and to find out if you are a good candidate for this preventative treatment, please consult with your dentist.

Do You Have Gum Disease? What To Know If You’re Pregnant

Dental care is important for everyone. But if you are pregnant, a healthy mouth takes on a whole new meaning. According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), gingivitis affects 60 to 75 percent of pregnancies. If you already have red, swollen, or irritated gums, look at the top pregnancy-periodontal disease questions answered.

What’s the Pregnancy-Periodontal Disease Link?

Pregnancy hormones are change-makers in your body. Along with mood swings, thicker hair, and dewy skin, hormones can increase blood flow to the gums. This can result in inflammation, irritation, sensitivity, and easy-to-bleed gums.

The hormonal changes of pregnancy can also change the body’s response to infections. Gum disease happens when bacteria overrun the mouth and cause an infection. Decreased ability to fight off bacteria can increase the risk of periodontal disease.

What Are the Signs of Gum Disease?

Do you have pregnancy-related gum disease? While some of the symptoms are noticeable, others may give you pause — but not complete concern. If your gums bleed once after you eat something sharp (such as a tortilla chip), you likely have an injury.

Even though this type of injury should heal on its own, you should pay extra attention to the area and call a medical provider at the first sign of infection. The increased blood flow to the gums and decreased ability to fight off bacteria may increase the chances that a simple scratch on your gums turns into something more serious.

Gum disease signs can range from minor beginning symptoms to severe red flags. Many periodontal disease patients experience redness, swelling, discomfort, and bleeding. If you notice blood when you brush, inflammation, or a foul taste in your mouth (with no other known cause) you may have gum disease.

When Should a Pregnant Women Visit the Dentist for Gum Disease?

A healthy mouth is part of a healthy pregnancy. This makes early detection and treatment of gum disease important. Pregnant women should continue to see their dentist on a regular visit schedule. If you don’t have a visit scheduled during your pregnancy, make an appointment as soon as possible — especially if you have bleeding, irritation, or any other periodontal symptom.

Why Shouldn’t Pregnant Women Ignore Gum Disease?

No one should ignore periodontal disease symptoms. Gingivitis can progress into a serious infection that leads to tissue or bone loss. Without an adequate amount of healthy tissue or the proper bone support, you could lose a tooth. Likewise, tissue and bone loss/infection may make extraction necessary.

In pregnancy, gum disease can cause problems beyond oral issues. The infection increases the risk of pre-term birth or a low birth-weight baby.

How Can You Stop Gum Disease?

If you already have the symptoms of gum disease, you can make changes — and now. A 2018 study in the journal Advances in Preventative Medicine found that pregnant women who brushed less often had a higher likelihood of having poor birth outcomes than those who brushed more.

Brush your teeth at least twice a day for two minutes each time. Make sure to brush all areas of the mouth, and floss to get the in-between spaces. Brush after meals, if possible, too.

Again, a visit to the dentist is necessary. Don’t wait to schedule an appointment. If you have concerns about caring for your gums before the appointment day, ask the dental office staff for recommendations. Gum disease patients may need to visit the dentist more often for professional cleanings or check-ups during pregnancy.

Are you pregnant? Are your gums inflamed, red, or irritated? Contact the office of Kenneth M. Schweizer, DDS, PA, for more information.

3 Ways You Naturally Fight Cavity Formation

Your oral health depends a lot on what you eat and how well you keep up with oral hygiene. But did you know that your body also has quite a variety of natural defenses against cavities? Here are some of the ways your mouth works on a daily basis to fight against cavities forming in your teeth.

1. Producing Saliva

You’ve probably heard about saliva’s role in food digestion. It contains enzymes to help start to break down food even before you swallow. But did you know that saliva is also one of the biggest factors in protecting your teeth from cavities and repairing the daily wear and tear they experience?
For example, your saliva is full of minerals, which are carried to your tooth surfaces to help repair any softened enamel that occurs after you eat acidic, sugary, or high-carb foods. The bad bacteria in your mouth produce acids that leach the minerals out of your teeth. This process can lead to decay unless your saliva manages to reverse it by adding minerals back.
So how can you help? The first step is to drink lots of water on a daily basis so your body has plenty of moisture for producing saliva. The next step is to chew gum after meals, which helps your mouth release more saliva and helps swish the saliva all around your mouth.

