Dental emergencies are not usually life-threatening, but it is important that you know what to do to prevent an infection or further complications from developing. When you are dealing with a dental emergency, it is best to contact your dentist right away for guidance. Some situations can be treated within a few days, while others should be treated immediately. Dr. George Zatarain provides treatment for any type of dental emergency at Z Dentistry in Reno, NV.
Types of Dental Emergencies
Promptly seeking treatment for a dental emergency can prevent the situation from leading to additional oral health problems. For instance, a tooth that has been knocked out can often be successfully reinserted if you get to a dentist right away. If treatment is delayed, the socket could become infected and it might be too late to reinsert the tooth.
Many types of acute oral health conditions can be considered dental emergencies that require immediate care. Examples of situations that are dental emergencies include:
- A loose permanent tooth
- Knocked out a permanent tooth
- Lacerations to the tongue, gums, lips, or cheeks
- Bacterial infection
- An abscess
The best thing you can do in a dental emergency is to remain calm and contact your dentist’s office. The dental professionals there can provide specific guidance on reducing pain, inflammation, or bleeding before you arrive at the dentist’s office.
Dealing with a Knocked-Out Tooth
One type of dental emergency often treated at our Reno, NV, dental office is a knocked-out tooth. It is possible to reinsert a tooth that has been knocked out, but it is essential to see the dentist for treatment right away. There are several things you can do to save the tooth and increase the likelihood of successful reinsertion.
Tips for saving a knocked-out tooth:
- Hold the tooth by the crown rather than the root
- Avoid touching the tooth’s root to prevent damage
- Gently rinse the tooth in a sterile saline solution, saliva or milk
- Try placing the tooth back in its socket and hold it in place with glaze or a washcloth
- If the tooth cannot be placed back in the socket, save it in a glass of milk or the patient’s saliva
- See your dentist immediately and bring the tooth with you
If you have a dental emergency, you should remain calm and contact us right away. Promptly seeking treatment with Dr. Zatarain will help prevent infection and other complications. For the treatment of a dental emergency in Reno, NV, call Z Dentistry at (775) 331-1616.
It gradually dawned on our ancient ancestors that a healthy mouth was usually a clean one. To achieve that blessed oral state, they chewed on tree bark or employed primitive toothbrushes like bamboo sticks with hog hair bristles attached to their ends.
Today, we have better tools and methods for achieving a cleaner and healthier mouth. But these advancements do little good if a) we don't use them on a daily basis, and b) we're not proficient with them.
October is National Dental Hygiene Month, highlighting once again the importance of these two points for keeping teeth and gums as clean as possible. First and foremost, oral hygiene should never take a holiday—even a day or two of accumulated plaque, the bacterial biofilm that builds up on teeth surfaces, can trigger the occurrence of gum disease or tooth decay.
But while "showing up" every day to brush and floss goes a long way toward a healthy mouth, you also need to perform these tasks well. An inadequate job can leave residual plaque that could still cause disease.
Here are a few handy tips to improve your oral hygiene routine.
Do a thorough job. Plaque can be stubborn, clinging to the nooks and crannies of teeth and around the gum lines—and it can easily be missed while brushing. Be sure, then, to thoroughly work your toothbrush's bristles into all dental surfaces. Your efforts should take about 2 minutes to complete.
Don't be too aggressive. You may need "elbow grease" to clean your floors, but not your teeth. Too much pressure applied while brushing can damage enamel and gums. Instead, go easy when you brush and let the toothpaste's mild abrasives do the heavy lifting.
Use flossing tools. Many people avoid flossing because they find it too hard or cumbersome with traditional flossing thread. If this is a problem for you, consider using a flossing tool—a floss threader or pick, or even a water flosser appliance that uses pressurized water to break up and remove plaque.
Take the "tongue test." Wondering how well you're doing with your hygiene efforts? One quick way to find out is the "tongue test": Simply swipe your tongue across your teeth just after brushing and flossing. If they feel gritty rather than smooth, you may have left some plaque behind.
Besides your personal hygiene efforts, be sure you also have your teeth cleaned regularly by a dental hygienist to rid your mouth of any residual plaque and tartar (hardened plaque)—these can also cause dental disease. Professional care coupled with proficient daily hygiene will help ensure you have cleaner mouth and better dental health.
If you would like more information on the best ways to incorporate oral hygiene into your life, please contact us or schedule a consultation. To learn more, read the Dear Doctor magazine article “Daily Oral Hygiene.”
Losing teeth can make it more difficult to eat, not to mention the effect it can have on your smile. But that could be just the beginning of your problems. Missing teeth can contribute to extensive bone loss within your jaws and face. Here's why.
Bone is like any other living tissue—cells develop, function and eventually die, and new cells take their place. Forces generated during chewing stimulate this new growth, helping the jawbone maintain its normal volume and density.
But you lose this stimulus when you lose teeth. This can cause a slowdown in bone cell regrowth that can eventually diminish bone volume. And it can happen relatively quickly: you could lose a quarter or more of jawbone width around a missing tooth within a year.
