By: Dental Pointe
💉From wisdom tooth removal to a reconstructive operation, each oral surgery type has different functions. Determine which of them is suitable for your needs. The Oral Surgery DC Team
By: Dental Pointe
💉From wisdom tooth removal to a reconstructive operation, each oral surgery type has different functions. Determine which of them is suitable for your needs. The Oral Surgery DC Team
By: Tammy Davenport, Very Well Health
😄 Understanding common dental problems allow you to take preventive measures to keep a healthy smile. Remember, your mouth can tell you many things about your body. The Oral Surgery DC Team
Dental problems are never any fun, but the good news is that most of them can be easily prevented. Brushing twice a day, flossing daily, eating properly and regular dental check-ups are essential steps in preventing dental problems. Educating yourself about common dental problems and their causes can also go a long way in prevention. Here is a list of common dental problems.
Bad breath, also called halitosis, can be downright embarrassing. According to dental studies, about 85 percent of people with persistent bad breath have a dental condition that is to blame.
Gum disease, cavities, oral cancer, dry mouth, and bacteria on the tongue are some of the dental problems that can cause bad breath. Using mouthwash to cover up bad breath when a dental problem is present will only mask the odor and not cure it. If you have chronic bad breath, visit your dentist to rule out any of these problems.
Tooth decay, also known as cavities, is the second only to the common cold as the most prevalent disease in the United States. Tooth decay occurs when plaque, the sticky substance that forms on teeth, combines with the sugars and/or starches of the food you eat. This combination produces acids that attack tooth enamel.
You can get cavities at any age—they aren’t just for children. As you age, you can develop cavities as your tooth enamel erodes. Dry mouth due to age or medications can also lead to cavities.
The best way to prevent tooth decay is by brushing twice a day, flossing daily, and going to your regular dental check-ups. Eating healthy foods and avoiding snacks and drinks that are high in sugar are also ways to prevent decay. Your dentist can recommend further treatments that may help reduce your risk.
Gum disease, also known as periodontal disease, is an infection of the gums surrounding the teeth. It is also one of the main causes of tooth loss among adults. Some studies have indicated that there may be a link between heart disease and periodontal disease.
Everyone is at risk for gum disease, but it usually occurs after age 30. Smoking is one of the most significant risk factors. Diabetes and dry mouth also increase your risk. The symptoms include bad breath, red, swollen, tender, or bleeding gums, sensitive teeth, and painful chewing.
The two major stages of gum disease are gingivitis and periodontitis. Regular dental check-ups along with brushing at least twice a day and flossing daily play an important role in preventing gum disease. You should see your dentist if you have any signs of gum disease so you can get treatment to prevent further complications, such as tooth loss.
Oral cancer is a serious and deadly disease that affects millions of people. The Oral Cancer Foundation estimates that someone in the United States dies every hour from oral cancer, but it is often curable if diagnosed and treated in the early stages. It is most often seen in people over the age of 40.
The biggest risk factors are tobacco and alcohol use, including chewing tobacco. HPV—a sexually transmitted wart virus—also increases the risk.
The symptoms of mouth or throat cancer include sores, lumps, or rough areas in the mouth. You may also have a change in your bite and difficulty chewing or moving your tongue or jaw.
Regular dental visits can help catch oral cancer early. You may ask your dentist whether an oral cancer exam is part of their usual checkup. If you notice any of the symptoms or have trouble chewing, swallowing, or moving your tongue or jaw, see your dentist.
There are several types of mouth sores and they can be pesky and bothersome. Unless a mouth sore lasts more than two weeks, it is usually nothing to worry about and will disappear on its own.
Common mouth sores are canker sores (aphthous ulcers) that occur inside the mouth and not on the lips. They are not contagious and can be triggered by many different causes. They are only a concern if they don’t go away after two weeks.
Fever blisters or cold sores are caused by the Herpes simplex virus and occur on the edge of the outer lips. They are contagious and will come and go but are not completely curable.
Mouth sores are also seen in oral thrush or candidiasis, a yeast infection of the mouth that can be seen in infants, denture wearers, people with diabetes, and during cancer treatment.
