What Your Tongue Says About Your Health

Your tongue is pretty amazing. Just think of all the things it does for you! It lets you taste your favorite foods. It helps you chew. It starts the process of swallowing. It’s clear that your tongue plays a very important role in your life. But did you know that your tongue can also be a good indicator of your overall health? Join us at Collins Dental as we take a look at what your tongue can tell you.

Symptoms and What They Mean

There are many different things to look out for when inspecting your tongue. We’ve outlined some of them below so that you can look out for your oral and overall health.

    • White Tongue: If your tongue has white patches, it could be thrush. Thrush is a fungal infection that most often occurs after an illness or if you are taking medications that can affect the bacteria in your mouth. However, if the white areas are hard and can’t be scraped away it could be leukoplakia, which is linked to cancer.
    • “Hairy” Tongue: If it looks like there are patches of brown, black, or white “hair” on your tongue, it could be caused by certain antibiotics, diabetes or smoking.
    • Blue Tongue: If your tongue has a bluish color to it, it may be an indicator of poor oxygen circulation. This could be caused by an issue with the lungs.
    • Yellow Tongue: Yellow tongues are caused by a buildup of bacteria. This is most commonly associated with poor oral hygiene, tobacco or alcohol use, or dry mouth.
    • Dark Red or Purple Tongue: This coloration could be caused by a simple vitamin deficiency. However, it can also be an indicator of Scarlet Fever.
    • Burning Feeling: If your tongue feels like you just scalded it with hot coffee, you might be suffering from burning mouth syndrome. It could indicate an issue with the nerves in your tongue or could be caused by other issues, such as diabetes, infections, or acid reflux.
  • Smooth Tongue: If your tongue looks glossy red and has no bumps, it could be a nutrient deficiency. Being deficient in iron, folic acid, or Vitamin B is associated with this. However, it could be caused by something more serious, such as celiac disease.

 

You should make checking your tongue part of your regular oral hygiene routine. Now that you know some of the symptoms that you should keep an eye out for, you can take better care of your oral health and your overall health. 

If you have any questions about your tongue or overall health, please call our Winter Springs, FL office at (407) 699-9831.

Speech Impediments and Teeth

Fetch. Vivid. Jive. Start. Zoo. Chair. Gym.

All of these words rely on the teeth to form their first sound.

Our world would not be able to function without communication. While there are many forms of communication, verbal communication and listening are perhaps the most important. As humans are the most social animals, human speech is the most complex. In order to form sounds, humans use several different structures to create it, including the lungs, trachea, larynx, vocal chords, tongue, and teeth. All of these structures work together in a way that allows us to express our wants, needs, emotions and dreams. 

Articulation happens in the mouth, and creating clear speech without teeth is all but impossible. There are several words that depend on the teeth for their pronunciation. The sounds that rely on the teeth for their production are known as “strident” sounds, but what happens to the teeth to impact these strident sounds we create?

Teeth and Speech

  • Overcrowded Teeth happen when instead of growing into their correct position, the teeth do not have enough room and grow into unnatural positions. This can affect tongue position and the ability to form certain sounds.
  • Overbites happen when the top arch of teeth stick out far beyond the lower teeth, which can make it especially difficult to form sounds like the ‘stridents’ mentioned above. 
  • Openbites are caused by the top teeth and the bottom teeth not coming together in the correct position, which can lead to them looking open. This can create an interdental lisp. 
  • Gapped Teeth are caused when there is an excessive amount of space between teeth and a whistling sound can arise when creating speech.

The best way to fix these issues and get clearer speech is to correct the issues within the mouth. There are numerous ways in which this is possible, most notably with metal braces and Invisalign® By correcting how the teeth are positioned in your mouth, you can pronounce your words with greater precision and get rid of a lisp altogether. Schedule a consultation with our Winter Springs, FL office by calling (407) 699-9831 and see what treatment options will work best for you.

Introducing the VELscope – The Latest Technology in Oral Cancer Identification

Oral cancer is a serious health issue and you should be getting oral cancer screenings regularly. At Collins Dental, we perform oral cancer screenings as part of all of our regular dental checkups. We are incredibly excited to now use the VELscope to allow us to better identify signs of oral cancer in our patients.

How the VELscope Works

Traditional oral cancer screenings rely on light alone to identify potential cancer signs. With the VELscope, we can view tissue fluorescence, increasing the effectiveness of our oral cancer screenings. Natural tissue fluorescence, caused by fluorophores, will emit its own light when excited by the right wavelength of light. The fluorescence reveals information about cellular and structural activity that can be useful when identifying oral cancer.

