Craig S. Karriker, DMD, P.A.- 400 South Granard Street, Gaffney, SC 29341, (864) 487-0710

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Posts for: August, 2012

By Craig S. Karriker, DMD, PA
August 30, 2012
Category: Oral Health
Tags: tooth pain   toothache  
DontLetToothPainLingermdashTheCostMayJustBeTooHigh

Tooth pain occurs when a trauma or infection triggers a reaction from the nerves inside a tooth's pulp chamber. The severity of the pain and its duration can vary depending on the underlying cause, which can include anything from a loose filling to an abscess. Ignoring symptoms not only results in unnecessary physical and emotional pain, but can also lead to more expensive dental treatment as problems become more complex. Make an appointment with our office today if you are experiencing any of the following symptoms:

  • Sharp pain when biting down on food — This type of pain could be indicative of a cracked tooth, loose filling, or tooth decay that is affecting one or more of your teeth. We can remove decay and replace a loose filling, but if your tooth is cracked, we will have to determine the location and depth of the crack before formulating a treatment plan. In some cases, root canal treatment or even extraction may be necessary.
  • Pain that lingers after eating hot or cold foods or liquids — Mild and short-term sensitivity (lasting only seconds or a minute) to hot and cold foods resulting from gum recession can often be soothed by using a fluoride toothpaste made for sensitive teeth. However, an inflamed tooth pulp or one that is dying due to severe decay could cause sensitivity that lingers for a long time after exposure. In this case, root canal treatment may be necessary to remove dying pulp tissue in order to save the tooth.
  • Constant severe pain and pressure, swelling of the gums, and sensitivity to touch — Infections and/or abscesses can spread from the tooth pulp into the surrounding periodontal tissues and bone causing this type of pain. Root canal treatment will most likely be required.
  • Dull ache and pressure on one or both sides of the face in the upper teeth region — The sinuses and upper back teeth share the same nerves, so, oftentimes, referred pain from sinus congestion or infection can feel like a toothache. A thorough examination can determine whether or not the pain is dentally related.

If you are experiencing tooth pain, call our office immediately so that we can begin to provide you with some relief. To read about other symptoms of tooth pain and possible treatment options, read the Dear Doctor magazine article “Tooth Pain? Don't Wait!


By Craig S. Karriker, DMD, PA
August 23, 2012
Category: Dental Procedures
Tags: oral health   tooth decay   oral hygiene   x-rays  
UnderstandingTheImportanceOfDentalX-Rays

Because our main goal is to help you maintain optimal oral health, we use the latest proven technologies, techniques, and treatments to ensure we achieve them. One tool, radiographs or x-ray pictures, has been around for a long time with an inordinate amount of scientific research backing up both its safety and value. Here's a brief summary of why.

X-rays are a form of electromagnetic radiation just like natural daylight, except that they can easily penetrate soft bodily tissues, such as skin and muscles, without causing any harm if used properly. And as you may have guessed, we use them to examine what we can't see with the naked eye. For example, they enable us to see inside tooth structure, bones, and joints of the jaws. This ability makes x-rays a critical tool that we rely upon to monitor your oral health.

How often you need x-rays really depends upon your individual health needs and often is different from family member to family member given their age and oral health. During adolescence, we may need to take x-rays more often, so we can closely monitor the development of the teeth and jaw to check for normal growth and abnormalities, which can be corrected with early diagnosis. We may also need to use x-rays to diagnose trauma if you or any family member has experienced injury or disease. This will enable us to ensure the correct treatment is given and, in fact, is working and that there are no other related concerns.

Today's ultra-sensitive technology uses extremely low dosage x-rays and ensures early diagnosis and monitoring of your oral and dental health in safety and with confidence.

Learn more about the safety of x-rays by reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “X-ray Frequency And Safety.” If you need to schedule an appointment, contact us today.


By Craig S. Karriker, DMD, PA
August 14, 2012
Category: Dental Procedures
ToothReplacementItsComeaLongWay

Twenty-first Century techniques can create a replacement for a missing or damaged tooth that looks exactly like a natural tooth and actually fuses with the bone of your jaw. How does this amazing technology work? Test your knowledge on these questions.

What is a dental implant?
A dental implant is actually a replacement for the root of a tooth. In the natural tooth, the root is the part of the tooth below the gum line that is suspended in the bone by ligaments that attach the root to the bone. An implant is a root like substitute that is directly attached to the bone by a process referred to as osteointegration. An implant crown is then attached to the implant and is the visible part that we see above the gum tissues.

What is a modern dental implant made of?
Most are made of titanium. This metal is not rejected by the body and in fact fuses with the bone in which the implant is anchored, making it extremely stable.