Tooth sensitivity is a common problem that affects millions of people. Basically, tooth sensitivity involves experiencing pain or discomfort to your teeth from sweets, cold air, hot drinks, cold drinks or ice cream. Some people with sensitive teeth even experience discomfort from brushing and flossing. The good news is that sensitive teeth can be treated.
Sensitive teeth can also be a sign of a cracked tooth or a tooth abscess, which needs to be treated by your dentist to prevent losing a tooth or getting an infection in your jaw bone. If you suddenly develop tooth sensitivity, make an appointment with your dentist to see if there is a source that needs to be treated.
While many toothaches and dental emergencies can be easily avoided just by regular visits to the dentist, accidents can and do happen. Having a dental emergency can be very painful and scary. Common problems that require an urgent trip to your dentist include a broken or cracked tooth, an abscessed tooth, or a tooth knocked out in an accident.
Go to a hospital for trauma care if you have a fractured or dislocated jaw or severe cuts to your tongue, lips, or mouth. If you have a tooth abscess that is causing difficulty swallowing or you have developed a fever or facial swelling, get emergency care as well.
While an unattractive smile is not technically a “dental problem,” it is a major reason why many patients seek dental treatment.
An unattractive smile can really lower a person’s self-esteem. Luckily, with today’s technologies and developments, anyone can have a beautiful smile. Whether it’s teeth whitening, dental implants, orthodontics or other cosmetic dental work, chances are that your dentist can give you the smile of your dreams.
👍🏻 A study conducted by dental experts shows that combining Ibuprofen and Acetaminophen together provides a pain-relief after a wisdom tooth removal. Learn more about their findings! The Oral Surgery DC Team
Taking ibuprofen and acetaminophen (APAP) together can help manage pain after dental surgery without significantly increasing the side effects that often are associated with other drug combinations, according to an article in the August issue of The Journal of the American Dental Association.
Taking combinations of drugs to manage pain after oral surgery has been advocated in the last few years as a substitute for taking over-the-counter drugs—such as ibuprofen, naproxen and APAP—by themselves because the drug combinations can provide greater pain relief. The most common combination is APAP and an opioid—a prescription drug. The ibuprofen-APAP combination has been suggested as an alternative to taking opioid-APAP combinations to help patients avoid the potential adverse reactions associated with opioids.
Drs. Paul A. Moore, chair of the Department of Dental Anesthesiology, School of Dental Medicine, University of Pittsburgh, and Elliot V. Hersh, professor of pharmacology, Department of Oral Surgery and Pharmacology, School of Dental Medicine, University of Pennsylvania, evaluated the scientific evidence for using the ibuprofen-APAP combination to manage pain in patients after they had their wisdom teeth (third molars) removed.
They found that the ibuprofen-APAP combination may provide more effective pain relief and have fewer side effects than many of the opioid-containing combinations. They also found evidence indicating that the ibuprofen-APAP combination provided greater pain relief than did ibuprofen or APAP alone. The adverse effects associated with taking the ibuprofen-APAP combination were similar to those of the individual component drugs.
“The demonstrated improvement in postoperative pain relief for the combination of ibuprofen and APAP provides another strategy for pain management, and an alternative to prescription opioid formulations after third-molar extraction surgery,” stated Drs. Moore and Hersh in their article.
© 2018 American Dental Association. All rights reserved. Reproduction or republication is strictly prohibited without the prior written permission from the American Dental Association.
By: Dental Fear Central
😱 Do you feel anxious at the sight of needles? There is something you can do and your dentists can help you, too! The Oral Surgery DC Team
“I faint at the sight of needles.”
If you faint at the sight of needles, you may have what is called a blood-injury-injection (BII) phobia, where you get very anxious when seeing blood or an injury or when receiving an injection. It has been estimated that about 75% of people diagnosed with BII phobia report a history of fainting.
But in a study by DeJongh and his colleagues 1, only 37% of people with BII phobia reported having fainted in phobic situations in the past (and none of them actually fainted during dental treatment while taking part in the study). So it is unclear how common fainting really is.
