Person smiling at dentist | dry mouth CARRAWAY FAMILY AND COSMETIC DENTISTRY

This natural dental fluid also controls bacteria and fungi in the mouth, thereby preventing mouth infection. If you don't produce sufficient saliva, your mouth will grow dry and uncomfortable. This will give occasion for bacterial infection and dental decay, among other side effects. Fortunately, there are preventative measures you can take and treatment options to help deal with dry mouth, known as xerostomia in dental terms.

So What Are The Causes Of Dry Mouth?

Dry mouth may be caused by several factors such as:

Side effects of certain drugs or treatment procedures

Dry mouth is one of the many contraindications of certain prescription medications. These include those used to treat anxiety, nausea, depression, epilepsy, allergies, diarrhea, pain, asthma, acne, colds, urinary incontinence, hypertension, psychotic disorders, and Parkinson's disease. These drugs may include antihistamines and decongestants. Sedatives and muscle relaxants can also cause dry mouth.

Side effects of some infections and ailments Some medical conditions may also cause dry mouth. These are HIV/AIDS, Sjögren's syndrome, diabetes, anemia, Alzheimer's disease, mumps, arthritis, cystic fibrosis, and rheumatoid stroke.

Contraindications of some medical treatments Saliva is produced in the salivary glands. When these glands are damaged, it can result in diminished saliva production. For instance, the damage can be caused by chemotherapy and radiotherapy treatments.

Damaged nerves Nerve damage to the head or neck can significantly contribute to dry mouth, especially after a head or neck surgery.

Dehydration Fever, vomiting, sweating, blood loss, diarrhea, severe burns, and similar dehydration conditions may cause dry mouth.

Lifestyle habits Smoking tobacco and similar substances can affect the amount of saliva produced, causing your mouth to get dry.

Surgical procedures resulting in the removal of salivary glands. Finally, if you are used to breathing with your mouth open, it can lead to your mouth getting dry most of the time.


Person smiling | dry mouth CARRAWAY FAMILY AND COSMETIC DENTISTRY

Which Are The Common Symptoms of Dry Mouth?

The following symptoms may indicate if you are dealing with a case of dry mouth:

  • Frequent thirstiness

  • Cracked skin and sores inside the mouth

  • Dry throat

  • Burning sensation in the tongue

  • Dry, painful tongue

  • A sticky feeling in the mouth

  • Hoarseness in the mouth and nose

  • Bad breath

  • Problems tasting food

  • Sore throat

Is Dry Mouth a Serious Problem?

Besides causing dental problems such as mouth infections (thrush) and damage to the gums, dry mouth increases your risk of contracting gingivitis (gum disease) and dental decay. If you have a dry mouth, it cannot be easy to use dentures.

What Are The Treatment Options For Dry Mouth?

Treating dry mouth depends on the cause or the symptoms. Since certain medical conditions and medications are the main catalysts for dry mouth, you could begin treatment by first addressing the main reason. Generally, treatment can be achieved through:

  • Managing or treating the underlying medical conditions causing dry mouth

  • Using possible natural methods to improve the flow of saliva

  • Preventing dental decay

Managing Causes Of Dry Mouth

If you believe your dry mouth is due to a particular medication you're using, you should consult your doctor. The doctor may adjust the dose accordingly or prescribe an alternative drug that doesn't affect your saliva flow. Otherwise, if this is not possible due to damage to your salivary glands by a chronic illness such as stroke, Alzheimer's disease, and Sjögren's syndrome, you should focus on treating the underlying condition to improve saliva flow.

Preventing Dental Decay

Saliva is a natural mouth cleanser, which helps fight tooth decay. Otherwise, a dry mouth can lead to rapid tooth decay and gum diseases. So you should ensure that you maintain strict oral hygiene such as:

  • Regular tooth brushing at least twice a day

  • Brushing or rinsing the mouth after every meal or before bedtime

  • Flossing your teeth at least once each day

  • Using fluoride toothpaste

  • Getting regular dental check-ups and cleaning at least twice a year

Improving Saliva Flow

If you are suffering from a dry mouth, your dentist may prescribe an oral rinse to help you restore mouth moisture. These products are also available over-the-counter rinse or spray. Additionally, you can use special toothpaste, moisturizing gels, and mouthwashes specifically for dry mouth. Be sure to consult with your dentist before choosing the ideal product for you. Otherwise, your dentist may prescribe a saliva-boosting drug called Salagen. They may also prescribe Evoxac, an FDA-approved drug for treating dry mouth in Sjögren's syndrome patients. Finally, new treatment options are being researched, with scientists working to provide new ways to restore damaged salivary glands.

