Posts for: June, 2017
Did you see the move Cast Away starring Tom Hanks? If so, you probably remember the scene where Hanks, stranded on a remote island, knocks out his own abscessed tooth — with an ice skate, no less — to stop the pain. Recently, Dear Doctor TV interviewed Gary Archer, the dental technician who created that special effect and many others.
“They wanted to have an abscess above the tooth with all sorts of gunk and pus and stuff coming out of it,” Archer explained. “I met with Tom and I took impressions [of his mouth] and we came up with this wonderful little piece. It just slipped over his own natural teeth.” The actor could flick it out with his lower tooth when the time was right during the scene. It ended up looking so real that, as Archer said, “it was not for the easily squeamish!”
That’s for sure. But neither is a real abscess, which is an infection that becomes sealed off beneath the gum line. An abscess may result from a trapped piece of food, uncontrolled periodontal (gum) disease, or even an infection deep inside a tooth that has spread to adjacent periodontal tissues. In any case, the condition can cause intense pain due to the pressure that builds up in the pus-filled sac. Prompt treatment is required to relieve the pain, keep the infection from spreading to other areas of the face (or even elsewhere in the body), and prevent tooth loss.
Treatment involves draining the abscess, which usually stops the pain immediately, and then controlling the infection and removing its cause. This may require antibiotics and any of several in-office dental procedures, including gum surgery, a root canal, or a tooth extraction. But if you do have a tooth that can’t be saved, we promise we won’t remove it with an ice skate!
The best way to prevent an abscess from forming in the first place is to practice conscientious oral hygiene. By brushing your teeth twice each day for two minutes, and flossing at least once a day, you will go a long way towards keeping harmful oral bacteria from thriving in your mouth.
If you have any questions about gum disease or abscesses, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can learn more by reading the Dear Doctor magazine articles “Periodontal (Gum) Abscesses” and “Confusing Tooth Pain.”
While flossing isn’t always the most popular habit it’s certainly one of the most important.
A lot of people don’t floss regularly or even at all. Maybe they are intimidated by the idea of flossing or they just aren’t huge fans of doing it. Whatever the excuse might be, our Centralia, WA, dentists, Dr. Steven Ash and Dr. Brian Roberts, are here to tell you why you might just want to start flossing your teeth each and every day.
What’s the importance of flossing?
It probably doesn’t come as much of a shock that if you don’t care for your smile properly that plaque and tartar will continue to buildup on teeth and gums, which can lead to some pretty serious cavities and even gum disease. While brushing your teeth twice a day is a great way to remove plaque from the front and back surfaces of teeth it won’t be able to thoroughly clean between teeth. This is a job for floss. So, you can probably imagine what happens if you don’t floss, right?
If you don’t floss once a day this means that food, bacteria and plaque build up between teeth and there is nothing to properly remove it. Plaque will eventually harden into tartar, which cannot be removed except by our Centralia general dentist. This is why coming in twice a year for routine cleanings is a good idea for even the healthiest of smiles.
Are there any flossing tips you recommend?
If you go searching online about flossing you’ll probably get a laundry list of advice from different sources. Before you feel overwhelmed, it’s important to know that just flossing once a day is really all you need to do in order to get your teeth and gums clean. As long as you are flossing properly and thoroughly, this is all you need to do.
Some people may opt for traditional waxed or unwaxed floss while others may choose interdental cleaners. A lot will depend on whether you have braces, dental bridges or other dental work that may require a bit more care when it comes to cleanings. Whatever floss you choose is completely up to you and your personal preferences.
While you can also floss at any point of the day or night, it’s not a bad idea to consider flossing right before bedtime to keep food and plaque from remaining on teeth and gums overnight. Cleaning your teeth thoroughly before a long night’s rest is a good way to maintain optimal oral health.
Whether you have questions about flossing techniques or you need to schedule your six-month cleaning, turn to the dental professionals at Ash & Roberts in Centralia, WA, for the proper dentistry your smile needs to stay healthy for life.
Your teeth were meant to shine! Tooth enamel’s polished translucence, framed by the dentin layer beneath it, has a way of vibrantly catching the light when you smile. But tooth wear and structural changes as you age can dim that shine. Add to that staining caused by foods and beverages or disease and your smile could further lose its luster.
On your supermarket or pharmacy oral hygiene aisle you’ll find dozens of products promising to restore that lost luster, including toothpastes, whitening kits or even chewing gum. While such products work to some degree, our dental office may have the right solution for you: a safe and effective treatment for whitening teeth.
Why see us for teeth whitening? For one, professional whitening solutions contain a higher concentration of bleaching agent (usually 35-45% hydrogen peroxide) than home kits. We usually apply it in a gel form directly to the teeth while using barrier devices like dams to protect the lips and other soft tissue from irritation. We may then apply heat or light to the applied gel to enhance the release of peroxide into your enamel.
This professional procedure can often give you a brighter smile in fewer sessions than a home whitening kit — and it may last longer. What’s more, we can control the level of brightness to produce only a subtle change or a dazzling “Hollywood” smile — whatever your preference.
Like a home kit, this procedure bleaches staining on the outer surface of enamel, known as extrinsic staining. But you can also have discoloration deep within a tooth, known as intrinsic staining, caused by a variety of reasons like tetracycline use early in life or complications from a root canal treatment. Home kits or even the professional treatment described above can’t whiten intrinsic staining.
For intrinsic staining you’ll need a special procedure that places a bleaching agent inside the tooth. Depending on the extent of staining the procedure could require more than one session.
To find out what kind of discoloration you have, visit us for a full examination. We’ll then be able to give you your options for putting the shine back in your smile.
If you would like more information on teeth whitening, 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 “Teeth Whitening.”