Fainting due to blood-injury-injection phobia is the result of a sudden drop in blood pressure and heart rate. This type of fainting is called vasovagal syncope. It can also be triggered by emotional distress, straining to have a bowel movement or heat exposure. Vasovagal syncope is the most common type of fainting.
Psychologists don’t know exactly why some of us experience a drop in blood pressure when we see blood or have an injection. One theory is that it’s an evolutionary mechanism – back in the distant past when someone was coming at someone else with a sharp stick, a genetic variation allowed some individuals to faint in response. Because a person who had fainted looked dead, they might have survived attacks by other warriors during battle. Also, the drop in blood pressure might have helped those who were wounded to avoid bleeding to death. Survivors then passed on the “fainting gene”.
Vasovagal syncope is harmless and requires no treatment. But it’s possible you may injure yourself when you faint, for example by hitting your head (unlikely if you’re sitting in a dental chair at the time!).
If you experience fainting, your GP may want to refer you to a cardiologist to rule out heart problems as the cause.
The Mayo Clinic website has these tips for preventing vasovagal syncope:
If you feel like you might faint, lie down and lift your legs.
This allows gravity to keep blood flowing to your brain.
You can probably see where this is leading…
“Fainting – it does happen. I would say a handful of my patients come over faint every year. This tends to happen just after giving local anaesthetic, especially when they have not eaten. Normally, I spot the signs and lay the patient either flat or with their feet slightly raised. I cannot recall the last time a patient actually properly passed out. These days I tend to give local anaesthetic with the patient reclined (if they are ok with that) and keep a close eye on them for the next few minutes.”
Lying down helps because the blood can flow to the brain more easily. It is much harder to faint when you are lying down. So if you are concerned about fainting, and don’t mind lying down, ask your dentist to give you the local anesthetic while lying down.
“I tend to have vasovagal reactions from dental injections – I actually fainted on one occasion. I realized, after starting to go to my current dentist, that lying flat – or beyond 180 degrees (especially during injections) significantly lessens the vasovagal response. At least I know that, in that position, it is nearly impossible to faint which lessens one of my fears.”
If lying down on its own isn’t enough (or you hate the idea of lying down), you can learn a technique called Applied Tension. Ideally, to learn it, you would work with a therapist, because this will make it easier to get ideas for exposure exercises. But you can also learn it on your own. Read through all the instructions first before you start practicing.
Step 1: Find a comfortable place in your home where you can be alone without anyone interrupting. Sit in a comfy chair or lie down on a sofa or a bed. Focus on the muscles in your legs, arms and trunk. Now tense those muscles (make them contract). Hold the tension until you feel a warm feeling or a “rush” in your head. This usually occurs after 10 to 15 seconds. Then, relax and rest for about 30 seconds. Repeat this four more times.
Step 2: Repeat step 1 five times per day (this means doing it 25 times per day altogether). Do this everyday for one week. This may seem like a lot, but the better you get at this technique, the easier it will be when you put it to work in a stressful situation. You want to practice enough that it becomes automatic.
Don’t overdo it, though. If you are getting headaches it could mean that you’re tensing too hard. If this happens, do the tensing exercise less often or don’t tense the muscles as hard.
Step 3: It will be very helpful for you to know the physical symptoms you experience just before you faint. These will be different for different people. You may feel
- hot or cold flushes
- or other symptoms (everyone is unique!)
If you can recognise the early warning signs, you can then start applied tension to reverse the fainting process and stop the faint before it happens.
Step 4: Now it’s time to practice applied tension while exposing yourself to things that make you feel faint. This exposure starts with “easier” things like looking at a picture of a toy syringe or a drawing of a syringe, for example. As you master each situation, you move on to more difficult things. This is where a psychologist comes in handy, because they can help with suggestions for exposure exercises, and with creating an exposure hierarchy. An exposure hierarchy means that you have a variety of scenarios that may make you faint (these could be thinking about a situation, looking at a drawing or photo of the feared situation, watching a video, or actually doing it for real).
