Notice: Rescheduling Elective Dental Procedures

The Maryland State Dental Association and the American Dental Association issued guidelines that elective dental procedures should be put off until at least April 1st.

If you have an upcoming appointment before that date, we will need to reschedule. Our office will be in contact with you in the coming days.

We apologize for any inconvenience, but we believe this approach is the best way to protect each other and our community during this time.

– The Woodview Oral Surgery Team


Here is the message we received from the CDC Division of Oral Health:

Dear Colleagues,

As the expanding global outbreak of Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) continues, the federal government continues to work closely with state, local, tribal, and territorial partners, as well as public health partners across the globe to respond to this public health threat.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Division of Oral Health (DOH) is diligently working with CDC’s Emergency Operations Center to develop tailored COVID-19 guidance for dental health care personnel (DHCP). Once this guidance is available online, DOH and partners will promote these resources as well as any related events (e.g., informational webinar, Clinician Outreach and Communication Activity) to the dental community. 

It’s unknown at this time what the full impact of COVID-19 will be in a U.S., however CDC is preparing as if this were the beginning of a pandemic. All healthcare facilities should take steps now to prepare for the possibility of a widespread and severe COVID-19 outbreak to prepare their practices and protect both their patients and staff. CDC urges providers to be familiar with the information on CDC’s 

COVID-19 website. Specific information is available for Healthcare Professionals, including a Healthcare Professional Preparedness Checklist, instructions on Evaluating and Reporting Persons Under Investigation (PUI), and a page on What Healthcare Personnel Should Know. DHCP can also consider signing up for communications from CDC’s Health Alert Network, which is CDC’s primary method of sharing cleared information about urgent public health incidents.

Standard precautions, including the use of proper personal protective equipment, should be followed when caring for any patient. These practices are designed to both protect DHCP and prevent DHCP from spreading infections among patients.

CDC’s guidelines note that, if not clinically urgent, DHCP should consider postponing non-emergency or elective dental procedures in patients who have signs or symptoms of respiratory illness. For procedures which are considered clinically urgent, dental health care personnel and medical providers should work together to determine an appropriate facility for treatment. The urgency of a procedure is a decision based on clinical judgement and should be made on a case-by-case basis.

The Division of Oral Health will communicate through partners as soon as tailored guidance is available for the dental community. Thank you for all you are doing to keep our country safe and healthy.

Sincerely,

CDC Division of Oral Health

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

TMJ and Jaw Pain – Why Does My Jaw Hurt?

By: 123 Dentist

Trauma, dental problems, and other health conditions can cause jaw pain. Pain in the jaw can range from uncomfortable to extreme, but you don’t need to suffer in silence. Once a health professional diagnoses the source of your jaw pain, you can receive treatment to alleviate or eliminate your pain.

Structure of Your Jaw

The temporomandibular joints (TMJ) on either side of your mouth connect each side of your lower jaw, or mandible, to your skull. These joints are flexible and can easily move, slide, and rotate in various directions as you speak, eat, drink, yawn, brush and floss your teeth, and perform other motions with your mouth. However, if your TMJ is hurt or overused, they can click or pop rather than move freely, which can cause you pain and discomfort.

Any problem or pain associated with TMJ is labeled as temporomandibular joint disorder (TMD), sometimes called temporomandibular joint and muscle disorder (TMJD). This common problem affects between 5 and 12% of people, according to the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research.

Common Causes of TMD

Several lifestyle factors and events can trigger TMD such as the following:

  • Mouth or jaw injuries or trauma: Injuries and trauma can damage or move your TMJ out of place, impacting their ability to move freely.
  • Teeth clenching or grinding: People who clench or grind their teeth put pressure on their TMJ, which causes jaw pain. Clenching and grinding often occur while you’re sleeping, and you may be unaware of this habit.
  • Opening your mouth too wide: Opening your mouth too wide when you eat or talk can put a strain on your TMJ and cause TMD.
  • Rheumatic diseases: Arthritis and other rheumatic diseases impact and cause pain in various joints, including your TMJ.
  • Tension headaches: Most commonly caused by stress, these headaches can cause pain throughout the face and jaw.
  • Sinus infections: The maxillary sinuses sit above the top row of teeth. When they become infected, they can cause swelling and pain around the eyes, cheek, and upper jaw. Many sufferers report feeling a tight, constant pressure in their upper jaw during sinus infections.
  • Neuropathic pain: This type of pain occurs after nerve damage. The damaged nerves send pain signals to the brain. If the damaged nerves are near the jaw, the condition manifests itself as jaw pain. People can experience jaw pain from neuropathic pain constantly or now and again.
  • Synovitis or capsulitis: These conditions cause inflammation in joints, such as the TMJ, or connecting ligaments. Inflammation around the jaw can be painful.
  • Ill-fitting dentures: When dentures don’t fit correctly, they can force your mouth into an unnatural position that can trigger and aggravate TMD.

