Craig S. Karriker, DMD, P.A.- 400 South Granard Street, Gaffney, SC 29341, (864) 487-0710

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By Craig S. Karriker, DMD, PA
September 17, 2013
Category: Oral Health
10FactsYouShouldKnowAboutToothDecay

If you have ever had tooth decay, you should know:

  1. Tooth decay is one of the most common of all diseases, second only to the common cold.
  2. Tooth decay affects more than one-fourth of U.S. children ages 2 to 5, half of those ages 12 to 15, and more than 90 percent of U.S. adults over age 40.
  3. Tooth decay causes pain, suffering and disability for millions of Americans each year — even more disturbing, tooth decay is preventable.
  4. If it is not treated, in extreme and rare cases tooth decay can be deadly. Infection in an upper back tooth can spread to the sinus behind the eye, from which it can enter the brain and cause death.
  5. Tooth decay is an infectious process caused by acid-producing bacteria. Your risk for decay can be assessed in our office with a simple test for specific bacterial activity.
  6. Three factors are necessary for tooth decay to occur: susceptible teeth, acid-producing bacteria and a diet rich in sugars and refined carbohydrates.
  7. Babies are not born with decay-causing bacteria in their mouths; the bacteria are transmitted through saliva from mothers, caregivers, or family members.
  8. Fluoride incorporated into the tooth structure protects teeth against decay by making the enamel more resistant to acid attack.
  9. Sealants, which close up the nooks and crannies in newly erupted teeth, stop bacterial collection where a toothbrush can't reach. Teeth with sealants have been shown to remain 99 percent cavity-free over six years.
  10. Restricting sugar intake is important in preventing tooth decay. Your total sugar intake should be less than 50 grams a day (about ten teaspoons) including sugars in other foods. A can of soda may have six teaspoons of sugar — or more!

Contact us today to schedule an appointment to discuss your questions about tooth decay. You can learn more by reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “Tooth Decay – The World's Oldest & Most Widespread Disease.”

By Craig S. Karriker, DMD, PA
June 26, 2013
Category: Oral Health
TheTopTenMainCausesofBadBreath

Nobody wants “halitosis,” commonly known as bad breath. Americans spend an estimated $3 billion per year on breath freshening products like candies, chewing gum and sprays, but that really just masks the problem. Bad breath is clearly a major concern. Treating bad breath effectively means understanding and treating what causes it.

And The Top Ten Main Causes of Bad Breath Are:

  1. You just woke up — because saliva flow is reduced during the night, it is normal to wake up with a dry mouth and “morning breath.”
  2. It was something you ate — garlic, onions, coffee, alcohol, spicy foods and more — are common causes — luckily they are temporary. Brushing, flossing and mouthrinses may help.
  3. It was because you didn't eat — fasting can result in bad breath. In hunger, especially starvation, a person's breath may actually smell like nail polish remover (acetone). This comes from ketones that are produced as the body metabolizes fat for energy production.
  4. “Xerostomia,” literally dry mouth — from plain old dehydration, and certainly many medications can cause dry mouth leading to bad breath. Drinking sufficient quantities of water is helpful and important.
  5. Smoker's breath — If you are a smoker, the telltale odor lingers — for days and weeks. Try quitting for multiple health benefits.
  6. Ineffective oral hygiene — buildup of food remnants and bacteria on and between your teeth and gums is a prominent cause of bad breath.
  7. Bacterial accumulation on the back of your tongue — large numbers of bacteria accumulating in the nooks and crannies, where they may give off volatile sulfur compounds (VSCs), which have an odor reminiscent of rotten eggs.
  8. You may have tooth decay or periodontal (gum) disease — one of the main causes of bad breath is gum disease. Studies have shown that the more VSCs a person has on their breath, the more likely it is that they have gum disease. Openly decayed teeth can also be a cause of bad breath.
  9. You may have a problem with your nose or tonsils — Nasal odors exhaled from the nose and mouth may be a result of sinus infections, foreign bodies, or infections of your tonsils.
  10. Serious health conditions — like diabetes, lung disease and cancer can also be systemic (general body causes of bad breath) that do not emanate from the mouth.

Because some of these problems are serious and need treatment, don't just try to cosmetically camouflage bad breath. Make every effort to remove the film of bacteria (plaque) from your teeth and gums every day; if this does not cure your bad breath, contact us for an assessment, diagnosis, and treatment.

Contact us today to schedule an appointment or to discuss your questions about bad breath. You can also learn more by reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “Bad Breath: More than just embarrassing.”

By Craig S. Karriker, DMD, PA
February 15, 2013
Category: Oral Health
YourDentistMayBeAbleToHelpYouStopSnoring

Dentistry has ventured into the new area of sleep medicine by helping snorers — and their exasperated sleeping partners — with custom-made anti-snoring devices. These oral appliances, which resemble orthodontic retainers or sports mouthguards, keep the snorer's airway clear and the bedroom quiet. To see how they work, you have to understand the mechanics of snoring.

