Dentistry On 7 Blog

The Dangers of Ignoring a Tooth Infection

A tooth that is infected is often called a dental abscess. The pain involved is often excruciating and drives most people to seek treatment. However, some are convinced that the pain will go away or are too frightened to visit a dentist. However, the dangers of ignoring a tooth infection are frightening.

What Causes the Abscess?

An abscess is typically caused when a tooth has a crack or opening due to a deep cavity. The crack or hole causes pulp exposure and bacteria begins to erode the tooth further and the pulp starts to die.

The infection grows and pus forms in the roots of the tooth. Sometimes the patient won’t even realize he has this condition until a dentist catches it during a regular exam. Other times, the pain will drive the patient to the dentist to find a solution.

Dangers of Not Treating

Just like any infection, a dental infection can gain entrance to your bloodstream and travel to other parts of the body. Some of the dangers of not treating an abscess include:

  • Tooth loss – because your root is not infected, you can completely lose that tooth and even surrounding teeth if you do not have the condition treated promptly.
  • Jaw bone – the infection can spread to your jaw bone and cause erosion and.
  • Impact to soft tissue and sinus cavity – the infection can spread to the soft tissue of your face and your sinus cavity.
  • Brain – the infection can also travel to the brain. Once the soft tissue of the face is infected, it is just a short jump to the brain.
  • Blood poisoning – If the abscess ruptures the infection can spread into the bloodstream and from there travel throughout the body. This is also called septicemia. It is a life threatening condition and can impact the heart, brain and other vital organs.

Importance of Regular Checkups

Regular, six-month dental checkups give you the peace of mind of knowing that your teeth are in good condition. If you are getting regular exams, it is unlikely that you’ll develop an abscess in the first place. Your dental professional will likely catch a cavity before it grows deep enough to cause a serious issue to the pulp of your tooth. Likewise, your dentist will catch any cracks or other issues before they become too serious.

If you avoid dental checkups out of fear of the dentist, think about how much scarier a dental abscess can be. It only takes a little of your time to get a dental exam and the regular exams can save your life.

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Your Soft Drink Habit and What It is Doing to Your Teeth

Do you wake up and crave a diet cola? Maybe you have to drink a cola with each meal. Soft drinks are a regular part of fast food meal deal, also found at nearly any event you attend, even in schools. However, you may be concerned about your soft drink habit and what it is doing to your teeth.

According to many studies done, soft drinks are one of the leading causes of tooth decay today. The acid, sugar and carbonation in soft drinks not only weaken your teeth’s enamel but they can create an environment where bacteria can thrive.

Even sugar-free drinks are hard on your teeth because they still contain acid and carbonation.

What You Can Do to Protect Your Teeth

There are a number of things you can do to protect your teeth. While it probably isn’t realistic to expect you to give up soft drinks forever, start by limiting how many you consume. Save soft drinks for special occasions and switch to water for your oral health.

  • Use a straw when drinking soda. This limits exposure to teeth.
  • Avoid soft drinks before bed.
  • Ask your dentist for a fluoride rinse, which can help protect teeth from these substances.
  • Use a fluoride toothpaste and mouth rinse for additional protection.

Why Timing is Everything

The Wisconsin Dental Association states that the sugar in soda works with the bacteria in your mouth and forms an acid which negatively impacts your teeth. Diet soda has a different type of acid an also attacks your teeth.

What happens when you drink soda all day long is that with each sip the acids form and attack your teeth for about 20 minutes. However, every time you take another sip, you restart this 20-minute process.

If you are drinking several sodas a day, you may be setting up a scenario where acid is attacking your teeth most of the day. Instead of sipping on sodas all day long, try to limit yourself to a few sodas a week.

By reducing your soda consumption, you’ll improve your oral health. You’ll also stay more hydrated if you replace the sodas with water.

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Things You Need to Know About Dental Implants

A dental implant works just like a permanent tooth in that it is fixed in place securely. They are a permanent solution to missing teeth. Before you choose the procedure, however, there are some things you need to know about dental implants.

1. An Anchored Post

The implant is a titanium post that is anchored into your jaw bone. A crown is then placed over the post. Once the implant is anchored into place, most people can’t tell the difference from the appearance of a natural tooth.

2. They Are More Expensive Than Some Other Solutions

Because they are a permanent solution and require effort to secure in place, they do cost a bit more than some other procedures. Some people find the cost prohibitive, but if you look at the savings over time, it becomes a more economical solution.

