This is an archived list of DENTAL ADVICE BLOGS from previous days. All BLOGS are written by one of our editors, all of whom are practicing dentists.
Their purpose is to provide further dental information which may help others with similar issues, or to stimulate questions or discussion. If you have questions about any procedures or statements made here, please feel free to CONTACT US.
At the beginning of each BLOG, the TOPIC of the entry is listed to provide ease of use.
Any references made to patients are entirely anonymous, and any names used are made up to protect the real person's privacy. Also, your personal dentist should be consulted regarding any dental procedure which you intend to have done, as this site is not intended to diagnose or treat anyone's dental needs.
DENTAL ADVICE BLOGS, 2005
23 DEC 2005
Those of us at Dental Advice Blogs, wishes everyone a MERRY CHRISTMAS AND HAPPY NEW YEAR TO EVERYONE!
15 DEC 2005
People always come in and say they just brushed their teeth! It may be the only time they've brushed all week, but they did! Or, they will give some excuse for why they didn't brush their teeth before coming in. FYI, bad breath is not near as bad as when patients smoke right before coming in. You can smell the smoke literally down the hall, and when you have to sit over someone who just smoked a cigarette, it is just a very miserable experience for everyone. Among the multitude of other health risks smoking poses, it is a huge factor in increasing periodontal disease.
2 DEC 2005
As crazy as it sounds, popcorn husks are one of the most common foods to get lodged underneath your gums! This can cause irritation, soreness, and bleeding, which may lead you to think that you may have some other ailment. So if your gums ache after you've eaten popcorn, make sure you've cleaned them out!!
23 Nov 2005
Those of us at Dental Advice Blogs, wishes everyone aHAPPY THANKSGIVING EVERYONE!!!
14 Nov 2005
People often ask how much dental fillings should cost, but dental fees have a wide variation. For example, fillings depend on the number of surfaces (normally between 1 and 4), the type of material used, and where the filling is done (a filling in Billings would likely cost less than one in San Francisco).
8 Nov 2005
The local anesthetics that are used in dental offices can be very long lasting. It is especially important when dealing with children. Often times they will chew on their lips and or tongues and not realize it, which can cause A LOT of trauma and pain to the area when the anesthetic wears off! So do NOT let them eat until you are sure that the effects of the anesthetic are gone!
2 Nov 2005
CROWNS VS BUILDUP FILLINGS
Unfortunately not eveyone can afford to drive a Ferrari, and unfortunately not everyone can afford all the dental work that they need. Crowns are one of the more expensive dental procedures, and while they are often the best treatment, sometimes a build up fillings can be substituted. Ask your dentist, and maybe you can get that tooth fixed, and buy your wife some flowers with the spare change!
18 Oct 2005
RESTORING ROOT CANALED TEETH
Many people think that after a tooth has been root canaled, it's treatment is done. Often times a temporary filling is placed immediately after the root canal is done, and a permanent filling will need to be placed, possibly along with a crown. If a permanent restoration is not done, the tooth may get reinfected, which may cause the root canal to fail, or the tooth may fracture, which may lead to an extraction.
13 Oct 2005
BRUSHING YOUR TEETH
Many people think that brushing your teeth is just a matter of sticking the toothbrush in your mouth. As elementary as it sounds, it is important to remember that the reason you brush your teeth is to remove plaque from your teeth. After you brush the next time, look closely at your teeth in the mirror, especially along the gumline, and see if plaque remains (it can be removed easily with your fingernail). If plaque remains, you are not doing a very good job brushing!
26 Sept 2005
Replacing Missing Teeth
There are many options when replacing missing teeth, including implants, fixed bridges, dentures, or even the option of leaving the space! Depending on your personal situation, there are ALWAYS options. If your dentist tells you there is only one option, make him or her think of some others!
24 Sept 2005
The other day a mother brought her 7 yo son in, and was concerned that his lower front tooth was erupting crooked. There was only about 2-3 mm of the tooth visible, so it was explained that as her son loses and gets more teeth, it will look funny. But as he grows, his teeth may straighten out, and if not, orthodonticsis always an option. The point being that most of the time teeth position is not a concern until about 11-12 years of age; when most of the permanent teeth are in.
