As we head into the month of October, we tend to see pink ribbons everywhere in support of breast cancer research and breast cancer patients. Cancer is one of those scary words nobody wants to hear, and it can cause feelings of uncertainness and weariness of what treatment will bring. While there are sure to be many thoughts racing through your mind following any cancer diagnosis, there’s one thing you may not immediately think of — seeing your dentist in Douglasville. However, this visit, and follow up visits, can actually help make cancer treatment more successful.
The cancer treatment we tend to be most familiar with is chemotherapy. Chemotherapy has been used for many years and can help kill cancer cells. However, it certainly doesn’t come without side effects. While these side effects can affect any area of the body, there are certain ones that directly affect the mouth. Sometimes these side effects are so serious that your medical team may decide to temporarily stop treatment until the side effects are resolved. To help avoid this, it’s important to see your dentist in Douglasville prior to starting chemotherapy.
Chemotherapy and Oral Health
As we’ve mentioned, chemotherapy can be really effective at killing cancer cells. But it can also harm healthy cells in the process, including cells in the mouth. This damage can affect any part of your mouth from your teeth to the soft tissues such as your gums and the glands that create saliva. Some common oral health side effects of chemotherapy include:
- Pain with eating or talking
- Difficulty swallowing
- Dry mouth
- Sores or ulcers
- Peeling, burning tongue
These side effects can happen to anyone, and they do tend to vary from person to person. Make sure you talk with your cancer treatment team as well as your dentist in Douglasville during treatment so any side effects are caught and treated early. If they’re not, some infections or side effects can be so severe they’ll cause a delay or pause in your cancer treatment.
The Importance of Regular Dentistry
Seeing your dentist every six months is recommended for everyone, but those undergoing cancer treatment may need to visit more often. After all, your dentist in Douglasville is a key part of your cancer treatment team, and seeing them regularly can help avoid or keep serious side effects at bay. Additionally, if you see your dentist before treatment begins, you can rest assured that you’ll start treatment with an already healthy mouth, reducing the risk of complications. If you or a loved one have been diagnosed with cancer, schedule an appointment with your dentist, ideally one month prior to beginning treatment.
Having a gummy smile can affect someone’s self-confidence, and if you’re someone who sees more gum tissue than teeth when smiling or talking, you may know exactly what we’re talking about. In fact, it’s not uncommon for your dentist in Douglasville to hear patients say they’re embarrassed by their smiles, and some even avoid smiling as much as possible because they’re so worried about their appearance. This is no way to live, especially when there are treatments available to fix a gummy smile.
The Best Way to Fix a Gummy Smile
If you’ve been bothered by your gummy smile for a while, you may have been searching for a solution for quite some time. But fixing a gummy smile isn’t as easy as a one-size-fits-all solution. Your dentist in Douglasville will first need to perform an exam and oftentimes x-rays and other photos in order to get an accurate picture of what’s causing your gummy smile and determine the best way to fix it. Depending on your specific situation, some of the potential treatments to fix your gummy smile may include:
- Scaling & Root Planing
Sometimes a gummy smile is caused by an infection of the gum tissue. This infection can cause gums to become swollen and inflamed, covering more of your white teeth than you’d like. If this is the case, your dentist in Douglasville will most likely want to start with a deep teeth cleaning called scaling and root planing. A scaling and root planing treatment removes bacteria up under the gum line and can help remove infection, inflammation, and the gummy look. However, if this treatment alone doesn’t resolve the infection or give you the appearance you’re looking for, additional gum disease treatment or cosmetic dentistry treatment may be appropriate.
- Gum Lift & Crown Lengthening
Many times a gummy smile is the result of the way our teeth erupted, and genetics may be to blame. As our adult teeth are forming and erupting, sometimes there’s just too much gum tissue covering the teeth. The good news is often there’s healthy enamel hiding just under the gum overgrowth all we have to do is uncover it. This is when a gum lift or crown lengthening comes into play. A gum lift procedure does exactly what it sounds like — lifts and removes the excess gum tissue to reveal more of each tooth. Now, when there’s an overabundance of tissue, your dentist may recommend a crown lengthening. This procedure removes and restructures the gum tissue as well as the bones around the teeth. The result of both procedures is fewer gums and more teeth.
- Lip Lowering
Another likely cause of a gummy smile is a hyperactive upper lip which occurs when the muscles of the upper lip are too active. This can cause the upper lip near the nose to protrude up too high and show off more of the gums than normal. The best way to fix a hyperactive upper lip is through lip lowering treatment. During this procedure, a small section of the gum tissue under the upper lip is removed, and then the remaining top and bottom are reconnected, ultimately shortening the lip and making it impossible for the upper lip to rise as high as it used to.
Orthodontics, including traditional metal braces as well as invisible aligners such as Invisalign and ClearCorrect, may also be the best way to fix a gummy smile, especially if you have a bad bite. You see, a bad bite occurs when the top jaw and bottom jaw don’t align properly. This can cause several oral health problems, including jaw pain, and when the top jaw protrudes out farther than it should, a gummy smile. Fixing the bite can resolve a gummy smile and give you super-straight teeth at the same time — bonus!
Nobody should have to live a life where they are embarrassed to smile and laugh. They should feel confident about the way their smile looks so they can truly share their emotions with the world. If you’re embarrassed by your gummy smile, don’t wait any longer. Schedule an appointment with your dentist in Douglasville today and start living a life full of confidence and smiles!