If you’re not just practicing for dental injections, but for an injection in the arm (for example because you want to go on holiday to an exotic destination and need a vaccine), you’ll need to relax the arm where the injection will be given while tensing all of the other muscles in your body. This will require some extra practice.
By: Brynne Chandler, Livestrong
😷 Diarrhea may occur after the wisdom tooth extraction, however, this is preventable. Check out these foods recommended to manage this condition. The Oral Surgery DC Team
Wisdom teeth, which are also called third molars, generally grow in at the very back of your mouth when you are between the ages of 15 and 25. According to the researchers at the University of Maryland Medical Center, most peoples’ mouths are too small to fit four extra teeth. This can cause crowding, pain, infection, and swelling, leading most dentists to extract wisdom teeth. Wisdom tooth extraction is minor surgery, and requires careful aftercare for proper healing. Drinking carbonated soda just after having your wisdom teeth pulled can lead to problems.
The first carbonated sodas were made from naturally carbonated water. In 1772, British scientist Joseph Priestly dripped sulfuric acid onto chalk. The result was carbon dioxide, which makes the bubbles in your soda. Most sodas also contain large amounts of sugar, which can lead to tooth decay, and sodium, which is very drying to the tissues inside of your mouth.
Wisdom tooth extraction is usually performed under a general anesthetic, though many dentists and oral surgeons offer conscious sedation. This means that you can’t feel anything, but are still awake. Wisdom teeth that have already erupted through your gums are pulled out with dental pliers, while extracting them before they erupt may involve cutting open your gum tissue to free the tooth. Either way, the entire tooth is removed, leaving an empty socket.
The University of Oregon Health Center advises that you keep a gentle pressure on the gauze that will be packed into your tooth socket to control bleeding so that the socket can form a clot. Avoid brushing your teeth or rinsing your mouth out for at least 24 hours after the extraction, and avoid very hot or cold drinks–including sodas–and solid foods. The Consumer Guide to Dentistry recommends that you avoid soft drinks, because the bubbles caused by the carbonation can dislodge the blood clot that needs to form in order for the tooth socket to heal.
Drinking through a straw may seem like a good idea after tooth extraction, but the suction needed to draw the liquid up through the straw can dislodge blood clots. Drinking soda through a straw will also not reduce the amount of bubbles, or keep them away from the extraction sites.
Dislodging a blood clot before it forms completely causes alveolar osteitis, or dry socket. The absence of the blood clot before the bone and gum tissue has a chance to heal and replace it exposes your bone to the air, and to anything that you put into your mouth. The pain this causes is too severe to be treated with over-the-counter pain relievers and requires medical attention from your doctor or oral surgeon.
By: Adeola Abisogun, Livestrong
🙂 Pain may occur after a wisdom tooth removal. To avoid this and prevent any complications, follow your dentist’s guidelines for a best dental experience! The Oral Surgery DC Team
Having your wisdom teeth removed is a common procedure, but some risks are involved. These risks include pain, temporary swelling and bruising and some less common complications. Pain relief for wisdom teeth removal is best managed by following your dentist’s instructions, which may include over-the-counter or prescription medication, comfort measures and ways to avoid preventable painful complications.
Simple extractions are performed for wisdom teeth that are not completely buried under gum or bone tissue, are positioned relatively straight compared to the other teeth and are easy for the dentist to loosen and remove. Simple extractions involve a minimal amount of trauma to remove the tooth, so postoperative pain can often be managed with over-the-counter pain medications. Nonsteriodal antiinflammatory drugs such as ibuprofen (Motrin, Advil) or naproxen (Aleve) are typically recommended for relief of mild or moderate pain. These medications have the combined benefits of relieving pain and reducing inflammation. If you have a health condition that prevents you from taking NSAIDs, your dentist or oral surgeon may recommend acetaminophen (Tylenol) or a prescription medication.
