Drooling from lip piercing.

I have noticed that I sure drool a lot more after I got my lip pierced. Do you have any recommendations to stop drooling? I like to sleep on my back and don’t have any allergies. So do you know if this increase in drool is from the piercing?

– James in Nebraska


Well you may not have realized this side effect before you went ahead with the piercing, but oral piercing does stimulate the salivary glands. This means you may deal with excessive drooling. It may calm down for you over time, but will likely be an issue you have as long as you wear the piercing.

There are other risks that may result from oral piercings, like:

  • Tooth aggravation – Depending on where the ring is, you may notice tooth wear over time.
  • Talking and eating annoyance – Sometimes your speech is affected if the piercing does not enable you to close your mouth all the way. This could also present some issues when eating.
  • Irritation to gums – Sometimes a lip ring can irritate the gum from rubbing them. This does have the capability to cause long term damage. If you have piercings on your lip, tongue, or cheek you may also be at a higher risk for periodontal disease.
  • Increase in inflammation – The piecing site may become inflamed or swollen. This may indicate an infection that needs to be treated right away so you don’t deal with a dental emergency.
  • Bacterial infections – The American Dental Association has stated that those with oral piercings are at a risk for bacterial infection from piercings. This is because our mouths have bacteria and the opening from the lip ring may become infected.
  • Metal allergy – Some individuals are allergic to certain types of metal.

You must keep up with regular six month dental cleanings and exams, as well as clean and treat the piercing site regularly for optimal dental health.

This post is sponsored by Cleveland dentist Hylan Dental Care.

Related link: emergency dentist

Helpful tips on emergency dentistry

We saw a website that has some excellent tips on emergency dentistry, and that is Peck Family Dentistry in Phoenix.

One point we felt that was made particularly well was a warning about trying to treat an infected tooth with just antibiotics. Let’s give you some additional information about that.

Here’s why that doesn’t work. Antibiotics are not the same as disinfectants. They don’t actually kill bacteria – they help control them and your body defenses finish the job with antibodies and white blood cells.

What happens when a tooth gets infected is that the tissue tries to swell and bring in these body defenses. Since the pulp tissue is confined inside the tooth, as it tries to swell it strangles itself and dies. The bacteria then live and multiply in that dead tissue, and as that infection spills out into the surrounding bone it causes an abscess.

So let’s say this has happened to you and you have some antibiotics to take. The antibiotics will only work on the infection that has spilled out into the bone, because that is where you still have blood circulating. That is also where your antibodies and white blood cells can reach – those can no longer get into the inside of the tooth. So the abscess may shrink and you may feel better, because you are getting it somewhat under control. But you can never wipe out the infection because it is protected inside the tooth.

But that’s not the worst part. What you are doing when you take the antibiotics without getting the tooth fixed is that you are cultivating antibiotic resistance in the bacteria. When the infection comes back, as it always will if you don’t treat the source, you will now have bacteria that may be resistant to the antibiotic you were using. And we have seen people that have kept on procrastinating treatment, trying to cover up the problem with antibiotics time after time. This is very risky indeed because these jaw infections can be dangerous. They are close to your brain and have been known to migrate there, or to cause swelling in your throat that begins to compromise your breathing.

Don’t mess with these infections. Get them treated.

This blog is sponsored by Cleveland implant dentist Dr. Brad Hylan.

Pregnant and Severe Tooth Pain After Dental Treatment

I am 22 weeks pregnant and I went to the dentist exactly one week ago. My OBGYN recommended going because apparently she said healthy teeth and gums are important during pregnancy. My dentist did an exam and found a couple cavities and filled them. She said I may have a little bit of soreness for a day or two. Well, its been a week and I am in excruciating pain! I have tried gargling warm salt water, I have taken Tylenol, and used Orajel and nothing works except the Tylenol. When that wears off I am in the most horrible pain to the point where i cant even sleep at night. I can’t even use that side of my mouth while eating. Seeing that I am pregnant I am not sure what else I can do. Why may I be having all this pain especially when I had no pain at all before this visit? I’m ready to call into see an emergency dentist.

Thanks, Autumn in Ohio

Dear Autumn,

First and foremost your OBGYN is correct about how important it is to have healthy teeth and gums during pregnancy. When pregnancy occurs hormone levels are rapidly changing which can make some dental problems even worse. So besides visiting your dentist, good brushing and flossing habits are vital too and contribute to your overall health which is more likely to keep your baby healthy.

Sometimes after dental work teeth can ache a little and be sensitive for a week or two just because of the procedure itself. After a filling is placed the dentist will adjust the filling to ones bite. At times patients are really numb after treatment and can’t tell exactly if their bite is off afterwords. If your filling is high and you have been biting on it that can make your tooth ache as well. Being pregnant can make you a little more sensitive to pain, however none of these may be the case.

