Understanding Dental Pain and Bacterial Infections

About five years ago, a nagging pain started to form in my back molar. I ignored the pain for about six months, and the discomfort disappeared. The tooth soon cracked while I was munching on some nuts. After some x-rays and a brief meeting with my dentist, I was informed that I needed a root canal procedure. The dentist explained that the initial dental pain indicated that I had a dental infection. The bacteria destroyed the pulp and nerve inside the tooth, and this left the molar dead and brittle. The tooth was later repaired with a crown, and I started to investigate dental infections. I know now that dental infections are extremely serious. Bacteria can spread through the mouth, to the heart, and to the brain. In some cases, infectious bacteria can even destroy the jaw. You need to know these facts too, so you can retain your health.

2 Tips to Help Your Teen Keep Their Surgical Site Bacteria Free Following a Bone Graft for a Single Implant

If your teen has ever experienced any kind of gum disease or infection, then they may have weaker gum tissue. If this is the case, then getting a single implant will be tricky. In order to make the implant process smoother, your teen’s dentist may suggest bone grafting. A bone graft procedure involves placing additional gum tissue in the area where the implant will be placed. This ensures that the implant will not fail. After the procedure is complete, it is important for your teen to take special care of the surgical site to fight off infection. Luckily, there are a few tips that you can use to help them do this.  Include Antibacterial Herbs in Your Teen’s Liquid Meals  After the bone grafting is complete, your teen will be put on an all liquid or fluid diet. This is done to promote healing and prevent the surgical sites from opening up. Soups, smoothies, and broths are a few common foods that can be eaten during this time. In order to keep bacteria away, you can add antibacterial herbs to these liquid meals. Peppermint, rosemary, thyme, and cinnamon are a few antibacterial herbs that can be added to soups, transformed into teas, or incorporated in broths. If used regularly, these herbs will help to kill off bacteria while your teen eats. You can pick up the fresh form of these herbs from your local grocery store. Incorporate a Water Floss into Your Teen’s Dental Routine Your teen’s dental routine will need to change a bit after the bone grafting procedure. One of the first changes your teen will notice is...

Top 5 Tips For Overcoming Your Fear Of The Dentist

According to the National Institutes of Health, approximately 80 percent of Americans some form of dental anxiety, while between 5 and 14 percent of them have an extreme anxiety. A fear of the dentist is known as odontophobia. Fortunately, there are a few tips that will help you overcome this fear so that you can get the dental treatment you need to have a healthy and happy smile.  Learn About the Latest Techniques There have been many advancements in medicine, and practices have changed over the years. Perhaps you don’t like needles and felt the pain of an injection that was used to administer a local anesthetic in the past. Now dentists use topical anesthesia that completely numbs the area so that you never feel the needle.  Meet With Your Dentist Ahead of Time Since a fear of dentists is relatively common, most dentists are prepared to help patients through their anxiety. Schedule a time to meet with your dentist to discuss your fears and be open to listening to any suggestions they may have. Sometimes it helps to have the dentist explain exactly how they will treat your teeth and gums, as this eliminates the fear of the unknown. The dentist may also recommend having your procedures done under nitrous oxide. This sedative will help you remain relaxed throughout the procedure.  Bring a Friend Going through something alone may be what scares you. Sometimes it helps simply to have a friend or family member you trust with you. He or she can provide words of comfort and keep you calm so that the dentist can complete their examination and any...

Holiday Time, Holiday Teeth: Seasonal Tips for Keeping Your Teeth Pristine

It’s the most wonderful time of the year—or, at least, it very soon will be—and with the holiday cheer, festivities, sales, and muzak comes the holiday meals and treats as well. But for the dental health–conscious person, this can seem overwhelming when you consider all the opportunities for your teeth to take the brunt of the festive blow and land you with some new cavities for the New Year. So how do you enjoy the holidays without paying for it later with a toothache or two? If you’re looking for a few tips to keep your teeth ship shape this season, then here’s what you need to know. Rinse Early and Often It’s a good idea to always have a glass of water on hand, especially if you’re enjoying some adult beverages over the holidays—but it’s good for your teeth as well. Drinking water (and subtly swishing it around for just a second in your mouth to get all your teeth) helps to rinse away residue and harmful chemicals to your teeth that are especially prevalent in alcoholic drinks, carbonated drinks, and especially the perennial favorite drink of the holidays, champagne. Balance Your Carbs The stuff that tastes the best at the holidays—baked goods, cookies, hard candies, and so forth—is also the stuff that’s going to do the most damage to your teeth, especially if you really only consume those carbs and sugars. Instead, try to balance out your sweet treats with a savory one; a handful of carrots earns you a cookie while a few slices of turkey get you a delicious orange roll. It’s even better if...

