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The Sudden Appearance of Cavities

The Tooth Sleuth…

 

20170123_122329Why does tooth decay suddenly begin in patients who have had no history of multiple cavities?

This is actually a common question that is not generally an age-specific misfortune as much as it tends to be a lifestyle occurrence. It is understandable why someone becomes frustrated and very concerned about the sudden appearance of tooth decay when they have had great teeth their whole lives with little or no decay.

Cavities can occur at any age and without warning. Some factors we can control, while others are a more complicated set of circumstances. The sudden appearance of cavities depends on someone’s individual situation, so it often becomes a fact-finding mission for both the dentist and the patient.

 

You may not think of dentists as detectives, but it is one of the many roles we assume as healthcare practitioners

 

Narrowing down the cause can be tricky, but here are a few of the most common culprits:

 

Cavities under fillings – Like anything that is man-made and designed to replace something that is natural, there are limitations. Fillings can wear down, chip or lose their marginal seal with the tooth allowing bacterial acids to seep in and cause cavities under fillings. Maintaining regular dental check-ups allow us to monitor the integrity and health of teeth and their existing restorations.

Orthodontic treatment – Wearing braces, especially the new Invisalign type of braces, give food and plaque more places to hide making it more difficult to see and remove them. Your food choices and attention to the detail when tooth brushing becomes very important to reduce your likelihood for tooth decay. Your orthodontist will warn you of the higher susceptibility for cavities when wearing braces and make recommendation that should be followed diligently.

Dietary change – A sudden change in what and how often you eat and drink can have a huge impact on the health of your teeth, Ideally, you should allow 4-5 hours in between food intake so that your saliva can repair (remineralize) the damage from the acid attacks that occur during meals. If you have acquired a new habit such as frequent snacking, sipping coffee all day, chewing sugar gums/candies, drinking more pop/juices/alcohol, or using throat lozenges you may be putting your teeth at risk for more tooth decay.

Nutritional Deficiencies – The quantity and quality of our saliva is impacted greatly by nutrition. The immunoglobulin, proteins and minerals in saliva help to protect and repair our teeth, so any deficiencies in our food intake or health can and will affect the efficiency of saliva.

Dry Mouth – Saliva plays an important reparative, cleansing, buffering and digestive role in our mouth. A disruption in the quantity and quality of saliva  can put you at risk for more cavities. Illness, medications, medical treatments such as chemotherapy and radiation, stress, weather, alcohol-based mouth rinses, and even the addition of exercise can affect the character of your saliva and it’s ability to do it’s job efficiently. Never ignore dry mouth. Read all about dry mouth here.

Medication – Did you know that there are hundreds of medications that can affect the quality and quantity of your saliva and impact the health of your teeth? Even over-the-counter products such as anti acids, antihistamines, and cough syrups can be harmful to your teeth with prolonged use. Check with your pharmacist about your medications to help narrow down the ones that can cause dry mouth. Perhaps, they can then suggest an alternative and check with your physician about a change in prescription.

Vomiting – When stomach acids make frequent contact with your teeth it can lead to the eroding away of the enamel eventually resulting in a mouth full of cavities. Frequent acid refluxing, prolonged illnesses and eating disorders that use the elimination of meals just eaten, are serious matters that cause nutritional deficiencies and cause an increase in cavities.

Teeth Whitening – We believe that the frequent use of teeth whitening products can eventually cause the wearing away of protective enamel. Moderation is key here and your dentist will advise you as to what is considered a safe, but effective whitening regime for your specific-to-you situation.

Oral Hygiene – Have you changed your oral care routine? Changing toothbrushes, eliminating fluoride, slacking off with brushing and flossing, brushing too hard or excessively and even choosing a natural oral care product can all lead to more cavities. We had one patient who switched to an electric toothbrush but did not know that they were missing the entire gum line area resulting in cavities all along this area. And, as popular as some homemade and natural remedies are, care must be taken to choose a product that is both effective and gentle on teeth and gums.

Fluoride Intake – Fluoride is actually an element that is found in rocks, soil, fresh water and ocean water. Over 70 years ago, it was discovered that populations living and ingesting naturally occurring fluoride had significantly better teeth – in both health and appearance – than those who did not. Many municipalities decided to add 1 part/million fluoride to community drinking water. Today, we still see the evidence of better oral health in fluoridated areas.

Relocation – Sometimes, just moving from one geographical location to another can lead to significant lifestyle changes in terms of habits and access to health and healthy choices. Students who move away from home may find it difficult to maintain healthy habits and make wise nutritional choices. People who move to an underdeveloped area may struggle accessing good nutrition and healthcare. Even a lack of fluoridated water has been shown to impact oral health.

