When is it Time to Have Wisdom Teeth Removed?

Some people believe wisdom teeth should be removed as soon as they appear, while others do not think it is necessary to take this step at all.  Being well-informed about wisdom teeth and visiting a dentist can help you make the right decision.

When Wisdom Teeth Do Not Come in Properly

There are a number of reasons wisdom teeth can fail to grow in as they should. One example is the tooth that does not come completely through the gum. When this occurs, part of your gum conceals a section of the wisdom tooth.

If this issue is not corrected, bacteria and small food particles can become trapped. This can cause an infection, swelling, and pain.

A second example is an impacted wisdom tooth. When a tooth is impacted, it grows in sideways or at an angle. Another tooth, or bone, stops the tooth from fully erupting through your gum.

Impacted wisdom teeth can be painful. In some instances, an impacted tooth can damage bone support and the roots of healthy teeth.

In both cases, the wisdom teeth can be removed.  After the tooth is extracted, you will have better oral health.  Extraction can end the discomfort, too.

When Wisdom Teeth Crowd Other Teeth

Wisdom teeth may come in correctly, but there are still complications that can occur. You may also experience crowding teeth.

Wisdom teeth that are misaligned or crowded can damage the adjacent teeth. A misaligned wisdom tooth may also damage the nerves in your mouth or your jawbone.

If crowding is extreme, healthy teeth can become loose. It may even affect orthodontic work.

If you suspect crowding teeth, it is wise to consult with your dentist.  Removing the wisdom tooth can prevent many unnecessary oral problems.

Should All Wisdom Teeth Be Extracted?

Wisdom tooth removal is no longer a rite-of-passage. In many cases, these third molars do not need to be removed. If they come in properly and do not crowd your other teeth, extraction may not be necessary.

However, wisdom teeth should be closely monitored by your dentist. You may not be experiencing problems at the moment, but this does not mean problems cannot occur. Your dentist may advise extraction in the interest of your oral health.

If you have questions or concerns about your wisdom teeth, contact our office to schedule an appointment today. Whether they have come in, fully or partially, or you do not yet see the signs of an erupting tooth, we can discuss the issue with you and help you reach a decision that is right for you.  With or without your third molars, we can help you have better oral health.

Share Button

Why Are My Teeth Sensitive?

Tooth SensitivityWhen you have sensitive teeth, everyday life can be painful. Eating certain foods and beverages, being exposed to cold air, and even brushing your teeth can be miserable experiences. When you know the common causes of tooth sensitivity, you can take appropriate steps to resolve the problem.

Your Home Oral Care Habits

There are often some changes you can make in your daily oral health routine to help with tooth sensitivity. The first is, brush more gently. Brushing too hard can wear down tooth enamel, and eventually expose the dental nerves. Gentle brushing will clean your teeth without causing damage. You should avoid vigorous scrubbing, and brush your teeth carefully as if you are rubbing a tomato. Toothbrushes with hard bristles can also worsen the problem. A soft-bristle brush is safer and effective.

Dental care products containing alcohol can worsen tooth sensitivity as well. Read the labels on your toothpaste and mouthwash, and switch to alcohol-free products if necessary.

It’s important to stick to a daily routine. If you skip brushing your teeth, plaque buildup can destroy your tooth enamel. You need to brush and floss every day, and schedule professional cleanings every six months.

Your Lifestyle Habits

Teeth grinding is one issue that may destroy tooth enamel and lead to tooth sensitivity. If you grind your teeth during the night, ask your dentist about a mouth guard. Wearing a mouth guard at night can stop teeth grinding and clenching, and lead to less dental issues.

In addition, some of your favorite foods and beverages can harm your teeth, expose your nerves, and lead to tooth sensitivity.  Acidic products are especially harmful. Citrus fruits and beverages, tomato sauce, coffee, and soda pop are only a few examples.  Limit the acidic foods in your diet, and brush your teeth immediately after consuming acidic products.

Your Dental Health

There are numerous underlying dental issues that can make your teeth sensitive.  Cavities and tooth decay are two examples that can result in extreme pain. This is another reason it is important to have a dental hygiene appointment every six months—to catch cavities and decay before they worsen and cause more extensive problems.

Cracked or chipped teeth, gum disease, or a recent dental procedure can also be responsible for discomfort or sensitivity.

What Can You Do About Tooth Sensitivity?

You can assess your habits to see if any of them are contributing to tooth sensitivity. If they are, you may need to alter them in the interest of your comfort and dental health.

However, you should also consult with your dentist to make sure there are no underlying issues.  If tooth sensitivity is extreme or occurs on a regular basis, a complete examination will help determine the cause.

In some cases, treatment can be as simple as using a toothpaste that is specifically made for sensitive teeth. In other instances, though, you may need professional treatment that can only be done at the dentist’s office.

The good news is tooth sensitivity does not need to be permanent. With the treatment that is appropriate for your particular situation, you can have healthy, pain-free teeth.