3. Bone Loss May Necessitate Other Procedures First

If you have bone loss in your jaw, then a specialist may need to perform surgery on your jaw bone before you receive the dental implant. However, if you do not, getting a dental implant can reduce the changes of further bone loss in some cases.

4. Make Sure Your Dentist Is Experienced

The dental implant procedure is performed by dentists and oral surgeons. However, if the implant will go in near the sinus cavity make sure the person performing the procedure is experienced in the technique to avoid any future issues.

Also, some dentists will send patients to an oral surgeon for the post implant and will then fit that implant with a crown or send the patient to another specialist. Every patient is unique, so your experience may vary.

5. They Can Restore Function

If you’ve been using dentures or partials, dental implants can restore function. Dentures can slide around when you are trying to eat, but implants are fixed. Not only will they improve overall appearance, but they’ll restore your ability to eat foods more easily.

Dental implants have a high rate of success. According to WebMD, dental implants have a success rate of about 98%. If cared for properly, they can last for a lifetime, making them much more cost effective than replacing dentures and buying all the supplies needed to keep false teeth looking clean and bright.

Wondering if dental implants are a solution for you? The experts at Dentistry on 7 will be happy to offer a consultation and discuss which options will work for your smile.

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The Amazing Science of Dental Stem Cell Research

Science Mag reports that the nerve cells inside teeth sometimes “spontaneously transform into stem cells.” Teeth are an unexpected place for stem cells to form. However, it is an interesting place to gather stem cells without using controversial human embryos. The amazing science of dental stem cell research is just getting a foothold. It will be interesting to see where it goes in years to come.

About Teeth Stem Cells

Stem cells are found in most tissue within the human body, but are buried pretty deep. They are also scarce and look similar to other cells around them, making it hard to isolate stem cells. However, in teeth there are a large number of stem cells. The stem cells are found in:

  • Baby teeth
  • Wisdom teeth
  • Permanent adult teeth

Advantages to Dental Stem Cell Research

For years, scientists have looked to stem cell research in an effort to find a cure for diseases such as Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, and even heart disease. However, gathering the needed stem cells has been a chore.

The cells are easy to gather after a routine dental procedure such as the removal of wisdom teeth. Dental stem cells replicate themselves just like any other stem cell.

Future Possibilities

Imagine a world where a child loses his baby tooth and instead of giving it to the Tooth Fairy, the stem cells are stored for future use by that child. Instead of a stranger’s stem cells to try to regenerate function in his body, he can use his own stem cells and reduce the risk of rejection and increase the possibility of success.

According to Stem Save, a company that stores stem cells in a bank for future use, the stem cells in teeth are some of the most powerful stem cells in the body. They replicate themselves at a faster rate and for longer than stem cells from some other body parts.

Since stem cells are stronger when you are younger and lose their ability to reproduce as you age, consider cultivating them after any planned dental procedure as early in life as possible.

Who knows what the future will hold for dental stem cell research. It will be interesting to see just how far researchers can take this discovery.

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I Have a Cavity! How Long Can I Wait to Have it Filled?

If you found out you have a cavity during your last dental exam, you may be wondering how long you can wait to have it filled. Your reasons might range from a matter of financing whatever portion your insurance doesn’t cover to fear of having your cavity filled.

What Does Your Dentist Say?

The first step to making a decision about when to get your cavity filled should be what your dentist says. Since the technology that is used to detect cavities earlier is getting better and better, it is possible that you are in the early stages of tooth decay and have a little time to play with.

On the other hand, some dentists wait until a soft spot in the tooth truly needs treatment  before mentioning that the cavity needs to be filled. You should discuss this with your dentist and find out what time frame you have to work with on getting the cavity filled.

Although a cavity progresses slowly, you still don’t want to put off dental work to the point that you have to have a costlier and more painful procedure as the cavity can affect the deeper layers of your tooth.

Overcoming Fear

If the reason you wish to wait to have the cavity filled is fear, then there are some steps you can try to overcome that fear.

  • Try relaxation techniques and deep breathing.
  • Learn the details of the procedure. Knowledge sometimes alleviates fear.
  • Figure out exactly what you’re scared of, so you can address it.
  • Watch a friend or family member have the procedure so you know what to expect.
  • Share your intense fears with your dentist. There are some medications he can prescribe that will relax you before your visit.
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Is Dry Mouth Dangerous to Your Dental Health?

