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Monday, August 19, 2019

Crowns and how they improve your teeth

To make sure you have the best smile possible, you may need a crown to cover a tooth and restore it to its normal shape and size.
A crown is a tooth-shaped “cap” that is placed over a tooth to restore its shape, size and strength, or to improve its appearance.
The reasons you may need a crown include:
– Protecting a weak tooth
– Holding together parts of a cracked tooth
– Restoring an already broken tooth
– Supporting a tooth with a large filling when there isn’t a lot of tooth left
– Attaching a dental bridge
– Covering badly-shaped or severely discolored teeth
– Cover a dental implant
If your dentist recommends a crown, it’s probably to correct one of these conditions.
Your dentist’s primary concern, like yours, is helping you keep your teeth healthy and your smile bright.

Monday, August 12, 2019

The power of panoramic x-rays

X-rays are extremely valuable for helping dentists identify issues that may not show up on normal oral examination.
The three most common types of dental X-rays are the bitewing, periapical and panoramic X-rays.
Panoramic X-rays give a broad overview of the entire mouth – supplying information about the teeth, upper and lower jawbone, sinuses, and other hard and soft tissues of the head and neck.
Unlike other X-rays, where the film is placed inside the patient’s mouth, the panoramic film is contained in a machine that moves around the patient’s head. So they are very easy to use.
Panoramic X-rays are often used to check wisdom teeth but they will also reveal deep cavities and gum disease. They are also useful to help patients with past or present jaw problems or those who require full or partial removable dentures, dental implants, or braces.
They can also be valuable in assisting people who are suspected of having oral cancer or have had recent trauma to the face or teeth.
Panoramic X-rays play an important role in thorough dental examinations and are recommended at least every five years or so for most patients.

Monday, August 5, 2019

How cancer treatment can affect your oral health

More than 1 million Americans are diagnosed with cancer each year and many of them will develop problems with their oral health as a result of their cancer treatment.
While it’s natural that they’ll be focused on their cancer treatment, it’s important not to overlook the importance of a dental examination as part of the process of maintaining overall health.
For example, radiation therapy of the head and neck area may lead to certain complications such as dry mouth, sensitive lesions in the oral cavity, hypersensitive teeth, rapid tooth decay and difficulty swallowing.
Chemotherapy and other medication can also have significant effects in the mouth.
To help prevent, minimize and manage such problems, the dentist and oncologist can work together – before and during cancer treatment.
Many medications lead to dry mouth, which can lead to a higher risk of gum disease and other problems. The dentist may therefore recommend a saliva replacement, an artificial saliva that is available over-the-counter at pharmacies.
Frequent fluoride applications may also be recommended.
If you are receiving treatment, schedule regular screenings with your dentist and contact your dentist or physician immediately on any sign of mouth infection. This may have serious implications for your overall health.
Your dentist and physician both want your treatment to be as safe and effective as possible.

Monday, July 29, 2019

How space maintainers help children have healthy teeth

Space maintainers can be crucial to the dental health of a child.
When a child loses a baby tooth early through decay or injury, the other teeth can shift and begin to fill the vacant space.
If this happens, the problem is that, when the permanent teeth emerge, there’s not enough room for them.
This can lead to crooked or crowded teeth and difficulties with chewing or speaking.
To prevent that, the dentist can insert a space maintainer.
This holds the space left by the lost tooth until the permanent tooth emerges.
Space maintainers might be a band or a temporary crown attached to one side of the space.
When the permanent tooth emerges, the dentist removes the device and protects the child’s future smile.

