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All posts by JulieAnn Corbin

tongue ring oral health

Oral Piercings and Dental Health

Oral piercing such as piercing the lip, cheek or tongue continues to be an appealing form of self-expression for certain individuals. While the practice of oral piercings is not new, that does not guarantee that having it done is always safe. Oral piercings have several health related risks and can affect the health of a person’s teeth and gums without proper care.

Increased risk of gum disease

Anyone with oral piercing has an increased risk of gum disease, but it’s especially bad for those with long-stem tongue jewelry. When the jewelry contacts gum tissue and causes injury, that gum tissue may recede and lead to loose teeth and eventual tooth loss.

Damaged teeth

When mouth jewelry contacts teeth, it can cause cracks or chips that require dental attention to repair. A dental journal report showed that almost half of people who wore long-stem tongue jewelry for four years or more suffered, at least, one chipped tooth.

Oral function difficulty

Tongue piercings stimulate the development of excessive saliva production, and this can lead to drooling. Tongue piercings can also interfere with normal chewing, food swallowing, taste buds and clear speech.

Risk of infections and diseases

Having oral piercing performed increases the risk of infections for several reasons. The piercing creates a wound in the mouth, which is an area already full of bacteria and the jewelry introduces new bacteria. These factors work together to increase the potential for infection. There’s also an increased risk for transmission of diseases including hepatitis B and C and herpes simplex.

Potential development of heart problems

The wound created from an oral piercing can increase the chances of bacteria entering the bloodstream. These bacteria in the bloodstream can result in the development of an inflammation of the heart valves, called endocarditis, in people with underlying/undiagnosed heart issues.

Bleeding and nerve damage

Sometimes nerve damage occurs during piercing, and this causes loss of sensation or numbness as the piercing site and potential movement problems for pierced tongues. Prolonged bleeding can occur if the piercing punctures blood vessels and sometimes tongues swell so severely from piercing that they can block the airway and cause difficulty breathing.

Allergic reactions

Allergic contact dermatitis is a hypersensitive reaction to the metal of oral piercings, and this can lead to health complications.

Risk of swallowing jewelry

If the jewelry of the oral piercing becomes loose, the person can potentially choke on it or swallow it and damage the lungs or digestive tract.

Undergoing an oral piercing is a personal choice, but it’s important to understand all of the potential short and long-term risks before proceeding. Help protect your mouth by maintaining regular dental exams with Creative Dental.

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Dental Implants for Missing Teeth

Natural Looking Tooth Replacement with Dental Implants

Dental implants are a healthy, safe and a highly successful tooth replacement option, but many people wonder if their new teeth will look natural. It’s an understandable concern for those who have lived with dentures or partial bridges that don’t quite look and feel like natural teeth. Unlike traditional dentures and partial bridges, though, dental implants receive placement directly into the jawbone, and this means that the replacement teeth look, feel and behave just like natural teeth. An experienced restorative dentist can give patients life-like, beautiful teeth that will restore their confidence in their smile, maintain their oral structure and prevent bone loss.

Customization and precision

Replacing missing teeth for a complete smile can help boost a person’s confidence and make them happy to share their smile again. With dental implants, the dentist customizes a single tooth or several teeth to fit a patient’s oral structure and meet their desires as far as color, shape, shade, size, and contours of the new teeth. Dental implants will match the look and feel of surrounding natural teeth better than any other tooth replacement option. Prior to placing the implants, the dentist uses computer-aided design software to design the crowns with expert precision and then work with the patient until they have the exact fit and appearance they want.

Each patient is unique

An experienced, professional restorative dentist knows that every patient is unique and that “one size fits all” doesn’t apply to tooth replacement. Dental implants can last a lifetime with the proper maintenance, and the dentist wants to make sure their patients are happy and comfortable with the results right away. Everyone’s oral and facial structure is different and with today’s implant innovations, dentists can create the perfect, custom fit for each patient. Dental implants have several benefits over dentures and partial bridges including natural look, feel, and function, the ability to preserve facial structure and avoid the “sunken” look common with dentures or missing teeth and their ability to prevent bone loss common when an adult loses a permanent tooth. Dental implants are highly successful and should never need replacement unless the patient suffers an injury or has a medical condition that interferes with proper healing following implant surgery. To ensure dental implant success, patients need to maintain good oral hygiene, stay healthy overall and quit tobacco use.

