Pain in the temporomandibular joint (TMJ) is one of the most common dental problems people experience. It’s a persistent issue that can cause constant discomfort, including while you’re chewing or sleeping. If you’re suffering from constant discomfort or pain, you’ll need to follow the example of millions of others out there and seek help from a TMJ specialist.
As a TMJ specialist and trusted Saginaw dentist, Dr. Jennifer Schau works with a variety of patients to help them resolve their TMJ disorders and experience some much-needed relief from the pain and stiffness associated with those conditions.
What is TMJ?
The temporomandibular joint is a sliding hinge-type join in your face that connects the skull and the jawbone. Each side of your jaw has one of these joints, and if they develop problems, you could begin to experience pain in the jaw or difficulty moving it.
TMJ disorder can occur for a variety of reasons. Common causes include genetic factors, injuries or trauma to the jaw, and arthritis. People who experience jaw pain might have a tendency to grind or clench their teeth, but there are many people who are habitual clenchers or grinders who will never experience TMJ. It all depends on the person.
The good news is that TMJ disorders can be treated without surgery in most cases, providing relief to the temporary pain associated with the condition. Most times, surgery is only used in last-resort circumstances, after all other available treatment options have failed.
Below are some of the most common symptoms of TMJ disorders. If any of these symptoms feel familiar to you, contact Dr. Schau to set up an appointment to discuss non-surgical TMJ options.
1. Pain or tenderness in your jaw
The most prominent symptom of TMJ disorders is pain or tenderness in the jaw. The jaw pain could come in a wide range of severities. Sometimes it will just be mild tenderness, other times it will be severe. It might also come and go throughout the day—you might notice it more while eating, for example, and not at all at other times of the day.
Jaw pain alone is not enough to make a TMJ disorder diagnosis, but a TMJ specialist will be able to weigh your pain alongside other symptoms to determine if you may be experiencing such a disorder and the best steps forward for your treatment.
2. Clicking or grinding in your jaw
It’s not uncommon for TMJ disorders to create a clicking sound or crackling feeling while you open your mouth or chew. You might also notice a strange grinding sensation in those circumstances. It’s usually accompanied by discomfort.
While these symptoms can be a nuisance, the problem is only severe enough for treatment if there is also significant pain or accompanying headaches. Many people have clicking in their jaw that’s not detrimental to oral health or joint integrity. Still, it’s best to schedule an evaluation.
3. Difficulty chewing or speaking
TMJ disorders are also frequently characterized by difficulty chewing or speaking. You might notice your pain spikes when performing these activities. Or, it may be difficult for you to open your mouth wide enough or clench down hard enough to chew. Specific mouth sounds (especially vowels) might be difficult to enunciate due to the discomfort associated with opening your mouth wide enough to articulate.
If you experience these problems, schedule an appointment with a trusted Saginaw dentist as soon as possible, to get the assistance you need to alleviate symptoms.
4. Earaches or ear pain and popping
Have you had a sudden increase in the frequency of earaches, or have you experienced pain in or around your ear? This could be a sign of a TMJ disorder.
The temporomandibular joint is close to the ears, so problems with the joint can create pain in that area of the head. The popping that might feel like it’s coming from your ears is actually the joint itself. Pay a visit to a TMJ specialist if you experience these conditions to address them head-on.
5. Chronic headaches and facial pain
General pain in the face and chronic headaches are also symptoms commonly associated with TMJ disorders. Given the very general nature of these symptoms, TMJ disorders will only be considered a possibility if these types of headaches and pain occur in conjunction with other symptoms on this list. The frequency and nature of that pain could give some insight into the severity of the disorder.
Want to learn more about the steps you can take to resolve symptoms associated with TMJ disorder? Contact Dr. Schau, a TMJ specialist in Michigan, to discuss your symptoms and to explore non-surgical options for alleviating the discomfort caused by TMJ.
Keeping up with your routine visits is one of the most effective ways to maintain good oral health. When you visit family dentist Dr. Jennifer Schau regularly, it is easier for her to detect changes or possible problems early on. Finding a cavity or other issue early is key to effective treatment. There are a few things your Saginaw dentist will need to know at each of your routine visits. Here are five things you need to share.
