BEWARE ! A Oral Cancer Alert !

BEWARE ! A Oral Cancer Alert !

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The World Health Organization (WHO) has clearly identified prevention and early detection
as major objectives in the control of oral cancer worldwide.

Currently,screening of oral cancer as well as its early detection, is still largely based
on visual examination of the oral cavity most often done during a regular dental checkup!

That being said, a simple visual examination however is well known to be limited by
subjectiveinterpretation and by the potential occurrence of dysplasia ( abnormality of developement).

As a consequence, adjunctive techniques have been suggested to increase our ability to
differentiate between benign abnormalities of the oral mucosa and dysplastic/malignant
changes as well as to identify areas od tissue dysplasia of early oral squamous cell carcinoma (OSCC)
that are not visible to the naked eye.

Some of these adjunctive techniques include the use of toludine blue, brush biopsy,
chemiluminescence and tissue autofluorescence.

Although some studies have demonstrated promising results, stronger evidence to support
the use of oral cancer diagnostic aids is still lacking and further research will be required
in the future.

From what I’ve read recently, cancer of the head and neck including all oral, laryngeal and
pharyngeal sites is the 6th most common cancer accounting for approximately 643,000 new cases
annually. About 40% of these head and neck malignancies are known to be Oral Squamous cell
carcinomas (OSCC) that appear in the oral cavity.

We know that oral cancer is largely related to lifestyle with major risks factors being tobacco
and alcohol misuse. In addition to smoking, the use of smokeless tobacco has also been strongly
linked to oral cancer.

With the above being said, My Dear Mother’s oral cancer was indeed a contradiction of sorts.
She neither smoked nor drank any alcohol and yet she was a victim of Oral Squamous Cell Carcinoma.

Virtually all OSCC are preceded by visual changes that take place in the oral cavity.These changes
are usually identified as whitish lesions (leukoplakia) and reddish lesions (erythroplakia) in the
oral cavity .

Back to my dear Mother’s cancer ordeal. Although my Mothers oral cancer was not associated with
a smoking or drinking habit, she was wearing an ill-fitting,acrylic Partial lower denture.I found
out about it soon after I graduated from dental school.

My Mom knew she had denture problems but because she was waiting for me to graduate and make her new
dentures, she neglected to go to a dentist to seek out help for her ill-fitting denture problems.
This was an extremely poor and fatal decision on her part.

Needless to say, my mother more or less contributed to her premature demise because of her own naivety
and neglect. Obviously, my Mother’s dental IQ was not too good.

Soon after I graduated form dental school my Mother came to visit my family in Vancouver BC and I took
her to my office and examined her mouth. I was shocked when I identified a rather large, fibrous-like white
lesion on the lateral border of her tongue.

I asked her how long she was aware of this lesion and she said maybe three or four years. I tried hard
to conceal my emotions because even though I had just graduated, I knew I was looking at something that
was not normal and needed to be checked out ASAP.

I made her a new partial denture and sent her home to see her Family Physician.Dr Stefanelli. He immediately
performed a surgical biopsy and the first result were negative. What a relief!

But soon afterwards, a second biopsy was completed and this time the results were positive. My Mother had the
most devastating form of oral cancer OSCC. It had spread into her lower, lymphatic neck vessels and lymphnodes
as well as the surrounding anatomical tissues.

Her prognosis was highly guarded and after an extremely invasive surgical procedure followed
by heavy dosages of radiation therapy, she passed away at the age of 63. Watching my mother go through
such a painful ordeal was very difficult for me. My Dad even thought that perhaps I had something to do
with her death indirectly because I did remake her a new denture before her cancer was diagnosed.

Had my Mother seeked out professional help when she first became aware that her ill-fitting denture was
causing her some pain and discomfort, she may have lived longer and not have been subjected to such a
traumatic,disfiguring surgical procedure.

The dentist’s role in early detection of oral cancer is crucial for several reasons. Firstly,his or
her working time and interest are concerned exclusively with the head, neck and oral cavity.

On top of that, the dentist will likely be the first professional to have the opportunity to
recognize unnoticed lesions in the mouth that may be pre-cancerous in nature. Secondly, any person
who realizes that they may have a problem in her or his mouth will likely go to a dentist
before going to a Physician.

It is for this reason and this reason alone that denture wearers MUST go to a dentist when they
have denture problems and not a dental mechanic or lab technician who does not have the training
and education to identify pre-cancerous lesions in the mouth.Although chronic denture irritation
has been associated with oral cancer, its exact cause has not been clearly established. I believe
that ill-fitting dentures may have a definite influence in the initiation of a cancerous lesion of
the mouth if they exist untreated over an extended period of time.

This is why all denture wearers NEED to have a regular annual dental checkups. Every white lesion of
the oral cavity should never be ignored. If such a lesions remains noticeable for an extended period
of time after all other possible causes have been eliminated, YOU need to be concerned for your
safety and well-being.

