<![CDATA[Heck Family Dentistry - Articles]]>Fri, 09 Feb 2018 04:39:26 -0800Weebly<![CDATA[What about those wisdom teeth?]]>Wed, 04 Nov 2015 02:58:36 GMThttp://mtorabdentist.com/articles/what-about-those-wisdom-teeth
Most wisdom teeth erupt at age 17 to 25. These are the last teeth to erupt in the mouth, and because this is generally adulthood, they are called “wisdom teeth.” The dental term for them is third molars (the first molars come in at age 6 and the second molars come in at age 12). Some people have no problems with their wisdom teeth and do fine with them. However, most people find that their mouths don’t quite have enough space for all those teeth. Generations ago the human jaw was much bigger and allowed ample space for 32 teeth. However, over time, the size of the jaw has decreased and the teeth are crowded into a smaller space.

So what happens when wisdom teeth try to erupt and don’t have enough room? One possibility is that they stay fully impacted and can’t break through at all. These teeth can lay dormant for the rest of one’s life, or some problems can develop within the fluid-filled sac that the tooth is encased in. Removal of these teeth gets much more difficult and complicated as one gets older, and bones become more brittle and take longer to heal. Another possibility is that the teeth only partially erupt, causing an opening of the sac into the oral environment. This can cause pain, infection and swelling. These teeth will have to be removed if they never fully erupt.

Another possibility is that the teeth force their way in and cause crowding. The other teeth “make way” and squeeze together causing malalignment, making it difficult for a person to keep their teeth clean. The plaque that collects on the posterior teeth can cause decay and periodontal disease to develop, not just around the wisdom teeth, but around the other teeth as well.

Not everyone has wisdom teeth, and some people have one or more but not all four. Some may have ample room for these teeth to come in, while others do not. So rather than saying that everyone should have them removed, we recommend consulting with a dentist to determine which ones should stay and which ones should go. A dentist can take a panoramic x-ray, which shows all the teeth and their relationship to the jawbone and temperomandibular joint (TMJ). If the dentist recommends extraction, this should be done earlier rather than later. As mentioned before, the surgery becomes more difficult as a person ages. So use “wisdom” when the third molars come in! Have them checked by your dentist.

For more information or to schedule your appointment contact us today !
<![CDATA[What to know about tooth whitening:]]>Sat, 03 Oct 2015 01:57:11 GMThttp://mtorabdentist.com/articles/tooth-whitening
Today many people are interested in whitening their teeth. And why not? The advertisers would have us believe that the solution is right at our fingertips, and for very little cost. Do those whitening products we see in stores really work? Bleaching of the teeth is much like bleaching of any other material. It is the use of peroxide at an ideal concentration for a set amount of time in intimate contact with the tooth. There are many strengths and means of delivery, but basically the peroxide penetrates the enamel and breaks down pigmented particles that are usually the result of aging and environment (our teeth yellow as we get older due to diet, habits, etc). Natural pigment that a person is born with can be broken down and bleached as well.

What is the best way to bleach? Any bleaching material that is painted on and left to do its job is not effective. Saliva breaks it down and it doesn’t have enough time to work. Whitening toothpastes can sometimes work if used often enough, but it is a very slow process and the change is not dramatic. Also, these toothpastes often cause sensitivity before any real color change is noticeable. A lot of people try Crest Whitestrips. These can work if a person has straight teeth and uses them religiously. The problem is that the bleach concentration is very low, therefore one has to increase the time and frequency of bleaching. It will take several boxes to bleach the teeth to an appreciable difference. Any teeth that are not in alignment will not get the effect of the bleach.

The best way to whiten teeth is to have a tray custom made to the teeth so the material intimately contacts each tooth. Then the bleaching material should be of a concentration that is not available over-the-counter for effective bleaching. Most dental offices offer this service to their patients, but many don’t advertise it. If you are curious, ask your dentist if he or she offers tooth whitening. A person can have a noticeable difference of two shades or so in just two weeks of professional whitening.

