Macomb County Dentist Explains the Benefits of a Porcelain Crown

Hi this is Dr. Antolak from thegentledentist.com at Shelby Township Michigan. 586-247-3500 is our phone number. I have this skull here because I’m showing what natural teeth look like, actually on dead person. I want to compare that and contrast it to what an all porcelain crown would look like to protect your teeth. And to redo the teeth. So what I want to first of all look at is natural teeth and what makes up a natural tooth. Just a little bit of details about that.

Natural teeth are made out of enamel. The outside layer is enamel, okay? And then the inside layer is called dentin. Dentin is a yellow color. And dentin actually gives you the ability to have pain. Dentin does not contain the nerve inside of it. But what happens is that small little tubules of almost like straws. Very, very microscopic straws inside of the dentin. And when you get cold, and you get cold, moderate sensitive or sometimes a toothache, things like that and it will if air is blowing across your teeth and it’s sensitive, these little tubules are full of water. They have water in them, a liquid and so what happens is, as this liquid moves back and forth within these tubules, it can promote pain within the pulp of the tooth. And, therefore, you can feel a sensation for pain. Okay?

Now, also with natural teeth, the reason why they look like they do is, they allow light to shine through the whole thing. As you can see on these. And you all know, that there’s no metal in natural teeth. Natural teeth, the enamel and the dentin, allows light to be transmitted through the tooth. So what we try to do is when we do our cosmetic dentistry. For example, if we try to use an all porcelain crown like this, we can see that it’s all white. Not only is it white, but it will actually transmit light through the crown itself, or through the veneer. So that it gives it a natural coloration and a natural appearance. In relationship to its, maybe a neighboring tooth that’s a natural tooth. So that it will actually allow that to be transmitted into appear very normal and natural. Sometimes, you’ll notice that if people have a dark line when they smile, on their tooth. Or their tooth looks really, really white and kinda dead. That’s because it actually has metal that covers over the tooth preperation, and when there’s metal, it does not allow for light to naturally become transmitted through it. But when light comes in it hits off the tooth and comes right back at your eye and that process of doing that can make it look natural and make it look opaque color because what the laboratories have to do when it’s metal underneath there, they have to put a very thin layer of white.Very opaque of white so that it makes it look natural. But the problem is when it tries to reflect light, it loses some of that natural appearances and it looks kind of dead. It looks too white.

Macomb County Dentist Explains the Benefits of a Porcelain Crown

So if you have a front tooth or something like that that is an issue and you want it to look natural. You’re kind of embarrassed about having to smile hide because you can see that black line above there. Then give us a call at 586-247-3500 and we’ll take care of your smile.

Thank you.

Macomb County Dentist Explains the Benefits of a Porcelain Crown

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Porcelain Veneers to Restore People’s Teeth – Shelby Township Dentist Explains

Hi, my name’s Dr. Antolak at thegentledentist.com in Shelby Township, Michigan. Our phone number’s 586-247-3500. One of the most unique and awesome things in dentistry within the last 10 years is the advent of porcelain. Being able to use all porcelain to restore people’s teeth and we’ve been able to do porcelain veneers for a while over the last probably 20 years or so. But we never had the strength inherent within the material itself to handle the back teeth what I want to do today is to show you a little difference between a porcelain fused to metal crown is versus an all porcelain crown. First of all this is a bridge that we took off of a patient who awhile back, it’s been sterilized. What I do is, I want to use this as an example to show you there’s metal here that’s based on it and then actually underneath. So there’s porcelain that’s baked over the top of the metal, so this is all one piece here and I’m just going to turn it over and show you, this is all metal here. And that’s how we use to get the strength of that. But, the disadvantage is that when light tries to shine through it. For example, I’m going to use this light here. I’m going to try to shoot light through that. You can see that there is no light that penetrates, obviously, through the metal. The effect of that is that when, in a front tooth especially, you will get a dark line, usually at the gum line around the tooth that has a porcelain fused to metal crown. And the reason why that is, is light is actually not allowed to be transmitted, through the tooth itself. And the light, the darkness of the crown, actually blocks any light from going into the root of the tooth. Now another example of something that we do nowadays is, it’s call an all porcelain crown. And we can see this one here is actually been made of its all porcelain. You can see its all white on the inside and on the outside. And this is just as strong as the porcelain to metal. And what I’m going to do is show you that with light.

