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. 



A denture is a removable replacement for missing teeth and adjacent tissues. It is made of acrylic resin, sometimes in combination with various metals.


Types of dentures



Complete dentures replace all the teeth, while a partial denture fills in the spaces created by missing teeth and prevents other teeth from changing position.

Candidates for complete dentures have lost most or all of their teeth. A partial denture is suitable for those who have some natural teeth remaining. A denture improves chewing ability and speech, and provides support for facial muscles. It will greatly enhance the facial appearance and smile.

Complete or full dentures are made when all of your natural teeth are missing. You can have a full denture on your upper or lower jaw, or both.

Complete dentures are called "conventional" or "immediate" according to when they are made and when they are inserted into the mouth. Immediate dentures are inserted immediately after the removal of the remaining teeth. To make this possible, the dentist takes measurements and makes the models of the patient`s jaws during a preliminary visit.

An advantage of immediate dentures is that the wearer does not have to be without teeth during the healing period. However, bones and gums can shrink over time, especially during the period of healing in the first six months after the removal of teeth. When gums shrink, immediate dentures may require rebasing or relining to fit properly. A conventional denture can then be made once the tissues have healed. Healing may take at least 6-8 weeks.

An overdenture is a removable denture that fits over a small number of remaining natural teeth or implants. The natural teeth must be prepared to provide stability and support for the denture.

Partial dentures are often a solution when several teeth are missing.

Removable partial dentures usually consist of replacement teeth attached to pink or gum-colored plastic bases, which are connected by metal framework. Removable partial dentures attach to your natural teeth with metal clasps or devices called precision attachments. Precision attachments are generally more esthetic than metal clasps and are nearly invisible. Crowns on your natural teeth may improve the fit of a removable partial denture and they are usually required with attachments. Partials with precision attachments generally cost more than those with metal clasps.



How are dentures made?



The denture process takes about one month and five appointments: the initial diagnosis is made; an impression and a wax bite are made to determine vertical dimensions and proper jaw position; a "try-in" is placed to assure proper color, shape and fit; and the patient`s final denture is placed, following any minor adjustments.

First, an impression of your jaw is made using special materials. In addition, measurements are made to show how your jaws relate to one another and how much space is between them (bite relationship). The color or shade of your natural teeth will also be determined. The impression, bite and shade are given to the dental laboratory so a denture can be custom-made for your mouth.

The dental laboratory makes a mold or model of your jaw, places the teeth in a wax base, and carves the wax to the exact form wanted in the finished denture. Usually a "wax try-in" of the denture will be done at the dentist`s office so any adjustments can be done before the denture is completed.

The denture is completed at the dental laboratory using the "lost wax" technique. A mold of the wax-up denture is made, the wax is removed and the remaining space is filled with pink plastic in dough form. The mold is then heated to harden the plastic. The denture is then polished and ready for wear.
 

Getting used to your denture



For the first few weeks, a new denture may feel awkward or bulky. However, your mouth will eventually become accustomed to wearing it. Inserting and removing the denture will require some practice. Your denture should easily fit into place. Never force the partial denture into position by biting down. This could bend or break the clasps.

At first, you may be asked to wear your denture all the time. Although this may be temporarily uncomfortable, it is the quickest way to identify those denture parts that may need adjustment. If the denture puts too much pressure on a particular area, that spot will become sore. Your denture can be adjusted to fit more comfortably. After making adjustments, you may need to take the denture out of your mouth before going to bed and replace it in the morning.

Start out by eating soft foods that are cut into small pieces. Chew on both sides of the mouth to keep even pressure on the denture. Avoid sticky or hard foods, including gum.
 

Care of your denture



It's best to stand over a folded towel or a sink of water when handling your denture, just in case you accidentally drop it. Brush the denture (preferably with a denture brush) daily to remove food deposits and plaque, and keep it from becoming permanently stained. Avoid using a brush with hard bristles, which can damage the denture. Look for denture cleansers with the American Dental Association (ADA) Seal of Acceptance. Pay special attention to cleaning teeth that fit under the denture`s metal clasps. Plaque that becomes trapped under the clasps will increase the risk of tooth decay.

Hand soap or mild dishwashing liquid to clean dentures is also acceptable. Other types of household cleaners and many toothpastes are too abrasive and should not be used for cleaning dentures. A denture could lose its proper shape if it is not kept moist. At night, the denture should be placed in soaking solution or water. However, if the appliance has metal attachments, they could be tarnished if placed in soaking solution.

Even with full dentures, you still need to take good care of your mouth. Every morning, brush your gums, tongue and palate with a soft-bristled brush before you put in your dentures. This removes plaque and stimulates circulation in the mouth. Selecting a balanced diet for proper nutrition is also important for maintaining a healthy mouth.
 

Adjustments



Over time, adjusting the denture may be necessary. As you age, your mouth naturally changes, which can affect the fit of the denture. Your bone and gum ridges can recede or shrink, resulting in a loose-fitting denture. Loose dentures can cause various problems, including sores or infections. Dentures that do not fit properly can be adjusted. Avoid using a do-it-yourself kit to adjust your dentures, as this can damage the appliance beyond repair. Glues sold over the counter often contain harmful chemicals and should not be used on a denture.

If your denture no longer fits properly, if it breaks, cracks or chips, or if one of the teeth becomes loose, see your dentist immediately. In many cases, dentists can make necessary adjustments or repairs, often on the same day. Complicated repairs may require that the denture be sent to a special dental laboratory.

Over time, dentures will need to be relined, re-based, or re-made due to normal wear. To reline or re-base a denture, the dentist uses the existing denture teeth and refits the denture base or makes a new denture base. Dentures may need to be replaced if they become loose and the teeth show signs of significant wear.
 

Common concerns



Eating will take a little practice. Start with soft foods cut into small pieces. Chew slowly using both sides of your mouth at the same time to prevent the dentures from tipping. As you become accustomed to chewing, add other foods until you return to your normal diet.

Continue to chew food using both sides of the mouth at the same time. Be cautious with hot or hard foods and sharp-edged bones or shells.

Some people worry about how dentures will affect their speech. Consider how your speech is affected when you have a number of your natural teeth missing.

Pronouncing certain words may require practice. Reading out loud and repeating troublesome words will help. If your dentures "click" while you`re talking, speak more slowly. You may find that your dentures occasionally slip when you laugh, cough or smile. Reposition the dentures by gently biting down and swallowing. If a speaking problem persists, consult your dentist.
 

Denture adhesives



Denture adhesives can provide additional retention for well-fitting dentures. Denture adhesives are not the solution for old, ill-fitting dentures. A poorly fitting denture, which causes constant irritation over a long period, may contribute to the development of sores. These dentures may need a reline or need to be replaced. If your dentures begin to feel loose, or cause pronounced discomfort, consult with your dentist immediately.