What is Diastema?

By: Jayne Leonard, Medical News Today

A diastema is a gap between the teeth. It is not harmful, and it appears in children and adults. In children, the gap typically closes when their permanent teeth come through.

A diastema is a gap between teeth that is wider than 0.5 millimeters. It can develop between any teeth.

Treatment is not usually necessary for medical reasons. But if a person dislikes the appearance of their diastema, it is possible to close or narrow the gap.

In this article, we explore the causes of diastemas and describe their treatment and prevention.

Causes

A diastema may result from the following:

The size of the teeth in relation to the jawbone

If a person’s teeth are too small, relative to the size of their jawbone, gaps may develop between the teeth.

Jawbone and tooth sizes can be genetic, which is one reason that diastemas can run in families.

Missing or undersized teeth

If some teeth are missing or smaller than others, a diastema can develop.

This often involves the upper lateral incisors — the teeth to either side of the two upper front teeth. If the upper lateral incisors are missing or relatively small, a gap can develop between the two front teeth.

Oversized labial frenum

The labial frenum is the tissue that extends from the inside of the upper lip to the gum above the upper front teeth.

If this tissue is especially large, it can cause a gap to form between these teeth.

Gum disease

Tooth migration is a typical sign of advanced gum disease.

In people with gum disease, inflammation results in damage to the bone that supports the teeth.

Eventually, the teeth may become loose, and gaps can appear.

Incorrect swallowing reflex

When the swallowing reflex happens correctly, the tongue presses against the roof of the mouth.

A person may instead push their tongue against their front teeth when they swallow. Over time, this repetitive pressure against the front teeth pushes them forward, causing a gap to form.

Habits

Thumb sucking, lip sucking, tongue thrusting, and similar habits can put pressure on the front teeth, pushing them forward.

This can lead to diastemas.

Loss of primary teeth

Children can develop temporary diastemas when their primary teeth, or baby teeth, fall out. When their permanent, or adult, teeth come in, these gaps typically close.

This type of gap is common enough that dentists consider it to be a normal developmental phenomenon in children. No treatment is usually necessary.

A 2012 study reports older findings that these diastemas may be present in approximately two-thirds of children in whom only the central incisors have erupted. The central incisors are the two flat teeth at the front of the upper jaw.

Symptoms

The only indication of a diastema is a visible gap between teeth.

If the teeth become loose because of gum disease, the person may experience pain and discomfort, especially while eating.

Other symptoms of gum disease include:

  • bright red gums
  • swollen, tender gums
  • bleeding gums
  • receding gums
  • bad breath
  • loose teeth

Diagnosis

Diagnosis of a diastema is straightforward — the dentist spots the gap while examining the teeth.

Typically, the individual will notice the gap first, while brushing or flossing.

Treatment

Treatment for a diastema may not be necessary — especially if the gap arises from a mismatch between the size of the teeth and the jawbone, or if it results from the loss of primary teeth.

If treatment is not medically necessary, but the person wishes to close the gap for aesthetic reasons, a dentist can help determine the best approach.

Treatment options include:

Braces

Dentists commonly treat diastemas with braces. The braces put pressure on the teeth, closing the gap over time.

It may be necessary to wear a full set of braces, even if there is just one gap, because moving any teeth affects the entire mouth.

Veneers or bonding

As an alternative to braces, a dentist can fit veneers or perform dental bonding.

These options may be especially suitable if the diastema results from having smaller teeth.

Dental bonding involves applying resin to the surface of the teeth, then hardening the resin with a light source.

Fitting veneers involves securing thin, custom-made pieces of porcelain to the surface of the teeth.

Dental implants or a bridge

If a diastema exists because the person is missing teeth, they may need more extensive dental work, such as implants or a dental bridge.

Placing dental implants involves inserting metal screws into the jawbone and attaching the replacement teeth.

A dental bridge is a false tooth held in place by a device that attaches to the teeth on either side of the gap.

Surgery

When a diastema results from an oversized labial frenum, the dentist may recommend a frenectomy — a procedure to remove the excess tissue.

Older children and adults may then require braces or another treatment to close the gap. In younger children, the space may close on its own.

Gum disease treatment

Gum disease requires treatment to stop the infection and prevent complications such as tooth loss.

Treatment may include scaling to remove tartar from the gums. Scaling also removes the bacteria causing the infection. In addition, topical or oral antibiotics may help.

In severe cases, surgery may be necessary to remove deep tartar from beneath the gums.

Once the gums are healthy again, the dentist may use one of the above treatments to close the gap.

Prevention

It is not possible to prevent all cases of diastema.

However, if gum disease or habits are the cause, it can help to practice good oral hygiene, by:

  • brushing the teeth twice daily
  • flossing daily
  • seeing a dentist for regular examinations and cleanings
  • avoiding thumb sucking and helping children break the habit
  • correcting improper swallowing reflexes

Outlook

The outlook varies, depending on the underlying cause. However, treatment can eliminate or reduce most diastemas.

