What is a Dental Abscess ?

A dental abscess is an infection caused when harmful bacteria gain entry to the  central pulp area of a tooth.  This can happen when the tooth has a cavity or when trauma to a tooth has occurred and leaves an opening.  An abscess usually leads to inflammation and the development of pus. Many people describe the pain caused by a tooth abscess as one of the worst things they have ever encountered. While the pain from a tooth abscess may come on suddenly, the infection may have been developing over a long period of time.
The symptoms of a tooth abscess are:
• Sensitivity to hot and cold
• Swelling of the jaw
• Fever
• Bad breath
• Painful chewing
• Swollen lymph nodes at the jaw or neck
• Bitter taste in the mouth
Tooth decay is caused by poor dental hygiene and probably a diet filled with sugary junk food. These will cause the tooth or teeth to disintegrate over time. Trauma can be caused by either being struck in the mouth by a hard object, or biting over time on hard substances like nuts and candy. Either method can allow harmful bacteria to get into the pulp deep within the tooth. This will lead to swelling and pus to develop.
A dentist will assess the tooth with an x-ray. Depending on the extent of the abscess, they will prescribe an antibiotic to fight the infection and possibly a pain medication to help soothe the discomfort. In some cases a tooth can be saved. This may involve a root canal procedure to clean out the pulp and the root,  but when the abscess has destroyed a large portion of the tooth, it may have to be extracted.
There are a few ways to prevent tooth abscesses. A healthy diet that is low on refined foods and sugar helps.  Brushing and flossing are very important for maintaining proper oral hygiene. It is also very important to not bite down on hard objects like rock candy, nuts, and stale bread and cookies.
If you are experiencing any kind of tooth pain, it is important to see a dentist as soon as possible. This will prevent the problem from getting worse, will get you relief quickly, and can prevent the abscess from becoming a life threatening infection.
If you would like to schedule an appointment with a dentist at Flushing Hospital, please call 718-670-5522.

All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.

Are There Dangers Associated With Excessive Gum Chewing?

Everyone chews gum! Last year alone, 1.74 trillion sticks of chewing gum were made and it is estimated that the average American chews nearly 300 pieces of gum every year.

There are many benefits for those who chew gum. It freshens up our breath and helps remove food particles that get stuck between our teeth. It helps reduce stress for some and helps fight off hunger cravings for others. Chewing gum also stimulates saliva production, which helps fight off nasty plaque and certain gums containing the sweetener xylitol have actually been reported to fight cavities. With all these benefits associated with chewing gum, is there any reason not to do it?

Actually, there can be. When we chew gum, we exercise our jaw muscles – and similar to any other muscle group in the body that gets overworked, constant and aggressive gum chewing can tire these muscles and cause painful spasms in our jaw, neck and head, which can lead to the development of a condition called temporomandibular dysfunction (or TMD).

TMD occurs when the temporomandibular joints, which are located on either side of our head, become misaligned due to physical stress or degeneration of cartilage in the jaw, which act as shock absorbers for us when we chew. Chewing gum is one of the most common ways to cause this type of damage.

TMD affects over ten million Americans. Those who develop TMD experience many painful symptoms such as discomfort while chewing, difficulty opening and closing their jaw, and popping or clicking sounds when they open their mouths. Earaches and headaches are also typically associated with the disorder.

In addition to contributing to the development of TMD, chronic gum chewing can tighten facial muscles, leading to long lasting headaches. In fact, a recent study concluded that gum chewing was linked to chronic migraines in young children and teens.

So, what do you do? Most dentists agree that moderate gum chewing isn’t a problem, but they do recommend taking a break from the habit if you are experiencing head, neck or jaw pain and allow your muscles to relax. Other ways to relieve pain include taking anti-inflammatory medications, applying a warm compress to the area in pain, and switching to a diet of softer foods. If pain persists, contact your dentist immediately.

If you are experiencing jaw pain that may be caused by TMD, see your dentist. If you do not have one, you can call Flushing Hospital’s Dental Center at 718-670-5521.

All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.

History of Orthodontics

More and more people, both children and adults are seeking orthodontic treatment today. Having well aligned teeth is not only important for a nice smile but also for proper dental health.

The importance of having healthy and aligned teeth dates back as early as 1000 BC. The ancient Egyptians and the Etruscans were using material made from animal intestines to move teeth into better alignment. An ancient Roman scientist discovered that by applying finger pressure on teeth for an extended period of time over the course of months would help move teeth into a new position.

