Black History Month Spotlight: Dr. Annie Elizabeth “Bessie” Delany

For Black History Month, we’d like to pay tribute to trailblazers and honor lesser-known people of color in the dental and oral surgery fields. 

In 1919, Dr. Annie Elizabeth “Bessie” Delany entered the freshman class at Columbia University College of Dental Medicine (at the time known as the School of Dental and Oral Surgery) where she was one of only 11 women, and the only African-American woman, out of 170 students. 🎓 In 1923, she graduated and became the second African-American dentist to be licensed in New York state. 

During her career, Dr.  Delany took care of the teeth of many Harlem notable figures, such as nightclub owner Ed Small, civil rights leader Louis T. Wright, and author James Weldon Johnson. 🦷 Known in her community as Dr. Bessie, she was applauded for treating the rich and poor equally as well as performing thousands of free children’s dental exams. 

🏆 In 1994, Columbia’s School of Dental and Oral Surgery awarded her its Distinguished Alumna Award for “her pioneering work as a minority woman in dentistry”, a year before her death at 104.

Can Wisdom Teeth Cause Headache Pain?

3d rendered illustration of the wisdom teeth

Article written by: Healthline

Headaches can be traced to a variety of causes, including wisdom teeth that are emerging, impacted, or need to be removed.

Keep reading to learn why wisdom teeth can cause headaches, and how to treat pain from wisdom teeth.

Emerging wisdom teeth

Your wisdom teeth typically come in between the ages of 17 and 25. They’re your third set of molars, located at the very back of your mouth. Most people have four wisdom teeth, two on top and two on the bottom.

According to the American Dental Association (ADA), your wisdom teeth begin to move through your jawbone and eventually break through your gum line about 5 years after your second set of molars come in. This movement can cause discomfort, including headaches.

Impacted wisdom teeth

If your wisdom teeth grow improperly, they’re considered impacted. Impaction is common with wisdom teeth, often because there’s not enough room in the mouth for them to grow in. This may cause them to:

  • emerge at an angle
  • get stuck in the jaw
  • push against the other molars

When wisdom teeth grow into a mouth that doesn’t have enough room for them, it can cause other teeth to shift, resulting in an improper bite. An improper bite can cause your lower jaw to compensate, and this may cause pain and soreness, including headaches.

Other problems associated with wisdom teeth

According to the Mayo Clinic, impacted wisdom teeth can also cause other problems resulting in pain and headaches, such as:

Tooth decay. Compared to your other teeth, decay seems to be a higher risk for partially impacted wisdom teeth.

Cysts. Your wisdom teeth develop in your jawbone in a sac. If the sac fills with fluid and becomes a cyst, it can cause damage to your jawbone, nerves, and teeth.

Gum disease. If you have an impacted wisdom tooth that’s partially erupted, it can be difficult to clean. This can increase your risk of a potentially painful inflammatory gum condition known as pericoronitis.

Damage to neighboring teeth. An impacted wisdom tooth may push against the second molar, causing damage or increasing the risk of infection.

Oral surgery for impacted wisdom teeth

If your impacted wisdom teeth are causing dental problems or pain, they can usually be surgically extracted. This procedure is typically done by a dental surgeon.

Oral surgery can leave you with a stiff jaw, which can lead to tension headaches. The surgery itself may also lead to postoperative headaches, including migraines, caused by:

  • anesthesia
  • stress and anxiety
  • pain
  • sleep deprivation
  • blood pressure fluctuations

Although uncommon, other complications following wisdom tooth extraction surgery may occur, such as:

Can you prevent impacted wisdom teeth?

You can’t prevent wisdom tooth impaction. A dentist can monitor the growth and emergence of your wisdom teeth during regular checkups. Dental X-rays can often indicate wisdom tooth impaction before the development of symptoms.

Remedies for wisdom teeth pain and headaches

If you’re experiencing gum pain or headaches from emerging or impacted wisdom teeth, here are some home remedies that may provide relief.

Rinse with salt water

Warm water salt rinses are a popular remedy for pain caused by emerging teeth. Research has shown that rinsing with sodium chloride (the scientific name for salt) and warm water can promote healthy gums and kill bacteria.

Keeping your mouth free of bacteria is particularly useful for emerging wisdom teeth. The area is hard to clean and wisdom teeth can cause gum disease when they break through your gums.

