Why is the roof of my mouth swollen?

 

By: Jenna Fletcher, Medical News Today

 

Many conditions may cause a swollen roof of the mouth, including sores, dehydration, and mucus buildups. In this article via Medical News Today, learn about six causes of a swollen roof of the mouth, and possible treatment or home remedies. The Oral Surgery DC Team

 

The roof of the mouth consists of a bony plate at the front and a non-bone, soft section at the back. Together, these serve as a barrier between the oral and nasal cavities. From time to time, the roof of the mouth may become swollen.

Swelling on the roof of the mouth may be due to several potential causes, most of which will resolve with minimal treatment. In less common cases, the swelling may be due to a more serious condition.

Other symptoms may accompany the swelling, including:

  • blisters or other sores
  • dry mouth
  • muscle spasms
  • pain or discomfort

Read on to learn about the possible causes of swelling on the roof of the mouth.

Causes

A range of conditions can cause a swollen roof of the mouth, including:

1. Sores in the mouth

Most common mouth sores, such as canker sores and cold sores, will appear on the gums, cheeks, or lips. In some cases, they may appear on the roof of the mouth.

Sores can cause pain, blisters, and swelling. Some people may notice pain or swelling before the sore appears.

2. Injury or trauma

One of the most common causes of swelling on the roof of the mouth is an injury or trauma. Some of the most common causes of trauma include:

  • eating a hard food that may impact the roof of the mouth
  • eating or drinking an extremely hot item
  • a scratch from a sharp piece of food

3. Dehydration

Dehydration can cause swelling on the roof of the mouth. Dehydration can cause a dry mouth, which can result in swelling if a person does not take steps to relieve the condition.

Some common causes of dehydration and dry mouth include:

  • excessive alcohol intake
  • certain medications
  • not drinking enough water
  • excessive sweating, particularly on hot days or while exercising
  • illness

A person with dehydration that causes an electrolyte imbalance may also feel especially weak or experience muscle spasms.

 

Source: https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/323028.php

What causes a bump on the roof of the mouth?

 

By: Elaine K. Luo, MD, Medical News Today

 

A bump on the roof of the mouth can be worrisome, especially if it does not go away quickly. Most causes of a bump on this part of the body are easily treatable, but it may also indicate a more serious underlying condition.

Can it be the reason to see our dentist now? More insights via Medical News Today! The Oral Surgery DC Team

 

In this article, learn what can cause a bump on the roof of the mouth, including possible additional symptoms and when to see a doctor.

1. Canker sores

Canker sores can appear on the roof of the mouth.

Canker sores are round, open sores in the mouth. They may be white, yellow, or pale pink and are very sensitive.

Canker sores are most common in the cheeks and gums, but they can also appear in unusual places, such as the roof of the mouth.

There are various causes of canker sores, including biting the cheek while chewing and scratching the roof of the mouth.

These sores usually resolve within a couple of weeks. They are not contagious, but they can be painful or uncomfortable and may make eating difficult.

Some over-the-counter (OTC) or prescription oral creams may numb the pain.

2. Burns

Hot beverages, such as coffee or tea, or foods that have just finished cooking can burn the inside of the mouth, including the roof. If the burn is severe enough, a bump or blister can form.

Minor burns usually heal without treatment, as long as the person takes care to avoid irritating the sensitive skin.

3. Trauma or injury

The inside of the mouth is a sensitive area. Injury to the tissue on the roof of the mouth can lead to a bump forming.

This type of bump may result from:

  • puncture wounds
  • cuts
  • damage to the mouth from tobacco use
  • accidents from dental work
  • irritation from dentures

An injury may cause scar tissue to form in the mouth, which might be lumpy and raised. The sore may be painful or sensitive but will usually heal on its own.

Regularly rinsing the mouth with warm salt water may help promote healing.

4. Cold sores

Cold sores occur when a person has a herpes simplex virus outbreak. The virus produces blisters on the lips and in the mouth. They may also form on the roof of the mouth.

The signs and symptoms of cold sores may include:

  • a tingling sensation before the blisters appear
  • blisters that form in patches or clusters
  • oozing or open blisters that do not rupture
  • blisters that do rupture and crust over before healing

Unlike canker sores, cold sores are very contagious. The outbreak usually clears up without treatment, but it is important to avoid coming into close contact with anyone during that time to prevent spreading the virus.

A doctor may prescribe some medications to speed up the healing process if necessary.

5. Mucoceles

Mucoceles are oral mucous cysts that form due to an irritated or inflamed salivary gland. Mucus builds up in the gland, leading to a round, fluid-filled bump or growth.

Mucoceles are not usually a cause for concern and will heal without treatment, although this may take several weeks.

6. Torus palatinus

A very hard lump on the roof of the mouth may be a sign of torus palatinus. Torus palatinus is an extra bone growth that is benign and not indicative of an underlying condition.

The growth can appear at any age, and it may continue to grow throughout a person’s life. It will not usually require treatment unless it affects a person’s ability to eat, drink, or talk.

