Author Archives: Brennan Jennings

Debunking These Myths About Dental Implants

Dental implants are popular remedy people in need of structural reconstruction due to tooth loss because of dental injuries, accidents, gum disease, hyperdontia, tooth decay, and extreme wear and tear.

Before, patients seeking a complete set of teeth were limited to the use of dentures and dental bridges. However, these treatments can lead to self-consciousness and anxiety that they might fall out.

Dental implants are classified under prosthetic dentistry and considered artificial replacement to dental roots. These dental restorations function to avert the likelihood of jaw bone loss due to missing teeth. They are also a response to the major drawbacks associated with dentures and bridges including bite irregularity which can affect speech and nutrition.

With a dental implant, dental crowns are provided with needed stability and strength to perform the functions of natural teeth without an unwarranted struggle, while maintaining facial structures and features.

What are the components of a dental implant?

A dental implant comprises a titanium implant, an abutment, and a crown.

The titanium implant acts as the replacement tooth root which keeps the artificial tooth in place. It is surgically infused into the jawbone which is why a patient qualified for a dental implant procedure must have a strong jawbone, healthy gum tissue, and exhibits good oral health.

An abutment is a screw-like piece which secures the crown in place. A crown is then screwed onto the abutment.

Why should I get a dental implant instead of dentures or bridges?

Dental implants are convenient, reliable in retaining facial structures, durable, improve speech, appearance, and oral health increases self-esteem and provides no discomfort when it comes to eating.

  • Comfort. Unlike dentures, dental implants do not need the help of adhesives to be secured in place, assuring patients that no accidental mouth slips will occur. Eating and speaking will also be more comfortable as you need be wary of possible fall off from your mouth or breaking a part of a denture when biting a hard food.
  • Retainment of Facial Features. Dental implants cause no structural damage to the jaw bone. Therefore, the natural contours of the face are maintained. As the implants are integrated into the jawbone, you might even forget that you have dental implants as they seem like a natural tooth.
  • Durability. With proper care, dental implants can survive a lifetime as they can withstand pressure and force compared to dental bridges and dentures.
  • Improvement of appearance. As mentioned above, dental implants maintain the structure of the face and look like natural teeth.

Common Myths About Dental Implants Debunked!

Myth #1: Everyone can undergo a dental implant procedure.

Fact: Certain requirements must be met to be qualified for a dental implant procedure. A good candidate must have a strong jawbone, healthy gums, and good oral health.

Unqualified candidates include people who are pregnant, with poor oral health, underwent neck or head radiation in the past, with chronic diseases like hemophilia and diabetes, take steroids or other immune-suppressing prescriptions, smoke, with bruxism, or underdeveloped jawbones.

Myth #2: A dental implant procedure is painful.

Fact: When undergoing a dental implant procedure, anesthesia is administered which can minimize a patient’s anxiety and pain.

Myth 3: Dental implants are not effective and can be risky.

Fact: A dental implant procedure has been done for more than four decades. Research has also suggested that the procedure has a 95 percent success rate in comparison to other tooth replacement alternatives.

What Everyone Should Know About A Dental Abscess

Whether you are young or hitting seniority, you can develop a dental abscess due to the infection and proliferation of bacteria in the tooth, gums, the bone holding the tooth, or surrounding tissues.

A dental abscess, which is more prevalent in individuals with poor oral health and hygiene, can start as a cavity or tooth infection.

A dental abscess in the gum is referred to as a periodontal abscess, while an abscess at the end of a tooth is known as a periapical abscess.

What causes a dental abscess?

A dental abscess may be due to the bacteria development from an existing cavity or infection in the face, neck, or soft tissue. It can also be caused by an untreated tooth infection or lack of proper dental care which has led to the accumulation of cavities.

When the cavity or infection is not treated, it can spread to adjacent areas and in the gums, ultimately becoming an abscess.

And when the abscess is left on its own, it can move beyond the oral cavity and travel to the neck, neck, and other portions of the body.