If you had a cavity that was close to the nerve, in other words your dentist said you had a deep cavity, she may had placed a buffer in between your nerve and the filling in hoping that the tooth will not require a root canal. When tooth decay reaches the nerve, teeth require a root canal. Signs that a tooth needs a root canal are more likely to be hot sensitive then cold, a dull ache which can keep you awake at night, sensitive to touch, and hurts to chew on. We recommend that you visit your dentist again for a follow-up appointment. They may want to re-x-ray the tooth to rule out a possible infection that would require a root canal and will most likely check your bite to see if the filling needs further adjusting.

This post is sponsored by Cleveland dentist Hylan Dental Care.

Problem with shifting after an extraction

I had to have one of my top molars removed. It has been about a month or so and now I’m noticing that my front tooth looks like it has moved. I think it is really ugly. How did this happen?

– Jim in Pennsylvania


After a tooth extraction, the bone will begin to recede in the area around it. When our teeth are unbalanced they can shift around in a reaction to the procedure. You will typically see this happen within the first few years after you have had the tooth out. Over time the shifting will subside. The exact movement of the teeth varies from patient to patient. Sometimes it is not noticeable at all and other times it is very visible. Typically you see this if someone is missing a tooth. The tooth surrounding the site will move into the empty space. That is why a dental implant is an ideal treatment because it helps to prevent the shifting and it also stimulates the bone so it doesn’t resorb.

Occlusion is the study of how your teeth come together and our bite varies when we are eating or swallowing, or even when we sleep it can be different. So the shifting will only take place as long as your personal occlusion will allow.

Again, it is worth mentioning the importance of replacing your missing tooth to prevent shifting and occlusion problems. It sounds like your teeth are shifting quickly so it would be a good idea to seek treatment to replace the tooth soon. There are affordable dental implant options if budget is a major deciding factor for you. Make sure you see an implant dentist that has reputable credentials because there is a lot of dental malpractice in this area. Cheap dental implants aren’t always better because faulty materials or cutting corners can be much more expensive in the long run.

Hopefully this was helpful in answering your question.

This post is sponsored by Cleveland dentist Hylan Dental Care.

My child’s first trip to the dentist.

I am taking my daughter to the dentist for the first time.  She is 5 years old and a little shy. How can I prepare her so that she will not be afraid?


MaryAnn in Georgia

Dear MaryAnn,

Taking your child to the dentist for the first time can be a stressful situation but there are many things that you can do to make it a fun and educational experience.  Most importantly, if you have anxiety, or fear the dentist, she will sense this.  Try not to use phrases like “Don’t be afraid”, “It’s not scary” or “It won’t hurt” when you talk to her about this.  She will only hear “scary” “afraid” and “hurt”.   Any bad experiences that you may have had are your experiences.  Do not pass them on to her.  Treat the appointment as a natural thing for her to do but be excited about the fact that it is her first visit.

It is not essential that you see a pediatric dentist, really any family dentist that enjoys treating children may be a good fit.If possible, take her along to one of your appointments so that she can see the office, meet some of the staff and see the routine. If  this is not an option or it is a new office,  call beforehand to know what to expect so that you can talk to her about it.  You can always ask for the hygienist to call you and she/he may have specific ideas for you about their office routine.  Read a book or watch a movie about going to the dentist.  Role play at home by being the dentist and then allowing her to be the dentist. The most important thing is to project the experience as a positive one.  When scheduling her appointment, try to make it in the morning when she is rested and has had a good breakfast.  Arrive a little early to allow her to get acclimated to the office.   Some offices recommend that the parents do not go back with the children for their appointment.  If this is the case, you should know beforehand to minimize anxiety for the child (and you!).  If you do go with her, take a picture of her being good and cooperative.  Most offices will give her a toothbrush and some other goodies when she is finished.  If they do not, have a new toothbrush and a small reward on hand for her after the appointment.  This could be as simple as a sticker or a private lunch with Mommy or Daddy.  Just make sure it is a positive reinforcement for good behavior.  If things do not go well even with all of your preparation, don’t worry.   Some children take a little time to warm up to new things.  At least you have seen the office and given her an experience.  Wait a few months and try again.

This post is sponsored by Cleveland dentist Hylan Dental Care.

Related link: affordable dentist

Can an infection in a tooth spread?

I have a question about a recent treatment done for my daughter. She has two unilateral salivary gland infections. Both have occurred in the last six months. So I am wondering if it is possible for the packing from a root canal treatment to leak and infect these glands? We have had some additional x-rays done, but nothing showed up to be abnormal. We are stumped as to what is causing this reoccurring infection and can’t help but wonder if it’s due to the two root canals and crowns she has done near the gland in her lower jaw.

– Les in Colorado


That is an interesting question and it is understandable that you are questioning the root canal treatment process. It isn’t out of the realm of possibilities that a tooth infection could spread into the salivary gland. That said, the tooth would have had to be infected. The thing is that the tooth with the root canal treatment should not be infected if it successfully healed. This would have shown up on the dental x-ray.

Therefore, the answer to your question is no. It doesn’t sound like there is any correlation between your daughter’s salivary gland infection and her recent root canal treatments. Since the root canal did not fail, it is not possible that the infection spread.

