Monthly Archives: April 2015

Which Is Worse for Teeth — Baseball or Golf?

Do you love baseball? Or is golf more your thing? If you are worried about the safety of your teeth, here are some reasons why you should choose golf over baseball!

Baseball

The first thing that may come to mind when you think of baseball is a man standing on the pitcher’s mound squinting in the sun and spitting tobacco out his mouth. Although baseball teams have started cracking down on chewing tobacco (which can cause gum disease, tooth decay, and even oral cancer) baseball still holds dangers for the teeth.

After all, if you are the hitter, the baseball is coming straight at you at speeds anywhere from 40 to 100 miles per hour (granted, you would have to be a professional player to have a ball coming at you at 100 miles per hour, but even 40 miles per hour is pretty fast if you get a ball to the face!). If you are in the outfield, you are facing a ball that has been hit and is coming at you at 60 miles an hour (or more).

And of course, baseball can sometimes turn into a contact sport, with players crashing into each other as they all try to get the ball or sliding into the base. You could even argue that baseball encourages cavities. Remember when they used to package baseball cards and sugary gum together?

Because baseball can be dangerous for teeth, if you love playing the game, you don’t want to forget your mouthguard! Mouthguards can help protect players from cuts on the lips and tongue, and even more serious problems such as broken teeth and jaw injuries. Mouthguards aren’t just for baseball, though. Basketball, hockey, soccer and football players also should wear mouth protection because you never know what might happen out there as you’re playing the game.

Golf

Golf, on the other hand, is a bit safer than baseball, just because the ball is supposed to be going the other direction and because you are supposedly not standing within your buddy’s swing radius. However, bad golf players can hit balls off the green, which could hurt you or someone near you. If you are careful, though, the danger is minimal.

The odds of golf becoming a contact sport are also not very high. Indeed, the only way golf may be a real danger to your teeth is if you use your weekly golf game as a chance to drink down lots of sugary, cavity-inducing soft drinks!

Whether you love to play baseball or some other potentially dangerous sport, you should always make a special effort to protect your teeth and mouth. But despite our best efforts, bad things do happen sometimes. If you need cosmetic dentistry or dental implants because of an unfortunate accident caused by a fast pitch, the Cosmetic and Dental Implant Center can help!

The CDIC not only offers cosmetic and implant dentistry, but we also offer other personalized and high-quality dental care, all courtesy of our compassionate and expert staff. We offer office hours to accommodate your busy schedule and payment plans so that you can get help for your teeth without emptying out your wallet.

If you have any questions about how best to take care of your teeth while playing sports, if you need help after a sports accident or if you just need a routine cleaning, give the Cosmetic and Dental Implant Center a call at (714) 702-1328!

New Treatment Approach for Internal Root Resorption

Internal root resorption is a pain in the jaw, literally. However not everyone knows what internal root resorption is. It is the deterioration of the dentin and pulp walls within the tooth, though not always resulting from decay. When internal resorption happens sometimes a root canal can save the tooth. However, in other cases, particularly if the crown or root have been affected, the loss becomes too great and the tooth may need to be removed.

Tooth loss can be detrimental to your smile as well as to your self-confidence. No one likes to walk around with a toothless grin. However, if you do lose a tooth resulting from internal tooth resorption, there are treatment options available to help you regain that beautiful smile once more and the specially trained professionals at CDIC Dental can help.

Dental Implants

Whether you are missing one or more teeth, dental implants may be a good choice for you. Implants are titanium posts that are anchored to your jaw bone. Your jaw will need to heal for six to 12 weeks before the connector post can be attached to it. The replacement tooth, or crown, is then cemented permanently in place. Not every dentist is specially trained for perform procedure. So, choose your provider carefully.

Dental implants have some really great benefits to them. They have a 98 percent success rate. They look, feel and work just like your natural teeth, and you can brush and floss them like you would your natural teeth.

Dental implants are not for everyone, however. Most people who are healthy enough to undergo tooth extractions are generally also healthy enough to have the implant procedure, but this is not always the case. When you lose one or more teeth, the gums and bone at the empty socket shrink over time resulting in bone loss. There must be enough healthy gumline and bone left for the implant to anchor.

Bridges

Bridges can be either fixed or removable. A removable bridge, or partial denture, is a gum-colored plastic base containing replacement teeth. It generally has clasps on each side where it will attach to the abutting teeth. A bridge can be made for either the upper or lower jaw.

