Thursday, April 28, 2011

A history of dentistry.

As with most things, the first try is not always a success.

The same can be said about dentistry. The earliest writings we have on the subject are from about 5000 B.C. Way back then all we have are people's speculation on what in the world was the cause of a toothache.

Later on, about 300 B.C. we start to get treatments for toothaches. None of these treatments sounded very pleasant. Even such noted historical figures as
Hippocrates and Aristotle got in on the act.

In the old west it is recorded that the barber doubled as the local dentist. The word "dentist" being very loosely used as most of what the barber did was to simply take teeth that had gone bad.

Personally I can't imagine what it must have been like.
Tooth pain is one of the worst pains you can go through.
And to not have the anesthetics and equipment we have today must have been tough.

Well, 7,000 years after the first recorded ideas of dentistry we now have amazing new technologies that make going to the dentist a
whole lot better then it used to be.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Teething pains. In a six year old.

We all know about the teething that happens in the first year of your child's life.
But not too many people are familiar with the teething that happens when a child in 6.
At the age of 6 years old, or so, your child will get in their first adult molars.
They are called, 6 year molars.
These teeth are the largest teeth that anyone will ever have in their mouths.
These teeth are not the little pointy teeth that little kids get in the front of their mouths.
These teeth are large and flat.
They need to place more force in order to break through the gums then the little ones do.

Therefore, if your child is around the age of 6 years and they complain about pain
way in the back of their mouth they may just be teething all over again.
Its always a good idea to get things checked out by a dental
professional just to insure that they do not have active cavities causing this ache.
But more often then not it will simply be the child's first molars coming in.

The best thing to do is treat this case of tooth eruption just like the others.
A mild over the counter pain killer such as Tylenol or ibuprofen and
then some orajel at the spot the tooth is coming in.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Its called Pericoronitis

That's right. You may have a Pericoronits.
It simple terms it is a little flap of skin that is hanging over the top of your last tooth.
Or it may be that the tooth isn't all the way in yet and its half covered by tissue.

Whichever it is, this tissue will tend to get inflamed from time to time.
When it does get inflamed chewing can become very painful.
The problem can be helped by swishing with a mouthwash and ridding the area of debris.

But this is only a short term solution.

What is the long term solution?

# 1 You can get the tooth that is partially erupted taken out.
That works well if the tooth happens to be a wisdom tooth.
But not so well if it happens to be a normal molar.

#2 You can get the tissue trimmed off.
This works very well for normal molars but not so well if the problem is a wisdom tooth.
Whatever the problem happens to be just know that you are not alone
in having this problem and that there are several simple solutions.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Clear, Removable, Braces.

Everyone calls these types of braces Invisalign.

However, another product is out on the market that
does the exact same thing except less expensive.
This product is called Clear Correct.
The trays are still clear.
Your teeth still move.
You can still take them out.
If you have orthodontic insurance you are still covered.

The bottom line is you simply pay less.

Monday, April 18, 2011

It's called a apicoectomy.

Its called a what!?

Okay, its not something you hear everyday but its something that can
be very helpful if you find your self with a failing root canal.

Root canals do not always work.
If my tooth hurt I would get one tomorrow.
So you know they are still very predictable.

However sometimes an infection can begin at the end of the tooth
even though a root canal has already been performed.
You could re-do the root canal but that can be difficult.
You can try to re-medicate but that may not be the answer either.
More often then not the best treatment is called an apicoectomy.

A small access to the root of the tooth is made and the infected area is removed.
This will allow the root canal and tooth to remain intact while still removing the infection.
After the infection is removed the gum tissue is re-sealed and the healing can begin.
This procedure is very effective and does no further harm to the tooth.
This is especially important if the tooth was crowned after the root canal was finished.
It is not possible to preform this procedure on all teeth but for most of them its a great option.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

What is a sealant?

A sealant is a protective covering that is placed over a tooth
so that it is harder for the bacteria to attack it and cause a cavity.
Material is flowed into all of the cracks and grooves to protect
them and then the material is cured to a hard state.
99% of the time the teeth that are
sealed are the 1st and 2nd adult molars.

These teeth come in at ages 6 and 12 respectively.

Any tooth can be sealed but it is typically these two teeth
because they are the most likely to get cavities and they
are the ones the the insurance companies will pay for.

You children don't need sealants but it sure does help.
Adults can get sealants on their back teeth but you will pay for it all yourself.

If you are interested, talk to your dentist.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

But I brush?

Happens everyday.
I tell people they have cavities and they look at me
with this questioning and confused look and say,
"How do I have cavities? I brush my teeth."
This is probably just an eternal battle for me as a dentist.

For a person to say...
"How can I have cavities? I brush"

Is like saying...
"How did my engine overheat? I put water in the radiator."

Good job on the water.
That is a very necessary part of helping keep your engine cool.
However, so is adding oil to the engine itself.
Adding the water is nice but its not enough.
Just as brushing is nice but it is not enough, on its own, to prevent tooth decay.

Moral to the story.
Brush AND Floss
Brush AND Floss
Brush AND Floss
Brush AND Floss

Got it?
Now have a wonderful day.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Yet another reason to go to the dentist.

