All posts in Dental Emergencies

The Stages of a Tooth Cavity

stages-of-cavity-treatment-scottsdale-azFairly or not, many people are afraid to visit the dentist. Instead, they ignore tooth decay in the hope that the tooth will get better on its own. Unfortunately, this is not the case. Keep reading to find out why an untreated cavity is even scarier than the dentist.

Basic Terms
The exterior tooth is composed of the crown, which is above the gums, and the root, which is below. The innermost layer of the interior is called the pulp and contains all of the blood vessels and nerves. Above that is dentin, which is covered by enamel above the gum and cementum below it.

Spots
The beginning of a cavity is characterized by chalky white areas or yellowish spots on the surface. These are caused by calcium loss. If you catch your tooth decay here, it is reversible with noninvasive treatments like topical medications.

Enamel Decay
In the second stage, the enamel begins to break below the surface level. If it continues, the surface itself will be broken, and that damage cannot be easily fixed. At this point, the tooth requires professional cleaning and filling.

Dentin Decay
Next, the decay spreads from the enamel to the dentin. This is a larger problem, but it’s still treatable with filling. At this point, pain generally becomes noticeable, and it will get worse in the coming stages, so it’s best not to wait to seek treatment.

Pulp Decay
With the enamel and dentin already decayed, bacteria infects the pulp, causing pus to form and killing the blood vessels and nerves. At this point, a filling is no longer sufficient. Instead, you’ll need root canal therapy, which involves removing the pulp and nerve and then cleaning and sealing the inside of the tooth.

Abscess
Finally, an untreated infection will reach the root tip and spread into the bones around the tooth. This can be accompanied by swelling of the cheek as well as severe pain. At this final stage, you’ll need antibiotics, painkillers, and either a root canal or removal of the whole tooth.

Conclusion
As you can see, an untreated cavity will not heal itself but rather continue to get more serious and more painful. If you think you’re experiencing dental decay, make an appointment with the friendly team at the Marcia L Blazer DDS PC practice in Scottsdale, AZ at (480) 596-8273.

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How a Dentist Fixes a Broken Tooth

Broken Tooth Fix Scottsdale DentistA broken tooth can be a painful experience for many adults and children. While a broken tooth can be very unpleasant, a dentist can quickly repair many types of broken teeth. The following guide explores how a dentist fixes a broken tooth.

When looking at a broken tooth, a dentist must determine the amount of damage that is present. In some cases, very minor damage to a tooth will only require a minimal amount of repair.

If a tooth has experienced minor damage, a dentist will use a specialized polymer to repair the chipped section. In some cases, it may be necessary for an individual to receive a veneer. A veneer is a specially formed tooth mold that can be used to rebuild the shape of a damaged tooth.

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EMERGENCY: What Should I Do if I Injure My Tooth?

Emergency Dentist Tooth - Flickr GarryknightMany people ask the question, “What should I do if I injure my tooth? This is an important question, which requires quick action to prevent you from further pain, and from possibly losing your tooth.

The smartest option for dealing with an injured tooth is to visit a dentist and see if it requires prompt treatment. It’s possible that it is not an emergency, and you can schedule an appointment to have it repaired at your convenience. However, in many cases, time is your enemy, and if you wait too long with a severely damaged tooth, you could lose it.

What Will a Dentist Do if I Injure My Tooth?

Here are some things that your dentist could do if you injure your teeth:

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Why do I like being a dentist?

I’ve been practicing dentistry for 23 years now.   My staff and I love treating our patients and their families.  When we see people every six months, we mark the passage of time in their lives, as well as our own.  We love seeing  kids when they come in for their first “happy visit” and take a ride in the dental chair.  It seems almost overnight that we’re seeing them around Christmastime  home from college!

So many of my adult patients who are fearful tell me  they had bad dental experiences as children, and that fear has carried over into adulthood.   It is a very common and unfortunate refrain.  Moreover, fearful patients tend to put off dental issues until they become painful and expensive emergencies, which only reinforces those negative feelings.

I consider it both a privilege and a responsibility to make sure that children in my practice have positive dental experiences.  Nearly all of my staff are parents (and some grandparents!) themselves, and we make it our business to make kids’ dental visits exceptional.  Here’s just some of the things we do in my office for our younger patients:

As a mom myself, I know how hard it is to get kids moving in a particular direction for appointments (my father-in-law likens it to “herding cats”) so I stock a fridge in my reception area with healthy snacks for patients.  Busy parents coming from work and school greatly appreciate that!

I have a collection of age-appropriate movies for kids to watch during treatment, and I use laughing gas (when needed) to help distract that fidgety-can’t-sit-still-for-a -second kid.   Kids are not fearful dental patients unless the parent has taught them to be that way or the dentist has hurt  them.   My most important dental tool  is communication.  If I think something is going to be even remotely uncomfortable, I tell the child this in advance and when to expect it.  I show them everything I’m going to do before I do it, so there are no surprises.   By the time I’ve shown them everything and gotten them hooked up with the movie, headphones and laughing gas, they really are somewhat annoyed with me when I stop the movie to tell them what I’m going to do next!

It’s simply music to my ears when a child says to a parent that a procedure wasn’t bad at all!   I know that this child is building a foundation of good dental health, and will have positive memories of going to the dentist.   And not surprisingly, we treat our adult patients with the same kindness and compassion.

