Posts for: June, 2015

By Pasadena Dental Implants Peter G. Cooper, DDS
June 16, 2015
Category: Uncategorized
Tags: dental exam  
CouldADentalCheckupSaveYourLife

Most everyone knows that going to see your dentist for regular checkups and cleanings can help save your smile — but did you ever stop to think that it just might save your life?

That's what recently happened to 11-year-old Journee Woodard of Edmond, Oklahoma. The young girl was having a routine teeth cleaning when hygienist Rachel Stroble noticed something unusual: The whites of her eyes (her sclera) had a distinctly yellow tint. Dr. Michael Chandler, Journee’s dentist, confirmed the hygienist’s suspicions, and advised her mom to take her for further testing. The tests revealed that Journee had a tumor covering parts of her pancreas, gallbladder and liver; it could have ruptured at any moment, with devastating consequences.

The tumor was removed three days later in a 9-hour operation, and Journee is now recovering. As for her dentist, Dr. Chandler told reporters that he and his staff were just doing their jobs thoroughly. “It's hard to feel like I’m a hero,” he said (though others might disagree).

Is this a one-in-a-million case? Maybe — yet for many people, a family dentist may be the health care professional who is seen more often than any other. That can put dentists in the unique position of being able to closely monitor not only a person’s oral health, but also their overall health.

There are several reasons why that’s so. One is that most systemic diseases (such as diabetes, leukemia, and heart disease, for example) can have oral manifestations — that is, symptoms that show up in the mouth. If your dentist notices something unusual, further testing may be recommended. Dentists also regularly screen for diseases specific to the mouth — such as oral cancer, which has a much better chance of being cured when it is caught at an early stage.

But beyond checking for particular diseases, dentists often notice other things that may indicate a health issue. For example, if you complain of dry mouth or snoring, and appear fatigued in the dental chair, your dentist may suspect undiagnosed sleep apnea: a potentially serious condition. Many other signs — such as yellowed eyes, a pounding heart rate, or shortness of breath — can indicate potential problems.

Of course, we’re not even mentioning the main reason for regular dental checkups — keeping your smile healthy and bright; for many people that’s reason enough. How does Journee’s mom feel about keeping dental appointments? “I will never miss another dentist appointment,” she told reporters. “I will never reschedule.”

If you would like more information about routine dental checkups, please contact us or schedule an appointment. You can learn more by reading the Dear Doctor magazine articles “The Dental Hygiene Visit” and “Good Oral Health Leads to Better Health Overall.”


By Pasadena Dental Implants
June 02, 2015
Category: Oral Health
Tags: Loose Teeth  

Loose TeethHave you ever been struck in the mouth with a baseball or had an auto accident resulting in a loose tooth? Sure, plenty of kids and adults have, but did you know that the most common causes of loose teeth happen right inside the mouth? A loose tooth may eventually fall out, causing jaw bone deterioration and movement of neighboring teeth toward the empty tooth socket.

Why Teeth Loosen

Teeth may become more mobile because of extreme clenching and grinding, especially at night. This condition is called bruxism, and combined with a bite that is uneven or doesn't come together correctly, the intense physical forces exerted on a tooth can eventually overstretch its supporting ligaments and make it wobbly.

Another common and even more devastating cause of loose teeth is periodontitis, or advanced gum disease. Gums and connective tissue pull away from tooth root surfaces when hard tartar collects at and below the gum line. Unless scraped away with regular dental cleanings, tartar causes an infection and gums get red and swollen and recede, along with supporting jaw bone.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, this serious dental health issue affects more than 50 percent of American adults over the age of 30. Usual contributing factors are:

  • heredity
  • poor oral hygiene
  • smoking
  • some medications
  • diet
  • health conditions such as diabetes

How to Mend Loose Teeth

When biting forces are misaligned, too strenuous and too frequent, your Pasadena, California periodontist may recommend a custom-fit nightguard. Built to soften the beating that bruxism wreaks on teeth, a BPA-free plastic guard can halt the loosening process and if not too advanced, and allow it to heal.

