You may not think of your teeth as being made of living tissue, but they are, and like other tissues, they can die. Dead teeth are also called non-vital or necrotic, and they’re a big problem. Here are five things you need to know about necrotic teeth.
Are teeth alive?
To understand how teeth can die, you need to understand a bit more about the tissues that they’re made of. The white, outer layer of your teeth, called the enamel, isn’t a living tissue. Enamel is made of minerals like calcium. The dentin is the layer of teeth beneath the enamel, and while it’s softer and more sensitive, it’s also made of minerals, and isn’t alive. Beneath the dentin, at the center of the tooth, is the pulp. The pulp is a living tissue and it’s made of blood vessels and nerves. When dentists talk about necrotic teeth, they mean that the pulp inside the tooth is dead.
How does pulp die?
Pulp dies when bacteria makes its way through the enamel and dentin and into the pulp. The bacteria leads to infection and inflammation of the pulp, but since the pulp is trapped inside your tooth, the swelling damages the pulp and eventually kills it.
There are lots of ways that this can happen. If you have a large cavity that eats its way through the enamel and dentin, bacteria and food particles will have an easy pathway to reach the pulp. The same thing can happen if you have a traumatic injury to your tooth (like a crack or serious chip) that exposes your pulp. It can also happen if your teeth are moved too quickly during orthodontic treatment.
What are the signs of necrotic teeth?
When pulp first becomes infected or inflamed due to bacteria, you can expect pain and sensitivity to hot and cold. At this point, you should have your toothache treated by a dentist, but if you don’t, the pulp will die. When the pulp dies, you’ll experience relief from the toothache. Once the nerves and blood vessels inside the pulp are dead, there’s no way for pain signals to be transmitted from that tooth. Your tooth may also take on a grey or black color due to the dead pulp.
Are necrotic teeth serious?
Your toothache will stop when your pulp dies, but that doesn’t mean that your problems are over. Once the pulp is dead, the inside of your tooth becomes a pathway for bacteria. Bacteria can travel down beneath your teeth and form an infection at the base of your tooth, known as an abscess. Abscesses can be life-threatening, so you don’t want to let your tooth get to this point.
How are necrotic teeth treated?
Necrotic teeth are treated by removing the dead pulp from inside the tooth and replacing it with an artificial filling material. This procedure is known as a root canal treatment, and you’ve probably heard about it before. Despite the horror stories you may have heard about root canal treatments, they’re a routine dental treatment and aren’t anything to be afraid of.
If an abscess has formed beneath your tooth, root canal treatment may not be enough. Your tooth may need to be pulled out to allow the infection underneath it to drain. Your dentist may also give you a prescription for antibiotics to kill the bacteria.
The pulps inside your teeth are alive, and like other living tissues, they can die. If your severe toothache suddenly goes away, you should be concerned, not relieved, as this could be a sign that your pulp has died. If this happens to you, make sure to see your dentist right away. If you have a kid complaining of a toothache as well, you should take them to a kids’ dentist as soon as possible in case they have exposed pulp.Learn More
More than one-quarter of diabetics over 50 have lost all of their teeth, and many of them choose to replace their missing teeth with dentures. Dentures are a great way to replace all of your teeth, but when you have diabetes, you may suffer from complications such as denture stomatitis. Here’s what you need to know about this condition.
What is denture stomatitis?
Denture stomatitis is a type of fungal infection that develops inside your mouth. It’s caused by a fungus called candida; this fungus is also known as yeast. This infection doesn’t always cause symptoms, so you may not know there’s something wrong until your dentist points it out. Other people suffer from symptoms like red, swollen gums and pain while wearing their dentures. You may also see white patches on your gums; these patches are the yeast colonies.
Does diabetes cause it?
Diabetes is a known risk factor for denture stomatitis. If your diabetes isn’t well-controlled, your high blood sugar levels can contribute to the development of denture stomatitis. This is because the yeast feeds on the high levels of sugar in your saliva, and since the yeast is so well-fed, it can grow out of control.
