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Wisdom Teeth

June 12th, 2018

With age comes wisdom. Specifically, wisdom teeth.

Your mouth goes through many changes in your lifetime. One major dental milestone that usually takes place between the ages of 17 and 21 is the appearance of your third molars. Historically, these teeth have been called wisdom teeth because they come through at a more mature age.

When they come through correctly, healthy wisdom teeth can help you chew. It’s normal to feel a little discomfort when your wisdom teeth appear, but if you have pain, see your dentist immediately.

Room to Grow?

Wisdom teeth can lead to problems if there isn’t enough space for them to surface or they come through in the wrong position. If your dentist says your wisdom teeth are impacted, he or she means they are trapped in your jaw or under your gums.

As your wisdom teeth make their way through your gums, your dentist will be monitoring your mouth for signs of the following:

  • Wisdom teeth that aren’t in the right position can allow food to become trapped. That gives cavity-causing bacteria a place to grow.
  • Wisdom teeth that haven’t come in properly, which can make it difficult to floss between the wisdom teeth and the molars next to them.
  • Wisdom teeth that have partially come through can give bacteria a place to enter the gums and create a place for infection to occur. This may also lead to pain, swelling and stiffness in your jaw.
  • Wisdom teeth that don’t have room to come through are thought by some to crowd or damage neighboring teeth.
  • A wisdom tooth that is impacted can form a cyst on or near the impacted tooth. This could damage the roots of nearby teeth or destroy the bone that supports your teeth.

Why You Might Need to Have Your Wisdom Teeth Removed

Every patient is unique, but in general, wisdom teeth may need to be removed when there is evidence of changes in the mouth such as:

  • Pain
  • Infection
  • Cysts
  • Tumors
  • Damage to neighboring teeth
  • Gum disease
  • Tooth decay (if it is not possible or desirable to restore the tooth)

Your dentist may also recommend removal of wisdom teeth as part of treatment for braces or other dental care.

Before making any decisions, your dentist will examine your mouth and take an x-ray. Together, you and your dentist can discuss the best course of treatment.

Keeping Your Wisdom Teeth?

Wisdom teeth that are not removed should continue to be monitored because the potential for developing problems later on still exists. As people age, they are at greater risk for health problems—and that includes potential problems with their wisdom teeth. Be sure to, floss around your wisdom teeth and visit your dentist regularly. Regular dental visits allow your dentist to evaluate your wisdom teeth and your overall dental health.

Source: https://www.mouthhealthy.org/en

Bad Breath: 6 Causes (and 7 Solutions)

June 5th, 2018

Bad breath happens. If you’ve ever gotten that not-so-fresh feeling on a date, at a job interview or just talking with friends, you’re not alone. Studies show that 50 percent of adults have had bad breath, or halitosis, at some point in their lives.

What Causes Bad Breath?

There are a number of reasons you might have dragon breath. While many causes are harmless, bad breath can sometimes be a sign of something more serious.

Bacteria
Bad breath can happen anytime thanks to the hundreds of types of bad breath-causing bacteria that naturally lives in your mouth. Your mouth also acts like a natural hothouse that allows these bacteria to grow. When you eat, bacteria feed on the food left in your mouth and leaves a foul-smelling waste product behind.

Dry Mouth
Feeling parched? Your mouth might not be making enough saliva. Saliva is important because it works around the clock to wash out your mouth. If you don’t have enough, your mouth isn’t being cleaned as much as it should be. Dry mouth can be caused by certain medications, salivary gland problems or by simply breathing through your mouth.

Gum Disease
Bad breath that just won’t go away or a constant bad taste in your mouth can be a warning sign of advanced gum disease, which is caused by a sticky, cavity-causing bacteria called plaque.

Food
Garlic, onions, coffee… The list of breath-offending foods is long, and what you eat affects the air you exhale.

Smoking and Tobacco
Smoking stains your teeth, gives you bad breath and puts you at risk for a host of health problems. Tobacco reduces your ability to taste foods and irritates gum tissues. Tobacco users are more likely to suffer from gum disease. Since smoking also affects your sense of smell, smokers may not be aware of how their breath smells.

Medical Conditions
Mouth infections can cause bad breath. However, if your dentist has ruled out other causes and you brush and floss every day, your bad breath could be the result of another problem, such as a sinus condition, gastric reflux, diabetes, liver or kidney disease. In this case, see your healthcare provider.

How Can I Keep Bad Breath Away?

Brush and Floss
Brush twice a day and clean between your teeth daily with floss to get rid of all that bacteria that’s causing your bad breath.

Take Care of Your Tongue
Don’t forget about your tongue when you’re taking care of your teeth. If you stick out your tongue and look way back, you’ll see a white or brown coating. That’s where most of bad breath bacteria can be found. Use a toothbrush or a tongue scraper to clear them out.

Mouthwash
Over-the-counter mouthwashes can help kill bacteria or neutralize and temporarily mask bad breath. It’s only a temporary solution, however. The longer you wait to brush and floss away food in your mouth, the more likely your breath will offend.

Clean Your Dentures
If you wear removable dentures, take them out at night, and clean them thoroughly before using them again the next morning.

Keep That Saliva Flowing
To get more saliva moving in your mouth, try eating healthy foods that require a lot of chewing, like carrots or apples. You can also try chewing sugar-free gum or sucking on sugar-free candies. Your dentist may also recommend artificial saliva.

Quit Smoking
Giving up this dangerous habit is good for your body in many ways. Not only will you have better breath, you’ll have a better quality of life.

Visit Your Dentist Regularly 
If you’re concerned about what’s causing your bad breath, make an appointment to see your dentist. Regular checkups allow your dentist to detect any problems such as gum disease or dry mouth and stop them before they become more serious. If your dentist determines your mouth is healthy, you may be referred to your primary care doctor. Need a dentist? Find an ADA member near you.

