All posts by Dr. Charles R. Kimes

You Asked: What are the most common dental problems?

Your Teeth: A Thing Of Beauty!

Your teeth are truly an amazing part of your body, and as beautiful as those pearly whites of yours can be, they are extremely important as well. Being responsible for breaking down food for consumption, obviously your teeth play a vital role in daily life. However, with such an important purpose, the hazards your teeth face on a regular basis are countless.

Indeed, your teeth are very tough, the constant wear and tear they endure is bound to take its toll.  Additionally, if your teeth are improperly cared for or neglected, this could spell disaster for your teeth in a variety of different ways!

Common Dental Problems

Although some of the most common dental problems are not exactly terms that are unfamiliar, the resulting ramifications of such issues can have devastating effects on not just your oral health, but your general health as well.

Listed below are some of the most common dental problems and health issues affecting patients today.

Tooth Decay:

As one of the most widespread diseases in the United States (second only to the common cold) tooth decay is the condition in which excessive buildup of bacteria in the mouth breaks down the tooth’s enamel, thus causing the tooth to decay. Tooth decay can affect people of all ages, and although slow to progress, if left untreated tooth decay can cause permanent damage to your teeth and gums. Wanna know more about tooth decay, click here.

Periodontal Disease:

Also known as gum disease, periodontal disease is a progressive infection of the gum tissue, and much like tooth decay, can present a major problem if allowed to progress. If periodontal disease progresses to its later stages, it is likely to interact with and exacerbate other illnesses such as diabetes, or heart disease.

Foul Breath:

The condition known as halitosis or bad breath can certainly be the cause of social anxiety or embarrassment, however if this remains a persistent problem, there is likely an additional oral issue to blame. Chronic foul breath can be indicative of numerous issues such as cavities, dry mouth, gum disease, buildup on tongue, or even oral cancer.  Read more about how to stop bad breath.

Toothaches:

Like foul breath, toothaches or tooth sensitivity can be a tell-tale sigh that there may be additional dental problems that perhaps have not been addressed. Tooth sensitivity may indicate undetected damage (such as cracks, chips or abscesses) or even the early symptoms of tooth decay. Regardless, if chronic toothaches are ignored, they are only likely to worsen over time.

Oral Cancer:

Oral cancer is an extremely aggressive type of cancer that is responsible for approximately 9,750 annual deaths in the U.S. alone, and remains a major health issue nationwide. While treatable in its early stages, if allowed to spread oral cancer may not be able to be stopped, thereby having potentially fatal consequences. Read more about oral cancer screenings and how they can save your life, here.

You may not know that these common dental problems can lead to additional health problems. Read more about additional consequences of poor oral health here.

Risk Factors And Prevention

The before mentioned issues obviously can pose some serious problems, however by recognizing the various triggers or risk factors of some of these common dental problems, you may allow yourself to take the necessary precautionary measures to prevent such issues before they occur.

  • Improper Daily Hygiene: While this may seem like a given, unfortunately it can be very easy to fall into poor oral hygiene habits, and while this many not seem like a big deal, obviously it dose put you at a higher risk of developing tooth decay, gum disease and other related complications.
  • Dietary Habits: It’s certainly okay to enjoy the occasional treat, however if sugary drinks and snacks are a part of your daily diet, then you might consider cutting back on the sweets. Excess sugar can cause a number of alarming concerns and oral problems are certainly no exception. If reeling in your sweet tooth is an issue, then it is essential that you practice proper oral hygiene.
  • Smoking/Tobacco Use: As you probably realize, excess tobacco use can be catastrophic on one’s oral health, and cigarette smoke is often the culprit of this. Tooth decay, gum disease, and of course oral cancer can all be caused by smoking, thus the likelihood of tobacco users developing any of these issues is exponentially higher than that of nonusers. If you are a regular tobacco user, we strongly encourage you to seek professional counseling and to consider quitting. There’s also a new trend on the rise, vaping. Read more about the dangers of vaping.
  • Infrequent Checkups: As a rule of thumb, most dentists agree that a dental appointment approximately every six months is the best course of action, effectively resulting in two appointments per year. Unfortunately, this rule is not always adhered to and while making at least one dental appointment per year might suffice in some cases, there are some people who won’t even do that. It’s important to remember that your dentist is trained to not only take care of your teeth, but also to recognize the signs of any additional health issues (both oral and otherwise). By not giving your dentist the time to give you a proper examination, you are preventing your dentist from detecting any health issues, thereby allowing the issues to progress and worsen. 

A Smile Is A Terrible Thing to Waste!

Your smile is something you should love and take care of. But if you take it for granted, your beautiful smile not only won’t stay beautiful, but could also end up making you very sick! While all these common dental problems can potentially become a severe health crisis, keep in mind that almost all of these conditions can be prevented or successfully treated by taking the time to see Dr. Kimes and his wonderful staff at Overland Park Dentistry. 

Remember a Smile is a terrible thing to waste, Don’t waste yours!

Local dentist, Dr. Charles R. Kimes, DDS, and his team at Overland Park Dentistry look forward to having the opportunity to care for you and your family with preventativerestorative or cosmetic dentistry. To schedule your dental appointment with your Overland Park Dentist, contact us at our south Overland Park office at (913) 647-8700 or our north Overland Park office at (913) 341-2380.

A New Trend: The Dangers of Vaping

The new fad of vaping has swept the nation, and although this craze has certainly generated its share of controversy and mixed emotions, for the time being it appears that vaping is here to stay.

Initially arriving on the public scene several years back, vaping was introduced as a healthier option as opposed to tobacco use. By allowing users to receive a nicotine kick through ingesting smokeless vapor instead of smoking or chewing tobacco. While these various types of vapor generating electronic cigarettes (sometimes known as e-cigs or vape pens) have quickly become a hit amongst the general populous. Ongoing debates between both critics and supporters continue to revolve around what health benefits, issues and dangers of vaping that may associated with this new trend.