7. Candidiasis

Oral candidiasis can cause white bumps in the mouth.

 

Oral candidiasis is a form of yeast infection that may cause red or white bumps in the mouth.

It is vital to see a doctor or dentist for a proper diagnosis of oral candidiasis, as the symptoms may mimic those of other conditions.

A doctor is likely to recommend oral antifungal medication to treat the issue. They will also provide advice on how to prevent the infection in the future.

8. Hand, foot, and mouth disease

Coxsackievirus is the name of the virus that causes hand, foot, and mouth disease (HFMD). The virus infects the mouth, causing painful blisters and red bumps.

As the name suggests, the symptoms may also appear on the hands and feet. Other symptoms include fever and body aches.

HFMD is more common in young children, but it can affect anyone. Doctors may prescribe medicated mouthwash to help relieve symptoms while they treat the virus.

9. Epstein pearls

Parents who notice lumps in a baby’s mouth may be seeing Epstein pearls. These are cysts that commonly appear in newborns.

Epstein pearls are white or yellow and will go away a few weeks after the birth without causing any additional problems.

10. Hyperdontia

Although rare, a bump in the top of the mouth may be an extra tooth. People with hyperdontia grow too many teeth.

In the upper jaw, these extra teeth usually pop up just behind other teeth, but sometimes they can appear further back toward the roof of the mouth.

A person with hyperdontia may experience pain in the area where the extra tooth is growing as well as jaw pain and headaches.

Hyperdontia is treatable, and dentists can usually remove any extra teeth without complications.

11. Squamous papilloma

The human papillomavirus may also cause bumps to develop in the mouth. These growths are noncancerous, painless, and may have a bumpy, cauliflower-like texture.

Although they can be distracting, squamous papillomas often go away without treatment.

12. Oral cancer

Signs of oral cancer can include a sore that does not heal and an oddly shaped patch of tissue.

In rare cases, sores or bumps on the roof of the mouth may be cancerous. Bumps that occur due to oral cancer may be white, gray, or bright red, depending on the underlying cause. They may feel smooth or velvety.

Possible signs of oral cancer include:

  • a lump or sore that does not heal
  • a rapidly growing lump
  • an oddly shaped patch of tissue
  • open, bleeding sores

However, oral cancer is not the most likely cause of a bump on the roof of the mouth. Many people may confuse signs of oral cancer with other issues in the mouth.

It is crucial to give the sores time to heal. If a bump shows no signs of healing after 2 weeks, it is essential to speak to a doctor for a proper diagnosis.

When to see a doctor

While many bumps on the roof of the mouth will resolve without treatment, some may require medical intervention. A person should see a doctor for:

  • very discolored patches in the mouth
  • pain lasting more than a couple of days
  • a foul smell in the mouth
  • pain when chewing or swallowing
  • severe burns
  • dentures, retainers, or other dental devices that no longer fit properly
  • trouble breathing
  • a fast-growing bump
  • a bump that changes shape
  • a bump that does not go away after 2 weeks
  • a bump that interferes with daily life

Anyone who is concerned about a bump on the roof of their mouth should speak to a doctor, who can help determine the underlying cause and recommend treatment if necessary.

 

Source: https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/323063.php

 

Should You Switch to a Prebiotic or Probiotic Toothpaste?

 

By: Renee Cherry, Shape Magazine

 

New toothpastes are aimed at keeping your mouth bacteria balanced. Experts pointed out some essential things you need to know to improve your oral health via SHAPE! The Oral Surgery DC Team

 

At this point, it’s old news that probiotics have potential health benefits. Chances are you’re already eating themdrinking themtaking themapplying them topically, or all of the above. If you want to take it a step further, you can also start brushing your teeth with them. Yep, prebiotic and probiotic toothpaste is a thing. Before you roll your eyes or stock up, keep reading.

When you hear “probiotics,” you probably think gut health. That’s because the effect that probiotics have on a person’s gut bacteria and overall health has been extensively researched. Just like with your gut microbiome, it’s beneficial to keep your skin and vaginal microbiomes in balance. Ditto with your mouth. Just like your other microbiomes, it’s home to a variety of bugs. A recent review pointed out studies that have associated the state of the oral microbiome with overall health. Studies have linked an imbalance of mouth bacteria to oral conditions like cavities and oral cancer, but also to diabetes, immune system diseases, and adverse pregnancies. (Read more: 5 Ways Your Teeth Can Impact Your Health) This suggestion that you should also keep your mouth bacteria in balance has led to the development of prebiotic and probiotic toothpaste.

