Category Archives: Health

Detecting Gum and Tooth Disease

A Dog Depends On Healthy Teeth and Gums

The average person may not understand how critical this issue is to a dog – unless 1) they own or have owned a dog and 2) have experienced these problems – suffering the consequences.

We have raised Dalmatians for over 20 years and have learned this lesson. We watched Lady start to chew gingerly and delicately at first. Then she wouldn’t take her treats or crunchy bones. A trip to the vet and we discovered just how serious the problem had become. Chewing was actually uncomfortable – it hurt to eat. That should tell you a lot right away.

Well after several hundred dollars in vet bills, we learned how critical “dental care” is to a dog and its health. Not only do healthy teeth help chewing but healthy gums are important to holding the teeth in place and comfort of eating. Additionally, some gum diseases lead to other problems just like humans. Heart disease, stomach and similar problems are caused or exacerbated by poor dental health.

It Is Easy To Overlook – If You Are New To Pet Ownership

For some reason, the common wisdom is that a dog should have “bad breath”. Imagine what they eat and where they have been. The truth is simply much different. Other than some food odor – a “bad” smell should not exist and must be investigated. Because of this misconception many don’t check and most don’t “brush” a dog’s teeth.

Watch Your Dog’s Health Closely

Paying attention to your dog’s health is important to you both. Your dog’s well being, outlook, attitude and quality of life are important. Your wallet will also benefit from some preventive action – I promise.

If you catch a dog’s teeth problems early you can avoid the pain and discomfort of more severe dental disease. The easiest way to do this is — look at the teeth. “Look” means inspect and remember. Regular attention will alert you to unusual changes or issues that when small can be resolved by you rather than a professional.

Inspecting and Remembering Your Dog’s Teeth

The first time will be a little strange but with care and some kindness, it will become a process that you will become comfortable with in a short time. Just lift your dog’s lips all around the mouth. Look at the front and back teeth. The point is to observe and remember. The first few inspections set a “base line” for you and your dog’s present condition.

Remember, you and your dog have a “relationship” and this inspection is an extension of that mutual care and concern. Be gentle, speak softly, move slowly and allow your dog to understand what you are doing. He or she will pull back. Be ready. Don’t “jump” just wait and stroke around the mouth and nose until another chance to move the lips and look at the teeth. The whole issue is one of trust and will take a little time but it is not impossible.

Additionally, during the annual checkups your veterinarian will also take a look at your dog’s teeth. Obviously, you will want to make sure there is a routine to these exams and that you report any generalized concerns during the vet visit. Your vet is absolutely the best source for education on what to look for and how to treat any problems that may crop up.

What To Look For Between Vet Visits

Between the vet visits you should watch out for:

* Bad breath or any unusual changes in breath;

* Any reluctance your dog shows chewing or unusual behavior while chewing like whining;

* Any unusual or unexpected salivation – different then when he or she sees food or a treat – you will know when it s outside the norm;

* If you see red and/or puffy gums, watch them for a period of a few days. See if there is a change in condition. How does your dog react when he or she is eating. Any concerns contact your vet;

* If any of the gums are bleeding and there is no obvious reason – that is cause for concern and a trip to the vet’s office;

* Even tartar and hard coating on the teeth called calculus which is the result of plaque build-up is important. Believe it or not, dog’s teeth can be cleaned just like ours if it is too serious. Try some crunchy treats, bones and other solid items. Give them to your dog and see if that helps. A constant diet of caned food will add somewhat to the problem. If it does not improve or grows worse, consult your vet.

* Be on the look out for missing and/or loose teeth during your inspection. Watch closely, your first base line will tell you what to look for in the future. In some instances you may want to keep a journal to discuss with the vet.

* Then there is the general “catch all”. Anything that just doesn’t look “right”. We learned quickly that this will come natural to almost any pet owner. There is a sense we develop that warns. Just be open to those concerns and act as you feel best.

Always consult with your vet. Watch for early signs and resolve the problem early. In a future article we will describe the more serious aspects of dental disease and its more detailed care.

Do You Grind Your Teeth?