If you’re considering dental implants as a tooth replacement option, contact Creative Dental to schedule a consultation. Dental implants are the most natural looking and functional tooth replacement available today and can have you smiling confidently again.

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Dental Numbing

What to Expect During Dental Numbing

It’s quite common and expected that when you have a tooth filled or extracted, the dentist will use medications to numb the area and ensure you’re comfortable throughout the procedure. If you’ve never had a procedure that required numbing, you may be nervous because you don’t know what to expect. Fortunately, with a better understanding of how numbing medications make you feel, you can feel more at ease about any impending procedures.

Things to keep in mind

Knowing that you need a filling, extraction or other dental procedure that requires numbing can be stressful, but the purpose of numbing is so that you don’t feel anything during the procedure. Every patient is different so numbing may affect you more or less than other people, and this doesn’t mean that there’s anything to worry about. The medication given during certain dental treatments may cause numbness in both your face and head, but this isn’t cause for concern. Other elements to be aware of during numbing include:

  • There’s less numbness for upper tooth extraction than lower tooth extraction
  • The dentist can numb upper teeth individually, so there’s less overall numbness
  • The dentist can numb upper teeth in blocks or sections for larger treatment areas
  • For lower teeth numbing, half of your lip and tongue on the side of treatment will go numb

It’s common and normal to experience numbness in your nose, cheek and the side of your head during a dental procedure because of how all the nerves in your face and head are connected. For a tooth extraction, it’s common for the entire side of your head to feel numb, and this doesn’t indicate a problem. The dentist wants to make sure that you’re comfortable and pain-free when removing a tooth.

When numbing wears off

Dental numbing usually wears off within a few hours. The length of time numbing lasts depends on what anesthetics the dentist used and where treatment occurred in the mouth. Generally speaking, though, feeling should return within 2-4 hours. You may have trouble speaking normally, eating or drinking while numb, but once sensation routines, you will be fine. If you don’t think numbing will be enough to calm your nervousness or you have dental anxiety, ask your dentists about sedation dentistry.

At Creative Dental, we encourage you to discuss any concerns you have about numbing and other aspects of dental treatments. We want you to feel as comfortable as possible during all procedures, and we put your oral health needs first.

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Care after dental restoration procedures

Updated Guidelines for Dental Restoration Care

At the end of 2015, The American College of Prosthodontics (ACP) published new guidelines regarding the care and maintenance of dental restorations. These guidelines covered restorations supported by dental implants and those supported by natural teeth. The new guidelines don’t contain anything surprising, but it’s important to understand the reasoning behind any oral health recommendations.

Long-standing recommendations

The updated recommendations from the ACP uphold what’s been the standard of dental restoration care for a while. The ACP still recommends visits to the dentists every six months for inspection, care and maintenance of dental restorations including dental implants, porcelain veneers and dental crowns. The guidelines encourage dentists to clean natural teeth and restorations thoroughly and with the correct tools to avoid potential damage to restorations.

At home recommendations from the ACP encourage people to follow good oral hygiene practices including twice daily brushing, flossing at least once a day and using any supplement methods necessary to remove food debris and plaque from the gum line and between teeth. Patients with complex and multiple restorations on natural teeth that surround or support a removable restoration, the ACP suggests using chlorhexidine rinses, high fluoride toothpaste and the addition of triclosan antibiotic when necessary.

The need for additional study

One of the biggest revelations from the ACP’s 2015 guidelines was that only a few of the current clinical care recommendations have good, science-based support. In clinical care guidelines, the quality of evidence receives ratings that range from A to D; with A being the best score. The ACP issued a “D” rating for a majority of the guidelines because they’re extrapolated from or based on lower-quality evidence. The recommendations that received an “A” rating from ACP include thorough dental exams, brushing and flossing twice a day and the guidelines for complex and multiple dental restorations. Despite the “lower quality” evidence, it’s still advisable to follow the existing care recommendations as they’re based accurately on existing evidence. Additional study and research will yield better information and help create recommendations that receive a higher rating from the ACP.

The best place to receive recommendations that pertain to your specific dental restorations is from a qualified dental professional. At Creative Dental, we have extensive experience with many forms of dental restorations and understand the proper care and maintenance required to help those restorations last without the need for replacement or removal. Contact us today to discuss ways to improve and protect your smile.

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