Tell Your Family Dentist About Any Changes in Medications
Whether or not a staff member asks you about current medications, make sure to tell Dr. Schau about any medications you are taking or have taken recently. She needs to know about any herbal remedies, over-the-counter, and prescription medications. Even something as simple as aspirin can increase the risk of uncontrolled bleeding. Make sure to list everything you are currently taking.
Medical Conditions or Diagnosis
Many medical conditions affect your oral health, even if they don’t seem to be related. Make sure to tell your Saginaw dentist about any new diagnoses or conditions. Even if it seems insignificant to you, or the condition is easily controlled with medications, Dr. Schau needs to know. This ensures your treatment plan will be effective and help you reach your personal dental health goals. Some of the medical conditions that can impact your oral health include:
- Hypertension (High Blood Pressure)
- Stomach Ulcers
- Chronic Kidney Disease
Tell Your Family Dentist if You Smoke
Whether you started or stopped smoking since your last routine exam Dr. Schau needs to know. Smoking can impact teeth and gums in a variety of ways. In fact, smoking has more of an impact on your oral health than most other habits. Your family dentist needs to know if you smoke because:
- Smoking influences the outcomes of some dental treatment
- Smoking can cause some oral diseases
- In general, smoking is not healthy. But it upsets your oral health long before it disturbs your general health.
The Presence of Oral Pain or Discomfort
Let Dr. Jennifer Schau know if you have had any tooth pain or mouth discomfort between visits. She needs to know if your teeth hurt during or after brushing and if your gums bleed. If you’ve had a toothache, let her know so she can determine if you have the start of a cavity or abscess that needs treatment.
Changes in Your Oral Hygiene Regimen
If you have changed your oral hygiene routine, let Dr. Schau know about it. Anything you do differently can affect your oral health – good or bad. She may be able to offer some advice or recommendations that are beneficial for helping you maintain good oral health. Your Saginaw dentist can help you develop a great dental hygiene routine that fits into your busy schedule and helps protect your oral health. She can also help you choose the right toothbrush, toothpaste, floss, and mouthwash for caring for your teeth.
Schedule a Visit with Your Saginaw Dentist
Is it time to schedule a routine exam with your family dentist? Don’t delay! Call us today and schedule your next exam. Let Dr. Schau and her team of dental professionals help you maintain good oral health.
Sometimes parents are a bit apprehensive about taking their child to the dentist. It’s a little bit scary, especially if you didn’t have braces when you were a kid. You’re not sure what to expect from braces before and after your child or teen has them. To help you prepare for you and your child’s trip to Jennifer Schau’s dental office, here are some things you need to know before your child gets braces.
What Type of Regular Care Do Braces Require?
When your child is ready to be fitted, Dr. Jennifer Schau will make sure you and your child understand the care that is needed. Your child will need to continue their routine brushing habits to keep food from getting stuck in the braces and their teeth. It’s recommended that they brush more frequently while wearing them. A dental professional at Jennifer Schau, DDS will show how to floss.
Some Foods Will Need to Be Avoided
There are some foods that can damage your child’s braces so they should be avoided. Chewy candy and hard, sticky candies should not be consumed. They can get stuck on the braces and result in an unplanned visit to our Saginaw dental office for a repair. Corn on the cobb, popcorn, and raw carrots can also cause damage. You’ll be given a full list of taboo foods.
Wax Will Be Your Child’s New Best Friend
Braces often have brackets or wires that feel sharp and uncomfortable inside the mouth. Your orthodontist will provide dental wax that can be balled up and placed on the bothersome area. As your child adjusts to wearing braces, it’s common for them to bite their lips or the inside of their mouths until they get used to them. Wax can help provide some comfort in the meantime.
Expect Some Mild Pain and Discomfort
When your child first gets braces, you may plan soft foods for a few days. Children are unique in the way they tolerate pain some may benefit from taking over-the-counter pain medications like ibuprofen or Tylenol for a few days while they adjust. Talk to Dr. Jennifer Schau about ways to handle your child’s discomfort. If you are not sure that what your child is feeling or experiencing is normal, call the office to find out.
Why are braces for your child necessary?
Kids often need braces to correct common oral issues such as overcrowded, crooked, or overlapping teeth. Sometimes a malocclusion needs to be corrected. If your child’s teeth were damaged in an accident, they lost baby teeth too early, or they sucked their thumb, branches may be necessary to correct jaw and tooth problems. teSometimes, a pediatric dentist recognizes a problem early on and recommends a visit to the orthodontist. It’s important to have your child seen by an orthodontist by about seven years of age. This is when issues start becoming apparent.
