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Sports Guard Care

Ewww! Did you just put that in your mouth?


It’s hard not to have this reaction when we hear of people never cleaning their sports guards and just throwing them into their smelly equipment bags after use, then the next week, retrieving said guard from same bag and popping it in their mouth again.

Sick, sick, sicker…

Many words may come to mind about this gross habit, but thrush mouth, oral lesions, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea and mold-induced asthma are probably ones you have never thought of.

When we think of dental sports guards we think of the teeth they are protecting, yet the cheapest part of your protective uniform can be dangerous and actually make you sick.

When was the last time you cleaned your dental sports guard?

24-08-2015 6-46-47 PMAt a recent soccer practice this summer, one of our staff members took a survey and asked members of both teams this question. Surprisingly, only 1 of the 33 children routinely cleaned their guard and did it properly!

When questioned further about the care of their guards during other sports throughout the year, the answers were the same.  Although shocking, it was just something they had never thought of. In fact, conversations with other people failed to find anyone who cleaned their guards properly or consistently.

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…and you’re putting it in your mouth!  After only one use, without cleaning, germs will begin to accumulate. So imagine the germ growth over time!

Additionally, during activity you move, bite and grind into the guard’s flexible thermoplastic material causing it to wear down over time. The crevices and cracks that develop in the guard will provide breeding grounds for more bacteria, viruses and fungi which can contaminate your mouth. Even rinsing it in water doesn’t truly get it clean.

If you’re not keen on putting a petri dish-like container full of germs back into your mouth, at Your Smile Dental Care, we suggest that after your activity you rinse it thoroughly before placing it in a well ventilated container until you can clean the guard and container properly at home.  Use one of the methods below to thoroughly clean your guard before storing it until next use.

Cleaning your Sports Guard

There are several methods of cleaning that we suggest:

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Rinse – Always rinse your sports guards with water immediately after use or as soon as you get home.

Soap and Water Method – Using antibacterial soap with lukewarm water in a sudsy mixture along with your toothbrush or fingers to clean your guard is also a common method. Be sure to rinse well with clear water so that you don’t end up with a soapy tasting mouth.

Toothbrush and toothpaste Method – Using a soft toothbrush and a non-abrasive toothpaste as you would to clean your teeth is an easy way to clean your guard. Use a gentle action to prevent scratching the material and make sure to rinse it well afterwards to remove toothpaste that can get stuck in any crevices already present. Allow your guard to air dry before placing it back into it’s clean, ventilated container

Mouth Rinse Method – Another good choice is antibacterial mouth rinse. Use products that boast about being 99.9% effective at killing germs. However, rinsing will not be sufficient enough to rid your guard of bacteria and saliva without using your toothbrush to gently work the rinse around and into all areas of your guard. Again, rinse well with lukewarm water afterwards and air dry the guard before storing.

Final Rinse – Give your sports guard a final rinse before allowing it to air dry.

By using one of, or a combination of methods above to keep your guard clean you can reduce your risk of mouth sores and bacterial infections that can grow to become more serious conditions affecting your heart and lungs.

Not Recommended

We have been told that some patients have been advised to clean their guard using denture cleansers, bleach, hydrogen peroxide, baking soda, vinegar or with a sanitizing unit. We have found that many of these methods are too strong or abrasive for the guard and can cause them to wear more quickly and their colour to fade.

Just keep it simple and replace the guard as needed.

 

STORAGE

STORAGE

Storage

Placing your sports guard into a clean, well-vented container will protect it from damage and contamination after cleaning. Ensure that your guard is dry before storing and keep it in a section of your activity/equipment bag that is also clean.

Be sure to keep your container clean by using the same methods above. You can also place it in a good quality dishwasher to cleansing.

Replacement

Sports guards aren’t meant to last forever. Be sure to check your protective sports guard regularly for signs of breakage and wear and consider replacing it with a new one if it becomes very worn, warps or you are beginning a new athletic season. Chewed up  guards can pose an even higher risk since that may have sharp edges that can cut mouth tissues  and allow a portal of entry for bacteria into your bloodstream.

Sports Guard Special

Dental sports guards are a wise investment for your oral health, but improper care can have a tremendous affect on your overall health.

Each September, Your Smile Dental Care offers offer a Sports Guard Special where you and your family can get sports guards made that will provide a custom fit for the protection you need.

 

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Play Safe ~ Use Protective Face Gear

A word about the benefits of using protective dental guards, helmets, face shields etc.