What are the typical signs of a dental abscess?

The common signs of a dental abscess are a pimple-like swelling on the gum, discomfort when pressure is put on the tooth especially when eating, and falling out of the necrotic pulp.

Known as a draining fistula, the pimple-like swelling on the gum is filled with pus that can be ruptured to release the thick yellowish liquid of an infected tissue.

On the one hand, discomfort and pain may be experienced as the abscess can affect the bones and gums. The pain is also an indication of the spread of the infection, causing more pressure on other structures like the bones and gums.

When the tooth has turned dark in color, it is an indication of the fallout of the necrotic pulp which has flowed to the tooth’s penetrable layer.

Other signs and symptoms of a dental abscess include swelling, redness, and pain in the mouth or face, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, chills, fever, oral swelling, tenderness and inflammation of the gums, cavities, and difficulty moving the mouth or swallowing.

How is a dental abscess diagnosed?

Diagnosis of a dental abscess includes patient’s report of signs and symptoms that may pertain to an infection or abscess.

However, some cases of a dental abscess have no visible or observable symptoms at all as the tooth may have become numb or lost its vitality. When no obvious indications are felt, a dental abscess can be diagnosed through a dental X-ray.

The dentist can also perform other tests and examinations depending on the case.

Can a dental abscess be treated?

Fortunately, yes. To treat a dental abscess, the infection is thoroughly and carefully removed by draining the infection out of the tooth and its surrounding structures. Oral antibiotics are also prescribed to fight off the bacteria.

After cleaning out the infection, a root canal treatment is performed to restore the tooth. Through a root canal treatment, a type of endodontic treatment, the pulp chamber, and the connected canals are cleaned out and covered using a gutta percha to shield the tooth from invasive infections.

However, if the tooth has become too infected, tooth extraction may be advised by your dentist instead to prevent the infection from damaging other teeth.

Over-the-counter medications like ibuprofen and paracetamol may help in relieving the pain due to a dental abscess, while a warm water rinse can clean the mouth when a dental abscess bursts.

Remember that experiencing no pain or discomfort or the lack of signs and symptoms are not indications of a treated abscess. A dental abscess will not heal or get better by itself. Removing the infection and treating the infected tooth by the dentist remain necessary to prevent the spread of bacteria and infection and avoid oral and non-oral related issues.

In cases when a dental abscess has rapidly spread, and urgent attention is needed, go to an emergency room or call an emergency dentist for immediate dental care.

Is a dental abscess preventable?

Most dental problems are preventable. A dental abscess can be prevented through proper and regular oral care. Basic oral hygiene must be religiously practiced to keep the teeth, gums, tongue, and mouth free from harmful bacteria and infection.

A routine dental check-up is also vital in ensuring that the oral health is in its best condition and tooth decays are immediately given the proper treatment as soon as possible.

It is also crucial to avoid habits or activities that can trigger or increase the risk of infections. Such activities include smoking and excessive alcohol consumption.

6 Secrets About Having Healthy Teeth That Nobody Will Tell You

The human teeth are essential parts of the body. They aid in digestion, speech, and appearance.

Our teeth break down the food we consume by cutting and crushing them to prepare them for swallowing and digestion. With their help, we can speak properly and retain the shape of our facial structure.

Our teeth can also indicate signs of nutritional deficiencies and other diseases. When our teeth suffer decay and infection, they can affect our overall physical health and contribute to increasing our risk for diabetes, heart disease, strokes, among others.

Ensuring the health of our teeth is not only for the achievement of a beautiful smile but more importantly, for our general health.

What can I do to have healthy teeth?

Having a healthy set of teeth is simple. Below are oral care tips you can follow for optimum oral health.

  • Brushing, Flossing, Rinsing!

We know you already know this tip, but there is no harm adding another reminder, right?

Brushing, flossing, and rinsing with mouthwash are the basic steps in maintaining your natural teeth.