The gap will typically remain closed after treatment, unless the individual returns to habits such as thumb sucking or does not follow their dentist’s instructions.

When to see a dentist

People should speak to their dentists if they or their child have a diastema and are concerned about it.

The American Association of Orthodontists recommend that orthodontists evaluate all children by the age of 7.

A dentist or orthodontist can diagnose the underlying cause and, if necessary, recommend a course of treatment.

Summary

A diastema is a gap between the teeth.

A range of factors can cause a diastema — from gum disease to the ratio of tooth size to jawbone size. A dentist can determine the exact cause.

In many cases, treatment is not necessary. Some people decide to have treatment anyway, for aesthetic reasons.

There are many methods of treating a diastema, and the results are usually permanent.

Article source: https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/diastema#prevention

Vaping changes oral microbiome and raises infection risk

By: Eleanor Bird, M.S., Medical News Today

Researchers from New York University (NYU) College of Dentistry are the first to show that the use of e-cigarettes may allow infection-causing bacteria to flourish in the mouth.

An increasing number of people are turning to e-cigarettes, or vapes, as an alternative to conventional cigarettes. However, questions remain about the safety of these devices and their long-term health effects.

Now, research from NYU College of Dentistry shows that vaping changes the community of bacteria in the mouth — the oral microbiome — in a way that puts users at higher risk of infection than cigarette smokers and nonsmokers.

The new study appears in the open-access journal iScience.

Toxic components

E-cigarettes are popular among cigarette smokers because they offer a way of getting a nicotine hit without the health risks of tobacco, such as lung damage and a higher risk of cancer.

Data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) show that almost 55% of former cigarette smokers and 48% of current cigarette smokers have turned to vaping.

However, e-cigarettes have also become popular with people who have never smoked, especially among those between the ages of 18 and 24 years. More than 20% of high school students and 5% of middle school students use vapes, according to 2018 CDC data.

The rise in vaping, particularly among young people, has raised concerns, as no long-term data are available on its health effects.

Reports of lung disease among teen and young adult users, as well as the identification of diethylene glycol (a toxic compound present in antifreeze) and potentially cancer-causing agents, such as aldehydes, in e-cigarette cartridges, have highlighted the need for more research in this area.

Oral bacteria

The new research assessed the effects of these compounds on the first part of the body that they reach: the mouth. As well as being a route for air to enter the lungs, the mouth is also a gateway for microbes.

Having microbes in the mouth is not necessarily a bad thing. There are trillions of bacteria living in the body — on the skin, in the gut, and in the mouth — where they help us fight infections and digest food.

In this paper, researchers evaluated the effect of vaping on the bacterial community in the mouth, which exists in a delicate balance. Changes to this microbial community can contribute to oral disease.

The researchers compared the oral microbiome of three groups of people: e-cigarette users, cigarette smokers, and nonsmokers.

“Given the popularity of vaping, it is critical that we learn more about the effects of e-cigarette aerosols on the oral microbiome and host inflammatory responses in order to better understand the impact of vaping on human health,” explains co-senior author Xin Li, Ph.D.

Periodontal pathogens

The scientists profiled the microbial communities present in the saliva of 119 people across the three groups, using a specialized type of genetic sequencing.

They found significant changes to the oral microbiome of the vapers.

In comparison with the cigarette smokers and nonsmokers, vapers had higher numbers of bacteria called Porphyromonas and Veillonella, which have an association with gum disease and are a reflection of “compromised periodontal health,” according to Li.

They also found higher levels of two inflammatory markers in the group of vapers, which suggests that vaping affects the local immune system.

Vulnerable cells

To look at the effects of e-cigarette fumes on individual cells, the scientists cultured cells from a human pharynx with bacteria and exposed them either to the aerosol from an e-cigarette or to air.

They found that many more cells became infected by the bacteria when they were exposed to e-cigarette aerosols. These cells were also more likely to become inflamed.

“Our study suggests that vaping electronic cigarettes causes shifts in the oral environment and highly influences the colonization of complex microbial biofilms, which raises the risk of oral inflammation and infection.”

– Co-senior author Deepak Saxena, Ph.D.

What is the risk?

Experts have linked oral microbiome changes with diseases ranging from tooth decay and bad breath (halitosis) to diabetes, heart disease, and even cancer.

Although this study does not show that vaping can cause these diseases, it does show that it is associated with significant changes to the bacterial community in the mouth.

These findings also suggest that, like smoking conventional cigarettes, vaping increases the risk of oral infections.

However, it is important to remember that some of these findings came from cells that the scientists had cultured under controlled conditions, which do not behave in the same way as cells in the human body.

