What’s the Deal with Wisdom Teeth?

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Becky Larson, RDH

What’s the Deal with Wisdom Teeth?

Everyone has them, but not everybody knows what to do with them.  “Wisdom teeth” or 3rd molars can cause a number of problems in the mouth.

Wisdom teeth are believed to be evolutionary and were helpful to our distant ancestors who frequently ate rougher foods.  Wisdom teeth would erupt as replacements for worn out or missing teeth.  Nowadays modern advancements, better hygiene, and softer diets allow us to keep most of our teeth so we really don’t need wisdom teeth at all! For most people, wisdom teeth erupt in the late teen years or early 20’s, usually earlier for females.  They are the most posterior (towards the back) teeth.  Most people have 4 wisdom teeth total, but sometimes they can be congenitally missing.  Other times people may have extra (supernumerary) wisdom teeth.

Even if there is sufficient space in the mouth and the wisdom teeth are in alignment with the other teeth, they can still cause problems.  Because of their location, wisdom teeth are extremely hard to brush and floss.  If they are not kept clean, they can cause periodontal pocketing, which can lead to tooth loss in other areas of the mouth.  Unfortunately, most people don’t have enough space and when wisdom teeth erupt, they can push on the surrounding teeth.  This can cause crowding and misalignment throughout the entire mouth.  Wisdom teeth can also be impacted – meaning they are enclosed in the gum tissue or jawbone.  When this happens they can partially erupt or even try to erupt horizontally.  When teeth are only partially erupted, it allows bacteria to enter the tooth.  This can lead to infection, pain, swelling, jaw soreness, cysts, and other systemic illnesses.

X-ray showing impacted wisdom teeth:

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A dentist will usually take a panoramic x-ray to view the wisdom teeth to determine when/if they need to be extracted.  If extractions are indicated, getting them out at a younger age is preferable for recovery time.  If wisdom teeth are fully erupted and not impacted in the gums or bone, they can be extracted as easily as a regular tooth.  If they are impacted, the gums and/or bone need to be cut open in order to extract.  Wisdom teeth can be extracted with local anesthetic only, though other pain/anxiety management techniques can be used.  These include nitrous oxide, conscious sedation, and/or anti-anxiety pre-medication.

Recovering time is usually about 2 weeks.  During the recover a person may experience bleeding and facial swelling.  Pain medications and antibiotics are often prescribed as well.  Possible complications of wisdom teeth extractions include dry socket and parasthesia.  Dry socket occurs when a blood clot fails to form or falls out and is extremely painful.  A person should not drink from a straw for several days after the extractions to avoid dry socket.  During wisdom teeth extractions the nerves can sometimes become damaged or bruised.  This results in prolonged numbness or parasthesia, which can last weeks or months and can sometimes be permanent.  Parasthesia is more rare and generally the numbing sensation wears off after several hours.  Dry socket and/or parasthesia don’t always occur after wisdom teeth are extracted.

So you can see that wisdom teeth can cause many headaches (literally)!  Be wise and get your wisdom teeth extracted as soon as your dentist recommends it.

Want to learn more? Visit us at

http://www.shalimarfamilydentistry.com

http://www.northstapleydentalcare.com

http://www.alamedadentalaz.com

http://www.dentistingilbert.com

Sources:

http://www.webmd.com/oral-health/wisdom-teeth

http://crest.com/en-us/oral-care-topics/general-oral-hygiene/never-ignore-your-wisdom-teeth-symptoms

picture from: http://www.quora.com/Do-all-humans-have-wisdom-teeth

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What is Xylitol?

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Lindsay Whitlock, RDH

“Xylitol is a natural sweetener derived from the fibrous parts of plants.”

What Are The Dental Benefits of Xylitol?

Splenda (Sucralose) is a commonly used artificial sweetener that one would use to sweeten their iced tea. Once you drink your sweet tea, your teeth are splashed with the sugary beverage, and the Splenda begins to break down in your mouth. Bacteria already thriving in your mouth are immediately drawn to the sugars on your teeth. During this process, the bacteria, for lack of better words, “poop” out acid onto your teeth, and begin the cavity process.

