Posts for: October, 2015

By Sean Stannard, DDS
October 19, 2015
Category: Dental Procedures
Tags: oral surgery  

Somewhere between bites during a recent meal, the inside of your cheek found itself in the way of your teeth. You winced with pain at the resulting bite, and while it was sore for a day or two it seemed to heal over. Now, though, you’re noticing this same area of your cheek gets in the way of your teeth a lot more often, with more bites and sores.

What’s likely happened is that you have developed a traumatic fibroma. When the soft tissues of the inner cheek, lips or tongue heal after being injured, a small bit of fibrous tissue composed of the protein collagen forms like a callous over the bite wound to protect it after it heals. If, however, the process is interrupted by another bite, the fibrous tissue that subsequently forms may be thicker and thus more raised on the surface of the skin. This higher profile makes it more likely the site will be involved in repeated episodes of biting.

If the fibroma continues to be a problem, it can be solved with a simple surgical procedure. A surgically-trained dentist or oral surgeon will remove portions of the fibroma (usually with local anesthesia) to flatten the skin profile, and then close the resulting wound with a couple of stitches unless a laser was used. Any discomfort after the procedure can usually be managed with a mild anti-inflammatory drug like aspirin or ibuprofen, and the site should heal in just a few days to a week.

Although the vast majority of fibromas aren’t dangerous, it’s routine practice to have the excised tissue biopsied for abnormalities. More than likely the fibroma tissue will be normal; but by having the fibroma removed and examined, you’ll gain peace of mind about your oral health. In the process, you’ll also eliminate a bothersome and painful problem.

If you would like more information on mouth sores, 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 “Common Lumps and Bumps in the Mouth.”

By Sean Stannard, DDS
October 11, 2015
Category: Dental Procedures

It might seem that supermodels have a fairly easy life — except for the fact that they are expected to look perfect whenever they’re in front of a camera. Sometimes that’s easy — but other times, it can be pretty difficult. Just ask Chrissy Teigen: Recently, she was in Bangkok, Thailand, filming a restaurant scene for the TV travel series The Getaway, when some temporary restorations (bonding) on her teeth ended up in her food.

As she recounted in an interview, “I was… like, ‘Oh my god, is my tooth going to fall out on camera?’ This is going to be horrible.” Yet despite the mishap, Teigen managed to finish the scene — and to keep looking flawless. What caused her dental dilemma? “I had chipped my front tooth so I had temporaries in,” she explained. “I’m a grinder. I grind like crazy at night time. I had temporary teeth in that I actually ground off on the flight to Thailand.”

Like stress, teeth grinding is a problem that can affect anyone, supermodel or not. In fact, the two conditions are often related. Sometimes, the habit of bruxism (teeth clenching and grinding) occurs during the day, when you’re trying to cope with a stressful situation. Other times, it can occur at night — even while you’re asleep, so you retain no memory of it in the morning. Either way, it’s a behavior that can seriously damage your teeth.

When teeth are constantly subjected to the extreme forces produced by clenching and grinding, their hard outer covering (enamel) can quickly start to wear away. In time, teeth can become chipped, worn down — even loose! Any dental work on those teeth, such as fillings, bonded areas and crowns, may also be damaged, start to crumble or fall out. Your teeth may become extremely sensitive to hot and cold because of the lack of sufficient enamel. Bruxism can also result in headaches and jaw pain, due in part to the stress placed on muscles of the jaw and face.

You may not be aware of your own teeth-grinding behavior — but if you notice these symptoms, you might have a grinding problem. Likewise, after your routine dental exam, we may alert you to the possibility that you’re a “bruxer.” So what can you do about teeth clenching and grinding?

We can suggest a number of treatments, ranging from lifestyle changes to dental appliances or procedures. Becoming aware of the behavior is a good first step; in some cases, that may be all that’s needed to start controlling the habit. Finding healthy ways to relieve stress — meditation, relaxation, a warm bath and a soothing environment — may also help. If nighttime grinding keeps occurring, an “occlusal guard” (nightguard) may be recommended. This comfortable device is worn in the mouth at night, to protect teeth from damage. If a minor bite problem exists, it can sometimes be remedied with a simple procedure; in more complex situations, orthodontic work might be recommended.

Teeth grinding at night can damage your smile — but you don’t have to take it lying down! If you have questions about bruxism, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can learn more by reading the Dear Doctor magazine articles “Stress & Tooth Habits” and “When Children Grind Their Teeth.”

By Sean Stannard, DDS
October 06, 2015
Category: Dental Procedures
Tags: Root Canal  

A root canal- the stereotypical bogeyman of painful dental procedures. Actually, despite the cliché, root canals aren’t usually any worse than filling a typical cavity- and the pain of needing a root canal is often much worse than actually having it done. A root canal isRoot Canal definitive treatment for an infection in the interior, soft, sensitive “pulp” tissue of a tooth. Getting the proper treatment for this condition can prevent serious complications from advancement of the infection, including deep abscesses or the need for advanced tooth replacement interventions.

What Actually Happens During a Root Canal?
A tooth has several layers- the hard, protective enamel on the outside, firm supportive dentin underneath, and the living, soft pulp tissue containing blood supply and nerve cells. The enamel can be damaged, either through trauma - chipping a tooth on food, a sports accident, etc, or by decay leading to a cavity. When this barrier is broken, germs can be introduced to the interior pulp and start an infection. To clean out the infection and repair the damage, a root canal is needed. First, a local anesthetic is given to numb the area. Next, a small hole is made in the tooth to allow access to the pulp. The infected and dead tissue is removed from the pulp chamber and root canals, and the areas are cleaned and disinfected, and refilled with a type of bio-compatible plastic and adhesive to form-fit the tooth. Then, the enamel is filled and repaired, as in a usual filling procedure. Depending on the amount of enamel damage, a crown may be necessary. If the infection was severe enough, antibiotics may be necessary to prevent re-occurrence of infection.

Do I Need a Root Canal?
In the Waterford, Michigan area, the best way to determine if a root canal procedure is necessary to relieve your symptoms is to consult the experts at Stannard & Studt & Wolf Dentistry. If you have severe tooth pain on biting or chewing, gum pain and swelling, unrelenting pressure and pain orally, or pain that lingers after you are done eating, call today at (248) 673-7300.



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