Receding Gums – When your gums recede, the soft root of the tooth is exposed, making it more susceptible to decay and the scrubbing action of your toothbrush. The tissue covering the root is half the hardness of protective enamel. Root exposure and the eventual cavities and abrasion crevices cavities is a common dental problem, especially in older persons and those who use a hard toothbrush or brush to harshly and in in those.

Medical treatments – As unavoidable as they are, some medical treatments affect your oral health and result in unexpected tooth decay. Medical treatments can cause altered taste, saliva changes, mouth irritations, damaged tissues, sensitivity, vomiting, difficulty eating and swallowing, delayed dental treatment, and can disrupt home oral hygiene. All can play a role in an increased likelihood of cavities. At Your Smile Dental Care, we suggest a pre-treatment examination to record baseline charting, identify and treat dental problems and provide oral hygiene education before your medical treatment begins.

Sharing Salvia – Dental disease is an infectious disease. You can be contaminated with the saliva from another person through kissing, sharing a toothbrush or eating utensil. Is cross-contamination capable of actually causing tooth decay ? Saliva is laced with germs and some people have more of the tooth damaging bacteria than others. It is thought that mother’s can pass on bacteria to their children and, in turn, increase the likelihood of decay in the child when they share spoons, so it stands to reason that this is not the only situation where one’s mouth germs can directly affect the quantity and types of germs in another’s mouth. Sometimes, sharing is not caring!

Work Routine – Even something as seemingly insignificant as a change in your work time hours, such as switching from days to nightshift, can affect the way you prioritize and approach your oral care and eating habits. Exhaustion, insomnia, stress, a hurried life can all impact your usual routine and put you at risk for additional tooth decay. Scour the internet to find some great practical tips on how to manage work shifts better.

Don’t make cavities part of your future…

These are all examples of some of the changes that can occur in your life that you may want to consider and review if you notice that you are suddenly being diagnosed with more cavities, more often than usual. A solid review of your nutritional, dental and medical history may reveal something that could account for the high incident of tooth decay. Hopefully, by process of elimination, you and your dentist will be able to narrow in on one or a few of your risk factors and implement some changes in your life now so that tooth decay will not become a recurrent problem.

 

 

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Yours In Better Dental Health,
The Your Smile Dental Care Team
(905) 576-4537
(416) 783-3533
www.yoursmiledentalcare.com

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


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Cracked Tooth Syndrome

My Dentist said that my tooth is cracked and needs to be taken out. Can it not just be filled in?

Although enamel is the hardest substance in our body (way more harder than bone) and can withstand a great deal of wear and tear, certain stresses can still put our beautiful smiles at risk for fracturing.

There are many types of cracked teeth and your treatment options will depend on the location, type and severity of the fracture. Even a perfectly healthy tooth can develop a crack severe enough to end the life of that tooth.

Understand that a cracked tooth is different than a chipped tooth. Unlike bone, enamel cannot repair a crack by filling it in with more enamel. Most teeth that chip or fracture a cusp is repaired using filling material or the placement of a full coverage crown when the break occurs in the crown portion of the tooth. Even teeth that break off at the gum line can still be built back up again.

However, there are some breaks to the tooth that actually cause a fracture line to occur down into the root or split the tooth partially or entirely. Once the crack reaches below the gum line and into the root surface, the condition is untreatable and the tooth must be removed.

Signs & Symptoms of a Cracked Tooth:

– pain while biting or chewing
– sensitivity to hot or cold
– portion of the crown is mobile (loose)
– infected pulp
– a toothache that comes and goes
– no signs or symptoms

 

“Cracked tooth syndrome describes a tooth with an incomplete fracture but no part of the tooth has broken off yet.”

 

Although early detection and treatment is essential to minimize the risks associated with a compromised tooth, sometimes, a cracked tooth is hard to detect when the signs and symptoms are not always obvious and dental imaging does not show the fracture. Other times, it is evident to us, but the patient is completely unaware that they have a fractured tooth.

If your dentist has advised that your tooth needs to be removed, it is likely that the break is severe and deep enough that the tooth cannot be saved and must be removed and replaced. This is why regular dental checkups and exams are so important.

Hope as a Strategy…

We have patients who ask us how long they can wait until they have the time or finances to repair a cracked tooth. One can only hope that the situation will not worsen, but hope can be a poor strategy when dealing with a fracture line. Without the assistance of a crystal ball, we cannot determine with certainty how long someone can wait to delay treatment. Experience tells us that, in order to the disappointing loss of a tooth, fractures should be at least be examined to determine what type of crack you’re dealing with.

A simple cracked or chip in the enamel can be smoothed off until it can be repaired properly. However, deeper fractures that reach into the dentinal or nerve chamber must be treated quickly so that the problem does not worsen and cause an infection, crack the root or split the tooth.

