Thursday, May 31, 2012

How do you tell someone they are old?

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.

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Pain after a root canal is finished?

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, May 23, 2012

Dry Socket Part II

Yesterday we covered what a dry socket is.
(If you need to review just go back a post)

Today we will talk about how to prevent them and how to treat them.

First off is how to prevent them.
Do not chew food around the extraction. 
Pushing large pieces of food into the socket is not good.
Do not smoke for the first 48 hours post surgery.
Bathing a wound in cancer causing smoke may cause the
slowing of wound healing and increase possible dry socket.
Minimize pressure changes into, or out of, your mouth.
Blood clots can get dislodged relatively easily.
Sucking on a straw, sneezing, coughing hard, etc. can alter the pressures
in your mouth and dislodge the clot.

Second how to treat a dry socket.
Well, since the problem with a dry socket is that the blood clot is gone
the first thing we do is try to re-introduce one.
You come back into the dentist office, get numbed up all over again, 
we clean any debris out of the site, then we scrape around and make
you bleed all over again.
This fresh blood will form a new clot that hopefully will stay.
If that doesn't work there are medications that can be placed in the socket.
Basically it is just a function of time. The body just needs much  longer
to heal from the extraction if you have a dry socket then if you did not have one.

Hopefully after any extraction your dentist gives you a list of do's and don'ts.
Make sure you follow them. 
Do what the dentist says is the best way of staying away form the dry socket.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

What is a "dry socket"?

The term Dry Socket is one of the most feared, 
and most misunderstood, in the field of dentistry.

Whenever we take out wisdom teeth people will 
often ask if they are going to get dry socket.

Dry socket is very simple to understand.
After a tooth is pulled out of the jaw
 the surrounding tissues will begin to bleed.
This is a very good thing.
The blood will fill the socket, where the tooth used to be, 
and a blood clot will begin to form.

A blood clot in a socket is kind of like a scab over a cut.
It serves to protect the injured areas until healing can complete.

A dry socket will occur when, for whatever reason, 
the blood clot comes out.
If the blood clot comes out then the bone of the socket
will dry out. Thus, Dry Socket.

Dry bone is very painful bone.
It is most assuredly something to be avoided.

Tomorrow we will discuss how to avoid dry socket and how it is treated.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Should I be scared to get a dental implant?

The question of safety with dental implants is one that seems to persist
among the general population.

Perhaps a lack of news coverage is responsible for this.

Someone getting a heart or lung replaced gets a lot more attention
(as it should) then replacing a tooth.

So lets see if this helps.
This is a picture of an artificial heart.

This is a diagram of a real heart.

This is a diagram of the lungs.
This is a diagram of an idea for an artificial lung.
All 4 of these items are very complex.
Yet doctors, very successfully, place (transplant) these items into patients all the time.

Below you will see a diagram of a tooth implant.

Yup, that's it.
Its a titanium screw.
No moving parts are pieces.
Far less complex then the heart or the lung.
Can there be complications and is it still surgery, yes.
But, If you can implant a heart or lung you can implant a tooth.

The point.
Please please please do not be afraid of dental implants.
Replacing severely broken teeth with implants is safe and simple.

If you think you may be a candidate simply talk to your dentist
about implants and if they are right for you.

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Problems with braces part II.

Yesterday we talked about people getting increased amounts
of cavities when they have braces on. 

Today we will talk about some ways to decrease those cavities.

First, is to simply increase the amount of brushing you do.
Keep a brush in your car, desk at work, locker at school, etc.
Brushing more then the standard twice a day is key.

Second, rinsing with a fluoridated mouth wash is a fabulous idea.
Many companies have them now, Act, Listerine, Colgate, etc.
These rinses will keep up your teeth's defenses to decay.

Third, watch what you eat.
Do NOT eat anything that is sticky.
First time you try to pick gummy bears out of your braces you will
understand why I said this, and most everything sticky is very high in sugar.