Insurance 1Ultimately, we want our patients to have fun, but understand that injuries to the mouth are often severe and costly. Losing a tooth is a common dental injury. Some sports groups/teams offer insurance to their players that include dental. The cost is not usually not too expensive and the benefits of having this added insurance can help you reduce your costs significantly should an accident occur.

Lastly, you may want to decline signing off permanently with your insurer after your injury has been repaired and consider asking your dentist for their advice regarding the long term future care for this tooth/teeth. Oftentimes, an injury will require future maintenance, repair and replacement that can cost much more than the initial repair’s cost in terms of frustration, discomfort and associated fees.

24-08-2015 4-22-44 PMWe have one patient who is very glad that his parents enrolled in his school’s optional medical/dental policy and did not settle permanently with the insurer after he had a playground accident involving his front tooth. Years later, he needs to have the tooth replaced and the insurer will be paying. Another, purchased the insurance offered by his adult men’s team. He got a stick to the mouth and lost his two front teeth. The insurance company is picking the full cost for two dental implants and crowns.


Accidents
~ they’re unpredictable so be prepared,
The Your Smile Dental Care Team
http://yoursmiledentalcare.com/
(905) 576-4537
(416) 783-3533

 

 

 


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The Consequence of Missing Teeth

16-03-2015 5-58-09 PMAs dentists, we hate it when we are faced with a situation where a tooth must need to be removed due to disease or injury. We are in the business of saving teeth, so when a tooth must be removed we become concerned for the remaining teeth and how the loss of this tooth will affect them…and it will!

Over time. missing teeth can result in serious complications, if left untreated.

A tooth here, a tooth there.

With the human dentition containing a total of 32 teeth (28 if the wisdom teeth have been removed), it is understandable why some people still believe that it is not essential to replace missing teeth when there are other teeth still left to do the job.

The Domino Effect

The loss of a permanent teeth leads to a whole host of other problems if it is not replaced in a timely manner. If it’s true that a picture paints a thousand words, then let’s look at the one below:

 

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This is a typical scenario when even just one tooth is removed without being replaced.  At first glance, you can see some movement and tipping of surrounding teeth, but it’s the significance of this situation that needs further explanation.

Teeth are arranged in the jaw in such a manner so that they support one another and withstand the chewing forces together as a team. When one is lost without being replaced, it sets into motion a collapsing situation where teeth begin to move out of position and alignment. Convincing patients that are in pain or injured that they need immediate treatment is not difficult because their signs and symptoms are usually sudden and uncomfortable. A situation like this is not often ignored for too long. However, the destabilization that occurs with dental collapse happens over a period of time. The signs are not as obvious and damage is often taking place silently. It is easy to understand why treatment recommendations are sometimes ignored or postponed.

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1. Supraeruption (Over-eruption)

Although the process is more complex, quite simply put, when teeth first appear in the mouth they emerge out of the bone and gum tissue as their roots and surrounding bone grow and push them out. The only reason they stop is because they meet the teeth that are also emerging in the opposite arch. Their biting surfaces fits into one another like a puzzle and an even distribution of contact throughout the entire dentition allows for proper chewing and equalized forces.

When an opposing lower tooth is lost and not replaced it’s upper partner now has no opposition and begins to adapt to this new space by moving downward. In doing so, it loses contact with it’s neighbouring teeth on either side and begins to bite more heavily with the teeth in the opposing lower arch. The bite is thrown off it’s ability to distribute an equal force among all the teeth, and this can cause headaches, jaw tension, root exposure, tooth breakage, grinding, clenching and wear.

2. Tipping23-03-2015 9-44-50 AM

When a tooth is lost and not replaced, the bone shrinks in the space and the teeth on either side now have a vacant area in which to tip and move into. In doing so, they lose contact with their other adjacent teeth. Teeth are designed to touch one another to prevent food impaction that can damage tissue and cause cavities. If enough of the vacant space becomes occupied by tipping teeth then the space becomes too small to make replacement a viable option without modifying other teeth.

Loss of contact3. Loss of Contact

Teeth that are beside one another contact each other at their greatest bulge (curvature).  Think of the place between two teeth where your floss “snaps” through. This is the contact point. Although gum tissue hides the area underneath, there is actually a space between the gum and the tooth. Your floss cleans out any food and plaque that may accumulate here, but one of the reasons for a curvaceous shape of the tooth crown is to prevent too much food impaction by deflecting food away from this area. When teeth are in alignment with one another, this action works well and efficiently.