Bruxism is simply defined as excessive grinding and or clenching of the teeth. Grinding your teeth brings considerable force to the surface of the teeth, causing much wear and damage, as the teeth were designed to tear up and chew food. Teeth are destroyed by these excessive forces over a period of time.

The causes of this are still being investigated, but teeth grinding may be caused by both physical and psychological factors. Physical strain on the body may result in teeth grinding. For example, dehydration or nutrient deficiencies have been shown to be associated with the issue. The involvement of psychological factors in teeth grinding include stress and anxiety.

Teeth grinding which occurs when one is asleep may sometimes be a sleep disorder in its own right. Improper alignment of teeth or fillings, crowns or bridges sitting too high, or jaw not properly aligned, may all lead to the harmful habit.

A dental check up may reveal the cause. Some times a check up may reveal that a tooth is sitting too high – normally due to too much of a dental filling in a tooth, or a crown or bridge that is sitting too high. If that is the case, then the filling or crown/bridge may need to be reduced a bit or removed to be adjusted and then refitted. Once the bite is correct, the teeth grinding may stop.

Unfortunately, worn tooth structure from grinding can not be regenerated. However, teeth grinding can be reduced and even prevented. It is necessary to know the factors involved leading to the grinding. One of them, as mentioned before, is the bad occlusion or bad bite, such as when your fillings or crowns are out of alignment and not leveled with the rest of your teeth. In this case teeth just keep touching and erasing each other into tooth-dust. Problems connected with your wisdom teeth are also from this category. The first thing to be done, in this case, is to visit your dentist. The dentist is the one to know exactly how to treat the situation in which case braces may be required for proper alignment to fix the bad bite. A rigid mouth guard may be made to prevent further grinding and or clinching while sleeping.

In any and all cases a consultation to the dentist and or Orthodontist is very important. Braces or a night mouth guard may be recommended to fix the problem that will keep your beautiful healthy teeth. A dental health professional, like the Orthodontist can be a teeth grinders best friend.

The Importance Of Proper Teeth

Ideally your dentist’s only role should be preventive, to ensure that you are maintaining strong, healthy and in good condition teeth. One thing that you should be concerned with is the way in which you actually achieve your healthy teeth and gums. Your daily tooth care habits that you perform at home will contribute more than anything else to your dental condition. For good or bad, it is completely up to you to figure out what you need to know and to develop the proper habits that you need to have if you want to be able to take good care of your teeth. A good oral health program is made up mainly of three important behaviors. Brushing twice a day, flossing once a day and visiting the dentist at least every six months. It is also important to make sure that your techniques for brushing and flossing are as effective as possible.

There has been a lengthy debate about the fluoride that is found in drinking water, toothpaste and a bunch of other oral care products. Even your annual checkup and cleaning will include what is tantamount to a “tooth bath” in a gooey fluoride paste. People who practice natural and alternative health care medicine believe fluoride to be an unhealthy substance. We’re not going to take part in that debate. So, if you’re comfortable using it, you should know that fluoride has been revered as a cavity prevention tool. So double check to ensure that your toothpaste actually contains fluoride because there are a lot of non-fluoridated toothpastes in production now to keep the anti-fluoride folks happy. Follow your conscience and do what is right for you.

Flossing is done because you want to get the food out from between your teeth and under your gums. Try as you may, simple brushing will not get the job done. In terms of which floss is the best, that really depends on which floss works best for you. Studies have proven that no brand of floss is at a significant advantage over another. The thing that you need to pay particular attention to is how much space there is between your teeth. Waxed floss is going to be bigger and that means that if there isn’t a lot of space between your teeth that could be a problem. In this case, you need floss that is wax free.

We all know that too much sugar ingestion is something that causes cavities. Obviously, however, if your tooth care habits aren’t up to snuff, your problem will only get worse. Another consideration to this problem is when you eat sugar. As an example, if you’re in the habit of eating hard candy that has sugar in it, the ever present presence of sugar in your mouth is not going to help you. A situation like that means your teeth are getting bombarded with the acid produced all the time. It’s very much recommended that you allow your teeth to have a break once in a while. Dentists say going sugar free for even two or three hours can be very helpful.

Visit The Wisdom Teeth Removal Dentist?