Prevention: The Better Strategy

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As the saying goes, “Do something now that your future self will thank you for.” Taking some preventative steps now can reduce the likelihood of tooth fractures in the future.

1.  An unbelievable amount of force is exerted your teeth is you clench and grind at night. Your dentist can make you a custom-fitted night guard to protect your teeth while you sleep.

2. Wear a protective mouth guard and/or mask during high risk activities such as sports.

3. If you chew on hard objects like pencils and ice or use your teeth to open/hold objects ~Stop! Be extra careful also when eating food with bones, kernels or seeds/pits.

4. Follow the recommendation of your dentist when they advise you to have a crown placed on teeth that are most vulnerable to fracturing such as those with large fillings or have been root canal treatment.

Your teeth can serve you well for a lifetime if they are not treated as an afterthought. Following these prevention tips, having regular dental check-ups and attending to any necessary restorative care when they are small issues does not rob you of your choice and focus as emergency situations often do.

And, if you experiencing any of the aforementioned signs and symptoms, see your dentist immediately!

Yours in Better Dental Health,

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

 

 

 

11-7-2016-2-46-31-pm


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Gummy Smile

Treating the Gummy Smile…

gummy-smile-correctionDo you think you show too much gum when you smile?

When you smile, usually the lip sits just above the teeth and only a very small amount of gum tissue is visible. In some cases, however, a disproportionate amount of gum tissue is exposed when smiling, and, while this is not unattractive nor an issue for many people, others look to have this corrected.

The scale we use is:

Mild:  1-25%

Moderate: 25-50%

Advance: 50-100%

Severe: more than 100%

Rest assured, there are many solutions for correcting a gummy smile and your treatment options will depend on the nature of your particular condition which could involve the jaw, gums, teeth or a combination of these structures. Your dentist will discuss the diagnostic findings with you and an appropriate treatment recommendation will advised.

“A gummy smile can be mild to advanced and identifying the cause is the first step.”

 

Non Surgical

Botox – Botox injections is a simple and temporary correction that is non-invasive and allows you to see results before trying surgery. The injections will weaken/paralyze the muscles of the upper lip to control the amount of lip retraction so that more of your gums are covered when you speak and smile. The amount of injections depends on how strong the muscle is and sometimes, the muscle is just too strong or the gummy condition too extensive for any effective results. This treatment option is only temporary and must be repeated every 3-9 months to maintain your new smile.

 

Surgical

Some surgeries to correct gummy smiles are more invasive than others and treatment recommendations will depend on the severity and type of gummy smile. It is also common to combine treatments to help achieve the best result.

gummy-smile-before-and-after

Lip repositioning – This involves making a small incision along the gum tissue to separate the inside of the upper lip from where it meets the gum line and repositioning it. This will limit the retracting movement of the lip and allow it to assume a lower position over the gums and keep closer to the teeth when you smile. This is a permanent procedure with a quick healing time and minimal after-surgery discomfort.

Short lip length – If the length of your upper lip is too short then it may not adequately cover your gums. This is often successfully corrected with lip repositioning surgery.

11-7-2016-3-25-15-pmJaw Orientation – The position of your upper jaw and the amount of vertical length can be excessive and interfere with the lip’s coverage of your upper gums. Orthognathic surgery may be needed in order to reposition the entire upper jaw so that it is more proportionate for an aesthetically pleasing smile.

20161116_171230Frenulum Attachment– If you lift up your upper lip you will notice that there is an extension of tissue that attaches the inside of your upper lip to the gums. This is called a frenulum and a surgical procedure can be done using local anaesthetic to cut and release or elongate this tissue so that your upper lip can then cover your gums more.

Short teeth – Gum tissue is removed to reveal more tooth crown or to achieve a more proportionately amount of visible gum line. Using a laser or electro-surgical cauterizing tool, the gums are re-contoured to achieve a more aesthetically pleasing shape, symmetry, length of the gum line. This is often done when teeth are short due to insufficient eruption and sometimes, the underlying bone may also need to be re-shaped.

Strong levator muscles – If the lifting (levator) muscles in the upper lip are causing the lip to pull back too far when smiling, they can be surgically cut and weakened to reduce this pulling action. The incision is made on the inside of the lip so that the scar will not show.

Medical conditions/Medications – Some medical conditions and/or their therapies can cause an abnormal overgrowth of gum tissue which covers the crown portion of the tooth. The gum tissue can be trimmed back to reveal more tooth structure.

noelia

Looking at this image. You can see the upper lip is in a lower
position now that the levator muscles have been relaxed. This “mild”
gummy smile was easily corrected.

 

Not every person with a gummy smile considers it a hindrance nor an impact to their enjoyment of life, comfort, and well-being. However, if you are reluctant to smile and are looking for a solution, speak to your dentist and they will assess your smile. If, in their opinion, the correction should be evaluated by a dental specialist, they will make the appropriate referral for you.