Please don’t become a statistic like my dear Mother. The international Agency for Research (IARC)
and the World Health Organization (WHO), have recently stressed that we can reduce one 3rd of 15 million
cancer cases in the future and more effectively manage another third by planning effective cancer
control screening strategies.

Mouth cancer is often seen in association with patients with poor oral hygiene and badly neglected teeth.
For years,tobacco has also been indicated as a factor in the cause of oral cancer because of the higher
incidence of oral cancer that is found in smokers and people who chew tobacco than in non-smokers.

Dental Implants

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A dental implant is a “root” device, usually made of titanium, used in dentistry
to support restorations that resemble a tooth or group of teeth to replace missing teeth.
A typical implant consists of a titanium screw (resembling a tooth root) with a
roughened or smooth surface. The majority of dental implants are made out of commercially
pure titanium, which is available in 4 grades depending upon the amount of carbon and iron
contained.
They are used for the support and retention of dentures, fixed bridgework
and the replacement of one or more missing teeth.
Virtually all dental implants placed today are root-form endosseous implants,
i.e., they appear similar to an actual tooth root (and thus possess a “root-form”).
They are placed within the jaw bone and become attached to surrounding jaw bone.
The bone of the jaw accepts and osseointegrates with the titanium post.
Osseointegration refers to the fusion of the implant surface with the surrounding bone.
Although dental implants will fuse with bone,they lack the periodontal ligament, so they
will feel slightly different than natural teeth during chewing.
The implants remain rigid rather than have some flexibility that natural teeth
have which are attached individually to a periodontal ligament.
Prior to the advent of root-form endosseous implants, most implants were either
blade endosseous implants, in that the shape of the metal piece placed within the bone
resembled a flat blade, or subperiosteal implants, in which a framework was constructed
to lie upon and was attached with screws to the exposed bone of the jaws.
Dental implants can be used to support a number of dental prostheses, including
crowns, implant-supported bridges or dentures.[1] They can also be used as anchorage for
orthodontic tooth movement. The use of dental implants permits un-directional tooth
movement without reciprocal action
You should know that NOT every person may be a candidate for receiving a dental
implant.There has to be enough supporting bone present particularly in the Maxillary
(upper jaw)that is in such close proximity to the maxillary sinus. You also must have good
oral hygiene and be in good general health.
That being said, certain invasive surgical procedures can be implemented like bone
grafts,or bone augmentations and/or sinus lifts to provide enough bone. One obvious
contraindication for implants is placing them in the lower jaw in close proximity of the
mandibular canal whichhas the mandibular nerve running through it.
Placing implants in such places could result in prolonged and/or permanent numbness of
the lower lip and jaw . A very un-desireable outcome indeed !
Although many dental professionals can provide you with implants, you must do your due
diligence and ensure that the professional you select, is highly trained and experienced in
dental implant procedures.
Oral surgeons, Periodontist, Endodontists and general dental practioners who have had the
necessary training and education can perform this service for you.
The actual dental implant procedure is not usually painful during or after the surgical
placement. It is usually performed with the use of a local anesthetic but alternative methods
like nitrous oxide, IV sedation and/or a general anesthetic procedures are available.
If you decide to have your General practitioner do this procedure, make sure to ask
how many he or she has done. And ask them where and when they got their training in implant
procedures.
The healing time required prior to loading and placing the denture, crown or fixed bridge
on the implant may vary widely. Most practioners will allow from 2-6 months for the healing
process to take place.
That said, the immediate placement into a recent extraction site and immediate loading
has recently become more common because the success rates for this procedure are now quite
acceptable.
If you should see a dental implant advertisement that states ” Teeth in a day”,it is a
procedure more appropriate for a completely edentulous (no teeth) cases where all of the teeth
are to be extracted or have already been extracted.
You might ask what is the rate of success for dental implants ? Well that depends on the
operators skills, on the quality and quantity of bone present, the patient’s oral hygiene and
condition of the remaining teeth and supportive gum tissue.
Patients who smoke, have diabetes, poor oral hygiene habits and/or other
compromising general health issues, are NOT very good candidates for a successful
implant procedures.
The success rate in good candidates are extremely high. Around 95% . The cost
of a basic dental implant is typically $1,250 to $3,000. Depending on your circumstances,
additional costs for things such as in the case of a posterior mandible, bone regeneration,
sinus elevation, and wide diameter or narrow diameter implants can quickly escalate the costs
involved to as much as $15,000 to $30,000 for the complete procedure for the upper or lower jaw.
That being said, a relative uncomplicated single implant can vary between
1500.00 and 3,000.00 depending where you live and who is doing the surgery,
Many dental schools for example may have a specialty program which may offer
to do a single implant for a considerable discount compared to private practice.
Consequently, if you live near a dental school and can get accepted into their
dental school implant program, you may be able to have an implant or implants done
at a reduced price.
Be aware that most estimates given for implants do not always include the
superstructure that will be placed on top of the implant. Therefore, it will be up to you
find out what the total cost will be including the cost of the crown or crowns, bridgework
or dentures that may be required.
For edentulous ( no teeth present) patients who have to wear lower dentures,
the implant procedure has become the next best thing to sliced bread. Providing you are
a good candidate and can afford it, dental implants will improve your quality of life
considerably.