The scientists say that more detailed studies are necessary to understand how e-cigarette aerosols interact with so-called good bacteria and the implications that this may have for oral, respiratory, and cardiovascular health.

Source: https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/vaping-changes-oral-microbiome-and-raises-infection-risk#What-is-the-risk?


Notice: Rescheduling Elective Dental Procedures

The Maryland State Dental Association and the American Dental Association issued guidelines that elective dental procedures should be put off until at least April 1st.

If you have an upcoming appointment before that date, we will need to reschedule. Our office will be in contact with you in the coming days.

We apologize for any inconvenience, but we believe this approach is the best way to protect each other and our community during this time.

– The Oral Surgery DC Team

Here is the message we received from the CDC Division of Oral Health:

Dear Colleagues,

As the expanding global outbreak of Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) continues, the federal government continues to work closely with state, local, tribal, and territorial partners, as well as public health partners across the globe to respond to this public health threat.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Division of Oral Health (DOH) is diligently working with CDC’s Emergency Operations Center to develop tailored COVID-19 guidance for dental health care personnel (DHCP). Once this guidance is available online, DOH and partners will promote these resources as well as any related events (e.g., informational webinar, Clinician Outreach and Communication Activity) to the dental community. 

It’s unknown at this time what the full impact of COVID-19 will be in a U.S., however CDC is preparing as if this were the beginning of a pandemic. All healthcare facilities should take steps now to prepare for the possibility of a widespread and severe COVID-19 outbreak to prepare their practices and protect both their patients and staff. CDC urges providers to be familiar with the information on CDC’s COVID-19 website.

Specific information is available for Healthcare Professionals, including a Healthcare Professional Preparedness Checklist, instructions on Evaluating and Reporting Persons Under Investigation (PUI), and a page on What Healthcare Personnel Should Know. DHCP can also consider signing up for communications from CDC’s Health Alert Network, which is CDC’s primary method of sharing cleared information about urgent public health incidents.

Standard precautions, including the use of proper personal protective equipment, should be followed when caring for any patient. These practices are designed to both protect DHCP and prevent DHCP from spreading infections among patients.

CDC’s guidelines note that, if not clinically urgent, DHCP should consider postponing

non-emergency or elective dental procedures in patients who have signs or symptoms of respiratory illness. For procedures which are considered clinically urgent, dental health care personnel and medical providers should work together to determine an appropriate facility for treatment. The urgency of a procedure is a decision based on clinical judgement and should be made on a case-by-case basis.

The Division of Oral Health will communicate through partners as soon as tailored guidance is available for the dental community. Thank you for all you are doing to keep our country safe and healthy.

Sincerely,


CDC Division of Oral Health

Black History Month Spotlight: Dr. Annie Elizabeth “Bessie” Delany

For Black History Month, we’d like to pay tribute to trailblazers and honor lesser-known people of color in the dental and oral surgery fields. 

In 1919, Dr. Annie Elizabeth “Bessie” Delany entered the freshman class at Columbia University College of Dental Medicine (at the time known as the School of Dental and Oral Surgery) where she was one of only 11 women, and the only African-American woman, out of 170 students. 🎓 In 1923, she graduated and became the second African-American dentist to be licensed in New York state. 

During her career, Dr.  Delany took care of the teeth of many Harlem notable figures, such as nightclub owner Ed Small, civil rights leader Louis T. Wright, and author James Weldon Johnson. 🦷 Known in her community as Dr. Bessie, she was applauded for treating the rich and poor equally as well as performing thousands of free children’s dental exams. 

🏆 In 1994, Columbia’s School of Dental and Oral Surgery awarded her its Distinguished Alumna Award for “her pioneering work as a minority woman in dentistry”, a year before her death at 104.

Can Wisdom Teeth Cause Headache Pain?

3d rendered illustration of the wisdom teeth

Article written by: Healthline

Headaches can be traced to a variety of causes, including wisdom teeth that are emerging, impacted, or need to be removed.

Keep reading to learn why wisdom teeth can cause headaches, and how to treat pain from wisdom teeth.

Emerging wisdom teeth

Your wisdom teeth typically come in between the ages of 17 and 25. They’re your third set of molars, located at the very back of your mouth. Most people have four wisdom teeth, two on top and two on the bottom.

According to the American Dental Association (ADA), your wisdom teeth begin to move through your jawbone and eventually break through your gum line about 5 years after your second set of molars come in. This movement can cause discomfort, including headaches.

Impacted wisdom teeth

If your wisdom teeth grow improperly, they’re considered impacted. Impaction is common with wisdom teeth, often because there’s not enough room in the mouth for them to grow in. This may cause them to:

  • emerge at an angle
  • get stuck in the jaw
  • push against the other molars

When wisdom teeth grow into a mouth that doesn’t have enough room for them, it can cause other teeth to shift, resulting in an improper bite. An improper bite can cause your lower jaw to compensate, and this may cause pain and soreness, including headaches.

