Posts for category: Oral Health
Boston Bruins defenseman Zdeno Chara had a rough Stanley Cup final against the St. Louis Blues this past June. Not only did the Bruins ultimately lose the championship, but Chara took a deflected puck shot to the face in Game Four that broke his jaw.
With the NHL season now over, the 42-year-old Bruins captain continues to mend from his injury that required extensive treatment. His experience highlights how jaw fractures and related dental damage are an unfortunate hazard in hockey—not only for pros like Chara, but also for an estimated half million U.S. amateurs, many in youth leagues.
Ice hockey isn't the only sport with this injury potential: Basketball, football (now gearing up with summer training) and even baseball players are also at risk. That's why appropriate protective gear like helmets and face shields are key to preventing injury.
For any contact sport, that protection should also include a mouthguard to absorb hard contact forces that could damage the mouth, teeth and gums. The best guards (and the most comfortable fit) are custom-made by a dentist based on impressions made of the individual's mouth.
But even with adequate protection, an injury can still happen. Here's what you should do if your child has an injury to their jaw, mouth or teeth.
Recognize signs of a broken jaw. A broken jaw can result in severe pain, swelling, difficulty speaking, numbness in the chin or lower lip or the teeth not seeming to fit together properly. You may also notice bleeding in the mouth, as well as bruising under the tongue or a cut in the ear canal resulting from jawbone movement during the fracture. Get immediate medical attention if you notice any of these signs.
Take quick action for a knocked-out tooth. A tooth knocked completely out of its socket is a severe dental injury. But you may be able to ultimately save the tooth by promptly taking the following steps: (1) find the tooth and pick it up without touching the root end, (2) rinse it off, (3) place it back in its socket with firm pressure, and (4) see a dentist as soon as possible.
Seek dental care. Besides the injuries already mentioned, you should also see a dentist for any moderate to severe trauma to the mouth, teeth and gums. Leading the list: any injury that results in tooth chipping, looseness or movement out of alignment.
Even a top athlete like Zdeno Chara isn't immune to injury. Take steps then to protect your amateur athlete from a dental or facial injury.
If you would like more information about dealing with sports-related dental injuries, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. To learn more, read the Dear Doctor magazine articles “Athletic Mouthguards” and “The Field-Side Guide to Dental Injuries.”
Dental crowns are a tried and true restoration that improve oral health, function, and appearance. If a damaged tooth threatens your smile, Dr. Angela Toy of Arbor Hills Dental in Newberg, OR, may advise a crown. Here's why your family dentist may recommend this procedure.
Don't skimp on your oral health
Unwisely, many people think dental extraction is cheaper, better, and more preferable than restoring a tooth. The American Association of Endodontists says that this couldn't be further from the truth. Your family dentist in Newburg, OR, agrees.
Extraction creates an ugly smile gap, degrades underlying gum tissue/bone, and weakens the teeth adjacent to the empty space. Down the road, those weak teeth will require expensive reinforcing or even removal.
Instead, Dr. Toy may wish you to consider a dental crown. This tooth-shaped cap covers, supports, and enhances the appearance of a compromised tooth.
It takes two to three visits to Arbor Hills Dental to evaluate you for crown placement, take impressions, surface prepare the tooth, and bond the permanent restoration in place. The work is well worth it because quality porcelain crowns typically last ten years or even longer when you take good care of them.
Reasons for a dental crown
A crown accomplishes a wide range of restorative purposes including:
- Support for a deeply cracked or heavily restored tooth (multiple fillings)
- The finishing touch on a root canal procedure (which heals an infected tooth)
- Restoration of a dental implant, the most successful tooth replacement option available today
- Recreation of the right shape, color, and size of a tooth worn by age or teeth grinding
- Attachment of a dental bridge, with one or more artificial teeth, to teeth adjacent to the smile gap
And, of course, a crown avoids undesired dental extraction. Frankly, you'll also like how easy it is to brush and floss around your crown. It's much better than staring at an unattractive smile gap, and you'll bite and chew normally.
Let us help your smile
At Arbor Hills Dental in Newburg, OR, your oral health and personal appearance are paramount to Dr. Angela Toy and her team. You'll love how this experienced family dentist cares for your smile. Phone us for a dental crown consultation at (503) 538-2143.
Professional Hockey player Keith Yandle is the current NHL “iron man”—that is, he has earned the distinction of playing in the most consecutive games. On November 23, Yandle was in the first period of his 820th consecutive game when a flying puck knocked out or broke nine of his front teeth. He returned third period to play the rest of the game, reinforcing hockey players’ reputation for toughness. Since talking was uncomfortable, he texted sportswriter George Richards the following day: “Skating around with exposed roots in your mouth is not the best.”
We agree with Yandle wholeheartedly. What we don’t agree with is waiting even one day to seek treatment after serious dental trauma. It was only on the following day that Yandle went to the dentist. And after not missing a game in over 10 years, Yandle wasn’t going to let a hiccup like losing, breaking or cracking nearly a third of his teeth interfere with his iron man streak. He was back on the ice later that day to play his 821st game.
As dentists, we don’t award points for toughing it out. If anything, we give points for saving teeth—and that means getting to the dentist as soon as possible after suffering dental trauma and following these tips:
- If a tooth is knocked loose or pushed deeper into the socket, don’t force the tooth back into position.
- If you crack a tooth, rinse your mouth but don’t wiggle the tooth or bite down on it.
- If you chip or break a tooth, save the tooth fragment and store it in milk or saliva. You can keep it against the inside of your cheek (not recommend for small children who are at greater risk of swallowing the tooth).
