Category Archives: Dental Anxiety
Oral Cancer Screening via early detection saves lives!
With our mouth we eat and drink that which sustains us. With our mouth, we communicate ideas and feelings to the world through speech or a simple smile. It allows us to taste the nuance of a fine wine, the sweetness of a freshly picked berry, or mustard covered hot dog at the ballpark. Love or passion is expressed by our mouth when we kiss a loved one or child. When cancer affects our mouths, it does more than take away these everyday functions, it too often takes our lives. Increased public awareness, prevention through lifestyle changes, early detection and education will contribute to the reduction of suffering, permanent physical damage and disfigurement, and death caused by this disease.
Approximately 37,000 people will be diagnosed with oral cancer each year in the US. It kills one person every hour of every day, and over 100 new individuals will be diagnosed daily. The good news is that it can often be found early in its development, through a simple, painless, and quick oral cancer screening.
With oral cancer on the rise, screenings to discover any potentially dangerous conditions in your mouth are of the upmost importance.
Who should get screened?
Every adult. Oral cancer can often be caught early, even as pre-cancer. With early detection, survival rates are high and the side effects from treatment are at their lowest. Like other screenings you engage in such as prostate and breast examinations, oral cancer screenings are an effective means of finding cancer at its early, highly curable stages. Make oral cancer screenings a part of your annual health checkups.
Who does oral cancer screenings?
Simi Valley dentist, Dr. Josie Dovidio and her staff are proud to be a part of the first line of defense against oral cancer by educating patients as to the risk factors, early signs and symptoms of oral cancer and by encouraging oral cancer screenings. They are committed to doing their part to raise awareness of this devastating disease.
During the month of April 2012, Dr. Dovidio will be conducting these important screenings at no charge. An oral cancer screening should be conducted every year, so take advantage of this free offer and get screened today. Because there are a limited number of appointment slots available, book your screening early.
To schedule your complementary screening, please call (805) 522-9242 or click on “Free Oral Cancer Screening” above.
What are the risk factors?
There are two distinct pathways by which most people come to oral cancer. One is through the use of tobacco and alcohol and the other is through exposure to the HPV16 virus (human papilloma virus version 16), which is responsible for the vast majority of cervical cancers in women. In fact, the quickest growing segment of the oral cancer population are young, healthy, non-smokers due to the connection to this virus.
Red and/or white discolorations of the soft tissues of the mouth.
Any sore which does not heal within 14 days.
Hoarseness which lasts for a prolonged period of time.
A sensation that something is stuck in your throat.
Numbness in the oral region.
Difficulty in moving the jaw or tongue.
Difficulty in swallowing.
Ear pain which occurs only on one side.
A sore under a denture, which even after adjustment of the denture, still does not heal.
A lump or thickening which develops in the mouth or on the neck.
Famous Victims of Oral Cancer
Oral cancer has touched the lives of many people; however some of the better known oral cancer victims may surprise you.
Legendary baseball player Babe Ruth’s name did not mean baseball, it meant greatness. He was a great player and his name was often used as a frame of reference in denoting greatness in other players. Michael Jordan is the “Babe Ruth of basketball,” and Wayne Gretzky is the “Babe Ruth of hockey.”
Off the field, he went out of his way to help children and was generous with his money. But, like everyone else, he had faults. He drank, womanized, smoked and indulged in the good life.
Just before retiring he was diagnosed with nasopharyngeal carcinoma, which is cancer of the upper throat. Alcohol and tobacco in combination are the primary causative factors in this disease. Doctors performed surgery and gave him radiation treatments, but the treatments were unsuccessful. Ruth was released from the hospital in 1947 and allowed to go home and live out his last days. In 1948 the Yankees celebrated the twenty-fifth anniversary of Yankee Stadium, “The House That Ruth Built.” The Babe attended the event, but he looked like a shadow of the man he once was. His bad habits caught up with him and oral cancer eventually cut his remarkable life short, sending a nation into mourning.
Later that year Ruth would die at the age of fifty-three.
Having brought to the screen such memorable television programs as Charlie’s Angels, 7th Heaven, and Beverly Hills 90210, Aaron Spelling’s name became synonymous with Hollywood success. His career spanned more than four decades and he produced millions of hours of televised entertainment. He also developed many feature films, and cemented his status as one of the most successful producers in Hollywood history.
Spelling was frequently photographed with his trademark pipe. Those years of tobacco use finally caught up with him in 2001 when Spelling underwent surgery for oral cancer. In June of 2006, after several years of survival, Mr. Spelling passed away from a stroke.
Few rock stars have managed to reach the level of fame Rod Stewart has achieved. His career spans nearly four decades, and his hit list is long and impressive. Not only is Stewart a pop icon, he is also a respected singer and songwriter who has been able to adapt his style to the changing times, continuing to produce hits and attract new fans.
In 2001, Stewart’s focus changed due to a scare when he was diagnosed with thyroid cancer. His bout with cancer opened his eyes to the preciousness of life, and Stewart has now devoted much of his time to helping publicize the fight against cancer, and help those who are not as fortunate as he was.
Even though Stewart works out daily and is in great health, his doctors discovered a lump on his thyroid gland. In an interview with ABC, he told them, “It was a terrible shock. I mean, I just went into total silence for a few days.” Early detection made all the difference. Stewart had gone in for a routine CAT scan when the tumor was found, and he underwent surgery the next day to remove it. Stewart has now made a full recovery.
Fore more information about oral cancer, please log onto The Oral Cancer Foundation’s official website at www.oralcancer.org.
