Forensic Dentistry Helps Identified Victims

Teeth is perhaps the strongest parts in the human body.  It does not get burned by fire.  It does not deteriorate like other tissues after a person has died.  Also, it is so strong that it could survive in a traumatic accident.  Thus, its ability to remain in tact has helped the specialized dentist to identify the victims in a crime case or plane crash.

Each person has his/her own dental history.  The location and type of dental restorations are recorded on the xray radiographs held in dental office where the person goes to for dental treatments.  Each person has his/her own unique dental history.  The location, size and shape of dental restorations are not the same from one person to another.  From these records, a specialist dentist can match the dental remains of the target person.  The specialist would take xray radiograph of the dental remains and compare it with the old xray records.  If there are multiple matching similarities in the specific dental information between the old radiographs and the new radiographs, then the identity of the victim can be found.

 

Written by Daniel Tee, DDS, MS

If you have any questions or want to schedule an appointment, Please call 480-820-6131

Family Dental Office in Tempe AZ — White Tooth-Colored Fillings, Porcelain Crowns, Veneers, Inlays, Onlays

Serving the city of Tempe, Chandler, Phoenix, Gilbert, and Mesa in Arizona. Practicing Family Dentist

Incorrect Toothbrushing Causes Damage to Teeth

Incorrect toothbrushing or using overly tough bristles can cause gingival recession and in turn it can create additional mechanical wear to the root surfaces of teeth.  The root surface is softer than the top part of the tooth because it does not have outermost layer of enamel.  It is covered by cementum which is softer than the enamel.  Because it is softer, once the ginigva is receded, this cementum layer is more easily abraded by mechanical wear from excessive brushing force and/or from tough bristles on the toothbrush.  Over time, the neck of the tooth will become notched, like this:

The tooth become notched from abrasion.

The tooth become notched from abrasion.

There are two ways to deal with this problem.  One way is to have gingival graft.  This requires surgery on the gingival tissue in order to harvest viable tissue to repair the gingival recession.

The second way is to put a composite filling on the defect.  The result is like this:

Composite filling is to repair the defect on the tooth.

Composite filling is to repair the defect on the tooth.

 

Long time solution is to use correct brushing techniques, modify the brushing forces and also change to a soft toothbrush.

The Importance of Periodic Dental Visit and Examinations

One way to save money is to spend money.  This is contradictory statement but it is perfectly applicable to personal dental heatlh.  Going to dentist for routine checkup can greatly benefit your dental health.   By having periodic examination, dentist can detect small changes in your dental conditions.  Small dental problems such as small cavity are often easy to fix and does not require much expenses.  Also, periodontal diseases are readily manageable if they are detected and treated at its early stages.

I like to tell about this case about a patient who recently come to my office for infection in his gum.  He said he always goes to Taiwan two times per year for dental cleaning.  However, for some reasons, he was not aware that he has severe periodontal disease, especially severe bone loss in his front teeth.  The periodontal abscess is what makes him come to see me.  The severe bone loss demonstrates that he has severe periodontal disease and the prognosis for his teeth are poor.  Those teeth might need to be extracted in order to prevent further bone loss to the adjacent teeth.

Undiagnosed periodontal bone loss

Undiagnosed periodontal bone loss. The teeth would need to be extracted.

Perhaps, if he were able to have periodic dental examinations, his periodontal disease could be more readily treated.  In United States, dentist would perform dental examinations when patient come in for cleaning visit.

How to Make Your Dental Visits As Pleasant As Possible?

Dental visit does not have to be a scary one.  If you have broken teeth and need to see a dentist, there are ways to help you breeze through the dental procedures.

Before you go to the dental office, you should eat a light meal.  Empty stomach might leave you with low blood sugar level which put you at greater risk for a variety of medical conditions such as nausea, headache, etc.  In contrary, eating too much will have you feeling bloated.  Eating a light meal will help you energized and help you get through the procedure more easily.

In the dental chair, you can ask for amenities such as shaded eyeglasses, music headphones, pillows, blankets, etc.  Shaded eyeglasses help block off focused dental light.  The eyeglasses also help you relaxed by screening you from seeing the dental operations.

