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Karls Family Dentistry

Posts for: May, 2016

By Karls Family Dentistry
May 27, 2016
Category: Oral Health
Tags: dental exams  

One of the most important things you can do to maintain your smile in Waunakee, WI is to see a dentist, such as Dr. Matthew Karls or dental visitDr. Stanley Karls, at Karls Family Dentistry.

If it has been a while since you visited the dentist, you should go sooner rather than later – and then you should continue with regular visits and checkups with your Waunakee dentist. In fact, along with your personal oral hygiene program, the American Dental Association recommends that you have regular dental checkups at least twice a year.

Here’s why initial and regular dental examinations go such a long way to help you smile.

First, your Waunakee dentist has years of education and training and will know to look for problems you probably don’t even know exist. It is far easier – and far less expensive – to prevent problems from developing or fixing them before they progress too severely.

But what if you don’t feel any pain or notice any problems?

See your Waunakee dentist anyway.

Even if you don’t have any problems such as swollen, bleeding, or painful gums, tooth sensitivity, or other issues, your Waunakee dentist is going to be able to check for anything from cavities to potentially serious health issues such as oral cancer. Studies have shown that people with severe gum diseases are also at significantly higher risks for other health issues, such as heart problems.

When you go for your checkups, chances are your Waunakee dentist will also do a professional teeth cleaning, which will be far more thorough than any brushing and flossing you can do on your own. Your dentist may give you a professional strength fluoride treatment, for example, something you cannot do on your own at home. Your Waunakee dentist will remove plaque, an invisible, sticky substance that forms in your mouth and traps bacteria which can cause tooth decay and gum disease – especially from areas of your mouth you otherwise can’t adequately reach and clean. Plaque buildup can also lead to the formation of calculus, also known as tartar, a hard substance that adheres to and discolors teeth. And no matter how diligent you are, brushing and flossing alone simply cannot remove tartar – a hard, discolored substance that forms when plaque buildup occurs -- your dentist will have to do that with specialized equipment made for the task.

If you need to see a dentist in Waunakee, consider contacting Karls Family Dentistry. For more information call 608-849-4100.

By Karls Family Dentistry
May 26, 2016
Category: Dental Procedures

In real life he was a hard-charging basketball player through high school and college. In TV and the movies, he has gone head-to-head with serial killers, assorted bad guys… even mysterious paranormal forces. So would you believe that David Duchovny, who played Agent Fox Mulder in The X-Files and starred in countless other large and small-screen productions, lost his front teeth… in an elevator accident?

“I was running for the elevator at my high school when the door shut on my arm,” he explained. “The next thing I knew, I was waking up in the hospital. I had fainted, fallen on my face, and knocked out my two front teeth.” Looking at Duchovny now, you’d never know his front teeth weren’t natural. But that’s not “movie magic” — it’s the art and science of modern dentistry.

How do dentists go about replacing lost teeth with natural-looking prosthetics? Today, there are two widely used tooth replacement procedures: dental implants and bridgework. When a natural tooth can’t be saved — due to advanced decay, periodontal disease, or an accident like Duchovny’s — these methods offer good looking, fully functional replacements. So what’s the difference between the two? Essentially, it’s a matter of how the replacement teeth are supported.

With state-of-the-art dental implants, support for the replacement tooth (or teeth) comes from small titanium inserts, which are implanted directly into the bone of the jaw. In time these become fused with the bone itself, providing a solid anchorage. What’s more, they actually help prevent the bone loss that naturally occurs after tooth loss. The crowns — lifelike replacements for the visible part of the tooth — are securely attached to the implants via special connectors called abutments.

In traditional bridgework, the existing natural teeth on either side of a gap are used to support the replacement crowns that “bridge” the gap. Here’s how it works: A one-piece unit is custom-fabricated, consisting of prosthetic crowns to replace missing teeth, plus caps to cover the adjacent (abutment) teeth on each side. Those abutment teeth must be shaped so the caps can fit over them; this is done by carefully removing some of the outer tooth material. Then the whole bridge unit is securely cemented in place.

While both systems have been used successfully for decades, bridgework is now being gradually supplanted by implants. That’s because dental implants don’t have any negative impact on nearby healthy teeth, while bridgework requires that abutment teeth be shaped for crowns, and puts additional stresses on them. Dental implants also generally last far longer than bridges — the rest of your life, if given proper care. However, they are initially more expensive (though they may prove more economical in the long run), and not everyone is a candidate for the minor surgery they require.

Which method is best for you? Don’t try using paranormal powers to find out: Come in and talk to us. If you would like more information about tooth replacement, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can learn more in the Dear Doctor magazine articles “Crowns & Bridgework,” and “Dental Implants.”

By Karls Family Dentistry
May 11, 2016
Category: Oral Health
Tags: oral health   cracked mouth  

We’ve all had physical ailments that were more irritating than serious. The problem of skin cracking at the corners of the mouth fits into that category.

Both dentists and dermatologists encounter this condition often and have a name for it: perleche, derived from the French word lecher, meaning “to lick.” The term arises from patients’ tendency to excessively lick the broken skin to soothe the itching or burning.

Perleche most often arises from certain mouth conditions, although systemic problems like anemia or diabetes may also cause it. Children or younger adults, especially those with orthodontic braces or a tendency to drool as they sleep, often develop perleche; older adults with wrinkling around the mouth are also susceptible. Mouth dryness caused by reduced saliva flow may also irritate the skin and cause discomfort.

As the skin becomes irritated, the person may begin to lick the corners of the mouth to soothe them. This sets up conditions for an infection, most often caused by yeast known as candida albicans. The infection may become more acute and begin to affect the entire inside of the mouth or throat.

If you’ve developed perleche, our primary treatment goal is to reduce any infection with the aid of oral or topical antifungal drugs. One drug, Nystatin, is often taken as a lozenge that dissolves in the mouth and works its way from there through the rest of the body. You can also apply antifungal ointments several times a day to the corners of the mouth, often in combination with steroid ointments that reduce redness and swelling. You can also apply antifungal zinc oxide paste to the cracked skin, which also serves as a barrier between the skin and outer contaminants.

To reduce the chance of future outbreaks, we may recommend you rinse with Chlorhexidine, as well as replace missing teeth or refit loose dentures — these too are contributing factors to erupting yeast infections. You might also need to undergo dermatologic treatment for wrinkles if they’ve proven to be a factor in developing perleche.

Although not a major problem, perleche can be exceedingly uncomfortable and embarrassing. Thanks to a number of treatment options, you don’t have to put up with that discomfort for long.

If you would like more information on perleche (angular cheilitis), please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can also learn more about this topic by reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “Cracked Corners of the Mouth.”