Finally, there are a lot of ingenious ideas that people have come up with
to help people with their flossing while in braces.
As the traditional "wrapping the floss around the fingers" thing
doesn't work to well here are some things that might. 

This final one is a water pick. 
Not exactly a flosser but it will do wonders to blow out the stuff
that is hiding around the brackets of your braces.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Trouble with braces.

If you are in braces right now, or have a family member that is in
braces right now then this is something you need to read.

One of the biggest problems we see with braces is the
amount of cavities that people have right after the braces are removed.

There are a couple of reasons for this.

#1 Is that braces trap food. 
There are lots of nooks and crannies where food can get trapped
and hide out even without having braces.
Once braces are placed the amount of food that can be trapped can triple.
Residual food hanging around in your mouth will feed cavity causing bacteria.

#2 Its harder to floss.
Trapping food is bad enough. But the fact that its even harder to get the 
food out because flossing is now much harder makes it even worse.

Tomorrow I will discuss some things that can be done about this.
But for now just know that those with braces must be more diligent 
then the average person when it comes to caring for your teeth
when you have braces on. 

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

My gums bleed when I floss.

This is something that I hear a lot around the office.
I find cavities in folks and I ask them how their flossing is.
They say that they don't floss because every time they do their gums bleed.

The philosophy of not doing something to your self because it makes you bleed,
is normally a very good one to live by. 
For instance I don't stab myself with forks because
 if I did it would cause me to bleed.

However, when it comes to flossing the opposite may apply.

Lets take learning to play the guitar for a comparison.
When you are learning to play the guitar it is not uncommon for the ends
of your fingers to bleed a little bit.

This is because you fingers are not used to the stress you are putting them through.
But does this mean that you weren't meant to play the guitar and that you should quit.
No. It means that you are a newbie to guitar playing and that the more you play
the LESS your fingers will bleed as they become accustomed to your playing.\

The same can be said for flossing.
If your gums bleed does that mean that you
 just weren't meant to floss and that you should stop?
It means that you are a newbie (or recently returned after a long vacation) to flossing.
The more you floss the LESS your gums will bleed.
This will continue until they do not bleed at all anymore.

So for all you aspiring guitar players, and flossers, out there my advice is 
that you just keep going.
Things will get better and it will become more comfortable as you go.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Is there and easy way to floss?

Asking if there is an easier way to floss is like asking if there is an
easy way to do a sit-up. Both of them simply are what they are.
There are little tricks and tips and things out there that you may
think make it a little easier to do, but in the end it just comes 
down to just bucking up and doing it.

Here are 2 examples of good old regular floss.
There are some differences in widths but this floss is pretty standard.

Here are 2 examples of floss on a handle.
These types of floss are becoming pretty popular due to the fact
that you don't have to wrap floss around your fingers and 
cut off all the blood flow during flossing.

And here are some examples of companies trying to do whatever they can
to make money (oops, I mean, Help you floss).

 Bottom line is you just need to do it. 
There is no replacement for flossing. 
If you hate going to the dentist to get cavities filled
then any one of these should become one of your best friends.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

The junk that builds up behind your teeth.

Your teeth are all meant to have some space in between them.
Some teeth have only a tiny space and may be very hard to floss.
Some teeth have more space and may be very easy to floss.
But all teeth are supposed to have space between them.

Take your tongue and run it along the back side of your bottom front teeth.
Does it feel like a wall of teeth or does it feel like individual teeth?

If it feels like a wall of teeth with very little space
 in between then you might need a cleaning.

Below is a picture of some front lower teeth before and after they were cleaned.
The yellow stuff in between the teeth is build up that is too hard to
be cleaned off by your tooth brush alone.

The only way to get this stuff off is by a trained dental hygienist or dentist.
It doesn't look very good but that is not the worst part.
The worst part is the bacteria that can be harbored in your mouth
and thus pose health risks, some severe, throughout your entire body.

