Category Archives: Preventive Dentistry

Am I Developing Gingivitis? | Palm Harbor Dentist

Gingivitis, or gum disease, is one of those ailments one dreads hearing they have. It usually develops when oral care falls by the wayside, so it can easily be prevented with proper dental routines. Gingivitis is an inflammation of the gums, usually caused by a bacterial infection. If left untreated, it can become a more serious infection known as periodontitis and can cause tooth loss.

Your gums actually attach to the teeth at a lower point than the gum edges. Food can get trapped in this space and cause a gum infection or gingivitis. Plaque is a thin film of bacteria on the surface of your teeth. When you don’t brush, it hardens and becomes tartar. Left unchecked, gingivitis can cause the gums to separate from the teeth. This can cause injury to the soft tissue and bone supporting the teeth, causing them to fall out.

The problem is many people aren’t aware that they have gingivitis. It’s possible to have gum disease without any symptoms, and without regular dental checkups, it can go completely undetected. However, the following can be symptoms of gingivitis:

  • red, tender, or swollen gums
  • bleeding when brushing or flossing
  • gums that have pulled away from the teeth
  • loose teeth
  • a change in how your teeth fit together when you bite (malocclusion)
  • pus between teeth and gums
  • pain when chewing
  • sensitive teeth
  • partial dentures that no longer fit
  • foul-smelling breath that does not go away after you brush your teeth

Remember, practicing good oral hygiene is essential to your oral health. Preventative care starts at home, not in your dentist’s chair every six months.

If you’re interested in learning more about gingivitis, contact Dr. Larry Lieberman, DDS at 727-785-8017 to schedule a consultation today. Or visit www.dentist-lieberman.com for additional information.

Dr. Larry Lieberman proudly accepts patients from Palm Harbor and all surrounding areas.

Bad Habits Can Ruin Your Smile | Palm Harbor Dentist

While we are preparing for our holiday social calendar, we do our best to look our best while enjoying our family and friends. However, for many, our dental health isn’t a top priority like it should be. One of the main issues isn’t exactly hygiene, but bad dental habits we’ve picked up over the years. Some of those habits may even be done without our knowledge. If you happen to have one of the following habits, make some time to try to change them before dental issues are created:

Chewing ice. Are you an ice muncher after your drink is finished? Little did you know, the cold and hardness of the cubes can actually do damage to your teeth by chipping or cracking them.

Using your teeth as a tool. Using your teeth to crack open nuts, or tear through plastic can be incredibly detrimental. Just like chewing ice, using your teeth as a tool may cause damage to your teeth. Find a pair of scissors or a knife instead.

Carbonated beverages. ‘Tis the season for toasts with bubbly drinks. While this isn’t a surprise, we’re adding the usage of sugar-free sodas as well. Carbonated beverages of all types are acidic and incredibly harmful to teeth.

Nail biting. Perhaps one of the most common bad habits, biting your nails itself is not only damaging to your nail beds, but your teeth.

Grinding your teeth. The official term for this habit is bruxism and it is common to occur at night. Grinding your teeth can wear your teeth down. A dentist may give you a night guard to help you get it under control.

If you’re interested in learning more about bad dental habits, contact Dr. Larry Lieberman, DDS at 727-785-8017 to schedule a consultation today. Or visit www.dentist-lieberman.com for additional information.

Dr. Larry Lieberman proudly accepts patients from Palm Harbor and all surrounding areas.

Pizza Is Good for Your Teeth? | Palm Harbor Dentist

When you are watching your weight, pizza is generally off the table. But what if we told you it could be good for our smiles. Don’t believe it? Well, today is National Pizza with the Works Except Anchovies Day (we didn’t make it up) – and we can’t think of a better time to rave about this dental miracle. I mean, beyond consistently making us happy with its deliciousness:

Crust. No, not going to convince you crust is healthy. But one way to fight cavity-causing bacteria is saliva production. Chewing on the crust of the pizza will increase saliva production, giving those bacteria no chance to set up shop in your mouth.

Tomato sauce. Tomatoes are acidic, which isn’t good for our tooth enamel, but it also contains vitamin C, which fights infections, including gum disease, toothaches and other dental issues. Lycopene and calcium can also help prevent oral cancer.