Should or Should We NOT Bleach Our Own Teeth ?

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Today, we live in a very VANE society. We are pre-occupied not only
with our overall appearance but with the colour of our teeth ! It seems
that everyone wants to look like a movie star with that pearly white,
“perfect” smile.
As a practicing general dentist for over 40 years, I’ve witnessed
this teeth whitening phenomenon explode and the demand for a perfect smile
has never been greater that it is today!

This demand for a perfect smile has become a financial boom for
dentists who meet these demands by the public domain. One of the most current and
popular treatments of the teeth today is teeth bleaching. Bleaching of teeth is a
method that involves the use of chemical agents to lighten or brighten the colour
of your teeth.
Most stains and/or discolourations of teeth can be improved by two
bleaching methods. One method is for vital teeth (teeth that are healthy
and alive) and the other method is for treating non-vital or( dead teeth that
have been root canaled).

More often than not, most anterior (front teeth),that have been traumatized
and require root canal therapy, discolour, darken and become unsightly.

These discloured teeth can be treated by the non-vital bleaching technique
used only in a dental office and supervised by a professional.The vital bleaching
method for best results,should be done in a dental office setting as well.That said, it
can also be done by yourself at home with perhaps, a less predictable outcome.

Treating non-vital teeth can be quite challenging because the unsightly
stains are usually of the intrinsic kind ( embedded within the enamel surface).
Therefore, professional supervision is highly recommended for the optimum
results to be achieved in this case.

There are numerous bleaching agents and products on the market. They all
vary in costs and effectiveness. Their general use should be highly guarded.I would
like to think that all of these products are safe for your teeth. However that said,
many of these bleaching products are NOT SAFE and they should be used with caution !

A concern for their safety has been expressed because many manufacturers
do not have or provide long-term safety data regarding the effect of their
products on the teeth.

Although a bleaching procedure by a professional in an office setting may
cost more,the outcome will likely be more successful. As opposed to you buying a
bleaching product from a drug store or on-line and doing the procedure yourself.

Unfortunately, most of the claims by a manufactures are grossly exaggerated
in my opinion. Just think about It ! Do you really believe that any bleaching technique
can improve the brightness of your teeth by 10 to 12 shades lighter. I don’t think so !

If your lucky, you may be able to brighten the shade by 3 to 5 times. Even that
may be stretching it a little. The best results however will be accomplished in a dental
office, supervised by a professional.

You must also remember that all bleaching procedures are temporary
and they will have to be repeated from time to time. If you choose to do it yourself
using bleaching agents with tooth paste, tray applications or strips, the outcome will
be quite unpredictable.

The instructions, for bleaching your own teeth with any home bleaching
technique must be religiously adhered too. If you use too much or do the procedure
too long , your teeth may become sensitive and gum tissue damaged may even occur.

Remember, not all patients are good candidates for successful bleaching
procedures! For example, if you have existing tooth coloured fillings in your anterior
teeth that you want bleached, the tooth structure around the fillings will change
colour but the filling material will not.

When this happens,the old tooth coloured fillings usually appear darker than
they were before the bleaching procedure. Now, you are faced with the option of
replacing these fillings at a an expense that you originally did not anticipate. Of
course the dentist is happy because he or she can get into your pocket book and remove
more of your hard earned cash.

If you decide that you want to improve your smile by having a bleaching
procedure done, get a professional opinion to see if you are a good candidate. Even
if you decide to do it yourself with a home-care bleaching kit, get a professional
opinon first. This way, the final outcome will be more predictable.

The outcome may be better determined and hopefully your expectations
will be met and you will not be disappointed. Its important to understand that
one specific bleaching technique, may be good for some but not for everyone.

The degree of lightness achieved, depends entirely on the individuals
requirements and discolourations being dealt with. Teeth that have been
discoloured as a result of broad spectrum tetracycline antibiotic therapy,
will definitely be the most difficult to overcome!

If you do decide to bleach your own teeth by the technique you
select, remember, ” MORE IS NOT ALWAYS BETTER !”

Cosmetic Dentistry

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There are basically four types of dental treatment;

1. Preventive treatment which keeps your teeth and gums healthy!

2. Restorative treatment which treats damaged teeth, gums and replacement

of missing teeth!

3. Orthodontic treatment which involves the improvement of the position,

appearance and function of your teeth!

4. Cosmetic treatment which deals primarily with the appearance of your teeth!

Cosmetic dentistry is in great demand today! Society has become extremely vain
and everyone wants to look like a movie star. Dentist just love this demand
because it put money in their jeans!

