Yesterday we were hit by a major storm here in Boulder county. The crew managed to make it to the office and home safe, and it's a good thing we did. It seems as though we were one of the only dental offices actually open in Boulder. We saw 5 emergencies in the office yesterday ranging from broken crowns, crowns that fell off, chipped front teeth, and an abscessed tooth. The team was able to take care of all of these people including a 5 year old boy with an abscess. Speaking of infected (abscessed) teeth, these kinds of infections are nothing to be taken lightly. We advised the mother that the child may need to go the emergency room if the antibiotic we prescribed don’t help within 24 hours. The child presented with visible swelling of the cheek and exudate (commonly known as puss) coming from the gum tissue. Luckily this little guy wasn't’t in terrible pain as the infection was draining. If you ever find yourself or someone you know in this kind of situation, call your dentist immediately or visit the ER if you can’t get an appointment. These types of infections can be dangerous and are not to be taken lightly. This particular infection was caused by dental decay that had invaded the nerve of the child’s tooth. It should also be noted the he just saw a dentist less than 5 months ago. Brushing and flossing for small children can often be overlooked until the situation gets serious. We recommend two times daily brushing and daily flossing or using the Waterpik for all children. We also suggest that the parents help with brushing to ensure that all of the decay causing bacteria is removed. This child was lucky and mom reports he is doing much better today and swelling has gone down. The radiographs below show primary dentition (commonly known as baby teeth) on two different individuals. The dark shadows you see are the areas of dental decay.
Often times this type of decay can be simply from improper brushing/flossing habits, but sometimes it can be more. I like to take the time to discuss other factors such as diet when we see situations like this. Sometimes an oral probiotic is indicated when brushing and flossing is done well, yet decay is still presenting rapidly. We all know that soda can be a big problem with causing dental decay in children, but neither of these kids drink soda and I'm told that they don't eat a lot of sweets or acidic foods. So what else could it be other than poor home care? Lots of thing... Diet plays a huge roll in how our teeth develop and it is getting harder and harder to find the proper nutrients in the foods we eat today. I always recommend a food grade multivitamin and some oral probiotics. The oral probiotics are quite different than gut probiotics in that they are made specifically for our mouths and all natural. Studies show that an influx of bad bacteria can cause tooth decay and gum disease. The oral probiotics by Xymogen can be a great way to reinoculate the good bacteria and push the bad guys out. The tablets are minty flavored and easy to chew (even for kids).
Stay warm and safe on these snowy Colorado days and remember to take your oral probiotics!