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The risks of oral piercing

Young people today choose to make a variety of fashion statements affecting not just the clothes they wear but also their bodies through tattoos and piercing, for example.

Oral piercing may be something they feel looks good but it can lead to problems where they end up needing medical or dental treatment.

Oral piercing can often lead to symptoms such as pain, swelling, infection, increased saliva flow and injuries to the gum tissue.

There can be severe bleeding if a blood vessel is in the path of the needle during the piercing.

Swelling of the tongue is also a common side effect and, in extreme cases, this can block the airway and lead to breathing difficulties.

Other possible problems include chipped or cracked teeth, blood poisoning or even blood clots.

Infection is a very common complication of oral piercing because of the millions of bacteria in your mouth.

Of course, the jewelry itself also causes risk. It can be swallowed or cause damage to your teeth.

So, while young people may feel piercings in the mouth look cool, a great smile will look a lot better in the years to come.

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What is plaque and how does it affect your teeth?

Plaque is a sticky film of bacteria that covers our teeth and, when we eat something, these bacteria release acids that attack the tooth enamel.

When these attacks are repeated over time, the enamel will break down and this will eventually lead to cavities.

When plaque is not removed through daily brushing and cleaning it hardens into calculus or tartar. When tartar collects above the gum line, brushing and cleaning between the teeth becomes more difficult.

The gum tissue can become swollen or may bleed. This is called gingivitis and it is the early stage of periodontal (gum) disease.

There are several steps you can take to protect yourself against this happening:

– Brush your teeth twice a day with fluoride toothpaste
– Clean between teeth daily with floss or an inter dental cleaner
– Eat a balanced diet and limit the number of snacks between meals
– Visit your dentist regularly for professional cleanings and oral exams
– Ask your dentist about sealants these are protective coatings that can be applied to the back teeth where decay often starts.

If you take steps to remove the plaque each day, you have a greater chance of avoiding tooth and gum problems.

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Periodontal disease: what it is and how to avoid it

Periodontal disease is an infection of the tissues that support your teeth.

There is a very slight gap (called a sulcus) between the tooth and the gum.

Periodontal diseases attack this gap and cause a breakdown in the attachment of the tooth and its supporting tissues.

When the tissues are damaged, the sulcus develops into a pocket and, as the disease gets more severe, the pocket usually gets deeper.

The two major stages of periodontal disease are gingivitis and periodontitis.

Gingivitis is a milder and reversible form of periodontal disease that only affects the gums. Gingivitis may lead to periodontitis, which is a more serious, destructive form of periodontal disease.

There are several factors that have been shown to increase the risk of developing periodontal disease:
– Systemic diseases such as diabetes
– Some types of medication
– Crooked teeth
– Bridges that no longer fit properly
– Fillings that have become defective
– Smoking
– Pregnancy

And there are a number of warning signs that can suggest a possible problem:
– Gums that bleed easily
– Red, swollen, tender gums
– Gums that have pulled away from the teeth
– Persistent bad breath or taste
– Permanent teeth that are loose or separating
– Any change in the way your teeth fit together when you bite
– Any change in the fit of partial dentures

However, its also possible to have periodontal disease with no warning signs.

Its therefore important to have regular dental checkups and periodontal examinations.

If you have developed periodontal disease, the treatment will depend on how far it has progressed.

You can take steps to prevent periodontal disease from becoming more serious or recurring.

Good dental hygiene practices such as brushing twice a day, cleaning between your teeth, eating a healthy diet and having regular visits to the dentist will make a huge difference.

cosmetic dentistry, dental care, dentist, dentistry, dentures, implant dentist, tooth extractions, Uncategorized

How Osteoporosis medications can affect your dental health

Osteoporosis is a disease that weakens bones and increases the risk of fractures.

It affects about 10 million Americans of whom 8 million are women and another 34 million are at risk of developing it.

So this is a disease that affects more women than cancer, heart disease and stroke combined.

But what does it have to do with your dental care?

Well, many people in these categories are treated with a group of prescription drugs called oral bisphosphonates. Studies have reported that these drugs reduce bone loss, increase bone density and reduce the risk of fractures.

But some people have been alarmed and confused by recent news reports about oral bisphosphonates because of uncommon complications that have been linked to these drugs.

The drugs have been associated with osteonecrosis of the jaw (ONJ), a rare but potentially serious condition that can cause severe destruction of the jawbone.

The true risk posed by oral bisphosphonates remains uncertain, but researchers seem to agree that it appears very small.

Given the risks associated with osteoporosis and the proven benefits of oral bisphosphonate therapy, you should not stop taking these medications before discussing the matter fully with your physician.

If your physician prescribes an oral bisphosphonate, its important to tell your dentist so that your health history form can be updated.