Cosmetic dentistry involves the correction and improvement of the appearance of
broken or chipped teeth, missing teeth, crooked teeth,stained teeth or widely
spaced teeth.

A cosmetic treatment may include, bleaching of the teeth,bonding procedures,
veneer placements, crowns and fixed bridgework. These types of treatments are
quite often a selective option rather than an emergency or absolute necessity.

It goes without saying that cosmetic dentistry is high-end and can be very costly
and therefore not too accessible to a person with an average income and perhaps
no dental health insurance to off-set the costs involved.

It is important to remember that before one considers the bleaching of the teeth,
bonding or veneering of the teeth, there are a few questions that any interested
individual should be asking namely:

What are all your options?
What are the advantages and disadvantages of treatments considered?
Will my expectations be readily met?
How long will the finished product likely last under normal circumstances?
How will breakage of a bonded veneer be handled?
How much experience does your dentist have, doing this type of work?
Does the dentist have any special education regarding these treatments discussed?
How much will the treatment chosen costs?
Is there a payment plan option?
How long do bleaching procedures take and last?

The Bleaching of the teeth is rather a common phenomenon today!
It is a method whereby a chemical agent is used to lighten up the
colour of the teeth involved which are usually the Maxillary (upper
six anterior (front) teeth.

Today, there are numerous bleaching methods and materials available to
the public. Although most are thought to be safe to use, a concern has been
expressed because some manufacturers still do not have long-term, safety
laboratory data available regarding their products.

You can have your teeth bleached under a controlled environment in a dental
office. Although this is probably the more expensive way to have it done, it is
highly recommended because you are more, likely have the best outcome.

Then there are the do-it-yourself bleaching kits that you can buy at most drug
stores or even online. There are many of these available and you must be careful
not to abuse the use of them. Remember MORE is NOT necessarily BETTER!

In fact, you must go one step further and do your due diligence to make absolutely
sure that you are indeed a good candidate for a bleaching procedure. I say this,
because not every person is a good candidate, especially if you already have numerous
white fillings placed in your front teeth.

Why? The teeth may change colour, but the old restorations in your teeth will not!
If these restorations are large and show, they will appear darker than before the
bleaching. Guess what? The dentist is now rubbing his hands in glee because now you
will want to have these fillings replaced to match, if possible,the bleached tooth
structure surrounding these fillings!

Bleaching procedures done by a professional or by yourself, can cause
teeth sensitivity. It is not a permanent treatment and eventually will have
to be redone at some point, depending on your expectations and needs.

The degree of success of any vital bleaching procedure,depends primarily
on the type of staining you are dealing with. Success seems to vary depending
on the bleaching agents used and who is doing the treatment.

Before attempting to do your own bleaching treatments, get a professional opinion
as to your needs and what would work best for you. In my most humble and honest
opinion, this procedure should be supervised by a professional.

Do-it-yourself bleaching kits may cost less, but they may be harmful to
the integrity of your teeth and surrounding gum tissues. Be careful when using
them. Follow the directions precisely!

Dr.William Catalano invites you to visit his website dental product’s store at MYDENTALHEALTHTIPS.COM,
if you are in the market for any dental products used in the home to help you maintain healthy teeth and
gums on a daily basis.
Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=William_Catalano

Why Is Dentistry So Expensive?

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You have more than likely asked your self this questions many times.
Why is Dental treatment so expensive? I agree that Dental Treatment can be
very expensive depending on the treatment you might require and choose to
have done……..That said however,

A dental graduate education, degree is very expensive. Over a 4 year period,
the average dental education can cost approximately $50,000 to $75,000 dollars
tution or more depending on the school selected. This does not include the cost
of the two or three years pre-education required prior to being accepted into an
accredited dental school.

If you do the math, the average cost of a dental graduate degree can be
$200,000 to $300,000 dollars. This figure of course includes living expenses
and other amenities depending on the students lifestyle.

Therefore a, a dental graduate will have a substantial financial dept prior to
entering private practice. In fact, if a graduate makes a decision to set up a
dental practice or buys an existing dental practice, he or she is looking at
spending another $ 200,000 to $400,000 dollars or more depending on the
circumstances.

As you might now surmise, setting up a privately owned practice or buying an
older, well established, existing practice is almost prohibitive for most
graduate students.

On top of that, leasehold improvements are not cheap and setting up an average
dental office now days could cost at least 250,000 to 300,000. By average, I mean
an office around 600 to 800 square feet. Enough room for two or three operating
rooms, a laboratory and sterilization area, as well as a reception area, staff room
and washroom facilities.

Each fully equipped operating room will include a dental chair, overhead operating
light, numerous hand pieces, water and air syringes, built-in vacuums
and cabinet work, could cost a minimum of $25,000 to $35,000 depending on the
individual set up and delivery system.