The first more modern practice of orthodontics was documented in the early 1770’s. A French surgeon dentist named Pierre Fauchard came up with the concept of the “Bandeau” which was a horseshoe shaped device that gave the mouth a natural arch. Later on in the early 1800’s Francois Delabarre invented the wire crib that was placed on the teeth and help move them into better alignment. In the mid 1800’s dentists began to realize that the jaw and the teeth would have to be aligned simultaneously and this was accomplished by using tiny rubber tubing and wire cribs together.

In the early 1900’s, we entered the era of orthodontics that we are more familiar with today. Back then, dentists would wrap different materials depending on their preference (ivory, wood, copper, or zinc and later on gold or silver) and connect them with bands that helped move the teeth into the desired position. In the 1970’s stainless steel was more widely used and this had the advantage of being less costly and also more flexible than the other materials used previously.

In the late 1990’s, orthodontics changed with the introduction of the invisible braces. In addition to brackets that were placed on the inside of people’s teeth to make it more aestically appealing, clear retainers were also being used which would help to align teeth.

To schedule an appointment with a dentist at Flushing Hospital, please call 718-670-5522.

All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.

Are Dental Sealants Effective?

Though tooth decay is a growing problem among children and young adults, preventative measures, such as dental sealants and fluoride treatments, can help keep your child smiling brightly.

Children and young adults are more prone to tooth decay for two main reasons: diet and poor oral hygiene. Tooth decay occurs when bacteria in the mouth uses sugar (from foods or drinks) to produce acids that dissolve and damage the teeth. A diet consisting of frequent consumption of sugary drinks, candy, and gum greatly contributes to tooth decay. Additionally, inadequate flossing and failure to properly brush at least two times a day, for three minutes each, allows bacteria to grow.

Preventing Tooth Decay
Dental sealants are a great way to protect your teeth against the bacteria that causes tooth decay. Sealants are usually applied to the chewing surfaces of back teeth (premolars and molars) where decay occurs most often. The procedure is simple and pain-free.

Fluoride can also help prevent tooth decay. Dentists apply a fluoride treatment, either a gel, foam, or varnish, directly to the teeth and let it set for approximately four minutes. In addition to an in-office treatment, fluoride can be found in several brands of toothpaste and even tap water.

For more information or to schedule an appointment, please call Flushing Hospital’s Department of Dentistry at 718-670-5521.

All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.

What Is The Right Way to Brush Your Teeth?

What is the right way to brush your teeth?

A.  From side to side

B.  Up and down

C.  In small circles

If you answered A, you’re right! According to the American Dental Association you should:

  • Place your toothbrush at a 45-degree angle to the gums.
  • Gently move the brush from side to side in short (tooth-wide) strokes.
  • Brush the outer surfaces, the inner surfaces, and the chewing surfaces of the teeth.
  • To clean the inside surfaces of the front teeth, tilt the brush vertically and make several up-and-down strokes.
  • Brush your tongue to remove bacteria and keep your breath fresh.

The ADA also recommends brushing your teeth twice a day with a soft-bristled brush. The size and shape of your brush should fit your mouth allowing you to reach all areas easily. You should replace your toothbrush every three or four months, or sooner if the bristles are frayed.

To make an appointment with a dentist at Flushing Hospital Medical Center, please call our Dental Department at 718-670-5521.

All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.

Receding Gums

Receding gums, also known as gingivitis, is a condition where the gum tissue pulls back from the bottom of the teeth, exposing more of the tooth’s root. It may take a long period of time for receding gums to become noticeable and at first, it may not cause any discomfort. If it is left untreated it can cause tooth decay and eventual loss of a tooth or teeth.

Causes of receding gums:

  • Brushing teeth vigorously over a prolonged period of time
  • Family history
  • Irregular tooth positions
  • Grinding your teeth
  • Inadequate dental hygiene
  • Hormonal changes in women

There are a few things you can do to prevent receding gums and this includes brushing your teeth properly twice a day, regular flossing and professional cleaning by a dentist or dental hygienist at least once a year.

Once gums have started to recede, a dentist can try a few methods to treat the condition. They can take tissue from other areas in the mouth, usually the roof of the mouth and try to graft it into the area where gum tissue is missing.  Dentists can also  apply a technique called root planning to deep clean the exposed tooth or they may use specialized materials on patients that will help the gum to regenerate over time.

If you would like to schedule an appointment with a dentist at Flushing Hospital, please call 718-670-5486.

All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.

Does My Breath Stink?

Bad breath, medically known as halitosis can be caused by a number of factors including health problems, smoking, certain foods and poor dental health habits. If the cause of bad breath is not the result of chronic conditions such as diabetes, sinus infections or kidney disease, then chances are there is a build-up of bacteria in the mouth that gives off gases or odors.

