Posts for: September, 2018
Maintaining good oral hygiene habits and visiting the dentist regularly for checkups are important steps for keeping your natural teeth healthy so you can preserve them for as long as possible. Sometimes it is necessary to extract a tooth, though. In such cases, extraction is performed to maintain or improve your overall oral health. For example, extracting a severely infected tooth prevents the infection from spreading to other teeth. At Proven Dental, Dr. James Murphy is your dentist in Waukesha, WI for tooth extractions.
Reasons for Extraction
There are several situations when extraction of a tooth is the best option. One situation that calls for extraction is a severely infected tooth. A primary reason for extracting an infected tooth is to prevent the infection from spreading to other areas of the mouth so additional teeth do not become infected and also require extraction. Your Waukesha, WI, dentist can advise you if extraction would be beneficial in your case. Other situations that often call for extraction include:
- Severely infected teeth
- Teeth damaged by injury or trauma
- Impacted wisdom teeth that will not fully erupt
- Overcrowded teeth with insufficient space
- Baby teeth that have not fallen out by the normal age
Several steps are involved in the procedure for extracting a tooth. An x-ray is usually taken prior to beginning the procedure so the dentist can examine the positioning of the tooth’s root and make the appropriate adjustments if it is oddly positioned. Local anesthesia will then be applied to the extraction site to numb the area. A sedative might also be administered, which helps patients relax during the procedure. Finally, the problem tooth will be extracted.
Tooth extraction can be required when a tooth has been extensively damaged or infected. Extraction can also be necessary when in cases of overcrowding. To find out if you need a tooth extracted, schedule an appointment with Dr. Murphy, your dentist in Waukesha, WI, by calling Proven Dental at (262) 650-3000.
Cancer treatment can be an all-out battle with intense side effects for your entire body. One particular area that can suffer is your mouth.
Chemotherapy and radiation target and destroy cancer cells, which can lead to non-cancerous cells caught in the crossfire and also destroyed. The salivary glands in the mouth are prone to such damage, which could greatly impact your ability to ward off dental disease.
Saliva, what salivary glands produce, plays a major role in oral health. The bodily fluid disseminates antibodies throughout the mouth that fight disease-causing bacteria. It also neutralizes acid, which can erode tooth enamel, and helps restore lost minerals to the enamel.
If the salivary glands become damaged, however, they may produce less saliva and create a condition called xerostomia or “dry mouth.” This is a common occurrence for cancer patients, which can rob them of saliva’s benefits and make them more susceptible to tooth decay or periodontal (gum) disease. The end result could be tooth loss.
There are things you and your dentist can do to prevent this. First, have a complete dental checkup before undergoing cancer treatment. If at all possible have any necessary dental work undertaken (with adequate recovery time afterward) before beginning chemo or radiation. Your dentist and oncologist (cancer specialist) may need to coordinate any planned dental work.
You should also practice daily oral hygiene with brushing and flossing, along with keeping up your regular dental cleanings. This will prevent the buildup on teeth of bacterial plaque, which in turn will reduce your chances for dental disease. Your dentist may also prescribe antibacterial as well as fluoride mouth rinses to help limit the growth of oral bacteria.
To minimize dry mouth, increase your water consumption as much as possible. You may also use saliva boosters like xylitol, an alcohol-based sweetener found in many gums or mints that promotes salivation (it also deters oral bacterial growth).
And don’t forget to maintain a healthy diet, which will not only benefit your stamina during cancer treatment but can also help you maintain better dental health. Providing good care for your mouth during this trying time will help ensure your teeth and gums stay as healthy as possible.
If you would like more information on oral care, 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 “Oral Health During Cancer Treatment.”
While tooth decay seems to get most of the “media attention,” there’s another oral infection just as common and destructive: periodontal (gum) disease. In fact, nearly half of adults over 30 have some form of it.
And like tooth decay, it begins with bacteria: while most are benign or even beneficial, a few strains of these micro-organisms can cause gum disease. They thrive and multiply in a thin, sticky film of food particles on tooth surfaces called plaque. Though not always apparent early on, you may notice symptoms like swollen, reddened or bleeding gums.
The real threat, though, is that untreated gum disease will advance deeper below the gum line, infecting the connective gum tissues, tooth roots and supporting bone. If it’s not stopped, affected teeth can lose support from these structures and become loose or out of position. Ultimately, you could lose them.
We can stop this disease by removing accumulated plaque and calculus (calcified plaque, also known as tartar) from the teeth, which continues to feed the infection. To reach plaque deposits deep below the gum line, we may need to surgically access them through the gums. Even without surgery, it may still take several cleaning sessions to remove all of the plaque and calculus found.
These treatments are effective for stopping gum disease and allowing the gums to heal. But there’s a better way: preventing gum disease before it begins through daily oral hygiene. In most cases, plaque builds up due to a lack of brushing and flossing. It takes only a few days without practicing these important hygiene tasks for early gingivitis to set in.
You should also visit the dentist at least twice a year for professional cleanings and checkups. A dental cleaning removes plaque and calculus from difficult to reach places. Your dentist also uses the visit to evaluate how well you’re doing with your hygiene efforts, and offer advice on how you can improve.
Like tooth decay, gum disease can rob you of your dental health. But it can be stopped—both you and your dentist can keep this infection from ruining your smile.