Saliva plays a vital role in keeping your teeth healthy and cavity free. Dry mouth, xerostomia, can lead to issues such as quicker development of cavities, sores in the mouth, split lips, a raw tongue, problems speaking, difficulty eating and even a sore throat and bad breath. Dry mouth may not be dangerous in and of itself, but the impact of dry mouth can be far reaching and devastating to the long lasting health of your teeth.

What Causes Dry Mouth?

Dry mouth can be caused by a variety of factors, but is most commonly caused by medications the person is taking. For example, dry mouth is common to those taking medicine for depression, pain, allergies or acne. However, it can also be caused by some diseases, such as diabetes, anemia, HIV/AIDS and even hypertension.

While these are the more common reasons, WebMD also lists nerve injury (from an accident or surgery), removal of salivary glands and lifestyle (tobacco use) as causes of dry mouth.

If you’re unsure about what might be causing your dry mouth, it is best to consult with a doctor who is familiar with what medications you’re taking and what health issues you might be dealing with. Simply switching medications may help alleviate some of the problem.

How to Treat Dry Mouth

There are a number of things you should do in order to maintain good dental health when you have dry mouth.

  • Drink water often throughout the day. Sip small amounts often.
  • Avoid caffeine, which can further dry the mouth.
  • Chew sugar-free gum or sugar-free hard candy to help the mouth produce saliva.
  • Avoid tobacco, because it dries mouth.
  • Avoid alcohol, because it also dries the mouth.
  • Your dentist may also recommend an oral wash to help moisten the mouth and protect your teeth.

If you suspect you may have dry mouth but you’re not certain, your dental professional can review your dental history and conduct a sialometry, which is an examination of your mouth where saliva is collected to determine the flow rate of your saliva. There are also tests to rule out any masses in the salivary gland.

If you’re concerned about dry mouth, talk to the dental professionals at our office to determine if you’re suffering from this condition and what can be done to treat it.

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Warning! If You’re a Senior Citizen, Then You May Face These Dental Concerns

As people age, they tend to pay a bit more attention to nutrition, getting in daily exercise and keeping skin moisturized, but may overlook some of the dental concerns that senior citizens face. With a few precautions, you can make sure your mouth stays as healthy as the rest of you.

Xerostomia

Xerostomia, also known as dry mouth, can cause many problems. According to Aging Care, dry mouth is often overlooked in seniors and is common because it is caused by medications.

Since saliva is vital in preventing tooth decay, the lack of saliva presents a serious concern. To combat this issue, drink extra water and avoid foods and drinks high in caffeine, which can further acerbate the problem.

Talk with your Dental professional about using saliva substitutes like a spray or gel. They may suggest using mints or toothpaste with xylitol which helps with reducing bacteria levels.

Cavities

According to the US National Institutes of Health, about 93% of senior citizens over the age of 65 have dental caries in their permanent teeth. In addition, about 18% of seniors have decay that has been untreated.

Untreated cavities can eventually lead to the loss of those teeth and can make it difficult for seniors to eat and get proper nutrition due to pain.

Missing Teeth

Seniors sometimes face the issue of missing teeth. A good set of dentures or dental implants can help alleviate this issue. Missing teeth can make it difficult to communicate properly and to eat anything other than soft food. This, in turn, can also lead to nutrition issues as the senior struggles to get in the proper nutrients with such a limited diet.

Gum Disease

Because many people do not realize they have gum disease in the early stages, when it is painless, by the time they reach senior status, it can become quite advanced. This could result in loose teeth and eventual tooth loss.

Self-Confidence

Let’s face it, feeling good about your overall appearance is important at any age. A beautiful smile is something to be proud of. If a senior’s teeth are not in the best shape, it can impact their desire to even share a smile with others.

By getting regular dental checkups, fixing any problem areas and replacing missing teeth, the senior will not only have better dental health but better self-confidence.

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Top 5 Things to Do During a Dental Emergency that Could Save Your Dental Health

While the hope is that you’ll never run into an emergency situation with your dental health, unfortunately it does happen. Being prepared with the top 5 things to do during a dental emergency could save your dental health or that of your child. Some of the dental emergencies that could strike include a broken tooth, horrible toothache, an abscess or a serious injury to the mouth.