13 September 2005
With the current cost of dental procedures, and the uncertainty many people associate with going to the dentist, you are well within your rights to ask for a second opinion from another dentist, anytime your dentist proposes a treatment plan that you are not comfortable with. Any dentist who gets offended, probably has something to hide.
23 August 2005
Many orthodontists place bonded retainers in patients' mouths, especially on the lower front teeth, in order to maintain the teeth position. People often wonder how long it is necessary to have them on? They do hold the tooth position, but they can be a nuisance and make it difficult to keep the bonded teeth clean (due to the inability to floss). If the retainer is removed, a removable retainer definitely should be made; because regardless of how long ago you had your braces, the chance of your teeth moving is very good. So, if you know you would not wear a removable retainer, keep the bonded one! If you hate the bonded one, make sure you get a removable one in its stead.
13 August 2005
We have patients who are very nervous about coming to the dentist come in everyday, and the vast majority of the time when they leave, say, "Oh, that wasn't so bad!". For all of you who have previously had bad experiences at the dentist, if you have not been to one in a long time, dentistry has advanced over the years, and is not the same as it used to be!
2 August 2005
When patients have non restorable teeth due to caries or periodontal disease, immediate dentures may need to be done. They are dentures which are inserted the same day that teeth are extracted, in order to prevent patients from going without teeth for any length of time. The first couple weeks are the most difficult, but it will get better! And, after the healing is done, the dentures can be remade to fit perfectly!
26 July 2005
Sometimes achieving sufficient anesthesia for dental procedures is difficult. Sometimes everything around the tooth is numb, and your whole face may feel numb, but that certain part of the tooth is not. While the dentist is working, if something starts to hurt, raise your hand (or squeal!), but absolutely do not shake your head around. It just is very dangerous for both patient and provider, since there are often sharp objects around.
18 July 2005
Many people incorrectly think/hope that dental pain will just go away. There are symptoms that indicate that the only way to relieve the pain is via a dentist. If you get dental pain out of the blue, say, that wakes you up at night, if the pain has progressed over the days/weeks, or if when the tooth starts hurting, it hurts for more than a few minutes, the chances are that you need to see your dentist. Pain medication is a temporary relief, but is not good for long term relief!
Those of us at Dental Advice Blogs, wishes everyone a HAPPY 4TH OF JULY WEEKEND TO EVERYONE
30 June 2005
We apologize to those who have tried to email us lately, as our email was diabled. It is now back up, so feel free to email us with any questions or comments!
28 June 2005
Today we had a patient come in telling us how she started using a new toothpaste, which although not approved by the US FDA, was recommended by "the salesperson at Nxxxx Supermarket. He said it will help regrow the bone around my teeth." As convincing as it sounds, the salesperson probably doesn't know anymore than you do. They just want to sell you their product!
24 June 2005
Teeth do not get worn down by normal mastication of food, and is usually caused by some sort of parafunction, such as clenching or grinding. If you do clench or grind, you may want to get an appliance made to prevent your teeth from wearing down. If you are unsure if you do, ask your dentist if your teeth have signs of wear. The problem is that often times you will not notice the wear until it is too late! When your teeth wear down, the corners of your mouth may show wrinkles, and your face may appear sunken. Also, the only way to rebuild up your teeth is to have a full mouth reconstruction, which involves crowning basically every tooth in your mouth, which is very expensive, and will take countless hours in the dental chair.
15 June 2005
Today we treated a 3 year old little girl, who was coming to the dentist for the first time. Doesn't sound like a big deal, until you consider we did 2 child root canals (also called pulpotomties). The child had rampant decay, but was a little angel! Needless to say, we educated her parents on how to care for their daughter's teeth, in the hopes that in the future she won't have to go through such procedures.
13 June 2005
Because cavities are caused by certain strains of bacteria, it is transmissible. Meaning, you can give it to others by transferring the bacteria. How is it transferred? A pregnant mother with a lot of cavities will likely transfer the bacteria to her unborn child. Significant others can transfer bacteria amongst each other. So if you do get a lot of cavities, you may be placing your loved ones at risk!
