Q: “I come every six months, how can I have so much work to do?”
The six month dental check up is designed to identify dental problem areas at an earlier stage so that they can be treated by more conservative means (such as fillings) rather than needing more complex treatments (such as root canals). There are several reasons why you might have more areas that need dental treatment at one of your visits even if you have been coming every six (6) months:
1.Age of the work: So far, none of our restorative materials completely mimic natural tooth structure. Because of this, the margin or edge of your filling or crown eventually breaks down, allowing decay to form in the gap between the margin and your tooth. If you had a large number of teeth filled around the same time in the past, it is possible that they will all break down around the same time and need to be replaced.
2.Proximity of other work that needs to be done: For example, if you have decay between your teeth, the area will tend to trap food and plaque. This will often cause decay to occur on the tooth next door.
3.Ignoring known or identified problems: I know it sounds silly when it’s put like that, but I can’t tell you how many times we hear people say they’ll “just wait” when I tell them there is a dental problem. Tooth decay does not go away—it just gets bigger and deeper. A tooth abscess won’t go away on its own—it will stay abscessed until the path the bacteria is taking to the nerve is treated by a root canal or by tooth removal. Gum disease doesn’t go away on its own—it gets progressively worse, and the more bone that has been lost, the tougher it is to manage. A split tooth won’t magically heal itself. The fact is that very few dental problems will fix themselves if you “just wait”. While in most cases it is fine to wait a couple weeks to make arrangements, putting treatment off indefinitely can lead to many things going wrong at once.
4.Changes in your habits, health, or medications: Have you changed what you eat or drink in the last 6 months? One patient’s increase in tooth decay was traced to the grape Hubba Bubba bubblegum (not sugar free) that she chewed to replace her cigarettes while quitting smoking. Has your health changed in the last 6 or so months? Some health conditions and/or their treatments can cause changes in your mouth. For example, diabetes can cause gum disease to worsen more quickly than it does in a non-diabetic person. Have your medications or supplements changed in the last 6 to 12 months? Many medications cause dry mouth. Saliva/spit rinses food and other particles off your teeth and also helps make the mouth less acidic. Acids can wear away your tooth structure.
5.Bruxing, grinding and clenching your teeth: These habits create a lot of stress and force on your teeth. Teeth can crack, break, chip, or split as a result. Fillings can break too, especially if they wear thin. Changing the bite on one tooth can change how other teeth in your mouth hit and cause the other teeth to have problems.
There are other reasons why you might feel like a whole bunch of dental treatment is needed all at once or within a short period of time. Each person is unique. Communication with your dentist and dental team is important to determine which factor or factors are at work in your mouth.
Note: The information in this article is not meant to replace the clincial judgement of your healthcare professionals.
Dr. Jennifer Robb is a general dentist with an office at 1320 Cooper Foster Park Rd., Lorain, OH. She is accepting new patients. Please call 440-960-1940. Also check out her website www.drjrobb.com and find her on Facebook at www.facebook.com/DrJenniferRobb
Dinnertime is a great opportunity to enjoy not only your meal, but also the company of friends and family. But a temporomandibular joint disorder (TMD) can drain the pleasure from these dining experiences if the mere act of chewing is a painful ordeal.
Besides curbing pleasure while dining, eating difficulties caused by TMD can also affect your health: You may find yourself limiting your choices to only those that cause the least amount of discomfort. But those restricted choices may deprive you of a balanced diet essential to overall well-being.
But there are ways to reduce your discomfort and enjoy a greater abundance of healthy foods, as well as your dining experience. Here are 3 tips to make eating easier if you have TMD.
Prepare your food. Easing TMD discomfort starts while you're preparing your food to cook. First off, remove the tougher peel or skin from apples, potatoes or similar fruits and vegetables. And, be sure to chop foods into small enough pieces to reduce how much your jaws must open to comfortably chew your food.
Choose “wetter” cooking methods. One of the best ways to soften foods is to moisten them, either during the cooking process or by adding it in some form to the dish. Use braising techniques when you cook as much as possible. And try to incorporate sauces or gravies, especially with leaner meats, for added moisture.
