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Posts for category: Oral Health


As the old Fifties song goes, “Little things mean a lot.” They can also be the most irritating, like a hangnail, a papercut—or a certain kind of oral sore. Although rarely concerning to health, this particular kind of “bump” in the mouth can be unnerving.

Although known as a traumatic fibroma, it's not as dire as it sounds: It's simply a small wound created when your inside cheek gets in the “line of fire” between your teeth while biting or chewing. It's an experience most of us have had, and though it's a minor occurrence, it can make us wince with pain.

But the pain usually lasts only a few seconds—until the next time, which is a distinct possibility. The body creates a protective callous over the wound made of fibers (hence the name fibroma) of a protein called collagen. This creates a rise in the skin surface that increases the chances the area will again get in the way of the teeth and be bitten. Each bite leads to another layer of collagen, a more prominent rise and even greater probability of another bite.

Rather than let this irritating situation repeat itself, you can undergo a minor surgical procedure to remove the fibroma. Usually performed be an oral surgeon or periodontist, the area is numbed first with a local anesthetic and the fibroma removed with a scalpel; the resulting wound is then closed with a few stitches or a laser, in which case no stitches are necessary. As a result, the cheek surface flattens out and becomes less likely to get in between the teeth.

The dentist may also preserve some of the removed tissue and submit it for a biopsy to check for any cancer cells or other abnormalities. You shouldn't be concerned about this: Examining excised tissue is a routine step performed for a variety of surgical procedures. It's used to verify the tissue in question is benign, which in this case is the vast majority of the time.

After the procedure, you might experience some minor discomfort for a few days, usually manageable with a mild pain reliever like aspirin or ibuprofen. The procedure itself only takes about fifteen minutes, but it can provide you lasting relief from that bedeviling little sore in your mouth.

If you would like more information on treating mouth sores, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can also learn more about this topic by reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “Common Lumps and Bumps in the Mouth.”

By Christopher Poss, D.D.S.
October 08, 2020
Category: Oral Health
Tags: dental crowns  

What Dental Crowns Can Do for Your Smile

Dental crowns are a restorative dental treatment that can be used in many cases from strengthening weakened teeth to repairing damaged teeth. Dr. Christopher Poss is a dentist in Eau Claire, WI. He offers full dental services including dental crowns.

When Dental Crowns Are a Good Choice

Dental patients can benefit from dental crowns:

  • Strengthening a weakened tooth: If a tooth has been damaged by decay, or you have had a root canal, a dental crown can strengthen the integrity of the tooth and prevent further damage.
  • Eliminating chips or cracks: Dental crowns can be used to cover minor damage to teeth and make them look just like your natural teeth in terms of shape, size, and color.
  • Restoring function: Crowns can help restore your ability to bite, chew food, and talk.
  • Replacing missing teeth: Dental crowns, combined with bridgework can replace lost teeth giving you a new and confident smile and keeping your teeth aligned.
  • Covering discolored teeth: Say goodbye to stained teeth. Dental crows will give you a bright, white smile.

Dental crowns are cemented securely in your mouth, so they won’t move around. They are available in several different materials including porcelain, porcelain fused with metal, and composite. Although metal crowns may not look attractive, they are the strongest, so they are a good choice for strengthening molars, while porcelain crowns make excellent replacements for visible front teeth. To have dental crowns fitted, Dr. Poss will have to shave away some of the surface enamel of the teeth being treated so that the crowns will fit.

If you are looking for an Eau Claire, WI dentist or you would like to find out more about what dental crows can do for you, call Dr. Poss at (715) 833-2223 to schedule an appointment.


The fast-paced world of sports and entertainment isn’t all glitz and glamour. These high-profile industries create a unique kind of emotional and mental stress on celebrities. For many of them, a way to “let off steam” is an oral habit known as teeth grinding.

Teeth grinding is an involuntary habit in which a person bites and grinds their teeth outside of normal activities like eating or speaking. It’s common among young children, who usually grow out of it, but it can also affect adults, especially those who deal with chronic stress. If not addressed, teeth grinding can eventually wear down teeth, damage gum attachments or fracture weaker teeth. It can even contribute to tooth loss.

A number of well-known personalities in the spotlight struggle with teeth grinding, including actress Vivica Fox, model and TV host Chrissy Teigen, and star athletes Tara Lipinski and Milos Raonic of ice skating and tennis fame, respectively. The habit represents not only a threat to their dental health, but also to one of their most important career assets: an attractive and inviting smile. Fortunately, though, they each use a similar device to manage their teeth grinding.

Besides seeking ways to better manage life stress, individuals with a teeth-grinding habit can protect their teeth with a custom mouthguard from their dentist. Made of slick plastic, this device is worn over the teeth, usually while sleeping, to minimize dental damage. During a grinding episode, the teeth can’t make contact with each other due to the guard’s glossy surface—they simply slide away from each other. This reduces the biting forces and eliminates the potential for wear, the main sources of dental damage.