Snoring occurs when the upper airway (back of the throat) becomes blocked by the tongue or other soft-tissue structures, such as large tonsils or a long soft palate. The vibrating of these obstacles creates the sound we call snoring.

Snoring is often worse when sleeping on one's back because that position encourages the lower jaw to fall back and the tongue to close off the airway. This is where Oral Appliance Therapy comes in. These custom-fitted devices are designed to keep the upper airway open during sleep by pulling the lower jaw forward, which in turn brings the tongue away from the throat. Dentists, and our office in particular, are the only source for Oral Appliance Therapy.

People who snore should have a thorough examination to rule out Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA), a potentially dangerous condition in which airflow can be cut off completely for 10 or more seconds (“a” – without; “pnea” – breath), reducing blood-oxygen levels. Chronic, loud snoring is a common finding with OSA.

Please remember that sleep is an integral part of health and well-being. In fact, we spend about a third of our lives doing it. If you are snoring or have any sleep-related breathing disorders that are waking you or your bed partner, be sure to tell our office. There are plenty of examples of the havoc wreaked by sleep-deprived individuals. Remember the Exxon Valdez?

If you have any questions about Oral Appliance Therapy, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation.

To learn more about the topic of oral appliance therapy, please see the Dear Doctor magazine article “Sleep Disorders & Dentistry.”

By Craig S. Karriker, DMD, PA
January 25, 2013
Category: Dental Procedures
WhatCanADeepCleaningDoForGumDisease

Gum or periodontal disease is a condition in which “biofilms” or dental bacterial plaque sticks to teeth around the gum line in the absence of good oral hygiene. If left untreated, it causes inflammation of the gums and surrounding tissues of the teeth that can result in “pocketing,” gum recession and bone loss that eventually leads to loose teeth, followed by no teeth! And for about 10 to 15% of those having gingivitis or stage 1 periodontal disease, it can get worse by progressing into chronic periodontal disease. However, the good news is that a conservative and simple treatment called root planing combined with good daily oral hygiene may return your gum tissues to health, and even eliminate the need for gum surgery.

Most of the time, root planing is performed with local anesthesia (numbing shots) in the areas requiring treatment. Anesthesia is an important part because you should always feel relaxed and comfortable during treatment. Because inflamed gum tissues may be quite sensitive, these numbing shots enable us to accomplish our goals and thoroughly remove the problematic material from your teeth's roots.

Root planing or deep cleaning is a routine dental procedure usually done in conjunction with scaling, the removal of the more superficial deposits on the tooth surfaces. Root planing involves physically planing (scraping) the root surfaces of the teeth to remove calculus, bacteria and toxins that are ingrained into their surfaces so that the attached gum tissues can heal. It is carried out with manual hand instruments, ultrasonic electronic instruments or a combination of both for your comfort and best results.

You can learn more about this procedure by reading, “Root Planing.” Or if you want to schedule an appointment to discuss your questions, contact us today.

By Craig S. Karriker, DMD, PA
November 08, 2012
Category: Oral Health
WhatOurOfficeCanDoAboutYourSnoringorSleepApnea

Snoring and Obstructive Sleep Apnea (OSA) is a condition that occurs when the upper airway (back of your throat) collapses or is blocked, causing significant airflow disruption. A person with OSA continues snoring at a regular rate but is interrupted by long silent periods during which there is no breathing for atleast 10 seconds or more. Believe it or not, this issue affects millions of people worldwide. It can leave you feeling tired, depressed, irritable, as well as cause memory loss and poor concentration. And if you have OSA that is left undiagnosed and untreated you could fall victim to heart attacks, strokes, irregular heartbeat, high blood pressure, heart disease and even impotence. For these reasons, we feel it is important that you understand the real-world consequences that can occur if you ignore your OSA.

Reality is that most people are unaware that their dentist can be an excellent resource in helping to diagnose and treat OSA. However the first and most important step is to receive a proper, thorough examination and diagnosis with an appropriately trained physician and dentist. If after completing this process you are diagnosed with OSA, we will discuss treatment options. Some of these may include:

  • Suggesting that you exercise and lose weight if you are overweight.
  • Sleeping with a Continuous Positive Airway Pressure (CPAP) machine that provides pressurized air into your airways through a mask that covers both your nose and mouth while sleeping.
  • Sleeping with a professionally made oral appliance or mouthguard that can reposition your lower jaw, tongue, soft palate and uvula (the dangling tissue in the top, back portion of your mouth) into a better position during sleep to relieve blockage.

If you are ready to discuss you questions and concerns about your snoring, or the snoring habits of another family member, contact us today to schedule a consultation. You can also learn more about the signs, symptoms, and treatment options when you read “Snoring & Sleep Apnea.”