The Christiana Center for Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery

Oral Health: Get Your Oral Cancer Screening

An old couple smiling

Did you know that mouth cancer is the sixth most common cancer worldwide? The sad truth is that oral cancers are more than twice as common in men as in women, and the fastest growing group of oral cancer patients are young, healthy, nonsmoking individuals. Now is the time to be proactive and get yourself checked for oral cancer.

Remember—early detection saves lives! It is more important than ever for young adults, as well as older men and women, to get regular screenings whether they think they’re at risk or not.

What are the risks?
Knowing the risks can help you make educated decisions about your health. There are several risks that increase your chances of developing oral cancer:
• Smoking and using tobacco products are a known long-term historic cause of oral cancer.
• Heavy alcohol usage also makes you more susceptible to develop oral cancer.
• The HPV virus, a sexually-transmitted disease, is the leading cause of oropharyngeal (the back part of the mouth) cancer.

What are the signs and symptoms?
The mouth is one of the body’s most crucial early warning signs in the fight against oral cancer. In between regular dental visits, it’s important to be aware of the mouth’s signs and symptoms. Remember, if you see any of these signs or symptoms, schedule an appointment at the office if you don’t see improvement within two-three weeks:
• Hoarseness, chronic sore throat, or change in voice
• The development of white, red, or speckled (white and red) patches in the mouth
• Lumps, thickening tissues, rough spots, crusty or eroded areas
• Difficulty chewing or swallowing, speaking, or moving the jaw or tongue
• A change in the way your teeth or dentures fit together when you close your mouth
• Dramatic weight loss
• Unexplained numbness, loss of feeling, or pain/tenderness in any area of the face, mouth, or neck
• Unexplained bleeding in the mouth

Don’t wait any longer. Be proactive about your oral health, and get checked today!

Wisdom Teeth Aftercare

Woman smiling

Having your impacted wisdom teeth removed is a serious surgical procedure, and post-operative care is extremely important! Read on for instructions on how to care for your sore mouth, and how to minimize unnecessary pain and complications.

Immediately Following Surgery:
Keep a firm, yet gentle, bite on the gauze packs that have been placed in your mouth to keep them in place. You can remove them after an hour if the bleeding is controlled. If the surgical area continues to bleed, place new gauze for another 30 to 45 minutes.

Do Not:
• Rinse vigorously
• Probe the area
• Smoke (hopefully you don’t!!)
• Participate in strenuous activities

You Can:
• Brush gently (but not the area)
• Begin saltwater rinses 24 hours after surgery (mix 1 tbs of salt with 1 cup of water).
• Make sure to swish gently. These rinses should be done 2-3 times a day, especially after eating.

Enjoy some down-time! Keep activity level to a minimum! Enjoy a day of couch or bed-rest, as being active could result in increased bleeding. Avoid exercise for 3-4 days, and when you do begin exercising again, keep in mind your caloric intake has been reduced so you may feel weaker. There are also some diet restrictions to keep in mind!

Avoid:
• Extremely hot foods
• Straws (for the first few days)
• Chewing (until tongue sensation has returned)
• Smaller foods that can become stuck in the socket area
• Skipping meals—while eating may seem like a lot of work, you need your nourishment to be able to heal and feel better!

Swelling is a completely normal occurrence. Keep in mind, swelling will usually be at it’s worst in the 2-3 days after surgery. You can minimize swelling by applying a cold compress (covered with a towel) firmly to the cheek next to the surgical area. Apply the pack with 20 minutes on, and 20 minutes off for the first 24-48 hours.

Since no two mouths are alike, do not take advice from friends (even well-intended advice could cause a healing set-back). The advice given to you from your doctor and team are tailored to fit your needs. Please call us if you have any questions or concerns about your recovery. Happy healing!

Flossing: Absolutely Necessary!

Woman with curly hair and glasses smiling with folded arms

Yes, You Still Have to Floss. No, the dance move “flossing” does not count. The AP recently released an article making the claim that “there’s little proof that flossing works”. Their review cited a series of studies that found flossing does little or nothing to improve oral health. Here’s the problem: the studies were flawed. The AP concluded that floss does little for oral health, but it’s important to note that the evidence they cited was very weak at best. In fact, they said so themselves.

