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Signs That You Might Need A Root Canal

Posted by on Jan 3, 2017 in Uncategorized |

There are times when dentists know for certain that a tooth needs a root canal, simply from the symptoms the person is experiencing, but there are also times when the symptoms are not quite as obvious. A root canal is used to save a tooth that otherwise would end up needing to be extracted, and it is often performed in two steps. Here are some of the signs dentists look for that help them determine when root canals are needed to save teeth. Tooth Pain If you are feeling minor or severe pain with one of your teeth, there is a good chance it will need a root canal. The pain felt with teeth is often the result of bacterial infections in the roots of the tooth. The roots of teeth hold nerves that communicate with the teeth to help them feel hot and cold sensations. When a tooth starts hurting, it is often because the nerves in the teeth are damaged due to infections. Infections that end up in the roots of teeth are a result of decay. Decay on a tooth needs to be removed as soon as it forms. If it is not removed, it can end up causing damage to the gums near the tooth and to other parts of the tooth. The decay will work its way deep inside a tooth, and the decay will eventually land inside the roots of the tooth. The only way to clear up this problem is through a root canal procedure. Cracks Or Chips In Teeth When a tooth is cracked or chipped, the tooth is prone to experiencing problems if the crack or chip is not fixed quickly. Any type of crack in a tooth opens up the risk for bacteria to seep inside the tooth. When this happens, the bacteria will end up finding its way deep inside the roots of the tooth, and this will cause an infection in the tooth’s roots. If you have a cracked or chipped tooth and are not experiencing pain yet, you should still visit a dentist soon. If you get to the dentist quickly, you may be able to avoid needing a root canal. If you wait, you will most likely end up needing one in order to save the tooth. Depending on the severity of the crack or chip, your dentist might be able to fix the tooth by inserting a filling in the tooth or by placing a crown or veneer over it. X-Rays If you are not experiencing pain with a tooth, there is still a chance you may need a root canal. Your dentist may be suspicious that a root canal is needed if he or she finds a large cavity on one of your teeth. If your tooth has a large cavity, the dentist will probably take an x-ray of that particular tooth. This is done to see if the decay has spread to the roots of the tooth, and the x-ray will show this very clearly. X-rays show the teeth themselves, but they also clearly show the roots of the teeth. If the roots are black in color, it often means there is a problem with the roots. If this is the case, the dentist may test your tooth by tapping it with...

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Does Your Teen Seem to Have ADHD? The Problem May Be Obstructive Sleep Apnea

Posted by on Sep 27, 2016 in Uncategorized |

If your teenager has symptoms of ADHD, you may be interested in learning that their symptoms might be due to obstructive sleep apnea instead. In fact, some doctors believe that obstructive sleep apnea is commonly misdiagnosed as ADHD. Fortunately, there are several tests that your teen can have to determine whether or not sleep apnea is the cause of their ADHD-like symptoms. Treatment for obstructive sleep apnea can include surgery and orthodontic appliances. Here’s what you need to know.  Obstructive Sleep Apnea Obstructive sleep apnea is one of several types of apnea. With this type of sleep apnea, there is a blockage somewhere in the airway. The blockage could be in the throat or due to the poor alignment of the teeth and jaws and a narrow dental arch. When the body is unable to breathe due to an obstruction in the airway, the person will sometimes stop breathing, then suddenly jolt to catch a breath of air. While they may not seem to wake up with each jolt, the body isn’t able to get a restful night’s sleep.  The most recognizable issue with this sleeping disorder is snoring. However, the inability to breathe properly through the night causes sleeplessness, which can lead to a wide range of problems that include the inability to focus, a short attention span, and periods of hyperactivity when the body and mind is overtired. Your teen may be easily agitated and have impulsive behavior due to their lack of sleep. Sounds like ADHD, doesn’t it?  More important, however, are the long-term effects that the lack of sleep can have, including heart disease and high blood pressure. Therefore, for your teen to be successful in their academics and any athletic activity they might participate in, as well as with their health in the future, it’s strongly recommended that you have your teen evaluated for obstructive sleep apnea and ADHD if no obstructions are found.  Getting a Diagnosis Due to the possibility of the airway obstruction being in the oral cavity, you’ll want to take your teen to an orthodontist. Orthodontists are well-known for straightening teeth for appearance and bite improvements, but they also use orthodontic appliances to improve airways for people who have obstructive sleep apnea. To begin the process of getting a diagnosis of obstructive sleep apnea, your teen will need to undergo a sleep study. He or she will be hooked up with devices that will monitor their breathing, heart rate, and brain waves. They will be watched carefully by a sleep-study nurse throughout the night, and the nurse will note their body positions and reactions in regular intervals as well as during episodes of breathing cessation. If the results show that your teen does have this disorder, the orthodontist may request a second sleep study, only this time your teen will be given an orthodontic appliance to wear to confirm the diagnosis. Imaging may be recommended if the sleep apnea is severe or the initial examination of the oral cavity shows severe misalignment or narrow dental arches.  Treatment Options  One treatment is the wearing of a continuous positive air pressure (CPAP) mask every night. However, for children and teenagers who face a life-long issue with sleep apnea, parents may want to consider surgical options instead for a more permanent result. The...

