Posts for: February, 2020
Surgical tooth extraction is a fairly routine procedure with few complications. But one rare complication called dry socket does affect a small number of patients. Dry socket, which derives its name from its appearance, can be quite painful. Fortunately, though, it doesn't pose a danger to oral health.
Normally after a surgical extraction, a blood clot forms in the empty socket. This is nature's way of protecting the underlying bone and nerves from various stimuli in the mouth as well as protecting the area. Sometimes, though, the clot fails to form or only forms partially (almost exclusively in lower wisdom teeth), exposing the sensitive tissues beneath the socket.
Patients begin to notice the painful effects from a dry socket about three or four days after surgery, which then can persist for one to three more days. Besides dull or throbbing pain, people may also experience a foul odor or taste in their mouth.
People who smoke, women taking oral contraceptives or those performing any activity that puts pressure on the surgical site are more likely to develop dry socket. Of the latter, one of the most common ways to develop dry socket is vigorous brushing of the site too soon after surgery, which can damage a forming blood clot.
Surgeons do take steps to reduce the likelihood of a dry socket by minimizing trauma to the site during surgery, avoiding bacterial contamination and suturing the area. You can also decrease your chances of developing a dry socket by avoiding the following for the first day or so after surgery:
- brushing the surgical area (if advised by your surgeon);
- rinsing too aggressively;
- drinking through a straw or consuming hot liquid;
If a dry socket does develop, see your dentist as soon as possible. Dentists can treat the site with a medicated dressing and relieve the pain substantially. The dressing will need to be changed every few days until the pain has decreased significantly, and then left in place to facilitate faster healing.
While dry sockets do heal and won't permanently damage the area, it can be quite uncomfortable while it lasts. Taking precautions can prevent it—and seeing a dentist promptly if it occurs can greatly reduce your discomfort.
If you would like more information on oral surgery, 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 “Dry Socket: A Painful but Not Dangerous Complication of Oral Surgery.”
Snoring, waking up, feeling tired—these symptoms could all indicate you have sleep apnea. Ranging in severity from being a simple nuisance to being a life-threatening condition, sleep apnea can have an extreme effect on your overall health, but rest assured, Dr. Paul Dionne of Glen Ridge Dental Arts & New Jersey Dental Sleep Medicine can help. A sleep dentistry expert in Glen Ridge, NJ, Dr. Dionne can help you sleep better and feel your best.
The particulars on sleep apnea
The American Sleep Apnea Association says that more than 20 million people in the US have sleep apnea, and about 80 percent of them have Obstructive Sleep Apnea, or OSA. Characterized by airway blockage. loud snoring, and recurring waking/breathing cessation, OSA causes relationship problems and fatigue.
Beyond that, the American Sleep Apnea Association says the resulting oxygen deprivation cause body-wide health issues such as diabetes, heart disease, stroke, hypertension, dementia, and arthritis. These are serious problems which you need to address. Fortunately, sleep dentistry from our New Jersey office can help.
What you should do
See your primary care physician about your symptoms. They may recommend simple lifestyle changes such as losing weight, limiting food and alcohol before bedtime, and sleeping on your side. Alternatively, your doctor may send you to a sleep physician for a fully-monitored test to pinpoint your sleep pattern and vital signs during the night. With a confirmed diagnosis of sleep apnea, you may be referred to Glen Ridge Dental Arts & New Jersey Dental Sleep Medicine for treatment.
Treating sleep apnea
Both OSA and CSA (Central Sleep Apnea which involves interrupted signals between the lungs and brain) may be treated with CPAP machines. These bedside instruments deliver a stream of air through a hose and facial mask into the back of the throat. This air forces the soft tissues at the back of the throat open so you keep breathing.
However, CPAP often proves claustrophobic or noisy. Patients find the machines cumbersome and difficult to travel with. So, treatment compliance falls off.