How long will your child need to wear braces?
The length of time your child needs to wear braces depends on the problem being corrected. On average, most people wear them for about two years. Most of the time, after they are removed, children still need to wear a retainer. Retainers are mostly worn at night to keep the teeth from returning to their original positions.
Contact Jennifer Schau DDS
Do you have other questions about your child’s braces? Contact us to discuss your options and whether your child needs braces. Having straight teeth is about more than their appearance. They can help ensure your child has a healthy mouth for their lifetime.
Dental veneers are a common cosmetic dentistry treatment used to drastically improve your appearance. These thin shells are used to cover flaws in the front part of your teeth. They change the shape, length, size, and color of teeth. Veneers are commonly used for chipped teeth, gaps, or other flaws. For them to last, they need to be cared for properly. If not, just like your teeth, tartar and plaque can build up. Here are a few tips for caring for dental veneers.
Maintain Good Oral Hygiene
Brushing after every meal or at least twice a day is a great start to keep your veneers cleaned and well-maintained. You will also need to floss at least once a day. One thing worth noting is to be more gentle. If you typically brush and floss aggressively, you could damage the veneers. Dr. Jennifer Schau can provide tips for how to brush and floss carefully to keep your veneers in great shape.
Use the Proper Toothbrush and Toothpaste
When your cosmetic dentist in Saginaw, Michigan places dental veneers, you may need to change up your toothbrush and toothpaste. If you are not already using a soft-bristled toothbrush, you’ll need to switch. Hard-bristled toothbrushes can damage the polish on veneers. You will also want to choose types of toothpaste that do not contain harsh abrasives. Ask your cosmetic dentist in mid-central Michigan for the types of toothpaste you should use.
Avoid Chewing on Hard Objects
Dental veneers are durable, but they are not quite as strong as your regular teeth. Avoid chewing on hard objects like fingernails, pens, pencils, or ice. Chewing on hard candy or ice could cause veneers to chip or crack.
Don’t Grind or Clench Your Teeth
Even if you don’t get veneers, you should ask a dentist in Saginaw, MI about how to stop grinding or clenching your teeth. A custom appliance can help you stop. Clenching your teeth can damage both your teeth and dental veneers. This habit should be under control before veneers are applied.
Smoking is bad for your teeth and can increase your risk of oral cancer. But smoking is also bad for veneers and can quickly stain them or discolor them. However, veneers are designed to be resistant to staining, your teeth can still become stained around the veneers and alter your appearance.
Maintain Regular Dental Visits
Routine dental visits are beneficial for preserving veneers, your natural teeth, and your oral health in general. Being aware of the substances that can damage your veneers, and maintaining good oral care habits can ensure dental veneers look their best for the long haul. Even though veneers are not subject to decay and deterioration like your teeth are, healthy gums and teeth are essential to support veneers.
Avoid Foods that Can Stain Your Teeth
As stated, porcelain veneers are resistant to staining. However, the adhesive used to attach veneers to the tooth surfaces is not. The edges of the veneers can start to darken or yellow over time. Avoiding drinks like coffee and colas is best to help prevent stains. You may try using a straw with beverages to help decrease the likelihood that they will stain your veneers.
Talk to a Dentist in Saginaw Township, MI About Veneers
If you have considered veneers, now is a good time to schedule an appointment with Dr. Schua. She will discuss your treatment options when you come in for an initial evaluation. Call today to schedule your eval with Dr. Jennifer Schua.
Dentures do a lot more than restoring your beautiful smile. They are also important for your overall health and improving your quality of life. First-time denture wearers are faced with getting used to wearing them. It may take a little bit of time. But they will begin to feel more natural with time. It’s important to learn how to take care of dentures so you can continue to eat, speak, and smile with confidence. Here are a few tips for maintaining dentures.
Maintaining Dentures With Good Oral Health Habits
Just like natural teeth, dentures need to be cleaned properly. If not, bacteria can build up and lead to oral infections. Keeping your dentures clean is half the battle. But you also need to brush your gums, tongue, and cheeks before placing dentures in your mouth. The fewer bacteria you have in your mouth, the better!