2. Using Dentinal Fluid

You may have heard that your teeth have tiny dentinal tubules, which become exposed and cause sensitivity when your enamel wears thin. But did you know that these tubules actually have a great cavity-fighting function? They carry needed dentinal fluid containing substances such as nutrients to each tooth’s dentin layer.
However, this function only works properly if your diet is in good shape. That’s because a high-sugar diet can reduce the amount of parotid hormone produced and thus cause the fluid to stop flowing outwards. Then, bacteria and contaminants can invade the tubules, and the fluid with nutrients isn’t carried outward to all parts of the tooth.
So one of the best ways you can help out with this cavity-fighting function is to simply reduce the sugar and empty carbs in your diet. You may also need to work on stress management and make sure you’re getting enough exercise.

3. Fostering Beneficial Microbes

Your mouth is such a great place for bacteria to grow that you’ll never get rid of all the bacteria. Instead, your mouth makes use of beneficial bacteria to help reduce the effects of the bad ones. The more beneficial bacteria are living in your mouth, the fewer acid-producing bacteria will be able to find homes there.

You can help your mouth with this by using a mouthwash that only discourages the bad bacteria rather than carpet-bombing all the microbes in your mouth. For example, you can use an alkaline mouthwash, since bad bacteria love to grow in an acidic environment, and good bacteria tend to prefer a less acidic environment.

And if you want to take it a step further, you can work on getting more probiotic foods (foods that contain beneficial microbes) into your diet. Probiotic foods are foods such as kefir, yogurt, and sauerkraut that have live active cultures in them.

If you don’t want to eat more of these types of foods (or can’t for medical reasons), you may consider looking into an oral probiotic supplement formulated to deliver beneficial bacteria to your mouth. Beneficial bacteria can help with a variety of issues, including gum disease and bad breath, and may even kill some of the bad bacteria.

These are just three methodologies that can help naturally fight against cavity formation. Aiding your body in keeping up these three natural processes, while simultaneously keeping up with your great oral hygiene, could lessen your chances of contracting tooth decay.
Whether you’re in need of fillings or looking for more advanced restorative work, call the office of Kenneth M. Schweizer, DDS, PA today to schedule an appointment.

10 Things to Know About Your Teeth and Tartar

Dental tartar is a bacterial residue left behind on the teeth that can lead to stains and decay. Tartar can become very hard and bonded to your teeth, making it impossible to remove without the specialized skills and tools of a dentist in the area. Once tartar is formed on your teeth, it is even easier for additional tartar and advanced tartar, called calculus, to also adhere to your teeth.

Learn these ten things you should know about tartar.

1. Tartar Lurks Near the Gumline

Tooth tartar is also called dental calculus, and it typically forms in the nooks and crannies of your teeth, particularly around the gumline. Wherever your toothbrush or floss can’t reach is where tartar likes to grow.

2. Tartar Makes It Tricky to Brush and Floss

Tartar turns hard and sticky, making it more difficult to get a toothbrush where it needs to be. It also can make it very challenging, even painful, to floss between teeth and around the gums. This begins a vicious cycle; the discomfort and difficulty contribute to the formation of more tartar and eventual tooth decay.

3. Bad Breath Is an Early Sign of Problems

Have you noticed that you’ve had bad breath lately? Foul breath is an early sign of tartar and the need to increase flossing between teeth. If you fail to act, the tartar around the gumline will become harder and darker. This plaque is the beginning of gum disease and tooth decay. Prompt intervention from your dentist and vigilant dental hygiene may help control and reverse the condition, but it won’t restore any teeth that have decayed or been lost.

4. Tartar Is Stubborn

The process of removing tartar from teeth is often called descaling. Tartar is rough and raised on the smooth surface of your teeth; it must be removed with special instruments by your dental provider.

5. Tartar Can Get Worse

Things can get worse quickly with tartar. The bacteria growing in your gums and teeth can become infected, which is considered periodontitis. You may need antibiotics to recover from the infection, but it can cause permanent bone and tissue damage in your mouth.

6. Smoking Contributes to Tartar

Smoking contributes to the formation of tartar, so don’t smoke. Reports indicate that those who smoke or use tobacco products are more likely to have tartar buildup on their teeth.

7. Tartar Can Harm Your Heart

For years, studies have reported a link between plaque caused by bacterial tartar and heart disease. When plaque is not removed from the teeth, it can break free and be released into the bloodstream, where it could cause clogs or other complications.