While tobacco in all its forms has obviously remained an enemy to the dental profession for a very long time, the recent arrival of vaping certainly indicates a change in this dynamic (and of course, change can be good or bad). Therefore, in response to this we have compiled a list of some of the pros, cons  and dangers of vaping as opposed to smoking. As you will see in the following two columns, we break down vaping from an oral health standpoint, to better compare it with smoking and tobacco use. Remember although vaping might present less of a hazard to your gums and teeth than smoking, it does NOT mean it presents no hazard at all!

Vaping: The Pros

It’s no secret that prolonged tobacco use can absolutely devastate the oral health of the user, and when compared to vaping is significantly more dangerous.  While vaping is certainly not harmless, it is in fact the safer option of the two.

  • Won’t stain teeth: Despite much discussion and debate on this aspect, contrary to popular belief vaping will not actually discolor or stain your teeth, unlike cigars, cigarettes, chewing tobacco, and other tobacco containing products.  
  • More hygienic:  Let’s face it, tobacco is gross and very messy; certainly with vapor products, any problems with basic oral hygiene will be considerably less prevalent. 
  • Won’t cause oral cancer: As one of its primary selling points, it should be reiterated that vaping will not cause oral cancer, nor lead to any other type of cancer that we know of. That being said, remember that vaping is still a relatively new type of technology, thereby certain long-term health concerns may not yet be known. 

Dangers of Vaping: The Cons

As mentioned previously, while promoting itself as a safer alternative as opposed to smoking, vaping is still not good for your teeth and if not regularly checked, can result in multitude of oral health problems.

  • Gingivitis & Periodontitis: Due to the significant amount of nicotine present in vapor-emitting products, users of such products are at an increased risk of developing gum diseases such as gingivitis and periodontitis. Such gum infections if not diagnosed and correctly treated can become significantly worse overtime. 
  • Gum recession:  In addition to causing gum disease, the nicotine within electronic cigarettes may also cause the gum line to recede. Due to nicotine’s tendency to slow and reduce the flow of blood as it passes throughout the body, it ultimately cuts off the gums from receiving the necessary amount of nutrients and oxygen for survival, thus slowly killing the gum tissue.  
  • Hide symptoms/Prevent detection: To complete the trifecta of gum problems caused by vaping, by reducing the blood flow and killing off the gum tissue, vaping also hinders the dentist’s ability to detect the infection. Generally increased bleeding is a telltale sign that dentists look for in identifying gum disease; however, by suppressing the flow of blood, diagnosing the disease becomes increasingly difficult.  
  • Cause clenching and grinding: While this might not apply to everyone, if you do tend to clench or grind your teeth, then vaping might not be a good idea as nicotine is a muscle stimulant and may likely increase this tendency. 

To Vape or Not to Vape?

After all that is the question, right?

Well the correct answer may differ from a tobacco user to a nonuser, so we’ll put it to you like this; If you are a smoker/tobacco user who is trying to quit or looking for a safer alternative, then yes vaping can provide that. However, if you are a nonsmoker and are simply curious about the new vaping trend, then please don’t try it! Although not nearly as dangerous as tobacco, vaping offers little to no health benefits, and can damage your gums and teeth.

While of course you are ultimately the deciding factor, and if you chose to partake in this new trend, certainly the choice is yours. However, while vaping might be the latest fad, a beautiful smile is something that never goes out of style, so choose wisely! 

Local dentist, Dr. Charles R. Kimes, DDS, and his team at Overland Park Dentistry look forward to having the opportunity to care for you and your family with preventativerestorative or cosmetic dentistry. To schedule your dental appointment with your Overland Park Dentist, contact us at our south Overland Park office at (913) 647-8700 or our north Overland Park office at (913) 341-2380.

Root Canal Therapy: Revealing the Truths and Busting the Myths

Root Canals: Some Kind of Monster?

It’s considered to be the most feared procedure within the annals of the dental industry and the name itself continues to invoke a since dread amongst patients across the world. Because of this, Root Canals have become etched in the psyche of the general populace, as dentistry’s equivalent of the boogeyman! However, despite its scary reputation, few people truly take the time to ask themselves just what exactly a root canal is?

Indeed, like many supposedly scary subjects, there are numerous misconceptions, and outright falsehoods that surround the root canal procedure. While some of these pretenses/beliefs can be dispelled as myths, others may contain partial truths or exaggerations, thus making it difficult to discern fact from fiction. Therefore, in the section below we will address some of the most common myths surrounding root canals in attempt to put some of these long-held fears to rest once and for all!

Root Canals: The Truth

The purpose for receiving root canal therapy is pretty simple; if the pulpitis or pulp of a tooth becomes infected, the exposed nerves will typically begin to ache and become extremely sensitive to the touch. This generally occurs due to an exposed root or cracked/damaged tooth and will undoubtably become worse as time goes on.

Therefore, to alleviate this pain you require root canal therapy! The term root canal; however, refers not to any dental procedure, but rather to the pulp-based chambers and canals within and around the tooth. Much like trees and plants, these chambers and canals serve as the inner source of nourishment or (to put it bluntly) guts/roots of the tooth.

The procedure often mistakenly known as a “root canal”, is correctly known as endodontic therapy, and rather than the boogeyman, this procedure is actually something of an angel in disguise. “Endo” being the Greek word for inside, and “Odont” being Greek for tooth, is (as its name implies) the maintenance and restoration of the inner anatomy of your tooth, which as you will see here is often not what its perceived to be.

Related Article: Root Canal Symptoms: The Root of Your Fears

Myth Busters: Common Root Canal Therapy Myths Busted

Myth: The root canal therapy / treatment hurts.

Busted: A root canal/endodontic therapy is not designed to create pain, but rather to alleviate it. As mentioned previously, when the roots and nerves of a tooth are exposed, there is a strong possibility that pain will occur. However, by treating the infected tissue and sealing them off from receiving any further damage (with a crown or filling) the pain will be reduced and eventually cease entirely.