7 June 2005
Cavities are a bacterial infection, which means that in order to eliminate cavities, you need to reduce the bacterial counts in your mouth! Yes, you will need to get those cavities removed, but you may need other adjuncts, such as chlorhexidine, xylitol, or extra fluoride. If you get keep getting cavities, ask your dentist about these other helpful aids!
30 May 2005
Those of us at Dental Advice Blogs, wishes everyone a HAPPY MEMORIAL DAY WEEKEND TO EVERYONE!
17 May 2005
Restoring Primary Teeth
Many people think that because a primary tooth is going to be lost, it is not necessary to restore cavities. If the tooth is going to be lost immediately, then this may be the case, but if not, the cavity should be removed. Why? Cavities progress faster in primary teeth than they do in permanent teeth, so they could becomes symptomatic. Also, leaving active decay in the mouth can increase the risk of getting cavities on other teeth, including the permanent teeth.
13 May 2005
Smoking and Periodontal Disease
Among the other numerous health risks smoking poses, it also significantly INCREASES the risk forPERIODONTAL DISEASE. The other day, a 23yo girl came in, who was a heavy smoker, and had noticible bone loss around her teeth. Periodontal disease is not an "old" person's disease, it can affect anyone. So if you needed another reason to quit smoking, it may just help you keep your teeth!
8 May 2005
Those of us at Dental Advice Blogs, wishes everyone a HAPPY MOTHER'S DAY EVERYONE!
3 May 2005
Linking to the previous blogs, people often want their gold crowns removed and tooth colored porcelain ones placed in their stead. The concern is that the tooth needs to be reduced much more for a porcelain crown, which can substantially tax the nerve of the tooth, which could lead to the need for a root canal. Just be aware, that if a gold crown is doing fine, it may be best left alone.
26 April 2005
Decay Under Bridges
Piggy backing on the previous blog, the other reason it is important to take care of your crown and bridge work, is because the metal in crowns (most porcelain crowns have a metal substructure) prevents xraysfrom going through; which means that by the time the decay is visible, it may have eaten away a substantial portion of your tooth (or teeth)!
19 April 2005
After a bridge is placed, many people think that they will never get decay underneath it. This could not be more false! Yes, it may be a pain to thread the floss underneath the bridge, but if you neglect to do so, you very well may get decay underneath the bridge, and it may not be detected until it's too late, and you could lose the teeth involved in the bridge!
13 April 2005
Vertical Root Fractures
Unlike a horizontal fracture (for example, when the tooth fractures horizontally at the gumline) which can sometimes be restored, when the root of a tooth fractures vertically, there is no way to restore it. On the flip side, thank goodness for implants (and other prosthetic devices), there ARE ways to fill those spaces!
5 April 2005
Finishing Root Canals
Root canals often take multiple visits to visit, and although (thank goodness!) most of the time the pain is gone after the first appointment, it is very important to get the root canal completed. If you don't get them finished, they can get reinfected, fracture, or start to hurt again. Just because something doesn't hurt, does not mean that everything is peachy!
31 Mar 2005
An 83 year old woman can in today, and after I anesthetized her, she said, "I used to know a doctor named 'Painless Parker'..." To which I replied, "That's an interesting name...", She said, "I'll just call you Dr. Parker", as she laughed like crazy! No comeback for that one... !!!
28 Mar 2005
If you have periodontal disease, you have probably been told that you need "deep" cleanings. Unfortunately, these can be very expensive. Because of the cost, many patients ask to do the general cleanings instead, which tend to be much less expensive. The problem is, general cleanings (prophy) do not go below the gumline, which is where the periodontal disease is. Doing a prophy on a patient with periondontal disease does not help at all. It would be similar to repainting a car that had just been in an accident before repairing the car! So what happens if you do not do the recommended deeper cleanings? Your periodontal disease will very likely progress, and you may lose your teeth.
