Category Archives: Dental
Approximately 40% of otherwise healthy individuals suffer from chronic headaches, and about one in eight North Americans suffers from recurring headaches that are so severe they interfere with normal life. It has been estimated that 80% of all headaches occur from muscle tension. You may be surprised to learn that many tension headaches are related to your bite. It may feel as though you’re wearing a steel hatband, or it may be a dull ache on one or both sides. Your headaches may be dental in origin if you experience:
- Sore jaw muscles when you wake up
- Teeth grinding
- Jaw joints that click or pop
- Head or scalp that’s painful to touch
If your physician has ruled out other possible causes, and you suspect the cause might be your bite, contact a dentist for an examination.
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.
1. Am I grinding my teeth?
Your dentist should examine your teeth to see if they’re worn. You could be grinding them at night and not know it.
2. What should I do to keep my teeth and gums healthy?
A dental hygienist should demonstrate proper brushing and flossing and point out areas you tend to miss.
3. Did you find anything that I should tell my doctor about?
Your dentist may be the first to see signs of a systemic disease, like osteoporosis. Dental x-rays may show, for instance, that the triangular spaces at the bottoms of your teeth are getting bigger. “You have to make a clinical judgement on whether it’s osteoporosis or just wear and tear,” says dentist Cindi Sherwood. “Dentists can detect changes because people may see them more regularly than their physicians.”
4. Did you screen me for oral cancer?
Early detection is key, and initial signs may not be obvious to you. Unfortunately, most oral cancers are discovered when the disease has advanced to the point where it is difficult to treat.
5. How often should I come in and why?
There’s no science behind the guideline to see a dentist every six months. Patients with a tendency toward periodontitis may need quarterly cleanings and checkups. Others may need them only annually.