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Lynchburg VA Dentist | Oral Health and Cancer

There are over 12 million new cases of cancer diagnosed each year. There are a large variety of different kinds of cancer, some of which are more preventable than others. It might seem obvious that brushing and flossing each day as well as avoiding tobacco can help protect you from oral cancer. However, there are types of oral cancer and other cancers that can be prevented through optimal oral care as well.

Dental Care and Oral Cancer

While it’s long been known that tobacco and heavy alcohol use are the main causes of oral, head, and neck cancer, poor oral health has recently been added to the list. A 2007 study published in American Journal of Epidemiology found that poor mouth health and missing teeth were strongly linked to the development of oral cancer. Likewise, patients with healthy smiles were found to be far less likely to develop oral cancer. If you have been diagnosed with oral cancer, know that common oral health problems such as gum disease and tooth decay could be making the condition worse. Visiting our dental office regularly for professional cleanings, examinations, and oral cancer screenings to help catch signs of oral cancer early and make treatment easier and more effective.

Oral Health and Other Cancers

Poor oral health has been shown to be tied to other types of cancers outside of the mouth. For example, a recent study conducted by NYU Langone Health’s Perlmutter Cancer Center found that certain types of bacteria in patients with gum disease was tied to a higher risk of developing esophageal cancer. While esophageal cancer only accounts for 1% of new cancer cases diagnosed annually, over 90% of patients will die of the disease. Untreated gum disease opens up the tissues around the teeth to bacterial infection, allowing these harmful bacteria to enter the bloodstream and infect other parts of the patient’s body. Maintaining optimal oral health can help protect you from this threat.

Your oral health effects much more than just your mouth. If you’re not taking care of your teeth, tongue, and gums, you could significantly increase your risk of developing cancer without even realizing it. If you’d like to learn more about the connection between oral health and cancer, contact Riley Dental Associates of Central Virginia to schedule an examination and cleaning with our Lynchburg dentist today!

 

Riley Dental Associates of Central Virginia
Phone: (434) 385-7707
3709 Old Forest Road
Lynchburg, VA 24501

Lynchburg VA Dentist | Blood Thinners and Oral Surgery

Blood thinning medications are helpful in regulating your body to prevent heart attacks, strokes, and other serious issues. However, if you are scheduled for oral surgery, it is vital that our oral surgeon is aware of all medications you are using.

How Blood Thinners Work

There are two types of blood thinners. The first type works to prevent blood clotting. Medications ranging from aspirin to Plavix fit into this category. The other type of blood thinners work to prevent blood from coagulating; Coumadin or warfarin accomplish this.

What Our Oral Surgeon Should Know

When you have your oral surgery consultation appointment, be sure to share with us any medications you are taking. We need to have your complete medical history to ensure your safety and proper treatment. Our dentist might also ask you the purpose of each medication you are taking to better understand any side-effects or other medical issues that could affect your oral surgery.

Steps to Take Before Surgery

Never stop any medication without consulting your doctor. Depending on your medical history, your doctor might suggest specific blood tests before having oral surgery. Communication is key, both between you and your primary physician, and between you and our office. If your treatment requires additional medication to be taken, ask about potential drug interactions.

Steps to Take to Minimize Oral Bleeding

Bleeding resulting from oral surgery can occur, but each patient will have different results. The most effective way to minimize oral bleeding is to firmly apply pressure to the area for up to 30 minutes. Gauze is recommended for applying gentle pressure to stop bleeding. Depending on the oral surgery procedure, we may ask you to refrain from drinking hot liquids and rinsing your mouth for the first day. We suggest avoiding rough or sharp foods that might cut your mouth.

Prior to having any oral surgery, it is important that our Lynchburg family dentist has a thorough knowledge of your medical history. This enables us to find the best possible solutions for your needs, while ensuring your safety.

If you have any questions about medications and oral surgery, contact Riley Dental Associates of Central Virginia.

 

Riley Dental Associates of Central Virginia
Phone: (434) 385-7707
3709 Old Forest Road
Lynchburg, VA 24501

Lynchburg VA Dentist | Men: Here’s What You Need to Know About Keeping Your Mouth Healthy

Men, dental examinations and treatment are important for you, too. Did you know according to the Academy of General Dentistry (AGD), by age 72 men lose an average of 5 teeth? That number jumps to 12 if you are also a smoker. Here’s what you need to know about keeping your mouth healthy. Follow these tips and you can beat the odds stacked against men and their oral health.