You can see that same light that you can see it through it you can see how light transmits sort of through there. What that does it gives you the ability for light to be transmitted through the root, through the tooth and so it makes it look very natural eliminating that dark line that you’ll see on the gums here and also giving it much more of a natural appearance. With the porcelain infused to metal crowns it requires a layer there’s the, that silver metal that’s on there that requires a very thin level of an opaque. Now opaque will actually make that crown, it blocks out the grayness of that and makes it white. But it makes it dead white; it doesn’t allow the natural translucency to show through. And then there’s a portion, part of the portion that you saw on that bridge where the porcelain is baked over on top of it. It has the color, but it doesn’t have the lifelike appearance that an all-porcelain crown would have. So now, in my practice, I very, very rarely use metal under crowns for that exact reason. Also, metal that’s in some of these bridges.  This contains nickel. Nickel is an allergen and unfortunately that can create allergies under gums and create redness around the gum line from this context allergy that develops from its crowns and unfortunately when you smell it in place your body is constantly exposed to that. Another disadvantage that metal has under crown is that different metals in the mouth will actually make an almost like a battery. For example, dental amalgam contains about 50% mercury and a number of other different metals. Well  those are the silver fillings you see in the mouth, well that is a different metal than let’s say is on that bridge that I just showed you. Those metals interact with each other, creating a bad rating, actually creating a micro current in the mouth.

The saliva acts as it can’t do it. It conducts electricity back and forth and its actually you has a charge in your mouth, its low level but some nutritionists and those believe that there can be an issue that you don’t have balance within the electrolytes within your mouth and within your body. So that can affect it. So to eliminate possibilities like that we use out postmen in a number it looks better.  It’s just as strong and also it’s I believe, healthier that we can place things like that in the mouth. So, if this is something that you’re interested in, for example, if, if you have a smile and you don’t like the, the gums around it where it looks dark or if the crown looks really opaque and just looks fake, there’s a solution for you.

Porcelain Veneers to Restore People’s Teeth – Shelby Township Dentist Explains

If you are interested in porcelain veneers to restore your teeth, give us a call at 586-247-3500, or visit our website at www.thegentledentist.com. Thank you, and have a blessed day.

Porcelain Veneers to Restore People’s Teeth – Shelby Township Dentist Explains

Hi. My name is Dr. Robert Antolak, the owner of thegentledentist.com here located out in Shelby Township, Michigan. Phone number’s 586-247-3500. I have a question for you.  Do know what people notice first on you, when you first meet them, or when you first see them, or when they first see you. You think it’s your hair? You think it’s your clothes? No, it’s your smile!  People always notice your smile and they notice your teeth too. If you want to make a good first impression for you to work or if your single and looking for that special person or you just want to feel good about yourself then cosmetic dentistry is the thing for you. You know a smile is so important that we know, I know people who come in here, who have  an embarrassing smile and it effects personality.  They do this, they hide their smile. They do this when they try to smile. But, no matter what, they’re gonna always protect that smile from being  shown. In fact, they’ll be out of pictures for the people who are taking the pictures, and not the one in the photos.

So, what do we do about that? Well if you’re tired of not being able to smile we have lots of different options at our office. We do veneers- porcelain veneers, which are thin shells of porcelain that go over the teeth to give you a whole new smile. You can lengthen the teeth, brighten them, straighten them, in just as simple as two short visits.

Also, we do invisible braces which will slowly move the teeth together in a proper way using clear aligners. In doing that people don’t really notice that you have braces on, but yet your teeth are getting straightened out slowly. In fact I’m wearing one right now in my mouth.

We also do porcelain crowns. Porcelain crowns are like veneers, except they go around the whole tooth. And the beauty now is we have some materials now that are very very strong and they look beautiful. So they have the strength, they have the longevity, and when we bind it in place, they are like normal actual teeth. I have veneers, 2 veneers on my 2 front teeth on top that I had done many years ago. It’s amazing because they are just like my own teeth. I could never tell the difference.