Once we determine the cause and mend it, you will have fewer limitations, and be able to enjoy life. This means you will not be bothered by cold air, hot or cold foods and beverages, or your daily oral care routines. Contact our office today to set up an appointment and get to the root of your tooth sensitivity.

Share Button

How Can I Kick My “Sweet Tooth” This Holiday Season?

Chocolates, peppermints, pies, cakes, cookies, and endless plates of other homemade goodies are popular during the holiday season. With all of these options, eating sweets in moderation can be difficult, especially if you have a sweet tooth.  During this exciting time of the year, smart choices can help you maintain a healthy smile.

Holiday Sweets

What Are Some Healthy Alternatives to Sweets?

Avoiding sweets is easier when sugary treats are replaced by healthier foods. Instead of forcing yourself to say no to all the treats, consider foods that are better for your oral health.

A great place to start healthy options is at your own home. These options will save time, too.  You will have more time with your family and friends when you do not spend hours in the kitchen baking cookies.

Here are some great alternatives for holiday season munchies. Mixed nuts are packed with protein and fiber, and contain no sugar—place a bowl of these on the table for your relatives to enjoy. You can also prepare a trail mix out of nuts, unsweetened cereal, and pretzels. Cheese and cracker platters are a delicious and an excellent source of calcium. Trays of fresh, sliced fruits or vegetables are another nice addition to holiday parties at home or at your office.

While you are eliminating sweet snacks, you can also take a healthy approach to desserts. Your family and guests will be delighted to see healthy desserts on the dinner table. For example, baked apples are an easy and seasonal replacement for cakes and pies. Stuff the apples with slivered almonds and raisins, and add a dash of fresh cinnamon. This dessert takes little time to prepare, and everyone who joins you for holiday dinners will enjoy it.

How Do I Stop Being Addicted to Sugar?

Many of us have an unhealthy addiction to sugar, and eating a lot of sweets can cause cavities and other issues for your oral health.  The best way to eliminate a sugar addiction is to convince yourself sugary treats are unnecessary. While this is easier said than done, it helps to surround yourself with the support of others trying to do that same thing. It is also beneficially to have a ready supply of healthy and appetizing alternatives like the ones listed above.

You can also contribute healthy foods to office parties, and parties at your friends’ homes.  Your friends and coworkers will appreciate a healthier option, and it will give you something to eat instead of cookies and cakes. They may leave the sugary treats behind, and take a healthier approach to the holidays as well.

You may not think of the holiday season as the ideal time to kick a sugar addiction, but you can definitely benefit from avoiding sweets and learning healthier habits.

Nutritious food and oral health go hand-in-hand. When you make tooth-friendly foods a part of your holiday experience, these new habits can continue into the new year. If sweets are not the focal point of the holidays, you may realize you can have delicious meals and great parties without them.  You can move into the new year with smart choices, good nutrition, and great oral health.

It is equally important that you will be able to introduce your loved ones to new, healthy choices. Adults and children alike can learn to appreciate sugar-free snacks and desserts. While they might grumble about it at first, these lifestyle changes can help your friends and family break the sugar habit and live a healthier lifestyle!

Contact us to learn more about keeping your teeth healthy during the holidays, or to schedule an appointment.

Share Button

Why Is It Important to Receive Annual Dental X-Rays?

dental x-rayTo maximize your oral health, we recommend a yearly set of x-rays to accurately diagnose and treat problems that cannot be seen with the naked eye. When a problem is detected early, it will prevent more serious issues from occurring. Most commonly, dental x-rays reveal cavities that may be present in the teeth. Also, it is possible to view a picture of what is happening below the gum line.

Various Types of X-Rays

There are a few common forms of x-rays that may be taken during routine dental exams.

Bitewings:  These display the crowns of your teeth.  They are used to look for early signs of decay. During a routine exam, a dentist will usually take two to four bitewing x-rays.

Periapical:  This is used to view a tooth’s bone height or root tip, this type of x-ray is taken.

Panoramic: Unlike other dental x-rays, a panoramic is taken from the outside of the mouth. It offers a picture of the entire mouth.  The image shows all of the teeth, jaw bone, and sinus areas. It is most commonly used to identify bone problems, impacted teeth, or cysts.

How Often are X-Rays Taken?

Due to the negative stigma of radiation exposure, many people are fearful of x-rays. However, the American Dental Association explains that routine dental x-rays are safe. Your dentist will evaluate each patient’s case and recommend x-rays when necessary. Since the latest radiographs and machinery are made to minimize radiation exposure, they are not considered harmful. Patients will wear a lead apron for added protection as well.

Who Should Receive X-Rays?

Anyone experiencing a problem in their mouth should visit his or her dentist. Upon examination, a dental care provider will probably order a set of x-rays to assess the issue. Otherwise, dental x-rays are commonly taken once a year during routine check-ups. If you are pregnant, it is essential to discuss x-rays with your doctor before they are completed.

If you have questions about dental x-rays, feel free to contact our office. Our experienced staff will put your mind at ease and address all of your concerns. We are concerned with the oral health of our patients and work hard to deliver bright and beautiful smiles in a safe and effective manner.

Share Button