Medications can often solve one problem, but then lead to another. As we see in dentistry, one of the common side effects of many drugs, including antidepressants, antihistamines and allergy medications, is dry mouth. By reducing saliva production, dry mouth can leave you susceptible to cavities, excess plaque, fungal infections in the mouth, and bad breath.
Signs of dry mouth can include: saliva that seems thick or stringy; sores or split skin at the corners of your mouth; bad breath; difficulty speaking or swallowing; a burning or tingling sensation on your tongue; change in your sense of taste; increased plaque, tooth decay and periodontal (gum) disease.
Most of us take saliva for granted, but it is actually an important natural defense system in the mouth. It protects the teeth by washing away sugars and not allowing bacteria to stick on the teeth long enough to promote the development of cavities.
Some tips to help prevent dental decay that stems from dry mouth include:
- Establishing a consistent, daily flossing and brushing routine.
- Using a mouthwash specially formulated for dry-mouth sufferers.
- Chewing sugarless gum, to help stimulate saliva production.
- Drinking more water, and avoiding coffee, tea and other caffeinated drinks, in addition to alcohol, all of which can dry out your mouth.
Please keep us updated on the medications you are on. If a lack of saliva is interfering with your oral health and your enjoyment of food, make sure you talk to us, and to your doctor.
What’s My Best Option: a Crown, or a Veneer?
The role of both porcelain crowns and porcelain veneers is to cover existing teeth with attractive outer shells, resulting in straighter, more even teeth and a beautiful smile. But when do you need porcelain crowns, and when will veneers suffice?
A dental crown fits over your whole tooth to serve as a completely new outer surface. Its strength makes it especially applicable for teeth such as molars, which are subject to significant chewing and biting forces.
Dental veneers, on the other hand, are thin “shells” of porcelain or ceramic that are bonded onto the front side of a tooth (the side that shows when you smile) to cosmetically correct tooth imperfections.
A dental crown may be recommended in the following situations:
- To protect a weak tooth from breaking, or to hold together parts of a cracked tooth.
- To restore a broken or worn-down tooth.
- To cover and support a tooth with a large filling.
- To hold a dental bridge in place.
- To cover a tooth that is misshapen or severely discolored.
- To cover a dental implant.
A dental veneer is often applied:
- To fill gaps between teeth.
- To correct minor shape problems.
- To produce a whiter appearance to mildly stained or darkened teeth.
Come in and ask us which smile solution may be appropriate for your particular dental improvement.