Xylitol does not break down in the mouth like typical sugars (Splenda). Because acid-producing bacteria cannot digest Xylitol, the growth of bacteria is greatly reduced in your mouth, up to 90%. After taking xylitol, the bacteria are unable to stick to the surfaces of your teeth, and thus results in decreased plaque.

Your saliva in your mouth is naturally trying to keep your mouth at a neutral pH, as one is ingesting sugars. If sugar is only consumed a couple times per day, the saliva can protect your mouth and teeth on its own. But for most, sugar is so often consumed that your natural defenses (saliva) are not enough, in the battle of cavity prevention. Xylitol can also increase a neutral pH saliva flow, which could decrease your risk of cavities.

Other Benefits of Xylitol?

  • Xylitol serves as an effective sugar substitute for diabetics and non-diabetics
  • Delicious sweet taste… with no unpleasant aftertaste
  • Provides one third fewer calories than sugar
  • May be useful as a sugar alternative for people with diabetes (on the advice of their healthcare providers)
  • It’s 100% natural. Xylitol is not an artificial substance, but a normal part of everyday metabolism. Xylitol is widely distributed throughout nature in small amounts
  • It’s safe
  • It’s convenient to use
  • Xylitol can be conveniently delivered to your teeth via chewing gum, tablets, or even candy. You don’t need to change your normal routine to make room for Xylitol

How Much, and How Often Should I use Xylitol?

Strive For 5:

  1. Use Xylitol toothpaste, mouthwash, and nasal spray upon waking up
  2. After breakfast use Xylitol gum, mints, or candy
  3. After lunch use Xylitol gum, mints, or candy
  4. After dinner use Xylitol gum, mints, or candy
  5. Use Xylitol toothpaste, mouthwash, and nasal spray upon going to bed

For a complete this of Xylitol containing products, follow this link: http://xylitol.org/xylitol-products

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Want to learn more? Visit us at

http://www.shalimarfamilydentistry.com

http://www.northstapleydentalcare.com

http://www.alamedadentalaz.com

http://www.dentistingilbert.com

Sources: 

http://www.Xylitol.org

How to Care For Your Infant’s Teeth

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Lora Cook RDH 

How to Care For Your Infant’s Teeth

When to start cleaning your baby’s teeth

          You can start before your baby even has teeth, it is best to incorporate mouth cleaning at bath time.  This routine will help your baby get used to you cleaning their mouth, which can allow a smoother transition when you do begin to brushing their teeth. This will also help you to know when your babies teeth first start to push through their gum tissue.

The bacteria that lives in the mouth is not harmful to the gum tissue, but can be harmful to the teeth.  The enamel on baby teeth are 50% thinner than adult teeth.  Therefore baby teeth are more susceptible to the bacteria that causes cavities.

How to clean your infants teeth

          To clean your babies mouth before tooth eruption use a clean wet wash cloth.  Wrap wash cloth around your finger then rub it gently around your babies gums.

baby blog

When to transition to a tooth brush.

            When the teeth have started to erupt, this will be time to transition from a wash cloth to a baby tooth brush.  Look for a tooth brush specifically made for infants. This will usually start around six months old.  This will also be the time to change from bath time mouth cleaning to brushing two times daily.

It is fine to just dry brush with just tap water, or a fluoridated tooth paste can be used. When using toothpaste, use the tiniest smear.  It is never too early to help create a good brushing routine for your child.

Baby TB

 

Want to learn more? Visit us at

http://www.shalimarfamilydentistry.com

http://www.northstapleydentalcare.com

http://www.alamedadentalaz.com

http://www.dentistingilbert.com

Sources:

http://www.myhealthunit.ca/en/livehealthyandprotectyourhealth/Caring-for-Your-Child-s-Teeth.asp

http://m.oralb.com/products/oral-b-stage-1-disney-baby-pooh-toothbrush

www.babycenter.com

Random Fun Dental Facts

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Amanda Orvis, RDH

Random Fun Dental Fact

Did you know that George Washington’s famous dentures weren’t made from wood?  That is a popular dental myth. George Washington had several sets of teeth fabricated for him, but none of which were made from wood. His dentures included teeth that were crafted from different combinations of gold, ivory, lead and a mixture donkey and hippopotamus teeth.