Chrissy Teigen, co-host with LL Cool J on the game show Lip Sync Battle, wears her custom-made guard regularly at night. She even showed off her guard to her fans once during a selfie-video posted on Snapchat and Twitter. Vivica Fox, best known for her role in Independence Day, also wears her guard at night, and for an additional reason: The guard helps protect her porcelain veneers, which could be damaged if they encounter too much biting force.

Mouthguards are a prominent part of sports, usually to protect the teeth and gums from injury. Some athletes, though, wear them because of their teeth grinding habit. Tara Lipinski, world renowned figure skater and media personality, keeps hers on hand to wear at night even when she travels. And Milos Raonic, one of the world’s top professional tennis players, wears his during matches—the heat of competition tends to trigger his own teeth-grinding habit.

These kinds of mouthguards aren’t exclusive to celebrities. If you or a family member contends with this bothersome habit, we may be able to create a custom mouthguard for you. It won’t stop teeth grinding, but it could help protect your teeth—and your smile.

If you would like more information about protecting your smile, please contact us or schedule a consultation. To learn more, read the Dear Doctor magazine articles “Teeth Grinding” and “When Children Grind Their Teeth.”


You expect a decayed tooth, a fracture or a gum infection to be the cause for that toothache causing you grief. Sometimes, though, the answer may be “none of the above”—there's nothing wrong going on in your mouth to cause the pain.

You pain is real—but its source is elsewhere in the body, a situation known as referred pain. It's important to find out the pain's true source to determine what kind of treatment you'll need to alleviate it.

Here are some of the likely candidates for a “toothache” that's not a toothache.

Facial nerves. Tooth pain may be associated with trigeminal neuralgia, a misfiring disorder of the trigeminal nerves that course through either side of the face. The nerve is divided into three branches, two of which are located in the upper face and one in the lower jaw. Because they're interconnected, a problem with one of the branches in other parts of the face could be felt in the branch around the jaw.

Jaw joints. Temporomandibular Joint Disorders (TMD) can cause pain in the pair of joints that connect the lower jaw to the skull. The joints can become inflamed due to stress or trauma and the associated muscles begin spasming, causing severe pain. Because of their proximity to the teeth, the pain from the joints can radiate into the dental area and mimic a toothache.

Ear or sinus infections. Both the ears and the maxillary sinus are subject to infections that can cause severe pain and pressure. With the close proximity of both the ears and the sinus to the upper jaw, it's quite possible for pain originating in these structures to be felt within the mouth.

These are only a few of the possibilities that also include migraines, shingles, fibromyalgia and even vitamin deficiencies. As such, your dentist or physician may need to do a little detective work to locate the true cause. But the effort to locate where your mouth pain is actually coming from will help ensure you get the right treatment to give you lasting relief.

If you would like more information on referred tooth pain, please contact us or schedule an appointment for a consultation. You can also learn more about this topic by reading the Dear Doctor magazine article “Referred Pain: When a Toothache Is Not Really a Toothache.”

By Christopher Poss, D.D.S.
September 04, 2020
Category: Oral Health
Tags: Dentures  

Tooth loss can affect you at any time in your adult life. It could be caused by an injury, tooth decay, an infection, or aging. Dentures are an effective and affordable option for tooth decay. Dr. Christopher Poss is a dentist in Eau Claire, WI. He has the following types of dentures available.

Modern Dentures 101

Because of advantages in dental technology, these days, dentures have a much more natural appearance and a more comfortable feel. Whether you are missing a few teeth or all of them, there is a type of denture to suit your needs. Not only can dentures help to fully restore the function of your natural teeth, such as biting and chewing, but they also restore the natural structure of your face.

Types of Dentures

Dental patients can choose from the following types of dentures:

  • Immediate dentures: As their name suggests, immediate dentures can be fitted straight away if you have missing teeth or immediately after your teeth have been extracted. This enables you to begin eating and speaking as normal without having to wait.
  • Conventional dentures: This is a type of removable denture that is usually fitted after your teeth have been removed and your gums have had a chance to heal, which can take up to several months.
  • Transitional partial dentures: Transitional dentures are made from acrylic. They are designed to help you transition from partial dentures to a full set of dentures. As more teeth are removed, prosthetic teeth can be added to the denture plate.
  • Removable partial dentures: This type of denture consists of one or several prosthetic teeth attached to a plastic dental plate or to a bridge that can be attached to your existing teeth.
  • Implant-supported overdentures: This is a cutting-edge way to replace missing teeth and is an alternative to removable dentures. The procedure uses titanium implants in your jawbone to secure a prosthetic bridge. Because the dentures are secure and permanent, you have no need to worry about your teeth slipping or rubbing on your gums. You can also clean your teeth by regular brushing and flossing, just as you would your natural teeth.

If you are an Eu Claire, WI resident and you would like to find out more about dentures, call Dr. Poss today at (715) 833-2223 to schedule an appointment.