Dental Emergency Guidelines

Christmas morning often brings bikes, skateboards, roller blades and balls & bats as gifts for both young and not-so-young! We can now add hover boards to the list. While these create fun and entertainment in our lives, as a dentist, I’ve seen a number of chipped, broken, cracked and knocked out teeth as well as cut lips and gums.roller-blading

Mishaps can occur with any of these items, regardless of your age. Should the unexpected happen, here are some tips to help you lessen the impact and hopefully lead to a better outcome:

FIRST AID FOR DENTAL EMERGENCIES

TOOTHACHE – Clean the area around the sore tooth thoroughly. Rinse the mouth thoroughly with warm, salt water or use dental floss to gently dislodge trapped food or debris. If the face is swollen, apply a cold compress. Take acetaminophen for pain and call us as soon as possible. Do not place aspirin on the gum or the aching tooth.

CUT OR BITTEN TONGUE, LIP OR CHEEK – Apply a cold compress to bruised areas. If there is bleeding, apply firm but gentle pressure with a clean gauze or cloth. If bleeding does not stop within 15 minutes or cannot be controlled by simple pressure, go to a hospital emergency room without delay.

KNOCKED OUT PERMANENT TOOTH – Handle the tooth by the top portion rather than the root. Rinse the tooth, but do not clean or handle the tooth unnecessarily. Try to reinsert the tooth into the socket and hold the tooth in place by biting on a clean gauze or cloth. If you cannot reinsert the tooth, place the tooth in a cup of milk or water and call us immediately. Time is a critical factor in saving a tooth.

BROKEN TOOTH – Rinse dirt from injured area with warm water. Place cold compresses over the area of the injury. Save any broken tooth fragments and call our office immediately.

POSSIBLE BROKEN JAW – If a fractured jaw is suspected, use a tie, towel or handkerchief to tie underneath the chin and over the top of the head. This will help to keep the jaws from moving. Go immediately to the nearest emergency room.

BROKEN BRACES & WIRES – Fortunately, most loose or broken appliances do not require emergency room attention. If the appliance can be removed easily, take it out. If not, cover sharp or protruding portions with cotton balls, gauze or chewing gum. If a wire is stuck in the gums, cheek, or tongue, do not attempt to remove it. Call our office immediately.

Our office has after-hours instructions on the answering machine in case you need to contact us. We will do everything possible to assist you.

By the way, a custom-fitted mouth guard is an excellent companion to these holiday gifts. And, they can save you tremendously in costs, treatment time, and more. Ask about mouth guards at your next visit or call toll free 1-866-9-Smiles to learn more.

 

 

 

Cheap Crowns Can Result In Major Expenses In The Future

For something to be done well, there is a price. This applies to dental work just as it does to the construction of a home or an automobile repair.

When decisions are primarily based on getting the lowest price, the outcome is rarely satisfying. In dentistry, things such as cheap crowns can result in a long list of problems, many that require a sizable investment to repair. Some may even surprise you.

Let’s take a crown that was sized and placed without precision measuring and proper adjustments once in place. A crown that is too long can ‘hit wrong’ on the tooth above or below. This can lead to cracks and chips. It can also result in headaches and migraines by throwing bite alignment off.

Let’s say the crown is too short, even by the smallest hint. The tooth above or below will grow out of its proper position in order to meet it. When this occurs, it can cause the same issues mentioned previously – chips or cracks in neighboring teeth as well as lead to migraines and headaches.

We use a premiere dental lab to create crowns and other restorations using materials that will look and feel natural and last for a long time. When you get a bargain price for a crown or bridge, it’s because corners were cut somewhere and that usually includes construction. A ‘cheap’ crown, even if placed correctly, isn’t as likely to give you your money’s worth even when you think you got a great deal.

There is a delicate balance in your mouth that affects everything from jaw joints to facial muscles. When this congruity is out of balance, there is higher risk for problems associated with bite misalignment. These include problems many people never associate with the positions of teeth.

