Friday, May 11, 2018

Should I get my wisdom teeth taken out?

Should your wisdom teeth be removed? The answer to this question like many health related ones

Your mouth will go through a lot of transitions as you get older. A big dental milestone that commonly takes place between ages 16-20 is the appearance of your third molars or wisdom teeth. Wisdom teeth can lead to problems if they don't come in correctly or in the wrong position.

These are some of the things your dentist will look for during this time:

  • Malpositioned wisdom teeth that trap food
  • Wisdom teeth that have come only partly through the gum
  • Wisdom teeth that don't have room to come in and may crowd other teeth
  • An impacted wisdom tooth that can form a cyst or tumor

Why you may need to have your wisdom teeth removed:

  • Gum disease 
  • Pain
  • Cysts or Tumors
  • Damage to other teeth
  • Extensive tooth decay

Wisdom teeth that have errupted fully and are functional, painless, cavity free with healthy gum tissue may not need to ever be removed. If you are wondering what category your wisdom teeth fall into consult your dentist for an exam and panoramic x-ray to find out. If they need to be removed it is easier, with far fewer complications when you are younger.

Tuesday, May 1, 2018

How Can I Whiten My Teeth?

Many people are interested in whitening their teeth to improve their smile. There are numerous methods that are advocated online to achieve whiter teeth, however, many of them do not work or can be damaging to your oral health.

There are many natural methods for whitening that can be found online including:

  • Activated charcoal
  • Coconut oil
  • Hydrogen peroxide
  • Baking soda
  • Fruits such as strawberries or banana peel

The problem with these methods for whitening is that they either don't work or they work by abrasive or acidic methods which over time can damage the enamel of the teeth leading to sensitivity.

According to the American Dental Association their are two ways to whiten teeth:

  1. Using a product that contains bleaching ingredients, usually some form of peroxide, that changes the color of the teeth by penetrating through the enamel and bleaching the discolored dentin deeper inside the tooth.
  2. Abrasive methods that simply remove the superficial stains on top of your enamel. 

The first category would include OTC products such as whitening strips or gels and professional products found at the dental office such as in office whitening or take home gels with a custom tray. The big advantage that products delivered at the dental office have is that they protect the gums from the irritating and potentially harmful effects of the bleaching solution and distribute the bleach in a uniform manner. They also have a higher concentration of peroxide so the effects are noticeable in a much shorter time.

The second category would include whitening toothpastes and some of the natural remedies including baking soda and activated charcoal. The big disadvantage with this category is the damage over time that can be done to the enamel and the fact that they don't penetrate into the dentin to remove the staining there.

Before trying any whitening method it is a good idea to visit your dentist for a good cleaning which can remove the surface staining and find out what method would work best for you. Whatever method you choose stop if you are experiencing side effects such as sensitivity to hot and cold.

Wednesday, April 25, 2018

Why is my mouth so dry?

Everyone has had times when their mouth feels a little dry, usually from lack of hydration, but for some this feeling is consistent or even constant. Does your mouth feel like this?

Dry mouth or xerostomia refers to a condition where your salivary glands do not produce adequate saliva to keep the mouth wet. Saliva is important as it makes it easier to chew and swallow. It also buffers the acids produced by bacteria which can damage your teeth leading to cavities.

There are multiple causes of dry mouth including physiological or disease related causes including:

  • Aging
  • Autoimmune disease
  • Poorly controlled hypertension
  • Poorly controlled diabetes

There are also lifestyle causes including:

  • Use of alcohol
  • Use of tobacco
  • Consumption of excessive caffeine.

By far the most common cause of xerostomia is as a side effect of medication. Some of the more common medications that cause this are ones used to treat:

  • High blood pressure
  • Depression and anxiety
  • Cold symptoms (antihistamines and decongestants)
  • Pain
  • Parkinson's disease
  • Muscle relaxants                

Relieving Dry Mouth

  • Sipping water
  • Sucking on ice chips
  • Use of lip lubricants
  • Chewing sugar free gum
  • Sucking on sugar free candy
  • Avoiding salty, spicy foods
  • Using a humidifier in your bedroom at night

Dental Recommendations

  • Brush teeth at least two times daily
  • Floss teeth daily
  • Dental visits at least two time a year
  • Use of a prescription flouride toothpaste or gel
  • Possible use of a prescription medication to increase salivary flow

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

Is Brushing Damaging Your Teeth?

Take it easy on your teeth and gums,
don't brush too hard

People often brush their teeth using too much pressure or with a toothbrush with bristles that are too hard. This can be damaging to your teeth and gums.

What problems can result from brushing too hard?

  • Tooth sensitivity
  • Loss of enamel, especially at the gumline
  • Gum recession
  • Loss of supporting bone around teeth

How to properly brush

The main purpose of brushing your teeth is to remove the plaque that builds up on the teeth. This is an accumulation of bacteria and food residue. Since it is soft, initially, you don't need to use a lot of force to remove it.
Use small circular motions with your brush focused at the gumline.
Make sure you use a toothbrush with soft bristles - a firmer toothbrush does not get your teeth cleaner, but it can cause more damage.
Using an electric toothbrush can also keep you from brushing to hard, just let the toothbrush do the work.
my favorite toothbrush

If your teeth are overly sensitive or your gums are bleeding you should visit your dentist.