Because the mouth is one of the most sensitive areas of the body, we go to great lengths to eliminate pain and discomfort associated with dental work. Anesthesia, both local and general, can achieve this during the actual procedure—but what about afterward while you’re recuperating?
While a few procedures may require prescription opioids or steroids to manage discomfort after a procedure, most patients need only a mild over-the-counter (OTC) pain reliever. There are several brands available from a group of medicines called non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs). NSAIDs like aspirin or ibuprofen work by blocking the release of prostaglandins into the body, which cause inflammation in tissues that have been damaged or injured.
Unlike their stronger counterparts, NSAIDs have fewer side-effects, cost less and aren’t addictive. And unlike opioids NSAIDs don’t impair consciousness, meaning patients can usually resume normal activities more quickly.
But although they’re less dangerous than opioids or steroids, NSAIDs can cause problems if taken at too strong a dose for too long. Its major side effect is interference with the blood’s clotting mechanism, known as “thinning the blood.” If a NSAID is used over a period of weeks, this effect could trigger excessive external and internal bleeding, as well as damage the stomach lining leading to ulcers. Ibuprofen in particular can damage the kidneys over a period of time.
To minimize this risk, adults should take no more than 2400 milligrams of a NSAID daily (less for children) and only for a short period of time unless directed otherwise by a physician. For most patients, a single, 400 milligram dose of ibuprofen can safely and effectively relieve moderate to severe discomfort for about 5 hours.
Some patients should avoid taking a NSAID: pregnant women, those with a history of stomach or intestinal bleeding, or heart disease (especially if following a daily low dose aspirin regimen). If you have any of these conditions or similar concerns, be sure you discuss this with your dentist before your procedure for an alternative method for pain management.
If you would like more information on managing discomfort after dental procedures, 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 “Treating Pain with Ibuprofen.”
If there’s one essential tool for dental health, it’s the toothbrush. But though simple in basic design, manufacturers have nonetheless created a dizzying array of choices that often muddy the decision waters for consumers.
It doesn’t need to be that way—you can choose the right toothbrush like a boss. First, though, you need to know a toothbrush’s purpose expressed as two basic tasks: removing dental plaque, the thin biofilm that causes most dental disease; and stimulating the gums to maintain good health.
So what should you look for in a toothbrush to effectively perform these tasks? Here are 3 important factors to consider when buying this essential dental care tool.
Bristle quality. First, it’s a myth that bristles should be hard and stiff to be effective—in fact harder bristles can damage the gums. Opt instead for “soft” bristles that are also rounded on the ends. And look for bristling with different levels of length—shorter length sections work better around the gum line; longer sections help clean back teeth more effectively.
A “Just right” size. Toothbrushes aren’t uniform—you’ll need to choose a size and shape that works well for you personally. You might find an angled neck or a tapered head easier for getting into your mouth’s hard to reach places. If you have problems with dexterity, look for a brush with large handles. And be sure to ask us at the dental office for recommendations on brush dimensions that are right for you.
ADA Seal of Acceptance. Just like toothpaste brands, the American Dental Association assigns its seal of approval to toothbrushes they’ve evaluated and found to meet certain standards. Although you can find high quality toothbrushes that haven’t sought this evaluation, an ADA seal means it’s been independently tested and found safe and effective for use.
Of course, no matter how high quality the toothbrush you buy, it’ll only be as effective as your brushing technique. So, be sure to use gentle circular or oval motions along all your teeth and gumline surfaces—it should take you about two minutes. We’ll be happy to show you the proper technique in more detail, so you’ll be able to get the most out of your chosen toothbrush.
In many ways, the teenage years are the best time to have orthodontic treatment. It’s a good time emotionally because your teen is likely to have friends who also wear braces; orthodontic treatment becomes a rite of passage they can go through together. It’s also advantageous in a physical sense because all 20 baby teeth have come out, and most of the 32 adult teeth (except the 4 wisdom teeth) have emerged. At the same time, especially with younger teens, jaw growth is not yet complete — allowing orthodontists to harness the growing body’s natural adaptability. We can use a variety of appliances to do that — some of which weren’t around a generation ago!
In many cases, traditional metal braces are still the best way to achieve the desired results. However, these are not the “train tracks” of old. Braces are smaller and lighter, with brackets that are cemented to the front surfaces of teeth rather than to bands that encircle the entire tooth (except in the very back). Braces can be made much less noticeable by using ceramic brackets that are clear or tooth-colored; however, ceramic brackets are easier to break than metal. An even stealthier way to undergo orthodontic treatment is with clear aligners. These removable clear plastic “trays” are custom made with the help of computer software that divides the treatment process into two-week stages. After each two-week period, the tray is changed and the next stage of movement takes place until the teeth are in correct alignment. The Invisalign system has two modifications especially for teens: “eruption tabs” that hold space open for emerging molars, and “compliance indicators” that can tell parents and orthodontists if the teen is keeping the trays in for the prescribed amount of time. We’d be happy to discuss whether clear aligners would be an option for your child.
