Author Archives: leekong

How to Decide Between a Dental Bridge and a Post

There are a lot of ways to achieve perfect smile

Dentistry is a very subjective area where a wide range of treatment such as dental bridge or a post is readily available to suit your needs. This can present challenges for both the dental practitioner and the patient in deciding which treatment option suits the patient best, taking into account the advantages, disadvantages, time and cost required to achieve desired results. As the dental practitioner may have very different opinion as to what is ideal, you being the patient need to clearly express your needs to the dentist and have a good discussion to avoid any misunderstandings and setting down reasonable and realistic expectations.

Why does a tooth needs a dental bridge or a post?

Often when a tooth is very broken down, there are several options to manage such tooth. Not pursuing with treatment is always an option, though always not recommended especially when associated with large areas of dental decay and the potential of infection.  Another option is to place pins or post into the tooth. The former consist of small screws that are manually drilled onto the tooth while the later is an alloy post that is cemented into the root canal, hence the tooth will need to have been nerve or root canal treated prior to post insertion. Placement of pins or post will provide more retention and anchorage for the dental restoration. The last option is to extract the tooth. After extraction, a gap will be present and this can be replaced if desired. There are several options to replace a missing tooth, such as bridge, dentures or dental implants. Continue reading

How to Prevent and Avoid a Root Canal Treatment

Root canal treatment

Root canal treatment is a dental procedure commonly used to treat infected or necrotic teeth. It offers an alternative to having the troubled tooth extracted, provided that the root canal system is accessible with reasonable negotiation as close as practicable to the end of the root. The tooth also needs to have an adequate amount of remaining tooth structure and good surrounding bone support.

Why do teeth need root canal treatment?

Teeth requires root canal when the pulp of the tooth has been pathologically involved through decay or periodontal infection such that the pulp is progressively dying or already dead. The pulp in this context refers to the nerve and blood vessel supply of the teeth, which provides sensation and nutrients to the teeth. When bacteria invades the root canal system, it slowly colonize the area to eventually infiltrate the whole canal and causing death of the pulp. Bacteria can still grow on dead pulpal tissue, allowing precipitation of more toxins and causing an infection, which can spread outside to the underlying jawbone and supporting tissues. Despite the nerve being dead, the surrounding tissues still possess neural innervation and this contribute to the pain perception when infection associated with a necrotic nerve is involved. Continue reading

Dental Infection Caused by Root Canal

Structures of the tooth

Dental infections commonly arise from a tooth problem but can also be related to the surrounding periodontium which are supporting structures of the teeth. Keeping the periodontal structures aside, there are many reasons as to how a tooth can cause dental infections. Dental infections should not be underestimated as it can affect the rest of the head and also the neck region, leading to complications, which if left untreated, is potentially life threatening. There has been many cases demonstrated worldwide where dental infections that were not managed properly has lead to death, hence they should be taken seriously. Dental infections are very easily manageable when they are well localised and it is only until when they are allowed to spread through to other structures that a serious problem can arise. It is of utmost importance at any sign or symptom of dental infection, it is checked out by a competent dentist. And in the case of root canal related dental infections, the offending tooth is identified. Continue reading

How to stop snoring using a mandibular advancement splints

Snoring can be a very serious problem

Snoring is a common issue that plagues most household and can cause a string of other problems. It not only affects the sleep, hence the health of the bed partner, it is also an indication of poor health of the affected individual. Snoring is usually a sign of some form of obstruction in the airways leading to aspiration of air predominantly through the oral cavity. Hence individuals who snore are usually mouth breathers and can wake up in the morning with extremely dry mouth and halitosis or bad breath.

What is snoring related to?

Snoring can be an indication of a condition known as obstructive sleep apnea. Obstructive sleep apnea is a sleeping disorder where the affected individual can have significant narrowing of the airways leading to difficulty breathing. It is typically characterized with frequent pauses in breathing and the duration of each pause ranges from seconds to minutes. The frequency and duration is important in terms of determining the severity of condition as the more frequent and longer the duration of each pause, the more severe it is. Continue reading

How does arthritis affect your oral health?

