All posts by Penn Dental Medicine

Weighing Root Canal Cost with Outcomes: You Might be Surprised!

In the past, an infected or damaged tooth would have been pulled. Today, these teeth can often be saved with root canal treatment. When you compare costs over time, a root canal’s cost will be lower than extraction because it doesn’t require the follow up of replacement procedures.

Comparing Endodontic Treatment with Tooth Extraction

Many of our patients want to know why endodontic treatment is recommended rather than extraction. The simple answer to this question is that root canal treatment offers better health benefits in the long run, which drives down the overall cost of your dental care. While the sticker price on a root canal procedure may seem higher at first glance, extracting the tooth has hidden costs. To better understand, it’s helpful to learn what endodontic treatment is, and why it’s a more desirable alternative to extraction.

Why Endodontic Treatment?

The need for an endodontic dental procedure can arise from a trauma to the tooth or dental decay that has penetrated to the tooth root. Either of these causes are damaging to the tooth pulp (the inner chamber of the tooth comprised of blood vessels, nerves, and connective tissue). When the tooth has reached maturity, it can survive without the pulp because of its access to surrounding live tissues.

Endodontic treatment effectively “saves” the tooth by removing the diseased or damaged pulp. After, a crown is placed on the tooth to protect it from further damage.

root canal costSix major steps are involved in saving the damaged tooth:

  1. Diagnosis: A dentist or endodontist examines the tooth and orders X-rays to confirm infection or damaged pulp.
  2. Anesthesia: A local anesthetic is administered to numb the tooth.
  3. Preparation: The tooth is isolated using a small protective sheet, which keeps it clean during the procedure.
  4. Cleaning: After a tiny opening is made in the tooth crown, the dentist cleans the infected pulp from the inner chamber using tiny instruments.
  5. Sealing: Once the affected tooth has been cleaned and shaped, the root canal will be sealed with a biocompatible material.
  6. Filling: A temporary filling is placed over the opening, to be followed by a permanent crown at your follow-up appointment.

Once a root canal treatment is completed, you don’t have to do anything else. The only exception to this rule is if the tooth becomes re-infected. If this happens, retreatment would be required. In either case, the procedure is aimed at allowing you to keep your tooth for a lifetime.

A Convenient, Healthy Choice

Because of modern techniques and anesthesia, root canal treatment is virtually painless. Many people erroneously believe that a root canal will be painful because of its association with pulp damage or infection. But make no mistake: the infection is the real source of your pain. In fact, when compared to extraction, root canal treatment is the more comfortable option!

The American Association of Endodontists reports that patients who chose a root canal procedure are six times more likely to say it’s painless than a patient who opts for an extraction.

Root canal treatment also has a high success rate. Numerous dental studies have demonstrated the efficacy of this procedure. A root canal will almost always be recommended due to its establishment as the safest, most effective, and long-term method for treating a diseased tooth.

The Hidden Cost of Extraction

Extraction may appear to be the better deal at face value, but removing the tooth almost always implies further procedures. Sometimes, tooth removal is inevitable because endodontic treatment is no longer viable. The best thing to do after a tooth extraction is to replace it with a dental implant. By filling the empty space left by the tooth, you will avoid the problems of jawbone loss and teeth shifting, as well as functional challenges.

Choosing extraction when you still have the option of receiving root canal treatment, is more costly in the long run. Extraction also has a more harmful impact on your oral health. Gaps in the teeth can make your mouth more susceptible to tooth decay and lead to jaw bone loss over time. Moreover, the costs of replacing your missing tooth are higher than saving that same tooth through root canal treatment.

Low-Cost Endodontic Treatment at Penn Dental Medicine

Whether your tooth hurts because of dental decay or pulp damage, it’s important to seek adequate dental treatment as soon as possible. An untreated tooth will only become more painful and difficult to treat, decreasing your likelihood of being able to save the tooth through endodontic treatment.

If you’re worried about root canal costs, then you will find no better deal than at Penn Dental Medicine. We provide dental care at affordable prices at the University of Pennsylvania School of Dental Medicine, where you will be treated by student dentists in the final stage of their training.

All procedures are overseen by experienced dental professionals at the forefront of their field. Whether you are on a dental plan, dental insurance, or pay out of pocket, you’ll benefit from the reduced costs of root canal treatment at PDM.

To schedule your free root canal consultation with a student dentist at PDM, please call us at 215-898-8965 today.

Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery Options in Philadelphia

Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery for Conditions Affecting the Facial Structures

If your dentist has suggested you may need “oral and maxillofacial surgery,” you probably have a lot of questions. What will oral surgery be like? How long will recovery be? What, if any, are the risks involved?  

The truth is that oral surgery procedures are quite common and address conditions that many people experience at least one time in their life, such as tooth loss or impacted wisdom teeth. Every case is different, but many patients can resume work and normal activities within a few days of their surgical procedure.