Keep Dentures Clean
Dentures need to be cleaned daily. They can breed bacteria, stain, and breed bacteria. There are three steps to cleaning dentures.
- Rinsing – Rinsing dentures help remove loose food particles.
- Brushing – Brush dentures with a soft-bristled toothbrush and denture cleaning detergent. (Never use bleach.)
- Soaking – Let dentures soak overnight in special cleaning solutions made just for soaking and cleaning dentures.
Just brushing is not always enough for maintaining dentures. Bristles often cannot reach food or bacteria that have become trapped. Remove bacteria, food, and plaque by soaking them in a special cleaning solution. After they soak overnight, rinse them well before putting them in your mouth.
Avoid Sticky or Hard Foods
Sticky foods can cause dentures to dislodge, or they can become lodged in difficult to clean areas. Toffee, hard candies, and other foods like these should be avoided altogether as they can cause problems. Try not to think about what you cannot eat, instead think of all the foods you can now enjoy! Just avoid foods that cause lots of wear and tear on dentures.
Cut Foods Into Bite-Sized Pieces
When you first get dentures from your Dr. Jennifer Schau, your Saginaw dentist, it may feel difficult to eat at all. Chewing foods will take a little time to get used to. Some foods may feel a bit difficult to eat at first. Don’t avoid eating them. Just prepare your food by cutting it into small pieces. This makes chewing a lot easier. You may want to use a little more butter or sauce to make foods easier to chew. Remember to chew using both sides of the mouth. This prevents dentures from becoming loose while you eat.
Maintaining Dentures Means Staying Hydrated
It’s common to get dry mouth when you wear dentures. Dry mouth can increase your risk of gum irritation and bacterial decay. Staying hydrated helps your mouth maintain good saliva production which is essential for maintaining dentures and a healthy mouth. Some medications may increase the risk of dry mouth too. Talk to your Saginaw dentist about how to fight dry mouth.
Regular Checkups with Your Saginaw Dentist
After you get your dentures, you still need regular checkups with Dr. Schau. This helps ensure your dentures continue to fit well and that no infections are present in your mouth. You may choose to have the dentures sterilized during your appointment. As always, you can ask Dr. Jennifer Schau any questions or share any concerns during your visit.
Call us today!
Whether you are ready for dentures so you can get back to living your best life, or you need a checkup, schedule your appointment today! We are here to help you with your oral health needs.
When you visit your Saginaw dentist, you are most likely concerned about your oral health. But, did you know that maintaining your oral health can give you more than healthy teeth for life? Regular visits to your dentist help protect your overall health too. Your body’s health and your oral health have a strong connection. Here is a look at five ways your dentist helps protect more than your teeth.
Diabetes and Your Oral Health
People who have diabetes often have a hard time fighting off infections like gum disease. Poor oral hygiene can allow plaque to build up which can lead to gum disease. When it’s caught early, gum disease can be reversed. Since diabetes affects the body’s ability to fight infection, it’s imperative that diabetics maintain good oral health and visit their Saginaw dentist regularly.
Heart Disease and Dental Health
When you were a child, it was exciting to lose a tooth and it was followed by a visit from the tooth fairy. As an adult, losing a tooth is reason for concern. To dentists, a loose tooth can be indicative of other health issues such as heart disease. When gum disease becomes visible, the bacteria can pass through the bloodstream and to the heart. Dentists can identify problems such as these and provide treatment to prevent them from worsening. If you lose a tooth, make an appointment with Dr. Jennifer Schau right away.
Your Oral Health and Pneumonia
As you breathe, air goes in through your mouth before reaching your lungs. If your mouth contains an unhealthy number of bad bacteria, they can easily find their way to the lungs. This can cause respiratory problems or pneumonia. The elderly are at more risk, which is why it’s imperative that they continue to take good care of their teeth, including their dentures. Pneumonia can be life-threatening in the elderly. To prevent pneumonia, you and your elderly loved ones should maintain good oral health habits and see your Saginaw dentist regularly.
Osteoporosis and Your Saginaw Dentist
When someone has osteoporosis, their bones become brittle as they age. Dr. Schau takes x-rays of your teeth and jaws as part of your routine visits. A dentist may notice early signs of osteoporosis by reading your mouth x-rays. Those with this bone disease may show signs of early loss of teeth or receding gum lines. If you are unaware that you have osteoporosis, your dentist may recommend following up with your primary care for more tests.