8. Tartar Presents Serious Health Risks

Tartar impacts overall health and wellness; individuals suffering from tooth decay and disease caused by tartar may struggle with confidence or self-esteem. Many may experience depression. Furthermore, the physical inflammation and bacterial growth caused by poor dental hygiene can contribute to dementia.

9. Flossing Is Your First Defense

The most effective way that you can prevent the buildup of tartar and plaque between your teeth and around your gumline is to floss. Floss after every meal, and rinse with a tartar-preventing mouthwash each day.

10. You Need to See Your Provider Every 6 Months

Visiting your dental provider every six months is the best way to stay on top of tartar. Your dentist will descale your teeth to prevent the calculus from causing decay, discomfort, and tooth loss.

There are various other factors involved in whether you are susceptible to dental tartar or not, including age, diet, and genetics.

Is tartar compromising your dental health? Restore your smile with Kenneth M. Schweizer, DDS, PA. Choose to restore your teeth and regain your confidence.

What To Know About Peri-Implantitis

If you’re missing a tooth, you are probably considering options to replace the missing tooth, such as a dental implant. While dental implants are the most durable tooth-replacement option, they still can have complications, such as peri-implantitits. If you are considering getting an implant or you already have an implant, use this guide to learn more about this potential complication.

What Is Peri-Implantitis?

After you get an implant, the crown and titanium root will be invulnerable to decay, but your gums and jawbone can still be negatively impacted. When infection attacks the gums around the implant, they become inflamed, causing peri-implant mucositis. At this stage, only the gums are affected. Treatment is usually successful if caught at this stage.

If the problem continues, however, the inflammation reaches the bone supporting the dental implant’s titanium root. This causes the implant to lose stability and be more likely to fail. At this point, the symptoms will not reverse on their own because your body will not naturally regrow gum tissue or bone tissue.

What Causes It to Occur?

As with many conditions, there is no single cause for peri-implantitits, but there are many risk factors, which may increase your chances. In fact, peri-implantitis is so common that more than 28 percent of patients with dental implants develop this inflammation.

You can help avoid it by continuing good oral hygiene to avoid gum disease. If you smoke, quit now. The chemicals in tobacco restrict blood flow, and the area around the implant needs lots of fresh, healthy oxygenated blood. Certain medical conditions that affect healing and blood flow can also increase your risk. Unfortunately, some patients are simply genetically sensitive to the condition.

What Are the Symptoms?

Advanced peri-implantitis presents with severe symptoms, but at first, you may hardly notice any. Look for bleeding, tender, and red gums around the implant. In some cases, you may not notice the tenderness or bleeding unless you apply pressure to the gums such as from flossing or brushing. Some patients may even see, taste, or smell pus inside the mouth from the infection.

As the condition worsens, you may notice your implant begins to move a little, which can also cause pain. If the condition causes the gums to recede, you may begin to see the titanium root or bone loss. If the symptoms are still minimal, they may reverse on their own, but most likely, you’ll need professional treatments to reverse the effects.

What Treatments Are Available?

The first step is to fight the infection and inflammation. Your dentist will help with this by performing deep cleanings and providing special antibiotics. If you have any condition that affects your oral health, such as diabetes, you will also need to seek treatment for those. However, if you already have peri-implantitis, more advanced treatments are needed.

While non-surgical treatments like laser and air abrasive systems are available, they don’t seem to work well. This leaves surgery as the only choice for many patients. If bone and gum tissue has been lost, you may need grafts, and depending on the extent of the damage, the implant may need to be removed and replaced.

Dental implants are one of the best ways to replace missing teeth because they are so durable and may even last for the rest of your life. However, unless you take great care of your teeth and gums after treatment, problems can arise.

Peri-implantitis causes a lot of pain and wasted money. If you would like to know more about peri-implantitits or dental implants in general, contact us at Kenneth M. Schweizer, DDS, PA today.

Finding The Right Flossing Option For You

Some dentists tend to treat flossing as a one-size-fits-all option. While flossing may do a great job of keeping your teeth clean, some people have adverse reactions to flossing or need to use a brand free of substances that create problems for them. And many people have trouble remembering to floss or finding the motivation to do so every day. You may need an approach specific to you and your mouth.

Here are some steps to take to find the right flossing option for you.

Try Sensitive Floss

Some dental floss styles are simply are harsher on your gums and teeth than others. Trying a gentle dental floss that’s designed not to make your gums bleed is the first line of attack when you’re wondering why flossing doesn’t work for you.