How Can I Manage Dry Mouth?

To help you manage dry mouth, consider these steps to boost saliva flow:

  • Suck or chew sugar and acid-free candy or gum containing xylitol.

  • Suck sugar-free ice pops or chips.

  • Avoid chewing ice, as it can damage your teeth. Chewing and sucking can stimulate saliva flow. Do it in moderation to avoid affecting your teeth' enamel, cavities, and tooth wear.

  • Drink lots of water to moisten your mouth and loosen mucus.

  • Always carry a bottle of water with you and sip in small amounts throughout the day.

  • Always keep a glass of water by your bedside during the night.

  • Use fluoride toothpaste and a fluoride rinse, and go for a regular dental check-up.

  • Avoid mouth rinses or mouthwashes that are made with alcohol or peroxide as they only cause dry mouth.

  • Try to breathe through your nose, instead of your mouth,

  • Consume lots of moist foods such as broths, creams, sauces, gravy, soups, and butter or margarine. Ensure you eat moist or soft, sticky foods.

  • Reduce or avoid your intake of dry or salty foods, dry foods including toast, cookies, crackers, dry bread, dry meats, dried fruit, beverages, and foods containing high sugar content.

  • Avoid caffeine and alcoholic beverages, which dry out the mouth and cause frequent urination resulting in water loss.

  • Avoid acidic drinks, e.g., orange and tomato juice.

Dry mouth is caused by several ailments, medications, and lifestyle habits. However, with proper dental hygiene, management, and dental care, you can maintain a healthy mouth and dental care. Feel free to contact or schedule a preventive cleaning and exam with Dr. Carraway today.



Person getting teeth checked | dental decay CARRAWAY FAMILY AND COSMETIC DENTISTRY

Almost one-third of all adults in the United States have untreated tooth decay. Without proper treatment, dental decay will widen and deepen. This can lead to a tooth abscess, cavity, severe toothache, tooth loss, and other serious complications. Carraway Family and Cosmetic Dentistry is a general dental clinic in Greer, SC that is committed to giving you fantastic dental treatment results.


However, to reduce your risk of dental decay and ensure you seek timely medical care, you need to learn more about the dental health problem.


Here is what to know.


WHAT IS DENTAL DECAY?

Dental decay, or tooth decay, is the destruction of the enamel and dentine of a tooth. This happens when bacteria in your mouth turn sugars into acids that attack and cause a breakdown of the hard surface of your tooth. The damage can result in cavities, which are tiny openings or holes in the tooth. Tooth decay occurs in varying degrees of severity and can affect people of any age.


WHAT CAUSES DECAY?

The human mouth is full of many types of bacteria. Some of the bacteria are helpful, while others can be harmful. When decay-causing bacteria react with sugars in the foods and drinks you consume, they produce acids that eat away at your teeth. Weakened enamel is vulnerable to dental decay, which begins as unnoticeable damage and gradually progresses to the inner and softer layers of the tooth.


Considering how dental decay occurs, certain factors increase the risk of the health problem. They include:


• Poor oral hygiene practices • Suffering from a dry mouth • Enamel issues and deep tooth crevices • Fluoride deficiency • Age: Babies, toddlers, and older adults are at a higher risk of developing tooth decay • Eating disorders such as bulimia or anorexia


HOW DO I PREVENT DECAY?

Dental decay is largely preventable. However, you need to develop and stick to a comprehensive oral hygiene routine. Below are tips to help you keep your mouth and teeth healthy and prevent dental decay and cavities.


Brush regularly: To take care of your teeth and gums, brush at least twice a day using fluoridated toothpaste. You should also clean between your teeth using floss or interdental cleaners. This will help to prevent the buildup of plaque.


Eat a nutritious and balanced diet: Healthy and nutritious foods help to promote strong teeth. Fruits and vegetables will also assist in removing plaque from your teeth. Lastly, drink plenty of water to keep your oral cavity hydrated, especially if you have a dry mouth.

Limit your intake of sugary foods and drinks: Foods and drinks that are high in sugars and starches can contribute directly to dental decay. To prevent damage to your teeth, try to avoid soft drinks, candies, and cookies.