Your Smile is a wonderful expression and we hope you have many reasons to use it!

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

 

 


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Online Dental Dangers

02-05-2016 11-01-53 AMThe Dangers of Self-diagnosing

Recently, a patient gave themselves a bit of a scare. Without going into too much detail, it was a case of cyberchondria due to online DIY dental diagnosing and they wanted us to share their story.

We are big on self-advocating and taking ownership of your medical and dental health or the lack there of, but we have had more than our share of patients misdiagnosing themselves or using home remedies as advised online.

Such is the paradox of access to information. Amid the online scholarly journals and other credible medical publications is a plethora of well-intentioned sites with inaccurate or misleading information. Bolstering the claims and lending credibility to these sites are testimonies and/or links to other web pages that may or may not contain other unreliable recommendations.

The Well-Connected Patient

02-05-2016 3-28-20 PMThe explosion of both credible and incredible online information can be both empowering and dangerous to the well-connected patient looking to enlighten themselves. We find ourselves spending more and more time dispelling incredible claims while warning of the hazards of others. We are also facing a growing number of skeptical people – people who are dubious of our advice rather than these online claims.

So, who’s judgment do you turn to for sound dental advice?
Well, nothing convinces like the truth. Eventually, patients who have tried home remedies, come into our office seeking redress while we attempt to mitigate the damage. The price people pay for DIY dentistry can range from the unnecessary scare that misdiagnosing can bring to the pain and infection that often results from delayed treatment.

Back to our patient…

We will use some licence here to change a bit of the facts about the aforementioned case to preserve patient anonymity, but it will still convey our message about being cautious about online information. This patient had mistakenly thought that their tooth was infected. When, after a week of oil pulling did not alleviate her symptoms, she made a quick trip to us. A quick examination revealed that a popcorn kernel stuck between her teeth was the source of her badly swollen gum. The offending food item was removed and we are glad to say that, equipped with some home care information, she was quickly on her way back to a healthy smile.

“When in doubt use greater scrutiny”

What to Consider:

Source –   Who is the source of the information? Is the site you are gathering information from using second hand information? Who is the person behind the information? Are they selling a product, viewpoint or belief? Being able to distinguish between a reliable consumer health website with trusted and timely content and one that is self promoting, has a hidden agenda or offering pseudoscientific claims is critical when evaluating credibility. A reliable website identifies the author or source of the information so you can follow up on their credentials and reputation to determine if they have the relevant education, training, or experience that gives them the authority to speak on the matters being presented and that facts are consistent with other authoritative websites.

Date – Content is continually being created and revised, but some websites do not update their information so it’s data may be outdated. Even information from a year ago can be expired. Are you skillful enough to evaluate the how timely the online medical information is? That is, when was it created and how much of the information is still relevant and of value today? FYI: Some websites pages automatically update to the present date, so be careful and ensure that there is a way to find out the correct creation date of the information.

Accuracy – What criteria do you use to determine the validity of a website and it’s contents? What evidence is being offered to support the claims of the website? Anyone can place a testimonial on the site or quote what seems like a reliable source. Many honest, well intentioned people mistaking offer false information. With so much information available, we must be prepared to apply a very high level of scrutiny when determining the legitimacy of a site.

Severity – How severe are your signs and symptoms? Oftentimes, it can be difficult to tell. We recommend that any dental issue that needs immediate attention to prevent tooth loss, relieve ongoing pain, stop bleeding or infection or is the result of trauma/injury should be considered a dental emergency. Many people do not realize that a dental infection can be life-threatening and should have immediate medical attention.

Intention –  Consider why you are turning to online sources of information. Do you want authoritative facts or a different viewpoint? Are you looking for another opinion? Perhaps you are exploring non-traditional medicine.  We encourage our patients to use the internet for general wellness to become better informed about their health. If something needs repair, is diseased, increasing in pain, swollen, infected or needs critical or emergency attention then you must let your healthcare provider evaluate the issue.  Be aware when you try to diagnosis and treat yourself. Understand that health care providers look at your overall signs and symptoms and apply their years of clinical experience and knowledge before making a judgment call and recommending treatment.

Self Advocacy – Part of self advocacy is learning how to get the information you need to become better informed. What will you do with the information? Once you feel you are equipped with some reliable, useful information you need to make a decision about your next move and take ownership of your decisions. It is your right to problem solve yourself, however, it is important to be objective and open enough to realize when you need the help of a professional. When it comes to teeth, all too often, choosing to opt out of professional dental care leads to further damage, more complicated and costly treatment or eventual loss of teeth. Take the case of healing one’s own cavities.  It may surprise you that you CAN heal a cavity, but there are several critical factors involved. Unfortunately, we have yet to see a case of self cavity healing that has not eventually progressed into very deep cavities, many with nerve damage requiring root canals or extraction.