Is there such a thing as a wisdom teeth removal dentist or are all dentists able to remove wisdom teeth? If you are considering removal of your wisdom teeth, you can visit your dentist but the preferred option is to find a dentist or an oral and maxillofacial surgeon. There may be several valid reasons for the removal of the teeth.

The wisdom teeth are the last set of permanent molars to grow out of the gumline. They usually appear between the ages of 17 to 25, and in some people do not appear at all. They can be the cause of problems for many people. If there is not enough room or space in the mouth for normal growth, they may not erupt properly and can cause discomfort. They can grow at abnormal angles, and may even remain trapped in the jawbone. Because of the position in the mouth, they may be hard to reach for proper care, and can be the cause of painful cavities that result from tooth decay. Many people, and even some dentists may suggest pre-mature removal as a preventative measure. It is believed that they have gained the moniker “wisdom teeth” in the 17th Century. It appears that the attribution results from the fact that they appear later in life, when adults are supposed to have gained more wisdom.

The procedure was easily done in the office of your dentist or surgeon, and depending on your tolerance for pain, you can opt to having all of your wisdom teeth removed at the same time. With new research, and advantages being made in medical and dental care, the messages being delivered by your teeth removal dentist appears to be changing.

There now appears to be a change in attitude where it may no longer be necessary to have wisdom teeth removed. According to reports from the Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons, if your wisdom are healthy, and they are examined regularly, for any sign of trouble, there are very few reasons to visit your wisdom teeth removal dentist.

Critics of the extraction procedure, say that it is generally better to avoid the risks associated with anaesthesia and surgery, and it may no longer be recommended as a preventative procedure.

When you visit your wisdom teeth removal dentist, the primary objective, should be to first have an open discussion about your situation. Be sure that all of the options, such as monitoring to removal are explored before the risky surgery is performed. The discussions can be complicated. In most cases it appears that only 30{ffbf31465a7d19150b534b3f06f0a073c5e8ed2776fe843fb5271095d5df44f2} of the teeth can remain healthy, there is still no empirical evidence that suggests whether it is better to remove the teeth.

Wisdom Teeth Care

Wisdom teeth are vestigial teeth that were used by our human ancestors for grinding down tough plant tissue. Since then human diets have undergone a good deal of change along with smaller jaws. However third molars or ‘ wisdom teeth’ still develop.

Wisdom teeth usually emerge in the mouth around the age of 17-21. These teeth, being among the last to emerge in the mouth are more susceptible to becoming ‘impacted’. Teeth are impacted when they don’t emerge or emerge only part way through the gums at the expected time. Wisdom teeth may become impacted if the tooth is turned to the side, tilted or grows out in an incorrect position in the jaw. This may also happen when there is insufficient space in the jaw or mouth for the tooth to emerge.

The impacted tooth is generally painless. You might not even realize that there is a problem. However when the partially emerged tooth tries to erupt, it may lead to a swelling of the overlying gums causing pain. A partially erupted tooth may collect food particles and other substances which eventually give rise to infection called pericoronitis. If left unchecked this infection may spread to the other teeth, throat or neck. Here are a few wise ways to take care of your wisdom teeth.

Oral Hygiene Matters

While there is no way to prevent wisdom teeth from being impacted, a strict oral hygiene routine can reduce the risk of infection to a great extent. Brushing at least twice a day, flossing and using jet water sprays can help keep your teeth healthy.

1) Look out for the symptoms that indicate a problem.
2) Swelling of the gums in the back of the mouth.
3) Pain while chewing and biting food.
4) Bad breath
5) Irritation or difficulty while opening the mouth.

Sometimes you can relieve irritation by thoroughly rinsing your mouth with warm salt water. It can reduce inflammation and soothe the pain. Visit your dentist regularly. He or she will be able to tell you whether you need to get your teeth extracted. Since an impacted tooth can cause problems to your other teeth, call your dentist is any pain is felt in your molar teeth and if your wisdom teeth haven’t come in yet. The dentist will examine the area and take X-rays if necessary.

