We all remember as kids sticking out our tongues to shock adults with its blue, red or green hue after eating some sort of dye-filled candy or ice pop. It’s a rite of passage that makes us smile.
But when we look in the mirror as adults and see something different about our tongue, it gives us pause because, well, if our tongue looks weird, something must be wrong.
The dentists at Southeast Family Dental understand that a change in your tongue can be disturbing. Some changes in appearance may indicate other conditions that should be addressed. But you can rest assured that every time you visit us here in our office, we check your oral health overall, including your tongue. In between visits, brush, floss and check out your tongue.
I see spots on my tongue
If you notice white spots on your tongue, it is a good idea to contact your dentist or doctor. This is a common symptom of thrush. Oral thrush is also called oral candidiasis, which is a candida fungus that also causes yeast infections in other parts of the body. Usually the body can fend off the bacteria that grows into the fungus, but not always. That’s why oral thrush is common in babies, the elderly, people with dentures, and people with compromised immune systems.
People who routinely use inhalers that contain steroids can also be susceptible to killing off the “good” bacteria in the mouth, allowing a yeast infection to flourish. The spots can spread throughout the mouth, and even be transferred into the esophagus causing additional symptoms. Although the white spots can be scraped off the tongue, thrush will return. It is treated with prescribed medication.
My tongue is white
In this instance, the most common culprit is an overgrowth of tissue like a callous. Unlike thrush, it cannot be scraped off. It is usually caused by a sharp edge or rough tooth rubbing on the tongue. The remedy is often fixing the tooth, crown or dental fixture causing the irritation. However, with more cell turnover, there is a higher chance for mutation, increasing the risk for tongue cancer. So consult your dentist if you notice a white growth on your tongue.
My tongue is red or red and splotchy
It may sound funny, but there is a condition called geographic tongue. It is called that because the red patches look like a map and the areas of redness moves around to different locations on the tongue. It may be a vitamin deficiency that causes the condition, and it can be painful and affect eating. Other than avoiding foods that cause it to flare up like spicy or acidic foods, there is not another treatment to “cure” or prevent the condition. Dentists often recommend a topical anesthetic rinse to numb the affected areas on the tongue so the patient can eat.
Just like you brush your pearly whites to keep them clean and healthy, keeping an eye on your tongue is a good idea. Whatever you see, don’t panic, just make an appointment to see us here at Southeast Family Dental. We can help you figure out what’s going on in your mouth!
Dr. Holly Austgen, DDS of Southeast Family Dental in Indianapolis, Indiana reveals what that weird blue light is that your dentist uses, how it works and if there are any risks to your teeth and gums when using it. https://youtu.be/gddhQso_frs [https://youtu.be/gddhQso_frs] If you can not see the embedded video above please use the following link: What is that weird blue light my dentist uses? [https://youtu.be/gddhQso_frs] Transcript Hi everyone. My name is Dr. Austgen from Southeast Family Dental and today I’m going to talk to you about a question we often get here at the office, and that is, what is the blue light that we use and is it dangerous? So what is it? That blue light is a dental curing light. It’s basically a piece of dental equipment that we use to harden or cure our resin or basically, tooth-colored filling materials, as well as some other materials that we use such as cements and bonding agents that we use to restore your teeth back to health. So how does this light work? When fillings are placed in the teeth, they are very soft so that they can be molded to the correct shape and anatomy. When the dentist or the assistant who is placing the filling is happy with the shape and the contour, they will then set the material to make it hard. That’s where the blue light comes in. We press the light, the blue light shines on it, and it will make the material hard as rock, strong enough for you to be able to chew on as soon as you leave. Okay, so here’s the big question. What about the blue light? Everyone wants to know what it is. So I’ll tell you what it’s not. It is not a UV light and it is not a laser. What it is, is a very strong blue light and it’s blue because it falls into the range of the wavelengths under the blue light spectrum. So like I said, it’s not a laser and it’s not a UV light. So it’s not going to cause any damage to your teeth or your gums. The only danger is if you look at the light for too long. It’s kind of similar to looking at the sun for too long. Dentists and assistants who place fillings are the most at risk. That’s why there is an orange filter on the light to protect our eyes. So no need to be concerned about the blue light or the curing light. It’s been a significant advancement in dentistry for us and allows us to place fillings that are hard, exactly the way we want them to be so you’re ready to use your tooth just like you wanted when you leave. Thanks for listening and remember, at Southeast Family Dental, we love to make you smile.
Do you suffer from fears and anxiety when going to the dentist? Or, maybe a trip to the dentist is a scary event for your child, which also stresses you out? Dental fears, anxiety and phobia are extremely common. It’s estimated that between 5% and 8% of Americans avoid going to the dentist due to fears. Some people (perhaps up to 20%) experience so much anxiety that they’ll only go to the dentist when it’s absolutely necessary. People experience dental anxiety and fears for various reasons, including: * Previous bad experiences at the dentist’s office. * Fear of pain. * Feeling helpless or not in control of the situation. * Embarrassment about the state of their teeth and gums. Being unfamiliar with the instruments, noises and smells in the dental office. This is especially true for young children. At Southeast Family Dental, we understand how the dentist’s office can cause anxiety and fears. But calming fears isn’t just for kids, some adults need help calming their anxiety at the dentist, too. So a dentist located in Northbrook, IL, has found an ingenious way to do just that. He brings a trained comfort dog into his office. The golden retriever soothes nervous kids and adults alike by comforting them during dental exams. In fact, the golden retriever has a sixth sense when it comes to figuring out exactly who needs him the most. A comfort dog really is an excellent idea to calm dental fears, because animals tend to have a soothing effect on people. Other ideas that dentists may use to calm your fears, include: * Providing you with an iPad and headphones, so you can listen to relaxing music or watch a TV program to distract you. * Offering you a blanket for warmth, comfort and the feeling of security. * Giving you nitrous oxide or other sedatives to help you feel relaxed during dental exams or procedures. If you suffer from dental anxiety and fears, talk to our team at Southeast Family Dental. We can talk to you about what to expect during your appointment and help you find ways to ease your fears. We want to make sure your dental experience is as calm, comfortable and stress-free as possible for you.