Other Symptoms of TMD

Jaw pain is one of the most obvious and troublesome signs of TMD, but sufferers usually experience a range of symptoms:

  • Headaches or migraines.
  • Restricted TMJ movement.
  • Frequent jaw locking.
  • Difficulty chewing food.
  • Stiffness in the TMJ.

If you experience these symptoms, especially when coupled with jaw pain, you should make a dental appointment.

Other Causes of Jaw Pain

TMD is the most common cause of jaw pain, but it’s not the only trigger. Abscesses, tumors, infections of the gums, and other dental problems can also make your jaws hurt. Dentists can diagnose these problems. They can then put a treatment plan in place or refer you to another medical professional who can provide more specialized care.

Jaw Pain Treatment Options

The cause of your jaw pain will determine the best course of treatment. Your dentist will thoroughly examine your mouth and jaw to develop your treatment plan. Blood tests, X-rays, MRI tests, and psychological tests may also be undertaken to diagnose your condition and optimal treatment solution.

Treatment can be as simple as taking antibiotics to resolve infection or adopting a soft diet to relieve pressure on the jaw until the issue resolves itself. Some patients may need to wear a mouth guard to discourage bad behaviors and correct a misaligned bite. Steroid injections and pain medications can relieve swelling and inflammation around the joints. Physical therapy can also help some patients. Surgery may also be necessary to remove tumors, damaged bones, or infected teeth, or to treat impacted nerves.

Preventing Jaw Pain

Once your jaw pain is resolved, preventive measures can minimize the chance of it recurring in the future:

  • Choose soft foods, such as pasta and soups, over hard, crunchy ones.
  • Take small bites of food when you eat.
  • Adopt relaxing habits such as meditating, practicing yoga, and getting regular massages.
  • Sleep on your side or back, rather than your stomach.
  • See your dentist regularly for oral checkups.

Oral and maxillofacial surgeons are the only specialists with a wide enough surgical knowledge of the temporomandibular joint (TMJ), and since TMJ problems can lead to more serious conditions, early detection is critical. 

We can help you have a healthier and more comfortable jaw, visit us at http://oralsurgerydc.com/

Source: www.123dentist.com/tmj-and-jaw-pain-why-does-my-jaw-hurt

Dentist or Detective? Major Health Clues Your Mouth Provides

Chew on this for a minute: just by glancing inside your mouth, your dentist can tell you a number of things that may be news to you and your doctor! Surprising as it may sound, your oral health can speak volumes about the rest of your body, and something as simple as a routine dental checkup can benefit your health and wallet big time.

🔎 From harmful habits to life-threatening diseases, find out what clues your mouth can provide about your wellbeing. The Woodview Oral Surgery Team

The Presence of Disease

Many connections between your mouth and larger health issues have to do with bacteria. Studies have shown that heart disease and endocarditis (inflammation of the lining of your heart), in particular, are linked to gum disease – a bacterial infection of the mouth. Inflamed gums can also signal a vulnerable immune system, which can be due to diabetes or disorders such as Sjogren’s syndrome. Furthermore, patients who are pregnant and are diagnosed with periodontitis may be at a heightened risk for birth-related issues, as studies have shown a connection between gum disease and both premature birth and low birth weight.

In addition to gum problems, other oral matters are also telling. Tooth loss, for instance, has commonly been linked with both osteoporosis and Alzheimer’s. And lesions of the throat occur often in individuals suffering from HIV or AIDS. Last but not least, a dental exam can detect both oral and throat cancer, which typically present themselves via sores or patches that don’t go away. Suffice it to say, dental checkups can prove themselves invaluable when it comes to early detection of life-threatening health conditions.

