Loose Dentures and Solutions

By admin @ Dec 12, 2014 | 0 comments

A loose denture is frustrating and at times embarrassing.  Before we get to the solutions, let's understand the problem with dentures.

  • The bite force generated by dentures is about 20% of that created by natural teeth.  So if this is your first denture or immediate denture, you are now experiencing 80% less biting force now.  That's significant!!  It's also hard to get used to especially after the healing time after extractions.
  • After extractions, your remaining ridge shrinks.  It reabsorbs.  About 80-90% of that bone loss occurs within the first 6 months.  A gap develops between the denture and the ridges losing suction.  After this time with an immediate denture, you will need a reline. 
  • The amount of bone lost varies from person to person.  Especially on the bottom ridge.  Some people have nice supporting ridges.  Others have flat ridges. 
  • Facial muscles play an important role.  Tight and strong muscles in the check or tongue and dislodge a denture.
  • Your bottom jaw moves.  A denture sitting on a flat ridge will move too when the jaw moves.
  • Gravity takes a toll on the upper denture.

So what can be done to solve these problems?  Most of the time a reline will solve the problem - especially on the uppers.  A reline to fill the gap cause by bone resorption will add suction.  The lowers might stabilize with a reline, but it depends on the ridge.  With a flat ridge, lower dentures may always be loose.  Implants can solve this.  Two large implants or four mini implants are placed into the bone.  Housing units are placed in the denture.  The denture snaps into the implants like the snaps on infant clothing.  Generally a uppers don't need implants, but they can be placed for addded retention.


Canker sores vs cold sores

By admin @ Dec 12, 2014 | 0 comments

Canker sores [apthous ulcers] are often confused with fever blisters [cold sores]. They are quite different, however. Canker sores are only found inside the mouth on the gums, cheeks, tongue or floor of the mouth. They cannot be transmitted from one individual to another.


Cold sores are found outside the mouth, usually on the lips but may appear on the chin, outside of the cheek or the nostrils. They begin as a red blister, burst and crust over. The cycle takes 7-14 days to heal. Cold sores, caused by the Herpes Simplex Virus, are contagious, being transmitted by skin-to-skin contact. The virus is dormant most of the time and is carried by almost everyone. Fever blisters occur most often in young adults and adolescents and decline in people over 35 years of age. Certain factors activate its outbreak, particularly stress, colds, fevers and/or sunburn.

To reduce occurrences, avoid kissing when the blisters are visible; don't squeeze or scrape the blister; wash your hands thoroughly before touching someone else; and use UV sunscreen on your lips before spending time in the sun.

Treatment of cold sores includes avoiding spicy and hot foods that will irritate them, application of phenol-containing over-the-counter ointments and administration of some anti-viral antibiotics that will shorten their duration but not prevent their outbreak.  With a quick visit to our office, we can prescribe this medication.

Canker sores begin as small red circular swellings that usually ulcerate [rupture] within a day, after which they become white, surrounded by reddish inflammation. They last 8-10 days. As open sores, they can be very painful to the touch. Canker sores afflict about 20% of the population. Their cause has yet to be discovered, although they appear to breakout more in stressful situations, from getting a small "nick" in the skin [mucous membrane] or from foods such as citrus fruits and tomatoes. While they can occur in very young children, they are usually first seen between the ages of 10-20. It's not uncommon for them to erupt 3-4 times a year, but they occur less frequently or stop all together in adults.

When experiencing canker sores, avoid rough textured or spicy foods that will irritate them. Try not to touch them with eating utensils or your toothbrush. Apply ointment that contains a topical anesthetic or some other active ingredient that will relieve the irritation. At our office we have Negatan which stops the irritation and starts the healing.

Afraid of the Dentist?

By admin @ Dec 12, 2014 | 0 comments

Afraid of the Dentist?  Enough to get a tattoo about it?  Well we recently saw this "dental tattoo" on someone's back.  Apparently the man had a bad experience with a visit to a dentist in the past.  

Amazing!  We especially love the 1800's assistant in the back with a power drill.   

Don't worry.  We strive to give each patient a pleasant experience at the office.  If anxiety is too high, we offer nitrous oxide or conscious sedation.  We have yet to be the inspiration of body art.  

Dental Folklore

By admin @ Dec 12, 2014 | 0 comments

People of ancient times believed that the stabbing pain of a toothache was caused by a toothworm, which either had appeared spontaneously or had bored its way into the tooth. If the tooth pain was severe, it meant that the worm was thrashing about, but if the aching stopped, then the worm was resting. Cultures all over the world, many of whom had no contact with each other, held stubbornly to this myth. The folklore of the toothworm persisted from ancient times to the beginning of the eighteenth century.

