Sunday, August 14, 2011

Types of Braces - Which Is Right for You?

Getting braces can be an enormous decision with many choices to make which can impact on both the cost and the end result. One of the decisions which must be made is the type of braces treatment which is best for straightening your teeth. This article discusses the most common forms of orthodontic treatment which are available for patients with crooked teeth or irregular spacing.
The type of braces that you end up choosing will largely depend on your budget and also your personal desires. Braces for children are often less costly than for adults, since children's teeth and bones are still in developing stages and can be more quickly and easily realigned. As for adults, the cost of braces is higher since orthodontic teeth straightening takes longer. Also many adults consider a more 'invisible' form of braces which further increases the cost.
Standard Metal Bracket Braces
The traditional metal braces are those which you commonly see on the teeth of children and adolescents. They are comprised of metal brackets joined by a metal wire. Whilst they are usually the cheapest option, they are also the most conspicuous and unsightly. The metal braces have been around for decades and can provide possibly the best orthodontic alignment benefit since they can be fully adjusted (as opposed to aligners such as Invisalign, which can only treat mild to moderate malocclusion and often need to be followed by traditional braces to properly align the teeth).
Metal braces can be customized with colored or ceramic brackets, which can make them more aesthetically pleasing. Ceramic brackets do cost more, however they are made to match the color of the patient's teeth and accordingly are less noticeable than the traditional metal type. Teenagers and children often opt for colored brackets and/or elastics to suit their personality and make the process a little more fun. There is a wide variety of colors available and also patients can further modify their brackets by selecting letters, images or symbols.
Teeth straightening with traditional metal braces typically take around eighteen to twenty four months on average. In more extreme cases (for example where there is overbite or underbite) the treatment can take longer.
Clear Aligner Trays
A more cosmetic alternative to having braces are plastic aligner trays such as Invisalign. These are made of clear plastic and sit over the patient's teeth. Since the trays are clear, others can hardly tell that the person is receiving orthodontic treatment. The trays are removable and need to be taken off for eating or drinking fluids other than water. The removability also allows for more thorough cleaning of the teeth than with bonded bracket braces. New aligner trays are made approximately fortnightly throughout the treatment.
A downside of the aligners is that the treatment can only deal with mild to moderate orthodontic problems and accordingly Invisalign may not be appropriate for all patients. Also, patients need to wear the aligners for a minimum amount of time throughout the day. If the program is not followed the treatment time can be prolonged, adding to the cost of braces.
Invisalign provides an alternate option to the unsightly traditional braces and can even be cheaper in some instances (since they can be provided by a dentist rather than an orthodontist). However, in most cases, Invisalign is more expensive than standard metal braces.
Lingual or Invisible Braces
Another way to hide braces is by getting them placed on the back of your teeth. This is referred to as lingual braces since they are positioned on the lingual (tongue) side of the teeth. Whilst they can be more uncomfortable for the patient, they are an ideal option for those who wish to hide their braces but are unsuitable candidates for Invisalign treatment. Lingual braces are much more expensive than traditional braces which go on the front of the teeth. This is because lingual braces require orthodontists to undertake further training to bond and adjust the brackets from the reverse side.
Many adults consider spending the extra money for lingual braces since they deem it inappropriate for them to wear braces in their adulthood, especially if they are in a professional role or are self-conscious about their image. Lingual braces for children are not as necessary since most teenagers are wearing standard bracket braces anyway.
If you are considering braces, you need to research the options which are available and which treatment is most suitable for you and your budget. Having straight and healthy teeth can not only prevent further dental costs (not being able to clean crooked teeth properly, problems with overbite and teeth grinding), it can also help boost one's self-esteem and confidence. When determining which types of braces are best for you or your child, make sure to research your options thoroughly. Talk to your dentist, family and friends who have had braces and read online reviews.
With financing, get a thorough quote upfront to ensure you don't step outside your budget. Remember that often the retainer period is charged separately. There are options available for paying for your braces. For example, your orthodontist may offer a payment plan with an initial down payment. You may also consider looking into health care insurance or joining a health savings plan such as Ameriplan. In some limited circumstances, braces treatment can be covered by Medicaid, however this would only apply to the standard braces as opposed to the more lavish options such as lingual and Invisalign.