How long do implants last?
A successful implant can last a lifetime. Factors that can affect an implant's success are smoking, certain drugs, osteoporosis, a history of radiation treatment, or a compromised immune system. We will evaluate all your conditions of dental and general health before deciding on an implant for you.

What makes the crown look like a real tooth?
The new crown looks real if it matches the shape and color of adjacent natural teeth. Its appearance also depends on what we as dentists refer to as the emergence profile (the way the crown seems to emerge from the gum tissue).

What is the function of a temporary crown?
A customized temporary crown can allow details of color, shape, and emergence profile to be worked out during this “temporary” phase of treatment. It can also test whether the tooth will function correctly for speech, biting and chewing. After these details are worked out, the temporary crown can be used as a blueprint for the permanent one.

What is the first step to getting a dental implant?
Make an appointment with us for a full assessment, diagnosis, and plan for placing the implant and crown.

Contact us today to schedule an appointment to discuss any additional questions about dental implants. You can also learn more by reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “Dental Implants, Your Third Set of Teeth.”


By Craig S. Karriker, DMD, PA
August 13, 2012
Category: Dental Procedures
YourSmileDesignPerfectionvstheNaturalLook

We have noticed that there are two types of patients when it comes to enhancing a person's smile. One type, which we'll call the “Perfect Minded” patient, expects teeth that are completely regular in their arrangement and of maximum whiteness and brightness, often beyond the range of traditional guides for tooth color. They are looking for a perfect “Hollywood” smile. The other, the “Natural Minded” patient, is looking for a more natural look. This person expects a general sense of regularity and alignment of teeth with definite brightness, but not so much that the teeth are noticeable before and above other facial features. Which type are you?

The “Perfect Minded” Patient
While you expect maximum regularity and alignment of teeth along with maximum whiteness and brightness, the “perfect minded” patient requires a smile completely symmetrical (balanced from one side to the other). If we drew a vertical line down the center of your face (midline), it would fall directly between your front teeth and your smile would look just the same on each side of the line. You also expect your smile to be horizontally symmetric, so that it matches the curvature of your lower lip and the gum lines match from side to side.

The “Natural Minded” Patient
You are looking for a more subtle, natural look produced by including some minor irregularities in your look. Like the “Perfect Minded” individual, you still expect your teeth to be generally regular and well aligned but you also want to have some minor asymmetries (not matching) as you move farther back along your jaw to make your teeth look real. Your preference in tooth color is not a super shade of white, but for a tooth color that looks very natural for your facial skin and hair color.

There is no right or wrong here. What is important is to be sure to communicate your expectations to us before embarking on a program of smile redesign.

Contact us today to schedule an appointment to discuss your questions about Smile Design. You can also learn more by reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “Great Expectations — Perceptions in Smile Design.”


By Craig S. Karriker, DMD, PA
August 11, 2012
Category: Oral Health
Tags: dentures  
TestingYourKnowledgeonCaringforYourDentures

Whether you have worn dentures for years or they are new to you, knowing the proper way to care for them is critical. This is why we have put together this fun and insightful test so that you can see just how much you know.

After reading each of the following statements below, determine whether you think the statement is true or false. See below for the answers.

  1. Boiling your dentures at least once a week is an excellent way to sterilize them.
  2. With a proper fit, it is perfectly acceptable to wear your dentures continuously (24 hours per day).
  3. The bacterial biofilm that accumulates under a denture causes inflammation referred to as denture stomatitis.
  4. You should store your dentures immersed in water after cleaning or when not in your mouth.
  5. Once you have dentures (and no longer have any teeth), you really only need to schedule a dental appointment if you have a problem with your dentures or damage them.
  6. To best clean a denture, you should use a slightly abrasive cleanser and a firm toothbrush.
  7. The pressure from wearing dentures causes jawbone loss over time.
  8. The optimal method for cleansing your gums is to take a moistened washcloth and gently massage your gums two times each day.
  9. If you are careful, you can use denture cleaners while your false teeth are in your mouth.
  10. You should never use sodium hypochlorite bleach to clean your dentures.

Answers

1. False. You should never boil dentures. 2. False. You should not wear your dentures 24/7. 3. True. 4. True, as this prevents your dentures from warping. 5. False. Even though you may not have teeth, you need to visit our office at least once a year for a thorough examination and to ensure your dentures are fitting and functioning properly. 6. False. You should never use a firm toothbrush OR any type of abrasive cleanser to clean your dentures. 7. True. This is unfortunate, but a fact nonetheless. 8. True. 9. False, you should only use a denture cleanser outside of the mouth. 10. False. Sodium hypochlorite bleach is an excellent cleanser; however, you should never soak your dentures in this solution for periods that exceed 10 minutes.

To learn more tips, continue reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “Top Ten Tips For Denture Care & Maintenance.” Or you can contact us today to schedule an appointment to discuss your questions.