Other problems associated with wisdom teeth

According to the Mayo Clinic, impacted wisdom teeth can also cause other problems resulting in pain and headaches, such as:

Tooth decay. Compared to your other teeth, decay seems to be a higher risk for partially impacted wisdom teeth.

Cysts. Your wisdom teeth develop in your jawbone in a sac. If the sac fills with fluid and becomes a cyst, it can cause damage to your jawbone, nerves, and teeth.

Gum disease. If you have an impacted wisdom tooth that’s partially erupted, it can be difficult to clean. This can increase your risk of a potentially painful inflammatory gum condition known as pericoronitis.

Damage to neighboring teeth. An impacted wisdom tooth may push against the second molar, causing damage or increasing the risk of infection.

Oral Surgery for impacted wisdom teeth

If your impacted wisdom teeth are causing dental problems or pain, they can usually be surgically extracted. This procedure is typically done by a dental surgeon.

Oral surgery can leave you with a stiff jaw, which can lead to tension headaches. The surgery itself may also lead to postoperative headaches, including migraines, caused by:

  • anesthesia
  • stress and anxiety
  • pain
  • sleep deprivation
  • blood pressure fluctuations

Although uncommon, other complications following wisdom tooth extraction surgery may occur, such as:

Can you prevent impacted wisdom teeth?

You can’t prevent wisdom tooth impaction. A dentist can monitor the growth and emergence of your wisdom teeth during regular checkups. Dental X-rays can often indicate wisdom tooth impaction before the development of symptoms.

Remedies for wisdom teeth pain and headaches

If you’re experiencing gum pain or headaches from emerging or impacted wisdom teeth, here are some home remedies that may provide relief.

Rinse with saltwater

Warm water salt rinses are a popular remedy for pain caused by emerging teeth. Research has shown that rinsing with sodium chloride (the scientific name for salt) and warm water can promote healthy gums and kill bacteria.

Keeping your mouth free of bacteria is particularly useful for emerging wisdom teeth. The area is hard to clean and wisdom teeth can cause gum disease when they break through your gums.

Along with warm water salt rinses, proper daily oral hygiene will also keep your mouth clean and bacteria-free. This includes brushing twice a day and flossing at least once a day.

Take an aspirin

Aspirin is a tried and true remedy for headaches, even those caused by wisdom teeth. A 2015 study showed that aspirin is effective at dulling dental pain. Follow label instructions and don’t take more than the recommended dose.

Apply hot and cold therapy

You can also try hot and cold therapy. Applying an ice pack to your cheeks can help reduce pain, inflammation, and swelling, while heat pads can loosen tense muscles and improve blood flow to the area. These benefits can help relieve or avoid headache pain.

Takeaway

Your third molars, or wisdom teeth, can cause discomfort, including headaches, when they’re moving up through your jawbone and emerging from your gum line.

Dental decay or oral surgery to remove impacted wisdom teeth can also cause postoperative headaches.

Although extraction is a typical treatment for impacted wisdom teeth, not everyone needs to have their wisdom teeth removed. The ADA recommends that wisdom teeth be X-rayed and monitored for all teenagers and young adults.

Schedule an appointment with your dentist if you have:

  • sharp persistent pain
  • frequent headaches
  • bloody saliva
  • swelling

Source: https://www.healthline.com/health/headache-from-wisdom-teeth#other-problems

4 Home Remedies For Abscessed Teeth

Article Written By: Amy Freeman, Colgate

You’re experiencing some serious pain in your mouth, and you think a dental abscess, a bacterial infection in the teeth or gums, might be to blame. Are there any home remedies for abscessed teeth that will help ease the discomfort while you’re waiting for your dentist appointment?

You have a few options for easing the pain, but home remedies won’t get to the root of the issue and aren’t likely to cure the abscess. Instead, think of home remedies as stop-gap measures. They’ll help you in the short term, but they won’t replace a visit to the dentist.

How to Cope with Dental Abscesses at Home

You’re likely to come across a few recommended home remedies for abscessed teeth. While each option has its advantages, some also have a few risks or potential drawbacks. If your dental abscess is causing severe pain and you have to wait before your dentist can see you, understanding how each remedy can help and what its risks are may help you choose the best one for you.

