Posts for: April, 2018
Fans of the legendary rock band Steely Dan received some sad news a few months ago: Co-founder Walter Becker died unexpectedly at the age of 67. The cause of his death was an aggressive form of esophageal cancer. This disease, which is related to oral cancer, may not get as much attention as some others. Yet Becker's name is the latest addition to the list of well-known people whose lives it has cut short—including actor Humphrey Bogart, writer Christopher Hitchens, and TV personality Richard Dawson.
As its name implies, esophageal cancer affects the esophagus: the long, hollow tube that joins the throat to the stomach. Solid and liquid foods taken into the mouth pass through this tube on their way through the digestive system. Worldwide, it is the sixth most common cause of cancer deaths.
Like oral cancer, esophageal cancer generally does not produce obvious symptoms in its early stages. As a result, by the time these diseases are discovered, both types of cancer are most often in their later stages, and often prove difficult to treat successfully. Another similarity is that dentists can play an important role in oral and esophageal cancer detection.
Many people see dentists more often than any other health care professionals—at recommended twice-yearly checkups, for example. During routine examinations, we check the mouth, tongue, neck and throat for possible signs of oral cancer. These may include lumps, swellings, discolorations, and other abnormalities—which, fortunately, are most often harmless. Other symptoms, including persistent coughing or hoarseness, difficulty swallowing, and unexplained weight loss, are common to both oral and esophageal cancer. Chest pain, worsening heartburn or indigestion and gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD) can also alert us to the possibility of esophageal cancer.
Cancer may be a scary subject—but early detection and treatment can offer many people the best possible outcome. If you have questions about oral or esophageal cancer, call our office or schedule a consultation. You can learn more in the Dear Doctor magazine article “Oral Cancer.”
Feeling uneasy about or altogether scared of your dental visits is a common experience which dentists take very seriously. Dental anxiety and dental phobia affect millions of people and can take a toll on your oral, general, and mental health. However, sedation dentistry can help you with your dental fear, help you get through your procedure, and allow you to maintain your oral health. Find out more about sedation dentistry and how it helps patients manage their dental fear with Dr. Joel Bookout in Chattanooga, TN.
What is dental anxiety?
Dental anxiety occurs when someone feels uneasy during their dental procedures. This anxiety may cause the patient to expect the worst in even simple procedures or be unable to get through their procedure at all. Mild to moderate levels of sedation dentistry can often help those with dental anxiety.
How can sedation dentistry help me?
Sedation dentistry can help almost anyone with fear of the dentist. Mild sedation, often called “laughing” gas and known medically as nitrous oxide, helps a patient relax in the dental chair without causing drowsiness or causing their memory of the procedure to become foggy. Moderate sedation, whether administered orally or intravenously, causes a patient to become more relaxed than with nitrous oxide. Moderate sedation may cause the patient to fall asleep or forget most or all of their treatment.
Sedation Dentistry for Dental Fear in Chattanooga, TN
Do not let your fear of the dentist control your oral health. Seeing your dentist twice a year for routine checkups keeps teeth decay and gum disease at bay and is crucial to keeping your smile in healthy condition. If you think sedation dentistry can help you in maintaining your teeth, consult with your dentist to ensure that you are a good candidate.
For more information on sedation dentistry or how it can benefit you, please contact Dr. Bookout in Chattanooga, TN. Call (423) 698-3607 to schedule your appointment today.
Your teen is about to embark on an orthodontic journey to a straighter, more attractive smile. But although you're excited about the outcome, you both may be steeling yourselves for a few years of "life with braces."
But maybe not—your teen may be able to take advantage of a different kind of corrective appliance: clear aligners. This 21st Century teeth movement method has a number of advantages over braces. For teens, though, there's one big one that could have a huge impact on their social life—clear aligners are nearly invisible to other people.
Clear aligners consist of a series of clear, removable, computer-generated trays based on photographs, models and x-rays of an individual patient's teeth and bite. Each of the trays is slightly different from the previous one in the series, and by wearing each one for about two weeks before moving on to the next, the aligners gradually move the teeth to the desired new positions.
Besides reducing embarrassment often associated with wearing metal braces, clear aligners have other benefits. Unlike braces, they can be removed for eating, easier oral hygiene or for rare special occasions (although for best effectiveness, they should be worn for 20 to 22 hours each day). Recent developments like added elements that help target certain teeth for movement or "power ridges" for more controlled and efficient force have increased the range of bite problems they can be used to correct.
While this means clear aligners can be used for many bite problems, in some severe cases braces and other orthodontic treatments might still be necessary. And because they're not fixed like braces (only the orthodontist can remove them) the patient must have the maturity and self-discipline to wear them consistently.
Your teen will need to undergo a thorough orthodontic examination to see if clear aligners are a viable option for them. If so, it could make the next few treatment years less stressful for both of you.
If you would like more information on clear aligners, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can also learn more about this topic by reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “Clear Aligners for Teens: User-Friendly Orthodontics.”