Don’t Let Dental Fears Prevent You from Regular Dental Check-Ups

  If the thought of going to the dentist causes dental fears or distress, you’re not alone. Up to 75 percent of adults in the United States report having some degree of dental fears – anxiety and five to 10 percent of those with anxiety are considered to have a dental phobia. Those individuals experience dental fears so badly that they avoid going to the dentist at all costs, which is detrimental to their oral health and to their overall health. Read on to understand what dental phobia is. Dental Fears Can Put Your Oral and Overall Health at Risk Regular dental exams, teeth cleanings, dental X-rays and proper hygiene, will help keep your teeth and gums healthier. Fear of pain in the dentist’s chair may be what keeps patients with dental phobia from scheduling an appointment. In truth, you are less likely to develop painful problems such as cavities, gingivitis and periodontal disease if you go to the dentist for routine check-ups at least once a year. Another reason to see the dentist on a regular basis is because poor oral health has been linked to a greater risk of overall health problems. Infection from decayed teeth and gum disease can get into the bloodstream and cause major health problems, such as heart disease, strokes, and even death. Causes of Dental Fears and Dental Phobia In many cases, people who experience dental phobia do so because of prior experiences at the dentist’s office, such as feeling pain during a procedure or fear of the sounds or smells in the dentist’s office. Follow this link to learn more of what causes dental phobia. If you haven’t been to the dentist for a while, you may be happy to know that modern dental care is quieter, gentler and more comfortable than it was in days gone by. Modern dentists use technology that has taken the bite out of procedures that were at one time painful.   For those with dental fears or dental phobia, even taking dental x-rays might be trigger anxiety. That is not the case in today’s world. Dr. Terrance Wolbaum of Pioneer Hills Dental, takes digital x-rays of your mouth by using a small sensor which records the image of your teeth...

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Risk Factors for Oral Health Problems

How do you know if you have problems with your teeth and gums? Tooth decay is a tricky condition, because cavities often start out small and are undetectable unless you are visiting a dentist regularly. When you do start to show problems such as pain, intense sensitivity and more, the problem is likely already severe. Many people don’t know the signs to look for to detect gum or teeth problems. Spot the signs of developing oral health conditions, and know what habits put you at risk for those problems!   Oral Health Problems Did you know that oral health problems are some of the most common problems people have? In fact, millions of people are plagued by oral health problems and you wouldn’t even know it. About ½ of all American adults have gum disease. This is a disease that can lead to tooth loss if left untreated. Tooth decay is even more common, as more than 90% of people have have had tooth decay sometime in their life.   Just these two oral health problems alone affect much more than 100 million people. The crazy part about it? Oral health problems such as these are completely and 100% avoidable. You never have to struggle with tooth decay, gum disease or many other oral health problems if you simply follow oral hygiene recommendations and see your dentist. Tobacco and alcohol use significantly raise your risk for every single oral health problem, so avoid them at all costs. Let’s go over some of the most common oral health diseases and conditions so you can know if you’re at risk for them.   Tooth Decay You know tooth decay by it’s other names of “dental caries” and “cavities”. Most people don’t think of tooth decay as a disease. However, it’s called the most “chronic, prevalent disease” among children and adults, as reported by the National Institutes of Health. This decay can be painless until it reaches a severe point where you get toothaches, chronic pain, broken teeth and more. When you eat, sugars in your food and drink mix with bacteria in your mouth. That forms a sticky, acidic substance called plaque that sticks to your teeth and doesn’t budge. Plaque will start eroding your tooth...

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Why Patients Choose Dental Implants

Losing one or more of your teeth changes your smile, diminishes your ability to chew properly, and can impact your diet and nutrition. The challenges that arise from losing your natural teeth are coupled with bone loss that can cause you to lose more teeth. Losing teeth can also affect your ability to have a healthy, functioning mouth and jaw. However, this doesn’t have to be your fate! Dental implants can help preserve your bone and can protect your healthy teeth. They can also eliminate the need for dentures and provide you a permanent solution for a lost tooth. Increase your confidence today and get back your smile with a dental implant!   Dental Emergencies Thousands of patients find themselves with a dental emergency each year. Some patients never have a dental emergency. However, when one happens, you want to act fast to save your smile and your teeth. Common dental emergencies include toothaches, a broken or cracked tooth, a knocked-out permanent tooth, cut or bitten tongue, lip or cheek, broken braces and wires, or any other problem with your oral health that requires immediate attention. If you injure or break a tooth, it’s important to act quickly to save a tooth.   If you knock out a permanent tooth, the American Association of Endodontists recommends taking action within 30 minutes of the dental emergency to save a tooth. If this is you, make sure you only pick up the tooth by the crown (or top) of the tooth. Never pick up or handle the root end. Rinse, but do not clean or handle the tooth more than necessary. Reinsert the tooth in the socket and hold it in place using a clean piece of gauze or cloth. If you can’t reinsert the tooth, carry it in a cup containing milk or water to keep the tooth alive and moist. Then, make sure to visit our office immediately. Even with the proper precautions, some patients will not be able to save a permanent tooth and we will have to use another dental option to restore their smile.   Cosmetic Dentistry Restores Smiles We perform many services to keep your oral health in check and to prevent and treat cavities. However, there is another branch...

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Oral Cancer Screening—Have You Had Yours?

