Myths of Dentistry

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Cortney Davis, RDH

Myths of Dentistry

 It’s no myth that to some dental work can be scary sometimes. Statistics show that around 12 percent of the population in the U.S. says they are anxious when it comes to visiting the dentist, and many don’t know how to take care of their oral health properly. With the overwhelming anxiety and stress build up around dentists and dental health, it’s not shocking that people may have made up or heard several dental myths over the years. People then tend to believe these myths and decide not go to the dentist regularly, rather than find out the truth. Having false information can be harmful to your health, so let’s talk about some of the common myths which you may believe yourself or have heard.

Myth #1- As long as I brush my teeth twice a day or don’t have tooth pain, I don’t need to go to the dentist.

Fact: While brushing twice a day and flossing once daily is Important, it is not enough. It is also important to get routine cleanings. During cleanings, the hygienist will clean the hard to reach areas, will make sure your gums are healthy, and will educate patients on proper home care. Dentists will also use x-rays and visual exams to make sure a patient doesn’t have any problems with their teeth or gums. Many don’t know this, but you don’t always have tooth pain when you have a tooth problem or gum disease, and if left untreated a tooth problem and unhealthy gum tissue will only get worse and lead to more serious problems. That’s why it is so important to come in for routine check-ups.

Myth #2 The dentist only wants my money

Fact: While some dental procedures and treatments can seem costly, they are completely worth it. As stated above, if dental problems are left untreated for a period, the treatment needed typically becomes more extensive which will cost more than a simple cleaning every six months. If a dentist can catch the signs of infection early, treatment will be minimal and less costly.

Myth #3 Bleaching your teeth can damage them.

Fact: Bleaching is a popular service that allows patients to get whiter smiles faster. Scientific studies have shown that using peroxide to whiten teeth is both safe and efficient. Although bleaching can cause some sensitivity when a patient is using it, bleaching gel is safe concerning damage of the structure of teeth; it merely makes teeth whiter and brighter.

Myth #4. If gums are bleeding, brushing and flossing should be avoided. 

Fact: The exact opposite is true. Regular brushing and flossing are essential to remove plaque build-up which causes bleeding gums.   Bleeding gums is a sign of gum brokerage, and more care actually must be done to avoid worse oral problems.

Myth #5 Baby teeth aren’t important, they will fall out anyway.

Fact: Yes, eventually all of your child’s 20 baby teeth will fall out eventually. However, many serve important functions for your child’s development. Baby teeth are known as the natural space maintainers for adult teeth and if a child loses a tooth too early due to dental problems, they could cause crowding for adult teeth. The health of your child’s baby teeth can also affect the health of their adult teeth. If you leave dental decay in a baby tooth untreated, it could eventually cause your child pain, abscesses, swelling, and affect the adult tooth developing under the baby tooth. Also, if the infection got worse it could even spread to other parts of the child’s body.

Myth #6 I shouldn’t go to the dentist because I am pregnant

Fact: A dental check-up is recommended during pregnancy. Although many women make it nine months with no dental discomfort, pregnancy can make conditions worse or create new ones due to hormonal changes and changes in eating habits. Regular checkups and good dental health habits can help keep you and your baby healthy. Local anesthetics and x-rays are okay during pregnancy although they are to be done only when necessary.

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.pediatricdentistrichmond.com/downloads/Top10Myths_Childrens_Teeth.pdf

http://www.stlawrencedentistry.com/top-10-dental-myths/

http://www.mouthhealthy.org/en/pregnancy/concerns

http://health.howstuffworks.com/wellness/oral-care/problems/5-common-dental-myths.htm

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

Quick Relief for the Constant Canker Sore

It’s no secret that at least everyone has gotten a few canker sores in their lifetime. Have you ever had that period of time where you just cannot seem to get rid of a canker sore? Or you just keep getting them? Well, as I’ve mentioned in my previous blog, I was an orthodontic patient for 3 years. If you’ve ever had braces, you know the drill with the canker sores. Your braces just love to cut you, and canker sores just LOVE to appear everywhere they possibly can. I was so annoyed with my mouth, that I tried every possible way I could to get rid of them. Allow me to walk you through my journey of canker sore relief.

To start, canker sores are small lesions that develop on the soft tissues in your mouth, or at the base of your gums. You can have 2 different types of canker sores; simple, or complex. Simple canker sores may appear three or four times a year and last up to a week. Complex canker sores are less common than simple, and occur more often in people who have previously had them. Unlike cold sores, canker sores are not contagious. A lot of people confuse canker sores with cold sores when in reality, they are very different. The exact cause of a canker sore is unknown, while some say that it could be caused b stress, or injury to your tissue in your mouth. So for example, if you were a cheek biter and lip biter like I was, canker sores will come very easily to your mouth. The constant chewing damages the tissue, leaving room for canker sores to “grow.”

When I was younger, I remember getting the occasional canker sore here and there, nothing big. I would wait for a few days, they would go away. But, when I had my braces put on, it was like I was getting a new canker sore every other day! It was awful. I wasn’t just getting them on my gums, or cheeks, but I was also getting them on my tongue. I tried everything. I went to Walgreens and got every canker sore cream they owned. Nothing would ever help me. I tried everything from orajel, to canker care. It would relieve them, and make them smaller, but I would feel like they would never heel, or new ones would always be sprouting different places in my mouth. I finally made the trip to my dentist after I couldn’t stand them anymore. This was when I had braces, so it’s really hard to clean the gum tissue around my braces. And it was also really hard for me to clean the food out of my teeth really well, which was also part of the problem. When I would eat acidic food, it would stay in my teeth, and because my cheeks would always be damaged due to the braces, it would result in canker sores…everywhere. Well, I started to change my diet, be more thorough with my cleaning, and floss. What do you know? My canker sores started becoming less and less! It was amazing, I was so happy. Doing a really detailed job on cleaning my teeth have now become a habit I never intend to break.

My canker sore journey doesn’t end there, even after my braces were off, I continued to get canker sores. I was furious! I marched right back to Walgreens and started from square 1. All of those creams and gels still did nothing for me. I didn’t want to go to my doctor again, knowing he would just tell me the same thing again. I decided to take matters into my own hands. I started to Google things, and tried all of these ridiculous home remedies….until I found one remedy that was no longer ridiculous. Are you ready for it? Warm salt water. Who knew? It worked miracles. I would swish warm salt water in my mouth twice a day, and within one day, I was feeling the canker sores go down, and I had little pain, and I was able to eat salty things again. After about 3 days of warm salt water, my mouth was canker sore free. I was one happy lady. It just blew my mind that the simplest of things helped me so much. This is what I recommend to everyone out there suffering from canker sores. The salt helps fight the infection and the pain, and inflammation, whereas the warm water helps ease the pain.

Every time I feel a canker sore coming on, I grab that salt water, and gargle and I’m feeling better the next day. It is the only thing I trust when it comes to my canker sores! I recommend it to everyone who has the same problem as I do.sorecanker