  1. Clove oil. The active ingredient in clove oil, eugenol, has helpful anesthetic and antibacterial properties. Applying a small amount of a clove essential oil to the site of a dental abscess can temporarily numb the area, easing your pain. But there are a few drawbacks to clove oil. It can be strong-smelling and spread to other parts of your mouth accidentally. Additionally, if you accidentally ingest a lot of clove oil, it may require a trip to the emergency room, notes the National Institutes of Health. Ingesting too much can lead to a variety of symptoms, such as shallow breathing, a burning throat, rapid heartbeat, and dizziness.
  2. Saltwater rinse. A saltwater rinse can help to wash away bacteria and pus from an abscess. Saltwater can also soothe discomfort, the National Institutes of Health points out. While rinsing can provide some relief when you have an abscess, keep in mind that saltwater alone won’t be enough to clear up the infection.
  3. Peppermint tea bags. Some claim that placing wet, cool peppermint tea bags on a dental abscess will help ease the pain. While placing a cooled tea bag on an abscess won’t hurt you, it’s also not very likely to help you either. The National Center for Complementary and Integrative Health notes that there isn’t enough evidence to say whether peppermint tea is helpful for any condition. The cold temperature of the tea bag may be somewhat soothing. If you happen to have some tea bags handy, you can try this home remedy. But you don’t want to rely on it to heal your abscess.
  4. Don’t use alcohol. One popular, but an ineffective home remedy has people soaking a cotton swab with alcohol (often whiskey or vodka) and applying the cotton to the abscessed area. While the alcohol may temporarily numb the pain, it won’t clear up the infection. Any relief will be temporary, and this method is obviously not recommended for children with tooth pain. Plus, the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism points out that while alcohol can reduce pain, the use of alcohol as a pain reliever can be incredibly dangerous, as you often need a lot of alcohol to get any numbing effects. It’s best to give this home remedy a pass.

Along with trying out natural home remedies to treat a dental abscess, people also often turn to over-the-counter pain relievers, such as ibuprofen or acetaminophen. While pain medication may help improve your comfort, it’s also a temporary measure. You’ll still want to see your dentist remove the source of the infection and heal the tooth or gums.

How Your Dentist Can Treat an Abscess

Your dentist might use a variety of treatments to heal a dental abscess, explains the American Dental Association. In some cases, your dentist will prescribe antibiotics to kill the bacteria. They might also clean the area around the tooth to remove debris, pus, and bacteria, or perform a root canal if there has been considerable damage to the pulp of the tooth.

Although a home remedy can provide some relief, don’t put off your visit to a dentist. The sooner you schedule treatment, the sooner your mouth will feel better and begin to heal.

Source: https://www.colgate.com/en-us/oral-health/life-stages/adult-oral-care/4-home-remedies-for-abscessed-teeth0

How Oral Health And Heart Disease Are Connected

Article written by: Tracey Sandilands | Colgate

It’s increasingly common to hear that oral health is vital for overall health. More than 80 percent of Americans, for example, are living with periodontal or gum disease, which often goes undiagnosed. This may be because the patient’s teeth feel fine, so he avoids going to the dentist, and visits to the physician rarely focus on oral health.

According to Delta Dental, however, there is now evidence of two specific links between oral health and heart disease. First, recent studies show that if you have gum disease in a moderate or advanced stage, you’re at greater risk for heart disease than someone with healthy gums. And second, your oral health can provide doctors with warning signs for a range of diseases and conditions, including those in the heart.

Why Are These Things Related?

Oral health and heart disease are connected by the spread of bacteria – and other germs – from your mouth to other parts of your body through the bloodstream. When these bacteria reach the heart, they can attach themselves to any damaged area and cause inflammation. This can result in illnesses such as endocarditis, an infection of the inner lining of the heart, according to Mayo Clinic. Other cardiovascular conditions such as atherosclerosis (clogged arteries) and stroke have also been linked to inflammation caused by oral bacteria, according to the American Heart Association.

Who Is at Risk?

Patients with chronic gum conditions such as gingivitis or advanced periodontal disease have the highest risk for heart disease caused by poor oral health, particularly if it remains undiagnosed and unmanaged. The bacteria that are associated with gum infection are in the mouth and can enter the bloodstream, where they attach to the blood vessels and increase your risk to cardiovascular disease. 

Even if you don’t have noticeable gum inflammation, however, inadequate oral hygiene and accumulated plaque put you at risk for gum disease. The bacteria can also migrate into your bloodstream causing elevated C-reactive protein, which is a marker for inflammation in the blood vessels. This can increase your risk of heart disease and stroke, according to the Cleveland Clinic.

Symptoms and Warning Signs

According to the American Association of Periodontology (AAP), you may have gum disease, even if it’s in its early stages, if:

  • your gums are red, swollen and sore to the touch.
  • your gums bleed when you eat, brush or floss.
  • you see pus or other signs of infection around the gums and teeth.
  • your gums look as if they are “pulling away” from the teeth.
  • you frequently have bad breath or notice a bad taste in your mouth.
  • or some of your teeth are loose, or feel as if they are moving away from the other teeth.

