dr. gilbert

Oral Cancer Among Men to Increase in 2017

man standing with arms crossedA recent study by the American Cancer Society reports that oral cancer cases in men is expected to increase in 2017 by 4%, while the rate of new cases among women stays the same year over year. “Oral Cancer”, which is a common way to refer to all head and neck cancers, involves cancer of the oral cavity, lips, tongue, pharynx and esophagus.

Unfortunately, oral cancers often go undetected until their later stages when they are more difficult to treat, giving them an even worse reputation than many other cancers.

Oral cancer is more likely in those who:

  • Drink Alcohol Excessively (more than 2 drinks a day for men and more than 1 drink a day for women)
  • Smoke or Chew Tobacco
  • Have HPV (certain strains of the HPV virus are known to cause oral and other cancers)

HPV and Oral Cancer
Along with the rise of HPV among men has come the rise of oral cancers as well. Unfortunately, it has now been estimated that half of U.S. men are infected with HPV. While most of these will not go on to develop cancer, certainly, these increases may continue to create a rise in head and neck cancers until the disease is brought under control.

What You Can Do
Prevention and detection are the most important things when it comes to the fight against oral cancer. With early detection, we can do better for survival rates and, as we have seen with general cancer cases, prevention in the form of abstaining from tobacco and drinking in moderation can reduce the number of cases over time. In order to protect yourself and your family and help us with survival rates, we urge you to see us for an oral cancer screening. It only takes a few minutes for us to examine you – and it could save your life.

For more information on oral cancer, call us at Midland TX Office Phone Number 432-685-3240 or visit oralcancerfoundation.org.

Root Canals BC, AD, and Now

ancient toothbrushRoot Canals: BC
There is no way of knowing just exactly how long root canal therapy has been around. The first traces of root canal therapy can be dated back to second or third century B.C. A human skull was discovered in a desert in Israel. In one of the teeth, they found a bronze wire that scientists believe was used to treat an infected canal. The wire was located at the site of the infection, which is the exact spot that would be targeted during modern day root canal therapy. The archaeologists who discovered the remains believe that the procedure was performed by the Romans, who are said to have invented dentures and crowns.

More Advancements: AD
Evidence shows that from the first century A.D. until the 1600s, the treatment for root canals included the draining of the pulp chambers to relieve pain, and then covering them with a protective coating made from either gold foil or asbestos. Around 1838, the first official root canal instrument was constructed. It was made to allow easier access to the pulp that is located within the root of the tooth. A few years later, around 1847, a safer material known as “gutta percha” was created to use as a filling once the root canal was cleaned out. Both of these materials are still used today by Endodontists.

20th Century Technology
When we entered the 20th century, dental technology advanced. Anesthetics and x-rays were instituted into dental practices, which made treating an infected root canal much easier and safer. These technological advancements also allowed for alternative treatments to pulling teeth. Root canal therapy has advanced so much that it is now a nearly painless procedure!

An infected tooth root is a pain, and can compromise your teeth! We save teeth every day in our office with endodontic therapy – call us at Midland TX Office Phone Number 432-685-3240 for more information.

What is root resorption?

bottom tooth imageRoot resorption happens every day in children – it is the body’s natural process of (re)absorbing tissue. In the case of a child’s mouth, it is what helps them to lose their baby teeth and, in fact, what allows them to have effective orthodontic treatment. The body resorbs tissues that connect the baby teeth to the mouth, and the tooth is then able to fall out. But when we see resorption in adults, it is cause for concern.

Why does resorption happen?
We don’t always know why resorption occurs. Sometimes it is due to trauma to a tooth or severe grinding, sometimes due to overly aggressive orthodontic treatment (too much force was applied to the teeth with braces), but, often, we simply don’t know the cause, and must instead focus on the treatment.

External Cervical Resorption (ECR)
When resorption starts on the outside of the tooth and works its way in, usually up where the tooth meets the gum line, this is known as external resorption. It is the most common type. Patients may see pink spots at first where the enamel is being destroyed, or they may be asymptomatic. If left untreated, this often results in cavities and, eventually, the decay will start to affect the tooth pulp as well. Treatment for ECR typically includes root canal therapy. However, if the damage is too extensive, the tooth may need extraction and replacement with a dental implant.

