Is Removal of All 4 Wisdom Teeth Necessary?

By: American Association of Oral and Maxillofacial Surgeons

Patients often ask their oral and maxillofacial surgeon (OMS) if it’s necessary to have all four wisdom teeth extracted even though the teeth might not yet be visible inside the mouth or they have erupted without any known problems.

The decision can be difficult. Even if all four wisdom teeth are free of infection and not causing pain – or if only one tooth is problematic – an OMS may still recommend they all be removed.

Wisdom Teeth Management: Why Remove All 4

Because of their location in the back of the mouth, wisdom teeth are frequently difficult to keep free from plaque and food and might trap harmful bacteria that can contribute to gum disease, decay, and infection. Even wisdom teeth that are buried under the gum tissue may cause these same issues.

But why not adopt a wait-and-see approach to wisdom teeth coming in (or yet to erupt) that haven’t caused any trouble? Here are some items to consider:

  • Typically, it is easier to remove wisdom teeth in younger patients because the roots of the wisdom teeth are not completely formed, the surrounding bone is softer and there is less chance of damaging nearby nerves or other structures. The overall risk of surgical complications is more common in adulthood.
  • Each visit will take more of a patient’s time, including time off from school or work.
  • Each additional visit for a tooth extraction requires an additional healing period with a restricted diet.
  • Properly caring for any remaining wisdom teeth requires routine inspections and X-rays.
  • It can be more expensive to visit an OMS multiple times for additional wisdom tooth extractions should they become problematic later.

For these reasons, you and your oral surgeon should discuss whether you should have all four wisdom teeth extracted at the same time.

Risks of Keeping Wisdom Teeth

The decision not to extract wisdom teeth is reasonable in some circumstances and should be made by the patient, a guardian/parent (if applicable), and the oral and maxillofacial surgeon. However, the patient must understand the wisdom teeth that are not removed can:

  • Cause damage to neighboring teeth.
  • Develop pathologies such as cysts, abscesses, and tumors.
  • Develop cavities that can’t be restored.
  • Lead to infections and other periodontal diseases.

Learn More from an OMS

Questions about wisdom tooth removal should be discussed with a patient’s oral and maxillofacial surgeon. Your local OMS will evaluate each patient individually and make a recommendation based on disease or high risk of disease.

We recommend regular checkups with your general dentists, who may recommend a referral to an oral surgeon if problems with the wisdom teeth or other teeth begin to develop.

Source: https://myoms.org/what-we-do/wisdom-teeth-management/why-remove-all-4/

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

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


The Story on Soda: Your Soft Drink Questions Answered

🥤 Sorry to burst your bubble, but the reality is that no matter how refreshing that sweet, fizzy soda (or “pop”) tastes, there’s a chance it could be doing some damage to your teeth. But with so many products on the market, are they all really that bad for you? The Oral Surgery DC Team

Answers to some of your most pressing soft drink questions are about to be answered. Get to the bottom of various soda claims, and find out if there’s a workaround that lets you keep your favorite carbonated beverages on tap without traumatizing your teeth.

Q. Is it better to choose clear-colored sodas over darker-colored ones?

Neither option is a healthy choice for your teeth, but upon regular consumption, caramel-hued soft drinks have been known to stain teeth more quickly. Cosmetic differences aside, the extremely high sugar content of any soda, regardless of color, causes lasting damage to tooth enamel, resulting in decay, cavities and/or tooth loss in extreme situations.

Q. Do diet sodas get a pass since they’re sugar-free?

The appeal of diet sodas is understandable, especially when the packaging comes with alluring labels of “sugar-free” or “calorie-free”. But the fact of the matter is, even with sugar substitutes, diet soda is still extremely acidic. This means diet soda will still have the same corrosive effect on the enamel and should be avoided to prevent tooth damage.

Q. Is corn syrup a more harmful soft drink sweetener than cane sugar?

Similar to the misconception about diet sodas, the threat of tooth decay, cavities, and other oral health problems aren’t based on the type of sweetener used. No matter the source of sugar, enamel erosion will happen with regular consumption of any sweetened soft drink.

Q. If I drink soda through a straw, will this protect my teeth?

Using a straw can limit contact of sugar and acid with the surface of your teeth, but only when positioned correctly. Ideally, the opening of the straw should be directed towards the back of the mouth, but the likelihood of accidental contact is still high if you become distracted or inadvertently swish the liquid in your mouth. Ultimately, the best way to prevent tooth decay due to soft drinks is to avoid drinking them altogether.

Q. What are teeth-friendly alternatives to soda?

If you find carbonated beverages especially refreshing, switch to a seltzer. You’ll get the same fizz without the threat of tooth decay. For a flavorful spin, dress up seltzer or plain water with cut-up fruit (instead of turning to juice, which can erode tooth enamel due to its fructose content). Milk is also another good choice due to the enamel-fortifying calcium it contains; however, it does contain natural sugar, lactose — so never have a glass before bed without brushing your teeth.