A minimum of two x-ray units, autoclave for sterilization, air-conditioning unit,
heating unit if applicable, are all high-end expenses for a dental office. Not to mention
light-curing devices, laser beam units, surgical instruments and a electro-surgical unit.
The list goes on and on and on!

Now depending on the location of the practice, the monthly rent will vary
considerably. When I had my own private practice in downtown Vancouver
in a new building, my rent was around $30.00 a square foot back in the 80s.

The average overhead cost for running a dental office can vary between
60% and 75% per month. That means that at the end of the day, the dentist
may take home 40 to 25 % of every dollar charged out before taxes..

I’m telling you this because many dental patients have the misconception
that when a dentist charges you $ 75.00 for a filling which took 1/2 hr to complete.
He or she gets to pocket the entire amount.

I quite vividly recall a patient one time asking where he was sending me on my
next vacation or what new car he was helping me purchase. These types of
comments were not appreciated by me and I took exception to them.

Running a dental office can be extremely expensive and stressful.We really do
not make as much money as the majority the populace think we do. A very good
income might be $150,000 to $250,000 per year before taxes. To do this, a
dentists would have to gross between 400,000 and 600,000 dollars per year.These
figures are based on a 60 % overhead. Most dental offices today, have a much higher
cost of doing business. Probably more like 65% to 70%.

The price of dental supplies and equipment appears to go up year in and year out
without being based on the average inflation rate. For example, the average rate of
inflation in Canada is approximately 2 1/2 %. For many years when I was in private
practice, the Fee Guide that most dentists use never had any increase what-so-ever
from one year to the next.

In order for a dentist to maintain a reasonable lifestyle, the increase in dental
fees should at least keep up with the rate of inflation in any jurisdiction.

New dental graduates will have such a large debt when they get out of school, it
is obvious why they choose to do high-end dentistry and thereby charge the
high-end fees as soon as they graduate because they want to pay off their bank
loans ASAP!

You really can’t blame them however that been said, most of them do not have the
skills and experience yet to do competent high- end dentistry. I suggest that
an average new graduate should have at least five years experience in general practice
before he or she offers their patients high-end dentistry like full mouth rehabilitation
treatment plan involving crowns, bridges, implant and Veneers just to mention a few
of the disciplines.

I tell my students every day that if they concentrate on doing their work to
the best of their ability and knowledge and treat their patients as they would like
to be treated………. the dollars will take care of themselves.

I also tell them that if they see $ signs every time a new patient walks into
their office, they will not have the patient’s best interests at heart and
will undoubtedly perform inferior work because they will work quickly and probably
over service their patient’s needs in the process.

Dentistry may seem expensive, but considering the long- term use of your teeth,and
the lasting quality of good dentistry, it’s probably more than worth the money. In fact, I
think it’s one of the best investments you can ever make to compliment your complete
general health status!

What Is A Dental Bridge ?

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Is it important to have missing teeth replaced in your mouth? After all,
missing teeth in the anterior (front) part of the mouth are unsightly and unattractive
to say the least!……So the answer in this situation is YES!

Missing teeth in the posterior (back) part of the mouth can become problematic
because drifting and over eruption of remaining teeth will occur resulting in
compromising consequences that can and do affect your chewing capabilities.

Whereas a denture can be a substitute for one, two or more missing teeth, or all
of your teeth, a bridge is a type of FIXED denture that can be used to replace one,
two or more teeth.

There are four types of Dentures. Each one is designed to solve a specific problem.
There is the removable complete denture that replaces all of the missing teeth,
The removable partial denture which replaces one or more missing teeth. The fixed
bridge which replaces one or more missing teeth and the intra-osseous implants which
can do the same function.

Although I would never want to have a Complete set of dentures, for the patient who
has had the misfortune of losing all of his or her teeth they are certainly a great
substitute to satisfy the appearance and function of the patient in need!

The removable partial denture is for persons who have lost one or more teeth
and may or may not involve metal clasps and bars for support. The ones without
metal are quite often referred too as economy or transitional partial dentures.
Sometimes they are also called “Flippers”.

The fixed denture or bridge is by far the superior product of choice, providing
cost is not an issue. It is permanently attached to the remaining supportive abutment
teeth that are present on either side of the missing tooth or teeth that are being replaced.

The advantages of the fixed dental bridge are convenience, comfort,functional
efficiency, stability and longevity. If made properly, fixed bridge work will
feel natural and become an integral part of your dentition.

One disadvantage of a fixed bridge over a removable deture is the inability to
remove it and clean it outside of the mouth. The dentist must make sure that a
fixed bridge is designed in such a way that it can be cleaned and maintained as
readily as possible. You must have extremely good hygiene habits to be able to
clean any fixed dental work that is placed in your mouth!

All that being said, if dental bridgework is indicated, feasible to do,and done
properly according to the highest standards of the Dental Profession and maintained
by the patient with good oral hygiene, it can last for many,many years.