What Is an Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeon?

An oral and maxillofacial surgeon specializes in the diagnosis and treatment of disorders, diseases, injuries, and defects of the facial complex, including the jaws and oral cavity. Training in both medicine and dentistry allows these surgeons to treat conditions pertaining to both fields, such as congenital face disproportion, trauma, oral cancer, salivary gland disease, temporomandibular joint disorders, tumors, and dental implant surgery.

Oral and maxillofacial surgery is recognized as a dental specialty by the American Dental Association. Oral and maxillofacial surgeons must complete advanced training, which includes:

  • 4 years of undergraduate study (BS, BA, or equivalent degree)
  • 4 years of dental school
  • 4-6 years of residency training, which includes the two extra years required for a medical degree
  • Passing the specialty exams of the American Board of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery

The average time it takes to become an oral and maxillofacial surgeon after high school is 12 to 14 years. In addition, many graduates pursue fellowships to gain subspecialty expertise in one of the following areas:

  • Cosmetic facial surgery
  • Head and neck cancer reconstruction
  • Cranio-maxillofacial trauma, i.e. soft tissue/skeletal injuries to the facial area
  • Pediatric maxillofacial and craniofacial surgery, i.e. cleft lip and palate repair

Types of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery

Patients are referred to oral and maxillofacial surgeons by both general dentists and medical doctors. Oftentimes, oral and maxillofacial surgeons will work in collaboration with other specialists such as orthodontists, plastic surgeons, or oncologists to provide comprehensive care for conditions that affect the facial structures. Below, read on to learn more about major conditions and treatments:

  • Dentoalveolar surgery. The alveolar bone contains the tooth sockets (dental alveoli) on the maxilla and mandible. Dentoalveolar surgery simply refers to any procedure involving this area of the mouth: tooth extraction, impacted teeth, or bone grafting, as examples.
  • oral and maxillofacial surgeryTooth extraction. Sometimes, a diseased or damaged tooth cannot be saved using endodontic treatment. Pulling the tooth may be the only option if it is too damaged to be repaired with a filling or crown. Extraction is also necessary for some orthodontic patients to ensure adequate room for other teeth as they move into the correct position.
  • Impacted tooth extraction. Approximately 9 of 10 people have at least one wisdom tooth that requires removal, according to the American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons. When a tooth doesn’t fully grow in, it is called “impacted” because there isn’t enough room for it to break through the gums. An impacted tooth carries several risks: damaging the nearby teeth, becoming infected, or developing a tumor. In cases where one of these serious conditions has developed, surgery should be performed by an oral and maxillofacial surgeon.
  • Bone grafting. Periodontal disease and tooth loss lead to bone degradation in the jaw, causing the facial features to sag. Modern bone-grafting techniques have made it possible to rebuild this bone. This procedure benefits your appearance while providing a base for effective tooth replacement (implants).
  • Dental implants. Oral and maxillofacial surgeons pioneered dental implant treatment more than 25 years ago and continue to be leaders in the the use of innovative techniques that improve patient outcomes. Their extensive training and finely honed surgical techniques allow them to place implants successfully even in many high-risk patients (those with gum disease or other chronic conditions).
  • Cosmetic surgery of the head and neck. Cosmetic surgery is used to reconstruct facial structures damaged by trauma or improve overall appearance and function. Any facial cosmetic surgery requires the expertise of maxillofacial surgeons, many of whom can perform the procedure on an outpatient basis at their offices. A few examples of popular cosmetic surgeries include facelift, cheek augmentation, lip enhancement, and liposuction.
  • Craniofacial surgery. Cleft lip and palate is an example of a well-known birth defect—  though there are others that affect the way in which the face or head develops. These congenital malformations can be corrected during childhood through a series of surgeries, which should be accompanied by therapy to support the child’s language development. Penn Dental Medicine takes a comprehensive approach to the treatment of craniofacial disorders through our Oral & Maxillofacial Surgery Clinic.

Schedule Your Visit at Penn Dental Medicine

Even with insurance, dental surgery can be expensive. At Penn Dental Medicine (PDM), you’ll enjoy the unique advantage of lower fees for services administered by our oral and maxillofacial residents. We are dedicated to providing the highest standard of care at our teaching clinic, where experts in the field oversee all aspects of the student dentists’ work.

If you are in need of oral and maxillofacial surgery, we encourage you to schedule a consultation at PDM to determine your eligibility to participate in our reduced-costs surgery program. To learn more, please call our offices at 215-898-8965 today.

Missing Teeth? Everything You Need To Know about the Dental Implant Procedure

Dental Implants Promote Good Oral Health for Years to Come

Are you thinking about having a dental implant procedure, or perhaps have already made the decision to do so? For some people, the thought of having an implant surgically placed can seem intimidating. But it doesn’t have to be. Learn all about what a dental implant procedure entails and how it promotes good oral health in the long term!