Say someone kidnaps you.
Say they then put an end to your life.
Say they don't want anyone to be able to identify you.
Say they cut off your fingers so no fingerprints can be taken.
Say they then set you on fire so you can't be visually identified.

This may seem extreme but it happens.
If you have been watching the news you will know they have found
about 13 bodies on a beach in New York dumped by a murderer.

So why is this on a dental blog?????
Because, one of the last lines of identification for
otherwise unidentifiable remains is the teeth.

No murderer thinks to take someones teeth out and
they will not typically disintegrate in a fire.

Forensic dentists will do a visual exam of the teeth and x-ray them as well.
They will look at how many teeth you have, which ones are missing,
how many crown you have, how many root canals, how many fillings, etc. etc.

These will all help the police find out who the victim is
and help reunite the body with the family.
And help bring the murderer to justice.

However, if you have not gone to the dentist for years and years no one
will have any records of you. No x-rays, no records of crowns, fillings, or anything.

The more often you go the more exact the records will be.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Why does my root canal still hurt!?

Dentistry is medicine.
Although nothing i will ever do, more then likely, will ever rank
up there with treating cancer or preforming heart surgery the
procedures done in dentistry are still medical in nature.

Sometimes I get people coming to my office from other dentists
and they are angry because their teeth still hurt even AFTER
getting a root canal procedure preformed on it.

This is what I tell them.
Although root canals are a very successful procedure there are
still a certain number of them that will not work.
Consider going in for knee surgery to clean out a defective joint.
Months later you still hurt and you go back to the doctor.
You tell him that your knee still hurts.
He does and exam and tells you that there are still some particles in the knee that
didn't get taken out the first time and that he will have to go in again and
get the knee cleaned out for a second time.
This bums you out but you think nothing of it.
In dentistry people sometimes feel like it should be a one and done.
In pain to out of pain in one visit.

In most cases this is true. However, just like the knee surgery, there are times when
the first surgery on the tooth just doesn't work.

There are a few options here.
You can get the root canal re-done by the dentist who did it in the first place.
You can get it re-done by a root canal specialist (endodontist).

The trouble with getting it re-done is that it may not work the second time either.
You are then out another chunk of change and still have the same problem.

You could have the tooth taken out and have a bridge or implant put in.
That would assure the tooth never hurt again but you would have to go
through getting the tooth taken out.

Just talk to your dentist before you get your root canal.
Ask questions.
Feel comfortable BEFORE any treatment is given.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

How long will it last?

When I inform people that they need a crown due to their
tooth cracking I usually get the same response.

How long will it last if I don't get the crown.

The answer to that is usually the same.
It depends.
Your tooth is cracking because of the pressure being placed upon it during chewing.
Therefore, if you went on an all liquid diet ( thus no longer chewing )
your tooth will last for a long time.

However, if you like to eat nuts, carrots, or anything else that is a
little hard then your tooth could fracture tonight.
There is no way to tell.
If all depends on how you use your teeth.
Cracks will not heal themselves.
They will continue to progress as you use the teeth to chew.
The eventual result will be a fracture.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Grandpa got loose dentures?

It happens all the time.
Grandpa/Grandma/You have a top denture that fits
great but the lower denture is awful.
There is help.
2 implants need to be placed in the lower jaw.
Each one of those implants will have a gold housing on top of it.
These housings have undercuts in them that will serve as retention for the denture.
The old denture then gets holes drilled into it and metal
receptors with o-rings place in the holes.

These receptors with the o-rings will fit down over the implant housings and
secure the denture to the jaw.

It works very well and people are very happy that their denture is
no longer floating around in their mouth.

Monday, April 4, 2011

The Floss Replacement?

Houston, we have a problem.

No one likes to floss.
Some people to it but even those folks don't find it to be the highlight of their day.

Floss manufacturers know this and so they have been coming out with floss alternatives to try to entice people.

One of these alternatives that is really catching on is a little thing that looks like a piece of pipe cleaner. You take this little pipe cleaner job and push it back and forth at the base of you tooth.

These things are called inter proximal brushes, proxi brushes, etc. But they all do the same thing.

Here are some examples.
So what's the problem?

The problem is that although they do a great job of getting things out from the space right above the gum line, they absolutely do not get to the most important spot in between the teeth.

This most important spot is the spot where the floss snaps.
That spot that snaps is where the bugs that cause the cavities are hiding.
They wedge into the hardest spot to get to in order to cause cavities.
If you do not feel that snap then you are not getting that spot clean.

Don't get me wrong here.
I love it when people use the little pip cleaner jobs.
However, I am starting to see more and more folks that are getting cavities that say to me, "how is that possible?! I am using those pipe cleaners all the time."

Use these cool new gadgets just don't let them replace the floss.

Friday, April 1, 2011

You Sleep, I Work.

We just finished up a sedation case this morning.
Went beautifully.
We bring in an anesthesiologist.
He puts you to sleep. And when you wake up your work
is done and you are looking at my smiling face : )
Okay, so maybe we have a family member there when you
wake up because seeing me as you wake up may cause
nightmares, but whatever.
Point is that you can sleep all the way through the appointment.
It is really great stuff.