Along with warm water salt rinses, proper daily oral hygiene will also keep your mouth clean and bacteria-free. This includes brushing twice a day and flossing at least once a day.

Take an aspirin

Aspirin is a tried and true remedy for headaches, even those caused by wisdom teeth. A 2015 study showed that aspirin is effective at dulling dental pain. Follow label instructions and don’t take more than the recommended dose.

Apply hot and cold therapy

You can also try hot and cold therapy. Applying an ice pack to your cheeks can help reduce pain, inflammation, and swelling, while heat pads can loosen tense muscles and improve blood flow to the area. These benefits can help relieve or avoid headache pain.

Takeaway

Your third molars, or wisdom teeth, can cause discomfort, including headaches, when they’re moving up through your jawbone and emerging from your gum line.

Dental decay or oral surgery to remove impacted wisdom teeth can also cause postoperative headaches.

Although extraction is a typical treatment for impacted wisdom teeth, not everyone needs to have their wisdom teeth removed. The ADA recommends that wisdom teeth be X-rayed and monitored for all teenagers and young adults.

Schedule an appointment with your dentist if you have:

  • sharp persistent pain
  • frequent headaches
  • bloody saliva
  • swelling

Source: https://www.healthline.com/health/headache-from-wisdom-teeth#other-problems

4 Home Remedies For Abscessed Teeth

Article Written By: Amy Freeman, Colgate

You’re experiencing some serious pain in your mouth, and you think a dental abscess, a bacterial infection in the teeth or gums, might be to blame. Are there any home remedies for abscessed teeth that will help ease the discomfort while you’re waiting for your dentist appointment?

You have a few options for easing the pain, but home remedies won’t get to the root of the issue and aren’t likely to cure the abscess. Instead, think of home remedies as stop-gap measures. They’ll help you in the short term, but they won’t replace a visit to the dentist.

How to Cope with Dental Abscesses at Home

You’re likely to come across a few recommended home remedies for abscessed teeth. While each option has its advantages, some also have a few risks or potential drawbacks. If your dental abscess is causing severe pain and you have to wait before your dentist can see you, understanding how each remedy can help and what its risks are may help you choose the best one for you.

  1. Clove oil. The active ingredient in clove oil, eugenol, has helpful anesthetic and antibacterial properties. Applying a small amount of a clove essential oil to the site of a dental abscess can temporarily numb the area, easing your pain. But there are a few drawbacks to clove oil. It can be strong-smelling and spread to other parts of your mouth accidentally. Additionally, if you accidentally ingest a lot of clove oil, it may require a trip to the emergency room, notes the National Institutes of Health. Ingesting too much can lead to a variety of symptoms, such as shallow breathing, a burning throat, rapid heartbeat, and dizziness.
  2. Saltwater rinse. A saltwater rinse can help to wash away bacteria and pus from an abscess. Saltwater can also soothe discomfort, the National Institutes of Health points out. While rinsing can provide some relief when you have an abscess, keep in mind that saltwater alone won’t be enough to clear up the infection.
  3. Peppermint tea bags. Some claim that placing wet, cool peppermint tea bags on a dental abscess will help ease the pain. While placing a cooled tea bag on an abscess won’t hurt you, it’s also not very likely to help you either. The National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health notes that there isn’t enough evidence to say whether peppermint tea is helpful for any condition. The cold temperature of the tea bag may be somewhat soothing. If you happen to have some tea bags handy, you can try this home remedy. But you don’t want to rely on it to heal your abscess.
  4. Don’t use alcohol. One popular, but an ineffective home remedy has people soaking a cotton swab with alcohol (often whiskey or vodka) and applying the cotton to the abscessed area. While the alcohol may temporarily numb the pain, it won’t clear up the infection. Any relief will be temporary, and this method is obviously not recommended for children with tooth pain. Plus, the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism points out that while alcohol can reduce pain, the use of alcohol as a pain reliever can be incredibly dangerous, as you often need a lot of alcohol to get any numbing effects. It’s best to give this home remedy a pass.

Along with trying out natural home remedies to treat a dental abscess, people also often turn to over-the-counter pain relievers, such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen. While pain medication may help improve your comfort, it’s also a temporary measure. You’ll still want to see your dentist remove the source of the infection and heal the tooth or gums.

How Your Dentist Can Treat an Abscess

Your dentist might use a variety of treatments to heal a dental abscess, explains the American Dental Association. In some cases, your dentist will prescribe antibiotics to kill the bacteria. They might also clean the area around the tooth to remove debris, pus, and bacteria, or perform a root canal if there has been considerable damage to the pulp of the tooth.