Also, bleaching or whitening is probably one of the most common and popular types of procedures done that will whiten your teeth. We can do that in a quick way. Which is just by doing either Zoom, or we actually do the KOR Whitening System also, which is a very effective for giving an outstanding color. Even if you have dark tetracycline stained teeth, dark teeth.  It really brightens them up.  We also have those that you can take home with you. Wear whitening trays during the nighttime or even during the daytime. When you’re  driving from, back and forth from work to home and and that’ll whiten your teeth.

We have many different options here at our office. I like to  use digital photography  to capture your picture before and after. All different photos, I actually take 13 different pictures and shots. That way, we really involve our patients, so that they can see what I see. And then we can become interacted, and we can become part of a team to help you get the smile that you’ve always wanted to.

So, stop frowning… Stop not showing your smile. But come and feel comfortable and relax at the thegentledentist.com. Thank you. Have a blessed day.

Many of our dental patients in southeast Michigan come with multiple needs and wanted to be treated in very few visits.  Combining cosmetic dentistry, Implant dentistry  under a mild sedation is most beneficial for them. Rather than going to a number of specialists we at The Gentle Dentist in Shelby Towship, Michigan can do this.  The video demonstrates these done on Kathy, a professional who came in with many needs.  This is an outstanding presentation showing the emotional impact of having a beautiful smile and a full compliment of teeth. The smile is the first thing noticed by others and nothing else can compare.

About The Author

Dr. Robert Antolak, DDS graduated from the University of Michigan in 1987 with his Doctor of Dental Surgery degree. He is dedicated to providing the highest quality and appropriate cosmetic, sedation and general dentistry in the most comfortable and gentle way possible. Because being a dentist has been a lifelong dream, Dr. Antolak has a passion for the profession. He enjoys helping people feel better about their smiles and therefore their self-image with dental implant and cosmetic dentistry. His Dental Practice is located in Shelby Township, Michigan.  For more information visit The Gentle Dentist.

Cosmetic dentistry including bleaching, cosmetic porcelain  veneers, invisible braces, tooth colored fillings and porcelain crowns are very important aspects to the modern dental practice.

For people who suffer from low self esteem and pressures to smile in front of a camera these procedures can be their best friend.  Since the smile is the first thing noticed by others possessing a confident smile also shows higher self confidence and self worth to others.

I treated a neighbor of mine with cosmetic dental veneers and crowns about 2 years ago and saw him at a neighborhood birthday party the other day.  He saw me and started bragging that these (as he was pointing at his teeth) are the best investment I have ever made.  You see that they will last him many years to come whereas the investments in housing and the stock market have gone down his smile hasn’t.  He is a business owner in the Metro Detroit area and he  had to sell his services to professionals.  With a poor smile he lacked the confidence to present himself in front of banks and others in decision making positions.  Once he had a beautiful smile that he was proud of his exterior was reflective of  his interior and this made a difference in his demeanor and outlook.

Dr. Antolak has been practicing Cosmetic, implant, sedation and general dentistry for the past 23 years and is a contributing columnist for “Ask The Gentle Dentist” in the Senior Living News and the Advisor/Source newspapers for the past 8 years.

About The Author

Dr. Robert Antolak, DDS graduated from the University of Michigan in 1987 with his Doctor of Dental Surgery degree. He is dedicated to providing the highest quality and appropriate cosmetic, sedation and general dentistry in the most comfortable and gentle way possible. Because being a dentist has been a lifelong dream, Dr. Antolak has a passion for the profession. He enjoys helping people feel better about their smiles and therefore their self-image with dental implant and cosmetic dentistry. His Dental Practice is located in Shelby Township, Michigan.  For more information visit The Gentle Dentist.

The use of Cosmetic porcelain veneers is a very common way that many Michigan residents choose to enhance their smiles.  Porcelain veneers are thin shells of beautiful porcelain that is fabricated in a dental laboratory.  They are about the thickness of a credit card and are very fragile when handled.  When they are bonded to the natural tooth they become incredibly strong and are about as strong as your natural teeth.  Every attempt is to keep the shaping of the teeth as conservative as possible.   Lumineers are a name brand for a type of porcelain and placing them on teeth gives a natural look.