Advantages of the VELscope

  • Fits into your regular checkups. With this tool, we don’t need to schedule you for any additional time to screen for oral cancer. Just as we would have done a screening without this technology, we will continue to check for cancer during your dental checkups.
  • Provides easily identifiable visual information. The VELscope provides us with bright visuals that ease the identification of potential oral cancer. This means more accuracy for us and more peace of mind for you.
  • Photo documentation. With the VELscope, we can easily save the images provided to your patient records. If anything changes with your oral health, we will be able to quickly and easily compare against past images to determine if it could be oral cancer.

If you have any additional questions about oral cancer or the VELscope, contact our Winter Springs, FL office at (407) 699-9831 or use the links below to learn more about the VELscope.

Learn About the VELscope Determine Your Oral Cancer Risk

How to Choose the Right Dentist for Your Family

Selecting a dentist for your family can be a difficult decision to make. You want to make sure that you find a dentist that not only takes great care of your children’s dental health but also your own. At Collins Dental, we want to help you select the right dentist for your family, which is why we’ve put together some tips to help.

  • Find a dentist you can stick with. It’s important to choose a dentist that will continue to see your kids as they grow. Having continuity in your family’s dental care is critical. It gives your children a sense of routine in their dental care and allows them to get comfortable with going to a dentist that they get to know. Additionally, it lets the dentist get to know your family, allowing them to know what the best treatment options for your family would be.
  • Choose a dentist that sees young kids. As soon as children have teeth emerging, they need to have their dental health taken care of. Children should start seeing the dentist by at least age 3. Building good dental health habits when they are young can set them up for success for their whole life.
  • Ask for suggestions. Asking friends and family that have kids if they have suggestions for dentists to go to can help. You can also do research online to see what dentists other people in the area recommend. 
  • Consider convenience. It’s much easier to develop good dental health habits, including going to see the dentist regularly, if it’s convenient to do so. Choose a dentist that makes it easy to set up appointments, offering a variety of options so you can select the option that works best for you. Think about the location of the office as well. Dental office’s that are close to your home will make it simple to get to and from your appointments.
  • Don’t forget emergencies. Dental emergencies can happen to anyone at any time. Choose a practice that welcomes emergency patients. Ask the dentist what their policy is on emergency appointments to ensure that you can get dental care when you need it the most.

We hope that these tips help you find the dentist for your family. If you have any questions about our dental practice or would like to set up an appointment, give our Winter Springs, FL office a call at (407) 699-9831.

Why Teachers Love Our Dental Office

5 Reasons For Winter Springs Teachers to Love Collins Dental

1. We provide all services you would need

Being a one-stop shop for our patients is important to us. We want to create a convenient way to take care of your oral health without having to visit multiple offices to get the job done. At Collins Dental, we offer preventative care, restorative dentistry and cosmetic dentistry. 

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2. Extended Hours 

Our office works to accommodate everyone, which is why we offer extended hours for our patients. We open at 7 am on Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Fridays, and we close at 6 pm on Thursdays. 

We know that school days can trap your schedule, making it difficult to schedule appointments. This means that you don’t have to disrupt your school day to see the dentist!

3. Convenient Online Patient Portal

We offer an online patient portal to access your account and schedule appointments online. You can also view your appointment and treatment history, as well as online payment options and insurance balance information. 

4. Affordable Dental Care

Collins Dental believes in affordable dental care. Whether you have dental insurance or not, we offer an affordable way to take care of your oral health. Our office accepts cash, check, major credit cards and all major Preferred Provider Organization (PPO) plans. If you are unable to pay in full at the time of your service, we also offer external payment plans through CareCredit and Compassionate Finance. With these options, you get low monthly payments that are usually interest-free. 

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We also offer an in-house membership plan to cover costs of dental services. With our membership plan, there are no waiting periods, no exclusions, no yearly maximums and no deductibles. We offer three different plan options depending on your dental needs. 

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5. Wonderful Doctors and Staff

Our doctors and staff at Collins Dental are dedicated to putting their patients at ease and providing gentle dental care. We care about making our patients happy about their experience at our office. We believe that teachers sacrifice a lot to educate children and young adults. We understand what it means to dedicate your life to helping other people. If you are a teacher looking for a dentist in Winter Springs, contact Collins Dental to schedule an appointment. We can’t wait to welcome you to our office!

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Toothache Causes and Home Remedies

A toothache is a pain in or around a tooth. Toothaches can be caused by simple issues like a popcorn kernel stuck in your gum to more serious dental problems like an abscess or broken tooth. Some tooth pains won’t get better on their own and you will need to see a dentist for treatment. If you’re suffering from a toothache, Collins Dental in Winter Springs, FL can help!

