dental checkups could save your life

dental checkups could save your lifeMiami and Coral Gables, FL

You probably know that going to the dentist helps keep your teeth and mouth in good condition, but did you know that keeping a regular schedule of dental visits also might save your life?

Going to your dentist regularly or often improves your chance of detecting any oral cancers in their earliest stages. Various professional medical organizations, including the American Dental Association and the American Academy of General Dentistry, recommend that patients visit their dentist on a regular basis, lowering their likelihood of developing oral cancer, a life-threatening disease. In honor of April’s National Oral Health Awareness Month, your Miami dentists at Miami Designer Smiles wants to share with you some important information about this disease.

Everyone should visit his or her dentist at least once every six months. Failing to follow such a routine increases the danger of developing oral cancer, as well as other ailments such as gum disease, which can lead to tooth loss and—if undiagnosed—raise your risk of cardiac disease as the bacteria and plaque from your infected mouth filter into the bloodstream. At a dental check-up, in addition to having a professional cleaning that completely removes all bacteria, plaque, and tartar from your teeth, your dentist will perform a thorough examination of your teeth and mouth that includes an oral cancer screening. An experienced, well-trained Miami dentist can detect this potentially deadly disease in its earliest stage. And detecting any cancer as early as possible improves the likelihood of full recovery.

What should an oral cancer screening entail? Your dentist should look for warning signs such as lumps or other abnormal tissue changes in your cheeks, head, oral cavity, neck, and the soft tissues of the mouth. Discoloration or sores also may be signs that oral cancer is present. By maintaining a regular schedule of dental visits, your dentist can identify any of these issues, as any changes to your oral health will be more readily apparent.

According to the American Cancer Society, more than 35,000 cases of oral cancer are diagnosed on a yearly basis. And the mortality risk associated with oral cancer is significantly higher than other types of cancer. In fact, the five-year survival rate for patients diagnosed with oral cancer has dropped by about 50 percent. The sad part is maintaining regular schedules of dental check-ups may have prevented many of these deaths.

Oral Cancer Screenings in Miami

Why live with any of that risk? If you have lapsed in receiving regular dental care, there is no better time than right now to get back on track. You can trust the team of professionals at Miami Designer Smiles to look after the health of your teeth and mouth, and safeguard your overall health by conducting cancer screenings as part of every routine checkup. We also offer a wide array of services in the specialties of cosmetic dentistry, restorative dentistry, and neuromuscular dentistry. To learn more about the services offered at Miami Designer Smiles, call our office today at (305) 595-4616 to schedule a consultation.

Miami Designer Smiles is proud to care for patients in the areas of Miami and Coral Gables, FL.

dangers of metal fillings

dangers of metal fillingsMiami and Coral Gables, FL

Do you have metal fillings in your mouth? If so, you likely are not alone. Dental amalgam has been used in restorations such as fillings and crowns for more than a century and a half. This seemingly tried and true method to fill cavities actually may jeopardize your health due to the presence of mercury.

Silver fillings contain up to 50 percent mercury. If you have any of these old silver filings, they can release mercury vapors anytime that you eat, drink, perform oral hygiene or otherwise stimulate your teeth by biting or chewing. These vapors pass through the blood-brain barrier and enter your bloodstream. Chronic exposure to mercury has been linked to psychological, neurological or immunological problems.

Who should not receive amalgam fillings?

Although amalgam or silver fillings are still widely used in traditional dentistry, there are certainly some people who simply should avoid getting silver fillings such as children. Silver fillings could also pose a risk to fetuses for women who are pregnant. However, the health risks increase the longer you have these amalgam fillings inside your teeth, which is why even adults should avoid getting silver fillings or have them replaced with biocompatible composite ones.

Amalgam fillings and the environment

The mercury used in dental restorations also is a major cause of environmental pollution. This occurs because the mercury in wastewater from dental practices enters public water treatment systems. There, it converts into methylmercury, an extremely toxic form of mercury. Methylmercury has been proven to impede the function of the brain as well as the nervous system—particularly among children. Mercury also can cause a general environmental hazard if it leaches into the air, water or soil.

Dental amalgam is still used on a fairly widespread basis, and the American Dental Association and Federal Drug Administration reaffirm their stance that mercury fillings do not pose a threat to patients.

While the FDA and ADA refuse to act, many dental practices operating at the forefront of the field are aware of the potential health and environmental risks involved in using amalgam in dental work. Campaigns to phase out amalgam fillings are underway in many regions of the world—including Latin America, Europe, Asia, and Africa.

At Miami Designer Smiles, we believe it is important to protect the overall health of our patients, not just their oral health. Therefore, we have chosen to maintain an amalgam-free dental practice.