Folk Cures or Old Wives Tales

  • Bee: Honey, a product of bees, was used to coat an infected tooth in the Middle Ages. People smeared their aching teeth with honey and waited all night with tweezers in hand, ready to pluck out the toothworm.
  • Donkey: In ancient Greece, donkey’s milk was used as a mouthwash to strengthen the gums and teeth.
  • Fingernails:  Trim you fingernails on Friday, and that pesky toothache will be gone for a week.
  • Frog: Besides spitting in a frog’s mouth for toothache relief, these web-footed creatures were applied to a person’s cheek or to the head on the side of the ailing tooth.
  • Funerals:  Never eat anything when the funeral bell is tolling, or a toothache will follow.
  • Hard Boiled Egg:  If you placed a hard boiled egg anywhere in a teething baby's room, they would have an easier time.
  • Onion: In the Middle Ages a slice of onion was applied to the ear on the side of the aching tooth.
  • Rabbit:  A backwoods legend described helping a teething child.  Grandpa would go out and shoot a rabbit.  He would bring it back, slice the head open, and rub the "brain juice" on the baby's gums. 
  • Hard Boiled Egg:  If you placed a hard boiled egg anywhere in a teething baby's room, they would have an easier time.
  • Vanilla:  Poor pure vanilla extract from the bottle directly on the tooth.

If you've heard of some additional folklore or old wives tales, please let us know.  We highly recommend you don't attempt any of these treatments, but rather see a dentist for any dental complications.  They do not work especially the bunny brains on your teething child.
Reprinted with permission from "Toothworms and Spider Juice: An Illustrated History of Dentistry" – Loretta Frances Ichord, Millerbrook Press
Photo credit - Delta Dental

Dental Implant Important Facts

By admin @ Dec 12, 2014 | 0 comments

Considering Dental Implants? 

Important Facts to Help Make Your Choice 

Many people are unaware of the consequences of losing their teeth or the effects of wearing partial or full dentures upon their jaws and bones. When teeth are lost, the surrounding bone immediately begins to shrink [atrophy]. Implant treatment, for tooth replacement therapy, can be the optimal treatment plan. Here are some important facts to take into consideration to make the right choice. 

 Wearing dentures [plates] accelerates bone loss, and old dentures become loose because of this bone loss. It is possible to watch and wait for bone to disappear to the point where treatment success of any kind is in doubt.

 At the end of a five-year period, only 40% are still wearing the original partial denture made for them. This is not a great testimonial for value and utility. Those lucky enough to have a functioning partial denture after 5 years are still losing valuable supporting bone.

 Of those patients who wear a partial denture, 50% chew better without it.

 One study showed that after 8 years, 40% of the supporting teeth [abutments] that the partial hooks onto were lost through tooth decay or fracture.

 Patients with natural teeth can bite with about 200 pounds of force. Denture wearers can bite with approximately 50 pounds of force. Those wearing dentures for 15 years or more can bite with only about 6 pounds of force, and their diet and eating habits have had to been modified accordingly.

 The average lower full denture shifts from side to side approximately ? inch during chewing and is a significant problem that new denture wearers must get use to and accept.

 Denture wearers have decreased nutritional intake, a ten year shorter life span, and 30% of denture wearers can only eat soft foods.

 The single tooth implant success rate is above 98%, and unlike a bridge, the teeth adjacent to the implant are no more at risk than if no teeth were missing.

 Implant-supported bridges or dentures have 95% success rates over 10 years without the severe loss of supporting bone.

For bone maintenance, the health of adjacent teeth, the longevity of the restoration and patient comfort, implant therapy is the treatment of choice. Implants can restore chewing function to the equivalent of someone with natural teeth. Insurance companies are beginning to realize the importance of dental implants and have start to include them as covered procedures.  If you have questions or want to know if you are a good candidate for implant tooth replacement therapy, please call our office.

Photo used with permission: NobelBiocare

Thumb Sucking

By admin @ Dec 12, 2014 | 0 comments

Infants have a natural instinct to suck as a way of nourishing and soothing themselves. Often, this leads to the child sucking on their fingers, a blanket, a stuffed animal or their thumb. Usually, this habit is given up by age 4. If it continues, it can be extremely detrimental to the development of their teeth and jaws causing crooked teeth, an incorrect bite, speech problems and/or open-mouth breathing. This habit may result in psychological trauma if it continues into school age when the other children tease them.

What should a parent do?

  • Thumb sucking generally starts when a pacifier is taken away too early when the child is not ready to give it up.  Pacifiers are less likely to create the same developmental problems [by distributing forces over greater area], are usually discarded by the child at an earlier age and are easier to hide than a thumb.  Between age 1 and 2, limit the use of the pacifier to bedtime or as a reward (sometimes needed to calm the child).  It's best to use the pacifier before they discover their thumb.

  • Cut the rubber part off the pacifier (not in front of the child) and show it.  Tell them it's broken.  Let the child throw it in the garbage.  This allows the child to see that it's gone and the child took part in getting rid of it.  This works best if they haven't found the thumb as an alternative.

  • Use a little reverse psychology.  It's not fair to the other fingers that the thumb gets everything.  You have suck all the fingers at once or give each finger the same attention.  Use a timer, and the child usually gets tired of the process.  This works best if done by someone other than the parent.  The child knows the parent wants them to stop.

  • If the thumb sucking is during the day, discuss the problem with them to discourage the habit. Placing a band-aid on their thumb as a reminder may help. Be positive and praise them when they remember. And reward them for their success.

  • It is more difficult to control thumb sucking when the child is asleep, because the child is unaware of this involuntary action. So, try this habit-breaking technique that is usually successful within two weeks. Before your child goes to bed, wrap a 2-inch wide ace bandage lightly around their fully extended arm [straight]. Start about 3 inches from their armpit and continue down past the elbow. This will not prevent your child from putting their thumb into their mouth. However, as soon as they fall asleep, the tension created by bending the elbow will pull the thumb from their mouth.

If your child is still sucking on their thumb or anything else by the time their permanent teeth erupt [around age 6], please call it to the attention of our office.

Photo credit:  mychildhealth.net

More mobile phones than toothbrushes!

By admin @ Dec 11, 2014 | 0 comments

Did you know that 4.2 billion people have a toothbrush, but 5.1 billion people have a mobile phone subscription?  And no, there is not an app for that!

Famous Dentists

By admin @ Aug 16, 2011 | 0 comments
  • Edward Angle (1855-1930) - credited as the father of modern orthodontists.  He classified different abnormalities of teeth and jaws and developed treatments to fix them.
  • Steve Arlin (1945) - College world series most outstanding player for Ohio State University.   He played Major League Baseball for the San Diego Padres and Cleveland Indians.
  • Edgar Buchanan (1903-1979) - American actor mostly know as Uncle Joe Carson from the Petticoat Junction, Green Acres,and The Beverly Hillbillies television sitcoms.  He practiced dentistry until pursuing film at the age of 36.  His father and wife were both dentists.
    Famous Dentists
  • Barney Clark (1921-1983) - retired Seattle dentist that was the first human recipient of the Jarvik 7 heart at the University of Utah.  When he and his wife realized that his heart condition had no chance of survival without medical attention, decided to have the heart implant for the benefit of future advancements in medical technology.  He survived 112 days.
    famous dentists, salt lake city
  • Paul Lemaire d'Augerville  - French dentist who pioneered scuba diving equipment in 1820 by constructing a copper cylinder built into a backpack with a counter-lung.  It was also connected to an inflatable life jacket.  It was successfully used down to depths of 20 meters for up to an hour.
  • Pierre Fauchard (1678-1761) - French physician considered to be the father of modern dentistry.  He suggested that dental decay resulted from the consumption of sugar.  And that if left untreated, it would result in infections or tumors in the gums.  He introduced dental fillings as treatments and pioneered replacing teeth with prosthetics made from bone or ivory.
  • George Grant (1846-1910) - the first African American professor of Harvard and the inventor of the wooden golf tee.   He also invented the oblate palate - a prosthetic device aiding patients with cleft palate.

  • Isaac Greenwood (1730-1803) - first native-born American dentist.  Father of John Greenwood.
  • John Greenwood (1760-1819) - George Washington's dentist and designed his famous dentures made from hippopotamus tusks .  He is credited for the invention of the first known "dental foot engine."  He served in the Revolutionary war at the age of 14 yrs.
  • John Henry "Doc" Holiday (1851-1887) - studied dentistry at the Pennsylvania College of Dentistry and practiced in Georgia and then Texas.  He acquired a taste for gambling and a friendship with Wyatt Earp.  He also became an exceptional marksman.  He is most famous for the gunfight at the O.K. Corral in Tombstone, AZ.
    holladay utah dentist
  • Les Horvath (1921-1995) - winner of the Heisman Trophy as quarterback and halfback from Ohio State University.  He graduated from dental school in 1945 and practiced dentistry after playing for the Los Angeles Rams and Cleveland Browns.

