Monday, November 17, 2014

Can we Diagnose Cavities without X-Rays?

            We are always looking for new and improved ways to keep your teeth healthy and maintain a preventative and minimally invasive approach. To identify cavities as early as possible, we typically recommend bite wing x-rays (x-rays between the teeth) once per year. However, x-rays are not always 100% conclusive and we want to make sure we offer the best possible treatment for each individual. To help with our diagnostic abilities, we have added a new tool to our repertoire: the CariVu.
            The CariVu is an intra-oral device that uses a highly concentrated light to illuminate decalcified areas between the teeth. We are then able to save the images to the computer and use them as comparative references each time. Just like x-rays, they are not always 100% conclusive, but they are an excellent adjunct to our clinical exam and bite wing x-rays. But unlike x-rays, the CariVu is radiation free.
            So why don’t we do away with x-rays and simply use the CariVu only for our exams. There are a couple of important reasons:
  1. Bite wing x-rays are still the standard of care in diagnosing cavities in between the teeth because of their proven history.
  2. CariVu does not show the health of the area surrounding the teeth and cannot diagnose tooth, gum and bone infections.
As you can imagine, the more information we have on the historical health of your teeth, the better recommendations we can make. And just like the pictures we take of the teeth, there is no additional charge for us to use this device. We just added it to our armamentarium to better treat each person we see.
            When we recommend a treatment plan for you, we want to make sure it is individually catered to your health and needs. But in order to do that, we need the maximum amount of relevant information. The CariVu is another instrument we will use to help you stay healthy and smiling for a long time.

For more information, visit us at

Lee T. Brown, DDS

Brown and Kupper, DDS Inc. 

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

How Do Drug Addictions Affect Your Teeth?

October 23rd through October 31st is National Red Ribbon Week, which aims to raise awareness to the dangers of illegal drugs. I don’t claim to have the answers on how to keep people off of drugs, but I would like to take a look at how some drugs can affect your oral health and your teeth. Below we will briefly discuss the dental concerns that substances like heroin and crystal meth can create.
The first issue that can arise for those with substance abuse problems is a lack of proper oral hygiene and homecare. Unfortunately, the addiction can become so devastating that people will forget to brush or floss for days at a time. Their only priorities revolve around their addiction, and oral health takes a back seat. If problems do develop and pain is associated with their teeth or mouth, they will then self medicate with more drugs to feel better. It is a brutal cycle and can have destructive long term effects on their teeth and gums.
Substances like crystal meth and heroin often lead tooth decay resulting from dry mouth and an increased affinity towards sweets. Methamphetamines can cause the salivary glands to stop functioning properly, and our saliva is a key component in fighting tooth decay. Substances like heroin also cause users to crave sweets and sugary drinks. The sugary substances, combined with a lack of homecare, often increase the propensity of developing large cavities and serious gum disease. These factors often result in the condition commonly referred to as ‘meth mouth.’
Drug addictions can be debilitating to both the user and their families, and dental concerns are just one of the many issues they may face. We will always try to help work through these dental issues for anyone in need, but we encourage you to find the proper help for those affected by substance abuse problems.

For more information, visit

Lee T. Brown, DDS
Brown and Kupper, DDS Inc.