Myth: A root canal can require up to four or five separate appointments to treat.

Busted: While it’s true that the endodontic procedure may require 1-2 appointments to fully complete, requiring an excess of four or five appointments is a bit of an exaggeration. Obviously, each case is different as the extent of the damage and infection varies from one patient to another and may require the assistance endodontist (or oral surgeon) however, the treatment process itself essentially remains the same.

Myth: A root canal is only necessary when pain occurs

Busted: Although exposed or damaged roots typically cause significant pain, if the tooth is already dead this might not be the case. If the pulp and nerves within the tooth have died, you will likely not experience as much pain. Unfortunately, in this condition a tooth is ripe for infection or might be infected already. Therefore, to prevent the infection from spreading and causing further damage.

Myth: A root canal is a temporary solution

Busted: This is common misconception that is perhaps the byproduct of those whose treatment hasn’t gone as well as expected. While there have been instances of a tooth breaking shorty after it has been restored, such mishaps are not typical and usually only occur when a tooth is very brittle to begin with. Fortunately, thanks to numerous advancements in dental technology, the endodontic root canal therapy is generally considered a permanent solution, with a much higher success rate than ever before!

Don’t Be Fooled!

As hopefully you can surmise from this juncture, in spite of the hype and less than stellar reputation, the highly misunderstood root canal therapy is truly nothing scary at all. Yes, like the Loch Ness Monster, the Abominable Snowman, and the Boogeyman, this so-called monster is nothing more than myth and at Overland Park Dentistry we are more than happy to prove this to you!

Local dentist, Dr. Charles R. Kimes, DDS, and his expert team at Overland Park Dentistry look forward to having the opportunity to care for you and your family with any preventativerestorative or cosmetic needs you or your family may have. To schedule your dental appointment with your Overland Park Dentist, contact us at our south Overland Park office at (913) 647-8700 or our north Overland Park office at (913) 341-2380.

Am I a candidate to receive a same day dental crown?

Dental Crowns 101: The Basics

As a primary aspect of the dental profession for many years, dental crowns, (or fillings) are perhaps one of the most well-known and commonly performed procedures within dentistry today. As you’re probably aware, a conventional dental crown (to put it simply) is a method of restoration in which a tooth-shaped cap is placed over a damaged or decayed tooth, thus effectively covering the entire the tooth that is exposed above the gum line. The purpose of this crown is not only to improve the patient’s overall oral health by restoring and strengthening the tooth, but to provide the patient with a smile that is aesthetically pleasing as well.

While conventional dental crowns remain a popular, and sought-after solution within the dental community, the process of receiving a crown has not always been the most desirable experience. When receiving a standard dental crown, the process requires at least two separate appointments, in which the patient would likely have to take time off work or adjust their schedules to accommodate. Additionally, in waiting to receive a conventional crown, the patient would be given a temporary crown to wear between appointments. While certainly necessary in preventing future damage and providing a quick fix, the cumbersome temporary crown has been unpopular with patients in the past, as they have been known to break easily, or sometimes to even fall out. Tedious as the process may be, the end product will typically be that of a sturdy and dependable crown to serve as a long-term replacement.

Although the standard crown will certainly prove its worth over time, it’s important to remember that the average lifespan of a regular dental crown is approximately ten years; however, this may certainly vary depending on both lifestyle habits and the routine practice of proper oral hygiene. That said, the conventional crown despite its flaws, is a tried and true solution that has helped patients for many years.       

The CEREC Crown: A Whole New Ballgame!

Alright… you might want to pay attention, because we’ve got quite the doozy for you! Now imagine if you can, a picture-perfect crown that can be both created and fitted in your mouth with just one single appointment!

Sounds too good to be true doesn’t it?

However, what you may be surprised to find is a mythical, and seemingly flawless same day dental crown that is in fact no myth at all. As the “Chairside Restoration of Esthetic Ceramics” or “CEREC Crown” is both very real and currently very in demand among both dentists and patients alike. Originally developed back in 1980, the “Chairside Restoration of Esthetic Ceramics” or “CEREC Crown” technology has taken modern dentistry by storm and has proven itself as a powerful new tool within the field.

The CEREC Crown is a specially customized same day dental crown, created specifically for you through digital imaging as opposed to simply using a goopy dental impression of your mouth to accurately pinpoint the precise dimensions of your new crown, and thereby create a near perfect replica of your natural tooth.

Related Article: CEREC Crown: Technology giving you a crown in One Day

This cutting-edge digital imaging allows Dr. Kimes to scan the inside of your mouth to accurately pinpoint the precise dimensions of your new crown, and thereby create a near perfect replica of your natural tooth. Once placed over a rotten or broken natural tooth, this masterpiece of modern dentistry provides a permanent replacement that is virtually unnoticeable and can even be customized to match the exact shade of your teeth! Although considerably stronger, presenting an exponentially improved appearance, many patients consider the convenient process in receiving the CEREC to be among their favorite improvements over the conventional crown. Unlike the afore mentioned conventional crown, the CEREC same day dental crown requires only a single appointment in which you may receive a fully complete, permanent replacement, thus sparing you the hassle of making multiple appointments and managing a temporary crown.  

CEREC Crown Candidacy Requirements

“So how can I get a CEREC crown?”

While such a straightforward question may typically warrant a simple answer, the truth of the matter (as it so often is) is a bit more complicated than that. For most patients needing a crown, (approximately 90%) yes, the cutting edge cerec crown is absolutely a fantastic solution, and the most efficient option available.

However, perhaps the only true exception to this would be in patients who may suffer from bruxism. Bruxism is a chronic condition, in which a patient may excessively (and sometimes unconsciously) clench their jaw, clenching or grinding their teeth. Although enormously popular and highly sought after, the only real issue presented by the cerec crown is the fact that due to its excess strength, it may present a bit more of a hazard when grinding against other teeth than that of its predecessor. Fortunately, if this is something you find yourself concerned with or suffer from chronic clenching, there are several types of mouth guards available for both daytime and night-time use that can be created by our team here at Overland Park Dentistry and made available upon request!

