Thursday, June 26, 2008

Funny Dentist Videos at YouTube

If you don't view visiting the dentist as something to laugh about, now is the time to change your opinion.

You can view a number of very funny dental video clips on YouTube. These are a fabulous collection of skits from TV shows, such as the Carol Burnett Show, as well as movies, such as Steve Martin's Little Shop of Horrors.

My favorite is the one of Tim Conway. Classic!

Monday, June 23, 2008

Oral Piercings and Grills Can Cause Dental Problems

Tammy Davenport, at Care, recently posted an article about the problems associated with oral piercings -- including those done in the tongue, lips, and cheeks. Some of the problems associated with oral piercings include:

  • Infection
  • Fractured or chipped teeth
  • Swelling
  • Pain
  • Scarring
  • Tooth loss
  • Gum damage
  • Loss of taste
  • Mouth sores

One thing not covered in the article? Dental grills.

According to the ADA, no study exists that shows potential problems with grills; however, no study exists that doesn't show long-term problems, either.

The ADA advises that grill wearers "be especially careful about brushing and flossing to prevent potential problems. Food and other debris may become trapped between the teeth and the grill allowing bacteria to collect and produce acids. The acids can cause tooth decay and harm gum tissue. Bacteria may also contribute to bad breath. There also is the potential for grills to irritate surrounding oral tissues and to wear the enamel away on the opposing teeth."

In addition, improperly applied grills can change one's "bite" as well as fracture teeth, so it's really important that a dental professional apply them.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Floss Your Teeth, Live Longer

As I've posted here frequently, not flossing leads to gum disease, which research has shown is linked to heart disease and diabetes.

According to an article in More magazine about habits that help you live longer, flossing regularly can add up two years to your life span.

According to the magazine, you can use that time to train for and run in a charity 10K or marathon.

Other habits include not skipping your workout, not eating like a typical American, and reducing stress.

Friday, June 6, 2008

Mercury Fillings Pose Risk to Pregnant Women

AOL News posted an article about how mercury fillings pose "health problems in pregnant women, children and fetuses according to the Food and Drug Administration after settling a related lawsuit."

*Finally* the FDA addresses this topic of mercury and the potential health risks.

Although I do not believe mercury is the cause of illnesses like some people do, I resent the ADA's (American Dental Association) support for amalgam (silver fillings) and how it perpetuates its use.

Amalgam is an antiquated material that breaks teeth when the mercury expands and contracts with temperature changes. It also stains teeth.

A technology from the Civil War era, amalgam handles very well in restoring many severely broken teeth, and it is cost effective, but many other *modern* materials exist that the ADA should support as vehemently.

Because of the ADA and its position, some dentists will not look at the advances in technology and materials; what they fail to realize is that amalgam fillings are an inferior treatment when compared to resin and tooth conserving porcelain restorations.

All the arguments for amalgam other than it is economic, are easily shot down with facts that support the other restorations and their ability to restore teeth soundly.

Perhaps if the dental school faculty themselves would learn to do composites properly, instead of bad mouthing them, they could teach the dental students 21st- century dentistry and the cycle would begin to break.

The ADA spends energy and money in defending the use of amalgam. Perhaps they could refocus their efforts on educating the public on the importance of regular dental appointments to check for oral cancer and periodontal health which is linked to heart disease and many other systemic diseases such as diabetes.

It also appears the insurance companies have their hand in this as they want to pay on the lowest reimbursed treatments -- which of course include amalgam. They do not want amalgam banned as it will cost them billions. Of course they want to pay out on a mercury-based fillings at compensation levels that have not increased that much from last century.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Old Dental Bridges are Bridges to Nowhere

According to a recent release by the American Academy of Implant Dentistry, aging dental bridges are "worthless" and need to be replaced with implants.

"For most patients, implants are a much better treatment alternative because they preserve the bone of the jaw, can be flossed easily, do not decay, and function just like natural teeth. Also, to get implants you don't have to sacrifice healthy teeth, which is required with bridgework," said Olivia Palmer, DMD of Charleston, SC, an associate fellow of AAID and diplomate of the American Board of Oral Implantology.

I agree with Palmer.

One of my biggest joys has been having patients come in to replace aging dental bridges -- and seeing their relief when I tell them they are perfect candidates for implants.

With implants, patients have a single unit restoration; more imporant, the arch is restored the way it was meant to be.

However, not all patients are candidates for implants. In the case of Sam, a patient with 15 congenital permanent teeth, bridges and implants gave him a beautiful new smile. (When the new window opens, scroll down to see the photos that show his breathtaking transformation.)

To determine whether you're a candidate for implants, see your dental professional. (If your dentists tells you he doesn't "do" implants or that a bridge is perfectly fine, find a new dentist.)