At our New Jersey office, Dr. Dionne advises the use of a common sleep dentistry tool—the oral appliance. Customized to fit comfortably in the patient's mouth, this acrylic guard positions the lower jaw forward. The result is an open airway, little to no snoring, and continuous, restful sleep. Furthermore, oral appliances are quiet and usable anywhere, with no electrical hook-up needed.
Sleep well, feel great
A good night's sleep is priceless. Get yours with help from your sleep dentistry expert in New Jersey, Dr. Paul Dionne. Call Glen Ridge Dental Arts & New Jersey Dental Sleep Medicine today for your personal consultation: (973) 748-7790.
You can find some version of the ever popular kids’ meal at most major fast-food restaurants. It’s a neat little package: child’s size portions of burgers, chicken nuggets or sides—and often a small toy or treat to boot—all tucked into its own colorful cardboard container.
The drive-thru menu board at your favorite fast-food joint gives you plenty of choices to fill out your child’s meal. But you may notice something missing on many major chains’ kids’ menus—the mention of soft drinks as a beverage choice. You can still get one for your child’s meal, but the visual cue is no more on the menu board.
None of the “Big Three”—Burger King, McDonald’s or Wendy’s—post soft drinks as a menu item for their kid’s meals. It’s the result of an effort by health advocates promoting less soda consumption by children, the leading source of calories in the average child’s diet. With its high sugar content, it’s believed to be a major factor in the steep rise in child obesity over the last few years.
Sodas and similar beverages are also prime suspects in the prevalence of tooth decay among children. Besides sugar, these beverages are also high in acid, which can erode tooth enamel. These two ingredients combined in soda can drastically increase your child’s risk of tooth decay if they have a regular soda habit.
You can minimize this threat to their dental health by reducing their soda consumption. It’s important not to create a habit of automatically including sodas with every meal, especially when dining out. Instead, choose other beverages: Water by far is the best choice, followed by regular milk. Chocolate milk and juice are high in sugar, but they’re still a healthier choice than sodas due to their nutrient content.
Keeping sodas to a minimum could help benefit your child later in life by reducing their risk for heart disease, diabetes and other major health problems. It will also help them avoid tooth decay and the problems that that could cause for their current and future dental health.
Every year many parents learn their “tweenager” or teenager needs their bite corrected, often with specialized orthodontics. Imagine, though, if these families could go back in time to when their child’s poor bite was just developing to stop or slow it from forming.
Time travel may still be science fiction, but the approach suggested isn’t. It’s called interceptive orthodontics, a group of techniques and procedures performed during the early stages of jaw development. The focus is usually on getting abnormal jaw growth back on track, enough so that a poor bite won’t form.
The upper jaw, for example, may be growing too narrow, reducing the amount of available space for tooth eruption. If it isn’t corrected, teeth can erupt out of position. To correct it, an orthodontist places a palatal expander in the roof of the child’s mouth (palate). The appliance applies gentle pressure against the inside of the teeth, which stimulates the jaws to develop wider.
The expander works because of a separation in the bones at the center of the palate, which later fuse around puberty. The pressure applied from the expander keeps this gap slightly open; the body then continues to fill the widening expansion with bone, enough over time to widen the jaw. If you wait until puberty, the gap has already fused, and it would have to be reopened surgically to use this technique. Ideally, then, a palatal expander should be employed at a young age.
Not all interceptive techniques are this extensive—some, like a space maintainer, are quite simple. If a primary (baby) tooth is lost prematurely, teeth next to the empty space tend to drift into it and cause the intended permanent tooth to erupt out of place due to a lack of space. To prevent this an orthodontist places a small wire loop within the space to prevent other teeth from moving into it.
These are but two examples of the many methods for stopping or slowing a developing bite problem. To achieve the best outcome, they need to be well-timed. Be sure, then, to have your child undergo an orthodontic evaluation around age 6. If an interceptive orthodontic approach is needed, it could eliminate the need for more extensive—and expensive—treatment later.