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Edward J. Lynch, DDS, PC
Family, implant and cosmetic smiles created!
Located in Rapid City, SD  605-343-5925

Dental Problems

broken teeth

Dedicated to Solving Dental Problems

Are you afraid of the dentist? It is estimated that between 30 – 50% of the population does not seek dental care due to dental fears. The gentle caring staff at Creative Smile Designs is very good at working with people with dental fears. Modern dental equipment and techniques along with Sedation Dentistry makes it much easier for the patient to receive dental treatment in a non-stressful and relaxed manner.

Please see our section onSedation Dentistry for more details.

Proper Oral Hygiene Is Important

Bad Breath (Halitosis)

There are several causes that lead to bad breath. Some can be corrected easily, while others may require the intervention of a health professional. 

Smoking is a major factor in bad breath, because it contributes to Periodontal (Gum) Disease and also the smell of nicotine in the mouth. Periodontal disease is a bacterial infection that causes bone loss. Any kind of infection can cause a bad odor.

A dry mouth can be another contributing factor in halitosis; this may be because of some medication or disease, such as diabetes. You may need to consult your physician to consider a change in medication or diagnose and treat an underlying disease. 

 A sinus infection and associated drainage may cause bad breath. Dr. Lynch may be able to help you get rid of your sinus infection but if the problem is recurrent or allergy related, it would be essential for you to consult your physician for a long-term solution. Diet can also add to or be the cause of halitosis, especially if you enjoy onions and / or garlic.

Don’t forget that tooth brushing, flossing and good oral hygiene may greatly reduce bad breath. Brushing your tongue with a tongue scraper or toothbrush may aid in reducing halitosis. It is entirely possible that more than one of these causes may be the reason for bad breath (halitosis).

Broken Tooth

A broken tooth can cause a great deal of pain. They are often extremely sensitive to temperature and can be very sharp to your tongue. If you are unable to get to our office immediately to fix your broken tooth, it is necessary to get some temporary filling material or orthodontic wax at your local pharmacy. This may get you through until you are able to come to our office. 

Treatment may involve any of the several treatments depending on your situation; tooth colored filling, silver filling, root canal, veneer, crown or extraction.

Canker / Cold Sores

Canker sores and cold sores are often mistaken for each other. These often appear very similar even though they are very different.

Canker sores are considered “auto-immune” (the body fights itself) and are not communicable from one person to another. They are usually on the inside of the lips or on the gums. They are very seldom in a single spot and keep appearing in different areas of the mouth. Generally, they clear up in 10-14 days.

Cold sores are caused by a virus and are generally found in the same location on the outside of the lips. In some instances, it is possible for cold sores to be found in other areas of the mouth. Many people get a burning sensation just before the cold sores break out. This virus can be contagious, and may even be transferred from one area to another in the same person. It is important that a person with a cold sore does not kiss or allow the sore to touch another person for a period of 10-14 days, in order to minimize the risk of transferring the virus. It is also important that the person with a cold sore is extremely cautious, as it is possible for the virus to spread to their own eyes, fingers or possibly the genitals.
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Cavities and Tooth Decay

Teeth are covered with a sticky film of bacteria called plaque. After a snack or meal, the bacteria releases acid that attacks the enamel of the tooth. Cavities / tooth decay are basically caused by repeated attacks on the enamel.

Diabetes can also lead to decay if the blood sugar level is not controlled. The increased sugar in the mouth lead to an increase in bacteria and decay.  

Dry mouth decreases the normal amount of saliva found in the mouth. Saliva normally washes away food particles and neutralizes acid. A reduction in saliva level can cause increased decay.

A good diet, controlled diabetes and healthy oral care can minimize tooth decay. Fluoride treatments in the dental office can greatly decrease decay and may be able to repair some early or minor cavities. Regular dental visits for professional cleanings, exams and x-rays can catch early decay and minimize the amount of necessary treatment.

Loose Dentures

Dentures generally get looser with time. Bone resorbs when there are no teeth or dentures to put pressure on the bone. As the bone resorbs the dentures get loose. Relining the dentures (adding a layer of plastic) can help for a while, but eventually there will be so little bone that even relines will not be of much help.  

Most complaints are centered on the lower dentures. Lower dentures are mostly held in by your tongue and lips, unlike upper dentures that get some suction on the roof of the mouth.

