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Don’t Wait To Fix Teeth

The human body is mysterious and doesn’t always do what you’d expect or want it to do.

You would think that destructive conditions, like cancer, high cholesterol or diabetes, would be associated with pain, but they aren’t.

You would also think that having extremely infected teeth and bone loss would hurt, too, but it normally doesn’t.

Take a look at these photos, they may be painful for you to see, but the patient was not experiencing any pain or discomfort. These images show an upper left first molar from different views.

Upper molars are usually three rooted; one large root that runs up the bone to the roof of the mouth and two smaller ones that run up the bone on the cheek side. Think of a three-legged stool with the sinus lying between the three roots.

This particular molar looks almost normal when you view it from the roof of the mouth. When you look at the same tooth from the cheek side, you see that the two roots are completely exposed in the mouth.

This patient is not in pain, yet they have a very serious infection; one so severe that the infection ate away all the bone and gum around the two roots.

It looks like someone surgically removed all of the tissue. No scalpel touched this tooth; it was all done by the power of this patient’s immune system.

The body saw the infected roots as if they were infected foreign matter in the body, like thorns, and is simply pushing the thorn out via swelling.

What can you do to prevent this from ever happening to you? First of all, you need to have a dentist who offers special gum and bone disease exams. This exam includes taking X-rays of all of your existing teeth, using what is called a periodontal probe to check for bone loss, checking for teeth mobility, along with gum recession and bleeding.

Secondly, it is very important that the dentist give you a customized plan if you do have gum disease.

Thirdly, your dentist or hygienist should provide you home regime that is specifically designed for your mouth and your needs.

Remember, it is your mouth, your health and your money, so if you feel you are not getting all of the attention or information you need, ask for it. Once a tooth reaches this stage of infection, there is no option for it except extraction.

Don’t wait until it hurts before you visit a dentist.

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Teeth That Don’t Fit

What happens if a person is born with one leg vastly shorter than the other? Having special made shoes and boots help balance them and help fool the brain and body into thinking that everything is even.

While it is quite obvious when leg length doesn’t match the other, the same doesn’t hold true when it comes to how the teeth fit. What’s interesting is that each problem can be treated the same by the use of an orthotic. According to an internet search, an orthosis is intended to mechanically compensate for a pathological condition.

If you look closely at the picture of the mouth, you can see that the left side is more open than the right. It’s the same scenario of one leg being shorter than the other. You can imagine all the stress and strain that can occur when this person bites down, chews or clinches their teeth. The right side hits first and in order to get the left side to hit, the muscles must pull the jaw in all kinds of contorted ways. In reality, this is a pathological condition that destroys teeth, jaw joints and can create headaches, ear problems and neck aches.

When you really look close, you can see there is a plastic orthotic between the teeth. This piece of plastic is thicker on the left side than the right so when this person bites down into the plastic, it fools the teeth, muscles, jaw joint and brain into thinking everything is even just like the foot orthotic does. Now that the body has balance, things begin to relax, teeth are less likely to be destroyed, pressure is taken off the joint which can help clear the ears, the joints become more stable and muscles begin to relax. And in many cases, the horrible, persistent “tension” headaches disappear.

The challenge for the dentist is to find out exactly where the jaw wants to be when it is in a balanced state. Among the profession, there are different thoughts as to where that position should be. I personally have had more predictable success using what is called Neuromuscular Dentistry. You can learn more about the philosophy by going to Wikipedia. You can also view a video by Dr Curtis Westersund on You Tube. Or by clicking the following image.

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How Computers Are Impacting Dental Implants

cde0109kern_fi1-4It’s no secret that people are relying more and more on computers these days. After all, computers are getting so advanced that they’re beating humans at chess and defeating past champions on Jeopardy! Even the dental industry is starting to utilize computers for the efficiency and precision they provide. Specifically, dentists are using computers to make teeth, dentures and even dental implants.

How Computer-Aided Dental Implants Work

Known as computer-aided design and computer-aided manufacturing (aka CAD CAM), the computer-aided dental implant process is making it easier for dentists to identify the specific needs of each patient. Here’s how it works:

  1. The dentist uses a computer to scan your mouth and create a customized image of your teeth.
  2. The computer aids the dentist in determining the ideal position for your dental implants.
  3. The dentist creates a virtual tooth using a computer and sends it to the milling machine.
  4. Using a block of ceramic or resin, the computer-aided milling machine creates a real tooth/prosthesis.
  5. The dentist places the dental implant in your mouth.

Not only do computers aid in planning and executing the dental implant procedure, they have a variety of other benefits as well.

The Benefits of Using a Computer to Design Dental Implants

According to a recent report from the Dental Health Channel of the Ivanhoe Newswire, “the CAD CAM process takes much less time than a conventional procedure, which can take weeks… it costs about 30% less as well.” Here are some of the other benefits of using a computer to design dental implants:

  • It creates a better fit since the dental implant has an optimal shape.
  • It results in a more beautiful dental implant that more accurately reflects the look of your natural teeth.
  • It can correct or replace the mistakes of conventional procedures. If you have a previous dental implant that’s uncomfortable, broken or placed improperly, computer-aided implants can replace it with a proper one.
  • It allows for multiple implants to be placed in the same session.

Computers are changing the way things work and dental implants are no different. If you’d like to know more about dental implants and if you’re a candidate, schedule a complimentary consult with us today!