Monday, July 22, 2019

The early years of dentistry and teeth

Although there have been huge advances in dental care in recent years, there are records of people dealing with teeth going back over thousands of years.
Here are some of the key dates from the early years in the development of dentistry.
5000 BC: A Sumerian text describes “tooth worms” as the cause of dental decay.
2600 BC: Hesy-Re, an Egyptian scribe, often called the first “dentist”, dies. An inscription on his tomb includes the title “the greatest of those who deal with teeth, and of physicians.”
500-300 BC: Hippocrates and Aristotle write about dentistry, including the eruption pattern of teeth, treating decayed teeth and gum disease, extracting teeth with forceps, and using wires to stabilize loose teeth and fractured jaws.
166-201 AD: The Etruscans practice dental prosthetics using gold crowns and fixed bridgework.
500-1000: During the Early Middle Ages in Europe, medicine, surgery, and dentistry, are generally practiced by monks, the most educated people of the period
700: A medical text in China mentions the use of “silver paste,” a type of amalgam.
1130-1163: A series of Papal edicts prohibit monks from performing any type of surgery, bloodletting or tooth extraction. Barbers often assisted monks in their surgical ministry because they visited monasteries to shave the heads of monks and the tools of the barber trade sharp knives and razors were useful for surgery. Following the edicts, barbers assume the monks’ surgical duties: bloodletting, lancing abscesses, extracting teeth, etc.
1210: A Guild of Barbers is established in France. Barbers eventually evolve into two groups: surgeons who were educated and trained to perform complex surgical operations; and lay barbers, or barber-surgeons, who performed more routine hygienic services including shaving, bleeding and tooth extraction.
1400s: A series of royal decrees in France prohibit lay barbers from practicing all surgical procedures except bleeding, cupping, leeching, and extracting teeth.

Monday, July 15, 2019

Should you be concerned about thumbsucking?

Some children suck on their thumbs and parents often wonder if it is harmful.
Sucking on something is a child’s natural reflex. It can help them feel more secure so they start to suck on their thumbs, fingers, pacifiers or other objects.
Since thumbsucking is relaxing, it may also help them sleep.
However, after the permanent teeth come in, sucking may cause problems with the proper growth of the mouth and the alignment of teeth. It can also cause changes in the roof of the mouth.
Whether or not dental problems will result depends on the intensity of the sucking.
A child who vigorously sucks their thumb is more likely to have difficulties than one who rests their thumb passively in their mouth. Young children who suck their thumbs aggressively may even cause problems with their baby teeth.
If you notice changes in your child’s primary teeth, consult your dentist.
Usually children will stop sucking their thumbs between the ages of about two and four. They should have ceased sucking by the time the permanent front teeth are ready to erupt.
If your child is continuing to suck their thumbs, here are some tips:
– Praise them for not sucking, instead of scolding them when they are
– If they are sucking because they feel insecure, focus on correcting the cause of the anxiety
– For older children, involve them in choosing the method of stopping
If necessary, your dentist can help by encouraging the child and explaining what could happen to their teeth if they do not stop sucking.

Monday, July 8, 2019

How scaling and planing can help clean your teeth properly

Dental plaque is a film that builds up on your teeth and, if it is not removed through good oral hygiene, it can lead to tooth decay and gum problems.
Over time it can ultimately form a hard, rough sediment known as dental tartar or calculus, which attracts further plaque buildup.
Calculus has to be removed by a trained professional such as a hygienist or dentist.
They may do this by manual tooth scaling or using an ultrasonic device.
If the buildup is light or moderate, the dentist or hygienist may use manual scaling instruments of various shapes and sizes.
If the buildup of tartar and stains is heavy, an ultrasonic cleaner may be used. This may be followed by hand scaling.
Build up of plaque can cause inflammation of the gums leading to breakdown of the connection between the teeth and the supporting structures.
Root planing is a procedure to treat gum disease by thoroughly scaling the roots of teeth to establish a smooth, calculus-free surface.
This treatment may require local anesthesia to prevent pain. Thorough periodontal scaling customarily involves several dental visits
If conditions are more advanced, surgery may be needed for complete debridement of the roots to arrest the disease process.
Some people tend to have more buildup of calculus than others and some may be more prone to periodontal inflammation or the development of tooth decay.
It’s therefore important to follow your hygienist’s advivce on how often to return for regular cleanings – even if your insurance only covers two a year.