As this loss continues, especially in cases of multiple missing teeth, the bone can eventually erode to its base level. This loss of dental function can make chewing more difficult, place more pressure on the remaining teeth and adversely affect facial appearance. It could also prevent an implant restoration to replace missing teeth.
Dentures and other forms of dental restoration can replace missing teeth, but not the chewing stimulus. Dentures in particular will accelerate bone loss, because they can irritate the bony gum ridges they rest upon.
Dental implants, on the other hand, can slow or even stop bone loss. Implants consist of a metal post, typically made of titanium, imbedded into the jawbone at the site of the missing tooth with a life-like crown attached. Titanium also has a strong affinity with bone so that bone cells naturally grow and adhere to the implant's surface. This can produce enough growth to slow, stop or even reverse bone loss.
This effect may also work when implants are combined with other restorations, including dentures. These enhanced dentures no longer rest on the gums, but connect to implants. This adds support and takes the pressure off of the bony ridge, as well as contributes to better bone health.
If you've lost a tooth, it's important to either replace it promptly or have a bone graft installed to help forestall any bone loss in the interim. And when it's time to replace those missing teeth, dental implants could provide you not only a life-like solution, but a way to protect your bone health.
If you would like more information on dental implants, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can also learn more about this topic by reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “The Hidden Consequences of Losing Teeth.”
How teeth whitening from your dentist in Reno, NV, can give you an outstanding smile
If you want a whiter, brighter, more outstanding smile, you need professional teeth whitening! Professional tray whitening allows you to whiten as much or as little as you want. Everything from a quick touch-up to dramatic whitening is possible with professional tray whitening. The choice is up to you.
Dr. George Zatarain at Z Dentistry in Reno, NV, offers a wide range of dental services, including professional teeth whitening to give you an outstanding smile. He proudly serves residents of Reno, Sparks, and Fernley, NV, and Truckee, CA.
You may have started with over-the-counter whitening products from your local grocery store. You may have discovered those over-the-counter products:
- Don’t whiten as much as you need them to
- Provide only temporary results
- Make your teeth and gums hurt
Professional tray whitening available at Z Dentistry offers several important advantages, including:
- Custom trays, which are made to fit your smile exactly, so they provide an even distribution of gel
- Prescription-strength whitening gel, which is guaranteed to enhance the beauty of your smile
- Safe treatment, because all products and methods have been approved by the American Dental Association
- Privacy and convenience, because you can whiten your smile at home, whenever the time is right for you
Professional tray whitening begins with the creation of your trays, using models of your teeth. Your unique smile is recreated in the trays, so they fit over your teeth like a glove. You fill the trays with whitening gel, and you wear the trays for about an hour. The custom whitening trays allow you to whiten your teeth whenever you want. More whitening gel can be purchased when you need it.
You don’t have to settle for a dull smile when your new, bright smile is just a phone call away. To find out more about the professional tray whitening system, call Dr. George Zatarain of Z Dentistry in Reno, NV, serving residents of Reno, Sparks, Fernley, NV, and Truckee, CA. You can reach him at (775) 331-1616, so call now!
While mouth pain can certainly get your attention, what exactly hurts may be difficult to identify. It might seem to emanate from a single tooth, or a group of teeth. Then again, it might not be clear whether it's coming from teeth or from the gums.
Still, it's important to pinpoint the cause as much as possible to treat it correctly. One of the main questions we often want to answer is whether the cause originates from within a tooth or without.
In the first case, tooth decay may have entered the pulp at the center of the tooth. The pulp contains nerve bundles that can come under attack from decay and transmit pain signals. Incidentally, if the pain suddenly goes away, it may simply mean the nerves have died and not the infection.
The decay can also spread into the root canals leading to the root and supporting bone, and then make the jump into the gum tissues. One possible sign of this is the one mentioned earlier—you can't quite tell if the pain is from the tooth or the surrounding gums.
The root canals could also serve as a transportation medium for infection in the other direction. In that case, gum disease has advanced into the bone tissues around a tooth near its roots. The infection can then cross into the tooth. Again, both a tooth and the gum tissue around it can become diseased.
We have effective treatments for individual occurrences of interior tooth decay or gum disease: The former usually requires a root canal treatment to remove infected tissue and fill and seal the tooth from future infection; we alleviate gum disease by removing the dental plaque causing it and helping the gum tissues to heal. But combined tooth and gum infection scenarios are more difficult to treat, have a poorer prognosis and may require specialists.
To reduce the risk of either tooth decay or gum disease developing into this greater problem, it's best to take action at the first sign of trouble. So, see your dentist as soon as possible when you encounter oral pain or if you notice swollen or bleeding gums. The earlier we treat the initial outbreak of disease, be it tooth decay or gum disease, the better your chances of a successful and happy outcome.
If you would like more information on tooth pain, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can also learn more about this topic by reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “Confusing Tooth Pain.”
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