Thursday, April 28, 2016

Could You Be Suffering From TMJ?

Also known as TMJ, this disorder has a series of problems that go along with it. Your aches and pains might actually indicate a Temporomandibular Joint Problem.

The following are some of the symtoms associated with TMJ:

1. Misaligned teeth (an incorrect bite will affect the jaw.)
2. A 'clicking' or 'grinding' sound when you open or close your mouth.
3. A ringing or aching in and around the ear.
4. A pain or tenderness of the hard or soft tissue in the jaw area.
5. Facial pain.
6. Aches or pains when chewing or swallowing.
7. Headaches.
8. A 'locking' jaw joint.
9. A shoulder and/or neck ache.

Although any of these signs and symptoms could be a Temporomandibular Joint Problem, it takes a health care professional that is trained in that specific area to diagnose a TMJ problem. If you think you may have TMJ, discuss all of your symptoms with your dentist or your personal care physician.  It is a treatable disorder.  There is no need to suffer!

Keep smiling!

Monday, April 25, 2016

Member Question: Thumb Sucking

Questions From Our Members

E. Blake of Oakland, California asks: 

I took my 4 year old to the dentist for her first visit.  The check-up went fine, but the doctor told me that if I didn't break her of thumb sucking real soon she would need braces later on.  Is that really possible?

Savon’s Answer

First, we need to say that we are not dentists here but we do have a great group of dentists that we get advice from.

Thumb sucking, finger sucking or the use of a pacifier puts unnecessary pressure on the teeth, as well as the bone and soft tissues of the mouth.
Because these parts of the mouth are still growing, it can cause issues with jaw growth and tooth movement.  Extended thumb sucking can lead to what we know as “Buck Teeth”.

You should pay close attention to your child’s thumb sucking habit.  Your child may be a passive thumb sucker, where the thumb simply rests gently against the mouth.  If your child falls into this category, there is less of a chance for damage to occur.  But if your child aggressively sucks her thumb, pressure will be placed on the mouth and teeth, leading to
improper alignment and mouth and jaw growth. It can also affect the shape of the face if not stopped early enough.

Thursday, April 21, 2016

Diseases Your Dentist Can Detect

The condition of your mouth may play a big role in your overall health!  A dentist can detect many possible diseases during an oral exam.  Here are a few of the conditions that may be directly related to dental problems:

Heart Disease and Diabetes:
     Inflamed, swollen gums and loose teeth can be indicators of these serious diseases.  Periodontal disease has been directly linked to heart attacks, which can occur when bacteria from infected or inflamed gums travels into the bloodstream. 

     Receeding gums, loose teeth and bone loss make this disease easily detected by your dentist when examining your teeth.

     When a dentist examines the elderly, one of the first signs he may notice is poor oral hygiene. In early dimentia, one of the first signs a person may show is neglect of personal and oral hygiene, particularly when someone has previously taken good care of their teeth. 

Eating Disorders: Bulimia, Anorexia
      Moderate to severe acid erosion, particularly in a young person, may indicate one of these disorders.  This is caused by stomach acid coming in to repeated contact with the teeth, which is due to induced vomiting. Over time, the acid erodes the enamel of the teeth.

 (GERD) Gastrointestinal Reflux Disease
     This is also caused by acid erosion but is more common in older people, and affects the back molars. This is a condition that sneaks up on you in your sleep, that is, stomach acid backs up into your esophagus and sometimes into the mouth during sleep, affecting your back teeth.

Keep Smiling!    

Tuesday, April 19, 2016

What Is Mandibular Tori?

Have you noticed a large, bony growth along the surface of the lower jaw? If you have you may have a condition called mandibular tori. Many people mistake this for an abscess or cancer, although it might look serious it is not as dangerous as it looks.

What is Mandibular Tori?

A bony growth on the lower jaw and usually present on the tongue side of the jaw near the bicuspids. Only about 5-10% of the population has noticeable mandibular tori.

What causes Mandibular Tori?

Research has found several factors of what causes mandibular tori, however two of the most common factors include genetics and bruxism (Clenching or grinding of teeth).

What treatment is used to remove Mandibular Tori?

Treatment is not required (only if you require dentures, implants and braces) but to remove mandibular tori you will need oral surgery. People who suffer from this condition will receive great benefit from the surgery.

Tori removal is not a complicated surgery, although the recovery is slow (about three to four weeks for complete healing) but discomfort should dissipate within a week.

 *You will experience swelling and will need to be on a temporary diet of soft foods.

Always see your dentist is something unusual appears its always better to be safe than sorry!

Disagreeing With A Diagnosis - A New Perspective

Quite often we field phone calls from members who would like to change their dentist because they disagree with a diagnosis. Often times, the perception is that the dentist is "over-diagnosing" on the treatment plan to make more money. Now I can assure you that 98% of the time that is not the case.

As I have said in multiple blogs before this one, the objective of a treatment plan is to identify everything that needs to be done to get you in "optimal dental health". What is needed to accomplish that is based on a professional diagnosis from a dentist. However, every dentist is different. One dentist may identify something that one did not. Another one may have training or access to new technology that the other one didn't. Another dentist may be able to come up with another option than what the other dentist offered. All of these are the reason why getting a second opinion is often recommended by our office.

Regardless, it in no way means that one dentist is wrong or right. This usually goes way beyond wrong or right. How a dentist diagnoses is often dependent on how/where they were trained. Some dental colleges have a more aggressive diagnostic curriculum as others have a more conservative diagnostic curriculum. Depending on which curriculum the school that your dentist went to had, depends on which type of diagnosis you may get.