Related Article: Don’t Stress… Get a Mouth Guard for Teeth Grinding

Come See Us!

Although its not often that you see an old dog learn new tricks, in the case of the dental crown this is certainly true, as thanks to the crisp new cerec technology, the common dental crown has now received a major upgrade! The cerec crown has in many ways revolutionized the field of professional dentistry by ushering in a new era of 21st century technology and presenting patients with a level of quality that previously could not be provided.

Related Article: Receive a Same Day CEREC Crown at Overland Park Dentistry

But don’t take our word for it, if you are in need of a crown or filling, come see us at Overland Park Dentistry and find out for yourself!      

Local dentist, Dr. Charles R. Kimes, DDS, and his expert team at Overland Park Dentistry look forward to having the opportunity to care for you and your family with any preventativerestorative or cosmetic needs you or your family may have. To schedule your dental appointment with your Overland Park Dentist, contact us at our south Overland Park office at (913) 647-8700 or our north Overland Park office at (913) 341-2380.

Brace Yourself with Invisalign Teen!

As something of a time-honored tradition, traditional metal braces have become something of a hallmark of one’s teenage years. While these metallic devices have never been the most fashionable, over the years they have proven themselves to be an effective solution in straitening teeth. However, despite their ability to correct misaligned teeth, traditional metal braces do not come without their share of drawbacks as well.

  • Clunky and cumbersome, traditional braces have been known to cause users a certain amount of discomfort, requiring frequent trips to the orthodontist for tightening and adjustments.
  • Braces also require several dietary and lifestyle changes, as standard braces prohibit patients from enjoying certain food products that are particularly hard, crunchy, or chewy, since the food particles may damage or get stuck in the wires or metal brackets.

While the inconveniences of having braces remain par for the course for many American teens, a sleek new alternative known as Invisalign Teen has recently taken the dental industry by storm and looks to give traditional braces a run for their money!

Related Article: Smile Bright with Invisalign Invisible Braces

Invisalign Teen is A New Alternative

As one of the most popular new innovations within the dental industry, Invisalign teen invisible braces have quickly become the poster child for cosmetic dentistry as well as standing as a testament to the capability of modern dental technology.

As an alternative to the standard dental braces, Invisalign are transparent custom fitted aligners that are designed to straighten and ultimately realign your teeth. The purpose of the Invisalign device is not only to improve the aesthetic appearance of your teeth, but also to correct any jaw alignment issues or irregularities, such as underbite, overbite, crossbite, ect. The Invisalign aligners are temporary, interchangeable aligners that are to be changed every two weeks over a period of generally six to eighteen months or more, depending on the patient’s specific needs. Unlike traditional braces, the Invisalign aligners are easily removable, require patients to make relatively few (if any) lifestyle changes, and are virtually unnoticeable.

Here’s what current Invisalign Teen user, Isabella Russell, (14) has to say about her experience.

No one really notices my aligners unless I tell them. My friends who have braces can’t eat certain things or have their teeth whitened, but I can and I think they’re a bit jealous of that.”

Indeed, by eliminating any anxiety or embarrassment, that has been an issue among braces users in the past, Invisalign Teen has become one of the most sought-after commodities – not just the among the teenage demographic – but also for adults, with Invisalign users ranging in age from 8 to 80!

Invisalign Technology: The Sky’s the Limit!

As advanced as modern dental technology is today, chances are that it will only continue to further build upon and be improved, and the Invisalign technology is certainly no exception to this! With continuing advancements in technology, the Invisalign treatment will likely only get better in time, providing endless future possibilities! 

Related Article: Invisalign: Technology is Beautiful

So, if you are unhappy with you current smile or wish your teeth were straighter, come see us at Overland Park Dentistry, and see what Invisalign technology can do for you!

Local dentist, Dr. Charles R. Kimes, DDS, and his expert team at Overland Park Dentistry look forward to having the opportunity to care for you and your family with any preventativerestorative or cosmetic needs you or your family may have. To schedule your dental appointment with your Overland Park Dentist, contact us at our south Overland Park office at (913) 647-8700 or our north Overland Park office at (913) 341-2380.

The Consequences of Poor Oral Health

Although dentistry has always been part of the health community, for many years oral health was looked as a lesser health concern and was not held in high esteem among those in the heath industry as compared to other professions. Alas, in recent years this has been proven to be incorrect, as oral health has revealed itself not only be a much more significant issue than originally suspected, but also to be the root cause of numerous additional health complications. While the resulting ailments may vary in severity, some have potential to be quite serious or even fatal, if left untreated.

Poor Oral Health and General Health

Make no mistake, oral hygiene is extremely important, and while you might be able to get away with a couple slip-ups here and there; unfortunately, it’s a slippery slope to poor oral health. As it can be extremely easy to get into the habit of providing your teeth with inadequate care, thus setting yourself up for inevitable health issues.

For many in people in the past this has sadly been the case, as progressive diseases, such as tooth decay and gum disease, typically manifest slowly over an extended period, and rarely display any obvious symptoms until they reach their advanced stages. If these illnesses have progressed to a later stage, the damage at that point may be irreversible and could in fact, trigger a litany of additional health problems as well! Whether it be gum disease, tooth decay, or other health complications, the consequences of inadequate oral hygiene and poor oral health are never pretty!

Health Complications

At first glance, the two major consequences of improper oral hygiene (Tooth Decay and Gum Disease) may strictly seem like oral health issues. However, in reality these issues go much deeper than that as their affects not only wreak havoc on your oral health but cause an excess amount of oral bacteria to build up as well.

If the bacteria produced by either condition can enter the bloodstream, it may likely travel to other areas of the body, thereby spreading and worsening the infection. If the infectious bacteria reach the heart of its host, it will inflame the heart’s vessels, resulting in the formation of numerous blood clots. These blood clots will slowly begin to cut off the flow of blood, ultimately strangling the heart and forcing it to pump faster while producing less.