For further information about the cost of braces please visit
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Saturday, August 6, 2011

Natural Products for Reversing Gum Disease

Flossing Products
At their healthiest, the interdental (in-between) areas of our
teeth have an angle and a deeper pocket. Floss is an important
tool to remove plaque and food debris in these areas. In
my years of practicing dental hygiene, I have noticed that
people do not floss correctly, and this causes more problems.
A result of improper flossing is a cut on the gum tissue. Or,
if people snap the floss, they cut the gum tissue and inflame
the area. So do not snap the floss.
It is important to get in between the teeth and floss in a
natural way. Products such as floss infused with natural
herbs are easily obtained in health food stores. While floss is
a treated string, if it contains natural herbs, it can assist in
directing the herbal ingredients into the space between the
teeth. Natural ingredients directed into areas that collect
food and bacteria can assist in reversing gum disease naturally.
So make sure you wrap the floss around the tooth
under the gum.
To floss properly here is what you should do: Take
approximately six to eight inches of flossing material from
the container and wrap the floss (string) around your fingers
comfortably, not too tight. Then gently wrap the tooth in a
“C” shape. Remember, you’re not just removing the food
particles, but what you are doing is breaking loose plaque
pedicles. Plaque attaches to the tooth and calcifies into tartar.
So gently move the six to eight inches of the floss under
the gum line and around the tooth. Proceed to the next tooth and apply the same procedure, remembering to wrap the
floss around the tooth in a “C” shape.
Herbal Mouthwash
The mouthwash used in my office is Bioforce Echinacea, an
herbal mouthwash. It is a natural holistic composition of
herbs that contains echinacea. Echinacea has been found to
be a good wound healer for the oral cavity. I use it during
gum cleansing. The mouth needs to be healed and soothed
from time to time, and echinacea is soothing to the gums and
can be used for prevention of soreness. It can help reduce
fungus in your oral cavity, a cause of gum disease. I tell my
patients to alternate it with water in an oral irrigator. It helps
to moisturize and soothe the gum tissue while the action of
the irrigator is at work. The mouth constantly needs to balance
the pH level. Stress and spices added to foods alter the
pH of the mouth. To stimulate the gums, put a drop of
mouthwash on your toothbrush and massage the tissue.
Other natural mouthwashes on the market are fortified with
goldenseal, another herbal extract.
CoQ10 Mouthwash
There are many natural mouthwashes, and most of them
can be found in health food stores. Some contain baking
soda or coenzyme Q10. Research shows that the use of
CoQ10 can reduce gum disease. You can buy this product in
capsules. Open a capsule and then apply the material on
top of your toothpaste, or drop the powder into a liquid to
make a rinse.
Rose Mouthwash
Red roses are more potent than any other colored rose
(white, yellow, pink, violet, etc.). Rose petals have a large
amount of vitamin C and will strengthen the gum tissue. If
you have any red roses in your garden, gather up some of the
petals that have fallen off the rose. Put the petals in a bowl
and pour boiling water over them. Once the water has turned
a deep rose color, you can use it for a mouthwash. You can
also buy rose tea and prepare the tea as a mouth rinse.
Burdock Root
Burdock root can destroy a number of microorganisms that
are responsible for gum disease. Prepare a concoction with
one teaspoon of the root simmered in a cupful of water for
fifteen minutes. Use it as a mouthwash, swishing it inside
your mouth and holding it there for a few minutes at
a time.
Natural Mouthwashes versus Commercial Brands
Sir Joseph Lister, who discovered the medical benefits of
antiseptics, invented Listerine in 1879. Listerine originally
was used as an antiseptic for cuts, scrapes, insect bites, and
dandruff. You can find these same claims on the bottle today.
In 1921 the company found another use for the product—
thus the slogan, “Remember, nothing exceeds halitosis as a
social offense. Nothing exceeds Listerine as a remedy.” Due
to the social connotation of bad breath and the smart advertising
of Listerine, product sales increased. Despite its
medicinal taste, this mouthwash still holds its own in sales.
Today the company has colored the product with dye and has artificial ingredients in its composition. Rinses with
dyes only mask breath odor. It is better to work on the real
causes and help eliminate them. The mouth is always filled
with bacteria, and when you are ill or eat certain foods the
bacteria in your mouth multiply. Listerine may kill certain
bacteria and at the same time may harm your delicate tissue
with the chemicals and dyes in the product. The mouth
should be treated like the skin on your face, and a gentle
daily herbal rinse is preferred.