As acknowledged by the AP, many of these studies were extremely short. “Some lasted only two weeks, far too brief for a cavity or dental disease to develop” (Associated Press). They also say that “One tested 25 people after only a single use of floss” (Associated Press).

Of course, the evidence is unreliable. You don’t simply develop gum disease because you forgot to floss yesterday. Cavities and gum disease do not happen overnight. Gum disease is preventable by maintain great oral health habits for a long period of time. Lets put it this way: If a study claims drinking milk does nothing for bone health, but draws conclusions after only three glasses of milk, is it a reliable study?

The fact of the matter is floss removes gunk from teeth. You can see it. Gunk feeds bacteria which leads to plaque, cavities, poor gum health, and eventually gum disease. Floss has the ability to reach the food particles that your brush can’t get to. Using a sawing motion instead of moving up and around the teeth to clean the cracks. Positive results come from correct use and it’s critical that people learn to use a tool properly before discarding it as useless.

That’s just what floss is: a tool. Just like your toothbrush, it is designed to keep your mouth clean, and therefore keep your body safe from infection. Both your toothbrush and floss are designed to do what the other can’t, and both successfully remove bacteria from your mouth. Just like proper brushing technique, it is important that you know how to use floss properly, so that you can reap the long-term health benefits of good oral hygiene.

Oral hygiene is a long-term process and requires long term observations to make worthwhile conclusions. In the meantime, it’s obvious that you should continue to do everything you can to protect your well-being, and floss is one of many tools that can help you do that. If you would like a refresher on the best, most efficient techniques for floss use feel free to call our office today

How to Take Care of Your Dental Implant

take care of your dental implant

Cleaning and taking care of your implant is just as important as cleaning your natural teeth. Here are some things you should know about caring for your implant.

Your implant and your natural teeth are similar because they both rely on healthy tissue for support! Just like with real teeth, plaque buildup can be harmful. It’s important to remove that plaque because it can develop into an infection. If the infection isn’t properly treated, it can result in a loss of bone around the implant which could progress to the loss of the implant itself.

It’s important to get your teeth cleaned on a regular basis so your dental hygienist can get biofilm off your teeth and keep your teeth infection-free. As always, you should be brushing your teeth and flossing twice a day.

Dental implants are the closest thing you can get to real and natural teeth. They don’t require any special products or treatment, just a simple brush and floss will do the job! If they are properly cared for, they can last a lifetime, avoiding any further dental work down the road.

With a dental implant, you can still enjoy all your favorite foods. It will not loosen or fall out if you are chewing something hard.

Overall, dental implants are meant to make life better and easier! You don’t have to go out of your way to take care of them – a simple brush and floss will ensure that they improve your overall quality of life for many years to come.

If you think a dental implant may be right for you, call The Christiana Center for Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery P.A. at 302-292-1600 to schedule a consultation!

Wisdom Teeth: Questions Answered

Wisdom-Teeth--Questions-Answered

 

If you or your child are getting your wisdom teeth removed, you must have questions! We are here to make you feel as comfortable as possible. As always, if you have other questions feel free to contact us. We are more than happy to help you understand more on your upcoming procedure. Read on for some frequently asked questions:

1. Why do we have Wisdom Teeth?

Centuries ago our human ancestors used wisdom teeth to help them grind up tough food, like leaves and roots. Their jaws were larger and had more room for extra molars. As we evolved, our diets changed to include softer foods. The third molars became unnecessary as our jaws became smaller.

2. Why do I need to have my wisdom teeth removed?

There are several reasons why you would need your wisdom teeth extracted, as they can cause a variety of complications.
• Impaction: If there is not enough room in your mouth, your wisdom teeth will become impacted and grow at an angle. This can cause problems such as pain and discomfort while eating.
• Damage to other teeth: Your impacted tooth can begin pushing against your second molars, causing potential tooth decay.
• Disease: Spaces between the impacted tooth and your molars allows room for bacteria to grow, putting you at risk for inflammation, cysts, and periodontal (gum) disease.

3. When should I get my wisdom teeth removed?

Wisdom teeth usually come out between the ages of 17- 25, and are typically removed during your high school years. The longer you wait, the more complications that may arise. The root will continue growing and can cause potential permanent nerve damage.