Modify your eating habits. Food prep is only one aspect of a more comfortable dining experience with TMD—you can also benefit from modifying how you eat. Concentrate on taking smaller bites of food and slow down your chewing motion. You should also limit how much you open your jaw while chewing to keep it within your comfort range as much as possible.
With a little experimentation, you can find the right balance between a wide variety of foods and more comfortable eating. If you have TMD, using these tips could help mealtime become a delightful—and more nutritious—experience.
If you would like more information on managing TMD, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can also learn more about this topic by reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “What to Eat When TMJ Pain Flares Up.”
Tooth enamel is like armor for your teeth. Though it is the hardest substance in your body, it is not invulnerable. Everyone is at risk, but teens and young adults have more porous, immature tooth enamel that breaks down easily.
Most of you are probably aware of the danger sugars present to your teeth, but you may not be aware that acids can have the same or worse effects. Acids strip minerals from your teeth, damaging the enamel.
What are some common foods and beverages that you might not realize contribute to damaging your teeth?
• Sports Drinks: In one study, sports drinks did more damage to teeth than sodas or juices! Sports drinks contain acids which are added to help replenish what your body has lost. Generally speaking, only true endurance athletes need to use sports drinks.
• Energy Drinks: Energy drinks placed second in damage to your tooth enamel because there is little in them to buffer the acids they contain. Some energy drinks also contain a lot of sugar to give you an immediate boost of energy. Sugar plus acid equals a double whammy for your enamel!
• Soft Drinks: The high acid content of all sodas, including diet varieties, strips minerals from your teeth. Non-diet sodas contain oral-bacteria-activating sugars and, just like energy drinks, provide a double whammy to your teeth. Clear, citrus flavored sodas cause 2 to 5 times more damage to your teeth than colas.
• Fruit Juices & Drinks: Even 100% juice drinks contain some acids. Citrus, apple and berry flavors have the most. Since juices do have some benefits such as vitamins and anti-oxidants, it is recommended that you drink them in moderation and that you rinse your mouth with water afterward. Calcium-fortified juices may pose less of a hazard to your tooth enamel due to calcium counteracting the acidic effects.
• Sour Candy: One study showed that sour candies, such as Sour Patch Kids or SweetTarts, are worse for teeth than regular chewy candy, hard candy or licorice. Acid added by the manufacturer’s to create the tangy taste seems to be the culprit.
• Fruit: Citrus fruits and berries contain the most enamel damaging acids. Because fruits have so many health benefits, eat them with meals to minimize damage and don’t suck on citrus fruit slices.
• Vinegar: Vinegar is a hidden ingredient in many foods because it is a low fat way to add flavor. Some common products that contain vinegar are pickles, salad dressings, sauces, some potato chips, and even ketchup.
So what can you do to minimize acid wear on your teeth?
1. Avoid snacking
2. Don’t swish acidic beverage around in or hold them in your mouth. Sip through a straw to limit the amount of contact with your teeth.
3. Rinse your mouth with plain water or chew sugarless gum after meals to neutralize acids.
4. Consume high calcium milk or cheese before or with meals to help reharden enamel. Foods high in iron like liver or broccoli may help too.
5. Wait 30 minutes before brushing after eating or drinking highly acidic foods or beverages to allow your softened enamel a chance to reharden. Softened enamel is more likely to be damaged by the mechanical actions of your toothbrush.
6. Brush with a fluoride toothpaste to help strengthen your enamel. Some brands like Sensodyne Pronamel are specifically designed to make fluoride available to counteract the acids in your foods and beverages. Home fluoride treatments are also available.
7. See your dentist for regular checkups and cleanings. Healthy teeth and healthy enamel are linked.
Once enamel is damaged, it is hard to reverse the process. Take the time to protect your teeth. If you do not have a dentist, I invite you to call my office at 440-960-1940 to make an appointment. You can also ask questions or make comments on facebook at www.facebook.com/drjenniferrobb
Note: The information in this article is not meant to replace the judgement of your health care professionals.