One cause of halitosis is the anaerobic bacteria that lie
under the gum and also cause gum disease. Using peroxide
in an oral irrigator can help eliminate the anaerobic bacteria
under the gum. Peroxide is oxygen water, and oxygen is
needed under the gum. However, if used as a mouthwash, it
is not as effective. You must take precautions too with using
peroxide as a mouthwash; it can be very caustic to the gum
tissue over a long period of time (ten to twenty years of daily
use). Alternate peroxide with an herbal mouthwash and sea
salt, using them in a water pick.
Do toothpastes feed tooth enamel and gum tissue, or do they
just taste good to motivate patients to brush? Toothpaste
manufacturers often advertise their toothpaste as either cosmetic
or therapeutic. However, I have examined the ingredients
in most of the big commercial-brand toothpastes. My
findings were that most products contained the same ingredients
but were just packaged differently.
Sweetened oral hygiene products will become less popular
as people get the message, “Don’t eat sweets.”
Also, on the packaging for most toothpaste there is a
phone number for poison control written on the tube of
toothpaste. Few people take this message seriously. If the
companies are writing this on their tubes of toothpaste, then
they must have a real reason for doing so. I would rather use
a good-quality natural herbal toothpaste that does not need
to have this warning.
Natural Toothpaste
Echinacea Toothpaste
Used for dental health and gum care, this toothpaste not only
cleans your teeth without being abrasive, but also feeds your
gum tissue. Echinacea is extracted from several species of
plants commonly called purple coneflower. Dr. Gerhard
Madaus was the researcher who imported echinacea seeds
from North America to Europe and scientifically studied
them and found that they had immunostimulating properties.
Echinacea is known to help heal surface wounds. It also
helps heal gums that are sore and irritated.
Rosemary Toothpaste
Rosemary is found in the evergreen shrub and helps stimulate
the blood flow in gum tissue. I find it works well on people
who have receding (shrinking) gums. It activates the
metabolism of the outer layer of gum tissue and improves
cell regeneration. It is important to remember that tissue
regenerates itself, so if you have receding gums, with the
proper care and hygiene this tissue will grow back and
become healthy in time.
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Reducing Our Stress Level - PART 2

Aromatherapy uses the medicinal properties found in the
essential oils of plants to affect mood. Essential oils from
herbal plants infused into oils (olive oil, for example) are
either absorbed through the skin or inhaled. So either use
them in oil that is rubbed into the skin or breathe them in
through a diffuser.
The use of tea tree oil and lavender on top of toothpaste
can relax you and soothe your gum tissue. They have a
pleasant aroma, and are best to use before bedtime.
Chamomile is also an excellent relaxant and can be used as
an extract on top of toothpaste.
Here are some specifics about the calming oils:
• Lavender: Used for burns and small injuries. Its high
ester content can give off a calming sensation to the
• Chamomile: Calms an upset mind and can reduce
mental and physical stress.
• Mandarin: Used as an oil, it can release anxiety.
• Clary sage: Used as a sedative.
• Sandalwood: Used as a sedative.
Any of these calming essences can be placed in a bath
and used to calm and relax you. Add six drops to a warm
bath and relax for ten to twenty minutes.
Acupuncture can alleviate pain and enhance the immune
system in response to a vital flow of life energy throughout the body. It can alter the perception of pain by intervening
with neurotransmitters to the brain. Acupuncture stimulates
the release of endorphins, the body’s natural painkilling
How does acupuncture work? There are twelve major
pathways, or meridians, each linked to a specific organ, and
there are over a thousand acupoints (meridian points). When
needles are placed at these points, they stimulate the flow of
chi (heart-released energy) in the body and remove blockages.
Massage Therapies
Massage therapy is effective in healing the whole body. Here
are some different kinds of massage.
Foot massage. According to practitioners, when there is an
imbalance in the body, granular crystalline substances are
deposited on the reflex point. Can this correlation occur with
the mouth? Can the blockage of the meridians in the mouth
cause calcium deposits such as tartar? No research supports
this theory at the present time, but it is possible.
In reflexology massage, pressure is placed on the meridians
that run through the feet. Reflexology reduces stress
and tension by increasing the blood flow that supplies the
body. Much the same as acupuncture, reflexology removes
the blocks that inhibit energy flow in the body.