It is best to have your wisdom teeth extracted before the age of 21. Generally the dentist might recommend removing all four of your wisdom teeth to prevent problems down the road. If the impacted tooth isn’t causing pain or harming the surrounding teeth, immediate extraction is not necessary. However extraction is recommended in order to avoid problems later on.

Health Issues Related to Wisdom

Between the ages of 17 and 25, the majority of people have their final set of molars appear, called wisdom teeth. The name stems from the fact that having these teeth come in later in life gives the person time to learn and gain experiences.

The wisdom teeth are the furthest back in a person’s mouth and also referred to as the third molars. Usually a person has four of them; however there can be fewer or none at all.

There is usually not enough room for the wisdom teeth in a person’s mouth. They can be misaligned or not come in at all, so removal of these teeth is typically required.

If these molars are positioned incorrectly or angled improperly, they can squeeze other teeth out of place or cause damage to the other teeth, the jaw bone or nerves. By crowding adjacent teeth, there can be a higher risk of trapping plaque and greater susceptibility to decay.

If the wisdom teeth do not fully erupt, but are present and caught in the soft tissue under the gums or jawbone, they are considered “impacted”. If they are not removed, infection and abbesses can occur, as well as pain, stiffness in the jaw, swelling and general malaise and illness.

Due to the location of the wisdom teeth in a person’s mouth, they can be difficult to clean. If there is an issue with eruption and the teeth are partially covered, they can be at risk of debris accumulating and are at risk of possible infection occurring.

If the gum bed extends over the top of the wisdom tooth and forms a partial cover, it is called an operculum. Due to the challenge with cleaning these teeth, which are exacerbated by this situation, a needless syringe may be required to pressure wash the area in an attempt to remove any trapped particles and plaque.

When the operculum does not disappear or if the wisdom teeth do not come in straight, and are caught in an angle under the gum line, extraction is the solution. If a horizontal impaction is left intact, growing ninety degrees forwards, the tooth can grow into the roots of the second molars.

The most common situation is when the wisdom teeth are angled forwards, towards the front of the mouth, called a mesioangular impaction. If this is the case, the teeth located on the lower row, on the mandible, are easier to remove.

The maxilla holds the top teeth which are the easiest to remove if the wisdom teeth are angled backwards. This is called a distoangular impaction, and is a much rarer occurrence.

Symptoms such as redness, pain, and swelling, difficulty opening the jaw, bad odour, or general illness attributed to your wisdom teeth can progress into severe infection if left untreated. If you are suffering any of these warning signs, contact your dentist or health care provider to find the root cause.

Getting Your Wisdom Teeth

Wisdom teeth are the molars growing at the very far end of the gums. Most of your other teeth will grow during your childhood years and some will appear in as early as your first year in life. However, these teeth will not show up until your adolescent or adult years (between 12 to 25 years old). This is why these molars are called ‘wisdom teeth’. The word ‘wisdom’ here refers to the fact that you are already old enough to be wise when these teeth show up.

For some reason though, a lot of people have come to fear the idea of wisdom teeth removal. There are old stories saying that this removal is a dreaded experience to go through. There are also old stories saying that your wisdom teeth will give you a lot of toothache troubles. Is there any truth to these stories?

Well, the answer is both a ‘yes’ and a ‘no’. Yes, because your wisdom teeth can really give you a lot of toothache troubles and the removal can really be quite painful. No, because you can avoid all of these things if you take correct measures. But what makes these teeth painful anyway?

The answer lies in the location of wisdom teeth. As mentioned earlier, they are located at the very far end of the gums. This means that they are often hard to reach with toothbrush. As result, they often do not get proper cleaning. This is why these teeth are prone to tooth decay. And when tooth decay is present, toothache will soon follow.

In some instances however, symptoms of wisdom teeth decay such as toothache do not manifest right away. This is why a lot of people discover late that their teeth are already damaged. So what do you do?

It is important that you schedule a regular checkup with your dentist. This way, your dentist can closely monitor the condition of your teeth using proper tools. Also, your dentist may perform cleaning procedures to keep your teeth intact and free of decay.

To save you from future troubles however, your dentist may suggest extracting a healthy wisdom tooth. This is an option you can take if you do not want to wait for your teeth to show signs of decay until having them removed. Besides, it is almost imminent that these type of teeth will suffer from decay at some time in the future.

