Dr. Maddahi Dentistry May 2017

Dr. Kourosh Maddahi

An t i - Ag i ng DENT I STRY

C O S M E T I C & A N T I - A G I N G D E N T I S T R Y

May 2017

Investigative Dentistry

EDITION

PIECING TOGETHER THE CLUES TO FIND THE SOURCE OF PAIN AND DISCOMFORT

Dentistry is an ever-changing landscape. Since I began practicing dentistry in 1987, technologies and methodologies in the industry have advanced by leaps and bounds. Many of these technologies have made investigative dentistry — that is, discovering the root cause of any given dental problem—much easier. Of course, “easier” is a relative term. It can still be highly challenging to find the root cause of an issue, but with the right tools, coupled with the right approach, we have access to more answers than ever before. Investigative dentistry is made up of two main factors. One of those factors is better technology. Today, we can use lasers, 3-D imaging, digital bite recorders, digital X-rays, and so much more to pinpoint the site of pain and discomfort or uncover other potential issues the patient might not be aware of. Through these technologies, we can develop a complete view of what is going on inside a person’s mouth. And that view can make all the difference in identifying the root cause of a problem. However, having a clear image is only part of the equation. Another factor of investigative dentistry has much to do with lifestyle. There are many societal factors that can influence your smile. Many people want bright, white teeth. To get the results they want, they use products that often rely on harsh chemicals. These chemicals include different kinds of peroxides which, over time, can lead to uncomfortable tooth sensitivity. Another aspect of lifestyle has to do with personal health and nutrition. More people are drinking green tea. It’s been praised as a healthy alternative to other kinds of teas and beverages in general. What many people don’t realize, however, is that green tea can stain worse than coffee and other teas. Because more people are drinking green tea, more people are seeking out teeth-whitening options, leading to more issues of sensitivity. Nuts and seeds are another major culprit of pain and discomfort. Like green tea, more people are turning to nuts and seeds as a healthy snack throughout the day. I’ve seen whole almonds and raw cashews cause serious damage to patients’ teeth, including cracked veneers and broken crowns. These patients had no idea nuts could cause so

much damage. And it’s not damage that occurs in an instant, though it can; it’s damage that can occur over weeks and months, going unnoticed until you are in pain. There has also been a noted increase in the number of people who clench their jaw and grind their teeth. These acts can lead to tooth sensitivity, pain, and other issues through the jaw, head, and neck. If clenching and grinding isn’t properly diagnosed and treated, it can cause a lot of damage that will eventually need to be corrected. Because many people clench and grind their teeth at night while sleeping, they don’t know what’s happening. They suffer through pain and may think it’s just a headache when it’s something very different. When I approach an investigation, I look at new trends in lifestyle and nutrition. I look at a patient’s habits, diet, and other things they may be doing that can affect the totality of the mouth — the bone, the gum tissue, and the teeth. I take this information and bring it together with our digital imagining. When all the questions are asked, more often than not, we arrive at the answer, and we can correct the issue at its source. - Dr. Maddahi

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