Appearance – Anyone can put up a professional looking medical information site that quotes all kinds of seemingly reliable sources. Do not let appearances deceive you. If the information you want is important to you, dig deeper, think critically. If you dental health is at risk, call your dentist.

Reality Check – Use your logic. Does the information sound too good to be true? If it’s hard to believe, it likely is.  Are broad, generalizations being made while sweeping aside other important details?  Given your past experiences, how much of what is being presented is probable? Do you have a sense that perhaps facts are being distorted or are one-sided?

Remember: The internet is so accommodating that it let’s anyone
contribute material for public consumption.  If you are searching
for reliable and accurate information
then it’s up to you to determine
the validity and accuracy of the content or ask someone who can.

No DIY Denture GlueWhat concerns us is the people who use the Internet to identify their dental problems by matching their symptoms to a likely cause then using the home remedy suggested – whether it’s a coconut oil cure for their infected tooth, an online diet for their cavities or a homemade glue for their loose crown. Unfortunately, dentists have to then manage the patient’s disappointment when their well-intended misadventure causes further dental complications and treatment costs to arise.

It’s true that online self-diagnosis and medical research can be beneficial and even successful when approached responsibly and judiciously. Online searches have saved lives. If what you learn from your online searches can help make positive changes in your life, like eating healthier, exercising, getting more sleep or managing your stress, then that is a great step forward. If an online search about unusual pain makes you call us faster then you’re likely to save a tooth or prevent a condition from spreading.

We believe that well informed patients have better dental experiences. At Your Smile Dental Care we encourage our patients to educate themselves as much as possible using the wealth of reliable health information that can be found online. In doing so, they can be more involved in their treatment options and proceed with their choices confidently.

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Yours in Better Dental Health,

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

 

 



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The Most Preventable Dental Problem

Mouth guards are a Necessary Piece of Equipment

WatertubeThe great news is that the incidences of dental injuries attributable to sports related accidents are down in numbers due to the mandatory use of mouth guards in many children’s sports. However, we are still finding that there are many people that are still reluctant to wear sports guards. In fact, it is said that most athletes are likely to spend more money on their shoes than they do on protection for their mouth.

We had a patient (we’ll call him Jacob) that sustained an injury while water tubing. During his wild water escapade the other person in the tube became airborne and was knocked out of the tube. On the way out his heel made contact with Jacob’s mouth. When they finally came ashore, Jacob’s front teeth were throbbing in what he described as a pulsating feeling. Fortunately, neither his teeth nor jawbone were broken. We examined and x-rayed the area and found no evidence of trauma, but we will have to monitor his teeth over the next few weeks….months…years.

David was not so lucky…

16-05-2016 12-32-10 PMHe took a line drive to the mouth during an early season rep baseball game. He had just gotten his braces off a few weeks before and now presented us with lacerated gum tissue, a swollen lip and fractured teeth and jawbone.

At 13 years of age, we had to remove his upper adult front tooth and place bone graft material into the extraction site. A temporary tooth was attached to his orthodontic retainer until a dental implant can be placed in the area. Although his adjacent teeth were not broken, they will also have to be monitored for signs of  breakdown. The unfortunate thing about this particular case was the fact that his mother had been concerned about possible injury to his teeth since he had just gotten his brace off. Her suggestion to the coach and her son about wearing a mouth guard was met with resistance.

 Safety Doesn’t Happen by Accident!

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You never know when or where an accident will take place. When we are engaged in physical activity, we may do all that we think is responsible in gauging the level of risk and the likelihood of injury, but accidents can happen suddenly and unexpectedly.

Sports guard are a vital piece of athletic equipment and we recommend that all athletes wear a mouth guard – child or adult. However, our mouths can sustain an injury during many every day actions also. We fall, turn our heads quickly, get elbowed, or  bite down the wrong way. Always be careful of the possibility for injury and assess the risks accordingly.

Don’t let your guard down…

24-08-2015 6-46-47 PMAnd don’t forget to sanitize your sports guard to prevent health problems of the mouth that can arise due to the accumulation of bacteria, fungi and yeast. After activity, we advise that you rinse your guard immediately after removing it from your mouth before placing it back in its container.

When you arrive home, take it out of its container and brush it with a soft toothbrush and tooth paste using light pressure. You do not want to create scratches and cracks in the guard by using a hard scrubbing action as bacteria can accumulate in these areas. Continue to clean it with antibacterial soapy water before giving it a final rinse with warm, clear water ensuring that there is no residual tooth paste in the crevices. Alternatively, you can rub the guard with some antibacterial mouth rinse before the final clear rinse. Be careful not to use water temperature that is too hot, since most guards can warp or remold when subjected to high temperatures.