High blood sugar levels aren’t the only reason that so many diabetics have denture stomatitis. Diabetes causes other changes inside your mouth, such as a reduced flow of saliva. Saliva lubricates your gum tissue, so if you don’t have enough of it, your dentures can rub against your gums and damage them, which makes them more susceptible to fungal infection. Diabetes also weakens your immune system, so when the fungus takes hold in your damaged gums, you can’t fight it off very well.
Do all diabetics with dentures develop this condition?
Denture stomatitis is a very common complication for diabetics who wear dentures, but it doesn’t happen to everyone. Studies have shown that about 61% of diabetics develop this complication, compared to only 38% of denture wearers without diabetes. Controlling your blood sugar levels, keeping your mouth moist, and taking out your dentures when you go to sleep can help prevent this complication.
Is it dangerous?
Denture stomatitis can be uncomfortable, but as long as it’s treated quickly, it’s not serious. You need to get it treated so that you can wear your dentures without any discomfort, and to make sure that it doesn’t spread to other parts of your body. The yeast, if it’s not treated, can enter your bloodstream and spread to other areas of your body.
How is it treated?
Denture stomatitis is treated with antifungal medications. These medications work by killing the candida fungus that is responsible for the infection. Antifungal medications come in multiple forms, like gels, pills, and lozenges. Your dentist may tell you to stop wearing your dentures until the infection is gone; this is to allow your gums a chance to heal.
How can you prevent a recurrence?
Denture stomatitis can recur, but you can prevent this by making some small changes in your lifestyle. Make sure to clean your dentures regularly and take them out every night when you go to sleep. Your dentist may recommend using artificial saliva to keep your gums lubricated and protected from your dentures. You may also need to work with your family doctor to control your blood sugar levels more effectively.
Denture stomatitis is a common problem for diabetics, but if you’re careful, you can prevent it. If you think you already have this condition, see your dentist right away for treatment. If you haven’t been to the dentist in a long time, you could have this condition without knowing it, and should schedule a checkup soon at a denture clinic in your area.Learn More
Oral lichen planus is an autoimmune disease that makes your immune system attack the soft tissues inside your mouth, leaving them swollen and irritated. It usually affects the insides of your cheeks, your tongue, or your gums, but it can also affect other areas like the roof of your mouth. Here’s what you need to know about this potentially serious oral health problem.
What causes it?
Researchers still aren’t sure what makes your immune system turn against the tissues inside your mouth. They have a few theories as to what makes your white blood cells attack your own healthy cells instead of bacteria. Some diseases like Hepatitis C seem to trigger this reaction. Allergens that come in contact with your mouth, like foods, have also been implicated. Even seemingly harmless medications like ibuprofen may be involved in causing this condition.
Who gets oral lichen planus?
Oral lichen planus can affect anyone, but it’s more common in older people. Studies have shown that the average woman with oral lichen planus is 61, and the average man with the condition is 58. It’s also much more common in women than in men: about 75% of people with oral lichen planus are women.
Is it a common condition?
Oral lichen planus is fairly rare. One study found that it affects about 1.27% of the general population. The same study also broke down the prevalence rate along gender lines, reporting that 0.96% of men and 1.57% of women suffer from it.
How do you know you have oral lichen planus?
This condition causes many visible symptoms inside your mouth. You may see lots of small white dots on the surface of your tongue or other tissues. These dots tend to form a lace-like pattern. In addition, some areas may be red or swollen, and if your gums are affected, they may peel. Some people also get painful sores inside their mouths; these sores may be mistaken for other conditions such as canker sores.
How serious is this condition?
On its own, oral lichen planus is usually not serious, though it is chronic and can be painful. The real risk with oral lichen planus is its tendency to become malignant. People with oral lichen planus have an increased risk of getting oral cancer, particularly squamous cell carcinoma. For this reason, it’s very important that patients with oral lichen planus see their dentist regularly for oral cancer screening.
Can it be treated?
Oral lichen planus can’t be cured, but dentists can offer many treatments that will ease your symptoms. The main treatment is corticosteroids. These medications work by both reducing the swelling in the area and reducing the immune response. Corticosteroids are given in many forms, including gels, mouthwashes, and injections.
Immunosuppressants can also be helpful. These medications work by reducing your immune system’s strength, which gives your damaged tissues a chance to heal. The problem with immunosuppressant drugs is that they don’t just stop the immune response in your mouth; they stop it in your whole body, which leaves you more susceptible to illness.