4. Plaque and Food Impaction

Aside from the first space that was created by the missing tooth, more spaces begin to develop as adjacent and opposing teeth begin to move out of their original positions. These teeth lose contact with their neighbouring teeth and leave spaces and pockets into which plaque and food can gather. Oftentimes food impaction occurs frequently and can be difficult to remove as the space continues to grow. Plaque and food accumulation leads to cavities, gum and bone destruction and gum disease.

5. Bone Loss

During the formation of teeth, bone grows in and around the root of the teeth for support and nourishment. Teeth are necessary to maintain healthy jaw bone. When a tooth is removed there is no longer the need for bone and it resorbs (shrinks) away. Healthy, dense bone is an important factor when considering the placement of implants for replacement. The longer you leave the space, the smaller the height and width of the bone becomes. Bone loss also occurs in the areas where adjacent and opposing teeth have lost contact with their neighbouring teeth because of the destructive nature of the gum disease process. Even the floor of your sinus bone collapses into spaces where there used to be teeth. Bone loss can significantly impact your chances of becoming a good candidate for any future dental implant placement.
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Complications

Chewing/Nutrition – When teeth are missing, we chew in the areas of the mouth where teeth are present. Sometimes, people have to use teeth that are smaller, more slender and not designed for the chewing capacity of large molars. Other times, remaining teeth are loose or uncomfortable to use. As the dentition collapses over time, chewing can become difficult and nutritional deficiencies arise.

Gum Disease – Gum disease is a process that happens over time and is usually silent until a lot of destruction is done. Missing teeth create the perfect condition for gum disease to form and progress. Teeth stabilize one another and protect the gum tissue that surround them. In turn, the gum tissue and ligaments protect and secure the tooth to the bone socket. When teeth move and create spaces, food and plaque begin to accumulate in the spaces under the gum and eventually destroy enough tissue to create a pocket into which more food and plaque can gather. Cleaning out this pocket can be difficult and the space continues to grow destroying gum and bone along the way. When enough tissue is lost the tooth starts becoming loose and you may face the loss of another tooth. Gum disease and tooth loss can be a vicious cycle. Trying to control and correct all of the factors that allow this disease process to progress can be exasperating.

23-03-2015 10-41-47 AMBone level in an unhealthy and healthy mouth

Increased food and plaque accumulation – When teeth lose contact with one another the space that forms between them allows for food to easily collect in the area. Food impaction can injure 23-03-2015 11-32-01 AMgum tissue and cause bad breath. Continual food impaction can cause cavities, destroys gum tissue and surrounding bone creating large pocketing into which more debris can gather. Because this cycle of destruction happens below the gum line, it can go unnoticed for a long time. Only regular visits to the dentist will allow you to get baselines charted and monitored.

Tooth Decay – With increased food impaction comes a higher incidence of tooth decay. Food impaction can become a chronic situation. You will likely feel the need to floss after almost every meal and food can become submerged so far into the gum pocket that it becomes difficult to removed. Decay can go unnoticed until pain or a dental exam.

Sinus collapseSinus Collapse – When an upper tooth is removed, over time, the floor of the sinus begins to collapse into the space where the tooth root used to occupy interfering with the space needed for a future dental implant.

Root Exposure – The root of the tooth is covered with a tissue that is much less calcified and more sensitive than enamel. As a tooth moves out of it’s position when it over-erupts or tips more of the root tissue will become exposed. Patients often notice more sensitivity to hot and cold sensations and a higher incidence of cavities along this softer root portion of the tooth.

Muscle Tension – When remaining teeth move out of alignment the whole bite can be thrown off. Forces may not be evenly distributed among the teeth and some teeth may meet before the others do when chewing. This imbalance causes extra stress on facial muscles and joints (TMJ) that are also compensating. Tense muscles results in headaches, neck pain, earaches, upper back and shoulder discomfort.

TMJ – An uneven bite can quickly become a TMJ issue. Clicking, popping jaw joints, grating sounds, pain in the cheek muscles and uncontrollable jaw or tongue movements are not uncommon side affects of the missing teeth.

Fracture – The uneven bite that can occur with missing teeth often causes a few teeth to bear the biting forces that should ideally be shared by all teeth. This overload of forces can cause teeth to chip and fracture. If a fracture runs through the tooth and into the root surface then the tooth cannot be save. Unfortunately, it will become another tooth that must be removed.

Facial Collapse – Our face shape and size changes as we age and although facial collapse is usually more pronounced in someone who has lost most or all of their teeth, patients who have lost several teeth may begin to notice a “caved” in look to their face compared to others of their own age group who have more teeth.

