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?