Stress is a normal part of life. Everyone experiences it at some point. It can cause you to feel anxious, sad, or stressed about a situation. While the occasional feeling of stress is normal, having feelings of stress all the time can take a toll on your health. IMPACT OF STRESS ON ORAL HEALTH Stress can have a major impact on your health, and it can have a similarly major impact on your oral health. Most people have probably experienced an ulcer at some point in their life, and an ulcer is just one example of the way chronic stress can negatively impact your oral and overall health. * When your body is stressed, it releases cortisol, which is a hormone that increases your blood glucose levels. This increase in blood sugar can lead to inflammation, which can trigger the body's immune response to fight off infection or injury. However, when the immune system is overstimulated, it can lead to an increase in gum disease. * Not only can stress increase the chances of developing gum disease, but it can also increase your risk for more serious diseases, such as cancer. This is because your immune system becomes weakened by stress, and compromised health can make it harder for your immune system to fight disease effectively. * Additionally, stress can cause bruxism – an abnormal clenching of the jaw and grinding of teeth while sleeping. This can lead to temporomandibular joint disorder (TMD). TMD causes pain in your jaw that can be chronic. And, since it does affect your smile, it's considered part of your oral health. If you are suffering from this, we may be able to help by finding a custom oral appliance you can wear at night to protect your teeth from damage. We can also recommend other ways to cope with stress and advise you on steps you can take to improve your oral health. WAYS TO MINIMIZE STRESS Fortunately, there are things you can do to minimize the effects of stress on your body. Regular exercise is one of the best options, as it can help keep your body healthy, strong, and balanced. You should also try to stick to a healthy diet, limit alcohol consumption, drink plenty of water during the day, and try to get enough sleep each night. When you're under a lot of stress, you should make sure to keep up with your regular checkup and cleaning appointments. We can work with you to identify problem areas in your smile and take steps to help you prevent symptoms from getting worse over time. If you're overdue for your annual exam and cleaning, then it's time to give us a call to schedule your next appointment. We can be reached at (317) 359-8000. Our dentist's office is located in Indianapolis, IN, and we look forward to helping you keep your smile healthy for many years to come!
Southeast Family Dental is pleased to announce that Dr. Mark Bohnert and Dr. Laura Geiger have been selected by a vote of their peers to be Top Dentists, www.usatopdentists.com. and featured in the “Best of Indy” December issue of of Indianapolis Monthly. Indianapolis Monthly December 2018Dr. Bohnert is a 10-year winner and Dr. Geiger is a 3-year winner of the Top Dentist award. This honor is based on an exhaustive peer-review survey in which dentists and specialists throughout Indiana cast votes on the abilities of other dentists and specialists. Inclusion in Top Dentists is considered a singular honor. Dr. Laura Geiger responded to the announcement. “We are thrilled to have been voted Top Dentists. This honor shows us that we are meeting our mission to change the way you feel about going to the dentist, while giving you more reasons to smile.”
Drinking water is essential to your health. Water helps to transport nutrients in your body, regulates your body temperature, lubricates your joints, helps build muscle, digests food and improves your skin complexion. And, yes, water really is healthy for your teeth, especially if it’s fluoridated. Some reasons why water is beneficial to your teeth include: * Tap water may contain fluoride. Fluoride is a mineral that naturally occurs in almost all water supplies. Also fluoride can be added to a town’s water supply. Fluoride helps to prevent tooth decay. According to the American Dental Association, it has been shown to reduce the rate of cavities by as much as 60%. However, it’s important to note that not all bottled waters contain fluoride. * Water naturally rinses your teeth and keep them clean. When you drink water, especially after eating, it helps wash away food particles and acids produced by the bacteria in your mouth. Therefore, if you can’t brush your teeth while you’re out, drink a glass of water and swish the water around in your mouth to help clean your teeth until you can get home and brush. * Drinking water helps to decrease the pH level in your mouth. The neutral pH level in your mouth is 7.0. When you eat or drink acidic foods and beverages, the pH level can drop below 5.0. Too much acid can cause bad bacteria to grow, leading to tooth decay, which occurs when the pH level in your mouth is 5.5 or lower. But drinking water can help neutralize the effects of acid in your mouth. * Water helps alleviate the symptoms of dry mouth. When your salivary glands don’t make enough saliva in your mouth, dry mouth can occur. You need an adequate supply of saliva to neutralize the acids produced by bacteria and to wash away food particles. Otherwise, a mouth that’s too dry can increase your risk of developing tooth decay. Drink water as part of your daily dental health routine As you see, drinking water really is healthy for your teeth. So make drinking water a regular part of your daily dental health routine, in addition to brushing and flossing. But be careful of some seltzer waters. Some are advertised as water, but contain additional sweeteners that make them just as harmful as soda. Also, they are more acidic than flat water so should be limited due to their ability to erode teeth. Also, remember to schedule your biannual dental checkups with Southeast Family Dental by calling us at (317) 359-8000.