If these medications don’t work, dentists still have more options. Oral lichen planus can be managed with photochemotherapy, which uses long wave ultraviolet light, or even with laser treatment. These treatments are usually just a last resort but are effective when they’re needed.
Oral lichen planus is a painful, chronic condition that affects the inside of your mouth. If you think you have it, you need to see a dentistry clinic in your area right away for treatment. It can’t be cured, but there are many treatments that can ease your discomfort and make your mouth heal faster.
Many people are apprehensive about visiting the dentist. While most fears are general fears of having work carried out, some people suffer from more specific fears that arise due to a bad experience or misunderstanding of the procedures involved. One of the most common fears is a fear of local anesthetic which causes you to “go numb”. Below are three root causes of this fear and how to get over it:
Underlying Fear of Suffocating or Choking
While local anesthetic itself will not cause suffocation, many people feel that the physical changes experienced while numb could possibly lead to choking or an inability to breathe. The reason for this is that having local anesthetic administered into the mouth can oftentimes stop people from experiencing the feeling associated with swallowing or breathing. However, this is not dangerous and is merely due to the brain shutting off signals from these regions, rather than shutting off these regions themselves.
Local anesthetic administered at small dosages will not affect your body’s ability to carry out simple motor functions such as breathing or swallowing. In particularly high dosages, it is possible that your body’s functionality will be affected; however, these dosages should never be administered by medical professionals. Rather, the dosages are kept at a small level so that they only reduce your body’s ability to feel pain.
Losing Control of Your Body
One of the common side effects associated with local anesthetic is drooling around the mouth. This occurs because feeling around the area is temporarily shut off, meaning your brain has difficulty in noticing drooling and taking steps to prevent it occurring. As such, many people are worried about going numb, as it relates to a loss of control in particular areas.
It’s understandable that people are worried about losing control of their body, as they may be worried about injuring themselves without noticing. For example, some people are worried that they may accidentally burn themselves whilst eating because their mouth is unable to detect the temperature of the food.
For other people, the fear of losing control comes from a sense of embarrassment associated with feeling numb. Slurred conversation and drooling aren’t particularly attractive traits, so it’s understandable that people would want to retain control of their body to avoid embarrassing themselves.
However, it’s important to understand that everyone has to visit the dentist at some point – you’re in good company! While it may be embarrassing at first, people will understand that the problems are associated with recent dental work and will not judge you on your behavior. With that said, if you can’t seem to get over this sense of embarrassment, then it may be a good idea to schedule your appointments for weekends or a time when you don’t have to return to work. This will give you the space you need to fully heal before facing people, allowing you to avoid the embarrassment you may have experienced otherwise.
Misinterpreting Numbness as a Threat
Numbness isn’t a natural feeling experienced by humans and your body is wired to interpret numbness as a threat. The feeling of numbness often occurs due to other factors, such as infection, poor supply of blood to the area, or even poisoning. As such, it’s understandable that experiencing numbness can trigger panic responses in some people due to the negative connotations associated with the feeling.
Although your logical brain knows that the numbness is caused by local anesthetic and will disappear soon, your body may have an instant reaction to the anesthetic. These are very primitive reactions that don’t have an easy fix; however, it’s important to remain calm and rational if you are have this feeling. Education is the key; while it may not be possible to completely remove your body’s response to the anesthetic, understanding why the medication is required and how it works can help calm you down.
For more information, talk to the dentist at a local clinic like Sidney Harbour Dental Center.Learn More
Most people recognize that sugar is bad for many aspects of their health, especially their teeth. Unfortunately, many people do not fully understand the relationship between sugar and tooth decay. Furthermore, current research and dental trends focus on reducing the effects of sugar rather than adopting a holistic approach that eliminates sugar from the diet. Below are the things you need to understand about sugar and your oral health.
What Does Sugar Do to Your Teeth?
