Posts for: September, 2014
Luis Suarez's Biting Scandal: Teeth Should Only Be Used for Chewing
Much of the nation knows about the mysterious Luis Suarez biting scandal from the FIFA World Cup 2014. We wanted to take a look at the situation from a dental perspective:
1. Mouth guards should have been used.
2. Teeth should only be used for chewing.
Dr. Matthew Karls wants Waunakee dental patients to know the facts about using their teeth for other tasks besides chewing—it can really take a toll on your teeth.
Protecting Our Teeth at all Times
According to ABC news, Luis Suarez stated that the “physical bite was a result in the collision” with the other player. If this were true, a mouthguard would have prevented this from happening. Sports players of all age, especially those with orthodontic work, should use a properly fitted mouthguard in any sporting event or any activity that may pose a risk of injury.
Teeth as a Tool
Believe it or not, many people use their teeth for other tasks rather than chewing. Some of them have found out the hard way that it was not the smartest decision. Listed below are some habits you might have done or do, as well as the outcome it has on your teeth.
Crunching: Many people find crunching on ice to be refreshing, but it can actually cause teeth to fracture or result in microscopic cracks in the surface of the enamel. This could lead to bigger dental problems over time. Popcorn kernels can also put unnecessary stress on a tooth and cause fractures.
Sipping: Sipping on soda throughout the day can promote tooth decay to occur. While it takes time to change a bad habit, try sipping sugary drinks through a straw to minimize the exposure to the teeth.
Using Teeth as Tools: It’s odd to think of our teeth as tools, but to some patients, that’s exactly what they use them for. Some people use their teeth for: tearing open a bag of potato chips, uncapping a bottle of nail polish, pulling out a watch stem, straightening a bent fork, opening a bottle, or ripping a price tag off a piece of clothing. This can be rough on your teeth by causing the edge of a weakened tooth to chip off or possibly fracture. The only thing a patient should be using their teeth for is to break down food for digestion.
To learn more about mouthguards during physical activity, as well as keeping your teeth in the best shape as possible, contact our Waunakee dentistry office today at (608) 849-4100.
Tooth decay and other oral diseases aren’t the only dangers your teeth face — accidental injuries also pose a risk. Fortunately, much can be done to save injured teeth, if you act quickly.
Dental injuries where part of the enamel crown has chipped off are the most common. Even if only one tooth appears damaged, adjacent teeth and bone might also have been damaged internally. Most chip injuries can be repaired either by reattaching the broken crown or with a tooth-colored filling or veneer. If the damage has extended into the inner tooth pulp then a root canal treatment might ultimately be necessary.
Teeth that have been knocked loose from normal alignment (dislodged) or where the entire tooth with its root has separated from the socket (avulsed) are rare but severe when they occur. It’s imperative to see a dentist as soon as possible — even more than five minutes’ of elapsed time can drastically reduce the tooth’s survivability. Dislodged teeth are usually splinted to adjacent teeth for several weeks; we would then carefully monitor the healing process and intervene with endodontic treatment (focused on the tooth’s interior) should something unfavorable occur.
With the possible exception of a primary (baby) tooth, an avulsed tooth should be placed back in the socket as soon as possible. This can be done by someone on scene, as long as the tooth is handled gently, the root not touched, and the tooth rinsed with cold, clean water if it has become dirty. If no one is available to do this, the tooth should be placed in milk to avoid drying out the root, and the patient and tooth transported to a dentist immediately. Once in the socket, the treatment is similar as for a dislodged tooth with splinting and careful watching.
The damaged tooth should be checked regularly. Your body’s defense mechanism could still reject it, so there’s a danger the root could be eaten away, or resorbed. Some forms of resorption can’t be treated — the aim then is to preserve the natural tooth for as long as possible, and then replace it with a life-like restoration to regain form and function.
If you would like more information on the treatment of injured teeth, 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 “Trauma & Nerve Damage to Teeth.”
If you follow the hit TV reality show Amazing Race, you know that professional-hockey-playing brothers Bates and Anthony Battaglia won the $1 million prize in the latest globe-spanning competition. You may also have witnessed Anthony removing his false front teeth from time to time — like when he had to dive for pearls in Bora Bora. Since he plans to resume his sports career, Anthony wears a partial denture to fill the gap in his classic “hockey mouth.” He has said that when he finally hangs up his skates, he will use some of his Amazing Race prize money to get new, permanent teeth. When it's time to get that new smile, Anthony, like many people, will have to choose between two good options for permanent tooth replacement.
The preferred option for most people is dental implants. In this system, tiny titanium posts substitute for the root part of your missing tooth (or teeth). These are placed beneath your gum line in a minor surgical procedure we perform right here at the dental office. The amazing thing about dental implants is that they actually fuse to your jawbone, allowing your replacement teeth to last a lifetime.
The titanium implant itself is not visible in the mouth; the part of an implant tooth that you see is the lifelike crown. Virtually indistinguishable from your natural teeth, the crown is attached to the implant above the gum line. Dental implants can be used to replace a single tooth, multiple teeth, or even all your teeth. You don't necessarily need one implant for every tooth because implants can support bridgework or even a complete set of prosthetic teeth.
The second-best option is a natural-tooth fixed bridge. In this system, we use healthy natural teeth on either side of the empty space left by a missing tooth (or teeth) as supports for one or more of the prosthetic teeth that will fill the gap. The downside is that in order to turn these healthy teeth into supports (which are referred to in dentistry as “abutments”), we need to remove some enamel and then cap them. This procedure can leave those teeth more prone to decay than they were before. But with regular dental exams and good oral hygiene on your part, bridgework can last many years.
Which system is right for you? That's a question we would be happy to help you determine... even if you haven't won a large jackpot or gone pearl diving in Bora Bora. If you've been looking forward to the day when you can have permanent replacement teeth, why wait? Contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. We will help you find your ideal solution to the problem of missing teeth! For more information, please see the Dear Doctor magazine articles “Dental Implants vs. Bridgework” and “Dental Implants: Your Third Set of Teeth.”