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Olympic medalist breaks tooth

The German Luger, David Moeller, may best be remembered after the 2010 Winter Olympic games as the guy who broke his tooth biting into his silver medal. “The photographers wanted us to bite into our medals at the presentation ceremony. And a corner of my front tooth broke off.” Puns aside, Moeller did not hurt his molar only his front tooth. He immediately went to see a dentist to have the tooth fixed. “…because I want to have nice pictures and happy memories of my Olympic Games, I went to the dentist to get it repaired,” he said.

Dr. Jason McCargar says that it is easy to break a tooth especially if biting into such a hard object. “The jaw exerts a tremendous amount of force upon biting, and when all that force is put onto one edge of a tooth, it is inevitable that something has to give,” said the cosmetic dentist, based in Scottsdale. The 28 year old luger said that he did not feel any pain.

Who is the Phoenix Dentist of Tiger Woods?

The January 18, 2010 edition of US Weekly is reporting a new conspiracy theory about what happened between Tiger Woods and his wife Elin in the early morning hours after Thanksgiving. According to the article (as seen above) Elin “virtually knocked out two of his upper teeth and broke the bone on the upper right side of his face.” The article goes on to say that “Tiger then made a secret trip to Phoenix to have his face reconstructed.”

Dr. McCargar is not the Phoenix Cosmetic Dentist that treated Tiger Woods, however he explains that this type of trauma could require a lot of work.

“Trauma to the front teeth is similar to a car hitting a brick wall. Depending on the severity of the trauma, anything from root canals and porcelain crowns to complete replacement of the teeth with dental implants may be indicated,” stated Dr McCargar.

After experiencing trauma it is critical to be evaluated immediately by a dentist. The teeth may have moved into a different position which can completely change the bite.

“Sometimes the teeth can manually be put back into their previous position in the arch. It depends on how far the teeth moved, and how soon the patient sees the dentist after the trauma has occurred,” stated Dr McCargar, a cosmetic dentist with Scottsdale Dental Arts.

One of the worst things that can happen is for the roots to completely fracture. The long-term prognosis for a tooth with a fractured root can vary from questionable to hopeless, depending on the location and depth of the fracture.

Dr. McCargar has several years of dealing with trauma victims as he was a Phoenix Dentist at Banner Good Samaritan Hospital before going into private practice in Scottsdale. At the hospital Dr. McCargar treated emergency trauma patients after car accidents, bike accidents, and severe falls. He says, “It is so important after a person experiences a trauma, that their smile is similar to the old one and still comfortable, but much improved. We don’t want to change the appearance too much because the person didn’t elect to look different; however, it gives us the opportunity to act as artists and change aspects of the teeth that the person always wished looked better.”

H1N1 Influenza Facts

If you think that the H1N1 virus is dying down this flu season think again. Just because you have not heard much about it in the media lately does not mean that you should not get your H1N1 flu vaccine. In fact, according to the Maricopa Department of Health, the cases of confirmed H1N1 have increased since last fall: 4,981 confirmed cases in Maricopa the week of October 25-31 versus 7,170 confirmed cases the week of January 24-30, and February is the peak of the flu season.

The H1N1 virus (also known as the “swine flu”) is a new strain of the influenza virus. Because most of the population has not been exposed to a similar strain of the virus in the past, many people are not immune to this strain. Certain people are at a higher risk of developing serious complications if they are exposed to the virus and have not been vaccinated. While the CDC is encouraging all people to get vaccinated against the H1N1 virus, it is very important for people in the following groups to do so: anyone with respiratory illness, diabetes, or a heart condition, or anyone that is pregnant. The virus spreads when an infected person coughs or sneezes. These infected respiratory droplets then can infect others if someone touches an object with the virus on it, then touches their nose, eyes, or mouth. The influenza virus can survive and infect another person for 2-8 hours after being deposited on an object. Infected people are contagious from 1 day before they develop symptoms to up to 7 days after they get sick.

Symptoms of the flu are high fever, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, body aches, headache, chills, and fatigue. To protect yourself from getting sick, get the H1N1 influenza vaccine. Always cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze, then throw the tissue in the trash. If a tissue is not available, then cough or sneeze into your upper sleeve, instead of into your hands. Wash your hands frequently with soap and warm water. Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth. If you have the symptoms of the flu, stay home for at least 24 hours after your fever is gone.

