Wednesday, 24 December 2014

Root Canal Treatment can save your broken teeth and roots!

Men are oinomaniacs and women are oniomaniacs; men love wine, women love shopping. What are people obsessed with teeth called - Endodontists, or more simply, root canal specialists! While studying to become an endodontist, we are trained in theory and practice on how to save the hopeless teeth - teeth that other dentists will readily extract to replace with an implant. However badly broken the teeth, whatever root pieces that remain - it hurts our pride to remove a tooth.
  There are obvious benefits of saving a tooth with root canal treatment over dental implants, that include both health and cost benefits. Did your child break his tooth while falling? Have you been carrying a broken tooth from some accident in the past? Has your tooth decayed and broken to leave just a small piece in your mouth? Have your teeth worn down to the roots with passing years? All these teeth can be saved by root canal treatment (RCT). Even if you have been advised to have these teeth removed for artificial tooth replacements - like dental implants or crown and bridge, you must ask your dentist once - is it possible to save these teeth with root canal treatment? Your dentist might seek a specialist (endodontist) opinion or himself lay down the pros and cons of saving the tooth. Then, as per his expert advice and your understanding of the treatment options, you may choose to either save the tooth or have it removed and replaced.

If you can survive it - RCT will save your teeth!
   Caps or crowns can be made on these roots after root canal treatment - giving it both the looks and longevity of your natural teeth. If you earlier lost some teeth and few of these roots remain, after root canal treatment they can be used to support dentures on them (overdentures). These dentures will be more stable in their place than the conventional dentures, that tend to keep falling out.
  You may wonder how a tiny piece of root can be used to support a full tooth crown, or even a denture. While you understand how a cap or crown can be made on a normal tooth, with broken teeth and roots its hard to imagine what will the crown or denture sit on! Because we do not have any crown structure to support an artificial cap, we take support both from the crown and root. 

   So are you afraid of having your tooth pulled out? Do you want to hold onto your natural tooth for as long as possible? Do you hesitate to smile because of your broken teeth? Or does the cost and time needed for a dental implant make your nervous? Thank your Endodontist - for it may not yet be time to dig a grave for your tooth!

'Take my Bad Breath away'

During the shooting of The Hunger Games: Mockingjay - Part I, Hollywood actress Jennifer Lawrence ate garlic and tuna fish and didn't brush her teeth before kissing co-star Liam Hemsworth! "I gave him fair warning", she said. While warning all people who come close to you might be an option, if you are looking for better (read more social) ways of getting rid of your bad breath, follow the tips below. 
 Bad breath, also called halitosis, may be a sign of many underlying health problems. However, 90% of the times it originates from the mouth only. Bad breath becomes a problem in socializing, with friends and partners, lowers your confidence and self-esteem and may be a precursor for more health problems to follow. So here's how to deal with it. 
  • Gum disease, dental cavities where food gets lodged and dental abscesses are all common causes of bad breath. Get a dental checkup done to have these problems attended to. 
  • Certain kinds of foods are associated with bad breath and you should avoid these till you feel the bad breath is cured. They include onion, garlic, meat, spicy curries, cauliflower, cabbage, coffee and dairy products. 
  • Avoid smoking and alcohol for at least 2 weeks to curb bad breath. 
  • Raw fruits and vegetables are rich in fibers that help to reduce bad breath and should be consumed more often. 
  • Drink plenty of water and do not let your mouth feel dry anytime. This is the most common cause of bad breath in summers, in people who exercise in the gym and in children who spend a lot of time outdoors. It is not necessary to drink a glass of water every time. A frequent sip of water to keep your mouth moist may be enough. 

Common causes of bad breath or halitosis
  • Another common cause of bad breath is prolonged sinusitis. Infected sinus contents drain through your nose behind the mouth leading to halitosis. To add to that, the anti-allergics commonly used to manage sinusitis lead to drying of the mouth - further worsening the problem of bad breath. See your physician for best management of chronic sinusitis. 
  • Brush your teeth thoroughly twice daily - once in  morning and once before retiring to bed. However, brushing the teeth excessively may do them more harm than good. Your brushing technique should be proper, as advised by your dentist. Use a soft, small toothbrush to clean the back of the tongue gently every time you brush your teeth. The back of the tongue is the most likely source of your bad breath if your gums and teeth are in good shape. 
  • Clean in between the teeth using a dental floss or interdental toothbrush at least once daily. Food debris frequently clings to these surfaces of teeth that cannot be cleaned by brushing alone. Bacteria in your mouth grow on these food particles to produce bad breath. 
  • Rinse your mouth thoroughly after every meal. If you are taking all the above precautions, you do not need to brush every time you eat. Simply rinsing will tackle the bad breath.
  • If you wear any kind of denture or appliance, make sure to clean it as advised. 
  • Use mints or sugarfree chewing gums to stimulate salivary flow and keep your mouth healthy. Chewing on natural products such as cloves (laung), aniseed or fennel (saunf), cinnamon (dalchini) and cardamom (elaichi) also stimulates salivary flow and freshens your breath. 
  • Many people troubled by bad breath resort to mouthwashes for prolonged periods. While it is best to ask your dentist about the mouthwash you can use, make sure your mouthwash does not contain alcohol. Alcohol dries up the mouth and adds to your bad breath rather than lessening it. Mouthwashes containing zinc have been shown to be particularly effective in combating bad breath. 
  • Visit your dentist every 6 months or at least once a year for regular dental checkup and cleaning. 
  • If the problem persists despite all measures, it is advisable to talk to your physician, as the bad breath may indicate an underlying disease. There are tests available to analyze the type and origin of bad breath. 
Sometimes its better to keep your mouth shut and let people wonder if you are a fool, than to open it and remove all their doubt. - Mark Twain

Tuesday, 16 December 2014

Getting a tooth cap or crown done? Know your options...