Brush at least twice daily. However, brushing is not merely grabbing that toothbrush and toothpaste and moving them around your mouth.

To effectively clean your mouth, brush in circular or vertical strokes at 45-degree angle to get into the crevices of the teeth. Make sure your toothbrush reaches the chewing surfaces and the in and out of your teeth and gums.

Keep your brushing time at two minutes with gentle pressure as fast, and hard brushing can wear the tooth’s enamel. Also, remember to change your toothbrush at least every three months.

Aside from brushing, flossing is also a crucial oral hygiene practice because it removes hidden food particles and plaque your toothbrush was not able to reach. Similarly, rinsing with mouthwash is another cleansing agent that can help address dental problems like plaque, gum disease, dental cavity, and bad breath.

  • Brushing is good but not after a meal

As stated above, brushing is essential but not until 30 minutes have passed since you last ate. Why? Because your mouth needs to rest and regain its average pH level.

Your food and drink consumption lower the pH level inside your mouth. Also, brushing right after a meal can rid your teeth not only plaque and food particles but also the enamel.

  • Clean your tongue!

Aside from causing bad breath, bacteria can inhabit in your tongue and move to the teeth. So before these bacteria get into your teeth, get rid of them by cleaning your tongue by brushing or with the help of a tongue scraper.

  • Eat Teeth-Strengthening Foods

Food particles can serve as food for bacteria inside the mouth. However, not all foods are bad for your teeth. You can design your diet by including foods loaded with vitamins and minerals such as vitamin C and calcium that can aid in strengthening your teeth’s outer layer.

You can also snack on cheese, apple, and celery instead of starchy chips and sweet treats. These foods encourage the production of saliva which is vital in keeping the mouth moist and in combating bacteria.

  • Say No to Smoking and Drinking Alcohol

If we list down the negative implications of smoking and excessive drinking of alcohol, the list may not end. Smoking and drinking do more harm than good. They are bad for your oral health and bad for your body.

Smoking and excessive drinking of alcohol can discolor teeth, trigger the propagation of bacteria and infection, weaken the natural healing capacity of the mouth, and increase the likelihood of dental diseases and cancer.

  • Step into a Dental Office at least twice a year

Even with proper oral hygiene, your teeth can have damages or problems your naked eye cannot detect. Go to your dentist for a bi-annual check-up and teeth cleaning to identify early signs of dental-related issues and give your teeth an excellent clean.

How To Treat Gum Disease

Are you suffering from swollen, tender or red gums? Have you noticed people moving a little away from you when you speak? Do you have bad breath? Gum disease is caused by plaque, a white sticky substance composed of saliva, bacteria and food particles that collect around the tooth surface.

gum diseases treatment

Gingivitis is a mild form of gum disease characterized by swollen, red and tender gums that easily bleed. Bad breath is also a characteristic feature of gingivitis. When gingivitis is left untreated it progresses into a more severe form of gum disease that extends the destruction to the alveolar bone. This severe form of gum disease is called periodontitis. As we get older our risk of developing gum disease increases.

Our gums pull away from our teeth exposing the roots as we grow older. Unprotected roots are easy targets of plaque. Our saliva performs important flushing action that removes plaque, which accumulates on the teeth surfaces and neutralizes plaque acidity thus providing us protection against dental diseases. However, most often older people take drugs that reduce saliva production which include diuretics and high blood pressure medications.

The reduced flow of saliva increases the development of gum disease. Diseases like arthritis and diabetes can also affect our dental health. Arthritis can make proper tooth brushing techniques and proper oral hygiene routine challenging and cumbersome. People with diabetes and who are suffering from gum disease usually have impaired wound-healing capacity, which can lead to infection especially in older people who do not eat a well balanced diet.

