Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Effects of Poor Dental Health on Your Body

   I love this graphic about oral disease.  Sometimes dentists and patients talk about the mouth as if it is not connected to anything else.  Here is what can be effected by not cleaning well/regularly.gum

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Oil Pulling

Oil pulling is the process of swishing an oil such as sesame or coconut in the mouth to prevent decay and gum disease.  It is said to treat diabetes and heart disease.It is an ayurvedic practice that has been around for thousands of years.   The research is a little thin ,but, theoretically it should work.  There is a link between Heart disease and gum disease.  Diabetes is tougher to link to being helped by Oil Pulling  First off lets be serious and realize that a double blind large scale study is never going to be done.  No one is going to pay a researcher a ton of money to investigate a substance that is inexpensive to buy. That being said there is no reason it shouldn't work for the mouth.  Both of these oils have antibacterial properties and coconut oil might have antifungal effects.  If exposing your mouth to xylitol can prevent cavities(see earlier post) then using other substances probably will work as well. I guess the trick s finding out which ones work,  which ones don't work, and which ones do harm. So if you swish oils around your mouth everyday and it has an enormous effect awesome, if it only  a slightly beneficial effect good.  It is an easy enough thing to do and if combined with good oral hygiene keeps you out of the dental/ medical office then it is a win.  Therefore I would give it a thumbs up,I wonder what the other four dentist would say?

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Invisalign Vs. Wire Braces

There are a lot of exciting things going on in Dentistry.  One of the most impressive is Invisalign.  It is not really new, it has been out about 14 years, but it has taken a little time to become predictable.  There is now a choice a patient can have  brackets (little metal/clear anchors) glued onto the teeth and then attach a wire or wear a computer designed series of mouthguards.  Each treatment has it's pros and cons.
 The pros of wires- It cannot be removed so a patient knows that they will be working 24 hours a day.  They cannot be used and then taken out then placed back on the teeth. The wires can be used in all situations. There are some cases where Invisalign cannot perform the necessary movements and wires must be used.  Using wires can sometimes be  less expensive due to cheaper lab fees.
 The cons to wires are- the wires can break puncturing the cheeks and requiring an unintended trip to the dentist .  Cleaning your teeth has to be impeccable because nothing is worse than taking the wires off straight new teeth and having a bunch of cavities where the brackets were attached(on the front of the teeth no less). If there were no cavities there can be a bunch  of white spots(hypocalcifications) that might be able to be removed but on the whole very difficult to treat. If you have temporary crowns it is very difficult to bond brackets to them. There are the social issues if you are older.
  Invisalign pros- Cleaning teeth is relatively easy you just take them out brush your teeth and put the mouth pieces back in.  There is no need to come in to have the braces adjusted. They are almost invisible.  No wires to break.  If you lose one it is easy to get a replacement.  A patient can use the trays to bleach their teeth.They work with temporary crowns.
Invisalign cons- If you take them out too often the treatment can be delayed.  This is a big issue the mouthpieces must be worn at least 22 hours a day. Sometimes you have to put little tooth colored bumps(attachments) on the front of the teeth to aid in tooth movement.If you have arthritis or other dexterity issues the removal can be difficult.  They are removed to eat but not to drink.

Wires                                                           Invisalign

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Keep Your Mouth Shut

It's funny I've heard the saying "close your mouth or you'll catch flies".  I never really thought that  keeping your mouth closed would have medical implications. Perhaps if you were a member of the mob.  Now that I am a dentist I realize that mouth breathers usually have permanent gingivitis.While this is not as bad as it sounds it still gives the person  red and bleeding gums.  This is the extent to which I was taught mouth breathing affected people.
   It now seems that mouth breathing has other and more serious considerations. There is a strong correlation between  breathing rate and a number of diseases Asthma being one.  It also has effects on posture- the head and neck are extended creating muscle stress. The abdomen and diaphragm are impacted.  Which causes a loss of muscle strength.  There is Long Face syndrome which is pretty much what the name implies... a long face which was thought to be genetic but the culprit is mouth breathing. It also turns out that nasal (through the nose) breathing supplies more oxygen to the blood than mouth breathing. This is a brief overview a more indepth analysis of breathing is found by reading Patrick McKeown and the seminal works of Konstantin Buteyko.