Internal Resorption
Less common than ECR is internal resorption, which involves the resorption of tissue starting in the root of the tooth. It is often thought to be due to chronic pulp inflammation, and may be asymptomatic. Early treatment is important in order to the save the tooth.

As endodontists, our main goal is always to save your natural teeth, and do so safely and with great care to ensure the best oral health for you in the future. Regular x-rays with your dentist and a call to our office at Midland TX Office Phone Number 432-685-3240 at the first sign of root decay or resorption will help us meet that goal!

The Source of Your Tooth Pain

woman holding jawMost people, at some point in their life, will experience tooth pain or another discomfort in the mouth. If you are experiencing pain right now, you are probably wondering “Why does my tooth hurt?” and, more importantly, “How do I make it stop?”

As endodontists, we are specialists in stopping tooth pain in its tracks. That’s right! Root canal therapy is one of the most dependable and permanent ways to make tooth pain stop. It also happens to be the healthier choice when compared to extraction.

As experts in pain-relief, we offer you this quick guide to the top three sources of tooth pain (can you guess what number one is?) The good news is that each of these conditions is both preventable and treatable.

  1. Cavities – Yep! You guessed it! Dental caries are the number one cause of tooth pain. While a general dentist can take care of early-stage caries with a filling, more serious decay that has gone past the crown and entered the roots requires a visit to the endodontist for root canal treatment. Prevent cavities in just 6 minutes a day by brushing twice and flossing once!
  2. Broken Fillings – If you have an old silver filling in your mouth, there is a good chance it will crack at some point during your life. The important thing to do if you suspect you have a broken or cracked filling is to visit your dentist ASAP for a replacement. Otherwise, bacteria will find its way into the crack and infect the root, which will then require more aggressive treatment such as root canal therapy.
  3. Cracked Teeth – If you feel a sharp pain when biting down on food, you probably have a cracked or chipped tooth. Tooth fractures are usually the result of biting down on something hard such as ice, nuts or hard candy, so those items should be avoided when possible.

Now that you know the source of your pain, we want you to know that we are here to help you determine the best remedy. We aim to get you in and out quickly, safely and comfortably. Don’t wait any longer to resolve your pain, give us a call at Midland TX Office Phone Number 432-685-3240.

Missing Teeth: More than Just a Gap in Your Smile

man smiling with no missing teethWhile it is true that the most obvious effect of missing teeth is a gap in your smile, missing teeth can cause other problems that you might not be immediately aware of. For example, did you know that for every missing tooth you have you lose 10 percent of your chewing ability? Read on to get a better idea of how a missing tooth can affect your life.

Surrounding Teeth
A missing tooth usually means more stress for the remaining teeth. In addition to that, if you are missing a tooth on the lower jaw, the opposing tooth on the top can grow longer to fill the gap in a process known as superuption or extrusion. This could lead to teeth tilting and move out of place by drifting into the space that was left by your missing tooth – a disaster for your beautiful smile!

Digestive Health
If you are missing teeth, you can’t enjoy all of the foods that you are used to eating – bad for your health and bad for your mood! Say goodbye to caramel apples, saltwater taffy, crunchy carrots and even gum. And because the variety in your diet is reduced when a tooth is missing, digestive problems are unfortunate yet common.

Decay and Hygiene Problems
The shifting of your teeth may cause new hygiene issues as it may be difficult to brush and floss like you normally would. This leaves your mouth more vulnerable to gum disease and tooth decay.

Facial Aesthetics
People with more than one missing tooth may also have issues with a collapsed bite which causes a loss of vertical dimension. This could make your face appear shorter, as the distance between the tip of your nose and your chin would decrease.

The good news is that you don’t have to suffer anymore! Dental implants can help you avoid all of the problems listed above and let you live your life normally again. It’s never too late for a dental implant, give us a call at Midland TX Office Phone Number 432-685-3240 to find out about this life-changing procedure.

Study Reveals Tooth Enamel Structure Composition

high tech toothExciting news in the world of dentistry and endodontics!