1. Don’t Panic

One of the first reactions when you or your child knocks out a permanent tooth, chips the front teeth or is otherwise injured might be sheer panic. Take a deep breath and phone the dentist’s office. Even if it is after hours, there should be an answering service that can direct you to the nearest emergency dental office or put in a call to your regular doctor to get you some help.

2. Reinsert the Tooth

According to WebMD, if the tooth has been knocked out of the socket, rinse it off with plain warm water. Hold the tooth by the crown, which is the part people see in the mouth. Try to avoid touching the root of the tooth. If you can, put it back in the socket facing the correct way. If you cannot, do not force it in. Instead, put it in a small cup of milk to protect it and get to the dentist immediately.

3. Gather Pieces of the Tooth

If the tooth was chipped, gather up any of the chipped pieces and rinse them off. Also rinse out your mouth with warm water and apply a cold compress to the outside of your mouth. Get to the dentist immediately.

4. Don’t Delay

If you have an abscess or serious pain, get to a dentist immediately. An abscess is an outward sign of a serious infection. The abscess is typically filled with puss. Get to a dentist as letting an abscess go can result in the infection spreading to other parts of your body and create a serious health situation.

5. For Bleeding

There are a number of reasons your mouth might bleed. Injury to the mouth, biting the tongue, blunt trauma, etc. Try rinsing mouth and applying pressure with a clean cloth. If this does not stop the bleeding, you will need to go to the dentist. You may want to follow up even if you stop the bleeding to make sure there was no damage to the root of your teeth.

The CDA recommends that you protect your dental health by wearing mouth guards during sports and other activities where injury might occur, not chewing on items such as ice and not biting or cutting things with your teeth when you should be using scissors.

Want more tips on ways to protect your teeth? Come talk to our team of dental professionals!

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Understanding Your Dental Insurance and Getting the Most from It

Dental insurance can seem like a murky area. Understanding your coverage isn’t always easy, especially since there are so many different types of plans and different companies employers go with. Just what is covered, how often it is covered and what percentage can make the difference in big out of pocket costs and smaller ones. Understanding your dental insurance can help you get the most from it and avoid any unwelcome surprises in costs.

Consulting with Your Dentist’s Office Staff

The office staff at your dental office are trained to understand the different dental plan coverage and when unsure can contact your insurance on your behalf for details on what will and won’t be covered.

Most of the time, all basic dental care is covered . Basic dental care is an examination done by the Dentist (at least once a year), Hygiene visit (at least twice a year +the number on scaling units allowed) and restorative work (fillings).

However, some other things may not be covered, especially major procedures crown & bridge, endodontic and cosmetic procedures. This is where the staff at the dental office will be able to help, by submitting a predetermination of the treatment needed, to the insurance company to determine details of what the insurance will cover before starting treatment.

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How Hermey from “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer” Can Keep Your Child’s Smile Healthy

The Christmas television special centering around a certain red-nosed reindeer that saves Christmas first aired on December 6, 1964. It has ran every year since, making it a beloved favorite of adults and children alike. One character in the movie is Hermey, a young elf who wants nothing more than to become a dentist. Now, Hermey from “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer” is helping keep kids’ smiles healthy.

ADA Coloring Pages

The American Dental Association is offering free coloring pages to children to encourage them to maintain good dental health. The coloring pages are free for anyone to download on the ADA’s Mount Healthy Kids page.

The free coloring pages include:

  • Hermey brushes the teeth of toys: This coloring page reinforces the image by telling kids to brush their teeth in the morning and at night.
  • Hermey studying a book about dentistry as the head elf talks to him: The tip on this page is for kids to simply understand what a dentist does, which is take care of your teeth.
  • Hermey checks out Rudolph’s teeth as Santa looks on: The tip is to take care of your teeth and keep them healthy.
  • Hermey holds a toothbrush while wearing his elf costume: The tip is to brush and floss your teeth, eat fruits and vegetables and visit the dentist.
  • Hermey moves down a path toward dental tools: Move Hermey from Point A to Point B on the path and also learn what tools to use, such as a toothbrush, toothpaste and dental floss.

These coloring pages are a fun way to remind kids about the importance of good dental health. Since children love Rudolph and will recognize Hermey, they will relate to these pages. The best part? They are 100% free.

Want more ideas for ways to get your child excited about good dental health? Come talk to the professionals at Dentistry on 7.

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