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5 Reasons To Get A Tongue Tie Frenectomy As An Adult Of Any Age

Posted by on Aug 23, 2016 in Uncategorized |

Problems with the short piece of skin that anchors the underside of your tongue, the frenulum, are usually handled when you’re an infant or toddler due to noticeable feeding issues or speech impediments. However, many children with what’s known as a tongue tie make it into adulthood without surgery yet still experience plenty of problems due to the restricted movement of their tongue. Going in for an elective frenectomy performed by your dentist can help you fix these five common problems that plague adults with an over-sized frenulum. Jaw Pain If you’re experiencing chronic pain and soreness in your jaw, along with a clicking sensation as you open and shut your mouth, the problem may not lie with a temporomandibular joint (TMJ) as is most commonly diagnosed. A tight frenulum causes adults to develop different talking and chewing patterns to compensate that can lead to this kind of pain over the years. If you’re already receiving TMJ treatment and it isn’t helping, ask your doctor to check your frenulum and you may be just one quick surgery away from permanent pain relief. Eating Difficulty Tight frenulums make it difficult for infants to latch onto a nipple or bottle, but it can interfere with adult eating as well. The tongue must move freely in your mouth to automatically push food towards your esophagus as you chew. When the tongue is limited in how much it can move, you’ll experience difficulty swallowing because food isn’t moving on the normal path. This can lead to malnutrition, especially if you start avoiding certain foods because the texture makes it difficult to properly swallow. Even if you’re just missing out on the enjoyment of eating, that’s a worthwhile reason to undergo a frenectomy. Dental Health Since food doesn’t move as quickly through the mouth as usual, a frenulum issue is often linked to poor oral hygiene and health in adults. Food particles stick around longer as well because you can’t use the tip of your tongue to clean the molars and gaps between them after a meal. While you can definitely overcome this issue just by taking more care to rinse after you eat, it’s far easier to simply have the frenulum issue fixed instead. Increased oral mobility also makes it easier to reach the lower teeth for thorough brushing and flossing without the tongue getting in the way. Talking Trouble Most adults that did not have their frenulum addressed as toddlers managed to learn how to speak around the limitations of their tongue as not to develop a noticeable speech impediment. However, a lack of tongue movement makes it very difficult to remain audible and easy to understand when you’re talking at a lower or higher volume than normal. This can make it very difficult to give presentations at work or become a public speaker. Of course, if you do have a speech impediment because of your frenulum, it will take time and training to correct. Don’t expect to get immediate results from the surgery since your speech patterns are learned behaviors that you must practice to change. Kissing Limitation Finally, loosening up that tight tongue can change your love life for the better. Many adults who don’t enjoy French kissing or who feel like they’re not skilled at it are simply facing...