Learn more about Dental Health Awareness and how Gum Disease and Heart Disease are linked here.

As a result of this, individuals suffering from severe tooth decay or periodontal disease, (or both) have a three times higher likelihood of suffering a heart attack, stroke, or other cardiovascular-based complications. Additionally, tooth decay and more particularly gum disease, can also lead to the worsening of other chronic illnesses such as diabetes, or various types of cancer, which is likely to have serious if not fatal results.

Learn more about the link between Diabetes and Oral Health and its link to gum disease here.

 Prevention: The Six-Month Rule

It’s often said that “The best defense is a good offense” and when it comes to maintaining your health (both oral and overall) such an approach is perhaps the smartest route. If you have read any of our previous blog entries, you may be familiar with what we at Overland Park Dentistry refer to as “The Six-Month Rule”, and while this term is not yet widely known among the general populace, learning and adhering to the six-month rule is perhaps one of the best ways in protecting both your oral and overall health.

As its name implies, the six-month rule is the recommended amount of time between scheduled dental checkups, resulting two routine dental checkups annually. By taking the time to receive two checkups per year you are much more likely to correct poor oral health habits and prevent potential issues before they are allowed to become a threat to your well-being.

Learn why you should schedule your summer dental appointment here.

So, ask yourself:

When was my last dental appointment?

And…

Just how often do I take the time to make sure I am properly brushing and caring for my teeth?

If you found yourself unable to honestly answer either of these two questions, we strongly encourage you to come see us at Overland Park Dentistry so that we may help keep both you and your teeth healthy!

Local dentist, Dr. Charles R. Kimes, DDS, and his expert team at Overland Park Dentistry look forward to having the opportunity to care for you and your family with any preventativerestorative or cosmetic needs you or your family may have. To schedule your dental appointment with your Overland Park Dentist, contact us at our south Overland Park office at (913) 647-8700 or our north Overland Park office at (913) 341-2380.

Eating Disorders: How do they Effect Your Oral Health?

While considered something of a byproduct of our society, eating disorders are often mistakenly believed to be a lifestyle choice, thus garnering a negative stigma.

In reality; however, an eating disorder is a serious and sometimes fatal disorder that can trigger a litany if additional issues if left untreated. An eating disorder is a psychological condition, characterized by abnormal or irregular eating habits that significantly affect an individual’s health both physically and mentally.

While eating disorders can affect people of all ethnicities and ages, they typically manifest during adolescence, and have a higher probability of affecting females as opposed to males. Although the root cause of eating disorders varies from one case to the next, they typically stem from an interaction of social, biological, psychological, and even genetic factors, often causing the individual to have a distorted sense of body image.

According to the Nation Association of Anorexia Nervosa and Associated Disorders, (ANAD) approximately 30 million people in the U.S. alone suffer from a type of eating disorder, and as of 2018, eating disorders have the highest mortality rate of any known mental illness, thus solidifying its status as a national health concern.

Common Eating Disorder Types

As mentioned previously, unusual and often extreme eating habits are generally the hallmark of an eating disorder. However, this can mean a couple of different things, as there are several different types of eating disorders, each of which possessing their own unique characteristics.

Anorexia Nervosa:

Anorexia Nervosa or simply “Anorexia” as its commonly referred to, is the eating disorder characterized by extremely restricted or infrequent eating.

Individuals suffering from this disorder are frequently (or sometimes dangerously) underweight, while diametrically believing themselves to be overweight. This distortion may prompt the sufferer to take unhealthy measures to lose weight such as forcing themselves to vomit after eating or use of laxatives. Anorexia has the highest mortality rate of the listed eating disorders, and arguably presents the most health hazards as well.

Binge-Eating Disorder:

In contrast to Anorexia, Binge-Eating Disorder (or BED) is the perceived inability to control one’s eating habits, resulting in recurring episodes of overeating on a daily or weekly basis.

Sufferers of BED may struggle with obesity and are also at an increased risk of developing related complications such as heart disease or diabetes.

Bulimia Nervosa:

Combining behaviors of the previously mentioned disorders, Bulimia Nervosa is the disorder marked with frequent episodes of overeating followed by bouts of purging, (through vomiting or laxative use) fasting, or excess exercise.

While those suffering from Bulimia may not be noticeably underweight or overweight, they are likely to struggle with ongoing weight-related issues and may have difficulty maintaining a healthy bodyweight.

Other Specified Feeding or Eating Disorders:

While most eating disorder cases follow a certain criterion or set of characteristics, it should be noted that there are unique cases that do not meet the criteria above or have atypical specifics. Consulting a specialist for a proper diagnosis is particular important in this scenario.

Eating Disorders and Oral Health: Oral Health Complications

As covered in previous blog entries, oral health is one of the most significant and perhaps most often overlooked aspects of one’s general health with recent studies citing oral-related complications as a strong indicator in assessing deeper underlining health issues, and proper oral hygiene as a key factor in the prevention of such issues.

Obviously dietary habits play a major role in dental health, so it should come as little surprise that eating disorders can lead to the systematic destruction of the various inner oral components, typically starting with the gums and throat.

Destruction of Oral Health

Through frequent bouts of vomiting/purging, (as seen in Anorexia and Bulimia) the highly corrosive stomach acid will cause the soft tissue both areas to become irritated and inflamed, causing the throat to become chronically sore, the gums to be agonizingly tender and prone to bleeding, and the salivary glands within the neck and jaw to swell and struggle to produce adequate saliva.

If the frequent binge-purge (or just purge) cycle continues, the tooth’s enamel will slowly break down and be lost, thereby causing the teeth to become increasingly susceptible to incurring damage or eventually succumbing to the effects of tooth decay.