Cheese. We all know calcium is great for strengthening our teeth and cheese is jam-packed with it. And it is one nutrient we cannot produce naturally so don’t be afraid to say, “extra cheese, please!”

Meat. Meat contains lots of protein and protein is good for maintaining your teeth’s structure while also developing muscle/connective tissue development. So, load up on those meat toppings!

Veggies. No everything pizza is without vegetables and that is a good thing because they are not only full of fiber, but vitamin A.

Pizza may get a bad rap because of its unhealthier aspects, but by no means is it bad for you. Stack on those toppings and enjoy giving your smile the boost it craves – it’s good for your smile!

If you’re interested in learning more about the benefits of pizza, contact Dr. Larry Lieberman, DDS at 727-785-8017 to schedule a consultation today. Or visit www.dentist-lieberman.com for additional information.

Dr. Larry Lieberman proudly accepts patients from Palm Harbor and all surrounding areas.

Not All Candy Is the Same | Palm Harbor Dentist

As we approach the spookiest holiday of the year, it is important to celebrate with caution. After all, we all enjoy a handful of fun-sized candy but overdoing it can cause issues with our dental appointments. We know too many sweets can lead to cavities and tooth decay, but it is also important to celebrate with the other ghosts and goblins. Here are some basic guidelines for us to keep in mind this Halloween…

Sugar contributes to decay by providing food for bacteria that damages teeth, but simply eating candy isn’t going to cause decay. It’s the sugar remaining on the teeth long term that contributes to the decay. So, limit your time eating candy, and immediately rinse with water and/or brush as soon as possible.

Not all Halloween candy is created equal. Sour candies tend to have far more acid than sweeter candies and that acidity is more damaging to tooth enamel than plain sugar and should be avoided if possible. Candies that are sticky – such as caramels, gummies, and popcorn balls – are more likely to stick to teeth, and therefore more likely to resist brushing. Because they may get stuck on teeth, they are more likely to cause tooth decay.

While you are chowing down on sweets, make sure to balance it out with other healthier food sources. The saying holds true – too many sweets will spoil your dinner. While Halloween can be fun, and candy is typically OK, be sure to ensure that candy is enjoyed in moderation and try to avoid the overly acidic/sour and sticky/gummy candies.

If you’re interested in learning more about Halloween candy, contact Dr. Larry Lieberman, DDS at 727-785-8017 to schedule a consultation today. Or visit www.dentist-lieberman.com for additional information.

Dr. Larry Lieberman proudly accepts patients from Palm Harbor and all surrounding areas.

The ABCs of Wisdom Teeth | Palm Harbor Dentist

Wisdom teeth – it becomes a rite of passage as we mature into adults. For some it’s an easy journey; for others, not so much. Some people have all four wisdom teeth, others may only have a couple. Unfortunately, there seems to be no reliable predictor to determine how many wisdom teeth any given patient has prior to getting x-rays done. And you can certainly live a full life with or without wisdom teeth – until they’ve become problematic.

In many cases, wisdom teeth crowd other molars, grow in misaligned, or partially erupt from the gum. This is what causes pain, tenderness, and further alignment issues with other teeth. If they become impacted, bacteria can enter the gum tissue where it cannot be brushed or flossed, leading to significant decay of the tooth itself, as well as periodontal disease as the infection spreads to the surrounding gum tissue.

While not all wisdom teeth need to be removed, their potential for problems makes them likely candidates for extraction in many patients. The difficulty of extraction depends on many factors, such as number of wisdom teeth, their general alignment, and whether or not they’re compacting other teeth. If the wisdom teeth are fully erupted and visible, extraction may be simple; if the wisdom teeth are underneath the gums, the dentist or oral surgeon will need to cut into the gum to get to the teeth, which tends to be more invasive.

If you’re experiencing pain or discomfort near the back of your mouth, or if you’ve been told you have wisdom teeth that may be problematic, speak to your dentist about the various options available to you.

If you’re interested in learning more about wisdom teeth, contact Dr. Larry Lieberman, DDS at 727-785-8017 to schedule a consultation today. Or visit www.dentist-lieberman.com for additional information.