When wisdom teeth are difficult to loosen and remove, a surgical extraction may be performed. In these cases, postoperative pain can be more prominent and bruising or swelling may occur. Over-the-counter pain medications may not be adequate, so prescription-strength medications are often recommended. For moderate to severe pain, commonly prescribed pain relievers include prescription-strength ibuprofen (Motrin) and combination medications, such as codeine and acetominophen (Tylenol No. 3), hydrocodone and acetaminophen (Vicodin) and oxycodone and acetaminophen (Percocet). When taking these or any pain medications, it is important to follow specific dosage and safety instructions.
It is normal to have some discomfort or pain after having wisdom teeth removed. Avoiding alcohol, hot liquids and spicy foods and eating a soft diet in the days following the procedure can make the healing process more comfortable. Using warm salt water as a gentle mouth rinse for 24 to 48 hours after the procedure can have a soothing effect. Icing a swollen area at home can also help reduce swelling and pain. Place an ice pack wrapped in a thin cloth or towel on the swollen area for up to 15 minutes at a time.
Some postoperative complications can lead to an unexpected increase in pain. Pain that increases 2 to 4 days after the procedure may indicate the development of a complication. Pain relief for these complications can include prescription pain medications and specific additional treatment. For example, antibiotics would be used to treat an infection or a special medicated dressing would be used for a complication known as dry socket. Before taking any medication, make sure your dentist or oral surgeon is aware of any medical conditions you have. Pregnancy, gastrointestinal problems, liver or kidney disease, high blood pressure or drug allergies are a few examples of conditions to pay special attention to before taking any new pain medication.
Tooth loss is a dental complication that can have a significant impact on a person’s oral health. Whether a single tooth has gone missing or multiple teeth have been lost, the effects on adjacent teeth can be serious. Missing teeth can jeopardize oral functions, compromise the aesthetics of the smile, and even weaken the jawbone. Because of the many disadvantages of tooth loss, it is important that patients address this problem as soon as possible. Implant dentistry offers the strongest and most durable treatment for missing teeth. Dental implants are surgically implanted screws that anchor a full range of dental restorations to closely mimic the natural teeth. Dental implant surgery is associated with some possible side effects. At Coastal Jaw Surgery, we discuss possible dental implant surgery side effects with our patients so that they are fully prepared for their recovery period.
Dental implant surgery is minimally invasive and has been shown to be an overwhelmingly successful treatment option for missing teeth. Still, because it is a surgical procedure, patients should expect to experience some side effects in the days following treatment. These side effects are often minimal and should resolve within a week after surgery. Below are the most common side effects of dental implant surgery:
Pain: During dental implant treatment, anesthetic will be used to ensure that the patient does not feel any pain. However, in the days after surgery, it is common for the patient to experience some pain or discomfort. The gums directly around the implant site will probably feel sore and tender. This discomfort may extend to the jaw or face as well. In some cases, pain medication will be prescribed. If no medication is prescribed, then over-the-counter medication can be used to control pain. It is important to note that aspirin can increase bleeding, so patients should be sure to use an aspirin-free medication, such as ibuprofen.
Swelling: Swelling is a natural reaction after any type of surgery, so patients should expect to experience some inflammation after dental implant treatment. This swelling is most likely to affect the gums around the incision site and the facial tissues that are closest to the treatment area. Swelling should subside on its own, but patients can use an ice pack to help minimize swelling and relieve any discomfort that may be felt.
Bruising: Bruising is another common side effect of dental implant surgery. Most commonly, patients will experience bruising in the gums and jaw bone around the implant site. This bruising will probably be internal, so it may not be visible. Some patients may also experience noticeable bruising on the cheeks.
The side effects of dental implant surgery are temporary and should diminish on their own. If a patient’s symptoms are not improving, or are getting worse, report this to our dentists immediately. Severe side effects may be a sign of infection or other complications.
By: 123 Dentist
😞 Kids are not safe from cavities. This condition should receive immediate treatment before it causes pain to your child. The Oral Surgery DC Team
Though children are using a set of teeth they will eventually lose, that set of teeth needs to survive until the adult teeth guide them out of the gums, which helps ensure the adult teeth grow incorrectly and with enough room. That’s why oral hygiene is important as soon as a baby’s teeth begin to come in, and teaching oral hygiene should begin at a young age. Despite your best efforts to ensure good dental hygiene, sometimes kids end up with cavities. Cavity care for children is very similar to cavity care for adults because preserving tooth health is the most important aspect.