Prevention Measures

Good oral hygiene and regular dental examinations are the best way to protect yourself against the development of gum disease. The American Dental Association (ADA) Mouth Healthy site recommends brushing your teeth twice a day with a soft-bristled brush that fits your mouth comfortably, so it reaches every tooth surface adequately. It also recommends that you use an ADA-accepted toothpaste such as Colgate Total® Advanced, which is proven to increase gum health in four weeks. You should also floss daily and visit your dentist for regular professional cleanings.

By being proactive about your oral health, you can protect yourself from developing a connection between oral health and heart disease, and keep your smile healthy, clean and beautiful throughout your life.

This article is intended to promote understanding of and knowledge about general oral health topics. It is not intended to be a substitute for professional advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your dentist or other qualified healthcare providers with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition or treatment.

Source:www.colgate.com/en-us/oral-health/conditions/heart-disease/how-oral-health-and-heart-disease-are-connected-0115

What to Eat After Wisdom Teeth Removal

By: Ana Gotter, Healthline

Most people heal quickly from wisdom teeth removal, as long as they follow the doctor’s instructions during recovery. Eating and drinking the right foods — and avoiding the wrong ones — is a crucial part of these instructions. You’ll be much more comfortable, and you’ll significantly decrease the chance of complications.

Overview

Wisdom teeth are the third set of molars located in the back of your mouth. They typically come in when you’re between 17 and 25 years of age. It’s common to have your wisdom teeth removed. They may need to be removed because they’re impacted and won’t come in normally. Or they may need to be removed because they’re coming in at a wrong angle.

During the removal procedure, you’ll be given anesthesia. Many surgeons will use some form of local, sedation, or general anesthesia. If your teeth haven’t come in yet, your surgeon will likely make incisions to remove them. They may need to remove bone if it’s blocking access to the root of the tooth. Once the teeth are removed, they’ll clean the site and add stitches to close the incision site if necessary. They’ll also place gauze over the extraction site.

What you eat following your wisdom teeth removal is important. Eating soft or liquid foods won’t irritate the extraction site, helping it to heal faster. Some foods and drinks can irritate or become trapped in the extraction sites, leading to infection. It’s important to follow your doctor’s orders about what to eat following surgery.

What to eat after wisdom teeth removal

Immediately following your wisdom teeth removal and during recovery, you’ll want to start with liquid and soft foods. You won’t have to chew these foods, saving you some pain. Avoid eating harder foods at this time, as these might damage, or get trapped in, the recovering area.

Examples of liquid and soft foods include:

  • apple sauce
  • yogurt
  • smoothies
  • broths and blended soups
  • mashed potatoes
  • Jell-O, pudding, and ice cream

Cold foods like Jell-O, smoothies, and ice cream may relieve some discomfort. Nutrient-rich soups and smoothies can help promote healing. Soups, in particular, can help balance out the other high-sugar options on the list.

As you start to heal, you can incorporate more normal foods. Start off easy with semisoft foods like scrambled eggs, instant oatmeal, and toast before moving to foods like chicken, fruits, and vegetables.

What not to eat after wisdom teeth removal

There are some foods that you should avoid following your wisdom teeth removal. Stick to the foods listed above for the first few days. Avoid the following foods for a week or more until the extraction site has healed.

  • Acidic and spicy foods (including citrus juice) may cause irritation and pain.
  • Alcoholic beverages can irritate the area and are likely to interact negatively with the pain medication prescribed by your doctor.
  • Grains (including rice and quinoa) and any types of seeds can easily become trapped in the extraction site.
  • Hard or difficult-to-chew foods (including nuts, chips, and jerky) can reopen the stitches and delay healing.

You should also avoid smoking or using any type of tobacco for a minimum of 72 hours after surgery as it can severely increase the risk of complications. Don’t use chewing tobacco for at least a week.

Recovery timeline

For the first 24 to 48 hours, eat only liquid and soft foods like yogurt, apple sauce, and ice cream. Cold foods may help with some of the discomforts.

As you start to feel better, you can try incorporating more solid foods. On the third day after surgery, try foods like eggs, toast, or oatmeal. Gradually continue to increase solid foods as chewing doesn’t cause any pain. If you experience pain when chewing, go back to soft and semisoft foods.

Many people are able to resume normal eating within a week.

Wisdom teeth removal complications

Wisdom teeth removal complications aren’t common but can occur. The most common complication is the reopening of the extraction site, which delays healing.