Before the cleaning.
After the cleaning.

Monday, May 7, 2012

My child grinds their teeth, SO LOUD! Can I do anything about it?

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.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

There are lots of myths out there.
The Lochness Monster, Bigfoot, etc.etc.

Mine is the myth of the cosmetic dentist.

There is no such thing as a cosmetic dentist.

Here is a list of the specialties that are recognized by the ADA. Orthodontics and Dentofacial Orthopedics, Endodontics, Dental Public Health, Oral and Maxillofacial Pathology, Oral and Maxillofacial Radiology, Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery, Pediatric Dentistry, Periodontics, and Prosthodontics.
Each one of these specialties is strictly regulated. Each doctor that practices in one of these fields must go through advanced licensure requirements and advanced schooling even beyond dental school. These doctors carry with them advanced knowledge that is strictly regulated by the ADA.
If you noticed none of those specialties that I just mentioned was called the specialty of cosmetic dentistry. That's because it doesn't exist. And as a matter of fact it is illegal to advertise yourself as a cosmetic dentist.
The idea of being "cosmetic" simply means that you try to make things look better. Well, there isn't a dentist, or specialist, out there who DOESN'T do this. Everyone in the dental field has the goal to make things look better. Its what we do.
Now, is it true that a dental professional can go to courses, after dental school, that focus solely on cosmetic procedures? Absolutely. And I have been to many of them. But that does not mean that I am a specialist in cosmetic dentistry. Because, once again, no one can be. It doesn't exist.
If you have things that you would like to see changed about your teeth then ask around. Find a dentist that has a good reputation for that kind of thing. Then when you meet him/her ask to see some of their work. If it looks good then you are probably at the right place.

Here is a case that we did in our office.


Wednesday, May 2, 2012

I have too many missing teeth for you to fix.

Sometimes folks come into the office and tell me that their teeth
are so bad and that they have so many missing ones that there
is no way that I could possibly fix all of them.

Well almost 100% of the time they are wrong.

Take Jenny for instance. 
Jenny had several missing teeth all on the same side.
She thought there was nothing that could be done.

Below you will see a picture of a bridge that we made for jenny.
This bridge goes from her very back tooth all the way up to
one of her front four teeth.
(Sorry its a tad blurry)

Its all one piece.
It will get cemented in place and won't need 
to be removed on a nightly basis.
It looks fantastic.
And its a way to replace 3 of Jenny's missing teeth at one time.

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Ex-girlfriend pulls out all of ex-boyfriends teeth.

Dentist removes ALL of her ex-boyfriend's teeth to get him back for dumping her. HAVE GOT TO READ!!  Taken from Yahoo news.

If you're planning a trip to the dentist, it might not be the wisest decision to make your appointment with the person with whom you just broke up.
A Polish woman is facing three years in prison after she removed all of her ex-boyfriend's teeth during dental surgery just days after their breakup.
"I tried to be professional and detach myself from my emotions," Anna Mackowiak, 34, told the Austrian Times. "But when I saw him lying there I just thought, 'What a bastard' and decided to take all his teeth out."
Marek Olszewski, 45, reportedly showed up at Mackowiak's dental office complaining of toothache just days after he broke up with her. She then allegedly gave him a "heavy dose" of anesthetic, locked the door and began removing all of his teeth one at a time.
"I knew something was wrong because when I woke up I couldn't feel any teeth and my jaw was strapped up with bandages," Olszewski said.
"She told me my mouth was numb and I wouldn't be able to feel anything for a while and that the bandage was there to protect the gums, but that I would need to see a specialist," he said.
"I didn't have any reason to doubt her, I mean I thought she was a professional."
Adding to his trauma, Olszewski said his new girlfriend has already left him over his now toothless appearance.
"And I'm going to have to pay a fortune on getting indents or something," he said.
Mackowiak is currently being investigated for medical malpractice.

I know there is a moral to the story here somewhere but I am just too blown away by the story to find one.