Although an aggressive diagnostic treatment plan may be overwhelming to patient, it is not a bad thing. It focuses on the long term solution to your dental problems with more of a restorative style of treatment. For example, you may be recommended to go ahead and do the root canal and crown now and not delay the inevitable by dealing with a filling. The crown is built to last and your problem will be solved for the long term.

A conservative diagnostic treatment plan is not a bad thing either. It focuses on trying more to save the original teeth that you have, rather than replace it with a crown or something else, until that is really needed. For example, you may be recommend to get a filling for now, and deal with the crown later if/when the time comes.

(**Disclaimer: The above was just an example for purposes of getting a point across. In no way it is intended to insinuate that a dentist that recommends a crown is aggressive in diagnosis or that one that recommends a filling is conservative. Everyone's mouth is difference and the diagnosis will be different for everyone.)

Like I said, it is not that either one of these dentist is wrong or right, or that one is a better dentist than the other. It simply comes down to how they were taught to diagnose your treatment. It does not mean that aggressive diagnostic dentist is trying to rip you off by over diagnosing (which is the common misconception by patients). It does not mean that the conservative dentist is under diagnosing and missing things that need to be done (which is another common misconception by patients)

In fact, an aggressive treatment may cost you more money now, but can save you a lot of money in the future. However, on the flip side of things, the conservative diagnosis treatment will save you money now, but could cost you more in the future.

We commonly recommend and encourage patients to obtain a 2nd opinion when concerned about the particular diagnosis that they are given, prior to just changing to another dentist based solely on a diagnostic result.

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Aesthetic New Looks for Dental Offices

Times are changing, for sure. Back in the day (when I was a kid, then a young adult), visiting the dentist was a mundane, unsettling experience with sounds of machinery (drills) and medicinal smells coming from every room, dental assistants bustling back and forth between operatories....yes, at times you'd wait for so long that you'd almost begin to think they had forgotten you...ever been there? I'm sure you have. The dentist himself was sort of a stuffed shirt type, speaking very few words in a monotone drone, very professional. Hard to imagine a personality under that mask, huh? Well in this new age of dentistry, it's becoming all about the patient...newer centers are creating comfortable, stress free environments with spa quality atmospheres. Aromatherapy, soothing motifs using earth tone colors and relaxing themes are becoming more and more the norm. I recently spoke to a receptionist at a facility that had a water fountain inside the waiting room..I could hear it through the phone! They had replaced the TV with the fountain and their patients loved it! Another office that caters to children has the theme of a railroad with a functioning train that travels through the facility and all of the walls are decorated to make it look like a train station. Awesome! Many of these centers are equipped with state of the art machinery, and they practice the newest techniques to make your dental visit less stressful and as pain free as possible. If you're one of those people who stresses out at the mere thought of visiting the dentist, don't be afraid to call around and ask about the different themes and high tech equipment. You'll be surprised at the response!

Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Home Remedies To Help Remove Tartar

What is tartar?

Tartar is the yellowish-brown calcified material on the surface of the teeth.

To remove tartar you will need a professional cleaning, but some of these home remedies can help prevent tartar from growing further.

  • Brush properly - Brush after each meal using a soft bristled toothbrush (perio brush). This type of brush penetrates further between the teeth to remove any derbies, reduces abrasions and helps stimulate the gums.
  • Use an orange peel - Take the orange peel and turn it into a paste and apply to the teeth, leave over night without rinsing. This helps fight of tartar forming microorganisms in the mouth.
  • Munch on fruits and Veggies - Gnawing on hard fruits and veggies (apples, carrots, celery and etc.) is a natural way to clean the teeth along with strengthening the gums.
  • Eat Figs - Eat 3 to 4 figs at a time slowly. This process will stimulate the salivary glands and increase the secretion of saliva.
Other home remedies include ones that we have already heard about such as use an electric toothbrush, floss regularly, use a fluoride toothpaste and so on.

Like I have mentioned above once tarter is formed the only way to remove it is by seeing your dentist for a cleaning. 

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

How To Handle Dental Emergencies

Accidents happen, and knowing how to handle them when one occurs can mean the difference between saving or losing a tooth.

  • Rinse mouth out with warm water and remove any food that my be lodged in between the teeth with dental floss.
  • Use cold compress on the outside of your mouth, especially if there is swelling.
  • DO NOT apply aspirin or pain killers directly to the painful area. 
Broken Tooth:
  • Rinse your mouth out, taking care to save any pieces of the tooth.
  • Use gauze stop the bleeding.
  • Apply a cold compress around the affected area to minimize pain and swelling.
Knocked-Out Tooth:
  • Hold the tooth by the crown and rinse with water to remove any dirt.
  • Take care not to remove any tissue attached to the tooth.
  • Reinsert the tooth in the socket if you can, DO NOT force it. * You can also keep the tooth in a cup of milk*
  • Chances of saving the tooth are the highest if you see your dentist within one hour.
Lost Dental Restoration:
  • Filling:
    • Use sugarless gum or dental cement as a temporary fix.
  • Crown:
    • Save the crown and bring it with you to the dentist.
    • Try to put the crown back in place using toothpaste or dental cement to hold it there.
  • If you notice a small, painful, pimple-like bump on your gums, it could be an abscess.
  • Can be a sigh of infection that may spread if left untreated.
  • Rinse with warm salt water to help reduce pain.
  • Alert your dentist immediately if you notice one of these bumps.
For any dental emergency see your dentist right away!

*This information was provided by Park 56 Dental*