Though baby teeth aren’t permanent, they are the only teeth your child will have for several years, until the adult teeth come in. To preserve your child’s oral health, your dentist will opt to drill out the cavities in baby teeth and fill or crown them accordingly. The primary teeth help the adult teeth to come in properly, so losing primary teeth before they’re ready to come out isn’t good for your child’s permanent teeth.
As with adult teeth, baby teeth fillings are made out of either white composite or metal. The other filling and crown materials, like gold and ceramic, are rarely as fillings for children. Metal fillings are a popular choice because they take less time to put in, and because they’re less expensive than composite fillings. Though your kid might not like the look of a metal filling, choosing a cost-effective option for a tooth that will eventually fall out is usually the smart move. Your dental insurance may also dictate what kind of fillings your child can get.
Your dentist will drill the tooth decay from your child’s baby teeth as necessary. Depending on how much damage the cavity has caused, the dentist will then fill the tooth or create a crown. Kids should continue using good oral hygiene when caring for fillings or crowns, whether those repairs have been done on baby teeth or on permanent teeth.
Though your dentist works very hard to remove all the tooth decay, sometimes it is a recurring issue. Teeth with cavities between them, even with decay removal and fillings, have a better chance of cavity recurrence than teeth with cavities on exposed surfaces. When decay comes back, the dentist will need to replace the filling to take care of the new decay and re-fill the tooth.
Tooth decay is just one reason kids need fillings. If trauma has happened to the tooth to cause a crack, a filling is necessary as well. Other issues include incorrectly shaped teeth, underdeveloped teeth, and teeth which have chipped. Dentists often opt for crowns on both front and back teeth instead of fillings in these instances, as the crown can provide more complete correction to the damaged or misshapen tooth than a filling could.
Preserving baby teeth is an important part of dental care for children. The reason revolves around maintaining the right amount of space for the adult teeth to come in. However, sometimes your dentist will have no choice but to pull the baby tooth early. If the decay is so advanced it’s causing gum issues or pain for your child, extraction becomes the best option. Many dentists fill the gap where the extracted baby tooth was removed with a prosthetic to maintain the correct space for the adult tooth to come in.
When children are having cavities filled, dentists sometimes opt to use nitrous oxide, commonly called laughing gas. If you’ve ever experienced this gas at the dentist before, you may remember the sensation that it provides. For some children, nitrous oxide reduces anxiety and distracts them from the pain associated with both getting that Novocaine shot in the gums and getting a tooth drilled. Nitrous oxide doesn’t work for all kids, and your dentist may opt to go with an orally administered sedative, instead. And of course, as with many things, not all dentists offer nitrous oxide, so it’s best to check beforehand.
When dentists fix cavities for kids, sometimes they do all the cavities at once and sometimes they do only one at a time. The reason for this has to do with the kids, not the cavities. Some children are fine sitting in the chair for long periods of time, while others are not. Dentists want the best outcome for the kid, and if that means making multiple appointments to fill cavities, then that is what will happen. Providing quality oral care to a crying child is very difficult for both the kids and the parents.
If you’re anxious about your child’s first filling, our dentists will put you at ease. We develop a treatment plan that is right for you and your child, with an aim to preserve the baby teeth until the adult teeth come in. The most important thing you can do as a parent is to keep teaching your kids about proper oral hygiene and continue scheduling regular professional teeth cleanings to minimize fillings and more invasive care.
By: 123 Dentist
🙂 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.
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:
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.
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:
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.
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.
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.
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:
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.
By: Melanie at Parenting.com
😞 The increase in the number of preschool cavities is very alarming. As parents, we need to ensure they practice good oral hygiene even before the erosion 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.
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.
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.
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 are 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.”
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 a 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 paying attention at school.’”
To help prevent cavities in the first place, Dr. Limb and other dentists recommend:
Has your child had any cavities yet?