At Halloween dentists might see a rise in emergencies such as broken teeth or loosened crowns. This may be because people tend to eat harder or stickier foods than usual or do things they don’t normally do such as cracking nutshells with their teeth or playing boisterous games. What’s more, at this time of year, more subtle damage can occur with the onslaught of sugary goodies and sticky treats which can lead to cavities down the line. However, you can take a few simple steps to avoid your own Halloween nightmare and protect your family’s teeth.
PREPARE FOR COMBAT
Tooth decay is caused by acid eating away the protective enamel. Acid is produced when bacteria in the mouth feeds on sugar. We don’t suggest you spoil Halloween for the kids and stop them enjoying a few sweet treats on the day, but if you have them brush their teeth just before the Halloween party you get ahead in the battle by reducing much of the bacteria. Brushing immediately after eating just spreads the acid around the mouth.
NIGHTMARE ON ENAMEL STREET
From twenty minutes to an hour after you stop eating, saliva, which is alkaline, neutralises the acid. Avoiding snacks between meals helps limit the number of times tooth enamel is exposed to acid. If the kids dip into their spoils while out Trick or Treating the temptation is there to graze all afternoon and evening, prolonging the acid bath. How about awarding spooky stickers or toys for keeping the goodie bags intact until after a substantial dinner? Make a game of it by covering the bags in fake cobwebs and spiders until the plates are (magically) cleared.
SWAMP OF GOO
The worst treats for your teeth are the gooey ones like toffee and caramel as they stick to the surfaces and in between teeth. If possible, switch them out for fast dissolving sweets such as chocolate, which doesn’t linger as long in the mouth.
NUTS, TRICK OR TREAT?
If your household is free from nut allergies, though they are a hard food, there is no reason why reasonably healthy teeth cannot have this traditional Halloween fare. Dentally speaking, crunchy is better than sticky. Nuts are packed with nutrients including calcium, zinc and magnesium and are good for teeth. Some nuts, such as cashews and walnuts, are softer than others and easier for small teeth to handle.
Adults who have crowns or bridges etc should go very carefully with very hard foods and certainly avoid sticky toffee. Those who wear braces for straighter smiles are also reminded to avoid both types of foods.
If you are serving your vampire guests cranberry juice, or for adults, Bloody Marys, provide straws to help keep the acidic juice away from teeth. The celery served with a Bloody Mary is low in acid but also a good, crunchy and saliva-inducing tooth cleanser.
Teeth are meant for biting and chewing food. It can be too easy to forget when you are having fun, but they are not designed to be nut crackers or bottle openers. Though healthy teeth are strong, improper use can easily lead to chips, fractures or loss of a filling.
THE END IS NIGH…
Sugar free gum helps produce extra saliva which will neutralise acid faster and also wash out the mouth. Gum containing the sugar free sweetener, xylitol, has also been linked with remineralisation of tooth enamel. For adults and kids old enough for gum make sugarless chewing gum containing xylitol the last treat of the party.
It can be a scary moment when you hear your dentist or hygienist utter the words ” you have some gum recession“, automatically you have visions of your teeth hanging on without supported gums or worse- visions of them all falling out! However, rest assured this is not the case- there are different stages of gum recession with most people falling into the “mild” category. Even if you have a more severe case, know that it can be treated and there are solutions for you.
What is gum recession? (Gingival Recession)
Gum recession is where the gum recedes below the tooth and pulls away from it leaving more of your tooth exposed at the root. When this happens, disease causing bacteria can start to build in the pockets of the gaps between the tooth and the gum line.
What causes gum recession?
Brushing your teeth too aggressively– you should always use a soft bristle toothbrush or an electric one and not be attempted to scrub your teeth!
Genetics – unfortunately the health of your gums can come down to genetics, if one or more of your parents suffered with gum recession there is a high likelihood that you will too.
Teeth grinding – grinding can cause undue stress on your teeth – a nigh guard can help with this. Teeth grinding can cause many dental issues so it is always worth investigating if you think you may suffer with it.
Not looking after your teeth– may be an obvious one, but not brushing your teeth at least twice a day, not flossing and not having regular dental checks all add greatly to the risk of developing gum recession.
Hormones – women have an increased risk of developing gum recession due to fluctuations in hormone levels seen in puberty, pregnancy and the menopause.
If you are diagnosed with mild gum recession catching it early and addressing it straight away will ensure you keep it under control. Your dentist can help identify the causes for it and instruct you on measures to address it and stop it developing it further. Your dentist will give you advice on what toothbrush you should use and how to use it properly, how to floss correctly and if needed as with teeth grinding, they can advise you on the different types of night guards. They will also recommend regular hygienists visits to keep the pockets free from bacteria.
If you are diagnosed with more developed stages of gum recession you may be referred to a periodontist (a gum specialist). A periodontist will do a deeper more intensive cleaning of your teeth and gums. How often this occurs will depend on the stage of the gum recession. Depending on the cause of your gum recession, your periodontist may advice you to have a surgical treatment also know as a gum draft. ( We will do a separate blog on gum drafting shortly!)
If you have any questions on gum recession or feel you may suffer with it you can call us on T: 01 4542022 or E: email@example.com and we can advise you accordingly.
If you have every had a tooth extracted you may have heard of a complication call dry socket.
In this article we will explore what exactly is dry socket, how you can avoid it and if it does develop how it can be resolved quickly with the appropriate treatment.
What is dry socket?
Dry socket is a painful complication that can sometimes occur after having a tooth extracted.
When a tooth is removed, a blood clot should form at the extraction site. This blood clot helps protect the bone and nerves as the site heals.
