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Posts for: March, 2018


Controlling discomfort during dental work is one of our top priorities. Advances in anesthesia over the last century have made that objective easier to attain, especially for routine procedures.

The term anesthesia means “without feeling or pain.” It refers to the use of substances to prevent a patient’s nervous system from sensing pain. There are two basic types: general, through intravenous injection (IV) or gas inhalation that places a patient in an unconscious state; and local, which only affects the part of the body involved in the procedure while the patient remains conscious.

The latter type has become very important in dentistry, especially for mild to moderate procedures. Because teeth and gum tissues are rich in nerves, patients can have a heightened level of sensitivity that can increase anxiety and discomfort during dental work. Local anesthesia reduces that discomfort and relaxes both patient and dental provider.

We typically administer local anesthesia in two ways: by applying the anesthetic to the outside tissue surface (with a cotton swab, patch or spray) or by injection. The first type, topical anesthesia, is most often used to eliminate the pricking discomfort of the needle used to inject the main anesthetic. Using both applications eliminates any painful sensation at all — the only thing you might feel is a slight pressure during the procedure.

As mentioned before, local anesthesia benefits us as well as you. Knowing you’re at ease and comfortable allows us to better focus on the procedure — we’re not rushed to finish to spare you further discomfort. A relaxed, unhurried atmosphere is essential to a successful outcome for any dental procedure.

We’ve also found solutions for another issue with local anesthesia that concerns patients: the length of time the numbing effect lingers after a procedure. In response, the dental profession has developed different types of anesthesia that reduce this after effect considerably. We’re also more selective about what procedures actually require anesthesia — some, like routine teeth cleaning or work on the outer enamel (which doesn’t contain nerves), can usually be performed without it.

All in all, local anesthesia reduces your level of discomfort and increases our ability to be thorough in performing your dental work. You’ll not only find the experience more pleasant, but it will also enhance the quality of your care.

If you would like more information on alleviating pain and discomfort during dental work, 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 “Local Anesthesia for Pain-Free Dentistry.”

By Today's Dentistry
March 23, 2018
Category: Dental Procedures

Does your 2018 to-do list include two visits to the dentist? If regular checkups aren't on your calendar, you may be putting your oral health preventative dentistryat risk. Chicago, IL, dentist Dr. Mark Gamalinda explains how preventative care can help you keep your smile healthy.

Why dental visits are so important

Tooth decay doesn't immediately produce any symptoms. In fact, by the time your tooth starts to hurt, your cavity may be very big. When you visit our Chicago office every six months, we can spot and treat small cavities before they can destroy large areas of your tooth. Treating cavities when they're small can help you avoid more extensive procedures in the future.

Cleanings are an important part of your dental checkups. Although brushing and flossing is an excellent way to keep your teeth clean, it may be difficult to brush away plaque if your teeth overlap even slightly. During your cleanings, special dental instruments will be used to remove plaque and tartar from your teeth.

Tartar is a hard, unsightly deposit that forms on your teeth if plaque isn't removed after as little 10 days. Brushing and flossing is an effective way to get rid of plaque, but it has no effect on tartar. Unfortunately, the longer it remains on your teeth, the greater your risk of gum disease. During your visit, we'll get rid of tartar deposits that mar your smile and increase your chances of developing gum disease.

Protecting your smile starts with good oral hygiene habits

In between dental visits, a good oral hygiene routine can help you avoid cavities and gum disease. The simplest way to avoid these issues is by brushing and flossing daily. Too many people don't spend enough time brushing. Experts recommend that you brush for at least two minutes if you want to get rid of plaque from every surface of your teeth. Don't forget to brush your tongue too.

Keep your smile bright and healthy with regular visits to Dr. Mark Gamalinda's Chicago, IL, office. Call (773) 334-1801 to schedule your appointment.

By Today's Dentistry
March 15, 2018
Category: Oral Health
Tags: cold sore  

While it’s common for most of us to get an occasional cold sore, you may suffer from regular breakouts. If so, you know firsthand how uncomfortable and embarrassing they can be and seeming to erupt at the most inopportune moments.

What you’re experiencing is the result of a virus — the Herpes Simplex virus (HSV) Type I to be exact. Don’t let the name disturb you — although similar it’s different from the sexually transmitted virus known as HSV Type II. As with any virus the body responds by making and distributing antibodies to stop its attack. That’s typically the end of it but for some people the virus appears to be able to hide in the nerve roots of the mouth and elude the effects of the antibodies.

The sores associated with the virus tend to break out when a person is under stress, experiences trauma to the lip or even from sun exposure. The breakout begins with a slight itching or burning around the mouth that typically advances to more severe itching, swelling, redness and blistering. Eventually the sores will scab over and heal as the outbreak winds down. The period from breakout to final healing (during which you’ll also be contagious to others) usually lasts seven to ten days.

Although normally not a danger to health, cold sore outbreaks can be painful and irritating. In the past, most patients simply had to let the outbreak run its course with topical ointments to ease discomfort. In the last two decades, however, new anti-viral medication has proven effective in preventing the outbreaks in the first place or at least lessening their duration.

If you have regular bouts of cold sores prescription drugs like acyclovir or valcyclovir taken orally can help suppress the occurrences altogether, and have few side effects. Topical agents can also be used as a supplement to the drugs to help ease itching and other pain symptoms.

It’s important, though, that you undergo a complete oral examination to rule out more serious conditions associated with mouth sores. If we find that your problem is recurring cold sores, these new treatments could help you escape the cycle of discomfort.

If you would like more information on the treatment of chronic cold sore outbreaks, 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 “Cold Sores.”