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Surgical Tooth Extractions: Why They Are Needed And What They Are

Posted by on Jun 2, 2016 in Uncategorized |

If you have decay on a tooth that remains for a long time, it could eat away at most of your tooth. When this happens, the only option you will have to fix the problem is to have the tooth extracted. Simple tooth extractions are a common part of dentistry; however, there are times when a dentist must use a surgical method to remove a tooth, and one of these times is when most of a tooth is missing because of decay. Here are several things you should understand about the difference between simple tooth extractions and surgical extractions. The Procedure With a simple tooth extraction, a dentist is able to remove the tooth simply by grasping it and pulling it. This is normally done with forceps, which is a common dental tooth. Typically, a dentist will first take x-rays of the tooth to determine how big the roots are. If the roots are really big, the dentist may try to loosen the tooth first by using a tool around the edges of the tooth. After that, the dentist will then use the forceps to pull it out. When a tooth needs to be surgically removed, it is generally because the tooth is not fully exposed. A tooth that is not fully exposed leaves nothing for the dentist to grab, and this is why a surgical method is used. During this method, the dentist would make incisions around the tooth to have access to it. Both types of tooth extractions will require the use of anesthesia, but you may need more with a surgical extraction. A lot of dentists offer a variety of different sedation options as well, and these are often used when people have fears of dental work. Care Needed Afterwards One difference with these methods is the way the dentist will finish the work. With a simple extraction, nothing is needed. The dentist will simply place a piece of gauze in your mouth, and this will help stop the bleeding. With a surgical extraction, the dentist will probably need to place stitches in this area to close up the hole that was made. Gauze is also likely to be used as well. You may need to return to the dental clinic to have the stitches removed; however, this is not necessary if they are dissolvable stitches. With either type of extraction, you will need to use caution with what you eat, drink, and do with your mouth. You must be careful when brushing your teeth to avoid disturbing the blood clot that forms after a tooth is removed, and you must try to avoid harming the stitches if you have them. You must also avoid eating hard, crunchy foods, and you will need to stay away from smoking and straws. The sucking motion used when smoking and drinking out of a straw can cause the blood clot to come loose. If this happens, you can develop a condition known as dry socket. Alternatives To Tooth Extractions In your situation, there is really no good alternative for solving the problems you have with your tooth, but there are ways to prevent this from happening again. Taking good care of your teeth is the best way to prevent problems with your teeth. In addition, if you visit a...

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Four Ways To Prevent Bleeding Gums

Posted by on May 11, 2016 in Uncategorized |

If you are starting to see a little red in your saliva when you are brushing your teeth, it normally means that your gums are bleeding somewhere. This is normally around the base of one or more of your teeth. If this bleeding gets to be too bad, it could actually interfere with you being able to properly care for your teeth. Starting to see a little bit of red does not always mean that you have severe gum disease, but it does usually mean that something is wrong. Fortunately, there are ways that you can address this before it does become a major problem. Take Your Time Did you know that to properly brush your teeth you should be spending at least two full minutes on the task? The average person only brushes for less than a minute. Brushing for two minutes or more allows you to take the time to not only focus on your teeth, but to also focus on your gums and clean your tongue. To ensure you get your mouth as clean as you can, in addition to brushing, you should also factor in enough time to floss. Do you think that you are taking enough time? Set a stopwatch on your mobile phone and time your next brushing routine. Don’t Brush So Hard Although plaque is a soft and sticky, if you are brushing and flossing twice a day, it is not all that difficult to remove. You do not have to apply a lot of pressure when you are brushing your teeth to get the job done. When you brush too hard, you could actually be breaking the skin on your gums, which could be causing the bleeding. Use soft, smooth, up-and-down or small circular strokes to brush your teeth. Focus on the main areas of your mouth. These include:   The outside of your upper and lower teeth The inside of your upper and lower teeth The bite surfaces of your teeth Your gums Your tongue Use The Right Toothbrush Sometimes you could be seeing blood in your saliva because you are actually causing irritation and injury to your gums by using a toothbrush that is too hard for the task of brushing your teeth. Although there are various hardness levels of toothbrushes on the market, most dentists recommend a soft-bristled brush to do the job.   Choose a toothbrush with a small head; this allows you to have greater access to all areas of your mouth. The shape and style of your bristles are not as important. Choose the one that gives you the most comfort.  Consider using one of the powered toothbrushes on the market. These can be a great addition to your tooth-brushing routine. Although a manual brush can get the job done, a powered toothbrush will provide you with more brush strokes per minute. No matter which one you use, it is recommended that your toothbrush, or brush-head in the case of a powered brush, be replaced when it starts to show signs of wear, every three months, or after you have had a cold, flu, or other a similar type of infection. Schedule Regular Dental Cleanings One of the best ways to prevent bleeding gums is to ensure that there is no medical reason for them to be bleeding....