While we all love Jack Sparrow for his morbid ways and enticing smile, how many of us are willing to woo the damsels with metal caps on our teeth? Unless ofcourse, as Jack says to Elizabeth, "One word love: curiosity.... You want to see what it's like."

  In general, there are four types of caps or crowns that can be made for your tooth:

Metal crowns
  1. Metal cap: This is a low cost, high strength option, but keep cosmetics out of the need here. The cap is generally grayish to silver in color, but can also be made in gold - provided you are willing to pay for your ostentatious choice. Now losing its appeal to ceramics, many pirates who have sailed with Jack Sparrow still demand it; and many dentists - because of its proven longevity.
  2. Metal - Ceramic cap: This type of crown has metal inside for strength with tooth colored ceramic or porcelain fused to the metal on the outside. These types of crowns have been in use since the 1950's and have been a favorite with dentists and patients for their reasonable cost and cosmetics. The cosmetics are impaired by the darkness of metal showing at the margins, through the cap itself or when the overlying ceramic gets chipped or worn away with time.

    Metal - Ceramic Crowns
  3. Cosmetic Ceramic cap: Full Ceramics, though relatively new, are set to surpass the use of metal - ceramic crowns. The major reason for this is their natural tooth-like appearance, and the ability to maintain that cosmetic value over time. The cost is definitely more than metal - ceramic cap, but then you cannot 'put a cap' on beauty. The only question here is of their strength and longevity. The best brand in this class of dental crown materials, as of today, is IPS E.max.
    IPS E.max: High on Cosmetics
  4. Zirconia Ceramic cap: There is a wide range of materials in full ceramics used today in dentistry. As a universal rule, whenever the material is stronger, it is less cosmetic in terms of giving you the natural tooth appearance. Zirconia crowns are the strongest (and costliest) of all materials, but their natural appearance will be less than the cosmetic ceramic crowns like IPS E.max (however, still better than metal - ceramic caps). The most common brands - Lava and Bruxzir warranty their crowns, but the warranty may not cover all possible problems that can arise with the capped tooth.
'The Hammer Test' claimed by Bruxzir
Lava crowns and bridges

  So where does this leave you? In today's world where people are changing their smartphones and jobs with every new opportunity; where brands are endorsing their added features more than the standards of originality; it is hardly surprising that full ceramic crown is the rising trend. Is that a wise choice? While there is no substitute for the dentist's judgement for what is best for you, you must make your priorities clear to the dentist when you get a cap or crown done for your tooth.The best strength and cosmetics are the pride of zirconia crowns; while the best compromise of strength, cost and cosmetics lies with metal - ceramic caps. However, if cosmetics is what matters the most, for that beautiful, sparkling smile - there is nothing like IPS E-max. 


Tuesday, 9 December 2014

Mantriji goes to the Dentist

It all began with Mantriji donning the 'topi' a few years back. At that time, he had been in the pink of health and the parliamentarian attire dignified his authoritative persona. With passing time, his hairline had shrunk by what his waistline had gained. The Bills lay beneath the pills in his table drawer. But what happened when Mantriji had to be taken to a dentist one day? It is a tale of two T's: the 'topi' and the tooth.
  Now Mantriji's sweet tooth had always been an open secret and boxes of sweets poured in wherever he went. His physician had tried to admonish him, but could never himself catch Mantriji "sweet-handed". Only empty boxes lay strewn everywhere and Mantriji could not find place to put his feet on the ground!
  But, all the sweetness that Mantriji showered on his ardent followers, in return for the boxes, could not save him from getting a bad tooth. And the dentist was rung up in the middle of the night.
  The dentist, after making repute in his field, had decided to start his own practice recently and had sought Mantriji's blessings a few days back only. As a token of appreciation for his special box of sweets, Mantriji himself had come down to inaugurate the clinic yesterday. 
  The dentist was already awake, sitting right next to his phone when it rang and readily opened his doors to Mantriji's car waiting outside. The dentist bowed down to greet the first patient of his private practice, and Mantriji acknowledged by setting his pious feet down in the clinic. Once Mantriji had settled down in the dental chair, the dentist found a big cavity in his tooth, draining right into the roots.
  "Ah, this is where all the sweets have been going down the drain. Dont worry Mantriji, we will fix the tooth for you."
  "But if you fill the cavity, where will I keep the sweets then?"
  The dentist thought for a moment. This was certainly something they had not taught him at the dental school. He could not let his first patient walk out with a cavity and without a cavity. But then the idea struck him.
  "Mantriji, what about your topi?!"
  "Oh no no. All my disciples bow down before the topi every morning. I cannot put sweets in the topi. It will spoil their health"
  "Ok, then, how about I put a cap, er, I mean a topi on your tooth! And if you want, we can make it in ceramic instead of khadi. The shine of ceramic will bring back your youthful persona!"
  Mantriji wasn't convinced. But, the dentist was not one to give up so easily. 
  "Mantriji you will have two topis then - one on the tooth 'khaane ke liye' and one at the top 'dikhane ke liye' "
  Mantriji was mightily pleased with this suggestion and the dentist set off  to work immediately. After a few hours of drills and frills, Mantriji walked out of the clinic with a smile wider than his girth. The dentist too retired for the night, thanking the 'halwai' of the special sweets box. After all, Mantriji wasn't the only one who had mastered the art of "topi pehnana"!