If you have the manual dexterity needed for flossing but find that your gums don’t react well, a sensitive floss may be what you need.

Consider Allergies

Many dental flosses are made of nylon, but some are made of silk or bamboo or even other plant fibers. And coatings may contain bee products, flavor additives, or other substances that may cause allergic reactions in some. If you suspect this is happening to you, talk to your dentist or doctor about the possibility of an allergic reaction.

You can also try switching to an uncoated floss or using interdental brushes for a couple of months to see if that helps.

Start With Water Flossing

If you’ve never built up a regular flossing habit because it always turns into a bloodbath from which your gums don’t recover before the next day, perhaps your gums are irritated. Keeping them clean will help them become less sensitive. However, this advice may seem like catch-22 because flossing itself can help you keep your teeth clean.

One solution is using a water flosser to help clean along the gumline. Water flossers have been shown to reduce gum sensitivity and bleeding, which means that after you’ve used the water flosser for a while, your gums may not mind the flossing as much. So try working up to actual floss after you’ve gotten into the habit of water flossing every day.

Look Into Flossing Tools

In addition to interdental brushes and water flossers, several other types of flossing tools are on the market to help you clean between your teeth if dexterity is an issue. Floss picks are considered slightly inferior to string floss because they don’t allow the floss to hug the side of your tooth as well, but they’re still better than nothing. Or you could try a floss holder.

Use an Electric Toothbrush

It takes much less effort on your part to clean your teeth with an electric toothbrush because you don’t have to use a back-and-forth brushing motion. This may help to conserve your energy and time so that you can manage to floss more often now that you’re not putting all that energy into brushing.

Another benefit is that some electric toothbrushes are designed to clean along your gumline and in the cracks between your teeth better, so there’s not as much plaque left for your floss to clean out. This innovation could mean less time spent on flossing, or it could mean that you can make do with just a floss pick.

These steps can help you work up to a flossing habit, eliminate products that you could be sensitive to, or find alternatives to assist you with dexterity issues. Remember, daily oral hygiene habits are your first line of defense against cavities and gum disease. And professional dental visits are only periodic, rather than daily, but they’re just as important.

To schedule a professional dental cleaning or other dental services, contact the office of Kenneth Schweizer, DDS, PA, today.

Impacted Cuspids: Causes And Treatment For This Common Issue

Teeth come in many different varieties, including the incisors, premolars, and cuspids. The latter type is the second most common to impact when a child develops their adult teeth. Understand this problem — and its treatment options — to avoid complications with a child’s oral health.

Importance of Cuspids

The cuspids — or canine teeth — provide many benefits that make them critical for oral health. First of all, cuspids tear into tough food, like meat, to make these foods more manageable to eat. Second, they help you to speak. And third, they support the surrounding teeth.

The development of cuspid teeth typically occurs when a child is between 11 and 13 years old. Before that age, a child’s teeth don’t have the same kind of sharp edge provided by the cuspids. However, cuspid growth may be complicated by impaction in the jaw.

Consequences of Impacted Cuspids

As adult teeth grow into a child’s mouth, the risk of impaction grows. This problem occurs when the tooth is blocked and unable to erupt from the jaw properly. For example, a cuspid may grow underneath of another tooth and threaten to damage that tooth with its growth.

Other issues include eruption behind other teeth or in front of them. Improper cuspid eruption affects not only a child’s overall dental health but their physical appearance as well. Therefore, treating erupted cuspids is critical to perform as early as possible.

Reasons Cuspids Impact

Impacted cuspids occur for a multitude of reasons. Some individuals may have a genetic predisposition for this problem. As a result, parents who suffered from impacted cuspids need to track their child’s teeth growth to ensure that this issue doesn’t affect them as well.

The late development cycle of cuspids may also contribute to a higher risk for impaction. Typically, an impacted tooth occurs when little room is left in the mouth for its growth. As the mature cuspid may develop or grow after most of a child’s adult teeth have grown in the mouth, the risk for impaction is higher than with other teeth.

Treatment for Impacted Cuspids

Parents concerned about their child’s impacted cuspids have many treatment options. First of all, early detection is critical. X-rays and other schematic examinations of oral health provide parents and dentists with a better understanding of how a child’s teeth are growing.

If the dentist notices problems with the cuspids, they can relocate the tooth and avoid impaction problems. For example, autotransplantation carefully repositions the tooth in a way that avoids impact and keeps the canine straight and strong in the mouth. Another possibility is to use braces to move the teeth interfering with the cuspid’s growth.

