My Blog

Posts for: April, 2016

By Peter Elton DMD, PLLC
April 29, 2016
Category: Oral Health
Tags: chewing tobacco  

Ask people about the “Great American Smoke-Out,” and many could tell you about this annual promotion encouraging tobacco smokers to quit. Ask them about “The Great American Spit-Out,” though, and they may look puzzled. That’s because most of society’s attention is on quitting smoking; but the truth is smoking isn’t the only tobacco habit that needs to be kicked.

Whether chewing tobacco or the more finely ground snuff, smokeless tobacco is a popular habit especially among young athletes. It doesn’t receive the attention of smoking tobacco because it’s perceived as less dangerous. The truth is, though, it’s just as hazardous — especially to your oral health.

While any form of tobacco is considered a carcinogen, smokeless tobacco in particular has been linked to oral cancer. This is especially dangerous not only because oral cancer can lead to physical disfigurement and other negative outcomes, but it also has a dismal 58% survival rate five years from diagnosis.

And because it too contains highly addictive nicotine, smokeless tobacco can be just as difficult to quit as smoking. Fortunately, the same techniques for smoking cessation can work with chewing habits. Nicotine replacements like nicotine gum, lozenges and patches, as well as Zyban, a cessation medication, have all been shown helpful with quitting smokeless tobacco.

Often, however, it takes a change in perception — taking chewing tobacco down from its pedestal of “coolness” and seeing it for what it is: a dangerous habit that increases the risk of cancer, cardiovascular disease and even decreased sexual arousal and function. And although not life-threatening, it can also give you bad breath, dry mouth and an assortment of dental problems that incur financial and social costs. Teeth and gums in that environment aren’t so cool.

The first step is to consider the consequences of continuing the chewing or dipping habit and making the decision to quit. You may also benefit from the help of others: counselors experienced with tobacco cessation programs or a support group of others trying to quit. Following through aggressively will help ensure smokeless tobacco won’t lead to the loss of your teeth, health or life.

If you would like more information on quitting smokeless tobacco, 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 “Quitting Chewing Tobacco.”

By Cedarbrook Dental
April 14, 2016
Category: Dental Procedures
Tags: Cosmetic Dentist  

How cosmetic dentistry can help your smile

Cosmetic dentistry can rejuvenate your smile quickly and beautifully. Thanks to new materials, techniques and knowledge, the world of cosmetic dentistry has much to offer you and your smile. If you have a dental issue that diminishes your smile, chances are there is a Cosmetic Dentistcosmetic dental procedure to correct it. There are many procedures to choose from and Dr. Peter Elton at Cedarbrook Dental in Gig Harbor, Washington, wants you to know the many ways cosmetic dental procedures can help your smile.

Dr. Elton offers a complete range of cosmetic dental services to correct aesthetic issues with your smile. He wants you to think about:

Composite bonding, if you have small cracks or chips in your teeth; composite bonding is also great for closing small gaps between your teeth. It can even be used to cosmetically change the color or shape of your teeth.

Reshaping and recontouring, if you have teeth that are slightly overlapped or crooked; this procedure can create a more even look to your teeth, and can be done in coordination with composite bonding.

Porcelain veneers, if you have front teeth that are:

  • Spaced apart, gapped or overlapped from genetics
  • Broken or damaged from trauma or injury
  • Badly discolored from coffee, smoking or medications
  • Worn down from aging and overuse
  • Poorly shaped or badly chipped or cracked

Dental whitening treatments, if you have teeth that are stained from coffee, smoking, aging, or other reasons; these treatments can whiten your teeth up to 8 shades. Dr. Elton offers a convenient take-home kit that can improve your smile in the comfort of your home.

Cosmetic fillings, if you have unsightly, bulky metal fillings; cosmetic fillings are created from composite, and can be color-matched perfectly to your teeth. The result is a filling that is virtually invisible to you and those around you.

You can get a beautiful, new smile with a cosmetic dental treatment, and there are many to choose from. Don’t make this important decision alone! Get some help by calling Dr. Peter Elton at Cedarbrook Dental in Gig Harbor, Washington. Call today and be on your way to your beautiful, new smile!

By Peter Elton DMD, PLLC
April 14, 2016
Category: Oral Health

Are bleeding gums something you should be concerned about? Dear Doctor magazine recently posed that question to Dr. Travis Stork, an emergency room physician and host of the syndicated TV show The Doctors. He answered with two questions of his own: “If you started bleeding from your eyeball, would you seek medical attention?” Needless to say, most everyone would. “So,” he asked, “why is it that when we bleed all the time when we floss that we think it’s no big deal?” As it turns out, that’s an excellent question — and one that’s often misunderstood.

First of all, let’s clarify what we mean by “bleeding all the time.” As many as 90 percent of people occasionally experience bleeding gums when they clean their teeth — particularly if they don’t do it often, or are just starting a flossing routine. But if your gums bleed regularly when you brush or floss, it almost certainly means there’s a problem. Many think bleeding gums is a sign they are brushing too hard; this is possible, but unlikely. It’s much more probable that irritated and bleeding gums are a sign of periodontal (gum) disease.

How common is this malady? According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, nearly half of all  Americans over age 30 have mild, moderate or severe gum disease — and that number increases to 70.1 percent for those over 65! Periodontal disease can occur when a bacteria-rich biofilm in the mouth (also called plaque) is allowed to build up on tooth and gum surfaces. Plaque causes the gums to become inflamed, as the immune system responds to the bacteria. Eventually, this can cause gum tissue to pull away from the teeth, forming bacteria-filled “pockets” under the gum surface. If left untreated, it can lead to more serious infection, and even tooth loss.

What should you do if your gums bleed regularly when brushing or flossing? The first step is to come in for a thorough examination. In combination with a regular oral exam (and possibly x-rays or other diagnostic tests), a simple (and painless) instrument called a periodontal probe can be used to determine how far any periodontal disease may have progressed. Armed with this information, we can determine the most effective way to fight the battle against gum disease.

Above all, don’t wait too long to come in for an exam! As Dr. Stork notes, bleeding gums are “a sign that things aren’t quite right.”  If you would like more information about bleeding gums, please contact us or schedule an appointment. You can read more in the Dear Doctor magazine article “Bleeding Gums.” You can read the entire interview with Dr. Travis Stork in Dear Doctor magazine.