Until the advent of local anesthetics, surgery was a very traumatic and painful experience. The very best surgeons were by no means the gentlest; they were the fastest. General “ether” anesthetics helped alleviate pain but were very dangerous to administer and unpredictable in the dosing.
Raffi Margossian DDS, MSD
Oral cancer remains the 6th deadliest cancer, with 35,000 cases discovered yearly in the United States alone, and only half of those patients surviving 5 years post-diagnosis. The high death rates for oral cancer are contributed to the fact patients do not generally detect signs or symptoms until it has advanced and further metastasizes. Fortunately, when detected early, patients with oral cancer have an 80-90% survival rate. The American Cancer Society recommends a complete oral examination for signs of cancer once a year. Continue Reading Saving Lives One Oral Cancer Screening at a Time.
The use of lasers in periodontal practice has become a desirable alternative to traditional scalpel surgery; however, a deficiency in published evidence supporting the efficacy of such treatment exists. A recent review by Cobb, Low, and Coluzzi (2010) presents the current peer-reviewed evidence on the use of the most commonly used dental lasers over the last decade and explores why the use of such lasers in periodontal therapy remains controversial. Continue Reading The Current State of Laser Treatment of Chronic Periodontitis.
Herbal or homeopathic remedies and other forms of integrative medicine (holistic medicine; new ways to treat the mind, body, and spirit—all at the same time) continue to grow in popularity; however, it is critical that you consult our office and/or your physician prior to taking them to ensure they will be safe for you and produce the desired results. One product, Arnica, is a good example of a safe remedy when used appropriately. This herb, Arnica Montana, is a member of the daisy family and may also be known as leopard’s bane, mountain tobacco, mountain daisy, or wolf’s bane. Studies have shown that certain Arnica preparations can reduce pain, inflammation, and the discoloration associated with sprains and bruises. Learn more about this herb in the article, “Herbal and Homeopathic Remedies: Real Medicine?”
The impact of laser technology has been rapidly growing since the mid-1960s when it was first introduced in the healthcare sector as a surgical tool. Using LASERS, short for Light Amplification by Stimulated Emission of Radiation, we are now able to perform procedures on the soft tissues of the mouth with patients reporting less postoperative pain than traditional methods. The reason for this success is due to the fact that laser procedures minimize bleeding, swelling, scarring, and pain. Learn more about this cutting-edge technology in “Laser-Guided Dentistry.”
One of the speakers at a recent symposium on alveolar grafting and ridge preservation, Thomas B. Dodson, DMD, presented an interesting paper dealing with the effects of mandibular third molar (M3) removal on the periodontal health of the adjacent second molar (M2). He also addressed weather additional surgical procedures at the time of removal such as guided tissue regeneration (GTR), grafting with bone substitute, or platelet-rich plasma (PRP), improved the outcome to M2. He reviewed about 20 quality articles on this subject. Continue Reading Third Molar Socket Grafting.
Unless you live in a cave, you are aware of the dangers of smoking. But do you know how much tobacco use impacts your oral health? In addition to staining your teeth, causing bad breath, and increasing the build up of bacterial plaque, it affects your sense of smell and taste. It also greatly increases your risk for periodontal (gum) disease as it damages your gums causing recession and accelerated bone loss. Tobacco use slows healing after surgery; but more importantly, it greatly increases your risk for oral cancer. If not diagnosed early, oral cancer can progress rapidly and be deadly. These facts, taken from the American Dental Hygienist’s Association, will hopefully inspire tobacco users to cut down or even quit using it!
You may have heard the term “dental implant,” but do you really know what it is? Teeth essentially can be thought of having two main parts: the crown, the part of the tooth that can be seen above the gum tissues, and the root, the part that is suspended in the bone by periodontal ligament (“peri” = around; “odont” = tooth) that keeps the tooth in place. A dental implant is a tooth replacement system in which an extracted tooth and its root are replaced with a new metal “root” (implant) that is typically made of titanium. The new tooth, usually made of porcelain, is then attached to the implant via a retaining screw and abutment connector. Learn more by reading “What Is a Dental Implant?.”
If you are scheduling an upcoming surgical procedure, be sure that all of the healthcare professionals involved are aware of any prescription medications, over-the-counter (OTC) medications and even herbs or home remedies that you are currently taking. This is especially true if you are taking the prescription Fosamax® (alendronate) or another drug in the bisphosphonate family. If not stopped at least three months prior to surgery, you are at risk for developing osteonecrosis—literally bone death. For oral surgery patients, most cases reported occurred after a dental extraction; however, it can also occur spontaneously and may be associated with pain at the site. Learn more in “Fosamax® and Surgery.”
You’ve broken or severely damaged a tooth and need an implant…do you know your options? Chances are you don’t which could cause needless worry. We can provide you with all the education you will need to be confident in your decision. In a consultation with our office, you will learn the basics about implant dentistry and the fact that as surgical techniques and technology have improved, so have your tooth replacement options. And once your implant is in place, you will be well on your way to good oral health as your new implant is not susceptible to decay or periodontal (gum) disease in the same way as a natural tooth! Learn more in “Immediate Implants.”