Posts for: January, 2016
While oral hygiene, a nutritious diet and regular dental visits are all crucial to long-term oral health, these efforts complement what your body already does to keep your mouth healthy. One of the major players in this function is saliva.
Produced by hundreds of glands located throughout the mouth, saliva does much more than help you swallow and wash away food. As you chew, an enzyme in saliva known as amylase breaks down starches in your food to make it easier to digest in the stomach. Saliva also contains antibodies, similar to what’s in tears, which can fight bacteria and other disease-causing organisms.
Perhaps its most important function, though, is its ability to protect and maintain healthy tooth enamel. The strongest substance in the body, enamel nevertheless has one primary enemy — the acid found in certain foods or as a byproduct of bacteria feeding on sugar and other carbohydrates.
When the ideally neutral pH level of the mouth becomes too acidic (nearly every time you eat), minerals in the enamel begin to soften and dissolve. The increased saliva flow when we eat floods the mouth with buffering agents that neutralize the acid and restore the mouth’s normal pH level. Not only does saliva stop demineralization, but it also restores a good bit of the enamel’s mineral content.
In recent years, a new role for saliva has begun to emerge as a means to diagnose disease. Like blood, urine and other bodily fluids, saliva contains molecules that serve as biological markers for disease. Given the right equipment, saliva has the potential to indicate early signs of cancer (including oral), diabetes and other systemic conditions. As the means to examine saliva for these markers increases it promises to be easier and less expensive to collect and sample than blood, while reducing the chances of transmitting bloodborne diseases to healthcare workers.
It’s a lot to consider with this fluid that you hardly notice, except when it isn’t there. Saliva is proof that our efforts at keeping our mouths healthy cooperate and depend on our bodies’ amazing systems.
If you would like more information on saliva and other ways your body maintains a healthy mouth, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can also learn more about this topic by reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “Saliva.”
Do you get sweaty palms at the thought of sitting in the dentist’s chair? If so, you’re not alone--anxiety often stops people from accessing the dental care they need. Luckily, there’s a simple way to end your anxiety. Sedation dentistry at All Smiles in Worth, IL, allows you to remain calm and relaxed while you work towards a healthier smile.
Benefits of Sedation Dentistry
Induce relaxation: For many people, the option of sedation is the difference between receiving dental care or going without. Having a peaceful state of mind allows you to care for your oral health without reliving or creating traumatic memories.
Increase cooperation: People with extreme anxiety, especially children, may refuse to cooperate with the dental staff. Sedation can help them relax and make it easier to follow instructions without fear.
Fewer appointments: When your body and mind are relaxed, you can tolerate longer procedures without excessive pain. This can save you both time and money as you get the work you need done faster.
Limited memory of the procedure: While you may have general memories of being in the dentist’s office, you won’t remember the nitty-gritty details. This is a relief for many people who experience extreme distress or discomfort during dental procedures.
Control gag reflex: Even if you don’t experience anxiety, you may have a strong gag reflex that makes it difficult to receive care. Sedation can calm this reflex and make it possible to complete your dental work without worries.
Types of Sedation
From cleanings to extractions and everything in between, your dental procedures can be significantly more pleasant with the help of the right sedation option. Different types of medications are used to achieve each state of sedation, including nitrous oxide (laughing gas), oral sedatives, and IV sedatives.
Light Sedation: You remain fully aware of what’s going on, but feel more relaxed and carefree. Light sedation is usually induced with nitrous oxide.
Conscious Sedation: You remain awake and generally able to respond to instructions, but you’ll be in a state of extreme relaxation.
Deep Sedation: Completely unaware of your surroundings, you may or may not be able to respond to instructions. Airway and breathing assistance may be required. Deep sedation is usually reserved for surgical procedures.
Unconscious: General anesthesia puts you in an unconscious state in which your vitals must be closely monitored. This is reserved for specific situations, usually more involved surgical procedures.
Worth Sedation Dentistry
If you've been putting off dental work out of fear, there's no need to wait any longer. Visit one of our kind and caring dentists at All Smiles to find out which sedation option can help you get the dental work you need. For sedation dentistry in Worth, IL, request your appointment online or call (708) 448-0333 today.
So you’re tearing up the dance floor at a friend’s wedding, when all of a sudden one of your pals lands an accidental blow to your face — chipping out part of your front tooth, which lands right on the floorboards! Meanwhile, your wife (who is nine months pregnant) is expecting you home in one piece, and you may have to pose for a picture with the baby at any moment. What will you do now?
Take a tip from Prince William of England. According to the British tabloid The Daily Mail, the future king found himself in just this situation in 2013. His solution: Pay a late-night visit to a discreet dentist and get it fixed up — then stay calm and carry on!
Actually, dental emergencies of this type are fairly common. While nobody at the palace is saying exactly what was done for the damaged tooth, there are several ways to remedy this dental dilemma.
If the broken part is relatively small, chances are the tooth can be repaired by bonding with composite resin. In this process, tooth-colored material is used to replace the damaged, chipped or discolored region. Composite resin is a super-strong mixture of plastic and glass components that not only looks quite natural, but bonds tightly to the natural tooth structure. Best of all, the bonding procedure can usually be accomplished in just one visit to the dental office — there’s no lab work involved. And while it won’t last forever, a bonded tooth should hold up well for at least several years with only routine dental care.
If a larger piece of the tooth is broken off and recovered, it is sometimes possible to reattach it via bonding. However, for more serious damage — like a severely fractured or broken tooth — a crown (cap) may be required. In this restoration process, the entire visible portion of the tooth may be capped with a sturdy covering made of porcelain, gold, or porcelain fused to a gold metal alloy.
A crown restoration is more involved than bonding. It begins with making a 3-D model of the damaged tooth and its neighbors. From this model, a tooth replica will be fabricated by a skilled technician; it will match the existing teeth closely and fit into the bite perfectly. Next, the damaged tooth will be prepared, and the crown will be securely attached to it. Crown restorations are strong, lifelike and permanent.
Was the future king “crowned” — or was his tooth bonded? We may never know for sure. But it’s good to know that even if we’ll never be royals, we still have several options for fixing a damaged tooth. If you would like more information, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can learn more by reading the Dear Doctor magazine articles “Repairing Chipped Teeth” and “Crowns and Bridgework.”