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An Overview of Dry Socket

August 31st, 2018


dry-socket

Dry Socket

 

If you have gone through a past tooth extraction or have one coming up, dry socket is one of the first things mentioned in the recovery process. Dry socket can cause excruciating pain, not only localized to the mouth but other areas as well.

 

What is dry socket?

Dry socket is when the protective blood clot your body forms after an incision or extraction is dislodged and the abscess is exposed. People need tooth extractions for many reasons. Sometimes a tooth has become so infected that it is better to pull the whole tooth out rather than try to fix it. Or perhaps your wisdom teeth are causing you jaw pain and need to be taken out. In any instance of tooth removal, it is important you guard against dry socket.

 

After an extraction, the body naturally forms a blood clot to protect the now exposed tissue and nerve endings. It is very important to maintain this blood clot until your wound is completely healed. When this blood clot is destroyed or dislodged from the open wound, you may get dry socket. Anything in your mouth -- food, water, bacteria, even air can irritate and infect the sensitive area.

 

How to prevent dry socket

You can prevent dry socket by following your dentists’ or oral surgeon’s post operation instructions very carefully. Every case is different, and while the guidelines below are useful in general, sometimes extra steps will be necessary.

You are at a higher risk of dry socket if you:

  • Have had dry socket before
  • Use birth control
  • Smoke tobacco
  • Drink alcohol
  • Have poor oral hygiene
  • Take blood thinners or other medication that inhibits blood clots
  • Have had periodontal disease or pericoronitis

Patients older than 30 years of age are more likely to contract dry socket due to their increased density of their jawbone. This increased density means less blood supply is available, and thus, blood clots have a harder time forming. This means your wound from an extraction is more prone to infection and dry socket. If you are a woman, you also have a higher chance of getting dry socket due to the natural hormone cycle a typical woman experiences.

When you have a tooth extracted, be sure to use any recommended oral antibiotics or antiseptic solutions and follow your oral surgeon’s post-op instructions on how to prevent a dry socket. Some of the most common guidelines are:

  • No rinsing or spitting for 24 hours after your procedure
  • No drinking from straws
  • No smoking for 72 hours
  • Avoid extremely hot and extremely cold food and drinks
  • Avoid hard or crunchy foods such as candy, chips, pretzels, etc.
  • Avoid alcohol for a week
  • Limit strenuous activity for one week or until your wounds are sufficiently healed

What happens if I get dry socket?

No matter how well you prepare for your surgery and the number of precautions you take, sometimes you just get unlucky! Dentists estimate that 2-5% of their patients get dry socket after an extraction. What do you do if you are one of the unlucky ones?

Don’t worry, dry socket is relatively harmless in the long run as long as you treat it properly. Your dentist will most likely recommend the following courses of action:

  • Take pain relievers as needed (over the counter or stronger prescribed ones)
  • Topical medications such as numbing gels
  • Flushing/rinsing consistently to your dentist’s orders
  • Avoid smoking
  • Avoid drinking
  • Avoid sugary drinks
  • Avoid drinking through straws

If you get dry socket, be prepared to go through pain management until your wound has healed; tissue takes anywhere from 7-10 days to regrow. There are no long term worries or effects from dry socket...once the tissue has healed, you are good to go!

 

How To Get Rid Of “Teeth Stains” And Smile With Confidence

August 23rd, 2018

How To Get Rid Of “Teeth Stains” And Smile With Confidence

Every person dreads the day that someone comments on the stains they have on their teeth. You begin to stammer and blush all while your blood pressure rises; you are now experiencing one of the most common and embarrassing moments known to individuals, stained teeth. There are multiple factors that cause teeth to become dull and lose their shiny tooth sparkle.

What Causes Staining?

The main culprits are compounds called chromogens which give certain foods and drinks their strong color. Unsurprisingly, they are also strong enough to stain our teeth. But that’s not all. Food and drinks containing a substance called tannin can also make your teeth much more susceptible to staining. On top of that, acids can wear down your teeth enamel, increasing the chances of stains setting in. As a rule of thumb, if it can stain your clothes or tongue, chances are it can also stain your teeth.

Common Teeth-Staining foods

-      Tea and Coffee: Both tea and coffee contain tannins, which causes staining.

-      Red Wine: Everybody loves wine, but hates the stains they leave. That’s for good reason.

-      Fruit Juices: Dark-colored fruit juices, such as grape, cranberry, and blueberry juices are guaranteed to leave stains on your teeth.

-      Soda: With a mix of dark coloring agents and acids, soda should be a definite no for the sake of your teeth.

-      Tomato-based Sauces: Tomatoes are a healthy choice for your nutrition, but the pigment responsible for tomatoes dark red appearance is also a key offender for staining.

-      Berries: Although a great source of Vitamin C, berries are another tooth-staining culprit.

As you can see, there are a plethora of ways that your teeth can fall victim to staining. Next, we will discuss several ways to prevent staining and whiten teeth.

How to Prevent Tooth Staining

-      Limit the amount of stain-producing drinks and foods when you can. Think of suitable replacements!

-      A post-consumption mouth rinse will help wash those dreadful stain-causing agents away.

-      Use a straw when drinking cold drinks or something that may stain your teeth.

-      Eat plenty of crunchy fruit and vegetables that boost saliva and scrub on your teeth, these act as natural stain removers.

-      Make sure you’re brushing your teeth twice a day, and as recommended by your dentist.