Drink water from the tap: Unlike most bottled water, tap water usually contains fluoride. Fluoride and saliva supply the minerals that tooth enamel needs to repair itself. This helps to keep the enamel strong, effectively protecting it from decay.


Visit your dentist regularly: Be sure to see your dentist at least twice a year for checkups and professional dental cleanings. You can ask the dental expert about sealants and supplemental fluoride.


Lastly, avoid habits such as teeth grinding that wear down the outer layer of the enamel, increasing the risk of dental decay.


HOW DO YOU TREAT DECAY?

When you seek treatment for dental decay, your dentist will focus on fixing the damage and preventing the decay from spreading. The treatment plan will usually depend on the severity of the condition and your specific situation. Here are some common treatment options.


FLUORIDE TREATMENTS

In the early stages of tooth decay and before permanent damage occurs, the affected teeth can be treated with fluoride. Your dentist will apply fluoride treatments directly to your teeth, a mineral that will help the enamel to repair itself. Fluoride treatments can be in the form of foam, gel, varnish, or solution.


FILLINGS

A filling is a suitable treatment option when cavities occur as a result of tooth decay. Your dentist will drill the affected tooth to remove decayed tooth tissue. They will then use filling materials such as ceramic, porcelain, resin, or dental amalgam to fill the hole.


Person getting teeth checked | dental decay CARRAWAY FAMILY AND COSMETIC DENTISTRY


DENTAL CROWN

When the cavities are larger, restoring the tooth may require the use of a crown. The dentist will remove the outer surface of the tooth as well as the decayed tissue. Next, they will take an impression of the tooth, fit a temporary crown before finally cementing a permanent cap over the tooth to restore its appearance and function.


ROOT CANAL

If damage and infection spread to the pulp, a root canal may be necessary. The dentist will remove the decayed pulp, clean the root and tooth, and apply medicine to fight bacteria. The root canals will then be filled using a rubber-like substance and a filling or crown placed on your tooth.


TOOTH EXTRACTION

In case dental decay has caused extensive damage that cannot be fixed, your dentist may recommend a tooth extraction. Once the affected tooth has been pulled out, you can get a bridge or implant to replace it. This will protect your bite and keep the adjacent teeth from moving over.


HOW DID I GET A CAVITY ON A TOOTH THAT ALREADY HAS A FILLING OR ALREADY HAS A CROWN?

Unfortunately, you can get a cavity on a tooth with an existing filling or crown. This may happen due to leakage around the dental restorations. Chewing and teeth grinding cause pressure on fillings, something that can lead to the dental restorations wearing away, chipping, or cracking. Ill-fitting crowns and bad oral hygiene can also contribute to tooth decay.


The above events will cause gaps to form over time, allowing bacteria to get under the filling or crown. Decay will start around the edges of the dental restorations and progressively spread underneath. This could ultimately result in cavities. To minimize the risk of dental decay and cavities, ensure you maintain proper oral hygiene and visit your dentist regularly.


At Carraway Family and Cosmetic Dentistry, we are a general dental office in Greer, SC that focuses on preventative care and patient education. We are committed to providing the best care possible for all our patients in Greenville and the surrounding areas. Contact us today to learn more and to schedule your appointment.


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Person at dentist for tooth extraction | CARRAWAY FAMILY AND COSMETIC DENTISTRY

Tooth extraction is a procedure used to remove a tooth from its socket. This dental procedure can be performed by a qualified and experienced surgeon, periodontist, or general dentist.


Why Should I Consider Tooth Extraction?


We consider tooth extraction as the last option when it comes to dental health solutions. Your dentist will help you understand why you need to have your tooth pulled and what you should expect. There are two sets of teeth: the milk teeth, which are the first set of teeth that fall off as a child grows, and the permanent teeth, which grow in place of the milk teeth.


Though permanent teeth are meant to last a lifetime, several reasons may make extraction necessary. Some of these reasons include:

  • To reduce overcrowding of teeth. Extraction can also be necessary if you are scheduled for orthodontic treatment, and there is no room to realign and move the teeth.

  • When the tooth damage is irreparable due to severe decay.

  • To help an impacted tooth that has been blocked from coming out of the gums. This also reduces the risks of overcrowding and infection.

  • A possible solution to periodontal disease or gum infections or an abscess caused by bacteria in plaque.

  • To help preserve the teeth after an accident such as a car crash.