Best of luck. Hopefully this information is helpful as you try to further pinpoint the cause.

This post is sponsored by Cleveland dentist Hylan Dental Care.

Related link: pediatric dentist, emergency dentist

Is Clindamycin a Safe Antibiotic?

I have to take 600 mg Clindamycin before my root canal treatment. Is it safe?

Thanks, Joe in Arkansas

Dear Joe,

The antibiotic Clindamycin is a broad spectrum antibiotic and is mainly used by those patients allergic to Penicillin and/or at risk for bacterial endocarditis which is a serious infection in the heart. Usually patients that are at risk for this and having a dental procedure done that can cause bleeding are recommended to take antibiotics prior to any dental treatment. Other patients that may require to take this medication have some form of congenital heart disease, a history of endocarditis, or even a transplanted heart that develops valve disease. Even patients that have hip and knee replacements are recommended to take antibiotics prior to dental work for at least up to two years following their surgery. Clindamycin prevents joints infections with those who have had total joint replacements. At times patients don’t respond to Penicillin, so Clindamycin is given for major infections that have been long lasting.

Clindamycin is a safe and effective antibiotic, however all medications have some concerns and side effects. The two most common side effects of Clindamycin are stomach pain and diarrhea. Let your dentist know of any other medications or vitamins you are taking to ensure there is no drug interactions and always follow the prescribed dosage that is recommended.

This post is sponsored by Cleveland dentist Hylan Dental Care.

Related link: emergency dentist

Waiting period between extraction and dental bridge.


One of my upper molars was extracted. Right after the tooth extraction, the dentist set the bridge right on top of the area. There was no time between when the extraction took place and when the bridge was placed. I was told by someone that the area should have had pressure applied to it to avoid a blood cot. Do you know if my dentist did something wrong?

– Jordan from Minnesota


It is always difficult to make specific recommendations without having seen you in person. Although, it sounds as if everything has worked out okay. So in all likelihood your dentist probably did the right thing.

Even though you did not decipher whether or not the bridge was a permanent dental bridge or if it was just the temporary. Either way, usually there is some pressure applied to the tooth extraction site before placement. Although, for some patients there is actually very little bleeding and within a few minutes it has subsided. The pressure is a technique that is used if the dentist isn’t going to be monitoring it right after the extraction.

One of the benefits in having the dental bridge placed right away is that there is no time for any of the surrounding teeth to move. Sometimes if there is significant time that passes where there is no tooth in that area, the teeth can shift around and cause bite problem or other issues.

This post is sponsored by Cleveland dentist Hylan Dental Care.

Related link: dental implant vs bridge

Preventing Gagging Reflex

I have not been to the dentist in two years. Every time I go, I gag so bad that the dentist tells me to get out of here. There was this time when I got kicked out of the dentist because they thought I was going to beat them up because I was forming a fist during the appointment. Is there a way to somehow suppress or numb my gagging? But yeah, my gagging is SO BAD that my mouth won’t allow a mouth mirror to enter it. I want to cooperate to get out of there ASAP but my gagging gets in the way. Any suggestions?

Thanks, Peter in Illinois

Dear Peter,

As dental professionals patients gag often, however there are some that have a severe gag reflex so your not alone. Research suggest, that about one out of every five patients gag during a routine dental exam or while dental work is being completed. Many people have a fear of the dentist or get nervous prior to an appointment and this brings on anxiety. We are not sure if you experience anxiety or not but it sounds like you would truly like to get your dental work finished, however having anxiety prior and during treatment makes ones gag reflex a lot worse.

As by now, your dentist knows of your gagging problem and should be willing to work with you. If not, find one who will. If you choose to find another dentist, it is important to let him or her know of your gagging problem. There are several ways to suppress ones gagging reflex. One way to prevent gagging is to have a topical numbing agent, like hurricane spray, dispensed in the mouth. This will numb the tissues and help suppress gagging. Another option is to put table salt in your mouth and swallow it. Just a dash of salt actually prevents gagging well. A rubber dam can used during restorative dental treatment. This device is placed over the tooth that is getting worked on to prevent debris and water from reaching the back of the throat. Some patients even benefit from nitrous oxide, which is laughing gas. This actually helps reduce anxiety and relaxes one, however you are still aware of what is happening around you. This adds a little more expense to your treatment, however well worth it and significantly reduces most gagging in those who suffer from it.

When gagging is severe it may be difficult at times for even a highly experienced dentist to treat a patient. Most of these types of patients though suffer from a dental phobia as well. Valium is a sedation dentistry technique where the dentist issues the prescription drug to help sedate the patient and make them feel relaxed and comfortable. As a last resort, one can be put to sleep by general anesthesia. Most dentist are not qualified to perform this, however those trained in this field have gone into dental offices and worked with the dentist in sedating patients. This usually is not covered under dental insurance and can cost several hundred dollars.We recommend you consult with your dentist regarding your options. Since gagging is a problem for you we also advise you to keep your dental appointments short and schedule them in the mornings. Best of luck.

This post is sponsored by Cleveland dentist Hylan Dental Care.