The Basics

Men are more likely than women to suffer from periodontal, or gum, disease. Men also have a higher risk of developing oral cancer and throat cancer, and men tend to lose more teeth than women. A poll conducted by the AGD found that 45% of men who responded felt there was no need for them to visit the dentist. This is a troubling statistic for a group more prone to oral health issues. A visit to our office can help us identify problems early.

Risk Factors

Certain medications can directly impact your teeth. Others can cause side effects such as dry mouth, which decreases saliva. Saliva is important in keeping your teeth’s enamel strong. Smoking or chewing tobacco, including smoking electronic cigarettes, have been linked to increasing your risk of developing oral cancer and other oral health issues. If you play sports, especially football or hockey, get fitted with a mouth guard to protect your teeth from extensive damage. You should avoid or limit energy drinks and sports drinks, as these contain acids and sugars that can lead to decay.

Periodontal Disease

Men are at a higher risk for developing periodontal, or gum, disease. Periodontal disease is caused by a buildup of hardened plaque on teeth and gums. This buildup, known as tartar, can inflame your gums. Studies have linked periodontal disease to increasing your risk for strokes, heart attacks, diabetic complications, and more. If your gums are red, bloodied, or sore, you should make an appointment to see us. Our experienced, professional dental team will assess your gum health and work to find a treatment for you.

Take These Steps at Home

A visit to our office will provide you with a complete dental examination and cleaning, but you should also practice good oral hygiene each day at home. This starts by brushing your teeth twice each day, for two minutes each time. When you brush, use an appropriate toothpaste. Ask our team if you are not sure what kind of toothpaste is best for you. Make sure you are also using dental floss. Taking care of your teeth at home will make your next visit to see us easier.

Men, your teeth are important so take good care of them. Practice good brushing and flossing habits at home. Reduce your risk of developing decay and oral disease by cutting back on sugary or acidic drinks, avoiding tobacco and smoking, and keeping our Lynchburg family dentist up to date on any medications you are using. Get into the habit of coming to our office regularly, your smile depends on it.

For more tips on keeping your mouth healthy or to schedule your next dental examination, please contact Riley Dental Associates of Central Virginia.

 

Riley Dental Associates of Central Virginia
Phone: (434) 385-7707
3709 Old Forest Road
Lynchburg, VA 24501

Lynchburg VA Dentist | The Truth About Dental Anxiety

Is anxiety or nervousness preventing you from visiting our team? Dental treatments should not be a cause of stress. If you worry about pain, embarrassment, or loss or control during a dental examination, we want you to know two very important things: You are not alone and We can help.

Dental Anxiety Is Common 

Research has shown that most patients experience some degree of anxiety when visiting the dentist. Between 10 and 20% of the general population encounters such a high level of stress and nervousness that they ignore oral healthcare altogether. This can increase the risk of developing severe oral health complications, requiring additional care.

In many cases, dental anxiety has two main causes. First, patients may have had a negative experience in the past, leaving them apprehensive towards their next appointment. Second, is through influence. This is particularly true for children. Children learn through imitation and are influenced by their parents. If you dread going to the dentist, your child may pick up on the behavior and develop similar fears.

Our Team Can Help

The first action you can take is to let our team know about your feelings of nervousness and anxiety. We have a number of techniques to help you feel more comfortable and relaxed. Our compassionate team is always open to discussing your options with you.

We will consult you regarding what your visit will entail, and work together to find a comfortable pace at which you feel comfortable. 

If nervousness, stress, fear, or anxiety have caused you to skip appointments or avoid dental care completely, please contact our team. Dentistry is constantly evolving by offering new technology and treatment methods with patient safety and comfort in mind. Talk to our team about your fears or concerns and allow us to work with you. Ignoring your oral health can have serious repercussions and lead to more necessary treatments.

Contact our team to schedule your visit today.

Riley Dental Associates of Central Virginia
Phone: (434) 385-7707
3709 Old Forest Rd.
Lynchburg, VA 24501

Lynchburg VA Dentist | Be Wary of These Beverages

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It’s common knowledge that plenty of beverages are not good for your health. The excessive amounts of sugar, caffeine, or alcohol found in a lot of popular drinks have well-documented impacts on your body. However, you may not be aware of the immediate impacts that these beverages can have on your teeth. Below is a list of some common beverages and tips for enjoying them responsibly.

Soda, Juice, and Energy Drinks

The high sugar content in these drinks can have a negative impact on your physical health. Less obvious however is the effects that they can have on your teeth. As with any sugary food, prolonged exposure can lead to the damage and decay of your enamel, opening the door for cavities and other issues to occur.