Swedish Massage
Emotions can cause muscle tension and trap energy. This
form of massage releases energy-bound muscles, reducing tension and relaxing the mind. This form of a massage can
even put you into a sleep state.
Shiatsu Massage
This Eastern technique includes acupressure and aims to
balance the energy of the body. The acupressure points are
worked, and because of muscle relaxation, the mind also
Aromatherapy Facial Massage
In this kind of massage, the practitioner will cleanse the skin
and then follow with circular strokes with scented oils or
creams. This is useful with the jaw muscles, which are often
This energy-based therapy can help the mind, body, and
spirit in people of all ages. Qi-gong is the learning of
breathing techniques and movements that stimulate the life
force within the body. Stretching in front of the body can
enhance lung capacity. Certain exercises will help you to
recognize the chi energy within your body. Like acupuncture,
qi-gong activates the electrical currents that flow
within the pathways of the body and breaks down the
energy blocks of the body.
Qi-gong can initiate a relaxing response, which
decreases the sympathetic functions of the autonomic nervous
system and frees the mind from distraction. This then
increases blood flow to the capillaries and optimizes the
delivery of oxygen to the tissue.
You can activate the chi in your body with a therapeutic
gum massage that can also activate the immune system.
Qi-gong coordinates the left and right brain hemispheres,
promoting deeper sleep, reduced anxiety, and mental clarity.
It diminishes pain.
A simple way to get a sense of the chi in your body is to
rub your hands together. After producing heat in your hands,
place your hand over an organ. This will increase the chi. If
you are interested in increasing the chi in the area of the
mouth, then rub your hands together, producing heat, and
place your hands over the region of the gums in your mouth.
Feel your internal chi energy. See a practitioner of qi-gong
for more specific information.
Tai Chi Ch’uan
This is a martial art form that uses breathing techniques with
slow, graceful movements to improve the flow of chi, or life
force, so that the mood is calmed. It is a meditation in
motion performed by millions of Chinese people every day.
There are 24 movements in the short version, and they can
be performed in five to ten minutes. In the long version,
there are 108 movements, which takes twenty to forty minutes
to perform.
By imagining positive images, you can overcome problems
and heal yourself. Negative attitudes—including fear, pain,
and stress—also can be changed with visualization.
I use imagery when I am in a situation that can be a
painful experience. For example, when I go to the dentist to have a tooth drilled or even a root canal, instead of getting
anesthesia I simply use my imagination and remove my
mind from my body. This takes total concentration and meditation,
but when I do so I am removed from any pain. I have
surprised many practitioners with my abilities.
Hypnosis is an artificially induced state characterized by a
heightened receptivity to suggestion. This is achieved by
relaxing the body and then shifting the mind to an object
away from the body. If you reach a deep state of hypnosis,
then a posthypnotic suggestion can be carried out. The
deeper state of hypnosis can alter addictions by power of
Hypnotherapy is very effective in treating stress and
mental health problems such as fears and phobias, and even
depression. It is used in psychology to remove fears and
address problems. It can help a person stop smoking and
overcome other harmful addictions. In dentistry, hypnotherapy
is used with excellent results. It is known that hypnosis
can control the circulatory system and enhance the healing
process as well.

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Reducing Our Stress Level

There is a direct link between mental and emotional distress
and the body’s physical health. Mental and emotional
stress—brought about by things like the pain and fear
we’ve been discussing—can weaken the immune system,
allowing disease to take hold in the body. A lowered
immune system response is one of the major factors in the
onset of gum disease.
Pain and the stress that causes fear are related to the
development of gum disease. To help eliminate the cause
and onset of gum disease, and to promote its reversal, we
must work to reduce the level of stress we are experiencing
physically, mentally, and emotionally.
The following treatments and techniques will help you to
reverse gum disease naturally by reducing your stress and pain
levels that are caused by dental fears and related problems.
Yoga comes from the word “yoke”; in Sanskrit the word
means “union.” Our mouth is connected to our body, and we
must heal our mouth much the same as we would heal our
body. A positive mind is a mind that can heal.