The following is an example what laminate veneers are used for:

  • Straightening crooked teeth by filling in the areas that are pushed in and in areas where the teeth are protruding slightly more tooth reduction is necessary.  The idea is to get the teeth to look uniform when looking at someone straight on or to the side.
  • Darkened teeth can be made whiter.  This is done by reducing some of the thickness of the natural tooth and thickening it up with whiter porcelain.  The same principle applies when Formica is placed over a kitchen top.  Any malformations are covered up by this thin film so no one will know the difference.
  • Missing teeth can be filled in with a fixed bridge made of the same porcelain as the veneer.  This is a very natural and conservative approach to a beautiful smile when a tooth is missing.
  • To close spaces between teeth.  This is very common and by making the tooth slightly wider the spaces can be closed up, giving a beautiful result.

Porcelain veneers last many many years, are conservative, keep the teeth the same bright white color and don’t stain like bonding.  Call Shelby Township, Michigan Cosmetic Dentist, Dr. Antolak at (586)247-3500 for a free dental consultation to see if porcelain veneers are right for you.

Michigan Cosmetic Dentist Dr. Antolak creates beautiful smiles in his Shelby Township, Macomb County office.  Because he is www.TheGentleDentist.com the dental treatment is done in a very gentle way.

Smile makeovers are a general term coined by the cosmetic dentistry industry.  Basically there are  items that make a smile attractive.  These include the following:

  • Teeth are white not stained
  • with a full smile the upper lip shows all except the very end of the tooth crown.  The gum tissue between the teeth just show.
  • the mid line between the two front teeth is vertical straight up and down.
  • the mid line falls in the exact center of the face.  “Cupids bow” where the right and left part of the upper lip meets symetrical with the midline of the teeth.
  • when smiling the bottom of the upper back  teeth follows the lower lip line.
  • You should be able to see almost all of the teeth when smiling.  This is assuming if the teeth are all lined up together.
  • The teeth should not have spaces between them or overlap each other

This picture shows an ideal smile and has all of the atributes mentioned above.

If you would like an attractive smile it is very possible at The Gentle Dentist in Shelby Township, Michigan.   Dr. Antolak accomplishes this first by interviewing the patient determining exactly what they want.  Then by using digital photos, plastic bonding material the ideal smile can be mocked up.

When the patient likes the appearance then duplicate impressions are made of the teeth and a combination of:

  • Porcelain Veneers
  • Porcelain Crowns
  • Orthodontics
  • Bleaching

Can be used to achieve the smile of your dreams.

Dr. Antolak has over 22 years of experience as a Michigan Cosmetic Dentist and has created many beautiful smiles.   You can view the before and after smiles at http://thegentledentist.com/beautiful_smile_gallery.htm.  For a free cosmetic consultation please call them at (586)247-3500.

A smile makeover is taking an average smile and making it a terrific smile by using modern cosmetic dentistry techniques.  An appealing smile has four characteristics:

  • The teeth are white, not yellow or discolored
  • the top teeth show when giving a full smile, but only a little bit of the gums show during the smile
  • There are no spaces between the teeth.
  • The teeth are straight

During the examination process at our Shelby twp. office we will:

  • take a complete set of digital x-rays including panorex
  • take a series of Digital Photographs including a few portrait pictures
  • Review the health history, chief complaint, expectations about what the patient wants and desires
  • Comprehensive examination which includes checking for cavities, periodontal disease, oral cancer, broken teeth, the bite including assessment of the TMJ (jaw joint)
  • discussion on what the findings are and a treatment plan on future treatment.
  • discussion about the fees and financial options which includes interest free financing through Care Credit.

By reviewing the photos taken it becomes obvious what is both good and what can be improved upon.  The computer monitor gives us a great tool to see what the possibilities are.  In fact, we can email out a before photo and have it accurately modified to give you the patient a good idea of what your smile would look like after treatment was performed.

Here is a list of the different procedures that can enhance your smile:

  • Teeth whitening
  • bonding
  • Cosmetic Veneers
  • braces
  • Gum recontouring to eliminate a gummy smile

 

 

For a free consultation about the different options are you can call our office in Shelby Township at (586)247-3500.  We service the Washington Twp, Rochester Hills, Sterling Heights, Troy areas of Michigan.