A University of Sydney research team has produced detailed 3D maps of the composition of tooth enamel. While we have known for some time that enamel is the hardest substance in the human body and that its strength comes from a complex hierarchical structure that includes magnesium, carbonate and fluoride ions, this is the first in-depth and detailed look at what the composition of that structure is.

Findings of this Study

Two major findings are exciting the dental community. First, there is now direct evidence that an amorphous magnesium-rich calcium phosphate phase may determine (to some degree) how teeth are formed. Second, organic material was also found in the structure, suggesting that proteins occur in patterns throughout the enamel, not just in the interfaces as we used to think.

What does this mean for endodontists?

Tooth enamel is the first line of defense when it comes to teeth and their roots. Once the enamel is compromised, decay starts to take place and, if left untreated (as you know), the infection may spread to the tooth’s roots, landing you in one of our chairs for root canal therapy. That is why we, as endodontists, want your enamel to stay healthy and strong for as long as possible!

What does this mean for patients?

The impact of this could be great down the road. This type of detailed information will allow dentists and other scientists and researchers to better determine what is going on inside the enamel of your teeth before, during and after decay.

New Treatments?

Potentially…yes! New treatments and prevention strategies for dental health are always on being made, thanks to ground-breaking research and studies such as this.

If you are experiencing tooth pain, it may be that you are in need of root canal therapy. We can help! Call Midland TX Office Phone Number 432-685-3240 for more information.

The Love of Endodontics!

We’ve all felt it; that pitter-patter feeling, flushed red cheeks, you can’t eat, it’s driving you crazy!

Are you in love…or in need of a root canal treatment?!

heart in a toothSymptom Checker:

Burning desire
Heart throbbing
Flushed cheeks
Can’t eat
It’s driving you crazy

RESULT: You could be in love!

Gum inflammation
Throbbing pain
Redness of skin
Can’t chew
It’s driving you crazy

 

RESULT: You probably need a root canal!

They may not come riding in on a white horse like prince charming, but your endodontist CAN save you from tooth pain!
Root canal treatment removes the infected pulp of a tooth so pain and inflammation will cease. It gets rid of infection and bacteria and, most importantly, it preserves the tooth!
Saving a tooth rather than extracting has several benefits. The space left by a missing tooth can lead to bone loss and misalignment when your remaining teeth shift position.
It is also a lot cheaper than having a bridge or even an implant to fill the space.
Root canal treatment is followed by a dental crown, to fill, cover, strengthen, and restore the appearance and structure of a tooth.

More than 15 million root canals are performed every year, with over 41,000 each day! Now that’s something to LOVE about endodontists!

Did you know studies have shown that 85% of patients will return to the same dentist who performed their root canal therapy!

Don’t confuse the pain of love with needing a root canal! Call Permian Basin Endodontics on 432-685-3240 to check those symptoms!

Oral Ecology

Your mouth has entire colonies of microorganisms, and most of them do no harm. There have been over 700 different strains of bacteria that have been detected in the human mouth, most of which are harmless. Sometimes, other disease-causing bacteria are thrown into the mix which can affect our health. They can be controlled with a healthy diet, good oral care practices and regular visits to your dentist.

Bacteria in biofilm (a thin film of bacteria which adheres to a surface) were first detected under the microscopes of Antony van Leeuwenhoek in the 17th century. Bacteria in your mouth have both the ability to be harmful, but also to be beneficial and necessary to your immune system.

The plaque that forms on your teeth and causes tooth decay and periodontal disease, is a type of biofilm. A biofilm forms when bacteria adhere to surfaces in a watery environment, they excrete a glue-like substance which helps them stick to all kinds of materials. Dental plaque is a yellowish color type of biofilm that builds up on teeth.

oral bacteria

Watch Out For These Bacteria

Streptococcus mutans
Lives in your mouth and feeds off the sugars and starches you eat. It produces enamel-eroding acids as it feeds, which make it the leading cause of tooth decay.

Porphyromonas gingivalis
Strongly linked to periodontitis. Periodontitis is a serious and progressive disease that can result in bone degeneration. It causes pain and leads to tooth loss.

