Posts for: August, 2017
If we could go back in time, we all probably have a few things we wish we could change. Recently, Dr. Travis Stork, emergency room physician and host of the syndicated TV show The Doctors, shared one of his do-over dreams with Dear Doctor magazine: “If I [could have] gone back and told myself as a teenager what to do, I would have worn a mouthguard, not only to protect my teeth but also to help potentially reduce risk of concussion.”
What prompted this wish? The fact that as a teenage basketball player, Stork received an elbow to the mouth that caused his two front teeth to be knocked out of place. The teeth were put back in position, but they soon became darker and began to hurt. Eventually, both were successfully restored with dental crowns. Still, it was a painful (and costly) injury — and one that could have been avoided.
You might not realize it, but when it comes to dental injuries, basketball ranks among the riskier sports. Yet it’s far from the only one. In fact, according to the American Dental Association (ADA), there are some two dozen others — including baseball, hockey, surfing and bicycling — that carry a heightened risk of dental injury. Whenever you’re playing those sports, the ADA recommends you wear a high-quality mouth guard.
Mouthguards have come a long way since they were introduced as protective equipment for boxers in the early 1900’s. Today, three different types are widely available: stock “off-the-shelf” types that come in just a few sizes; mouth-formed “boil-and-bite” types that you adapt to the general contours of your mouth; and custom-made high-quality mouthguards that are made just for you at the dental office.
Of all three types, the dentist-made mouthguards are consistently found to be the most comfortable and best-fitting, and the ones that offer your teeth the greatest protection. What’s more, recent studies suggest that custom-fabricated mouthguards can provide an additional defense against concussion — in fact, they are twice as effective as the other types. That’s why you’ll see more and more professional athletes (and plenty of amateurs as well) sporting custom-made mouthguards at games and practices.
“I would have saved myself a lot of dental heartache if I had worn a mouthguard,” noted Dr. Stork. So take his advice: Wear a mouthguard whenever you play sports — unless you’d like to meet him (or one of his medical colleagues) in a professional capacity…
Making improvements to your smile doesn't have to be difficult with porcelain veneers. Your Raleigh, NC, dentist Dr. Ashley Lloyd explains how veneers can totally transform your teeth.
How do veneers work?
Veneers cover noticeable flaws on the front surfaces of teeth or change the shape of teeth. Each veneer is constructed from a thin layer of translucent porcelain that looks like your natural tooth enamel. When you receive veneers, we'll only need to remove a very slight amount of tooth enamel to ensure that your new restorations are comfortable. Once your porcelain veneers are ready, we'll attach them with dental cement in our Raleigh office.
Concerned about veneers and discolorations? Veneers offer the perfect solution
It may be hard to remember the last time you smiled if your teeth are dark, dull or yellow. Although teeth whitening can lighten teeth, it's not effective if the stain originates inside your teeth. The treatment also doesn't always produce the bright white shade you want. Because porcelain veneers are available in many shades of white, you can match the color of the rest of your teeth or choose a lighter color if you want to whiten your entire smile.
Small imperfections can have a big impact
Even the tiniest chip or crack can affect the appearance of your smile. Veneers offer a simple way to hide minor flaws, including chips, cracks, bumps and depressions in your tooth enamel.
Versatile veneers even cover gaps
Do you have slight spaces between your teeth? Porcelain veneers are an excellent option if you want to close small gaps between teeth. If the spaces are fairly large, we may recommend orthodontic treatment instead.
Veneers improve uniformity
It's not unusual to have one or two teeth that are a little unusual. Whether they're twisted, pointed or crooked or just oddly shaped, adding veneers to your teeth can improve your smile.
Veneers are smile changers! Call Raleigh, NC, dentist Dr. Ashley Lloyd at (919) 828-1001 to find out if porcelain veneers are a good option for you.
With college, a full-time job and an upcoming wedding to plan, Brooke Vitense had the hectic life of an average young woman in her twenties. But a chance discovery one morning would completely upend her normal life.
That morning Brook noticed white spots on the underside of her tongue while brushing her teeth. Not long after, she pointed out the spots to her dentist during her regular dental checkup. He recommended having the spots biopsied, just to be safe. She needed a wisdom tooth removed, so she scheduled the biopsy with her oral surgeon to coincide with the tooth extraction.
She soon forgot about the biopsy — until her dentist contacted her about the results. The lesions were pre-cancerous: he recommended she have them and a portion of her tongue removed surgically as soon as possible.
She underwent the procedure, but that wasn't the end of her ordeal. The follow-up pathology report indicated cancerous cells in the tissue excised during the procedure. To ensure elimination of any remaining cancerous cells they would need to remove more of her tongue as well as the lymph nodes from her neck.
Brooke survived her cancer experience and has since resumed her life. Her story, though, highlights some important facts about oral cancer.
Oral cancer is life-threatening. Although cases of oral cancer are rarer than other types of malignancies, the survival rate is low (50%). This is because lesions or other abnormalities are often dismissed as simple sores. Like any cancer, the earlier it's detected and treated, the better the chances for survival.
Anyone of any age can develop oral cancer. While most cases occur in older adults, young and otherwise healthy people like Brooke are not immune. It's important for everyone to make healthy lifestyle choices (good oral hygiene and nutrition, moderate alcohol use and avoidance of tobacco) and see a dentist whenever you see an abnormal sore or spot in your mouth.
Regular dental checkups are crucial for early detection. Had Brooke not seen her dentist soon after discovering the spots on her tongue, her survivability could have been drastically lower. Regular dental visits (and cancer screenings if you're at high risk) could mean all the difference in the world.
If you would like more information on the signs and treatment of oral cancer, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can watch Brooke's interview by visiting How a Routine Dental Visit Saved My Life