 

Treatment Options

Fortunately, there are several treatment options available for missing teeth that will restore the beauty and function to your mouth. It used to be that dental bridges were the most common way to replace missing teeth. Nowadays, thanks to advanced technology, dental implant are the most permanent, long term treatment solution.

Dental Implants are so effective that many of our patients who choose this option tell us that their implant is completely undistinguishable from their other natural teeth in both appearance and function!

Been a while?

Ignoring the certainty of dental collapse now will eventually leave you facing more extensive and expensive dentistry in the future. Your options will also be limited if you experience bone loss and collapse over the years. If it was many years ago that your had teeth removed and are wondering what can be done now, don’t delay any further. Your dentist will evaluate your dentition and let you know if your bite can still be restored and any missing teeth replaced.

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Yours in Better Dental Health,
The Your Smile Dental Care Team
(905) 576-4537
(416) 783-3533


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Does pain go away after a root canal?

The Nerve of this Tooth!!!

Most people know that root canal treatment involves treating the “nerve” centre of the tooth, so it is understandable when patients are surprised to feel post treatment sensations after a root canal.

They are also surprised,  however, to learn that, although root canal treatment (endodontics) is time-consuming, it is no where near the horror stories they have heard. In fact, so routine and uneventful are most procedures that some of our patients have actually fallen sleep. The confusion, we believe, comes from the excruciating pain that some people experience before seeking the relieving treatment provided by a dentist. Perhaps, it’s what stands out most in their mind.

A root canal is a procedure that involves treatment to the inside, pulpal area of a tooth. Although we tend to think of our teeth as hard, rigid structures, the inside is fleshy and is made up of nerves, lymphatic tissue and blood supply that enter into the tooth through a hole at the end of each tooth. Usually this fleshy “pulpal tissue” needs to be removed once it becomes infected or tooth decay is deep enough to reach this area of the tooth.

Recovery

Even though the nerves of the tooth that allowed you to feel hot and cold sensations have been removed, there are other tissues and ligaments that are typically damaged by the presence of infection. These tissues need healing time and tenderness is not uncommon after treatment. How sensitive your tooth will be after root canal treatment depends on how severe the damage to the pulp and how involved the treatment was. The aim during the procedure is to remove all of the infected tissue and bacteria from within the chamber and root portion of the tooth, clean and disinfect the inside of the canals, then seal the end of each root.

“I can’t believe I was going to have the tooth removed!”

08-06-2015 9-24-20 AMMost people who have been experiencing a lot of discomfort prior to treatment find much needed relief after the root canal has been completed, but like the cleaning out of any wound, it typically takes a few days for a tooth to “settle down” and recover.  During this time, residual infection outside the tooth is clearing up and affected ligaments are healing. Your dentist will usually recommend that you take a pain reliever that is also an anti-inflammatory to help reduce any pain and swelling.

Sometimes, depending on how severe the infection was, it can take a few weeks for infection to clear up. The blood vessels in the jaws are tiny and do their best to take away infection and bacteria. You can discuss the need for antibiotics with your dentist to help things along.

However, If the pain you are experiencing is like a toothache and happens only when you are biting down then it is likely that your bite is high. A simple and quick bite adjustment usually brings immediate relief to this type of sensitivity.

Typically, any pain or discomfort that is felt after a successful root canal should be mild to moderate and get progressively better as healing continues. If, however, you are still experiencing discomfort after a few weeks or the pain is increasing in intensity, contact your dentist and set up an appointment for a re-evaluation.

 

Complications that can arise:

If your root canal treatment was successful, your tooth should recover within a week to ten days. However, the tooth, like any other part of the body, can have residual issues and post treatment complications can arise after the root canal has been completed. A tooth with complicated anatomy can be a challenge for example.

If your tooth becomes re-infected, your dentist may suggest that the tooth be re-treated. There are a number of treatment options to retreat a root-canal to still save your tooth from extraction. Your dentist will re-evaluate your tooth and discuss the “specific to you” circumstances with you.

Although it is understandable that a patient may be disappointed and even dubious when treatment has failed, it is important to remember that just like other medical procedures, there is a certain percentage of cases that require additional therapy. A patient, in consultation with their dentist, will discuss the long term success of further treatment and consider all pertinent factors before deciding the lengths that each are willing to go in order to save a tooth.

Nobody wants to lose a tooth. A root canal helps to preserve your tooth in the jaw and allows it to function, but without sensation from within the tooth. Always keep you dentist informed of anything that you may consider to be unusual during your healing period.

anxious

Yours in Better Dental Health,

The Your Smile Dental Care team
(905) 576-4537
(416) 783-3533
www.yoursmiledentalcare.com