Wednesday, October 31, 2012

"It's just a small cavity. I'll get to it later."

Oh boy.
I hear this all the time.
And the truth is that sometimes a small cavity is just that, a small cavity.
But other times it is much much worse.
That only way to know however is to go the dentist and get is checked out.

A perfect example of this is represented in these pictures.

This first picture looks like the smallest of cavities.

This next picture however, shows the extent of decay that was present
down inside the tooth and the amount of tooth structure that
we had to end up removing.
Very close to a Root Canal.

In the end the tooth looks great but there is no getting around the 
fact that the size of the filling will now make this tooth much weaker 
then it needed to be if the patient would have been getting regular
checkups and fixed the problem much sooner.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Is there anything wrong with Gold Tooth Crowns?

No there certainly is not. 
In fact, gold is probably still the best material to have in your mouth.
It won't crack.
It won't wear down the opposing teeth. 
It fits around the tooth exceptionally well.

So why don't people do them these days?

Two reasons.

#1 The look.
People simply don't like the look of gold in their smile.

#2 The Cost. 
With the price of gold through the roof gold crowns
are about 40% more then the white crowns.

They still can be done upon request.
And any dentist can still make them for you.
They are just kind of a dying breed.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Tooth Decay and Pain

Tooth decay normally doesn't hurt. 

Its kind of like your dishwasher blowing a gasket, or something similar.
You think everything is fine and then the next moment there is 
water all over your kitchen floor.

Well the dishwasher didn't go from brand new to breaking down over night.
It took a while and if someone trained in dishwasher repair had been
called out to occasionally check things out then the problem may have 
been caught prior to the disaster.

The problem is that to you, the untrained eye, nothing is 
wrong until things are very wrong.

The picture above is a progression of decay. 
Typically it is not until step 4 that you would feel any major discomfort.
Problem is that steps 1-3 can be fixed with fillings and step 4 is a root canal.

You don't wait till your engine starts smoking to change your oil.
Please don't wait till you are in pain to have your teeth checked.
Lots of time, and discomfort can be avoided this way.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Guess the smile

Alright everyone.

Over on my Facebook page I am running a contest.

$50 Cash if you can guess the smile.

Check it out.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Which Electric is Right for Me?

Okay, because you asked.
When the topic of electric toothbrushes comes up there are two big questions that I always get asked.


#1 Do I need one.

#2 Which one is the best.

#1 No. You do not need an electric tooth brush. If you are a diligent brusher then it does not really matter if your tooth brush uses batteries for power or uses you for power. The results can be the same. This is not to say that the results will be the same in the same amount of time. Because they wont. The manual tooth brush will take a little longer but it is capable of doing the same thing.

# 2 This question is like asking which car is the best. Well, a Ferrari is the fastest and looks the best, but a Toyota Camry will do you just fine. The same is true for tooth brushes. There are tooth brushes out there that can run you over $300. They have timers to tell you when to stop. they will talk to you and tell you to switch sides of the mouth. They have pressure sensors to tell you if you are brushing too hard. And they look really cool. However, the electric toothbrushes that cost $10 can do just as much for cleaning your teeth. The whole idea behind cleaning your teeth is just to get the bristles to remove the plaque. Little timers are nice but if you are capable of getting your teeth clean without a timer then what is the point.

So what do I use?

I use an Oral B electric. I like the way it feels when it cleans and it seems to work well for me. My wife uses a Sonicare, and can't stand my Oral B. Conversely I have used her Sonicare and that thing drives me up the wall. So there is a lot to be said here about personal preference.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Dentists and Halloween candy.

Every year I have people ask me if I give out Halloween candy?
Well of coarse I do!! It's Halloween.

Last thing on earth that I want to be is the house where kids end
up crying because they got a pencil, sticker, or some other lame treat.

Eating candy on Halloween is NOT a problem.
Eating candy every other day of year, all year long, IS.
Let the kids get the candy.
Let them pound it all down.
Let them have a tummy ache.
Brush and floss their teeth.
Great night had by all.
The End.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Do I have an abscessed tooth?

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.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Can this be fixed!?

You bet it can.
This cavity started off looking like a spot on the 
side of tooth that was a little discolored.
It then proceeded to cave in on itself.

Not to worry however.
A simple filling and this patient felt free to smile again.



Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Making it all better.

As we age our teeth, like everything in our bodies, will begin to break down.
There is hope however. 
Technology has come a long way in dentistry and what used
to be a very difficult and costly fix is now relatively easy.

This women came into the office with the complaint that a filling had broken.
We took the before picture and informed her that we could fix the
broken portion of her tooth and at the same time remove old
filling that may also be starting to decay.

The old metal fillings and broken portion clearly visible.

The new filling is barely visible at all.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Can Floss be Replaced?

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.