Monday, May 27, 2013

The What’s and Why’s of Wisdom Teeth: Everything You Wanted to Know, PART 1

In this two-part article series we will be discussing wisdom teeth: What are they? Why do they frequently need to be removed? What can I expect during the extraction procedure?

Not all wisdom teeth are bad, in fact when wisdom teeth are properly aligned and healthy they can be a useful asset to the mouth! However, poorly aligned wisdom teeth will almost always bring with them a handful of oral health risks. In this two-part article series, we will be looking at the ins and outs of wisdom teeth and answer questions such as: what are they? How do I know if I have them? Why do they frequently need to be removed? What can I expect during the removal procedure and what can I expect after the procedure?

Wisdom Teeth: What Are They?

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Wisdom teeth are the final set of molars most people develop in their late teens or early 20’s. If they are healthy and properly aligned, good for you! However, badly aligned or orientated wisdom teeth can damage the adjacent teeth, the jawbone or nerves and lead to overcrowding of the dental arch. Wisdom teeth can also become ‘impacted’, meaning that they are trapped underneath a neighboring tooth, which makes it difficult for them to grow out. Impacted wisdom teeth can be very problematic and painful and typically require extraction.

Wisdom teeth, when partially erupted (not fully emerged from the jawbone and gums), are extremely vulnerable to decay and infection, because of their tricky position and general sensitivity makes them difficult to brush and floss. Partial eruption of the wisdom teeth can create a breach for bacteria to perforate around the tooth and cause infection, which leads to pain, swelling, inflammation and even general illness.

How Do I Know if I Have Wisdom Teeth?

Most people are born with two to four wisdom teeth. If you’re in your late teens or early twenties and have been experiencing localized pain and discomfort towards the back of your jaw, your wisdom teeth may be emerging! The only way to really know is to visit your dentist in Colorado Springs CO. An X-ray will determine the presence and alignment of your wisdom teeth and whether they need to be removed or not. This will prevent any problems that may be more complicated or painful from developing. In younger patients, the wisdom teeth roots are not yet fully developed and the bone is less dense, making removal easier. With older people, the recovery and healing time can take a little longer.

How Will My Wisdom Teeth Be Removed?

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It all depends on the position and stage of development of your wisdom teeth. In fact, a wisdom tooth that is fully erupted through the gum can be extracted as easily as any other tooth! More complex cases of impacted and infected wisdom teeth may require surgery. The relative ease with which your wisdom teeth can be removed will be determined and explained to you by your oral health care provider during your dental examination.

Till We Meet Again!

Dentists in Colorado Springs help us explain the ins and outs of wisdom teeth and why they sometimes are better out than in. So, stay tuned and we’ll catch you up on additional information pertaining to wisdom teeth and the removal process. In Part 2 of this article series, we will be looking at how the procedure works and what can be expected during the subsequent healing process.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

The Basics of a Great Oral Hygiene Routine: What Dental Experts in Colorado Springs Advise

This article provides instructions for a basic home oral hygiene routine that will help people prevent cavities, gingivitis and gum disease.

On average, people living in the United States spend only about 17 seconds brushing their teeth! In this article, we will explain how maintaining a simple oral hygiene routine will not only protect your teeth and gums from decay and disease, but also leave your mouth feeling amazingly clean and fresh, while decreasing the likelihood of having embarrassingly bad breath. These simple instructions are recommended to be followed 2-3 times daily.

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What Routine Should I follow for Basic Oral Hygiene?

  • FLOSS! The dental Colorado Springs healthcare community highly recommend that you floss your teeth every single day! This step plays an important role in dental health because, unlike bristles, floss is an interdental cleaner. This means that it cleans the harder to reach spaces between the teeth and the gap between the base of the teeth and the gums. While a mouthwash can kill bacteria that form plaque, it cannot remove the bits of food that can lodge in these places, encouraging bacteria to flourish!

  • SCRAPE! Gently scraping your tongue with a tongue scraper will aid in removing the mucus layer which protects bacteria living on your tongue! Be careful not to scrape too violently; be gentle but firm.

  • BRUSH! Using a little more than a pea-sized amount of toothpaste, brush your teeth for at least two minutes, being sure to brush the inside and outside of your tooth row and gum line. Also, cover more than just your teeth! Gently clean the roof of your mouth and the insides of your cheeks. Bacteria are sticky critters and can populate every conceivable surface, nook and cranny in your mouth.