Arthritis related joint deformation

Arthritis is a complicated disease, which affects the joints of the body.  There are more than a hundred different described conditions, with osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis being the two most common ones. Osteoarthritis involves degeneration of the synovial cartilage and bony overgrowth on the joint articulating surfaces. Rheumatoid arthritis on the other hand has an autoimmune origin, involving self-production of auto-antibodies in the body which circulates in the blood and can attack the joints which are deemed foreign by the immune defense system. Although osteoarthritis and rheumatoid arthritis have different causes and risk factors, they are often present with similar symptoms, such as constant joint pain. Both diseases can be debilitating and adversely affect your oral health if not managed accordingly. Continue reading

How Vitamin B12 deficiency causes Canker Sore

What are canker sores?

Canker sore

Canker sore also known scientifically as aphthous ulcer, is a common type of ulcer found in the mouth, gums, sometimes the upper throat region. It usually involves the breaking down of mucosal surface, which is the inner lining of the mouth, and this exposes the underlying tissue, leading to immense pain especially with contact or movement.

What are the oral signs and symptoms of canker sores

Depending on the size of the ulcers, they can be categorized under minor or major aphthous ulcers. Minor ulcers are anything less than 1cm in diameter while major ulcers extend beyond 1cm in diameter and can be extremely painful. They both usually have a yellow or whitish base where the tissue is exposed and a fiery red border is found around the ulcer. Minor ulcers usually only takes a few days up to a week to heal and major ulcers take much longer, sometimes up to two weeks. Minor ulcers can coalesce to form one big ulcer in which healing will again be delayed. Multiple small ulcers found in a cluster are usually herpetic form of ulcerations with a viral origin. Continue reading

Oral Health: Relationship between the body and mouth II

Continue from section I

Is there a way to link oral signs and symptoms to certain diseases?

In some diseases, there can be very specific oral health presentations or manifestations. In fact, there are times where the mouth is the first site to show signs of an underlying systemic condition, preceding clinical diagnosis by months. Hence it is important that if you noticed any sudden changes in your mouth that cannot be relate back or correspond to a known cause, it may be wise to monitor those changes. If the abnormal changes persist for weeks or become symptomatic, it is best to get it checked out by a dentist as soon as possible to prevent late diagnosis and complications.

Below is an outline of possible oral health problems or presentations under some of the common conditions or diseases of the body: Continue reading

Oral Health: Relationship between the body and mouth I

diagram of a human digestive system

Relationship of the mouth to the body

As stressed in previous articles, oral health can influence our general health and vice verse. In fact, some changes in our general health are often reflected in the oral cavity and at times, can even precede clinical diagnosis of the systemic condition.

What are the common body changes that affect our oral health?

Hormonal changes in the body can often be a source of drastic oral health changes despite patients having fairly good oral hygiene. A hormone imbalance in the body, such which occurs during pregnancy or puberty spurt, can modify behaviors of cells in our body, in particular our immune system. Continue reading

Oral Health Pt 3: Importance of saliva

Continued from Pt 2

Saliva and oral health

Saliva is an integral part of oral health and many people do not actually realise the importance of saliva has in our mouth. The role of saliva is often underplayed due to lack of awareness. Saliva has many important functions and it is unfortunate that most people would only realise this when they have a chronic case of xerostomia or dry mouth, which is often hard to manage as treatment available involves mainly palliative care rather than a cure.

Function of saliva

There are three major salivary glands found in the mouth, along with many more minor ones. Each of the major salivary glands produces slightly different quality of secretion, some being more watery and others with a thicker consistency. All these secretions are combined together in the mouth to form salivaSaliva consists of mainly water (95%), enzymes, salivary proteins and ions.  Continue reading

Oral Health Pt 2: Effects of toothbrushing, dietary sugars and acids

Flickr Toothbrush (36th/52)

Toothbrushing improves oral health

Continue from Part 1

What affects oral health?

The obvious answer would be oral hygiene care. Importance of tooth brushing cannot be stressed enough and the quality, rather than the quantity matters more. While most people brush two, some even three times a day, the truth is that it does not necessarily prevent you from dental problems such as dental decay or gingivitis especially if you are not brushing appropriately. Having a good tooth brushing technique is crucial to good oral health as being able to remove plaque effectively is directly related to the state of your mouth. In fact, some people with very good tooth brushing technique and reasonable sugar intake are actually able to get away with just brushing once a day without developing any dental problems. The only reason that dentists are advocating their patients to brush twice a day being most people of the population will fail to remove plaque adequately and requires that extra kick to help maintain oral health at good levels. Continue reading