Coffee

Many popular coffee drinks contain just as much sugar as sodas and juices. However, even people who drink their coffee black run the risk of damaging their smile. Excessive coffee consumption can stain your teeth, though the amount of discoloration experienced varies from person to person.

Wine, Beer, and Liquor

Though it seems obvious that red wine can stain your teeth, all wines pose a similar risk of damage. Likewise, darker beers can gradually stain your teeth depending on the frequency of consumption. While hard liquors generally don’t pose as much of a risk to your enamel on their own, the mixers they’re often served with can.

How to Protect Your Teeth

After consuming one of these beverages, your first impulse might be to brush your teeth as soon as possible. However, rushing to brush could actually be doing more harm than good. All of the aforementioned beverages contain high levels of acid. This acid has a softening effect on your enamel, and the pressure applied during brushing can potentially further this softening. Instead, it’s recommended that you follow sugary or acidic drinks with water and wait 30 minutes to brush. It is also beneficial to swish the water around as you drink it, as this will help gently rinse off all of your teeth and allow the enamel to harden before you brush.

Watching your diet can benefit your teeth as much as it benefits the rest of your body. However, moderate consumption of any of these beverages won’t cause an issue provided you maintain a proper oral care routine that includes regular brushing and flossing, as well as professional cleanings at least twice a year. Contact our office today to schedule your next appointment!

Lynchburg VA Dentist | 5 Teeth Sensitivity Myths

Do you suffer from regular sensitivity? Teeth sensitivity is often misunderstood, but our dental team can help you find relief. We’re here to separate the fact from fiction in sensitivity.

MYTH: People’s teeth are supposed to hurt when they bite into cold or hot foods.

Feelings of sensitivity when eating hot or cold foods should not be a typical experience. If you suffer from hypersensitivity, it can actually be a sign that something is wrong. There are many causes for hypersensitivity including cavities, older dental fillings, worn tooth enamel, gum disease, and exposed tooth roots. Dentin hypersensitivity is a common issue. A visit to our dental office can help you find relief.

MYTH: Desensitizing toothpastes are not effective in reducing teeth sensitivity.

Desensitizing toothpastes include compounds like potassium nitrate or strontium chloride. These ingredients work by preventing pain signals being transmitted between the surface of your tooth and the inside nerves. It may take several applications of the toothpaste until you will feel a noticeable difference. Prescription strength toothpastes are also an option for more severe and prolonged feelings of sensitivity. Ask our dentist to recommend a toothpaste for your needs.

MYTH: You shouldn’t drink coffee or eat ice cream if you have sensitive teeth.

You don’t have to be limited from eating or drinking your favorite foods. It is important to check with our dentist to determine the root cause of your discomfort. Based on your cause, we may recommend a prescribed toothpaste or another treatment. You should always maintain proper oral care to prevent sensitivity.

MYTH: Sensitivity never results in tooth loss.

Sensitivity may in fact be a precursor to tooth loss. Gum recession, which exposes the roots of your teeth, can cause general sensitivity among several teeth at the same time. Prolonged and untreated gum recession can lead to tooth loss. Tooth decay can also cause sensitivity. When left untreated, it may lead to an infection in the gums or jaw and risk spreading to other areas in the head or neck. Early diagnosis and treatment can make a difference in keeping your smile healthy.

MYTH: Sensitivity does not have a cure.

Depending on the cause, there are many ways to treat teeth sensitivity. Proper oral hygiene is the best way to prevent any sensitive tooth pain. If you experience sensitivity, schedule a comprehensive dental examination today.

We look forward to seeing you. Contact our team to schedule your next visit.

Lynchburg VA Dentist | Ow! Your Guide to Canker Sores

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A canker sore can make eating, drinking, and talking difficult and even painful. Maintaining your oral health by brushing and flossing may also be difficult with a sore in your mouth, but keeping up with your daily oral hygiene routine is an important step in the healing process. We’ve put together a short guide to everything you need to know about canker sores.

What do they look like?

Canker sores are usually small, round reddish sores. You’ll find them on the soft tissues of your mouth, such as your tongue, the sides of your mouth, and at the base of your gums. Occasionally, a sore might have a yellow or white colored center.

What causes them?