The best recommendation is to practice good oral hygiene.  There are also a few natural remedies that can help combat bad breath, such as:

  • Drinking plenty of water.
  • Chewing a piece of lemon or orange rind.
  • Taking probiotics or eating foods that are rich in probiotics, such as yogurt.
  • Eating raw fruits and vegetables such as apples or celery.
  • Gargling with salt water.
  • Consulting a physician about colon cleansing.
  • Chewing a tablespoon of fennel seeds or making fennel tea.
  • Drinking cinnamon tea.
  • Chewing on fresh parsley.
  • Mixing apple cider vinegar with water and gargling.

Trying these natural remedies can help in keeping breath fresh; however, the best remedy is to practice good oral health by brushing and flossing teeth daily.

All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.

WHAT IS TMJ SYNDROME?

The temporomandibular joint acts like a sliding hinge, connecting your jawbone to your skull. When this joint is injured or damaged, it can lead to a localized pain disorder called temporomandibular joint (TMJ) syndrome.

The main symptom of TMJ syndrome is pain or stiffness in the jaw joint and in the surrounding areas. Other symptoms can include:

  • Difficulty chewing
  • Ear pain or ringing of the ears (tinnitus)
  • Shoulder or neck pain
  • Popping or clicking sound coming from the jaw
  • Headaches or migraines
  • Blurred vision, dizziness or vertigo

The exact cause for developing TMJ syndrome is difficult to determine. There are many factors that can contribute to this condition. In some cases, pain may be the result of a jaw injury or another medical condition such as arthritis. In other cases, it can be caused by correctable action such as poor posture or excessive gum chewing. In many cases, TMJ syndrome is the result of habitually clenching or grinding of the teeth.  Stress and anxiety can also play a role in the onset of the condition.

TMJ syndrome can occur on one side of the jaw or both. It is usually a temporary condition and in most cases symptoms can be relieved with self–care and home remedies. Taking anti-inflammatory medications and applying ice or cold compresses to the jaw are suggested ways to relieve pain. Eating soft foods and avoiding chewing gum while pain is present is also recommended.  Additionally, practicing relaxation techniques and self-massage or stretching techniques have proven effective to reduce pain associated with TMJ syndrome. If these practices are not effective, your dentist can have you fitted for a dental splint or mouth guard to maintain proper alignment of the teeth and prevent grinding. In extreme cases, surgery may be necessary to treat the condition.

If you are experiencing symptoms associated, you can speak to your doctor or dentist about treating the condition.

To make an appointment at Flushing Hospital’s Dental Department, please call 718-670-5521.

All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.

How Often Do You Floss Your Teeth ?

Using Dental Floss

How frequently do you floss your teeth ?
• Once a day
• Once a week
• Once a month
• Never

The American Dental Association recommends that we floss our teeth once a day. It doesn’t make a difference at what time of day, the important thing is to do it whenever it is convenient for your schedule.
Flossing helps to remove a build up between the teeth called plaque which can lead to gum disease and cavities if not properly removed.
Speak to your dentist about what type of flossing material is best for you.

All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.

Adult Braces

closeup of smile with white teeth

All too often, when people hear the word “braces” they associate it with a young child or adolescent with a mouth full of metal brackets. However the association of braces with children is quickly changing as more and more adults are reaping the benefits of advances in orthodontic care.

Due to improvements in hardware and technique, braces have become more obtainable and aesthetically pleasing for anyone, including adults, who are self-conscious about their smile.

“More adults are seeking orthodontic treatment to create a beautiful, healthy, straight smile,” stated Dr. Rekha C. Gehani, Chair of Orthodontics at Flushing Hospital Medical Center.

Braces offer many health benefits including improving dental hygiene and aligning teeth that are out of place. If your teeth are misaligned or crooked there may be biting or chewing issues and food buildup between teeth, which can put you at risk for developing oral diseases.

There are several kinds of braces available to adults; the type of braces your dentist may recommend depends on the severity of your dental problems. Some braces that may be suitable are:

  • Ceramic Braces – less noticeable than metal
  • Lingual Braces – invisible from the outside
  • Invisalign – nearly invisible (removable)

If you are interested in learning more about adult braces, you can schedule an appointment at Flushing Hospital Medical Center’s Dental Center. Call 718-670-5521.

 

All content of this newsletter is intended for general information purposes only and is not intended or implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Please consult a medical professional before adopting any of the suggestions on this page. You must never disregard professional medical advice or delay seeking medical treatment based upon any content of this newsletter. PROMPTLY CONSULT YOUR PHYSICIAN OR CALL 911 IF YOU BELIEVE YOU HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY.