Posts for: June, 2016
If we could go back in time, we all probably have a few things we wish we could change. Recently, Dr. Travis Stork, emergency room physician and host of the syndicated TV show The Doctors, shared one of his do-over dreams with Dear Doctor magazine: “If I [could have] gone back and told myself as a teenager what to do, I would have worn a mouthguard, not only to protect my teeth but also to help potentially reduce risk of concussion.”
What prompted this wish? The fact that as a teenage basketball player, Stork received an elbow to the mouth that caused his two front teeth to be knocked out of place. The teeth were put back in position, but they soon became darker and began to hurt. Eventually, both were successfully restored with dental crowns. Still, it was a painful (and costly) injury — and one that could have been avoided.
You might not realize it, but when it comes to dental injuries, basketball ranks among the riskier sports. Yet it’s far from the only one. In fact, according to the American Dental Association (ADA), there are some two dozen others — including baseball, hockey, surfing and bicycling — that carry a heightened risk of dental injury. Whenever you’re playing those sports, the ADA recommends you wear a high-quality mouth guard.
Mouthguards have come a long way since they were introduced as protective equipment for boxers in the early 1900’s. Today, three different types are widely available: stock “off-the-shelf” types that come in just a few sizes; mouth-formed “boil-and-bite” types that you adapt to the general contours of your mouth; and custom-made high-quality mouthguards that are made just for you at the dental office.
Of all three types, the dentist-made mouthguards are consistently found to be the most comfortable and best-fitting, and the ones that offer your teeth the greatest protection. What’s more, recent studies suggest that custom-fabricated mouthguards can provide an additional defense against concussion — in fact, they are twice as effective as the other types. That’s why you’ll see more and more professional athletes (and plenty of amateurs as well) sporting custom-made mouthguards at games and practices.
“I would have saved myself a lot of dental heartache if I had worn a mouthguard,” noted Dr. Stork. So take his advice: Wear a mouthguard whenever you play sports — unless you’d like to meet him (or one of his medical colleagues) in a professional capacity…
Almost everyone is either familiar with or has a dental filling. One of the most common dental procedures, millions of people have undergone this simple and quick tooth repair job. However, understanding this important procedure may be tricky. Learn more about dental fillings and how they work with help from your Winston-Salem, NC dentist Dr. Denise Perrotta.
When are dental fillings necessary?
Untreated tooth decay can take a huge toll on your oral health. If there is evidence of decay or a cavity in your mouth, your dentist removes it using a dental drill. Removing the decay, however, also means removing some of the tooth itself. Dental fillings replace the parts of your tooth removed alongside the decay. Fillings are beneficial for smaller cavities which only require removal of a small part of the tooth’s enamel. Larger fillings, such as those left behind after root canal therapy, may hinder the strength of the tooth and require a dental crown.
What are dental fillings made out of?
Tooth-colored composite resin materials make up most modern dental fillings. Dentists mold this type of filling directly on the tooth. Silver amalgam or gold fillings are also available. These materials last longer than composite resin, but are not tooth-colored, making them more noticeable.
What happens during a dental filling procedure?
Your Winston-Salem, NC dentist starts the procedure by using local anesthetic to numb the area of the tooth in question. This ensures that you feel no pain during your procedure. Next, Dr. Perrotta removes the decay on your tooth using a dental drill. Then, the filling material of your choice fills the hole left behind, restoring your tooth’s biting surface. Your dentist shapes the tooth into your bite to complete your new filling. Depending on the severity of the decay, most filling procedures take about 30 minutes. Most fillings can last up to 10 years before they require replacement.
How can I care for my dental filling?
Caring for a dental filling is as easy as caring for your natural teeth. Simply brush twice daily for at least two minutes and floss at least once a day. Replace your toothbrush when it begins to show signs of wear. Use a separate strand of floss for each quadrant of your mouth to cut down on the spread of bacteria.
For more information on dental fillings, please contact Dr. Denise Perrotta in Winston-Salem, NC. Call (336) 760-9258 to schedule your appointment for a dental examination today!
As a parent you’re always on the lookout for dangers to your toddler’s well-being: sharp corners on furniture, uneven walks or the occasional stomach bug. But a situation could be brewing in their mouth you might not be aware of until it’s become a full-blown problem.
The silent danger is tooth decay, which could be developing as early as infancy. Undiagnosed and untreated, it could ultimately cause premature loss of primary (“baby”) teeth with adverse effects on the eruption of incoming permanent teeth.
Tooth decay arises from certain strains of mouth bacteria, often passed down from parent to child. These bacteria produce acid as a byproduct after feeding on carbohydrates (especially sugars). The more food available, the more acid they produce. This wreaks havoc on tooth enamel, the teeth’s outer protective covering by softening and dissolving its mineral content. This gives decay an opening to infect the interior of a tooth.
Combine inadequate hygiene practices (especially brushing) with poor dietary habits, and you have the conditions for a perfect disease storm in your child’s mouth. That’s why you should begin oral hygiene as soon as you notice their first teeth. Wiping them with a clean, wet cloth is sufficient in the beginning, but you should start daily brushing (with fluoridated toothpaste to strengthen young enamel) by their first birthday.
You should also practice good dietary habits. For example, avoid giving an infant or toddler a bottle filled with juice, milk or formula to sleep with through the night — the constant sipping bathes the mouth in sugars bacteria feed on. Instead, use plain water.Â You should also focus on nutrition from the get-go to help build overall good health as well as strong teeth and gums.
As an added measure, begin regular dental visits by their first birthday. A checkup and cleaning every six months will help us detect early tooth decay and lessen its impact. We can also provide sealants and topical fluoride to give added protection against decay.
Catching and treating decay early before it gets too far is the best way to prevent early tooth loss. Your child’s future dental health might depend on it.
If you would like more information on your child’s dental care, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can also learn more about this topic by reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “Taking the Stress out of Dentistry for Kids.”