The most widely known yoga practice is asana, often
known as hatha yoga. Asana means “ease” in Sanskrit and
includes a variety of physical postures that create changes in
the body. Although yoga emphasizes little movement, the mind is involved with each asana, and thus a mind-bodyspirit
connection is made. The connection of the breath and
the mind is a basic principle of yoga. If the mind is balanced
and focused, the breath will be focused and still.
Pranayama focuses on the regulation of the breath. The
prana exercises are taught to remove energy blockages and
prevent illnesses.
If the mind is restless and agitated, the breathing system
will become the same. Doing prana exercises induces deep
breathing and leads to relaxation of the body and its organs.
The added oxygen will help heal the organs of the body and
clear the mind. Prana has also been shown to help digestion,
improve cardiac function, and strengthen the immune system.
If the immune system is enhanced, then all conditions
of weakness in the body can be reversed.
Meditation, also used in yoga, is a state of focus that
heightens your awareness, relaxing you into peace and harmony.
Using both yoga and meditation will enhance your
immune system, thus alleviating weakness.
Children, too, can benefit from the study of yoga. They
can start at a young age to learn the patterns and postures of
yoga for preventive measures to build their immune system.
Children love movement, and they are usually more flexible
than adults.
If you wish to get a feel for hatha yoga, find a comfortable
place in a dimly lit room. You can have some incense
burning if you wish. For more information please seek out a
class or videotape. Try these three positions:
1. Child’s posture: Sit in a kneeling position on the floor
and let your arms hang by your side. Relax your arms and rest your hands by your side. The back should be
curved. In this position, the hands and body are completely
relaxed. Hold the posture for about five minutes.
2. Shoulder stand: Lie on your back with your legs
apart. Raise both legs until they are perpendicular to
the floor, lifting the hips toward the ceiling. Press the
breastbone toward the chin.
3. Half fish: Sit with your head, neck, and trunk
straight. Your legs should be pressed together and
extended in front of your body. Lean back and place
your elbows and forearms on the floor in line with
your body and legs. Arch your back, expanding your
chest and stretching your neck backward until you
can place the crown of your head on the floor. Now
breathe evenly for twenty seconds.
When you exercise regularly, you begin to improve the condition
of your heart and lungs. Exercise releases toxins from
your body and improves your stamina. It increases your
blood circulation and your joint mobility. It also alleviates
premenstrual stress or stress experienced during menopause.
It strengthens your bones by increasing their mineral content;
therefore, it helps in reducing osteoporosis and
enhances the bone level in your mouth. The bone in your
mouth surrounds the roots of your teeth, giving the teeth
support. So if you exercise regularly, you will reduce gum
disease and increase the circulation that is needed for
healthy gum tissue.
Here are some suggestions for ways in which to exercise.
Play golf, which enhances the cardiovascular system. Tennis
generates good muscular action and circulation. Walking is
less jarring to the joints than jogging or running and also helps
the cardiovascular system and circulation. Swimming will
enhance the mobility of your joints and increase your circulation
and cardiovascular system. Getting twenty to thirty minutes
of aerobic exercise three to five times a week can be
beneficial to your health and enhance your immune system.
Exercise is also a natural antidepressant. Physiological
changes in the body and brain that result from exercise can
elevate your mental state. When you exercise, you increase
your body’s temperature by two or three degrees, which is
relaxing. Endorphins also are released, which enhance the
immune system and give us a sense of elation and wellbeing.
Many runners have described a feeling of being
“high” when running or jogging.
Still, motivating yourself to exercise regularly may be as
difficult as motivating yourself to do a daily oral hygiene
regimen. It might be more difficult if you feel that you are
lacking energy. If you do exercise that you enjoy, you may
be more motivated than if you hate the exercise you plan for
yourself. So whichever activity you choose, enjoy it. Using
your energy in a positive way will make you feel better and
look younger.
Dance Movements for Stress Reduction
Dance and movement are recognized by many as a stimulant
for the immune system. It is a therapy used to release stress
and reduce pain. Personality is connected to movement, and the release of personal expression through dance therapy
also helps reduce depression. I advise dancing in group sessions,
starting with warm-up sessions.
Rhythm, which one develops through dance, does play a
factor in the treatment of the mouth. You can massage with
your brush, floss, and other oral products using a fashionable
dance rhythm. The tedium of oral care will be reduced,
and you will send healing energy through this rhythm from
your hands to your mouth.