  Besides keeping up on your biannual checkups and setting good oral hygiene routines, it’s also very important to have oral cancer screenings as you age. This is mostly a preventative measure to make sure your oral health is in optimal shape, but it could also save your life! It’s estimated by the American Cancer Society that almost 50,000 people will get oral cancer in 2017 alone. Certain infections cause the number of cases to rise. About ⅕ of those diagnosed die each year from this disease, which can be prevented with professional treatment. With early detection and proper screening, you can avoid the devastating effects that come from oral cancer. If you haven’t scheduled your biannual checkup with Dr. Wolbaum today, make sure you do! We love taking care of our patients, and oral cancer screenings are just one of the ways we help protect you and your health at Pioneer Hills Dental. The Facts Cancer is not a word anyone wants to hear, especially when it comes to your mouth. You use your mouth to eat, speak and interact with others. What would you do if you had oral cancer? We hope none of our patients ever have to find out, but we do have swift and proper treatment if we ever find the presence of oral cancer via screenings. What are the facts? An estimated 24 people per day will die from oral cancer, according to the Oral Cancer Foundation. This conditions is almost twice as prevalent in men compared to women. According to Cancer.net, oral cavity cancer is actually the 9th most common cancer among men. Almost 50,000 people (49,670) will be diagnosed with oral cancer this year alone, and an estimated 9,700 deaths will occur because of it. When detected early, patients have an 83% survival rate or more, which is why screenings are so important! When oral cancer is left unchecked, it will eventually start migrating to the surrounding tissues and organs. Oral cavity cancer is one of the most common cancers of the mouth. Oral cavity cancer usually occurs in the tongue, tonsils and oropharynx, gums and floor of the mouth. The average age that oral cancer manifests is around age 62, but it has been known to...

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How to Handle the Thumbsucking Habit

It may alarm some people, but finger or thumbsucking is a completely normal activity for babies and young children. The American Academy of Pediatric Dentistry recommends that parents and caregivers encourage children to stop thumb sucking by age 4.  Within the first few months of life, or even sooner, a baby can become a thumb or finger sucker as a way to fall asleep, to calm down, or to just feel good. At this stage, not only is thumb or finger sucking common, it is considered harmless in terms of a child’s growth and speech development.The problem lies in how long the child continues to thumb suck. Sucking puts pressure on the sides of the upper jaw and the soft tissue on the roof of the mouth. As a result, the upper jaw can narrow, causing the teeth to not meet properly from the top to the bottom. Although this can be fixed with braces, it can also cause speech problems such as a lisp that may need to be corrected with therapy. Learn tips to help break the thumbsucking habit. When Should a Parent Intervene with Thumbsucking? One of the most common questions pediatricians are asked for children ages 2-4 are questions about  pacifier use and thumbsucking.  What parents are often surprised to learn is that thumb-sucking is a natural reflex found in 66% of children ages 0-2.  Infants are born with this natural reflex for sucking. This reflex is crucial for helping babies get nourishment and to self-soothe.  Sucking on fingers, objects or thumbs helps infants and children feel secure and happy and can help children fall asleep.  So, when does a parent need to be concerned about the habit and when do they need to intervene? There will come a point when parental intervention IS necessary to prevent problems with your child’s permanent teeth, speech, and mouth development from thumb-sucking or pacifier use. Risks of Prolonged Thumbsucking If you have questions about the risks of thumb-sucking you are not alone.  Parents don’t want to encourage behavior that could potentially harm their child, but if it is harmless, they don’t want to go through the hassle of breaking the habit. Thumbsucking, while natural, is not harmless if prolonged.  According to the American...

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The Future of Root Canals May Be Changing

Root canal treatment as we see it today, may be changing in the future with a concept called regenerative dental fillings. Researchers at Harvard University and University of Nottingham are currently working on marrying stem cell regenerative capabilities with restorative dental fillings so that damaged teeth can actually heal themselves. While the technology is still in the R&D phase, it is exciting to see how the face of dentistry continues to change and expand as technology changes and expands. Will Regenerative Dental Fillings Eliminate Root Canals? Popular Science recently published an article that highlighted some new dental research and technology that is in the works–a concept called regenerative dental fillings!  This proposed solution to dying/injured tissue is exciting to the dental community. Why the excitement? First, it helps to understand a little about what regenerative dental fillings will replace.  When a tooth has sustained injury, or serious decay, sometimes it is necessary to incorporate endodontics into your treatment planning by performing root canal therapy to save the tooth.  Untreated cavities that reach the pulp of a tooth have to be treated immediately. Infected pulp can turn to surrounding bone to feed on causing a painful abscess. Infected pulp is unable to heal on its own. Your dentist performs root canal treatment to clean out the infected pulp and disinfect the canals. Root canal therapy is used to save the decayed tooth from extraction. But what if the pulp could heal on its own? Stem Cells and Regenerative Tooth Fillings Researchers at Harvard and the University of Nottingham aim to eliminate the need for your dentist to treat the injured or infected pulp by, instead, letting your body do it.  The new treatment method engages the healing powers of stem cells to work on your body’s behalf.  The researchers told CBS News: “What we found is a material that can potentially regenerate components of a patient’s tooth. . . .We’re trying to provide an alternative material, an alternative therapy because the current method involves the dentist removing all of the infected pulp tissue.” Regenerative Tooth Fillings Stimulate Native Stem Cells The team working on bringing us this innovative technology could, quite possibly, be the first to bridge the gap between dental medicine and regenerative medicine....

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