A palatal expansion is the use of an appliance placed in the mouth to make a constricted palate more wide. The following video summarizes the procedure.
A narrow palate usually allows less space for upper teeth, causing malocclusion, which is a bad relationship between teeth that gives them a misaligned appearance. Malocclusion also makes it hard to eat and brush your teeth, provoking malnutrition and other dental problems.
It is possible to expand the palate of children, teenagers, and sometimes young adults. There are many types of expanding appliances, but each usually covers the palate and holds on the upper teeth. Activation needs to be done with the expansion screw that is found in the middle of the appliance. The whole process can take several months to a year.
There was a time that people didn’t know the existence of cavities, and even less the world the microscopic bacteria. Therefore when someone had a toothache, they believed that it was caused by very little worms!
The idea now sounds very nasty, but around the 15th century, the dentist profession didn’t exist, and physicians thought that there were “tooth worms” that were causing teeth to hurt and to break apart! Those doctors prescribed a remedy for toothaches that involved lighting a candle and letting the smoke go inside your mouth and fill it. Then, you would lean your head over a warm bowl of water so the pain-causing tooth worms would fall out of your mouth and into the water.
The idea is very disturbing, even for a dentist like me. It makes me so glad that now, to treat a toothache, you can go to place and let professionals take care of you in a sterilized environment!
Human beings have 2 sets of teeth, also called dentitions. They are referred to as deciduous teeth (primary, baby or milk teeth) and permanent teeth (or adult teeth). Deciduous teeth in humans start coming out 6 to 10 months after birth, and they are eventually replaced by permanent teeth years later, usually starting around the age of 6.
Humans and all animals that have 2 consecutive sets of teeth are called diphyodont. In contrast, polyphyodont are animals who’s teeth are replaced many times. Most mammals are diphyodont, except kangaroos, elephants and manatees.
Among polyphyodont animals, for example, sharks grow a new set of teeth almost every two weeks because their teeth get worn fast and they need to be replaced. Also young and teenage crocodiles have their teeth changed with larger ones every month for reasons similar to the ones of the sharks, but this rate slows down for adult crocodiles.
Many other species of fish and reptiles are polyphyodonts. This phenomena, especially in crocodiles, is presently studied in order to research possible tooth generation in humans.
This is a caricature of a patient opening wide to a dentist, so wide that the dentist can see and examine some of his internal organs. It is funny but there is some truth into it.
When someone has a systemic disease, sometimes it can have oral signs. Like for example diabetes. If the dentist suspects anything, he or she will refer the patient to the general doctor to have it checked.
Also they say that a healthy mouth is a sign of a healthy body. That’s why it’s important to keep your teeth and gums healthy in order not to cause infection or inflammation that can reach other organs of your body like your heart and your lungs.
As the image above suggests, if thumb sucking persists with your child, his or her upper jaw will grow in a more forward way, changing the appearance of the face, creating an abnormal bite, and maybe causing speech problems.
Here are some ways to make your child break the thumb sucking habit:
- It is important not to turn it into a confrontation by telling your child not to suck their thumb anymore. Try to recognize and praise them when not sucking their thumb instead of criticizing when they are.
- Talking to your child about thumb sucking is also important, in a way that you help them understand that when they are ready to stop, you will be there to help. You empower them to say “Mommy, I don’t want to suck my thumb anymore.”
- Don’t prohibit your child if he tries to suck his thumb or fingers after being hurt or injured. They need to be in this comfort zone, and by not letting them go there, you’re only traumatizing them more.
- Practice self-awareness with your child by saying “Do you know you are sucking your thumb” when you see them do it. If they say no, help them recognize that, and find another way to soothe them if they needs it, like a blanket or stuffed animal.
If you have tried all of the above and at a later age your child did not lose the habit:
- at night, you can gently remove the thumb from your child’s mouth while he or she is sleeping;
- you can cover your child’s thumb with a bandage to remind them that they should not suck anymore;
- if nothing works, there are appliances that can be put in the mouth of your child, by a dentist or orthodontist, that will stop the habit.
The first person to have historically used anaesthesia to perform surgery was a dentist!
William Thomas Green Morton was the first dentist to use anaesthesia to achieve a painless tooth extraction on September 30th 1846. He used ether as an anaesthetic agent in his own dental office. Then, on October 16, 1846, Morton participated in a surgery where Dr. John Collins Warren used ether as anaesthesia on a patient at Massachusetts General Hospital to remove a tumour in the neck without pain. Following this procedure, the news spread out globally and Morton convinced the medical world of the importance of performing surgical procedures without pain.
Bleach, or sodium hypochlorite, is known to remove colour, whiten or disinfect, often by oxidation. Most people associate it with its ability to clean and make whiter clothes. But bleach can be used for other purposes as well, as much for dental, medial and household purposes.