Let’s back up a sec and get a refresher. Probiotics are live bacteria that have been linked with various health benefits, and prebiotics are nondigestible fibers that basically act as a fertilizer for probiotics. People pop probiotics to promote healthy gut bacteria, so these new toothpastes are meant to serve a similar purpose. When you eat a lot of sugary foods and refined carbs, that’s when the bacteria in your mouth take on negative qualities and cause decay. Instead of killing off bacteria like traditional toothpaste, pre- and probiotic toothpastes are aimed at keeping bad bacteria from wreaking havoc. (Related: You Need to Detox Your Mouth and Teeth—Here’s How)

“Research has confirmed over and over again that gut bacteria is key to whole-body health, and it’s no different for the mouth,” says Steven Freeman, D.D.S., owner of Elite Smiles dentistry and author of Why Your Teeth Might Be Killing You. “Almost all the bacteria in your body is supposed to be there. The problem comes when the bad bacteria basically gets out of control, and their bad properties come to light.” So, yes, Freeman recommends switching to a probiotic or prebiotic toothpaste. When you eat sugary foods, the bacteria in the mouth take on negative qualities and can cause both cavities and problems along the gums, he says. But brushing with prebiotic or probiotic toothpaste can prevent these gum issues. An important exception to note: Traditional toothpaste still wins in the cavity-prevention department, says Freeman.

To make things more complex, probiotic and prebiotic toothpastes work a little differently. Prebiotic is the way to go, says Gerald Curatola, D.D.S., biologic dentist and founder at Rejuvenation Dentistry and author of The Mouth Body Connection. Curatola actually created the first prebiotic toothpaste, called Revitin. “Probiotics don’t work in the mouth because the oral microbiome is very inhospitable for foreign bacteria to set up shop,” says Curatola. Prebiotics, on the other hand, can have an effect on your oral microbiome, and “foster balance, nourish, and support a healthy balance of oral bacteria,” he says.

Probiotic and prebiotic toothpastes are part of a larger natural toothpaste movement (along with coconut oil and activated charcoal toothpaste). Plus, people are starting to question some of the ingredients commonly found in traditional toothpaste. Sodium lauryl sulfate, a detergent found in many toothpastes—and enemy number one of the “no shampoo” movement—has raised a red flag. There’s also a huge debate surrounding fluoride, which has led many companies to ditch the ingredient in their toothpaste.

Of course, not everyone’s on board with the bacteria-brushing trend. No prebiotic or probiotic toothpastes have received the American Dental Association Seal of Acceptance. The association only bestows the seal on toothpastes containing fluoride, and maintains that it’s a safe ingredient for removing plaque and preventing tooth decay.

If you decide to make the switch, it’s important to brush well, says Freeman. “Fluoride is very good [at] protecting against cavities and freshening your breath, but primarily speaking, when brushing your teeth, it’s the actual toothbrush going along your teeth and gums that really goes a long way toward fighting the cavities,” he says. So whatever toothpaste you use, there are certain things you should do for the best oral health and smile: Invest in an electric brush, spend a whole two minutes brushing, and position your brush at 45-degree angles toward both sets of gums, he says. Plus, you should continue to get fluoride treatments at the dentist. “That way, it’s going directly onto your teeth and there are fewer additives in topically applied fluoride in a dental office than what you’re going to find in a tube of toothpaste,” says Freeman. Finally, limiting sugary foods and carbonated beverages can also make a difference to your overall oral health.

 

Source: https://www.shape.com/lifestyle/mind-and-body/should-you-switch-prebiotic-or-probiotic-toothpaste

Nature vs. Nurture: Dental Problems Parents Pass Down To Children

 

Parents, in particular, want to know: does DNA predetermine dental health? The Oral Surgery DC Team

 

It’s the classic nature vs. nurture question that dentists get asked often, but the answer doesn’t simply boil down to one or the other. The scary truth is that many dental problems are indeed “inherited”–but not from genetics alone! Harmful habits that run in the family can also play a huge role in the health of your child’s smile. Find out which oral issues you could be passing down, and what you can do about them.

DNA-Driven Dental Issues

Even before birth, the stage has already been set for certain aspects of your child’s oral health. Ultimately, your child’s genes dictate the likelihood for common issues such as:

    • Jaw-related Disorders: The size and position of one’s jaws, as well as overall facial structure, are hereditary traits that can cause a number of bite complications (or “malocclusions”). Overbites or underbites caused by uneven jaws can lead to chewing and speech difficulties, and result in chronic pain and/or Temporomandibular Jaw Disorder (“TMJ”) if left untreated.
    • Tooth Misalignments: Spacing problems, either due to missing or overcrowded teeth, are oral issues that have been hardwired in a person even before the emergence of teeth. Cases where people lack some (“Anodontia”) or all (“Hypodontia”) permanent teeth can threaten gum and jaw health, as can instances of “supernumerary” teeth, in which extra teeth erupt.
    • Weak Tooth Enamel: Though rare, it is possible for tooth enamel to be defective, or develop abnormally. Dentin, which makes up the protective enamel covering of teeth, may not be produced or mineralize at normal levels, leaving teeth vulnerable to decay, sensitivity and damage.
  • Predisposition To Oral Cancer: Genetic mutations and the presence of oncogenes, a type of gene that transforms healthy cells into cancerous ones, can increase the risk for cancer by interfering with the body’s ability to metabolize certain carcinogens.