Why Do People Get Dental Implants?

People opt for dental implants to replace missing teeth that have been removed, whether because of injury or infection. Instead of wearing removable dentures, the patient can have an implant custom-fitted for them. Candidates must have good gum tissue that has not been affected by periodontal disease. That’s because the success of a dental implant procedure largely depends on the health of the gum tissues and underlying bone.

If you wait too long to place the implant after tooth loss or removal, the surgery may become impossible due to teeth shifting. When a gap is left in the mouth, the teeth gradually shift over towards the gap, shrinking the area available for the implant. While this shifting process does address the problem of an uneven dental structure, it cannot protect you from jaw bone loss.

Bone loss is the biggest problem associated with missing teeth. The jaw bone needs to be used in order to stay healthy. When a tooth is absent, the immune system senses that part of the jaw is no longer necessary to the body and begins to break down the bone. Bone recession can lead to more lost teeth, cause difficulties in enunciation and chewing, and give the face a collapsed appearance. Dental implants will help you to maintain the integrity of your jaw bone, and help your smile remain healthy for years to come!

What Exactly Is a Dental Implant?

A dental implant consists of an artificial tooth root that is anchored to the jaw. A false tooth is then screwed into the implant, where it becomes indistinguishable from the other teeth. A dental implant will also function as well as any of your natural teeth.

Dental implant surgery is well-established as an effective treatment for missing teeth. With a 95-99% success rate, the implant procedure is an effective and safe treatment option. Like any dental restoration, duration of the implant depends on the patient’s maintenance habits. While the false teeth cannot develop a cavity, it is important to keep the surrounding gums and teeth clean to ensure continuing oral health.

What Types of Dental Implants Are Available?

dental implant procedureThere are two major types of dental implants: endosteal and subperiosteal. Most people will choose endosteal because of its higher success rate and effectiveness. People who are unable to have an endosteal implant may be candidates for a subperiosteal implant.

Endosteal (in the bone): This type of implant is typically used as a more permanent option for patients who would otherwise be eligible for removable dentures or bridges. It is the most common implant type and may include screws, cylinders, or blades placed surgically into the jawbone. Each one holds one (or more) artificial teeth.

Subperiosteal (on the bone): This kind of implant is chosen for patients who have jaw bone loss and cannot wear conventional dentures. The implant sits on top of the bone, resulting in a shorter recovery time because the bone and implant do not need to fuse together. However, because failure rates are also higher for subperiosteal implants, they are a less popular alternative.

What Should I Expect from a Dental Implant Procedure?

You and your student dentist will decide on a customized treatment plan that addresses your particular needs. Penn Dental Medicine takes an individualized approach to implant treatment, offering a range of options including single implants, multiple implants, full-arch implants, and implant-supported dentures:

  • Single implants: If you’re missing one tooth, it can be replaced by an implant and a healing cap (crown).
  • Multiple implants: If you’re missing several teeth, you can replace each with an implant for the best possible jaw health.
  • Full-arch implants: Another approach for someone with multiple missing teeth is a fixed bridge anchored to dental implants. This treatment provides a permanent, stable, and aesthetic solution.
  • Implant-supported dentures: Implants can also serve as the base for a fixed denture, which is an excellent option for people with teeth missing in the top and the bottom.

The exact steps of your dental implant procedure may vary, but the process tends to look something like this:

  1. Dental exam. Your student dentist will perform a comprehensive examination to diagnose the problem and develop a treatment plan. This will likely include several imaging tests, such as dental X-rays.
  2. Mouth modelling. PDM’s computer-aided dental implant technology allows us to create an image that perfectly represents your mouth in order to manufacture a custom restoration. No molds are taken when you seek treatment at PDM.
  3. Anesthesia. General or local anesthesia will be administered at the beginning of the surgical procedure.
  4. Removal. The damaged or diseased teeth are extracted, when necessary.
  5. Jaw preparation. In certain cases, bone grafting will be required as preparation for the surgery.
  6. Implantation. The dental implant anchor is attached to the jawbone, where it will fuse together over a period of several months.
  7. Implant abutment. After the gum tissue has healed from the implant surgery, the false tooth (or abutment) will be placed on the dental implant.

Seek Expert Implant Treatment

If you’re looking for high quality, affordable dental implants, we encourage you to make an appointment at Penn Dental Medicine. When accepted into our program, you will receive treatment performed by student dentists at a reduced rate. To schedule your implant consultation, please call 215-898-8965 today!

What Conditions Are Treated with Dental Prosthodontics?

Learn About the Transformative Power of Prosthodontic Treatment

Have you lost teeth recently due to gum disease, oral cancer, or an accident?