If wisdom tooth decay is discovered late, the extraction procedure may become a little painful. This is because the gums beneath the tooth may already be inflamed. Also, pus may already be present. The presence of pus will make anesthesia ineffective.

To prevent pain however, your dentist may postpone the extraction of the affected wisdom tooth. Instead, he will give you antibiotics to treat the inflammation and pus. When the inflammation and pus are already gone, your dentist may proceed to the extraction procedure.

Let Wisdom Teeth Decide

Untimely and misplaced eruption of the third molar teeth has been a cause of concern for many. Dentists carry out extraction of such impacted teeth by using sedation and all the necessary precautions to ensure successful completion of the procedure. One should be aware of every aspect of the procedure before going through with it.

There are several ways of measuring growth in humans. Usually people are considered fully grown when their height stops increasing or in more social terms, when they start making a living. Some associate growth of people with the occurrence of wisdom teeth. This name suggests that their eruption takes place when a person has gained wisdom with age as they are the last molar teeth to appear. But it is not a necessity. One cannot be considered fully grown just by their teeth. Typically these teeth surface from the late teens to mid twenties. But in some cases they never erupt or come out at a later age.

Correct eruption of wisdom teeth is not a problem; in fact they give the jaw a fuller look and a stronger bite. But third molar teeth become a problem when their eruption disturbs the harmony of the tooth structure. Some third molars erupt below an existing, healthy tooth, causing problems like pain, swelling and posing a fatal threat to the existing tooth. Impacted third molar teeth should be promptly removed to avoid any further deterioration of oral health. Removal of impacted teeth is much easier at an early age when the jaw bones are not that dense and roots are still developing.

Dentists around the world offer tooth extraction services that deal specifically with the removal of impacted third molars. Extraction is considered absolutely safe and is conducted with all the necessary precautions. To minimise the pain, anaesthesia is applied which numbs the area that has to be operated. The type and amount of sedation will depend on the placement and the number of teeth that are to be extracted. Dentist begins by opening the gum tissue surrounding the impacted tooth and removes the bone that surrounds it. The next step is removal of the tissue through which the impacted tooth is connected to the bone, after which the tooth is removed and the wound is allowed to heal.

Although the description of this process is scary enough to keep people away from tooth extraction, but it is absolutely necessary to get rid of an impacted tooth that is damaging a perfectly healthy one. But before going through with the procedure, you must understand fully the pros and cons of doing it. Despite of having many benefits, extraction comes with a few disadvantages too, so you must be aware of all the aspects before you go ahead with the operation. Taking a wise decision and making the best choice for your oral health will definitely be a proof of your gained wisdom, whether you have wisdom teeth or not.

Wisdom Tooth Extractions

A wisdom tooth can be extracted (removed) by an oral surgeon or your family dentist. This can be done at the dental professional’s facility and the surgery itself is usually done in a single visit, with aftercare being minimal in nature. If you are having all your wisdom teeth extracted or of you are at a high risk for complications (your dentist will determine that) then you may have your surgery performed at a hospital. If you do have prior infections, surgery will probably be delayed until the infection itself is cleared up. If this is the case, your doctor will have you take antibiotics to heal these complicating factors.

Your dentist will administer local anesthetic before removing a wisdom tooth. If several or all of your wisdom teeth will be removed at the same time, a general anesthetic will be used to prevent pain in the entire body. This will cause you to sleep throughout the procedure. It is generally recommended that you do not eat or drink after midnight on the night before surgery, so that the anesthetic can be administered properly.

During the procedure, your dentist will open up the gum tissue over the tooth and take out any bone that is covering it, to remove the wisdom tooth. You may need stitches, after the tooth is removed. In most cases, stitches dissolve over time. Some stitches do not dissolve; however, and will need to be removed after a few days but this technique is used less often. Cotton gauze pad is generally used to stop any bleeding from the surgery.