From serious conditions such as a cleft palate, to occasional aggravations like canker sores, many other oral issues may be linked to genetics. Keeping track and sharing the family’s health history with your child’s dentist can help detect and treat inherited conditions as early as possible.

Behavioral Risks

DNA may deal your child some unavoidable complications, but when it comes to tooth decay and gum disease, learned habits and tendencies shoulder much more of the blame, including:

    • “Oversharing”: Harmful oral bacteria from a loved one can easily colonize and overtake your little one’s mouth from something as simple as sharing food, utensils, or kissing. The inadvertent swapping of saliva can put your child at increased risk for cavities and gingivitis.
    • Diet Choices: Satisfying that sweet tooth with sugary, refined treats, or turning to soda and juice for refreshment can create an unhealthy addiction that’s as dangerous to the mouth as it is to the waist. Sugar and acid can eat away at the tooth enamel, causing cavities and tooth sensitivity. Exposure to certain chemicals and ingredients can also cause discoloration.
  • Bad Hygiene: Last, but certainly not least, lacking a good dental routine can wreak havoc on teeth and gums. Failing to follow through on brushing and flossing twice a day (or as recommended by the dentist) can create a haven for cavities and periodontitis, not to mention halitosis.

Leading by example is an easy, effective way to teach your child the importance of oral health while benefitting the whole family.

Stay One Step Ahead

Every parent wants the best for his or her child–including a healthy smile. With so many potential problems that can be passed down, protecting your child’s oral health is not easy, but you don’t have to do it alone. Seek the help of your child’s dentist for optimal professional and at-home dental care. Treating existing issues early on and teaching your child to make dental-friendly decisions can provide lifelong benefits to his or her health.

 

Source: http://newsletter.lh360.com/article-content/943ba85d-4e54-46f5-a7a8-764c3abc9991.html

What to do when your child has a dental emergency

 

By: Stephanie McGuire, Omaha

 

No parent wants their kids to suffer in any way, but accidents do happen, and children are likely to experience a dental emergency because of their activities on the playground and on the playing field.

So what do you need to do in case your child suffers a dental emergency? MOMAHA.COM shares the essential things to do to spare your child from pain or severe dental damage. Read on! The Oral Surgery DC Team

An adult going through a dental emergency is, in all likelihood, in a world of pain. Can you imagine if something like that happened to your child? No parent wants their kids to suffer in any way, but accidents do happen, and children are likely to experience a dental emergency because of their activities on the playground and on the playing field.

So what do you need to do in case your child suffers a dental emergency? Let’s take a look at some of the more common dental emergencies among kids and find out what you have to do to spare your child from pain or severe dental damage.

1. Broken or fractured teeth. Kids run, jump, and sometimes, play rough. With such activities, children can be prone to breaking or fracturing their teeth with one misstep. If such an accident takes place, find the piece of the tooth that broke off and put it in a glass of cold milk or water. Have your child rinse off his or her mouth with warm water to make sure there are no tiny fragments left inside that may injure your child’s mouth. Of course, you should take your child to the dentist immediately.

2. Knocked-out permanent tooth. Your child could have a permanent tooth knocked out on the playground. Find the tooth as quickly as you, pick it up by the crown and not the roots, and rinse it with cold water. The tooth can still be re-implanted within 30 minutes or so, so make sure you preserve it by soaking it in a cup of cold milk or water while you’re en route to your emergency dentist.

3. A toothache. Toothaches are common, but watching your child cry out in pain is absolutely heartbreaking. To ease your child’s pain, have him or her gargle a warm salt water solution. You may also want to take a closer look inside your child’s mouth to see if there’s an object stuck between teeth or if the gums are swollen. Schedule a visit to the dentist the soonest possible time to find out what’s causing the toothache and relieve it at once.

Whatever dental emergency your child is facing, always remember that your job is to take steps that will provide your child temporary relief. Treating the problem will be entirely up to the dentist, whose office you should bring your child to right away in cases of dental emergencies.

 

Source: https://www.omaha.com/momaha/what-to-do-when-your-child-has-a-dental-emergency/article_dd337e8d-ac99-59b7-8033-c3e0929be740.html

After the Removal of Multiple Teeth

 

By: Orlando Oral Facial Surgery

 

🙂 From the primary operation to its effect, the removal of multiple teeth is quite different from the extraction of just one tooth. Check out these guidelines on what to do after the teeth extraction to prevent any complications from occurring. The Oral Surgery DC Team

 

INSTRUCTIONS FOR AFTER MULTIPLE TOOTH REMOVALS

A small amount of bleeding is to be expected following the operation. If bleeding occurs, place a gauze pad directly over the bleeding socket and apply biting pressure for 30 minutes. If bleeding continues, bite on a moistened black tea bag for thirty minutes. The tannic acid in the black tea helps to form a clot by contracting blood vessels. If bleeding occurs, avoid hot liquids, exercise, and elevate the head. If bleeding persists, call our office immediately. Do not remove the immediate denture unless the bleeding is severe. Expect some oozing around the side of the denture.

