Do I Need Braces?

Benefits of BracesChances are slim to none that your teeth are 100% perfect.  If you made it through the childhood years and  sports activities and managed not to chip, otherwise damage or lose a tooth or two along the way, please consider yourself lucky.  The teeth you offered the Tooth Fairy in exchange for loose change do not count – we are talking about your permanent teeth.

Regular visits to the dentist help to maintain good dental hygiene and regular check-ups by the dentist and visits to your dental hygienist will keep your teeth healthy and strong and plaque free.  You might have been lucky enough to have a stellar smile without the need of braces, but, did you know that once your pesky wisdom teeth decide to put in an appearance, that their emergence can wreak havoc with that beautiful smile?  Well more about wisdom teeth later.
Continue reading “Do I Need Braces?”

How to Keep The Tongue Healthy

Healthy Tongue
If you see a dentist or dental hygienist on a routine basis, they no doubt give you an oral cancer check.  This is commonplace now since over 40,000 Americans are diagnosed with oral and throat cancers yearly.  Sadly, the five-year survival rate of those diagnosed is only slightly more than 64 percent.  By being proactive, you and your dentist can detect cancer and treat it so that major health problems are alleviated later.  So thank your dentist next time when the oral cancer test is complete as he or she might just save your life!
Continue reading “How to Keep The Tongue Healthy”

The Best and Worst Halloween Candy for Teeth

Best Halloween Candy for TeethHalloween can be pretty scary, and not just for its ghosts, witches, and goblins. Halloween has been known to frighten more than just a few parents for what all that gooey, sugary candy can do to their kids’ teeth. Thankfully, as a parent, you don’t have to make your kids opt out of all the Halloween fun just because you don’t want their teeth to end up looking like that candy corn they’ve been scarfing by the boatload. In fact, it likely will surprise you to learn that some of the candy they get for for trick or treat may even be good for their teeth. For instance, sugarless candies can actually benefit teeth. But what about the rest of them? Is one sugary candy just as bad as another? Or are all Halloween candies that contain sugar as ghastly as those costumes they picked out? Here are some dental health tips for parents at Halloween about the best and worst Halloween candy for teeth. Continue reading “The Best and Worst Halloween Candy for Teeth”

What Role Does Diet Play In Dental Health?

Diet and Dental HealthWhat you eat has a huge impact on your oral health. It seems so obvious, doesn’t it? Pretty much everything we eat or drink touches our teeth in one way or another. We chew certain foods. We drink liquids, and they pass over our teeth. So, if everything we eat has an impact on our teeth, then why do so many of us not consider our teeth and our diets when we’re considering what to have for lunch? The fact is that diet plays a huge role in dental health, but not just because foods and beverages come into direct contact with our teeth. The nutrients found (or not found) in foods also play a vital role in the health of our teeth. Following are answers to common oral health questions about how various vitamins and minerals affect the health of your teeth. Continue reading “What Role Does Diet Play In Dental Health?”

What Is Gum Recession?

Gum RecessionWhen you hear people talking about ‘recession,’ they’re never talking about anything good. An economic recession can have an impact on your wallet, your job, and your lifestyle. And, believe it or not, so can gum recession. Recessed, or receding, gums can cause bacteria to build up in your mouth. They can cause gaps to form between the teeth. They can even cause the roots of teeth to become exposed, and that can cause pain. So what causes gum recession? Is it something that happens with age, or can young people have recessed gums, too? And, the most important question of all is there anything you can do to prevent gum recession? These are some of the most common dental questions asked of dentists concerning recessed gums. Continue reading “What Is Gum Recession?”

What Are Wisdom Teeth?

Wisdom TeethWisdom comes with age, and so do wisdom teeth. In fact, that’s the reason they’re called ‘wisdom teeth.’ Once referred to as third molars, over the ages they garnered the moniker wisdom teeth because they don’t appear in early years when other teeth do. According to the National Institute of Health, wisdom teeth typically show up in the years between the late teens and early 20s. Most people have gotten their wisdom in teeth by the time they reach age 21, but it’s not impossible for them to come in after your 21st birthday. In fact, there are some folks (an estimated fourth of the population), who never even get all 4 of their wisdom teeth. So, what are wisdom teeth anyway? If you haven’t experienced an impacted wisdom tooth, it’s possible you didn’t even notice your coming in at all. Here are some common dental questions about wisdom teeth, complications, and what to expect if you’re facing treatment of an impacted wisdom tooth.

For most of the population, wisdom teeth (or third molars) come in as one in each of the four quadrants of the mouth. These include the upper left, upper right, lower left, and lower right locations of the mouth. As mentioned above, roughly a quarter of the population never even sees all four of their wisdom teeth come in, which is typically due to heredity. Although most people do have all four of their wisdom teeth by the time they’re in their early 20s, not having them yet isn’t something to be concerned about. In some cases, it takes up to year 25 or even older to have all your wisdom properly in place. If you’re 25 and you haven’t noticed your wisdom teeth yet, don’t panic. Mention it to your dentist at your next bi-annual checkup. It’s possible they’re in and you never even noticed.

As they develop, wisdom teeth can affect other teeth. They may become impacted. They may try to squeeze their way into an already crowded mouth. Or they may come in at an angle. When any of these scenarios occurs, a wisdom tooth may need to be extracted. A wisdom tooth that’s impacted has not yet fully emerged through the gums, leaving it fully or partially by the gums. If a wisdom tooth has fully emerged through the jawbone, a dentist generally can extract it just as she would any other tooth that needs to be extracted. When a wisdom tooth hasn’t completely emerged, this is when surgery likely is necessary. Because the tooth is still within the jawbone, oral surgery is required to extract the tooth and keep it from doing any damage to other teeth. In this case, the tooth plus any bone that obstructs it will need to be extracted. Naturally, as with any type of surgery, recovery will be necessary. During this period, your family dentist or oral surgeon may prescribe medications for pain. There may be some facial swelling post surgery, and you will likely be given instructions to refrain from rinsing, sucking, or spitting within the first day or so following surgery. After the first 24 hours, your dentist may instruct you to begin rinsing your mouth with warm salt water periodically throughout the day, as this is a powerful method of healing. The recovery period typically takes anywhere from a few weeks to a few months.

Sadly, wisdom teeth don’t really make you wise. As a matter of fact, many dentists agree that wisdom teeth are pretty much useless these days.  But wait. Shouldn’t wisdom teeth make you chew better? The fact about wisdom teeth is that no one seems to know the facts. Some dental experts say wisdom teeth have no purpose for modern humans. In fact, many dentists say that wisdom teeth are actually vestigial, meaning they’re right up there with the old appendix for purposelessness. Still other dental experts say that wisdom teeth are useful for helping us to chew more efficiently. If you have more questions about wisdom teeth, especially if you think you may have an impacted wisdom tooth, make an appointment as soon as possible to ask your dentist these and other oral health questions.