Bite misalignment can force the jaw joints to operate under strain. This can cause sore jaw joints, jaw popping, difficulty opening the mouth, dizziness and ear ringing. Muscles in the head, neck and shoulders react to bite misalignment, often through soreness, headaches and migraines.

As stated, chipped or broken teeth are typically a result of bite misalignment. However, it can also lead to night-time clenching or grinding. Worn teeth are a common symptom along with morning headaches and fractured teeth.

A tooth that fractures below the gum line requires removal and replacement, which adds to expenses. Not replacing a tooth merely ups the potential for problems associated with bite misalignment.

There is a domino-effect when it comes to your teeth. The interaction of each with other teeth and then the unified interaction with joints, muscles and tendons must be in harmony. If not, the problems that emerge will require treatment that can be costly and time-consuming. And while some of the problems may take years to be ‘problems,’ treatment is typically no longer a choice but necessity.

As a neuro-muscular dentist, I’ve treated a number of patients who have suffered for years with headaches, migraines, dizziness, etc., going from doctor to doctor seeking relief. Once we conduct a series of tests using sophisticated technology, we can determine if the problem is truly related to the jaw joint or improper bite alignment. I frequently find that an improperly made or placed crown is the culprit for a patient’s years of pain and frustration.

When it comes to dentistry, the rule “Do it right the first time” is more important than most realize. In our office, whether it is a crown, a veneer, partial or implant, our goal is to help you achieve the very best outcome for a very fair price.

Your smile deserves quality workmanship, just as anything that you want to work well. Give yourself the best to begin with and you’ll very likely save a great deal over time.

Enemy Of Your Smile Is Smoking

As another year is winding down, many Americans are already contemplating their 2016 New Year’s resolutions. For those who are cigarette smokers, kicking the habit is a common resolution, for many reasons.

Begin the New Year with a breath of fresh air!
Begin the New Year with a breath of fresh air!

Tobacco contains chemicals that are known to be harmful to the body. Smokers decrease life expectancy by 10–15 years, on average. Smoking is responsible for an estimated 30% of all cancer diseases and deaths.

Ninety percent of lung cancer is attributable to smoking, which also increases the risk of pancreatic cancer, cancer of the  kidneys, liver cancer, cervical cancer, bladder cancer, stomach cancer and leukemia.

Smoking (as well as smokeless tobacco) is responsible for nearly 90% of oral cancers (lips, mouth and throat). Smoking is a known cause for emphysema and other respiratory diseases as well as heart disease, stroke and diabetes.

Pregnant women who smoke have a greater risk for first-trimester spontaneous abortion, preterm births, low birth weight babies and sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS). Women who smoke are at risk for early menopause while men who smoke have an increased risk for impotency.

Smokers also have an increased risk of periodontal (gum) disease, bad breath, an increase in plaque, stained teeth, and slower healing following extractions, gum treatment and oral surgery.

Smoking is drying to oral tissues, which creates an environment where oral bacteria are able to actively thrive and reproduce. Gum disease begins with persistent bad breath, tender gums and gums that bleed easily when brushing. As it progresses, pus pockets form at the base of teeth. Teeth loosen as oral bacteria attack the bone and tissues that support tooth roots. Eventually, these teeth will require removal. Losing natural teeth and having to wear dentures or partials is not uncommon for long-time smokers.

For those who are age 40 or under, quitting can reduce excess mortality that’s attributed to smoking by 90%. Quit before the age of 30 and you’ll reduce this by 97%. But if you another reason to quit, look at the loved ones around you who breathe in the poisonous smoke you exhale. Second-hand smoke contains at least 50 known carcinogens and other harmful chemicals. It is not uncommon for children of smoking parents to wake up with ‘smoker’s cough.’

There are a number of online support sources for those who wish to quit. And, there are hundreds of reasons to quit, which can help you be more committed to keeping this resolution. Your smile, your overall health, your family and your life depend on it.

Get support on kicking the tobacco habit at: http://smokefree.gov/

They even have a stop-smoking app for added support.