For those living with HIV, complications from infections can be fatal. Even a minor infection can rapidly escalate because of a weakened immune system. Those diagnosed with HIV need to be more vigilant about their oral health and physical health. Failing to develop and maintain good oral hygiene habits can be at a higher risk of infections which can lead to a decline in their overall health. It is common for those who have HIV/AIDS often suffer from oral problems like painful mucosal lesions.
Visit Your Saginaw Dentist
Your dentist can help you have healthy teeth for life. They can also detect early signs of other health conditions. Your mouth is a gateway to the rest of your body. Food, air, germs, and liquid enter your body through your mouth. Your oral health has a huge impact on your overall health. Call today to schedule your appointment with Dr. Schau.
Making sure your family members have good oral health is important as a parent. You want to do all you can to prevent cavities and gum disease. Part of ensuring your family maintains healthy teeth and gums is visiting Dr. Schau for a cleaning every six months and for an exam once a year. Some habits can help ensure everyone in your family maintains good oral health. Your Saginaw, MI dentist offers these five tips to help your family keep their teeth and gums healthy.
Make Sure Everyone Brushes Their Teeth the Right Way
Dr. Jennifer Schau recommends brushing your teeth at least two minutes twice a day. But it’s also important how the teeth get brushed. Scrubbing them too hard can cause damage to the enamel. This can lead to issues like sensitivity. Your family should use soft-bristled toothbrushes or an electric toothbrush to protect teeth from harsh brushing. Also, make sure your family brushes their teeth and their tongue. This removes plaque from the teeth and film from the tongue.
Maintain a Disciplined Oral Hygiene Routine
Oral health has a direct influence on the whole body. If the mouth is unhealthy, it can lead to a number of problems in the body, weaken the immune system, increase the risk of heart disease, and more. The whole family should maintain an oral hygiene routine. It’s one thing no one can afford to skimp on. Don’t skip or rush through your routine just because you are in a hurry or tired. Making sure your entire family does the job right every time will help ensure good oral health for the long haul.
Treat Flossing as Important as Brushing for Oral Health
Flossing helps remove food and debris from between the teeth. It also helps break up plaque along the gumline to keep it from building up. A toothbrush just can’t do this job. When plaque is allowed to remain in these areas, it can lead to cavities or gum disease. Flossing is just as important as brushing, and your whole family should be flossing at least one time each day.
Practice Good Eating Habits
Eating a balanced, nutritional diet is vital for the whole family when you are concerned about oral health. Make sure to eat foods rich in protein and calcium. Dairy products and lean meats help protect and rebuild tooth enamel. Everyone should avoid eating a lot of sweets. Candy, cookies, and soft drinks can lead to tooth decay due to the amount of sugar they contain. If your family is accustomed to eating a lot of sugary foods or beverages, try reducing how much is consumed. Replace them with healthier options like fresh fruit and water.
Curb Habits Damaging to Oral Health
Using any tobacco product is harmful to oral health. Tobacco use makes you more vulnerable to gum disease, increases your risk of oral cancer, slows the healing process, and stains your teeth. Another harmful habit is sharing food and drinks even with your kids. When food is shared, it can spread harmful bacteria. Teeth grinding affects adults and kids. It is mostly done at night, but it can cause damage to your teeth and jaw pain. Talk to Your Saginaw dentist if any of your family members use tobacco or suffer from teeth grinding.
Contact Dr. Jennifer Schau
Please don’t hesitate to contact us with any concerns about your family’s oral health. Call us today to schedule routine checkups for each family member. Let us help you keep your family’s teeth and gums in great shape!
Ever notice someone who has a smile that can light up a whole room? A lot of people have a beautiful smile naturally. But many are not as lucky. While a primary focus of dentists is to keep your teeth and mouth healthy, cosmetic dentistry provides treatment options to help improve your smile. There are several cosmetic dental treatments designed to help you have the smile of your dreams. Here are the top five treatment options and how they work to make your smile great.
Professional Teeth Whitening
Teeth whitening remains one of the most popular cosmetic dentistry treatments. Our Saginaw dentist offers both in-office professional teeth whitening options and at-home kits. During your visit, Dr. Jennifer Schau, DDS will discuss the pros and cons of each method and help you decide which is the best option for you. Having bright, white teeth is a sign of a healthy smile.