A word of caution about bleaching: some people can develop sensitivity due to the whitening process. It is not irreversible however. If sensitivity develops, just stop bleaching until it subsides and resume at a slower pace. People with staining of the teeth due to medicines such as Tetracycline don’t usually respond well to whitening. These people may consider porcelain veneers to cover the stain. Pregnant and lactating women should not bleach, as studies have not been done about the effects of the material on this population. And lastly, any cosmetic dental work a person has had (white fillings, crowns, bonding, and veneers) will not change color with the bleaching process. Those restorations should be replaced if the teeth are bleached to a different color. If you are considering any cosmetic work, bleach beforehand.

For more information or to schedule your appointment contact us today !
<![CDATA[Does gum disease run in your family?]]>Fri, 04 Sep 2015 02:03:04 GMThttp://mtorabdentist.com/articles/does-gum-disease-run-in-your-family
Periodontal disease, or gum disease, is an infection of the surrounding tissues of the teeth that causes bone loss and loss of support of the teeth. Left unchecked, this disease causes the teeth to get loose and even fall out, and it can also cause an abscess or infection with pus and swelling. Research has shown that periodontal disease can run in families.

People with gum disease have a high prevalence of certain organisms in their mouth and in the pockets around their teeth. These organisms are not found in significant numbers in a healthy mouth. A baby is born with a relatively clean mouth, and as he or she starts coming in contact with immediate family members, organisms are passed from the family to the child by kissing, sharing food, etc. If these family members have gum disease, they may pass on the organisms that cause this disease. The child can also contract these organisms from babysitters and other relatives he or she is in close contact with. There is also a possibility that a spouse with gum disease can pass the organisms on to his or her partner over the years.

Genetics also play a role in this transmission. Not all people are susceptible to these organisms. Transmission from adult to child and adult to adult does not happen 100% of the time; it depends on the host susceptibility as well. Smoking plays a strong role in gum disease. Smokers have a 5 times greater risk of losing their teeth to gum disease than the rest of the population. Nicotine disarms the neutrophils, which are the body’s defense cells. These weakened neutrophils are seen up to nine months after a person stops smoking!

The good news is, even with heredity, periodontal disease can be slowed or even halted. With regular removal of the biofilm these organisms produce (professional cleaning) the damage is minimized, and the life of your teeth can be extended by many years. The bottom line is, to treat the disease, we have to remove the causative agents. So the fact that gum disease runs in your family isn’t really an excuse to let your teeth go. It can be treated.

For more information or to schedule your appointment contact us today !
<![CDATA[You can die from an infected tooth!]]>Tue, 04 Aug 2015 02:06:21 GMThttp://mtorabdentist.com/articles/you-can-die-from-an-infected-tooth
Feb 25, 2007 12 year old Deamonte Driver from Maryland died from a tooth abcess. The infection from the offending tooth had spread to his brain. The child had never had routine dental care, which would probably have prevented his death.

Deamonte never really had much pain with his teeth. At least his mother said he never really complained, though she knew he needed some dental care. He had a checkup in Oct. of 2006 and was referred to an oral surgeon to extract six teeth. The mother cancelled due to the loss of his medical card.

Jan 11 Deamonte complained of a headache and was taken to the emergency room. He underwent emergency brain surgery and started having seizures. He then had a second operation, and the problem tooth was extracted. He stayed two weeks at Children’s Hospital in Maryland and was moved to another hospital to undergo 6 weeks of physical and occupational therapy. He seemed to be mending, and suddenly took a turn for the worse and died Feb 25.

Even though most areas of the country are fluoridated (though several areas in this county are not) tooth decay is the single most common childhood disease nationwide, five times more common than asthma. Emergency treatment can be costly: Deamonte’s bill for the two weeks at Children’s alone was between 200,000 and 250,000.

This story reminds us how important it is to get routine dental care. It is especially important to listen to the signals our bodies give us to let us know there is a problem, like tooth sensitivity, pain, a foul taste in the mouth, bad breath, and swelling. Remember, baby teeth can abcess too! It’s especially important to address issues in baby teeth in a timely manner, as abcess usually happens very quickly in primary teeth. If you have any concerns about whether there is infection present in your mouth, have your dentist examine your teeth. Infection can easily be detected with an exam and x-rays. And remember, don’t ignore that nagging feeling that something is wrong with your teeth!

For more information or to schedule your appointment contact us today !