Centre of Advanced Medicine

13 – 15 Scott Street, Waverley, Johannesburg, North Campus, Ground Floor

Call us on 011 880 9012

Advice Center A - Z

We have included dental and oral problems in this section that our patients tend to experience at some time or another. The articles run in alphabetical order for ease of use. If there is a topic that you would like to be addressed please email reception@docroos.co.za and we will feature the article on the site for you.

Bruxism

or teeth grinding

Bruxism is an anomaly where the person affected grinds his or her teeth. Bruxism occurs in most people, but is often light, or occasional, and does not affect someone’s health. But when tooth grinding becomes more frequent, it may initiate significant complications, leading to severe damage towards the jaws and teeth.



Research suggests that the most likely reason that causes bruxism is a bad occlusion (alignment) between the top and bottom jaws. For people who suffer from bruxism at night, it often results in a migraine or jaw pain. 



Chronic teeth grinding can fracture,wearing of the teeth or cause tooth loss. In these cases treatments such as crowns, bridges, root canals or implants may be necessary. Severe bruxism cannot only damage teeth, but could also worsen the condition of the jaws. If not treated, this problem can lead to a partial loss of hearing affect the temporo-mandibular joint (TMJ).
Your dentist can make you a bite plate that can be worn night while you sleep; that’s when most episodes of teeth grinding occur.

Diabetes and oral heath 

People with diabetes should pay special attention to their oral hygiene because they are more prone to certain problems. The main oral complications of diabetes are infections and dry mouth. Together they can lead to tooth decay, gum disease and delayed healing after surgery.

When these problems are early diagnosed, it can help decrease most of these symptoms. But if you wait too long, some of these oral complications may be irreversible.

Orthodontics

Brushing and flossing

It is important to maintain good oral hygiene throughout the length of your orthodontic treatment. Braces, wires and bands can trap food particles making it difficult to brush and floss away plaque. Careful brushing and flossing is the best way to prevent plaque build-up, tooth decay and gum disease.
Brush with a soft bristled toothbrush and fluoride toothpaste at least 3 times per day for a minimum of 2 minutes. A gentle thorough circular motion both at the gum line and under wires will help remove food particles and plaque.
Flossing is necessary to clean the areas between teeth that a toothbrush cannot reach. We recommend the use of floss threaders for ease of flossing teeth while in braces. 
Foods to Avoid
There are several foods to avoid during orthodontic treatment to minimize broken or damaged brackets, wires and bands. Here are just a few:
- Raw carrots (small, baby carrots are okay)
- Corn on the cob (unless cut off)
- Apples (unless sliced first)
- Popcorn
- Hard pretzels
- Nuts
- Sticky or chewy candy
- Bubble gum (small pieces of sugarless gum are okay in moderation)
- Marshmallows
- Hard crust on bread or pizza
- Meat on bones such as pork chops, ribs, chicken wings 
This is just a small list. Please avoid any similar foods.

Over Brushing can cause

tooth erosion

 If you are over brushing, not only can you cause your gums bleed, but you can also cause abrasive damage to the enamel and contribute to receding gums in the long term. So is important to train yourself into using a proper technique if you are brushing over-aggressively.

How Teenage mouths change 

Many changes occur in the mouth during the early teen years and then again during the later teen years.

Typically, between the ages of 12-14 the 2nd molars erupt. This is of significant importance because this is also at the age where good oral hygiene habits are at their worst. Extra care needs to be taken to maintain 6 month checkups and good home care.

Ages 17-21 is again a time when we see new teeth erupting; the wisdom teeth. Erupting wisdom teeth can cause discomfort in the jaw. If the teen has orthodontic treatment wisdom teeth evaluation is especially important, as they can cause crowding. Sometime in this age range we will take a panoramic X-ray that will show the position of the teeth and will aide in their removal, if necessary.

Other changes that occur are often associated with gingivitis (swollen gum tissue). These are typically seen during times of hormonal changes or if your teen is a mouth breather. Early signs of gingivitis are gums that bleed when brushed or flossed, and gums that are bright red and swollen instead of pink.

Cancer treatments and oral health 

Side effects of the mouth caused by cancer treatment may include xerostomia (dry mouth), mucositis (mouth sores), caries (tooth decay), dysphagia (difficulty swallowing), infection, inflammation or pain in the lining of the mouth and tongue, and difficulty talking. Some side effects may disappear shortly after treatment is finished, while others may be permanent. Radiation, chemotherapy and bone marrow transplantation may cause dental and oral side effects.

Cold sores treated by Ozone

Dry mouth 

There are  studies underway that prove HealOzone is capable of permanently curing cold sores if they are treated during the tingly stage before they break out. If a Cold Sore it treated with Healozone after they breakout it will stop spreading and heal in 1/3 of the normal healing time.



We have several patients who have been free of cold sores following ozone treatment.

Xerostomia is a state of lack of saliva, giving a feeling of having dry mouth. Saliva is essential to keep your mouth moist and to clean your teeth and the rest of your mouth; it neutralizes the acids produced by plaque and gets rid of dead cells that accumulate on the tongue, gums and cheeks . Saliva also prevents infection by reducing the number of bacteria and fungi. And when it comes to nutrition, saliva helps to digest food by making it soft, and makes possible the action of tasting, chewing and swallowing. Dry mouth raises the risk of gum disease and can also make it difficult to wear removable prosthetic devices (dentures and partials) because contact on dry gums is difficult, and can also be painful. 

You can help the production of saliva by:

1. Chewing on sugarless gum.
2. Drink plenty of water to keep your mouth hydrated and moist
3. Protect your teeth by brushing with toothpaste containing fluoride and   xylitol. 

4. Avoid caffeine, alcohol and tobacco. 



Veneers

Dental veneers (sometimes called porcelain veneers or dental porcelain laminates) are wafer-thin, custom-made shells of tooth-colored materials designed to cover the front surface of teeth to improve your appearance. These shells are bonded to the front of the teeth changing their color, shape, size, or length.



Veneers are used to treat the following problems:

1. Teeth that are discolored -- either because of root canal treatment;  stains from tetracycline or other drugs, excessive fluoride or other causes; or the presence of large resin fillings that have discolored the tooth
2. Teeth that are worn down, chipped or broken.

3. Teeth that are misaligned, uneven, or irregularly shaped (for example, have craters or bulges in them)
4. Teeth with gaps between them (to close the space between these teeth)

Wisdom teeth - must they come out?

Wisdom teeth are the third and final set of molars that most people get in their late teens or early twenties. Sometimes these teeth can be a valuable asset to the mouth when healthy and properly aligned, but more often, they are misaligned and require removal.

When wisdom teeth are misaligned, they may position themselves horizontally, be angled toward or away from the second molars, or be angled inward or outward. Poor alignment of wisdom teeth can crowd or damage adjacent teeth, the jawbone, or nerves.
 

Wisdom teeth also can be impacted -- they are enclosed within the soft tissue and/or the jawbone or only partially break through or erupt through the gum. Partial eruption of the wisdom teeth allows an opening for bacteria to enter around the tooth and cause an infection, which results in pain, swelling, jaw stiffness, and general illness. Partially erupted teeth are also more prone to tooth decay and gum disease because their hard-to-reach location and awkward positioning makes brushing and flossing difficult.



An x-ray will determine wether or not your wisdom teeth are posing any problems.