Posts for: June, 2019

By Wayne Cook, D.D.S.
June 28, 2019
Category: Oral Health
TakeStepstoEaseThatBurningSensationinYourMouth

We’ve all experienced eating or drinking something hot enough to scald the inside of our mouths. But what if you regularly have a burning sensation but haven’t consumed anything hot to cause it? You may have a condition called burning mouth syndrome, or BMS.

In addition to the sensation of feeling scalded or burnt, BMS can also cause dryness, tingling and numbness, as well as a change or reduction in your sense of taste. You can feel these sensations generally in the mouth or from just a few areas: the lips, tongue, inside of the cheeks, gums, throat or the roof of the mouth.

The root cause of BMS isn’t always easy to pinpoint, but it seems related to systemic conditions like diabetes, nutrition or vitamin deficiencies and acid reflux; it’s also been known to accompany the use of irradiation or chemotherapy for cancer treatment or psychological problems. It seems to occur most often in women around the age of menopause and may be linked to hormonal changes.

To determine the best treatment course, we must first eliminate the possibility that another condition besides BMS may be causing your symptoms. Some medications (both prescription and over-the-counter) cause mouth dryness, which can irritate the inner linings of the mouth or contribute to yeast infection, either of which could result in similar symptoms to BMS. Allergic reactions to dental materials in dentures or toothpastes that contain sodium lauryl sulfate, whiteners or cinnamon flavor can cause irritation and skin peeling within the mouth.

If we’ve determined you have BMS, there are a number of strategies we can try to bring relief, like stopping or cutting back on habits that worsen dry mouth like smoking, alcohol or coffee consumption, or frequently eating hot or spicy foods. You should also drink water more frequently to keep your mouth moist, or use biotene or products containing the sweetener xylitol to promote saliva production. If mouth dryness is related to medication, you should speak with your physician or our office about alternatives.

In some cases, BMS resolves over time. In the mean time, though, promoting good saliva flow and reducing stress will go a long way toward diminishing this irritating condition.

If you would like more information on the causes and treatment of burning mouth syndrome, 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 “Burning Mouth Syndrome.”


By Wayne Cook, D.D.S.
June 24, 2019
Category: Oral Health

GumsAre you noticing that your gums have started to bleed rather frequently whenever you brush or floss? If you said “yes” we know that this issue can be a little alarming; however, it could be your gum’s way of telling you that something isn’t right. Learn more about gum disease, the telltale symptoms and when to see our Marion, AR, family dentist Dr. Wayne Cook.

What are the different stages of gum disease?

There are three distinct stages of gum disease:

  • Gingivitis
  • Periodontitis
  • Advanced periodontitis

Gingivitis is the earliest stage, which is characterized by the development of gum inflammation dues to tartar buildup. When plaque isn’t properly removed during brushing and flossing it can harden into tartar, which can’t be removed with your regular toothbrush; however, our Marion, AR, family dentist has the tools to remove tartar and plaque during routine cleanings.

If gingivitis is detected during a routine cleaning the good news is that with proper lifestyle changes and improved oral hygiene you can actually reverse this disease; however, if gingivitis isn’t detected and treated it will progress into periodontitis. Periodontitis is when infected pockets form in the spaces between the gums and the teeth, affecting how the gums support teeth.

Advanced periodontitis is the last stage of gum disease and this is when the infected pockets have grown so extensively that the gums can no longer fully support the teeth, causing loose teeth or tooth loss. This can also affect the health of the jawbone.

What are the warning signs of gum disease?

Gum disease doesn’t always cause symptoms. This is why everyone, no matter how healthy you think your smile is, should visit their dentist every six months for cleanings; however, you should schedule an immediate appointment if you notice any of these issues:

  • Bleeding gums
  • Puffy, swollen gums
  • Gums that are tender to the touch
  • Receding gums or gums that have pulled away from the teeth
  • Pus between teeth and gums
  • Persistent bad breath
  • Changes in your bite or how your dentures fit together
  • Loose teeth

How can you prevent gum disease?

Fortunately, with a healthy lifestyle you can easily prevent gum disease. These gum-healthy habits include:

  • Brushing twice a day
  • Flossing once a day
  • Eating a healthy, balanced diet that is low in sugar
  • Avoiding or quitting tobacco
  • Visiting your family dentist twice a year

No matter whether you are dealing with dental issues or you just need to schedule your next cleaning, don’t hesitate to call our Marion, AR, dental practice today to book an appointment or to learn more about the different dental services we offer.


