Category: Blog

New Dental Tech – Panoramic X-Rays

Panoramic X-Ray

 

Panoramic x-rays take a full panorama of your teeth, wrapping around your head so that the dentist can see every angle of your teeth, jaw, and gums. This gives the dentist insight into whether there are any wisdom teeth developing, any early cavities, and any bone loss or fractures. Although many of us do not like having an x-ray because of the taste and feeling of the film that has to be placed in their mouth, panoramic x-rays do not need this because the film is in the machine. If your dentist has recommended that you receive a digital x-ray, it may be because they want to understand TMJ progression, spot an impacted tooth, look for a cyst, diagnose a gag reflex, start to plan for braces or dentures, or even look for gum disease.

The panoramic x-ray is performed by a rotating arm, and this is the part that has the film inside it which creates the x-ray itself. Most of the time, the patient will stand normally and allow the arm to move around it slowly. It is obviously very important that the patient does not move at all – not even their teeth! If they do so, then the image will be completely blurred, and not only will the image by useless, but it will have to be done again.

Now that the dentist has a full and clear image of what is going on in your head, they will be able to zoom in and look at any problem spots in more detail. They should be able to diagnose a few things just from the panoramic x-ray that has been created, and as they use a smaller amount of radiation than the traditional type of x-ray, they are much better and safer for the patient.

Getting Back To Basics – Brushing & Flossing Techniques

flossing

Without proper brushing and flossing, you cannot hope to enjoy good oral health. Your dentist will be able to offer professional cleaning, but it is daily routine that will keep your teeth in the best of health, keeping your smile white, and your mouth disease free. Tooth decay and disease are much more likely for people who do not brush often, and halitosis or bad breath is commonly reported by those who do not take the time to brush twice a day. Furthermore, flossing contributes to this good hygiene and prevents staining on your teeth from drinking tea, coffee, and smoking.

You should be brushing after breakfast, and just before bed, with a toothbrush that is soft on the gums as they need just as much care and attention. Every part of your tooth should be brushed, so you may want to get a toothbrush with a small head that can easily reach all of your mouth, and it should be replaced every three months. An electric toothbrush is often much more effective than a regular manual brush because of its consistency and force, and so the American Dental Association has recommended it over the manual brush.

Although many of us are quite comfortable with how and why we should be brushing our teeth, flossing on the other hand is something that many of us avoid. As flossing can remove food, plaque, and bacteria from around the gumline, however, it is absolutely vital that you do not. You do not need to worry about the flavor or type of floss that you choose, as long as you are working the floss between each of your teeth at an angle so that it can reach right into the gumline. Carefully remove any debris from your mouth, and then rinse.

Pocket Reduction Surgery Simplified

pocket reduction surgery

 

Pocket Reduction Procedure

In case gum disease is allowed to develop for an extended period of time without instituting any intervention the bacteria will eventually digest the gums and begin to leave small pockets. Most dental patients suffering gum disease don’t realize they suffer this condition in the first place. The pockets left are at first too tiny for the naked eye to see. Eventually the pockets grow to become too large therefore allowing food particles to get stuck inside. The stuck food rots causing a bad stench, bacterial infection, and tooth decay. These circumstances catalyze gum disease eventually leading to decay of the teeth and eventual falling out of teeth.

This can be prevented easily by vigilantly checking for indicators of gum disease. In case you are too late in identifying the indicators, you may as well get remedial treatment through a pocket reduction surgical procedure.

Whenever a dentist suggests a pocket reduction procedure they often will take you through an x-ray of the jawline and mouth in order to identify the extent of damage. Some patients prefer to undergo local anesthesia while some prefer general. The surgical procedure is done without requiring patient admission. Although the gum might become sensitive after undertaking the surgical procedure, the patient will notice a big difference soon enough.

What is a pocket reduction procedure?

This is a term used for several distinct surgical procedures done with an objective of accessing the tooth root so as to eliminate tartar and bacteria. The mouth of any human being has different variations of bacteria present at any time. Bacteria contained in plaque are responsible for producing acids which cause the tooth surface to demineralize. These acids will eventually contribute to the contraction of periodontal disease.

