Posts for: April, 2019


Once upon a time, celebrities tried hard to maintain the appearance of red-carpet glamour at all times. That meant keeping the more mundane aspects of their lives out of the spotlight: things like shopping, walking the dog and having oral surgery, for example.

That was then. Today, you can find plenty of celebs posting pictures from the dentist on social media. Take Julianne Hough, for example: In 2011 and 2013, she tweeted from the dental office. Then, not long ago, she shared a video taken after her wisdom teeth were removed in December 2016. In it, the 28-year-old actress and dancer cracked jokes and sang a loopy rendition of a Christmas carol, her mouth filled with gauze. Clearly, she was feeling relaxed and comfortable!

Lots of us enjoy seeing the human side of celebrities. But as dentists, we’re also glad when posts such as these help demystify a procedure that could be scary for some people.

Like having a root canal, the thought of extracting wisdom teeth (also called third molars) makes some folks shudder. Yet this routine procedure is performed more often than any other type of oral surgery. Why? Because wisdom teeth, which usually begin to erupt (emerge from beneath the gums) around age 17-25, have the potential to cause serious problems in the mouth. When these molars lack enough space to fully erupt in their normal positions, they are said to be “impacted.”

One potential problem with impacted wisdom teeth is crowding. Many people don’t have enough space in the jaw to accommodate another set of molars; when their wisdom teeth come in, other teeth can be damaged. Impacted wisdom teeth may also have an increased potential to cause periodontal disease, bacterial infection, and other issues.

Not all wisdom teeth need to be removed; after a complete examination, including x-rays and/or other diagnostic imaging, a recommendation will be made based on each individual’s situation. It may involve continued monitoring of the situation, orthodontics or extraction.

Wisdom tooth extraction is usually done right in the office, often with a type of anesthesia called “conscious sedation.”  Here, the patient is able to breathe normally and respond to stimuli (such as verbal directions), but remains free from pain. For people who are especially apprehensive about dental procedures, anti-anxiety mediation may also be given. After the procedure, prescription or over-the-counter pain medication may be used for a few days. If you feel like singing a few bars, as Julianne did, it’s up to you.

If you would like more information about wisdom tooth extraction, please call our office to arrange a consultation. You can learn more in the Dear Doctor magazine articles “Wisdom Teeth” and “Removing Wisdom Teeth.”

By Mazhar M. Butt, D.M.D.
April 19, 2019
Category: Dental Procedures
Tags: dental emergency  

If your dental health depended on your actions, would you know what to do? What if a baseball knocked out your front tooth, or your dental emergencyspouse developed a raging toothache? Your dentist, Dr. Mazhar Butt, and his professional staff in Carbondale, IL, assure their patients that quick and competent intervention are hallmarks of their practice. If you have an urgent oral health issue, call them for help.

Prevention is key

This rings true where your oral health is concerned. So, your Carbondale, IL, dentist arms his patients with practical strategies to handle any dental emergency. Unfortunately, USA Today reports that many people--millions, in fact--wait too long before seeking help from a dentist. Maybe they have dental pain, a broken tooth or bleeding gums, but still, they postpone getting the care they need.

Dr. Butt believes that routine preventive care--X-rays, exams and cleanings--ward off many serious issues. He asks his patients to see him twice annually and of course to call right away when they suspect a problem is developing.

But life happens...

Your dentist recognizes that accidents happen, particularly with the young members of the family. A chipped tooth, a broken orthodontic wire, pain in a tooth that is weak and possibly failing...all these constitute dental emergencies. Call Dr. Butt's office immediately when the unexpected happens. You'll receive first aid advice and a quick appointment if needed.

Also, note the following interventions. You could save your tooth--or that of a loved one--if you know just a bit of dental first aid.

Dental emergencies and what to do

  1. An oral laceration Place direct pressure with gauze or a clean washcloth. If bleeding doesn't stop within 10 to 15 minutes. go to the hospital ER.
  2. A dislodged crown or filling or broken orthodontic appliance Call the office for an appointment. Cover jagged tooth edges or braces with orthodontic wax. Save any pieces in a plastic bag to bring to the office.
  3. A knocked-out tooth It can be replanted if Dr. Butt sees you within 30 minutes of injury. Rinse the tooth with water, and put in back in the socket. Hold it there while going to the dental office. If you cannot put the tooth back hold it between your cheek and gums, or carry it to the dental office in a sealed bag with tooth preservative (available at the drug store), water, or your own saliva.
  4. A chipped tooth Bring the fragments to Dr. Butt. He may be able to repair the tooth with composite resin. More extensive damage may require a crown or porcelain veneer.
  5. Foreign object stuck between two teeth Try dislodging it with dental floss.
  6. Dental abscess Call the office right away.

Never hesitate to call

Dr. Mazhar Butt wants his patients to be at their healthiest best. Contact his team if you experience an emergency. Phone (618) 457-2123.

By Mazhar M. Butt, D.M.D.
April 10, 2019
Category: Dental Procedures
Tags: tooth decay  

Each year thousands of people develop sinus infections from various causes. But there's one cause for sinusitis that might surprise you—tooth decay.

Tooth decay begins when the acid produced by oral bacteria erodes a tooth's enamel protection to create a small hole or cavity. Left untreated, the infection can move into the inner pulp of the tooth and tiny passageways leading to the roots called root canals. The decay can then infect and break down the structure of the supporting jawbone.

This could affect the sinus cavities, hollow air-filled spaces in the upper portion of the face. The maxillary sinus in particular sits behind the cheek bones just above the upper jaw. Tooth roots, particularly in back teeth, can extend quite near or even poke through the floor of the maxillary sinus.

If decay affects these roots, the bone beneath this floor may begin to break down and allow the bacterial infection to enter the sinus. We call this particular kind of sinus infection maxillary sinusitis of endodontic origin (MSEO), "endodontic" referring to the interior structure of teeth.

While advanced decay can show symptoms like pain or sensitivity with certain hot or cold foods, it's also possible to have it and not know it directly. But a recurring sinus infection could be an indirect indication that the root of your suffering is a deeply decayed tooth. Treating the sinus infection with antibiotics won't cure this underlying dental problem. For that you'll need to see a dentist or an endodontist, a specialist for interior tooth issues.

The most common way to treat deep tooth decay is with root canal therapy. In this procedure, the dentist enters the decayed tooth's pulp (nerve chamber) and root canals and removes the diseased tissue. They will then fill the empty pulp and root canals with a special filling and seal the tooth to prevent future infection. The procedure stops the infection and saves the tooth—and if you have MSEO, it eliminates the cause of the sinus infection.

So, if you're suffering from chronic sinus infections, you might talk with your dentist about the possibility of a tooth infection. A thorough examination might reveal a decayed tooth in need of treatment.

If you would like more information on how dental problems can affect your overall health, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation.