Posts for: September, 2017
During his former career as a professional footballer (that's a soccer star to U.S. sports fans) David Beckham was known for his skill at “bending” a soccer ball. His ability to make the ball curve in mid-flight — to avoid a defender or score a goal — led scores of kids to try to “bend it like Beckham.” But just recently, while enjoying a vacation in Canada with his family, “Becks” tried snowboarding for the first time — and in the process, broke one of his front teeth.
Some fans worried that the missing tooth could be a “red card” for Beckham's current modeling career… but fortunately, he headed straight to the dental office as soon as he arrived back in England. Exactly what kind of treatment is needed for a broken tooth? It all depends where the break is and how badly the tooth is damaged.
For a minor crack or chip, cosmetic bonding may offer a quick and effective solution. In this procedure, a composite resin, in a color custom-made to match the tooth, is applied in liquid form and cured (hardened) with a special light. Several layers of bonding material can be applied to re-construct a larger area of missing tooth, and chips that have been saved can sometimes be reattached as well.
When more tooth structure is missing, dental veneers may be the preferred restorative option. Veneers are wafer-thin shells that are bonded to the front surface of the teeth. They can not only correct small chips or cracks, but can also improve the color, spacing, and shape of your teeth.
But if the damage exposes the soft inner pulp of the tooth, root canal treatment will be needed to save the tooth. In this procedure, the inflamed or infected pulp tissue is removed and the tooth sealed against re-infection; if a root canal is not done when needed, the tooth will have an increased risk for extraction in the future. Following a root canal, a tooth is often restored with a crown (cap), which can look good and function well for many years.
Sometimes, a tooth may be knocked completely out of its socket; or, a severely damaged tooth may need to be extracted (removed). In either situation, the best option for restoration is a dental implant. Here, a tiny screw-like device made of titanium metal is inserted into the jaw bone in a minor surgical procedure. Over time, it fuses with the living bone to form a solid anchorage. A lifelike crown is attached, which provides aesthetic appeal and full function for the replacement tooth.
So how's Beckham holding up? According to sources, “David is a trooper and didn't make a fuss. He took it all in his stride." Maybe next time he hits the slopes, he'll heed the advice of dental experts and wear a custom-made mouthguard…
If you have questions about restoring damaged teeth, please contact our office to schedule a consultation. You can read more in the Dear Doctor magazine articles “Trauma and Nerve Damage to Teeth” and “Children's Dental Concerns and Injuries.”
If you regularly experience jaw pain but do not know the cause, you could have TMJ disorder. TMJ disorder is a problem with the temporomandibular joint. There are two of these joints, one on either side of the jaw. When one or both of these joints becomes irritated, pain and discomfort can result, and in some cases chronic headaches and migraines. The good news is there are treatments that can help. In Scottsdale, AZ TMJ treatment is offered by Dr. Shawn Monahan and Dr. Scott Sutton at Waterfront Dentistry.
What is TMJ Disorder?
TMJ disorder is a condition in which the temporomandibular joints become irritated, causing jaw pain and discomfort. The temporomandibular joints are the two points on either side of the face where the jawbone connects to the skull. When one or both of these joints become irritated, you might experience a locked jaw and be unable to fully open your mouth. TMJ disorder can be caused by a jaw injury, stress, arthritis, persistent grinding of the teeth or persistent clenching of the jaw.
Symptoms of TMJ
The pain and discomfort associated with TMJ disorder can be felt in areas beyond the jaw, such as the head, neck, eyes, ears and mouth. Symptoms of TMJ disorder include:
- A locked jaw sensation
- Inability to fully open the mouth
- Clicking or popping of the jaw joints
- Grinding up the jaw joints
- Pain in the temple area
- Pain behind the eyes
- Ear aches or pain not caused by an infection
- Buzzing or ringing in the ears
- Frequently clenching or grinding the teeth
Treatment of TMJ
There are several treatments for TMJ disorder. The pain and discomfort associated with a TMJ flare-up can be alleviated with heat therapy, ice therapy or pain medications. Another option is to be fitted for an orthodontic Gelb appliance, which is a device for correcting jaw alignment. When jaw alignment is improved, the temporomandibular joint should not move out of place or become irritated as easily. In Scottsdale, treatment for TMJ disorder is available at Waterfront Dentistry.
If you are experiencing jaw pain, the cause could be an irritated temporomandibular joint. For TMJ treatment in Scottsdale or Phoenix, AZ, schedule an appointment with Dr. Scott Sutton and Dr. Shawn Monahan by calling Waterfront dentistry at (480) 949-7900 for the Scottsdale office or (602) 944-7199 for the Phoenix office.
Cancer treatment can consume all of your focus to the exclusion of other health issues. But these other issues still need attention, especially how treating cancer could affect other parts of your body. That definitely includes your teeth and gums.
Treatments like radiation or chemotherapy eradicate cancer cells disrupting their growth. Unfortunately, they may do the same to benign cells — “collateral damage,” so to speak. This could cause a ripple effect throughout the body, including in the mouth. Radiation, for example, could damage the salivary glands and result in reduced salivary flow. Because saliva neutralizes acid and diminishes bacterial growth, your risk for tooth decay as well as periodontal (gum) disease could increase.
While you may be able to recover from reduced salivary flow after treatment, your health could suffer in the meantime, even to the point of tooth and bone loss. Fortunately, there are some things we can do before and during your treatment.
If you can, have any necessary dental work performed well before you begin cancer treatment. You’ll be more resistant to side effects if you can start treatment with as healthy a mouth as possible.
Keep up your regular dental visits if at all possible, or see us if you begin seeing signs of dental disease. By staying on schedule, we’ll have a better chance of detecting and treating problems before they advance too far; we may also be able to provide preventive measures like topical fluoride applications to help keep your teeth resistant to disease. If you need more extensive treatment like tooth extraction or surgery we may need to coordinate with your cancer treatment provider.
Above all, continue to practice daily brushing and flossing to remove plaque, the main cause of dental disease. Drink plenty of water or take substances that boost salivation. And be sure to eat a nutritious diet while also reducing or eliminating tobacco or alcohol from your lifestyle.
Taking these steps will help protect your teeth and gums during cancer treatment. As a result, you have a better chance for maintaining your dental health during this critical time in your life.
If you would like more information on dental care during cancer treatment, 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 “Oral Health During Cancer Treatment.”