Posts for: October, 2012
Thinking or knowing you have an impacted wisdom tooth can be alarming news for some people. Unfortunately, one of the main reasons for this feeling is due to the mythology surrounding wisdom teeth...and especially impacted wisdom teeth. While an impacted wisdom tooth can cause intense pain, some people are quite shocked to learn that they even have impacted wisdom teeth, as it is causing no pain at all.
By definition, an impacted wisdom tooth is a third (and last) molar that gets jammed against an adjacent tooth or other important structures such as gum, bone nerves, blood vessels. And having an impacted wisdom tooth does have its consequences — even if you are unaware you have one. The most common issue is gum (periodontal) disease. This is the main reason why it is so important to have a problematic wisdom tooth removed early when you are young and before periodontal disease has started. If left untreated, you risk damaging and/or losing the impacted tooth and adjacent teeth.
The key to managing wisdom teeth is to monitor them closely through thorough routine examinations and x-rays between the ages of 17 and 25, the time when wisdom teeth typically appear. This is so vital because it allows us to predict the way your wisdom teeth will erupt (become visible) or come into proper position with useful biting function. We can use these visits and x-rays to monitor development so that we are best equipped to determine if or when wisdom teeth need to be treated or removed.
It is also important to contact us as soon as you think you may have an impacted wisdom tooth that is causing pain, swelling or even infection. We can put your mind at rest with the facts of what needs to be done after we've completed our exam.
If you feel that you or a family member has an impacted wisdom tooth, contact us today to schedule an appointment to discuss your questions. Or you can learn more now about the symptoms and treatment options of impacted wisdom teeth by continuing to read the Dear Doctor magazine article “Wisdom Teeth.”
When dentists talk to patients, they often use specialized vocabulary referring to various dental conditions. Do you understand what they mean when they use these words — or are you wondering what they are talking about?
Here's your chance to test your knowledge of ten words that have a particular meaning in the context of dentistry. If you already know them, congratulations! If you don't, here's your chance to learn what these words mean in the dental world.
In dentistry, enamel is the hard outer coating of your teeth. It is the hardest substance produced by living animals. It is a non-living, mineralized, and composed of a crystalline form of calcium and phosphate.
The dentin is the layer of a tooth that is just beneath the enamel. It is living tissue similar to bone tissue.
When dentists speak of pulp, we mean the tissues in the central chamber of a tooth (the root canal) that nourish the dentin layer and contain the nerves of the tooth.
Many people exert excess pressure on their teeth by clenching or grinding them. This is called bruxism, a habit that can be very damaging to teeth.
By this we mean how the upper and lower teeth are aligned, and how they fit together. This can also be referred to as your bite.
This term refers to tooth decay. Dental caries and periodontal disease (see below) are two of the most common diseases known to man. Today, these diseases are not only treatable, but they are also largely preventable.
A term for gum disease, this term comes from “peri,” meaning around and “odont,” meaning tooth. It is used to describe a process of inflammation and infection leading to the progressive loss of attachment between the fibers that connect the bone and gum tissues to the teeth. This can lead to loss of teeth and of the bone itself.
When you consume acidic foods or drinks, the acids in your mouth react directly with minerals in the outer enamel of your teeth, causing chemical erosion. This is not the same as tooth decay, which is caused by acids released by bacterial film that forms on your teeth (see below).
A dental implant is a permanent replacement for a missing tooth. It replaces the root portion of the tooth and is most often composed of a titanium alloy. The titanium root fuses with the jaw bone, making the implant very stable. A crown is attached to the implant and can be crafted to match your natural teeth.
Dental plaque is the whitish film of bacteria (a biofilm) that collects on your teeth. Your goal in daily brushing and flossing is to remove plaque.
No one participates in sports or recreational activities with the goal of oral or facial injury. However, the facts reveal two things: sports injuries are the number one cause, impacting thousands of adults and children annually and many of them can be prevented or at least minimized with education and the use of a properly fitted professional mouthguard.
In addition to the obvious negative of the physical injury to the mouth and face, oral-facial injuries can also be both emotional and psychological. And while these injuries can occur due to a multitude of reasons, a recent study found that approximately 25% occur while playing sports. The following poignant facts should raise your awareness of dental injuries.
Did you knowÃ¢Â€Â¦?
- On average, 22,000 dental injuries occur annually in children under the age of 18.
- Outdoor activities and products are associated with the largest number of dental injuries to baby (primary) teeth in children aged 7 to 12 with 50% of these incidents related to bicycle accidents.
- Outdoor activities and products are also associated with the largest number of dental injuries to permanent teeth in adolescents aged 13 to 17.
- Of all sports, baseball and basketball consistently produce the largest number of dental injuries each year.
- Over 80% of all dental injuries involve the upper front teeth.
- Age, gender, condition and position of the teeth, as well as the type of sport being played are all key risk factors associated with the likelihood of experiencing a sports injury.
- Studies show that teenage boys involved in contact sports, collision sports, and high-velocity non-contact sports are at the highest risks for dental injuries.
- Young girls are starting to participate in many of these same sports, and thus their risks for injuries are climbing.
- Home furniture is the main culprit in over 50% of the dental injuries in children under the age of 7.
We encourage you to take a moment to assess your own as well as your family's risk of dental injury and to think about how you can treat and prevent them. To learn more, read the Dear Doctor article, “An Introduction To Sports Injuries & Dentistry.” Or, feel free to contact us to discuss your questions or to schedule a consultation.
Quiz: What Is Smile Design?
All cultures worldwide recognize a smile as positive nonverbal communication. Yet many people are insecure about the way their smile looks. Modern cosmetic dentistry can completely change your smile through a comprehensive technique called Smile Design.
Take the following quiz to find out how much you know about your smile and smile design.
- What is the basic reason we consider straight, healthy teeth to be attractive?
- An article in a beauty magazine.
- An instinctive understanding of health and survival.
- Our first grade teacher said so.
- A talk show on television.
- What must we take into account in designing an attractive, balanced smile?
- The shape of your face.
- Your skin color and complexion.
- The form of your lips.
- All of the above.
- As your dentist, we consider each of the following in evaluating your current smile except:
- Your marital status.
- The health of your bone and gum tissues.
- How your jaw joints function.
- The stability of your bite.
- What do we use to evaluate your smile?
- X-rays and photographs.
- Models of your teeth and gums.
- Photographs and computer graphics.
- All of the above.
- Bonding is one method that may be used to test or enhance your smile. It is used as:
- A way of making friends with your dentist.
- A way of training secret agents.
- A method of repairing chipped, broken or decayed teeth and testing changes before they are made permanent.
- None of the above.
- b. What we consider an attractive smile is rooted in instinctive understanding of health and survival. We value straight, white, healthy teeth — only a few centuries ago, a person with few or no teeth was likely to starve.
- d. All of these factors must be taken into consideration in order to design a smile that is in balance with your face.
- a. While satisfaction with your life partner may make you smile, our priority in smile design is to make sure that the basic structures of your teeth are healthy and function properly.
- d. All of the above are used in evaluating your current condition to design a new smile.
- c. In bonding, a composite resin tooth colored material is shaped and physically bonded to a tooth or teeth that are chipped, broken, or decayed to restore both aesthetics and function.
After careful analysis and planning, a variety of techniques can be used to redesign an attractive and healthy new smile, so you can feel confident about smiling and sharing it with the world. To learn more about Smile Design, read “Beautiful Smiles by Design.” Or contact us to discuss your questions or to schedule an appointment.