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Tuesday, March 24, 2020

Tooth Extraction: Procedure, Healing, & Complications

Below is an excerpt from an article found on

A tooth extraction is an outpatient procedure performed by a dentist. In some cases pulling teeth (removing a tooth completely from its spot in the jaw bone), may be necessary to preserve or improve your dental health.

Some of the reasons for tooth extraction include:
  • Pulling teeth for braces: Preparation for orthodontia (braces and retainers) often involves pulling one tooth or a few teeth.
  • Pulling teeth to save space: Wisdom teeth are often removed if there is no space for them in the mouth, or if they become impacted or infected.
  • Pulling teeth due to damage or decay: Tooth extraction may be the only option if a tooth is too decayed or damaged to be repaired with a filling or crown.
  • Pulling teeth in radiation or chemotherapy patients: If radiation or chemotherapy to the head and neck causes teeth to become infected, pulling teeth may be necessary.
Tooth Extraction Procedure: Getting a Tooth Pulled
When you undergo a tooth extraction procedure, your dentist will numb the area with a local anesthetic. You may also receive an anti-anxiety medication or an intravenous sedative. If the dental extraction involves an impacted tooth, the tooth may be broken into pieces before it is removed.

Pulling teeth falls into two basic categories: simple and surgical. Here’s what to expect from each:
  • Simple: A simple tooth extraction involves the removal of a tooth that is visible in the mouth. This could mean removing a badly damaged or decayed tooth, or removing teeth prior to getting braces. General dentists can do simple tooth extractions. When you undergo simple tooth extraction, you will receive local anesthesia. In addition, some dental professionals administer anti-anxiety medication or use conscious sedation for simple cases of pulling teeth. In most cases, over-the-counter pain medication is sufficient for pain management after these procedures.
  • Surgical: Surgical tooth extraction is an operation by an oral surgeon involving removal of teeth that are not visible in the mouth, because they have not come in or because the tooth has broken off. Individuals with special medical conditions may receive general anesthesia when pulling teeth involving surgery. You may also receive prescription pain medication for use immediately after surgical teeth-pulling procedures.
Tooth Extraction Healing and Recovery
After any type of tooth extraction, be sure to follow your dental professional’s instructions for oral care, including the following tips:
  • Eat Soft Foods: Stick primarily to liquids until any anesthesia wears off, and then limit your diet to soft foods for the first few days after a tooth extraction.
  • Take care of your teeth: Don’t brush the teeth immediately next to the area of tooth extraction on the first day after the procedure, but do brush the rest of your teeth. Two days after a tooth extraction, get back to a good oral care routine.
Tooth Extraction Complications
“Dry socket” occurs in approximately 3-4% of teeth pulling cases. If a blood clot fails to form in the hole after pulling teeth, or if the blood clot breaks off too soon, the underlying bone is exposed, creating a dry socket. This condition can be painful and should be treated as soon as possible with a medicated bandage to promote healing.

Other potential problems associated with pulling teeth include:
  • Sore Jaw: Your jaw may be sore due to anesthesia or to the strain of keeping your mouth open during the procedure.
  • Numb Lips and Chin: If the reason for pulling teeth was removal of lower wisdom teeth, your lower lip or chin may be numb for several months if a nerve in that area (the inferior alveolar nerve) was traumatized.
  • Infection: Infection is always a possibility after pulling teeth, but it is unlikely in individuals who have healthy immune systems.
To read the entire article visit

Palm Beach Smiles 
Michael Barr, DDS
650 W. Boynton Beach Blvd, Suite 1- Boynton Beach, FL 332426
(561) 736-2377

Sunday, March 15, 2020

What Can You Do About Missing Teeth?