Whether you realize it or not, even just one missing tooth can have a long-term impact on your oral health and increase your risk for dental problems in the future. Dental prosthodontics is a specialized area of dentistry that focuses on restoration for both aesthetic and functional purposes.

A prosthodontic dentist has advanced training in the field, completing 3 additional years after dental school.

If you’re wondering if you should see a prosthodontist for your current condition, then you’ve come to the right place. Penn Dental Medicine is home to the only graduate prosthodontics program in the Philadelphia area, where our affordable prosthodontist costs make it possible for many local patients to access our services.
Learn more about common prosthodontic disorders and how they can be treated, below.

Missing Teeth

Patients most commonly seek prosthodontics treatment when they are in need of tooth repair or replacement. Gum disease constitutes the number one cause of tooth loss in the United States, though many patients need replacement because of cavities or accidents as well. When it comes time to select an affordable option to replace your missing tooth, a prosthodontist is equipped to advise you on the right course of treatment. Whether you need prosthodontic implants, a crown, a bridge, dentures, or some combination of these, your prosthodontist will recommend the appropriate solutions to your oral health concerns.

Sleep Apnea

dental prosthodonticsThis condition is due to a temporary pause in breathing during sleep. The lungs cannot take in the oxygen they need, leading to poor sleep quality and fatigue during the day. One treatment involves the use of a Continuous Positive Airflow Pressure (CPAP) machine, which brings air into the lungs throughout the night. When sleep apnea is mild or if the patient can’t tolerate the machine, a prosthodontist can help with a customized oral appliance. The appliance is a more natural method for treating apnea, repositioning the jaw and/or tongue to improve airflow during sleep.

Oral Cancer Restoration

Prosthodontists are equipped to coordinate teams of specialists and lead restorative treatment  for patients with oral cancer. The Oral Cancer Foundation has found that incidence of oral cancer is rising among people under age 40, which is thought to be due to the increased use of e-cigarettes. Oral cancer is not limited to tobacco users, and roughly 53,000 Americans are diagnosed each year.  Following chemotherapy, many patients will need to undergo complex restorative work. A prosthodontist has the expertise necessary to plan and execute a treatment plan.

Structural Problems

Many people seek dental prosthodontics treatment for a variety of structural conditions, including bruxism, cleft palate, and trauma. Each of these disorders requires a targeted, specific approach for the best outcomes. Prosthodontists are experienced in performing complex oral surgery for both repair and cosmetic purposes. A prosthodontist can improve your appearance by fixing broken or discolored teeth and the associated structures with esthetic crowns, veneers, bonding, and customized prostheses. Occlusion and genetic facial deficits can also be rehabilitated using special prosthodontic techniques. When you complete treatment, you will be amazed at the difference in your smile!

Prosthodontic Treatment at Penn Dental Medicine

At your first prosthodontic visit, you will meet a University of Pennsylvania School of Dental Medicine faculty member who will perform a brief examination and ask questions about your medical history. A routine oral cancer screening will be administered, as well as dental radiograph in some cases. This screening appointment requires a referral from the patient’s general dentist or other doctor and will be used to determine whether you are eligible to become a patient. Patients accepted into our program will be assigned to a postdoctoral resident overseen by a faculty member. All prosthodontic services are provided at affordable prices and held to the highest quality standard. To schedule your dental prosthodontics consultation, please call 215-898-8965 today!

Three Ways Your Dentist Can Fix a Broken Tooth

Do you suspect that you may have a broken tooth? Generally, most people notice when their tooth has been damaged. While a fully broken tooth is painful, even a cracked or chipped tooth can cause symptoms of pain, swelling, and sensitivity, without overtly visible signs. Leaving a broken tooth unattended can also result in more serious problems down the road.

Rather than taking your broken tooth into your own hands, take it to Penn Dental Medicine.

Don’t Pay the Price for an Untreated Broken Tooth!

A broken, cracked, or damaged tooth is not something to ignore. Despite the fact that a dentist can offer several treatment methods to repair a compromised tooth, people can still tend to avoid the dentist. At Penn Dental Medicine, we strive to help put patients at ease. We’ll do everything we can to ensure your safety and comfort.

While teeth, (particularly the enamel guarding the teeth) is the strongest material in your body, it’s not invincible. There are several fairly common foods and drinks that can lead to tooth damage. Of course, there are also lifestyle habits and behaviors that increase the likelihood of weakening tooth enamel.

According to the American Dental Association, the following five foods and drinks are most damaging to your teeth:

  • Hard candies
  • Citrus fruits
  • Ice
  • Coffee
  • Dried fruits
  • Potato chips
  • Soda
  • Alcohol
  • Sports drinks

Here are several behaviors that may also cause chipping or breaking of the teeth:

  • Chewing on hard items such as hard candy and ice
  • Exposing teeth to highly volatile temperatures (extreme heat or cold)
  • Chewing pressure that’s uneven
  • Experiencing an accident or trauma
  • Grinding the teeth
  • Losing a filling, crown, or other tooth structure

Don’t let concern about the affordability of your visit deter you from making an appointment to have your tooth repaired. The price you may pay for not fixing a tooth may include infection or more complicated dental procedures, such as a root canal treatment.