Use ice packs (externally) on the cheek near the surgical site. Apply ice for the first 36 hours only. Apply ice continuously while you are awake.

For mild discomfort use aspirin, Tylenol, or any similar medication; two tablets every 3-4 hours. Two to three tablets of Ibuprofen (Advil or Motrin) can be taken every 3-4 hours.

For severe pain, use the prescription given to you. If the pain does not begin to subside after 2 days, or increases after 2 days, please call our office. If an antibiotic has been prescribed, make sure to finish your prescription unless you have an allergic reaction..

Drink plenty of fluids. If many teeth have been extracted, the blood lost at this time needs to be replaced. Drink at least six glasses of liquid the first day.

Do not rinse your mouth for the first post-operative day, or while there is bleeding. After the first day, use a warm salt water rinse every 4 hours and following meals to flush out particles of food and debris that may lodge in the operated area. (One teaspoon of salt in one cup of warm water). After you have seen your dentist for denture adjustment, take out the denture and rinse 3 to 4 times a day.

Restrict your diet to liquids and soft foods that are comfortable for you to eat. As the wounds heal, you will be able to resume your normal diet.

The removal of many teeth at one time is quite different from the extraction of just one or two teeth. Because the bone must be shaped and smoothed prior to the insertion of a denture, the following conditions may occur, all of which are considered normal:

  • The area operated on will swell, reaching a maximum in two days. Swelling and discoloration around the eyes may occur. The application of a moist warm towel will help eliminate the discoloration. The towel should be applied continuously for as long as is tolerable, beginning 36 hours after surgery. (Remember: ice packs are used for the first 36 hours only).
  • A sore throat may develop. The muscles of the throat are near the extraction sites. Swelling into the throat muscles can cause pain. This is normal and should subside in 2-3 days.
  • If the corners of the mouth are stretched, they may dry out and crack. Your lips should be kept moist with an ointment like Vaseline. There may be a slight elevation of temperature for 24-48 hours. If your temperature continues to rise, notify our office.

 

Sources: https://www.oofs.net/patient-information/surgical-instructions/multiple-extractions/

Mystery Solved: The Story on Canker Sores

 

 

Anyone who’s ever had mouth sores can attest to the fact that they are just as embarrassing as they are painful, but simply suffering through them does you no good. Get the facts on this common problem to take control of the situation before another outbreak. The Oral Surgery DC Team

 

Canker sores are quite literally a sensitive issue, but someone has to talk about it! What are canker sores (or “stomatitis”), why do they appear, and what can be done about them? Anyone who’s ever had mouth sores can attest to the fact that they are just as embarrassing as they are painful, but simply suffering through them does you no good. Get the facts on this common problem to take control of the situation before another outbreak.

How to Tell If It’s a Canker Sore

Because they are similar in name and can appear within fairly close proximity of each other, canker sores are often confused with cold sores. An easy way to tell the difference right off the bat is by checking to see if it’s on the inside or outside of your mouth. Cold sores, which are viral and highly contagious in nature, will appear outside of the mouth, on or close to the lip area. Canker sores, on the other hand, are not contagious and emerge along the insides of your cheeks, gums and the roof of your mouth. If you spot an inflammation with a white center and red border inside your mouth, and it causes sensitivity or soreness when talking or eating, it’s most likely a canker sore.

What Causes Canker Sores

Considering that stomatitis is often chronic, those who experience canker sores due to an injury, or eating something overly acidic, might actually consider themselves lucky. Otherwise, recurring flare-ups can be expected, especially if your case is connected to underlying conditions such as:

  • Stress
  • Menstruation
  • HIV & Other Blood Disorders
  • Food Allergies
  • Crohn’s Disease
  • Lupus
  • Genetics
  • Immune Disorders
  • Fatigue
  • Orthodontic Treatment
  • Vitamin Deficiencies
  • Chemotherapy

It is also worth noting that canker sores tend to be more common in teens, young adults and women.

Ways to Ease the Pain

On average, canker sores usually last between 7 and 10 days. While there is no way to rid yourself of a canker sore once it emerges, there are plenty of things you can do to alleviate the discomfort until it heals, such as:

  • Try an over-the-counter gel or painkiller for immediate relief
  • Steer clear of spicy, acidic and/or hot foods to avoid aggravating open sores
  • Rinse with water or mouthwash regularly to keep the sores free of food particles
  • Brush and floss with extra care to prevent unnecessary contact and/or added trauma

Understanding what caused the outbreak can also help you take preventative measures to minimize the chance of future flare-ups. If sores are food or allergy related, for example, simply steering clear of triggers can keep stomatitis at bay.

When Professional Care is Necessary

If painful sores persist past the ten-day period, are over a half-inch wide, and/or are accompanied by other symptoms such as diarrhea, joint pain, rashes or fever, see a dentist as soon as possible. Depending on the severity of your situation, he or she may prescribe medication, surgery, or recommend diagnostic tests. Even if your symptoms are mild, a dental exam can help rule out serious health concerns that could be causing the problem, and give you peace of mind.

