Online Dental Education Library

At Knierim Dental we strive to improve the overall health of our patients by focusing on preventing, diagnosing and treating conditions associated with your teeth and gums. Please use our dental library to learn more about dental problems and treatments available. If you have questions or need to schedule an appointment, contact us.

Add Years to Your Life in 60 Seconds per Day

    If you hate flossing your teeth, you have lots of company.  According to one market research study about 87% of people floss infrequently or not at all.   I hear all sorts of excuses:  "I don't have time," "I am too tired," (my favorite) and "It seems gross."  These excuses pale next to the benefits of flossing.  Brushing your teeth cleans only about 2/3 of the tooth surface.  The bacterial film that builds up between the teeth not only promotes bad breath but increases the risk of cavities, periodontal (gum) disease and tooth loss.  Contrary to what people believe, tooth loss is not an inevitable consequence of aging.  One of our famous sayings is, " You don't have to floss all your teeth, just the ones that you want to keep."  Recently it has been found that there is increasing scientific evidence linking periodontal disease to these five serious health problems.

1. Coronary Artery Disease and Stroke

Studies have shown that patients who suffer from coronary artery disease and stroke have a higher incidence of periodontal disease than the general public.  According to a recent Finnish study, patients with periodontal disease are 1.6 times more likely to experience a stroke.  Inflammation is believed to be the link.  Gum infections cause bacterial by-products to enter the bloodstream.  These trigger a cascade of events that inflame the arteries and promote the formation of blood clots.  Researchers are continuing to study this link.

2. Diabetes

In diabetic patients, untreated periodontal disease affects the control of sugar, thus putting them at an increased risk for complications.

3. Lung Disease

Bacteria that grow in the mouth can be breathed into the lungs, causing respiratory diseases, such as pneumonia.

4. Premature Birth

The American Academy of periodontology notes that pregnant women with periodontal disease are up to 7 times more likely than other women to give birth prematurely.

 

To prevent periodontal disease, flossing daily after brushing is highly recommended.  Make sure that the floss is in constant contact with the tooth surface as you go under the gum.  Your gums may bleed for the first two weeks until the plaque layer is broken up, bacteria are removed, and your gums heal.

60 seconds a night seems like a simple solution that could asdd years to your life.

 Attention Moms:

Do not use Anbesol or Orajel on your childrens gums when they are teething. The Food and Drug Administration has issued a warning against giving to children under age 2. These products contain benzocaine and are sold over the counter to relieve pain from teething or canker sores.  They can lead to methemoglobinemia- a potentially fatal condition in which the amount of oxygen in the bloodstream is reduced- even after a single use.  Symptoms, which include pale, gray or blue-colored skin, lips, and nail beds...headaches...light-headedness...and shortness of breath, usually appear within hours of application.  If affected, seek medical attention immediately.

THERE IS A NEW VILLAIN ON THE LOOSE

 

Oral cancer is on the rise in young adolescents between the ages of 15-24.  The reason is not the the usual:  smoking, chewing tobacco or alcohol.  The culprit is HPV (Human Papilloma Virus) type 16, a virus transmitted through oral sex.

            This year more than 30,000 Americans will be diagnosed with oral cancer.  7,500 will be mouth cancers and 10,500 will be throat cancers all caused by HPV.

            We have now extended our oral cancer exam to include this age group.  In our exam we look for any lesions on the back of the throat, inside the cheek and gums and on the tongue.

            We are looking into new devices that will enable us to see lesions before they are visible to the naked eye.  At this stage, they are more responsive to less invasive procedures.  By the time the lesion is visible to the naked eye, it is likely to require more invasive surgical procedures.

            Parents, I can’t emphasize enough how important it is to talk about HPV with your children.  It just isn’t a genital concern anymore.  For more information, Google: HPV ORAL CANCERS. 



Braces are applied to teeth for various reasons, including poorly aligned jaws, crooked, crowded and missing teeth, or a bad bite (also called malocclusion).

Various things can cause teeth to become crooked or jaws misaligned, including thumb-sucking or a traumatic injury. Some conditions are inherited.

Children between the ages of 7 and 14 are typical candidates for braces because their facial structures are still developing. Adult braces usually entail additional procedures because their faces have already fully developed.

About Braces

Orthodontics is a field of dentistry that deals with corrections involving jaw and teeth alignment.

Braces employ the use of wires and are usually one of three types:

  • Old-fashioned, conventional braces, which employ the use of metal strips, or bands.
  • Metal or plastic brackets that are cemented or bonded to teeth.
  • Brackets that attach to the back teeth (also called lingual braces).

Procedures

Orthodontic procedures, also called orthodontia, are complex processes.

In most cases, a dentist will need to make a plaster cast of the individual's teeth and perform full X-rays of the head and mouth.

After orthodontic appliances are placed, they need to be adjusted from time to time to ensure that they continue to move the teeth into their correct position.

Retainers are used following braces to ensure that teeth remain in position.

Aesthetic and Comfort Issues

Advances in technology have vastly improved appearance issues with orthodontia.

Braces today are made from extremely lightweight and natural-colored materials. The materials that braces attach to-brackets-are bonded to the surfaces of teeth but can be later removed.

People can expect to wear braces for about two years—less or more in some cases. Adults are usually required to wear braces for longer periods of time.

Because orthodontic appliances need to be adjusted from time to time to ensure they continue to move the teeth into their correct position, they can create pressure on the teeth and jaws. This mild discomfort usually subsides following each orthodontia adjustment.

Hygiene issues

People who wear braces must be diligent in ensuring that food particles and other debris do not get trapped in the network of brackets and wires. In addition, brackets can leave stains on enamel if the area surrounding them is not cleaned on a daily basis.

Daily oral hygiene such as brushing, flossing and rinsing are a necessity. Some people with orthodontic appliances can benefit from using water picks, which emit small pressurized bursts of water that can effectively rinse away such debris.

Another caveat: Braces and sticky foods don't mix. Crunchy snacks and chewy substances should be avoided at all costs because they can cause orthodontia to be loosened or damaged.

Space Maintainers

Space maintainers are helpful dental devices that can help teeth grow in normally following premature tooth loss, injury or other problems.

The devices can help ensure that proper spaces are maintained to allow future permanent teeth to erupt.

If your child loses a baby tooth early through decay or injury, his or her other teeth could shift and begin to fill the vacant space. When your child's permanent teeth emerge, there's not enough room for them. The result is crooked or crowded teeth and difficulties with chewing or speaking.