Among the most common causes of canker sores are injuries. This can happen from biting your lip or cheek, an injury from sports, or even vigorous brushing. Certain people are sensitive to toothpastes containing sodium lauryl sulfate, leading to sores. Foods may also cause canker sores in certain people. Chocolate, eggs, nuts, and spicy foods have been known to cause the sores. At times, a diet that is deficient in vitamin B-12 or zinc is the culprit.

What can I do?

Your best defense is to keep your mouth healthy. This means keeping up with your twice-daily brushing and daily flossing. With a mouth sore, it may be tempting to avoid the area when brushing your teeth. This can lead to a buildup of plaque and bacteria. Aid the healing process by keeping your mouth clean and healthy. You may also try a mouthwash formulated for mouth sores. When in doubt, or if pain persists, talk to our team.

Brush thoroughly but gently around sores. Most canker sores heal within a week. If you find you are regularly getting sores, or they are taking longer than one week to heal, schedule a visit to our office. We will assess your oral health and provide you with our expert advice.

For more information about oral health or to schedule your next visit, please contact our office. We look forward to seeing you.

Lynchburg VA Dentist | How Pregnancy Affects Your Oral Health

During pregnancy, it is essential that you don’t neglect your oral health. A fluctuation in hormones can cause drastic changes in your mouth. Oral health complications have been linked to increased risk in other significant overall health issues. Here are the most common oral health problems, how they can affect your pregnancy, and how to prevent them.

Oral Health Problems During Pregnancy

According to the Academy of General Dentistry, only 22 to 34 percent of women in the United States visit a dentist during pregnancy. Regular visits to our office while expecting can allow us to detect potential issues early. Gingivitis is the biggest concern during pregnancy. The buildup of plaque is more likely to cause an expecting mother to have red, swollen, and painful gums that bleed. If the gums become even more swollen and irritated, it can cause non-cancerous pregnancy tumors. If oral health problems are left untreated they can lead to serious diseases.

Ways to Prevent Gum Problems

The best way to decrease any risk of getting gingivitis is to brush your teeth at least twice a day. Make sure you brush the full tooth, all the way to the gums. Flossing your teeth regularly will also keep your gums healthy. Seeing your dentist more frequently for cleanings will reduce plaque and minimize any problems.

How Bad Oral Health Can Affect Your Baby

The Academy of General Dentistry suggests a link between gingivitis and having a preterm or low-birthweight baby. If an expecting mother has gingivitis, it can cause bacteria to enter in the bloodstream and travel to the uterus. The bacteria triggers chemicals that may induce early labor.

Maintaining good oral health is important in combating problems during pregnancy. Gingivitis is the most common concern that can be managed with the help of your dentist. Without proper treatment, gingivitis can lead to other health issues that not only affect you, but also your pregnancy. Keep yourself and your child safe by having a consultation with your dentist before or during your pregnancy. We also recommend that you bring your new baby to the dentist as soon as their first tooth grows in so they can get started on the path to a healthy life.

Contact our dental team today to schedule an appointment.

Lynchburg VA Dentist | I Chipped a Tooth! What Can I Do?

It usually starts pretty innocently. You’re biting into your favorite hard candy and suddenly you realize that there’s one little hard piece in your mouth you can’t seem to dissolve. You check it out and fear overcomes you when you see it’s a little chipped piece of a tooth.

Enamel may be one of the hardest substances in the body but like most things in life, it has its limit. Whether you are chewing on ice or grinding your teeth at night, there’s always a chance of putting your teeth at risk. If you have chipped your tooth, there’s no need to panic. Here are a few things we can do to restore your beautiful smile:

Tooth Bonding

Tooth bonding has many structural uses, and it can be very helpful for repairing chipped teeth. Tooth bonding is a simple procedure that doesn’t require any numbing. The bonding materials and porcelain used are natural in color and can be designed to perfectly match your teeth. Your smile will look good as new, and people will have a hard time noticing you ever chipped a tooth to begin with.

Dental Crown

A dental crown is a tooth-shaped cap that helps protect your teeth, while at the same time improving its appearance. An AACD (American Academy of Cosmetic Dentistry) dentist will likely use a tooth colored crown made out of porcelain or zirconia to look identical to your teeth. Crowns will also provide the durability and strength your teeth need to withstand daily use. You may only need a partial crown if our dentist sees that the chip doesn’t affect the entire tooth.

Porcelain Veneers

Porcelain laminate veneers are made up of several thin layers of ceramic used to repair chipped teeth. They will be bonded to the teeth to replace the original enamel of the tooth with a special adhesive. Dental veneers are a fantastic way to get your tooth to look whole and healthy again.