A well balanced diet helps a person’s body fight against infection. Gum disease yet presents another problem. The bacteria coming from the infected gum pockets can spread to the saliva and can be transmitted from one person to another during the act of kissing. This can also be transmitted when you share a drinking a glass with a person with gum disease. People who have general poor health are most often prone to gum disease.

How is gum disease treated? Gingivitis can be treated with proper dental care through meticulous tooth brushing, the use of dental floss and regular dental check-up. On the other hand those who have periodontis usually need to undergo surgery and require drug treatment. People with periodontitis usually require surgery for treatment. Treatments include tooth scaling and root planing.

These dental procedures will remove plaque and make the diseased root surfaces smooth so that gum reattachment will be possible. Flap surgery is often required if the gum pockets are very deep. In flap surgery the gums are incised in order to expose the entire root for proper scraping and planing. After thorough cleaning and scraping, the gums are sewn back in place.

Sometimes periodontal disease can spread all the way to the jawbone. If this is the case, tissue regeneration or bone grafting will be necessary in order to save your dentition. Periodontitis can also be helped through several medications. However, these medications will only help fight the disease but will not cure it. A pill called periostat can be taken twice daily for a period of three months to combat periodontis. Your dentist Honolulu is in the best position to prescribe such medication.

The action of periostat is directed towards healing and strengthening of the gum tissue and at the same time it helps to keep teeth attachment to the alveolar bone. There are also two methods of treatment that will directly deliver drugs to the gum pockets and fight against bacteria. These are Atridox and PerioChip.

A doxycycline gel called Atridox can be used to treat periodontal pocket for seven days. This medication is applied to the periodontal pocket and which solidifies after application. A PerioChip on the other hand is a gelatin strip that is inserted into the periodontal pocket for seven days or more. PerioChip releases chlorhexidine, an antibacterial drug. Each of these treatments is used as an adjunct to surgery not a substitute.

Do You Have Bad Breath?

Do you often cover your mouth when you speak or often look away while talking with somebody? Do you spend a lot of money buying every brand of breath freshener you see on ads everyday? Are you worried about your breath?

With the many ads bombarding us everyday implying that people somehow are secretly repulsed by our breath, many of us probably will wonder, “Do I have bad breath or am I offending other people with my breath?” This is usually a pointless concern. Only very few people have halitosis or true bad breath, fewer than the common ads usually imply. Chronic halitosis is usually caused by some underlying medical or dental problems.

We all have natural breath odors. There are common breath odors and most often, these are mild and temporary. Your breath may sometimes smell a little sour and you are not alone. Everyone’s breath grows increasingly pungent from adolescence on.

Food can spoil your breath. The most common food offenders are garlic and onion. These can stay in your breath up to 24 hours even after you brush your teeth. More often food particles can be the cause of bad breath. Food particles left in between the teeth usually rot and produce the smell. Flossing will usually remove these food particles when brushing alone fails to dislodge them. Smoking and drinking too can leave their trace in your breath.

While eating too much and leaving behind food particles in your mouth can cause bad breath, not eating at all can still produce bad breath. Dieters often develop mildly unpleasant “hunger breath”. Taking in some food can easily cure this problem. Have you noticed your breath every time you wake up in the morning?

This is what we call “morning breath”. This is due to less movement of the tongue while we sleep and the slow secretion of saliva. Because of this lesser activity in our oral cavity, the dead cells that line our mouth are no longer rubbed off, swallowed or washed away. Those dead cells are then broken down by bacteria producing bad odor. This however usually disappears as soon as we brush our teeth or take in some food.

True halitosis or bad breath is commonly caused by dental problems. Poor dental hygiene can lead to gum disease. Gum disease is a common cause of bad breath. If you fail to clean your mouth regularly, you allow the dental plaque to accumulate along the gum lines and dental surfaces causing gum disease. Dental plaque is a white sticky film that contains bacteria, saliva and food debris.