With so many products and techniques available for patients to whiten their teeth, it can be difficult to choose the right method for you. For this reason, we have decided that each patient should have their own personalized whitening treatment plan. To reverse the effects of teeth-staining and brighten up you smile again book an appointment with us! The start to a brighter smile starts here!

An Overview of Sealants

August 16th, 2018

 

sealant-infographic

 

Overview

Most of us have experienced a cavity before, and if they are caught early enough, they can be treated easier. Cavities of all sizes can be prevented with healthy and consistent oral hygiene. However, sometimes this simply isn’t enough. This is where sealants come in handy.

Sealants are made from plastics or other dental materials, and are often placed on teeth which have a high risk of experiencing tooth decay. These are usually your molars, the big, bulky teeth near the back of your mouth where leftover food and hard-to-reach spots provide a favorable environment for cavities.

How do sealants work?

Sealants provide a protective layer between your teeth and all the little things that can contribute to tooth decay. Food, bacteria, soda, and other harmful particles in your mouth have a much harder time making their way into the nooks and crannies of your teeth with the sealant in the way. In fact, the Center for Disease Control found that sealants reduced the chances of contracting a molar cavity by almost 80%! According to the CDC, "school-age children without sealants have almost three times more cavities than children with sealants."

You can think of a sealant like an umbrella; you might still get a little wet but you’re sure happy that you bought it!

Who can get sealants?

Anyone can get a sealant, but they are most effective when your tooth has not yet been affected by any sort of decay. This makes young children and teenagers who’s molars have just emerged the best candidates for sealants. The traditional age range for sealant application is 4 to 15. The sooner they are protected, the better in the long run. Ask your dentist if sealants are right for you or your children.

How are sealants applied?

Applying sealants is a very quick and easy process. First, your teeth are thoroughly cleaned by your dentist or their assistant. Next, an acidic gel is placed on your teeth in order to form a strong bond for the sealant. It is rinsed off and dried in order to create a better surface for the sealant to stick to. Then your dentist places the sealant onto your tooth enamel. Your dentist will paint the sealant onto your teeth so that it covers the depressions and grooves of each tooth. Finally, an ultraviolet light is applied to cure the adhesive and make the bond even stronger.

The whole process is painless and shouldn’t take much longer than an hour to complete. The procedure has no harmful byproducts or allergens, so you can rest easy during your visit.

Once your sealant is on your teeth, they can last for up to 10 years with proper oral hygiene. You will still need to get regular checkups so your dentist can check for chips or cracks, and do any retouching if necessary.

Keep in mind that sealants are complementary to your oral hygiene routine. Don’t get lazy! In order to fight against cavities, it is still necessary to brush and floss consistently, as well as visit your dentist regularly.

The Advantages of Invisalign versus Traditional Braces

August 9th, 2018

For many looking to straighten their smile, braces is a great option that has been extensively used in modern orthodontics. Nowadays, there is another option that millions of people are choosing over braces: Invisalign. Invisalign was dubbed as invisible braces when they were introduced to the market and while they are not invisible, the results are visibly astonishing. Invisalign is a set of clear, aligning retainers that help to straighten out your teeth over the course of months. Here are some of the biggest advantages of Invisalign when compared to traditional braces:

Removable

One of the most obvious advantages of Invisalign versus braces is that they are removable. This can be extremely helpful when brushing your teeth and keeping your oral hygiene in tip-top condition. Your dentist or orthodontist will instruct you on when to wear your Invisalign and when you should remove them.

Increased Self Esteem

In 2014, a survey was conducted with thousands of teenagers who were using Invisalign and the results provided an interesting insight. The teens using Invisalign did not feel the customary oral anxiety or embarrassment that accompanies traditional braces; rather, they were reported to have an increased boost in self esteem and confidence. Whether it is a teenager or an adult using Invisalign, the clear aligners help to reduce the embarrassment that some people report when using braces.

No Eating Restrictions

If you have ever had braces, you know that your orthodontist has outlined several foods to avoid eating. Popcorn, candy, and chewing gum are foods you will have to sacrifice when you have braces. With Invisalign, there usually are no eating restrictions! You are supposed to take out the aligners when eating food or drinking fluids other than water -- much better than not being able to eat certain foods! Always confirm with your dentist or orthodontist about how to use your Invisalign.

Improved Oral Health

Because the Invisalign retainers are removable, you are able to clean your teeth better than when wearing braces. Flossing with braces can be especially challenging and this problem is not present with Invisalign. Also, it’s worth noting that braces can be more painful than Invisalign and sometimes can lead to sores in the mouth. Because Invisalign are clear, smooth aligners, you are often able to avoid both of these drawbacks of braces and keep your mouth as healthy as possible.

Less Trips To The Dentist

Invisalign appointments vary in length of time apart, but Invisalign users are traditionally able to make less visits to their dentist or orthodontist compared to patients who have braces. Invisalign appointments vary between 4-6 weeks and the actual appointments are a breeze compared to appointments for braces. Nowadays, there are even clear aligners similar to Invisalign that do not require you to go to the dentist -- good for patients with extreme dental anxiety.

The advantages of Invisalign when compared to braces are clear and compelling. With more and more people choosing Invisalign for themselves and for their children, it is becoming a leading option for those looking to straighten their smiles. If you are interested in Invisalign to help create a more beautiful smile for yourself or a family member, don’t hesitate to reach out to us! We are Certified Invisalign Preferred Providers and have been since 2002.

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