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Posted by on Mar 1, 2017 in Uncategorized |

Understanding Dental Amalgam

No matter how carefully you clean and teeth and gums, sooner or later you are bound to develop a cavity. When that time comes, to prevent the problem growing worse, it is important to have the cavity cleaned and filled by a dentist. The most common substance used for filling a cavity is known as amalgam. Yet as common as amalgam is, few people really understand what it is.

This article will answer three of the most common questions about dental amalgam.

What is it made from?

Because dental amalgam has a shiny, silvery appearance, it is often described by patients and dentists alike as “silver fillings.” But don’t let this name fool you: amalgam is actually created from the mixture of a number of different metals. Approximately half of its weight is made up by elemental mercury. The rest is constituted of a powdered alloy of such metals as tin, silver, and copper. The reason that elemental mercury is used in such great proportion is that its chemical properties act to bind together the diverse metals, thus forming one homogenous substance.

How is amalgam installed?

Dental amalgam can only be implemented once the cavity has been drilled out, and all portions of decay thoroughly removed. The dentist may then opt to make small alterations to the shape of the void to make amalgam placement more easy and effective.

At this point, working under strict safety conditions, your dentist will mix up the amalgam. In other words, amalgam does not come “ready to use.” That’s because, once mixed, it will quickly begin to harden. Amalgam is made by mixing the powdered alloy of metals together with a portion of liquid mercury.

The resulting amalgam is then placed in the cavity using a manual tool known as the amalgam carrier. Once the amalgam is in place, the dentist will press it firmly into the cavity using a series of tools known as condensers. Finally, the contours of the amalgam will be shaped using a category of smooth-tipped tools known as condensers.

How safe is amalgam?

On learning that it contains mercury, many people express concerns about amalgam. It is true that mercury is a highly poisonous substance when ingested. Fortunately, with amalgam these dangers are greatly mitigated. That’s because, when mixed with the powdered allow, the chemical nature of the mercury changes, becoming less harmful.

In fact, the FDA has conclusively determined that the levels of mercury released by dental amalgam are simply not great enough to cause harm to dental patients. To learn more, contact resources like Brit E. Bowers, DDS.

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Posted by on Jan 3, 2017 in Uncategorized |

Signs That You Might Need A Root Canal

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 a dental tool. If you feel pain, it most likely means the roots are infected and a root canal is needed.

Root canal procedures are used to save teeth, and they are often the only way teeth can be saved. If you have a tooth that is bothering you, this might be the procedure you need to fix it. To learn more, contact a root canal dentist today. 

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Posted by on Sep 27, 2016 in Uncategorized |

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

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 type of surgery that may be recommended will depend on the anatomy that is causing the obstruction, such as soft tissueā€“removal surgery or skeletal surgery.

Orthodontic appliances in the form of night-time mouth guards are another option and can also be used in conjunction with surgery. If your teen is given a mouth guard, you’ll need to be sure that he or she keeps the appliance clean and wears it every night. Hopefully, after several nights of restful sleep, their ADHD-like symptoms will improve. 

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Posted by on Aug 23, 2016 in Uncategorized |

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

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 physical limitations that can be corrected. Even a little bit of excess tightness in the frenulum makes it tricky to kiss, play a wind instrument, or do any other activities that require your tongue tip and lips to work in unison. Just because a frenulum issue was not severe enough to need correction while you were young doesn’t mean that you can’t benefit from the surgery now. You can click here to read more.

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Posted by on Jun 2, 2016 in Uncategorized |

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

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 dentist regularly, he or she will locate cavities when they are small. Fixing a small cavity is a great way to save a tooth. Even if the cavity found is relatively big, an endodontist might be able to save the tooth by performing a root canal procedure.

If you have a tooth that cannot be repaired, getting it removed is the best way to handle the problem. After you do this, there are several options for replacing the tooth. To learn more about this, contact a dentist that specializes in tooth extractions or endodontics. For instance, try visiting a clinic like Renovo Endodontic Studio.

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