Below is an excerpt from an article found on
If you don't quite have a full set of permanent teeth, you might be surprised to learn that you're in good company. In fact, the average adult who is between the ages of 20 and 64 has at least three decayed or missing teeth, according to the American Dental Association (ADA).
Whether you lost your teeth in an accident or you had them pulled, replacement teeth not only have the potential to enhance your appearance, but they may also improve your chewing and speaking. Take a look at some of the tooth replacement options your dental health care professional might recommend for you.
Dental Implants
Because it is surgically implanted, a dental implant can offer a sturdy, long-term solution for a tooth replacement. The process of getting an implant involves three stages that can take place over several months. Despite this lengthy time frame, many people choose dental implants because they're the most similar to natural teeth and they can last for many years, or even decades.
There are several types of dental bridges, which are devices that bridge the gap where your missing tooth or teeth used to be. Unlike dental implants, which typically don't affect your surrounding teeth, bridges are often attached to your adjacent teeth for support.
If you have more than just a few missing teeth, your dental health care professional may recommend dentures, which are removable appliances that consist of numerous artificial teeth. Full dentures mimic the look and function of a full set of teeth, while overdentures will fit over a few remaining teeth. It may take some time to get used to wearing dentures, but after an adjustment period they should begin to feel comfortable and natural.
To read the entire article visit

Palm Beach Smiles 
Michael Barr, DDS
650 W. Boynton Beach Blvd, Suite 1- Boynton Beach, FL 332426
(561) 736-2377

Tuesday, March 10, 2020

Corona / COVID-19 Virus and Dentistry

Hello!  Dr. Barr here!  We've been hearing a lot about the "Coronavirus" in the news recently.  We've also been hearing a lot of misinformation.  Consequently, we are experiencing a pandemic of panic.  Unnecessary panic. There's a run on toilet paper, for gosh sakes!

How does going to a dental appointment factor into the Coronavirus situation?

I'll keep it brief.

A dental office is probably the safest place I can think of.  Everything is sterilized.  Countertops and other environmental surfaces are doused in disinfectants between every visit.  

Private care offices like Palm Beach Smiles don't have a waiting room full of people.  If you've been here, you've probably never seen my reception area full of waiting patients.  That's been by design since I started my practice.  We see one patient at a time and run our schedule accordingly.  That means no reception area full of people.  Ours is usually empty, because the scheduled patient is in the chair.  😊

But, perhaps the worst place to be would be a traditional medical doctor's office waiting room full of coughing patients!

So, come on in!  The water's fine.  We have always taken every precaution and measure to keep our patients safe.

Wash your hands frequently.  Keep a small bottle of hand sanitizer in your car for when you touch things like gas pumps, doors, and other surfaces in public places.  Lastly, please don't panic and live your life with a happy heart.

Friday, March 6, 2020

Temporomandibular Joints Pain (TMJ)

Below is an excerpt from an article found on

The temporomandibular joints, called TMJ, are the joints and jaw muscles that make it possible to open and close your mouth. Located on each side of the head, your TMJ work together when you chew, speak or swallow and include muscles and ligaments as well as the jaw bone. They also control the lower jaw (mandible) as it moves forward, backward and side to side.
Each TMJ has a disc between the ball and socket. The disc cushions the load while enabling the jaw to open widely and rotate or glide. Any problem that prevents this complex system of muscles, ligaments, discs and bones from working properly may result in a painful TMJ disorder. 

Possible causes of TMJ disorders include:

  • arthritis 
  • dislocation 
  • injury 
  • tooth and jaw alignment 
  • stress and teeth grinding 
Diagnosis is an important step before treatment. Part of the dental examination includes checking the joints and muscles for tenderness, clicking, popping or difficulty moving. Depending on the diagnosis, the dentist may refer you to a physician or another dentist.
There are several treatments for TMJ disorders. This step-by-step plan from the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research allows you to try simple treatment before moving on to more involved treatment. The NIDCR also recommends a “less is often best” approach in treating TMJ disorders, which includes: 
  • eating softer foods 
  • avoiding chewing gum and biting your nails 
  • modifying the pain with heat packs 
  • practicing relaxation techniques to control jaw tension, such as meditation or biofeedback. 
If necessary for your symptoms, the following treatments may be advised: 
  • exercises to strengthen your jaw muscles 
  • medications prescribed by your dentist; for example, muscle relaxants, analgesics, anti-anxiety drugs or anti-inflammatory medications 
  • a night guard or bite plate to decrease clenching or grinding of teeth. 
In some cases, your dentist may recommend fixing an uneven bite by adjusting or reshaping some teeth. Orthodontic treatment may also be recommended. Your dentist can suggest the most appropriate therapy based on the suspected cause.
To read the entire article visit