  • Jim Lonborg (1942) - MLB pitcher for 15 years known as "Gentleman Jim".  In 1967, he helped lead the Boston Red Sox to the World Series with a 22 win season making 246 strikeouts.  He also received the Cy Young Award that year.  The Boston Red Sox Hall of Fame induced him in 2002.
  • Mahlon Loomis (1826-1886) - a Washington D.C. dentist credited with a wireless telegraph patent.
  • William Lowell (1863-1954) - a New Jersey dentist who commercialized the modern wooden golf tee.  His "Reddy Tee" noted for it's red color differed from previous tees because of its concave head to hold the ball.  He patented his design and signed a deal with the A.G. Spalding Company.  The company changed the material to celluloid.
  • William Morrison (1860-1926) - known for his invention of the first cotton candy machine.  He unveiled it at the World's Fair in 1904 giving him the nickname "Fairy Floss".
  • William Morton (1819-1868) - pioneered the use of ether as an anesthetic which turned into a lifelong obsession to be credited as the father of anesthesia.  Although he gave the first public demonstration of the use of ether, he was never honored with the title.  A replica of his device he used for anesthesia is shown below.
  • Friedrich "Fritz" Pfeffer (1889-1944) - German dentist who hid with Anne Frank.  His pseudonym in the Diary of Anne Frank was Albert Dussel.  He died in the Neuengamme concentration camp.
  • Paul Revere (1735-1818) - most famous for his midnight ride before the battles of Lexington and Concord.  He was skilled as a silversmith and was known to place ads in a Boston newspaper offering services as a dentist.  A good friend and patriot colonel, Dr Joseph Warren, was killed in the Battle of Bunker Hill.  His body was placed in a mass grave until unearthed by family members 10 months later.  Revere was able to identify the decomposed body by a wire in dental bridge he made for his patient.  Revere is known to be the first person to use dental forensics.
  • Hugo Sanchez (1958) - striker for the Mexican National Soccer Team playing in 3 World Cups.  He also played for Real Madrid gaining multiple championships and personal trophies.  One of his best goals is displayed here:
  • Albert P. Southwick (1926-1898) - dentist from Buffalo, New York who invented the electric chair as a form of execution.  After noticing a drunk man who quickly died after touching a live electric generator, he concluded that electricity would be an alternative form to executions.  The first execution by electric chair  was August 6, 1890 on William Kemmler who was convicted of murdering his mistress.
  • Lucy Hobbs Taylor (1833-1910) - first American female dentist.  She was originally denied entrance into the Ohio College of Dental Surgery in Cincinnati.  She studied privately with a professor and moved to Iowa.  After 3 years, she gained professional recognition and allowed to enter school in 1865.  After practicing for 21 years, she became active in campaigning for women's rights.
  • Thomas Welch (1825-1903) - founder of the Welch's Grape Juice Company.  He is credited for the inventing of a pasteurization process to prevent the fermentation of grape juice.  His purpose was to develop a non-alcoholic wine to be used for the at the sacrament in local churches.  
  • Horace Wells (1815-1848) - pioneered the use of anesthesia in dentistry most notably nitrous oxide.  His first attempt was an extraction on a traveling circus member who stated he felt nothing.  He attempted to prove his discovery to a local hospital where his attempt failed because it was administered improperly.  After his humiliation, he later successfully removed one of his own teeth, pain free, using the inhalant.  He eventually became addicted to numerous analgesics most notably chloroform and went insane.  One event included rushing into the street and throwing sulfuric acid onto the clothing of two prostitutes.  He was sent to prison where his addictions wore off.  After realizing what he did under the effects of chloroform, he asked to retrieve his shaving kit.  He grabbed his razor, inhaled an analgesic dose of chloroform, and committed suicide by slicing his femoral artery.
  • Byron McKeeby (1867 - 1950) - Iowa dentist best know for his inclusion as the male model in the painting American Gothic of the rural American midwest by Grant Wood.

Bite Into That

By admin @ Aug 16, 2011 | 0 comments

The human jaw can exert a average force of 160 pounds per square inch (psi).  The max force is around 930 psi on the back molars.  Denture wearers can only get up to 50 psi.  For comparison here are the max forces of some animals:

  • Tasmanian devil* - 200 psi
  • Well trained dog - 300 psi
  • Orangutans - 385 psi
  • White Shark - 700 psi
  • African Lion - 938 psi
  • Hyena - 1000 psi
  • Snapping Turtle - 1000 psi
  • Grizzly Bear - 1200 psi
  • Alligator - 2200 psi
  • Tyrannosaurus Rex - estimated 3000 psi
  • Megalodon (Ancient great white shark) - estimated 4000 psi

*  The strongest bite relative to body size - approx 20 lbs.

credit:  http://www.glapbta.com/BFBP.pdf

September 20th

By admin @ Aug 16, 2011 | 0 comments

On September 20th, China celebrates "Love your Teeth Day".  It's a national holiday promoting oral awareness among its 1.35 billion people.

In ancient China, people wrapped parchment around painful teeth which contained prayers and incantations hoping that would cure their pain.