Periodontal infections are known to cause chronic inflammatory responses inside the body. This inflammatory response literally obliterates gum tissues and bones upon invading the sub gingival region. Gum pockets will be formed and they become deeper between teeth and gums through the process of destruction of tissue. Periodontal disease progressively affects the mouth, and, if untreated, it could result in massive colonization of bacteria in the gum pockets hence leading to the falling out of teeth. A surgical procedure for pocket reduction is aimed at alleviating the destructive cycle and reducing the deepening of the pockets harboring bacteria.

Why undertake a pocket reduction surgical procedure?

This procedure has a proven record of effectively eliminating bacteria, alleviating inflammation, and protecting the teeth. The objective of this procedure is:

Preventing bone loss: The response causing chronic inflammation due to oral bacteria causes the body to eat up bone tissue. Through the process of bone infection from periodontal disease, teeth anchors get lost. Continued loosening of the teeth may necessitate tooth extraction.

Minimize the spread of bacteria: Oral bacteria are often associated with conditions like stroke, heart disease, and diabetes. Such bacteria have the ability to travel to different body parts through the blood and extend their colonization to other organs. It is therefore important to minimize bacteria so as to alleviate the chances of getting secondary infections.

Enable home care: Through the process of deepening gum pockets, it becomes more intricate for patients to clean their own teeth.  Dental floss and toothbrushes may be unable to get to the deep pockets hence increasing the chances of contracting more infections.

Smile enhancement: Periodontal disease affects the oral cavity therefore making the mouth unattractive. Brown gums, ridge indentation, and rotting teeth are characteristic of gum pockets. The pocket reduction procedure derails further gum disease growth and enhances the aesthetic value of the mouth and smile.

Understanding A Toothache Exam

toothache exam

Just because you have a toothache, that does not mean that you simply have to accept it. A dentist will be able to examine you and talk through the different reasons why your teeth could be hurting, and that way be able to assess what can be done to prevent the pain. Potential culprits include gum disease, wisdom teeth, a cracked tooth, or something in your jaw. Although a toothache will normally present as constant pain, there is also sometimes swelling of the face, gums, and tooth, increased body temperature as its fighting an infection, and saliva that tastes bad for no known reason.

If the pain is so bad that you have to go to an emergency room, then it is time to call an emergency dentist. Over the counter medication simply isn’t enough, but it can be helpful while you wait for your appointment. Cavities are usually the reason for a toothache, but grinding and repetitive motions also can cause discomfort. Only a visit to the dentist will give you the help and support that you need to get rid of the toothache. Sometimes this is through a filling, or in other cases a root canal will be required. In extreme cases, the tooth cannot be saved and it will have to be removed to get rid of the pain.

If there is an infection, antibiotics will probably be prescribed to help your body fight it off, and an x-ray may be performed in order to see exactly what is causing the pain. Other tests may be ordered as necessary, so your dentist can be absolutely sure they know what to do. Although your dentist will be able to help you remove the pain, and treat the underlying cause, there is no way to permanently prevent toothache from ever coming back.

TMJ Treatment 101

TMJ Infographic

 

TMJ Treatment, Causes, and Symptoms

TMJ, also known as Temporomandibular Joint Dysfunction, is some category of jawbone problems that often affects much more people than anticipated. According to experts more than ten million Americans suffer the TMJ condition and most of them do not have knowledge of this. The most fundamental TMJ characteristic is pain. This is followed by restrictive movement of the mandibular and some noises from TMJ when the jaws are in motion. Even though this condition is not dangerous it could cause detrimental effects on life quality. This is because the symptoms could become difficult to handle and even chronic.

TMJ can be analyzed as some symptom complex disorder instead of some single condition. The condition is thought to be founded from a number of factors. The factors are, however, not adequately understood. There are differences on the significance of the factors causing TMJ as well. TMJ has a number of treatment options even though there is absence of proof of effectiveness for any of the available treatments. To this date there has not been any universally accepted protocol of TMJ treatment. The common TMJ treatments include occlusal splints provision, pain medication, psychosocial interventions such as cognitive therapy on behavior, etc. Many sources concur that any treatment administered for TMJ should be reversible.