The guard should be allowed to air dry in a safe, clean area as you would your toothbrush before placing it back into its clean container that has ventilation holes. Be sure to clean this container regularly using the routine above or placing it in a dishwasher.

You only have one set of permanent teeth ~ Protect Them!

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

 

 

07-09-2015 6-19-39 PM


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Preparing for Dental Surgery

06-05-2014 9-56-15 AMSo, your dentist has recommended that you need to have dental surgery. Perhaps you are having some teeth removed or having gum surgery. Knowing what to expect ahead of time will help you be prepared so that the treatment procedure and subsequent healing phase can be as successful as possible.

There are benefits and risks inherently involved with all surgeries – medical or dental. Communication is key to understanding why you need this treatment, the specifics of the procedure and on how best to prepare and recover.

The following instructions are provided to help you prepare for most oral surgeries, however, your dentist may provide you with additional suggestions.

 

Consultation Appointment

  • 07-09-2015 6-12-02 PMThis will be your preliminary appointment to discuss the surgery being performed. If you have been referred to another dental office or specialist and the office staff has not contacted you to confirm this appointment make sure that you do to verify the date, time and location of this consult appointment.
  • Ensure that all records, including radiographs (x-rays) have already been sent and received. Sometimes, additional x-rays may need to be taken.
  • Discuss the manner of payment and bring your dental insurance information so that a claim can prepared for you.
  • We always advise that you write down any questions you may have so that you can make the most of your time with the dentist and avoid having to call again.  Sometimes. a patient likes to bring a trusted family member or friend to this appointment for support and to help write down the information and instructions being discussed for future recall.
  • Understand fully the type of anesthesia the dentist recommends for the treatment procedure and ensure that they have your current medication list and an updated medical and dental history on file. Your dentist wants to avoid any unexpected reactions or side effects,  so it is especially important to inform your dentist if you have any artificial joints, artificial heart valves/stents, have ever had bacterial endocarditis or need antibiotics before dental treatment. If you take blood thinners, discuss what steps you need to take to discontinue their use before surgery and when to resume taking them.
  • Understand fully how to prepare for the type of anesthesia the dentist recommends for the treatment procedure. If you will having your surgery under general anesthetic you are likely going to have a fasting period before your treatment, so understand how this will affect you if you are diabetic or take medications. Diabetic patients should inform their family physicians about their upcoming surgery and ensure there are no additional/contrary instructions further to the what their dentists have already advised.
  • 17-11-2014 3-23-49 PMIf the dentist will be prescribing you medication for before and/or after your treatment, you may wish to get the prescription given to you at this appointment and filled by the pharmacy the day before your procedure so that you do not have to run this errand after your appointment. Understand the instructions for taking any medication prescribed.
  • Discuss the type of pain medication you will require after surgery and the expected level of discomfort.
  • Ask if there are any known side effects to the medication you will be receiving. Women should know that antibiotics can reduce the effectiveness of birth control so discuss this with your dentist.
  • Discuss the need to arrange for someone to accompany you on your treatment day and also be available to transport you back home.
  • Ask the dentist if there are any restrictions he/she advises for you i.e.. activity, work, diet etc…
  • Discuss any concerns or fears you may have prior to your appointment so that your dentist understands fully your worries and level of anxiety and can address these issues with you while offering suggestions.
  • If you smoke, tell your dentist.
  • Ask for an employment/school absence letter in advance and ask that it be ready the day of your appointment just in case you may need to take a few days off from your normal routine during your healing time.
  • Will you be given the dental office after hours telephone contact number in case you have any recovery questions? Ask them what to expect when you call this number. Will you just be speaking with an answering service who may have limited capabilities in answering your questions or will you be able to contact the dentist directly?
  • Lastly, at Your Smile Dental Care, we follow up any surgeries with “Care Calls” to our patients or their designated caregiver. If your office does this, make sure they have a reliable telephone number for you and that they know the name of your appointed advocate who can speak with the dentist on your behalf should you be unable.

 

Sample questions

Here are some sample questions you may want to ask your dentist:

  • How many teeth need to be removed? or What type of surgery is being preformed?
  • 07-09-2015 6-03-36 PMWhat type of anesthesia will I receive?
  • How complicated do you expect the procedure to be?
  • How long is the procedure likely to last?
  • Is it possible that the surgery can cause damage to other teeth?
  • What is the likelihood of nerve damage?
  • Will I need stitches?
  • Will I need further treatment afterwards?
  • Do I need to fast before surgery, if so how long? or When should my last meal be before surgery?
  • Can I take my normal, daily medications day of surgery and when? (before and afterwards)
  • How long should normal recovery take?
  • What type of pain medication will I require after surgery?
  • When can I resume normal activity?
  • When can I return to work or school?
  • Will there be restrictions on activity?
  • What kind of a diet do you recommend after surgery and for how long?
  • Should I expect to feel pain after the anesthetic wears off?
  • When should I arrive at the office and is the dentist typically on time for procedures?
  • Will I need to make arrangements for someone to drive me home after the procedure?
  • May I bring a friend along for support?
  • What is the office after hour emergency telephone number? Who will I be speaking with?
  • What if I need to postpone my surgery; how much notice am I able to give without penalty?
  • What if I feel unwell day of surgery?

