Happy Halloween everyone! I absolutely love Halloween and I always have. I love everything about this holiday, the costumes, the candy, haunted houses, etc. I think it stems from my childhood. I saw my first horror film when I was about eight years old. It was The Exorcist. After watching Linda Blair barf pea soup and tell a priest that his mother acts inappropriately with roosters in hell, I slept like a baby while my older sisters were all snugged up in my parent's bed. That's when I knew I was different. Well that and when my mother let me wear a sweet, feathered roach clip in my hair for my school picture in first grade. My love for Halloween is just another, as my mother calls them, "quirks" of mine.
So let me explain a little bit about my affinity for the dark side of things. No I am not a gothic person, nor do I like gore. I personally think that gothic types are hilariously depressed. Boo hoo, cry me a friggin river. Every time I see one I want to tickle the crap out of them and force them to laugh. I seriously could not go through life intentionally sad. I love laughing and making other people laugh. Also, as I've already covered, I love horror films but recently gore has taken over, a prime example, Saw 27. It's like the writer is thinking, "Lets see how many different ways we can make the audience throw up, oh yeah and lets make it 3-D too so they can really feel the intestine slap them across the face." Gore is just covering up the fact that they don't know how to turn a story. It's a tool for the untalented. At the same time I completely understand that some blood is necessary for a horror film but seeing the inside of someone's brain cavity is just ridiculous.
Anyway, the big reasons why I love Halloween is because it mixes together some of my favorite things. (As a side note, I love candy corn so much that I am considering marrying it...just call me Mrs. Corn.) Aside from an unhealthy candy corn obsession, add the parties. I don't care what anyone says, Halloween parties, hands down, beat all other holiday parties. As a matter of fact, other parties should be embarrassed of themselves... I mean when is it ever appropriate for adults to dress up in costume and eat jello brains? Only during Halloween. When do you have permission to scare the neighborhood children for fun? Only during Halloween. When can you decorate your house in spooky looking décor and no one will think you're a nut case? Again, only during Halloween.
The list could go on for an eternity. Halloween, like horror films and haunted houses, lets you experience a controlled fear. Think about when you get a real fright. Your adrenaline goes through the roof. And when you realize that you are not in any real danger you start laughing from all the built up adrenaline. Or maybe that's just me...anyway, it's fun and harmless and that's what this holiday is all about. The bottom line is that I love Halloween because it gives everyone an excuse to have fun and do things they normally would not have "permission" to do. Once a year it allows you to get outside of the box that you have built for yourself...unless it's a coffin. Happy Halloween!
Office Manager/Princess of Darkness
Once I finally stopped laughing after watching the Bears and the Redskins both try to give each other yesterday's game I couldn't help wonder what the dental world would be like if we could screw up that bad working on our patients and excuse it by saying, I had bad day, I have to watch the films or we'll get em next week. Would any of us still have patients, would any of our patients still have teeth? Only in professional sports is a terrible performance written off with "It just wasn't our day." It's too bad Jay, Lovie and the rest of them can't be sued for football malpractice.
Now that I've gotten my Bears rant off my chest let's turn to today's topic. In my last post I talked about what to do if your child had a minor mouth injury. What do you do if your child comes to you with his/her tooth knocked completely out? Hopefully none of you will ever have to deal with this situation, but here's what to do just in case.
I'm assuming that your child is old enough that the tooth in question is a permanent tooth; if it's a baby tooth in a five or six year old its probably not that big a deal but check with your dentist just to be sure. The first thing to do is locate the tooth if the child does not have it in his hand. Check the tooth to see if the entire tooth is out, root and all, or if the crown is broken off at the gum line. Either way, call your dentist right away and give the office as much information as possible. The office should tell you to come in immediately. As you hurry to leave the house, don't forget to bring the tooth. Don't attempt to clean the tooth and don't wrap it in a paper towel or Kleenex. Keep the tooth moist; the best way is in a container of milk.
If the entire tooth was knocked out it may be possible to re-implant it back into the socket. The faster this can be done the better the chances of success. If the tooth was broken it may be possible to save, it may have to be extracted; it all depends on how badly the tooth is damaged.
As I said before, hopefully you will never have to deal with a situation like this; if you do I hope this will be of some help. Have a great week; I'll be back soon.
Are you one of those people that get good advice and usually ignore it? Well that seems to be going around lately, especially in dental offices. As a matter of fact, it happens all the time. For example your dentist tells you that you need a filling and you say "well maybe I'll put it off" and then the filling turns into a root canal and a crown. If you were concerned about money, by waiting you just spent yourself about $1500 more than you would have if you just had gotten the filling in the first place, and that's a conservative estimate! If you were worried about pain well then you are simply an idiot. If your dentist told you that you needed a filling and you thought to yourself, "it doesn't hurt so I'll just wait until it does", you really and truly are a total moron. When you do something like that you are essentially letting your tooth decay to the point of no return. When your dentist finds a small spot of decay it doesn't just freeze in time like an Austin Powers time capsule, it keeps decaying deeper and deeper until, eventually it touches your nerve and then you're screwed. When it gets that deep not only do you need a root canal, which is just all kinds of fun, but the tooth is now so weak that it needs a crown for protection against breakage. All that and you could have just had a little pinprick and a tiny filling.