 

Sources: http://newsletter.lh360.com/article-content/ba31d7f4-eca4-486f-9905-4a780cf2afc2.html

How Safe Are Dental X-Rays?

 

By: 123Dentist

 

🙂As long as dental x-rays are used properly together with necessary safety precautions, its effect is extremely safe. Discuss the use of this device with your dentist so he can evaluate the factors if you need one. The Oral Surgery DC Team

 

Dental x-rays are a common diagnostic procedure that is considered extremely safe. Digital dental x-rays have very low doses of radiation, producing just a fraction of what you are exposed to in other imaging procedures. If you’re worried about whether you need dental x-rays, or wondering if you should forego this procedure due to other medical conditions, it’s helpful to dive a little deeper into what dental x-rays involve, why they’re performed, and how they’re best handled.

When these x-rays are performed properly with adequate safety precautions in place, there’s very little cause for concern. A routine examination with four bitewing x-rays exposes you to roughly the same amount of radiation you will experience during one to two hours on an airplane.

Who Needs Dental X-Rays

Dental x-rays are used diagnostically to help dentists see issues that are otherwise nearly invisible to the naked eye. Adults receive dental x-rays so dentists can better identify and treat various issues. Using these x-rays, your healthcare provider can see:

  • Areas of decay, including those in between teeth or under a filling
  • Bone loss associated with gum disease
  • Abscesses, which are infections at the root of the tooth or between the tooth and gum
  • Tumors
  • Changes in the root canal

Without an x-ray, many of these problems could go undiagnosed. With an x-ray as a reference, dentists are also better equipped to prepare tooth implants, dentures, braces, and other similar treatments.

Dental X-Rays and Children

Many parents are concerned about the impact of dental x-rays on children. Children are more sensitive to radiation. However, the amount of radiation in a dental x-ray is still considered safe for a child. As children’s jaws and teeth are continuously changing, it’s important to keep an eye on their development. These x-rays perform many important purposes for young patients. They help dentists to:

  • Make sure the mouth is large enough to accommodate incoming teeth
  • Monitor the development of wisdom teeth
  • Determine whether primary teeth are loosening properly to accommodate new permanent teeth
  • Identify decay and gum disease early

It’s important for children to visit the dentist regularly, and to get x-rays as recommended by the dentist. The exact schedule for these x-rays will vary depending on the child’s individual needs.

Dental X-Rays During Pregnancy

Pregnant women are generally advised to avoid dental x-rays. Though the radiation is minimal, it’s best to avoid all exposure when possible for the health of the developing fetus. For this reason, it’s important to tell your dentist if you are or may be pregnant.

However, there are some instances where pregnant women should still have dental x-rays performed. If you have a dental emergency or are in the middle of a dental treatment plan, you may still need x-rays during your pregnancy. Discuss the issue with your dentist to determine the best way to proceed. It’s crucial that you balance both your dental and prenatal health. Women with periodontal disease are at a higher risk of adverse pregnancy outcomes, so you shouldn’t neglect your teeth during pregnancy.

Your dentist can take greater precautions, such as using a leaded apron and thyroid collar, for all x-rays taken during your pregnancy if the procedure is deemed necessary. Keeping your dentist informed at all times is the best way to proceed.

Safety Precautions with Dental X-Rays

There are many things that your dentist can do to minimize the radiation from x-rays. Taking a single image rather than multiple images decreases exposure significantly. You can also speak to your dentist about using the lowest radiation setting possible, particularly for children. Leaded coverings can protect certain parts of your body from radiation.

Determining Whether X-Rays are Necessary

The best way to minimize radiation exposure from dental x-rays is to make sure these are only done when necessary. There is no set schedule for dental x-rays. Rather, it’s left to the healthcare provider to make an informed decision as to whether the patient needs x-rays with their examination. Factors that your dentist will consider include:

  • Age
  • Stage of dental development
  • History of oral health
  • Risk factors for various conditions
  • Presenting symptoms

One study revealed that performing a careful clinical evaluation of the patient can reduce the need for x-rays as much as 43 percent without any increase in the rate of undiagnosed diseases. So, if you’re concerned about exposure, ask your dentist to perform a visual examination before ordering x-rays. But keep in mind that there are several issues that there are many conditions that would likely only be diagnosed through x-rays.

To further minimize your need for x-rays, if you have x-rays from a previous dentist, make sure to transfer these to any new provider to eliminate the need for repeat procedures.

Dental x-rays are considered extremely safe. However, it’s important to understand the purpose of any procedure that will expose you to radiation. Don’t hesitate to discuss the need for dental x-rays with your dentist to better understand how he or she can help protect and improve your oral health.

Source: https://www.123dentist.com/how-safe-are-dental-x-rays/

How Stress Might Be Ruining Your Teeth

 

By: Kelsey Lindsey, Washingtonian

 

You may know that stress can cause upset stomachs and headaches, but did you know it can cause tooth decay? Here’s what to know and what you can do to protect your smile. The Oral Surgery DC Team

Backaches, sleepless nights, upset stomach. Just reading about the physical manifestations of stress can trigger a headache. Unchecked, stress can contribute to serious health conditions including high blood pressure, diabetes, and heart disease.

