My Blog

By Crystal Dental Care
March 19, 2020
Category: Oral Health
Tags: dental injuries  

When your favorite baseball team wins, it's hard not to get excited — especially if you're right there in the stadium. It's even better when a player tosses the ball to fans. But sometimes, in the heat of the moment, things can go awry.

That's what happened during a recent game at New York's Yankee Stadium. After catching the ball that ended the game in an 8-2 Dodgers win, Los Angeles outfielder Yasiel Puig tossed it into a cheering crowd of supporters. “I saw it coming at me and I remember thinking, 'I don't have a glove to catch this ball,'” Dodgers fan Alyssa Gerharter told the New York Daily News. “I felt it hit me and I could feel immediately with my tongue there's a hole. And I looked down at my hand and saw there's a tooth in my hand.”

Ouch. Just like that, one fan's dream became… a not-so-good dream. But fortunately for the 25-year-old software engineer, things went uphill from there. Ushers quickly escorted her into a first-aid room at the stadium. She was then rushed to a nearby hospital, where the upper front tooth was re-inserted into her jaw. After a follow-up appointment at her dentist's office the next day, Gerharter said she remains hopeful the re-inserted tooth will fuse with the bone, and won't require replacement.

We hope so too. And in fact, she has as good a chance of a successful outcome as anyone, because she did everything right. If you're not sure what to do about a knocked-out tooth, here are the basics:

  • locate the tooth, handle it carefully (don't touch the root surface), and if possible gently clean it with water
  • try to open the person's mouth and find the place where the tooth came from
  • carefully re-insert the tooth in its socket if possible, making sure it is facing the right way
  • hold the tooth in place with a soft cloth as you rush to the dental office or the nearest urgent care facility
  • if it can't be replaced in its socket, place the tooth in a special preservative solution or milk, or have the person hold it between the cheek and gum (making sure they won't swallow it) — and then seek immediate care at the dental office
  • follow up at the dental office as recommended

In general, the quicker you perform these steps, the more likely it is that the tooth can be preserved. How quick is quick? The best outcomes are expected when re-implantation occurs in no more than five minutes. So if you're in this situation, don't wait: get (or give) appropriate first aid right away — it just might save a tooth!

If you would like more information about what to do in a dental emergency, contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can learn more the Dear Doctor articles “Knocked Out Tooth,” and “The Field-Side Guide to Dental Injuries.”

By Crystal Dental Care
March 09, 2020
Category: Dental Procedures

The long-running hit show Dancing with the Stars has had its share of memorable moments, including a wedding proposal, a wardrobe malfunction, and lots of sharp dance moves. But just recently, one DWTS contestant had the bad luck of taking an elbow to the mouth on two separate occasions—one of which resulted in some serious dental damage.

Nationally syndicated radio personality Bobby Bones received the accidental blows while practicing with his partner, professional dancer Sharna Burgess. “I got hit really hard,” he said. “There was blood and a tooth. [My partner] was doing what she was supposed to do, and my face was not doing what it was supposed to do.”

Accidents like this can happen at any time—especially when people take part in activities where there’s a risk of dental trauma. Fortunately, dentists have many ways to treat oral injuries and restore damaged teeth. How do we do it?

It all depends on how much of the tooth is missing, whether the damage extends to the soft tissue in the tooth’s pulp, and whether the tooth’s roots are intact. If the roots are broken or seriously damaged, the tooth may need to be extracted (removed). It can then generally be replaced with a dental bridge or a state-of-the-art dental implant.

If the roots are healthy but the pulp is exposed, the tooth may become infected—a painful and potentially serious condition. A root canal is needed. In this procedure, the infected pulp tissue is removed and the “canals” (hollow spaces deep inside the tooth) are disinfected and sealed up. The tooth is then restored: A crown (cap) is generally used to replace the visible part above the gum line. A timely root canal procedure can often save a tooth that would otherwise be lost.

For moderate cracks and chips, dental veneers may be an option. Veneers are wafer-thin shells made of translucent material that go over the front surfaces of teeth. Custom-made from a model of your smile, veneers are securely cemented on to give you a restoration that looks natural and lasts for a long time.

It’s often possible to fix minor chips with dental bonding—and this type of restoration can frequently be done in just one office visit. In this procedure, layers of tooth-colored resin are applied to fill in the parts of the tooth that are missing, and then hardened by a special light. While it may not be as long-lasting as some other restoration methods, bonding is a relatively simple and inexpensive technique that can produce good results.

If you would like more information about emergency dental treatment, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can learn more by reading the Dear Doctor articles “The Field-Side Guide to Dental Injuries” and “Knocked Out Tooth.”

By Crystal Dental Care
February 28, 2020
Category: Oral Health
Tags: oral health   nutrition  

Although a variety of foods provide energy-producing carbohydrates, sugar is among the most popular. It’s believed we universally crave sugar because of the quick energy boost after eating it, or that it also causes a release in our brains of serotonin endorphins, chemicals which relax us and make us feel good.

But there is a downside to refined sugars like table sugar or high-fructose corn syrup: too much in our diets contributes to conditions like cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and dental disease. On the latter, sugar is a primary food source for oral bacteria; the more sugar available in the mouth the higher the levels of bacteria that lead to tooth decay and gum disease.