4. When are wisdom teeth okay to keep?

If there is enough room for them to erupt correctly without causing any damage, then they are safe to keep. It is also important to note that not everyone is born with all four wisdom teeth, as evolution has been removing them for generations.

We hope this article has helped you, and if you have any other questions please contact us. Everyone’s teeth are different, and we want to make sure we take the right course of action for your wisdom teeth.

When Should You Consider Dental Implants?

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Dental implants typically consist of three components: the post, the abutment, and the restoration. The post is a screw which is inserted into the bone. The abutment is attached to the post and the restoration is placed on top, giving the finished product a beautiful, realistic look.

Dental implants are an effective way to replace missing or damaged teeth, but when is getting a dental implant the best option for you? There are a few circumstances where receiving an implant might be the best option for improving your smile.

To restore and preserve your appearance
One of the main functions of dental implants is to restore a smile back to its original glory. They are built to last a lifetime, and last much longer than dental bridges. If you are looking for a permanent solution to damaged or missing teeth, dental implants are your best option.

To protect and preserve a healthy jawbone
Missing spaces in your smile can lead your jawbone to deterioration. Dental implants are the only option which will protect and save your natural bone. Waiting to get a dental implant can continue to increase the chances of your jawbone not being able to support dental implants in the future.

To stop your teeth from shifting
Losing a tooth can cause the surrounding teeth to shift and look unnatural. These teeth can become crowded or can be shifted unevenly. This can cause your teeth to become harder to clean and can also cause your face to sag and appear sunken.

These are just a few of the instances in which you should consider getting dental implants. Dental implants are one of the most useful and successful restoration options available today. For more information on how we can restore your smile with dental implants, contact our practice today at Christiana Hospital Location Phone Number 302-292-1600 !

Benefits of Straight Teeth

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Many people believe that straight teeth are just for cosmetic purposes. However, there are many health benefits that accompany a beautiful smile. Read on for more information on how a straighter smile can help you be a healthier person!

1. Easy Maintenance

Simply put straight teeth are easier to clean. Crooked and crowded teeth make it more difficult to brush away and debris. It is also more likely for bacteria to grow in the pockets, causing possible tooth decay if not cleaned properly.

2. Avoiding Inflammation and Infection

When teeth are not aligned, they can irritate the gums and cause inflammation. Inflamed gums can be a characteristic of periodontal disease, which can be very serious. We can help prevent this by straightening your teeth.

3. The Mouth-Body Connection

In addition to the damage caused to gums, periodontal disease is also linked to other diseases in the body including heart disease, diabetes, and stroke. Periodontal disease occurs when bacteria builds up and begins to wear away your gums. Straight teeth will reduce the risk of these disease’s and health issues.

4. Straight Teeth are Safe Teeth

Straight teeth are safer because they are less likely to get chipped or damaged. When everything is correctly lined up, there is less surfaces that are sticking out and exposed to potential harm.

A healthy set of teeth leads to more confidence on top of all the health benefits. Beautifully aligned smiles are associated with increased self-confidence and lowered stress. When stress is lowered, your body is able to function better as a whole. Start reaping the benefits of a healthy, straight smile! Schedule an appointment by calling us today! We look forward to helping you get started.

Wisdom Teeth: Recovery Tips

Wisdom Teeth- Recovery Tips

 

Wisdom Teeth are the back molars that come in last, usually between the ages of 18-25. These molars are typically removed due to lack of space that can cause shifting of the surrounding teeth. If you are experiencing pain and discomfort, you may need to have your wisdom teeth removed. Below are a few things to keep in mind following a successful wisdom teeth removal surgery.

What to Expect:

Wisdom teeth removal can be uncomfortable to some degree; however the amount of pain varies from person to person and how many teeth are removed. It’s important to note that the anesthesia wears off approximately six hours after the procedure, which is when you may need to use the pain medication your doctor has prescribed.

Foods to Eat:

Eating after having your wisdom teeth removed can be difficult, as you will most likely not be able to eat your typical foods. We always suggest to stock up on soft foods beforehand so that you’re adequately prepared. Below are a few suggestions:

• Applesauce
• Jell-O or Pudding
• Yogurt
• Oatmeal
• Soup
• Mashed Potatoes
• Smoothie

Foods to Avoid:

There are quite a few foods to be on the lookout for, as they can cause a significant delay in healing time and potentially cause complications.