Missing teeth are a cosmetic issue. But they can also cause functional challenges. Recently, dental implants are used to replace missing teeth instead of using removable dentures. An implant is more convenient, reliable, and comfortable. They feel more like your real teeth. Dental implants are becoming the go-to choice for replacing missing teeth because they produce natural-looking results. They are designed to look and feel more like your natural teeth. Your smile will be so natural, most people will never know you have implants unless you choose to tell them.
Dental veneers can give you a smile makeover in just a couple of visits. Porcelain veneers are bonded onto the surface of a tooth or teeth. They are often used to hide stains or correct damaged teeth. Dental veneers are a thin outer layer and are often used to hide chips or fill in gaps. They offer a cosmetic advantage by being resistant to staining. Dr. Schau uses dental veneers to help restore the brilliance, shape, and color of your natural teeth.
When teeth need small, minor corrections dental bonding is often the best choice. It is a common cosmetic treatment that can have a huge impact on your smile. Dental bonding uses a special type of resin that bonds to the tooth and corrects cracks or chips. It is usually done in a single visit to Dr. Jennifer Schau unless multiple teeth are undergoing treatment. Most of the tooth is left intact with just a small amount of enamel being removed in order to get a solid bond.
Having crooked teeth can make you feel self-conscious. Invisalign is a modern cosmetic treatment used to straighten teeth. They work as effectively as traditional metal braces to move teeth into their proper positions, but without the brackets and wires. The see-through progressive trays gently push the teeth into alignment. They are fully removable and can be taken out to eat, for oral hygiene, and for special occasions. Your smile can be totally made over as Invisalign can fix common problems like an underbite, gaps, crossbite, overbite, or overcrowding. Talk to your Saginaw dentist about using Invisalign for your total smile makeover.
What can Dr. Jennifer Schau, DDS do for you?
Your Saginaw dentist is skilled and also has the experience and expertise to provide a wide variety of cosmetic dental treatment options. We believe a bright, vibrant smile exudes beauty and confidence. Call us to set up your exam to learn how Dr. Schau can help improve your smile with cosmetic dentistry.
Just hearing the words, “oral cancer” is scary. As frightening as it is, most of the time, if it is diagnosed in its early stages it is treatable. The sooner any form of cancer is diagnosed in your body, the more likely of having a positive outcome.
What is oral cancer?
Oral cancer is cancer that occurs in or around the oral cavity. This includes the lips, cheek, tongue, and even the bottom of your mouth. It can also be in the throat, sinuses, or plates (both hard and soft). If left undiagnosed they can be extremely dangerous. This is why routine dental visits to your Saginaw dentist where we regularly screen for oral cancer are so important. The diagnosis is the first step in implementing an effective treatment plan.
How does a VELscope screening help?
At the dental office of Jennifer Schau DDS, we use the VELscope enhanced oral assessment system to help detect oral cancer. This innovative device is a safe way to find oral cancer that cannot be seen with the naked eye. Being able to discover cancer earlier using VELscope equipment assists Dr. Schau in providing an official diagnosis and in developing a treatment plan.
What happens during an oral cancer screening with a VELscope?
Patients 16 and older can be scanned using a VELscope device. It is done during a regular visit most of the time. It is a painless way to check for oral cancer. The device emits a blue light that causes abnormalities in the mouth to show up. Tissue fluorescence visualization is the term for using blue light to cause abnormalities in the tissue more apparent.
The dentist performs a visual exam of the mouth and face. They will check the glands, cheeks, palate, tongue, and teeth. Then, the lights will be dimmed and you will be given special eyewear to protect your eyes. The VELscope bends and reaches to project the blue light into the mouth. Any lesions or other indicators of the presence of oral cancer become noticeable as they look a lot darker in the specialized light.
Are there any advantages to using VELscope technology?
There are numerous advantages to using VELscope. These include:
- Can combine it with digital photography
- Detects white and red patches as well as lesions
- Detects problems not seen under white lights
- Exposes both precancerous and cancerous cells
- Approved by the FDHelps dentists check if the soft tissue was completely removed
Are there any common symptoms of oral cancer?