Cosmetic dental veneers are specialized thin pieces of art.  They are customized to allow your best smile to come forward.  A beautiful smile is the first thing noticed by a person you first meet.   In fact,  research has consistently shown that people with beautiful smile are actually more confident and present themselves with more assertiveness.  You may ask how this can be possible for you to have a beautiful smile if your teeth are:

  • Stained
  • chipped
  • crooked
  • missing

Many of our patients who are from the Sterling Heights, Shelby Township, Clinton Township and Macomb area have chosen to make the investment in themselves with a smile make over.   Porcelain Dental Veneers are a very durable and conservative way to improve your smile in less than one month.  

You may ask how do you choose a cosmetic dentist to create this work of art on your teeth?  these may be concerns and questions you may have when choosing the dentist and dental office:

  • I believe it is critical for the asthetic dentist to display what they have been able to do with previous patients and have testimonies to prove what they have done on others can be done on you. 
  • The confidence you have in your dentist is a very important factor when choosing a cosmetic dentist. 
  • The dental laboratory should be located in the United States and should have a great working relationship with the dentist to create beauiful smiles.
  • The use of technology is an important aspect that helps to enhance the quality of treatment.  Is the cosmetic dentist taking advantage of the digital photography, imaging, etc?
  • What is the warantee given by the dentist and will they stand up to their cosmetic dentistry?
  • Is the dentist willing to give you guidance in visualizing the outcome of your treatment even before it is started?

The answer is Dr. Robert Antolak, The gentle dentist located in Shelby Twp, MI.  Call their office at (586)247-3500

Crooked teeth in the front of the mouth can be embarrassing and difficult to keep clean.   A person’s smile is the first thing noticed by others when they first meet or talk to another.

Lower teeth crowding is a normal part of late growth process of the lower jaw.  As the lower jaw grows until the 40’s the lower teeth are crowded out because they are locked in by the upper teeth overlap.  We normally see crowding of persons in their adult hood.   Many people think this is due to the wisdom teeth putting pressure on all of the teeth.  This has been dis-proven in many studies.

The upper teeth can become crowded if the teeth are too large for the size of the jawbone.  The teeth will tend to go where they are pushed on.  This pressure is usually from the lips pushing in and the tongue pushing out.  If one of these is greater than the other the teeth will be pushed out and the stronger force will win.

Crooked teeth present a number of problems:

  • Aesthetics-They look bad since the size of the teeth look altered as they are crowded into a smaller space than there is room for
  • Gum disease-Teeth that are crooked are difficult to clean and therefore periodontal disease is more likely to take place in these difficult to keep clean areas.
  • Cavities– Teeth that are crowded are difficult to keep clean and are more prone to decay.

So back the the question–How can i fix my crooked teeth in Macomb coutny-  There are a few options to consider:

  1. Braces will most conservatively straighten them up.  By applying a constant force to straighten the crooked teeth and making the teeth thinner to fit into the smaller arc.  This is accomplished by “stripping” the enamel between the teeth.
  2. Dental porcelain veneers– Are used to straighten the teeth.  The thin shells of porcelain work best on upper teeth considering that they can be made to widen the arch and giving a very attractive smile.
  3. Bonding– If the lower teeth are stained they can have composite bonding on them since this only adds to the surface of the teeth.
  4. Bleaching-This makes the teeth whiter and more attractive.

Call our Shelby dental office at (586)247-3500 for a free consultation appointment or visit our website at www.TheGentleDentist.com Our dental office is located in Shelby Township, Michigan – Macomb County.  We provide dental care to the communities of Shelby, Washington Twp., Macomb Township, Sterling Heights, Warren, Utica, Clinton Township, Rochester Hills and beyond.

Dr. Antolak excels in patient comfort and helps provide comprehensive treatment to their patients.  We provide Implant placement and restorations,  Cosmetic dentistry including bleaching, porcelain veneers and bonding and general dentistry for the family.  We are happy you have an interest in the dental practice and give us a call.