Related Article: Tooth Decay: A Sickly, Sweet Dilemma

Lack of Nutrients

In addition to the adverse effects of purging, by significantly restricting one’s diet or food intake, an individual may then rob themselves of essential nutrients such as calcium, iron, and B vitamins. This nutritional deficiency puts a further strain on the sufferer’s oral health, as without the nutrients need to strengthen teeth and fight off infections, the probability of developing progressive conditions such as tooth decay and gum disease increases exponentially.

Heath Issues

While Binge-Eating Disorder may not have as an immediate impact as Anorexia or Bulimia, BED does pose a serious threat to oral health in different way. As surely, we’ve all heard by now that too much sugar is bad for teeth, being unable to control one’s dietary urges obviously presents a major problem. However, what compounds this problem are the previously mentioned complications (Heart Disease and Diabetes) that follow. Diabetes and heart disease are both serious health issues in themselves, and both can utterly devastate the individual’s oral and (by virtue of) overall health, if left untreated.

Related Articles:

Sugar Hurts Teeth: Do You Sip & Snack All Day?

Dental Health Awareness: Gum Disease and Heart Disease

Diabetes and Oral Health: The Link to Gum Disease

Treatment: Oral and Otherwise

First and foremost, if you or some you love is suffering from an eating disorder you should absolutely seek the consultation and guidance of a licensed psychologist or someone within the psychiatric field. Assessing an eating disorder is a delicate process and should also be handled with care and a sense of concern for the well-being of the individual.

While certainly each scenario is different, issues such as eating disorders are usually require something of a group effort. This means not only seeking out the guidance and expertise of professionals, (doctors, dentists, psychologists) but also the care and support of loved ones, thus assuring the individual that they are not alone in this endeavor, and surrounding them with something of a “safety net” to help them through those difficult moments.

As par for the course, there will likely be some speed bumps and setbacks, as the risk of relapsing and falling back into old habits is a common issue for many sufferers; however, it’s crucial to remain optimistic and not give up!

As mentioned previously, because a sufferer’s oral health is constantly compromised by numerous hazards, it is extremely important to maintain a strict and proper dental hygiene routine, if you are suffering from an eating disorder to prevent any oral issues from harming your overall health. Additionally, frequent dental appointments are also extremely important so your dentist can monitor your oral health and take note of any changes or concerns.

Resource: National Eating Disorders Association

Related Article: Dental Appointment: Why Twice a Year?

You’re Not Alone!

There’s no question that an eating disorder can take a major toll on a person’s physical and emotional health, and while sufferers of eating disorders may feel ashamed, if you have an eating disorder please remember that what you are dealing with is NOT your fault! Eating disorders are a national health concern and there are many people who are going through the same thing you are, and there are numerous great resources available to you should you choose to use them. The key is to not isolate yourself, and to allow your doctors and loved ones to offer you help and support that you deserve.

Resource: National Eating Disorders Association (NEDA) Contact the Helpline

At Overland Park Dentistry, Dr. Kimes and his expert team want to be a resource for you, and we hope our offices can be a safe place where you may feel comfortable in honestly discussing any concerns you may have regarding your oral health and how an eating disorder may have an affect. By assessing your struggles and keeping track of your progress, we hope to help you work towards a full recovery.

There’s always strength in numbers and battling an eating disorder is not something you should have to do by yourself. Let’s do it together!

Local dentist, Dr. Charles R. Kimes, DDS, and his expert team at Overland Park Dentistry look forward to having the opportunity to care for you and your family with any preventativerestorative or cosmetic needs you or your family may have. To schedule your dental appointment with your Overland Park Dentist, contact us at our south Overland Park office at (913) 647-8700 or our north Overland Park office at (913) 341-2380.

The Daily Dentist: Oral Hygiene is a Big Deal

The Little Things

As busy people and productive members of society, most of us have a daily routine that we follow to keep our lives on track. While we often do these things without thinking, its important to do them correctly and not completely overlook them as so called “little things”. Sometimes they’re much more important then they seem.

Like many people, it’s probably somewhere between a morning shower and hustling off to work that you took the time to brush your teeth, or did you? Much like other seemingly small aspects of our daily routine, we may find ourselves brushing our teeth without giving it much consideration; however, its it important to remember oral hygiene is much more important than it may appear.

Oral Hygiene: More Important than it Appears

So maybe you were running late and forgot to brush your teeth, or maybe you did remember to brush but you didn’t take the time to make sure you were getting all your teeth.

Oral Hygiene is No Big Deal… Right?!?!

Wrong!!!

Oral hygiene is very important, and while your smile may be able to withstand a minor oversight or two, it’s a slippery slope. As it can be extremely easy to get into the habit of providing your teeth with inadequate care and setting yourself up for inevitable oral health issues.

Sadly, this has been the case for many people in the past, as progressive diseases such as tooth decay and gum disease typically manifest slowly over several years, and rarely display any obvious symptoms until their latter stages.

Unfortunately, if such conditions have progressed to an advanced stage, the damage at that point may be irreversible and could in fact, stir up a hornet’s nest of additional health problems as well! Whether it be gum disease, tooth decay, or other related complications, the consequences of improper or inadequate oral hygiene are never pretty!

Poor Dental Hygiene: The Consequences

Tooth Decay

As you may already know, tooth decay is a condition in which harmful acidic particles build up in a person’s mouth over a prolonged period, slowly eroding the tooth’s protective outer layer and rendering it vulnerable to outside agents. Unprotected, bacteria descend upon the tooth causing it to rapidly decay. Once a tooth has fallen into a state of decay, you are likely to experience increased tooth sensitivity, as well as the appearance of cavities and eventual breakage.

Related Article: Tooth Decay: A Sticky, Sweet Dilemma

Gum Disease

Although gum disease is a relatively familiar term to many people, the condition is often misunderstood and simply written off as little more than a minor nuisance. However, the truth is that gum disease is an infection of the gum tissue caused by excess plaque/bacteria build up around the teeth and gumline. When the gum tissue has become infected, inflammation of tissue surrounding the teeth will occur. Your gums may bleed while eating or brushing, this is often a tell-tale sign of gingivitis, or an early stage of gum disease.