Dry sockets

Dry sockets are also common. They occur when the blood fails to clot in the tooth socket, or if the clot becomes dislodged. This typically happens between three and five days after tooth removal. Dry sockets can be treated by your surgeon. They will flush out debris and may cover the socket with a medicated dressing. Symptoms of dry sockets include:

  • an unpleasant taste or smell coming from the socket
  • aching or throbbing pain in the gum or jaw (it may be intense)
  • exposed bone

Infections

Infections can be caused by food particles or other bacteria becoming trapped in the socket where your wisdom teeth were removed. Bacteria can spread throughout the body and should be treated quickly. Symptoms of an infection include:

  • blood or pus from the extraction site
  • fever
  • spasms of the jaw muscles
  • chills
  • painful or swollen gums near the extraction area
  • bad taste or smell in the mouth

Nerve damage

Nerve damage from wisdom teeth removal is rare, but it can occur. During surgery, the trigeminal nerve may be injured. The injury is most often temporary, lasting several weeks or months. Nerve damage can be permanent if the injury is severe. Symptoms of nerve damage caused by wisdom tooth removal include:

  • pain
  • numbness or tingling in the gums, tongue, chin, surrounding teeth, and lower lips

Allergic reaction

If you show signs of an allergic reaction, seek emergency medical attention. You may be allergic to the medications your doctor prescribed, including your pain medication. Signs of an allergic reaction include:

  • shortness of breath
  • difficulty breathing
  • feeling like your throat is closing or your tongue is swelling
  • lightheadedness
  • rapid heart rate
  • skin rash
  • fever

Source: www.healthline.com/health/what-to-eat-after-wisdom-teeth-removal

TMJ and Jaw Pain – Why Does My Jaw Hurt?

By: 123 Dentist

Trauma, dental problems, and other health conditions can cause jaw pain. Pain in the jaw can range from uncomfortable to extreme, but you don’t need to suffer in silence. Once a health professional diagnoses the source of your jaw pain, you can receive treatment to alleviate or eliminate your pain.

Structure of Your Jaw

The temporomandibular joints (TMJ) on either side of your mouth connect each side of your lower jaw, or mandible, to your skull. These joints are flexible and can easily move, slide, and rotate in various directions as you speak, eat, drink, yawn, brush and floss your teeth, and perform other motions with your mouth. However, if your TMJ is hurt or overused, they can click or pop rather than move freely, which can cause you pain and discomfort.

Any problem or pain associated with TMJ is labeled as temporomandibular joint disorder (TMD), sometimes called temporomandibular joint and muscle disorder (TMJD). This common problem affects between 5 and 12% of people, according to the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research.

Common Causes of TMD

Several lifestyle factors and events can trigger TMD such as the following:

  • Mouth or jaw injuries or trauma: Injuries and trauma can damage or move your TMJ out of place, impacting their ability to move freely.
  • Teeth clenching or grinding: People who clench or grind their teeth put pressure on their TMJ, which causes jaw pain. Clenching and grinding often occur while you’re sleeping, and you may be unaware of this habit.
  • Opening your mouth too wide: Opening your mouth too wide when you eat or talk can put a strain on your TMJ and cause TMD.
  • Rheumatic diseases: Arthritis and other rheumatic diseases impact and cause pain in various joints, including your TMJ.
  • Tension headaches: Most commonly caused by stress, these headaches can cause pain throughout the face and jaw.
  • Sinus infections: The maxillary sinuses sit above the top row of teeth. When they become infected, they can cause swelling and pain around the eyes, cheek, and upper jaw. Many sufferers report feeling a tight, constant pressure in their upper jaw during sinus infections.
  • Neuropathic pain: This type of pain occurs after nerve damage. The damaged nerves send pain signals to the brain. If the damaged nerves are near the jaw, the condition manifests itself as jaw pain. People can experience jaw pain from neuropathic pain constantly or now and again.
  • Synovitis or capsulitis: These conditions cause inflammation in joints, such as the TMJ, or connecting ligaments. Inflammation around the jaw can be painful.
  • Ill-fitting dentures: When dentures don’t fit correctly, they can force your mouth into an unnatural position that can trigger and aggravate TMD.

Other Symptoms of TMD

Jaw pain is one of the most obvious and troublesome signs of TMD, but sufferers usually experience a range of symptoms:

  • Headaches or migraines.
  • Restricted TMJ movement.
  • Frequent jaw locking.
  • Difficulty chewing food.
  • Stiffness in the TMJ.

If you experience these symptoms, especially when coupled with jaw pain, you should make a dental appointment.

Other Causes of Jaw Pain

TMD is the most common cause of jaw pain, but it’s not the only trigger. Abscesses, tumors, infections of the gums, and other dental problems can also make your jaws hurt. Dentists can diagnose these problems. They can then put a treatment plan in place or refer you to another medical professional who can provide more specialized care.

Jaw Pain Treatment Options

The cause of your jaw pain will determine the best course of treatment. Your dentist will thoroughly examine your mouth and jaw to develop your treatment plan. Blood tests, X-rays, MRI tests, and psychological tests may also be undertaken to diagnose your condition and optimal treatment solution.

Treatment can be as simple as taking antibiotics to resolve infection or adopting a soft diet to relieve pressure on the jaw until the issue resolves itself. Some patients may need to wear a mouth guard to discourage bad behaviors and correct a misaligned bite. Steroid injections and pain medications can relieve swelling and inflammation around the joints. Physical therapy can also help some patients. Surgery may also be necessary to remove tumors, damaged bones, or infected teeth, or to treat impacted nerves.

