Friday, May 30, 2014

Digital Radiographs (X rays)

Digital Radiography is a high tech replacement for traditional dental X rays.

 Thanks to modern upgrades in dental technology, patients receive dental treatment  without the pain and time associated with traditional dentistry.

With digital radiography, a sensor is inserted into the mouth to capture images of the teeth.  The image captured is projected on a screen for immediate viewing without the waiting  associated traditional film developing.

Once projected on the screen, images can be enlarged, magnified for more accurate diagnosing of hard to see lesions.  The same images can be electronically transferred to specialists and other health care facilities without duplicating procedures.

Another benefit to digital radiation techniques is a significant reduction of radiation exposure, a significant health benefit to those with radiation  exposure concerns. Digital X rays use up to 90% less radiation than traditional film X rays

Digital x rays are also better for the environment because there are no harmful chemicals involved in their processing.

"Although it requires a sizable initial investment in equipment, more than 50% of the dental offices in USA have adopted digital radiography because of the added safety and time saving features," says Dr. Cherukuri from her Chino, California dental practice.

Friday, May 23, 2014

How Often Should Dental X rays be Taken?

Dental Radiographs are necessary to help diagnose problems not visible to the naked eye.

 Cavities in between teeth,  progression of decay, periodontal health and bone loss, tooth eruption patterns, orthodontic evaluation and development, bone anomalies and endodontic status are  some of the conditions requiring radiologic investigation for diagnosis.

Taking radiographs for  a new patient visit are required  for a thorough determination of present status and to help analyze changes that may occur later. A visual intra oral exam is fairly limited in value and is generally used for a quick overview of assessment.

The schedule for needing X rays (radiographs) at recare visits varies according to age, risk for disease, signs and symptoms.  Children need radiographs more frequently than adults.  This is because teeth and jaws are still developing and also because young teeth are more likely to be affected by tooth decay.

A review of the patient's health history and an examination of the mouth help in determining the type and  number of X rays.

Tune in next week for more information on Digital x rays------- or Visit for more dental topics.

Friday, May 16, 2014

Treatment for Mouth Ulcers

Most mouth ulcers are harmless and resolve by themselves in a few days. Other types of mouth ulcers, such as the apthous variety or those caused by herpes simplex infection, need medical treatment. There is no cure in the treatment of ulcers but the symptoms can be managed and the risk of complications reduced.

The range of treatment options includes:
  • Avoid spicy and sour foods until the ulcers heal.
  • Drink plenty of fluids.
  • Regularly rinse your mouth out with warm, slightly salted water.
  • Keep your mouth clean.
  • Take pain-killing medication
  • Apply antiseptic gel to the ulcers.
  • Use a medicated mouthwash.
  • Use steroid gels or tablets where indicated especially in an auto immune condition
  • Treat apthous ulcers with anti-inflammatory drugs.
  • Treat ulcers caused by the herpes simplex virus with anti-viral drugs.
  • Treat oral thrush with anti-fungal drugs.
  • Immunosuppressant drugs are sometimes required.
Use of lasers in the treatment of mouth sores is emerging but the science behind this modality is yet to be substantiated says Dr. Cherukuri from her Chino, California dental practice.

Friday, May 9, 2014

Mouth Sores

Canker Sores

The specific cause of canker sores is unknown, but many things may contribute to their development, such as certain medications, trauma to the mouth, poor nutrition, stress, bacteria or viruses, lack of sleep, sudden weight loss, and certain foods such as potatoes, citrus fruits, coffee, chocolate, cheese, and nuts.
Canker sores may also be related to a temporarily reduced immune system because of a cold or flu, hormonal changes, or low levels of vitamin B12 or folate. Even biting the inside of the cheek or chewing a sharp piece of food can trigger a canker sore.
Canker sores may result from a genetic predisposition and are considered an autoimmune disease; they are not contagious. 
About 20% people in the U.S. will have canker sores at some point during their lifetime -- women more often than men.

Cold Sores

Cold sores are caused by a virus called herpes simplex type 1. Unlike canker sores, cold sores are contagious from the time the blister ruptures to the time it has completely healed. The initial infection often occurs before adulthood and may be confused with a cold or the flu. Once the person is infected with the virus, it stays in the body, becoming dormant and reactivated by such conditions as stress, fever, trauma, hormonal changes and exposure to sunlight.
When sores reappear, they tend to form in the same location. In addition to spreading to other people, the virus can also spread to another body part of the affected person, such as the eyes or genitals.
Look for treatment options in my blog next week.- Dr. Cherukuri

Friday, May 2, 2014

Sensitive Teeth!

Sensitive teeth may be caused by many things, including cavities, a cracked tooth, worn tooth enamel, worn fillings, and exposed tooth roots. If a cavity, filling, or cracked tooth is behind this hypersensitivity, your dentist can rectify the situation by filling the cavity, replacing the filling, or fixing the fractured tooth. However, if your dentist determines that cavities and fractured teeth are not the source of the problem, then the cause could be either worn tooth enamel or an exposed tooth root.
All healthy teeth are composed of three layers of substances: enamel, cementum, and dentin. Enamel, the strongest substance in the body, protects the tooth’s crown, making up the top layer. Cementum, the middle layer, protects the tooth root under the gum line. Dentin, which can be found under the enamel and cementum, is the least dense part of the tooth. When the dentin loses its protective covering, hot and cold foods, as well as acidic or sticky foods, stimulate the nerves and cells inside the tooth, leading to hypersensitivity and discomfort.

Dentin can also be exposed when gums recede, leading to sensitivity near the gum line. Good oral hygiene is the best way to prevent gums from receding and causing hypersensitivity. Flossing regularly and brushing correctly—using a soft-bristled brush and not brushing too roughly, which can injure the gums and expose tooth roots—can help keep your gums healthy and prevent them from receding.
In the interim, desensitizing toothpastes may help reduce your discomfort. These toothpastes contain compounds that help block transmission of sensation from the tooth surface to the nerve. However, you should note that several applications are required before sensitivity is reduced.
Additionally, if desensitizing toothpastes do not offer you relief, your dentist may be able to treat you using in-office techniques, such as applying a fluoride gel that strengthens the tooth enamel and reduces the transmission of sensation. If you suffer from receding gums, your dentist may be able to “seal” the sensitive teeth by using agents, composed of plastic material, that bond to the tooth root.

Regardless of the severity of your sensitivity and discomfort, and even if desensitizing toothpastes temporarily alleviate the pain, you should visit your dentist to determine the cause of the sensitivity. Doing this will not only allow you to enjoy that ice cream cone pain-free, but it will help head off any conditions, such as exposed roots, that if left untreated could eventually require further treatment, such as a root canal.