Dr. Larry Lieberman proudly accepts patients from Palm Harbor and all surrounding areas.

How to Ease Your TMJ Pain | Palm Harbor Dentist

sleep dentistry

When we have a headache, we are nothing short of a cranky grump. After all, we use our head to do everything, so when it doesn’t feel well, we want it fixed as soon as possible. But if you find that you are getting these headaches more frequently than usual, this could be a sign of another issue that may need to be addressed.

For many, a headache is often associated with jaw pain. If this is the case, it brings up a whole different set of treatment options. If you grind your teeth while you sleep, you may need to have a sleep study done in order to fully diagnose your condition. Individuals suffering from Temporomandibular Joint Disorder, or TMJ, experience many symptoms such as discomfort and pain in areas surrounding the face or jaw. There are a series of remedies recommended in order to alleviate tension found in those areas. Some of these include:

  • Facial exercises such as stretching, relaxing, or massaging the muscles found around the jaw.
  • Avoiding actions such as yawning, singing, or excessive chewing.
  • Learning new stress relieving techniques including but not limited to meditation, breathing exercises, or personal stress relievers.
  • Formulating an exercise plan in order to increase our pain tolerance.

If you find that TMJ pain and headaches are becoming a frequent occurrence, contact a dental professional to correctly treat the issue. Dr. Lieberman highly encourages patients suffering from TMJ to follow these few techniques in order to alleviate TMJ pain and symptoms. If symptoms worsen, you are encouraged to schedule an appointment immediately with our friendly staff.

If you’re interested in learning more about TMJ disorder, contact Dr. Larry Lieberman, DDS at 727-785-8017 to schedule a consultation today. Or visit www.dentist-lieberman.com for additional information.

Dr. Larry Lieberman proudly accepts patients from Palm Harbor and all surrounding areas.

Your Family Needs an Expert | Palm Harbor Dentist

When you start a family, it is important that you ensure everyone is healthy and happy at all times. A close-knit family is ideal because not only do you rely on each other in times of need, but you learn from each other. Teamwork is the main objective when it comes to family and dental health should be no different.

If you decide to celebrate your dental health together, it is necessary to make sure everyone is brushing twice a day for at least two minutes, flossing and rinsing with a fluoride mouthwash. Eating together will keep your diets healthy and nutritious, keeping those cavity creeps at bay. And lastly, visiting the dentist together will also bring you closer as a family. But not all dentists are alike – you need a family dentist.

Your family dentist will focus of preventive care to ensure that your oral health is in the ideal condition. Along with regular checkups, your family dentist can prevent oral hygiene problems with fluoride treatments, teeth cleanings, and tooth decay prevention. They are here to answer any questions you may have about keeping your family’s dental health as healthy as it can be. But more than that, a family dentist can provide a variety of dental procedures, including:

  • Tooth-colored dental fillings
  • Root canals
  • Tooth extraction
  • Wisdom teeth extraction
  • Dental crowns
  • Teeth whitening
  • Dental bridges

Avoid trusting just any dentist with your family’s dental problems. With Dr. Lieberman’s years of expertise, your family’s oral health will be improved and enhances like never before.

If you’re interested in learning more about family dentistry, contact Dr. Larry Lieberman, DDS at 727-785-8017 to schedule a consultation today. Or visit www.dentist-lieberman.com for additional information.

Dr. Larry Lieberman proudly accepts patients from Palm Harbor and all surrounding areas.

Don’t Worry About that Dental Procedure | Palm Harbor Dentist

If you’re one of the many people who suffer from dental anxiety or sensitive gag reflex, any kind of dental procedure is very troubling. But that doesn’t mean you can skip out on going to the dentist. The good thing is, your concerns have been heard and there is good news. Modern dentistry now has many ways to ease a patient’s fears and help relax them during treatments. There are many people that deal with dental anxiety, a sensitive gag reflex or just fear of the dentist in general – and the solution is sleep dentistry.

For people that avoid the dentist due to dental anxiety or a sensitive gag reflex, sleep dentistry may be the perfect solution. Many dental professionals use the term “sleep dentistry” when referring to IV sedation. This terminology can be confusing to some, as it suggests that the patient would be asleep during the dental procedure. In reality, patients actually remain conscious and are able to respond to requests during IV sedation. However, patients sometimes don’t remember much or anything at all. This is due to two reasons:

IV sedation induces patients into a deep relaxation and a feeling of not feeling bothered about what’s going on.

