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Monday, September 17, 2018

What to expect when having a tooth extracted

The process of having a tooth extracted may seem worrying but you’ll find it much easier if you know what to expect on the day and afterwards.
Your dentist will make the process as comfortable as possible for you by numbing the area around the tooth to be extracted.
In most cases, a small amount of bleeding is quite normal and your dentist will advise you what process to follow to allow healing as quickly as possible.
Generally, you should avoid anything that might prevent normal healing.
For example, it’s best not to smoke, rinse your mouth vigorously or drink through a straw for 24 hours afterwards as these could delay healing.
For the first few days, if you need to rinse your mouth, do it gently. If you are suffering pain or swelling, apply a cold cloth or an ice bag.
If necessary, your dentist will recommend something for any pain.
At the beginning, don’t clean around the socket where the tooth has been removed but you should brush and floss the other teeth as usual.
Modern procedures make having an extraction and the follow-up more comfortable than ever before.

Monday, September 10, 2018

The secrets of avoiding gum disease as an older adult

Gum disease also known as periodontal disease often progresses slowly, without pain, over a long period of time and thats one reason it is common among older adults.
The longer the disease goes undetected and uncontrolled, the more damage it causes to gums and other supporting tissues.
Although periodontal disease is caused by plaque, other factors can increase the risk or severity of the condition, including:
– Food left between the teeth
– Tobacco use smoking and smokeless tobacco
– Badly aligned teeth
– Ill-fitting bridges or partial dentures
– Poor diet
– Systemic diseases such as anemia
Although periodontal disease is common, it can be controlled and, if caught in its early stages, it can be reversed. However, in advanced stages, it may require surgery.
Look out for the following warning signs and see your dentist if you notice any of them:
– Bleeding gums when you brush
– Red, tender or swollen gums
– Gums that have pulled away from the teeth
– Pus between your teeth and gums when the gums are pressed
– Loose teeth or teeth moving apart
– Any change in your bite
– Any change in the fit of your partial dentures
– Constant bad breath or bad taste
Keeping an eye out for these problems and having regular dental checkups can help you stop gum disease becoming a major and expensive problem.

Monday, September 3, 2018

Choosing the right toothbrush for your needs

It would be easy to get overwhelmed by the huge range of dental care products now available.
Even looking just at toothbrushes present a wide range of choices.
There are hundreds of manual and powered toothbrushes to choose from.
Start by looking for products that carry the American Dental Association Seal of Acceptance – this is an important symbol of a the product’s safety and effectiveness.
When you buy a toothbrush, replace it every three to four months. Replace it sooner if the bristles become frayed as a worn toothbrush will not clean your teeth properly.
Make it easy for your children to brush their teeth by choosing a child-sized toothbrush and make it more interesting for them by selecting fun colors and designs.
Often people who have difficulties with hand, arm or shoulder movements find that powered toothbrushes are the best choice. However, it’s also possible to make a few small changes to modify a manual toothbrush and make it easier to use.
For example, you can:
– Enlarge the handle with a sponge, rubber ball, or bicycle handle grip
– Lengthen the handle with a piece of wood or plastic
– Bend the handle slightly while running it under hot water
Your dentist will give you tips on what toothbrushes would be right for your needs.

Monday, August 27, 2018

Treating facial pain and jaw problems

Chronic facial pain is a problem faced by millions of Americans.
Common symptoms can include pain in or around the ear, tenderness of the jaw, clicking or popping noises when opening the mouth or even head and neck aches.
If you are suffering from this type of pain, your dentist can help identify its source with a thorough exam and appropriate x-rays.
Sometimes, the problem is a sinus or toothache or it could be an early stage of periodontal disease.
But for some pain, the cause is not so easily diagnosed.
There are two joints and several jaw muscles which make it possible to open and close the mouth. They work together when you chew, speak, and swallow.
These structures include muscles and ligaments, as well as the jaw bone, the mandible (lower jaw) with two joints, the TMJs.
Any problem that prevents this complex system of muscles, ligaments, discs and bones from working together properly may result in a painful TMJ disorder.
There are several ways the TMJ disorders may be treated.
Diagnosis is an important step before treatment.
Part of your clinical examination includes checking the joints and muscles for tenderness, clicking, popping or difficulty moving.
Your dentist may take x-rays and may make a cast of your teeth to see how your bite fits together.
To help you deal with this pain, your dentist will recommend what type of treatment you need and may refer you to a specialist.