In this case, some dental procedures, such as extractions, may increase your risk of developing ONJ, so your dentist needs to be able to take your full health picture into account.

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Wisdom Teeth

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Wisdom teeth, or third molars, usually appear in adults between the ages of 17 and 25 and are the final set of molars that most people get.  While most will eventually have their wisdom teeth removed, not everyone needs to do so.  Most dental professionals will recommend having your wisdom teeth removed if you experience any of the following scenarios:

1. Your wisdom teeth do not fit in your mouth.  Most people have 28 teeth before wisdom teeth erupt.  Many do not have enough room in their jaw for 32 teeth and this may cause teeth to become impacted.  Impacted means the wisdom teeth cannot fully erupt or they may become misaligned.  Removing the wisdom teeth can prevent impaction and overcrowding in your jaw.

2. You experience chronic pain in your gums around your wisdom teeth.  Pain in your gums can be an indication of infection.  Infections are common around partially erupted wisdom teeth because food and bacteria get trapped in these areas.  Having your wisdom teeth removed can prevent further infection.

3. Your wisdom teeth do not come in straight.  Often, wisdom teeth will not grow in straight and can cause your teeth to shift and move over time.  To prevent your teeth from moving, removing your wisdom teeth is often recommended.

4. Your wisdom teeth are causing tooth decay to adjacent teeth.  Wisdom teeth can be difficult to keep clean because of their location in the mouth.  Flossing and brushing can be challenging and without good oral care, gum disease and tooth decay can develop.  Removing your wisdom teeth can prevent tooth decay issues in surrounding teeth as well as the wisdom teeth.

What happens during surgery?

Prior to the surgery date, your doctor will discuss the procedure with you and let you know what to expect before, during, and after the extraction. On the day of your wisdom tooth extraction, you will be given a local anesthetic to numb the area.  You may also be given a general anesthetic especially if all of your wisdom teeth will be removed at one time.  The general anesthetic will prevent pain and will give you the illusion of having slept through the entire procedure.

To remove the wisdom teeth, your doctor will open the gum tissue over the tooth and remove any bone that is over the tooth.  The whole tooth is then either extracted or cut into smaller pieces to make it easier to remove.  After the tooth is removed, you may need stitches.

There are several factors that will affect how easy it is to remove the wisdom teeth.  If the tooth has fully erupted, it is a similar procedure to a typical tooth extraction.  However, if the tooth is fully impacted or if the teeth have not erupted through the gums the surgery may be more complicated.

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Tooth Extraction

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Dental extractions are performed for a variety of reasons including tooth decay, injury, and for orthodontic treatment.  Extractions are a relatively common procedure in most dental offices.  The difficulty of the procedure varies depending on the case and the patient, however anesthesia is used to numb the area and prevent pain during the procedure.

Types of Extractions

There are two forms of extraction: simple and surgical extractions.

Simple extractions are performed on teeth that can be seen in the mouth.  They are removed due to decay or injury and are usually performed under a local anesthetic.  During this procedure, the doctor will grasp the tooth with forceps and loosen it by moving the forceps back and forth.  The loosened tooth will then easily come out.

Surgical extractions are performed on teeth that have broken off at the gum line or that have not yet come in (ie: wisdom teeth).  To remove the tooth, the doctor will have to cut and pull back the gums, which allows access to the area.  This is necessary so that they can see the tooth that needs to be removed.  Surgical extractions are usually done with local anesthesia but a general anesthesia is sometimes preferred.

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TMJ

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Temporomandibular Joint Disorder (TMJ) occurs as a result of problems with the jaw, jaw joint, and surrounding facial muscles that control movement of the jaw. The temporomandibular joint is the hinge joint that connects the lower jaw to the bone of the skull. This joint is located immediately in front of the ear on each side of the head. The muscles attached to the jaw allow the jaw an incredible amount of movement: front side to side and up and down. This flexibility allows us to chew, talk, and yawn.

What is TMJ?

Those who suffer from TMJ experience severe pain and discomfort.  This pain can last for as many as several years or a few months.  More women experience TMJ pain than men and the disorder is seen in people between 20-40 years of age.

Some symptoms of TMJ include:

  • Pain or tenderness in the face, jaw joint area, neck and shoulders, and in or around the ear when you chew, speak, or yawn
  • Limited ability to open the mouth wide
  • Jaws that get “stuck” or “lock” in the open-or closed-mouth position
  • Clicking, popping, or grating sounds in the joint when the mouth is opened or closed
  • Tired feeling in the face or neck
  • Difficulty chewing
  • Sudden uncomfortable feeling when biting
  • Swelling on the side of the face
  • Toothaches
  • Headaches or neck aches
  • Dizziness
  • Earaches
  • Hearing problems
  • Upper shoulder pain
  • Ringing in the ears