Archive for dental treatment

Internal bleaching

Tooth whitening is everywhere. Here in North Carolina, it’s about to get even more commonly available (that’s not necessarily a good thing but that’s another post). There’s another type of bleaching that is done internally when the tooth is discolored from the inside (as opposed to what you usually think of when you hear teeth bleaching). There are different reasons for a tooth getting discolored from the inside. Probably the common reason is there was trauma to the tooth and it bled internally. If a tooth does need internal bleaching, it will need to have a root canal treatment (most have already had one). Typically, we do these when someone has to have a tooth treated or retreated anyway and we do the bleaching at the same time. It will usually take a few visits to get the color to match the surrounding teeth.

Gum disease and heart disease

There have been numerous studies linking gum disease and heart disease. They are still not exactly clear on the relationship (does one cause the other? is one a symptom of the other? or…?). However, if you have gum disease, get it treated. Go to your dentist if you have sore or bleeding gums. Regular checkups will let your dentist keep an eye on your gums for the first sign of a problem. And, if you do have gum disease, it might not be a bad idea to get your heart checked, too. Just in case.

While it’s easy to find dietary guidelines for heart disease, there’s not so much for gum disease. Here’s an article on the Eating Well website that discusses the benefits of green tea for heart disease and for gum disease.

Dental health and pregnancy

pregnant womanWho knew?! It turns out fertility and dental health are connected. In the past few years, mounting research has indicated a link between poor oral health and preterm birth, low birth weight, and possibly pre-eclampsia (a dangerous pregnancy complication). One study in The Journal of the American Dental Association found that pregnant women with chronic gum disease were four to seven times more likely to deliver prematurely (before 37 weeks) than those with healthy gums; women in the group with more severe periodontal disease delivered even earlier (before 32 weeks).

So, get to your dentist before you get pregnant!

Antibiotic pre-med (prophylaxis)

antibiotic pre-medDo you need an antibiotic before root canal treatment (called antibiotic prophylaxis)? There are two categories of patients who may need this. Those with certain heart conditions and those with artificial joints. The rules have changed in the last few years so what may have been true for you in the past may not be true now.

Here is an excerpt from the American Dental Society:

“Before some dental treatments, patients who have certain heart conditions and those with artificial joints take antibiotics. These people may be at risk of developing an infection in the heart or at the site of the artificial joint, respectively. Antibiotics reduce this risk. This is called antibiotic prophylaxis (pronounced pro-fuh-lax-iss).

“When treating patients with heart conditions, dentists follow recommendations developed by the American Heart Association, with input from the ADA. For patients who have total joint replacements, they refer to recommendations developed by the American Academy of Orthopedic Surgeons (AAOS).”

Read more about antibiotic prophylaxis before dental treatment.

New research was recently published in the British Medical Journal about antibiotic prophylaxis. Research in this area is ongoing so expect more changes to these recommendations in time.