A fixed bridge permanently affects the teeth on either side of the missing tooth. The dentist will need to remove some of the enamel from the abutting teeth for a crown to be placed over them. The bridge itself consists of two crowns with the replacement tooth centered between them. The crowns are then cemented on the abutting teeth.

A bridge will help prevent your neighboring teeth from changing positions. When you are missing teeth, over time abutting teeth can begin to shift toward the vacant spot and this can create gaps in your smile.

Dentures

Complete dentures are offered in two varieties: conventional and immediate. Conventional dentures are made and worn after your gums have healed from having any remaining teeth removed. However, that could mean going 12 weeks without any teeth in your mouth. Immediate dentures are made in advance and can be worn as soon as your teeth are removed.

While immediate dentures are a great option to maintain a healthy smile, they do have some disadvantages. Your gums will naturally shrink as they heal and this means that the immediate dentures will need more adjusting and relining than conventional dentures. In many cases, the cost of the first few adjustments is usually figured into the additional overall cost of the immediate dentures.

Which treatment for internal root resorption is right for you? Come visit us at CDIC Dental and find out now. Our caring and devoted staff can help you choose the best treatment option for your individual situation.

How Often Is Mercury Used by Dentists?

Mercury in the dental office is becoming much scarcer, and it is strictly used for patients who are getting amalgam fillings. Not many dental practices offer amalgam fillings any longer due to the healthier and more natural looking alternatives available that do not utilize mercury.

What is mercury?

Mercury is a type of metal that is a semi-liquid when brought to the correct temperature. Dental professionals use the mercury as a bonding agent by placing it on the tooth to secure the amalgam filling. The bonding properties of mercury are very sufficient, which is why it was so commonly used to secure fillings. It is difficult to remove mercury after it has been bonded to the tooth, which can be both a benefit and a negative. Mercury is found naturally within the environment and is not man made, and must be kept in careful conditions to avoid any damage to the health of dental professionals and patients.

How can mercury be damaging to health?

In recent years, it has been discovered that mercury can be toxic to human beings. Mercury omits a vapor that can make it way into the lungs of patients and cause a variety of health problems. When absorbed into the skin mercury also can cause issues but it must be left upon the skin for a longer duration of time. The negative health effects caused by mercury in dental amalgam fillings is not 100 percent confirmed, but it is thought that when placing it in the mouth that patients may be subject to the poisonous vapors that can more easily reach the lungs. Additionally, if a dental professional mistakenly gets mercury in the mouth and it is consumed that it can be devastating the health of patients.

What are dental amalgam fillings?

Dental amalgam fillings are fillings that can be comprised of a combination of metals including silver, copper, tin and gold. All amalgam fillings use mercury as a bonding agent because it is the most secure way to hold the metal filling into place. These fillings have decreased in popularity within the last one hundred years due to their use of mercury as well as their unnatural appearance. Over time, amalgam fillings become dark and unattractive looking in comparison to their original shiny metal look, but they tend to be longer lasting than alternative fillings due to their toxic bonding agent.

What are alternatives to amalgam fillings?

There are a couple different alternatives to amalgam fillings, neither of which utilize mercury as a bonding agent. Porcelain and composite material fillings are the best filling options for patients due to their natural, tooth-colored appearance and safety benefits. Porcelain and composite fillings are used to fill cavities in a semi-solid state and then are cured using a special light. When the porcelain and composite fillings are cured they become a strong protectant against recurring plaque. Selecting an alternative to amalgam fillings is the best way to avoid any unnecessary poisoning that can otherwise occur.

What is the Uvula?

You may have noticed something always hanging at the back of your throat. This is called the uvula. The word comes from the latin word “ūvula” which literally means “little grape”. But what exactly is this body part and how does it contribute to our overall health and functions?

What Does the Uvula Do?

The uvula, medically termed as palatine uvula, hangs from the center of the edge of the soft palate. It is made up of muscular fibers and connective tissues. Science has yet to define the exact functions of this body part, but many patients and doctors have associated it with the following:

  1. Secretion and control of saliva. It has been found that people with no uvula find it hard to produce saliva and often suffer from dry mouth.

  2. Speech and articulation. The uvula helps in the proper pronunciation of certain sounds and phonemes, especially when sounds are produced at the back of the mouth like the letters “K” and “G”.

  3. Protection of air passageways. When you eat and swallow, the uvula covers the air passageways so that food and liquids don’t get into the wrong pathway.

  4. Gag reflex. Stimulation of the uvula promotes gagging, which is often seen when you poke the back of your mouth with your finger.

