Posts for: September, 2011
Planning a dream trip is something many people spend weeks, months or even years doing prior to their departure. However, in all of their excitement, they often forget about preparing for any “what if” dental emergencies that could occur while on the road. This is especially important if the trip will be overseas where you could face language barriers in addition to the concerns of finding qualified dental professionals you feel comfortable with treating an emergency.
The first and most important step you can take prior to departure is a proactive one: schedule an appointment with us for a thorough exam. (You should also do the same and schedule an appointment with your physician concerning your general health.) During this visit, be sure to let us know about your travel plans, where you will be going and what you will be doing so that we can ensure you are best prepared for your trip. For example, if you will be trying some new or high-impact activities, you may need a mouthguard to protect your teeth. Also, have any dental problems taken care of prior to traveling because pressure changes, especially during air travel, can cause pain in an untreated tooth.
As for seeking safe emergency dental care while you're traveling, here are some tips:
- Be sure to carry your travel information with you at all times, including the names and phone numbers of organizations to contact in case of a dental or medical emergency.
- Some good sources to contact in an emergency are:
- Friends or relatives that you are visiting in the area
- A local hotel concierge
- If traveling overseas, Americans living in the area or American military personnel; The International Association For Medical Assistance To Travelers, a network of doctors and medical institutions around the world (www.iamat.org; 716-754-4883); American Consulate or American Embassy in the country you are visiting; or if in Europe, the American Dental Society of Europe (ADSE; www.adse.co.uk; Phone: 011 44 141 331 0088)
And be sure to take our address with you on your trip. We would love to receive a postcard from you while you're traveling!
Do you constantly feel like you are running on empty? Do you snore, feel like napping every day, or even drink multiple cups of coffee just for the caffeine boost? You may have a sleep related breathing disorder (SRBD) or Sleep Apnea (“a” – without; “pnea” – breath) in which your airways become obstructed causing chronic loud snoring. The good news is that we can help both diagnose and treat this disorder, which means you will be able to finally get the rest that you (and your sleeping partner) so desperately need.
The reason that sleep apnea is so disruptive to daily living is that it causes awakening for a few seconds up to 50 times per night, significantly decreasing the amount of deep sleep that is necessary for full rejuvenation. Airway blockage during sleep commonly results from obesity, an enlarged tongue or tonsils, and other factors that can cause your airway to close off when you lie down, all increasing the likelihood that you will suffer from sleep apnea. These conditions are dangerous and impair the brain and heart from receiving adequate oxygen, increasing your risk for both stroke and heart attack.
The study of sleep and its disorders is relatively new. One successful way to treat sleep apnea is with a “CPAP” machine which uses a Continuous Positive Airway Pressure mask overnight to keep air passages open while sleeping. Another more comfortable, less noisy, and unobtrusive method is to use Oral Appliance Therapy, which features an appliance like a retainer that can be custom fitted to your mouth made by a dentist trained in sleep medicine.
And yes, dentists are increasingly being recruited to help study and treat sleep disorders. There are actually several ways in which we can help. Because we see our patients on a regular basis, we are uniquely qualified to diagnose early signs of SRBDs. For example, if you start to snore almost immediately after falling asleep in the dental chair, we will be able to discuss this important warning sign with you. We can also examine the back of your mouth to see if you possess any of the traits that point to SRBDs, including large tonsils and/or an elongated uvula — the tissue in the back of your throat that looks like a little punching bag.
So, if you want to stop snoring and start sleeping well or you think you may have a SRBD, call our office to schedule a basic oral exam and consultation. If you would like to learn more about the link between dentistry and the treatment of sleep disorders, read the Dear Doctor magazine article “Sleep Disorders & Dentistry.”
How many of these questions can you answer correctly? The more you know about nutrition and oral health, the healthier you are likely to be.
What are free sugars?
“Free sugars” is a term for sugars including refined cane, beet and corn sugar, which are added to foods or occur naturally in honey, syrups or fruit juices.
You probably know that foods with added sugars are not healthy for your teeth. What is the maximum recommended sugar intake for oral health?
The recommended daily limit for free sugar is 10 teaspoons per day. Note that one can of soda contains over 6 teaspoons.
If a sugary snack is bad for your teeth, what could you substitute that would be better?
Fresh fruits and vegetables would be a better snack. Fresh fruits contain fructose, a sugar that has not been shown to be harmful to teeth if eaten in reasonable amounts.
How can you get enough fluoride to guard your teeth against decay?
If your water supply does not contain fluoride, or if you usually drink bottled water, you may or may not be receiving enough fluoride from your toothpaste. We can assess if you are receiving enough fluoride by examining your teeth, testing your plaque and reviewing your past history of tooth decay. If you are having a problem with tooth decay, we can create fluoride trays for you so you can apply a fluoride solution to your teeth daily.
What is dental erosion and how is it different from tooth decay?
Some acidic foods, particularly drinks such as juices and sodas, wear away your teeth's outer coating (the enamel) when exposed to the teeth's surface. Erosion does not involve bacteria, the cause of dental caries (tooth decay).
Can certain foods stop acidity from attacking your teeth?
Yes, there are foods that reverse the increase in acidity that comes from eating free sugars. One of these is cheese. Cheese stimulates saliva in your mouth, and it contains high levels of calcium, allowing calcium to be added back to your teeth. Many vegetables and starchy whole grain foods require thorough chewing, which also stimulates production of saliva and guards against tooth decay.
We hope you learned some useful facts from this nutrition quiz. If you modify your habits so that you eat less free sugar; drink more water (preferably fluoridated), drink fewer juices and sodas; and snack on fresh fruits, vegetables, and cheese, you can count on having healthy teeth and gums.
Your son just crashed his skateboard and cracked a tooth, or maybe your daughter fell off the monkey bars at school and now has a chipped front tooth. For children, and some adults, repairing chipped or damaged teeth with tooth-colored restorative materials directly bonded to the teeth may be the perfect solution to restore their smiles.
What is Involved: Composite bonding is a technique that has been developed to correct chipped teeth and other minor dental imperfections. It may also be used to correct mild crookedness or gaps between teeth. The procedure requires the application of a tooth-colored composite resin material to the surfaces of teeth, which is then sculpted to the desired shape. It can be performed in a single visit for one or multiple teeth. The procedure usually takes between one and two hours, and the end result is a beautiful, natural-looking smile.
Advantages for Kids and Adults: Composite resin bonding is a good choice for kids and teens since their jaws are still growing and developing, and they may still be engaged in high-risk activities. After your child's teeth and jaws are fully developed, we can discuss options for more permanent restorations such as porcelain veneers or crowns. These require removal of more tooth structure, which could compromise the long-term health of your child's teeth if done too soon. Composite resin restorations, which bond straight to the teeth and require little to no tooth preparation or drilling are therefore a good option for fixing chipped teeth, and they're less expensive than choosing veneers.
Disadvantages: The longevity of composite resin restorations is related to how well you maintain your teeth. Many people can go for ten or fifteen years before they need to have the bonded resins repaired or replaced. Others will tend to stain and wear after only one or two years and will need some touch-up work.