Once gingivitis has been detected, we highly recommend that you visit your dentist (if you haven’t already) and begin taking a proactive role in treating the condition before it can spread any further. If the infection is allowed to progress further, it will continue to spread throughout the mouth, eventually affecting the teeth and jawbone. This is what’s known as periodontitis or periodontal disease, which is a later stage of gum disease, and unquestionably when the disease is at its worst.

Periodontal disease causes irreversible damage to the mouth and may destroy the entire jaw of its host if severe enough. Perhaps most troubling of all is periodontal disease’s uncanny tendency to spread to other regions of the body or interact with other preexisting conditions, which could pose serious problems!

Related Article: Dental Health Awareness: Gum Disease and Heart Disease

Complications

While tooth decay and gum disease may not sound all that scary at first, the complications of either condition can truly be a nightmare! As alluded to earlier, if the bacteria produced by either condition enters the bloodstream it may likely travel to other areas of the body, spreading and worsening the infection.

If the infectious bacteria reach the heart of its host, it will inflame the heart’s vessels, resulting in the formation of numerous blood clots. These blood clots will slowly begin to cut off the flow of blood, thereby choking the heart and forcing it to pump faster while producing less and less efficiently.

As a result of this, individuals suffering from severe tooth decay or periodontal disease, (or both) have a three times higher likelihood of suffering a heart attack, stroke, or other cardiovascular-based complications. Additionally, tooth decay and more particularly gum disease, can also lead to the worsening of other chronic illnesses such as diabetes, or various types of cancer, which is likely to have serious if not fatal results.

Prevention: The Daily Dentist

When it comes to issues such as tooth decay and gum disease, prevention is always the best route, therefore Dr. Kimes and his staff at Overland Park Dentistry are more than happy to provide you with the best guidance and treatment to address all your oral hygienic concerns or needs.

However, despite the various quality services that are available, it’s important to remember that the determining factor between good oral health and poor oral health always comes back basic oral hygiene. By taking the time to make sure you are correctly brushing, flossing, and caring for your teeth on a daily basis you are taking a crucial step in preventing such oral health issues before they occur.

Remember consistency is key! By taking a few extra minutes each day to ensure you’re practicing proper oral hygiene and incorporating this into your daily routine until it becomes a habit, in sense you are acting as your own daily dentist! However, while daily hygienic consistency is in your hands, you should still make a point to schedule a routine dental checkup twice a year to make sure that your hygiene efforts are paying off and your teeth are strong and healthy.

Related Article: Schedule Your Summer Dental Appointment

Remember, although taking a few minutes each day to correctly care for your teeth may just seem like a little thing, sometimes the little things can make a very big difference!


Local dentist, Dr. Charles R. Kimes, DDS, and his expert team at Overland Park Dentistry look forward to having the opportunity to care for you and your family with any preventativerestorative or cosmetic needs you or your family may have. To schedule your dental appointment with your Overland Park Dentist, contact us at our south Overland Park office at (913) 647-8700 or our north Overland Park office at (913) 341-2380.

Emergency Dental Care: When Disaster Strikes!

When Disaster Strikes!

From breaking a tooth, to a filling falling out, to a painful toothache, a dental emergency is never a desirable situation to be in, and while its always a good idea to take certain precautions to prevent such an event, accidents DO happen! Fortunately, your friends here at Overland Park Dentistry understand this and are certainly willing to be here for you in your time of need, while breaking a tooth will never be a welcome surprise, we hope you can rest a little easier knowing that we’re always here for you, especially when you need emergency dental care.

Emergency Dental Care: What happens  

As mentioned previously, there are several reasons why dental emergencies happen, but usually it comes back to one cause, decay! Tooth decay, even in its earliest stages, is a danger to teeth and if left untreated can put a great strain on your oral health and lead to additional health complications as well. While certainly no one intentionally neglects their teeth, unfortunately it can be very easy to fall into poor or improper hygiene habits, causing your teeth to slowly deteriorate and eventually decay. While its important to realize that decayed teeth are considerably weaker and easier to break, accidents resulting in physical trauma (falls, occupational hazards, sports injuries) are not uncommon ways to break a tooth either and can happen anytime.

Emergency Dental Care: What to Do and Steps to Follow:

While the reasons for emergency dental care may sound believable in theory, often people assume that they will never need such a service; that is until it happens to them! So hypothetically speaking, ask yourself:

“If you truly found yourself faced with such a crisis as a broken tooth what would you do?”

Here is the best plan of action…
  1. Find the tooth: First things first, whether the tooth (or teeth) has broken off into one piece or several, its important locate these fragments and bring to your dentist for examination. Remember if the tooth is still relatively intact, it may be possible to save and re-implant it.
  2. Clean and preserve the tooth: If the broken tooth has gathered any dirt or debris, it is certainly a good idea to rinse and clean the tooth, while simultaneously being careful as not accidently wash away any of the tooth fragments. Once cleaned, your next step is to preserve the tooth and prepare it for transportation, which can be achieved by filling a small airtight container with milk (most use Tupperware or basic food storage container) and sealing the tooth inside. This keeps the tooth from drying out and its root surface from swelling up, thereby preserving it for an extended period of time.
  3. Make the call: Because Dr. Kimes cares a great deal about his patients and wishes to provide them with assistance in the instance of an emergency, by contacting our offices at Overland park Dentistry and giving your name and reason for your call, you are certain to receive a swift response. Dr. Kimes has performed many emergency procedures for patients in the past and will certainly do the same for you! 
  4. Find a driver: Breaking a tooth can be a very painful experience, and if you are in severe pain then driving might not be a good idea. In this case, acquiring the assistance of a friend or family member might be a necessary final step. While breaking a tooth is certainly a serious issue, it is absolutely not an issue worth the risk of causing any potential harm to yourself or others, by attempting to drive in such a condition.