TMJ causes

Living with TMJ can be disturbing and often painful. The sooner a person is diagnosed, the better for them. Each patient has unique needs and the treatment expected will often be a bit different from what others get. The discomfort and pain should diminish with effective treatment. Many dentists believe that TMJ symptoms come from jaw muscle problems or problems with jaw joints themselves. An injury incurred by the neck and head muscles, joints, or jaw such as injury from whiplash or a heavy blow could cause TMJ. Some of the other pronounced causes entail:

  • The clenching and grinding of teeth, which exerts more pressure on joints
  • Disc or cushion movement between jaw joints socket and ball
  • Arthritis found in the joints
  • Stress which often causes tightened jaw and facial muscles or teeth clenching

TMJ symptoms

TMJ regularly causes acute discomfort and pain. The discomforting pain could occur temporarily or remain for a long time. Such pains can affect either side or one of the sides to your face. TMJ is a common problem both with men and women and the problem is often experienced by middle aged people who are aged twenty to forty years. The common symptoms may include:

  • Tenderness or pain inside the face, shoulders, neck, and jaw joints and can extend to the region around the ears during chewing, speaking, or when the mouth is wide open
  • Discomfort when you attempt to open the mouth wide
  • Stuck jaws or locked jaws when the mouth is closed or when opened
  • Grinding, popping, or clicking sounds from the joints of the jaw when opening or closing the mouth or when chewing. Such sounds may or may not be accompanied with pain.
  • Feeling of tiredness in the face
  • Chewing difficulty or an uncomfortable sudden bite or a feeling as though the lower and upper teeth are not quite fitting
  • Swelling on either sides of the face

Some of the other symptoms include headaches, toothaches, dizziness, neck aches, earaches, ringing of the ears, pains in upper shoulder, hearing problems, etc.

New Dental Tech – Digital X-Rays

digital x-ray

Traditional x-rays – the ones that you probably had when you were younger, and the ones that you see on TV – used film in order to take the ‘photographs’ of our insides. Now there is a new modern technology called digital x-rays, which do not need to take photographs and so can be looked at by your dentist only moments after it has been taken. Another great benefit of digital x-rays is that they use around 85% less radiation. As x-rays are a critical tool for diagnosis, digital x-rays are being used more and more by dentists in order to see underneath the surface, and check whether there are any problems that cannot be seen by the naked eye.

Some dental problems do not cause pain until they are quite far along, which means that in many cases, digital x-rays are the first way that a dentist can detect bone loss, tumors, decay, gum problems, abscesses, cysts, and other developmental issues. As these can now be detected much earlier in their development, the dentist can therefore treat them more easily – and with much less pain and financial cost.

Of course, you cannot completely avoid absolutely all radiation exposure – in many ways, it is part of everyday life. On the other hand, digital x-rays are so far reduced when it comes to traditional x-rays and the amount of radiation they create, and even then, dentists will take precautions to protect the patient during the x-ray. You do not automatically need to have a digital x-ray; your dentist will decide that based on your previous history, and any problems that they have spotted in your symptoms or lifestyle. In most cases, a manual exam will tell the dentist whether or not it would be worth the minute amount of radiation to get a better view and use a digital x-ray.

New Dental Tech – 3D Scanning

3D scan patients teeth

Dentistry is being made simple with new technologies like the Carestream CS 3500 intraoral scanner. It may sound complicated, but it is a simple device that is used by dentist all the time to help with accurate dental restorations, creating fewer problems and causing less pain for the patient. After all, who likes to have dental impressions made? It’s a messy and uncomfortable process, and this new technology avoids it completely. Even better than that, it’s a carefully designed piece of equipment that is small and nimble, so it doesn’t frighten people who are a little nervous about going to the dentist.

It is so nimble and lightweight, in fact, that the CS 3500 can scan a patient at a depth of 16 mm at almost any angle, taking away the hard work from the dentist and ensuring absolutely accurate scans. Your dentist can focus on you. This technology is also compatible with all of the old technologies, and can scan any previous moulds that have been made of your teeth so that it can compare how previous dental work has been done.

The scanner is also useful to dentists because it is plugged directly into a computer, so all of the data that it collects goes straight to a digital record. There is no paperwork or admin for the dentist to complete. There is a projection screen so that the dentist can focus completely on the patient, and when it is in Feedback mode, it projects two lights to guide the dentist where to go. The projection is even in color! Once the scan using the CS 3500 is complete, the software will create an image of the patient’s mouth in detail, something that the dentist could never have done by eye – and completely without any hassle or pain.