A biofilm can contain communities of disease-causing bacteria, and if left uncontrolled, they can cause cavities as well as both gingivitis and periodontitis. Bacteria is also the cause of inflammation and pain of a root infection, leading to root canal treatment.
During root canal treatment, the root is dried extremely well and sealed, as to not provide any moisture for bacteria to colonize. A well-filled root canal offers bacteria a nutritionally limited space.

Biofilm can be controlled by proper oral hygiene; however, periodontitis requires an extra helping hand. Treatment of oral infections requires removal of biofilm and calculus (tartar) through non-surgical procedures followed by antibiotic therapy. Chlorhexidine and triclosan can reduce the degree of plaque and gingivitis, while preventing disease-causing microorganisms to colonize.

Don’t let oral bacteria be your “fr-enemy”! Call us Permian Basin Endodontics today on 432-685-3240 to discuss your oral health options.

The History of Endodontics

Did you know the practice of endodontics has actually been around for quite some time?

In 1985 in Israel’s Negev Desert, archeologists discovered a 2000 year old deceased Nabataen soldier with a one-tenth of an inch bronze wire embedded in the nerve cavity of one of the skull’s teeth. This discovery of a skull with a wire in its teeth gives us our first sign of endodontic treatment. Evidence from the first century A.D. until the 1600’s reveals early signs of endodontic treatment, which entailed draining pulp chambers for relief and covering them with protective coatings made of gold foil or asbestos.

endodontic tools

Root canal treatment is a type of treatment that indicates high technology and a high understanding of dental disease. Archaeologists believe the treatment of the 2000 year old Nabataen soldier may have been practiced by a visiting Roman doctor. The Roman’s in the past have also been cited for the invention of dental crowns and dentures.

In 1963, endodontics was recognized as the eighth dental specialty by the American Dental Association.

With the rise of the twentieth century came the institution of x-rays and anesthetics – what some might call “dentistry miracles”. Endodontic treatment today is much more safe, practical and most importantly, comfortable! Tooth extractions are no longer the only options for an infected pulp or abscess.

Thank goodness for new technology these days! If you want specialized treatment, a comfortable office and great techniques, look no further than Permian Basin Endodontics for all your endodontic needs! Give us a call on 432-685-3240 and schedule your root canal treatment today!

High Quality H2O

Whether you’re drinking from a glass that is half-empty or half-full, drinking a glass of water is always beneficial to your health. Human beings are 60% water; so staying hydrated throughout the day is crucial for the hydration of tissue, the distribution of nutrients, and the removal of waste from your body. Not only is drinking water beneficial to your overall health, but your dental health as well!

Here are four reasons why water is the best beverage for your teeth:

1. Water keeps your mouth clean.

Water cleans your mouth with every sip! As your drink, water washes away leftover food and any residual cavity-causing bacteria. Water also reduces the pH of your mouth by diluting the acids produced by bacteria that live in your mouth. Don’t forget to brush your teeth twice a day for two minutes, but drinking water throughout the day will help keep your smile healthy and cavity-free.

woman drinking water for oral health

2. Water strengthens your teeth.

Drinking water with fluoride, aka “nature’s cavity fighter”, is one of the easiest and most effective ways to fight cavities. While almost all water contains naturally-occurring fluoride, the community water systems that serve most American households adjust the level, usually by adding fluoride to achieve the right amount to reduce tooth decay. Health organizations, like the American Dental Association (ADA), say this is one of the major reasons most people no longer need the dentures that were so common before widespread fluoridation, and studies have shown that it is why dental costs are lower and oral health problems have declined in fluoridated communities!

3. Drinking water fights dry mouth.

Saliva is the human mouth’s first defense against cavities. Saliva helps wash away residual food and coats your teeth in calcium, phosphate, and fluoride. When your mouth doesn’t have enough saliva, you run the risk for tooth decay. When your mouth is feeling dry, drink a glass of water to quench your thirst, and strengthen your teeth!

4. Water is free of calories.

Drinking sugary beverages can create a cavity-prone environment within your mouth, and can lead to weight gain. Studies show that drinking water, eight 8-ounce glasses or 8×8, can help you lose weight.

If you have questions regarding water consumption or your overall dental health, don’t hesitate to call Permian Basin Endodontics at Midland TX Office Phone Number 432-685-3240 today!