Q. What can I do to combat enamel erosion if I can’t quit drinking soda?

For those unable to put aside their love of soft drinks, take these steps to minimize tooth decay and other soda-related oral problems:

  • Rinse your mouth and brush your teeth afterward to clear away sugar and acid
  • Use fluoride-rich toothpaste and mouthwash to help strengthen tooth enamel
  • See your dentist regularly to get professional help in preventing tooth damage

Speak To Your Dentist

New drinks are always hitting the shelves, but many may not live up to their health claims. Before making something your beverage of choice, get your dentist’s perspective to understand how it can impact the health of your teeth.

Sources:

Soda or Pop? It’s Teeth Trouble by Any Name. (n.d.). Retrieved May 24, 3015 from http://www.colgate.com/app/CP/US/EN/OC/Information/Articles/Oral-and-Dental-Health-Basics/Oral-Hygiene/Oral-Hygiene-Basics/article/Soda-or-Pop-Its-Teeth-Trouble-by-Any-Name.cvsp

Melnick, M & Klein, S. (2013, March 13). Soda Myths: The Truth About Sugary Drinks, From Sodas To Sports Drinks. Retrieved May 25, 2015 from http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2013/03/13/soda-myths-facts-sugary-drinks_n_2863045.html

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.

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?


Sealants: Stop Cavities Before They Begin

Aside from proper brushing and flossing to remove food particles and plaque from smooth surfaces of teeth, do you know that there are other effective ways that can prevent tooth decay?

👉 With sealants, you can prevent cavities for up to a decade before they ever have a chance to start. Find out more! The Oral Surgery DC Team

Imagine you could protect your smile and preserve good oral health. Would you do it? In all likelihood the answer is yes and, with sealants, you can.

Few oral issues can be fully pre-empted or prevented. After all, genetics and other factors can play a role in whether or not you develop cavities or more serious dental complications. But with sealants, you can prevent cavities for up to a decade before they ever have a chance to start.

What Are Sealants?

Sealants are thin, plastic coatings that are painted on the chewing surfaces of teeth, particularly premolars and molars, to prevent tooth decay. By bonding to the depressions and grooves of teeth where most cavities begin, they can prevent tooth decay in a way that regular brushing, flossing, and rinsing can’t.

Most often, sealants are used on children between the ages of 6 and 14 because this is when they are most vulnerable to cavities. Sealants can also be used on adults who don’t have current decay or fillings in their molars and on babies with deep depressions and grooves in teeth to preserve them as placeholders for adult teeth. Of course, sealants must be made age-appropriate and tailored to each patient’s unique needs.

Applying Sealants is Quick and Painless for Most

The best part about sealants is that the application process is quick and painless. In fact, there are just four simple steps involved in the entire process:

  • Cleaning – Prior to applying sealants, your dentist will clean each tooth that is being sealed to ensure the bond is as strong as possible.
  • Preparation – Once your teeth are clean, they will be dried and surrounded by cotton or another absorbent material to prevent saliva from getting the tooth wet again. An acid solution will also be applied to enhance the bond between the sealants and your teeth.
  • Rising and Drying – After the acid solution has been applied, just one more rinse and dry is required before the actual application.
  • Application of the Sealants – After all the preparation is complete, the sealants will be applied. In some cases, your dentist will use a special curing light to help sealants to harden more quickly.

Sealants Can Stand the Test of Time for Most

Few dental solutions are permanent and sealants are no different. However, they can provide up to 10 years of protection, which is great for babies, young children, and adults.

Regular dental visits are the best way to prolong the effectiveness of your treatment. Your dentist can check your sealants for chipping or wearing and replace them if necessary. By replacing them soon after they begin to wear down, you can enjoy continued protection from cavities.

With Sealants, You Can Keep Your Smile Both Beautiful and Functional

Sealants are a simple solution to prevent cavities and protect some of the most functional teeth in your mouth. They can be a worthwhile investment for you and/or your children to keep smiles looking great for years to come.

Sources:

Dental Health: Sealants. (2013, April 14). Retrieved June 2, 2015 from http://www.webmd.com/oral-health/guide/dental-sealants

In Defense of Root Canals: The Unsung Hero of Dental Care

🦷 Think you might need a root canal? It’s not the end of the world, nor is it as torturous as you might think! Even though a root canal is usually the last resort for decayed teeth, when compared with other alternatives, it’s quite practical and cost-effective.

Put your fears to rest by discovering the truth about this much-maligned treatment, and find out why it’s considered by many dentists to be the unsung hero of dental care. The Oral Surgery DC Team

When and Why Root Canals Are Necessary

Left untreated, tooth decay can eventually result in bacteria infiltrating the very core of the tooth, infecting its sensitive nerve tissue (otherwise referred to as “root” or “pulp”). Once the pulp has been infected, a pocket of pus known as an abscess can form and wreak havoc beyond the problem tooth itself. From swelling of the mouth, jaw, and face, to bone loss and even the spread of infection into the skin, the cost of delaying treatment can compound rather quickly.

If the problem is caught in time, a root canal may be possible, allowing the dentist to clear the infected pulp without having to sacrifice the whole tooth. Keeping your natural tooth not only helps maintain proper chewing and speech but also it requires less time and money compared to tooth removal and implant.