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Ways to Strengthen & Protect Your Tooth Enamel

Posted by on Apr 11, 2016 in Uncategorized |

Enamel is something found on the outside of your teeth, and its main job is to protect your teeth and keep them strong. The problem is that enamel can wear off over time. As this happens, your teeth will lose their strength and will be more vulnerable to decay, cavities, and other problems. If you want to keep your teeth as strong as possible, you should focus on protecting and strengthening the enamel on your teeth, and here are three ways you can do this. Use The Right Type Of Toothbrush When you purchase a toothbrush, it might be tempting to choose a medium or hard-bristled brush, but these are not the best options. It might seem like these types clean your teeth more thoroughly; however, they can actually damage the enamel on your teeth. Enamel is something that does not regenerate. Once it’s gone, it is gone forever, and a hard-bristled brush can speed up this process. To avoid losing enamel from your daily brushing activities, you should stick with a soft-bristled toothbrush. This type of brush will be strong enough to scrub off the sugar, bacteria, and plaque, but it will be gentle enough not to cause any damage to your teeth. To ensure that your toothbrush is doing its job properly, you should replace it every three to four months. Keep in mind, too, that if you are sick, you may want to replace your toothbrush once you feel better. This will help keep the germs away from your mouth, which could help you avoid getting sick again. Use Fluoride Products Fluoride is a mineral that is known for strengthening the enamel on teeth. While using fluoride will not help you produce more enamel, it will help you keep and strengthen the enamel you currently have on your teeth. There are a number of different ways you can use fluoride, but here are some of the best options you have: Make sure your toothpaste contains fluoride—A lot of toothpaste brands contain fluoride, and using a toothpaste like this daily could help a lot. Use a daily fluoride rinse—Fluoride rinses also can help a lot if you use one daily. After brushing your teeth, you can rinse with one of these products to keep your teeth strong. Get fluoride treatments at dental exams—Each time you visit the dentist for a checkup, he or she will ask if you would like a fluoride treatment. This treatment is professional strength and will make a difference in the strength of the enamel on your teeth. You can also consume water that contains fluoride to make sure your teeth are exposed to this important mineral enough. Eat the Right Foods & Snacks There are also certain foods and snacks you can consume that may also help you keep the enamel on your teeth strong. In addition, chewing sugar-free gum is also a good idea. When you chew sugar-free gum, you will not be exposing your teeth to anything harmful, and the gum will cause an increase in your saliva production. Saliva is a natural cleanser for your teeth. It washes away bacteria from your teeth, and this reduces the chances of developing cavities. If you can keep cavities away from your teeth, the enamel your teeth contain will be stronger. Some...

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Two Procedures Used With Clear Aligners To Advance Dental Movements

