Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Just take out all my teeth!

Every once in a while we will get someone who asks us to take
all of their teeth out and just give them dentures.
In almost all cases the answer to this is no.

The reason for this is because these people are looking for a fix.
A fix to all of their dental problems.
They figure that if they have no teeth then they can't have anymore mouth problems.

Oh how wrong that is.
Dentures come with their own set of problems.
Do they fit?
Will they stay in?
Can I chew with them?

Now, for some people a denture is absolutely the right way to go.

But for most there are other options.
And once you go with a denture you can never go back to real teeth.

Its kind of a, the grass is always greener on the other side mentality.
Do dentures work?
But they require work, cleaning, and care just like teeth do.
If you aren't willing to work on your teeth then the problems you
had with your teeth will follow you to your dentures.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Why are new fillings sensitive sometimes?

New fillings that are placed by your dentist should not be sensitive.
If they are they should not remain that way for long.
Some very large fillings may take longer then others, but
eventually every filling should calm down.

So what exactly is going on when a fillings sensitive?
It has to do with expansion and contraction.

As with most things, when a tooth is exposed to hot or cold
temperatures it will expand or contract accordingly.

If a tooth has never had a filling it will all contract and expand at the same time.

If a tooth HAS had a filling however this is where we may get an issue.
If the tooth and the filling have a different point at which they want
to expand or contract then there can be some discomfort.
Over time this discomfort should go away as the tooth gets used to the filling.
If the discomfort does not go away then the filling needs to be re-done.
If it still hurts then there are some different types of filling materials that can be used.
If it still hurts then other treatments may be needed.

Filling sensitivity is a funny thing.
Someone can get 4 fillings in the same day.
Same doctor.
Same filling material.
Same everything.
But only 1 will end up hurting.
It is a real tooth by tooth thing and can drive patients, and dentists, crazy!

Monday, August 29, 2011

How do I say this gently?

Almost everyday I have to tell someone, that has
never had a cavity, that they have a cavity.

Many of these people are in the 50's or 60's.

They spend lots of time brushing and flossing and have never had a
cavity and don't understand how they now are getting cavities when
they are doing the same things that they have always done to keep their teeth clean.

At this point I have to be very diplomatic.

The simple answer is...... you are getting older.

As we age things will begin to break down.

These people have no problem accepting that their eyesight isn't what is used to be.
Or that their hearing may be a little worse then it was when they were younger.
But for some reason, the fact that their teeth are also wearing down is a new concept.

Every part of our bodies will break down over time.
Teeth will follow right along with the rest of it.

The forces of a lifetime of chewing mixed in with the fact that salivary flow
rates decrease as we age (thus less protection for our teeth) means that
an increase in cavities over time is almost inevitable.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Teething in a 6 year old?

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.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Veneers with no drilling or shots

Much has been made in the media recently about getting veneers.

Veneers are a great product.

They can fix a multitude of problems such as discoloration,
slight tooth rotations and crowding.

There are two types of veneers however.

The one that I will talk briefly about today is the kind of veneer called no-prep.

These veneers require no shots. No drilling. And disturb non of the natural tooth structure.

The patient simply comes to the dentist, gets a few impressions taken,
and shows up 2 weeks later to get the veneers placed.

The veneers are basically like fake fingernails except they do not need to be replaced
except for the rare case that they were to break off.

The only down side is that these types of veneers may make your teeth look a little bulky.

They are only .3 mm thick. But still your mouth is sensitive enough
to feel a human hair. So even at .3 mm they may take some getting used to.

I would highly recommend that if you have ever thought about veneers
that you take a look at some of these no-prep products.

Monday, August 22, 2011

I don't have dental insurance

I have people come into my office all the time with a really bad toothache.
I ask these folks why it is that they didn't come in sooner.
The answer that I get, a lot of the time, is that they didn't have dental insurance.

Now, this answer does have its merits.
Dental insurance does in deed help with the cost of dental care.

However, there is another side the story.

Say you have a small cavity.
This cavity would cost, lets say, $100 to fix.
If you let that small cavity go however, you may need a root canal.
A root canal would cost about $500.
If you needed a crown after the root canal then we need to add another $800.

So what would have cost you $100 will now cost you $1,300.
You still have no insurance but now you do not have a choice to
fix the problem because it is killing you.

The far better solution would be to come in and get the
problem fixed when it is small.

Financial arrangements can easily be made to accommodate anyone
who may be struggling to come up with the funds.

Say time, money, pain, and multiple trips to the dental office.
If there is a problem PLEASE do not put it off.

Your teeth and your wallet will thank you.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

It shouldn't be too hard to pull out, should it?

This happens all the time.
People, who neglect their teeth, will wait until they have a tooth that is
broken off at the gums to come to my office to get it extracted.

The laugh a little nervous laugh and say...
"well, not much left so it should be pretty easy yo pull out, huh?"

The answer to that is, NO.
Imagine getting a fence post out of the ground.
Not the easiest thing in the world, right?
Now, take a chain saw and cut the fence post off at the ground.
How easy is that going to be now?!

If you want a tooth out, please, please, please, do not wait until
it is so broken down that there is nothing to grab on to.
It is NOT easier.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Pointy Canines

Canines are unlike any other teeth in the mouth.
Every other tooth in the mouth is, almost, a copy of a another tooth in the same quadrant.
You have 2 incisors, 2 pre-molars, and 2 molars per quadrant but only 1 canine.
These teeth are also, typically, the longest rooted teeth in the mouth.

One problem that people have with their canines is that sometimes
they feel as if they are a bit too pointed.

