Posts for: September, 2017
When they’re introducing a new movie, actors often take a moment to pay tribute to the people who helped make it happen — like, you know, their dentists. At least that’s what Charlize Theron did at the premiere of her new spy thriller, Atomic Blonde.
"I just want to take a quick moment to thank my dentists," she told a Los Angeles audience as they waited for the film to roll. "I don’t even know if they’re here, but I just want to say thank you."
Why did the starring actress/producer give a shout-out to her dental team? It seems she trained and fought so hard in the action sequences that she actually cracked two teeth!
“I had severe tooth pain, which I never had in my entire life,” Theron told an interviewer from Variety. At first, she thought it was a cavity — but later, she found out it was more serious: One tooth needed a root canal, and the other had to be extracted and replaced with a dental implant — but first, a bone grafting procedure was needed. “I had to put a donor bone in [the jaw] to heal,” she noted, “and then I had another surgery to put a metal screw in there.”
Although it might sound like the kind of treatment only an action hero would need, bone grafting is now a routine part of many dental implant procedures. The reason is that without a sufficient volume of good-quality bone, implant placement is difficult or impossible. That’s because the screw-like implant must be firmly joined with the jawbone, so it can support the replacement tooth.
Fortunately, dentists have a way to help your body build new bone: A relatively small amount of bone material can be placed in the missing tooth’s socket in a procedure called bone grafting. This may come from your own body or, more likely, it may be processed bone material from a laboratory. The donor material can be from a human, animal or synthetic source, but because of stringent processing techniques, the material is safe for human use. Once it is put in place your body takes over, using the grafted material as a scaffold on which to build new bone cells. If jawbone volume is insufficient for implants, it can often be restored to a viable point in a few months.
Better yet, when grafting material is placed in the tooth socket immediately after extraction, it can keep most of the bone loss from occurring in the first place, enabling an implant to be placed as soon as possible — even before the end of a movie’s shooting schedule.
Will Atomic Blonde prove to be an action-movie classic? Only time will tell. But one thing’s for sure: When Charlize Theron walks down the red carpet, she won’t have to worry about a gap in her smile.
If you have questions about bone grafting or dental implants, please contact our office or schedule a consultation. You can read more in the Dear Doctor magazine articles “Dental Implant Surgery” and “Immediate Dental Implant.”
The next time you visit your dentist you might see an item quite different from the other dental instruments and equipment in the office: a blood pressure cuff. Checking blood pressure is becoming a more common occurrence in dental offices across the country.
Abnormal blood pressure and some of the medications used to treat it are often a factor in some dental procedures, particularly if anesthesia is involved. But your dentist may also check your blood pressure for another reason: dental visits represent another avenue to screen for this condition that increases the risk of serious health problems.
Undiagnosed high blood pressure is a prevalent but often “silent” problem because the early stages of the condition may not display any symptoms. Many people first become aware they have an issue only after a blood pressure check at their family doctor, pharmacy or a health fair, for example. Otherwise, they could go months, even years without this vital knowledge about their health.
But while people may only visit their doctor once a year (or less) many see their dentist much more often, even twice a year, for routine cleanings and checkups. Including blood pressure screenings as a routine part of dental treatment could alert patients to a potential issue much earlier than their next doctor’s visit.
In fact, one study published in the Journal of the American Dental Association looked at a group of dental patients with no reported heart disease risk and who had not seen a doctor in the twelve months before their dental visit. During their visit their blood pressure was checked. Of those then referred to a physician for an abnormal reading, 17% learned for the first time they had an increased risk of cardiovascular disease.
It’s estimated about 80 million Americans have some form of cardiovascular disease and many don’t even know it. Diagnosing and controlling high blood pressure is a key factor in treating these life-threatening conditions. And many dentists are joining the fight by making this simple screening method a part of their dental care services.
If you would like more information on blood pressure screening, 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 “Monitoring Blood Pressure: What you don't know can hurt you.”
You've heard a lot about tooth decay, but maybe not so much on gum disease. So take this opportunity to learn about a leading cause of tooth loss among American adults.
Also called periodontitis, gum disease impacts oral health and systemic well-being, too. What causes gum disease, and how can you prevent it? The dentists at Mapledale Family Dentistry specialize in periodontics at their modern dental practice in Woodbridge, VA, and help patients have healthy gum tissue and great overall health, too.
Symptoms of gum disease
Sometimes people can see and feel that something is wrong with their gums (maybe gums bleed when they brush), but other times, symptoms of gum disease are more hidden. That's why semi-annual check-ups and cleanings at Mapledale Family Dentistry are so important.
On exam, your dentist may notice:
- Reddened, swollen, bleeding gum tissue
- A change in dental bite or in the fit of a partial or full denture
- Bad breath
- Pus at the gum line
- Gum tissue receding from the teeth (gums should form a little collar like a turtleneck sweater around each tooth)
- Tooth mobility
Unfortunately, when these symptoms are left unchecked, periodontitis advances, leading to tooth loss and destruction of supporting jaw bone.
Causes of gum disease
Bacteria which causes cavities also causes gum disease. This common germ multiples in plaque and tartar found in and around teeth and under the gums. Its corrosive acids eat away at tooth enamel and cause infection of the soft tissues and bone.
Poor oral hygiene--not flossing once a day and brushing twice daily as recommended by the American Dental Association--allows plaque and tartar to accumulate, compromising the gums. Additionally, a high-carb diet and hereditary factors play significant roles.
Treating gum disease
Prevention is best, says the American Academy of Periodontology. Reduce the sugar in your diet. Eat more fibrous fruits and vegetables, and drink plenty of water to keep teeth and gums clean and saliva plentiful. Stop smoking!
Also, brush, floss and get professional cleanings (every six months or more often if your dentist feels this is necessary). If you are at risk for gum disease, our dentists will measure and chart your gum pockets, the spaces between the soft tissue and teeth so they can track the progression of the condition.
Finally, periodontic treatment in Woodbridge may include scaling and root planing, a deep cleaning of teeth and gums or gum grafting to cover exposed tooth roots. Trust the professionals at Mapledale Family Dentistry to do what's best for your oral health.
Find out more
If it's time for your regular check-up and cleaning at Mapledale Family Dentistry in Woodbridge, VA, contact the office for an appointment. How you take care of your gums at home and through getting preventive dental care makes a huge difference in your oral health. Phone (703) 580-9800.