Correcting The Look Of Crooked And Discolored Teeth

Having great-looking teeth can boost your confidence levels and make you feel more attractive. However, you may feel that your teeth are a lost cause, especially if they have multiple major cosmetic issues, such as discoloration and crookedness. Nevertheless, there are dental applications that can fix these issues.  Discoloration If your teeth are discolored, they can be whitened using natural products, dental bleach, or veneers. Natural products such as baking soda and turmeric can polish away dental stains, while other substances, such as strawberries, contain chemicals like malic acid, which dissolves discoloration.  Dental bleaches are usually peroxide-based and are found in over-the-counter and professional teeth-whitening products. The bleaches are applied to the tooth enamel for a set period of time to allow the bleaching action to work. In most instances, multiple bleaching applications are needed to achieve the level of whitening that is desired.  Dental bleaches usually work well at removing stains that have been absorbed from foods and beverages. However, they cannot whiten tooth enamel that has been darkened by medicine, trauma, or a congenital defect. In those cases, veneers are more suitable.  Veneers hide the discoloration. They are bonded to the front of the teeth and are displayed instead of the underlying teeth. Veneers can be selected in the desired shade of whiteness, so your teeth can be even whiter than the tone that could be produced through bleaching applications.  Crookedness Dental misalignment that is severe must be corrected using orthodontic applications, such as braces or clear plastic aligners. The devices shift the teeth into the desired configuration by applying straightening force. Braces include an archwire that...

Are Oral Piercings Safe For Your Dental Health?

Even though oral piercings have been done for decades, there are still dental risks that are associated with them. Unfortunately, some people who have gotten piercings are unaware of those risks and end up suffering complications. To avoid those complications, it is important that you understand the potential risks and what you can do to lessen the chances that you will have problems. What Risks Are Associated With Oral Piercings? The risks that can occur with an oral piercing range from the possibility of developing an infection to damage to your teeth and gums. Infection is common because your mouth naturally has bacteria. The piercing can make it easier for the bacteria to spread and cause infection. In addition to an infection, the spread of bacteria could mean the development of gum disease. Damage to your teeth usually occurs as a result of the jewelry that is worn for the piercing. Depending on the location of the piercing, you could crack or chip a tooth if you accidentally bite down on the jewelry. The health problems with an oral piercing can extend beyond your mouth. For instance, if the infection from the piercing spreads throughout your body and you have a pre-existing heart condition, a heart problem could be triggered. What Can You Do to Protect Yourself? There are several steps you can take to reduce the chances that you will experience a complication from getting an oral piercing. One of the most important starts with the jewelry you select for the piercing. If possible, look for smaller size jewelry to avoid inadvertently chipping or cracking your teeth. To...

Cosmetic Dentistry: Simple Steps To Finding The Right Pro For You

When celebrities flash their pearly whites, those mega-watt smiles are often due to cosmetic dentistry. Dental implants, veneers, and in-office whitening all take not-so-great smiles to the next level. If you want to join the ranks of the paparazzi-ready, find a cosmetic dentist who meets your needs. Check out these simple steps for connecting with a dentist who’s right for you. List Your Needs Do you want a whiter smile? Is that it? Get specific and write down what you’re really looking for. This might mean deciding how many shades whiter you want to go. Along with the way you want your smile to look, note your own time and comfort needs. If you have plenty of time to get your cosmetic procedures done, time won’t matter much. But, if you can only visit the dentist after work, you’ll need to find a pro who has evening or weekend hours. Talk to Your Insurance Company Your insurance company may cover some of the costs, depending on the reason for the procedure. Some cosmetic procedures may also have dental necessity. Let’s say you cracked a tooth. You need to fix it to keep your mouth healthy. Even though you want it to look better, it’s also necessary. Before picking a cosmetic dentist, ask your insurance company what they cover and if they cover procedures done by this specific provider. Ask Other People Friends, family members, co-workers, and other people who you know can all provide you with honest references. Talking to current and former patients provides you with a picture of what the practice is like and if it matches...

