Posts for: May, 2018
Determining which of your teeth is causing your toothache isn’t always easy — or even if it’s a tooth at all. The pain could be coming from a tooth, the gums, or both. Only a thorough dental examination can pinpoint the exact cause and best course of treatment.
If a decayed tooth is the problem, the pain may be coming from nerves and other tissue deep within the tooth’s pulp. The symptoms could be dull or sharp, constant or intermittent, specific to one area or spread out. It’s even possible for the pain to suddenly subside after a few days. This doesn’t mean the infection has subsided, but rather that the infected nerves have died and no longer transmit pain. Pain can also radiate from the actual source and be felt somewhere else — the pain in your sinuses, for example, could actually originate from an infected back tooth.
If the source is periodontal (gum) disease, the infection has begun in the gum tissues. As they become more inflamed they lose their connectivity with the teeth, bone loss occurs and the gums may “recess” or draw back. This exposes the tooth root, which without the protective cover of the gum tissues becomes highly sensitive to changes in temperature or pressure. As a result you may encounter sharp pain when you eat or drink something hot or cold, or bite down.
Treating these issues will depend on the actual infection source. An infected tooth often requires a root canal treatment to clean out the pulp and root canals of dead or infected tissue, fill them with a special filling, and seal and crown the tooth to prevent future infection. If the source is gum disease, we must manually remove the bacterial plaque causing the disease from all tooth and gum surfaces to stop the infection and allow the gums to heal. In advanced cases, surgical procedures may be necessary to repair damage and encourage new gum and bone growth.
Where dental disease has spread from tooth to gums or vice-versa, you may need treatments for both areas to address your overall condition. Whatever the treatment course, we can put an end to your tooth pain and restore health to your teeth and gums.
If you would like more information on the sources of mouth pain, please contact us today to schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can also learn more about this topic by reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “Confusing Tooth Pain.”
It's not all about your teeth. Your gum play a vital role in your oral health, too, supporting and nourishing your teeth, keeping your jawbone strong and impacting your overall well-being. Unfortunately, gum disease affects millions of Americans, and some people aren't aware of its symptoms. Are you? At the Smile Shack in Zanesville, OH, Dr. Jeffrey Labishak is the family dentist to turn to for preventive gum check-ups and precise periodontal care.
More than a little blood
Do you see blood in the bathroom sink when you brush your teeth? This is a sign of gum disease, or periodontitis, as dentists call the inflammatory, bacteria-driven condition which, when neglected, destroys gum tissue and underlying bone. Starting as milder gingivitis, gum disease often goes unnoticed by young and old alike. However, your family dentist at The Smile Shack in Zanesville detects signs such as:
- Reddened, swollen, bleeding gums
- Bad breath
- Mobile, shifting teeth
- Changes in the fit of a partial denture or in dental bite
- Pus at the gum line
- Recession of the gums and underlying bone
While most people have less serious forms of periodontitis, about 10 to 15 percent develop chronic and destructive gum disease, says Dear Doctor magazine. This periodontal condition often leads to tooth and bone loss and can impact systemic health with:
- Memory problems
- Cardiovascular disease (hypertension, heart attack, and stroke)
- Kidney and liver issues
Preventing gum disease
Dr. Labishak and his team recommend several strategies in the battle against this devastating oral health problem. The first is consistent oral hygiene at home, including twice a day brushing and once a day flossing to remove the plaque which harbors disease-causing bacteria.
Another is a healthy diet which limits sugars and increases protein, calcium, and fiber. Water helps clean teeth and gums, washing away food particles and increasing anti-bacterial saliva.
In addition, anyone who smokes should stop as tobacco users have twice the chance of developing gum disease, says the Center for Disease Control. See your primary care doctor for help with smoking cessation.
Finally, children, teens, and adults should see Dr. Labishak twice yearly for complete oral exams and cleanings. Your hygienist carefully scales your interdental spaces and the gum line to remove plaque and hard tartar. Also, she measures periodontal pockets, the spaces between your teeth and gums. Pockets deeper than three millimeters are typical of gum disease. This painless diagnostic measure helps your dentist determine the state of your gingival health.