Dental implants can help retain dentures. In addition, implants help “exercise” and maintain the bone.

Diabetes

Diabetes is a long term chronic disease. It is very important that you inform us of your medical condition before dental treatment. Procedures that may cause delayed healing can require changes in diet, meal scheduling, timing or dosage of insulin. Blood sugar testing or antibiotics may also be necessary. Diabetes can also cause delayed healing.

Some drugs used in dental treatments can alter the glucose level. Thus, it is important to let us know about all your medications, including over-the-counter products. Also, let us know of any changes in medication prior to any dental appointment.

In addition to a number of medical problems there are also a number of dental related problems that can occur. For more information on the potential complications, please see the links below:
Infection
Infection is more of a risk for diabetic patients. It leads to problems in controlling the blood glucose level. If you have a problem of infection or extensive dental treatment, your dentist may prescribe antibiotics to minimize the potential for infection.
Delayed Healing
Poor glucose levels can cause delayed healing. It is important to have your glucose levels under control during and after any dental treatment.
Periodontal (Gum) Disease
Diabetes reduces the body’s resistance to infections. The gums are among the tissues that are most likely to be infected. Periodontal diseases appear to be more frequent and more severe in people with diabetes.

Following are signs of periodontal (gum) disease:
  • Bleeding gums
  • Red, swollen or tender gums
  • Receding gums
  • Pus when the gums are pressed
  • Persistent bad taste or bad breath
  • Loose or separating adult teeth
  • Changes in the way your teeth bite together
  • Changes in the way partial dentures fit
Tooth Decay
A sticky film of bacteria called plaque releases acids after a meal or snack. When diabetes is not controlled, high levels of glucose may help the bacteria to thrive causing repeated acid attacks. These repeated acid attacks can cause the enamel to break down and eventually lead to cavities. Brushing twice a day with fluoride toothpaste and flossing daily can remove plaque.
Fungal (Yeast) Infections
Bacteria, fungi and viruses are naturally found in the mouth. The body usually keeps these elements under control. Oral candidiasis, a fungal (yeast) infection in the mouth, occurs more frequently in people with diabetes, including people who wear dentures. High glucose levels, smoking and frequent use of antibiotics are more likely to lead to oral fungal infections. Diminished saliva flow and increased glucose levels can also increase the incidence of fungal infections such as thrush. Thrush produces white (sometimes red) patches in the mouth that are often sore.
Salivary Gland Dysfunction
Xerostomia, or dry mouth is a common problem with diabetic patients. The constant dryness tends to irritate the tissues in the mouth causing them to be painful and inflamed. Dry mouth can cause problems of swallowing and changing taste.

Dentures do not hold well when the mouth is dry. This leads to more sore spots and ulcerations. Also, speech can be affected when the dentures do not stay well.
Taste Impairment
Some diabetics report that their ability to taste sweets is diminished. This altered taste may be barely noticeable, but may influence food choices in favor of foods with highly refined sweet carbohydrates. This can have a negative effect on their dental and overall health.

Dry Mouth

Dry mouth is a decrease in normal production and flow of saliva and is caused due to a number of reasons. The most common include medications, smoking and diabetes. People who have gone through radiation treatments for head and neck cancer also suffer from dry mouth. 

Saliva normally helps wash away food particle and neutralize acids that lead to cavities. Dry mouth causes problems of swallowing food and retention of dentures. It leads to increased drinking of liquids, chewing gum or sucking on hard candies. If these things have sugar, they are very likely to lead to decay (cavities).

It is important to find out the cause of the dry mouth. Certain medication will have a side effect of dry mouth. In some cases alternate medication may not have as much effect on it. If you are a smoker, it is extremely necessary that you quit smoking to decrease the effect of dry mouth. Controlling sugar levels in diabetics can decrease the problems associated with dry mouth, including; decay (cavities), periodontal disease, and fungal infections.

If the problems of dry mouth are inevitable, several things can help. A saliva substitute can help swallowing of food, retaining dentures and some of the discomforts of a dry mouth. Sugarless gum and candies or mints, frequent sips of water or using melting ice chips can help.