If you have an area of tooth decay or want your old silver filling replaced, your Miami cosmetic dentist can install a beautiful composite filling. In addition to being free of amalgam and the health risks related to mercury exposure, these fillings have several other advantages. They are stronger because they are bonded directly to the tooth, and respond to the temperature changes in the mouth in a similar manner as your natural teeth. These composite fillings also can be matched in color and expertly shaped to be indistinguishable from your other natural teeth.

Metal-Free Dentistry in Miami

To learn more about the advantages of amalgam-free dentistry, contact the office of Miami Designer Smiles by calling (305) 595-4616 to schedule a consultation today.

Miami Designer Smiles is proud to serve patients in Miami and Coral Gables, Florida.

anxiety and its effects on your smile

anxiety and its effects on your smileMiami and Coral Gables, FL

Everyone gets anxious from time to time. Some people, however, deal with a constant high level of anxiety. Those individuals who suffer from persistent anxiety may feel overwhelmed or out of control. If you have anxiety to the point that it impedes your ability to function on a daily basis, then you have what is known as an anxiety disorder. A generalized anxiety disorder, a panic disorder, or social anxiety disorder all are different varieties of an anxiety disorder. Left untreated, an anxiety disorder affects your daily life and eventually can impact your overall health, but did you know that anxiety also could affect your smile?

The oral effects of living with anxiety may produce a variety of different consequences, including canker sores, dry mouth, burning mouth syndrome, and temporomandibular joint disorder (TMJ). Anxiety also could cause liche planus—a condition that occurs when lacy white lines, red areas, or mouth ulcers develop in the mouth. Another common oral consequence of anxiety is teeth grinding, which also is known as bruxism. Severe cases of teeth grinding can destroy your mouth, placing an inordinate amount of force that literally wears your teeth down to nubs.

Medications that are prescribed for anxiety also can have side effects that impact your oral health, affecting your ability to produce saliva. Anxiety medication side effects also may include anemia, bleeding, and nausea and/or vomiting, all of which can have negative ramifications on your teeth and mouth.

Problems with anxiety also can lead someone to abstain from visiting the dentist, which only makes any existing oral health problems that much worse, requiring more intensive and costly treatments to resolve these issues. Sometimes, those who suffer from anxiety disorders have such problems functioning that they may stop performing daily tasks that so many of us take for granted—such as bathing or brushing their teeth.

Anxiety disorders are one of the great silent epidemics in the United States. According to the Anxiety and Depression Association of America (www.adaa.org), anxiety disorders affect approximately 40 million American adults—or 18 percent of the entire population of Americans who are at least 18 years old. The ADAA also estimates that less than 37 percent of all American adults suffering from anxiety seek treatment, even though these disorders are highly treatable.

If you currently suffer from anxiety that impedes your daily life, your local Miami dentist strongly suggests that you seek the care of your regular physician or a mental health expert, who can provide help through treatment. And if your mouth has suffered some damage as consequences of your anxiety disorder, your local Miami dentist at Miami Designer Smiles can help repair your smile and prevent further damage to your teeth.

First, if you have neglected your oral health due to anxiety, your Miami cosmetic dentist can help by performing a cleaning and comprehensive examination of your teeth and mouth. We can treat bruxism by prescribing a mouth guard, which will be custom-made to the precise fit of your mouth. We also can repair teeth that have been damaged by bruxism or decay through any one of a variety of natural-looking yet highly functioning restorations that will leave you with a beautiful smile that performs well. Miami Designer Smiles also offers sedation dentistry for patients who suffer from significant anxiety or even outright fear regarding going to the dentist.

Cosmetic Dentistry in Miami

To learn more about the services offered at Miami Designer Smiles, call our office today at (305) 595-4616.

Miami Designer Smiles is proud to care for patients in the areas of Miami and Coral Gables, FL.

new years resolution keep mouth healthy

new years resolution keep mouth healthyMiami and Coral Gables, FL

Another year is over. What resolutions are you making heading into the New Year? Maybe you want to lose weight and get in better shape. Perhaps you want to spend more time with family and friends, or eliminate bad habits like smoking or biting your nails. Your local Miami dentist at Miami Designer Smiles suggests you add one more resolution to the list—maintaining good oral health.

Here are some tips to help you keep your mouth healthy all year long.