The accumulation of dental plaque along the dental surfaces and gum lines eventually create dental pockets in between gums and teeth. The bacteria found inside the dental pockets break down proteins and dead cells producing offensive odors. The odor may be intensified by the decaying blood from the bleeding gums. If the halitosis is not dental in nature, it may be caused by an underlying medical problem.

The problem can usually be traced to a local infection in the respiratory tract like the nose, throat, windpipe and lungs. The respiratory infection can be a chronic sinusitis with postnasal drip or it can also be bronchitis. There are also cases when the causative factors are gastrointestinal problems like hiatal hernia or diverticulum of the esophagus.

Dry mouth can also cause halitosis. Any conditions causing dry mouth can lead to bad breath. These include dehydration, salivary gland disorders, fever and some medications. Breathing through the mouth can also cause halitosis.

If the cause of halitosis is a dental illness like gum disease, proper oral hygiene can usually curb the problem. Visit your dentist regularly and have your teeth cleaned professionally twice a year. Proper tooth brushing techniques and flossing can usually remove the plaque and food debris in between the teeth and gum lines. Brush your teeth after every meal including in between snacks. It will also be helpful to gently brush your tongue especially if it is coated. The bacteria on your tongue can also cause bad breath.

Dental Tourism

Each year thousands of people from the West and other progressive counties take their bad teeth and go on a dental vacation to third world countries that offer high quality work for a fraction of the cost it would have taken in their own native soil. This is the phenomenon called Dental Tourism.

The majority of us probably have a certain degree of phobia when it comes to visiting the dentist. The sound of the drill and the glaring lights can make you grow cold all over and it’s not because of the air conditioning unit turned up too high either.

Perhaps another reason to dread going to the dentist is the high cost, most especially if your insurance does not have a dental plan. Maybe a combination of both is the reason why so many of us wait until something really serious happens before we go visit our dentist and when we do, it is highly likely that multiple work will be needed. This makes dental work all the more prohibitive and since most of us probably don’t have any dental insurance coverage in the first place, what are the alternatives.

Well, why don’t you go on a vacation?! Each year thousands of people from the West and other progressive counties, like Australia, take their bad teeth and go on a Dental vacation to third world countries that offer high quality work for a fraction of the cost it would have taken in their own native soil. This is the phenomenon called Dental Tourism.

Countries like the Philippines, India and Mexico are frequent destinations for these Dental Tourism where the patient can get professional dental work while taking in a relaxing vacation at the same time. Even when factoring in the cost of travel and living expenses, most often than not, these Dental Tourism packages comes out much cheaper.

Try to Google the term “Dental Tourism” and you’ll be given a result totaling to more than a million pages. A lot of these are pages that offers links to other web sites offering a multitude of options for potential dental patients that are willing to cross the border or even thousands of mile of ocean.

Dental tourism may not be practical if you only need a cleaning or just to fill in a cavity. People are not flying over to the other side of the world for single routine restorations. So, unless you need extensive dental work done, like dental implants, root planning, bridges, or full denture whitening, it will not be cost effective for you to plan on taking a dental vacation.

Of course, before embarking on such a trip, it is important to do some checking first: . Will there be a language problem? Will they be speaking in English or in your native tongue? A language barrier could be critical especially when the dental work needed is complex.

  • Ask around from those who had experienced a dental vacation. It is always best to get a first hand report from those that have experienced one of these vacations. Just like everything else, a good referral says a lot.
  • If possible, talk to the dentist who will be doing the procedure. Call the office where the procedure is scheduled and ask the dentist in advance how the procedure will be done so you won’t be surprised when you get there.

There are also some issues that you must be aware of with having your dental work done outside the country:

  • Your insurance may not pay for procedures done outside of the country
  • Different countries may have different standards imposed on their dentists as compared to those in your country. Although, this doesn’t mean that you will not be getting quality work.
  • Do not have too many procedures done all in the short time that you are there. This limits complications cropping up when you’re already back in your own country.

As with everything else, there are pros and cons with dental tourism and you will have to weigh these carefully before deciding on it.