Machines and instruments are used in biofeedback to help
you learn to self-regulate your body functions, and to control
your blood pressure and heart rate. Electronic beeps and
flashes provide information about the body’s changes, and
by responding to these signals, you can learn (with the help
of a practitioner) how to regulate your body’s response. If
you have anxiety about going to the dentist, you may learn
to regulate your blood pressure and heart rate with biofeedback
procedures, which will be very helpful in controlling
anxiety about dental treatment. Stress and pain relief can be
altered with biofeedback methods.
Different kinds of biofeedback methods are available.
There are devices that show you changes in your skin temperature.
A GSR device measures the skin’s electrical conductivity
by the amount of sweat produced under stress.
EMGs are visual signals that indicate muscle tension. If you
are in a state of relaxation, your sweat glands will have low
activity, and high levels of alpha waves in the brain will indicate
a slow, even heart rate. You can begin to train yourself to regulate your body’s organs through the use of such
Many people who have undergone biofeedback therapy
have achieved control over fears, stress, and pain.
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Children and Pain in Dentistry

Luckily, there is usually little pain experienced by children
who have gum problems. The child first realizes something
is wrong when he or she sees blood on his or her toothbrush,
which is usually due to sore tissue. Still, here are the conditions
that can cause pain.
This is a localized infection of the gums or a decayed tooth.
The pressure of the pus and diseased gum may cause discomfort
and some pain in children as much as in adults.
Remedies: Seek professional advice. Use of a tea bag
can be helpful—after steeping a tea bag in hot water, let it
cool and place it on the abscess. The tannic acid will draw
the infection out. A rinse with warm sea salt water can also
be helpful. Have your child swish the rinse around his or her
mouth. If the problem persists after a dental cleaning, then seek the advice of a physician. Make sure your child develops
good oral hygiene habits.
Tooth Decay
From treating many children in dental hygiene, I’ve
noticed that children seem to experience less pain with
tooth decay than adults do. I have worked on many children
with rampant decay, and their parents, as well as the children
themselves, were unaware of any problems. Most
decay is noticed only when the teeth are darkened with
severe amounts of decay.
Remedies: For temporary relief, apply clove oil. Then
make an appointment to have the decay removed and a filling
or proper tooth restoration applied.
The earliest and most common pain in a child is related to
teething, when the baby tooth pushes up and breaks through
the gum. The symptoms of teething are excessive saliva in
the mouth, sometimes a fever, crankiness, and sleeplessness.
In response to teething pain, a child will grab almost
anything and start chewing on it. As the pressure of the new
teeth erupting causes discomfort, the counterpressure created
by using objects or fingers will alleviate some of the
Teething occurs in all children, and the immune system
sometimes becomes involved during the creation of excess
mucus in children. The child may run a temperature. Do not
become alarmed! Fever is a common side effect of teething
in a child.
Remedies: Pressure from the eruption of a tooth will
cause the fibers in the gums to give a painful sensation to
your child. Natural remedies can help reduce the pain. Clove
oil is the most effective natural numbing solution. Spread it
over the area that is causing discomfort with a cotton swab.
Use teething rings that have been kept cold in the refrigerator.
The cold on the gums and the clove oil will aid in numbing
the painful gums. If a fever persists, seek a physician’s
Eliminating Fear
What keeps people away from dental treatment? It is usually
fear and anxiety. An unpleasant past experience, or hearing
about negative experiences from other people, is probably a
major cause of dental disease and gum disease.
Children who have had a negative experience in a dental
office may harbor negative thoughts for a lifetime. As children
often do not understand what is happening to them in
the dental chair, they feel out of control. This lack of control
can play havoc with the mind. Negative experiences during
childhood then become magnified over time and are hard to
forget, creating an atmosphere of fear every time an adult
thinks about going to the dentist or hygienist.
If you are an adult who carries fears from childhood,
sometimes eliminating your fear can be as easy as remembering
(and perhaps discussing!) the original painful incident
from your childhood. Also, express your concerns to
your dental professional. The right dental professional will
be empathetic and understanding. And most dental offices
are equipped to reduce the pain experience. Discuss with your dentist or hygienist the various methods that might
work for you during treatment to alleviate pain, and remember
that the less pain you experience, the better it is for you
and your professional. If you tense up with fear, it becomes
more difficult for your professional to do the best job possible.
