Posts for: February, 2016
If you have periodontal (gum) disease, you’ve no doubt experienced red and swollen gums. If, however, you notice an especially inflamed area next to a tooth, you may have developed a gum abscess.
An abscess is a pus-filled sac that develops as a result of chronic (long-standing) gum disease, an infection caused by bacterial plaque that’s built up on tooth surfaces from inadequate oral hygiene or from a foreign body (food debris) getting stuck below the gums. The abscess, which typically develops between the tooth and gums, may be accompanied by pain but not always (the affected tooth may also be tender to bite on). Abscesses may grow larger, precipitated by stress or by a general infection like a common cold, and then abate for a time.
As with other abscesses in the body, a gum abscess is treated by relieving the pressure (after numbing the area with local anesthesia) and allowing it to drain. This is often followed by cleaning any infected root surfaces of bacterial plaque and then irrigating the area with a saline and/or antibacterial solution. We may also prescribe antibiotics afterward and some form of pain control (usually a non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drug like ibuprofen) to help with discomfort.
Although the results of this procedure can be dramatic, it’s just the first step in treating the overall gum disease. After a few days of healing, we continue with a complete examination and recommend further treatment, usually starting with removing bacterial plaque and calculus (hardened plaque deposits), the underlying cause for the infection and inflammation, from all tooth and gum surfaces. This may take several sessions before we begin seeing the gum tissues return to a healthier state.
The key to preventing an abscess recurrence (or any symptom of gum disease) is to remove plaque everyday through proper brushing and flossing, and visiting us twice a year (or more if you’ve developed chronic gum disease) for cleanings and checkups. Doing so will raise your chances of avoiding an uncomfortable and often painful gum abscess in the future.
If you would like more information on gum abscesses, 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 “Periodontal (Gum) Abscesses.”
Common questions and answers about porcelain veneers
You’ve heard about porcelain veneers, but you wonder what makes them so special, and whether they might be able to restore your smile. Dr. Mark Docktor at Dental Arts of Englewood in Englewood, New Jersey wants you to know all about porcelain veneers by providing answers to some common questions.
What are porcelain veneers and what’s so special about them?
Porcelain veneers are thin sheaths of porcelain which fit over the front surfaces of your teeth providing a cosmetically beautiful way to fix many dental issues. Unlike other dental materials, porcelain has a translucent quality which makes it appear completely natural. Veneers are also very conservative because very little tooth surface is removed. The veneer material also doesn’t pick up stains as easily as your natural teeth do.
What dental problems can porcelain veneers fix?
Veneers are a very versatile way to fix common dental problems including:
- Discolored or deeply stained teeth from medications like tetracycline
- Worn, dark or yellowed teeth from aging
- Gapped or widely spaced teeth
- Badly shaped teeth due to wear or genetics
- Damaged, broken or cracked teeth from traumatic injury
What is the process to get porcelain veneers?
Typically the process takes two appointments. At your first appointment, Dr. Mark Docktor will do a full examination and prepare your teeth to get them ready for veneers. He will take molds of your teeth and send the molds to a dental laboratory, where highly skilled technicians will create your veneers. Dr. Mark will give you a set of temporary veneers to wear until your permanent set is ready. At your second appointment, Dr. Mark will cement your beautiful porcelain veneers permanently to your teeth.
Dr. Mark Docktor at Dental Arts of Englewood in Englewood New Jersey would like to help you explore the benefits of porcelain veneers. Through the use of computer and 3D imaging technology, he can help you visualize exactly how porcelain veneers can rejuvenate your smile. Call him today and be on your way to your new smile!
Via a recent Instagram post, pop diva Ariana Grande became the latest young celebrity to publicly acknowledge a dental milestone: having her wisdom teeth removed. The singer of hits such as “Break Free” and “Problem” posted an after-surgery picture of herself (wearing her signature cat-eye eyeliner), with a caption addressed to her teeth: “Peace out, final three wisdom teeth. It’s been real.”
With the post, Grande joined several other celebs (including Lily Allen, Paris Hilton and Emile Hirsch) who have shared their dental surgery experience with fans. Will "wisdom teeth removal" become a new trending topic on social media? We aren’t sure — but we can explain a bit about the procedure, and why many younger adults may need it.
Technically called the “third molars,” wisdom teeth usually begin to emerge from the gums between the ages of 17 and 25 — presumably, around the same time that a certain amount of wisdom emerges. Most people have four of these big molars, which are located all the way in the back of the mouth, on the left and right sides of the upper and lower jaws.
But when wisdom teeth begin to appear, there’s often a problem: Many people don’t have enough space in their jaws to accommodate them. When these molars lack sufficient space to fully erupt (emerge), they are said to be “impacted.” Impacted teeth can cause a number of serious problems: These may include pain, an increased potential for bacterial infections, periodontal disease, and even the formation of cysts (pockets of infection below the gum line), which can eventually lead to tooth and bone loss.
In most cases, the best treatment for impacted wisdom teeth is extraction (removal) of the problem teeth. Wisdom tooth extraction is a routine, in-office procedure that is usually performed under local anesthesia or “conscious sedation,” a type of anesthesia where the patient remains conscious (able to breathe normally and respond to stimuli), but is free from any pain or distress. Anti-anxiety medications may also be given, especially for those who are apprehensive about dental procedures.
So if you find you need your wisdom teeth extracted, don’t be afraid to “Break Free” like Ariana Grande did; whether you post the results on social media is entirely up to you. If you would like more information about wisdom tooth extraction, please call our office to schedule a consultation. You can learn more in the Dear Doctor magazine articles “Wisdom Teeth” and “Removing Wisdom Teeth.”