Incompatibility With Certain Medications

While you may already be aware of and treating a health condition, a dentist can help identify whether or not the medicine you are taking is causing other complications. Dry mouth, a condition that causes oral issues such as halitosis, fungal infection, and tooth decay, is a known side effect of hundreds of commonly prescribed medications including:

PainkillersAntibioticsAntidepressants
AntihistaminesAsthma InhalersDiuretics
SedativesCorticosteroidsStatins

If you’re currently undergoing medical treatment and/or using prescription drugs, be sure to have your dentist examine your mouth for any harmful side effects.

Harmful Habits

It may not necessarily mean life or death, but some habits can cause a world of trouble–and costly mouth problems are proof of that. How you sleep, for example, has a direct impact on the health of your mouth. Constantly breathing with your mouth open can cause dry mouth, and grinding your teeth overnight is a leading cause of enamel damage.

Smoking, chewing and other forms of tobacco use pose serious threats, not just to your lungs, but also to the look and health of your teeth and gums. Red flags that alert your dentist that smoking is starting to do dental damage (and possibly much worse) are the telltale yellowing of teeth, white patches along the inside lining of the mouth, persistent bad breath, and lumps that can signal oral cancer.

Finally, your mouth can offer clues about the safety and healthfulness of your diet. Severe tooth erosion and swelling of the throat and salivary glands are typical problems seen in patients with eating disorders, due to constant vomiting. Tooth decay and sensitivity can also come with excessive acid in your diet, and many times, signs and symptoms of gastroesophageal reflux disease (“GERD” or simply, “acid reflux”) become apparent to your dentist even before your doctor. Even your breath can be telling of certain food choices, such as garlic or onions, which have long been known to cause halitosis.

Get Peace of Mind

Given everything a brief dental exam can uncover, there’s no denying the benefits of a routine checkup. More often than not, tooth, gum and other oral problems may simply be due to poor hygiene, but it’s better to be safe than sorry. Remain diligent about seeing your dentist regularly, and don’t hesitate to schedule a checkup in between your typical visits if you notice anything amiss.

Sources:

Your Mouth, Your Health. (2015, July 23). Retrieved July 25, 2015, from http://www.webmd.com/oral-health/ss/slideshow-teeth-gums

What conditions may be linked to oral health? (2013, May 11). Retrieved July 14, 2015 from http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/adult-health/in-depth/dental/art-20047475?pg=2

The Story on Soda: Your Soft Drink Questions Answered

🥤 Sorry to burst your bubble, but the reality is that no matter how refreshing that sweet, fizzy soda (or “pop”) tastes, there’s a chance it could be doing some damage to your teeth. But with so many products on the market, are they all really that bad for you? Learn more! The Woodview Oral Surgery Team

Answers to some of your most pressing soft drink questions are about to be answered. Get to the bottom of various soda claims, and find out if there’s a workaround that lets you keep your favorite carbonated beverages on tap without traumatizing your teeth.

Q. Is it better to choose clear-colored sodas over darker-colored ones?

Neither option is a healthy choice for your teeth, but upon regular consumption, caramel-hued soft drinks have been known to stain teeth more quickly. Cosmetic differences aside, the extremely high sugar content of any soda, regardless of color, causes lasting damage to tooth enamel, resulting in decay, cavities and/or tooth loss in extreme situations.

Q. Do diet sodas get a pass since they’re sugar-free?

The appeal of diet sodas is understandable, especially when the packaging comes with alluring labels of “sugar-free” or “calorie-free”. But the fact of the matter is, even with sugar substitutes, diet soda is still extremely acidic. This means diet soda will still have the same corrosive effect on the enamel and should be avoided to prevent tooth damage.

Q. Is corn syrup a more harmful soft drink sweetener than cane sugar?

Similar to the misconception about diet sodas, the threat of tooth decay, cavities, and other oral health problems aren’t based on the type of sweetener used. No matter the source of sugar, enamel erosion will happen with regular consumption of any sweetened soft drink.

Q. If I drink soda through a straw, will this protect my teeth?

Using a straw can limit contact of sugar and acid with the surface of your teeth, but only when positioned correctly. Ideally, the opening of the straw should be directed towards the back of the mouth, but the likelihood for accidental contact is still high if you become distracted or inadvertently swish the liquid in your mouth. Ultimately, the best way to prevent tooth decay due to soft drinks is to avoid drinking them altogether.