Although a home remedy can provide some relief, don’t put off your visit to a dentist. The sooner you schedule treatment, the sooner your mouth will feel better and begin to heal.

Source: https://www.colgate.com/en-us/oral-health/life-stages/adult-oral-care/4-home-remedies-for-abscessed-teeth0

How Oral Health And Heart Disease Are Connected

Article written by: Tracey Sandilands | Colgate

It’s increasingly common to hear that oral health is vital for overall health. More than 80 percent of Americans, for example, are living with periodontal or gum disease, which often goes undiagnosed. This may be because the patient’s teeth feel fine, so he avoids going to the dentist, and visits to the physician rarely focus on oral health.

According to Delta Dental, however, there is now evidence of two specific links between oral health and heart disease. First, recent studies show that if you have gum disease in a moderate or advanced stage, you’re at greater risk for heart disease than someone with healthy gums. And second, your oral health can provide doctors with warning signs for a range of diseases and conditions, including those in the heart.

Why Are These Things Related?

Oral health and heart disease are connected by the spread of bacteria – and other germs – from your mouth to other parts of your body through the bloodstream. When these bacteria reach the heart, they can attach themselves to any damaged area and cause inflammation. This can result in illnesses such as endocarditis, an infection of the inner lining of the heart, according to Mayo Clinic. Other cardiovascular conditions such as atherosclerosis (clogged arteries) and stroke have also been linked to inflammation caused by oral bacteria, according to the American Heart Association.

Who Is at Risk?

Patients with chronic gum conditions such as gingivitis or advanced periodontal disease have the highest risk for heart disease caused by poor oral health, particularly if it remains undiagnosed and unmanaged. The bacteria that are associated with gum infection are in the mouth and can enter the bloodstream, where they attach to the blood vessels and increase your risk to cardiovascular disease. 

Even if you don’t have noticeable gum inflammation, however, inadequate oral hygiene and accumulated plaque put you at risk for gum disease. The bacteria can also migrate into your bloodstream causing elevated C-reactive protein, which is a marker for inflammation in the blood vessels. This can increase your risk of heart disease and stroke, according to the Cleveland Clinic.

Symptoms and Warning Signs

According to the American Association of Periodontology (AAP), you may have gum disease, even if it’s in its early stages, if:

  • your gums are red, swollen and sore to the touch.
  • your gums bleed when you eat, brush or floss.
  • you see pus or other signs of infection around the gums and teeth.
  • your gums look as if they are “pulling away” from the teeth.
  • you frequently have bad breath or notice a bad taste in your mouth.
  • or some of your teeth are loose, or feel as if they are moving away from the other teeth.

Prevention Measures

Good oral hygiene and regular dental examinations are the best way to protect yourself against the development of gum disease. The American Dental Association (ADA) Mouth Healthy site recommends brushing your teeth twice a day with a soft-bristled brush that fits your mouth comfortably, so it reaches every tooth surface adequately. It also recommends that you use an ADA-accepted toothpaste such as Colgate Total® Advanced, which is proven to increase gum health in four weeks. You should also floss daily and visit your dentist for regular professional cleanings.

By being proactive about your oral health, you can protect yourself from developing a connection between oral health and heart disease, and keep your smile healthy, clean and beautiful throughout your life.

This article is intended to promote understanding of and knowledge about general oral health topics. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your dentist or other qualified healthcare providers with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or treatment.

Source:www.colgate.com/en-us/oral-health/conditions/heart-disease/how-oral-health-and-heart-disease-are-connected-0115

What to Eat After Wisdom Teeth Removal

By: Ana Gotter, Healthline

Most people heal quickly from wisdom teeth removal, as long as they follow the doctor’s instructions during recovery. Eating and drinking the right foods — and avoiding the wrong ones — is a crucial part of these instructions. You’ll be much more comfortable, and you’ll significantly decrease the chance of complications.

Overview

Wisdom teeth are the third set of molars located in the back of your mouth. They typically come in when you’re between 17 and 25 years of age. It’s common to have your wisdom teeth removed. They may need to be removed because they’re impacted and won’t come in normally. Or they may need to be removed because they’re coming in at a wrong angle.

