Category Archives: Cavities | Decay
Wisdom teeth are third molars. Normally people have three permanent molars that develop in each quadrant of the mouth; upper, lower, right and left. The first molars usually grow into the mouth at around six years of age. The second molars grow in at around age 12. The third molars usually will try to grow in at around age 18 to 20 years. Since that is considered to be the age when people become wiser, third molars gained the nickname, “wisdom teeth.” Actually, they are no different than any other tooth except that they are the last teeth to erupt, or grow into the mouth. They are just as useful as any other teeth if they grow in properly, have a proper bite relationship, and have healthy gum tissue around them. Unfortunately, this does not always happen.
What is an impaction?
When wisdom teeth are prevented from erupting into the mouth properly, they are referred to as impacted. Teeth that have not erupted are not necessarily impacted. It may be that it is still too early in someone’s dental development, and if time passes they might grow in properly. A dentist must examine a patient’s mouth and his or her x-rays to determine if the teeth are impacted or will not grow in properly. Impacted teeth may cause problems. Impacted teeth can result in infection, decay of adjacent teeth, gum disease or formation of a cyst or tumor from the follicle, which is the tissue which formed the crown of the tooth. Many dentists recommend removal of impacted wisdom teeth to prevent potential problems.
Erupted wisdom teeth
Erupted wisdom teeth may also need to be removed. The dentist may recommend this if the tooth is non0functional, interfering with the bite, badly decayed, involved with or at risk for periodontal disease, or interfering with restoration of an adjacent tooth. Once again, every case is different and only your dentist can determine if there is a reason for you to have a tooth removed.
When should wisdom teeth be removed?
The following symptoms may indicate that the wisdom teeth have erupted and surfaced, and should be removed before they become impacted– meaning, the teeth have surfaced and have no room in the mouth to grow. However, each individual may experience symptoms differently. Symptoms may include:
- infection in the mouth
- facial swelling
- swelling of the gumline in the back of the mouth
Many oral health specialists will recommend removal of the wisdom teeth, as early removal will help to eliminate problems, such as an impacted tooth that destroys the second molar. Third molar impaction is the most prevalent medical developmental disorder.
What problems are often associated with impacted third molars?
- bacteria and plaque build up
- cysts development (a fluid filled sac)
- tumor development
- jaw and gum disease
What is involved in the extraction procedure?
Wisdom tooth extraction involves accessing the tooth through the soft and hard tissue, gently detaching the connective tissue between the tooth and bone and removing the tooth.
It’s never too early to begin your child’s oral healthcare. Most baby formulas contain sugar. After feeding baby, be sure to gently swab his or her gums with a moist cloth. Babies should into get into the habit of sleeping without a bottle of juice or milk. Liquid will pool in baby’s mouth, which, in the worse case scenario, can result in serious tooth decay. Dentists recommend water for those infants who must have a bottle at nap or bedtime. Be sure to gently swab baby’s gums and erupting teeth until such a time as your dentist recommends regular tooth brushing.
How do I prepare for a dental visit?
- Get a good night’s sleep.
- If you are prone to dental anxiety, eat a high-protein snack and avoid caffeinated or sugary beverages on the day of your visit to help keep you calm.
- If your dental visit coincides with your usual mealtime, bring a healthy snack to much on.
- Wear loose fitting, comfortable clothing.
- Bring a list of medications (name and dosage), as well as the names of your recent and current health care practitioners. Additionally, alert your dentist of any medical conditions you have been diagnosed with.
- Jot down any questions you think of on a notepad. Bring extra paper with you to record the dentist’s answers and any oral care instructions.
Expect your dentist to perform a thorough examination, detect potential problems, and provide an appropriate treatment plan. An initial examination may include some or all of the following procedures:a soft tissue examination; screening and exam for periodontal disease; detailed charting of cavities, existing restorations (fillings and crowns), and other tooth conditions; and an oral cancer screening. Dental x-rays also may be taken to locate any abnormalities or injuries that cannot be detected through a visual exam.
Is it important to share a complete medical history?
Yes. Even if you’ve seen the same dentist for years, communicate any changes in your mouth or medical conditions that have been recently diagnosed. Health conditions, medications – even vitamins- can interfere with routine dental procedures. If you have a medical condition, such as heart-valve problems, recent total joint replacement, or insulin-dependent diabetes, your dentist may prescribe antibiotics before your dental visit to prevent the spread of bacteria. these procedures could include professional teeth cleaning, extractions, and implant surgery.
If you are a cancer patient undergoing chemotherapy, it is important to inform your dentist about your condition. According to the National Institutes for Health, 40 percent of cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy experience oral complications including salivary gland dysfunction, which leads to dry mouth rampant dental decay, and painful mouth sores. The more your dentist knows about your medical history and overall health, the better he or she is able to develop a personalized dental treatment plan to help improve your quality of life.
Are routine visits necessary?
Yes. Make sure to get regular dental checkups at least every six months to maintain healthy teeth and gums. But it is important to know that achieving optimum oral health requires more than regular checkups: it requires you to be an informed patient and an active participant in your own health. Ask your dentist questions about results for your check up and any recommended treatment. If you have researched an oral health problem, the information that you gather can help you identify health concerns and ask the right questions.
Do I need to discuss payment arrangements before my visit?
Payment requirements vary with each dental office, so it’s a good idea to discuss this with the receptionist before your next visit. Making payment arrangements ahead of time also can help reduce pre-visit related stress. If possible, find out what services your dental insurance covers. Ask whether your dentist accepts this kind of insurance and about what payment options are offered.
What if I need to cancel my appointment?
If you cannot keep a scheduled dental appointment, don’t’ wait until the last minute to cancel or now show up at all. Since staff has set up a specific time slot for your oral health care, you should provide as much notice as possible of cancellation. Penalties for missed appointments vary from office to office and some may charge you for failure to cancel . While some emergencies may make it difficult to provide advance notice, 24 hours is recommended.
If you’re unsure about what to ask your dentist, try these questions:
- What type of toothbrush and floss is best for me?
- Am I brushing and flossing effectively?
- Are my teeth and gums healthy?