 

Day before appointment

  • On the night before your appointment, finalize your arrangements for transportation to and from surgery and pick up your prescription if you haven’t done so already.
  • 07-09-2015 7-23-36 PMClear your calendar for at least 24-36 hours following your surgery to avoid any unnecessary stress or activity.
  • If you have small children that you normally care for daily, make arrangements for someone to help care for them the day of your surgery and during your initial recovery time. Consult your dentist to determine the length of time you will need childcare.
  • Prepare a recovery room in your home to ensure that you will have a comfortable resting place with extra pillows. Have hand towels for pillow protection, extra pillows for head elevation, Kleenex, lip balm, and any entertainment electronics/books you may wish to have with you as your recuperate.
  • Prepare a “medical waste” garbage for you to place bloodied gauze or facial wipes into.
  • A trusted friend or loved one should be with you at home for at least the first 24-36 hours after surgery. Make sure they know and understand your dentist’s instructions, know where to find and dispense your medication and will be there to help prepare your foods and beverages.
  • You may be advise to apply cold compresses to your healing area. You can get a DIY Ice Pack instructions hereNever use ice packs while asleep!
  • 22-06-2015 12-41-23 PMEnsure that you have already done your grocery shopping for the foods and beverages you will need if a soft diet has been recommended for you. We have prepared a great list of soft foods in our blog, “50 Soft Foods.”  We hope that there is something for everyone on this list.
  • If you have been given and received your post surgery medication, have it ready in a handy place with any written instructions the dentist has given to you.
  • Have the dental office emergency number on hand in case you need to call your dentist.
  • If you are a friend or family member who will be bringing in a patient who resides in a long-term care facility, ensure that the staff who care for this individual has been fully briefed on all the details and understand their responsibilities.
  • Your dental team wants to be prepared for your day of surgery also so that things will go smoothly. To help them avoid the unexpected, if you have any last minute questions or concerns now is the time to call your dental office – not the day of surgery. This will allow the dental staff to pass on your questions to the dentist and return you call before the day of surgery.

 

Day of appointment

  • 07-09-2015 6-33-07 PMTake your daily medications unless your dentist has advised you otherwise.
  • Eat a light, nutritious meal 1-2 hours before the procedure if you are receiving a local anesthetic unless your dentist has advised you otherwise. Follow doctor’s meal instructions if you are having another type of anesthesia.
  • Wear loose fitting, comfortable clothing to your appointment that you don’t mined getting soiled if something accidently stains your garment. If you are having intravenous, wear a top with short sleeves so that the dental team can access the veins in your arm. Avoid wearing jewellery especially if it occupies your tongue or lip. Avoid lipstick and heavy makeup, although some Vaseline or lip balm is a good idea as sometimes your lips can become chapped during a long procedure.
  • Let the dental team know if you are very anxious. Deep breathing exercises may help to calm you down and relieve some of your tension. Unless instructed otherwise, do not arrive too early for your appointment. If the office is typically always on time, you need only arrive 5-10 minutes before your appointment time. This way you can avoid some of the anxiety that occurs when made to wait a long time.
  • Give the dental staff the telephone number you can be reached at after hours and designated an person to speak or advocate on your behalf. Make sure you have their after hours emergency contact number.
  • Obtain your employment/school absence letter if you have asked for one.

 

29-12-2014 6-35-38 PMOral surgery is often different from other routine treatments because the procedure is usually more complicated with more preparation and recovery is needed. Planning for your recovery is just as important as the surgery itself.  The first few days after the procedure is a crucial period and it is very important that you follow your dentist’s home care instructions exactly so that your recovery can be as predictable as possible and pass by more quickly. If you have any uncertainties, do not hesitate to call your dental office.

And lastly, understand that the recommendations your dentist gives to you may be different those listed above.  Always consult your own dentist about their preferences for your, specific to you, needs. Each person’s circumstance are unique and only your own dentist is qualified to answer your questions.

Thanks for reading and have a safe and speedy recovery,

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

 

 

 

 

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Fake Braces: Life Hack or Life Threatening?

Brace Yourself for this…

If you were to search the words, “fake braces” on you tube you would get 39,000 hits!

DIY dentistryHave you ever even heard of fake braces?

No? Well, neither did any of our patients when we asked, but it’s a growing trend!

