Thursday, March 29, 2012

Before and After

Years of neglect can do funny things to teeth.

But even the effects of years of neglect can be reversed 
in only a few appointments.



Tuesday, March 27, 2012

What is a tooth abscess?

When a tooth goes bad it will begin to produce infection.
That infection wants to go somewhere.
In a typical tooth the only way out of the tooth is out the 
end of the tooth into the bone.
Once the infection is in the bone it then wants to find a way out of that.
After making it though the bone it will then try to make its way though the gums.
It is at this point when you will start to see the redness, swelling, and 
drainage that are signs of an abscess. 

Abscess' can come in different forms and in different places.

Here is an abscess at the top of the front tooth.
This one is very red and inflamed. 

Here is an abscess that came out the bottom of the chin.
What you are seeing is a plastic drain that has been inserted to
take away any extra infection.

Here is an abscess at the top of a rear tooth.
This abscess is white and doesn't look very inflamed.

Monday, March 26, 2012

How do I know if I need a Root Canal?

Teeth are like any other part of the body.
Sometime they may have a funny little pain here or there.
Sometimes these pains may come one minute and then are gone the next.
Sometimes however, the pains come and stick around for a while.

So how do you know if your tooth is in real trouble or just having
a little irritation that will go away quickly?

Well, there are 3 questions that we typically ask people to 
determine the extent of their tooth trouble.

#1 Does your tooth hurt with hot and cold temperature change?

#2 Does your tooth hurt to chew on?

#3 Does your tooth hurt when you are just sitting
around doing nothing (reading, watching T.V., etc.?)

If you answered yes to all 3 of these then you, more then likely, 
need to have a root canal.

However, if you answered yes to only 1 of the questions then
perhaps it will be a little easier of a fix.

No matter what it is always a good idea to have a dentist chekc
out your teeth if you think something is going wrong.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Do I need to use mouthwash?

Mouthwash is typically in 3rd place when it comes to oral care.
#1 Would be brushing
#2 Would be flossing.
No matter what mouthwash companies say about their products
nothing can replace brushing and flossing.

If you do a good job at brushing and flossing and you would
like to ad mouthwash to your routine that would be great.

If you want to add a mouthwash, which one is best for you?

That depends on what you want to accomplish.
Some mouthwashes provide extra fluoride.
Some kill bugs.
Some simply freshen your breath.
Some are for people with dry mouth conditions.

So it really depends on what you want from the mouthwash.
Find out what you want, then either talk to your dentist and/or head
to the pharmacy and read the labels on the bottles.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

One tooth shorter then the other?

Toddlers will fall.
That is just a fact of life.
They go running down the sidewalk and then some unseen force
will give them a big push from the back and down they go.
Hopefully when this happens they catch themselves with their hands.
If they don't however, they will end up catching themselves with their
forehead, noses, or teeth.

If they catch themselves with their teeth then several things can happen.
#1 They can get knocked out.
#2 They can break.
#3 They can actually get knocked back into the jaw.

It is this third option that I will talk of briefly.

When a child gets an upper front tooth pushed back into
the jaw from where it came it is called an intrusion. 

This is, typically, not a big deal.
The baby teeth should fall out right on schedule.
One side effect may be the death of the tooth that has 
suffered the trauma.
This would require a small root canal being done on the 
tooth and perhaps a filling to cover an color change that
the tooth may undergo as a result.
Another, less common, result of these types of injuries
would be some slight damage to the adult tooth above the 
injured baby tooth. 
Only time will tell what the adult tooth will look like when 
it comes in and there is nothing that can be done before hand.

No matter the extent of the accident however, it is always a
good idea to get your child into a dentist as soon as possible 
after an accident.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Extracting a tooth.

Typically extracting a tooth is not that big of a deal.
With the advances in anesthetics and instruments a tooth
can be removed fairly easily and without too much discomfort.

And that's the end of the story, right?

Well, most of the time. 
But taking out teeth does have it's consequences.
For instance, teeth nest to the extraction site can begin to shift.
The picture below should have 4 teeth in it. 
Instead the lower back molar has been extracted. 
As you can see the top molar is moving. 
It is starting to move further and further down into the mouth.
This can lead to several different problems and ultimately
cause the loss of the upper tooth.

So please be sure that before you go to get teeth taken out that
you have discussed all of the options with your dentist and know
that removing the tooth is the correct decision in your situation.

Monday, March 19, 2012

Your Child Needs a Mouth Guard

As spring creeps closer,  my kids, and perhaps yours,are starting 
up things like soccer, baseball, or many other outdoor sports.

No doubt that these activities will lead to a few bumps and bruises.
In time these bumps, bruises, and even broken bones will heal.

Something that would not heal however, is a broken tooth.
Teeth, unlike bones, will not grow back.
To save teeth requires root canals, crowns, and any number of other things.

Please Please Please.......
get your child a mouth guard to wear during their sporting events.

The ones that you can buy from the store and mold to your
child's teeth will do, but a custom made mouth guard from
a dentist is  the best way to go.

I don't care if you get one from me or the other guy.
That is not the point.
The point is to protect your child's teeth.
They will have them for a very long time.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Now you see it......