Three Common Ways to Repair Broken Teeth

Dental technologies and techniques are always evolving and improving. Depending on the type of break you have, your dentist can repair your tooth in a variety of ways. Take a look at three frequently utilized methods of repairing a chipped, broken or cracked tooth:

  • Dental Bonding: Dental bonding or “composite bonding” is a method to repair broken, chipped, and cracked teeth. The dentist places a conditioning liquid on the damaged tooth. A putty will then be applied and molded to the compromised area. After this, ultraviolet light causes the composite to harden. After drying and hardening, the tooth bonding is polished to match the rest of the tooth.
  • broken toothCrowns: People often confuse crowns with veneers. While veneers only cover the front of your tooth, a crown covers the entire injured area of the tooth and protects it. Getting a crown can prevent you from losing your tooth. If you don’t have a crown, you could further damage your tooth simply during the act of chewing. A crown is custom made for each dental patient. An impression is acquired of your tooth and is then sent to the lab. While you wait for the permanent crown, the dentist  places a temporary crown on the tooth. When the permanent crown is ready, it can be attached to the remaining tooth structure.
  • Dental Implant: When a crack extends below the gum line, the tooth is impossible to save with repair measures such as the ones listed above. You’ll need a tooth extraction accompanied by a dental implant. Dental implants serve as replacements for your natural teeth. A dental implant procedure is a longer process, compared with dental bonding and crowns because the dentist must prepare the area by making a new root with biocompatible titanium screws. These screws are fixed to the jawbone. Once the bone fuses with the screws, a strong foundation will be in place. Typically a few weeks after the bone has properly fused, the dentist will make an impression of your tooth and a crown will be placed. This new tooth will look and function just like a normal one.

Where to Go for Affordable Broken Tooth Repair?

At Penn Dental Medicine, we make it our mission to provide affordable dental procedures to our patients by offering low-cost dental services out of our dental school clinic. We don’t want to see anyone suffer further health issues because they can’t pay for necessary treatment. We accept most dental insurance plans and if your plan doesn’t cover a specific procedure, we offer payment financing so you can pay a fixed monthly rate over a number of months.

And, while your treatment time may be a bit longer, it’s important to understand that this is because Penn Dental Medicine student dentists follow best practices and resolve any urgent infections first. And all the while, each step is carefully monitored and reviewed by an educator.

Please, don’t wait to fix a broken tooth. Schedule your appointment now at (215) 898-8965.

How to Find an Affordable Dental Clinic & Expert Care

Penn Dental Medicine Provides Patient-Centered Care at an Affordable Price

Finding the best dental provider in your area takes more than simply putting “affordable dentist near me” into a search engine. You’ll also need to research each practices’ reputation, familiarize yourself with the dentists’ backgrounds, and compare other factors that will make a difference in your decision. It may sound like a lot of work, but fortunately, you’ve found this blog, which will make the search process much easier on you.

At Penn Dental Medicine (PDM), we put patients first. Our teaching clinic operates in conjunction with the prestigious University of Pennsylvania School of Dental Medicine. Because of our educational mission, we are able to provide top-quality care at an affordable price to patients in the Philadelphia area. Learn more about the benefits of coming to us for dental care.

Schedule an Appointment With a Nearby Affordable Dentist

As you evaluate potential providers, you’ll most likely review a variety of clinical factors. To help you narrow down the dental clinics you are considering, we’ve provided a list of what we think makes Penn Dental Medicine the premiere choice for affordable dentistry.

Comprehensive Services
affordable dentist near meIn order to treat a range of patients, we offer care within a number of dental specialties. Whether you need a root canal or your child is coming in for their first visit, PDM can provide the quality care you deserve. This means the whole family can receive cleanings and treatments, no matter their dental needs. Our student dentists provide services in the following dental specialties:

  • Endodontics
  • General Dentistry
  • Oral Medicine
  • Pediatric Dentistry
  • Orthodontics
  • Oral Surgery
  • And More

Professional Expertise
We are considered a teaching practice because student dentists see and treat patients under the direct supervision of University of Pennsylvania School of Dental Medicine faculty members. You’ll receive treatment from tomorrow’s most distinguished dental specialists and today’s seasoned dental educators. Because of our affiliation with one of the best dental schools in the nation, you can rest assured your oral health is in great hands.

