Dental News Articles:
Overcome your fear of going to the dentist - From a Dentist's Point of View. There are a lot of psychological issues involved in a simple trip to the dentist. By nature, people fear instruments such as needles and other sharp objects, and the dentist’s office has plenty of those! This is why it is important to find a dentist that is good at dentistry and psychologly. A dentist who knows how to relieve the patient from the inherent fears he or she has will definitely become the number one choice when it comes to tooth problems. There are several things your dentist and you should know in order to eliminate some of the potential problems involved. For example, it is important that the dentist explains to you all the actions he/she is going to take, eliminating the fear of the unknown, one of the biggest distress factors. Many dentists that are known for their skills in reducing patient anxiety also announce the approximate duration of the procedure. This is important because it gives the patient more confidence and the assurance that half an hour from then they will be on their way home with their problems solved.
Tips on how to get used to going to the dentist. It helps if you go to the same dentist consistently, as you are going to easily get used to the surrounding environment. One interesting approach is to ask a friend to join you for the appointment. This is useful from several perspectives – talking to your friend will keep your mind busy with other things and it won’t let stress develop over the limit. Communication between the dentist and the patient is also vital. When the patient feels that he or she is working with the dentist, the collaboration is stronger and fears are replaced by the sense that a common goal has to be achieved. Most good dentists will explain what the next procedure will be and why they need to do it. They will let you know why a root canal has to be worked on first and why the crown of the tooth comes second. Another good idea that many dentists use is to perform a smaller job before the actual problem is tackled. This helps the patient gather confidence and the dentist will have a more collaborative person to work with. One final element that may contribute to the diminishing of the patient’s fear is the mood of the dentist. A happy, confident dentist will help make the patient absorb some of their positive emotions.
- Trauma to the face or teeth can occur from auto accidents, falls, and injury from sports such as football, hockey, soccer, volleyball, basketball, baseball, etc. Patients who suffered significant head, neck or facial trauma should be evaluated and taken to a hospital emergency room. Such trauma may involve bleeding from the nose or ears, concussion, dizziness, lapse of memory, disorientation, severe headache and earache, or breaking (fracture) of the skull and/or jaws. Most hospitals have their own staff of oral surgeons who can treat fractures of the upper or lower jaw, perform emergency tooth removal (dental extractions) and reconstruction of the dental arches. Wear and tear of cavities and chewing hard objects such as pencils, ice cubes, nuts, and hard candies, can also lead to tooth fractures. Dental injury without associated head and neck trauma can be evaluated and treated in a dental office. Such dental injuries include broken (fractured) teeth, teeth completely knocked out of the mouth, or teeth displaced by unexpected external forces. These dental accidents may be associated with swelling of the gum and oral tissue. Cold packs or ice cubes placed either inside the mouth directly above the injured tooth, or outside on the cheeks or lips, doing so can reduce the pain and swelling before the patient reaches the dentist.
How will my injury be treated?
Chipped teeth account for the majority of all dental injuries. Dislodged or knocked-out teeth are examples of less frequent, but more severe injuries. Treatment depends on the type, location and severity of each injury. Any dental injury, even if apparently mild, requires examination by a dentist or an endodontist immediately. Sometimes, neighboring teeth can suffer an additional, unnoticed injury that will only be detected by a thorough dental exam.
Types of Injuries
- An avulsed tooth is defined as when the tooth is completely knocked out of its socket. If a tooth is knocked out of the mouth, never pick it up by the roots. It should only be picked up by the crown. The tooth should immediately be placed in a plastic container filled with whole milk, saliva or saline solution. If a container is not readily available and the person is conscious, coherent, appears to follow directions and is mature enough, the tooth can be placed under the person's tongue. A tooth that has been out for over two hours has a poor chance of survival. The person with an avulsed tooth needs to be referred to a dentist as quickly as possible.
- A luxated tooth has been loosened but not completely knocked out. The tooth can be moved forward, backward and sideways. Treatment should consist of pushing the tooth back into its original position. The person should then be transported to the nearest dentist for final care.
Once the tooth has been put back in its socket, your dentist will evaluate it and will check for any other dental and facial injuries. If the tooth has not been placed back into its socket, your dentist will clean it carefully and replace it. A stabilizing splint will be placed for a few weeks. Depending on the stage of root development, your dentist or endodontist may start root canal treatment a week or two later. A medication may be placed inside the tooth followed by a permanent root canal filling at a later date.
Children between 7 and 12 years old may not need a root canal treatment since their teeth are still developing. For those patients, an endodontist or dentist will monitor the healing carefully and intervene immediately if any unfavorable changes appear. Therefore, multiple follow-up appointments are likely to be needed. New research indicates that stem cells present in the pulps of young people can be stimulated to complete root growth and heal the pulp following injuries or infection.
Root Fractures are common as well. There are four different classifications of fractures and are differentiated by the number of layers that are involved.
- A traumatic injury to the tooth may also result in a horizontal root fracture. The location of the fracture determines the long-term health of the tooth. If the fracture is close to the root tip, the chances for success are much better. However, the closer the fracture is to the gum line, the poorer the long-term success rate. Sometimes, stabilization with a splint is required for a period of time.