Treating gum disease
For mild gingivitis, most people respond to disciplined oral hygiene at home. For more advanced cases, Dr. Labishak will advise a deep cleaning at The Smile Shack. Serious gum disease may need treatment with laser gum therapy, antibiotics or surgical gum grafting. Your dentist individualizes care plans based on his findings.
Enjoy excellent gum health when you use simple preventive measures. If it's time for your six-month visit to The Smile Shack in Zanesville, OH, call the office today at (740) 454-4112.
It’s hard to imagine, but little more than a century ago today’s “minor” bacterial and viral infections were often deadly. This changed with the advent of antibiotics, drugs which kill disease-causing microbes. Decades after the development of penicillin and similar antibiotics, we routinely rely on them for treating infection. They’re quite prominent in dental care in treating advanced forms of periodontal (gum) disease or reducing bacteria that cause tooth decay.
But the age of antibiotics may be in danger: their overuse in medicine and the food industry has led to the rise of resistant microbial strains — “superbugs” — that no longer respond to first line antibiotics or, in some cases, to second or third line drugs. The U.S. Center for Disease Control (CDC) estimates more than two million people annually will contract one of these superbugs of which more than 20,000 will die. If current practices continue, the growth of resistant strains (as well as allergic reactions among users of antibiotics) will increase. The answer is a more modified use of antibiotics.
For healthcare providers, this means adopting new protocols in which we attempt to prescribe antibiotics that specifically target an identified microbe (which we’ve determined through more rigorous diagnostic testing), and in limited amounts. We must also rein in the practice of antibiotic use in the food industry, routinely administered to livestock to prevent disease or to enhance growth. Many countries, including the U.S., are now moving toward a more limited practice in which only animals that are demonstrably sick receive antibiotics. This will limit their release into the greater environment, which is a contributing factor to growing microbial resistance.
Patients also play a role in the better use of antibiotics. We must first change the perception that antibiotics are a “cure-all” — the answer to every illness. It’s also important for patients who’ve been prescribed antibiotics to complete the course of treatment, even if after a day or two they feel better; stopping antibiotic treatment prematurely increases the chances targeted microbes develop a resistance to that particular drug.
Altering our perception and use of antibiotics will require a tremendous effort for all of society. But making these changes will help ensure antibiotics continue to serve humanity as an important health benefit well into the future.
There’s been a growing awareness about the effects of gluten, a protein found in grains like wheat, rye and sometimes oats, on certain people. An estimated 1 in 133 Americans have Celiac Disease (CD), a gluten-related disorder that causes the body’s immune system to work against itself. And if you have CD, you could eventually face dental problems like enamel pitting and erosion.
When a person with CD consumes gluten, their immune system mistakenly identifies the protein as malicious and attacks it. The attack occurs in the membranes that line the digestive system, which in the process destroys cilia, tiny hair-like structures that aid in food absorption. This disrupts the body’s normal absorption of nutrients, which can lead to a number of systemic conditions including intestinal cancer.
Because of the lack of nutrients, your teeth’s enamel may develop defects. You may begin to see dull spots or pitting, or chalky grooves in its normally shiny surface: this is a sign you’ve lost surface enamel crystals (decalcification). You may also be more susceptible to outbreaks of aphthous ulcers (canker sores).
Because symptoms can be misdiagnosed or go unnoticed, it may be years before you know you have CD. You can, however, get a definitive diagnosis through a blood test for gluten antibodies, which is then confirmed with a biopsy of a tissue specimen from the intestine.
While there’s ongoing research for CD-related medication, there’s currently only one recognized treatment for it — remove gluten from your diet. This is much harder than it sounds, and requires knowing what you can and can’t eat, along with strict monitoring of food package labeling. Thankfully, the world is becoming better educated in this respect as more food manufacturers are clearly labeling products containing gluten and restaurants are providing gluten-free menu options.
Once you have dietary controls in place, your dental issues can be treated as any other person, with one exception: none of the products used in treatment like polishing paste or fluoride gels should contain gluten, and must be verified before using.
CD is a serious condition that could even become life-threatening. Knowing you or someone in your family has it will help you protect both your overall health and your teeth.
If you would like more information on the gluten’s effect on dental health, 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 “Gluten & Dental Problems.”