Dry socket occurs when this blood clot doesn’t form or is dislodged, therefore leaving the bone and nerves exposed.
What are the risk factors?
It is important to note here that not everyone that has a tooth extracted will develop dry socket. No one is sure why some people develop it and other don’t, but there are some risk factors that may increase the risk of developing it- such as;
smoking / chewing tobacco
not following the proper care instructions after the extraction
poor oral hygiene
having had dry socket in the past
What are the symptoms to look out for?
sever pain at the extraction site after approx 3 days
no evidence of a blood clot forming at the extraction site
bad taste in the mouth
pain radiating to the ear on the side of extraction
Treatment of dry socket.
While some pain and discomfort should be expected after a tooth extraction, severe pain that does not improve should be investigated.
If you suspect you may have dry socket, please book an appointment with us to help you manage the pain. We will flush out the site to remove any debris that may be there, put some dressing on the site and also prescribe some pain medication for you. With proper care and maintenance dry socket can be treated quickly and should only last a couple of days.
How to reduce your risk of developing dry socket.
Before getting a tooth extracted, we advice the following to help reduce the risk of developing dry socket.
try to stop smoking before the appointment
stop taking any medication that can inhibit the formation of a blood clot developing. (as directed by a doctor or dentist)
After the extraction doing the below will further prevent the development of dry socket
keeping the sterile gauze given by the dentist on the extraction site for at least 30 minutes
avoid sports and other activities that may disrupt the blood clot out of place
eating only soft foods the day after surgery
don’t rinse your mouth for 24 hours after extraction. After that, rinse gently with warm salty water – half a teaspoon of salt in a glass of water is enough.
If you have any questions or queries on dry socket, please don’t hesitate to contact us here on T: 01 4542022 or E: firstname.lastname@example.org
When describing dental implants, the best comparison is to your natural teeth. A natural tooth consists of two parts- the root of the tooth buried below the gum line, and the white enamel that is visible above it. Similarly, a dental implant has the titanium component buried invisibly below the gum, and on top of it the porcelain crown which is matched to the colour of your own teeth.
When are dental implants used
A single missing tooth at the front or back (implant crown).
Many or all missing teeth (implant bridge). It may not be necessary to place one implant for every missing tooth, e.g. 3 porcelain teeth can be attached to two implants.
Under complete dentures. There is an enormous improvement in the fit, comfort and chewing ability of dentures that are attached to implants.
Why the need to replace missing teeth?
Missing teeth can have a significant impact not only on your appearance, but also on your self-confidence and your overall health.
Teeth provide more functions than just the ability to chew. They are necessary for the health of the gums, jaw, and other teeth, as well. The effects of missing teeth can be detrimental to long-term oral and medical health.
An off-bite relationship: Having gaps where teeth are missing affects the way the jaw closes. For example, an adjacent tooth may tilt or drift into an open space left by a missing tooth causing the opposing jaw line to have bite-relationship problems. TMJ (acute and chronic pain and problems with the jaw joint) may be caused by tooth loss. In addition, food can become trapped in open spaces, increasing the risk of decay and gum disease.
Jawbone deterioration: As soon as a tooth is lost from gum disease or an extraction, the supporting bone in the jaw begins to dissolve. This process is called resorption. The longer a tooth is missing, the greater the bone loss. Over time, more and more of the jawbone disintegrates until it becomes weak and noticeably smaller.
Nutrition: As teeth are lost, it becomes more difficult to eat and chew food. Studies have shown that 29% of denture wearers eat only soft or mashed foods and 50% avoid many foods altogether.
What are the alternatives if I don’t want dental implants?
A denture – a removable appliance, which generally feels bigger and more foreign in the mouth than implants do.
Porcelain bridgework – false teeth fixed in place, attached to the teeth either side of a gap. Bridges may put some strain on the supporting teeth.
How long does the treatment take?
It depends on how complicated your treatment is, where the teeth are to be placed, and the quality of gum and jawbone in the area. We will be able to give you a timetable after your initial assessment. As a guideline, expect a minimum of 3 months and a maximum of 12 months from the initial assessment to the time when the new teeth are finally attached to the implants.
What is the typical success rate for dental implants?
People have found huge success with implants, typically 95% of implants will function after 10+ years. Some instances can occur where an implant might fail. Failure might happen where there is a loss of bone structure around the implant, tooth grinding in some instances can loosen the implant. Our implant expert however can discuss any concerns you many have beforehand.
Who is your implant expert?
Dr. Nick Beirne is our implant expert – he has many years of experience in doing implants. Read more about Dr. Beirne here, alternatively if you would like to book an appointment with him you can call us on 01 4542022 or book online here .
Six Month Smiles (Eligible for Med 2 Tax Relief) Note – fee includes all orthodontics, as well as additional treatment to the value of €625; including fixed and removable retainers, an extensive hygienist appointment, and free upper and lower teeth whitening.
€2200 one arch
€2995 both arches
Silver amalgam fillings
€75 – €99
White composite fillings
€88 – €165
€90 – €165
Root treatments (eligible for further 20% reduction from MED II tax relief)
Root canal treatment
€420 – €590
Airflow (Ideal for surface staining)
Slow release tooth bleaching
Crowns & Veneers (eligible for further 20% reduction from MED II tax relief)
All-porcelain cosmetic crown
(usually most suitable for front teeth)
Tooth coloured crown, metal inside (the best combination of strength and appearance)
Cerec one visit crowns and inlays
Bridge (dependent on design)
Da Vinci Porcelain Veneers
There are still circumstances in which a removable plate is the best option. Newer materials make them stronger and less obtrusive. Sometimes they can be held in tightly by using a press stud technique to hold them to suitable remaining roots.