Posts for: April, 2015

By Today's Dental
April 15, 2015
Category: Dental Procedures
TomHanksAbscessedToothGetsCastAway

Did you see the move Cast Away starring Tom Hanks? If so, you probably remember the scene where Hanks, stranded on a remote island, knocks out his own abscessed tooth — with an ice skate, no less — to stop the pain. Recently, Dear Doctor TV interviewed Gary Archer, the dental technician who created that special effect and many others.

“They wanted to have an abscess above the tooth with all sorts of gunk and pus and stuff coming out of it,” Archer explained. “I met with Tom and I took impressions [of his mouth] and we came up with this wonderful little piece. It just slipped over his own natural teeth.” The actor could flick it out with his lower tooth when the time was right during the scene. It ended up looking so real that, as Archer said, “it was not for the easily squeamish!”

That’s for sure. But neither is a real abscess, which is an infection that becomes sealed off beneath the gum line. An abscess may result from a trapped piece of food, uncontrolled periodontal (gum) disease, or even an infection deep inside a tooth that has spread to adjacent periodontal tissues. In any case, the condition can cause intense pain due to the pressure that builds up in the pus-filled sac. Prompt treatment is required to relieve the pain, keep the infection from spreading to other areas of the face (or even elsewhere in the body), and prevent tooth loss.

Treatment involves draining the abscess, which usually stops the pain immediately, and then controlling the infection and removing its cause. This may require antibiotics and any of several in-office dental procedures, including gum surgery, a root canal, or a tooth extraction. But if you do have a tooth that can’t be saved, we promise we won’t remove it with an ice skate!

The best way to prevent an abscess from forming in the first place is to practice conscientious oral hygiene. By brushing your teeth twice each day for two minutes, and flossing at least once a day, you will go a long way towards keeping harmful oral bacteria from thriving in your mouth.

If you have any questions about gum disease or abscesses, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can learn more by reading the Dear Doctor magazine articles “Periodontal (Gum) Abscesses” and “Confusing Tooth Pain.”


By Today's Dental
April 08, 2015
Category: Dental Procedures
Tags: WaterLase  

Wouldn't all dental patients love to have an easier way to get things done - especially the anxious and fearful individuals who can't stand shots or long procedure times? Now there is a way to get many dental procedures - even more complex ones - done quickly, easily and without the worry and pain people associate with going to the dentist.

Modern Laser Dentistry is Fast, Painless and Effective

This innovation in modern dentistry is called WaterLase - a cutting-edge combination of a YSGG laser and an air and water tool in one instrument, guided accurately and precisely by the dentist. Used on gums, teeth, and even bone, WaterLase eliminates unwanted damage that traditional high-speed dental drills produce, helping to prevent additional problems with the treated tooth in the future.

The energy pulses produced by the dental laser are so quick that nerve endings in the patient's mouth do not have time to send pain signals to the brain. Many patients require less anesthesia or no pain management whatsoever when undergoing WaterLase procedures.

In addition, the air and ultra-fine water spray produced by WaterLase hydrates the tooth and keeps it cool, avoiding heat and vibration damage common to drills. When used to prepare a tooth to receive a filling, WaterLase preserves more of the healthy enamel.

What can WaterLase do?

Back in 1998, the Food and Drug Administration cleared WaterLase for dental work involving the hard tissues in the mouth - in other words, tooth enamel. Since that time, however, WaterLase has been cleared for more dental applications. Current usages are numerous and include:

  • treatment of cavities
  • preparation of teeth for sealants
  • biopsy
  • incision of oral abscesses
  • root canal preparation
  • treatment of canker sores
  • bone contouring
  • smile reshaping
  • gingivectomy (removal of gum tissue)
  • tooth whitening
  • treatment of periodontitis (advanced gum disease)
  • TMJ (temporomandibular joint) problems

In particular, patients like WaterLase for taking care of cavities. Using the WaterLase hand piece, the dentist removes the decayed enamel painlessly and quickly, and then prepares the enamel to receive tooth-colored composite resin. This durable filling material is bonded, smoothed, shaped and then hardened with a special blue light. The result is a filling that is stronger and far more attractive than the old-style amalgam fillings.

Dr. Tiberiu Oancea

Residents of the Houston, Texas area have access to WaterLase technology through Today's Dental. Dr. Tiberiu Oancea and his professional dental staff strive for the highest standard of care for their patients. Dr. Oancea's training and experience, combined with compassionate listening and care, result in excellent preventative, cosmetic and restorative procedures for patients of all ages. He can tell you more about how WaterLase can get your dental work done easily and precisely. Call Today's Dental at 281-580-0770.