Toothache Causes

Toothache causes—and treatment options—can vary. Depending on your symptoms, you

  • Tooth decay or untreated cavities
  • A tooth abscess (a bacterial infection inside the tooth)
  • Tooth crack
  • Broken tooth
  • Damaged filling
  • Gum infection

Toothache Symptoms

Toothache pain can range from mild to severe, and it may be constant or intermittent. Pain in your tooth and mouth is the primary symptom of a toothache, but the type of pain can vary from:

  • Sharp, throbbing, or constant pain on or around an infected/damaged tooth
  • Pain that only occurs when pressure is applied to a tooth, gums, or jaw
  • Swollen or painful gums
  • Bad taste in the mouth (likely from an infection in a tooth)
  • Fever or headache

Home Remedies for Toothaches

If you’re hoping to minimize pain from a toothache, you can try the following home remedies. Please talk with your dentist before using any of the home remedies listed below if you’re pregnant, breastfeeding, or have any medical condition that may be impacted by herbal ingredients.

  • Saltwater rinse. Use 1/2 teaspoon of salt in a glass of warm water then use a mouthwash.
  • Apply a cold compress on/near the area of pain.
  • Use over-the-counter medication such as Tylenol or Advil to reduce inflammation and pain.
  • Teabags. Apply a cold or warm tea bag to your tooth—but tea can stain teeth so don’t use this method often.

When to See the Dentist

If your pain is severe or has persisted for more than a day or two, it’s time to see your dentist. They can provide guidance on how to relieve your symptoms and prevent future pain. You should also see a dentist if you’re experiencing any of the following symptoms:

  • fever
  • trouble swallowing
  • general pain that lasts more than one or two days
  • swelling
  • pain when you bite or chew
  • abnormally red gums
  • foul-tasting discharge, or pus

If you’re experiencing tooth pain and need to see a dentist in Winter Springs, FL, contact Collins Dental today.

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White Spots On Teeth: Causes and Treatment

White teeth are typically associated with great oral health and good hygiene. But, this isn’t always the case. White spots on teeth, typically called white spot lesions, can be one of the earliest signs of tooth decay. There are a variety of reasons that these spots can appear on your teeth.

Causes of White Spots

White spots may be due to fluorosis, enamel hypoplasia, diet, and poor oral hygiene. The good news is that it’s treatable.

  • Fluorosis (overexposure of fluoride). Fluoride is known for its benefits to teeth but too much fluoride, especially in teeth that are still developing, can have a negative effect.
  • Enamel Hypoplasia (thinner enamel). Having thinner enamel than normal is usually a result of a nutrient deficiency. This can result from hereditary factors, vitamin deficiencies, or trauma to teeth.
  • Poor Diet. Overconsumption of acidic or sugary food and beverages can cause white spots on your teeth. Because acid and sugar both erode enamel, you are more likely to experience white spots if your diet involves high amounts of acid and sugar.
  • Poor Oral Hygiene. When you don’t properly brush and floss, plaque begins to accumulate. When plaque builds up, it eats away at your enamel, which can cause white spots to appear.

Treatment for White Spots

Treating the white spots/discoloration can involve enamel microabrasion, topical fluoride, teeth whitening, or dental veneers.

  • Enamel Microabrasion. Your dentist will remove a small amount of your tooth’s enamel to reduce the appearance of white spots. This is typically followed by teeth whitening so teeth appear uniform in color.
  • Topical Fluoride. Fluoride is applied to help the development of enamel on the teeth. This is commonly used for people who suffer from enamel hypoplasia.
  • Teeth Whitening. Whitening can help balance the color between your teeth and the white spots, and other stains.
  • Dental Veneers. Veneers are custom made with layers of ceramic materials and bonded to the front of your teeth. This is a great alternative if your teeth color can’t be improved with bleaching alone.

Summary

If you notice white spots on your teeth, contact your dentist for a consultation. While it may be a sign of early tooth decay, it can also be purely cosmetic. There are a variety of options to treat these spots. If you have any questions about white spots on teeth, contact our office!

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How To Prevent Cavities & Tooth Decay

Cavities, often referred to as tooth decay, are tiny holes that develop in the hard surface of your teeth. They are most common in children and teenagers, but they can affect everyone including infants and toddlers. Take a closer look at what causes cavities and how you can prevent them.

Causes of Cavities

Cavities typically occur as a result of poor oral health habits but other various factors can increase the risk of getting a cavity, including:

  • Dry mouth. Dry mouth occurs when there is a lack of saliva in the mouth. Saliva helps wash away food stuck on the teeth and it counters the acid produced from bacteria in the mouth, which reduces the chance for cavities.
  • Foods and drinks. Certain foods aren’t as easily washed away from saliva, making them more likely to cause decay. Foods you should limit include: ice cream, honey, sugar, soda, cake, chips, cookies, and hard candy.
  • Constant snacking or sipping. Drinking or eating frequently throughout the day results in increased bacteria in your mouth. This bacteria produce the acids that attack tooth enamel.
  • Lack of fluoride. Fluoride is a natural mineral that helps prevent cavities and can reverse the early stage of tooth decay. Use a fluoride toothpaste and mouthwash to help reduce your chance of cavities.