These two treatment options help prevent the need for a dental implant or prosthesis to replace the extracted cuspid. Dentists only recommend extraction if the impaction is too severe to manage or if the root of the tooth is severely damaged.

After these treatments finish, parents should regularly take their child to the dentist to track potential complications. For example, the tooth may still try to grow improperly in the mouth after some surgeries or may suffer rejection from the gums. If these issues develop, other surgical methods may be necessary for correction.

Dentists Help Manage Cuspid Development

If your child’s cuspid teeth appear to be coming in improperly or trigger severe pain in their mouth, please don’t hesitate to contact or visit us at Kenneth M. Schweizer, DDS, PA, right away to learn more about this issue. Our dental professionals will examine your child’s mouth, find out why their cuspids are impacting, and work hard to manage this problem as effectively as possible.

E-Cigarettes And Dental Health

E-cigarettes have grown in popularity. Even though vaping may seem like a safe alternative to traditional cigarettes, these aerosol-producing pens, mods, and systems can still cause serious oral health issues. Whether you or a loved one vapes, look at what you need to know about e-cigarettes and how they can affect your mouth.

E-Cigarette Research

What does science have to say about vaping and oral health? As a newer form of smoking, research on the subject is still ongoing. Unlike the effects of tobacco-containing cigarettes, which have decades’ worth of research to back them up, the results of e-cigarette use are still somewhat unknown.

Even though research on vaping is still in its infancy, medical experts do agree that using any nicotine-containing product is unhealthy and dangerous. Current research into vaping does show that while it doesn’t have quite the same impact of using traditional tobacco-containing products, vaping comes with dental health risks. Read on to learn more about the potential problems that vaping can cause.

Oral Cancer Risk

Mouth cancers (cancers that occur on the lips or mostly anywhere in the mouth) have many different causes. Risk factors have traditionally included smoking cigarettes, chewing tobacco, using pipes or cigars, drinking large amounts of alcohol, exposing the body to the sun for large amounts of time, and getting the human papillomavirus.

However, along with regular cigarettes, smoking e-cigarettes can also put the user at an increased risk for oral cancers. The Population Assessment of Tobacco and Health found that smokers who used non-cigarette products (including e-cigarettes) also had exposure to carcinogens.

Not only were non-cigarette users at risk, but the levels of carcinogens they had exposure to were often comparable to those of exclusive cigarette smokers. Exposure to carcinogens, such as those in cigarettes and e-cigarettes, can lead to cancers of the mouth.

Gum Damage

Along with raising the risk of developing oral cancer, e-cigarette use can lead to serious gum problems. Research published in Oncotarget found that e-cigarette use can contribute to gum tissue cell damage.

If you think that this type of damage is less than what a tobacco-containing cigarette would cause, think again. Nicotine-containing e-cigarette vapors have comparable gum-damaging properties as the traditional type of cigarette.

The gum cell damage that vaping can cause puts the user at an increased risk for periodontal infections. Periodontitis — a serious infection of the gum — destroys the soft tissue, potentially causing gum recession, tooth loss, or systemic infections.

Catching periodontal disease early is essential. A dentist’s diagnosis is necessary, as well as professional-level treatment. While stopping e-smoking can prevent future damage, this won’t reverse existing effects.

In some cases, depending on the extent of the gum damage, routine cleanings and care may promote gingival healing. Extensive damage may require root planning and scaling, gum flap surgery, or other similar treatments.

Oral Infections

While vaping itself doesn’t cause oral infections, it can reduce blood flow to the mouth area. Like traditional cigarettes, e-cigarettes also contain nicotine. Even though nicotine doesn’t contain teeth-staining tobacco, the nicotine ingredient can negatively impact the user’s body.

Nicotine’s effects on blood vessels can cause problems throughout the body. Along with potentially causing cardiac issues, the restricted blood flow to the mouth can make the area more susceptible to infections.

If the user isn’t willing to stop smoking e-cigarettes, the increased risk for infection requires proper routine dental care — including at-home care and regular dental visits. While this won’t eliminate the risk, this can help to reduce the likelihood of a bacterial invasion.

Do you vape? Does your teen, spouse, or loved one use e-cigarettes? If you or someone you love vapes, you need professional dental care to prevent or reverse damage. Contact Kenneth M. Schweizer, DDS, PA, for more information.