So why do I like being a dentist?  When I call my patients in the evening to see how their doing, and they tell me how great they’re feeling and how nice it is that I called to check up on them—that’s my payback.   The satisfaction that comes with knowing I’ve not only provided a valuable service, but I’ve treated my customers with  care—that’s why I like being a dentist.

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“So I finally have dental insurance, now what?”

“So I finally have dental insurance, now what?”

Many of my patients have insurance through their employer.  But few really understand the workings of their plan.  Oftentimes, the insurance card comes with a booklet, pages long, with small print, explaining the plan benefits.  While the booklet is guaranteed to be less complicated than the booklet that came with your cell phone, it still can be intimidating.

I’ve attached a link to a website that I researched that had a good general discussion about dental insurance.   My office accepts all insurance plans.   Additionally, my office staff is wonderful about helping patients get the most out of their dental insurance benefits; they are more than happy to answer any questions you may have.   If you are thinking you may want to become a patient in my office, be sure that your insurance allows you to go to any dental office, rather than restricting you to a limited list of providers.

Most plans renew every calendar year, with maximums that, if not used, go away.  For patients with unmet dental needs, that’s leaving money on the table!

So, click on this link and educate yourself.  Guaranteed to be easier than programming your speed dial function on that new phone!!

http://www.ehow.com/how-does_4570011_dental-insurance-work.html

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Why are so many people DENTAL PHOBIC (afraid of the dentist)?

Why is it that so many people are so afraid to go to the dentist?  Why is it that I have so many people who come in and say: “Dr. Blazer, it’s nothing against you personally, but I really hate going to the dentist!”

Well, in my over 20 years of practice, I’ve learned some things from talking with fearful patients. First of all, they are afraid of pain. If they have a lot of dental problems, they are embarrassed to have me look in their mouths and see that they’ve been neglecting their oral health. They are worried how much it’s going to cost to fix their problem, but mostly they are afraid of pain.

Many of these patients have had bad experiences as children and that fear has carried over into adulthood. What they don’t realize is that dentistry has come a long way towards making visits more comfortable and pain free. The anesthetics we use today are more effective and now there’s even a medication that can make the numb feeling wear off in half the time!

Parents of my pediatric patients are amazed when their children emerge from their dental appointments not only having had a stress-free visit, but are asking when they get to come back again! Now, as a parent myself, I must admit I have mastered the art of distraction. When kids come in for appointments, they get to choose an age-appropriate movie to watch. They get to use headphones while they watch the movie. If necessary, laughing gas is also used. But the most important thing I do is COMMUNICATE with children. I tell and show them everything I’m going to do before I do it. If I think something is going to be even remotely uncomfortable for the patient, I tell them about it ahead of time. Children are remarkably cooperative and helpful if they know what to expect.
And I treat my adult patients the same way.   Basically I treat people the way I would want to be treated.   Adults get to choose movies and laughing gas is always available. For some exceptionally fearful patients, laughing gas is not enough, and they take a prescription medication for additional relaxation during appointments. Patients love watching movies during their appointments. It makes the time pass much more quickly. And it makes my job easier because I know they are relaxed and entertained.

I can tell you that emergency dentistry, the kind that you put off until you are in desperate pain, oftentimes costs significantly more than regular care. And if the only care you seek is when you are in pain, how will you ever experience the type of stress and pain free visit I’ve just described?

So what do you say? Maybe it’s time to take that first step towards dental health and call my office to make an appointment. You’ll be glad you did. For more information about my practice, spend some time on my website, www.drblazer.com.   Or you can read what patients are saying about us on dexknows.com.

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Dental Emergencies

Pediatric DentistryPicture this. Child #1 holds a metal baseball bat. Child #2 holds a basketball. Any veteran parent knows this is a prescription for disaster… Batting practice begins. Within minutes, before the veteran parent can say “Stop! Someone’s going to get hurt here!” , the bat makes contact with the basketball, ricochets off and hits child #1 in the mouth, breaking several front teeth. Accidents like this one happen every day, and knowing what to do can make the difference between saving and losing a tooth.

Dental emergencies occur more frequently in children and young adults, but can happen to anyone. Here are some simple precautions you can take to avoid injury.

When participating in a sport , it is important to wear a mouthguard to protect the teeth,lips and tongue. While simple mouthguards can be purchased in a drugstore, custom mouthguards made by a dentist fit much better. This better fit makes them more comfortable to wear, as well as being better protection. Many dental offices can make custom mouthguards on site.

If a tooth is knocked out completely, pick it up and avoid touching the root. Rinse off any debris with warm water (again without touching the root) and then put it back gently in the socket or a cup of milk. Contact your dentist immediately. Some dental offices have small bottles of sterile saline available for storing teeth knocked out in an accident. These are available for purchase, and are a must for any first-aid kit for parents or coaches.

If a tooth is broken or lips and tongue lacerated in an accident, rinse out with warm water, and apply an ice pack to control swelling. Contact your dentist immediately or go to the emergency room if there is a lot of bleeding.

To lessen the risk of breaking a molar, avoid chewing popcorn kernels, ice or hard candy. Do not use your teeth for anything other than chewing food. It is not uncommon for teeth with large silver fillings, especially molars, to break when chewing even soft foods. If you are noticing pain to chewing, it could be a sign that you have a cracked tooth or filling. It’s time to call your dentist before it gets worse!

Remember, a few simple precautions can lessen the risk of tooth loss or injury. But in the event of an accident, notify your dentist immediately. It can save a tooth! For more information about dental care, see our website, www.drblazer.com , where you can also link to the website for the American Dental Association.

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