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Posts for: June, 2015


Mouth injuries in children and teens are more common than you might think: about one out of three boys and one out of four girls will have experienced an injury before they graduate from high school. Besides contact sports, other types of accidents like car crashes or falls are high on the cause list.

Although most dental injuries aren’t considered true emergencies, there are a few where prompt action may mean the difference between ultimately saving or losing a tooth. One such situation is a knocked out tooth.

In the event of a knocked out (or avulsed) tooth, your primary goal is to place the tooth back into the empty socket as quickly as possible. Teeth that have been out of the mouth for less than five minutes have the best chance of reattachment and survival. The first step is to quickly locate the missing tooth.

Once you’ve found it, use only cold, clean water run or poured over the tooth to carefully clean off dirt or debris (no soaps or cleansers). You should also avoid touching the tooth root or scrubbing any part of it. After cleaning it of debris, gently place the tooth back in its socket, then immediately contact us or visit an emergency room. While you’re en route to our office the patient should carefully hold the tooth in place. If the tooth can’t be immediately placed into the socket (the patient is unconscious, for example), then you should place the tooth in a clean container and keep it moist with cold milk, a sterile saline solution or even the patient’s saliva.

Taking these steps increases the chances of a successful re-implantation, although the injury may ultimately affect the tooth’s lifespan. Replanted teeth can suffer from root resorption (where the root tissue dissolves) or a process known as ankylosis in which the tooth fuses directly to the jawbone with no healthy periodontal ligament in between. Either of these conditions can lead to tooth loss.

Still, it’s worthwhile to try to save the tooth, even if for a few more years. Those extra years can help you prepare for a future restoration.

If you would like more information on responding to dental injuries, 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 “Accidental Tooth Loss.”

By Birkdale Dental
June 21, 2015
Category: Oral Health
Tags: tooth grinding  

Sure, it’s big news when celebs tweet selfies from the dental office… if you’re still living in the 20th century. But in Hollywood today, it’s harder to say who hasn’t posted snaps of themselves in the dentist’s chair than who has. Yet the pictures recently uploaded to Twitter by Mark Salling, the actor and singer who regularly appears as Noah “Puck” Puckerman on the popular TV series Glee, made us sit up and take notice.

“Getting my chipped tooth fixed. Also, apparently, I’m a big grinder,” read the caption. The photo showed a set of upper front teeth with visible chips on the biting surface. What’s so special about this seemingly mundane tweet? It’s a great way of bringing attention to a relatively common, but often overlooked problem: teeth clenching and grinding, also called bruxism.

Although bruxism is a habit that affects scores of people, many don’t even realize they have it. That’s because the condition may only become active at night. When the teeth are unconsciously ground together, the forces they produce can wear down the enamel, cause chipping or damage to teeth or dental work (such as veneers or fillings), or even loosen a tooth! While it’s common in children under 11 years old, in adults it can be a cause for concern.

Sometimes, mouth pain, soreness and visible damage alert individuals to their grinding habits; other times, a dental professional will notice the evidence of bruxism during an exam or cleaning: tooth sensitivity and telltale wear and tear on the chewing surfaces. Either way, it’s time to act.

Bruxism is most often caused by stress, which can negatively impact the body in many ways. It may also result from bite problems, the overuse of stimulating substances (caffeine, alcohol, tobacco, and illegal drugs), and as a side effect of certain medications. Sometimes, simply becoming aware of the habit can help a person get it under control. Common methods of stress reduction include exercise, meditation, a warm bath or a quiet period before bedtime; these can be tried while we monitor the situation to see if the problem is going away.

If stress reduction alone doesn’t do the trick, several other methods can be effective. When bruxism is caused by a minor bite problem, we can sometimes do a minor “bite adjustment” in the office. This involves removing a tiny bit of enamel from an individual tooth that is out of position, bringing it in line with the others. If it’s a more serious malocclusion, orthodontic appliances or other procedures may be recommended.

When grinding is severe enough to damage teeth or dental work, we may also recommend a custom-made night guard (occlusal guard), which you put in your mouth at bedtime. Comfortable and secure, this appliance prevents your teeth from being damaged by contacting each other, and protects your jaw joints from stresses due to excessive grinding forces.

Whether or not you have to smile for a living, teeth grinding can be a big problem. If you would like more information about this condition, call our office to schedule a consultation for a consultation.

By Birkdale Dental
June 12, 2015
Category: Oral Health
Tags: Sensitive Teeth  

If you are one of the many Huntersville residents who suffer from sensitive teeth, you know just how painful they can be. Foods that should be enjoyable, such as ice cream and hot pizza, leave you wondering if you should visit the dentist instead.

Thankfully, just because you have sensitive teeth now does not mean that you have to deal with the pain and annoyance forever. Here Sensitive Teethare five ways Michael L. Wing, DDS, PC at Birkdale Dental commonly advises his patients to deal with their tooth sensitivity.

1. Visit the Dentist

Tooth sensitivity can be the result of a number of causes, including excessive plaque, gum disease, whitening products or excessive brushing techniques. Visit your dentist, Dr. Wing at Birkdale Dental in Huntersville, to rule out any dental problems that may be causing your sensitivity. If you have a broken tooth, gingivitis or missing fillings, you will want to have them repaired or replaced right away.

2. Switch to a Soft-Bristled Toothbrush

Two common causes of tooth sensitivity are brushing too hard or brushing with a hard-bristled toothbrush. Both push the gums away from the tooth, exposing the tooth root and causing sensitivity. Try switching to a soft-bristled toothbrush and brushing less aggressively so your gums have time to heal.

3. Use Toothpaste Made for Sensitive Teeth

Did you know that there are toothpastes made especially for people who have sensitive teeth? Try one and you might just find your sensitivity fading away. While some people have to use these toothpastes on a long-term basis, others can use them for a while and then not need them anymore.

4. Switch to Dental Products with Fluoride

Dentists love fluoride because it helps build tooth enamel. If your worn away enamel is causing your tooth sensitivity, choosing toothpastes and mouthwashes that contain fluoride can help build up your enamel and reduce your sensitivity.

5. Avoid Acidic Foods and Drinks

Lastly, if there are certain foods that make your sensitivity worse, you may want to just avoid them. In addition to avoiding excessively hot or cold food or drinks, make it a habit to avoid acidic foods and drinks as well. These foods and beverages can wear away your enamel over time, leaving you at a greater risk for sensitivity.

If you've been suffering through your tooth sensitivity for a while now, today is the day to do something about it once and for all. Call Dr. Wing at Birkdale Dental in Huntersville for a professional exam by a qualified dentist and then try at-home treatments until you find something that works. Your pain may just be gone before you know it.