  • Eating plenty of fruits and vegetables is an essential strategy for good oral health. Eating fresh, crisp fruits and vegetables is a workout for your teeth that serves as a natural way to clean your teeth and help remove plaque. Plus, the antioxidants in many fruits and vegetables boost your immune system, bolstering your body’s ability to defend against infections. Generally speaking, a balanced diet lends itself to greater overall health, improving your immune system and your protection against oral health problems like gum disease.
  • Stop using tobacco. Whether you smoke or use chewing tobacco, this is a habit you need to break. We all know about the health risks associated with tobacco, such as an increased risk of cancer. Tobacco use, in any form (even vaping), also jeopardizes your oral health, with the list of potential consequences including lung cancer, mouth cancer, tooth loss, gum disease, sores, and tooth decay. The start of a new year is a great time to quit for good.
  • Limit use of alcohol. Did you know that drinking alcohol excessively could affect your oral health? Recent research conducted by the Academy of General Dentistry found that people who consume excessive quantities of alcohol on a regular basis have a higher risk of gum recession, which can create periodontal pockets between the teeth and gums where bacteria can accumulate. Using alcohol also can increase the frequency of other negative behaviors such as smoking, and the Academy of General Dentistry also found that smokers who drink excessively are much more likely to have bad oral hygiene practices.
  • Brush and floss regularly. Each of us is ultimately responsible for our own oral health. That responsibility starts at home, by maintaining a thorough regimen of oral hygiene. The American Dental Association recommends that you brush your teeth twice a day and floss once per day. Regular brushing and flossing prevent the accumulation of bacteria and plaque, which are the first stages that lead to tooth decay and eventual cavities. If you have children, encourage good habits by showing them the correct techniques for brushing and flossing.
  • Get checked. You and your dentist should not be strangers. Each person is recommended to make a dental appointment once every six months, which should include a professional cleaning that removes all the plaque and bacteria from your teeth, as well as a comprehensive examination of your teeth and mouth. These appointments may involve undergoing X-rays, which are used as another diagnostic tool to identify any changes or potential problems with your teeth and mouth.

Many of us fail to keep a New Year’s resolution, but keeping this one is not only easy but will help you maintain a high level of oral health. Finding the right dentist to provide care is important. Your Miami dentist at Miami Designer Smiles is here to help. To learn more about our services, call our office today at (305) 595-4616.

Miami Designer Smiles is proud to care for patients in the areas of Miami and Coral Gables in south Florida.

can snoring cause a stroke

can snoring cause a strokeMiami and Coral Gables, FL

Snoring is a source of frustration for many people, usually those whose sleeping partner snores loudly. This behavior disrupts sleep, leaving individuals groggy throughout the day. This lack of rest affects performance at work or school, while also increasing the susceptibility to certain diseases or conditions.

However, snorers themselves face some potentially dire physical consequences of their own.

According to a January 2017 article published by The Daily Mail, a prominent British newspaper, snoring actually can lead to a stroke. The article cited recent research performed by scientists at the Henry Ford Hospital in Detroit. Their findings included that regular snoring creates a constant vibration that can cause inflammation in the throat, leading to thickening of the carotid arteries. This thickening increases the risk of atherosclerosis and, with it, the risk factor of a stroke.

The study examined 900 individuals between the ages of 18 and 50 who had been evaluated by a sleep center. None of the participants in the study had been diagnosed with obstructive sleep apnea but had completed surveys about their snoring while also undergoing scans of their carotid arteries. The snorers in the study were found to have thicker arterial walls, an early warning sign of cardiovascular disease. These artery walls were thicker than those of non-snorers who smoked, had high cholesterol or were diabetic.

This data, along with the known risks associated with sleep apnea, strongly suggest that snoring can be hazardous to your health. If you snore, consider undergoing a sleep study. A certified sleep apnea dentist can perform an airway evaluation. This evaluation can determine if a case of sleep apnea exists, or perhaps identify the cause of your snoring.

Remember, snoring remains a major warning sign of sleep apnea. This sleep breathing disorder not only disrupts your sleep but also increases the likelihood of serious chronic conditions. If you or a member of your family snores, take action now and schedule an airway evaluation or a sleep study today at Miami Designer Smiles. Treatment is more convenient that you may think!

Many sleep apnea sufferers often assume the only treatment for such sleep breathing disorders is with a CPAP machine. Although the CPAP machine was the gold standard treatment for decades, it has been proven that many users discontinue treatment within the first few months. This is due in part to its bulky design, and that it emits sounds as loud as the snoring was to begin with! CPAP users report that traveling with their machine is inconvenient, and makes overnight stays difficult if no electrical outlet is located near the bed.

Instead of using a CPAP machine as treatment for our sleep apnea patients, we use customized, adjustable oral appliances that aim to hold the lower jaw in a more forward position, which facilitates an open airway. Our patients who have undergone treatment in this manner report that their oral appliance is not only comfortable, but convenient as well! To find out if an oral appliance is the right treatment for your sleep apnea, call us today for a consultation!

Just call our office at (305) 595-4616 to schedule an appointment to learn more about sleep apnea and its treatment. Miami Designer Smiles is proud to provide care for patients in Miami and Coral Gables, Florida.