Fluoride

Dental fluorides offer many benefits to patients, both young and mature. Dental treatments with fluoride can prevent tooth decay and possibly rebuild minor areas of decay in both children and adults.
  • Fluoridated water can reduce decay by 50 – 60%
  • Fluoride gels from your dentist twice a year can reduce decay by 40%
  • Fluoride toothpaste can reduce cavities by at least 25%
  • Fluoride gels prescribed by your dentist for home use are more concentrated than what is found in toothpaste for those in need of additional protection
  • In children, fluoride can harden the enamel of the teeth and reduce the risk of decay.  
  • In adults, fluoride can considerably reduce sensitivity to temperature.
  • Plaque can also be decreased with fluoride usage. Plaque is bacteria that can cause decay or periodontal disease.

Gum Disease (Gingivitis)

Gingivitis is a non-destructive infection of the gums. It is a milder and reversible form of periodontal disease. Symptoms include redness, swelling, and the gums become tender which bleed easily. Gingivitis can usually be eliminated by a thorough professional cleanup and daily brushing and flossing.

Gingivitis may lead to more serious, destructive forms of periodontal disease if not taken care of. Periodontal disease is an infection of the gums and bone surrounding the teeth and can lead to tooth loss. It is caused by bacteria in the mouth called plaque. According to research, periodontal disease is known to affect 3 out of 4 adults. Periodontal disease has been linked to heart disease, diabetes, low birth weight of babies, lung disease, strokes, premature birth and other birth defects.

Periodontal disease is not usually accompanied by pain and often develops slowly. Red, puffy, bleeding gums are usually signs of periodontal disease. Other symptoms may include persistent bad breath or bad taste; pus; gums that have pulled away from the teeth.

Good oral health is desirable, not only for the teeth and gums, but also for general health and longevity. We look forward to working with you as you choose an overall healthier body and smile.

Impacted Wisdom Teeth

Wisdom teeth are also called third molars, because they usually start to erupt in the mouth between 16 – 21 years of age. As most parents know, this is the age when children become very “wise” and parents or elders become “not so wise,” hence the name “Wisdom Teeth.” Very few people have enough room for the wisdom teeth, or the wisdom teeth are so far towards the back that people find it difficult to keep it clean. 

Impacted wisdom teeth can cause pain, swelling, infection, periodontal (gum) disease and decay (cavities). Impacted wisdom teeth are often “caught” under the tooth just in front of them. This can make cleaning out food and bacteria extremely difficult. This can compromise not only the wisdom tooth, but also the tooth just in front of it too. In most cases it is better to just remove the wisdom teeth. 

Removing the wisdom teeth can prevent various problems. It also allows better hygiene so the other teeth can be cleaned better. As we mature, our bone gets denser and roots on the wisdom teeth form completely. In addition most people heal faster and better when they are younger. It is much easier to remove the wisdom teeth when we are younger than at an older age.

Lacerations and Cuts

Lacerations and cuts around the mouth and lips can cause a great deal of bleeding. Most often an injury on the face will leads to lacerations or cuts in the mouth. It is likely that you will wind up in an emergency room to seek treatment for the other injuries before you see a dentist. If the trauma is limited to the mouth and lips, contact our office immediately so we can help you repair the damage and evaluate any trauma that may have occurred to your teeth.

Oral Cancer

Oral cancer can be devastating. Oral cancer kills more people nationwide than cervical cancer or skin cancer. More than 30,000 new cases of mouth and throat cancer are diagnosed each year. Only half of those diagnosed, will live five years or more. 

Our office checks for oral cancer at every new patient comprehensive exam or recall exam. In addition to Dr. Lynch checking, our professional hygienists are constantly on the watch for any unusual findings while they are doing your professional cleaning or periodontal procedures.

Symptoms you should watch for include:
  • Sore(s) don’t heal and that bleed easily
  • A lump, thickening or eroded area with changes in color or texture
  • Pain, tenderness or numbness in the mouth or lips
  • Problems chewing, swallowing or speaking
  • Problems moving your jaw or tongue
  • Changes in how your teeth bite together
During our visual exam if we find anything that is abnormal, there are several possible things we do. First, watch the lesion for a short period of time and probably have you back to be sure it clears up. Fortunately most lesions go away in 10 - 14 days and no further treatment is necessary.

There is a new and easy way to check a lesion that does not go away. A soft, tiny nylon brush is rubbed against the lesion to pick up cells; this is called OralCDx. OralCDx is a highly accurate new technology to look at the cells under a microscope. You don’t need to be numb and no scalpel is necessary.

