5 Things Radiation Patients Need To Know About Osteoradionecrosis

Posted by on Oct 1, 2015 in Uncategorized |

It is common knowledge that radiation therapy can lead to unpleasant side effects like hair loss or nausea, but you may not know that it can also cause a lot of oral health complications. Radiation therapy can lead to death of your jawbone tissue, known as osteoradionecrosis. Here are five things you need to know about this complication. How does radiation therapy cause osteoradionecrosis? Radiation therapy works by killing cancer cells, but this treatment is also toxic to nearby healthy cells. When radiation therapy is used to treat cancers in the head or neck, the radiation may impact the cells that make up your jawbone. The radiation damages two important types of cells within your jawbone. First, it affects the cells that line your blood vessels, leading to inflammation, and inadequate blood flow to the bone. It also damages the fibroblasts, a type of cell that produces connective tissue. Damage to these two types of cell makes it harder for your jawbone to heal itself. Osteoradionecrosis may be triggered by trauma to your jawbone such as tooth extraction, oral surgery, jawbone fractures, or even something as simple as irritation from poorly-fitting dentures. A healthy jawbone would be able to heal from these traumas, but an irradiated jawbone cannot heal as well and may die. What are the signs of osteoradionecrosis? There are many different signs and symptoms that may accompany osteoradionecrosis. These symptoms include pain within the jawbone or swelling of the surrounding area. You may also develop trismus, also known as lockjaw, a condition that is characterized by the inability to fully open your mouth. Osteoradionecrosis can also lead to malocclusion, which means that your teeth are crooked, crowded, or have otherwise shifted in position. If you notice any of these symptoms, and have previously undergone radiation therapy, make sure to tell your dentist immediately. How is it treated? You may need surgical treatment to remove dead bone tissue. Your dentist will refer you to an oral surgeon if this is required. Missing tissue can later be replaced with bone grafts from other parts of your body to repair the look and function of your jawbone. To help your remaining tissue heal, you may need hyperbaric oxygen therapy. Your dentist will refer you to a local hospital for this treatment. During this treatment, you will need to sit inside a pressurized room or chamber. The high pressure within this chamber allows your lungs take in more oxygen then you can normally, and this additional oxygen helps boost healing throughout your body. This treatment is not painful, though you may notice a popping sensation in your ears, similar to the feeling you get on an airplane. How common is...

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5 Benefits Of Choosing Clear Braces For High School Seniors

Posted by on Aug 5, 2015 in Uncategorized |

Senior year in high school is a milestone year for many students. With important events and an upcoming graduation, high school seniors are going through a lot of changes. This is why when teeth or jaws need adjustments, traditional metal braces can make a huge impact on the mouth and everyday life. Luckily, high school students have the option of getting clear braces. While visiting orthodontics, a teen can get fitted for removable, clear braces and wear them through the whole senior year. There are five positive benefits of choosing this option, each one directly related to the typical social life of a high school senior. Date Nights Senior year in high school is filled with a lot of new freedoms, including the ability for teens to get driver’s licenses. As a teen hits the open road with friends and companions for date night, they do not want to feel limited by a set of metal braces. With clear braces, your food options can greatly expand. This means that date night for high school seniors can include popcorn at the movies, some tacos at a Mexican restaurant, or even a piece of gum to create some instant fresh breath. Without any eating limitations, the senior can plan an ideal date and create lasting memories with potential girlfriends and boyfriends. Senior Portraits One of the trademark events in a senior year is the senior portrait. This photo session permanently captures a teen life during senior year. Not only do these pictures get printed in the school’s yearbook, but they are often distributed to family and friends. Instead of being distracted by the visuals of metal braces, clear braces can showcase a natural smile. The braces can be briefly pulled out during the photo session, so the teeth do not create an annoying glare or focal point on the image. In the years that follow, the subject can look back on all types of memories other than just a metal mouth. High School Speeches Senior year is filled with all types of speeches. There are classroom reports, school assemblies, class elections, awards night, and a slew of speakers for graduation. Choosing to get metal braces can distort and change the way a teen speaks. During an adjustment period, speech can become slurred or cause a lisp. This happens when the thickness of the braces pushes on the lips and mouth shape. Clear braces may have a slight adjustment stage, but they offer easy ways to retain original speech patterns. For truly important high school speeches, the braces can easily be pulled out temporarily. Not only will this help a teen speak more clearly, but it can help boost confidence for any...

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5 Things Menopausal Women Need To Know About Burning Mouth Syndrome

