Posts for: March, 2018
The human body’s immune system has amazing defensive capabilities. Without it a common cold or small wound could turn deadly.
One of the more important processes of the immune system is inflammation, the body’s ability to isolate diseased or injured tissue from unaffected tissue. Ironically, though, this vital component of the healing process could actually cause harm if it becomes chronic.
This often happens with periodontal (gum) disease, an infection of the gums caused by bacterial plaque built up on teeth due to inadequate hygiene, which in turn triggers inflammation. The infection is often fueled by plaque, however, and can become difficult for the body to overcome on its own. A kind of trench warfare sets in between the body and the infection, resulting in continuing inflammation that can damage gum tissues. Untreated, the damage may eventually lead to tooth and bone loss.
In treating gum disease, our main goal is to stop the infection (and hence the inflammation) by aggressively removing plaque and calculus (tartar). Without plaque the infection diminishes, the inflammation subsides and the gums can begin to heal. This reduces the danger to teeth and bone and hopefully averts their loss.
But there’s another benefit of this treatment that could impact other inflammatory conditions in the body. Because all the body’s organic systems are interrelated, what occurs in one part affects another especially if it involves inflammation.
It’s now theorized that reducing gum inflammation could lessen inflammation in other parts of the body. Likewise, treating other conditions like high blood pressure and other risk factors for inflammatory diseases could lower your risk of gum disease and boost the effectiveness of treatment.
The real key is to improve and maintain your overall health, including your teeth and gums. Practice daily brushing and flossing to remove plaque, and visit your dentist regularly for more thorough cleanings. And see your dentist at the first sign of possible gum problems like bleeding, redness or swelling. You’ll not only be helping your mouth you could also be helping the rest of your body enjoy better health.
If you would like more information on the relationship between gum disease and other systemic conditions, 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 “The Link between Heart & Gum Diseases.”
For anyone else, having a tooth accidentally knocked out while practicing a dance routine would be a very big deal. But not for Dancing With The Stars contestant Noah Galloway. Galloway, an Iraq War veteran and a double amputee, took a kick to the face from his partner during a recent practice session, which knocked out a front tooth. As his horrified partner looked on, Galloway picked the missing tooth up from the floor, rinsed out his mouth, and quickly assessed his injury. “No big deal,” he told a cameraman capturing the scene.
Of course, not everyone would have the training — or the presence of mind — to do what Galloway did in that situation. But if you’re facing a serious dental trauma, such as a knocked out tooth, minutes count. Would you know what to do under those circumstances? Here’s a basic guide.
If a permanent tooth is completely knocked out of its socket, you need to act quickly. Once the injured person is stable, recover the tooth and gently clean it with water — but avoid grasping it by its roots! Next, if possible, place the tooth back in its socket in the jaw, making sure it is facing the correct way. Hold it in place with a damp cloth or gauze, and rush to the dental office, or to the emergency room if it’s after hours or if there appear to be other injuries.
If it isn’t possible to put the tooth back, you can place it between the cheek and gum, or in a plastic bag with the patient’s saliva, or in the special tooth-preserving liquid found in some first-aid kits. Either way, the sooner medical attention is received, the better the chances that the tooth can be saved.
When a tooth is loosened or displaced but not knocked out, you should receive dental attention within six hours of the accident. In the meantime, you can rinse the mouth with water and take over-the-counter anti-inflammatory medication (such as ibuprofen) to ease pain. A cold pack temporarily applied to the outside of the face can also help relieve discomfort.
When teeth are broken or chipped, you have up to 12 hours to get dental treatment.Â Follow the guidelines above for pain relief, but don’t forget to come in to the office even if the pain isn’t severe. Of course, if you experience bleeding that can’t be controlled after five minutes, dizziness, loss of consciousness or intense pain, seek emergency medical help right away.
And as for Noah Galloway:Â In an interview a few days later, he showed off his new smile, with the temporary bridge his dentist provided… and he even continued to dance with the same partner!
If you would like more information about dental trauma, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can learn more in the Dear Doctor magazine articles “Trauma & Nerve Damage to Teeth” and “The Field-Side Guide to Dental Injuries.”
Find out why your little one may actually need to get a dental crown.
While it’s not common for many people to assume that children will benefit from dental crowns, there are actually quite a few situations in which this dental restoration could actually improve your child’s smile. Our Lake Havasu, AZ, family dentist is here to tell you more about dental crowns and how they might be a boon to your child’s oral health.
To Protect Baby Teeth
Children begin to lose their baby teeth by around six years old; however, some teeth take much longer to fall out (this is often the case with molars, which don’t often fall out until your child is 12 or 13 years old). Of course, if a baby tooth falls out much sooner than it should this could cause an issue with the alignment of your child’s smile.
It’s our job as your Lake Havasu, AZ, family dentist to make sure that if your child is dealing with a cracked, fractured or weak baby tooth that we place a dental crown over it to protect it until it naturally falls out. This could prevent the need for more elaborate and complex orthodontic treatment down the road.
When a Filling Isn’t Enough
It’s not uncommon for children to face decay at some point during their childhood. With the rise in sugar consumption we are seeing more and more children developing cavities.
While maintaining good oral hygiene and routine care is essential to protecting against decay and gum disease, if we discover that your child is dealing with extensive decay that a dental filling won’t be able to fully support then we may recommend placing a dental crown over the tooth.
If a Tooth Requires Root Canal Therapy
No matter whether it’s a baby tooth or a permanent tooth, if your child is dealing with a toothache it’s important that you bring them in for treatment as soon as possible. One common cause of a toothache is an inflamed or infected dental pulp, a structure that lies within the tooth.
Once the pulp is infected it will need to be removed during a procedure known as root canal therapy. Of course, once the tooth has been treated it will require additional support and stability, which a dental crown will be able to provide.
Do you have questions about dental crowns? Do you need to schedule your child’s six-month cleaning? Then turn to the caring and compassionate family dentists at Cosmic Kids Dentistry in Lake Havasu, AZ.