Prevention of dental injuries starts with ensuring that protective equipment is in proper working condition. In certain contact sports, mouth guards are required. In these sports they should be worn in practice as well as the game. An athlete that has orthodontia should also wear a mouth guard.
- Pregnancy gingivitis is common during pregnancy because hormonal changes during pregnancy may exaggerate the body's normal response to dental plaque. This hormonal increase exaggerates the way the gum tissues react to the bacteria in plaque, resulting in an increased likelihood that a pregnant woman will develop pregnancy gingivitis if her daily plaque control is not adequate. Pregnancy generally worsens any existing gum problems, sometimes dramatically. However, most cases of pregnancy gingivitis can be prevented with proper oral hygiene.
Symptoms of Pregnancy Gingivitis There are a few symptoms of gum disease to keep an eye out for. If you notice any of these symptoms, it is important to seek treatment as soon as possible.
- tender, swollen gums
- red or purple-red gums
- gums that look shiny
- bleeding gums after brushing or flossing
- persistent bad breath
- a bad taste in the mouth that won't go away
- mouth sores
Sometimes a large lump with deep red pinpoint markings on it forms on inflamed gum tissue, usually near the upper gum line. The red lump glistens, may bleed and crust over, it can make eating/speaking difficult and can cause discomfort. These growths are called pregnancy tumors that can occur at any time during the course of pregnancy, though they usually occur during the second trimester.
Don't let the term, pregnancy "tumor" worry you. These growths are not cancerous nor can they be spread to others. A pregnancy tumor is an extreme inflammatory reaction to a local irritation (such as food particles or plaque). The tumors occur in up to 10% of pregnant women and often in women who also have pregnancy gingivitis.
Pregnancy tumors are also known by several other names including pyogenic granuloma, granuloma of pregnancy, lobular capillary hemangioma, and pregnancy epulides.
Treatments for Pregnancy Tumors
A pregnancy tumor usually disappears on its own after the baby's birth. However, if the tumor interferes with eating, your dentist or periodontist may choose to remove it. This involves a simple procedure performed under local anesthesia. It should be kept in mind that even if the tumor is removed during pregnancy, it redevelops in about half the cases. If the lump is not removed, your dentist will try to determine the possible cause that triggered the tumor's development such as built up plaque and remove it.
You can help prevent or reduce the likelihood that a pregnancy tumor will develop by following good oral hygiene habits at home (brushing twice a day with a fluoride-containing toothpaste, flossing once a day, using an antimicrobial mouth rinse) during your pregnancy.
What can you do to manage your swollen gums better?
Good dental care is essential during pregnancy. You should brush your teeth at least twice a day and floss at least once a day. A soft toothbrush may cause less irritation to your gums. You should also keep your scheduled professional cleanings and discuss any problems with your dentist.
If gingivitis is left unchecked it may lead to a more serious form of gum disease called periodontitis. Periodontitis during pregnancy increases the chance of preterm birth. The good news is that with good oral hygiene and routine professional cleanings, there should be nothing for you to worry about.
Here are a few things that you can do to manage swollen gums and have healthier oral hygiene:
- Have at least one oral checkup with your dentist during pregnancy
- Use a daily or periodic warm salt water rinse (1 teaspoon to 1 cup)
- Brush your teeth twice per day, especially after vomiting from morning sickness
- Practice good nutrition
Your gums usually return to normal following the delivery of your baby. The bleeding and sensitivity should diminish. If swelling and irritation continue after delivery or get worse during your pregnancy, contact your dentist.
- Gray-Stained Teeth From Tetracycline
Tetracycline is a potent antibiotic, and many women took this drug during pregnancy prior to 1980. It was especially widely used in the 1950s. Consequently, adults who were born before 1980 may be at risk for stubborn gray stains on their teeth. If a woman takes tetracycline while she is pregnant, studies have shown that the drug calcifies in the baby’s developing teeth. The result is a dark gray or gray/brown stain that affects the entire tooth, or the stain may appear as horizontal stripes of various intensities of color. In addition, children who take tetracycline during the years of tooth formation they may develop stains on their teeth.
Some people who suffer from stained teeth due to tetracycline opt for crowns or veneers to improve the appearance of their teeth. But it’s important that these types of treatments don’t prevent you from following a consistent oral care routine and visiting your dentist regularly to identify any signs of a cavity.
In 2006, one study found that a protocol involving a combination of prescription fluoride toothpaste and a combination of whitening treatments in a dentist’s office followed by several weeks of nightly bleaching at home yielded favorable results. In addition, a randomized, controlled trial of 70 adults published in 2002 found that Crest Whitestrips were effective against tetracycline stains after two months of use. Check with your dentist if you have stains from tetracycline and he or she can help determine the best way to improve the appearance of the stains. Tooth bleaching solutions promote increased tooth sensitivity, so you may need to take additional precautions, such as using a soft-bristle toothbrush or soft floss to reduce discomfort to allow you to maintain your regular oral care routine. In addition, using toothpaste that is formulated for sensitive teeth may be helpful.