Posted by on Jul 8, 2015 in Uncategorized |

Burning mouth syndrome refers to a painful, burning sensation in your mouth. It’s a chronic condition, which means that the burning sensation is an ongoing problem for sufferers. Burning mouth syndrome has been linked to menopause, the time in your life when your estrogen and progesterone levels decrease. Here’s what menopausal women need to know about this uncomfortable condition. What does burning mouth syndrome feel like? People with this condition feel a very uncomfortable burning sensation inside their mouths. The feeling has been compared to drinking a scalding hot liquid or eating an incredibly spicy food though the feeling comes out of nowhere. It can also occur alongside other symptoms like dry mouth, an excessively thirsty feeling that can make it hard to talk or eat. Some people also have soreness or numbness inside their mouths. It can also affect your sense of taste, and make all of your foods taste metallic. How does menopause cause burning mouth syndrome? The cause of burning mouth syndrome isn’t entirely clear, but researchers think that falling hormone levels during menopause are to blame. During menopause, your body makes less estrogen, and estrogen is responsible for (among other things) telling your salivary glands to make saliva. As your estrogen levels fall, your body doesn’t make as much saliva, and your mouth gets dry. This dry mouth is suspected to be the cause of burning mouth syndrome. More research is needed to confirm this theory. Is burning mouth syndrome dangerous? Burning mouth syndrome doesn’t cause any changes in the appearance or function of the tissues inside your mouth, but that doesn’t mean that it’s harmless. Burning mouth syndrome has been shown to lead to higher levels of stress and anxiety; both of these conditions not only decrease your quality of life, but can lead to a wide variety of other health conditions. It can also make it hard for you to eat or drink since doing so will be painful. It can also make sufferers avoid brushing or flossing their teeth due to discomfort; doing this can then lead to related dental problems like tooth decay or gum disease. If you have burning mouth syndrome, you still need to brush twice a day and floss once a day, or you could end up with more serious oral health problems. Can it be treated? It’s hard for dentists to treat burning mouth syndrome since they’re not entirely sure what causes it. One medication that can treat this condition is a topical clonazepam. Clonazepam is a medication that is used to treat panic attacks and seizures, but it also works for burning mouth syndrome. The medication will be applied in the form of cream or gel...

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5 Points To Discuss With Your Dentist When Deciding Between A Bridge And Partial Denture

Posted by on Jun 10, 2015 in Uncategorized |

When you are missing teeth due to an accident or decay, you have several options for replacing them. The two most common forms of tooth replacement are bridges and partial dentures. Most dentists will recommend that you have a bridge placed when possible, because bridges are placed permanently in your mouth and function more like natural teeth than partial dentures. However, how you replace missing teeth is a complicated decision that should be based on your personal habits and needs. Before you decide between a bridge and partial denture, you should discuss the following five points with your dentist.  The Upfront Cost of Each In general, bridges tend to be more expensive than partial dentures. This is because of the work needing to be done on the teeth that will hold the bridge as well as the material itself. However, a high quality partial denture can sometimes cost as much as a low quality bridge. If a bridge seems to be beyond your budget, you may want to discuss options to make it more affordable, such as a payment plan.  Long-term Benefits of Each Some people find bridges to have more long-term benefits because they allow you to eat more naturally than partial dentures. They also do a good job of keeping your natural teeth in place, whereas partial dentures may allow your teeth to shift slightly over the years. However, other people find dentures to be a better solution because it is easier to add additional teeth to the denture if you have problems with other teeth in the future.  To determine the long-term benefits you would receive from each option, you should consider what dental work you may need in the next 5-10 years, as both bridges and dentures tend to last around 10 years.  Your Hygiene Habits Most dentists suggest dental work with the understanding that you are going to complete the recommended amount of brushing and flossing and go into the dentist for annual exams. However, unless you lost your teeth due to an accident, you may have poor dental hygiene or a naturally higher amount of oral bacteria that makes you more susceptible to tooth decay. It is important you are realistic about whether you can change your hygiene habits, and whether a change will have a positive effect on your remaining teeth.  If you find it difficult to remember to brush and floss on a daily basis, you may find it is easier to clean a removable partial denture. If you have decent oral hygiene habits, then a bridge may be more comfortable for you.  Expectations for Your Oral Health If you are a younger patient and have no history of losing teeth,...

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Can Prosthodontists Treat TMD?

Posted by on May 5, 2015 in Uncategorized | 0 comments

That familiar clicking and jaw pain is back, do you need to see a specialist and, if so, what kind? Temporomandibular disorder is one of those chronic conditions that fall between the realms of dentistry and standard medicine, so it is easy to get confused. The treatment requires a specialized dental care plan. Once you understand more about the condition and the available treatment options, the reasons why you need to see a prosthodontist become clearer.   What is TMD? The Mayo Clinic defines temporomandibular joint dysfunction, or TMD, as an umbrella term for pain in the jaw joint and the muscles that control it. The temporomandibular joint is what allows you to chew, yawn and speak clearly. With TMD, there may be a number of problems working together to put strain on the musculature of that joint. During TMD flare-ups, the muscles and hinge joint on one or both sides of your face becomes inflamed. Every time you open your mouth, you further aggravate that area, increasing the inflammation and pain. The exact reason of your TMD is difficult to define, but it usually involves a breakdown of the joint. For example: The disk that cushions the joint degrades causing it to come out of alignment. The cartilage in the joint becomes damaged by diseases like arthritis. There is trauma to the joint. Even though it is the muscles in the jaw joint causing you pain, it is due to an underlying problem that is most likely dental, such as night grinding. The treatment is dental, as well. That is why your best option is a dental specialist like a prosthodontist. What are the Symptoms of TMD? The Canadian Dental Association lists the symptoms of temporomandibular disorder as: Sore or painful jaw muscles Difficulty opening and closing your mouth Headaches Neck pain A clicking or grinding noise coming from one or both sides of your jaw Successful treatment involves dealing with the underlying cause of the problem such as: Grinding of the teeth, especially night grinding Traumatic injury, such as a broken jaw bone that failed to heal correctly Worn or missing teeth Gum disease Poorly fitting dentures Congenital jaw malformation The right treatment plan can mean relief from jaw pain for the rest of your life. What Treatment Options do Prosthodontists Use for TMD? A prosthodontist will evaluate your jaw health and diagnose the cause of the TMD and then create a comprehensive care plan to manage your condition. The care plan may include a mix of drug, physical and dental therapies designed to allow the jaw to heal. It will start with getting control of the pain. If over-the-counter pain medication is not enough, the doctor...

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