Posts for: June, 2014
We're always tickled to see dentists represented in popular culture, especially when portrayed by an actor as handsome as John Stamos. On the hit television show Glee, Stamos played a dentist who made sure the glee club members cleaned up their act when it came to oral hygiene — though perhaps he used a bit too much anesthesia to achieve this admirable goal. While under his care — and lots of sedation — several Glee characters had music-infused hallucinations in which they danced and sang with pop star Britney Spears.
Far-fetched? No doubt. Still, it's worth mentioning that sedation has its place in dentistry. In fact, if you are someone who tends to get anxious or even fearful about dental treatment, you should know that sedation can help you relax both mind and body so you can feel peaceful rather than anxious in the dentist's chair. And that's the whole point: Fear of pain should not stand in the way of your getting the care that will keep you healthy and allow you to keep your teeth for as long as possible.
You may not know this, but when you are afraid, your threshold for pain is actually lower. You become hypersensitive to every sensation and sound, and you tense your muscles. Fear and anxiety trigger the release of certain chemicals that put you in “fight or flight” mode. In this heightened state of alert you experience more pain during and even after treatment.
The good news is that this response can virtually be eliminated with various oral sedatives and/or with nitrous oxide, which is inhaled. Both treatments will allow you to let your guard down and relax. Your apprehension and hypersensitivity to pain will disappear, even though you are still conscious. And when you are relaxed, we are better able to focus on the task at hand, knowing that you are comfortable.
The sedatives used in dentistry have been subjected to rigorous testing and have a strong safety record backed by decades of use. Several even have “amnesic” properties, meaning that you will remember little to nothing of your treatment — unless, of course, you end up singing and dancing with Britney Spears!
If you would like more information about sedation in dentistry, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can also learn more by reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “Oral Sedation Dentistry.” Dear Doctor also has more on “Overcoming Dental Fear & Anxiety.”
You’re probably aware that today’s senior citizens are healthier and more active than ever before, and can expect to live many years past retirement. What you may not know, however, is that seniors have their own set of dental health issues that need to be closely watched.
Here are some common issues…
Getting To The Root Of The Problem — When our gums recede, the root surface of the tooth is typically exposed. This area is much more porous than tooth enamel and thus more prone to cavities. Fluoride application and frequent dental visits can help control this gummy situation.
Are You Sensitive? — The same areas that are exposed when the gums recede can be very sensitive to hot, cold, sweets and more. Specialized toothpaste made with potassium nitrate may help. Please let us know if your sensitivity persists.
It Feels Like The Sahara In Here!! — As we age, salivary glands can decrease their flow, and many medications can cause dry mouth. Make sure you stay properly hydrated by drinking plenty of fluids. Sorry! No alcoholic beverages!! They simply add to your dehydration. Also, there are wonderful products and rinses designed to help alleviate this particular discomfort.
What Does That Have To Do With It? — Believe it or not, many health conditions such as diabetes, heart disease and cancer are interrelated with your oral health. Therefore, please take a moment to review all your current medical conditions with us so our information is complete and accurate, and our recommendations are appropriate.
Be True To Your Teeth Or They’ll Be False to You! — In the old days it was assumed that aging meant losing your teeth. Fortunately this no longer true, especially when regular dental visits are maintained! However, if you’ve already lost some or all of your teeth, dental prosthetic options are better than ever! Everyone has solutions available to them so the may eat comfortably, speak normally, and smile attractively!!
Of course, if it's in your hair that's BAD all around!!
But here are some of the risks and benefits of chewing gum. You decide!!
RISK: Most traditional gums contain high concentrations of sugar--which tastes great!--but this yummy sugar causes tooth decay (cavities) and other health-related problems. Why would you intentionally smash sugar directly against your teeth?
BENEFIT: Although there may be issues with artificial sweeteners, sugar-free gums won’t rot your teeth. In fact, the chewing action can actually stimulate the flow of saliva which reduces the amount of plaque on your teeth and neutralizes harmful acids in your mouth causing a reduction in cavities.
RISK: While many think that gum chewing curbs the appetite, a recent study in the Journal of Eating Behavior reports that chewing minty gum can cause a reduction of the intake of healthy foods, such as fruit, and increase consumption of potato chips and other junk food. Hmmm…what would a Doritos flavored-gum do?!
BENEFIT: Chewing gum helps freshen your breath, especially after eating stinky foods such as onions and garlic, and can relieve dry mouth which promotes gross mouth odors. (Persistent bad breath, however, is usually a sign of more serious dental issues. Better get that checked out!!)