Music headphones help you decrease the level of noise yout experienced during dental drilling.  Music can help you relaxed and keep your mind away.

Pillow and blankets provides creature comforts.

You might also ask dentist to prescribe some medication that help control your amxiety prior to the dental visit.

At our dental office, we provide these amenities to help our patients.

Catastrophic Fracture of a Tooth And How to Prevent It

Tooth crack is a common dental problem.  Our teeth are subject to tremendous mechanical pressure from the food chewing each meal every day.  Often, the tooth would develop internal micro-fractures.  The fracture line might become visible on the tooth and routine dental examination can help detect these fracture lines.

For example, this tooth has visible fracture line on the side wall of a posterior molar tooth.

Visible fracture line on the tooth.

Visible fracture line on the tooth.

With a visible fracture line, the tooth is at greater risk of further fracture and this would potentially cause dental emergency with great pain and discomfort.  The option to protect the tooth is to put a dental crown on the tooth.  The dental crown would offer the so-called “full coverage” protection.  The crown would help holding the tooth together and prevent the fracture from spreading further.

However, the consequence of delaying the treatment might be catastrophic.  The tooth might have catastrophic fracture and the end result could be tooth loss.

The tooth has catastrophic fracture and the tooth cannot be saved.

The tooth has catastrophic fracture and the tooth cannot be saved.

Dentist can give a detailed examination and help detect if your tooth has any fracture.

 

Written by Daniel Tee, DDS, MS

Family Dentist Office in Tempe AZ

Serving the city of Tempe, Chandler, Phoenix, Gilbert, and Mesa in Arizona. Practicing Family Dentist

It is Possible To Keep All Teeth Over 90 Years Old!

I would like to share my experience as a dentist about the relationship between dental care and a person’s dental health.  Most of the dental problems are preventable.  Often, prevention is the best cure to most dental problems and also is the least expensive ways.

People would often ignore the importance of routine checkup and cleaning dental visits because they feel it is unnecessary and too troublesome to visit dentists two times a year.  They feel it is unnecessary because they don’t have any pain or discomfort and as the result they might forget.  However, routine checkup is a good way for dentist to find small problems like small cavity and fix them before it gets too big.  Dental procedures like checkup exam, cleaning and fillings don’t cost much in comparison to other more complicated procedures like crowns, root canals and bridges.

From my observations, I would generalize that the group of people who has routine dental care would have less severe dental problems than those who only comes to dentist when they have pain or discomfort.  Also, the first group of people would also have less chance to lose their teeth.  I have many patients in their senior age who has maintained most of their teeth and they all are my routine dental patients who come for routine checkup and cleaning visits.  Part of the reasons might be genetic but more importantly, dental care throughout his/her life can greatly improve the dental outcome and helps to maintain teeth even to senior age.

This person is over 90 years old and with routine dental care, he has maintained all his teeth.

This person is over 90 years old and with routine dental care, he has maintained all his teeth.

 

Written by Daniel Tee, DDS, MS

Family Dentist Office in Tempe AZ

Serving the city of Tempe, Chandler, Phoenix, Gilbert, and Mesa in Arizona. Practicing Family Dentist

Hidden Danger of Losing Teeth

We now have many options to restore teeth which were lost due to various unreparable dental problems or the teeth which were congenitally missing.  However, many people would choose to do nothing to restore them.  If the missing teeth are not restored in time, there could be many severe cosmetic, dental and medical consequences, and they are:

  1.  If the front teeth are missing, a person’s appearance can be severely affected.  The unsightly gaps can profoundly affect a person’s psychie.
  2. The bone which were once supporting the teeth will be shrinking.  The bone will no longer receive mechanical stimulation from the teeth.  These stimulation from teeth helps promote natural remodeling of the bone.  Without these stimulation, the bone remodeling would be affected and thus the bone will become atrophy or shrink in volume.
  3. With the shrinkage of supporting bone, the lips and cheek would appear sunken in.
  4. The teeth which directly opposes to the missing teeth would extrude out of the supporting bone.  For example, if there is missing teeth on the lower jaw, the upper teeth directly above empty space would extrude downward.  Eventually, the upper teeth would extrude out of the upper alveolar bone and the teeth would be lost.
  5. Also the upper teeth would hit the gum in the empty space.  These would create chewing problem.
  6. The adjacent teeth near the missing teeth would receive excessive pressure from a person’s chewing movement, and this would cause increase in risk of tooth fracture.
  7. The adjacent teeth would collapse into the empty space and this exacerbate the already compromised bite.  Eventually, the person would have difficulty in chewing because teeth adjacent to the missing teeth would become misaligned.
  8. Due to bone shrinkage, the person would have new risk for jaw fracture.