Reasonable Payment Plans
Patients shouldn’t break the bank to receive the dental treatments they need. That is why our student dentists are clear about the estimated price of a recommended treatment option. While your payment will be due in full the day a procedure or service is provided, we accept a range of payment options and offer payment plans for those who qualify. Penn Dental Medicine also accepts most dental insurance plans.

Are you looking for more information on the financial aspect of dental visits and treatments? You can download our complimentary eBook, “The Affordability of Truly Comprehensive Dental Care: How to Secure a Patient-Focused Dentist Office.” This text provides additional details about our practice as well as tips to help you afford the care you deserve.

Contact one of our friendly and affordable dentists today. Call the PDM office at 215-898-8965 to schedule your appointment.

Understand the Impact of Children’s Oral Health on Their Overall Health

Start the Oral Health Basics Early on with Your Children

Did you know that oral health has a huge impact on overall health?

While many people assume that going to the dentist only affects their oral health, it actually does much more. Among children, the effects of oral health are even more apparent. Children’s oral health impacts their natural development, mental health, and risk for long-term health conditions.

According to the World Health Organization, oral health is a key indicator of wellbeing and overall health. That’s one reason why it’s so important to know how to keep your kids’ teeth healthy!

Here are three things you may not have known about pediatric dentistry and its influence on your child’s overall wellbeing.

  1. Early childhood cavities can slow development. Taking your child to the dentist by their first birthday is recommended to ensure that incipient cavities can be detected and treated early on. When a cavity is allowed to progress, it often impacts children’s food consumption and nutrition. Insufficient caloric intake due to toothache is a major cause of delayed growth among children. If your child cries or expresses reluctance to eat, especially hard foods, it is important to determine whether a cavity is the culprit. Dental caries cause difficulty chewing and eating, leading to nutritional deficiency and lack of sufficient weight gain. Fortunately, a cavity can be halted and even reversed with prompt treatment.
  2. children’s oral healthOral health and mental health. Children who suffer from chronic dental caries often experience other negative impacts, such as decreased self-esteem, difficulty concentrating, and even depression. They are more likely to have problems completing schoolwork and miss more school days than children without cavities. Even more troubling, there is a positive correlation between oral health and mental health. People who develop mental health problems are more likely to suffer from poor oral health, while poor oral health can have wide-ranging psychological effects, including poor self-image and social anxiety. Protect your child by practicing the oral health basics: brushing, flossing, and regular dental appointments!
  3. Risk for diabetes. While most parents are unlikely to think about how their children’s oral health could raise or lower their risk for these chronic conditions, they should know the facts. Diabetes now affects 9.3% of the U.S. population and the epidemic only continues to grow, including among young people. In many cases, diabetes is first identified by the dentist because of the oral symptoms it presents. New research shows that gum disease, a common problem experienced by patients with diabetes, can elevate blood sugar levels long term. This indicates that maintaining good gum health can actually act as a protective factor against diabetes. Especially if your child has gum inflammation, it is vital to continue making regular trips to the dentist for monitoring and treatment.

How Do I Keep My Kids’ Teeth Healthy?

Good oral health starts at home with consistent dental habits. Your child’s pediatric dentist can show you the correct technique for brushing your child’s baby teeth, which should be done on a daily basis. In addition, you should avoid the following as much as possible:

  • Fruit juices. Though they may seem like the “healthy choice,” fruit juices are often loaded with sugar that will remain on children’s teeth long after drinking. Instead, eating fruit is recommended to avoid exposure to high concentrations of sugar.
  • Sleeping with the bottle. Many childhood caries develop because of prolonged exposure to the sugars present in milk. While it’s impossible to eliminate this risk completely, you should avoid letting your child fall asleep while drinking. You can help him or her to learn to drink water before sleep instead!
  • Candies. It can be difficult to resist your child’s pleas for candy, but remember that reducing hard candy intake is in their interest! Eating candy on a regular basis puts your child at much greater risk for cavities.

Pediatric Dentistry at Penn Dental Medicine

The team at Penn Dental Medicine can help you ensure that your child grows up with the best possible oral health. Visiting the dentist regularly during childhood is essential to detect oral problems early on and treat them before they become serious. To make a pediatric appointment with a student dentist, please call us at 215-898-8965 today. Don’t forget to use this coupon for 25% off your first visit!

Seven Dental Issues That Can Cause a Toothache

Patients often understand a toothache to indicate tooth decay. While pain can certainly indicate the presence of a cavity or tooth decay, there are other potential causes of discomfort. As a leader in educational research and clinical outreach, Penn Dental Medicine’s student dentists strive to provide the most comprehensive approach to treatment and patient education.

PDM not only treats toothaches with the most advanced, evidenced-based practices, but we also help teach patients the best practices to maintain their overall oral health.