What Is Tooth Resorption?

Nearly everyone knows that cavities are a threat to the health of teeth, but you might be surprised to learn that there’s another way teeth can be broken down. This disorder is called tooth resorption, and it can happen to anyone, regardless of their oral hygiene. Read on to learn more about tooth resorption, how it happens, and how it’s treated. Unrelated To Oral Hygiene Tooth resorption is a process that’s completely unrelated to your oral hygiene. While cavities typically form due to poor oral hygiene and a buildup of plaque and tartar, tooth resorption occurs from the inside out. While cavities start on the outside of the tooth and erode away at the tooth’s surfaces, tooth resorption begins on the inside of the tooth, which means it may not be immediately visible to the eye, even during a dental examination. How and Why Tooth Resorption Happens Dentists aren’t entirely sure why some people’s teeth go through this process, but it’s thought to be related to the natural process of losing one’s baby teeth. When your baby teeth are ready to move out of the way so your adult teeth can move in, the body begins a process similar to tooth resorption. The roots of the tooth are reabsorbed into the body, allowing the tooth to loosen and fall out of your gums. This is why baby teeth lack the visible roots that extracted teeth have. Dentists think that due to trauma or disease, the same mechanism can sometimes kick in with adult teeth, causing the tooth to ultimately fall out if left untreated. Treatment If tooth resorption is...

A Few Procedures You May Require Before Getting Dental Implants

If you are missing some teeth and considering having dental implants, your dentist may require you have work done to your jaw bone or sinus area before the implants can be started. One of the most common problems is not having enough bone to hold the titanium posts securely in place. Another issue is not having a high enough bone before the sinuses in your cheek area. There are procedures that can be done to rectify these issues that results in roughly 95 percent of all implant procedures succeeding. Bone Graft The teeth in your mouth push on the bones that hold them in place as you chew, stimulating them to remain strong and dense. Unfortunately, when teeth are lost or missing, the bone in the area they were is not stimulated and starts to disintegrate. This is why it is important that you talk with your dentist as soon as possible after losing a tooth to discuss how to replace it. If you decide to go with an implant, the sooner the better. If, however, you wait until the bone starts to disintegrate, you may need to have additional bone material grafted to yours. This could be bone from a cadaver, synthetic bone, or a piece taken from elsewhere in your body. Once the bone graft is complete and healed, you can have the implant procedure. Sinus Lift When the problem with bone density or height is in the back, upper portion of your jaw, you may need to have a sinus lift before having a bone graft. During this procedure, the sinus membrane is lifted, folded and...

Dental Bone Grafts

The idea of a bone graft may sound quite scary, but you may need one for your oral health. Fortunately, these grafts are now often done on an outpatient basis and can help restore your smile. If your dentist recommends one, you need to know what the procedure entails.  Bone Loss Unfortunately, once you lose a tooth, you start to lose bone. Your jaw only stays fully intact if your teeth remain in place and are engaged in frequent chewing. If you have multiple missing teeth, your jaw can soon deteriorate quite a bit. By the time you are ready for dentures or implants, you may not have enough bone to support them. In most cases, your dentist can solve this problem without subjecting you to a lengthy procedure.  Grafts Today’s grafts are usually done on an outpatient basis. The best way to approach tooth loss is to have your dentist immediately place a ridge graft in the empty socket. This type of graft is made of cow bone and serves to preserve your jaw in that spot. After a few months, the graft will be ready to hold an implant. This process allows you to have the implant when it works for you without risking bone deterioration. If you need a more significant graft, your dentist may do a bone block graft, one that uses bone harvested from your own mouth, usually from the area where your wisdom teeth were. That bone is inserted in the area that has deteriorated. Again, after a matter of months, your mouth will be able to handle implants. Another procedure that may...