In high concentrations, bleach has an anti microbial effect and is a dentist’s best friend for root canal therapy! Liquid sodium hypochlorite quickly reacts with microbes to irreversibly denature and destroy many of them that are considered pathogens. In most countries, bleach is used by the dentist during root canal treatment to disinfect an abscessed tooth. It has also been reported that in lower concentrations, bleach can be used as a mouthwash, when very diluted in water, in adjunction with gum disease treatment.
When bleach is in very low concentrations, it can be used to treat eczema. BBC News documented a study that involved 31 children with eczema and who took baths in water that contained a small amount of bleach. All children ended up having less skin irritation. The reason bleach helped was its disinfectant ability, killing germs that usually make eczema even more challenging to treat. These microbes cause infections and alleviate eczema’s symptoms like redness, irritation and the spread of the rash to other parts of the body. Diluted bleach disinfects those germs and reduces the symptoms. But it’s important not to conduct this bleach treatment alone and be medically assisted because high concentrations of bleach can be toxic.
Another study suggested that bleach treatments can slow down aging of the skin. Older mice were given daily 30 minute baths in water containing small amounts of bleach. They have all gained a baby skin. Bleach is not only a disinfectant but also an anti inﬂammatory agent that multiplies skin cells, providing those mice with thicker epidermal layer that became thin with age. Again the study does not encourage humans to add bleach in their baths.
Source of photo: Foekje Fleur
BBC article: ‘Bleach bath’ benefit for eczema
A funny way to start the year :) Here’s how some people feel after they’ve had local anaesthesia and a dental treatment. But they don’t really look like that :)
Breakfast is the daily meal that people have the most tendencies to skip, whether it’s for not feeling hungry, for being late at work or at school, or for having a few more minutes to sleep. But skipping this important meal can lead you to a grumpy day and, believe it or not, gain weight!
Breakfast and your metabolism
When you eat breakfast in the morning, your body receives food and tells your brain that you’re going to need to start working to digest it. This wakes up the metabolism so that your system is ready to work throughout the day. If you skip breakfast, you can actually gain weight because your body thinks that it needs to conserve the energy it has because it didn’t get any more through nutrition. Skipping breakfast therefore actually slows down your metabolism, resulting in a decrease of the amount of calories you burn throughout the day.
Breakfast and certain diseases
Many studies suggest that there is a link between not eating breakfast and obesity, high blood pressure, diabetes and heart disease. Experts aren’t certain why, but they think that people who skip breakfast are more likely to be hungrier later during day and eat larger meals. Those meals mean the body must process a larger amount of calories in a shorter amount of time. That can spike sugar levels in the blood and perhaps lead to clogged arteries.
Breakfast and your oral health
Eating a fast and sugary breakfast can be harmful for your teeth. Here are some tips in having a healthy breakfast for your body and for your mouth:
- Choose fresh fruits and vegetables
- Eat whole grains (oatmeal, whole wheat bread) instead of refined grains.
- Eat high fiber cereals with less preservatives and added sugar.
- Try to limit fruit juices and smoothies because they tend to have very high concentrations in sugar.
- Limit the amount of sugar you add to you coffee or tea.
- Brush and floss your teeth after breakfast, not after you wake up.
Here’s a cartoon of what most people would imagine a dental crown being like! But in reality it is not like that :)
A dental crown is a tooth-shaped “cap” that is placed over a tooth to cover it and to restore its shape, size, strength, and improve its appearance. The crown, when cemented into place, fully encase the entire visible portion of a tooth that lies at and above the gums. The materials used can be either gold or porcelain. When porcelain is used, a tooth can look brand new!
When is a crown needed? Only when a tooth has had advanced trauma, cavity or root canal treatment. The more a tooth is cracked or restored with a filling, the more it is susceptible to fracturing under chewing forces, and that is when a dental crown can protect it and make it look like a real untouched tooth.
I found this great video on YouTube that shows an animation of how a root canal is done by dentist. Sometimes when I am asked to explain what a root canal is. But as they say an image is a thousand words. An animation is even much more!
The video shows two uncovered teeth: the premolar on the left has a healthy pulp tissue with nerves and blood vessels; the molar on the right has its pulp infected. The infection was caused by either a very deep cavity or trauma, and we see that it has gone beyond the ends of the roots.
The first step of the root canal is to access the infected pulp. Then the procedure consists of cleaning all of the pulp tissue contained in each of the canals. We see 2 canals here, but a molar actually contains 3 to 4 canals (sometimes even more!)
After the inside of the tooth is clean and disinfected, each canal is sealed with filling material so that the infection doesn’t appear again.
Posts are placed, followed by a crown because a tooth that has had root canal is more fragile and needs support to function properly without breaking.
Not only it boosts your mood, your immune system and makes you more attractive, smiling is contageous and it’s the perfect way to communicate!