Where are the Dentists in Oakcliff, TX ?


The map today shows the geographic location of dentists currently practicing in the Dallas, TX area. In the process of conducting our GIS research, we noticed some areas that were heavily populated with oral health services as well as areas that are likely experiencing disparities in oral health care.

To bring awareness to the current health conditions in low-income areas in South-Dallas such as Oakcliff and other communities, the Oral Health Needs Index (OHNI) made an easy-to-access, oral health focused, Geographic Information System (GIS) based tool that allows people to find services based on their environment and resources.

Identifying dental providers who accept Medicaid/Medicare and forms of dental insurance in areas of low socioeconomic status can be difficult but it also essential in tackling disparities. With OHNI, users get a clear visualization of communities with lack of services. Lack of transportation and finding participating providers is a major barrier for low-income and rural populations. Identifying these barriers and how they contribute to health disparities experienced by under-served communities is important. It allows for a better understanding of ways to combat the health disparities in disadvantaged communities.

What’s Up With Wisdom Teeth?


About 5 million wisdom tooth extractions take place in the United States annually. There a plethora of reasons for removing these teeth. They can cause pain, tumors, and tooth decay if not removed. This is true of wisdom teeth that cause problems, because not all of them need to be removed. About 38% of  people’s wisdom teeth do not form and therefore have no need to be removed. The other 62% have their wisdom teeth come in with or without problems.

Wisdom teeth used to be essential to humans everyday life before modern ages. Before the invention of cooking humans ate raw meats and other hard foods. This made it crucial to have another pair of molars to make chewing and sub sequentially digestion easier on the primitive man. The smaller the food gets after chewing makes it easier for the food to be digested.

As time went by and man became more advanced the need for this extra set of molars decreased. The food being eaten was not as tough and could be chewed a lot easier. Through evolution these teeth became obsolete, but were still developing in the body. At this point most people do not have enough room in their mouths for these extra teeth and they are causing problems. These problems arise from the teeth growing in different directions and putting pressure on existing teeth as well as creating crowding and spaces between other teeth. If this happens then it i recommended that the teeth be removed to alleviate these problems.



Excessive Opioid Use and Wisdom Teeth Removal


Roughly 5 million Americans have their wisdom teeth removed annually. After these extractions most patients are prescribed opioids to help ease the pain. Studies have shown that young adults are more likely to refill these prescriptions after pain should have subsided from the extractions. If patients filled the first prescription they were more likely to get multiple refills later when compared to patients who did not fill the first prescription. Hydrocodone was the highest prescribed opioid with oxycodone as a close second.

Some dentists feel as though prescribing opioids after wisdom tooth extraction is excessive and unnecessary. Instead they think prescribing NSAIDs such as ibuprofen are just as effective if not better at relieving pain. Other ways to relieve extraction pain are using an ice pack in the affected area or rinsing with warm salt water for several minutes. The ice pack helps numb the area thus reducing pain, and warm salt water aids in reducing bacteria in the mouth which can cause pain.




Why Brushing Your Teeth Is Not Enough


Brushing twice a day is not sufficient when it comes to having good oral health practices. Brushing only reaches the surface of teeth which is about 25% of the mouth. Bacteria and food can also lie along or beneath the gum line. When brushing teeth make sure the brush is angled at 45 degrees and brush in a side to side fashion.

Flossing can help reach areas in the mouth that a toothbrush cannot. It is recommended that flossing be done before brushing. That way whatever food and bacteria can easily be brushed away by the toothbrush later. When you floss maneuver it around the teeth while moving it up and down being conscious to not rub your gums roughly.

Using mouthwash also aids in maintaining oral health. It can be seen as the cherry on top of flossing and brushing. This is because antiseptic mouthwash helps kill and flush out bacteria that can be left in the mouth after brushing and flossing. It can also lessen the risk of getting gum disease and halitosis.

Lastly, regular dentist visits ensure that your oral health is up to par. The American Dental Association says that you should visit the dentist every three to twenty four months, and routine cleanings should be done every six months. Incorporating these habits into your oral care routine will greatly improve your oral health.