Find Out Which One of These Seven Conditions Could Be Causing Your Toothache

According to the Centers For Disease Control and Health Prevention (CDC), 18.6% of Americans between the ages of 5 – 19 demonstrate untreated tooth decay (dental caries), while 31.6% of adults between the ages of 20 – 44, exhibit untreated dental caries. While tooth decay does cause a toothache, there are a few other dental offenders that lead to tooth pain.

Take a look at seven toothache causes (including cavities), and how they’re treated:

  1. Cavities / Tooth Decay
    As previously mentioned, a cavity forms when your tooth’s enamel is worn away. Bacteria from sugary foods forms sticky plaque on the surface of your teeth. As the plaque continues to build, it creates a hole in the tooth. At PDM, student dentists treat a cavity with a “filling,” to prevent further damage to the tooth. Fillings are typically made of gold, porcelain, amalgam, or composite resin.
  2. Gingivitis / Gum Disease
    Much like tooth decay, gum disease occurs as a result of poor oral hygiene. Diminishing gum tissue can increase tooth sensitivity and lead to pain, which are often worsened by hot and cold temperatures. So when you drink hot coffee or eat ice cream, it can often cause a sharp pain in the affected tooth or teeth. Minor to moderate gingivitis can be corrected with proper oral hygiene practices—brushing and flossing as recommended. More severe gum disease, such as periodontitis may require root planing to smooth the root surfaces of the gums and oral or topical antibiotics to halt bacterial infection.
  3. toothacheAbscessed Tooth
    If a significant toothache is accompanied by swelling of the gums, it may indicate an abscessed tooth. If the tooth is too far gone, you may be referred to a student endodontics who will perform root canal treatment. This process involves removing the infection, followed by placing a crown on the tooth to prevent further damage.
  4. Loose Filling
    If pain and sensitivity are intermittent but appear to be sticking around, it may be an indication that a filling is loose. Your student dentist will simply replace the filling.
  5. Bruxism
    Bruxism is a technical term for teeth grinding. People affected with bruxism often experience a dull toothache. Sometimes, depending on the patient and diagnosis, a mouthguard can be useful in helping to reduce the grinding of teeth.
  6.   Sinus Infection
    If a toothache is accompanied by a headache and congestion, the combined symptoms may indicate a sinus infection. Generally, over-the-counter medications intended for sinus pressure and pain relief can help alleviate the problem. In some cases, you may need to schedule a visit with your primary care provider if OTC solutions don’t prove effective.
  7. Cracked or Broken Tooth
    Although most individuals are able to identify whether they have a cracked or broken tooth, there may not be initial visible signs. If, however, severe and sharp pain results when eating or chewing, a tooth may have experienced injury or trauma. A cracked tooth may also cause swelling of the gums. It’s important to consult with a dentist or student dentist as soon you suspect you have a broken tooth. If the tooth can’t be repaired, your student dentist may suggest a dental implant as a replacement option.

Seeking Treatment and Preventative Measures

At Penn Dental Medicine, we pride ourselves in offering safe, trustworthy, and effective dental treatment. Whether you’re seeking treatment for a toothache or would like more information on how to prevent tooth decay, our PDM instructors and student dentists are here to help.

Did you know that one of the best preventative measures for healthy teeth and gums and overall oral hygiene is to make sure you schedule regular dental visits every six months?

Contact us to set up an appointment or call us anytime at 215-898-8965.

Do You Need Oral Surgery?

Learn Everything You Need to Know About Oral Surgery

When you hear “oral surgery,” you probably think of tooth extractions, right? While this indeed falls under the scope of oral and maxillofacial surgery, this specialty field encompasses much more than that one procedure. A Penn Dental Medicine, we strive to ensure that patients understand what oral surgery is and when patients need to get oral surgery.

What Is Oral Surgery?

Oral surgery is the area of dental medicine concerned with the diagnosis, surgical treatment, and management of diseases and disorders that impact the face and jaws. This includes not only issues with teeth and the oral cavity but also misalignments of the jaws and facial trauma.

What Procedures Can an Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeon Perform?

what is oral surgeryOral surgeons have extensive experience with a number of operations on teeth, gums, and jaws. Here are three procedures they regularly perform:

  • Dental Implant. Need to replace a missing tooth? A dental implant is composed of a titanium implant, abutment, and crown. These pieces are connected during surgery and, together, mimic the function and appearance of a natural tooth.
  • Wisdom Tooth Extraction. Approximately nine out of ten people have at least one wisdom tooth that cannot break through the gums in an upright position, according to the American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons.
  • Reconstructive Jaw Surgery. Dental or skeletal irregularities may cause misalignment, which can be addressed through corrective jaw surgery. Oral surgeons can also diagnose and treat temporomandibular jaw (TMJ) disorders.

How Do I Know I Need Oral Surgery?

Your first appointment with an oral surgeon is a consultation, where he or she will examine your injury or condition. The surgeon may order imaging tests to confirm a diagnosis before suggesting a treatment plan.