3 Tips for Healthy Summer Smiles

May 31st, 2018

Summer sun brings summer fun. While warm months are perfect for spending time together, summer vacation can also throw off your usual dental routine. Here are three ways to prevent summertime tooth decay:

Stay on a routine

Whether your kids are staying up to catch fireflies or a fireworks show, resist the temptation to skip brushing before a late bedtime—or let it slide when they sleep in the next morning. “Don’t forget about your smile over the summer,” says ADA pediatric dentist Dr. Mary Hayes. “It’s important for families to consistently brush and floss, which keeps kids on track for healthy back-to-school dental visits.”

No matter how eventful the upcoming months become, supervise that they are brushing twice a day for 2 minutes with fluoride toothpaste. Simple things like brushing calendars can help everyone stay on track over the summer. Plus, it’s a chance to spend more time together. Brushing alongside your children for 2 minutes, twice a day for the three months of summer gives you 6 extra hours together, so make the most of them!

And don’t forget to clean between those teeth once a day. “Your children should be flossing between any two teeth that touch,” Dr. Hayes says. “However, many kids don’t have motor skills to floss until they are over 10 years old.” If your child needs help, try different types of interdental cleaners or put your hands over theirs to guide them and get the job done at the same time.

Say no to sugary drinks and snacks

As the temperature rises, it’s common for families to sip and snack during sports tournaments, festivals or nearly any community event. “Watch your family’s intake of lemonade, juice and soda,” says Dr. Hayes. “Consider sugary drinks treats to enjoy once in a while, and not often.” Instead, offer water (even better if it has fluoride) to beat the heat, or milk to drink with meals. And, don’t let summertime grazing damage your child’s smile. “Taking a break from snacking is healthy for your teeth,” says Dr. Hayes. “It allows time for saliva to bathe the teeth, wash away leftover food and get stronger.”

If you find yourself spending more time at home, snack smarter, and let your children tell you when they’re hungry instead of offering snacks throughout the day. “They’re not afraid to let you know when they want something to eat!” she says.

Make your back-to-school dental visit early

Some schools require back-to-school dental visits for certain grades, and these checkups can be a good way to be sure your child’s teeth stayed healthy. It is a good idea to make your child’s back-to-school appointment early in the summer to avoid the August rush and help insure you get the appointment time that works best for you. “We can help spot and take care of any issues, so your child doesn’t have to miss class once school starts,” Dr. Hayes says. “Visiting the dentist regularly can help your child’s smile stay healthy all year long.”

Source: https://www.mouthhealthy.org/en

Seal Out Tooth Decay!

May 22nd, 2018

Brushing and flossing are the best ways to help prevent cavities, but it’s not always easy to clean every nook and cranny of your teeth – especially those back teeth you use to chew (called molars). Molars are rough, uneven and a favorite place for leftover food and cavity-causing bacteria to hide.

Still, there’s another safety net to help keep those teeth clean. It’s called a sealant, and it is a thin, protective coating (made from plastic or other dental materials) that adheres to the chewing surface of your back teeth. They’re no substitute for brushing and flossing, but they can keep cavities from forming and may even stop early stages of decay from becoming a full-blown cavity.

In fact, sealants have been shown to reduce the risk of decay by nearly 80% in molars. This is especially important when it comes to your child's dental health. In October 2016, the Centers for Disease Control released a report on the importance of sealants for school-aged children, of which only 43% of children ages 6-11 have. According to the CDC, "school-age children without sealants have almost three times more cavities than children with sealants."

You may have many questions about sealants, and we have answers for you below. Read on to learn more about sealing out tooth decay.

How Do Sealants Work?

Think of them as raincoats for your teeth. When the cavity-causing bacteria that live in everyone’s mouth meet leftover food particles, they produce acids that can create holes in teeth. These holes are cavities. After sealant has been applied it keeps those bits of food out and stops bacteria and acid from settling on your teeth—just like a raincoat keeps you clean and dry during a storm.

Who Can Get Sealants?

Children and adults can benefit from sealants, but the earlier you get them, the better. Your first molars appear around age 6, and second molars break through around age 12. Sealing these teeth as soon as they come through can keep them cavity-free from the start, which helps save time and money in the long run. Ask your dentist if sealants are a good option for you and your family.

How Are Sealants Applied?

It’s a quick and painless process. Your dentist will clean and dry your tooth before placing an acidic gel on your teeth. This gel roughs up your tooth surface so a strong bond will form between your tooth and the sealant. After a few seconds, your dentist will rinse off the gel and dry your tooth once again before applying the sealant onto the grooves of your tooth. Your dentist will then use a special blue light to harden the sealant.

Can Sealants Be Placed Over Cavities?

Sealants can be used over areas of early decay to prevent further damage to your tooth. Because some sealants are clear, your dentist can keep an eye on the tooth to make sure the sealant is doing its job.

Are There Any Side Effects?

With the exception of an allergy that may exist, there are no known side effects from sealants.

Is There BPA In Sealants?

Yes, there is a tiny amount of BPA in sealants but not enough to cause you or a loved one any harm. In fact, you get more exposure to BPA by simply touching a receipt, using cosmetics or coming in contact with dust.

BPA in sealants
(Click to enlarge)

How Long Do Sealants Last?

Sealants will often last for several years before they need to be reapplied. During your regular dental visit, your dentist will check the condition of the sealant and can reapply them as needed.

Are Sealants Covered By Dental Plans?

Some plans do cover sealants, so call your dental benefit company to find out what kind of coverage you have.

Take our MouthHealthy Quiz on Sealants to learn more!

 

Source: https://www.mouthhealthy.org/en

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