Tobacco use is the one habit that greatly increases the risk of developing oral cancer. Not one type of tobacco is safe. Smoking pipes, cigarettes, or cigars can lead to oral cancer. So can chewing tobacco. But there are some other risk factors too, including:
- A weakened immune system
- Family genetics and history
- Previous diagnosis of oral cancer
- Facial sun exposure
- Heavy use of alcohol
There are also a few symptoms that are often noticed in the early stages of oral cancer. These symptoms include:
- Sores in the mouth that do not heal
- Loose teeth
- Unexplained bleeding
- Persistent sore throat
- Difficulty swallowing
- Growths in your mouth
- Red or white patches in your mouth or on your gums
- Pain in the ear, jaw, or tongue
If you notice any sudden changes in your mouth, don’t wait. Schedule a visit with our dental offices. Dr. Schua can often find oral cancer in a routine exam, but the VELscope can detect its presence even before it is noticeable.
If you have any questions or concerns, don’t hesitate to contact Dr. Jennifer Schua or her team. If you notice any changes in your mouth or gums, please schedule a visit for an oral cancer screening.
Most people know a little first aid and what to do in a medical emergency. You may remember how to do the Heimlich maneuver if someone is choking. But what are you supposed to do if you encounter a dental emergency? The thing about emergencies is you never know when they are going to occur. Obviously, you didn’t schedule for your tooth to break when you bit into that corn on the cob!
Non-Emergency Dental Conditions
Basically, you have two options in dental emergencies. If the injury is severe such as a broken jaw, call 911 or go directly to the Emergency Room for immediate treatment. The other option is to call your dentist for an emergency appointment. How do you know if your condition is urgent or not? Not every dental issue merits a trip to the ER or a midnight call to your Saginaw dentist. Some non-emergency conditions that can wait until morning include:
- A dull toothache
- Lost filling, crown, or bridge
- Chipped or broken tooth (unless accompanied by severe pain)
- Objects stuck between two teeth
- Broken wires or braces
Urgent Dental Issues
In most cases, dental problems can be treated at home until you can get in to see the Saginaw dentist. Examples of true dental emergencies include:
- Injured jaw
- Painful swelling
- Severe toothache
- If a permanent tooth is partially or totally knocked out
- A toothache, or tooth infection that is accompanied by fever, swelling, or severe pain
What to do in a Dental Emergency
No matter what the cause, a dental emergency is serious. If left unaddressed it can worsen and lead to other issues such as the loss of a tooth. Do not ignore a serious issue or dismiss it even if the pain subsides some. Here are seven things to do during dental emergencies.
- React carefully, but quickly should a tooth, pieces of a tooth or a dental appliance become dislodged. Gather up all the pieces to take with you to the dentist’s office. Dr. Schau may be able to restore the tooth.
- If a tooth gets knocked completely out, find the tooth, and handle it by touching only the crown, not the root. You may rinse it with water but do not scrub it or wash away any tissue that may remain on the tooth. Put the tooth in a cup of milk or in some warm water with a tiny bit of salt. When possible, put the tooth in the socket and hold it there. If you can get to the dentist within an hour, it is possible the tooth might be restored.
- If a tooth gets broken, rinse your mouth with warm water and hold a cold compress to your face to help reduce the swelling. Gather up any pieces of the tooth and call your dentist immediately.
- Did your tongue or lip get bitten? Apply pressure with a cloth or a cold compress to help minimize swelling. If it is bleeding a lot, go to the Emergency Room.
- If tooth pain becomes severe, rinse your mouth with warm water. Floss can be used to gently dislodge debris or food that might be trapped between teeth. Call Dr. Schau and explain your discomfort so she can see you as soon as possible.
- A fractured or broken jaw needs immediate medical attention. While en route to the ER or the dental office, apply a cold compress to help reduce swelling.
- Broken or loose wire on braces can damage nearby tissue. Cover any sharp or jagged ends with orthodontic wax or gauze. If a wire is stuck into your cheek, gum tissue, or tongue, do not try to remove it yourself. Seek immediate dental treatment.
Contact Dr. Jennifer Schau
Some dental emergencies can be avoided with routine checkups. If it’s time for your regular dental checkup, contact our offices to schedule your appointment. If you have a dental emergency, please call Dr. Schau as soon as possible or go to the Emergency Room.