My Blog

Posts for: August, 2017

By Denise A. Perrotta DMD
August 28, 2017
Category: Oral Health
Tags: oral health   oral hygiene  

What's the most fun thing about back-to-school time? For many of us, it's the shopping! Those cool backpacks and colorful sneakers put smiles on a lot of young faces. While you're out buying new school supplies and freshening up your kids' wardrobes, why not freshen up their oral health supplies as well?

For example, it might be time for a new toothbrush. The American Dental Association recommends replacing toothbrushes every three to four months, or more frequently if the bristles are frayed. A worn toothbrush won't do as good a job cleaning teeth. And with all of the cartoon characters and superheroes available on toothbrushes, picking one out can be just as fun as choosing a new lunchbox or notebook!

While you're at it, check your kids' supply of dental floss as well. If they've run out, they might not have told you. As important as flossing is, it's not every kids' idea of fun. If you're having trouble getting your kids to use a spool of floss, why not try a disposable little tool made just for flossing? Flossers are super-easy to use, and these, too, come in all kinds of fun shapes and colors.

Here's an important item for the school athletes in your house: a mouthguard. Sports-related dental injuries account for more than six hundred thousand emergency room visits each year. If your child wears braces, a mouthguard may be particularly important. So please contact us about a custom-made mouthguard for your child — or if you have any other questions about oral health and hygiene. And have a safe and healthy return to school!

By Denise A. Perrotta DMD
August 20, 2017
Category: Oral Health

Everyone knows that in the game of football, quarterbacks are looked up to as team leaders. That's why we're so pleased to see some NFL QB's setting great examples of… wait for it… excellent oral hygiene.

First, at the 2016 season opener against the Broncos, Cam Newton of the Carolina Panthers was spotted on the bench; in his hands was a strand of dental floss. In between plays, the 2105 MVP was observed giving his hard-to-reach tooth surfaces a good cleaning with the floss.

Later, Buffalo Bills QB Tyrod Taylor was seen on the sideline of a game against the 49ers — with a bottle of mouthwash. Taylor took a swig, swished it around his mouth for a minute, and spit it out. Was he trying to make his breath fresher in the huddle when he called out plays?

Maybe… but in fact, a good mouthrinse can be much more than a short-lived breath freshener.

Cosmetic rinses can leave your breath with a minty taste or pleasant smell — but the sensation is only temporary. And while there's nothing wrong with having good-smelling breath, using a cosmetic mouthwash doesn't improve your oral hygiene — in fact, it can actually mask odors that may indicate a problem, such as tooth decay or gum disease.

Using a therapeutic mouthrinse, however, can actually enhance your oral health. Many commonly available therapeutic rinses contain anti-cariogenic (cavity-fighting) ingredients, such as fluoride; these can help prevent tooth decay and cavity formation by strengthening tooth enamel. Others contain antibacterial ingredients; these can help control the harmful oral bacteria found in plaque — the sticky film that can build up on your teeth in between cleanings. Some antibacterial mouthrinses are available over-the-counter, while others are prescription-only. When used along with brushing and flossing, they can reduce gum disease (gingivitis) and promote good oral health.

So why did Taylor rinse? His coach Rex Ryan later explained that he was cleaning out his mouth after a hard hit, which may have caused some bleeding. Ryan also noted, “He [Taylor] does have the best smelling breath in the league for any quarterback.” The coach didn't explain how he knows that — but never mind. The takeaway is that a cosmetic rinse may be OK for a quick fix — but when it comes to good oral hygiene, using a therapeutic mouthrinse as a part of your daily routine (along with flossing and brushing) can really step up your game.

If you would like more information about mouthrinses and oral hygiene, contact us or schedule a consultation.

By Denise A. Perrotta DMD
August 14, 2017
Category: Oral Health
Tags: oral cancer  

If something were wrong with your oral health, would you want to know? Of course you would, and you'd want your family members oral cancerprotected, too. When it comes to oral cancer, you should learn its common signs and how to protect yourself. Dr. Denise Perrotta, our Winston Salem, NC, dentist, performs oral cancer screenings as part of routine semi-annual examinations. Brief and painless, these simple checks may catch oral cancer at its earliest stages.


What are the signs of oral cancer?


The Oral Cancer Foundation says that almost 50,000 new cases of oral cancer (involving the tongue, gums, lips and back of the throat) are diagnosed annually in the US. Because many people are unaware that anything sinister is developing in their mouths, your Winston Salem dentist believes knowledge about oral cancer symptoms empowers her patients to take control of their oral health.