There’s another, less obvious part of our body both affected by stress and a sign of it: our pearly whites.

“Sometimes people end up with issues that they didn’t even know were dental, and they didn’t even know they were stressed,” says Danine Fresch Gray, a general dentist who owns Clarendon Dental Arts.

Clenching or grinding the teeth, a common dental problem that can be related to stress can cause headaches, chipped or flattened teeth, and tight jaw muscles. Improper bites and the breakdown of the temporomandibular joint connecting the skull to the jawbone may contribute to these dental woes, says Richard Rogers, a dentist in Frederick. Stress exacerbates grinding in those situations.

Rogers recently saw a college student home for a break who was experiencing jaw pain and clenching during his exams. “The analogy might be gas on the fire,” Rogers says. “There’s already a fire burning and they are doing some damage, but it’s not that dramatic. Then they go through a period of stress, and they start grinding harder and they wake up with a headache and say that it’s stress causing it.”

Certain drugs are taken for depression and anxiety, including Prozac and Zoloft, also may lead to jaw-clenching and teeth-grinding. “It’s just a side effect of the drug,” says Fresch Gray. “That’s a big one—lots of people don’t know that.”

Teeth-grinding and clenched jaws aren’t the only oral-health manifestations of stress. A 2007 review of scientific studies found that there’s a relationship between stress and periodontal disease, which includes gum and tissue infections such as gingivitis. Recent research from Canada also found that participants with more perceived stress reported poorer oral health and greater oral pain compared with participants who had less stress. Alex Vasiliou, the lead author of the study, explained in an e-mail that cortisol—a hormone involved in the body’s stress response—impairs the immune system, making a person more susceptible to gum disease.

Rogers says that someone stressed out or sick might be more apt to disregard proper oral hygiene, leading to inflamed gums or tooth decay: “They’ll just stop caring about things, and oral health falls into that.”

Fresch Gray has seen the number of patients with stress-related symptoms increase in the past year. Although it’s tempting to blame Twitter rants and turbulent politics, other factors no doubt contributed.

According to a recent “Stress in America” report from the American Psychological Association, Americans on average reported more physical symptoms of stress in 2017 compared with 2016, including anxiety, anger, and fatigue. The most common sources were the “future of our nation,” money, and work. It was the first significant increase in stress levels found by the APA since the inaugural survey in 2007.

While there are no Washington-specific numbers, a national survey in January 2017 found that 62 percent of urbanites were stressed by the election of Donald Trump, compared with 45 percent and 33 percent of people in suburban and rural areas, respectively.

Because of the connections between psychological stress and physical and oral health, a dentist must consider the whole person when a patient presents a stress-related dental issue. “One of the sayings is you never see a tooth walk through the door—it always has a human attached,” says Rogers. Teeth-grinding, for example, can be a sign of a sleep disorder. When someone has sleep apnea, the body’s effort to clear the airway may include grinding the teeth. “We monitor [patients’ sleep] and we say, ‘Here’s where you stopped breathing and gasped for air, and then you grind your teeth.’ ”

To treat a problem, Fresch Gray may look beyond dental fixes at such things as a patient’s diet and whether the person has diabetes, which can increase the risk of gum disease. “It’s not that you’re always stressed out,” she says. “It could be that you’re taking some drugs that you don’t know are making you clench, that you have diabetes or an autoimmune disease causing stress, or there are some extraneous external things like circadian rhythms and PTSD—all these things cause stress on your body that eventually show in your mouth.”

She recalls one patient who recently came into her office. A veteran who served in Afghanistan, the man was having trouble sleeping and was clenching his jaw. “I asked about PTSD, and he had it,” Fresch Gray says. “That stress is daily in his life, and we kind of got to the root of it, but I’m not necessarily the person to help with that.” She recommended he participate in a sleep study to diagnose any sleep disorders.

“I could have gotten him a mouth guard,” says Fresch Gray, “but that’s not going to solve the problem.”

 

Source: https://www.washingtonian.com/2018/03/07/stress-might-be-ruining-your-teeth/

More Preschoolers with Cavities Requiring Dental Surgery

 

By Melanie at Parenting.com

 

😞 The increasing number of preschool cavities is very alarming. As a parent, we need to ensure they practice good oral hygiene even before the eruption of his teeth. Learn the effective ways on how to keep your child cavity-free. The Oral Surgery DC Team

 

 What’s worse than going to the dentist? Taking your kids to the dentist—especially to find that they’ve got multiple cavities before they’re in kindergarten. The New York Times reports that a rise in the number of preschool cavities has led to a rise in the number of preschoolers requiring extensive dental work (often necessitating general anesthesia). Um, I guess not going to the dentist is actually worse than going.