Lesions that persist or have a positive result with the OralCDx may need to have a surgical biopsy. In most cases we are able to do the biopsy for you. In some cases, referrals are made to an oral surgeon, ENT or dermatologist.  

Click to read more on OralCDX

Plaque

Plaque is a sticky film of bacteria that forms on the teeth. Depending on the bacteria present, plaque can be the cause of dental decay (cavities) or periodontal (gum) disease.

Poorly controlled diabetes can increase the amount of plaque found in the mouth. Good oral hygiene (brushing and flossing) with fluoride toothpaste and regular dental visits can help decrease plaque.

Sensitive Teeth

One of the most common cause of sensitive teeth is a cavity. Small cavities may be sensitive to cold and / or sweets. As the decay gets deeper, the nerve may start to die. The tooth will get increasingly sensitive until the tooth abscesses.

Teeth may also be sensitive if the gums recede due to periodontal (gum) disease. The root surfaces tend to be more sensitive, especially to temperature. Sinus infections or allergies can cause upper back teeth to be sensitive.

Teeth Grinding (Bruxism)

Many people unknowingly keep grinding their teeth during sleep. Toothache, headache, or a sore face often a problem in the morning. This eventually leads to worn-out, loose, and fractured teeth.

Any of the following symptoms may be an indication of bruxism:
  • Jaw pain, headache, or earache
  • Sensitive
  • Flat, worn teeth on the tips
  • Grinding teeth during sleep, often loud
  • Abnormally aligned teeth
  • Muscles that contract often on the side of the face
Grinding may occur because the top and bottom teeth are not aligned properly, in response to pain or a sleep disorder. Most often bruxism is related to stress. Alcohol and caffeine intake can aggravate the condition. A teeth grinding in kids is usually not permanent, most outgrow it by adolescence.

Mild bruxism may not cause damage, but severe bruxism can lead to:
  • Worn tooth enamel
  • Chipped teeth
  • Cosmetic damage
  • Temperature sensitivity
  • Broken fillings and dental work
  • Temporomandibular Joint (TMJ) Dysfunction
  • Eroded gums, roots and supporting
If stress is a major cause of the bruxism, counseling can dramatically decrease grinding. Muscle relaxants and physical therapy may also help. A dentist can make a plastic mouth guard to be worn at night when the bruxism is severe enough to cause jaw or facial pain or damage to the teeth. In some cases changing the bite of the teeth can help eliminate the pressure that may lead to bruxism.

Temporomandibular Disorder (TMD)

TMD is often called TMJ (Temporomandibular Joint) Disorders. The following are all signs of TMD:
  • Headaches
  • Earaches
  • Noises associated with movement in the jaw joints (clicking, popping or crunching)
  • Tenderness of the jaw muscles
  • Dull aching pain
  • Limited opening of jaw
  • Locked jaw
  • Jaw shifts to one side when you open your mouth

Toothache

A toothache can be one of the most difficult problems someone can encounter in dentistry. The first thing that may help with a toothache would be an OTC (over-the-counter) pain medication. Aspirin increases bleeding and should be the last drug to use, unless it is the only OTC medication you can use. You should never place aspirin on the tooth or gums because aspirin is very acidic and will burn the tissues. The most common causes of a toothache include broken tooth's, broken fillings, abscessed tooth's and loose tooth's.

A short-term solution may be to get temporary filling material or orthodontic wax (used with braces) at a pharmacy. Either of these will cover the broken tooth or filling to decrease sensitivity to temperature or sweets. It is important to contact our office to get something more definitive done or a small problem can become much larger.

Abscessed tooth means the nerve has died and there is an infection. Often the pain caused by these teeth keeps coming and going, and eventually it will keep on hurting and will never get better. It is much easier for you to take care of the problem before it “subsides”. Some people take “a couple” antibiotic pills to reduce the pain. This can be very dangerous, since the antibiotic will kill the easiest “bugs” first and leave the tougher “bugs” if only taken for a short time. This will make it much more difficult to control the infection later! Contact our office to determine the best course of treatment for your problem.

A loose tooth is usually due to periodontal (gum) disease. Gum disease usually doesn’t hurt until it is very severe. At this point it is important to see our office to diagnose and treat the problem.

Unhappy with your smile

Many people dislike their smile for different reasons. Creative Smile Designs may be able to help you with one of these treatments:
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