Your Name Here Your Smile | Your Health Sat, Aug 8, 2020
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Call 888.888.8888
Do it today!

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IN THIS ISSUE

our little video

Our Previous Issue

Don’t Let Phantom Tooth Discomfort Haunt You

Don’t Let Phantom Tooth Discomfort Haunt You

Stacy was a patient with tooth pain that radiated from her lower right jaw. Her history showed that she, awhile back, had a filling in that location, which led to a root canal and crown, and then finally a tooth implant six years ago.


After a thorough examination, which included X-rays, there seemed to be no identifiable cause for the pain. The X-ray showed the entire root, including the nerve and blood vessels, had been removed to make room for the implant’s titanium post, which acts as the support for the tooth restoration or crown attached to its abutment. With a 98 percent success rate, implants have never been more popular. Overall, implants provide improved oral health with the look and feel of natural teeth.

But for Stacy, the aggressive and overwhelming “dental treatment” she needed for a natural smile and healthy teeth may have contributed to a condition known as Atypical Odontalgia, otherwise known as phantom tooth pain. This pain sometimes occurs after a root canal or a tooth extraction. But a study published by the Journal of the Minnesota Dental Association and supported by the National Institutes of Health estimates that of the 870,000 new cases wherein persistent oral pain was reported by patients, 550,000 of those cases were found to have no known identifiable reason patients continue to experience pain after corrective dental treatment.

Some professionals have even suggested that the sensation is often similar to what an amputee experiences. The pain is referred to as “atypical” because it’s quite different from pain that is felt from a typical toothache. Toothaches are aggravated by chewing or biting, or when the affected tooth comes into contact with hot or cold temperatures. Typical tooth pain has an identifiable source, such as decay or gum disease, unlike atypical or phantom tooth pain, which has no underlying cause.

For Stacy the tooth pain was a consistent ache with no tooth decay or periodontal disease. In some patients, just like Stacy, phantom tooth pain can spread to other areas of the face or jaw, and can occur without reason.

For many patients and dental professionals, this condition can be both a frightening and frustrating situation that can lead to more dental treatments that provide no effective pain relief. If a thorough history, clinical examination, and X-ray assessment fail to identify the source of the pain, a diagnosis of atypical odontalgia or phantom tooth pain may be appropriate.

What is Phantom Tooth Pain?

Currently, most clinicians treat phantom tooth pain with medication. According to the Academy of Oral Medicine, an antidepressant is used most often because of their pain-relieving properties. While medication has been helpful in pain reduction, it’s done little for eliminating the problem at its source.

While a definitive cause is yet to be found, what health professionals do know is that the condition may be caused by a variety of factors, such as sex, age, and genetic predisposition. In addition, the condition is more common in women than men, and more prevalent in people of middle age and older.

Researchers seem to point to a “short circuiting” of the nerves that carry pain sensations to the jaw and teeth. During scans such as a positron emission tomography (PET) or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) areas of the brain show transmissions of nerve signals to the brain. These nerve signals appear to malfunction, and the result is a persistent pain sensation. In some cases, the pain is intermittent and spontaneous, ending just as quickly as it began.

There are no specific treatments for phantom tooth pain. But any of the following approaches can help when a flare-up occurs:

  • Find ways to relax. Use meditation or rhythmic breathing to reduce muscular tension.
  • Participate in fun activities. Distractions, like playing a board game or listening to music, can help relieve the mind.
  • Stay active. It sounds counter-intuitive, but maintaining enjoyable hobbies such as swimming or even gardening burns calories and reduces emotional tension.

If the pain is persistent, talk to your dentist about other alternatives to relieve symptoms. During Halloween, and other seasons when sweets are abundant, take the focus off phantom tooth pain. With a little help, the only phantoms will be the ones trick or treating at your door. 🙂

Tooth Traces (Part I): Dental Implants’ Ancient Past

Tooth Traces (Part I): Dental Implants’ Ancient Past

The dental implant technique is a wonderful invention that gives you replacement teeth you don’t have to take out at night.

Implants look and behave exactly like the real thing. Amazingly, they are not new! In fact, the oldest known dental implant was installed about 4,000 years ago. Here are some amazing facts about the history of dental implants.