During the removal procedure, you’ll be given anesthesia. Many surgeons will use some form of local, sedation, or general anesthesia. If your teeth haven’t come in yet, your surgeon will likely make incisions to remove them. They may need to remove bone if it’s blocking access to the root of the tooth. Once the teeth are removed, they’ll clean the site and add stitches to close the incision site if necessary. They’ll also place gauze over the extraction site.

What you eat following your wisdom teeth removal is important. Eating soft or liquid foods won’t irritate the extraction site, helping it to heal faster. Some foods and drinks can irritate or become trapped in the extraction sites, leading to infection. It’s important to follow your doctor’s orders about what to eat following surgery.

What to eat after wisdom teeth removal

Immediately following your wisdom teeth removal and during recovery, you’ll want to start with liquid and soft foods. You won’t have to chew these foods, saving you some pain. Avoid eating harder foods at this time, as these might damage, or get trapped in, the recovering area.

Examples of liquid and soft foods include:

  • apple sauce
  • yogurt
  • smoothies
  • broths and blended soups
  • mashed potatoes
  • Jell-O, pudding, and ice cream

Cold foods like Jell-O, smoothies, and ice cream may relieve some discomfort. Nutrient-rich soups and smoothies can help promote healing. Soups, in particular, can help balance out the other high-sugar options on the list.

As you start to heal, you can incorporate more normal foods. Start off easy with semisoft foods like scrambled eggs, instant oatmeal, and toast before moving to foods like chicken, fruits, and vegetables.

What not to eat after wisdom teeth removal

There are some foods that you should avoid following your wisdom teeth removal. Stick to the foods listed above for the first few days. Avoid the following foods for a week or more until the extraction site has healed.

  • Acidic and spicy foods (including citrus juice) may cause irritation and pain.
  • Alcoholic beverages can irritate the area and are likely to interact negatively with the pain medication prescribed by your doctor.
  • Grains (including rice and quinoa) and any types of seeds can easily become trapped in the extraction site.
  • Hard or difficult-to-chew foods (including nuts, chips, and jerky) can reopen the stitches and delay healing.

You should also avoid smoking or using any type of tobacco for a minimum of 72 hours after surgery as it can severely increase the risk of complications. Don’t use chewing tobacco for at least a week.

Recovery timeline

For the first 24 to 48 hours, eat only liquid and soft foods like yogurt, apple sauce, and ice cream. Cold foods may help with some of the discomforts.

As you start to feel better, you can try incorporating more solid foods. On the third day after surgery, try foods like eggs, toast, or oatmeal. Gradually continue to increase solid foods as chewing doesn’t cause any pain. If you experience pain when chewing, go back to soft and semisoft foods.

Many people are able to resume normal eating within a week.

Wisdom teeth removal complications

Wisdom teeth removal complications aren’t common but can occur. The most common complication is the reopening of the extraction site, which delays healing.

Dry sockets

Dry sockets are also common. They occur when the blood fails to clot in the tooth socket, or if the clot becomes dislodged. This typically happens between three and five days after tooth removal. Dry sockets can be treated by your surgeon. They will flush out debris and may cover the socket with a medicated dressing. Symptoms of dry sockets include:

  • an unpleasant taste or smell coming from the socket
  • aching or throbbing pain in the gum or jaw (it may be intense)
  • exposed bone

Infections

Infections can be caused by food particles or other bacteria becoming trapped in the socket where your wisdom teeth were removed. Bacteria can spread throughout the body and should be treated quickly. Symptoms of an infection include:

  • blood or pus from the extraction site
  • fever
  • spasms of the jaw muscles
  • chills
  • painful or swollen gums near the extraction area
  • bad taste or smell in the mouth

Nerve damage

Nerve damage from wisdom teeth removal is rare, but it can occur. During surgery, the trigeminal nerve may be injured. The injury is most often temporary, lasting several weeks or months. Nerve damage can be permanent if the injury is severe. Symptoms of nerve damage caused by wisdom tooth removal include:

  • pain
  • numbness or tingling in the gums, tongue, chin, surrounding teeth, and lower lips

Allergic reaction

If you show signs of an allergic reaction, seek emergency medical attention. You may be allergic to the medications your doctor prescribed, including your pain medication. Signs of an allergic reaction include:

  • shortness of breath
  • difficulty breathing
  • feeling like your throat is closing or your tongue is swelling
  • lightheadedness
  • rapid heart rate
  • skin rash
  • fever

Source: www.healthline.com/health/what-to-eat-after-wisdom-teeth-removal