For individuals with gum disease, periodontists advise scaling or root planing. This procedure scrapes the tartar off tooth surfaces, including the gum pockets that hold damaging bacteria. The gum tissue may then be treated with antibiotics to cure the infection, and antimicrobials to speed healing. Gums often respond well to this treatment, reattaching to the teeth.

With very advanced periodontitis, scaling and medications do not sufficiently stabilize loose teeth. In this case, periodontists apply supportive splints to the top (extracoronal) or back sides (intracoronal) of the teeth. Made of fiber-reinforced polyethylene, these narrow and unobtrusive splints have been used by dentists for years. They work very well to support loose teeth and can remain in place for years.

Splints are applied after tooth surfaces are cleaned and etched. The adhesive is strong, and the splints, exceptionally durable. They are a treatment of choice for teeth compromised by gum disease.

Peter Cooper DDS

Do you have one or more loose teeth? Don't delay in addressing the issue, but contact the office of Dr. Peter Cooper for a consultation. As a skilled and experienced periodontal expert, Dr. Cooper can get to the cause of your dental issue and formulate exceptional treatment options. Call (626) 796-1241 for your appointment.


By Pasadena Dental Implants Peter G. Cooper, DDS
June 01, 2015
Category: Dental Procedures
NeilPatrickHarrisWhattheOscarsHostTreasuresMost

A few days before the Oscars, Vanity Fair magazine asked Academy Awards host Neil Patrick Harris to name his most treasured possession. Was it his Tony award statuette for best leading actor in a musical? His star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame? The stethoscope he wore while playing teenaged doctor Doogie Howser on TV? No, as it turns out, the 41-year-old actor’s most treasured possession is… his wisdom teeth. Yes, you read that correctly. “Oddly, I still have my four wisdom teeth,” Harris said. “I refuse to let them go or I’ll lose my wise parts.”

How odd is it for a 41-year-old to have wisdom teeth? Actually, not that odd at all. While it is true that wisdom teeth are often removed, there’s no one-size-fits-all approach to this. It all depends on whether they are causing problems now, or are likely to cause problems in the future.

The trouble wisdom teeth cause is related to the fact that they are the last molars to come in, and that molars are large in size. By the time wisdom teeth appear between the ages of 17 and 21, there often is not enough room for them in the jaw. Sometimes it’s because you may have inherited a jaw size that’s too small for your tooth size; and generally speaking, the size of the human jaw has evolved to become smaller over time.

If room is lacking, the adjacent molar (that came in earlier) can interfere with the path of eruption — causing the wisdom tooth to come in at an odd angle. The wisdom tooth can hit up against that other tooth, possibly causing pain or damaging the adjacent tooth. This is known as “impaction.” Sometimes the wisdom tooth breaks only partway through the gum tissue, leaving a space beneath the gum line that’s almost impossible to clean, causing infection. A serious oral infection can jeopardize the survival of teeth, and even spread to other parts of the body.

If a wisdom tooth is impacted, will you know it? Not necessarily. A tooth can be impacted without causing pain. But we can see the position of your wisdom teeth on a dental x-ray and help you make an informed decision as to whether they should stay or go. If removal is the best course of action, rest assured that this procedure is completely routine and that your comfort and safety is our highest priority. If there is no great risk to keeping them, as Neil Patrick Harris has done, we can simply continue to monitor their condition at your regular dental checkups. It will be particularly important to make sure you are reaching those teeth with your brush and floss, and that you keep to your schedule of regular professional cleanings at the dental office. All healthy teeth are indeed worth treasuring.

If you would like more information about wisdom teeth, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can learn more by reading the Dear Doctor magazine articles “Wisdom Teeth” and “Removing Wisdom Teeth.”




Pasadena, CA Periodontist
Pasadena Dental Implants
175 S. El Molino, Suite 4
Pasadena, CA 91101
(626) 796-1241

Archive:

FacebookTwitterOur Blog