The drugs that are used for IV sedation produce either partial or full memory loss from the time it’s administered until it wears off. This will make it seem as if time is passing quickly. Patients won’t be able to recall much or anything at all.

So, as you can see, there is nothing to worry about. Make that dental appointment and get that procedure done. You won’t even know it happened.

If you’re interested in learning more about IV sedation, contact Dr. Larry Lieberman, DDS at 727-785-8017 to schedule a consultation today. Or visit www.dentist-lieberman.com for additional information.

Dr. Larry Lieberman proudly accepts patients from Palm Harbor and all surrounding areas.

When Your Breath Keeps Others Away | Palm Harbor Dentist

Do you suspect you have bad breath? Believe it or not, but it may not be a lack of oral hygiene or eating too much garlic. If it’s a more recurring issue, it could be the beginning stages of gum disease. If gum disease continues untreated, it can damage the gums and jawbone. But that’s not all – many other diseases and illnesses may cause bad breath. Respiratory tract infections such as pneumonia, bronchitis, chronic sinus infections, postnasal drip, diabetes, chronic acid reflux, and liver or kidney problems, just to name a few. Treat bad breath at home by following these tips:

Practice good oral hygiene. Brush twice a day with fluoride toothpaste to remove food debris and plaque. Replace your toothbrush every 2 to 3 months or after an illness. Use floss or an interdental cleaner to remove food particles and plaque once a day. Dentures should be removed at night and cleaned thoroughly.

See your dentist at least twice a year. Having an oral exam and professional teeth cleaning is essential to detect and treat periodontal disease, dry mouth, or other problems that may be the cause of bad mouth odor.

Stay away from tobacco. Ask your dentist for tips on kicking the habit.

Drink lots of water. Chewing sugarless gum or candies containing xylitol stimulates the production of saliva, which helps wash away food particles and bacteria.

Log of the foods you eat. If you think your diet may be causing bad breath, bring the log to your dentist to review. Similarly, make a list of the medications you take. Some drugs may play a role in creating mouth odors.

If you’re interested in learning more about bad breath, contact Dr. Larry Lieberman, DDS at 727-785-8017 to schedule a consultation today. Or visit www.dentist-lieberman.com for additional information.

Dr. Larry Lieberman proudly accepts patients from Palm Harbor and all surrounding areas.

Jaw Pain and TMJ Disorder | Palm Harbor Dentist

Do you have difficulty eating because you have begun to experience jaw pain? It is important that you do not ignore it. A “bad bite” occurs when your teeth are misaligned, which causes the jaw muscles to apply extra pressure in order to compensate for the poor alignment of your teeth. This increased stress on the surface of the teeth leads to cracks and chips, and jaw pains.

When the muscle strain extends to the temporomandibular joint, located where the upper and lower jaws meet, individuals will suffer from temporomandibular disorder or TMJ.

Because it is difficult to tell what is  going on when we start to get a random pain, a dental professional will highly encourage their patients to schedule an appointment as soon as they notice they’re experiencing any of the following symptoms, as they are common indicators of TMJ:

Toothaches. Pain in multiple teeth or the jaw joint

Limited jaw movement. Difficulty when eating or speaking

Damaged dental work. Cracked, chipped or broken dental restorations

Headache. Especially when opening and closing your jaw

Ear pain. In front of or below the ear, with no other signs of ear infection

Noises “in your head”. Grinding, crunching or popping sounds

If you are experience any of the listed symptoms, it is essential to consult a dental professional about treatment options to diminish your tooth, jaw, and headaches caused by TMJ. Postponing treatment will only lead to further issues that will affect other areas. For a reliable professional near you, call Dr. Lieberman today.

If you’re interested in learning more about jaw pain, contact Dr. Larry Lieberman, DDS at 727-785-8017 to schedule a consultation today. Or visit www.dentist-lieberman.com for additional information.

Dr. Larry Lieberman proudly accepts patients from Palm Harbor and all surrounding areas.