If your condition does necessitate surgery, do not worry— the experts at PDM can educate you on the type of oral surgery you need and how you can prepare for the operation.

Who Are Penn Dental Medicine’s Oral Surgeons?

Penn Dental Medicine is a teaching clinic of the the University of Pennsylvania School of Dental Medicine. The student dentists at PDM provide all of our dental services. They work under the supervision of board-certified or board-eligible faculty members. This team approach ensures that our patients receive the highest quality of care possible.

No need to continue searching for “oral surgeons near me.” You can now receive elite-grade oral surgery at an affordable price. For more information about what oral surgery is or to schedule a consultation, contact our office today.

How to Stop a Toothache

Try These Tips for Emergency Toothache Relief… as Soon as You Make Your Appointment!

Wondering how to stop a toothache? While there are things you can do at home to alleviate your discomfort, your number one goal should be addressing the root cause. When we experience pain, that’s a signal that something is wrong in our body. Oral pain indicates a problem that must be treated as soon as possible.

A toothache can be caused by a variety of conditions that will often get worse when left untreated. These can include tooth decay, a tooth fracture, infected gums, bruxism, or an abscessed tooth. All can have serious repercussions on your health, but particular conditions can certainly require more immediate attention. Below, we discuss emergency tooth relief, different causes of oral pain, and tips to help you feel better while you wait for your appointment.

How to Stop a Toothache from a Broken Tooth

How do you know if you have fractured your tooth? Sometimes, a traumatic event makes the damage to your tooth apparent. Other times, the crack in your tooth can be subtle and worsen over time. If you’re experiencing pain in the following situations, then you need to see a dentist as soon as possible:

  • While eating, especially after releasing a bite
  • When exposed to hot or cold temperatures
  • On an intermittent basis, coming and going

If you believe that you have had a dental emergency because of extreme pain, a severe break, or displacement of the tooth, call Penn Dental Medicine (215-898-8965) during office hours. Otherwise, head to the nearest emergency room. Even teeth that have been knocked out can be replanted successfully when treated within an hour of the incident.

Even if you don’t think a cracked tooth merits emergency treatment, it’s important to call the dentist and explain your symptoms. Depending on the severity of your case, your dentist may use bonding, crowns, root canal, or a combination of treatments to fix the broken tooth.

Other Causes of a Toothache

how to stop a toothacheYou’d be surprised at how many different problems can lead to the tooth pain you’re experiencing. Your dentist can diagnose the cause of your pain and provide targeted treatment to give you relief quickly. Here are a few common causes:

  1. Dental decay is perhaps the most common cause of a toothache. When bacteria build up in the mouth, they solidify into plaque (which only the dentist can remove from the teeth). A toothache from a cavity can vary from a minor sensitivity to acute pain. Left untreated, a cavity can progress to become an abscess.
  2. Dental abscess describes what happens when a tooth fills up with pus due to bacterial infection. A dentist will treat an abscess by draining it and getting rid of the infection. The tooth can often be saved with root canal treatment, but leaving an abscess untreated can lead to major complications.
  3. Gingivitis, or gum disease, occurs when the gums become inflamed by bacteria. Sensitive or bleeding gums can be painful and very damaging over time. Gum disease is the number one cause of tooth loss, which is why you should visit a periodontist for specialized treatment if you have a chronic case.
  4. Bruxism, or teeth grinding, is another reason why many people experience tooth pain. Oftentimes, the grinding occurs at night and patients are unaware of it. If you are diagnosed with bruxism, a night guard is an effective treatment for alleviating pain and protecting you from further wear over the years.

Tips on How to Stop a Toothache at Home

Once you’ve called the dentist, you may wind up a few days before you’re able to schedule an appointment. Maybe you’re wondering how to sleep with a toothache or ways to alleviate the pain during these waiting days. Here are a few tips that can help:

  • Rinse with salt water. Gently swishing warm salt water around in your mouth is a great, natural way to keep it clean and relieve discomfort!
  • Use a cold compress. If your face is swollen, you can apply an ice pack to your cheek to decrease inflammation.
  • Rinse with hydrogen peroxide. Just be sure not to swallow it! Hydrogen peroxide kills bacteria, reduces plaque, and heals bleeding gums. You can dilute it with water for use as a mouthwash.
  • Take an over-the-counter pain reliever. Ibuprofen can help with the pain and swelling, but be careful not to take it too often because it can damage the stomach lining.

Visit Penn Dental Medicine

Whether you’re wondering how to get rid of tooth pain from the nerve (abscess/cavity), bruxism, or gum disease, a toothache is no laughing matter. Penn Dental Medicine provides relief and effective treatment for a range of tooth conditions. With a variety of specialists under one roof, we can give you the targeted care you need to stop a toothache. Please call us at 215-898-8965 so we can get you to the right student dentist as soon as possible.