C-Diff and Dentistry

In recent news, including on Good Morning America, there has been concerns about Clostridium difficile in the dental field. It is not the spread of this bacterial disease in the dental setting that is the issue, as C. difficile is typically not transmitted in the dental setting, so you can breathe a sigh of relief there, but being aware is still important.

360_richard_besser_0430“Transcript for New Warning About CDIFF Superbug taken from ABC:

that new warning about a superbug lurking in the offices of doctors and dentists. A new report from the CDC reveals it is responsible for nearly 29,000 deaths in the U.S. Every year. Dr. Richard Besser here with more and, rich, the bug is called c-diff. What do we know about where it comes from and what we can do about it. The most common infection picked up in hospitals and the thing about this infection is you can pick it up and it causes no problems then you take an antibiotic and it takes over and can cause severe infection and diarrhea and in 29,000 people it can be deadly. Talk about had link between c-diff and antibiotics. This bacteria lives in the environment and we have good bacteria that provide protection. When you take an antibiotic it kills off those bacteria and allows the dangerous germ to take over and cause these very severe infections. How do we prevent the spread? One thing they found not all are being picked up in the hospital. 0% who don’t get it in the hospital have recently visited a doctor’s or dentist’s office and lives on surfaces. It’s not killed by alcohol sanitizer. You have to use soap and water. So use that soap and water and doctors need to be careful about prescribing those drugs. Once you get it you have to be careful about taking any antibiotics at all. Very careful. Okay, rich Besser, thanks very much.”  Watch more from GMA and Dr. Besser here.

What does this mean for You and the Dentist?

We want you to know that you should NOT be concerned about getting this disease at your dental appointment, as transmission occurs through contact with feces, but if you do have any of the symptoms (watery diarrhea, fever, loss of appetite, nausea, abdominal pain/tenderness) you should let your doctor know, as taking antibiotics greatly increases the risk.  The CDC states, “Use antibiotics judiciously.” It is imperative to stay up-to-date on the current standards for use of antibiotics. The use of prophylactic antibiotics continues to change so careful consideration needs to be used when making decisions about antibiotics.

Keeping a clean office is important to Szmanda Dental Center.  We use steam sterilization which kills all bacteria and spores.  We always wear gloves when appropriate and perform hand hygiene after removing gloves.  In addition, we continually monitor all our equipment so it adheres to the CDC and ADA standards.  If you have any further questions on this issue or any others, please let us know!

Information compiled from Szmanda Dental staff, rdhmag.com, ABC.com and ADA

Wide Open Spaces: Diastema

937762848I’m sure in your life either when talking to someone or just watching celebrities on TV you have noticed a gap between their front teeth. Think about personalities like Michael Strahan, Madonna and Woody Harrelson. And don’t forget Sponge Bob! That space is called a diastema.

A diastema doesn’t necessarily have to be between the front teeth, it could be anywhere in the mouth, although it is most common to occur within the front teeth. It can be caused by several different things like misaligning jaw development, the way tissue attaches and tongue thrusting.

Some people don’t mind that they have a space in their teeth while others are bothered by it. Thankfully, it can be easily corrected with orthodontic treatment. There is a strong chance that it may relapse and come back again after braces are removed, so it’s best if you go through orthodontic treatment to correct it that you get a fixed retainer placed on the back side of your teeth to hold them in place.

If you have any questions about spacing within your own teeth or you children’s teeth, don’t hesitate to ask at your next dental appointment at Szmanda Dental Center.

Compiled from information from Wikipedia and staff at Szmanda Dental Center 2015

Oral Piercing — How it Affects Your Mouth


In today’s society, we see a lot of body art being displayed on people’s faces. We often see eyebrow rings, nose rings, and cheek piercings. As dental professionals at Szmanda Dental Center, we are more concerned with the piercing site of the area around the lips, the lips themselves and the tongue.

Obviously, this is not just a fad, as it has been around for a long time. We want to discourage people from doing it; we want them to be aware from our standpoint, what can happen to their oral health as a side effect from this fashion and realize piercings around and in the oral cavity is a bad idea.

One of the main things Szmanda Dental worries about when we see a tongue ring is chipped teeth. According to WebMD, 47% of people wearing tongue jewelry for 4 or more years have at least one chipped tooth. This tends to happen due to continuous abrasion of the metal or plastic from the tongue ring on enamel causing small fractures. These chips that occur can of course be fixed with fillings, but continuing to wear a tongue ring will most likely break out the filling if could break the enamel to start with. If this happens, most likely a crown will have to be placed, which can be a costly fix.

Not only are dental professionals concerned about this, but some piercing facilities also have a growing concern. A local tattoo and piercing shop, Expressions Ink, has in fact stopped piercing the tongue altogether due to the amount of chipped teeth they were seeing.

Other than cracked or chipped teeth, in accordance to the American Dental Association (ADA), here are other effects to consider prior to piercing your tongue:

  • Excessive drooling due to increased saliva production
  • Infection, swelling and pain
  • Damage to fillings
  • Scar tissue
  • Nerve damage (loss of taste and movement)
  • Hypersensitivity to metals
  • Injuries to gum tissue

One of the above listed items is infection. Remember, the mouth is host to huge amounts of bacteria. It literally is the dirtiest place on the body. Because of this, an oral piercing has the potential of causing heart problems. The ADA warns that oral piercing carries the risk of endocarditis, which is an inflammation of the heart valves or tissues. Bacteria can travel through the bloodstream from the piercing site to the heart where it can establish a colony on heart abnormalities.

Another popular piercing on the face is the lip area. Although the actual piercing site heals fast, you have to be careful while healing takes place due to the risk of infection from anything such as food or liquids that come into contact with the area.

Szmanda Dental Center’s concern with a lip piercing is the wear that it can cause on gum tissue. Constant friction with the lip ring causes abrasion of the gum tissue and eventually wears it away. Once its gone, there’s no going back easily. The only way to fix this is to have gum grafts done, which can add up financially.

When gum tissue is worn away, this exposes areas of the teeth that aren’t normally exposed causing sensitivity and also can cause the tooth to loosen due to poor support of surrounding tissue.

Piercingschaden-FrontzahnAnd just like tongue piercing, lip rings can chip teeth and also cause nerve damage to the tooth or the lip.

If you choose to have a facial piercing, please be sure to discuss concerns with the piercing facility you plan on having the procedure done at. Discuss sterility, check on health certificates and licenses, and don’t be afraid to ask questions. Any professional should be happy and willing to address your concerns.

Please also feel free to ask any questions at Szmanda Dental Center and we will do our best to address them.