Q. What are teeth-friendly alternatives to soda?

If you find carbonated beverages especially refreshing, switch to a seltzer. You’ll get the same fizz without the threat of tooth decay. For a flavorful spin, dress up seltzer or plain water with cut up fruit (instead of turning to juice, which can erode tooth enamel due to its fructose content). Milk is also another good choice due to the enamel-fortifying calcium it contains; however, it does contain natural sugar, lactose — so never have a glass before bed without brushing your teeth.

Q. What can I do to combat enamel erosion if I can’t quit drinking soda?

For those unable to put aside their love of soft drinks, take these steps to minimize tooth decay and other soda-related oral problems:

  • Rinse your mouth and brush your teeth afterward to clear away sugar and acid
  • Use fluoride-rich toothpaste and mouthwash to help strengthen tooth enamel
  • See your dentist regularly to get professional help in preventing tooth damage

Speak To Your Dentist

New drinks are always hitting the shelves, but many may not live up to their health claims. Before making something your beverage of choice, get your dentist’s perspective to understand how it can impact the health of your teeth.

Sources:

Soda or Pop? It’s Teeth Trouble by Any Name. (n.d.). Retrieved May 24, 3015 from http://www.colgate.com/app/CP/US/EN/OC/Information/Articles/Oral-and-Dental-Health-Basics/Oral-Hygiene/Oral-Hygiene-Basics/article/Soda-or-Pop-Its-Teeth-Trouble-by-Any-Name.cvsp

Melnick, M & Klein, S. (2013, March 13). Soda Myths: The Truth About Sugary Drinks, From Sodas To Sports Drinks. Retrieved May 25, 2015 from http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/03/13/soda-myths-facts-sugary-drinks_n_2863045.html

Sealants: Stop Cavities Before They Begin

Aside from proper brushing and flossing to remove food particles and plaque from smooth surfaces of teeth, do you know that there are other effective ways that can prevent tooth decay?

👉 With sealants, you can prevent cavities for up to a decade before they ever have a chance to start. Find out more! The Oral Surgery DC Team

Imagine you could protect your smile and preserve good oral health. Would you do it? In all likelihood the answer is yes and, with sealants, you can.

Few oral issues can be fully pre-empted or prevented. After all, genetics and other factors can play a role in whether or not you develop cavities or more serious dental complications. But with sealants, you can prevent cavities for up to a decade before they ever have a chance to start.

What Are Sealants?

Sealants are thin, plastic coatings that are painted on the chewing surfaces of teeth, particularly premolars and molars, to prevent tooth decay. By bonding to the depressions and grooves of teeth where most cavities begin, they can prevent tooth decay in a way that regular brushing, flossing, and rinsing can’t.

Most often, sealants are used on children between the ages of 6 and 14 because this is when they are most vulnerable to cavities. Sealants can also be used on adults who don’t have current decay or fillings in their molars and on babies with deep depressions and grooves in teeth to preserve them as placeholders for adult teeth. Of course, sealants must be made age-appropriate and tailored to each patient’s unique needs.

Applying Sealants is Quick and Painless for Most

The best part about sealants is that the application process is quick and painless. In fact, there are just four simple steps involved in the entire process:

  • Cleaning – Prior to applying sealants, your dentist will clean each tooth that is being sealed to ensure the bond is as strong as possible.
  • Preparation – Once your teeth are clean, they will be dried and surrounded by cotton or another absorbent material to prevent saliva from getting the tooth wet again. An acid solution will also be applied to enhance the bond between the sealants and your teeth.
  • Rising and Drying – After the acid solution has been applied, just one more rinse and dry is required before the actual application.
  • Application of the Sealants – After all the preparation is complete, the sealants will be applied. In some cases, your dentist will use a special curing light to help sealants to harden more quickly.

Sealants Can Stand the Test of Time for Most

Few dental solutions are permanent and sealants are no different. However, they can provide up to 10 years of protection, which is great for babies, young children, and adults.

Regular dental visits are the best way to prolong the effectiveness of your treatment. Your dentist can check your sealants for chipping or wearing and replace them if necessary. By replacing them soon after they begin to wear down, you can enjoy continued protection from cavities.

With Sealants, You Can Keep Your Smile Both Beautiful and Functional

Sealants are a simple solution to prevent cavities and protect some of the most functional teeth in your mouth. They can be a worthwhile investment for you and/or your children to keep smiles looking great for years to come.

Sources: Dental Health: Sealants. (2013, April 14). Retrieved June 2, 2015 from http://www.webmd.com/oral-health/guide/dental-sealants