So it is in everyone’s best interests that you are less fearful
and do not have to contend with pain.
It is important to educate children in dental care. There is
a child in all of us, and if a strong foundation has been built
first, we can become healthy and fearless adults. If as a child
we were unexpectedly hurt in the dental chair—we didn’t
expect to have a needle or a drill—then as adults we remain
fearful of the dentist.
So educate your children in dental care, and explain to
them why they must fix their teeth. It is important to have
your child understand the need to see a dentist and dental
hygienist. It would be advantageous to have your child visit
the dentist with you and let him or her look at the equipment.
Ask the dentist if you can have a half-hour consultation to
make your child more comfortable in the dental chair. This
visit would be to familiarize your child with dental equipment,
and when it becomes his or her time to be a patient, he
or she will have gained knowledge. Any fear will be eliminated
or lessened.
I remember, as a child, pinching my hand to remove the
sensation of pain from the actual area being worked on. It
works! It makes your mind concentrate on a sharper pain
that you are in control of. Try it.
Also, try to eliminate fear with logic. Think of the most
traumatic pain you have ever undergone. The pain sensation
that you experienced may well have disappeared in a few minutes and was not long-lasting. Chronic pain that gnaws
at you daily can be considered stressful pain.
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Mouth Conditions That Can Cause Pain

Somatic Pain Disorder
This condition stems from local (oral/periodontal) tissue
injury, and shows up as inflammation and local tooth problems,
such as decay.
For example, you go to the hygienist for a thorough
cleaning and now your gums feel raw and swollen. After
leaving the office, you are having a sensation of pain. (Does
this sensation make you feel that you want to return for
another cleaning? No!)

My patients don’t experience this pain sensation,
because after a gum treatment I massage the tissue therapeutically
with herbal toothpaste and clove oil or oreganol
on a toothbrush. During a cleansing treatment, I dip the
instrument into the oil to lubricate and numb the tissue.
Most patients feel soothed and nurtured after a treatment,
and end up asking to come back.
Remedies: Have clove oil on hand for emergencies. If
you feel pain on a particular tooth, dab a Q-tip into the clove
oil and swab the oil onto the tooth surface. This will remove
the painful sensation. However, if you see a dentist or
hygienist regularly, a painful situation like this will occur
much less frequently. Prevention can keep painful situations
from occurring.
Another cause of mouth pain may be an abscess, which is a
localized infection of either the gums or a decayed tooth. A
raw or abscessed gum can cause pain, and may even feel like
a toothache or a nerve dying. The painful sensation will
probably come on when you are drinking or eating cold
food. Look in the mirror and see if you can locate the source
of the pain.
Remedies: If your gum is raw and swollen and you see
a bump on the gum that might be an abscess, rinse with
warm sea salt water to draw the infection out. To reduce
swelling, steep a tea bag in boiling water. Remove the tea
bag from the water, let it cool, and place the bag on the
source of the pain. The tannic acid in the tea bag will reduce
the swelling and calm the irritation until you see your dentist
or hygienist.
This condition is due to the impaction, or crowding, of
wisdom teeth. Wisdom teeth are found in the back of your
mouth. Because of crowding, the area around the wisdom
tooth may be hard to reach for cleaning purposes. The gum
that surrounds this area then can get swollen and loose.
Remedies: Use an oral irrigator with peroxide (see
chapter 5). Also, seek the advice of a dentist or an hygienist.
To eliminate swelling, pour boiling water over a tea
bag. Remove the bag from the water and let it cool. Then
place the tea bag over the wisdom teeth that are causing
you problems and bite down. You may get a sense of relief.
Trigeminal Neuralgia
There are only three to five cases per year per 100,000 people
with this condition, and it is more common in those over
fifty years of age. In this condition, you may think that you
have a toothache when the pain isn’t really related to a
tooth. Still, to rule out the possibility that it’s not a
toothache, seek professional dental advice. A symptom of
this condition may be that you have pain-free intervals—the
pain comes and goes without reason. If a dental condition
or a tooth problem causes your pain, you will have a continuous
aching, throbbing pain. Any stimulation worsens
the pain. With trigeminal neuralgia, you feel only intermittent,
brief, electric shock–like pain. A light touch will trigger
the pain, which is part of trigeminal neuralgia. This
condition is frequently misdiagnosed by dentists.