If you have a chipped tooth and would like more information on these methods, or to schedule a consultation, contact our office today.

Lynchburg VA Dentist | Oral Cancer Risk Factors

During a comprehensive dental examination, our team will look for signs of oral cancer. Early detection is key with oral cancer. If caught early, most forms of oral cancer are treatable. Our dental team is trained and educated to identify oral cancer.

Everyone is susceptible to the disease, but some groups of people are at a higher risk level than others. Here are the top seven risk factors for oral cancer.

Age

Are you in your mid 40s? Your risk of developing oral cancer increases with age. A noticeable increase is evident in people in their 40s and older. According to the Cancer Treatment Centers of America, the majority of diagnosed cases occur around the age of 62, but the average age is declining. The recent increase in Human Papillomavirus (HPV) related cases is causing more people to be diagnosed for oral cancers between the ages of 52 and 56. As the average age for oral cancer cases decreases, it is vital that you receive regular oral cancer screenings at any age.

Gender

Men are twice as likely to develop oral cancer compared to women. Part of this difference may be related to regular intake of alcohol and tobacco. According to the American Cancer Society, the gender difference is decreasing since more women are drinking and using tobacco today than in previous generations. There has also been a trend in recent years of younger men being diagnosed with HPV-related oral cancer. Both men and women should schedule regular oral health examinations to detect oral cancer early.

Tobacco

Smoking or chewing tobacco can greatly increase your risk of developing oral cancer. Tobacco can lead to cancer of the mouth or throat. Additionally, oral tobacco products cause cancers associated with the cheeks, gums, and inner surface of the lips. Development of these cancers depend on the duration and frequency of tobacco use. Non-smokers are not immune to oral cancer, so be sure to schedule an appointment with our team for an examination.

Alcohol

Among those that are diagnosed with oral cancer, about 70% of people are characterized as heavy drinkers. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), heavy drinking is defined as having an average of two or more drinks per day for men, and one or more drinks per day for women. People who drink heavily can be more than twice as likely to develop oral cancers than people who do not drink. Oral cancer can still occur in people who have never had an alcoholic drink. Contact our team to schedule an examination.

Human Papillomavirus (HPV)

This sexually transmitted disease is associated with at least 10,000 cases of oral cancer diagnosed each year in the United States. People who have HPV-related oral cancers tend to be younger and are unlikely to smoke or drink. Typically, those diagnosed with HPV-related oral cancers are at a much lower risk of death or reoccurrence. We suggest a proactive approach by maintaining regular visits to our dental office.

Sunlight

People who work outside or with prolonged exposure to sunlight have a higher risk of developing lip cancer. It is vital to use UV protection when under the sun. Many lip balms offer UV protection. If you work outdoors frequently, schedule an additional examination with our team.

Diet

Poor nutrition can increase your risk for developing oral cancer. According to the American Dental Association, reports have shown that a link exists between diets low in fruits and vegetables and a higher risk for oral cancers. However, oral cancer can develop in healthy individuals. No matter your diet, schedule a visit with our team for a comprehensive oral examination.

Oral cancer does not discriminate. While these seven factors have been tied to an increased risk of oral cancer, that does not diminish the importance of regular oral examinations for everyone regardless of their age, gender, or other factors. Regular dental examinations make it possible for our team to detect oral cancer early. Contact our dentist to schedule a comprehensive oral examination.  

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Lynchburg Dental Office

Lynchburg, VA Dentist

Riley Dental Associates, PC

3709 Old Forest Road
Lynchburg, VA 24501
(434) 385-7707

Providing dental care for the communities of:

Appomattox | Lynchburg | Altavista | Amherst | Big Island | Brookneal | Coleman Falls | Concord | Evington | Forest | Gladys | Goode | Hurt | Long Island Lynch Station | Monroe | Naruna | Rustburg | Spout Spring | Sweet Briar

Convenient Office Hours:

Monday:   8am - 5pm
Tuesday:   8am - 5pm
Wednesday:   8am - 5pm
Thursday:   8am - 5pm
Friday:   7am - 3pm

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Love my Dentist office. The receptionist is always so polite and informative. They greet you with a smile and make you feel so at ease. I love my hygenist, she is wonderful and so understanding and gentle. My dentist is truly the best!! I love his casualness and expertise. He doesn't make you feel as if you are just a patient, he makes you feel like family, and actually, so does the entire team at Riley Dental. I have been going to Riley Dentist since my children had their first check-ups and they love him as well.

Betty N. Lynchburg, VA dental Patient September 15, 2017

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