There is an enormous market for knock-off braces and people worldwide have taken a shine to what used to be an embarrassing rite of passage for most kids. While some people are truly looking for a cost-free life hack to eliminate the gaps between their teeth, others are hoping to add a little fashion to their smile.

#hackjob

For years now, orthodontia has been seen as somewhat of a status symbol with many kids believing that they are a sign of wealth or are a way of putting a “geek is the new chic” spin on their looks. This life hack, however, can cause just that … a hack job on your teeth and gums!

No Limit to the Imagination

8-17-2015 10-31-04 AMKids are very imaginative with their DIY ideas and are using all kinds of novel methods to get the results and look they are aiming for ~ rubber bands, coloured elastics, bobby pins, paper clips, earring backs, string, fishing line ~ you name it! Fake braces kits are also available online in a variety of colours and designs with some people resorting to using crazy glue to cement the appliance to their teeth for better adhesion and elastics to force their teeth together and rid their smiles of the gap tooth look.

Dangerous Trend

Orthodontics is a branch of dentistry that requires additional schooling after receiving a dental degree. It requires a particular set of skills and experience that takes into careful consideration how very attentive one must be when moving teeth through bone. Non-medical orthodontic braces can pose a serious health risk for wearers.

Taking your smile into your own hands…
 31-08-2015 11-09-23 AM

What Damage Can Occur?

Bone and Tooth Resorption – Resorption is a process by which something wears away usually due to forces upon it. The greater the force – the higher the rate of wear. The movement process, if done incorrectly or too quickly, can cause too much bone and even the root of the tooth to wear away.

Dead Teeth – Each tooth has blood, lymph and nerve vessels that enter at the end of each root to keep the tooth nourished and vital. This supply can be damaged and possibly cut off during DIY tooth movement causing the teeth to die. Infection and loose teeth can eventually occur.

Loose Teeth – Placing rubber bands around teeth can bring teeth quickly together, but they can also damage bone and soft tissue in the process. It used to be a dental technique used by dentists to help teeth they plan to extract to loosen up faster.  The bone that surrounds each tooth is not very thick. Too much movement in the wrong direction can actually cause so much bone destruction and in such a quick amount of time that it completely wears away. The tooth loses its greatest support feature and becomes very loose.

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Photo from manubaydental.com

Fenestration/Tooth Extrusion – This photo shows a very dangerous situation that can occur whereby the bone is worn away and the tooth makes its way through the gum tissue and is exposed.

Decay –  With the increased accumulation of food and plaque around the braces, decalcification and decay becomes a very serious issue. As such, the health of teeth is closely monitored during orthodontia. If the patient does not keep the area around their braces clean and the dentist can see serious signs of enamel damage, often times the braces are removed ahead of schedule to prevent further damage.

Discoloured Teeth – Damage to the interior blood, lymph and nerve supply can cause the teeth to discolour and turn grey to black.

Poisoning – The danger of poisoning from cheap metals containing unsafe or toxic material like lead should be a big concern for those considering using these products in the mouth.

Choking – Some of the materials used to make fake braces have tiny parts that can loosen easily and break off. If swallowed, choking or entry into the lungs can occur.

Gum Damage – Using metal wires that are fastened to the tooth with glue or wax can loosen and pierce into or stick under the gums causing bleeding, inflammation or infection. Winding string or elastic bands around teeth can create wear marks into the enamel and/or become lodged under the gums.

Very little to Smile about…

The Your Smile Dental Care team want you to know that braces are an important measure in correcting misaligned teeth and improper jaw relationships, but resorting to desperate DIY measures to move or accessorize your teeth can result in tremendous costs in terms of damage and dental treatments fees for repair. You can lose the teeth you’re craving to beautify and that could leave you with very little to smile about!

31-08-2015 3-08-30 PMThe good news is that some countries are now cracking down on this trend after the death of two teens in Thailand and are now doling out fines and even imprisonment for vendors who sell fake braces. However, warning needs to get out to those that are using their own DIY methods.

If your teeth are in need of some corrective measures, we strongly urge you to consult a professional. Many people do not realize that payments for orthodontic treatment is spaced out monthly over the entire course of treatment. This makes budgeting for braces more affordable and convenient. If you are using fake braces/retainers to just enhance your appearance, please know and understand the risks you are taking.

Referrals

If you have been wearing your own braces and are starting to notice some signs of damage don’t be embarrassed to call us right away! We’ve seen it all and are here to help you. Think you would benefit from braces and are looking for a good orthodontist in the Toronto or Durham region? We would be happy to discuss your “specific to you” issues and make a referral for you.

Your in Better Dental Health,
The Your Smile Dental Care Team
(905) 576-4537
(416) 783-3533
www. yoursmiledentalcare.com
info@yoursmiledentalcare.com