  • RINSE! Between brushes, take a mouthful of ADA-approved anti-bacterial mouthwash and rinse for at least 60-90 seconds in order to cover all surfaces. Do not rinse your mouth with water after using a mouthwash. You don’t want to dilute its anti-bacterial action or fresh minty aftertaste!

Remember to keep your bottle of oral rinse and your tube of toothpaste out of the sun and tightly closed. Dentists in Colorado Springs provide a body of evidence advocating that a good oral hygiene routine not only keeps your smile beautiful, youthful and healthy, but it can also help prevent you from developing serious diseases! It is also recommended to go to your local dentist and oral hygienitst for a general check-up and professional cleaning twice a year. Your dentist can offer you routine cleanings which will aid in your effort to keep your mouth and teeth happy, hygienic and beautiful.

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A Final Note

Brushing and flossing daily are essential for maintaining a good standard of oral health, but professional cleanings are necessary too! Your home efforts simply aren’t enough to prevent accumulations of plaque from hardening to form cavity-forming tartar. Routine cleanings, also known as ‘prophylaxis’, are designed to preserve dental health by removing harmful bacteria, plaque and tartar from below the gum line, helping to prevent the development and spread of gum disease.

Friday, May 10, 2013

Root Canal Procedures: What Dentists in Colorado Springs Have to Say

This article explains what a root canal is, why they can be necessary and what you can expect from the procedure.

It happens. Whether it is due to a lack of regular visits to your dentist, too much of a sweet tooth or just plain wear and tear, there comes a time for many when we might face needing a root canal. It’s not a trip to the fair, but it is a lot more fun than dealing with the consequences of avoiding one. In order to provide a step-by step account of the entire process, it’s best to start at the very beginning by determining what symptoms to look out for as a sign that you might be in need of a root canal.

How Do I Know if I Need a Root Canal?

Sometimes, a root canal may be needed but no symptoms present themselves. In other cases, patients could experience severe toothache and sensitivity. According to the dentist in Colorado Springs you can’t assume anything until a dental expert has seen you. He or she will determine, via a clinical examination and X-ray, what your next course of action should be.

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However the following list of signs may present themselves:

  • Severe toothache: Experiencing pain while chewing or applying pressure may be a sign of decayed or infected teeth.
  • Swelling and Tenderness: If you notice that your gums are swollen and sore, it is likely that you have a bacterial infection.
  • Prolonged sensitivity: Sensitivity to hot or cold temperatures, which lasts after the hot or cold has been removed.
  • Discoloration: The darkening of a tooth caused by decay.

What is Root Canal Therapy?

Root canal therapy is a treatment that repairs and saves teeth that have either become badly decayed or infected or are at an increased risk of becoming so. ‘Root canal’ refers to the natural cavity/cavities within the center of the tooth. The pulp is the soft tissue within the root canal and the tooth’s nerve lies within the root canal. During the procedure the nerve and pulp are removed and the inside of the tooth is thoroughly cleaned, sterilized and re-sealed. There’s no need to worry about the missing nerve, as it is not necessary to a tooth’s health or function after it has emerged from the gums in childhood.

Why Should the Tooth Pulp and Nerve Be Removed?

If the tooth’s nerve tissue or pulp becomes exposed as a result of accidental trauma or bacteria decay of its protective housing structure (the tooth), it becomes exceptionally vulnerable to bacteria, which begin to proliferate. Without treatment, the tissue surrounding the tooth can also become infected and painful abscesses (the infection spreads all the way past the ends of the roots of the tooth) may form.

Allowing the problem to progress may cause a number of complications, such as inflammation that can extend to other areas of the face, neck, or head; bone loss around the tip of the root and drainage problems extending outward from the root. To avoid these painful and potentially dangerous problems, Colorado Springs dentist suggests a simple procedure.

So, What Can I Expect From a Root Canal?

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The first step in your procedure would be to have an X-ray taken in order to determine the shape of your root canals and resolve whether there are signs of infection in a surrounding bone. Your dentist will then use a local anesthesia to numb the area near the tooth/teeth in question. An access hole will be drilled into the tooth, at which point your dentist will remove all pulp along with bacteria, decayed nerve tissue and related debris from within your tooth. Using root canal files, the tooth will be professionally cleaned, whilst water is used to periodically flush away debris. Once the tooth is successfully cleaned and free of infection, it is sealed. The final step may involve further restoration of the tooth, according to Colorado Springs dentists, but this will be discussed with you during your appointment.