What to Expect After Surgery:

Recovery usually only requires a few days. Here are some tips that will help speed up your recovery:

• Take pain killers prescribed by your dentist only as needed.
• Change gauze pads as they become soaked with blood and bite GENTLY on them to absorb blood.
• Avoid lying flat, this may prolong bleeding. Try to prop your head up with pillows, if required.
• Avoid physical activity as this promotes faster blood flow to the injured area.
• Soft foods are generally recommended to alleviate stress to the surgery site.
• Using a straw can loosen the blood clotting process so do not use a straw while recovering.
• Gently rinse your mouth with warm salt water several times a day to reduce swelling and relieve pain. This is a generally recommended procedure after the first day.
• The sucking motion of smoking can loosen the clot and delay healing. Avoid this for 24 hours.

Why Wisdom Teeth Are Extracted:

• The teeth may be too large for the jaw bone that they are growing out of. As a result, your teeth might become impacted, which means that they cannot properly grow in a normal healthy fashion where they fully break through from under the gum line.
• A flap of gum tissue may grow over the teeth that only partially break through the gum line. Food and germs can then get trapped under this flap, which can be a cause of infection.
• One or more of the wisdom teeth can grow in at the wrong angle which then creates crowding of the other, more-healthy teeth. Removal is necessary to preserve the healthy teeth.

In many cases, wisdom tooth extraction is a necessary procedure for healthy dental development. Regular dental check-ups and meetings with your dentist can determine whether you are a candidate for a wisdom tooth extraction. Your dentist will be able to recommend what is right for you.

Managing Post Operational Wisdom

One common fear shared by adults is tooth extraction to relieve wisdom teeth pain. The pain of surgery could bring out anxiety which prevents suffers to avoid surgery. Knowing the truth about encompassing wisdom teeth extraction and its after care can somehow lessen the worry.

It is important that you be familiar with the root cause of the pain. Pain may emerge from wisdom teeth eruption which can also lead to tooth decay which is another cause of pain.

Wisdom teeth or the last set of grinding molars initiates eruption at ages 17 to 21 years old, but not all four back molars successfully break through the gums. Some of these may partially erupt or stay underneath the gums. While other wisdom teeth grow at a rapid rate but crowd adjacent teeth because of deficient gum space. The end point of these wisdom teeth eruptions would all go down to pain, swelling, irritation or worst, tooth decay. Nevertheless, all of these would require teeth surgery to alleviate pain.

Surgery is painless because anesthesia is given by the dentist or dental surgeon depending on the number of teeth to be removed. Single removal may call for local anesthesia while massive removal qualifies for general anesthesia.

The procedure of wisdom teeth extraction is quite simple. Once the anesthesia takes effect, the surgeon starts to create the incision on the affected gum then continues removing the bony covering of the teeth to easily extract the wisdom teeth. Other cases require drilling to completely remove teeth.

Aftermath pain is another story. Pain starts when anesthesia loses the effect. Common manifestations during post operation is pain, swelling of the face and jaw stiffness of the affected portion. It becomes imperative for a client to know certain facts after surgery to anticipate management.

Bleeding for 24 hours is common following teeth extraction. Reduce and control bleeding by placing gauze into your mouth over incisions. A moistened teabag is also an option to consider. If bleeding is persistent, apply ice chips that will help in hemostasis (blood clotting). Remember that frequent swallowing of blood results in black stools.

Facial swelling is normal right after the procedure; manage it by applying ice pack on the affected face. Brushing slowly with a soft-bristled toothbrush and avoiding the incision site to avoid trauma should be kept in mind. Another thing that should be avoided is sucking, spitting and intake of warm beverages. This results to dislodgement of the clot protecting the incision leading to dry sockets.

Maintain liquid diet prescribed by the dentist and avoid skipping or missing antibiotics and anti-inflammatory medications to achieve full healing. Conservative techniques could also be used to treat post pain. Peppermint application on affected gum daily for 15-20 minutes provides relief. Another is swishing warm salt water to reduce the number of bacteria inside the mouth. Then massage gum area to increase blood circulation. Acupressure to fight teeth pain is possible when done properly. Do this on the webbed area between the thumb and the index finger.

Remedies to treat pain after surgery may range scientific and conventional techniques. The choice choose to do any of it depending on your preference as long as the sole end point of this is healthy healing. Aftercare stands integral to successfully rule out bothersome wisdom teeth pain.