22 Mar 2005
Contrary to what you would think, even soft toothbrushes can wear away teeth if used hard enough. Excess toothbrushing force can cause recession, or wear of the "neck" area of the teeth, which can lead to gum problems or sensivity. If your toothbrush bristles are frayed, or spread out, you are using too much pressure (that, and you need a new toothbrush). Plaque is removed very easily with minimal force. When you use less pressure, it will feel like you are not getting the job done, but chances are, you are. BrushSOFTLY!!
16 Mar 2005
Personal Stories, Questions, Concerns?
If anyone has any concerns, questions, issues, or has a dental concern that they would like answered, feel free to email us! We LOVE to hear from our visitors, and thank those of you who have written!
8 Mar 2005
Upper Wisdom Teeth
Not all wisdom teeth are created equal! Believe it or not, sometimes extracting wisdom teeth is very easy. Today an assistant timed a dentist taking out an upper wisdom tooth (w/o his knowledge), and it was about 1.5 minutes! Don't expect them all to come out that fast, but upper wisdom teeth often roll out quite easily. Lowers sometimes are different animals however... (they are more often the difficult ones)
2 Mar 2005
Fluoride and Cavities
It is baffling to see the number of patients who use no fluoridated toothpastes, and show up with wall to wall cavities. Fluoride is not a cure all, but there is substantial evidence that shows that it is one of the most effective substances which can help prevent tooth decay. If you use a non fluoridated toothpaste and continue to get cavities, SWITCH TO ONE WITH FLUORIDE!
28 Feb 2005
Premedication for Anxiety
It is becoming more common for patients to take a sedative medication prior to dental appointments in order to reduce anxiety. This can be extremely helpful, but if you do take a sedative, it is very important to have someone drive to and from the office. It can be extremely dangerous to you and others to attempt to drive under the influence!
21 Feb 2005
Those of us at Dental Advice Blogs, wishes everyone a HAPPY PRESIDENT'S DAY!
16 Feb 2005
Periodontal Disease and Lack of Symptoms
We always have people come in who have periodontal disease/gum disease, yet refuse to get periodontal cleanings and therapy. The most common reason is that because nothing "hurts", they for some reason feel that it is not necessary. If you are in doubt, ask your dentist to show you the bone loss one yourxrays/radiographs, because if your gum disease goes untreated, YOU WILL LOSE YOUR TEETH! A man came in today and when he was told he had severe gum disease, he replied that he didn't feel that he needed periodontal treatment because his wife didn't think it was necessary. Go figure.
14 Feb 2005
Those of us at Dental Advice Blogs, wishes everyone a HAPPY VALENTINE'S DAY EVERYONE!
10 Feb 2005
Prevention of Cavities
It is well documented that some people are more prone to getting dental cavities than others, depending on the amount of cavity causing bacteria a person has in their oral cavity. Good home care is the most essential way to help control the rate of decay, but there are other contributing factors, such as diet. There are also adjuncts which can help reduce the amount of decay. These include xylitol containing gums/candies, chlorhexidine mouth rinse, fluoride mouth rinses, or other fluoride rich dental aids. If you get cavities at every check up and are meticulous with your home care, ask your dental provider if any of these adjuncts are indicated!
7 Feb 2005
Religning dentures can help make dentures fit better. Not always however. Often times, dentists can do in office soft relines, which are reversible; which can allow you to see how much difference a hard reline would make. Relining dentures can alter the fit, which may take some getting used to; and it may alter the appearance, which is not always for the better. If you like your current appearance, and chew your food sufficiently, a reline may not be needed. Bottom line is relines are often very helpful, but they are not the magic bullet.
1 Feb 2005
We get a lot of new patients who come in and tell us that they haven't needed any dental work for many years, then they saw a new dentist, who said that all of their fillings needed to be replaced, or they needed "x" number of crowns , and it was going to cost several thousands of dollars. Maybe all the work is needed, maybe it is not. If your dentist gives you treatment recommendations which you do not feel comfortable with, ask for any alternatives, or tell the provider that you would like to seek a second opinion. That is well within your right. When patients ask us about a second opinion, we encourage it; because we do not wish to treat anyone who is not comfortable with our recommendations, and if they are happier with someone else, perfect. The ones who will not give alternatives or allow a second opinion, may have something to hide.