The increased use of dental implants are a much more recent and well advanced method
of replacing missing teeth. More and more people who qualify as candidates for dental
implants are receiving this type of treatment with excellent results and a good long-term
prognosis.

The reason I say patients who qualify as good candidates for dental implants is the fact
that not everyone whether you can afford them or not can have dental implants. To be
a good candidate, you must have enough remaining supportive bone in your jaws
where the missing teeth were. And you must be a person who has great hygiene skills.

In my follow-up blog regarding this subject, I will discuss in detail why fixed
bridgework costs so much more than removable dentures.

What Is A Root Canal Treatment ?

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I’m sure most of my readers will have heard of the term, Root Canal
Treatment by now. Just what is it? Why do so people dread and fear
the thought of having to have one done?…I’ll get to that later!

A root canal therapy involves the treatment of an inflamed pulpal tissue
of a diseased or infected tooth. This pulpal tissue is comprised of blood
vessels and nerve networks. Each tooth has its own blood and nerve supply.

This pulpal tissue is located inside the narrow space situated in the center
of the tooth root or roots. This space is referred too as the canal of a
single rooted tooth like a central incisor or canals of a multi-rooted tooth
like a molar. Most molars will have at least three canals and some may have
four or more!

When the pulpal tissue becomes irritated or damaged due to prolonged dental caries
activity or from a traumatic blow or injury, an infection of the pulp usually takes
place. This infection may be acute or chronic depending on the circumstances that
caused the infection or damage initially.

One of the more common causes of tooth nerve damage is trauma. The traumatized
tooth initially may become loose, painful and eventually tightens up but then
discolors (darkens). The teeth usually involved in this type of situation are
the maxillary (upper jaw ) anterior (front) teeth and less commonly the
(lower jaw) anterior teeth.

If you ever notice that someone elses front tooth or teeth are dark in colour,
you could safely assume that a particular tooth has been traumatized.The
dental profession refers to this type of tooth as a non-vital, chronically
infected tooth without any painful symptoms.

Traumatized teeth can remain dormant and in a chronic state for years without
causing any pain and therefore not requiring any form of treatment immediately.
While other traumatized teeth may result in an acute situation where root canal
therapy is required ASAP.

Then there are teeth that become non-vital because of a prolonged carious lesion
which goes untreated and causes the nerve tissue to become inflamed or infected.
These types of neglected teeth may become chronic with little or no pain associated
at first then eventually become acute, followed by a swelling and considerable
pain.

The non-vital,chronically infected tooth may not have any symptoms at all other than
obvious discoloration. In any event, an x-ray of the tooth or teeth in question, is
ALWAYS incdicated prior to initiating treatment.

A root canal therapy involves the removal of the diseased or infected pulp tissue,
using files and reamers to instrument the canal until it is free from all bacteria.
It is then sterilized and hermetically filled or sealed with a biological, compatible
filling material such a s ” Gutta-percha, a rubber like material usually pink in colour.

It is important to have non-vital teeth treated sooner, rather than later to prevent
the infection from reaching the surrounding bone tissue and causing additional problems.

Root canal therapy usually is done in one appointment, however that said,depending
on the individual situation, a series of appointments may be necessary to complete
the treatment.

Due to the multiple variations in the root shapes, sizes and positions of the teeth,
not all teeth that require root canal therapy may be treated successfully. A successful
root canal is usually possible if all the canals are located, accessible to
instrumentation, sterilized, filled and hermetically sealed.

Fees for root canal therapy varies depending on the number of roots involved.
The more roots and canals a tooth has, the more it will cost to have it treated.

Root canal therapy for the most part is highly successful. Probably in the
90 to 95% range. Most root canal treatments are done readily and without any
pain or consequence. That said however, there are those situations where root
canal treatment my be very painful and un-desireable.

Although this happens rarely, this is the situation that most individuals will
remember and tell everyone about the terrible root canal experience they encountered.
Most people never talk about the easy or uneventful root canal therapies that
occur most of the time.

When teeth have to have root canal therapy,its important to realize that the tooth in
question will not be as strong as it was before. It will become dried out and brittle.
Hence, making it more susceptible to fracturing. Consequently, most endodontically
treated teeth, will require a subsequent full crown coverage for protection from breaking
in the future.

THere is no reason to be apprehensive or fearful of having root canal treatment.
Most go smoothly and painlessly. Root canal therapy has a MAJOR role in the
wonderful world of Preventive dentistry

Your Personal Dental Care !

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Does everyone need to go to the dentist every 6 months? Absolutely not !
Some individuals may only need to go once a year while other may go more
than every six months. It all depends on an individual’s lifestyle, diet,
habits like smoking, tobacco chewing and good or bad oral hygiene habits.

