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OlympiansPoleVaultingAccidentPutstheSpotlightonDentalInjuries

British pole vaulter Harry Coppell had an unpleasant mishap right before the Tokyo Olympic games. During a training vault, Coppell glanced the top bar to loosen it, which then fell on top of his face on the mat. The impact broke one of his front teeth nearly in two and severely damaged others.

Coppell posted the accident on Instagram, along with a photo of the aftermath. "I hope @tokyo2020 has a good dentist around," he quipped in the caption. Alas, after several hours with a dentist, one of the injured teeth couldn't be saved, although the chipped tooth remained. Needless to say, the Olympian's smile took a beating along with his teeth.

Fortunately, through the marvels of cosmetic dentistry, Coppell can eventually regain his attractive smile. Still, though, his experience is a blunt reminder that sports and other physical activities do carry some risk for dental injury, especially for active young adults and children.

A chipped tooth is the most common outcome of a traumatic dental injury, but not the only one: you might also suffer from a displaced, loosened or even knocked-out tooth. And, even if the teeth don't appear injured after face trauma, there could be underlying gum and bone damage that requires prompt emergency care from a dentist.

Of course, preventing a dental injury is far better than treating one that has occurred—and wearing an athletic mouthguard is your best bet for dodging such a bullet. A mouthguard's soft plastic helps absorb the force of a hard impact so that the teeth and gums don't. This important protective gear is a must for anyone who plays sports like football or basketball, or enjoys physical activities like trail biking.

When it comes to mouthguards, you have two general categories from which to choose. The first is called a "boil and bite," often found online or in sporting goods stores. These usually come in general sizes that can be customized further by softening in hot water and then having the wearer bite down while it's soft (hence the name). This personalizes the guard to fit the individual wearer.

The other category is a custom mouthguard created by a dentist from an impression of the wearer's mouth. Because of this specialized fit, custom mouthguards aren't usually as bulky as boil and bites, and are typically more comfortable to wear.

The key point, though, is that a mouthguard can help you avoid a serious dental injury, regardless of which category you choose. It could mean the difference between a forgettable incident or dental damage that could impact your life for years to come.

If you would like more information about preventing and treating dental injuries, please contact us or schedule a consultation. To learn more, read the Dear Doctor magazine article “Athletic Mouthguards.”

By East Rock Dental, LLC
May 07, 2022
Category: Oral Health
Tags: oral hygiene  
4ThingsYouCanDotoExtendtheLifeofYourOralAppliance

Millions of people wear an oral appliance for replacing their teeth, preventing functional damage, or as a part of ongoing dental treatment. If you're among them, then cleaning and maintaining your appliance can protect you from disease, as well as extend the longevity of your device.

Here, then, are 4 great tips for taking care of your appliance, for its sake—and yours.

Use detergent for cleaning. Because it's an oral appliance, you might think toothpaste is a good cleaning option. But toothpaste contains abrasives that, although just right for removing dental plaque without damaging tooth enamel, can be too harsh for some materials in your appliance. Using toothpaste could create micro-scratches in your appliance's plastic or porcelain that collect bacteria. Instead, use an antimicrobial dish detergent or hand soap to clean your appliance.

Stay away from boiling or bleaching. True, both hot or boiling water and household bleach kill bacteria. Both, however, could also damage your appliance. Very hot water can soften and distort the heat-sensitive plastic contained in many dental appliances, which can ruin their fit. Bleach can also break down the plastics in many appliances, and may "blanch" or whiten areas like denture bases that are meant to resemble natural gum tissue.

Handle carefully while out of the mouth. In the "outside" world, your appliance can be at greater risk for damage or breakage from hard surfaces, kids or pets. As a precaution while cleaning your appliance, be sure to place a towel or other soft item in and around the sink to cushion the appliance should you accidentally drop it. And, be sure while storing it out of your mouth that you place it high enough out of the reach of tiny hands—or paws.

Avoid 24/7 denture wear. If you wear your dentures while you sleep, they're more likely to accumulate bacteria and make your mouth more susceptible to infection. It's better, then, to take your dentures out at night and store them in clean water or a cleaning solution designed for dentures. Removing your dentures during the night will help you avoid disease, as well as minimize unpleasant odors or filmy buildup on your dentures.

If you would like more information on dental appliance care, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation.

By East Rock Dental, LLC
April 27, 2022
Category: Oral Health
Tags: gum disease  
PreventingandTreatingGumDiseaseCouldBenefitYourOverallHealth

Gum disease's impact goes well beyond your teeth and gums—other aspects of your health can suffer too. Here's why.

Gum disease targets the gums, connective tissues and bone that support the teeth. These bacterial infections arise mainly from dental plaque, a thin biofilm that builds up on tooth surfaces. The risk is higher if you're not adequately cleaning your teeth of dental plaque every day with brushing and flossing.

As the infection ravages through your periodontal structures, you could eventually lose affected teeth. But two important aspects of gum disease also increase the risk of harm to other parts of your body.

For one, gum infections contain high levels of harmful bacteria and toxins. As periodontal tissues break down, these toxins can enter the bloodstream and spread infection to other parts of the body.

In the second aspect, inflammation normally occurs in diseased gum tissues in response to the infection. Although a crucial part of the body's defense mechanism, inflammation that becomes chronic (as it often does with gum disease) can itself become harmful.