At our cosmetic and dental veneer office in Shelby Township, Michigan we help to change the way people view themselves and others.  By providing:

  • tooth bleaching
  • whitening
  • cosmetic bonding
  • porcelain veneers we can perfect your smile with cosmetic dentistry

Many of our clients are embarassed of the way their teeth look like before cosmetic dentistry and veneers.  They have a very difficult time smiling without protecting what people can see.  In fact, if you find  yourself taking the pictures more than being in front of the camera you may ask  yourself why?  Cosmetic dentistry will allow you to get in the pictures and smile confidently without embarrassment.

IF you are embarrassed with:

  • the dark color of your teeth which looks like they are stained deeply
  • the alignment of your teeth with a “snaggle tooth” appearance
  • missing teeth that have been removed in the past
  • stained fillings that show up when you smile
  • dental decay which looks like holes in the mouth
  • teeth that look absent when you smile because of their placement.

then you should give our Shelby Township, Macomb County Michigan Cosmetic dentistry office a call to Perfect your smile.

We provide all range of dental services at our office to give you a relaxed feeling in our cosmetic focused dental practice.  We can provide to you a free consultation to gather information about our relaxing cosmetic dental office.

As a new dental patient, we will take our time focusing on your needs and desires when it comes to a perfect smile makeover.   This is a subjective field and when it comes to beauty you are the best person to judge for yourself what you want to look like.   To really increase communication we take a series of digital photos of the smile, teeth and gums.

I will then take these photos and show you on our large monitors what is good and what requires treatment.  You, the patient are always in control.

Cosmetic dentistry is truly the way to perfect your smile. Be sure to visit our

Be sure to visit our .cosmetic dentistry page so that you can see the possibilities come alive for you.  Our website is www.TheGentleDentist.com and  you can visit us there or ask me a question.  Our address is 15055 22 Mile, Shelby Township, Michigan 48315 (Macomb County) and we can be contacted at (586)247-3500.

Ask the Gentle Dentist-Bulimia and its affect on oral and systemic health

And Burning mouth syndrome

Bulimia or Bulimia nervosa is a psychological eating disorder that usually affects women starting in the teen years and continuing into adulthood.  Bulimia is a condition where a person overeats with large quantities of food. They usually feel that they cannot stop eating or control what and how much they eat.  To compensate for their overeating and potential weight gain they will then purge by self induced vomiting.  Over exercising and the use of laxatives is also common to avoid weight gain.  These women usually have an inaccurate view of their bodies and are influenced by the gaunt look that is popular in fashion and culture.

This disorder can exist in a constant cycle from a few times per week to even daily. Common problems that bulimics face is gastric reflux (heart burn), esophagus inflammation, dehydration, constipation and oral trauma from sticking a finger down the throat.

The upper front teeth are severely worn down due to the fact that strong acid from the stomach passes across the teeth surface, eroding the enamel from the teeth.  The wear is caused mostly by tooth brushing after one of these episodes as it microscopically breaks down the fragile matrix in the enamel.  Teeth can appear very thin, uneven and tattered on the edges.  They may even appear dark on the edges where light shines through them.

Treatment for bulimia consists of psychological therapy to help these people get over the habit and to create a better self image of themselves.

If they are in therapy we as dentists want to also stop the effect it has on the teeth.  I have made thin plastic trays like bleaching trays that go over the teeth.  The patient fills them with fluoridate to remineralize the teeth.  Porcelain dental veneers also help to rebuild the areas that have the erosion of enamel.

Bulimics are very quiet and discrete in what they do, but if you notice that the one you love seems to overeat and then dismiss themselves from the meal you might be direct and lovingly confront them.  Tell them that you noticed a change in their behavior and that you have concerns about their health.  The affected individual needs to know they are loved and matter.

A well informed and observant dentist can see the effects from constant purging when examining the teeth.  If you are making an appointment for the teenager you suspect to may be wise to discretely give the dentist a heads up to take notice if there are any changes in the appearance of the upper front teeth.  Many times the message is received more openly if it comes from a dentist or dental hygienist rather than from a family member. I have diagnosed a few young women who had this disorder and the way we handled it was critically important to letting the patient know the damage they are doing to their bodies and teeth and that they matter.  It really takes a lot of time to effectively talk to a practicing bulimic and not have them get defensive, yet get the message across.