Have you been told that sugar causes cavities? While it is true that sugar contributes to cavities, it does not cause them directly. Sugar causes bacteria that live in your mouth to produce acid. It is this acid that eats away at your enamel and causes cavities. Each time you put sugar in your mouth, it takes about twenty minutes for the bacteria in your mouth to break down the sugar. While the sugar is being broken down, the bacteria continues to produce acid. This means that if you take a bite of something sugary every twenty minutes as opposed to eating it all at once, you will continually produce acid for an extended period of time, increasing your risk of tooth decay.
Understanding Current Trends and Research
Researchers know that sugar consumption is directly related to the development of cavities. In fact, your dentist has probably told you that sugar is not good for your teeth. However, much of the current research is focused on ways to combat the effects of sugar and protect your teeth from your sugar consumption rather than how to recognize and reduce your overall sugar consumption. This is largely due to funding for research paid for by the sugar industry, which seeks to focus on ways that consumers can continue to eat sugar. This means that you are more likely to read articles and hear news about how you can combat the affects of sugar rather than ways that you can effectively cut sugar out of your diet.
Ways to Cut Back
The best way for you to protect your teeth from cavities is to reduce the amount of acid produced in your mouth. This means limiting the frequency and amount of your sugar consumption. To reduce the amount of sugar in your diet and keep it out in the long term, you need to make slow, consistent changes to how and what you eat. The first step is to recognize which foods have sugar and when you tend to eat them. Then, figure out ways to meet your psychological and physical needs with foods that do not contain sugar.
One thing you should avoid when trying to cut out sugar is artificial sweeteners. These can actually make you crave more sugar, making your battle more difficult in the long run.
Ways to Combat
Since it is difficult to completely cut sugar out of your diet, you should still be aware of ways that you can combat the effects of sugar on your teeth. Rinsing your mouth with water or chewing an acid-neutralizing gum can help to reduce the amount of acid that comes in contact with your teeth. Having your dentist place sealants and scheduling regular cleanings to remove the plaque in your mouth can also reduce tooth decay caused by sugar in your diet. Consuming sugary snacks at once as opposed to snacking on them throughout the day can also reduce the damage you face.
Ultimately, the best way to prevent sugar-related tooth decay is to reduce or eliminate sugar from your diet. However, for most people this is an unrealistic goal. In these instances, it is important to know when you are consuming sugar and how to combat its effects. For more tips on your dental health, contact a local clinic like Forest Lawn Dental Centre.Learn More
If you have temporomandibular joint disorder or TMJ, then your jaw and facial muscles are likely quite sensitive and painful. Your jaw also may pop and feel tight. Arthritis, stress, tooth grinding, and jaw injury can all cause the condition, and you may find it difficult to keep your mouth open for an extended period of time. This can make regular dental visits both difficult and painful. Unfortunately, skipped dental visits can lead to a build up of tartar on the teeth and the formation of cavities. Dental visits can be pain free though.
Ask Your Dentist to Use Supports
Dental visits can be uncomfortable for people with TMJ, because the jaw cannot be opened wide due to tight muscles and tendons around the jaw joints. Also, stress is placed against the jaw when your dental professional rests their hands on the mouth when cleaning the teeth. This can force the mouth open wider than is normally comfortable. Not only is the discomfort bothersome, but routine dental exams can be lengthened significantly when you ask to take breaks during your appointment.
Jaw Support Devices
Stress, discomfort, and breaks can all be reduced if your dentist uses a jaw support device. Ask your dentist if this type of product can be used during your dental appointments. The jaw support attaches around the shoulders and chest and a foam protrusion sits underneath the jaw. The foam pad is moveable and adjusted to your height. Once adjustments are made, your chin rests on the padding during the entirety of your dental visit.
If your dentist does not have a jaw support device, consider bringing a pillow with you that can be placed comfortably underneath your chin. Your dental professional can place two or three rolled up towels on your chest and under your jaw as well to provide added support.
Take Muscle Relaxants
If you have a mild or moderate case of TMJ, then your doctor or dentist may ask you to take NSAID pain relievers alone to treat your condition. This can reduce normal discomfort, but the medications cannot reduce pain during high stress situations. Muscle relaxants can relax your jaw muscles during these times. Muscle relaxants help to reduce muscle spasms that can occur when the mouth is open for an extended period of time. The drugs work within the brain to stop the motor neurons from becoming excited. This stops the brain from sending messages that the jaw muscles should contract.