Moderating your intake of refined sugars and other carbohydrates can be hard to do, given that many processed foods contain various forms of refined sugar. A diet rich in fresh fruits and vegetables helps control sugar intake as well as contribute to overall health. Many people also turn to a variety of sugar substitutes: one study found roughly 85% of Americans use some form of it in place of sugar. They’re also being added to many processed foods: unless you’re checking ingredients labels, you may be consuming them unknowingly.

Sugar substitutes are generally either artificial, manufactured products like saccharin or aspartame or extractions from natural substances like stevia or sorbitol. The good news concerning your teeth and gums is that all the major sugar substitutes don’t encourage bacterial growth. Still, while they’re generally safe for consumption, each has varying properties and may have side-effects for certain people. For example, people with phenylketonuria, a rare genetic condition, can’t process aspartame properly and should avoid it.

One alcohol-based sweetener in particular is of interest in oral care. A number of studies indicate xylitol may actually inhibit bacterial growth and thus reduce the risk of tooth decay. You can find xylitol in a variety of gum and mint products.

When considering what sugar substitutes to use, be sure you’re up to date on their potential health effects for certain individuals, as well as check the ingredients labels of processed foods for added sweeteners. As your dentist, we’ll also be glad to advise you on strategies to reduce sugar in your diet and promote better dental health.

If you would like more information on your best options for sweeteners, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can also learn more about this topic by reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “Artificial Sweeteners.”

By Crystal Dental Care
February 20, 2020
Category: Dental Procedures
Tags: Root Canal  

How a root canal from your dentist in Crystal, MN, can relieve tooth pain

If you are suffering from tooth pain, you may be wondering if you need a root canal. The truth is, only your dentist can tell for sure whether you need a root canal by taking x-rays and performing vitality and temperature testing. That’s why it’s important to seek out your dentist at the first sign of tooth trouble. Dr. Kimberlee Murphy at Crystal Dental Care in Crystal, MN, offers a wide range of dental services, including root canal therapy to relieve your tooth pain.

There are some definite signs and symptoms to pay attention to, which may indicate you need a root canal. You need to seek out your dentist if you experience:

  • Chronic, throbbing tooth pain that never resolves
  • Tooth pain that continues even after dental treatment is complete
  • Tooth pain that radiates into your jaws or face
  • Stabbing dental pain when you bite down or chew
  • Tooth pain that increases if you eat or drink hot or cold foods or beverages

There are also some non-painful signs you may need a root canal, including:

  • A red or white bump that develops on your gums next to a tooth root
  • Drainage including blood or pus coming from the bump on your gums
  • A tooth that is growing darker or grayer compared to the teeth next to it

If you notice any of these signs or symptoms, it could indicate damage to the innermost layer of your tooth, an area known as the pulp. The pulp is where the nerves and blood supply to your tooth are located and when this area becomes damaged or bruised, inflammation, infection, and pressure build up inside your tooth. Tooth pain begins, and it can grow severe.

During root canal therapy, the diseased tissue is removed and inflammation, infection, and pressure subside. An inert material is placed inside your tooth, and the tooth is sealed up with a small permanent filling. That’s all there is to it!

Root canal therapy can relieve your tooth pain and save your smile! To find out more about how root canal therapy can help you, call Dr. Kimberlee Murphy at Crystal Dental Care in Crystal, MN, at (763) 537-3655 today!

By Crystal Dental Care
February 18, 2020
Category: Dental Procedures
Tags: Crowns  

Dental crowns can help your smile in many ways. Damaged teeth that are too weak to bite or chew without extreme pain or sensitivity can be strengthened with dental crowns, which helps restore normal tooth functioning. Dental crowns also protect damaged teeth from being worn down further. At Crystal Dental Care in Crystal, MN, our skilled dentist, Dr. Kimberlee Murphy, can help your smile with dental crowns.

What Are Dental Crowns?

Dental crowns are protective shells or caps that completely encapsulate weak or damaged teeth. Each dental crown is custom created to fit perfectly over its corresponding tooth. Once in place over the tooth, only the dental crown will be visible and the natural tooth will be protected inside the crown. Dental crowns are made to look completely natural and no one will be able to tell the difference between a dental crown and your other teeth. Our Crystal, MN dentist can explain how crowns can address your specific dental needs.

Benefits of Dental Crowns

Dental crowns offer multiple benefits. They can strengthen and protect damaged teeth, restore tooth functioning, and even improve the appearance of teeth with cosmetic issues. One specific way dental crowns are used is to strengthen and protect teeth following root canal treatment. Teeth that have become severely infected can often be preserved through root canal therapy so extraction can be avoided. Afterward, a dental crown is often placed over the affected tooth to protect it from further infection or damage.

Teeth that have undergone extreme wear and tear and are too weak or worn down to bite and chew food properly can be strengthened and protected with dental crowns. Placing a dental crown over a tooth that is weak or worn down both protects the tooth from further damage and gives it a strong exterior for resuming normal biting and chewing functions.

In addition to protective, strengthening, and restorative benefits, dental crowns can also improve the appearance of teeth with cosmetic concerns. For example, a tooth that is crooked, chipped, or discolored can be given a flawless new look by placing a dental crown over it. Once in place, the cosmetic issue will be concealed beneath the dental crown.

Whether you are interested in the protective, restorative, or cosmetic benefits of dental crowns, Dr. Murphy can help. To schedule an appointment with our dentist, call Crystal Dental Care in Crystal, MN, at (763) 537-3655.

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