- If the entire tooth comes out, pick up the tooth without touching the root end. Gently rinse it off and store it in milk or saliva. You can try to push the tooth back into the socket yourself, but many people feel uneasy about doing this. The important thing is to not let the tooth dry out and to contact us immediately. Go to the hospital if you cannot get to the dental office.
Although keeping natural teeth for life is our goal, sometimes the unexpected happens. If a tooth cannot be saved after injury or if a damaged tooth must be extracted, there are excellent tooth replacement options available. With today’s advanced dental implant technology, it is possible to have replacement teeth that are indistinguishable from your natural teeth—in terms of both look and function.
And always wear a mouthguard when playing contact sports! A custom mouthguard absorbs some of the forces of impact to help protect you against severe dental injury.
If you would like more information about how to protect against or treat dental trauma or about replacing teeth with dental implants, please contact us or schedule a consultation. To learn more, read the Dear Doctor magazine articles “Dental Implants: A Tooth-Replacement Method That Rarely Fails” and “The Field-Side Guide to Dental Injuries.”
An estimated 50,000 Americans are expected to be diagnosed this year with some form of oral cancer. Five years from now, if current survival rates still apply (57%), a little more than half will still be alive. That's why the Oral Cancer Foundation designates each April as Oral Cancer Awareness Month to call attention to this serious disease, and what you can do to lower your risk of contracting it.
Oral cancer has one of the lowest survival rates among known cancers, mainly because it easily goes undetected until its later stages when known treatments aren't as effective. Patients don't always have overt symptoms or they mistake cancerous lesions for everyday mouth sores. On the other hand, early detection and treatment dramatically improve survivability.
Here are some things you can do to reduce your risk for oral cancer or improve your odds for early detection.
Don't use tobacco. If you're a smoker, you're five to nine times more likely to develop oral cancer than a non-smoker. Using smokeless snuff or chewing tobacco is also risky—four times the risk of non-users. And preliminary evidence suggests that e-cigarettes increase the risk of cancer as well.
Make better food choices. A diet heavy in processed foods, especially nitrites used in curing meats and other products, can damage cellular DNA and lead to cancer. On the other hand, natural foods like fresh fruits and vegetables contain nutrients that lower cancer risk. A nutritious diet also contributes to healthier teeth and gums.
Practice safer sex. While older adults have traditionally accounted for most oral cancer cases, there has been a recent, unsettling rise among younger people. Most researchers tie this to the Human Papilloma Virus (HPV 16), which is sexually transmitted. You can reduce your risk for contracting HPV 16 and subsequent oral cancer by following safe sex practices.
Undergo oral cancer screenings. Your semi-annual dental visits to clean your teeth are also a prime opportunity to check for oral abnormalities, especially if you're older. During an oral cancer screening we visually inspect your face, neck, lips and the inside of your mouth for any suspicious sores or discolorations. Early detection leads to better outcomes.
You should also modify your alcohol consumption—moderate to heavy drinkers have three to nine times greater risk for oral cancer than light or non-drinkers. And, you can further lower your risk of lip cancers by limiting your exposure to the sun and wearing protective sunscreen.
Oral cancer is a dangerous condition that could threaten your life. Regular dental care and healthy lifestyle practices can help lower your risk for encountering this deadly disease.
Preventive dental care is the best tool at your disposal for preventing dental problems.
Did you know that cavities and gum disease are preventable? This is why knowing how to properly care for your teeth and gums provides invaluable and long-term benefits for your health. Our Newberg, OR, family dentist Dr. Angela Toy wants to see her patients leave the office with cavity-free smiles. Of course, in order to do this, you have to practice preventive dental care.
What does preventive dental care entail?
In order to protect the health of your teeth and gums you need to,
- Brush twice a day (for a minimum of two minutes each time)
- Floss daily
- Replace your toothbrush or toothbrush head regularly (once bristles look worn)
- Quit smoking
- Limit alcohol
- Eat a healthy, diet that is low in sugar and starches
- See your dentist every six months for routine checkups
Taking these necessary and easy precautions is all you need to protect against gum disease and decay; however, there are additional preventive measures that your family may want to take, and you may want to talk with our Newberg, OR, dentist about,
Dental sealants: Sealants provide your child’s back teeth with an additional layer of protection against cavities. Since back teeth are particularly prone to decay, we can reduce the risk by sealing the chewing surfaces of these molars with this thin, plastic coating. Sealants are more commonly placed in children once their molars erupt; however, teens and adults can also benefit.
Fluoride treatment: It is also important that you are getting enough fluoride every day, which can prevent the formation of decay and keep enamel healthy and strong. If you aren’t getting enough fluoride from drinking water your dentist may provide you or your child with additional fluoride treatment when you come in for your biannual cleaning.
Athletic mouthguard: since dental injuries are particularly common in athletes, it’s important to protect your beautiful smile with a mouthguard. Our dentists can make custom-fitted mouthguards, which are more comfortable and provide superior protection. By wearing your mouthguards every time you play sports you can minimize your risk for injury.
Night guards: If you are prone to nighttime teeth grinding and jaw clenching this can cause excessive wear and tear on teeth; however, our dental team can also create custom nightguards, which you can wear while you sleep. This will greatly reduce any damage to teeth that may occur as a result of teeth grinding.
When was the last time you and your family visited your Newberg, OR, dentist for a cleaning? If it’s been more than six months then it’s time to call Arbor Hills Dental at (503) 538-2143 to schedule appointments for everyone.