If you suspect that your wife or daughter is practicing this, you can give me a call to discuss the situation.  We can be the objective observer and direct their treatment accordingly.  We have a psychologist we work with to help treat the bulimia.  Our phone number is 586-247-3500 or you can email me privately at DrAntolak@TheGentleDentist.com.

Question: I have had a burning tongue for the last 6 months or so and don’t know what to do about it.  I am a 60 year old female and wonder what it caused from.  Could you please provide some information for me to treat this irritating and painful situation

Answer: If you have a perfectly normal looking tongue, but as the day wears on, the burning sometimes seems to progress. You may even experience some tastes that have no apparent cause. If you are having these mysterious and irritating sensations, you may be suffering from burning tongue syndrome, also known as burning mouth.

Causes and Possible Solutions

Although burning tongue is not a common condition, sufferers are generally older women. Only about four or five percent of American adults suffer from it. It’s not known exactly what causes the condition, although there are many factors. In some cases, more than one cause may be at work.

Sometimes the cause is as simple as irritation from various sources. One culprit may be your toothpaste or mouth rinse. To test this, switch toothpastes to a plain fluoride toothpaste, without any tartar-control or tooth-whitening ingredients. Also, stop using any mouth rinses except plain water or salt water. If you wear dentures or other oral appliances, they may be irritating to mouth tissues and contributing to burning mouth. If you suspect this, let us know right away so we can check them out and adjust them as necessary. Another source of irritation is acidic drinks, like soda pop, citrus, and tomato beverages. Try eliminating them from your diet, and see if your symptoms improve.

Certain hormone-related conditions can also be causes. Fluctuating hormone levels during menopause can lead to burning mouth, and the high blood sugar levels that occur with diabetes can also be irritating to oral tissues. Managing these conditions can sometimes help relieve burning mouth symptoms.

Another thing to consider is medications that you may have begun taking at about the time your symptoms began. Some drugs can cause burning tongue as a side effect.  Blood pressure medications,  antidepressants and diuretics can cause dry mouth, which can lead to a burning sensation. Talking with your physician about changing medications may do the trick.

There is some speculation that burning mouth syndrome is caused by damage or irritation to the nerves that control taste and sensation on the tongue and mouth. Some medications for controlling the nervous system, such as antidepressants, anticonvulsants, or pain medications, can help. Your physician may be able to prescribe these for you after a thorough exam.

Some people have experienced relief by rinsing their mouths with water and capsaicin (sometimes called capsicum). Capsaicin is the ingredient that makes hot peppers hot, and it’s used in pain-relief creams meant for treating nerve and muscle pain. You can try mixing about one part hot sauce with two or three parts water, rinsing your mouth with the mixture, and then spitting it out. Start by doing this every two or three hours for the first day or two, then tapering off to once or twice a day. Rinsing with this mixture will probably cause a burning sensation, and it’s thought that this burning temporarily interferes with the body chemicals that transmit pain messages. If you try this, though, be very careful. Once you get out the hot sauce and start working with it, don’t touch your nose or eyes until you’ve spit the mixture out and washed your hands thoroughly. Also, some people are sensitive to capsaicin, so if the burning is severe, stop using it immediately.

There are some other coping methods that may bring relief. If you drink alcoholic products or smoke, try to stop because these both irritate and dry out oral tissues. Avoid cinnamon and mint products. Chewing sugar-free gum or sucking on sugar-free candies or ice chips might also help. Vitamin deficiencies can be a contributing factor, so try taking a multivitamin supplement if you’re not doing that already.

If you’re suffering from burning in your mouth, let us know. We’ll want to check your mouth for sores, irritations, or other conditions that might be causing the pain. In some cases, we may want to work with your physician in determining the best course of treatment for you.

Dr. Antolak can be reached at DrAntolak@TheGentleDentist.com or call the office at (586)247-3500. If you have any questions that you would like answered you can do it also by writing at Ask The Dentist  15055 22 Mile #2, Shelby Twp. Michigan  48315 (Macomb County)

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