Monday, August 20, 2018

Why a dental abscess should be treated quickly

If you have any kind of swelling in your gum, it almost certainly indicates a serious infection that should be treated urgently.
Dental abscesses result from a bacterial infection in the teeth or gums.
For example, it may come from an untreated cavity. Cavities result when some of the bacteria in our mouths mix with sugars and starches in our diet to produce acid.
This acid attacks the hard enamel coating of our teeth and, as the cavity gets deeper, it eventually infects the nerve and blood supply of the tooth.
In some cases, a dental abscess is caused by an infection of the gum. Bone loss from gum disease can create a pocket between the tooth, gum and bone.
When bacteria and other debris get into this pocket, an abscess can form.
The treatment for an abscess depends on how severe the infection is.
If the abscess has been caused by decay, root canal treatment may be needed or the tooth may even have to be removed.
If the abscess has been caused by the gum, the gum will need deep cleaning or surgical treatment. Again the tooth may need to be removed.
Sometimes, a small incision may be made into the gum to drain the abscess. If this happens, antibiotics and pain medication may be used to relieve discomfort.
If you wait until the gum is severely swollen before seeking treatment, the situation can become very serious.
The abscess at this stage can prevent you breathing properly and can be life-threatenting.
So if you have any signs of swelling in your gum, contact your dentist immediately.

Monday, August 13, 2018

How dentistry has developed over the last 300 years

When you visit a modern dental surgery, its hard to imagine the challenges of dental treatment without all the latest technology.
Yet specialists have been taking care of peoples teeth for thousands of years.
Here are some of the key developments over the last 300 years.
1723: French surgeon Pierre Fauchard – credited as being the father of modern dentistry – publishes the first book to describe a comprehensive system for the practice of dentistry.
1760: John Baker, the earliest medically-trained dentist to practice in America, immigrates from England and sets up practice.
1790: John Greenwood adapts his mothers foot treadle spinning wheel to rotate a drill.
1790: Josiah Flagg, a prominent American dentist, constructs the first chair made specifically for dental patients.
1832: James Snell invents the first reclining dental chair.
1841: Alabama enacts the first dental practice act, regulating dentistry in the United States.
1844: Horace Wells, a Connecticut dentist, discovers that nitrous oxide can be used as an anesthesia and successfully uses it to conduct several extractions in his private practice.
1880s: The collapsible metal tube revolutionizes toothpaste manufacturing and marketing.
1890: Willoughby Miller notes the microbial basis of dental decay in a book which started a world-wide movement to promote regular toothbrushing and flossing.
1896: New Orleans dentist C. Edmond Kells takes the first dental x-ray of a living person in the U.S.
1938: The nylon toothbrush, the first made with synthetic bristles, appears on the market.
1945: The water fluoridation era begins when the cities of Newburgh, New York, and Grand Rapids, Michigan, add sodium fluoride to their public water systems.
1950s: The first fluoride toothpastes are marketed.
1960: The first commercial electric toothbrush, developed in Switzerland after World War II, is introduced in the United States. A cordless, rechargeable model follows in 1961.

Monday, August 6, 2018

How sedation and general anesthesia can make your visit to the dentist easier

While local anesthetics are often used in dental treatment, there is sometimes a need for anti-anxiety agents – such as nitrous oxide – or sedatives to help people relax during dental visits.
Dentists may use these agents to induce “minimal or moderate sedation”.
In this case, the patient reaches a relaxed state during treatment but can respond to speech or touch.
Sedatives can be administered before, during or after dental procedures by mouth, inhalation or injection.
More complex treatments may require drugs that can induce “deep sedation”.
This reduces consciousness and causes a loss of feeling which helps to reduce both pain and anxiety.
Sometimes patients undergo “general anesthesia” where the drugs lead to a temporary loss of consciousness.
A dentist may recommend deep sedation or general anesthesia for certain procedures with children or with adults who have severe anxiety or for people who have difficulty controlling their movements.
While these techniques to control pain and anxiety are used to treat tens of millions of patients safely every year, its important that you let your dentist know anything that might affect your ability to benefit from them for example, tell them about any illnesses or health conditions, whether you are taking any medications and if you’ve had any problems with allergic reactions to medications.