Palm Beach Smiles 
Michael Barr, DDS
650 W. Boynton Beach Blvd, Suite 1- Boynton Beach, FL 332426
(561) 736-2377

Monday, February 24, 2020

Dental Fluorosis: Causes, Treatments & Prevention

Below is an excerpt from an article found on

Dental flourosis (pronounced “floo-roh-sis”) is a common condition that can affect the appearance of children’s teeth due to the hypocalcification of tooth enamel. What is hypocalcification? It’s merely the scientific term for having less than normal amounts of calcification in the teeth, leading to spots of softer enamel and discoloration.
Most cases of fluorosis are mild and do not affect tooth function or cause pain, though in rare severe cases the enamel itself is affected with pitting and brown spots that aren’t as easily treated. Adults aren’t affected by fluorosis, but if you suspect that your child may have a severe form of fluorosis, see a dentist as soon as possible.
What causes Dental Fluorosis?
Sometimes called mottled enamel or enamel fluorosis, dental fluorosis occurs due to the sustained overconsumption of fluoride when the enamel layers of permanent teeth are being formed, even before they’re visible. This can happen before the age of 8 when permanent teeth come in, or around the ages of 1-2 when baby teeth come in.
Is fluoride bad? No, the CDC supports the use of fluoride as an important way to prevent tooth decay in children and adults. Fluoride is safe, but should only be consumed in proper amounts. That’s why it’s beneficial for parents to monitor their children’s brushing habits during the stages of tooth formation, to assure they aren’t accidentally ingesting large amounts of toothpaste or mouthwash.
Dental Fluorosis Symptoms
Mild forms of dental fluorosis can result in discoloration of teeth, usually appearing as white lace-like marks on the surface of teeth. More severe forms of dental fluorosis have larger areas of discoloration and, in rare severe cases, rough pits or pock-like marks on the enamel surface.
How to Prevent Dental Fluorosis
Infants can contract dental fluorosis due to the fluoride that is found in water (usually ingested when mixed with infant formula) or due to ingesting fluoride toothpaste. For kids under 2, breast feeding is a great alternative to formula and brushing can be done with a small, soft-bristled brush and plain water to limit fluoride intake.
For older children, remember to only apply a pea-sized amount of toothpaste and monitor their brushing to help them remember to spit toothpaste out after use.
Most cases of fluorosis are cosmetic and need no form of treatment. If the appearance of the teeth is seen as a problem, teeth whitening treatments can help to resolve visibly white spots. For more severe cases, consult your child’s dentist for the best treatment options.
To read the entire article visit

Palm Beach Smiles 
Michael Barr, DDS
650 W. Boynton Beach Blvd, Suite 1- Boynton Beach, FL 332426
(561) 736-2377

Monday, February 17, 2020

Do-It-Yourself Braces Clients Having Problems?

I've written about "do-it-yourself" braces before.  There are a number of companies offering it now.  One in particular has gotten most of the attention.

It comes as no surprise to all practicing dentists that there are problems coming to light with this approach.  NBC recently did a report.  Judge for yourself.  Consider that the company stipulates unhappy clients requesting a refund sign an agreement to not talk (non-disclosure) about it anywhere, including social media.  Click on the link and judge for yourself:

 'Things didn't feel right': Some SmileDirectClub customers report problems

And, now they are threatening NBC with a lawsuit (click link below):

SmileDirectClub fires back at NBC News report

I would strongly discourage anyone considering "DIY braces."  There are SO many things that can go wrong.  See my previous blog article (click below): 

Are the Invisible Braces from a "Club" the same as Invisalign or real braces from a dentist?

If you have any questions or would like a consultation, please give us a call at 561-736-2377.  You can also visit our website at: