Posts for: April, 2018
Once upon a time, celebrities tried hard to maintain the appearance of red-carpet glamour at all times. That meant keeping the more mundane aspects of their lives out of the spotlight: things like shopping, walking the dog and having oral surgery, for example.
That was then. Today, you can find plenty of celebs posting pictures from the dentist on social media. Take Julianne Hough, for example: In 2011 and 2013, she tweeted from the dental office. Then, not long ago, she shared a video taken after her wisdom teeth were removed in December 2016. In it, the 28-year-old actress and dancer cracked jokes and sang a loopy rendition of a Christmas carol, her mouth filled with gauze. Clearly, she was feeling relaxed and comfortable!
Lots of us enjoy seeing the human side of celebrities. But as dentists, we’re also glad when posts such as these help demystify a procedure that could be scary for some people.
Like having a root canal, the thought of extracting wisdom teeth (also called third molars) makes some folks shudder. Yet this routine procedure is performed more often than any other type of oral surgery. Why? Because wisdom teeth, which usually begin to erupt (emerge from beneath the gums) around age 17-25, have the potential to cause serious problems in the mouth. When these molars lack enough space to fully erupt in their normal positions, they are said to be “impacted.”
One potential problem with impacted wisdom teeth is crowding. Many people don’t have enough space in the jaw to accommodate another set of molars; when their wisdom teeth come in, other teeth can be damaged. Impacted wisdom teeth may also have an increased potential to cause periodontal disease, bacterial infection, and other issues.
Not all wisdom teeth need to be removed; after a complete examination, including x-rays and/or other diagnostic imaging, a recommendation will be made based on each individual’s situation. It may involve continued monitoring of the situation, orthodontics or extraction.
Wisdom tooth extraction is usually done right in the office, often with a type of anesthesia called “conscious sedation.”Â Here, the patient is able to breathe normally and respond to stimuli (such as verbal directions), but remains free from pain. For people who are especially apprehensive about dental procedures, anti-anxiety mediation may also be given. After the procedure, prescription or over-the-counter pain medication may be used for a few days. If you feel like singing a few bars, as Julianne did, it’s up to you.
If you would like more information about wisdom tooth extraction, please call our office to arrange a consultation. You can learn more in the Dear Doctor magazine articles “Wisdom Teeth” and “Removing Wisdom Teeth.”
Oral cancer screenings can save your smile and your life! The incidence of this quickly spreading cancer increases every year in the United States, says the Oral Cancer Foundation, but through early detection, cure rates can increase. Your Danbury, CT, dentist, Dr. George Landress, screens his older teen and adults patients for this harmful malady as part of routine exams and cleanings.
Fast, easy, and effective
That describes oral cancer screenings with Dr. Landress. They take just a few minutes. First, your dentist will look into your mouth, inspecting the tongue and under the tongue, the roof of your mouth, inside the cheeks, at the back of the throat, and more. He'll palpate, or feel, the sides of your throat and then that's it. You're done.
Signs and symptoms of oral cancer
What is Dr. Landress looking for? Frankly, he looks for things that may not be noticeable to you. In reality, they may indicate the squamous cell carcinoma that comprises most cancerous lesions at the back of the throat, on the tongue and lips and on the salivary glands. These lesions may be white or red in color and do not heal quickly as a cold sore does.
Additionally, patients with oral cancer often have:
- Pain when eating
- Difficulty swallowing
- A change in the fit of a denture or in dental bite
Its origin and how to avoid it
The Oral Cancer Foundation cites many causes for this kind of cancer. They include:
- Too much sun exposure
- Alcohol abuse
- Chewing tobacco
- Exposure to HPV, the Human Papilloma Virus (which is sexually transmitted)
While oral cancer seems to cross age, gender, and racial lines, men suffer from it more than women do. However, the National Cancer Institute indicates that incidence among young women has risen sharply over the past few years.
Because of the deadly results of this cancer, Dr. Landress urges his patients to live a healthy lifestyle. A diet high in fibrous fruits and vegetables seems to help. Stop all tobacco use, and limit your sun exposure, particularly deliberate tanning. Look into your mouth and at your lips regularly, and see your dentist in Danbury every six months for your routine screening.
It's your life
Preserve it with easy oral cancer screening. Please call Dr. George Landress in Danbury, CT, today to arrange your six-month cleaning and check-up, and get some peace of mind at (203) 743-7608.
Dental implants are best known as restorations for single missing teeth. But there’s more to them than that—they can also be used to support and secure removable dentures or fixed bridges.
That’s because a dental implant is actually a root replacement. A threaded titanium post is inserted directly into the jawbone where, over time, bone cells grow and adhere to it. This accumulated bone growth gives the implant its signature durability and contributes to its long-term success rate (95%-plus after ten years). It can support a single attached crown, or serve as an attachment point for a dental bridge or a connector for a removable denture.
The method and design of implants differentiates it from other restoration options. And there’s one other difference—implants require a minor surgical procedure to insert them into the jawbone.
While this might give you pause, implant surgery is no more complicated than a surgical tooth extraction. In most cases we can perform the procedure using local anesthesia (you’ll be awake the entire time) coupled with sedatives (if you have bouts of anxiety) to help you relax.
We first access the bone through small incisions in the gums and then create a small channel or hole in it. A surgical guide that fits over the teeth may be used to help pinpoint the exact location for the implant.
We then use a drilling sequence to progressively increase the size of the channel until it matches the implant size and shape. We’re then ready to insert the implant, which we remove at this time from its sterile packaging. We may then take a few x-rays to ensure the implant is in the right position, followed by closing the gums with sutures.
There may be a little discomfort for that day, but most patients can manage it with over-the-counter pain relievers like aspirin or ibuprofen. It’s what goes on over the next few weeks that’s of prime importance as the bone grows and adheres to the implant. Once they’re fully integrated, we’re ready to move to the next step of affixing your crown, bridge or denture to gain what you’ve waited so long for—your new implant-supported smile.
If you would like more information on dental implants, 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 “Dental Implant Surgery: What to Expect Before, During and After.”