Some research seems to show that gum inflammation might also influence other inflammatory diseases like diabetes, cardiovascular disease or arthritis to make them worse. Conversely, these conditions could also elevate your risk for a serious gum infection.

Gum disease can also affect pregnancy, and vice-versa. Because of hormonal changes, pregnant women have a higher risk for developing gum infections. And an active gum infection and its associated bacterial load could likewise affect the overall health of both mother and unborn child.

In light of its potential impact on your whole body and not just your mouth, it's prudent to prevent gum disease or promptly treat it should it occur. As previously mentioned, daily oral hygiene is foundational to dental disease prevention, with regular dental cleanings and checkups further reducing your risk of infection.

You should also watch for signs of infection, including swollen, reddened or bleeding gums. If you notice anything out of the ordinary, make a dental appointment as soon as possible. The earlier we can identify gum disease and begin treatment, the less damage it will cause your gums—and the rest of your health.

If you would like more information on how your oral health can impact your well-being, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can also learn more about this topic by reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “Good Oral Health Leads to Better Health Overall.”

By East Rock Dental, LLC
April 17, 2022
Category: Oral Health
Tags: oral health  
ProtectingYourselfFromInfectionisParamountDuringDentalCare

The odds are extremely low that you'll read or hear about an infection outbreak in a dental clinic anytime soon. That's no happy accident. The more than 170,000 dentists practicing in the U.S. work diligently to protect their patients and staff from infectious disease during dental care.

Spurred on by both high professional standards and governmental oversight, American dentists adhere to strict infection control measures. The primary purpose of these measures is to protect patients from bloodborne infections like Hepatitis B and C and HIV/AIDS.

The term bloodborne refers to the transmission of a virus from person to person via contact with blood. This can occur when blood from an infected person enters the body of another person through a wound or incision.

This is of special concern with any procedure that can cause disruptions to skin or other soft tissues. Oral surgery, of course, falls into this category. But it could also apply to procedures in general dentistry like tooth extraction or even teeth cleaning, both of which can cause tissue trauma.

Each individual dentist or clinic formulates a formal infection control plan designed to prevent person to person blood contact. These plans are a set of protocols based on guidelines developed by on the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC).

Barrier protection is an important part of such plans. Dentists and their staff routinely wear gloves, gowns, masks, or other coverings during procedures to block contact between them and their patients.

Additionally, staff members also disinfect work surfaces and sterilize reusable instruments after each treatment session. They isolate disposable items used during treatment from common trash and dispose of them separately. On a personal level, dental staff also thoroughly wash their hands before and after each patient visit.

Because of these practices and the importance placed on controlling potential infection spread, you have nothing to fear in regard to disease while visiting the dentist. If you have any questions or concerns, though, let your dentist know—your safety is just as important to them as your dental care.

If you would like more information on infection control in the dentist's office, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can also learn more about this topic by reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “Infection Control in the Dental Office.”

AfteraDevastatingInjuryPromptActionSavedSingerCarlyPearcesSmile

Performing for an awards show is a quite a feather in an entertainer's cap. So, up-and-coming country music star Carly Pearce was obviously excited when she gained a slot on last November's Country Music Awards. But an accident a couple of weeks before the event almost derailed her opportunity when she fell and knocked out two of her front teeth.

Fortunately, Pearce took quick action and, thanks to a skilled dental and medical team, was able to put her mouth back together before the show. Those watching her perform her hit single, “I Hope You're Happy Now,” as she smiled broadly would never have known otherwise about her traumatic emergency if she hadn't spilled the beans.

Orofacial injuries can happen to anyone, not just entertainers. You or someone you love could face such an injury from a motor vehicle accident, hard sports contact or, like Pearce, a simple slip and fall. But if you also act quickly like Pearce, you may be able to minimize the injury's long-term impact on dental health and appearance.

Here are some guidelines if you suffer a dental injury:

Collect any tooth fragments. Dental injuries can result in parts of teeth—or even a whole tooth—coming out of the mouth. It may be possible, though, to use those fragments to repair the tooth. Try to retrieve and save what you can, and after rinsing off any debris with cold water, place the fragments in a container with milk.

Re-insert a knocked-out tooth. You can often save a knocked-out tooth by putting it back in its socket as soon as possible. After cleaning off any debris, hold the tooth by its crown (never the root) and place it back in the empty socket. Don't fret over getting it in perfectly—your dentist will assist its placement later. Place a piece of clean cloth or cotton over the tooth and have the injured person bite down gently but firmly to hold it in place.

See the dentist ASAP. You should immediately see a dentist if any tooth structure has been damaged, or if a tooth is loose or has been moved out of place. If you're not sure, call your dentist to see if you should come on in or if you can wait. If a dentist is not available, go immediately to an emergency room or clinic. With many dental injuries, the longer you wait, the more likely the teeth involved won't survive long-term.

A dental injury could happen in a flash, with consequences that last a lifetime. But if, like Carly Pearce, you take prompt action and obtain necessary dental care, you could save an injured tooth—and the smile that goes with it.

If you would like more information about dental injuries, please contact us or schedule a consultation. To learn more, read the Dear Doctor magazine article “The Field-Side Guide to Dental Injuries.”





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