Posted by on Mar 24, 2016 in Uncategorized |

If you have extremely crooked teeth and a small mouth, then you may be able to invest in the use of clear retainers or aligners to straighten the teeth properly. Sometimes, aligners can be used on their own to shift the teeth around. However, this might not be true if you do not have a lot of space in the mouth or if you do not want to use aligners for an extended period of time. In these cases, your cosmetic dentist may complete some procedures in addition to providing you with aligners. Some of these procedures are outlined below. Interproximal Reduction Interproximal reduction (IPR), enamel stripping, or tooth slenderizing is an orthodontic approach that has been used since the 1940s to increase the space in the mouth a small amount so the teeth can sit next to one another without touching or crowding one another. Extra space is often needed if you do not want to have teeth pulled or if teeth have already been removed and several extra millimeters of space are needed. The reduction technique will not only make your teeth look better when the clear aligner straightening is completed, but it will allow you to clean between the teeth properly with dental floss. Also, if the teeth do not sit as close to one another, they are likely to be stable and remain in a good position after you are done using the aligners. IPR is often completed after the teeth are fully aligned so your cosmetic professional can identify the teeth that touch after they are positioned correctly. Once these teeth are identified, the dentist will shave a small amount of dental enamel from both sides of the tooth. Typically, the front teeth will be the ones that are contoured. Lidocaine will not be needed during the procedure, because it is not likely to cause any pain. However, a small amount of numbing gel may be placed across the gums to reduce pressure sensations. Either manual removal is completed or a pneumatic tool will be used. Manual removal will occur with a handled device where a thin wire-mesh strip will sit. The strip will be moved between the teeth to remove enamel much like a piece of sandpaper. A thin metal stripping disc will be placed on a pneumatic tool if your dentist decides that manual removal is not desirable.  Bone Stimulation If you have extremely crooked teeth, then you may need to go through dental straightening over a longer period of time than you expect. The average person will be given 20 to 30 aligners that must be worn for about two weeks each. This will mean that you need to wear the aligners for close to a year. However, as many as 50 aligners may need to be worn and result in about a two year wear period. If your teeth are stubborn, then some of these aligners may need to be worn for three or four weeks, and this can extend the wear period to well over two years. If this is not ideal for you, then you can ask your cosmetic dentist to use bone stimulation techniques in conjunction with your aligners to quicken the process. Bone stimulation or alveocentesis involves the placement of small holes in the jawbone to quicken the process of bone remodeling. Basically, when the teeth are moved during...

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Missing Teeth: More Than Just a Cosmetic Issue

Posted by on Feb 29, 2016 in Uncategorized |

If you’ve ever had a missing tooth, you’ll know how strange it can feel to look in the mirror and see a space where your tooth should be. It can make your smile look “off” and it can be annoying when you’re trying to eat, but are missing teeth really a problem? Don’t dismiss your doctor’s suggestion to consider dental bridges or implants for missing teeth, because he or she is worried about more than your self-confidence when suggesting them. Here’s why missing teeth are more than just a cosmetic issue and what you can do to have the missing teeth replaced. Damage to surrounding teeth and jaw When you have a missing or broken tooth you’ll probably notice that you compensate for it by chewing more on the other side of your mouth. This extra pressure on your teeth can cause some to wear down earlier than normal, and it can cause strain on your jaw that can be painful. Missing one or more teeth can also cause the other teeth to shift out of place and destabilize, making it more likely you’ll lose more teeth later on. If you have one missing tooth, you may not notice any significant problems until long after the tooth has been removed. Teeth don’t shift overnight, but once they do, it can be more difficult to get them back into their proper alignment than it would have been to replace the original missing tooth. It can also be more expensive trying to correct several teeth than it would be to replace one or two missing teeth. A dental bridge or dental implants can stop the remaining teeth from shifting and allow you chew normally, eliminating undue strain on the surrounding teeth and jaws. Bone loss One of the most disturbing problems that can occur when you lose teeth is bone deterioration in your jawbone. Teeth stimulate the bones of your jaws to remain alive and healthy, so if you lose one or more, there is also a loss of stimulation to the bone. This can cause the bone to resorb, or deteriorate, which can lead to a sunken, hollow appearance to your face. It is more obvious at the front of the mouth, but missing back teeth can also have a big impact on the way your smile looks.  Since bone loss is due to the lack of stimulation in the jawbones, dentures do nothing to prevent this. Dental implants act as substitute tooth roots, stimulating the bone and stabilizing it. They can preserve the bone structure and keep your smile looking natural. Problems with digestion Digestion starts in your mouth, with your teeth and saliva being the tools that prepare your food for absorption in your digestive system. There’s a reason why you don’t swallow food whole; in order for your food to be properly digested, it needs to be chopped up and mixed with saliva, which begins breaking down the food into units that can be used by the body. If you swallow large chunks of food that haven’t been properly chewed, your digestive system has to work harder to get the nutrients from the food. Unless you want tummy troubles as well as dental problems, you need to chew your food properly. Dentures, dental bridges, and dental implants...