Why is the Uvula Significant in Dentistry?

In dental practice, the uvula is part of the oral and maxillofacial body systems. When you undergo a dental checkup, your uvula is one of the parts of the mouth that will be observed. Our dentists are trained to recognize and diagnose problems in the uvula such as inflammation, enlargement, and malformation. If anomalies are seen in your uvula, we will perform further testing to see what the problem is and how it can be fixed.

Sleep Apnea and the Uvula

Dentists are also involved in sleep apnea, a breathing problem that only happens when a patient is asleep. Enlargement of the uvula is associated with obstructive sleep apnea. Our dentists will be able to assist you in determining your sleep apnea problem and refer you to a sleep specialist for proper diagnosis. If sleep apnea is confirmed due to the abnormality in the uvula, our dentists may recommend various treatment options, the most common of which are:

  1. Mandibular appliances. These come in splint or mouthguard forms. They are made to move the jaw slightly during sleep to allow better air passage and keep the throat in a position that opens up the passageways.

  2. Palatal implants. Small plastic rods are surgically implanted in the soft palate to strengthen the muscle and prevent it from coming in contact with the uvula and other organs at the back of the mouth.

  3. Uvulopalatopharyngoplasty (UPPP). This is a surgical procedure that involves the removal of the uvula or a part of it.

Removing the Uvula

Uvulopalatopharyngoplasty is considered as the last choice for patients who suffer from obstructive sleep apnea due to the enlargement or elongation of the uvula. UPPP has a success rate of around 50% and in some cases, UPPP can worsen sleep apnea because of postoperative scarring.

Our dental team will be able to guide you in deciding what treatment to get for your sleep apnea or snoring problems. Just visit CDIC Dental Clinic for more details about these conditions.

What Dental Inventions Were Created by Women?

Dentistry, more so than most medical professions, tends to be a male-dominated industry. As such, the pioneers of dental technology have also been male, at least for the most part. There are however, a few notable female inventors who added to the variety of techniques and technologies practiced in dentistry, both past and present. Here are just a few of these extraordinary women.

Sister Tabitha Babbitt

The earliest known female inventor of dental technology was Sister Tabitha Babbitt. She was a Shaker-Sister known primarily for her other inventions like the circular saw. However, some claim Babbitt as the pioneer of a new technique for creating false teeth.

Unfortunately, because of the Shakers’ aversion to filing patents, little documentation remains to explain exactly how these false teeth were unique. Babbitt’s example however, still remains. Her efforts to improve health care techniques and technology shows women inventors made pivotal contributions to the field.

Mary Ann Boughton

Unlike Tabitha Babbitt, Mary Ann Boughton did patent her creation, which scientists described as a way to better form air chambers in dental plates. Boughton found a problem in the way dentists of her time created air chambers to ensure the proper fit of artificial teeth. She specifically thought using plaster of paris to judge and measure the location of the air chamber was not only time consuming, but also inaccurate.

Boughton’s solution was both simple and inexpensive. In 1871, she patented the idea of using a piece of wax to measure the contours of the mouth at the precise location necessary for the air chambers. The rise of modern technological solutions to make artificial teeth more bearable rendered Boughton’s idea moot. However, her invention was an intuitive way to improve the situation of dentistry for her time.

Elizabeth Morey

As a 19th century dental practitioner, Elizabeth Morey practiced dentistry alongside her husband both as an assistant and as a doctor. Morey created what she called a “skeleton tooth,” and what practitioners today call a dental cap or crown. Instead of pulling out or otherwise modifying teeth of uneven lengths, Morey would create a hollow artificial tooth to fit over the damaged tooth.

Although this idea may seem intuitive, it was incredibly progressive for her time. Morey wanted to save teeth instead of destroy them as opposed to pulling out or crushing teeth with brute force to solve other problems. So she used other means whenever possible to avoid tooth extractions, a philosophy adopted by many modern dentists of today.

Marion Donovan

Marion Donovan is an inventor known for improving many everyday household items, like the unfailingly useful disposable diaper. Listed among her inventions is DentaLoop. Like the name suggests, this floss is manufactured and sold in loops. The two-ply dental floss is like any other, but the loop shape means users no longer need to wrap the floss around their finger to use. Though it seems a minor thing, this invention proves especially useful for dental patients who have dexterity problems.

The Cosmetic and Dental Implant Center is proud to honor these lesser known female inventors of dental history during Women’s History Month.