Muscle relaxants have a sedative effect on the entire body, so they can reduce general stress during dental exams as well. You may feel sleepy when taking the medication though, so make sure to arrange for a ride to and from the dental office if your physician prescribes muscle relaxants for use during dental appointments.
Massage the Jaw
Medical professionals often indicate that TMJ can be assisted with the use of facial massage. Massaging the jaw joints and muscles can loosen the tissues and reduce stress and discomfort. You can massage your own jaw, and this is a good idea before dental appointments. Use your fingers to gently rub your face where your top and bottom jaws come together. Use circular motions and extend the massage across the upper cheek and lower jaw area.
Once you complete the massage, stretch your jaw muscles by opening your jaw as wide as you can. Hold your jaw in place for 15 seconds and close your mouth. Repeat the process 10 times to make sure your jaw muscles are as loose as possible. You can also place a warm cloth on your face for several minutes to help soothe and loosen your jaw muscles as well.
If you have TMJ, then dental visits may be extremely uncomfortable for you. Fortunately, they do not have to be as long as you ask your dentist to use a jaw support and you take muscle relaxants before appointments. Massaging your jaw can offer assistance too.Learn More
As a parent, you probably already know that soda is an unhealthy choice for your child. However, once your child gets into the habit of drinking soda regularly, that habit can be tough to break. Many parents allow their children to continue drinking soda simply because they’re not sure how to wean them off it is successfully. As a result, many of those children suffer from lifelong dental problems such as tooth decay and weak tooth enamel.
If your child reaches for soda on a daily basis, it’s essential that you break this habit now. Waiting will only make the habit harder to break and will give dental problems more time to set in. Don’t feel guilty that your child has developed this habit; you’re not alone. Studies have indicated that at least one in four school children consume at least four servings of soda a day! What’s important now is that you act quickly to make your child one of the four out of five who don’t drink that much soda.
Why Soda is So Bad For Teeth
The sugar in soda is notoriously bad for teeth. It feeds oral bacteria, which produce acids that cause tooth decay. The effects of sugar are even worse when your child drinks soda between meals, since the sugars may sit on the teeth for hours before your child eats something else or brushes his or her teeth again.
There is a second, lesser-known reason why soda is so bad for teeth, and it has to do with the soda’s acidic qualities. The acid in soda helps it maintain its fizz, but it’s also terrible for teeth. It can erode tooth enamel, especially on the front teeth, since they come into direct contact with the soda as your child drinks.
Some parents mistakenly think it’s okay for their children to drink soda when they are young, since they still their baby teeth will fall out anyways. However, this is not the case. Your child’s baby teeth play an important role in guiding the adult teeth into place as they erupt, and it is essential that you keep them in good health.
How to Break the Soda Habit
A good way to break the soda habit is to slowly decrease your child’s intake over time. Like any other habit, this one is hard to quit cold turkey. However, if you wean your child off of soda slowly, he or she will have an easier time adapting to the change. Start by identifying how often your child drinks soda right now. Perhaps he or she drinks one soda with each meal, or maybe it’s just one soda a day.
Once you know how often your child drinks soda, it’s time to scale back. For example, if your child drinks three sodas per day, start by cutting out one of those sodas. When your child gets used to this change, eliminate an additional soda, followed by elimination of the final soda after several weeks. Replace the sodas with healthier choices, such as milk and water. Remember that even diet soda is not a healthy choice, since it still contains the acids that erode tooth enamel.
Your child may be reluctant to reduce his or her soda intake. To help get him or her on board, spend time time discussing the dangerous of soda. You can also ask your family dentist to reiterate to your child how bad soda is for the teeth. Often, hearing advice like this from someone other than a parent will make a child more willing to follow it.
Another way to motivate your child to quit drinking soda is to offer him or her some type of reward when soda is no longer a part of the daily routine. Perhaps you could take your son or daughter to the new skate park or to see a movie in the theater to celebrate the accomplishment.
It’s never too late to quit soda and prevent future dental problems. Whether your soda-sipping child is three or thirteen, make today the day you start weaning him or her away from this dangerous beverage.Learn More