Before recommending extraction, your dentist will fully examine your affected tooth, mouth, and gums to ensure you are healthy enough for the procedure.


What Is Involved in Getting a Tooth Extracted?


There are two types of tooth extraction procedures your dentist can recommend: simple and surgical extractions. Simple extractions are done under local anesthesia and are mainly performed on a visible tooth.


On the other hand, surgical extractions involve general anesthesia. Your dentist may consider this option if they cannot easily access the tooth. This mainly occurs when the tooth is impacted or broken. In a surgical extraction, the dentist may perform an incision to raise the tissue covering the impacted tooth.


They may also have to split the tooth into several pieces to pull out the tooth. This procedure can be quite uncomfortable and painful.


Can I Be Put to Sleep For My Extraction?


Yes, depending on the tooth to be extracted, your dentist may put you to sleep using general anesthesia. With general anesthesia, you will remain completely unconscious during the procedure. Therefore, you will not feel any pulling, discomfort, or pain. To ensure you are safe, the medical team will closely monitor your vitals.


If you are at risk of complications, your doctor can recommend having the procedure done in a hospital setting to ensure they will be ready to handle any emergency. General anesthesia is ideal when:

  • You are in severe pain

  • You need several procedures at the same time

  • You experience dental anxiety

If you do want to be put to sleep, your dentist can recommend other sedation options, such as using a minimal dose of nitrous oxide or IV sedatives to help you relax. Your comfort is our priority here at Carraway Family and Cosmetic Dentistry. Our highly trained dentists and medical team will ensure that you understand and are comfortable with the procedure.


What Can I Expect During and After Tooth Extraction?


Depending on the type of extraction, your dentist can inject the area around the tooth with local anesthesia to numb it or use general anesthesia. This will prevent pain during the procedure. If you are using local anesthesia, you can expect to feel some pulling as the dentist tries to pull out the teeth.


After the extraction, you will experience some bleeding, and your dentist will place gauze on the sock to absorb the blood. They will also advise you on how to take care of the socket to reduce the risk of infection and speed up recovery.


What Are Things I Should and Shouldn't Do After An Extraction?


You need enough rest after the procedure. You should ensure that you follow your doctor's instructions and maintain good oral hygiene to ensure that you heal quickly. After the extraction, you should:

  • Eat soft food a day after the procedure

  • Take the painkillers as prescribed

  • Try not to use a straw in the first 24 hours

  • Avoid spitting vigorously or rinsing your mouth

  • Firmly bite down on the gauze and change them frequently

  • Rest for at least 24 hours

  • Use a pillow on your head when lying down

  • Not smoke or use tobacco until you are completely healed

  • Rinse your mouth with a solution of a half teaspoon salt and eight ounces of water after 24 hours


Person at dentist for tooth extraction | CARRAWAY FAMILY AND COSMETIC DENTISTRY

What is a Dry Socket, and How do I Prevent Getting One?


It is normal to develop a blood clot where the tooth was extracted. The clot protects and heals the nerve ending and underlying bones. The blood clot should stay intact until you are fully healed. However, there are times when the clot can get dislodged. This causes a dry socket which is very painful and uncomfortable. To prevent getting a dry socket, you should:

  • Avoid using a straw

  • Avoid soup and eat soft foods

  • Try not to smoke or use tobacco

  • Maintain good oral hygiene

  • Avoid other medications such as birth control pills


What Can I Eat After an Extraction?


During the first 24 hours after an extraction, it is vital that you only eat soft foods and some liquids. Some easy to chew foods that you can consider are:

  • Eggs

  • Applesauce

  • Cottage Cheese

  • Yogurt

  • Mashed Potatoes

  • Oatmeal

  • Ice cream


How Much Pain Will I Be in After My Extraction? Will I Bleed a lot? How Long Will I Be Swollen After My Extraction?


Once the anesthesia wears off, you may also feel some pain and swelling, especially within the first 24 to 48 hours after the procedure. It is normal to experience some bleeding after the procedure, and the gauze should help control it. However, if you experience severe bleeding or pain four hours after the procedure, you should treat that as an emergency and see your dentist immediately.


Here at Carraway Family and Cosmetic Dentistry, we are a team of qualified dentists who offer general dental procedures, including tooth extractions for all patients who have to get their teeth pulled. Get in touch with our professionals to know more about dental extractions in Greer, SC.