Which leads me to my point. Why would you put off a simple, needed procedure? I have heard from friends that they don't believe that they need it. They think for some reason their dentist is cheating them. Can you imagine, after you leave your dentist retires to his underground lair (Dr. Evil style) and rolls out a maniacal laugh while rubbing his greedy little hands together and shouts, "She fell for it! I am going to build my evil empire one tiny filling at a time! I'm rich, I'm rich!" Sorry, about that, I just had to show you how ridiculous some people's thoughts could be. For example, an unnamed family member of mine said that he got up and walked out of his dentist's office because they said he needed x-rays. In case you have not been reading along with my other blogs, x-rays are very necessary. They show things that your dentist cannot see such as the surfaces between your teeth and the bone beneath your gums. If you refuse x-rays you are just asking for trouble and if your dentist lets you get away with it they don't really care about your oral health and they suck.
Anyway, if you are one of those paranoid types that think everyone is ripping you off (Good morning, thank you for calling Dr. Evil's office) and telling you that you need something that you don't, you should do one of three things. First you should rethink your choice of dental provider. If you believe that your dentist just makes up stuff so that they can get rich off of you and you have a legitimate concern about this then you really should get a second opinion to prove your case. Second, if you do not have a legitimate provable concern then you should find another dentist because you should never ever let someone you do not trust to come near you let alone work on you. And finally you might just be a paranoid nut case and you should get some professional help.
I'm not saying every dentist in the world is an angel. They are human beings and do occasionally act like it but the great majority of people that become dentists are serious about helping people. They are not out there to rip people off or hurt anyone. Think about this the next time you are told that you need work done. Just listen to why you need it and look at the evidence. They will be more than happy to show you x-rays and photos proving that you really do need the work. If you want a second opinion by all means get it and if you get conflicting reports ask them to speak to each other and explain why. It's your right as a patient and a consumer. And try your hardest not to be a paranoid lunatic, the state asylums are already filled to capacity with dental phobes repetitively screaming, "I should have just gotten the filling!"
Office Manager/Common Sense Revealer
As any parent knows, no matter how much we try to protect them, kids will be kids and injuries to the mouth and teeth as well as other body parts will happen. Kids fall, get hit with balls, get hit by older brothers or sisters and can find many other ingenious ways to hurt themselves. Since it's impractical to make your child run around 24 hours a day wearing a mouth guard, lets talk a little about what to do when the inevitable happens.
When your little angel comes running up to you crying and screaming there is a good chance there will be some blood involved. Any type of cut or scrape on the face, or injury to the lip or tongue tends to bleed profusely, the first thing to do after you calm your child down is to clean up the blood and assess the actual damage. What appears at first glance to be a major gash may actually be a tiny little nick.
For our purposes today, lets assume that there is no serious cut that might need stitches. If the injury is to the mouth next check the teeth. Look for large fractures, small chips, or teeth out of alignment, anything that seems out of the ordinary. If you see anything that looks worse than a small chip you should call your dentist right away and get your car keys. Fractured teeth, loose teeth or teeth that are out of position should be evaluated quickly. If the only problem seems to be a small chip with no loose teeth its still a good idea to call your dentist, but you probably don't need an immediate appointment.
I want to emphasize that in any situation like this it is better to err on the side of being overly cautious. If you have any doubt in your mind, call your dentist or physician for advice. In these situations it is very important to stay calm; that way your child will calm down as well, and you can provide the doctors office with accurate information about the accident and the extent of the injuries.
Next time I'll go over what to do if a tooth is knocked completely out. As always, thanks for your time.
Today I'd like to say a few words about wisdom teeth. Wisdom teeth, or third molars as they are formally titled, are a source of many dental problems. They are the last teeth to erupt, usually in the late teens to early twenties. They come in at the back of the mouth, behind all of the other teeth. Why do they cause trouble for so many people?
A full set of teeth numbers 32, unfortunately most people don't have anywhere near enough room in their mouths for 32 teeth. This lack of space can cause the wisdom teeth to become impacted, a word that strikes fear in many hearts. Impacted simply means the tooth did not erupt in a normal fashion. Wisdom teeth can be fully impacted, meaning totally below the gums and not visible in the mouth, or partially impacted, stuck in a semi-erupted position. Fully impacted teeth generally don't hurt, but are a potential source of cysts or tumors in the jaw. Partially impacted teeth can be very painful as the gum tissue over them is frequently irritated and swollen due to food getting trapped between the tooth and the overlying gum. Either way the teeth probably need to be removed.
Even if you are one of the lucky ones whose wisdom teeth erupt normally, they can still cause trouble. Because of their position so far back in the mouth they are very difficult to brush and floss and are prone to decay. Filling the cavities solves the problem short term but does not make them any easier to keep clean. In my experience, it's just a matter of time before wisdom teeth develop decay. Rather than fix a new cavity every couple of years, it's better to just extract the tooth.
Everyone has heard a horror story about wisdom tooth extractions: stories of pain, swelling, bleeding, unable to eat for days or the dreaded dry socket. While these complications can arise they are not very common. Most people who have their wisdom teeth extracted suffer nothing more than minor discomfort for a few days. You only hear the horror stories because it is no fun to talk about having your wisdom teeth removed if you had no problems afterward.
I realize wisdom teeth are not the most exciting things in the world. Having to get them removed is not the end of the world, and once they're gone you'll never miss them.
Have a great weekend everybody!!