Early Detection of Oral Cancer with VELscope

Oral cancer is a disease many people are not aware of, until it strikes close to home. This cancer is not noticeable in early stages because it causes no pain or other noticeable symptoms early on. By the time it has been detected and diagnosed, it is almost always in a more advanced stage or has spread to other parts of the body. In this recent video, Kelsey Roberts, dental assistant for Dr. James J. McCall, discusses the realities and screening options for oral cancer.

Oral Cancer is Wide-Spread

Oral cancer affects approximately 40,000 Americans every year. Every hour, one person dies due to oral cancer and its complications, for a total of over 8,000 deaths a year. For those who are newly diagnosed with oral cancer, only about half will still be alive in five years. Those who do are 20 times more likely than others to develop secondary cancer. These are staggering statistics.

Early Detection is the Key

The reason that oral cancer is so devastating is the fact that most oral cancers are not spotted until they have progressed to a stage that is difficult to treat. For that reason, the cancer cannot be treated, and it tends to be fatal. Unfortunately, these numbers have not improved in recent years, in spite of advancements in medical field.

The VELscope is a simple device that is highly effective at detecting developing oral cancer. Using a blue spectral light, which causes the tissues of the mouth to fluoresce, the VELscope allows the dental team to pinpoint patterns in the oral tissue that indicates disease or other abnormalities are developing. This allows treatment to occur before these develop into late stage oral cancer. The device is safe to use, requires no unpleasant rinses or uncomfortable treatments and takes less than two minutes to scan the mouth, making it the ideal choice for protecting your oral health.

How Stress Affects Your Oral Health

Feeling stressed? In this recent video, Dr. James McCall explains how stress affects your entire body, including your mouth. When you are stressed and not handling the stress well, your entire body suffers.

Stress Increases Chances of Mouth Sores and Gum Disease

Both gum disease and mouth sores, such as canker and cold sores, can be triggered by stress. In the case of mouth sores, it appears the body’s response to stress can cause these painful sores to develop. While there’s little you can do to stop them, in the case of cold sores, which are contagious, getting antiviral treatment early can help lessen the length of the sores.

Gum disease often occurs because of the distraction you face when under stress. This can cause you to ignore proper brushing and flossing, which increases your chances of developing gum disease.

Stress Hurts Your Diet

When you are stressed, you are more prone to eating sugary snack foods. These foods increase your risk for tooth decay and gum disease. A healthy, well-balanced diet will not only keep you healthy enough to deal with stress more effectively, but it will also protect your teeth from the dangers of too much sugar.

Better Strategies for Dealing with Stress

Stress happens, no matter what you do. To protect your oral health, you must learn how to deal with that stress.

Instead of turning to junk food, plan for regular exercise. Exercise helps you manage stress more effectively and releases endorphins you need to stay stress-free. Remind yourself of the importance of your daily oral hygiene routine and the need to eat a healthy, balanced diet. By doing these things, your stress will not have as much of an impact on your oral health.

If you want more ideas about protecting your oral health during times of stress, contact Dr. McCall to learn more.

Considerations When Choosing a New Dentist

As you start the search for a new dentist, you need to remember that not all dentists are the same. Dentists today perform a wide range of services, from making the teeth look more cosmetically appealing to helping them be stronger and straighter. As Dr. McCall explains in this video, you need to ask some questions before you make that first appointment.

First, look for a dentist who gives details. Your dentist should tell you what your problem is and what caused it, how much and how long it will take to treat and what further actions you should take to care for your teeth in the future. Ask your dentist if you can have those recommendations and cost estimates in writing, which will help you make wise decisions.

When visiting a dentist for the first time, inquire about whether the office has a low-cost or free consultation option for new patients. A dentist who is confident in his or her work will offer this to give you the chance to get to know the office before scheduling an expensive appointment.

Before scheduling an appointment, learn about the financing options the dentist offers. Many procedures can be more costly than you might think, and you need to know that you have an option to pay for them, even if you don’t have the cash upfront.

Finally, ask some questions before you make an appointment. Find out what the dentist’s specialty is, and make sure it fits your needs. Then, ask whether or not the dentist will take x-rays, and opt for one with digital x-rays when possible. Also, don’t be afraid to ask for references. A quality dentist will be happy to provide them.

Your dentist is not a decision to take lightly. As this video shows, you have many considerations to make before choosing one. Make them carefully, and enjoy the benefit of a dentist who will provide the quality of care you and your family need for optimum oral health.

Cavity Care

Everybody wants an attractive smile. While beauty is indeed in the eye of the beholder, certain constants define our ideals in dental excellence; white, even teeth with little crowding and minimal gaps.

More important than cosmetic perfection, though, is good dental health and hygiene. Most of us want our teeth to last a lifetime — and they can — but there’s a major threat which may be undermining that ambition without our even being aware of it: cavities. Cavities by far outstrip any other complaint in prompting unscheduled visits to the dentist, and affect around 90 percent of the population at one time or another. Read More »

How to Know When a Root Canal is Needed

A root canal Jacksonville is the treatment needed for the pulp of a tooth when it becomes infected, inflamed or dead. The pulp is a soft substance that is located in the center part of the tooth consisting of a nerve, connective tissue and blood vessels. The pulp chamber is a hollow part within the tooth’s center containing the pulp. It continues down the canals, extending throughout the roots of the teeth and into the surrounding bone. Some of the roots have multiple canals, but all of them have at least one.
Root canal Jacksonville treatment is the procedure that is used for treating the nerve of the tooth itself. Endodontics is a specialized type of dentistry that specifically deals with the pulp of the tooth and the tissues that surround the root of the tooth. Root canal problems might be treated from an endodontist or a general dentist. Endodontists are specialized dentists who have multiple years of specialized training long after they completed dental school. The main focus is primarily on treating root canals. General dentists are qualified to perform a root canal, but they might refer individuals to an endodontist if the tooth is being treated for a second time or it is extremely complicated.
When the root canal Jacksonville is treated, the pulp of the tooth is extracted and the pulp chamber in the tooth and the canals are sealed and filled to help prevent any bacteria from being able to enter the tooth.

