Category Archives: Dental


Sedation Dentistry: What, Why, And How?

Sedation dentistry, also known as sleep dentistry is now gaining popularity in the field of dentistry. It has gained popularity particularly because it allows a patient to undergo any dental procedure without feeling and seeing anything. Sedation dentistry is especially useful for people with dental phobia. However, sedation dentistry can only be done after a thorough medical examination. The dentist has to make sure first that the patient does not have any other medical conditions like hypertension and respiratory diseases that may result in complications.

Sedation can be done through a variety of ways such as general anesthesia, oral sedation, IV sedation, and through the use of nitrous oxide.

General Anesthesia

General Anesthesia is usually the last option in sedating a dental patient as it is more complicated and risky than other sedating methods. A patient given a general anesthesia is completely asleep during the entire process. Most of the time general anesthesia is administered through injection and/or face mask. General anesthesia is only recommended to patients with severe dental phobia, and those with high tolerance for sedative.

Oral Sedation

Oral Sedation is done by letting the patient drink a pill or liquid sedative. Unlike, general anesthesia, oral sedation does not put the patient to sleep. It only calms down the patient enough to undergo the dental procedure. Oral sedation is sometimes done in combination with inhalation of nitrous oxide.

IV Sedation

IV sedation, similar to oral sedation, does not put the patient asleep, rather it only has calming effects. The only difference between the two methods is the manner by which the sedative is administered. While oral sedation is done through oral intake of sedative, IV sedation, on the other hand, is done by directly injecting the sedative to the patient’s vein. The syringe containing the sedative is injected either in the patient’s arm, or in the back of the hand. The sedating effect is felt faster by the patients using this method than those using oral sedation. Moreover, throughout the dental procedure, the patient’s pulse and oxygen level will be monitored. A patient who has undergone IV sedation might have to take some time in the office before leaving to make sure that the sedative has completely worn off.

Nitrous Oxide

Nitrous Oxide, also known as laughing gas, is the most common method of dental sedation. The gas is simply inhaled by the patient to reduce anxiety before and during the dental procedure. The patient will remain conscious, and be able to respond to questions. Some patients may experience a slight tingling sensation on their arms and legs.

Through the help of modern technology in the field of medicine, it is now possible to undergo a dental procedure, or even a dental surgery without feeling any pain.

What Is Oral And Maxillofacial Surgery?

Oral refers to the mouth. Maxillofacial refers to the upper jaw and face, and to the adjacent neck and head. Oral and maxillofacial surgery refers to surgical procedures undertaken by surgeons and specialist dentists in the oral and maxillofacial regions.

Oral and maxillofacial surgery is a specialized field bridging medicine and dentistry. It seeks to diagnose and address medical conditions that affect the neck, face, jaws and mouth. These diseases include impacted teeth, temporomandibular joint disorders, tumors and cysts of the jaws, cancers affecting the head and neck, facial pain, facial disproportion, salivary gland diseases, and mouth infections and ulcers.

An oral or a maxillofacial surgeon does not just remove teeth. They are trained in both dentistry and medicine to do various complex procedures ranging from complicated tooth extractions, to bone grafts, and treatment of cleft palate and mouth cancers.

Oral and maxillofacial surgery includes cosmetic and surgical procedures conducted to correct problems with the neck, jaws, mouth and facial structures. It includes correction of cleft palates, as well as rebuilding foreheads, cheeks, jaws, noses, and eye sockets damaged in accidents. It also includes removing wisdom teeth and tumors and cysts found in the jaws, doing dental implants and bone grafts to improve facial appearance, and cosmetic surgery, both elective and reconstructive in nature.

Oral and maxillofacial surgery requires extensive education and training. An oral and maxillofacial surgeon is a graduate of an accredited dental university. They have completed between four to seven years of intensive medical and surgical training through a hospital-based residency program. The broad intensive training prepares them to do an extensive range of complex oral and maxillofacial surgical operations effectively.

What are the procedures that an oral and maxillofacial surgeon usually do?

– Teeth extraction

An oral and maxillofacial surgeon removes not only broken down teeth, but also those that are difficult to remove, particularly impacted wisdom teeth.

– Jaw surgery or orthognathic surgery

Orthognathic surgery helps in addressing problems with the temporomandibular jaw joint, as well as other jaw problems. The surgeon realigns the jaws, and sometimes does orthodontic braces as well as part of the solution.

– Surgeries to correct birth defects

An oral surgeon helps children born with cleft palate and cleft lip by doing reconstructive surgery.

– Facial reconstruction

An individual whose looks are damaged by an accident usually goes to an oral and maxillofacial surgeon for facial rehabilitation.

– Dental implants

An oral surgeon may do the surgical part of an implant. A prosthodontist or dentist will usually take care of putting on the crown.

Other procedures that an oral and maxillofacial surgeon can do are removal of benign cysts and tumors, removal of cancerous growths located in the head, mouth, or neck, rhinoplasty and other cosmetic procedures involving the neck, mouth and jaw, treatment of facial blemishes through laser surgery and treatment of sleep apnea.