RISK: There is also some risk of embarrassment at the other end of matters!! “Chewing gum can contribute to Irritable Bowel Syndrome (IBS), as excess air can be swallowed, which contributes to abdominal pain and bloating,” says Dr. Patrick Takahashi, chief of gastroenterology at St. Vincent Medical Center in Los Angeles, California. In addition to swallowing air, artificial sweeteners such as sorbitol and mannitol can trigger diarrhea in otherwise healthy people.
BENEFIT: According to studies performed by the British Psychological Society, gum chewing increases blood flow to the brain and actually can help with alertness and memory!
So what do you think?
While you may not consider a dental office a great breeding ground for fame, there are some dentists in history who have achieved quite a bit of public attention. Here are just a few…
This Revolutionary War hero is known for yelling “The British are coming!” but before the war he may have been yelling, “Your wisdom teeth are coming – coming out that is!” A skilled silversmith as well, Revere was known for his talents as an early denture maker.
Probably the most famous dentist to strap on a gun! “Doc” wasn’t just a nickname – the famous gunfighter who was involved in the Shootout at OK Corral was a successful dentist who had a booming practice in Atlanta, Georgia before he headed out west. Unfortunately for Doc, he contracted tuberculosis and needed to move out west to heal, got involved in gambling and gangs, and the rest is history.
It may seem strange that the inventor of the sugar-laden Welch’s Grape Juice was a dentist, but it’s true! He never intended to be a juice magnate, but his invention of a non-fermented, non-alcoholic grape juice for his church really took off!
You may know him as TV’s “Uncle Joe” on Petticoat Junction, Green Acres and The Beverly Hillbillies, but before moving to Hollywood, Edgar was a successful dentist in Eugene, Oregon. He relocated his dental practice to California, joined The Pasadena Playhouse, and got a film role at age thirty-six. Bit by the acting bug, he quit the profession and turned his successful dental practice over to his wife. Hopefully she was a dentist too!!
Born right here in Zanesville, Ohio on January 31, 1872!! Before becoming one of the most prolific writers of Western novels in history, Zane was a practicing dentist in New York. He later revealed that he set up his practice in New York to be near the publishing industry! The multi-talented Dr. Grey also played professional baseball.
WOW!! And you thought dentistry was boring??
At The Smile Shack, we may not have any famous dentists, but we are well known for caring about your family and your smile! Let’s face it…beautiful teeth, healthy gums, fresh breath and a radiant smile will make anybody look a little more famous.
Tooth decay and other oral diseases aren’t the only dangers your teeth face — accidental injuries also pose a risk. Fortunately, much can be done to save injured teeth, if you act quickly.
Dental injuries where part of the enamel crown has chipped off are the most common. Even if only one tooth appears damaged, adjacent teeth and bone might also have been damaged internally. Most chip injuries can be repaired either by reattaching the broken crown or with a tooth-colored filling or veneer. If the damage has extended into the inner tooth pulp then a root canal treatment might ultimately be necessary.
Teeth that have been knocked loose from normal alignment (dislodged) or where the entire tooth with its root has separated from the socket (avulsed) are rare but severe when they occur. It’s imperative to see a dentist as soon as possible — even more than five minutes’ of elapsed time can drastically reduce the tooth’s survivability. Dislodged teeth are usually splinted to adjacent teeth for several weeks; we would then carefully monitor the healing process and intervene with endodontic treatment (focused on the tooth’s interior) should something unfavorable occur.
With the possible exception of a primary (baby) tooth, an avulsed tooth should be placed back in the socket as soon as possible. This can be done by someone on scene, as long as the tooth is handled gently, the root not touched, and the tooth rinsed with cold, clean water if it has become dirty. If no one is available to do this, the tooth should be placed in milk to avoid drying out the root, and the patient and tooth transported to a dentist immediately. Once in the socket, the treatment is similar as for a dislodged tooth with splinting and careful watching.
The damaged tooth should be checked regularly. Your body’s defense mechanism could still reject it, so there’s a danger the root could be eaten away, or resorbed. Some forms of resorption can’t be treated — the aim then is to preserve the natural tooth for as long as possible, and then replace it with a life-like restoration to regain form and function.
If you would like more information on the treatment of injured teeth, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can also learn more about this topic by reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “Trauma & Nerve Damage to Teeth.”