Determining When Root Canals are Necessary

Many things can damage the nerve or the pulp of the tooth. Some of the common reasons why you might need a root canal are outlined below.
Pain tends to be the most common symptoms associated with the need for a root canal. The pain coming from the tooth in need of the root canal Jacksonville is quite specific. If the tooth is still alive, it ends up becoming extremely sensitive to any cold or heat. It will remain sensitive after the cold or hot stimulus is removed from the tooth. It may start hurting spontaneously. Regardless of whether it is in the middle of the night or at a time when you aren’t using the tooth to drink or eat, the pain could start up. When the tooth is dead and it has become abscessed, the patient is going to feel pain when they cannot put any pressure on the tooth.
Once the tooth has abscessed, it is going to require a root canal. Abscesses form when the tooth pulp dies and a pocket of pus forms, surrounding the root ending. The pus will accumulate where the dead nerve tissue is that is infected with the bacteria. At times, the abscess can form a small bump resembling a pimple along the outside part of your gums. Patients might notice pus draining from the pimple or find a bad taste in their mouth.
Abscesses that are left untreated will continue growing and infecting the bone that surrounds the tooth root. It might end up spreading into the bone and tissues surrounding the tooth. In rare instances, people have died from an infection that began from an abscess. Even though antibiotics can help prevent the infection from spreading, the only way you can remove it completely is through a root canal Jacksonville and cleaning all of the bacteria and dead tissue from inside the canals and the pulp chamber.
If the decay extends far into the tooth and to the pulp, it causes the pulp to become infected with bacteria. Whenever this happens, it can become painful and inflamed, or it will end up dying and becoming decayed tissue. Other times, there won’t be any pain, but the only way for the dentist to remove all of the decay from the tooth is through a root canal and removal of the nerve that has also become affected.
If the tooth were to be hit with a tremendous amount of force, the nerve might become severed at the end and the root will end up dying. This can happen immediately following an accident or it can happen many years after the trauma.
Teeth that have fractured might need a root canal Jacksonville if the fracture goes deep into the tooth and makes its way to the pulp. If the tooth has fractured in such a manner that there isn’t a lot of tooth structure remaining above the gums for a crown or other type of restorative procedure, the root canal might have to be performed to allow room for a post to be placed deep into the tooth canal to help retain any restoration.
Dental procedures can place a great deal of stress on the tooth. At times, repeated drilling might cause inflammation of the tooth pulp. The tooth will have to be tested by the dentist to figure out whether the inflammation can be reversed or not.
Previously, whenever one of these instances happened with the tooth, the only option was to have the tooth removed. Root canals have been proven to be extremely beneficial for allowing the majority of teeth to be saved inside of the mouth and have been used effectively for years. Once the tooth is properly formed, they won’t need the pulp in order to function correctly. The pulp gives the tooth the sensation needed to stimulate senses like cold and hot, but it isn’t necessary for the tooth to function normally in a healthy mouth.
Regardless of whether you live in Jacksonville or the surrounding areas, we are dedicated to providing each and every patient with the care and professionalism they deserve. You will feel comfortable at our practice with our friendly staff who is ready to help you take control of your oral health today. Schedule your appointment today and begin the process of a root canal Jacksonville to help you feel better quickly.

Wisdom Teeth Removal

Wisdom Teeth: Is Surgery Necessary?

Wisdom teeth removals are usually done to avoid potential problems from occurring. Once you find a wisdom tooth growing in you will most likely find discomfort in your jaw line, due to the tooth growing in and being too large. Once the tooth breaks through the gum, tissue heals over the enamel. Food and germs can cause red, painful swelling in the gum which leads to infection. Other problems that may accumulate from wisdom teeth growth include painful cysts, or awkward growth causing the wisdom teeth to grow in different angles. Four cases where there is no need for surgery or wisdom tooth extraction include: Read More »

What is TMJ?

For some inexplicable reason, everyone dreads going to the dentist. Maybe it the weird looking tools and the scary drills or it is the fact that you have no control over what’s going to happen once you are in the chair, but every man, woman and child is afraid of visiting the dentist. Regular dental checkups are essential, because our teeth can reflect the state of our overall health. There are many necessary medical services that the dentist provides apart from just cleaning your teeth and filling dental cavities or removing carries.

Temporomandibular Joint

The temporomandibular joint is the triangular joint in the sides of our faces that helps us to talk and eat. It helps in our jaw movements and is responsible for the opening and closing of our jaws and also the sideways movement. This joint connects the mandible or the lower jaw to the temporal bone in the skull. Muscles and cartilage surrounding the joint help and control movements, allowing us to talk, chew, swallow and yawn. There are many factors that can lead to stress and the resulting problems in this temporomandibular joint. Read More »