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Head and Neck Pain Due To Posture

Head and Neck Pain Due to Posture

This illustration speaks volumes about bad posture. Think of your head being a bowling ball. It doesn’t weigh that much when it is balanced on the neck and shoulders but if it is put forward it starts doubling in weight as the diagram shows.

This particular bad posture is called Forward Head Posture (FHP) and, unfortunately, it is extremely common. This constant strain creates problems for muscles, spine and even the teeth and jaw.

Muscles

An overworked muscle is going to fatigue over time. The more stress on a muscle, the faster it will fatigue. An example is taking a heavy weight and holding it to your chest versus holding it arms link. The muscles are going to give out a lot faster when the ball is away from the body.

When you see the pictures of African and Indian women carrying heavy weights, you see necks and backs with aligned posture. This position evenly distributes the weight and gives the muscles more leverage and balance.

In the world of computers, electronic games, long haul drives, etc, head position is more forward. Like the bowling ball analogy, the muscles are going to be overworked and out of balance. It’s no wonder that head, neck and back pain are the number one reason people visit a M.D. or chiropractor.

Spine

The illustration above virtually shows what is happening to the spine in FHP. It is bent out of shape and is being remodeled over time. This remodeling can become permanent and consists of flattening the normal neck curve, resulting in disc compression, disk fusion, and early arthritis.

The spine is the infrastructure of the body. When it is out of balance, it causes a strain on muscles, ligaments, nerves, blood supplies, etc. With FHP, the neck and shoulders have to carry extra weight. This constant isometric contraction causes neck muscles to loose blood , get damaged, fatigue, strain, cause pain, burning and fibromyalgia.

This abnormal position is also responsible for many tension headaches at the base of the neck which often radiate into the temples and behind the eyes. The pain is usually treated with over the counter pain medication without understanding the cause.

Teeth and Jaw

Head position influences the way the teeth come together. If you tilt you head way back and very lightly touch your teeth together, only the back teeth touch. If you bend way forward, only the front touch and the same with tilting the head left or right.

In the illustration, you can visualize as the head moves forward, the muscles in the front of the neck get tight and tend to pull the jaw down and back. We tend to think of the jaw and teeth as their own entity but now you can see that the jaw bone is connected to the neck bone and the neck bone is connected….as the old song says.

People with HFP tend to have painful spasms in the muscles of the head and neck. These spasms disguise themselves as severe headaches or neck aches. Muscle pain is usually associated with working too hard in the yard, pulling a muscle, exercising, lifting, getting older, etc. These particular muscles pains are not due to any kind of physical activity.

Wear and Tear

It is kind of like oil in your car. You can drive the car without changing it and everything seems just fine until one day the car freezes up and you wonder what happened. If you stress the body long enough, one day it is going to talk back to you.

This is a complicated issue to solve and it involves several medical entities like specially trained massage therapist, physical therapist, chiropractors and dentists. Looking in the mirror and feeling for painful spasms of the head and neck will give you a good clue if you have a potential problem.

 

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Decide What Denture Fits Your Needs

Millions of Americans have no teeth. Many decided to get rid of their teeth because they were sick and tired of “messing with them.” They had nothing but bad experiences and felt the best investment would be to remove them and get false teeth. An estimated 10 percent go without anything and 90 percent get dentures. Denture wearers have a love/hate relationship with dentures, and unfortunately, once they find out, it’s too late.

Wearing a lower denture is like wearing flip-flops. With flip-flops, one has to use their toes to hold the shoes in place. Even then, they still “flip and flop.” Likewise, lower dentures, are held in place by the tongue, lips and cheeks. Lower dentures flop around and dislodge more than the upper denture.

The tongue and lower lip move independently of the jaw and constantly dislodge the lower appliance. It can be nerve wracking, and at times, embarrassing. The longer a person has gone without teeth, the less bone they have. The less bone they have, the less they have for the denture to sit on and the more the denture flops around.

Regular dental implants

The most common are called root formed implants. They are called this because they are about the same size as a root of a tooth. Long term success is more than 90 percent. Dental implants are titanium screws placed in the jaw bones. Over time, the titanium and bone become one somewhat like a normal root.

To be a candidate for a regular sized implants, there needs to be substantial bone otherwise the implant will fail.

Mini-implants to the rescue

People with little bone are often discouraged to hear they do not have enough bone to have dental implants. This is where mini-implants come to the rescue. Minis are made for people with less than normal bone. They will hold and secure a lower denture in place.

Mini-implants are smaller, cheaper and are less invasive than larger implants. They take one appointment, zero pain while being placed and with minimum post-operative discomfort. Over the counter medication is all that is needed.

How do they work?

Unlike a regular implant, mini-implants are one piece. Placement is very precise and requires special equipment for seamless placement. Mini-implants are very secure in the bone and use O ring technology. The top of the implant is shaped like a ball. Special O ring housings are bonded into the underside of the denture and perfectly fit over the ball. The denture snaps into place and stays secure while eating, talking, laughing, etc.

Mini-implants only take one visit after diagnosis and treatment have been accepted.

A denture reality

Most denture wearers do not want others to know they are wearing false teeth. A well-made set of dentures look totally natural. The cosmetics are beautiful, matching a Hollywood smile. A bad set of dentures simply look like false teeth making the person appear much older than they are. Cheaper is not always better. What’s best is to visit a dentist and voice your wants and concerns and then decide if it is worth the investment.

If you were to run a race, you would want to wear laced up running shoes and not flip-flops. Implant retained dentures are like the running shoes; they allow for a secure denture for eating, laughing, talking like normal, healthy teeth.

 

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