Treatments For Gum Disease

Depending on the current stage of your gum disease, your overall health, and your response to earlier treatments, various treatment options may be applicable. These may range from non-surgical treatments intended to stop the growth of bacteria, to restoring supportive tissues via surgery.

Non-Surgical Gum Disease Treatments

Professional Dental Cleaning – Plaque and tartar are removed from below and above the gum line during a routine dental visit. The procedure may be recommended to be done at least twice a year if you start to exhibit signs of gum disease. While the procedure is not one of the recommended treatments for active gum disease, it is a vital preventive measure.

Scaling and Root Planing – Performed under local anesthetics, the procedure is done by scraping away (scaling) tartar and plaque around the gum line, and smoothening (planing) the rough spots on the root of the tooth. Scaling and root planing may be recommended if your periodontist deems it necessary to immediately remove tartar and plaque around your gums before further damage can be done.

Surgical Gum Disease Treatments

Pocket Reduction/Flap Surgery – In this procedure, tartar is removed by lifting the gums back. Some cases may require smoothening of irregular surfaces on the affected bone to limit the areas where bacteria can thrive. The gum tissues are then fitted around the tooth snugly. The result is a reduced space between the tooth and gum, and effectively lessens the risk of periodontal disease.

Bone Graft – Using donated bone, synthetic bone, or the patient’s own bone, the bone ravaged by gum disease is replaced through a bone graft procedure. The graft acts as a platform for the bone regrowth that will eventually bring back the stability of the teeth.

Soft Tissue Graft – During the procedure, thin gums or gaps created by receded gums, are reinforced. The grafted tissue, usually taken from the palate, is stitched into place, effectively adding more tissue to the damaged area.

Guided Tissue Regeneration – The procedure is performed when the supporting bone of the tooth is severely damaged. Guided tissue regeneration stimulates gum tissue and bone growth, and is typically done in conjunction with flap surgery.

Bone Surgery – The procedure involves smoothening of the shallow bone craters caused by moderate to advanced stages of bone loss. After the flap surgery, reshaping is performed on the bone supporting the tooth to reduce the craters. Thus, it would be more difficult for bacteria to accumulate and develop.

In some cases of gum disease, non-surgical procedures such as scaling and root planing would be enough to curb the progress of the disease. However, in cases where the tissues that surround the teeth are unhealthy, and can no longer be repaired by non-surgical procedures, surgical gum treatments may be required.

Reasons To Have A Dental Cleaning

You brush and floss your teeth. You control your intake of sugar-rich pastries, and starchy breads. You make sure that you have sufficient fluoride to strengthen your teeth. Why do you still have to go to the dentist for checkups and dental cleaning? Here are some of the top reasons:

1. Prevents cancer

When you visit your dentist for your regular check up and cleaning, he also does some tests to screen you for oral cancer. These tests make early diagnosis possible, thereby increasing your chances of survival.

2. Prevents gum disease

Gum disease infects the bone and gum tissues that prop up your teeth, and keep them in place. The disease can lead to tooth loss. However, if your dentist is able to diagnose gum disease during its onset (gingivitis), he can treat it immediately, and reverse its effects.

If you do not visit your dentist regularly, you may not be able to tell that you have gum disease. The disease can progress, and become more severe (periodontitis), a stage where the disease becomes more difficult to treat.

3. Prevents dental caries

Plaque, the whitish film of bacteria that accumulate on your teeth, is the number one cause of dental caries. It manufactures acids that eat at the tooth enamel, producing cavities. Your dentist can clean your teeth intensively through scaling or root planing to remove even the most stubborn form of plaque.

4. Make your smile bright

Do you drink tea or coffee regularly? Do you smoke? Substances like tea, coffee, tobacco, and nicotine promote tooth discoloration. Your dentist can remove deep and obstinate stains so that you have whiter teeth and a brighter smile.

5. Make your breath clean and fresh

You prevent halitosis or bad breath by taking good care of your teeth. When you get your teeth professionally cleaned by your dentist, you get a deeper clean and a fresher, sweeter-smelling breath.

6. Maintain general sense of well-being

Research shows that having healthy and problem-free teeth adds to your general state of wellness. Moreover, dental cleaning tends to bring down your risk for health conditions, like stroke and heart disease. Your dentist can also use a routine dental exam to detect the initial stages of many diseases that, when not detected early enough, may become life-threatening.

7. Save money

Many dental health insurance plans require low or even no coinsurance or copayments for oral checkups and dental cleaning. When you go for regular dental visits and cleaning twice a year, you safeguard your teeth and gums from decay. You circumvent the need for complicated and expensive dental treatments. In the long run, you stand to save money.

8. Identify dental problems for early treatment

If you get dental cleaning every six months or so, your dentist can identify signs of problems early on. He can treat these problems right away before they become worse. If you fail to make regular visits to your dentist, these problems may escalate without your knowledge. When you start to feel severe pain and have no choice but to consult with your dentist, he may not be able to repair the damage through the use of simple interventions. He may not have any option but to do serious and expensive procedures like do a root canal, cut your gums open, or remove your teeth.