Notice Signs of Mouth Cancer

Woman covering mouth

About 700 people from Ireland are diagnosed with mouth, head, and neck cancer yearly. These diseases can be noticed at regular dental visits. They can start as sores that did not heal after three weeks. Other signs are red or white patches in the mouth or constant irritation or hoarseness. Dr. Kieran O’Connor stated that smoking tobacco increases chances of getting oral cancer by 40%. Dr. O’Connor has planned a social media campaign to educate men over 50 about oral cancer. The program is especially targeting men who do not visit the dentist regularly. She has partnered with other dentists to give talks about oral cancer so they are more willing to be cognizant of the reality of oral cancer.



What your tongue is telling you about your health


Many people do not know that examining your tongue can give you a large insight on different health problems you could have. There are many indicators that your tongue does not look how it normally should. Checking your tongue in the mirror is an easy way to check the status and look of your tongue.

If your tongue has a thick white creamy texture that can be an indicator of oral thrush. Oral thrush is a yeast infection of the mouth. This yeast can spread from your tongue to your throat and roof of the mouth because of a weakened immune system. It can be easily treated using antibiotics.

If your tongue is a shade of red instead of pink it could indicate strep throat. If you do have strep throat you should go to the doctor immediately to receive medicine. A red tongue could also be an indicator of a Vitamin B deficiency and a proper diet and vitamin supplements can help remedy that,

If you notice that your tongue is smooth instead of bumpy it could mean that you have an iron or Vitamin B deficiency. The bumps on your tongue are taste buds and help you identify different tastes. If not treated then there is a chance that your taste buds could be gone forever. Yet again a proper diet and vitamin supplements will help with this.

If your tongue is cracked more than usual that can mean an immune system problem. More than usual means that the cracks in the tongue are very noticeable and feel rough. If so you should be looked at by a doctor immediately. If it turns out that there is no immune system problem these cracks can become a breeding ground for bacteria and cause other problems.

It is normal to have a small bump on your tongue from time to time. These bumps may be caused by a variety of things such as biting your tongue or eating spicy foods. If these bumps are present for longer than a week then you should visit your dentist to have it examined.

If there is black hairy growth on your tongue you should visit a dentist. It shows that there is a large amount of bacteria growing in that area and should be taken seriously. This growth may mean that there are other problems going on with your immune system. Luckily, this bacteria can be treated easily with antibiotics.


Dental Visit Changes Tongue-tied Texas Boy’s Life


For most of Mason Motz’s life he was unable to speak. His parents nor pediatricians he went to knew what was wrong. One of his doctors even diagnosed him with Sotos syndrome, which affects growth and development. He was placed in speech therapy classes for years to help him speak. Mason communicated with his friends and family using boards with pictures and objects on them. Even with all of these different methods being utilized Mason still could not speak.

All of that was changed when Mason turned six. He had a visit with a dentist to tend to his cavities. The dentist quickly discovered why Mason was not able to speak. Mason was severely tongue-tied. This meant that the lingual frenulum that anchors the tongue in the mouth did not give Mason enough room to speak. His tongue was stuck at the bottom of his mouth and unable to move around to form words or sounds. The dentist performed a simple frenectomy to cut the lingual frenulum and free his tongue. The procedure took only a few minutes and Mason was able to speak.

Since his operation Mason has been functioning as a normal talkative six year old. He has even seen an improvement in his other health problems. He no longer snores or suffers from sleep apnea. He also is behaving better in school because he can communicate with others more effectively.


NYU Dental Outreach to Help Poor and Underserved

img_4171In Plattsburgh, New York, NYU Dental School is having a week where the teachers and students will provide free dental services to people in the area for a week. This week starts on Sunday, September 30, 2018, and ends Friday October 5, 2018. These services will occur on a first come first served basis. There will be no services provided on October 3, 2018.

This week will help supplement those who are uninsured or have minimal insurance with dental care. These groups of children and adults are a part of the underserved community and might not otherwise be able to pay for the comprehensive dental services. This week of free dental care stemmed from an annual one day event. NYU Dental School saw the need for a larger avenue to help and created a week to provide these essential services. Hopefully this week can become an annual event like its predecessor.