At Scottsdale Dental Arts, we want you to have a happy and healthy New Year!

STRESS: The Daily Grind

The economic pressures in America are affecting millions of Americans, resulting in broken teeth, facial pain, and migraine headaches. Mixing pain and financial worry together has resulted in fewer people visiting the dentist for a brighter smile, however dentists are seeing a new phenomenon in their daily schedules: a rise in the number of teeth grinders.

“I’m seeing an increase in patients who are anxious, stressed out and very worried about their financial futures and they’re taking out their stresses on their teeth,” said Dr. Jason McCargar, a cosmetic dentist at Scottsdale Dental Arts. “These patients are all grinding their teeth as a response to what is going on in their lives.”

One patient of Scottsdale Dental Arts lost hundreds of thousands of dollars invested with Bernard L. Madoff. Another one of Dr. McCargar’s patients also informed the staff that he had lost his seven-figure salary due to a “budget cut.” The common thread seems to be as follows: Americans are working twice or three times as many hours as they previously did for about half of the income.

On average Dr. McCargar is seeing a 30 to 40 percent increase in patients reporting pain in their jaws, cheek muscles, and necks as a result of stress. And what is the cause of this stress? Welcome to the “new economy.”

People are having trouble just making ends meet. Families who previously relied on two incomes are now adjusting to just one income. And this trend seems to have no end in sight. Unfortunately, this financial strain can create an overwhelming amount of pressure and uncertainty for the spouse who had the sole job in the family. “Such a high level of responsibility to keep the family afloat can create a huge amount of stress on the sole bread winner.”

But don’t think that stressful times are the only times when patients grind their teeth. On average approximately 15 percent of people will grind their teeth no matter what kind of economic conditions they are experiencing.

Most people don’t realize that they are grinders until the symptoms of grinding lead to either a broken tooth, recurrent migraine headaches, or severe facial pain.
“Stress causes flight-or-fight hormones to be release in the body,” stated Dr. McCargar. “When the stress hormones are released by the brain, energy is mobilized which causes muscle activity. The greater the increase of hormones, the more intense the muscle activity will be,” stated the Scottsdale Cosmetic Dentist.
Repairing or rebuilding teeth that have been damaged by years of grinding can be a daunting process. If teeth have been only moderately damaged, composite fillings may be a treatment option. But extensive damage often requires full mouth reconstruction in order to repair the teeth. Some of these treatment options include full coverage crowns and porcelain veneers. Regardless of the treatment modality, there is one component that is a must for all grinders or “bruxism” patients: a night guard.

Some dental insurance companies do not view grinding as a true dental condition. Often times bruxism is classified as a condition that originates in the central nervous system. This “gray” area of classification can leave patients with no help from their insurance companies in paying for bruxism-related treatment and services.
Studies show that some night time grinders can spend upwards of 40 minutes per hour of sleep grinding their teeth. The constant wear and tear can quickly destroy the enamel (10 times faster than that of non-grinders), fracture teeth, change the overall bite, and damage both the temporomandibular joint (TMJ) and the masseter muscle, which controls the jaws. Jaw and face pain may also occur.
The first line of treatment for night time grinding is a custom-made night guard. Dr. McCargar can make various types of night guards for patients which can help to minimize or even stop grinding completely.

Night guards are readily made for patients by making an impression of the patient’s upper or lower teeth. Patients are advised to get acquainted with their night guard by wearing it gradually for a few hours before bed before attempting to wear it throughout the night. The cost of a custom made night guard may vary based upon the style of night guard that will best meet the patient’s needs.
Many patients tell Dr. McCargar that they notice a huge difference in their overall jaw comfort when they wear their night guard. One of his patients, Sarah, said, “My migraines immediately came back when I stopped wearing my night guard. I cannot imagine going to bed without my night guard now.”

“There is nothing that can compare to a night of good rest,” states Dr. McCargar.
The Scottsdale Cosmetic Dentist advises his patients to take some time before going to bed to simply relax and de-stress before rest. “Meditation, listening to soft music, and de-compressing before bed will help to set the mind in motion for a night of relaxing sleep.”

Scottsdale Dental Arts provides a complimentary consultation for patients who suffer from night time grinding. “We enjoy taking time with our patients to better understand their sleeping patterns. A night guard can make all the difference between a night of restless sleep and complete relaxation.”