Plus: The Link Between Sippy Cups & Cavities

As a mom of 2- and 4-year-old boys, I found myself squirming as I read the article, which led with a 2-year-old Seattle boy’s root canal, fillings and crowns, done to repair 11 cavities (kids that age have just 20 teeth in total). The Times reports that dentists nationwide are seeing more preschoolers from all socioeconomic backgrounds with 6 to 10 cavities or more, with a level of decay often necessitating general anesthesia because such young children have a hard time tolerating such extensive dental repairs while awake. (I’d have a hard time doing so too!)

While the number of preschool cavities is rising, dentists say that such tooth decay (and its painful treatment) is mostly preventable. Constant snacking, too much juice or other sugary beverages, drinking bottled water instead of fluoridated tap water and simply not knowing that kids so young should see a dentist are behind many of these cavities.

Plus: How to Keep Your Kids Cavity-Free

We checked in with Lawrence Limb, DMD, a pediatric dentist in New York City, to get his take on whether this is as serious and widespread a problem as it seemed after reading the Times’ report (hint: it is) and his suggestions for how parents can help prevent tooth decay in the littlest of kids.

In babies, Dr. Limb said that parents can usually get away with wiping the gums prior to the eruption of teeth to reduce the amount of bacteria on the gum pad. “As the teeth erupt (around six months), start introducing a toothbrush after each feeding,” he suggests. The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry (AAPD) recommends using a “smear” of fluoridated toothpaste and a soft, age-appropriately sized toothbrush until age 2, and then a “pea-size” amount for kids ages 2 to 5. And while brushing after each feeding might be ideal for dental hygiene (albeit a lofty goal) while babies are at home, he acknowledges that for those in daycare or young children at school, brushing a minimum of twice a day should suffice.

Plus: Taking Care of Preemie Teeth

Of course, brushing a young child’s teeth isn’t as easy as brushing one’s own. But Dr. Limb points out that giving up on brushing or not doing a thorough job will lead to cavities and fillings down the line—which is vastly more painful than the temporary discomfort (or all-out tantrums) associated with brushing. If your child is particularly resistant to teeth brushing, Dr. Limb reassures that, “Kids do grow out of it as traumatic as it may seem. Treating the teeth [when there are cavities] is much more traumatic and difficult for the parent, patient, and dentist.”

Plus: How to Know If Your Child Is Getting Enough Fluoride

So, think you’ve got it covered because you brush your children’s teeth twice daily? How ‘bout flossing? “Flossing is as important as brushing,” says Dr. Limb. “It’s not easy to do as a parent, but it’s necessary,” especially between the back molars, which kids will need for chewing until 10 to 12 years of age, and which are at the highest risk of developing dental caries (cavities).

And no need to wait until all of your child’s teeth are in to make the first visit to a dentist. The AAPD recommends seeing a pediatric dentist once the first tooth emerges, or no later than the child’s first birthday. Surprised? I was too—especially since my kids’ pediatrician hadn’t recommended making that first trip until age 2 (which in all honesty seemed really early to me even then). But, Dr. Limb explains that that first trip is important in terms of helping to establish not just proper oral hygiene but also getting parents to be more mindful of their children’s diet and nutrition and their impact on dental health. Following that first visit, Dr. Limb and the AAPD recommend check-ups every six months.

Not concerned about potential cavities because your child’s teeth look fine and he seems happy? Dr. Limb explains that cavities are often found in the back teeth (which are tough for parents to see well) and adds that many kids never experience any kind of oral pain unless there is a significant amount of decay—so don’t assume that your kid’s teeth are healthy just because he hasn’t complained to say anything is hurting. Additionally, dentists can find and treat cavities at a very early stage, using local anesthesia and a DVD for distraction, instead of the heavier duty sedation required for long, multiple procedures.

Adds Dr. Limb, “There are risks with general anesthesia or any kind of sedation with a child. Any conscientious doctor will always be concerned. In my office, we try to treat children while awake. [These procedures] also place a great amount of financial liability on the parent—but can be easily avoided. As dentists, we really try to drive home the fact that these things can be avoided—[cavities] are treatable, but prevention is the best treatment overall.”

Dr. Joel Berg, director of the Center for Pediatric Dentistry at the University of Washington and Seattle Children’s Hospital, explained to TIME.com why treating cavities in baby teeth is so important, especially when those teeth will fall out anyway: “’We have to fix cavities to treat the overall health of the child. We see kids coming into emergency rooms with swollen faces from untreated cavities. Kids are not good at reporting tooth problems and this can lead to other orthodontia problems later and even trouble to pay attention at school.’”

To help prevent cavities in the first place, Dr. Limb and other dentists recommend:

  • seeing a dentist regularly
  • drinking fluoridated water (bottled water generally has little to no fluoride)
  • eating a balanced diet
  • reducing the frequency of snacking
  • paying attention to proper oral hygiene (including regular brushing and flossing)
  • avoiding sharing utensils or putting your child’s pacifier in your mouth, as tooth decay can be contagious

 

Has your child had any cavities yet?

 

Source: https://www.parenting.com/blogs/show-and-tell/melanie-parentingcom/kids-cavities?