Why Are My Teeth Sensitive?
Tooth sensitivity is caused by the movement of fluid within tiny tubes located in the dentin (the layer of tissue found beneath the hard enamel that contains the inner pulp), which results in nerve irritation. When the hard enamel is worn down or gums have receded, causing the tiny tube surfaces to be exposed, pain can be caused by eating or drinking foods or hot or cold beverages, touching your teeth, or exposing them to cold air.
Exposed areas of the tooth can cause pain and even affect or change your eating, drinking, and breathing habits. Taking a spoonful of ice cream, for example, can be a painful experience for people with sensitive teeth. The excessive consumption of acid-containing foods and beverages, such as citrus juices and fruits and soft drinks, can also put you at risk for tooth sensitivity. Bulimia and acid reflux can also result in erosion of the hard enamel and sensitivity due to acid in the mouth.
Is tooth sensitivity a common condition?
Tooth sensitivity is one of the most common complaints among dental patients. At least 40 million adults in the United States suffer at some time from sensitive teeth.
How can I avoid sensitivity?
Some toothpastes contain abrasive ingredients that may be too harsh for people who have sensitive teeth. Ingredients found in some whitening toothpastes that lighten and/or remove certain stains from enamel and sodium pyrophosphate, the key ingredient in tartar-control toothpaste, may increase tooth sensitivity.
What can I do about sensitive teeth?
Tooth sensitivity can be reduced by using a desensitizing toothpaste; having your dentist apply sealants and other desensitizing and filling materials, including fluoride; and decreasing the intake of acid-containing foods. Using tartar-control toothpaste will sometimes cause teeth to be sensitive as well as drinking soft drinks throughout the day, so these habits should be avoided.
Avoid using hard-bristled toothbrushes and brushing your teeth too hard, which can wear down the tooth’s surface and expose sensitive spots. The way to find out if you’re brushing your teeth too hard is to take a good look at your toothbrush. If the bristles are pointing in multiple directions, you’re brushing too hard.
How do I know when it’s time to see a dentist?
If a tooth is highly sensitive for more than three or four days and reacts to hot and cold temperatures, it’s best to get a diagnostic evaluation from your dentist to determine the extent of the problem. Before taking the situation into your own hands, an accurate diagnosis of tooth sensitivity is essential for effective treatment to eliminate pain. Because pain symptoms can be similar, some people might think that a tooth is sensitive, when instead, they actually have a cavity or abscess that’s not yet visible.
How do I describe my symptoms to my dentist?
Sensitivity may be defined as a short, sharp pain that is usually initiated by eating hot or cold foods or exposure to cold air. Aching often follows. Because sensitivity may mean different things to a patient and dental professional, be sure to clarify exactly what you feel when you discuss the condition with your dentist. Be sure to tell the dentist when the pain started and if there is anything, such as the application of a warm compress, that helps eliminate the pain.
Do some products help decrease sensitivity?
Toothpaste for sensitive teeth usually contains a desensitizing agent that protects the exposed dentin by blocking the tubes in the teeth that are connected to nerves. In most cases, these products must be used on a regular basis for at least a month before any therapeutic benefits may be noticed.
What can the dentist do for my sensitive teeth?
Dentists have a variety of regimens to manage tooth hypersensitivity, including both in-office treatments and patient-applied products for home use. If you are diagnosed with dentin hypersensitivity, your dentist may apply a desensitizing agent or a protective coating. You may be prescribed a stannous fluoride gel or an over-the-counter desensitizing toothpaste containing fluoride and either potassium nitrate or strontium chloride. These ingredients help block the transmission of sensation from the tooth to the nerve. It also might help to massage the special paste onto your gums with your finger after brushing.
What should I do after the dentist has applied a desensitizing agent?
Listen closely to your dentist’s instructions. He or she may advise you not to eat or drink for a short period of time to eliminate all sources of irritation, such as acidic foods, medication, or flavored toothpastes. You may also be instructed to change oral hygiene habits that are likely to cause abrasion or use a daily fluoride application (a rinse or brush-on gel).
Let’s face it, a root canal is as popular among dental patients as liver and onions is among school children. Just the mention of the name makes either group cringe.
However, thanks to improved dental techniques over the past years, the root-canal procedure is really no more likely to cause a patient discomfort than a basic filling. (Unfortunately, nothing can change the flavor of liver and onions!)
Basically, a root canal is necessary when a tooth’s pulp chamber, which contains nerves and blood vessels, becomes infected by decay or damaged by an injury. This treatment cleans out the pulp chamber in order to save the tooth.
Depending upon the extent of the infection, one to three office visits are needed for the root-canal procedure. The initial visit involves numbing the tooth so that the dentist can make an opening in the tooth to reach the pulp chamber. Next, the infected pulp is removed and the chamber and roots are thoroughly cleansed.
Complications arise if the tooth is abscessed, which means the pulp has died and the infection has entered the bone that anchors the tooth. The infection may need to be drained before the empty root can be filled.
Once the infection has been removed, then the pulp chamber and root-canal system are filled with a rubber like substance. Finally, to strengthen the tooth a build-up procedure is done and usually a crown is placed.
A tooth that has had this treatment is technically “dead” in that it can’t feel pain or hot or cold, but it actually functions just like any other tooth in your mouth in terms of drinking and eating.
If you are experiencing tooth or gum pain, please contact our office. Today’s dental treatments are no longer as painful as the diseased tooth. We are more than happy to review any dental procedures with you and help lessen your anxiety about dental techniques.