Keeping It Clean
No matter which type of appliance is used, oral hygiene becomes even more important during orthodontic treatment. Wearing braces presents special challenges in terms of keeping teeth clean; however, it’s extremely important to do an effective job every day so that gums do not become inflamed and cavities do not develop. It’s far easier to clean teeth with clear aligners, which can be removed, but the aligners themselves can build up bacteria, leading to the same types of oral health issues if they are not cleaned each day.
Making It Count
Another way in which orthodontic treatment will not vary regardless of the type of appliance chosen is the necessity of a retention phase. Everyone who has their teeth straightened (and this goes for adults and younger kids, too) must wear a retainer to hold the teeth in their new and improved alignment while new bone grows around them. Yes, braces are easier to wear than they used to be… but no one wants to wear them twice!
If you have questions about braces for your teen, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can learn more by reading the Dear Doctor magazine articles “Clear Aligners for Teenagers” and “The Magic of Orthodontics.”
Could pain or other symptoms in your teeth and gums mean that you might need root canals? The dentists at 1st Choice Dental Care in Kennesaw, Woodstock & Historic Marietta, GA, share a few signs and symptoms that may occur if you need a root canal.
How can I tell I need a root canal?
If you need a root canal, you may notice one or more of these symptoms:
- Persistent Tooth Pain: That pain in your tooth may be due to a cavity or could be a sign that your pulp is inflamed or infected. Although the enamel and dentin layers of your tooth are hard, the center of your tooth is filled with a soft collection of nerves, blood vessels, and connective tissue. An infection or inflammation of the pulp can be very painful, although that's not always the case. Even mild persistent pain warrants a visit to our Kennesaw, Woodstock & Historic Marietta offices.
- Avoidance of Certain Foods and Beverages: Have you stopped drinking hot coffee, or realized that you prefer water lukewarm instead of cold? If you need a root canal, your teeth can become very sensitive. Eating or drinking cold, hot or sugary foods and beverages can cause jolts of pain that may linger for 30 minutes or longer.
- Red Gums: Swelling and redness may develop in your gum if you need a root canal. Because inflamed, red gums can also be a sign of gum disease, it's important to schedule an appointment if you notice these symptoms.
- Discoloration: Is your painful tooth darker than your other teeth? A change in color is a warning sign.
- Symptoms of an Abscess: A dental abscess, a painful bacterial infection in your tooth pulp, is usually very difficult to ignore. If you have an abscess, you may feel sick and have a fever. A quick glance in the mirror may reveal swollen gums, a small bump on your gum or swelling in your jaw. Abscesses are often very painful. In fact, sleeping may be impossible if you have an abscess. In addition to a root canal, you'll also need to begin taking antibiotics to prevent the spread of the infection.
Root canals can relieve your pain. If you have any of these symptoms, schedule an appointment with the dentists at 1st Choice Dental Care by calling (678) 293-8773 for the Kennesaw, Woodstock & Historic Marietta, GA offices.
Have you started avoiding mirrors since you lost a tooth? A noticeable gap in your smile can make you feel very self-conscious about the way you look. Even gaps that aren't noticeable can affect your bite and your ability to chew. Luckily, dental implants can restore your missing tooth and help you feel better about your appearance. The dentists at 1st Choice Dental Care in Kennesaw & Woodstock GA, discuss this innovative tooth restoration option.
What sets dental implants apart?
Other restoration options focus only on the visible part of teeth. Both bridges and dentures offer effective ways to replace teeth, but they don't address your missing tooth roots. Dental implants rebuild missing teeth, starting with the roots. Implants are tiny titanium posts that are added to your jawbone during a minor oral surgical procedure. Just like your natural tooth roots, these replacement roots provide stability and allow you to easily eat tough or hard foods.
After you receive your implant, the titanium posts begins to bond to your jawbone. Once the bonding process is complete, a process that normally takes about three to six months, the post is firmly rooted to your jawbone. Adding a dental crown to the implant restores your appearance and makes eating a much more pleasant experience. Your dental crown is created using an impression of your mouth made in our Kennesaw & Woodstock office. Thanks to the impression, your newly created crown will look just like your natural teeth.
Why should I choose a dental implant?
Dental implants don't just improve your appearance but offer a few important advantages for your oral health. When you lose a tooth, the adjacent teeth may eventually begin to change position. If they overlap, both your bite and your appearance of your smile may be affected. Because overlapping teeth are much more difficult to clean, your risk of tooth decay may rise. Your new crown will prevent any change in the position of your other teeth and help you avoid these issues.
Dental implants may be small, but they have a big impact on your jawbone. The bottom of your implants presses on your jawbone, keeping it strong. Without that pressure, the bone may begin to shrink, which can lead to sagging muscles in the lower part of your face and the loosening or loss of teeth.
Restore and protect your smile with dental implants! Would like to find out if implants are a good choice for you? Call the dentists at 1st Choice Dental Care in Kennesaw & Woodstock, GA, at (678) 293-8773 to schedule your appointment.
This website includes materials that are protected by copyright, or other proprietary rights. Transmission or reproduction of protected items beyond that allowed by fair use, as defined in the copyright laws, requires the written permission of the copyright owners.