Health Talk With Dr. Gross

My Former Dentist Only Spoke About Implants. Are There Other Options?

In all fields of medicine there are always more than one choice to solving a problem. Although implants have many advantages over other treatments, they may not be for everyone. A recent stud study just came out comparing the amount of missing teeth in an average American vs people who reside in the United Kingdom. For those under the age of 65, there was an average of 7 teeth missing vs 6 teeth missing in the UK. I am not focusing on the differences today, but on the fact that we are missing 20% of our teeth on an average.

This begs the question as to how to replace these teeth. One of the simplest ways to replace multiple teeth is with a partial denture that the patient may remove themselves. This has special applications. Some of these will have metal involved and others will not. We will talk about this in the future and delve into those options. Those of us in the dental field have attached ourselves to implants because they can function by themselves. What do I mean by that. It means that a dental implant can anchor to the jaw as opposed to anchoring to an adjacent tooth. This really big as we don’t have to involve more teeth than necessary. After all in most cases, our teeth are more apt to fail when compared to our jaws failing.

That being said, dental implants may not be for everyone. One of the biggest barriers to implant dentistry was cost. That is a thing of the past with my new system and protocol for replacing teeth with implants. That will be another column. But putting cost aside, there may be other reasons for not choosing a dental implant. In those cases we have “fixed bridges” which are permanently attached to adjacent teeth. These bridges look and feel great. With some of our newer materials in dentistry, we don’t even have to use metal as a substructure for the bridge anymore. This allows some of the best cosmetics that I have seen in my four decades of dentistry

Aside from the cosmetics, there is a time or speed factor. In most cases, your missing tooth is filled in on the day that you come in to see me. You will leave the visit with a tooth or teeth to replace either your back or front teeth. This is always a plus as one of the most common questions that I get is how long will everything take to accomplish. Bridges can be made much faster than most cases of implant dentistry. Note that I said most, not all. That too is another column. So for someone who has a family gathering or other social event, the use of bridges allows me to correct your problem very quickly. I could go on and on as to the advantages of bridgework. If you are missing a tooth or teeth, please call us and come in for a complimentary consultation. It may be one of the best phone calls that you could ever make.


Six Mistakes You’re Making With Your Teeth

1. Doing 10 other things while you brush – We are very busy every minute of the day, so it is really tempting to brush your teeth while showering or as you are sitting and watching TV. But it’s really important to stand in front of the mirror and watch what you are doing to ensure you brush every single surface and angle of each tooth. If you aren’t distracted, you will be more thorough.
2. Using the web as your Dentist – The internet is full of amazing DIY dental tips that can hurt you more than help you. Use ADA approved products. Don’t try to whiten your teeth by just covering them in peroxide and don’t try to straighten them by putting rubber bands around them. Don’t think that you can learn how to make or fix dentures from all the “tips” that abound. Every case is unique and different and only years of experience will result in methodically working through problems.
3. Avoiding X-rays – Many of my patients are worried about radiation exposure from dental x-ray. There was some panic after a 2012 study that said there is a possible link between dental x-rays and brain tumors. That study did not actually establish the cause of the tumors. Some people in that study had radiation exposure years ago when x-rays were much higher than what we use today. We need x-rays to identify conditions that are not see during a visual exam. You may have a cavity, or even a cyst in your jaw. If you are concerned about x-ray exposure, please talk to me so we can discuss ways to get the most minimal amount. If dental  x-rays were really a problem, wouldn’t you think that those of us in the dental field would be at a higher risk for issues. The truth is that dentists and their staff show no untoward problems in life from their use.
4. Traveling with a wet toothbrush – Bacteria thrives in wet environments. When you put a wet toothbrush in a travel case, it is important to remove it from the case as soon as possible to let it air dry. Placing it upright in a cup will do the trick.
5. Overcleaning your toothbrush – Do you think that running your toothbrush through a cycle in the dishwasher or throwing it in the microwave will zap away all the bacteria? Think again. There is no evidence that anyone has ever gotten sick from their own toothbrush. Just rinse it off with water and store upright, making sure it doesn’t touch anyone else’s brush. The dishwasher or microwave will just damage it.
6. Ignoring your clenching teeth – Bruxism, aka clenching, can lead to headaches, chipped teeth, and jaw soreness. I can make you a night guard to wear out of thin plastic that you can grind away at so that you won’t hurt your teeth. It will also train your mouth to put less pressure on your jaw.
There is so much misinformation that is out there for people to read. Always ask a professional before you try or believe something. I will be happy to be that professional for you. Please feel free to call me at 440.951.7856. I am always excited to talk to my readers.
Remember there are less than 2 weeks left to take advantage of the 20% discount for services begun by the end of the year*. Call today and take advantage of this great offer which ends on December 31, 2015


Heart Disease linked to Unfinished Root Canals

Root canal treatments are performed when a tooth becomes extremely painful. It is an alternative to removing the tooth and placement of an implant or bridge. As such, it is a quite necessary procedure. Patients usually feel better after the initial appointment. Therfore, they only do half the procedure because they figure that they are out of pain, so why finish?

Root canal treatments aim to remove pulpal disease and save infected teeth by eliminating bacteria from the root canal system. When you begin root canal treatment without seeing it through to the end, an open space is left behind which can cause bacteria to grow, infecting your body.

A study was just published recently where a total of 283,590 participants who received at least one root canal with no cardiovascular history before 2005 were followed until 2011. An unfinished root canal was defined as a tooth that a root canal as started on but never finished. A total of 3626 participants underwent hospitalization for cardiovascular disease. Compared to the participants who had finished root canal treatment, the rate of hospitilzation was 1.22 for those with 1 or 2 unfinished root canals and 3.61 with those who had 3 or more.

Although interesting this study has less of an impact in my practice. Let me explain what that means. I use new instruments that allow me to start and finish a root canal in 1 visit. I hate to say never, but almost never,  is a tooth left with a “half of a root canal procedure”. This means that the tooth is always sealed and chances for bateria to get into the tooth, followed by a penetration into the body is reduced signicantly.

Not only can I finsh an entire root canal in one visit, but the instruments and techniques that I use make most root canals a very quick procedure. Most  teeth go from start to finish in less than an hour, with many teeth being even quicker. The result of all this is that you, the patient, are in and out of the office faster. You have to hold your mouth open less and spend less time in the chair. Now, which of you would not like to get in and out of a dentist’s office as fast as possible. Many times a root canal is followed by a crown. With al the time that we save, oftentimes the crown could be done at the same visit. That is a real time saver. We can eliminate one entire appointment.

So if you have a tooth that you are nursing along and just waiting to remove it, please consider saving the tooth and getting more years out of it. Don’t let a nagging tooth spoil the holidays. Our new, state-of-the-art of art instruments make is easier and more comfortable to accomplish this. Please call me at 440.951.7856 and let me and my wonderful staff help you to a pain free holiday season.

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