Regular dental ckeck-ups can be extremely beneficial for all people. It
is not just for children or the aged, but for everyone. Depending on a
number of factors such as existing dental issues,the likelihood of new
problems, the effectiveness of your personal care program and your rate
of tarter or calculus build-up on your teeth, it may be advised that you
visit your dentist more or less often depending on your own personal
requirements.

Preventive measures like brushing and flossing are so important in
the overall scheme of things however that being said, a regular dental
checkup is the next, most important thing you can do in my opinion.

A regular dental checkup takes little time, does not cost too much and
and will identify small problems before they become serious and costly
concerns.

In a perfect world, you should brush and floss your teeth after each and
every meal! That said, brushing and flossing thoroughly, once a day would
probably suffice for most people who cannot or will not brush and floss after
each meal.

Flossing removes food particles and bacteria between the teeth and under the
gum line. Probably the best time to brush and floss is before bedtime however
that may not always be convenient .

I would suggest that if you can only brush and floss once a day, select
the same time each and every day. This way it will become more of a habit
and you’ll be less likely forget to do it !

If you don’t floss, you are missing 35% of every tooth surface when only
using a tooth brush. If you have any doubts, brush first and then floss.
You will quickly realize just how inefficient brushing alone is.

Once again in an ideal world, flossing would best be done prior to bedtime.
In any case, please floss first, brush second followed by rinsing.Flossing can
be awkward and even challenging for some but once you get into a routine, it
will become the BEST Habit you ever got into!

It is a known fact that the carbohydrates like sugars and starches are
the main causes of dental caries and eventual tooth problems. You should avoid
sugar snacks at all costs and the consumption of sugar added soft drinks.

Natural fruit juices with no added sugar are recommended. Get into the habit
of reading food labels when shopping for groceries. Many foods that we consume
have hidden sugars like, molasses, fructose, glucose, honey and liquid inverted
sugars.

If you have a “sweet tooth” there are some things you can
do to help keep your teeth in a friendly environment.

1. Avoid sticky, toffee- like candies
2. Avoid eating hard candies like lifesaver or lollipops.
3. Eat these treats with a meal rather than as a snack .
4. Brush and floss immediately afterwards

If you cannot brush and floss after every meal,you can at least rinse
your mouth with water several times. Maybe eat an apple after your lunch
or some other kind of “detergent food ” like raw vegetables
for example.

If you are having a salad with your meal, eat the salad at the end of the meal
rather than before. The salad is full of detergent-like ingredients which will help
clean some of the food plaque that accumulates after eating.

Avoid giving your children sugar-coated cereals. Especially before bedtime.
These types of cereals are very tenacious, sticking to the teeth and difficult
to remove especially by a child who doesn’t brush his or her teeth very
thoroughly yet. Their brushing should be supervised until they get it right!

These sticky types of sugar sweetened cereals remain in the mouth too long and create
acids that are known to be the precursor of cavities. If you want to reward your
children with a sweet, it can be the sugar-less kind or it may not have any sugar
at all. I believe that a child who can tie his or her shoe laces, should have
the digital dexterity to brush and floss efficiently and thoroughly.

What is wrong with giving a child a banana or popcorn as a sweet substitute treat?
How about giving them an apple, or some other type of fruit ? Perhaps an orange
or carrot might suffice. In any event, the teeth should be cleaned immediately after
tyoe of sweets have been eaten.

The moment you give your children sweets for a treat or reward. They will never
accept the substitutes that I have mentioned. If they don’t get sweets,they will
will never know what they are missing at least in the early stages of their
development.

I realize that this approach may sound cruel but believe me, these preventive steps
are well worth the time, perseverance and effort. No child should ever have to
experience the dreaded sound of a high-speed dental drill and the filling prodedures
that follow.

Not to mention how much money you could save by following a few simple, yet effective
preventive measures discussed. Keeping your teeth and your children’s teeth
and gums healthy for a lifetime is not only achievable but most desirable.

Maintaining good oral health requires the right combination of personal and
professional care. Remember! One ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure !

Dental Care For Seniors Who Need Help

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Since Modern day Medicne appears to be increasing men and women’s life spans,
the need for dental care for seniors has probably never been more apparent!

The chief dental problem for older adults is without a doubt gum disease !
This common issue usually developes quite slowly, is often painless and much
more apparent in middle aged adults.

Fortunately if recognized in its early stages of development, gum disease can
be prevented and treated successfully. It is important to understand that
gum disease can exist even in patients who have no teeth and wear dentures.

Dentures do not fit comfortably over supporting gum tissue that is sore,
bleeding and perhaps swollen.

Seniors require regular dental checkups whether they have teeth or not!They
need the regular screening procedures that take place in a dental office
that is providing their exams and treatment if neccessary.

These screening techniques will locate small problems before they become
larger ones. Seniors require their teeth cleaned just like anyone else and if
they have dentures of some kind or another, these need to be cleaned as well.

Seniors usually have other health issues that the attending dental practioner
needs to know. They may have high blood pressure, diabetes, thyroid problems,
Rheumatoid Arthritis, heart complications just to mention a few.

