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.

Wisdom Teeth

Wisdom teeth, also referred to as the third set of molars, are the last set of teeth to develop. They form in the back of the mouth on the upper and lower jaw. Most people’s wisdom teeth surface when they are teenagers or young adults.

Wisdom teeth can become a problem when they fail to grow in proper alignment with the rest of our teeth.  When these teeth are not growing in correctly, it is referred to as being impacted. A tooth that is impacted may have only broken through the gum partially, or not at all. This can lead to infection, pain, tooth decay, gum disease and crowding of the teeth that are adjacent.

The signs and symptoms of an impacted wisdom tooth include:

  • Tenderness of the jaw
  • Bad breath
  • Bleeding gums
  • Swollen gums
  • Problems opening the mouth

Wisdom teeth that are impacted can’t be prevented. The best way to monitor for a potential problem is to have regular oral check-ups and an x-ray of the mouth every year. Not all wisdom teeth are going to be impacted, but when they are, and if symptoms develop, your dentist may want to remove them to prevent potential infections, disruption of the other teeth, and also to prevent further discomfort.

If you would like to schedule an appointment with a dentist at Flushing Hospital Medical Center, you may 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.

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.

toothache, hurts of bad tooth, stomatitis, mouth ulcer

At any time our bodies can throw us for a loop with unexpected symptoms to sometimes throw us off our game. Ideally it would be great to have a live-in doctor for a quick fix but home remedies are the next best thing.

Toothaches are an annoyance that isn’t always the most affordable fix. If you aren’t able to get to the dentist immediately and the pain is too much to handle, this home remedy fix might offer you some relief until your appointment.

There are essential oils that help ease toothache pain include chamomile, myrrh, peppermint, and tea tree. Apply one drop of any of these or a drop of “Toothache Oil” to the tooth and the surrounding area to ease the pain.

Toothache Oil

1/8 ounce carrier oil

6 drops tea tree oil

4 drops chamomile oil

2 drops myrrh oil

2 drops peppermint oil

Place the carrier oil in a clean container and add the essential oils. Gently turn the container upside down several times or roll it between your hands for a few minutes to blend. Apply one drop on the aching tooth and the surrounding gum, as needed.

These remedies are only suggestions for temporary pain relief. If you develop a toothache, you should consult your dentist as soon as possible. The dental department at Flushing Hospital Medical Center is available to treat your dental pains. To schedule an appointment 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 Smoking Effects Your Oral Health

Teeth bad company.

It is no secret that smoking can have a great number of adverse effects on the health of the smoker. It is only natural that oral health would be one of the areas most negatively affected by oral smoke inhalation. The most ideal option to reverse the damage to your teeth caused by smoking is to quit smoking but, in most cases it is easier said than done.

Smoking can cause many serious problems for teeth and oral structures. Gum disease is among the most common oral problems, putting smokers at an increased risk. Smokers are four times more likely to develop this problem than non-smokers. Gum disease occurs when plaque build-up is present. As a result tooth loss can occur. Due to the harmful chemicals in cigarette smoke, smokers are twice aslikely to suffer tooth loss than non-smokers.

Smokers are at a higher risk for developing leukoplakia, leading to throat, lung, and oral cancers. It can cause the salivary glands to become swollen and contribute to the break-down of bone structure. In addition smokers also have a harder time recovering from dental procedures such as plaque removal treatments, dental implants, and tooth removal.

Due to an increased and steady buildup of plaque and tarter, the teeth of a smoker are less attractive in appearance. Smoking also stains the teeth and can cause bad breath. In some smokers, the tongue can develop a condition known as black hairy tongue, due to a growth that may grow as a result of tobacco use. Smokers may also lose the sensation of taste and smell.

While quitting smoking is the most effective way to ensure better oral health, regular dental visits are a must. Given all of the risks and complications of smoking on oral health it is very important that smokers do not skip regular checkups with their dentists. During these visits, dentists can watch for signs of developing gum disease and oral cancers. Everyone should visit their dentist twice a year, but those who smoke should consider more frequent visits.

The Dental Department at Flushing Hospital Medical Center specializes in a wide selection of dental services. To schedule an appointment, please call 718-670-5521. The journey to quit smoking can be difficult, but you do not have to do it alone. Flushing Hospital’s smoking cessation team wants to help you develop a plan leading to your “quit day”. For more information please call 718-206-8494.

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 To Brighten Your Smile At Home

ThinkstockPhotos-83406284

3 Natural Ways to Whiten Your Teeth At Home

Without a doubt winter is the toughest season on our teeth, with all those coffees, teas and hot cocoa’s we drink to keep us warm. So how do you keep your pearly whites their whitest without breaking the bank? Here are three easy, natural and budget-friendly home remedies to keep your smile looking it’s best all through winter!

You will need your favorite toothpaste, 1 teaspoon of baking soda, 1 teaspoon of hydrogen peroxide, and half a teaspoon of water.

Mix these together and apply to your teeth with a standard toothbrush. Brush as normal. Use this remedy once a week until you reach your desired results. Once you have achieved sparkling teeth, try to limit yourself to using this remedy just once a month.

For a fruity take on whiter teeth, you can try mashing up a strawberry and mixing it with a small amount of baking soda to create your own whitening toothpaste. The acids in the strawberry work to polish and whiten your teeth. Limit this remedy to about once a month.

Rinsing your mouth with coconut oil (called ‘oil pulling’) is a unique, old, remedy that people swear by to help whiten teeth. It won’t make a difference by “bleaching” per say, but lauric acid in coconut oil can rid your teeth of bacteria found in plaque that can make them yellow. It is also supposed to promote gum health, and help keep your breath fresh.

You will need about a tablespoon of natural coconut oil. This can be found in health food markets if not available in your local supermarket.

Before you brush your teeth, scoop out a tablespoon or a little less (depending on the size of your mouth) of coconut oil. You can either soften it, or just put it in your mouth. Push, swish, and “pull” the oil through and around your teeth for 10-15 minutes, then spit it out, rinse with water, and brush your teeth.

Remember to brush after every meal and floss after snacks. Now that you have these teeth whitening tips you can be on your way to a brighter smile!

To schedule a dental appointment at Flushing Hospital, 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.