Written by Daniel Tee, DDS, MS

General Dentist Office in Tempe AZ

Serving the city of Tempe, Chandler, Phoenix, Gilbert, and Mesa in Arizona. Practicing General Dentist

Untreated Dental Infection: Signs, Symptoms And Treatment

Dental emergency such as dental infection is caused by bacterial infection to the dental nervous tissue, in which usually began from a small dental cavity.  The bacteria can travel from the dental pulp to the surrounding bone tissue and may spread to various facial planes.

Dental Infection Spreads to Facial Tissue and Causes Facial Swelling.

Dental Infection Spreads to Facial Tissue and Causes Facial Swelling.

 

The cause of dental infection is from untreated dental cavity which has progressed to affect the dental nerve pulp.

The cause of dental infection is from untreated dental cavity which has progressed to affect the dental nerve pulp within the dental nerve canal.

 

The treatment involves incision and drainage of the affected intraoral tissues.  A small incision is made on the intraoral tissue containing the abscess.  Pus is then drained.  If the dental pulp is infected, the root canal therapy is to be initiated.  Patient is usually put on a course of antibiotics, usually Penicillin VK, which is effective in killing bacteria in dental origin.  Then the patient is to be returned to have the root canal therapy completed and the tooth is to be sealed and crowned for full coverage protection.

 

Written by Daniel Tee, DDS, MS

Emergency Dentist Office in Tempe AZ

Serving the city of Tempe, Chandler, Phoenix, Gilbert, and Mesa in Arizona. Practicing General Dentist

Many Benefits of Night Guards

Night guard is like a rubber “glove” worn over either upper or lower teeth mainly over your sleep at night.  It has many benefits:

1.  It protects your teeth by absorbing excessive force being placed on them when you are unknowingly clenching and grinding your teeth at night.  Some people have such habit and they may not know it but if they have done it often enough, they will notice their jaw and teeth may become sore especially in the morning.  This night guard can help protect the teeth.

2.  It helps preventing breakage of your teeth from the clenching and grinding habit.

3.  It would help relieve symptoms associated with TMJ disorders.

4.  It can be an unofficial whitening tray.  Bleaching gel can be placed within the wells of the night guard to whiten teeth.

5.  It can hold the fluoride gel in place.  Fluoride can help strengthen the teeth.

6. It can decrease the snoring problem when sleeping.  When the breathing is partially obstructed, loud snoring sound is produced.  The night guard can help open the airway and this helps decrease the snoring problem.

 

Dr Tee can help you to make a night guard if you think you have any of the above symptoms.  Come in for an examination and we can tell you if night guard can benefit you.

 

How Do I Know If I have Infections in My Tooth?

There are signs and symptoms associated with dental infections, which can be caused by tooth cavity or a broken tooth.

Signs are something apparent by observation and they can include:

–  The presence of darkened area on the tooth

–  The presence of breakage within the tooth

–  The gum area has a swollen pustule which may have pus coming out.

–  Tooth mobility

–  Swollen lymph node around the lower jaw.

Symptoms are sensual abnormalities and they can incude:

–  Pain on chewing

–  Pain on touching the tooth

–  Increased sensitivity to cold and the sensation last for more than 10 seconds

–  Spontaneous dental pain and often described as throbbing.

–  Pain waking you up at night

If you have any of the above signs and symptoms, please contact our dental office for evaluation.  We can take complete radiographs and thorough examinations to determine if you really have dental infections.

 

Written by Daniel Tee, DDS, MS

Family Dental Office in Tempe AZ

Serving the city of Tempe, Chandler, Phoenix, Gilbert, and Mesa in Arizona. Practicing General Dentist