Posts for: April, 2015
While most tooth loss stems from dental disease or injury, another major cause is a condition known as cracked tooth syndrome. What begins as a microscopic crack in an individual tooth’s enamel could ultimately grow to a fracture that endangers its survival.
Most often related to age-related brittleness, expansion and contraction of the enamel surface because of hot foods followed by cold foods and beverages, or grinding habits, cracked tooth syndrome usually occurs in three phases. The first phase is the emergence of miniscule cracks in the outer enamel known as craze lines. These can be very difficult to detect even with x-rays, and usually calls for specialized detection methods such as probing with a sharp instrument (an explorer) or fiber-optic lighting with dye staining to highlight enamel abnormalities. If you have pain symptoms, we may ask you to bite down on a bite stick or rubber pad to locate the area by replicating the sensation.
In the next phase, the craze line grows into a crack that penetrates below the enamel into the tooth’s dentin. Pain becomes more prominent and the risk of infection increases. Left untreated, the crack may enter the third phase, a full break (fracture) occurring deep within the inner layers of the tooth. The deeper the fracture occurs, the more serious the danger to the tooth, especially if the pulp is exposed.
The best treatment approach is to attempt to detect and treat a crack as early as possible. Craze lines and moderate cracks can usually be repaired with restorative materials like composite resins. A deeper crack extending into the pulp may require a root canal treatment and the tooth covered with a permanent, protective crown.
If, however, the fracture is too deep, the tooth may be beyond repair and will need to be extracted and replaced with a dental implant or permanent bridge. In any event, the sooner a cracked tooth is discovered and treated, the greater your chance of avoiding pain, discomfort, and, ultimately, tooth loss.
If you would like more information on cracked tooth syndrome, 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 “Cracked Tooth Syndrome.”
Professional basketball player Lamar Odom is sometimes known as “the candyman” because of his notorious fondness for sweets. But when his sweet tooth finally caught up with him — in the form of a mouthful of decayed teeth — the six-foot-ten-inch, 230-pound hoops star admitted that he had been avoiding treatment… because he was afraid of going to the dentist!
It took two Kardashians (Khloe and Kim) and a painful toothache to finally persuade Odom to sit in the chair. Once he did, it was found that he needed a root canal, a wisdom tooth extraction, and several fillings. Yet the fretful forward sailed through the whole set of procedures in a single visit, and walked out with a big smile afterward. How did his dentists make that happen?
Put it down to the “magic” of sedation dentistry. With anxiety-relieving medications that can be delivered orally (in pill form or by gas) or intravenously (into the bloodstream), the techniques of sedation dentistry can help even the most fearful patients get the dental care they need. That’s good news for about 50 percent of the population, who admit they’re at least somewhat afraid of the dentist — and even better for the 15 percent who avoid dental care completely due to their fear.
Dentists have a number of ways to ease apprehensive patients through a dental visit. An oral anti-anxiety drug can be given in pill form about an hour beforehand. Nitrous oxide (sometimes called “laughing gas”), which is administered by a mask placed over the mouth or nose, may also be used to relieve anxiety. The calming effects of these medications help make any nervousness melt away — and in many circumstances, mild sedation is all that’s needed to ease the fear.
For lengthier or more complex procedures, intravenous (IV) sedation may be recommended. Unlike deeper (unconscious) sedation, IV sedation doesn’t cause “sleep.” Instead, it puts you in a comfortable semi-awake state, where you can still breathe on your own and respond to stimuli… but without feeling any anxiety. And when the procedure is over, you probably won’t have any memory of it at all.
IV sedation can be administered by dentists who are specially trained and equipped with the proper safety equipment. While sedation is being provided, you will be monitored at all times by a dedicated staff member; when it’s over, you will rest for a while as the medication quickly wears off. Then (as is the case with oral sedation), you’ll need another person to give you a ride home.
Does sedation dentistry really work? Lamar Odom thinks so. “I feel so much better,” he said when his 7-hour procedure was over. “I feel like I accomplished something.”
Find out why it’s so important to see your Charlotte family dentist every six months.
Spring is in the air (finally!). It’s time to start thinking about the kid’s outdoor sports, weekend picnics and just more time in the sun. After all, it’s great to celebrate the fact that winter is over and summer is coming our way; however, while you are planning all those fun to-do’s it’s also important that you make time for your health, as well. Sure, no one wants to give up those fun spring activities for a dental visit; however, it’s important to keep your smile healthy no matter what time of the year it is. If you and your loved one needs to see your Charlotte family dentist, find out why these routine visits are so important:
We can pinpoint problems early: Even if you aren’t experiencing any symptoms this doesn’t mean that there aren’t still issues. In fact, cavities and gum disease can linger in your smile without you even realizing it. The only way that anyone would be able to tell is if they were experts (and it just so happens that your Charlotte family dentist is!). However, this means coming in every six months for routine cleaning and maintenance. The sooner we can detect any issue the easier it is to treat. Ultimately this means less time and money spent at the dentist’s office.
We can prevent gum disease: With some form of gum disease affecting up to half of the American population, it’s important to do whatever you can to prevent this problem in you and your loved ones. When plaque isn’t removed with normal brushing it quickly turns to tartar, which your toothbrush can’t remove. The only way to remove tartar is by seeing your family dentist in Charlotte. If tartar isn’t removed it can cause inflammation and the beginning stages of gum disease.
We can make sure smiles are developing properly: This is particularly important in children and teens that are still growing. By performing annual X-rays we can see how certain teeth are growing in, whether wisdom teeth need to be removed, or if an infection has developed. Plus, we can figure out if your child may require braces at some point in their lives. A growing smile is important and requires constant care.
Your smile gets a real cleaning: Even the most meticulous brushers miss spots here and there. It’s okay! However, your Charlotte family dentist is an expert at getting your smile polished and cleaned. Who doesn’t love running their tongue over a smooth, clean smile? Give your smile the TLC it deserves by seeing your Charlotte family dentist every six months.
If it’s time to schedule a checkup for you or a family member, contact Hockaday & Baucom, DDS. Improve your smile with a little spring-cleaning!