Emergency Dental Care: Other Scenarios

Although breaking a tooth is typically the worst-case scenario, as mentioned earlier, there are additional situations that may warrant emergency dental care treatment as well. While the best course of action is always to call and make your emergency appointment, below are some of these potential issues as well as some additional tips and remedies that may prove useful in the given situation.

  • Broken or lost crown: In the instance of a dental crown (or filling) breaking or simply falling out, clean the area by rinsing it with warm saltwater as an initial good step to take. Additionally, if you are unable to make an emergency appointment, patching the afflicted area with toothpaste or denture cream may suffice as a temporary solution.
  • Severe toothache: While it may sound a bit silly, sometimes a plain old toothache can cause enough pain to almost completely incapacitate a person, requiring immediate care. Like the previous scenario, rinsing and swishing your mouth with warm saltwater may alleviate some of the discomfort, as well as the use of ibuprofen or basic over the counter pain relivers. Keep in mind however, a severe toothache may indicate tooth decay or other oral health issues, so scheduling a dental appointment is still a necessity.
  • Out of town emergency: Perhaps one of the most difficult situations would be having a dental emergency while out of town or on vacation. In this scenario, contacting a local dentist or visiting the emergency room might be required to provide temporary relief, however contacting your regular dental provider and scheduling a follow-up visit should be your first move upon returning home.

Emergency Dental Care: Be Prepared

There’s no telling when an accident may occur, being properly prepared can make a big difference in ensuring things get resolved quickly and effectively during an emergency dental care situation. While we certainly hope the various steps and guidance tips may help you in such a scenario, keep in mind that Dr. Kimes and his staff at Overland Park Dentistry are always prepared to help you and address all your dental needs.

So, remember when disaster strikes, you know who to call!

Local dentist, Dr. Charles R. Kimes, DDS, and his expert team at Overland Park Dentistry look forward to having the opportunity to care for you and your family with any preventativerestorative or cosmetic needs you or your family may have. To schedule your dental appointment with your Overland Park Dentist, contact us at our south Overland Park office at (913) 647-8700 or our north Overland Park office at (913) 341-2380.

Oral Cancer Screenings are the dental industry’s best kept secret

In the time of year when the cold bitterness of winter slowly begins to taper off and warm rays of sunlight slowly begin to take its place, we witness the time known as Spring. Like a Phoenix rising from the ashes of the harsh dismal winter, green sprouts of life begin to appear. As flowers begin to blossom, certainly it’s a beautiful time to be alive!

Perhaps it’s only fitting that in a time known for rebirth, and renewal, we take the time to reflect upon one of the most essential aspects of our lives; our health. While certainly it can be easy to take one’s health for granted; however, with the innumerable health hazards that one may encounter in life, it’s always in one’s best interest to maintain a keen level of awareness of any serious illnesses.

Oral Cancer: A Deceptive Foe

As one of the most notorious and feared diseases among people across the globe, cancer in all its forms is a serious and potentially fatal illness that has claimed the lives of countless people in the past and continues to do so to this day. As one of the most vicious types of cancer that one can encounter, approximately 7,500 annual deaths in the U.S. alone can be attributed to oral cancer.

Often manifesting within the mouth and neck region, oral cancer is primarily caused by tobacco use, but can be further aggravated by factors such viral infections or excessive alcohol intake. Some of the early signs/symptoms of oral cancer, may include a harshness or gravelly tone to one’s voice, or unusual swelling surrounding the mouth or throat. While such minor nuisances may not exactly seem to be a serious cause for alarm, they can in fact be more than they appear.

As mentioned previously, deception is a key factor in oral cancer’s modus operandi, thus an individual may be suffering from early stages of oral cancer without even knowing it! Unfortunately, if the disease continues to remain undetected (as it often does) and is allowed to advanced stages, it may already be too late.

Related Article: New Year’s Resolution: Stop Smoking

Oral Cancer Screenings: Dental’s Best Kept Secret

Since its inception, the dental industry has developed an array of different treatments to asses a patient’s oral health needs. While certan treatments such as fillings, whitenings, and more recently dental implants, have become well known among the general public essentially becoming synonymous with the dental profession. However, there’s a lesser known treatment that has slowly gained recognition as one of the most significant and life-saving procedures within the industry; oral cancer screenings!

Oral cancer screenings may in fact be the dental profession’s best kept secret, as most patients are unaware that they are receiving the screening even as it happens! Oral cancer screenings are a quick and painless procedure that Dr. Kimes preforms as part of your standard dental exam at Overland Park Dentistry. When you come in for your routine dental checkup, you are simultaneously receiving an accurate screening for any early signs or symptoms of oral cancer, which is something that can be a deciding factor. Identifying and treating oral cancer within its earliest stages is often the best bet in fully overcoming the disease, as the cancer is not given the time to cause damage and spread, therefore it is paramount that you let Dr. Kimes take the time to give you that crucial oral cancer screening during your next dental appointment!

Related Article: Oral Cancer Screening: Prevention Saves Lives

Oral Cancer: Join the Fight!

While much of the information provided above may not exactly present the bright and cheerful message that you may be accustomed to this time of year, please remember that the purpose of this article is to remind you that there’s still time to change this! Therefore, if you do have any concerns or anxiety over your chances of developing oral cancer, taking the time to schedule a routine dental checkup/oral cancer screening, is unquestionably the right decision.

Although far too many people have been dealt the cruel hand of oral cancer in the past, and have tragically had to face the consequences, YOU have the power to change this for yourself!

So Please – don’t become another statistic, let’s take a stand against oral cancer together!

Local dentist, Dr. Charles R. Kimes, DDS, and his expert team at Overland Park Dentistry look forward to having the opportunity to care for you and your family with any preventativerestorative or cosmetic needs you or your family may have. To schedule your dental appointment with your Overland Park Dentist, contact us at our south Overland Park office at (913) 647-8700 or our north Overland Park office at (913) 341-2380.