The dentist needs to know if the senior patient is on any medications for
their ailments or have they changed any medication since their last visit.
Although this type of information is required from all dental patients, medical
history updates are paramount for senior citizens.

The fact that our society is living longer is a good thing however that been said,
the longer we live and the older we get, the better chances there are for us to
develope health compromising issues !

If you have the obligation and responsibility of caring for a senior or a
loved one’s well being and health, there are numerous things youn can do to
make their life more comfortable and enjoyable.

Older seniors who are incapacitated in some way and require dental care
can be a big challenge. It may be awkward at first and even somewhat embarassing
but if you begin slowly, hopefully you will be able to help them clean their
teeth and gums regularly.

Sometimes you may meet some serious resistance to your help. If this happens,
do not insist or force your help on the indvidual in question.

The natural teeth are usually flossed and brushed with a SOFT bristle tooth brush
standing behind the person who should be sitting in front of a sink or basin.

It is always agood idea to ask the senior if you are brushing too hard. Ask the
person to rinse their mouth with warm water when you have finished cleaning their
teeth.

All removeable dentures should be cleaned daily ! Check the dentures for any cracks,
fracture line, stains, and tartar buldup. When cleaning the dentures it is always
a good idea to fill the basin sink with water first. This way if you inadvertantly
drop or knock the dentures out of your grasp, they will less likely break or crack.

The dentures can be left over night in water with a little white vinegar or
a denture cleaner solution. If the dentures have any metal parts, leave
them only in plain water overnight.

With their permission, look inside the senior’s mouth and check for signs of
swelling, redness or any white patches or colour changes of the supporting gum
tissue. Any evidence of gum sores that do not go away within a few days should
be reported to a dentist ASAP.

Use a moistened cloth or guaze swab, to clean the senior’s gum tissue daily.
Brush their gums, plalate and tongue gently providing they will allow you to
do so.

You can ask the senior to guide you when placing the dentures back into the mouth.
It is recommended that the upper denture be placed in first then followed by
the lower denture.

Taking care of seniors who are incapacitated and require assitance can be an overwhelming
experience and challenge for the care giver. These types of care providers must have a lot
of compassion, patients and empathy. They are a rare breed and deserve all the graditude
and appreciation they receive and so much more !

Choosing A Dentist

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Selecting a dentist for you and your family can become a
daunting task. That being said, probably the best way to
find a dentist you can trust and have faith in their abilities
to provide you with exellent oral care, is by referral from a
good friend or respected family member.

With the possibility of contradicting myself,chosing a
dentist is a personal decision. Individual preferences play
a very important role. Assuming that all dentists who graduate
from accredited dental schools are competent, ethical, caring,
compassionate professionals, you have to like that individual’s
personality.

Establishing a good repoire with your dentists is paramount
in getting the type of dental services you deserve. Lets be
realistic here,going to the dentists is not something most
people will look forward too!

You have to like your dentists, trust them and believe that
they are going to recommended only treatments that are
neccessary and in your best interests.

With the extremely high cost of a dental education today,many
neophyte dental graduates tend to over-service their patient’s
because they want to pay off their two or three hundred
thousand dollars of debt they accumulated while going to school.

Perhaps in a way, one may not criticize them for having this
attitude but the problem is the large majority of them do not
have the expertise to perfom competent, high-end dentistry when
they first get out of school !

Its the high end dental procedures like crowns,fixed-bridge
work,Veneers and surgical implants that I am referring too.

It takes time to develope the skills required to perform
high-end dentistry in the appropriate manner.I would suggest
that most new dental graduates need at least five years of
experience and further education in these fields to develope
competent, operating skills.

In the fifties and sixties, there were fewer dentists and
the demand for their services was paramount. It did not
seem to matter if you were a good dentist or a had a bad
reputation.You were very busy and considered to be successful.

The dental patient did not have the power fo knowledge ,
to question the work and/or decisions that the dentist made.
The dentists would tell the uninformed patient what they
required. If the patient did not get the work that was
recommended, the dentists were still be busy because the
demand for their services was still quite prevalent.

It was in the nineties that dental patients became increasingly
aware of their options regarding dental services. More and more
information was provided via TV, and then computers.

All consumers have different needs and wants and their
expectations have changed drastically, particularly in the past
20 years. Patients are now more than ever, aware of dental
procedures like Veneers, teeth whitening, implants, bondings,
invisalign, lasers, computer imaging and much more.

The dental patient today expects the dental professionals to
provide all of these services in the state of the art form.

Dentistry today, has become much more competitive and
that is a good thing. A patient no longer has to go to a
dentist they do not like because he or she is the only
one available in their community.

Some patients will select a dentist for convenience. As
an expamle the MALL dentist, where parking is usually free,
and you can walk right in without an appointment and get
dental treatments provided.

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