The Chinese

When looking for the oldest dental implant in history, it is important to define “dental implant”. After all, this is not a quest for ancient false teeth, or the world’s first bridge or crown. “Implant” specifically refers to an anchor embedded into the jawbone that supports a prosthetic tooth.

The remains of the first known dental implant recipient were actually discovered in China – carbon dated to 4,000 years ago!

Today’s implants consist of a separate parts (abutment and prosthetic tooth) made of a variety of materials. The ancient implant was made all of bamboo, and the artificial tooth were all one piece, carved into a peg shape, with the sharp end driven into the patient’s jaw. Ouch!

The Egyptians

The ancient Egyptians worked out things that modern scientists are still puzzling over. They had dental implants, too.

The Egyptians preserved their dead as mummies, so their medical history is easy to uncover. Some ancient mummies have dental implants. These date back to 2,000 years ago. Egyptian implants were made of precious metals. In some instances the implant was, like the ancient Chinese, a one-piece installation – in other cases, the implant speared a recycled human tooth and anchored it into the jaw. Some Egyptian dental implants were made of carved ivory with the crown and the implant forming all one piece.

The Mayans

The ancient civilizations of Central America hit upon a very useful idea. They made implants out of fragments of seashells. Researchers discovered that these implants, found in a skeleton from 600 AD, actually encouraged the bone of the jaw to bond with the implant, making the anchor rock solid.

Modern Implants

If you go for an implant today, you won’t get one made of ivory, or seashells. Modern dentists use titanium implants, which were first developed in the 1950s at Cambridge University in the United Kingdom.

Scientists discovered that bone grows around titanium screws so tightly that they virtually fuse together. Make an appointment to speak to a dentist about dental implants, and you won’t have to mention that you prefer titanium to bamboo!

Sources:

Mail Order Aligners: What Are The Risks?

Mail Order Aligners: What Are The Risks?

Thousands of people are electing mail order teeth aligners (braces) to save time and money, instead of seeing a qualified dentist – but beware! There are potential hazards that may outweigh the savings…

read more
Don’t Let Phantom Tooth Discomfort Haunt You

Don’t Let Phantom Tooth Discomfort Haunt You

Stacy was a patient with tooth pain that radiated from her lower right jaw. Her history showed that she, awhile back, had a filling in that location, which led to a root canal and crown, and then finally a tooth implant six years ago.


After a thorough examination, which included X-rays, there seemed to be no identifiable cause for the pain. The X-ray showed the entire root, including the nerve and blood vessels, had been removed to make room for the implant’s titanium post, which acts as the support for the tooth restoration or crown attached to its abutment. With a 98 percent success rate, implants have never been more popular. Overall, implants provide improved oral health with the look and feel of natural teeth.

But for Stacy, the aggressive and overwhelming “dental treatment” she needed for a natural smile and healthy teeth may have contributed to a condition known as Atypical Odontalgia, otherwise known as phantom tooth pain. This pain sometimes occurs after a root canal or a tooth extraction. But a study published by the Journal of the Minnesota Dental Association and supported by the National Institutes of Health estimates that of the 870,000 new cases wherein persistent oral pain was reported by patients, 550,000 of those cases were found to have no known identifiable reason patients continue to experience pain after corrective dental treatment.

Some professionals have even suggested that the sensation is often similar to what an amputee experiences. The pain is referred to as “atypical” because it’s quite different from pain that is felt from a typical toothache. Toothaches are aggravated by chewing or biting, or when the affected tooth comes into contact with hot or cold temperatures. Typical tooth pain has an identifiable source, such as decay or gum disease, unlike atypical or phantom tooth pain, which has no underlying cause.

For Stacy the tooth pain was a consistent ache with no tooth decay or periodontal disease. In some patients, just like Stacy, phantom tooth pain can spread to other areas of the face or jaw, and can occur without reason.

For many patients and dental professionals, this condition can be both a frightening and frustrating situation that can lead to more dental treatments that provide no effective pain relief. If a thorough history, clinical examination, and X-ray assessment fail to identify the source of the pain, a diagnosis of atypical odontalgia or phantom tooth pain may be appropriate.