Friday, September 27, 2013

The End of Root Canals!?

The news is filled with advances of all sorts.  Smart phones have more computing power than the computers used to put men on the moon.  Cars are smarter than the mainframes used at MIT in the fifties. Face, hand, arm transplants used to be science fiction, now while not routine, are not uncommon.
    Dentistry has also come a huge way in a short period of time.  Digital x rays, scanning teeth instead of impressions with purple gooey stuff that not only makes you gag, but tastes disgusting. Just around the corner is three D printing of fillings.
  What is on the horizon is the end of the Root canal.  Looked at it objectively, a root canal is really no ones idea of a great treatment. Cleaning out the nerve knowing that you will never be able to get it all out.  Doing a procedure that I can't see what I'm doing, with a ton of anomalies and deviations. Then having a dead tooth that can't tell you if anything is wrong.  Don't misunderstand, it is a great procedure in that you get to save teeth that would need to be extracted.  Hopefully I can look back and put root canal in the category of "it was the best we could do at the time".  Research in stem cells has been going on in dentistry.  Instead of removing the nerve and putting in a filler researchers are trying to use stem cells to regenerate the nerve.  This is a whole new world where instead of doing something that is almost as good, you get to have a tooth that is as good as new.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Stop Cavities Chew Gum

People want to know-What can I do to prevent cavities?  Well, there is the brushing and flossing of teeth.  That's kind of obvious though.  There is eating candy. I know this sounds counter intuitive, Even crazy.   If the candy has Xylitol as a sweetener though, then eat away. Xylitol prevents decay and slows down the progress sometimes even reversing a cavity that is already present.  First off what is Xylitol? It is a sweetener derived from  fibers of many fruits and vegetables, and can be extracted from various berries, oats, and mushrooms, as well as fibrous material such as corn husks and sugar cane bagasse, and birch. It has 33% less calories than sugar and is the only sweetener that reduces decay, remineralizes tooth, and helps prevent ear aches. If an expecting mother eats it regularly the child has a lower rate of cavities. It has no deleterious effect on the developing baby.  It is best as a hard candy but can be chewed in a gum.  It has been studied extensively and shows no side effects in clinical doses.  Children are more than happy to eat it. It has no problems with long term use.  It is pretty much a win- win, which is a rare thing in dentistry.

Sources: Wikipedia, Dentaltown

Monday, July 15, 2013

White Spots on Your Teeth

There are a number of reasons that there are white spots on your teeth.  It can range from an issue called fluorosis, which means that a person has had too much fluoride and it has affected the tooth structure.  What people forget is that many mouth washes have fluoride, major metropolitan areas have fluoride in the water,toothpastes, bottled water and on top of that some dentists do fluoride treatments after a cleaning.  These things make it easy to get white spots on the teeth when you are a kid and the teeth are growing.  There are other types of white spots- after wearing braces with wires, around the brackets, which were glued to the teeth  people will get white spots. These spots are due to poor oral hygiene around the brackets. Poor oral hygiene will also cause white lines at the gum line of the teeth.
    These are the common causes of white spots that can be reversed easily and with minimal invasiveness.  What it requires is scrubbing the teeth, cleaning them with a gel and then using a calcium paste to force calcium back into the tooth, repeat if needed. It's Simple and  effective.  If this method doesn't work then you can move onto more invasive techniques like composite(bonding), veneers(porcelain facings) or decide that the spots aren't so bad after all.
    There is one last type of white spot that hasn't been covered. Sometimes when a person gets a cavity the tooth can turn a dull white.  This gives the patient and dentist no option but to treat the decay.