Signs You Need a Root Canal

If you experience any of these symptoms, you might need a root canal:

  • Acute, shooting pain when pressure is applied to a tooth
  • Noticeable darkening or discoloration of the tooth compared to neighboring teeth
  • Lingering tooth sensitivity, particularly to extremely hot or cold foods
  • A pimple on the gums that never seems to go away
  • Swelling of the gums near the problem tooth
  • Continuous pain or throbbing even when not chewing or using the tooth

See your dentist to know for sure, and let him or her know about your situation when scheduling an appointment to ensure you are seen as soon as possible. Like most dental problems, it’s best to be proactive. The sooner the dentist is able to diagnose and treat the infected area the better — and it could decrease the amount of post-procedure discomfort.

What to Expect During a Root Canal

The length of time for treatment can vary widely depending on the complexity of each patient’s situation, but it’s safe to say that multiple visits are required to complete a root canal. Anesthesia may be applied, but it is not always necessary since the nerve is already dead. The first phase of a root canal involves thoroughly ridding the tooth of any infection and decayed matter — usually by drilling an access hole, flushing out the pulp, and applying medication to the tooth and surrounding gums. The dentist will then seal off the area completely, or in extreme cases, wait several days for the infection to clear before sealing off the tooth.

The second phase of treatment focuses on filling the tooth. To do this, a dentist normally uses a sealer paste or a rubber-like compound to fill the empty nerve canal and interior of the tooth. After the tooth has been filled, a metal post is inserted into the tooth to further strengthen it.

Restoration, in which a crown is created to cap off the tooth, is the final step of treatment. Once the custom crown arrives, the dentist covers the tooth and shapes the crown to function as optimally as possible.

Post Treatment Care

As with any lengthy dental procedure, temporary tooth and gum sensitivity are to be expected but should go away within a day or two. If the permanent crown has been applied, you can return back to your normal routine immediately.

Root canals have a very high success rate, but it’s important to remember that there is always a possibility for the filling to become infected. To avoid complications and additional root canals down the road, make oral hygiene a top priority and schedule regular visits to your dentist.

Sources:

Dental Health and Root Canals. (2015, January 26). Retrieved May 25, 2015 from http://www.webmd.com/oral-health/guide/dental-root-canals

Johnstone, G. (n.d.). The Latest on Root Canals. Retrieved May 24, 2015 from http://www.yourdentistryguide.com/root-canals/

What is Root Canal Treatment and Why Would You Want It? (2010). Retrieved May 24, 2015 from http://www.dentalfearcentral.org/faq/root-canal/

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

A Visibly Straighter Smile with Invisible Orthodontics

😷 The invisible orthodontics is one of the leading alternatives for both teenagers and adults. While the primary reason many choose this option is that they don’t like the appearance of metal braces, there are several other measurable benefits that make this a superior choice. The Oral Surgery DC Team

Traditional orthodontics isn’t for everyone. The thought of years of painful adjustments and inconvenient appointments could keep some from pursuing the dream of a straight smile. But, there’s another option.

What is Invisible Orthodontics?

Invisible orthodontics uses BPA-free, plastic “aligners” to straighten teeth. Aligners can be removed to eat and clean your teeth, which makes it easy to go about your schedule without having to worry about restricting your diet due to wires or cleaning around brackets.

Typically, a set of aligners is worn from two to six weeks and then you visit your dentist for your next set. This process is repeated until your teeth are straight. With invisible orthodontics, it’s important to remember that the success of the treatment is completely dependent on compliance. Once you have completed the treatment, you will be given retainers that will help keep your teeth straight for years to come.

There two main companies for invisible orthodontics – ClearCorrect and Invisalign.

Understanding ClearCorrect

ClearCorrect has been an option for almost a decade, offering serious benefits to users who want an invisible, removable solution to straighten their teeth.

After being evaluated by your dentist, your aligners will be made and you will start wearing them. With this system, you’ll wear your aligners for 22 hours each day and will visit your dentist for new sets of aligners every four to six weeks.

Understanding Invisalign

Invisalign also provides an invisible, comfortable, convenient way to straighten teeth. Your dentist will create a customized treatment plan and will make aligners that you will change yourself every few weeks to slowly move your teeth. For most patients, checkups are only required every six weeks to monitor your progress. Invisalign aligners should be worn for 20 to 22 hours each day for maximum effectiveness.

Once treatment is complete, you may want to opt for Vivera retainers from Invisalign. These retainers help lock in your smile to make sure it looks just as great in 10 years as it does the day you finish treatment.

Minimal Interruptions for Maximum Results

Whether you’re a teenager worried about how braces will affect your social life or an adult who isn’t willing to suffer through years of metal braces for a straight smile, invisible braces are a great alternative.

Regardless of which company you choose, you can expect your smile to transform into the straight, radiant smile you’ve always envisioned with minimal disruption to your life.

Now that’s something to really smile about!

Sources:

http://www.invisalign.com

https://clearcorrect.com