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The first toothbrush was created in the late 18th century by a prisoner. The toothbrush had a carved bone handle with boar bristles inserted into drilled holes, the bristles were held in place by wire.

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The first nylon bristle toothbrush was created in 1938. It was called Doctor West’s Miracle Toothbrush.

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Have you ever heard of Supernumerary teeth? Hyperdontia is the true term for Supernumerary teeth. These are teeth that appear in addition to the normal number of teeth.

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The first known floss was made of silk and was invented in 1815 in New Orleans.

In the year 1210 Barber-Surgeons evolved. Their job duties included hygiene services such as shaving and tooth extractions. Can you imagine going to get a haircut/shave and then having your tooth pulled? Ouch!

In 1776 Paul Revere used the first known post-mortem dental forensics by identifying his deceased friend according to the dental bridge that he had previously fabricated for him.

1906- Irene Newman was the first trained Dental Hygienist. By the year 1936, thirty states had licensed dental hygienists.

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In 1931 Arm & Hammer dentifrice (toothpaste) was given the first ever ADA Seal (American Dental Association Seal).

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Braces have come a long way. Originally in order to straighten your teeth, it was required to band every single tooth. Today bands are occasionally used on molars to anchor the orthodontic wires to help achieve desired movement.

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Want to learn more? Visit us at

http://www.shalimarfamilydentistry.com

http://www.northstapleydentalcare.com

http://www.alamedadentalaz.com

http://www.dentistingilbert.com

Sources

http://www.history.com/news/ask-history/did-george-washington-have-wooden-teeth

https://www.google.com/search?q=18th+century+toothbrush&rlz=1T4GGNI_enUS478US479&source=lnms&tbm=isch&sa=X&ei=Yx-YVZDEBcXSoATVo7jIBw&ved=0CAcQ_AUoAQ&biw=1600&bih=714#tbm=isch&q=george+washingtons+teeth&imgrc=EAwFSfl5LOzB0M%3A

http://www.history.com/news/ask-history/who-invented-the-toothbrush

https://www.google.com/search?q=18th+century+toothbrush&rlz=1T4GGNI_enUS478US479&source=lnms&tbm=isch&sa=X&ei=Yx-YVZDEBcXSoATVo7jIBw&ved=0CAcQ_AUoAQ&biw=1600&bih=714#imgrc=Ofulh03HnKdMHM%3A

http://www.loc.gov/rr/scitech/mysteries/tooth.html

https://www.google.com/search?q=who+created+the+first+nylon+bristle+toothbrush&rlz=1T4GGNI_enUS478US479&biw=1600&bih=714&source=lnms&tbm=isch&sa=X&ei=7CGYVYfdH8PToAS7hpjIDw&ved=0CAcQ_AUoAg#imgrc=jjIA1ifoHV61UM%3A

http://www.ada.org/en/about-the-ada/ada-history-and-presidents-of-the-ada/ada-history-of-dentistry-timeline

http://www.adha.org/timeline

https://www.google.com/search?q=paul+revere&rlz=1T4GGNI_enUS478US479&source=lnms&tbm=isch&sa=X&ei=qieYVYySDM_joAT07aL4Aw&ved=0CAcQ_AUoAQ&biw=1600&bih=714#tbm=isch&q=irene+newman+dental+hygienist&imgrc=yOpwQE1mvSFJ7M%3A

https://www.google.com/search?q=first+orthodontics&rlz=1T4GGNI_enUS478US479&source=lnms&tbm=isch&sa=X&ei=nC-YVfrAPNLeoATHm52YAw&ved=0CAgQ_AUoAg&biw=1600&bih=714#imgrc=YCP08L500cD6ZM%3A

https://www.google.com/search?q=supernumerary+teeth&rlz=1T4GGNI_enUS478US479&source=lnms&tbm=isch&sa=X&ei=_jOYVeDKMImsogTw9I34Bw&ved=0CAcQ_AUoAQ&biw=1600&bih=714#imgrc=oblCbC97QOONTM%3A