In fact, she educates individuals so they are more self-aware and can observe these symptoms of the malady that kills many Americans each year. Symptoms include:

  • A persistent hoarseness of voice
  • Pain in the soft or hard tissues of the mouth
  • Ulcers or white/red patches on the oral mucosa which do not resolve
  • Swollen lymph nodes
  • Persistent bad breath
  • Weight loss
  • A change in dental bite or in the fit of a prosthetic such as a denture
  • Numbness about the face
  • Tooth mobility

Yes, the list is long, but Dr. Perrotta will partner with you in screening for oral cancer. Together, you can ensure your best dental and overall health.

Who develops oral cancer?


Male or female, rich or poor--all types of people develop oral cancer. However, some seem more at risk, especially:

  • Men over the age of 40
  • People exposed to the Human Papillomavirus (HPV), a sexually-transmitted micro-organism
  • Individuals who abuse alcohol
  • Smokers or partakers of smokeless tobacco
  • People with diets low in fruits and vegetables

Additionally, people with compromised immune systems seem prone to oral cancer.

Screening and treatment for oral cancer

When you see Dr. Perrotta for your routine examination, she'll inspect your mouth for signs of oral cancer. These areas include the back of your throat, under your tongue and the insides of your cheeks. Also, she'll palpate, or feel, the sides of your neck and the angle of your jaw, sites for numerous lymph nodes. And, she will ask you if you have been experiencing any pain, soreness or difficulty swallowing.

If she is concerned about an area of your mouth, she will refer you to your primary care physician. He or she may order a biopsy, or tissue sample, for analysis.

Doctors at the Cancer Treatment Centers of America say that early diagnosis of oral cancer leads to an 80 to 90 percent cure rate. So screening with your Winston Salem dentist is vital.

Contact the office

If it's time for your semi-annual examination, contact Dr. Perrotta in Winston Salem, NC, to schedule your appointment. Remember, knowledge empowers you to have years of happy smiles. Call (336) 760-9258.

By Denise A. Perrotta DMD
August 05, 2017
Category: Dental Procedures

All eyes were on Boston Celtics point guard Isaiah Thomas in Game 1 of the second-round NBA Playoff series against the Washington Wizards — and not just because he scored a game-high of 33 points! Even more dramatic was the moment his jaw collided with an opponent’s elbow, sending one of his front teeth flying out of his mouth and onto the floor.

Press reports said the Celtics’ team physician attempted to reinsert the tooth, but it didn’t remain in place when Thomas resumed playing the game. Over the next several days, he reportedly underwent a total of ten hours of oral surgery, and was fitted with a four-piece temporary bridge. A statement from the team noted that Thomas suffered “a complete fractured tooth and two other subluxed/shifted teeth… [He] will receive a permanent bridge at a future date.” So what does all that mean?

When we say a tooth is fractured, it means the crown (visible part) of the tooth has broken off from its roots, either above or below the gum line. Depending on the severity of the fracture, it is sometimes possible to save the natural tooth by performing a root canal to prevent bacterial infection, and then placing a crown (cap) on the tooth to restore its appearance and function. In more severe cases, however, the tooth can’t be saved and must be extracted.

Unfortunately, that isn’t Thomas’ only problem. He also has two subluxed teeth — that is, teeth that have shifted from their original position, but haven’t been knocked out of their sockets. Subluxed teeth often result from a severe blow to the mouth, and may be treated by stabilization or splinting. Team officials haven’t said exactly what was done during Thomas’ dental treatment, but it could very well have involved extracting the roots of any teeth that couldn’t be saved, and possibly placing dental implants in his jaw for future tooth restoration.

A dental implant is a small screw-shaped titanium post that is inserted directly into the bone of the upper or lower jaw in a minor surgical procedure. In time, it becomes fused with the bone itself, offering a sturdy anchorage for replacement teeth. One implant can support one replacement crown; two or more implants can support a number of replacement teeth joined together as a unit. This is called a dental bridge.

Bridges can also be supported by adjacent healthy teeth — but first, the outer surfaces of the crown must be prepared (reduced in size), so that the bridge can be attached over the remaining part of the crown. In many instances, implants are preferred because they do not compromise the structure of healthy teeth nearby.

Dental difficulties didn’t end Isaiah Thomas’ season — but an earlier hip injury that became aggravated finally did.  As unfortunate as this is, maybe now at least the NBA star will have a chance to let those injured teeth heal, and show up next season with a smile that’s as good as new.

If you have questions about treating injured teeth, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation.

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