Remedies: Seek professional advice and have your dentist
or physician diagnose the problem. You should be treated
for this condition professionally.
Phantom Pain (Atypical Facial Pain)
Phantom pain is a persistent pain in the teeth, face, or alveolar
process (bone) following a root canal therapy, an apicoectomy
(surgical removal of an infection or cyst), or a
tooth extraction. It may be a deep, dull ache with periodic
sharp attacks. Three to six percent of those who undergo a
root canal therapy have a phantom pain sensation in the
area of the treated tooth. Phantom pain also is often experienced
in people who have lost limbs; they can still “feel”
the presence of the limb and pain that does not diminish in
that area.
Remedies: Check with your dentist, who will try to
determine the source of your pain and proceed with the professional
treatment of choice.
Burning Mouth
Burning mouth is an intraoral chronic pain disorder that is
usually without associated mucosal or oral signs. You may
feel a burning sensation on your tongue, and stinging and
itching in the front and back regions of your tongue. It can
be caused by a geographic tongue (inflammation sporadically
mapped out on your tongue) or an infection such as
candidiasis. Or you may have a contact allergy from wearing
Other causes may be a nervous condition, such as the biting
of one’s tongue or other tongue habits, or an allergic
reaction to medications being taken. A person can have
burning of the tongue or surrounding areas if he or she is
anemic; with this condition there is a reddened area on the
tongue called glossitis. This condition is either continuous
or intermittent, and typically worsens as the day progresses.
It is relieved temporarily by eating and drinking. It is estimated
that 8 percent of males and 6 percent of females suffer
from this condition.
Remedies: Seek a physician’s advice rather than that of a
Temporomandibular Disorder (TMD)
Still another painful condition is related to temporomandibular
disorder. The temporomandibular joint (TMJ) is
the joint by the ear that allows the mouth to open and close.
This joint can become arthritic, much as any joint in your
body can, and can cause you pain.
Usually people complain about arthritis in their knees or
in the joints of their fingers. But every joint is composed of
synovial fluid and ligament attachment, and thus is subject
to arthritis. A dental professional may be called on to locate
and manage the complaints that occur around the TMJ.
Remedies: The treatment of choice by a dentist probably
would be a night guard. This will not cure the condition,
however, if the joint itself is arthritic, only ease the
To relieve pain immediately, use warm compresses on
the outside of the joint.
Mouth Ulcers
Often found in adults and teenagers, ulcers are indicative of
a run-down physical condition. These open sores in the
mouth can also occur after antibiotic therapy and during
recovery from influenza. When the body’s immune system
experiences much stress, the normal ecology of the mouth is
compromised. Ulcers can be very painful, especially when
one is eating and drinking.
Remedies: A mouthwash made with red sage leaves or
echinacea by Bioforce will usually reduce the pain.
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Handling Pain and Fear

Pain can be considered a major cause of dental problems and
gum disease. If you are afraid of pain and associate visits to
the dentist or hygienist with a painful experience, you probably
will not be visiting your dentist office often enough.
Missing your regular check-ups will lead you to neglect your
teeth and gums, and can result in the onset of gum disease.
Pain is an unpleasant sensory and emotional experience.
It is caused by the stimulation of sensory nerve endings,
which the mouth has an abundance of. Every person perceives
pain differently. Social, cultural, and ethnic differences
affect how different people react to pain. Pain can be
an intense experience, and even if there is no actual physical
reason for it, the person feels the pain as if it is real.
Is pain always present when there is gum disease? No,
not always. Pain is not present when your gums are inflamed, bleeding, or swollen. However, any problems that
cause pain in the mouth may also contribute to gum disease.
For example, disease can become a secondary problem if
you have pericoronitis (swollen gums around the wisdom
teeth). The tissue can become inflamed as a result of the
crowding, and bacteria lodged in one area can spread to
adjacent tissue. An abscess—an area in the gum filled with
pus—may be painful. If your mouth is sore because of temporomandibular
disorder, then the surrounding tissue can
also be affected, leaving you with raw, swollen gums.
Neuralgia in the facial area may leave you uncomfortable
and may induce you not to practice proper dental hygiene
home care. A burning tongue may leave you irritated and
discourage you from nurturing your oral cavity, resulting in
gum disease. So any discomfort in your mouth may lead
you to gum disease.
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