26 Jan 2005
Home Dental TreatmentAs strange as it may seem, a grown man came in today complaining that his tooth was sensitive to cold, and said that he tried to pull his tooth out with a SCREWDRIVER! Fortunately, all he accomplished was to chip his tooth, but needless to say it wasn't the wisest idea. Worse, awhile back, a child came in with a "hole" in his tooth, which he said he got by using his dad's drill on his tooth! Please, leave the dental work to the dentists and don't try it at home!
24 Jan 2005
Delaying Dental Treatment and Dental AnxietyOften times when people are nervous about seeing the dentist, they wait until the very last minute to go; when the pain is unbearable, versus 6 months ago when it was just sensitive. Now instead of needing just a little filling, a root canal and crown is needed. Instead of one short visit, now the person needs 4-6 visits! The longer you wait, the more complicated the treatment is likely to get, which leads to more anxiety. If you are nervous, do not delay dental treatment, instead, discuss it with your provider and see if there are ways to alleviate that anxiety!
18 Jan 2005
Dry Mouth, Xerostomia
This is a condition caused by medications, radiation treatment (or other causes) which severely decreases the amout of saliva production in the mouth. Saliva is very important in helping to control the rate of saliva, so patients who have dry mouth often have rampant decay on their teeth (saliva production does decrease during sleep, which is why it is important to brush/floss before going to bed). In order to combat a decrease in saliva, home care needs to be IMPECCABLE, sugars in the diet need to be controlled, fluoride trays may be indicated, or even saliva substitutes. If you notice that your mouth is dry and you are getting a lot of cavities, ask your dentist for additional aids!
17 Jan 2005
HAPPY MARTIN LUTHER KING, JR DAY!!
15 Jan 2005
Children's Dental Care
Economically disadvantaged children were seen and given free dental care by volunteer dentists. One of the most difficult things we see is when children come in with rampant decay, teeth fractured down to the gumline, swollen gums, and usually in a fair amount of discomfort. We do what we can, but cases like this really are NOT the child's fault. It is the PARENT'S. We are just urging parents to seek regular dental care for your children. We realize that dental care can be very expensive, but many cities and states have clinics which will see patients who do not have insurance. Try calling any local dental schools, or even the state dental health department. You may be surprised at what you find out!
14 Jan 2005:
Today a patient came in with a DIASTEMA (space between teeth like David Letterman) and wanted it closed. Instead of doing a CROWN, VENEER, or other invasive procedure, we just did a DIRECT COMPOSITEright in the office. No ANESTHETIC was needed, the procedure is 100% reversible, it took about 20 minutes, and when the patient left, she called us, "true artists"! The filling was undetectable and the gap was gone!
10 Jan 2005:
Today an 8 year old child came in needing a tooth extracted. He had not been in in about 1.5 years, and it was noted in the entry that the child did not behave very well, moved around a lot, talked constantly, and did not obey orders well. Today however, was a different story! He sat there nicely, didn't budge while the injection was given or when the tooth was extracted, and left happy as a clam! Bottom line, children grow up fast, so the ordeal you went through last year, may be a breeze this year!
4 Jan 2005:
Root Canal Pain
Today a patient came in who had a ROOT CANAL started about a week ago, and has been in extreme painever since. Three days ago, the dentist reopened the tooth, checked the bite, checked for fractures, etc, but nothing out of the ordinary was noted. The patient had not slept in days, and looked extremely disheveled. The tooth and surrounding areas were numbed, then an injection of dexamethasone (an adrenocortical steroid) was given at the base of the tooth, and the patient was released. Several hours later, when it was anticipated that the numbness had worn off, the patient was contacted, and amazingly enough, was PAIN FREE! Bottom line, often times root canals cause a build up of inflammation, which can cause severe pain, and while oral anti-inflammatory medications will often suffice, sometimes injection into the site may be much more effective.