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Root Canal Retreatment: What to Expect

Posted by on Jan 11, 2016 in Uncategorized |

Most of the time, a root canal (also called endodontic therapy), in conjunction with a crown, can last a lifetime. Occasionally, however, the root canal treatment fails and it must be retreated. This retreatment is generally done by a root canal specialist, or endodontist. If you find that your endodontically treated tooth needs to be treated again, here is what you can expect from the procedure. Removal of Old Filling Material If you’ve had a root canal done within the past decade or two, your canals were most likely filled with a rubbery material called gutta percha. After your endodontist drills an access hole in the biting surface of your tooth, he or she will place a solvent in your tooth to begin loosening up the gutta percha. A series of small drills and files will be used to remove the old material from your canals so they can be thoroughly cleaned. If your root canal is older, you might have thin strips of metal called silver points in your canals. These are no longer used, because they tend to corrode over time, but they were a popular root canal filling material in years and decades past. If you have silver points in place and you need to have your endodontic treatment redone, an ultrasonic machine will often be used to loosen them enough to allow them to slide out. Care will be taken to avoid breaking them, but in some cases the silver is corroded enough that they break off inside of the canal. This may or may not lead to the necessity of an additional procedure later. Widening and Shaping of the Canals Once the old material is removed, the endodontist will widen and shape your canals more than they were in the original procedure. Sometimes, a root canal retreatment is done because there is an additional canal that was not found during the first treatment. Your specialist will use a surgical microscope to search for additional canals if this is suspected to be the issue. Most of the time, these hidden canals are found in molars, but occasionally there will be an extra canal in a bicuspid tooth. The endodontist will use tiny files and reamers to widen the canals, just like your dentist did during the first root canal treatment. Refilling the Canals In some cases, a temporary antiseptic canal filling will be placed for up to several weeks before the permanent canal filling can be placed. This might be necessary if you have a draining abscess or infection, and it will allow your infection to heal. (If your endodontist gives you a prescription for antibiotics, be sure to take all of them as directed to allow the healing to take place.) Once there is no more draining infection, your endodontist will refill the canals with new gutta percha filling material. Tiny flexible cones of the gutta percha will be slid into your canals, then heated so they melt and fill every bit of space. Liquid gutta percha is often also injected to continue filling the canals. You might detect a slight burning smell, but you will not feel anything; the nerve in your tooth is gone and the heat will not affect your gums or the other teeth in the vicinity. When your retreatment...

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Lasers Are No Longer A Tool Of The Future – They Are Now In Your Dental Office

Posted by on Aug 17, 2015 in Uncategorized |

Depending on your age, you may be able to remember a time that lasers only appeared on Saturday morning cartoons, or on science fiction television shows. This is no longer the case; lasers are now being used in many different areas of your daily living, and they can now be found in your dental office. Laser dentistry offers your dentist a way to perform precise and effective treatments, and offers you more safety and comfort. Understanding how dental lasers work will give you more appreciation for the many procedures they can be used for. Why Use Dental Lasers? Although many dentists are now just starting to use Light Amplification by Stimulated Emission of Radiation (Laser) technology in their practice, dental lasers are nothing new. Lasers have been used in the field of dentistry since 1994. Instead of using a hard cutting surface such as a drill bit, lasers work by delivering energy in the form of light. Laser light can then be used as a cutting instrument, as well as a tissue vaporizer. It can also be used as a heat source, a curing tool, or even a whitening agent. Dentist like lasers because they not only make many of their jobs easier, but they also provide a higher degree of comfort to their patients. Procedures that are performed with dental lasers cause less pain than other traditional methods. This means certain procedures can often be performed without anesthesia, eliminating the need for needles and other pain management methods many patients find uncomfortable. By minimizing bleeding and swelling during certain treatments, recovery time is faster and discomfort is minimized.  Because lasers do not emit the loud noises other dental tools can, patients have less dental anxiety when lasers are being used. Because of the speed and accuracy of lasers, patients spend less time in the dental chair. What Are The Types Of Dental Lasers? There are three basic types of dental lasers. They are: Hard Tissue Lasers – These lasers are designed to be able to cut through bone and tooth materials. This makes them perfect for shaping teeth for various dental procedures.  Soft Tissue Lasers – Also called dental diode lasers or Nd:YAG, these are created on a different wavelength than the hard tissue lasers. Soft tissue lasers are designed to penetrate the soft tissues of your mouth, while being able to seal blood vessels and nerve endings.  Optical Coherence Tomography – A non-invasive type of laser that allows your dentist to see the inside of your teeth. In addition to the separate lasers, there is dental laser technology on the market, which gives your dentist the ability to use the types of laser energy they need from one tool. What Can Dental Lasers Be Used For? By using one or more of these tools your dentist will be able to provide a wide array of procedures. Here are some examples of these procedures: Lasers can be used for various periodontal treatments These tools can be used to scale your teeth to remove the calcified plaque and calculus all the way down to the root plane, which is deeper than any other non-invasive tool. Soft tissue lasers can actually help reduce bacterial growth related to periodontal diseases when used in conjunction with other types of treatment. Lasers may...

