Posts for: March, 2018
It may begin as an itching or burning feeling on your skin, followed by numbness or sensitivity to touch. But then you develop a painful red rash that forms crusty lesions. Fever and fatigue may follow.
These are the common symptoms for a form of chicken pox called shingles, a contagious disease from the human herpes group of viruses. While anyone can contract the shingles virus, it most often lies dormant in a person’s nervous system for decades after an earlier bout of chicken pox. It then breaks out (sometimes repeatedly), usually in patients over fifty.
A shingles outbreak can be miserable. It could also affect your dental care, especially if you have a rash on your face and neck. Here are 3 things you should do if you have shingles in regard to your dental care and overall health.
Tell your dentist you have shingles. A shingles outbreak is highly contagious in its early stages and can spread from direct contact with blisters or through airborne secretions from the infected person’s respiratory system. Even a simple teeth cleaning (especially with an ultrasonic device) at this stage could spread the virus to staff and other patients. So inform your dentist if your appointment coincides with an outbreak—it may be necessary to re-schedule your visit.
Start antiviral treatment as soon as possible. If you’re diagnosed with shingles, more than likely your doctor or dentist will recommend immediate antiviral treatment (typically acyclovir or famciclovir) within 3 days of symptom onset. This can help speed up healing, alleviate pain and possibly prevent more serious complications.
Get the shingles vaccine. Of course, you don’t have to wait for shingles to occur—there is an effective vaccine that could help prevent an outbreak. If you’ve had chicken pox (over 90% of American adults have) or you’re over sixty with or without previous chicken pox, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control recommends you get vaccinated.
Once the active phase of your orthodontic treatment is finished, it is finally time to have your braces removed and show off your newly perfected smile. While this is a very exciting time, it is important to remember that there remains a final stage of orthodontic treatment, the retention phase. Without paying proper attention to this phase, your teeth will likely begin to shift back into their original positions. Since orthodontic treatment requires both significant time and financial commitment, having your teeth move again would be very disappointing. This is where retainers come in.
Custom made devices designed to hold your teeth in place after finishing orthodontic treatment. There are two basic types: removable or bonded (fixed) retainers. Some orthodontic treatment may require using both types. You will be able to decide with your orthodontist which option will work best for you.
A thin piece of metal wire that gets bonded directly to the back of your front teeth.
- Suitable for patients that may not wear their removable retainers as recommended by the orthodontist.
- They remain in place 24 hours a day.
- Since they are bonded to the lingual (back side) of the front teeth, they are not visible to others.
- Difficult to keep clean and prone to plaque and tartar accumulation.
- Will need to floss under the wire using Superfloss or floss threaders which may be inconvenient for some patients.
- Since they are bonded only to the front teeth, they do not prevent the back teeth from shifting.
- May need maintenance at times. The lingual wire could break or come loose and require a visit to the dental office to fix.
Custom-fit retainers that are made from plastic or a combination of plastic and metal wires.
- Easier to keep clean than a fixed retainer.
- Can be worn and removed at will.
- Keeps all the teeth in place, not only the front teeth.
- Effectiveness is based on compliance with wearing them.
- Could get lost or damaged and need new ones made.
- Teeth can shift if not worn for a period and retainers may no longer fit.
If you are nearing the end of your orthodontic treatment, you are probably thinking of how best you can protect your investment. Retainers will preserve the smile you always wanted. You and your orthodontist or dentist can discuss your options and come to a decision that will best suit you and your lifestyle. Call us now for more information.
Spring means different things to different people—but to baseball fans, it means just one thing: the start of another thrilling season. All 30 Major League Baseball teams begin play this month, delighting fans from Toronto to Texas and everywhere in between.
The boys of spring carry on an age-old tradition—yet baseball is also changing with the times. Cigarette smoking has been banned at most ballparks for years; smokeless tobacco is next. About half of the MLB venues now prohibit tobacco of any kind, including “snuff” and “dip.” What’s more, a recent contract agreement bars new Major League players from using smokeless tobacco anywhere.
Why all the fuss? Because tobacco isn’t safe to use in any form. People who use smokeless tobacco get just as much highly addictive nicotine as cigarette smokers. Plus, they get a mouthful of chemicals that are known to cause cancer. This puts them at higher risk for oral cancer, cancer of the esophagus, pancreatic cancer and other diseases.
A number of renowned ballplayers like Babe Ruth, Curt Flood and Bill Tuttle died of oral cancer. The death of Hall of Famer Tony Gwinn in 2014 focused attention on tobacco use in baseball, and helped lead to the ban. Gwynn was convinced that his addiction to smokeless tobacco led to his getting oral cancer.
Yet tobacco isn’t the only cause of oral cancer. In fact, the disease is becoming more common in young people who do not smoke. That’s one more reason why it’s so important for people of all ages to keep to a regular schedule of routine dental exams. These visits offer a great opportunity to detect oral cancer in its earliest, most treatable stages.
So as you watch your favorite team, take a tip from the professional athletes’ playbook. If you don’t use tobacco, don’t start. If you do, now is a good time to quit. For help and support, call an expert at 1-800-QUIT-NOW or visit smokefree.gov.
If you have any questions about oral cancer, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can also learn more by reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “Diet and Prevention of Oral Cancer.”