Jennifer G. Robb, DMD is a general dentist with an office located at 1320 Cooper Foster Park Rd. W, Lorain, OH 44053
If you have a hip replacement or knee replacement, you may find that there are some changes to the recommendations for taking antibiotics prior to your dental appointments compared to when your joint replacement was done. You should discuss this information with your dentist and the doctor who did your replacement.
A recent review of studies by the American Dental Association (ADA) did not show that infections in replaced joints came from dental treatment visits. Since the risks of antibiotic use include C-diff and antibiotic resistances, the ADA concluded that the risks of using antibiotics are higher than the chance of you getting an infection near your replacement joint. The ADA now recommends that dentists not routinely prescribe premedication with antibiotics prior to dental appointments.
Since each person is different, you should discuss this with your dentist. Your dentist may recommend that you talk with the doctor who did your replacement. Some dentists prefer that the orthopedic office write the prescription if the orthopod wants you to take it.
DISCLAIMER NOTE: The information in this article is not meant to replace the clinical judgement of your healthcare professionals.
Dr. Jennifer Robb is a general dentist with an office at 1320 Cooper Foster Park Rd., Lorain, OH. She is accepting new patients. Find out more about Dr. Robb at www.drjrobb.com or find her on Facebook at www.facebook.com/DrJenniferRobb
The NBA's reigning MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo may seem unstoppable, but he proved no match for a troubled tooth. Antetokounmpo, the self-proclaimed “Greek Freak,” missed one of the final three 2020 regular season games for a dental issue that resulted in last-minute oral surgery. According to a Milwaukee Bucks spokesperson, the star underwent “a root-canal like procedure.”
Root canal therapy, often simply called “a root canal,” may be needed when there is an infection inside the tooth. When dental pulp becomes inflamed or infected, excruciating pain can result. Pulp is the soft tissue that fills the inside of the tooth. It is made up of nerves, blood vessels and connective tissue. During root canal treatment, the pulp is removed, the space inside the tooth is disinfected, it is filled with a special material, and then the hole is sealed up.
A root canal is nothing to fear. It relieves pain by getting rid of infection and is so effective that over 15 million of them are performed in the U.S. each year. This routine procedure generally requires only local anesthetic, and your mouth should be back to normal within a day or two after treatment. Antetokounmpo can attest to that, as he returned to play the next day.
However, delaying root canal treatment when you need it can have serious consequences. If left untreated, an infection inside the tooth continues to spread, and it may move into the gums and jaw and cause other problems in the body. So, how do you know if you may need a root canal? Here are some signs:
Lingering sensitivity to hot or cold temperatures. One sign of nerve damage inside your tooth is pain that is still there 30 seconds after eating or drinking something hot or cold.
Intense pain when biting down. You may feel pain deep within your tooth, or in your jaw, face or other teeth. The pain may be hard to pinpoint—and even if it improves at times, it usually comes back.
A chipped, cracked or discolored tooth. A chip or crack can allow bacteria to enter the tooth, and the tooth may darken if the tissue inside is damaged.
A pimple on the gum. A bump or pimple on the gum that doesn't go away or keeps coming back may signify that a nearby tooth is infected.
Tender, swollen gums. Swollen gums may indicate an infection inside the tooth or the need for periodontal treatment.
And sometimes there is no pain, but an infection may be discovered during a dental exam.
Tooth pain should never be ignored, so don't put off a dental visit when you have a toothache. In fact, if a bad toothache goes away, it could mean that the nerves inside the tooth have died, but the infection may still be raging. Also, be sure to keep up with your regular dental checkups. We may spot a small problem that can be addressed before it becomes a bigger problem that would require more extensive treatment.
Remember, for dental issues both large and small, we're on your team! If you would like more information about tooth pain, please contact us or schedule a consultation. To learn more, read the Dear Doctor magazine articles “Tooth Pain? Don't Wait!” and “Root Canal Treatment: What You Need to Know.”
This website includes materials that are protected by copyright, or other proprietary rights. Transmission or reproduction of protected items beyond that allowed by fair use, as defined in the copyright laws, requires the written permission of the copyright owners.