Preventing Jaw Pain

Once your jaw pain is resolved, preventive measures can minimize the chance of it recurring in the future:

  • Choose soft foods, such as pasta and soups, over hard, crunchy ones.
  • Take small bites of food when you eat.
  • Adopt relaxing habits such as meditating, practicing yoga, and getting regular massages.
  • Sleep on your side or back, rather than your stomach.
  • See your dentist regularly for oral checkups.

Oral and maxillofacial surgeons are the only specialists with a wide enough surgical knowledge of the temporomandibular joint (TMJ), and since TMJ problems can lead to more serious conditions, early detection is critical. 

We can help you have a healthier and more comfortable jaw, visit us at https://oralsurgerydc.com/

Source: www.123dentist.com/tmj-and-jaw-pain-why-does-my-jaw-hurt


Dentist or Detective? Major Health Clues Your Mouth Provides

Chew on this for a minute: just by glancing inside your mouth, your dentist can tell you a number of things that may be news to you and your doctor! Surprising as it may sound, your oral health can speak volumes about the rest of your body, and something as simple as a routine dental checkup can benefit your health and wallet big time.

🔎 From harmful habits to life-threatening diseases, find out what clues your mouth can provide about your wellbeing. The Oral Surgery DC Team

The Presence of Disease

Many connections between your mouth and larger health issues have to do with bacteria. Studies have shown that heart disease and endocarditis (inflammation of the lining of your heart), in particular, are linked to gum disease – a bacterial infection of the mouth. Inflamed gums can also signal a vulnerable immune system, which can be due to diabetes or disorders such as Sjogren’s syndrome. Furthermore, patients who are pregnant and are diagnosed with periodontitis may be at a heightened risk for birth-related issues, as studies have shown a connection between gum disease and both premature birth and low birth weight.

In addition to gum problems, other oral matters are also telling. Tooth loss, for instance, has commonly been linked with both osteoporosis and Alzheimer’s. And lesions of the throat occur often in individuals suffering from HIV or AIDS. Last but not least, a dental exam can detect both oral and throat cancer, which typically present themselves via sores or patches that don’t go away. Suffice it to say, dental checkups can prove themselves invaluable when it comes to early detection of life-threatening health conditions.

Incompatibility With Certain Medications

While you may already be aware of and treating a health condition, a dentist can help identify whether or not the medicine you are taking is causing other complications. Dry mouth, a condition that causes oral issues such as halitosis, fungal infection, and tooth decay, is a known side effect of hundreds of commonly prescribed medications including:

PainkillersAntibioticsAntidepressants
AntihistaminesAsthma InhalersDiuretics
SedativesCorticosteroidsStatins

If you’re currently undergoing medical treatment and/or using prescription drugs, be sure to have your dentist examine your mouth for any harmful side effects.

Harmful Habits

It may not necessarily mean life or death, but some habits can cause a world of trouble–and costly mouth problems are proof of that. How you sleep, for example, has a direct impact on the health of your mouth. Constantly breathing with your mouth open can cause dry mouth, and grinding your teeth overnight is a leading cause of enamel damage.

Smoking, chewing and other forms of tobacco use pose serious threats, not just to your lungs, but also to the look and health of your teeth and gums. Red flags that alert your dentist that smoking is starting to do dental damage (and possibly much worse) are the telltale yellowing of teeth, white patches along the inside lining of the mouth, persistent bad breath, and lumps that can signal oral cancer.

Finally, your mouth can offer clues about the safety and healthfulness of your diet. Severe tooth erosion and swelling of the throat and salivary glands are typical problems seen in patients with eating disorders, due to constant vomiting. Tooth decay and sensitivity can also come with excessive acid in your diet, and many times, signs and symptoms of gastroesophageal reflux disease (“GERD” or simply, “acid reflux”) become apparent to your dentist even before your doctor. Even your breath can be telling of certain food choices, such as garlic or onions, which have long been known to cause halitosis.

Get Peace of Mind

Given everything a brief dental exam can uncover, there’s no denying the benefits of a routine checkup. More often than not, tooth, gum and other oral problems may simply be due to poor hygiene, but it’s better to be safe than sorry. Remain diligent about seeing your dentist regularly, and don’t hesitate to schedule a checkup in between your typical visits if you notice anything amiss.

Sources:

Your Mouth, Your Health. (2015, July 23). Retrieved July 25, 2015, from http://www.webmd.com/oral-health/ss/slideshow-teeth-gums

What conditions may be linked to oral health? (2013, May 11). Retrieved July 14, 2015 from http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/adult-health/in-depth/dental/art-20047475?pg=2