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Suffering From Migraine Headaches? Your Orthodontist May Be Able To Help

Posted by on Aug 4, 2015 in Uncategorized |

Do you suffer from migraine headaches? Have you taken measures to lower your stress, changed your diet, and learned how to avoid most sensory stimuli in order to thwart off those migraines, yet still find yourself overcome with frequent bouts of intense pain? If so, read on to learn how an orthodontist may be able to help. About Malocclusions  Ideally, your molars should sit flush against each other and your top front teeth should rest ever-so-slightly in front of your front bottom teeth. Unfortunately, very few people are blessed with perfect teeth alignment. When the teeth aren’t lined up perfectly, the condition is known as malocclusion. While most malocclusions are slight, don’t pose any risks, and don’t require treatment, others are severe and could lead to a variety of problems — including migraine headaches. How Malocclusions Cause Migraines When your teeth aren’t properly aligned, your jaw joints and masticatory muscles need to work a lot harder to perform ordinary tasks like chewing and speaking. Over time, your jaw joints can become strained and your jaw muscles can grow fatigued. Worse yet, people with malocclusions tend to compensate for their crooked alignment by forcing their teeth into unnatural positions when they chew or speak, thus adding more strain on the jaw and worsening the problem. The constant state of stress a severe malocclusion creates can act as a trigger for migraine headaches. Treatment Options For Malocclusions In order to treat migraine headaches caused by a malocclusion, you must focus on correcting your bite alignment. There are several different reasons why your teeth may not be aligned properly, ranging from large or extra teeth overcrowding the mouth to irregular shaped teeth preventing a flush bite. In rare cases, malocclusions are the result of a birth defect in which the actual jaw bones are too large or not large enough to support the teeth. The severity of your malocclusion and its underlying cause will determine the correct course of treatment. For those with overcrowded teeth, the problem may be as easy to fix as a simple tooth extraction. Freeing up a little space by removing a tooth will allow the remaining teeth to relax into their natural position, thus eliminating stress on the jaw. For malocclusion sufferers with a single irregularly-shaped tooth, that tooth can generally be reshaped with a special tool that grinds the enamel down.  People who have moderately severe malocclusions may need to wear a dental appliance designed to gradually correct their bite, such as braces or a temporary anchorage device (TAD). These devices can be removed once the desired teeth alignment is achieved. Finally, those whose malocclusion is caused by a deformity of the jaw bones may need surgery to shave down the bones or stretch and strengthen them. Knowing If You Have A Malocclusion Just because you don’t have an obvious overbite or under-bite doesn’t mean that you don’t have a malocclusion. In order to know for sure, you’ll need to visit an orthodontist. Your orthodontist can monitor your bite with electromyography (EMG) imaging and a computerized motion sensor to determine the precise location your jaw should sit in order to achieve the least amount of joint and muscle strain. From there, you’ll work with your orthodontist to design a treatment option that best suits your needs....

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