They hide them when they smile for fear that they look too much like a vampire.

Well there has never been an easier fix for just about anything.

All you need to do is file those bad boys down just a bit.
You do not need to be numbed up and it will only take a moment to do.
You will have less enamel so the chances that you could get decay in the
future are slightly higher. But, there is hardly anyone ever that gets
cavities on the points of their canines. Just doesn't happen.
Food can't stick there very easily.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

What is a root canal

For those of you needing a root canal, or those of you that have already had one, but have no idea what a root canal is, this video is for you. The posts and the crown are not always needed but other then that this video is pretty good.

Some of you may have heard horror stories associated with this procedure. The problem most people have while getting a root canal is that they do not get it done by a bald dentist.

That makes all the difference in the world ; )

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Baby Root Canal

Children's teeth are similar to adult teeth in many ways.
They can both decay.
And the decay can get large enough that it can effect the nerve of the tooth.
In the case of an adult a tooth with an infected nerve would need a root canal.
In a child's tooth it would called a pulpotomy.
In both cases the nerve in the tooth is removed in order to help the tooth stop hurting.
One of the main differences here is the rate of success between the 2 procedures.

Root canals are, typically, very predictable.
Pulpotomys are much less so.

One reason for this is that the roots of an adult tooth are stable.
They have formed and are not going anywhere.
The roots on a child's tooth are ever changing.
The adult teeth coming in behind them are applying more and more
pressure to the baby teeth in order to force them out of the way so
that they, the permanent teeth, may erupt through the gums.

With this ever changing root structure, and not wanting to possibly damage the
permanent tooth under the baby tooth it is much more difficult to get a
pulpotomy to work then it is a root canal.

The one huge advantage that children have over adults in this
situation is that the baby teeth will fall out and the adult teeth shouldn't.

If a pulpotomy does happen to fail then removing the tooth is always
an option. And we just need to wait for the adult tooth to grow into its place.

Monday, August 8, 2011

Teeth Grinding in Children

Does your child grind their teeth at night?
Do you go in to check on them and hear that horrible grinding sound?
Does your child's teeth look like little nubs that have been ground down
from what used to be good looking little teeth?
Can anything be done about it?
Will it end up hurting their teeth?
Here are some answers to your questions.

No there is nothing you can do about the grinding.
In adults we can do things like make mouth guards to wear
at night so you grind on that rather then the teeth.
But we really don't want the chocking hazard with kids so that option is out.
Grinding is a subconscious habit so its not like sucking your thumb
where we can monitor the child and remind them to stop.
Grinding is just something you are going to have to live with.

There are only very rare cases where childhood grinding
has ever caused any real damage to a child's teeth.
A child's teeth only are around for a few years anyway.
So the teeth that are being ground on usually are not around
long enough to have any real damage done to them.
do they look a little shorter? Yes. Is it a big problem? No.

And the best thing about this entire issue is that almost all of the
kids that grind their teeth when they are young will stop doing so
as they enter the teenage years. No one knows why for sure
but by the time they are teens most kids have kicked the habit.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Painless tooth replacement.

"Painless tooth replacement"
"Teeth in a day"

We have all heard these claims and typically they are accompanied by promises that the doctor can,
almost magically, take out all of your teeth, put implants in, and place crowns on the teeth
with little to no pain, in just one day.
They may even show the patient biting into an apple right after the procedure.

In very rare and unique circumstances this MAY be the case. But for the other 99.7% of us, its not.
anytime you have surgery of ANY kind you need to heal.
The picture below shows a site where a tooth was recently extracted.
This site will be very tender for several days while the body heals.
That's just the way it works. Blood will rush to the site of any injury thus
creating inflammation (swelling) and moderate discomfort.

If implants are placed that too will cause some type of discomfort.

To say that teeth can be extracted and implants placed and that you can begin
eating right away with no pain whatsoever is just not true. What is typically
happening is that these people are trying to suck you in and then sell you on something else.

Simply do lots and lots of homework before letting these places touch your mouth.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011


What is gagging?
Gagging is simply a defense mechanism that your body has to keep you from chocking.
The picture below will show several items.
The soft palate is what we are interested in for this discussion.
When something touches the soft palate the bodies natural reaction will be
to close your throat off and prevent whatever it is that just touched the
soft palate from continuing down your throat and choking you to death.
Another spot where the gag reflex comes into play is tongue.
This can be a little more problematic then the soft palate gag reflex.
Not much will ever touch your soft palate but your tongue gets touched
all the time as you eat or whenever you go to the dentist.

Not much can be done for the soft palate gag reflex but there is help for the tongue.

Take your tooth brush and find the spot that makes you gag.
Start brushing your tongue at a spot that does not make you gag and
work your way toward that spot. Keep doing that day after day until you
can brush anywhere on your tongue without gagging.

Another trick would be to place a little bit of salt on your tongue, where it
makes you gag, before going to the dentist. That will, hopefully,
distract that spot long enough for you to get done what is you need done.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

How fast is a sneeze?

We have all had it happen to us.
A co-worker lets out a sneeze without covering their mouths.
You try, without the sneezer noticing, to politely turn away as to not ingest their germs.

Does that work?

Well, only if you are really really fast about it.
A sneeze comes out of your mouth at hundreds of miles an hour.
That's right.
Estimates are a little scattered as to just how fast but it ranges anywhere from
100 mph to 800 mph. But regardless of which of these numbers is closer
to the real number is kind of irrelevant. The point is that unless you can turn your head
very very quickly you are out of luck. The sneezer's germs are now your germs.

Best thing to do is to tell the sneezer to cover his/her mouth!