What is Phantom Tooth Pain?

Currently, most clinicians treat phantom tooth pain with medication. According to the Academy of Oral Medicine, an antidepressant is used most often because of their pain-relieving properties. While medication has been helpful in pain reduction, it’s done little for eliminating the problem at its source.

While a definitive cause is yet to be found, what health professionals do know is that the condition may be caused by a variety of factors, such as sex, age, and genetic predisposition. In addition, the condition is more common in women than men, and more prevalent in people of middle age and older.

Researchers seem to point to a “short circuiting” of the nerves that carry pain sensations to the jaw and teeth. During scans such as a positron emission tomography (PET) or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) areas of the brain show transmissions of nerve signals to the brain. These nerve signals appear to malfunction, and the result is a persistent pain sensation. In some cases, the pain is intermittent and spontaneous, ending just as quickly as it began.

There are no specific treatments for phantom tooth pain. But any of the following approaches can help when a flare-up occurs:

  • Find ways to relax. Use meditation or rhythmic breathing to reduce muscular tension.
  • Participate in fun activities. Distractions, like playing a board game or listening to music, can help relieve the mind.
  • Stay active. It sounds counter-intuitive, but maintaining enjoyable hobbies such as swimming or even gardening burns calories and reduces emotional tension.

If the pain is persistent, talk to your dentist about other alternatives to relieve symptoms. During Halloween, and other seasons when sweets are abundant, take the focus off phantom tooth pain. With a little help, the only phantoms will be the ones trick or treating at your door. 🙂

Tooth Traces (Part I): Dental Implants’ Ancient Past

Tooth Traces (Part I): Dental Implants’ Ancient Past

The dental implant technique is a wonderful invention that gives you replacement teeth you don’t have to take out at night.

Implants look and behave exactly like the real thing. Amazingly, they are not new! In fact, the oldest known dental implant was installed about 4,000 years ago. Here are some amazing facts about the history of dental implants.

The Chinese

When looking for the oldest dental implant in history, it is important to define “dental implant”. After all, this is not a quest for ancient false teeth, or the world’s first bridge or crown. “Implant” specifically refers to an anchor embedded into the jawbone that supports a prosthetic tooth.

The remains of the first known dental implant recipient were actually discovered in China – carbon dated to 4,000 years ago!

Today’s implants consist of a separate parts (abutment and prosthetic tooth) made of a variety of materials. The ancient implant was made all of bamboo, and the artificial tooth were all one piece, carved into a peg shape, with the sharp end driven into the patient’s jaw. Ouch!

The Egyptians

The ancient Egyptians worked out things that modern scientists are still puzzling over. They had dental implants, too.

The Egyptians preserved their dead as mummies, so their medical history is easy to uncover. Some ancient mummies have dental implants. These date back to 2,000 years ago. Egyptian implants were made of precious metals. In some instances the implant was, like the ancient Chinese, a one-piece installation – in other cases, the implant speared a recycled human tooth and anchored it into the jaw. Some Egyptian dental implants were made of carved ivory with the crown and the implant forming all one piece.

The Mayans

The ancient civilizations of Central America hit upon a very useful idea. They made implants out of fragments of seashells. Researchers discovered that these implants, found in a skeleton from 600 AD, actually encouraged the bone of the jaw to bond with the implant, making the anchor rock solid.

Modern Implants

If you go for an implant today, you won’t get one made of ivory, or seashells. Modern dentists use titanium implants, which were first developed in the 1950s at Cambridge University in the United Kingdom.

Scientists discovered that bone grows around titanium screws so tightly that they virtually fuse together. Make an appointment to speak to a dentist about dental implants, and you won’t have to mention that you prefer titanium to bamboo!

Sources:

Mail Order Aligners: What Are The Risks?

Mail Order Aligners: What Are The Risks?

Thousands of people are electing mail order teeth aligners (braces) to save time and money, instead of seeing a qualified dentist – but beware! There are potential hazards that may outweigh the savings…

read more

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Times to Smile

John J. Kelly, DDS


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