Cavity Prevention

Regular dental visits and daily brushing and flossing are the best protection against cavities. If you get a cavity, it should be treated right away. But, cavities left untreated get larger and larger, affecting the deeper layers of your teeth. Deeper cavities result in higher chances of experiencing severe toothache and infection. So, when it comes to cavities, prevention is key. Below are some of our cavity preventions tips:

  • Brush with fluoride toothpaste. Brush and floss twice a day, ideally after each meal.
  • Visit your dentist for regular checkups and cleanings. Professional teeth cleanings remove plaque that builds up overtime which isn’t removed by regular brushing and flossing. Going to the dentist twice a year is one of the best cavity prevention options.
  • Dental sealants. Sealants protect the tooth enamel from harmful plaque and bacteria.
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What Is The Best Teeth Whitening Option?

When it comes to getting a brighter smile, you can whiten your teeth at home or get a professional treatment. At home whitening typically includes over-the-counter products like whitening strips, pens, or toothpaste. Professional whitening includes custom-made whitening trays you take home or an in-office appointment. So what’s the best teeth whitening option for you?

Both options use peroxide bleaching agents as the main active ingredient. The difference between each option is the amount of peroxide it contains. Over-the-counter solutions use 3 – 20 percent where professional solutions contain 14 – 43 percent. Solutions with higher amounts of peroxide should be left on for a shorter amount of time. Keeping the solution on longer will dehydrate your teeth and make them more prone to sensitivity.

Professional Whitening

Professional teeth whitening options are much safer and more effective. Additionally, it ensures that all of the proper precautions are taken. So, when it comes to protecting your gums, the whitening agent only gets on your teeth.

At-Home Whitening Products

Over-the-counter products are cheaper, generally take longer to see results, and have limitations depending on your tooth color and health prior. If used incorrectly, at-home teeth whitening kits can lead to burned gums or tooth sensitivity. Always talk with your dentist to decide the best treatment option for you.

If you choose to go for an over-the-counter solution, we recommend that you use one from the list of bleaching products with the ADA Seal of Acceptance.

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Root Canal Symptoms To Watch Out For

Each year, over 60 million Americans visit the dentist. Many of these visits can be attributed to cavities, which are small holes in your teeth that allow bacteria to get inside. But sometimes, other dental issues occur that require additional treatments. Root canals are considered the best option for saving a damaged tooth when an abscess is present. Below are some root canal symptoms to watch out for.

Signs You Need A Root Canal

1. Persistent Pain

Having persistent pain is one way to tell if you need a root canal. The pain might be constant, or it might go away, but it always comes back. You may feel the pain deep in the bone of your tooth, or it might be in your jaw, face or other teeth.

Tooth pain may have other causes, such as gum disease, cavities, or an impacted tooth, but it’s always a good idea to talk with your dentist if you have tooth pain.

2. Tooth Discoloration

An infection in the pulp of your tooth can cause your tooth to become discolored.Trauma to the tooth or the breakdown of the internal tissue can damage the roots and give the tooth a grayish-black appearance. While there might be other reasons a tooth is discolored, it could be cause for a root canal so talk with your dentist!

3. Sensitivity to Heat and Cold

When your teeth start to hurt from drinking a hot cup of coffee or drinking ice water, you may need a root canal.

The pain can be just a dull feeling, or it can be a sharp pain that lingers for an extended period of time, even after you’ve finished eating or drinking. If your tooth hurts when you eat or drink something hot or cold, it may be an indication that the blood vessels and nerves in your tooth are infected or damaged.

4. Swollen Gums

Swollen gums near the painful tooth can be a sign of an issue that requires a root canal. The swelling may come and go. It may be tender when you touch it, or it may not be painful to the touch.

There also might be a pimple like abscess on your gum, which may ooze pus from the infection of the tooth. This can give you an unpleasant taste in your mouth and make your breath smell bad.

5. A Chipped or Cracked Tooth

If you’ve chipped or cracked your tooth in an accident, in a contact sport, or by chewing on something hard, bacteria can set in and lead to inflammation and infection. Even if your tooth didn’t crack but you did injure it, the injury can still cause damage to the nerves of the tooth. The nerve can become inflamed and cause pain and sensitivity, which may require root canal treatment.

These are just a few signs that you may need a root canal. If you have any of these root canal symptoms, it’s a good idea to talk with your dentist. Call us at (407) 699-9831 and we can talk you through possible solutions.

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