• Anything that can get stuck in the extraction site, irritate the gums, or reopen the stitches (i.e. rice, quinoa, or types of seeds).
• Hot, crunchy, and spicy foods that can cause irritation.

*Please note that you should also refrain from drinking through a straw to avoid dry socket that occurs when a blood clot loosens due to the suction.

Taking proper care of the wound after surgery is crucial, as it plays a detrimental role in the amount of time it will take to recover. Full recovery can take anywhere up to two weeks to following a wisdom tooth removal surgery. It’s very important for you to follow the aftercare instructions provided to you after the procedure. If you think it’s time to have your wisdom teeth removed, give us a call! Christiana Hospital Location Phone Number 302-292-1600

3 Benefits of Dental Implants

dental implants Missing teeth? You may be trying to decide what replacement procedure is best for you; dental implants, dentures or maybe even another option. When it comes to choosing, we always recommend dental implants. Dental Implants are a permanent solution to a lost tooth (or teeth) and have many benefits over some of your other options. To help make your decision a little bit easier, we’ve created a list of the top three benefits of dental implants!

1. Dental Implants Act Like Natural Teeth!

One of the most well-known benefits of dental implants is that they look and act just like your natural teeth. When properly placed, dental implants are nearly impossible to detect. Unlike dentures, which are removable and can cause discomfort to the wearer, dental implants are surgically placed into the jaw and provide no discomfort.

When dental implants are implanted to your jawbone, they provide the utmost of stability. This means that you can continue to eat your favorite foods, speak normally, and enjoy your improved self-esteem!

2. Improves Your Oral Health

Losing a tooth can have a big effect on the overall health of your mouth. When a tooth is lost, your gums begin to recede, which then causes the teeth to begin to shift, ultimately weakening your jaw bone which causes major problems for the rest of your remaining teeth. Dental implants provide stability to the jaw and prevent the surrounding teeth from shifting.

3. Reliability

Due to the permanent nature of dental implants, when properly taken care of, the implants can last a lifetime! Luckily, taking care of your implant is simple. Simply treat the implant as you would your other teeth, with the help of proper brushing and flossing.

Taking action to replace your missing tooth sooner rather than later will result in less headaches in the future. If you are considering dental implants as a dental procedure, give our office a call to schedule your consultation at Christiana Hospital Location Phone Number 302-292-1600!

Everything you need to know about Dental Bone Grafting

blue bone graftingWhat exactly is a bone graft?: Bone grafting is a surgical procedure done when you need to repair bone fractures or replace bone loss. When a tooth is missing or retracted from the alveolar bones that support your roots, gums and teeth, it eventually evaporates, causing facial features to shift and sag over time. This then creates potential problems such as pain in your mouth, not being able to speak properly, or chew food adequately. Fortunately, with the help of bone grafts, the bone that has been lost can be built again, which will not only heighten your appearance by providing strength back into your jaw bone, but also allows us to place a dental implant (artificial tooth) on top of it! In simple terms, the goal of bone grafting is to provide a safe, long-term solution to tooth loss!
How it works: The procedure itself is done by using a piece of bone (typically from your own jawbone; however artificial is also an option) as the base for your implant. Depending on the type on dental implant you plan on the receiving, and the condition of your jawbone, the process of recovery can take up to several months for the transplanted bone to grow enough to fully support the implant. Once the jawbone is healed, titanium, screw-like posts act as the new implant’s roots for fully functioning tooth support. The final step of dental bone grafting is to make molds of your teeth and jawbone, which will then follow with the placement of your realistic-looking artificial tooth!
After The Procedure: Bone grafting is a very popular and safe procedure, with over two million surgeries being reported each year. Of course with any surgery, come a few risks. Common ones include infection at the source, damage to the surrounding teeth or blood vessels, nerve damage, and sinus problems. The post-procedure discomforts include swelling of the gums, brushing on the skin, and minor bleeding. Any discomfort after the procedure should only last a few days and can be managed with anti-inflammatory medication, as well as ice therapy.
Following a successful bone grafting and implant surgery, it is recommended to practice excellent oral hygiene and see your dentist regularly to ensure proper functioning of your implant! To learn more about bone grafting or think you are a qualified candidate to have it done, give us a call at Christiana Hospital Location Phone Number 302-292-1600!