Patient came in yesterday with a cavity in her front tooth.
This would normally be kind of annoying but in 
her case it was an even bigger problem.
She is getting bridal pictures taken in just a few weeks!

Here is the before picture.

Here is the after picture.

We were able to do this in about 30 minutes, 
and we didn't even need to get her numbed up.

Good luck with the wedding!!

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Lets see if this is you.
Your tooth hurts, but only sometimes.
Its not sensitive to changes in temperature.
It hurts to bite on things but only every once in a while.
You have asked your dentist but they can't find anything wrong with it.
Any of this sound familiar?

You may have a cracked tooth.

Cracks are not always visible by the dentist.
It takes some time and investigation to find them.
Once found however, depending on the severity of the crack, they can be fairly easy to fix.

So if you find yourself having random tooth pain that is driving you crazy, consult your dentist about whether or not your tooth could be cracked.

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Monday, March 12, 2012

The Floss Replacement?

Houston, we have a problem.

No one likes to floss.
Some people do 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, March 9, 2012

Implant continued.

We were back with our good buddy Collinn today.
I changed the spelling of his name to protect his innocence. 

Collinn had a root canal that failed (not mine :) )
The dark area at the end of the tooth denotes infection 
originating from the failing root canal.

This is the site after the extraction occurred. 
The area was also cleaned of infection 
and a bone graft was placed.

Here is a picture of the implant that was placed 
about 4 weeks after the extraction took place. 
the top of the implant is right at the bone level
and the infected area looks to be healing nicely.

After 6 weeks (this morning) the abutment (top of the implant) was placed.
This part is what what the new crown will sit on.

 Things are going swimmingly.
Within 2 weeks we will have the final crown in place
and Collinn will be back to is good old self.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

What's on the inside of my tooth?

Your teeth are hollow.
The hollow chamber contains the blood vessels 
and nerves that give your teeth, life.

A root canal is simply the process of accessing this
chamber and scrubbing it clean of all its contents
so that it can't cause you anymore pain.

This is the inside of a molar. 
We were almost completed with a root canal when
I decided to snap this picture.

Since this is an upper molar it has 3 roots on it.
Typically each root has one canal in it.

After the inside has been scrubbed clean the
canals are then filled with a rubberized material.

The hole we make to access the nerve chamber is then
filled with a typical filling material used to fill cavities.

The pink stuff you can see inside the tooth
is the rubberized material that has already
been placed down into the canals.

Here is a X-Ray of the molar before we worked on it.
Notice in the teeth that there is a black line down the center, 
that is the hollow space where the nerves reside.

Now instead of black lines you can see white lines.
Those white lines are the rubberized material.
If all goes well this tooth will no longer cause the patient any more trouble.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

Those bumps are called tori.


Ever heard of the word?
A tori is a lump of bone that resides in the mouth.
Most people that have tori think nothing of it because they have always had it.
Well, not everyone does have it.
But even if you do have it it really not that big of a deal.
Its just bone and likely wont ever cause you any problems.
One of the only times that it may cause you problems is if you need a denture.
Dentures are very hard to fabricate over the top of tori.
It is only a minor problem however due to the fact that tori can be removed.
So if you have a hard boney lump that has been in your mouth forever,
it may not hurt to get it checked out, but more often then not its simply just a tori.

Tori in the floor of the mouth.

Tori in the roof of the mouth.

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Changing out the metal.

Although this particular filling was not replaced solely
for the fact that it was metal, you can still see the results.

 Here is a before picture.

Here is the after. 

Metal fillings are replaced for a variety of reasons.
This filling was replaced do to a fracture that was beginning on one side of the tooth.
Some fillings are replaced because the people who have them want 
a more cosmetic looking filling to be placed.
Some fillings are replaced by people who simply  want to be preventative
and have decided that it is time to get the old fillings out.

Whatever the reason behind your decision to get your fillings out
and replace them with new ones, the procedure is very simple an inexpensive.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Which retainer is best for me?

Lots of people ask me about retainers.

Most retainers are given to folks from their orthodontists.
The type of retainer you have really depends on the personal preference of the Orthodontist.
Some orthodontists like the retainers that you can take in and out every night.
These come in two forms. The ones that use wire to retain the teeth position
and the ones that are made simply of clear plastic.
Other orthodontists like the small metal wires that are actually
glued to the teeth and can not be removed.

So which one is better?

That depends on what irritates you most.
Would it irritate you more to have something glued into your
mouth that you could never take out?
Or would it irritate you more to always have to remember to put your retainer
in every night and take it with you on every trip vacation and overnighter you go on?
Both will do a fine job.
My Mother has a retainer that she puts in every night and has done so for over 30 years.
My wife has a bonded metal wire that she has had in place for over 20 years.
Both seem to like what they have and wouldn't change.
If you have a particular type of retainer and you would like
to try another kind that is no problem.

We can switch you to another kind, let you try it for a while, and then
switch you back if you don't like it.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

Waiting too long.

This happens all the time.
People, who neglect their teeth to the point that they break off at the
 gums. THEN they come in and want it extracted.
They laugh a little nervous laugh and say...
"well, not much left so it should be pretty easy yo pull out, right?"

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.