By Wayne Cook, D.D.S.
June 18, 2019
Category: Oral Health
Tags: local anesthesia  
LocalAnesthesiaisaKeyPartofPain-FreeDentalWork

We can easily take for granted the comfort we now experience when we undergo dental work. For much of human history that hasn't been the case.

Local anesthesia has been a major factor in the evolution of pain-free dentistry. The term refers to the numbing of nerve sensation in the tissues involved in a procedure. This type of anesthesia is usually applied in two ways: topical and injectable.

We apply topical anesthetic agents to the top layers of tissue using a cotton swab, adhesive patch or a spray. Topical agents are useful for increasing comfort during cleanings for patients with sensitive teeth or similar superficial procedures. Topical anesthesia is also used in conjunction with injections as a way to prevent feeling the minor prick of the needle. In essence, you shouldn't feel any pain or discomfort from beginning to end of your procedure.

Injectable anesthesia deadens pain at deeper levels of tissue. This makes it possible for us to perform more invasive procedures like tooth extraction or gum surgery without using general anesthesia. The latter form is a more intense undertaking: it renders you unconscious and may require assistance for lung and heart function.

Most important of all, subtracting pain sensation from the procedure helps relieve stress: first for you and ultimately for us. If we know you're comfortable, we can relax and concentrate on the work at hand. The procedure goes much more smoothly and efficiently.

Many people, though, have concerns about how long the numbness will linger after the procedure. This has been viewed in the past as an annoying inconvenience. But in recent years, dentists have become more adept at fine-tuning the agents they use as a way to reduce post-procedure numbness. There's also promising research on chemical agents that can quickly reverse the numbing effect after a procedure.

All in all, though, using local anesthesia broadens the range of dental work we can perform without putting you to sleep. More importantly, you'll be able to relax as we perform procedures that could improve your dental health for years to come.

If you would like more information on pain-free dentistry, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation.


By Wayne Cook, D.D.S.
June 08, 2019
Category: Dental Procedures
LadyGagaWasntBornThisWay

Sometimes, looking at old pictures can really bring memories back to life. Just ask Stefani Germanotta—the pop diva better known as Lady Gaga. In one scene from the recent documentary Five Foot Two, as family members sort through headshots from her teen years, her father proclaims: "Here, this proves she had braces!"

"If I had kept that gap, then I would have even more problems with Madonna," Lady Gaga replies, referencing an ongoing feud between the two musical celebrities.

The photos of Gaga's teenage smile reveal that the singer of hits like "Born This Way" once had a noticeable gap (which dentists call a diastema) between her front teeth. This condition is common in children, but often becomes less conspicuous with age. It isn't necessarily a problem: Lots of well-known people have extra space in their smiles, including ex-football player and TV host Michael Strahan, actress Anna Paquin…and fellow pop superstar Madonna. It hasn't hurt any of their careers.

Yet others would prefer a smile without the gap. Fortunately, diastema in children is generally not difficult to fix. One of the easiest ways to do so is with traditional braces or clear aligners. These orthodontic appliances, usually worn for a period of months, can actually move the teeth into positions that look more pleasing in the smile and function better in the bite. For many people, orthodontic treatment is a part of their emergence from adolescence into adulthood.

Braces and aligners, along with other specialized orthodontic appliances, can also remedy many bite problems besides diastema. They can correct misaligned teeth and spacing irregularities, fix overbites and underbites, and take care of numerous other types of malocclusions (bite problems).

The American Association of Orthodontists recommends that kids get screened for orthodontic problems at age 7. Even if an issue is found, most won't get treatment at this age—but in some instances, it's possible that early intervention can save a great deal of time, money and effort later. For example, while the jaw is still developing, its growth can be guided with special appliances that can make future orthodontic treatment go quicker and easier.

Yet orthodontics isn't just for children—adults can wear braces too! As long as teeth and gums are healthy, there's no upper age limit on orthodontic treatment. Instead of traditional silver braces, many adults choose tooth-colored braces or clear aligners to complement their more professional appearance.

So if your child is at the age where screening is recommended—or if you're unhappy with your own smile—ask us whether orthodontics could help. But if you get into a rivalry with Madonna…you're on your own.

If you have questions about orthodontic treatment, please contact our office or schedule a consultation. You can read more in the Dear Doctor magazine articles “The Magic of Orthodontics” and “Orthodontics For The Older Adult.”




Marion, AR Family Dentist
Wayne Cook, D.D.S.
303 Bancario Rd.Suite 7
Marion, AR 72364
870-739-8799
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