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Monday, February 12, 2018

Treating facial pain and jaw problems

Chronic facial pain is a problem faced by millions of Americans.
Common symptoms can include pain in or around the ear, tenderness of the jaw, clicking or popping noises when opening the mouth or even head and neck aches.
If you are suffering from this type of pain, your dentist can help identify its source with a thorough exam and appropriate x-rays.
Sometimes, the problem is a sinus or toothache or it could be an early stage of periodontal disease.
But for some pain, the cause is not so easily diagnosed.
There are two joints and several jaw muscles which make it possible to open and close the mouth. They work together when you chew, speak, and swallow.
These structures include muscles and ligaments, as well as the jaw bone, the mandible (lower jaw) with two joints, the TMJs.
Any problem that prevents this complex system of muscles, ligaments, discs and bones from working together properly may result in a painful TMJ disorder.
There are several ways the TMJ disorders may be treated.
Diagnosis is an important step before treatment.
Part of your clinical examination includes checking the joints and muscles for tenderness, clicking, popping or difficulty moving.
Your dentist may take x-rays and may make a cast of your teeth to see how your bite fits together.
To help you deal with this pain, your dentist will recommend what type of treatment you need and may refer you to a specialist.

Monday, February 5, 2018

Choosing the right toothbrush for your needs

It would be easy to get overwhelmed by the huge range of dental care products now available.
Even looking just at toothbrushes present a wide range of choices.
There are hundreds of manual and powered toothbrushes to choose from.
Start by looking for products that carry the American Dental Association Seal of Acceptance – this is an important symbol of a the product’s safety and effectiveness.
When you buy a toothbrush, replace it every three to four months. Replace it sooner if the bristles become frayed as a worn toothbrush will not clean your teeth properly.
Make it easy for your children to brush their teeth by choosing a child-sized toothbrush and make it more interesting for them by selecting fun colors and designs.
Often people who have difficulties with hand, arm or shoulder movements find that powered toothbrushes are the best choice. However, it’s also possible to make a few small changes to modify a manual toothbrush and make it easier to use.
For example, you can:
– Enlarge the handle with a sponge, rubber ball, or bicycle handle grip
– Lengthen the handle with a piece of wood or plastic
– Bend the handle slightly while running it under hot water
Your dentist will give you tips on what toothbrushes would be right for your needs.

Friday, January 26, 2018

What to do if your tooth cracks

While our teeth are normally very strong, they can crack for a number of reasons.
Reasons could include tooth decay, trauma/injury, grinding of the teeth or a stress fracture.
Sometimes, our jaw may be stronger than our teeth and the teeth can fracture when we bite heavily on food.
We can protect our teeth in some circumstances – for example it may be advisable to wear a mouthguard during sports.
Taking proper care of the teeth and regular visits to the dentist will help keep your teeth in good shape.
If a tooth cracks, it may become painful if the nerve is exposed and the area can become tender.
If this happens, rinse your mouth with warm water to clean the area and apply a cold compress to reduce swelling. Then call your dentist immediately.
Treatment will depend on where the tooth has fractured, how close it is to the nerve and the overall condition of the tooth.
A cracked tooth may be repaired with silver alloy, gold, porcelain or plastic. Or it may require a crown or overlay or bonding, which applies porcelain or enamel to the fractured tooth.
If you contact your dentist quickly, they will be able to take the most approriate action to preserve the tooth as much as possible.

Friday, January 19, 2018

How Osteoporosis medications can affect your dental health

Osteoporosis is a disease that weakens bones and increases the risk of fractures.
It affects about 10 million Americans of whom 8 million are women and another 34 million are at risk of developing it.
So this is a disease that affects more women than cancer, heart disease and stroke combined.
But what does it have to do with your dental care?
Well, many people in these categories are treated with a group of prescription drugs called oral bisphosphonates. Studies have reported that these drugs reduce bone loss, increase bone density and reduce the risk of fractures.
But some people have been alarmed and confused by recent news reports about oral bisphosphonates because of uncommon complications that have been linked to these drugs.
The drugs have been associated with osteonecrosis of the jaw (ONJ), a rare but potentially serious condition that can cause severe destruction of the jawbone.
The true risk posed by oral bisphosphonates remains uncertain, but researchers seem to agree that it appears very small.
Given the risks associated with osteoporosis and the proven benefits of oral bisphosphonate therapy, you should not stop taking these medications before discussing the matter fully with your physician.
If your physician prescribes an oral bisphosphonate, its important to tell your dentist so that your health history form can be updated.
In this case, some dental procedures, such as extractions, may increase your risk of developing ONJ, so your dentist needs to be able to take your full health picture into account.

Friday, January 12, 2018

How cosmetic dentistry can change your smile – and your life

Modern cosmetic dentistry has created many opportunities that did not exist before for people to improve their appearance and change the way they feel about themselves.
Although cosmetic dentistry really did not exist a few yaears ago, it now attracts interest from a wide range of people.
There are few people who don’t want to improve their appearance by making their teeth straighter and whiter so that they look better when they smile.
New technology and procedures have created many more opportunities for dentists to help patients look better.
One of the most important opportunities for doing this is porcelain veneers.
These are custom-made wafers that the dentist places over the front of the teeth to repair damage and make them look better.
They can overcome many cosmetic dental problems such as whitening stained or discolored teeth, closing gaps between teeth or correcting a crooked smile without the need for braces.
They can also cover up chips and imperfections so that the smile looks much better.
Another important cosmetic trend is the increased use of white fillings.
White fillings now are more lifelike than ever and they last longer than previously.
They have become the material of choice for many dentists as they blend in with teeth and look better.
If you feel your smile is less than perfect, talk to your dentist about how it could be better.

Thursday, January 4, 2018

What to expect when having a tooth extracted

The process of having a tooth extracted may seem worrying but you’ll find it much easier if you know what to expect on the day and afterwards.
Your dentist will make the process as comfortable as possible for you by numbing the area around the tooth to be extracted.
In most cases, a small amount of bleeding is quite normal and your dentist will advise you what process to follow to allow healing as quickly as possible.
Generally, you should avoid anything that might prevent normal healing.
For example, it’s best not to smoke, rinse your mouth vigorously or drink through a straw for 24 hours afterwards as these could delay healing.
For the first few days, if you need to rinse your mouth, do it gently. If you are suffering pain or swelling, apply a cold cloth or an ice bag.
If necessary, your dentist will recommend something for any pain.
At the beginning, don’t clean around the socket where the tooth has been removed but you should brush and floss the other teeth as usual.
Modern procedures make having an extraction and the follow-up more comfortable than ever before.

Thursday, December 28, 2017

Tips for people with difficulty handling a toothbrush

There are many people who find it difficult to look after their dental health properly because they have problems handling a toothbrush.
This can be due to a severe physical disability or simply basic dexterity problems.
There are a few simple steps you can take to make it easier for people who find it difficult to hold on to a toothbrush or dental floss.
Here are some simple ‘home remedies’:
– Use a wide elastic band to attach the brush to the hand
– Enlarge the brush handle with a sponge, rubber ball or bicycle handle grip
– Wind an elastic bandage or adhesive tape around the handle
– Lengthen the handle with a piece of wood or plastic such as a ruler, popsicle stick or tongue depressor
– Tie floss into a loop for easier handling
– Use an electric toothbrush or commercial floss holder
Your dentist will be able to provide specific guidance and further tips for people who need an easier way to handle a toothbrush and floss.